Blue Flu gaining national attention

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — News of the Blue Flu and Memphis’s pension problems is spreading across the country, and some worry what it will do to the Bluff City’s image.

With 546 officers out sick, many in protest of health care cuts, business owners and Memphians think it could hurt Memphis’s chance for future growth.

Mayor A C Wharton said Memphis doesn’t look any worse than places that also struggle with high crime rates, like Chicago.

He’s confident, even with the LA Times and Newsweek publicizing the problems, the city’s image is secure.

Others, like Memphis resident Angel Jackson, aren’t so sure. Jackson is a school teacher and a very new business owner. She opened her food truck, The Fresh Grind two days ago. As a business woman, she worries protests over health care cuts made to police, fire and city workers may deter new businesses from coming to Memphis.

“It depends on what the city decides to do about it,” she said.

She wants to see a change, and with news of Memphis’s problems spreading nationally, she said it needs to happen soon.

“Do something rash! Do something great! Do something big in order to get this taken care of,” she said.

However, Mayor Wharton said when it comes to image we are no worse than any other big city.

“Cities across America are struggling, whether it’s finance or crime or whatever,” he said. “I don’t hear anyone saying they’re going to stay out of Chicago after all the shootings and killings they had there over the weekend.”

He agrees something must be done and hopes, instead of basing opinions on our problems, the nation will focus on what we do to fix them.

“The question is not whether you have challenges,” he said. “The question is what you’re doing about it. Are you fighting back? And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”