Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wasn't It Great When Eagle Forum Actually Pissed off Progressives?

Mayor Karl Dean has gathered his kudos from various local liberals first for supporting the opposition to January's English Only and second for embracing the Metro Council's nondiscrimination bill for GLBT Metro employees. And that seems to be enough to placate Nashville progressives given that scant liberal hackles were raised with news that someone in the Mayor's office has been courting arch-conservative Eagle Forum with the intention of finding a challenger to beat progressive CM Emily Evans.

What was Evan's mortal sin that would cause the Mayor to approach a group that was not only opposed to his nondiscrimination ordinance, but has been fighting protection of gays and lesbians "since 1972"? Asking some critical questions about his convention center. Questioning the Mayor's capital budget policies (you know: what the Metro Charter authorizes council members to do in representing their districts).

Well the GLBT activists are now Mayor Dean's social capital for the cashing at next election, so they aren't complaining, regardless of the Mayor's politics making for strange bedfellows. And liberals of all orientations seem content to let the Mayor be as economically regressive as he can get as long as he embraces predefined social issues.

In the meantime, leave it to neighborhood leaders to bang the drum and rally the troops on behalf of Emily Evans. The Nashville Neighborhoods Google group is abuzz about the indecent proposal by a Dean liaison to Eagle Forum. A letter written to the chicken-shit anonymous author of the disclosing City Paper column, "Rex in the City," by West Meade Park Neighborhood Association President Kip Kirby provides a sample of that buzz. An exerpt:
As president of West Meade Park Neighborhood Association, I worked closely with Harding Academy [Editor's note: "Rex" erroneously called the school "Davidson Academy," which is near Madison] when they purchased the old Eatherly Property at the corner of Highway 70South and Brookmont Terrace. Harding met with our task force numerous times for months to work out a Memorandum of Understanding with our Neighborhood Association – something the school did not have to do. And Emily Evans was involved with that negotiation, despite the documented “bad blood” from previous issues in the Belle Meade/Links area. All of us involved with that situation and its positive outcome will tell you that Emily was above pettiness and backbiting. Her style is to get the job done calmly and professionally and keep disagreements impersonal by choosing the high road whenever possible. She is able to laugh off criticism and concentrate on solving issues and bettering the neighborhoods she represents.

You should also know that Emily Evans may be one of the most respected, well-liked and effective Metro Council representatives any district has ever had. Her influence and popularity spread far beyond the reach of the 23rd District, and her support among her constituents should not be underestimated. Through her intelligent and thoughtful leadership, Emily has won the loyalty of many in Davidson County, in and out of her own district.

Rarely have I seen an elected representative in any field of government – local or national – better qualified to hold office than Emily Evans. All she would have to do is put out the word, and she’d see a massive rally of enthusiastic and organized support that might surprise even her.
Indeed. Emily Evans, one of the most progressive CMs we have, is probably going to enjoy a lot of public support regardless of whom the Dean Administration beds down with to beat her.

The GLBT activists may be placing false hopes in the nondiscrimination ordinance, given that Mayor Dean could choose lay offs over salary cuts next summer while trying to make room for the Music City Center, which will be the largest single capital budget project in Metro history. What good is a nondiscrimination ordinance if you're not around to enjoy the benefit?

But the most disappointing aspect is that local liberals haven't bothered to rally around Evans themselves. Staying unquestioningly on the Dean bandwagon--which one day may include an Eagle Forum arch-conservative for council from West Nashville--merely multiplies the strange bedfellows.


  1. Mike, Thank you for the very kind words of support. I cannot take as much credit as you give me. I am lucky to represent some really fine people of which Kip Kirby is one. I am happy also to represent several leaders in the GBLT community who were advocates of the recently approved non-discrimination ordinance. They are all thoughtful, considerate and curious people. I depend on them greatly to tell me what is important to them - what needs to change, what needs to stay the same. They are part of the navigational system every elected official needs to do a good job.
    This is probably more than you want to know about my personal philosophy on representative democracy but there you have it.

  2. This is an outrage.

    I say this as a conservative.

    If we folks in the 23rd district want to kick Emily out, we'll do it ourselves (see: Eric Crafton).

    The EAGLE FORUM? Yes, I agree with them on many things. But, does Dean even understand the district? I hope he remembers that Belle Meade and West Meade were main reasons he won the mayor's race.

    I can tell you from past experience, I don't think the mayor wants to rile up Kip Kirby. Or the West Meade Park Neighborhood Association.

    Evans earned a lot of goodwill in the community with her handling of the Harding controversy (and let's not forget, Harding actually fielded a candidate against her, but she was not vindictive).

    The mayor needs to back off, or risk ticking off a lot of people in precincts he'll need for reelection.