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Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update: March 15, 2019
Weekly Update
Posted on 03/15/2019

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Friends,


A few notes for a Friday afternoon as we enjoy another big Tigers win…

Check out Memphis 901FC: We’ve known for a while that AutoZone Park is the best venue in America for minor league baseball. But if you were there Saturday night, you now know that it could also be the best venue in the United Soccer League.

A sellout crowd of 8,000 didn’t just see Memphis 901FC’s first game, they chanted and jumped and yelled and generally brought in a new era in the most fun way possible. Memphis 901FC has 16 more home games, and they’re mostly on Saturday nights (like tomorrow).

City-owned AutoZone Park is quickly becoming a space that’s about much more than baseball. Two years ago, Redbirds leaders Peter Freund and Craig Unger came to see me about how the City could partner with them in their pursuit of a USL expansion team. I quickly said ‘yes’ — and Saturday night was even more proof that this will be a successful marriage.

Attacking potholes: You know by now that we’ve doubled street paving funds from just four years ago, and we’re attacking our long backlog of streets in need of resurfacing. Once the weather gets warm and paving can start, you’ll see plenty of crews on plenty of streets.

Until then, though, we’re repairing potholes as quickly as possible. We’ve repaired more than 27,000 this year alone.

And, as this story on NPR yesterday points out, it’s a national problem.

As always, you can help our hard-working crews by reporting potholes in one of three ways:

Many prominent Memphis streets are state property, which means TDOT — not the City — repairs the potholes. You can find a list of state routes here, and report potholes to them at 684-5467.

Thank you, Rep. Cooper: Rep. Barbara Cooper has long been a fierce advocate for Memphians in the Tennessee General Assembly, particularly on issues of civil rights. I was humbled Sunday when she presented me with a Harriet Tubman Living Legend Award — “for your care for mankind, your commitment to human progress, and the willingness to get things done.”

Thank you, Rep. Cooper. I am honored. And we at City Hall appreciate your work every day in Nashville.

On our MWBE numbers: Just like we take credit when good things happen, I take responsibility for mistakes. That’s what being a leader is all about.

You may have seen a story yesterday that showed, accurately, that our minority and women-owned business spending numbers aren’t as high as we once thought. Though we had thought we were at 24 percent, we’re actually at roughly 18 percent.

Simply put, this was a clerical mistake with an Excel spreadsheet. By no means does it take away all the good we have done and the progress we will continue to make in growing our MWBEs. At 18 percent, we’re still well above the 12.6 percent from when we took office.

We have significantly increased our certified MWBEs with the City from 138 to 589. And, we're working to scale up black-owned businesses through our 800 Initiative. We're also encouraging Memphians to do business with MWBEs through Buy901.net.

The policy I initiated almost two years ago — in which I will sign no contract until I verify that it has an MWBE spend — remains.  If the contract doesn't have a spend, I send it back to the division to find out why. That won't change.

We’re doing a thorough review of our MWBE numbers and I’ll report back. I have full confidence in the Office of Business Diversity and Compliance — and, equally as important, its mission.

Government is not perfect. No one is. But, when we make mistakes, my administration owns up to them, shares what went wrong, and then acts quickly to make corrections. In fact, I thank the Memphis Business Journal for pointing out this mistake.

Bottom line: Our MWBE spend is higher now than when we took office, just not as high as we thought two months ago.

Yours,
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Each Friday, Mayor Jim Strickland sends his Weekly Update email. It's a recap of events from the week, a celebration of Memphis' successes, and a frank look at our challenges. To receive the Weekly Update in your inbox, sign up here.

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