"Obviously, I'd rather not see it on the ballot," said Colby Sledge of Neighbors for Progress.
Sledge speaks for the neighborhood association.
If I only got 500 people to sign my petition in favor of demolishing the Fairgrounds speedway after aiming for thousands, I would not want to see a county-wide ballot initiative on preserving the Fairgrounds either. NFP does not have the numbers to win this.
In an NFP press release, Sledge also indicts opponents of Dean's redevelopment scheme as much less than homegrown talent:
the group involved with this petition has a track record of organizing protestors from outside Nashville and bringing them into our communities to be disruptive
I'll be interested to see how Sledge and his new lawyer substantiate the rash accusation that people who were interested in preserving the Fairgrounds brought agitators in to undermine the order of things.
I've observed and been involved with neighborhood organizing in Nashville for almost 20 years now, but I'm not aware of any neighborhood initiative that Sledge has led until Mayor Dean's Fairgrounds plan came along a few months ago. So, I am skeptical about his claims of representing the community, especially when NFP only turned out about 35 people to speak at a public hearing on demolishing the racetrack last January, after making it seem like they had the support of thousands.
It also bears mentioning that Sledge's boss, Democratic State Senator Joe Haynes supports blocking voters from making a choice on the Fairgrounds. Did Sledge lead on any other neighborhood initiatives before he moved from being a Tennessean reporter to Senator Haynes' communication director?
CORRECTION: As pointed out by Braisted in the comments below, Sledge is Press Sec'y of the State Senate's Democratic Caucus, which means his boss is the Caucus Chair, not Democratic Senator and Caucus member Joe Haynes.
UPDATE: Note in the screen shot above that the Neighbors for Progress webpage states they have hired the lawyer to oversee the petition process. This is preying on my mind. How many neighborhood associations do you know that can afford to pay a lawyer on a petition issue by themselves?