Lemonade and mopeds frame re-election summer for City Council

The 10-year-old founder of B Chill Lemonade seemed to fit in well with an election year City Council when she visited the council Tuesday during committee sessions.

Kinyah Bean had a table outside the committee room, offering all the different flavors of lemonade that have made her a popular entrepreneur in a hot Memphis summer.

The council has a contract with Bean and her company for two gallons of lemonade for every council day at City Hall for the rest of the calendar year.

And at the first council meeting of the new fiscal year, chairman Kemp Conrad tried to drum up some more business for her.

“These people are raising a lot of money this summer,” Conrad said of his fellow council members running for re-election on the Oct. 3 Memphis ballot.

Conrad is one of three on the council not seeking re-election because of term limits. The other two are Reid Hedgepeth and Joe Brown.

The other 10 council incumbents have pulled qualifying petitions to seek new four-year terms starting in 2020. That includes the three newest council members appointed to the body this past January. A fourth open seat was created when Gerre Currie, one of the three appointees, decided to run instead for the Super District 8 Position 1 seat Brown is leaving.

District 2 council member Frank Colvett, who had been the only unopposed incumbent on the city ballot, had a potential challenger this week in John Emery. He pulled a qualifying petition Monday from the Shelby County Election Commission.

The deadline to file is noon July 18.

Conrad, meanwhile, intends to take the council on the road this summer with committee meetings that double as tours of different places. The series starts at the July 16 council meeting with a lunch and tour of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

The council executive session, the last committee meeting of the day before the full council session at which binding votes are taken, has become a bit more interactive in the past year.

There was the FedEx delivery bot that made its debut this past March in the committee room.

At the first executive session of the new fiscal year this week, two mopeds were wheeled into the committee room as part of a presentation by MyCityRides.

The nonprofit is a $90 a month scooter rental program with a three-year commitment that includes insurance and can lead to ownership of the scooter at the end of the three years.

MyCityRides is an effort aimed at getting people to and from work at a lower cost than owning a car. That makes it different from the first mile-last mile shared mobility programs with scooters and bicycles Conrad has championed and the administration has watched closely and regulated.

MyCityRides will also be regulated by the city.

Organizers of the Memphis effort broke down the cost of the mopeds at $3 a day. They also noted that the $90 a month is cheaper than a Memphis Area Transit Authority bus pass but didn’t dwell on the price comparison.

Some council members later said the coming of such transportation options has caused them to wonder what impact they could have – good and bad – on MATA ridership.

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