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Thread summary:

Negativity about Memphis, lack of good leadership, Main Street Mall, Central Station downtown changing, old infrastructure, crime rates, ghetto neighborhoods, city administration problems

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Old 09-16-2008, 08:46 PM
Location: Memphis TN
26 posts, read 75,377 times
Reputation: 17


I am sick and tired of hearing nothing but negative comments about Memphis!!! I grew up in Germantown, left after high school, and have been living in NYC for a while with my wife. Admittedly, I was very spoiled by having everything at my fingertips in NY, but recently returned to Memphis because nobody in their mid-20's can afford to buy anything in Manhattan, and we wanted to buy a home. AND... we actually like Memphis and the people here.

What I have always said about Memphis is the tremendous potential it has. Why hasn't it flourished? My thought is "King" Willie Herenton. Why is he still in office??? He's been there since 1991 but hasn't done ANYTHING for this city. The guy worked for our schools and as mayor have let them decline even more...idiot! Look at the growth of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, and Houston!!! Even Nashville's growth has outpaced Memphis. Consider the prime location and favorable business conditions of our city, and one wonders what went wrong. I left in 2001 and the only major change I see is the FedEx Forum. Perfectly good waste of the Pyramid if you ask me...

Why hasn't downtown been revamped more? Why aren't the homes in Cooper-Young selling for over 400,000 like they do in Lower Greenville in Dallas or Uptown Atlanta? Why haven't more walkable neighborhoods been planned in the inner city like they have nation-wide? Why out of all those cities are we the only one without rail transit???

The answer: Lack of good leadership. All the other cities I mentioned above have higher costs of living than Memphis...ALL of them! With a little leadership and some incentives, you could easily lure some companies here. On top of that, there should be tax incentives given to stores that could move into the Main St mall. Main St has become a PATHETIC JOKE! That could be such a nice retail area with Beale on the South end and the trolley right in the middle. Maybe some nicer stores like a Saks, and NY and Co. There are plenty of tourists from outside our region visting Beale St and Graceland that would use the shopping if the area was improved. That also equals more tax revenue.

Another issue is rail transit. I know the rail line that goes from downtown to Cordova has recently been abandoned. Why doesn't Herenton get off his ass and see if he can get that line donated to the city??? Might make sense? Worked well in Dallas with DART... I'm sure that's not the only abandoned line that could be donated either.

I will say that downtown is finally changing near Central Station, but the change has come very slowly. I just don't understand why we keep re-electing that moron!!!

Memphis needs change. All the negative comments that everyone has to offer DON'T make anything better. Do something about it! Stop telling every out-of-towner how unsafe Memphis is. How many people on this website have been assaulted??? Robbed at knife- or gun-point??? I'll wager not too many... It is absolutely ignorant to say nothing but negative things about this city. Say something nice or don't say anything. If you really feel like this is such a terrible place, then leave. Seriously. I love it here...and so do all the people I grew up with...as well as all the people on my block. And I live in Midtown (ooh, the scary city limits for all you suburbanites) and haven't been robbed, or assaulted, or had my house broken into.

In closing, if someone knows the process of putting your name on the mayoral ballot let me know. I would gladly give up my job to get this city turned around... I have ideas and ambitions for this city. As the city with the first self-serve supermarket (piggly wiggly), motel chain (holiday inn), and overnight package (fedex), you would think this innovative city would be in a better position that it is.

Let me know your thoughts...
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:06 PM
38 posts, read 143,757 times
Reputation: 42
The abandoned rail line your talking about is the old CSX line, and plans are already underway to transform it into an intra-city trail for cyclists, pedestrians, etc.

But you're right, we need rail transit to keep up with other cities. Our infrastructure is getting old and it's time for someone to step in and get this city back on its feet.
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:17 PM
Location: southern california
61,282 posts, read 82,596,543 times
Reputation: 55458
you mentioned a lot of positive progressive sensible things that could be done to improve any city. but you did not address the heart of the memphis problem.
its dangerous. you have minimized crime in memphis friend. i am no stranger to memphis neither are my friends and family. the problem is that by in large, the citizens of memphis really dont have a problem with crime in memphis neither do you.
when that changes, we will move forward.
i have a dream.
fyi i am non white. your assumption that i dont know anything about crime or the ghetto and therefore have no business talking about it, is assuming much.
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:25 PM
113 posts, read 541,770 times
Reputation: 129
I do completely agree with you.

Here's the thing for me -- I am not so dense as to fail to realize that there are people in Memphis who have sadly been the victim of something more serious than a stolen lawnmower or bicycle. And perhaps some of them post here, or perhaps someone who posts here knows someone affected. For those people, I can understand the legitimate fear. I would be scared too.

But the ones who are just basing their opinions of Memphis being dangerous based on hearsay and the "friend of a friend's sister's son's girlfriend" getting raped at gunpoint...seriously, stop. Where is your personal experience with Memphis being dangerous? Yes, I hate watching the news some nights because it does scare me. When that rapist was invading apartments a few months back, and he hit in Cordova and Bartlett? I was scared out of my ever-living mind. That DID make me more wary, more looking over my shoulder. But some of that is just part of living in a city.

This isn't a place where you can leave your doors happily unlocked at night, but it never claimed to be that place. This isn't a place where you can walk anywhere you want at night and be guaranteed to be 100% okay -- Memphis never claimed to be that place either. If you want a place like that, look somewhere else -- a rural town of 300, maybe.

