On Consolidation and The Injunction

So the votes will be counted in the consolidation referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot.

They will be counted by the rules, so to speak, as they stand now – a vote total for inside Memphis and a vote total for outside Memphis.

But the Shelby County Election Commission will not certify the results at least until there is a ruling from Federal Judge Thomas Anderson on the court challenge to the “dual majorities” requirement of state law.

That’s the upshot of the preliminary injunction Anderson has now issued in the court case that seeks a single countywide vote to decide the fate of the metro charter.

Both sides in the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, had agreed to the injunction before Anderson signed off on it.

Many questions remain about an end game that the preliminary injunction confirms probably won’t happen when the polls close on the evening of Nov. 2.

Does the injunction barring certification of election results remain in place if whoever loses before Anderson seeks an appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals?

When will Anderson hear the case?

Meanwhile, attorney and retired Circuit Court Judge D’Army Bailey has offered a cautionary note on this that we will explore in Friday’s edition of The Daily News. If you get our email edition or go online, you will see it at around 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Bailey and Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy first questioned the dual majorities requirement in April.

Several months later, Bailey got a summary and opinion from the Legal Defense Fund that he revealed this week.

The opinion from attorney Ryan Haygood concluded a challenge of the dual majorities would “likely be unsuccessful.”

And Haygood cautioned that pursuing such a challenge and losing could set in motion an erosion of standards in the Civil Rights Act. Attorneys have long weighed whether asking a court to rule on a question of law might make things worse for their side of a broader issue if the answer is not the one they want.

We will go over those reasons which have a lot to do with the city’s unique political history.

This is just the latest part of what has become a civic discussion at the end of a busy election year that promises to continue even after the court rulings decide how the votes will be counted and what results will be certified.

It’s proof that we are in a period of political transformation and where we will be at the end of that transformation is still an open question.

Delta Air Lines Comes to Facebook

Delta Air Lines Inc. is giving social media users one more thing to “like.”

With customers spending a significant portion of their day online, Delta is providing its customers with a new way to connect via Facebook. The Atlanta-based airline is the first airline to use social media to offer flight bookings.

The internet networking site is the most used website by Inflight WiFi users on their flights, according to Delta.

Delta’s Ticket Window allows any of Facebook’s 500 million users to complete a full travel booking using a dedicated tab at facebook.com/delta without navigating to delta.com. Then, with a simple click, one can share his or her travel plans with selected friends.

Delta plans to expand its Ticket Window to other sites, including online banner ads to allow full booking capabilities within the airline’s advertisements.

Ticket Window and Delta’s newly designed website homepage are the first indications of its planned transformation in customer-facing technology.

In addition to joining the social media community, the airline has plans in the works to launch a new iPhone application to offer customers the ability to book flights, select their seats, check-in for flights, check flight status, review flight schedules, set a parking reminder, review SkyMiles account balances, track their Medallion status, and in select cities, use eBoarding passes.

The new app’s features will streamline customer real-time travel experiences.

Some Lighter News for Monday – About U2

It’s not quite Memphis news, but Memphians will still be interested to know this. Courtesy of the Nashville Scene, the Internet is abuzz with rumors U2 may be bringing its 360 Degrees Tour to Vanderbilt Stadium next year.

I know I wouldn’t mind making that three-hour drive.

Collierville Town Hall Meeting Is a Success

The Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a public hearing Thursday for comments concerning the feasibility of constructing a new Collierville Middle School facility at Suggs Park in Collierville.

The meeting began with a presentation from Town Administrator James Lewellen. Afterwards, public comments and questions were taken from the audience.

About 90 residents attended the meeting, said Mark Heuberger, public information director for the town of Collierville.

Comments focused around traffic control and impact, the need for increased police presence in the area, the appearance of the proposed school and its location within the existing neighborhoods. Residents were also concerned about property values and noise.

In addition, the meeting addressed the feasibility of renovating the existing middle school located at Poplar Avenue and Walnut Street for reuse as a branch facility of the University of Memphis. There were similar questions concerning the purchase of the middle school property by the U of M, such as traffic, appearance of the facility and lighting.

Overall, it was a very good meeting, Mayor Joyner said.

“There were very good comments from both sides of the issue,” Joyner said. “We are looking at the comments and studying the possibilities.”

A decision from the Board of Mayor and Alderman on moving forward with the proposed “land swap” is expected within the next couple of weeks.

Read more about the swap here: http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=53223

January Paychecks

As if anyone needed more proof that when lawmakers flirt with sweeping change the results tend to trickle down in unintended ways, FTN Financial chief economist Chris Low pointed out something in a webinar Thursday afternoon that has been largely overshadowed in the debate over tax cuts.

FTN Financial is a division of First Tennessee Bank.

Low noted with dismay that lawmakers left the question of whether they’ll extend soon-to-expire tax cuts unresolved when they departed the nation’s capital to come home and campaign for the midterms.

If the problem was politically treacherous before the midterms, wonder how pleasant the debate will be in a lame duck session when congressmen whose days are numbered would decide whether to kill or keep expiring tax cuts amid a brutal and lingering downturn?

Anyway, Low threw another monkey wrench into the mix. Congress theoretically has time to keep some or all of the tax cuts in place before the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31.

However –

Payroll processors typically need plenty of lead time in which to get next year’s tax tables in hand so they can work in the right withholding amounts for people who collect a paycheck. Not much has been said publicly about what will happen if Congress doesn’t get finished until the eleventh hour.

Should the Treasury or IRS allow a grace period that keeps everything the same for now? Even if tax cuts are extended for everyone, some people are privately wondering whether there will be enough time to stop paychecks from taking a temporary tax hit come January.