Monday, January 24, 2011

Another spurious attack on CM Emily Evans

The day after Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr raged against CM Emily Evans for being uppity and doing what she was elected to do--ask critical questions on policies affecting voters--a supporter of Mayor Karl Dean's Fairgrounds redevelopment plan, Nancy McCune responded emphatically unimpressed with an outpouring of support for Evans on the Nashville neighborhood leaders elist. Ms. McCune insisted in no uncertain terms that she had "plural" interactions with CM Evans in the past and that she believes that CM Evans is "egocentric, close-minded and extremely negative."

Today Ms. McCune took her opinion of the District 23 Metro Council Member to a new level. She herself appears in a Tennessean story on her filed formal complaint to the Metro Clerk that she heard CM Evans tell Bells Bend supporter of race track demolition, Sumter Camp, that she did not want him to speak at last Tuesday's public hearing on proposed demolition. Ms. McCune told reporter Michael Cass:

“I was sim­ply appalled by the audac­ity that this woman would step through the door and say what she did,” McCune said. “Her tone was threatening.”

It is fairly clear from Ms. McCune's December elist comments that her opinions of Emily Evans were formed and conclusive before the Tuesday night meeting, so it is entirely reasonable to ask whether her strong opinions that CM Evans is close-minded and negative might have influenced her interpretation of a threat to Mr. Camp.

Evans at West Meade community mtg.
And an affirmative answer to that question becomes plausible given that Mr. Camp himself denied those allegations in an interview with Cass:

Camp said Evans “was just sur­prised to see me there.”

“She said, ‘What are you doing in this line?’ ” Camp said. “Since we hadn’t talked, she wasn’t sure where I was com­ing from. … It cer­tainly wasn’t any­thing that was going to dissuade me from speak­ing or that I took offense at. Emily’s very bright and she’s very pas­sion­ate, and that’s usu­ally a good thing.”

Is a charge of intimidation plausible when the alleged victim expresses seeming warmth and no fear? It may be anecdotal for me to say it, but in no instance have I ever witnessed CM Evans act in the way that Ms. McCune describes, and like her I have observed the CM on "plural" occasions. I would honestly be shocked and a little suspicious if Metro Legal finds anything to make of this complaint, given Mr. Camp's comments.

One other thing to consider before taking this formal complaint as gospel is that Ms. McCune has made troubling statements about others before. She got into a tit-for-tat with Fairgrounds preservationist Lisa Leeds on a June 30, 2010 City Paper comment board, during which she referred to those who opposed demolition of the Fairgrounds as "knuckle-draggers." Consequently, the administrator of the neighborhoods elist informed members that he had "moderated" her, meaning that he temporarily blocked her comments for review before posting so to prevent the same personal attacks on the list (he revealed that Ms. Leeds had previously been so "moderated").

The upshot to that drama: the elist administrator told the membership that his concern was affirmed after Ms. McCune's husband sent her previously blocked comment that judged preservationists "myopic" to the elist anyway.

Finally, take a look at the recently released Metro e-mails on the Fairgrounds. An August 2010 e-mail from Ms. McCune to the Mayor's Office accuses Fairgrounds preservationists of "accosting" her (p. 24). The State Fair Director replied to the Mayor's Office that vendors were allowed to invite the preservationists and later that--under observation by Fairgrounds staff--the preservationists were found to be breaking no rules in asking people to sign petitions.

Am I the only person who sees a pattern of statements against demolition opponents that are exaggerated and overwrought? Shouldn't they give us pause before taking seriously the already tenuous and rather improbable charges that Ms. McCune leveled at CM Evans?

If anyone is willing to put their actual identity by their comments has any experience with CM Evans to substantiate Ms. McCune's allegations, then by all means comment away. But I will be strictly screening anonymous comments on this post, because some influential sources around town, whom the news media will not name, seem out to cut the council member off at her knees. I would not put it past them to make hay out of these wild accusations.

