Critics have portrayed the annual event, which has been hosted by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce since Metro government was established in 1963, as catering to the city's business elite rather than average citizens. At Purcell's request, the Chamber of Commerce provided seating for 200 people to hear today's speech for free if they don't want to pay $25 for breakfast.As a critic of this event, I'll be among those now who give credit to both the Mayor and the Chamber for coming up with a better, more democratic alternative for a presentation that affects all Nashvillians. It's a good first step, but it still needs to be moved to the courthouse with or without Metro Council getting special seating (or their own free meal). Let them fume.
Purcell said he expects the mayor's office and the Metro Council chamber and offices to move back to the renovated Metro Courthouse by Labor Day. The courthouse is a possible location for future State of Metro speeches [source].
Thursday, May 25, 2006
The annual Chamber of Commerce breakfast, at which Bill Purcell gives his State of Metro address, becomes more user-friendly this year as they make some room for more of the public to attend without having to pay either $85 or $35 to hear the speech: