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HOOKS RETURNS, VOTES ON NBA MATTER

HOOKS RETURNS, VOTES ON NBA MATTER

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Shelby County Commissioner Michael Hooks Sr. made his first public appearance in well over a month Monday, sitting in briefly at a regularly scheduled meeting of the commission, where he cast two votes (both seemingly in favor of an expedited pursuit of a National Basketball Association franchise) and seconded another key NBA-related motion. It was the first appearance by Hooks at a commission meeting or anywhere else since March 21st when the commissioner -- flanked by wife Janet Hooks , a member of the Memphis city council, and his children, including Memphis school board member Michael Hooks Jr. -- confessed an addiction to crack cocaine. Hooks had been arrested the week before by Shelby County deputies who had arrived at his residence to serve a traffic warrant on Michael Hooks Jr. and found drug paraphernalia and crack cocaine residue in the senior Hooks' possession. In the aftermath of his arrest, which resulted in a misdemeanor citation, Hooks volunteered for rehabilitation as Charter Lakeside Hospital, and word was passed by a family friend last week that he had served 28 days in rehab and had been discharged. Hooks, who entered Monday's commission meeting midway during a discussion of a resolution from Commissioner Walter Bailey to sponsor a $31,000 poll of Shelby Countians about their attitudes toward the NBA matter, made no remarks but voted twice. On a motion by Commissiner Linda Rendtorff to delay voting on Bailey 's motion for three months, Hooks voted yes; it lost 4-6. On a motion by Commissioner Clair VanderSchaaf to delay implementation of the poll until May 21st (a strategem that, in effect, started the disclosure clock on NBA Now, the local pursuit team), Hooks voted No; the motion passsed overhwelmingly. It would seem that Hooks, who voted identically with chairman James Ford, a fervid supporter of building a new NBA-worthy arena, thereby aligned himself with fast-track proponents of securing the NBA franchise. Hooks later seconded a motion to postpone naming a commission liaison person to work with NBA Now. (Chairman Ford confided that he would probably appoint himself to the post at the commission's next meeting.) During the meeting, Hooks made one call out from a telephone adjoining the commissioners' meeting area. After the meeting, he raced backstage to an area which normally is open and where commissioners, during a meeting, are served refreshments and may avail themselves of rest room facilities As soon as Hooks passed through the door to the backstage area, the doors were locked from within, long enough to allow him to avoid the sizeable media on hand and vacate the building via an elevator.

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