Thursday, February 04, 2010

Class, the State Fairgrounds debate, and our unattuned Mayor's Office

According to Jay Vorhees, Mayor Karl Dean can neither articulate the big deal at the heart of the State Fairgrounds debate nor grasp the sense of ownership of the fairgrounds' loyal following:
As I’ve been watching the debate since Mayor Dean first sent his letter to the Fairgrounds Board telling them to close down (something that he has since said was a recommendation and not an order, since he has no authority over the Fair Board), I have sensed that the mayor was providing a solution without really articulating a problem ....

The fairgrounds has always been a place for middle class to working class folks, often with a rural background and mindset, and not a particularly high faluting kind of place .... I frankly can’t see our Mayor wandering around the fairgrounds in a t-shirt and jeans chomping on a fried Goo-Goo cluster while watching the racing pigs. And yet, there is a large population in Nashville who enjoys those activities, who sees them as a connection to the past, part of our heritage, and not easily discarded. These folks wonder why we can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars advocating for a new convention center, but aren’t willing to even entertain a substantial conversation on the worth of the fairgrounds to our city. They recognize that roller derby and gunshows may perpetuate media stereotypes about the south, but they really don’t care, for these things are as much a part of who we are as the gentrified East Nashville club scene.

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