Some wonder if Herenton factor could doom Bass Pro deal

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Anytime Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton supports a project or endorses a plan, huge segments of the population that immediately take a stand against it.

He is a proven winner at the ballot box, but in the court of public opinion, Herenton can evoke a strong response.

"The easiest thing in the world in politics in Memphis is to take shots at Herenton," City Council member Shea Flinn said Monday.  
Flinn admits Herenton is a lightning rod, and may have hurt the Bass Pro process so far, but remains hopeful support for Bass Pro will come.

City Council members like Wanda Halbert want to see the pace of the process speed up. Halbert believes Herenton and his team have worked hard to get a proposal and Shelby County needs to step up.

"Either the county needs to go ahead and make a decision so we can move forward with the collaborative effort, or go ahead and sell this investment to the city so we can make decision ourselves," Halbert said.
Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy is not in favor of the county selling its portion of The Pyramid and is not sold on Bass Pro. In fact, he said Monday, whether it is the Herenton factor or not, people want the county involved to legitimize the process.

"The public perception that Bass Pro always had the inside track is another argument for having the county remain involved," Mulroy said.
Meanwhile, Councilman Flinn is asking politics be put aside to reinvent The Pyramid, possibly with Bass Pro.

"We need to take the emotion and take a look at the terms of the deal," Flinn said.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.