One request in the latest round of council member earmarks for non-profit subsidies--popularly understood to be discretionary infrastructure funding--stands out: Ed Whitmore's resolution asking for $18,000 to go to the Hadley Park Junior Tennis Development, Inc. If that non-profit rings a bell with you, it should.
Mr. Whitmore made a huge boo-boo last July when he confused the tax-exempt junior program with an adult non-tax-exempt tennis organization called the "Hadley Park Tennis Club" in an attempt to move $60,000--devoted to helping poor people pay their emergency utilities bills--out of the Mayor's budget in order to help kids play tennis. Thus, an already controversial council initiative went deep south, thanks to Mr. Whitmore (aided by the Purcell-phobic Council), as the $60,000 was forced to go into the General Fund.
Never mind the poor people that the $60,000 could have helped; the Executive Director of the junior tennis program, Joe Goldthreate, complained to the Tennessean last July that he would be closing his doors because he was losing his only funding source. Never mind the fact that the Mayor's Office and MDHA had been warning him for years not to rely on Metro as his primary funding source; the junior tennis program continues to exist. It never went under as Goldthreate predicted (or exaggerated for the purpose of effect).
Ed Whitmore's latest "infrastructure" resolution is further evidence that the junior tennis program lives on in 2007. And it lives on to enjoy another big influx of property taxpayers dollars, thanks to Mr. Whitmore (assuming he gets the name right this time) and the Metro Council, which is set to approve it on Tuesday.