Memphis has problems. It does. The mayor possibly being near the top of that list. The crime, certainly, but I think that is inextricably linked to the mayor as well. But think of the great things -- Cooper-Young Festival, barbecue (for those who eat meat), the amazing zoo, The Peabody ducks, Musicfest (Memphis in May in general), Graceland, Restaurant Iris (eat there once, you'll see), Huey's, the beautiful old mansions in Midtown, margaritas on the patio at Cafe Ole, and so much more. These things make me glad that I live here. Memphis is a city with a rich history, and the potential for an even richer future.

It's not utopia, but who would really want it to be, anyway?
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:23 AM
Location: The South
264 posts, read 1,093,625 times
Reputation: 83
Crime is the biggest problem, but maybe second behind the city administration. If the mayor or something doesnt change, Memphis will never progress. If the city was run differently, I think Memphis crime would be much less. Its sad, because Memphis has so much potential- large companies always talk about its central location, wonderful for shipping industries.
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:08 PM
145 posts, read 276,830 times
Reputation: 61
Memphis could be a wonderful place with all of its history and charm BUT.....
Memphis does not seem to want to make that leap into the 21st century. Race should no longer be holding people back. Mayor Herenton should not be in office! Memphians need a real role model!! They need someone to stress education, to work on job growth, to take control of the police force! I really think if they had someone to crack down on truencies - keeping kids in school and work hard on education in this city then it would give many kids the power to go on to college and be productive citizens. *I know you don't have to go to college to be a productive citizen, but it only empowers a person more -knowledge is power!!
I have been to too many fast food restaurants and Wal-Mart with people behind the counter who have no work ethic. Educate these people!!!! Make them realize they are working for a purpose and to be proud of earning a living.
I really wish someone would find a way to get Bill Cosby in here to speak at FedEx Forum....make it free for students with a student ID and charge others a small fee....use some of that money they are giving the counsel members for casino trips! Cosby has a book out "Come on People" -he has talked about it on Oprah! He is amazing. He is straight talking, yet encouraging to people of his race. He wants to better the African American people. He wants them to realize their potential and not sit back thinking the stereotypes are what their lives have to be. That is the problem with Memphis...to many people think their futures have been written and there is nothing they can do to pull themselves out of the hood. They have no one in the city truly on their side!
When you live in poverty....it becomes all you know. When your cities mayor takes a pay raise and has the city paying $1100 a month for his new SUV, there is something terribly wrong. That $1100 a month could pay for proper school supplies, food for the poor, tuition assistance for a really smart kid who wants an education, or monthly speakers to motivate Memphis City School kids!!! Memphis is a sad and tough place to live....that's it.
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:04 PM
518 posts, read 1,923,311 times
Reputation: 228
Post I agree......!

I always thought one of the best things about Memphis was its friendly people. Yes, there is crime, but as someone else pointed out, that frequently goes hand in hand with a larger place where people are more easily anonymous and can carry out a theft or whatever with greater confidence that they will not get caught.

I do think Harrington is a snake. He should be ashamed of himself for what he has done to our city. If you add up all the perks and money that he has made and compare it to what he has done to better the city, it's a joke. I do think that anyone would make a better mayor than that man. He is laughing at all Memphians all the way to the bank.........I do hope that someday someone challenges him and agree that a Bill Cosby type personality who has a positive attitude could actually help kids find a direction with the right programs.

I had some non-white friends who went to school with me at Messick and lived in Orange Mound area and they were scared to death because there were crack houses and crime next to them. People are afraid of each other because of perceptions and stereotypes, but when you talk to others, you help to personalize a neighborhood, school, area, etc.

It's also too bad that our local news programs love to lead off each night with the worst imaginable crime available to talk about..............I always think about that song the Eagles did "Dirty Laundry" when it comes to the Memphis local news. It seems like they try to outdo each other when it comes to sensationalizism because it sells and ratings go up..............Wish that would somehow change................

Memphis has a lot of things going for it, but with the present leadership, all the lifeblood just gets sucked away..............Hopefully someone else will step up to the plate and take a chance on changing the mess that Harrington has created with all his paid off cronies in various offices. It won't be an easy task, but I think Memphians are in general pretty sick of the way they've been conned for the past decade or so.........
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:55 AM
9 posts, read 33,025 times
Reputation: 10
Default Mayor Herenton must go

Mayor Herenton must go. While Mayor Herenton is not an unintelligent man, he is completely without leadership skills. He does have the ability to appeal to the uneducated population in the city with his rhetoric, which continues to get him elected. His departure alone is not the silver bullet to fix all the economic woes, crime issues, and political corruption in the city, but it will be a helluva start....assuming whoever replaces him isn't as completely void of leadership skills as he.

Until the city gets new leadership, this city will never reach its potential, and the negative perceptions that it has to outsiders will not change.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:58 AM
Location: East Memphis
104 posts, read 341,950 times
Reputation: 61
Originally Posted by gosaints View Post
Until the city gets new leadership, this city will never reach its potential, and the negative perceptions that it has to outsiders will not change.
Stop waiting for a Messiah, movements start with YOU!

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Old 09-18-2008, 12:59 PM
145 posts, read 276,830 times
Reputation: 61
Originally Posted by expatnortherner View Post
Stop waiting for a Messiah, movements start with YOU!

I totally agree. It is the people who need to stand up and say this is enough. We are tired of living in depressing situations. The Taxes in this city are too high ...making it difficult for people to buy groceries, school supplies, etc. Find the right leader at the next election, in the mean time go to school, make your kids go to school, go to work and make a living, pray, help your fellow neighbor, create better neighborhood watch programs, come together as a community to make things better.
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