Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Silenced!

We were out of town over the 4th enjoying a small town Independence Day in Sewanee. While we were gone, some yahoo* stole all of the political signs out of my front yard.

It’s not like I was espousing particularly controversial beliefs. I wasn’t bashing Bush or educating folks about Darfur or bitching about mosquito spray. I was just showing my support for a few Metro Council candidates and my mayoral preference. Hell, they even stole the sign for the guy that’s running unopposed in my district!

I sincerely hope that this was the work of some understimulated teenagers with too much summertime on their hands and not some sort of neighborhood censorship.

If the little miscreants need something to keep them occupied, I still haven’t cleaned out my gutters from last fall…

*colloquial term for dumbass, not the humongous internet presence that sues people like me for speaking their name in vain.
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Finally, Local Politics Gets Interesting

I’ve had a hard time getting fired up about the local elections coming up next month. Our mayoral race seems like just another roundup of the usual suspects, and things get even less interesting down the ballot. So I was surprised to see this headline in today’s Nashville City Paper: DUI questions surround vice mayoral candidate. Now I can’t say for sure that the woman listed on the three separate DUI arrests is the same woman that’s running for Vice Mayor, but it certainly seems like more than a coincidence. And then there’s this:

Perry, when asked if, indeed, the DUI arrests were hers, refused to say.

“Unfortunately, when you don’t blow in this state, it is held against you without proof — when you sign your drivers license, you apparently agree to that. Unfortunately, that is the way it works,” Perry said in apparent reference to the state’s implied consent law.

Interesting. Now, I will say that everyone makes mistakes. We have all done things we shouldn’t have done and many of us have probably gotten away with it a time or two. But to have not one, not two, but three DUI arrests and then run for Vice Mayor of our fair city? To me, that’s a little much.

If Perry the candidate and Perry the DUI queen turn out to be one and the same… well, I think I’ll have to vote for one of the others.

Second Candidate

Chris’ entry on the mayoral debate reminded me to mention that I was at a Briley event in Germantown on Sunday and was fortunate to observe a charming interaction between the candidate and an attendee. Actually, it was the guy who was working there as a caterer, and when Briley and the Caterer Dude shook hands, Caterer Dude said he had heard Briley on the radio that morning, and that Briley had made him think.

Briley casually asked for details: what had he made him think about? But Caterer Dude didn’t really have anything more specific to say – he just reiterated that Briley had made him think.

Still, Caterer Dude said, “I’ve already got my candidate chosen. I’m voting for Howard Gentry.”

To which Briley replied with a smile, “That’s OK. I’d be happy to be your second candidate.”

The Great Debate

I just returned from the Mayoral debate at TSU. My brief impressions:

David Briley: Looked poised and comfortable. Opted not to stand to deliver his answers, which added to his casual demeanor. Had clear and concise answers containing specific ideas to address each question. He was a bit heavy-handed with the emphasis he placed on funding which, while common sense, may not sit well with the resident taxophobes.

Howard Gentry: Good delivery, but pandering a bit in his core focus. He wants a ball park and a convention center. Uh, okay. He also was a bit too vague in his solutions for the city. He talked about changing the culture that leads to violent crime and such. This is nice, but doesn’t really mean anything.

Buck Dozier: I didn’t find him to be as charming or affable as people seem to think he is, but he looked comfortable on stage and delivered with poise. He could have tried a little harder to look attentive when it wasn’t his turn. Big minus points for actually using the phrase “faith-based”. Boo hiss.

Bob Clement: Bob’s faux-folksy charm translates poorly to an actual debate. Canned answers and slogans don’t cut it. Not impressed. He also leaned a little heavy on some talking points about the federal budget/deficit which seemed a force of habit from his days in DC. Not sure that people in Nashville really care about the fedral deficit. (Not that they shouldn’t, but still..)

Karl Dean: Second only to David Briley in his ability to deliver actual reasoned ideas in response to the various questions, but he was a little too vague for me to put my finger on anything I could find fault or praise with. He seemed thoughtful in his answers, though, which plays well in a debate.

The winner?

David Briley

David Briley, hands down. None of the candidates did an outright poor job, but Briley was relaxed and on point. This, combined with real ideas for Nashville he presented in his answers, made him a clear victor.

