Archive for July, 2012

Identifying Free Speakers

Monday, July 30th, 2012

July 30, 2012

I was shocked to read of the subpoena filed on behalf of the Shelby County Commission seeking to find the names of those who commented on Commercial Appeal articles about school consolidation. It appears that some County Commissioners are trying to build a case based on racial attitudes.

Well my name is Joe Saino and I am here to say that the great majority of parents want the best education for their children and that (more…)

Inside the Huge Pyramid Bonds

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

July 26, 2012

Let’s take a look inside the engine of the bonds for this project, $197 million dollar deal. (page numbers shown are the pdf page numbers not the actual document page numbers).

Market Study (Page 4) states “There is no assurance that actual events will correspond with the assumptions on which such estimates are based. Consequently, no guarantee can be made that the estimated new TDZ (Tourist Development Zone) Revenues will (more…)

The Pyramid Lease Agreement

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

July 23, 2012

The Details Of The Pyramid And Lease Development Agreement

This agreement is 157pages but it is in searchable pdf format. Still it is formidable. I will try to highlight interesting parts. (When I cite a page number, it is the pdf page number, not the actual page number).

Description of leased premises See Exhibit A (starts at page 36) and B (starts at page 42). Exhibit B gives you a better feel for the (more…)

MO MONEY OR REFORM?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

July 18, 2012

Increase taxes or reform the system. This is the overriding national and also local issue. Councilmen Shea Flinn and Edmund Ford Jr. proposed these possible tax increases recently to get MO MONEY for the city budget.

The taxpayers, this one included, are tired of schemes to squeeze more money out of our thin pocketbooks and wallets. We want to see real reform first, then we will consider new sources if necessary.

(more…)

Who Knows Best?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

July 16, 2012

The newspapers are full of the upcoming elections (both national and local) and especially the school board election and the decision by the six Shelby County incorporated cities to have their own municipal schools.

The Commercial Appeal is especially full of its admonitions to give the transition planning commission plan a chance to work. Well (more…)

BassPro/Pyramid! It Is All About Downtown

Monday, July 9th, 2012

July 9, 2012

I have been investigating this $215 million dollar deal. I met with Marcus Ward (Sr. Assistant City Attorney) and Debbie Singleton (Administrator for Housing & Community Development) and got complete information and details. They were both very knowledgeable and courteous and I was impressed with their grasp of the details.

Let me say up front that I hope this works and that it is a financial success. A failure could ruin the City of Memphis.

Looking back, the Pyramid should never have been built in the first place. It was built primarily as a basketball arena and the Pyramid shape was terrible for that purpose. However the idea of Memphis on the Mississippi (as in Memphis on the Nile) was too big a temptation. It never really worked and when the NBA came along it became obsolete. I give credit to Robert Lipscomb for coming up with the Bass Pro alternative. Again I hope it works.

Here are the details (so many details your eyes will glaze over).

Memphis Pyramid Redevelopment Project. This is what the City Council saw and voted on. (Note that Tom Marshall made the technical presentation. This is the same Tom Marshall who brought us the January 2001 pension resolution that has cost us millions in early pension payments).

Here are the claims.

No use of city tax money. Total costs are paid from state sales taxes. (This is true if the sales projections turn out to be as projected). See page 4 for other claims.

The City Council voted approval to (see page 11) fund the seismic costs, amend the HOOPS agreement, pay Shelby County for the Cook Convention Center, authorize the bond issue and allocate and appropriate the project funds.

Look at page 15 to see the plan, the Pinch District, Lonestar acquisition and other items.

Look at pages 22 and 23 for the seismic work paid for by the City.

Look at page 24 for the construction timeline.

Look at page 27 for the downtown tourism development zones.

The rest of the presentation is a sales pitch with hopes for the future. I will be presenting in the future the actual bond documents with the actual provisions and the revised development agreement with sales projections. These will be pdf searchable documents.

Let us hope it works as projected and sold.

The Little Red Schoolhouse

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

July 5, 2012

The CA and the Flyer have been full of stories about the consolidation school fight.  It is the classic fight between top down (we know better than you parents and taxpayers what is best for your children) and (more…)

Where Is The Taxpayer Outrage?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

July 2, 2012

Last Thursday I attended the Memphis pension board meeting at City Hall. On the agenda were several items that caught my attention. Here they are.

  • There was a resolution to provide an involuntary service retirement (she resigned voluntarily) to TaJuan Stout Mitchell costing $27,427.44 per year. The former City Council member resigned from the council and took a job at the City of Memphis. Because of the January 2001 pension resolution, she became eligible to retire and receive her pension regardless of age.
  • James Palmer asked for and received an ordinary disability retirement from the airport authority after 8 years with a pension of $7899.60 per year.
  • Michael Sheppard asked for and received a line of duty disability retirement from the Fire Services after 9 years and 9 months of $30,573.84 per year. Two of three doctors said that he had low back pain with degenerative discs caused by on the job work. The other doctor said that it was not job related.

The reason I pointed this out is that they are  illustrative of the pension problems at (more…)