The meeting in North Nashville ran smoothly, with those on both sides of the debate, who seemed nearly evenly split, calmly asking questions and offering their points of view. Several representatives of the construction industry argued that the project would create jobs for minority-owned businesses. But other people wondered why there wasn't more of a political appetite for redeveloping Jefferson Street and North Nashville.
Indeed most of the support expressed came from attendees who self-identified as working in industry that would directly benefit from building the Music City Center. I was disappointed to hear Steve Turner, challenger for Salemtown's General Assembly district house seat, speak enthusiastically in favor of the MCC without acknowledging community concerns. While I don't vote on single issues, this definitely cools any energy I might have in advocating Mr. Turner's run.
On the other side, long-time Germantown resident Berdell Campbell gave her well-received comments against MCC, referring almost sermonically to what we were told the project would cost originally in comparison to the skyrocketing costs now.
District 19 CM Erica Gilmore, who co-sponsored this meeting of about 100 constituents, deserves our heartfelt thanks. The word on the street is that she is undecided if not playing her hand close to the vest. I hear that most of the opposition to MCC in 19 is north of Jefferson Street, while she's getting pressure from Downtown merchants to vote for MCC. Please take a moment to send her an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and encourage her to slow this process down until we can be assured that the Metro budget is not raided to pay for it. There is no reason to ram MCC through until we can begin to see light at the end of our recession tunnel.