Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Westin Green Light

The Westin Hotel project got a green light from the Metro Planning Commission yesterday. We’ve talked about the Westin project extensively here, and I’ve made no secret that I am opposed to the idea.

But, it’s good to see that I’m not the only one, and that if the project does go through, it will at least be held to some semblance of community scrutiny.

The project goes to the Metro Council for approval next.

Strip Clubs Closed

Club Platinum and Brass Stables strip clubs have been shutdown for “failing to have permits and follow certain rules”.

According to Channel 5:

“When officers went inside this club on different dates and times, the three-foot rule wasn’t being honored at all,” an undercover officer part of the investigation said.

More than five times, undercover officers saw first hand how dancers at Club Platinum broke the law repeatedly.

“The dancers told undercover officers that they were aware of the new adult entertainment laws and regulations, but they were trying to get around it” the officer said.

Something tells me this may have been one of the most thorough investigations in Metro Police history. I’m sure the elite undercover unit found it necessary to “observe” these rules being broken on numerous occasions so that there would not be a “rush to judgment”. I can almost here these brave officers saying, “I know we’ve been there 30 times in 2 months, but let’s go again tonight and be absolutely sure we have our facts straight. Now, who’s buying?”

For those of you who are uninitiated in the three foot rule, it means that a dancer must stay three feet away from a customer even during a “VIP” or “private” dance. So basically, the days of the “lap dance” or dry hump are supposed to be gone in Nashville’s strip clubs. I haven’t been to one of these establishments in Nashville in a long time so I had no idea Nashville had decided to go this route.

What this means to these businesses is simple economics. The three foot rule means fewer men will be willing to shell out $25-$40 for a private dance when the lady of your choosing is practically standing in the next room. So apparently, they tried to avoid the new law and hope it would not be enforced. It appears it will be.

Claudia Nunez

I have been vocal about this elsewhere, but I wanted to talk about the case of Claudia Nunez here, as well, because it’s something that should be important (one way or another) to anyone that lives in Nashville, as cases like Claudia’s are going to be increasing in numbers with the changes in our immigration laws:
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I Wanna Be Seen

Nashville music industry mogul Buddy Killen has passed away at the age of 73. There’s narry a soul in Nashville who doesn’t remember the Stockyard’s infamous ads, with Buddy crooning (with questionable skill) “I wanna be seen at the Stockyard!”

I didn’t really know Buddy Killen, but I was seen at the Stockyard. A lot. I was a busboy there for a few years, and my dad played down in the Bullpen Lounge back when it was the place to me. That place was a lot better off before he sold it. He was a corny, corny man, and in that sense he represented Nashville very well, I think.

Tower Records: Bankruptcy’s a Bitch!

So it looks like the two branches of Tower Records in town plan to have a liquidation sale before closing up shop for good here in Nashville. I’ll be sad to see the West End store gone since it’s always fun to drive by and look at the paintings on the side of the building. I was always amazed that Tower commissioned all of those paintings — not sure if they had them at every store, though.

So while I’m sad to see it go, I can’t say that I’ve been in to the store much recently, which is shameful considering all of the time I spent there in the mid-90’s. There are just too many online stores and sites that either sell music cheaper or make it easier to shop. Let’s see, would I rather get up, fight traffic on West End, search through stacks of CDs, and then possibly not find what I want or would I rather sit on my fat ass, type in Amazon or iTunes, and then buy the album or song I’m trying to find? It’s hard for a brick and mortar store to compete with a online site that has no real-estate expense, no store staff expense, and an almost limitless inventory. It’s all about the Long Tail nowadays.

So, farewell Tower. You’ll always have a soft spot in my heart from my high school days.

Guns in Schools???

As a part of my “real” job, I go into high schools all over the southeast. Every single school I have been in is on lockdown. Doors are locked everywhere except the front doors which lead to the main office and all visitors must report to the office and have some sort of sticker/pass displayed on them in order to let every else know they have followed the procedure and are okay to be there. In addition, almost every school has at least one police officer/sheriff on site during school hours.

