Nashville music mogul Mike Curb and Mayor Karl Dean unexpectedly crossed paths [in February] on separate business trips to Southern California.
Over lunch in L.A., the conversation turned to a pending [sexual orientation] anti-discrimination measure that would set rules for companies seeking city contracts .....
The mayor was getting criticism for not taking a public stance on the measure that had been in the news for weeks. Dean asked Curb for an opinion.
“I said, ‘Last I checked I’m a Republican and I’m for it,’ ” Curb recalls telling the mayor. “You’re out here trying to recruit conventions for the Music City Center and no one, particularly in California, is going to bring a convention to Nashville, Tennessee, if we discriminate.”
The measure narrowly passed last week — with Dean’s blessing
Actually, the Mayor had taken a public stand on the measure less than two months earlier in the City Paper and that stand seemed to be leaning against the proposal:
Council members Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson have filed a bill that would require companies that contract with Metro to adhere to the same nondiscrimination policy that Metro has [passed last week]. What are your thoughts about that?
....My general sense of things is this: As a city, we need to be a city that embraces diversity ... My general sense on how this works is that as a city government, it is certainly appropriate for us to establish policies that do that, and that those polices can set an example for the private sector .... [B]ut in general, the less regulation we do of businesses, the better. My general reaction is not for the public sector to immediately begin regulating the private sector. I look at regulating the private sector very, very cautiously.
It seems clear from the City Paper article that the Mayor is predisposed against protective regulations that inconvenience corporate incentives (unless he was just posturing in the interview). So, are Nashville power brokers, especially wealthy Republicans, the catalysts who help Dean define the particular constellation of mayoral morality?