Here Comes Larry/Cell Phone Ring Contest

Posted on December 11, 2007

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I was in Memphis for Thanksgiving this year and gave thanks for (among other things) the beginning of the Larry Langford tenure. Say nothing else, the Langford era is going to give us something to blog about.

The first priority for Mr. Langford was to push through a one cent sales tax and business license increase to finance a dome, regional transit and other dormant plans.  Many businesses, including myself, believe we need these things and are willing to pay for them. Of course with respect to business licenses, we anxiously await how much more we are going to have to pay.

My Memphis visit also revealed a little insight into the downside of similar revitalization plans.  On Friday (the National shopping day), I went to the downtown Memphis mall adjacent to the Peabody Hotel. No one. Dead.  That was scary, particularly since we are relying on Memphis as a model and since a Memphis firm is developing the entertainment district.

My point is this- you just can have a “Field of Dreams” plan.  Just because you build it, does not mean that they will come.  Will the economic impact (1.35 Billion according to Al.com- http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2007/11/birmingham_mayor_larry_langfor.html ) really materialize? How does he reach the conclusion? Where do those numbers come from?  And that seems pretty important to retire the sales tax in six years?

Some may characterize me as being negative or pessimistic for asking these questions.  However, I genuinely want to know the answers to these questions.  The past financial management of prior government bodies overseen by Mr. Langford, unfortunately, gives us the right to question his plan.

By the way, I am dedicating my cell phone ring to the Langford tenure.  Currently, I have Celine Dion- My Heart will go on from the Titanic.  Great movie, even though you know the ending.  I am not sure my wife can handle that for too long, so I am open to suggestions.

Mike Goodrich, Goodrich Law Firm, LLC

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