My point is that school safety has come a long way in the last 5 – 10 years all over Nashville and every where for that matter. So how do these incidents continue to happen?

From the Metro Nashville Police Department:

Youth Services detectives are investigating whether any adults have criminal culpability for having a pistol in a place that could be accessed by a six-year-old first grader.

The six-year-old placed the gun in his backpack and brought it to Cumberland Elementary School this morning. Another six-year-old casually asked a teacher if she wanted to see his friend’s gun. The teacher looked into the backpack, saw that it did indeed contain a pistol and notified police.

Given the first grader’s age, criminal charges against him are not expected, although the investigation is continuing. The student had apparently told a friend that he had access to a gun and was encouraged by the friend to bring it to class and show him.

The six-year-old said he got the loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol from a relative’s house.

And another example from this week:

Officers assigned to McGavock High School this afternoon charged two 15-year-old ninth graders with carrying the same gun on school property.

An assistant principal received information that one of the students had brought a pistol onto campus. The first teen was pulled out of class but did not have the gun. Further investigation revealed that he had exchanged backpacks with a friend. The second student was pulled out of class and the pistol was recovered from the backpack. It was not loaded and no bullets were recovered.

The original 15-year-old said he brought the gun to school for protection.

I want to be clear that I am not necessarily placing blame on school officials. I think the parents of these kids are certainly negligent to some extent, but maybe they are not 100% to blame either. Who we blame is secondary, in my opinion, to how we solve the problem. Any comments?

Market Street Emporium Changes

As I hinted in an earlier post, and my colleague MisterNashville noted on his blog, changes are afoot at the Nashville Emporium: Specifically: Windows on the Cumberland, after 20 years at its Market Street Emporium location, has been told to vacate the premises by the end of September. Windows on the Cumberland has been a go-to location for new music acts in Nashville looking for an open ear — as well as the defacto home of Nashville favorite AKA Rudie.

But fear not, Windows-heads: Boots assures me that they’ve got a lock on a new location, which will be announced soon.

WotC is not the only establishment getting the boot. The building was purchased by “Dose of Blues Management”, and the rumor is that they aim to turn the first two floors into an “upscale jazz nightclub”, and so Cafe O2, a boutique/oxygen bar, will also be forced to move to 4th and Molloy. No word on the short or long-term future for Nightowl Cafe, or Mainstreat (owned by Charlie, former owner of WotC, himself).

“Dose of Blues” has made no friends with the short-notice evictions, which were delivered during business hours in front of customers. They also rob WotC of its busiest season (Sep-May) and rob Cafe O2 of the opportunity to reap the rewards for its investment and increasing clientelle this fall and winter. Further adding to the confusion is that while letters of intent to not renew leases are flying fast and furious, “Dose of Blues” did actually bring in one new tenant: err, a psychic reader. It’s not immediately clear to this author how that fits into any sort of grand scheme, or even simply to buy, remodel and flip the property.

Nashville has no shortage of abandoned (or near-abandoned) warehouses in the Lower Broad area begging to be remodeled into an “upscale jazz bar” — or anything, really. Is it really necessary to displace a Nashville institution and other fledgling small businesses to do it at the Emporium?

Tara Cole: What Took So Long?

The bastards that murdered Tara Cole have been caught, but one lingering controversy remains. Tara’s murder is a sensitive issue for a city like Nashville, which is seeing a pronounced increase in its homeless population. While residents of the downtown area are generally frustrated and concerned, there has also been a distinct spike in hostitility towards the homeless population in general.

The perceived delays in recovering Tara’s body are only exascerbating the perception that we regard our homeless population as second-class — even sub-human — citizens. The controversy revolves around the revelation that a K-9 unit apparently pinpointed the location of her body hours after her drowning on August 11th:

A local search and rescue dog pinpointed the location of a homeless woman’s body hours after she drowned in the Cumberland River on Aug. 11, the canine’s handler said this week, raising new questions about why the remains were not recovered until 10 days later.