Panhandling

I have lived downtown since around 1999 or 2000, with a short stint in south Nashville. One thing you get used to fairly quickly living downtown is dealing with panhandlers. It’s certainly annoying, but it’s also disheartening to see yourself and your patience to deal with it devolve. You start out being friendly and apologetic, but then you proceed to annoyance at those that ask you every day, or even 5 minutes later, without remembering you. Eventually you develop a more callous attitude. I manage to still be friendly, but I rarely stop after giving an initial “no, sorry”. Buying food, of course, is something I’ll do as often as I can, but realistically, I’d break my bank if I tried to feed every person that asked.

But, living downtown, you also get to know the various people on the streets, and there are those that remember you, realize eventually that you just can’t help them out every day, and you move on. You get to know them and develop a rapport. It’s not like you’re best buddies, but you say what’s up to eachother on the street. Anyways, the reason I bring this all up:
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Strike Three

Although the deal isn’t officially dead yet, all indications are that there won’t be any baseball downtown anytime soon. On Tuesday, the Metro Council voted against extending a deadline that would have given the Sounds and Struever Brothers Eccles and Rouse more time to work out a deal for the proposed riverfront baseball stadium. That decision left the two groups with only until April 15th to get something worked out. And yesterday, Metro’s legal counsel officially informed the Sounds that they were in default.
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Mayor’s Housing Budget

Group

The NHPP gathered to rally on Friday morning before the Mayor announced a disappointing 50 housing units, for a total of $600,000 in his budget. The NHPP was hoping for and has been rallying for 200 units. Carmon Ryals says that 50 is not enough, but that they are “confident the mayor is going to find more in the capital budget”.

More info at the Tennessean, and at the NHPP’s website. The NHPP has more detail on the budget, as well.

I’ve got more pictures from the rally on Friday morning here.

Homeless Protestors Released

Charges were dropped against all 16 of the homeless advocates who were arrested on Tuesday night. From the Tennessean’s article:

Metro General Sessions Judge John Aaron Holt dismissed criminal trespassing cases against 16 people who were arrested before dawn Wednesday as they tried to spend the night at the downtown facility near James Robertson Parkway and Second Avenue North.

In dismissing the charges, Holt said only that there was no basis for the arrests, according to Nashville lawyer Patrick Frogge, who represented many of the homeless advocates.

“That is the most public arena in Nashville,” Frogge said of the courthouse. “If one wants to lodge a complaint against the government, there is no more public place in Nashville than that.”

The cops, however, apparently disagree:

“It is a park, and if you are there after 11 you are going to be arrested,” Metro police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said.

The NHPP will be regrouping tomorrow (Friday) morning in the public square at 6:30AM:

Public Expression of our First Amendment Rights in our fight for housing.
We will be gathering on Friday morning between 6:30am – 7:00am and continue to THANK THE MAYOR and let him know WE NEED 200 Units. Please bring your friends and family before you head to work. We are eager to hear his words about how he wants our city to spend our 1 Billion plus per year budget.

Without Housing — Arrests

Housing is a Human Right

I stopped by the the Nashville Homeless Power Project‘s “Urban Plunge” sleepout last night and stayed as long as I could. The event gives people the opportunity to experience homelessness by spending a night out in Nashville. They were gathered on the public square, and the mood was upbeat, calm and relatively peaceful. Dinner was served, and a few movies were shown.Many councilpeople stopped by, including mayoral candidates Bob Clement and David Briley.

At around 1:45, Vice Mayor Howard Gentry gave a brief speech announcing that anyone staying past the permit time would be arrested on criminal trespassing charges. At this point, they have relocated to Riverfront park, but I am surprised to learn that 16 people were arrested at around 2:20AM and are currently locked up for trespassing..

I’ll update as I learn more.

Mayor Briley?

The Nashville City Paper has confirmed what Nashville politicos have been talking about since last Tuesday: David Briley wants Bill Purcell’s job. There’s no doubt that he faces an already crowded field – one that includes Middle Tennessee political heavyweight and fellow Democratic standard-bearer Bob Clement – but after DA Torry Johnson dropped out, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a fresh face in the race. It’s going to be very interesting to watch these guys attempt to fill Purcell’s (quite large) mayoral shoes.

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