UPDATE: a commenter at the Tennessean claims to have been present for the exchange and corroborates Sumter Camp's denial to the paper that the exchange was unfriendly:

As it turns out, McCune has no idea what she’s talk­ing about. I was just out­side the council cham­bers when Emily Evans walked through. I didn’t pay any atten­tion to what she said to Mr. Camp, but from the way he responded to her, it seemed that he was a friend of hers. It doesn’t surprise me that McCune would make accu­sa­tions with­out know­ing what she was tak­ing about. It’s nice that that Mr. Camp was so easy to find, and explained what the con­ver­sa­tion was about.


  1. Thanks for the link to the City Paper. McCunes comments say a lot about her character and the desperation some will go to make Nashville a more "premiere" city. Ironic she is insistent the economic numbers don't add up despite the Mayor's confirmation of them (via Dozier emails).

    The only "relic" that we need to get rid of is Ms. McCune and her prejudiced/racist/biased/discriminatory/elitist way of viewing the world.

    Ms. McCune - Please go crawl back under the rock from which you came. Unless of course, you want to save the Fairgrounds, in which case, keep running your trap.

  2. Mr. Byrd,
    I don't think it is right to personally attack a private citizen like Ms. McCune. Had Council Lady Evans stayed in her seat or on her side of the council chambers this would have never happened. I didn't see any other council member come over to the public side of the chamber during the public hearing to speak with an individual except for Evans. I enjoy reading your blogs when you are fair and reasonable but I'm disappointed that you would go after a private citizen who has a legitimate claim. Whether she took what was said by Evans out of context is for the Legal Department to decide. However the incident did happen and you should respect the process for which the complaint will go through. Have a great day.

  3. IMO I was discreet to criticize Ms. McCune's statements about her opponents without reference to her person. It is also worth noting that all of her statements are public, not private.

    But if someone wants to put my analysis on the same ad hominem plane as Ms. McCune openly impugning those who disagree with her as "knuckle-draggers," then I guess I have no other reply to make.

  4. Hizzoner is now using citizens to smear CM Evans. He realizes that she continues to be a threat to him and deep down fears that she will run for mayor. He is ensuring that he has documented dirt against Evans for his re-election literature. I am waiting for the press conference by Dean on channel 3 to proclaim that he is protecting the citizens' right to free speech. It is free tv time for him and it smears Emily Evans.

    I am sure this citizen took a statement between two people totally out of context and then added a few embellishments for flavor. She was probably encouraged, if not aided, by CM Megan Barry and Rich Riebeling.

    Dean's push now is to discredit those who would oppose him. He has no intention of playing fair.

    Please tell Ms. McCune to watch more council meetings. CMs come and go out that way all of the time.

    Emily Evans doesn't have to cover up anything. Unlike Mayor Dean, she will honestly tell you up front how she feels. I just wish more CMs had the courage to do the same, especially the Council-At-Large members who seem to pretty much rubber stamp everything out of the mayor's office because "that's the way we have always done it."

  5. Maybe McCune can't seem to hypnotize folks into her way of thinking. While Councilwoman Evans and others council members went into the area outside the chambers, the much of the mayor's staff was out there as well. Hinote, Hester, Compton, etc. were milling about. Hinote in particular was making pointed comments to citizens as well, even making fun of the crowd that went outside the building to regularly smoke. Is that any way for a deputy mayor to act. Former deputy mayor Bill Phillips sure wouldn't have done that. But if Phillips were still in the mayor's office, none of this mess would have happened.

  6. I posted in the Tennessean, that I was there When E Evans spoke with Camp. I say that McCune would have had to either lie about the exchange between Evans and Camp, or only heard two or three words, and then her mind made the rest up. It was obvious that Camp and Evans knew each other, and appeared they were friends. I don't like to talk about people, but McCune did put herself "out there". McCune seems like the type that would like to be the Belle Of The Ball, but has little going for herself. She seems to have very little going for her in the brains or common sense department, for sure.....SCOOTER