Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More on the Jameson-Neighbors Flap

The City Paper lays out the possible influence peddling/Kleinfelter firing argument. First the Vice Mayor:
I believe that media’s interest in this particular budget hearing on this particular day, which of course directly led to the media reports in question, was the result of Councilman Jameson’s effort to create a controversy intended to influence a Planning Department personnel decision. My husband and I were, it now appears, merely the unintended victims of his “advocacy” efforts and perhaps a reporter’s efforts to create a more sensational story.
Then CM Jameson:
At this point, there appears to be evidence (1) that one of the Planning Department’s staunchest neighborhood advocates was the subject of discussions with a developer, deputy Mayor, and contractor; (2) that these discussions occurred after Kleinfelter insisted (appropriately) on compliance with the minutes regarding sidewalk construction; (3) that the sidewalk contractor also serves as the Planning Commission Chairman and holds a 50% interest in the underlying development; (4) that Kleinfelter was purportedly blamed for delays that he in fact didn’t cause; and (5) that he was subsequently advised that his contract would not be renewed .... That is more than a sufficient basis for asking questions about the operations of a department during the sole annual opportunity we have to ask such questions.
And, finally, the Nashville Scene stands behind its reporter:
“Jameson said what we reported he said,” [Editor Liz] Garrigan stated. "That is our response [to Mike Jameson's denial that he did not talk to Jeff Woods]."
I have got to tell you that given their past track records (especially with regard to Diane Neighbors ambiguous stance on development), I am more apt to believe Jameson than I am Neighbors. Navigating this flap is not going to be as easy as running for Vice Mayor against Carolyn Baldwin Tucker. Mike Jameson has stellar, unimpeachable credibility that begs the benefit of the doubt.

I also wonder if Mayor Dean is involved in this intramural struggle. Has Vice Mayor Neighbors, already buoyed by her marriage to a developer, also been emboldened in any way by the Mayor's pro-development leanings?

1 comment:

  1. Jameson should be applauded for his courage to stand up against the good ol' boys of Nashville politics. Notice who cries when he exposes the truth- Neighbors, Gotto, and the council members controlled by developers' money.

    Mayor Dean recently failed to renew the Planning Commission appointment of a neighborhood friendly commissioner Ann Neilson. Her replacement was Hunter Gee, architect and developer. His first meeting was in May and his new seat was placed between Jim Gotto and the end of the table (as if Mr. Gotto was coaching him and keeping him away from other commissioners).

    Commissioner Stewart Clifton helped run Diane Neighbors campaign. We know Gotto and Ponder are pro-development. Tonya Jones and Jim McClean are both contractor/developers. Victor Tyler owns Tyler Construction. Minister Judy Cummings is the one of the few non-developer associated members of the commission and pro-neighborhood. Look for her not to be renewed when her term expires. Derrick Dalton is the husband of General Sessions Judge Angie Blackshear Dalton. Does anyone believe that the vote on Mr. Kleinfelter will not be controlled by the influence of developers?

    Sad to say many commissioners never look prepared at the meetings and seem to vote without really knowing the facts. Mayb ethey don't have to know. Maybe the commissioners are a farce. These deals are done before the meetings.

    What really should concern taxpayers is that developers serving as commissioners are making the decisions that impact neighborhoods and citizens all while making millions in profit.

    Developer Jim McClain serves as the chair of the Planning Commission and had the minutes changed to keep him from spending thousands on sidewalks when he can put that money in his pocket. What about Bernhardt allowing the minutes to be changed and firing a staffer who follows the law in order to protect his behind? He sold the citizens out!

    Perhaps Mr. Kleinfelter should be promoted to Director of Planning if he is the only one willing to follow the law. Dismiss Mr. Bernhardt and have the DA or the TBI open an investigation with developers and who serve as commissioners and council members and planning staff who don't follow the law.

    A developer/contractor should not be allowed to partipate in decisions where he/she would stand to make a financial profit. A Metro Policeman cannot serve on the council because he would vote on the council budget and have influence on a vote that might make him a profit with his salary. A developer/contractor can serve as a commissioner or a member of council and rake in millions with their decisons.

    Let's face it-there is no democracy in Nashville. Mayor Dean has sold out already to developers. Did they pay off his campaign debt? Does the ex-public defender have the guts to defend the law and the citizens or is the developer mafia actually going to continue running this city as they call all of the shots from behind the curtain?

    What is next, gang controlled police officials firing police officers for enforcing the law?