Several points from the interview stand out to me in this election year:
- Allen referred to CM Maynard a couple of times as an attorney without reference to the question of the latter's ethics problems last year that led to suspension of his law license. At a Metro council meeting late last year CM Maynard made a point of saying in council debate he was no longer practicing law. In December a media report called him a "former lawyer." I have searched recent news but found no indication that things have changed.
- CM Maynard told Allen that he fulfilled all of his campaign promises, including "economic development/job creation", "education reform and fully funding schools," and getting resources to "every community ignored in the past." Maynard said he is proud that that his "real legislation" resulted in "real impact" on these issues. He bases the economic development argument on the Music City Center jobs even as he glossed over Allen's counterpoint that contracts went to out-of-state companies. He uses a beautification grant for the Jefferson Street corridor without reference to the fact that sexy infrastructure projects like a new rail line still go other places than North Nashville. While the viaduct will be beautified, what happened to the Museum of African American Culture that was supposed to go in on the other end of Jeff St?
- When defending his support of the Hollin/Jameson nondiscrimination bill, CM Maynard said with reference to the GLBT community that he does not "believe in the lifestyle" at a religious level in his church, but that he believes that no one who pays taxes in Davidson County should be discriminated against when working for a Metro contractor. The problem here is that later in the interview he based his support of locating a WIC program in Antioch not on questions of policy, but on his position as a pastor and his standing before his diety:
The WIC program provides assistance for single mothers. As a pastor, how dare I come and stand against our government providing assistance to women and children because there are some people in the community who don't want quote unquote those kinds of people coming to Hickory Hollow Mall. How dare I as a man of God stand before the people of God and declare before God, "I cannot support that program"
- When referring to the Jeff St Gateway to Heritage project, CM Maynard listed it as among 7 things that gave never been done in Nashville history. That may be an exaggeration, since the North Nashville corridor has been the beneficiary of other grant money to continue upgrades that had occurred earlier. He seemed defensive to me when he brought up these 7 things to counter a caller's criticism.
- Rev. Harold Love compared CM Maynard to a watch dog who held government accountable and critiqued government for social justice, which seems to mean to him making sure that organizations like JUMP get their fair share, which will in turn trickle down to African American businesses. It is truly a bleak city wherein the highest vision of social justice is trickle-down economics. With the middle class shrinking across society, shouldn't social justice more substantially challenge a system where the wealthy increasingly control opportunity and access to resources?
- In response to Rev. Love, Maynard said that he supports county-wide projects like the major league sports teams and the Music City Center and that the "special interests" are going to get taken care of. However, he also claimed to be an "advocate" for the voiceless like Jesus was an advocate. Yet, the Music City Center is emblematic of trickle-down economics, which predominately benefits Nashville's tourist industry, leaving crumbs for the rest of us. The General Fund is obligated should construction run overbudget, which could mean less money for North Nashville neighborhood infrastructure and programs. The two pastors also need to keep in mind that Jesus self-identified with The Jubilee Year and its radical socio-economic redistribution.
- "I've done all kind of wrong .... All of us have done something that we could be in jail for. We just didn't get caught. I know I could be in jail." Was that CM Maynard's Jimmy Carter/Playboy moment?
- An Antioch caller challenged CM Maynard for saying that he represents all of the county beyond North Nashville when he voted with the Mayor on bills that did not bode well for Antioch. CM Maynard's statement that as an at-Large he represents the whole county belies the reality that the 5 at-Larges generally belong more to the Mayor than they do county voters. Even if Antiochians oppose large projects Mayor Dean plans for them, CM Maynard is more likely to vote with Karl Dean than against him.
- Maynard's money quote we are not likely to hear again during re-election campaign stops in Antioch: "You may not agree with it because they were going to bring the flea market and the Expo Center [from the Fairgrounds]. Well, if you don't agree, there are some people who did agree, and I did support trying to bring the flea market and trying to bling, bring the Expo Center there."
- Maynard promises to pursue the plan to build a baseball stadium at Sulphur Dell and to lobby Metro Schools to create a charter (or magnet) school for learning trades. Note that on Sulphur Dell, CM Maynard did not promise smart growth, sustainable transportation options, or protection for pedestrian qualities of the eastern end of Jeff St. Right now the Sulphur Dell option could easily become another trickle-down scheme that helps special interests. It is also clear to me from his inclusion of charter options that "educational reform" involves privatization of public schools.
I do not see much offered here by CM Maynard beyond low hanging fruit: when he is representing the county he will vote with the special interests, but he will also work to assure that some of the crumbs that fall from the master's table reach some North Nashville organizations and eventually trickle-down to "the voiceless." The neighborhoods around Jeff St are going to need a lot more than block grants, beautification, and a baseball stadium. Maynard's is a "kinder and gentler" neo-liberalism that challenges very few of the systemic causes of social injustice. His appeals to Jesus and to his faith seem convenient and they seem to ignore the radicalism that lead to Jesus crucified.