Perhaps I was too hasty on Friday when I claimed that one of the neighborhood reps selected for CM Charlie Tygard's LED task force would be a critic of LED. I was basing that assumption on the Donelson-Hermitage neighborhood leaders whom I've heard criticize the bill.
However, I have been told that the person selected from Donelson-Hermitage is not coming based on any recommendations by the neighborhood association. Instead, Anna Shepherd is coming on the recommendation of CM Jim Gotto, who has helped shepherd LED both in Council and from his seat on the Planning Commission. In fact, at the Planning Commission he all but promised to rescue Tygard's LED bill from oblivion or defeat. It was obvious to me that Jim Gotto is not neutral and that he is already bill advocate, and I believe that his support colors his selection of Anna Shepherd.
Now, I don't know Ms. Shepherd. She might be the most neutral person selected, but the fact that Mr. Tygard turned to Mr. Gotto for her referral is suspicious. Also troubling is the fact that she works for the Catholic Archdiocese of Nashville. Together with CM Tygard's appointment of River of Life Church minister, Barry Smith, the task force will have two church representatives from suburban Donelson-Hermitage. The bill would permit churches to have LED signs in non-commercial areas. Those two facts profoundly change the dynamics of this group and draw its legitimacy into question.