Monday, November 08, 2010

Nashville Neighborhood PAC drew a distinction without a difference

The leadership of Nashville Neighborhoods Defense Fund makes a point of telling us that if we really want positive change for neighborhoods, we have to participate in their mission to fund candidates for office who will pursue such change. The problem is that the NNDF PAC does not always endorse candidates who make an appreciable difference for neighborhoods. A case in point was their shilling for CM Sam Coleman (Democrat) over CM Jim Gotto (Republican) in the race for the 60th legislative district won by Gotto last week.

I do not take issue with the PAC's conclusion that CM Gotto has been unsupportive of neighborhood concerns. Jim Gotto is one of the most pro-development, growth-accommodating CMs that I know of. However, I have yet to see how Sam Coleman has distinguished himself as a progressive community advocate. As CM, Mr. Coleman:

  • championed foolhardy attempts to allow guns in Metro parks
  • co-sponsored ethically dubious meals-for-deals legislation
  • seemed anti-immigration and supportive of English Only
  • sponsored a bill to ease restrictions on cellphone towers in neighborhoods
  • ignored neighborhood opposition to relocating the West Precinct police station to a flood-prone car dealership, voting to support the re-location, which the Mayor's Office reconsidered after the May flood inundated the site.

CM Coleman also attempted to discourage opposition to a bill to allow LED signs in residential neighborhoods. Curiously, in e-mail correspondence sent to the Nashville Neighborhoods e-list, NNDF based their opposition to CM Gotto in part on the rationale that he sponsored LED sign legislation:

Note that the NNDF co-founder did not list a single council initiative that Sam Coleman lead in counterpoint to Jim Gotto's shenanigans.

Regular readers of Enclave remember that I have not been shy about excoriating Jim Gotto or the Republicans. But we should not buy the latest PAC scheme to airbrush Sam Coleman into something he never was just because he ran as a Democrat. I cannot think of a single progressive initiative on behalf of neighborhood quality of life that CM Coleman initiated during his tenure on Metro Council, and the NNDF endorsement is puzzling.

Another CM pointed out that the NNDF needs to focus less on negative advertising on behalf of potential allies and more on raising money and fighting for neighborhoods. I would say that if the PAC wants my support that is the least they could do. Stronger endorsements would not hurt either.


  1. NNDF also included the Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association, Inc. on the campaign piece. I saw no need for that.

    DHNA has always been neutral when it comes to politics and by including their name it drags them into this mess. John Stern has never been the Chairman of DHNA because they don't have a Chairman, rather a president that leads their organization.

    If NNDF was really concerned about neighborhoods, they should have asked the DHNA neighborhood group how this might impact them. They might have also verified if John Stern was indeed ever an elected leader of that group. In fact he was not.

    This inappropriate campaign material is a big reason that many neighborhood leaders have left NNDF and want nothing to do with John Summers or John Stern. Somebody needs to tell them that there are other active neighborhood leaders in our city that really work together on issues without tearing down others. This piece was mailed to 6000 Hermitage homes. Wonder if they plan to print and mail a retraction?

  2. Let's face it, Stern hates Gotto with a passion. Summers was willing to use NNDF PAC money to satisfy his friend Stern. Coleman's voting record was very similar to Gotto's -maybe worse.

    Seems neither of them considered the negative impact that the campaign flyer would bring to NNDF or the Donelson neighborhood group. These guys are as bad as some of the politicians.