- Greg Cravens
About Toby Sells' story, "Tracking Trolleys" ...
Dear Santa (All We Want for Christmas)
It's our most favorite form of public transport,
Not a carriage horse with a whinny
or a snort.
Not an Uber or Lyft or even a cab, Scampering to hop in after paying a tab.
We could cruise along as the hours went by, The thought of them now brings a tear to my eye.
No matter if it's red, yellow, or blue, We'd gladly take one, or perhaps even two.
They helped with all of our holiday shopping, Even if sometimes they went by without stopping.
It was the hypnotic sound of them going clickety clack, If we were too critical of the schedule, we'll take it back.
We miss the drivers as they waved a cheerful, "Hi," You see, we want a streetcar, just passing on by.
In you, Santa, we leave all of our trust, In 2015, their presence is a must.
Neither you nor your legion of cheerful elves, Want our stores to be left with goods on their shelves.
It was like a Sinatra song as they picked us up in the rain,
Please bring back the trolleys that ran on South Main.
About Ruth Ogles Johnson's Viewpoint, "Hail the Man!" ...
In response to Ruth Ogles Johnson's column praising the sanitation workers, I couldn't agree more. These men and women are doing an important job that the rest of us wouldn't ever want to do. Whatever they get paid is not enough.
But, where did Johnson get the idea that Pay As You Go (PAYG) is somehow going to increase the funds available to pay the workers? If they have a contest for worst idea in history, PAYG is a definite contender. The idea is that citizens pay more if they generate more trash. If their trash exceeds their can capacity, they buy extra special bags for $3 apiece (no, that is not a typo), and the increased funds generated will enhance the city's coffers.
What will actually happen will be a lot of uncollected trash, people putting their extra trash in front of their neighbor's house, and litter getting even worse. Also, we'll have yet one more bureaucratic department storing and selling "certified" garbage bags.
I worked 30 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, much of it with the agency's solid waste programs. One thing I came to believe is that the purpose of sanitation departments is to keep cities sanitary by efficiently picking up the trash. It is a mistake to use said departments to push a social agenda to make citizens act better by recycling more waste. Another thing I learned is that while curbside recycling may be environmentally friendly and popular, it is rarely cost-effective, even with the decreased landfill costs. If more money is needed to cover sanitation department expenses, just raise the monthly fee. Don't initiate some cockamanie program like PAYG.
About Taylor Berger's Viewpoint "Dividing by Zero" ...
Great article! I live in Cooper-Young and don't know anyone who is in favor of this Fairground Fantasy Project. Most cities would put in a nice park if they were given this sort of opportunity of (having) vast land in the middle of the city. Some decent housing surrounding a park would go much further in supporting our city with the subsequent property taxes than what Robert Lipscomb is proposing.
Taylor Berger is one of the bright lights in Memphis, and it's great to see him getting involved in the public process. As a columnist, the emphasis is on opinion and not always the facts, and there are some he's overlooked when it comes to the Fairgrounds.
When the city council approved and Mayor Wharton signed the application for a TDZ at the Fairgrounds after six dozen presentations to the council and the public, most people knew that the concept was 20 years in the making from the time it was first suggested by the Memphis Chamber, Governors' Alliance for Regional Excellence, and Shelby County government that a key economic opportunity for Memphis was to compete in the $8 billion youth sports industry, and it was 10 years from the time that a blue-ribbon citizens group first recommended the Fairgrounds as a site for this kind of development. The notion that Memphis should "pause and take a breath" ignores the project's long history.