Protesters drape sheets over a Memphis statue in August. Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

Statues down: A nonprofit in Memphis did last night what the city legally could not: remove two Confederate statues from downtown parks. The maneuver around state laws is likely to draw a lawsuit—the city council first voted to sell the parks to the nonprofit for $1,000 each. Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

“This is a step in the right direction. I am not sure it’s time to take a victory lap quite yet but this is definitely something to celebrate,” said the Rev. Earle Fisher, pastor of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis.

… Fisher said the measures that were taken by the city in order to remove the statues were things activists were proposing months ago.

Melbourne attack: In the latest of the global trend of vehicle-ramming attacks in dense public spaces, an SUV barreled into a pack of Christmas shoppers at a train station in downtown Melbourne, Australia, injuring 19. Officials have found no evidence of terrorist links. (Washington Post)

Higher wages for 2018: The new year will bring minimum wage increases to 20 cities and 18 states, as local governments take the reins to go beyond the federal minimums. (Fortune)

L.A. vs. housing crisis: Curbed LA rounds up seven ways the city attempted to tackle its “existential crisis” with affordable housing during 2017, from new linkage fees charged to developers to fast-tracking projects for the homeless.

Is Vision Zero just symbolic? More than three-dozen U.S. cities have adopted the goals of “Vision Zero” to end all traffic fatalities, but how many have followed through with meaningful policies that go beyond lip service? (Streetsblog)

Tight finish: More than two weeks after Atlanta’s runoff mayoral election, independent candidate Mary Norwood formally conceded the win to Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms. Norwood had earlier called for a recount after losing by less than 900 votes. (AJC)

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