Thursday, June 05, 2008

"There is No Democracy in Nashville"

A commenter points out the troubling make-up of the Planning Commission and Mayor Dean's priorities:
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?
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?
Why are developers allowed to sit on the Planning Commission? Is Mayor Dean turning the planning and zoning process into an oligarchic system that excludes neighborhood influence?

UPDATE: Planning Commissioner and former Metro Council Member Stewart Clifton comments below in order to object to the quote above.


  1. Hi Mike. I was pleased to see the mention of my name in your blogsite. I am always happy to be associated with Diane, who has been a great vice mayor. Your unique understanding of who makes up the planning commission is misleading and incorrect and deserves some comment and analysis, so maybe I can respond again in a little more detail. For now I will only mention that the unifying and almost consensus issues & themes for the commission staff and members for the last several years have included promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility, promoting urban neighborhoods, promoting responsible mixed use where appropriate, endorsing historic and conservation overlays each and every time they have been presented for our examination, and decision making based on merit and not relationships. I am proud of the decisions we have made.

    I will agree with you that it a loss that Ann Nielson is no longer on the Commission but i am glad she was appointed to the Historic Zoning Commission and that if she had to be replaced (after 18 years by the way, which is a modern record I think) it was good that she was replaced by Hunter Gee, a well-known and thoughtful community and neighborhood activist.

    Until later.

    Stewart Clifton

  2. Commissioner Clifton: There is some misunderstanding here. It is not my comment, but a quote from a commenter in another post. I thought that it was fair to publish their perception of the Planning Commission, just like it is fair to publish yours. I believe that there are profound concerns about the recent drift of the Commission, especially in the wake of the recent events concerning David Kleinfelter, who has a reputation for speaking on behalf of neighborhood interests.

    The appearance of both propriety and impropriety are often as important as what occurs among Commissioners and developers that the public does not see. I have already said that if I have to choose between trusting Mike Jameson vs. trusting Diane Neighbors based on track records, then my trust is in Mike Jameson.