Briley at the URA

I stopped by the monthly Urban Residents’ Association meeting. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Had two local vendors stop by — one, a local pet grooming service, and the other, Bing Bang, a “dueling piano bar” upstairs from Paradise Park. I haven’t been there, but if I have the energy I might head up there for a beer tonight.
  • Bill Abraham, head of the Nashville Downtown Partnership’s “Clean & Safe” program stopped by to address concerns about Church Street Park. This essentially turned into Yet Another bitch-fest about how we should just arrest all those durn’ homeless people. More about that later.
  • Mayoral candidate David Briley stopped by briefly to answer questions, which was a nice break from the traditional stumping. A couple of key questions and his answers:
    • Question about Serpas’s alleged “funny numbers” regarding lower crime, and what Briley intends to do about the slow pickup time on both 911 and 862-8600 — Briley believes that crime may in fact be much lower on the whole for the metro/county area, but believes there are “hot spots” that merit close attention. He wants to add 70 new officers to the force. He wants a change in leadership of the call centers to improve the disastrous hold-time problems.
    • Question about the problems at Church Street Park (quick summary: Church Street Park is a nice park across from the library that is frequented by homeless.): — Briley started by emphasizing that when elected, he will change the tone towards the homeless to one of cooperation in a partnership to improve things. His position regarding Church Street Park is that to fix the problem we have to eliminate the reasons why they’re there. Briley seems to think this is because of the free internet/bathrooms at the library and the local restaurants that provide food. He feels we should funnel money in to the Campus for Human Development to bring them free internet access and better facilities (which was a far cry better than the rest of the URA’s suggestions, which tend to boil down to “why don’t we just arrest them all”)
    • What does Briley envision for the former thermal plant site now that the Sounds deal fell through? — He believes it should be a model for what we want a downtown city block to be — a civic center with mixed development. He believes the money will be better spent bringing retail to the area, encouraging access to the river, and eventually housing an elementary school on the block. He believes if we’re going to get serious about encouraging a real urban neighborhood to develop, we need a viable elementary school in the area, and we need to develop the east bank as a necessary extension of the residential/commercial community.
    • Where does Briley stand on the convention center? — He’ll support the convention center if three criteria are met: 1) Must not obliterate an entire urban block (which he believes rules out several of the proposed locations. 2) Must be funded entirely without taxpayer money. 3) Must be LEED certified. He believes these are realistic, though challenging goals. He thinks that various potential sites should be acquired first so as to avoid encouraging the skyrocketing of the price beforehand due to speculation.

All in all it was a typical URA meeting. Briley knocked my socks off, and I continue to be amazed he’s pullin such underwhelming fundraising figures, though Nashville’s mayoral races have a history of being unpredictable nonetheless. The rest was almost exclusively griping about the homeless. Again, more on that later.

2 Comments so far

  1. Andrew (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 10:50 am

    Great post and thank you for the political update. My addition? Big Bang is awesome. I’ve been there four or five times now and have had a blast each time. The one downside is that beers are $4.00… but so far, they’ve been worth it.

  2. James (unregistered) on July 21st, 2007 @ 10:23 am

    Thanks for being there, and thanks for the writeup!

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