The top of the page headline in the Local News section of the Sunday April 3 Tennessean entitled Neighbors Offer Racing Deal states "The South Nashville Action People neighborhood group has reached an agreement with fair board chairman James Weaver that would allow five racing weekends in both 2011 and 2012." implies in no uncertain terms that a final deal has been reached when in fact any such decision needs to be made by the full fair board which does not meet until April 5 and later in the same article it is mentioned that Weaver stated that he didn't know if the full board would support this so-called compromise he had worked out without consultation with other board members.
The South Nashville Action People group comprises a small minority of neighborhood residents. There has been no vote giving SNAP authority to represent people who live in this area. Furthermore it should be noted that the fairgrounds are a publicly owned facility belonging the citizens of Davidson County as a whole rather than the local neighborhood. The Metro Council has already passed legislation keeping the fairgrounds open and approving racing as well as other activities currently held at the facility.
The terms of this so-called compromise limiting racing to 5 daylight hour events to be held only on flea market weekends would effectively kill any chance for racing to be successful. In order to be profitable an operator would need more than five events per year, should not be limited to daylight hours only, and would not be successful if racing were confined only to flea market days when the parking lot is already filled to capacity with the flea market alone.
The article omits the fact that the muffler demonstration conducted Saturday, April 2 at the racetrack clearly demonstrated that race cars with modern state-of-the-art mufflers reduce noise levels no more intense than cars and trucks on the interstate highways which run through our city. Even with a full racing schedule as desired by potential operators of the track the sound would be far less troublesome than our interstate highways which are open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
James Weaver's term as fair board chairman ends after April 5 meeting. I do not believe that he should be permitted to mortally wound racing at the fairgrounds on his final day as chairman.
400 Broadway 37203
Mr. Gruhn is right on in his criticism of the botched reporting about the process of decision-making at the fair board. (I'm giving the journalism the benefit of the doubt in assuming this to be an error rather than a cynical report that a decision was intentionally reached under the table, outside of government procedures without the reporter asking any questions about propriety.)
Reporter Nate Rau was also in error describing SNAP's terms as a "compromise." The word "compromise" assumes that SNAP is winning this battle and that it gives up something it does not have to in order to produce a "win-win" for each side. On the contrary, the organization is dictating its terms as if it were a vanquishing army. SNAP has been losing the Fairgrounds battle for months now, and given Metro Council action so far, they do not carry the legitimacy that comes with wins to dictate terms to sides that are not losing.
I've maintained consistently that the local print media is predisposed toward the Mayor's stance on the Fairgrounds and that they are treating SNAP's Colby Sledge (who as a reporter was once one of the Tennessean's own) sympathetically and bringing no critical questions to bear on his leadership on this issue. Today's report does not change that perception.