Memphis City Council returns to work at first meeting of 2019, fills vacancies

The council filled two vacant seats Tuesday evening without any drama, and they’ve got one more to go.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Sherman Greer was appointed to the council to fill the District 1 vacancy.

Greer now holds the seat reordering Raleigh. He’s an administrator at Southwest Tennessee Community College and the school’s athletic director. He specializes in governmental relations and worked for U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen and U.S. Congressman Harold Ford Jr.

"I hope we can just mend the fences work together and try to move forward, definitely,” Johnson said.

It was Johnson’s vote that helped bank executive Gerre Currie win the District 6 Whitehaven and South Memphis seat over political veteran Edmund Ford Sr.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, there is no member of the politically powerful Ford family holding a seat on the Memphis City Council.

The seat representing Whitehaven, held by a member of the Ford family since the 1970’s, went to the political newcomer.

“Frankly, they’ve never had a banker on the city council,” Currie said. “Now they have a banker.”

What a night at #Memphis City Council!*1st time in nearly 50 years there’s no member of the Ford family on council*1st time African-American members hold 8 out of 13 seats*1st time council’s had 4 African-American womenDetails & reaction NEXT on @WMCActionNews5 at 10. #wmc5 pic.twitter.com/7cyU99iqRo

— Joyce Peterson (@MemphoNewsLady) January 9, 2019

Also, for the first time in history the Memphis City Council has four African-American women on it.

"Put some of the things behind us and just win for Memphis and get back to being a team working with the council working with the mayor, I think that’s what people want,” Conrad said.

Tuesday marks the start of the new legislative session in Nashville, which includes a push by two Memphis lawmakers to legalize sports betting in the Bluff City.

“People are doing this in the city of Memphis, it’s also an opportunity for us to help increase activities for tourists,” Boyd said. Boyd is spearheading the resolution to send to Nashville in support of sports betting in Tennessee.

“There are some ways to do this right,” said council member Worth Morgan. “I would like to see sports betting on Beale Street if done right.”

Council members kept their support fairly tepid, wanting to know more about a final framework of legislation, the impact on area poverty, and how much money could come back to Memphis.

Council member Joe Brown raised safety concerns and said security on Beale would need to be stepped up.

“If anybody find out you got $5,000 to $10,000 in your pocket down there doing sports betting, they’re going to kill you,” Brown said.

Though the issue appears to have bipartisan support at least from local lawmakers, it’s not clear if more conservative rural state lawmakers will give it the go-ahead.

The two new options include spreading out rate hikes over more years but still reaching the same total of hikes by 2022.

“Each of the two options reduced the impact of any increase in 2019 and in most cases the options will reduce subsequent increases from what they were previously proposed to be,” said MLGW President and CEO J.T. Young.

The DMC indicated Tuesday if developers didn’t get the deal, the project wouldn’t move forward.

The 29-acre, $950 million development would include apartments, retail, office space, and a potential hotel.

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