At the Crossroads
Regarding the article "Standing at the Crossroads" and the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission (September 13th issue): While there are pertinent points made in the article, there is at least one significant factual error. The reporter wrote that the Shelby County Commission voted down a proposal to give the music commission $50,000. In fact, the county commission, on August 27th, voted for the resolution to give the music commission $50,000.
I proposed an amendment to increase the amount to $125,000, which was a commitment the county made some years ago by resolution. That amendment was voted down, but the request for the $50,000 was approved. In these tight budget times, a $50,000 grant from the commission is indicative of substantial support for the music commission and the industry.
The county commission also approved $50,000 for the film commission, which is working more closely with the music commission and helped land a major film project for Memphis and Shelby County. Most important may be the multi-year, multi-million-dollar funding the county is providing along with the city to help fund our economic development strategy, Memphis Fast Forward. A major component of Memphis Fast Forward is promoting and growing the music industry.
As the body most closely tied to the artists, the music commission must have enough financial strength in the short-term to ensure that the opinions and interest of the artists, not just business owners and investors, are represented. This funding, along with future funding, helps ensure the artists have a seat at the table as we all work to develop a cohesive and practical strategy to make Memphis the music mecca it should be.
Mike Carpenter Shelby County Commission
Dean Deyo is quoted as saying, "We create talent." The Memphis Music Foundation creates talent? Whew. Examples, please?
It's also reported that he "has entered negotiations to bring an independent recording studio to Memphis" and bargain for tax breaks in the effort. Excuse me, but wouldn't Ardent, Young Avenue Sound, Royal Recording, Sam Phillips Recording, Cotton Row Recording, and countless other Memphis independent recording studios like to have tax breaks too?
Musicians I know shake their heads in dismay and disgust at such big plans to tie "economic development" to the "music industry." We're kind of used to hearing it by now.
Your article on the music commission/foundation was the same old thing. This is the same rhetoric that has come from their offices for the past five years. Any accomplishments the commission has achieved, such as the insurance program, were done before Rey Flemings was named as president. Flemings brought nothing to the commission, and he brought the same to the foundation.
Perhaps Deyo and Ralph Sutton are sincere in their desire to accomplish something for the music community, but they will have to look further than their fellow commissioners or Flemings for information on how and where to put their support.
The statement "I don't know if we will ever get back to where we were in '73" is a clear indication that Deyo doesn't understand how the music business works in 2007. If you took any article on Flemings from three years ago and compared it to this week's Flyer article, you'd see that it is almost the exact same baloney we got back then.
I sincerely hope there are exciting changes that take place in our music business community as a result of the music commission and foundation. However, I won't be holding my breath. If you can't even create a workable Web site in five years, how do you think you can change the course of musical history?
Reba Russell Oakland, Tennessee
Trash and Recycling
Thanks for Mary Cashiola's column, "What Goes Around," in the September 6th issue. I agree that the new cardboard recycling program is great, and I think her suggestions on how Memphis could be greener are helpful. There are a couple suggestions I'd like to add:
If the city provided recycling services to larger apartment complexes, it might gain many new recyclers. If you live in a large apartment complex, you must drive your recyclables to one of five drop-off centers. I drive mine to the Agricenter drop-off. How many other apartment dwellers avoid recycling altogether?