Monday, May 16, 2011

Last chance to protect public land from being sold off to private companies

Even though the fix seems to be in on selling the State Fairgrounds property to wealthy real estate interests, CM Jamie Hollin continues to fight the good fight striking a populist note on today's Tennessean opinion page:

Many people I represent ... face daily difficulties putting food on the table, paying routine bills and finding affordable transportation and gainful employment ....

[T]hey are not “connected” to the comings and goings of government, except when they’re not receiving routine services, or as has been the case this year, when one of the few entertainment venues that they can afford to attend with their families is threatened with extinction.

The venue in question is the fairgrounds, which currently operates for their benefit at no expense to the taxpayer ....

[The farigrounds] has recently come into the cross hairs of an administration that sees it as property to be sold for unnamed office park development for an unknown benefit or cost ....

Meanwhile, think about the other Nashville entertainment venues that are not threatened with closure, despite the fact that they indeed come at great taxpayer expense: LP Field, Bridgestone Arena, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, to name a few. Keep in mind that the majority of the taxpayers funding these venues cannot afford to participate in the activities held in these locations ....

I am struck not only by the sheer number of [flea market] attendees, but also by the diversity of the people in attendance: young, elderly, African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, gay, straight and any other descriptive characteristic you can imagine ....

Nashvillians are fortunate to have a resource like the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, and we should not let the jobs and sales tax dollars that it generates annually be tossed aside for a land speculation deal.

Please consider signing the petition to put the fairgrounds referendum on the ballot, which if approved by voters would amend the Metro charter to stop the privatization of this public asset. The deadline for those petitions is today. Jump to the petition. Volunteers will also pick up your signed petition if you have not been able to get it in the mail; call 915-2118 to arrange a pick-up.

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