Saturday, February 03, 2007

WTF??? Help MARION, for OUR sake!

John Branston wrote a stunning piece in the Flyer this week about how the Memphis REGIONAL Chamber of Commerce is standing idly by and doing NOTHING to help Marion, Arkansas, a short 8 MILES from our doorstep, land a Toyota auto plant.

WHY?????????????? Supposedly, Governor Bredesen is backing Chattanooga's bid for the same plant, so they want our local Mayors and the Chamber to keep quiet.


Governor, which area of your state needs more help right now? Memphis, or Chattanooga? Are you so sure that if it it's built back East, that they won't hire as many Georgians or Alabamians or hell, even people from the southwestern corner of
North Carolina as Tennesseans?

I am willing to bet that 30-40%, if not MORE of the workforce will be from West Tennessee, Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, Fayette, maybe even Haywood. Sure, Eastern Arkansas will see a boom, as will DeSoto, Tate, Tunica and Marshall counties in Mississippi will see their folks hired, too.

The largest pool, though, is Shelby County, and we NEED those jobs.

Governor, we know you and the rest of the state HATE Memphis because we're not hill people, not country people, and not white people.

I have just one question, though.

Do you have to be so damned OBVIOUS about it?

However, dear friends and gentle readers, there MAY yet be a happy ending, because there IS an elected official with the guts to help out our neighbors across the river. Who, pray tell, could that be?

Who the hell do you think? It's our Congressman, Steve Cohen, who has pledged to assist Marion Mayor Frank Fogleman and Arkansas' 1st District Congressman, Marion Berry (BERRY, not BARRY!), Democrat of Gillett.

As Cohen points out,
"If you have 7,500 people over in Marion, a whole bunch of them would be living in Memphis," he said. "They'd be coming to ball games here in Memphis. They'd certainly be eating food in Memphis. They'd contribute sales taxes to Memphis. It's going to be real good for Memphis."

Damn skippy.

Readers from the Memphis area, do us all a favor. On Monday, call Herenton's office and call Wharton's office, and then call the Regional Chamber (what a misnomer) and ask what the hell they have against bringing 7,500 jobs to the Memphis area. Let's do this until they get off their collective asses and help Marion get that plant.

Put it this way: I care more about Memphis than Chattanooga. more about Southaven than Lookout Mountain or Dalton, more about Munford or Atoka than South Pittsburg or Cleveland.

Let's bring the jobs to GREATER MEMPHIS where they are more desperately needed.


autoegocrat said...

"We're not hill people, not country people, and not white people."

That's just about the long and short of it, isn't it? We're the left armpit of Tennessee.

polar donkey said...

Auto's correct. Memphis is a political island from the rest of state. That plant is just not in the political interest of the rest of the state.
Our regional chamber of commerce should be drawn and quartered for not fighting for that plant.

Anonymous said...
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Tom Guleff said...

Well friend.

LeftWingCracker said...

Thanks, I just got REALLY pissed off about this.

Sure, I'd like to have this inside the city & county limits, but this would provide SO MAY jobs to this area...

think the city of jackson, MS is upset that the NISSAN plant is next door in Canton and madison county?

Not at all...

joe lance said...

We Chattanoogans would like to thank you for your blessed spirit of camaraderie.

I feel that multiple mid-size businesses should inhabit Hamilton County's site, and I personally wouldn't begrudge Marion, AR for landing the plant, but it doesn't sound like the feeling is shared if things were the other way round.

Oh, well.

Sean Braisted said...

Granted, this probably sucks for some people in Memphis, but wouldn't you expect the Governor of a state to fight for a plant to be located in his state, and not an adjacent state? Unless you can make the case that it would benefit the state financially (which you might be able to if it will remove some Memphians off public assistance), it would seem counter-intuitive to have a Governor work against a major employer coming into their state.

LeftWingCracker said...


My rage is perhaps a bit misplaced, and while it woould be good for the state if Chattanooga got the plant, it would be just as big a win, especially for West Tennessee as a whole if Marion won it.

My rage should be more accurately pointed at the leaders in Memphis who do nothing about the plant. My apologies foir any misunderstanding.

Sean, I DO believe that people who otherwise might not be employed in Memphis may well be employed at this plant. This would obviously aid us in reducing the crime rate and is JUST the type of manufacturing job that Memphians need.

Gentlemen, I am presuming that you are fully aware of how the rest of the state perceives us, as Auto and PD have affirmed.

Sean Braisted said...

I'd recommend that you guys get together and draft a proposal for how a plant in Arkansas might benefit Memphis, and take it to someone in the Bredesen administration. Perhaps if you can get the SCDP to sign on to that proposal/petition, you could at least get Brunson to listen to you.

You probably won't get him to aid in locating that plant in Arkansas, but you may be able to get them to have a neutral position.

He probably won't give a damn, but it couldn't hurt to try.

Richmond said...

I have a friend who grew up in various parts of non-Memphis Tennessee who puts it this way: "Memphis needs to be in either Mississippi or Arkansas. We'll take the tax money, but Memphis is just a dirty city." He does not mean, by the way, to be overtly dismissive or snobbish, but does reflect what your post expresses.
For me, as you know, I will always, always, prefer Memphis to Nashville, Knoxville or any other place in my home state. We have 10 million problems and a city government hell-bent on enriching itself (with some noteable exceptions), but our potential has been and remains greater than any other locale in Tennessee. A potential, paradoxically enough, rooted in those very same problems.

Memphis said...

It didn't exactly take guts for Cohen. He has nothing to lose, and only to gain. Add to that what has to only be pure joy at being able to stick it to Bredesen.

I think it's great that Cohen took a stand on this, but don't overstate it. It really is a catch-22 for the Mayors and the Chamber. They all have legislative agendas that I'm sure would benefit from the Governor's support. Do you really think the Governor would advocate for a plant to go into another state against his own? Maybe if it was another state, but it doesn't make sense for him to give up jobs, taxes, etc. to his own state in favor of another.

Advocate for Shelby County and getting those jobs, but be realistic.