Monday, December 20, 2010

The Tennessean gives Karl Dean another assist with the bait-and-switch-via-blogger

I must admit: it might just be a new day when journos no longer ridicule bloggers as posers, but instead treat them with the gravitas that comes with broader audiences. Regardless of the fact that some of us in the blogosphere are not the next hot new thing, we remember it was not that long ago when the journos treated our presence as a punchline.

But times change and people do, too. So, maybe, just maybe, the Tennessean takes a South Nashville blogger seriously enough to give her a sounding board beyond her Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.

Or maybe the journos are sticking to the Mayor's Office script of dangling a park before car- noise-weary neighborhoods to pave the way to privatization of more viable parkland. Picking blogger Jen Trail's commentary fits the angle of the Dean dangle.

Photo of Karl Dean credit:

If Ms. Trail could assure me that the greening of the Fairgrounds would not just stop at the 40 acres that Hizzoner must limit to parkland because of its flood-risk, I might not be so quick to judge her commentary as a rather pawnish fawn to pipe dreams the Mayor's Office wants us to assume implicitly. However, the Mayor has made it clear that he intends to convert the remaining 80 acres of non-flood-risk property to corporate campus/private office complex development.

Jen commented on my blog that she believes that Mayor Dean may still allow some of the the 80 acres to be designated as public use, even though he has given no indication that he would do so. The Mayor's plan proposes 1,000,000 square foot office space for 6,500 jobs created. And where will those 6,500 people park? Can the Mayor really afford to devote any of the 80 acres to public use, given employment demands?

And when the thousands of new campus employees park their cars in thousands of new parking spaces, where will polluted stormwater run-off from the parking lots run, if not back into a reclaimed Browns Creek, which the Mayor is using to leverage those parking lots?

This irony of commercial development doing nothing to stop the pollution of Browns Creek intimates a problem not as exclusive to the racetrack as Ms. Trail suggests in her Tennessean column. This problem is articulated by a commenter on her blog responding to her newspaper argument:
Do you honestly think that the Race Track was responsible for [traffic cones, plastic crates, PVC pipes, car parts, shopping carts, and plastic bags found in the creek]?

Sounds like unwanted items brought down stream by the flood.

As a person who has been a member of the racing community since 1987, I can assure you that we have always treated the creek with respect. I have cooled off in the creek on many hot summer afternoons over the years.

We have asked MANY times what we can do and offered to do clean ups of Browns Creek.

We were told by Fairgrounds maintenance staff "NO! We can not touch the creek. The Corps. of engineers will not even let us mow around it"" It is a protected water way"

So we did what we were told we could do with the creek. Nothing

Although, we continued to ask with the same continued answer offered to us year after year

Jen, We are in favor of cleaning up the creek! ....

You have not one shred of evidence that the race track pollutes the drinking water.

Racers are very conscious of cleaning up spills. The track uses environmentally approved clean up materials and requires all fluids to be dumped in approved recycling collection containers

Browns Creek has many storm water drains feeding it.

Mrs. Grissoms salads has been fined more than once for improper dumping.

The storm water that runs into the creek carries so many chemicals from industry, roof and roadway run off that any slight spill at the track would offer only a small percentage of the troubles in Browns Creek ....

Jen, I have been asking you for weeks via Email and your well written blog to sit down and discuss the issues that surround the Fairgrounds ....

I am asking you once again to sit down and discuss a plan of action for our Fairgrounds that can meet everyones needs. and will not require bulldozing part of the very fiber of Nashville.

We can live, work, and play together. The olive branch has been extended.
Regardless of how the Mayor's supporters may spin Fairgrounds redevelopment into a green dream to mitigate environmental degradation, it seems an illusion encouraged by Nashville's daily newspaper and filled with self-contradiction and naivety about what Karl Dean actually intends.

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