No doubt many people that read this article and my post will already have their mind made up on this situation, but I am willing to admit there are variables that could have complicated the recovery. The river was indeed swollen with rain, and the barge may have proved difficult to move on short notice. However, it’s hard not to find a hint of truth in this statement:

Metro police detective Ricky Winfrey, in charge of the investigation into Cole’s death, said he was not convinced that Ivey’s dog had located the body, but neither was he convinced that everything possible was done to retrieve Cole’s remains.

“If that had been anyone else’s daughter under there, they would have called in someone from Germany if necessary,” he said.

I also find it hard to believe it would have taken 10 days to recover her body if any one of the variables here had been different.

VIGIL FOR TASHA “Little Bit”

From an email I got:

VIGIL FOR TASHA “Little Bit”

Violent Symptoms of Systemic Injustice and Perpetual Poverty

WHEN: Monday, August 14th, 2006, 8:00pm

WHERE: Riverfront Park (Parking on First Avenue)

BRING CANDLES

In the early morning hours of Friday Morning, two men pushed, a young, 19 year old, African American homeless woman, into the Cumberland River. The young woman is believed to be a quiet and gentle person believed to be named Tasha and also known as “Little Bit”. The belief is that she is dead and did drown in the river although her body has not yet been found. Tasha is known by many in the homeless community as someone who “never hurt anyone” and someone who “kept to herself”. Many of the police officers and downtown businesses also knew her and reported her a gentle woman in need.

Two men had approach a group of 5 homeless people late Thursday night/early Friday morning and tried to start a fight with the group. The same two men returned at 4am and threw Tasha into the river while she was asleep. While it is not clear who the individuals were or whether they were homeless or not, Nashville Homeless Power Project research (word on the street) has been that these two young men have not been recognized or known by anyone in the homeless community.

Ann Denton, formerly homeless and leadership team member of the Nashville Homeless Power Project shares: “As long as we as a society continue to allow a shortage of housing, a shortage of safe places to sleep, and a shortage of outreach workers and other services, homeless people will continue to be at risk of these violent crimes.”

THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF OVER 12,000 UNITS OF LOW-INCOME HOUSING IN NASHVILLE.

WE CANNOT BE SAFE UNTIL ALL THOSE THAT WANT HOUSING CAN ACCESS IT.

We need your support. Looking forward to seeing you on Monday Night.

nashville murder

There are a lot of regular faces in downtown Nashville — some of them are neighbors, people that work downtown, the homeless, the panhandlers, the cops. You spend enough time here and you start to recognize everybody. There’s one girl I see nearly every day — small, shy, usually smoking or holding the snuffed butt of a cigarette, and always wearing an olive-green down jacket and wool hat. Always. Even in this last week of 90-100 degree heat. I was never clear if she was even homeless at first, or just a “street urchin” raver kid killing time between nights at some after-hours club. But after a while it became clear she was indeed living around here. — spending most of her time curled up in a near-fetal-position ball in a doorway. I’m not sure what her story was. I’m not sure anyone did — and apparently no one ever will:

She was petite, young and extremely shy. She wore a ski cap and jacket even in the heat of summer. One man who knew her said she “wouldn’t hurt a tick on a dog.”

But around 3:30 a.m. Friday, seemingly for no reason, two men rolled her off the edge of a dock at Riverfront Park where she had been sleeping. More than 12 hours later, her body had not been found.

Jesse Masters said he was sitting on a bench on the dock when he saw two men jump over a railing near the river’s edge, where the woman often slept. They shoved her and ran off.

Two men tried to save her but nearly drowned, themselves. I can’t even fathom what would possess someone to do something like this.. The two men were spotted by witnesses shortly before the murder, one of whom was hit by a beer bottle they threw. Please pray to whatever deity you think can get things done that they catch the sick fucks that did this.

Attacks and hostility towards the homeless in Nashville have been on the rise, but I think (hope) this is unprecedented.. I’m in shock, and I’m ashamed for our city.

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