MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Bad news is basically illegal in any State of the City Address from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. For example, the mayor never said a word about Pinnacle Airlines moving out of Memphis, or the city losing five hundred jobs.
He did talk about airlines. He told the crowd at the Pink Palace Museum, "We are going to tackle and will succeed in bringing in other air carriers and therefore bringing down the cost of flying in and out of our city."
The comment got a lot of applause. Of course, most people in attendance at the annual State of the City speech happen to work for the City of Memphis. You don't boo the Mayor, if you work for the Mayor.
The Mayor, on the other hand, didn't boo Pinnacle Airlines - even though you got the feeling he wanted to. "Well obviously it's disheartening," Mayor Wharton said. "But it's one of those things. That's the way cities grow. It just makes us tougher. We'll go out and find somebody else."
If losing a company and jobs makes a city tougher, Memphis is the King of the Ring. Back in the 1990's the city took it hard when two huge companies, Firestone and International Harvester, closed up their factories.
Things are different now, with Electrolux and Mitsubishi here. There are other plans for more jobs as well. And think of all that beautiful empty office space smack in the middle of Downtown. Parking, are you kidding? Plenty of parking now that Pinnacle is leaving, and a big city parking garage that was built for Pinnacle is now ready to open.
"We placed a lot of trust in them," Mayor Wharton said, "...so that does hurt. But in terms of did the city lose money, our parking lot is still there, and we need it."