However, I received an e-mail from Council Member Emily Evans saying that her portion of the allocation for the Nashville Alliance for Public Education is specifically designated to be spent on reading materials at West Meade Elementary. That allocation was requested by the West Meade Neighborhood Association. Her portion was also allotted to purchase a portable AED for Hillwood High Athletics as requested by Hillwood residents.
I was certainly encouraged to see that her portion is designated for infrastructure requested by neighborhoods, but I do not know how the other 5 co-sponsors' money is going to be spent because nothing in the resolution demands specific allocations. Council Member Evans tells me that she has an understanding with NAPE that her portion of the request will be spent as her constituents desire, and that is all that she is allowed under the Metro Charter.
I don't lack faith in Emily Evans' good graces, but I do have to wonder how discretionary spending--which requires our reliance on nothing more than council members' good graces and hand-shake agreements--gets passed. To paraphrase James Madison, the Metro Council does not seem to be set up to be run by devils. Instead, we're left wishing or praying that our Council Members will do the right things.
But outside of the token allocations to public projects, the Council's status quo of shunting public dollars away from infrastructure and toward non-profit organizations (which in turn become future patrons for bill sponsors) continues this week. Here are the private earmarks up for vote at Tuesday's meeting:
- $1,000 to the YMCA to pay for costs of the "We Build People" program (Charlie Tygard)
- $1,500 to Youth, Inc. to pay for coaches training (Rip Ryman)
- $5,000 to the Nashville Chamber Orchestra to support community engagement programs (Jim Shulman)
- $5,000 to the Nashville Humane Association for the "ROVER" mobile spay/neuter program (Diane Neighbors)
- $5,000 to Youth Encouragement Services, Inc. for part of the cost of a new bus (Carolyn Baldwin Tucker)
- $10,000 to the Bellevue Exchange Club Foundation, Inc. for an Automated External Defibrillator (Tygard). Is Mr. Tygard still the Treasurer of the BECF? Will Eric Crafton have to sponsor this on his behalf again?
- $10,000 to Senior Citizens, Inc. for seniors activities at the Madison Station Senior Center (Michael Craddock)
- $13,000 to Isaac Litton Alumni Association for part of the cost of an architect for gym renovations (Jason Hart, Buck Dozier)
- $13,750 to Nashville Inner City Ministry for Summer Camp (Tucker, Carl Burch)
- $27,000 to Discover Madison, Inc. for restoration of the Amqui Station Depot (Hart, Ryman, Dozier, Neighbors, Tucker)
- $51,750 to Ladies' Hermitage Association for repairs to Visitors Center (Crafton, Ryman, Jim Gotto, Ronnie Greer)