Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More on the Mayor's lunch with neighborhood leaders: Bellevue library, Fairgrounds, David Torrence, Public Schools, legal options on nondiscrimination, Sulphur Dell

Earlier today West Meade neighborhood leader Mina Johnson published a report to the Nashville Neighborhoods elist on her exchange with the Mayor a couple of days ago during the lunch I mentioned in the previous post. She gave me permission to republish some of her Q&A based on her neighbors' feedback here:

Q: Could you reinstate the former brush pick up schedule of four times per year instead of current three times a year? If not, can special arrangement be made especially after the massive storm damage like we had recently.
A: Currently no budget to increase the regular schedule. However the emergency clean up should be placed and I think they have dispersed those services right after the recent storm.

Q: How about tornado warning siren in our neighborhood?
A: There is a county-wide evaluation going on right now regarding sirens to determine where new one should go.

Q: What is the plan for Bellevue Center and library? Can Metro buy [Dillard’s] building to put library instead of building a new one to save the cost?
A: We would like to put library in the Bellevue Mall and it is still our plan and negotiation is ongoing. However, we don’t know what the Mall management team wants to do with the site at this time. It is a private company and the Metro cannot just buy Dillard’s building or tell them how to redevelop the site. We need to wait what they decide to do and hopefully pick the best location for the library to benefit both.

Q: Why does Metro want to sell the Fairgrounds which makes money and bought flooded airport in east Nashville?
A: The council voted to create a master plan for the fairgrounds site. It will be determined when the master plan has developed. Although I am not convinced that the Fairgrounds making money. Cornelia Airport in east Nashville was bought because it was flooded and unsafe. It will be made to Greenway as a part of Open Space/Green initiative.

Q: What can be done to the elected official David Torrence? The report was unacceptable.
A: Yes. It is very bad. He sent me a letter of apology right after the TV interview. I told him to do the right thing as I don’t have authority to remove him. He can resign or needed to be recalled. Don’t quote me on this but I heard DA’s office is looking into the way. Also the judge he works for might be able to request some kind of disciplinary action or dismissive. Something has to be done for sure and will be done.

Q: Why did Metro Public School System fired 300 teachers in part to make way of new project “Teach for America”?
A: Teach for America is the one of the best project in the country right now. They are not fired because of Teach for America. Each year Metro School System looses 400 to 500 teachers. We may not be able to rehire them because there is no more stimulus money coming in.

Q: It won’t be fair to the experienced teachers to be replaced by freshly graduated teachers?
A: We need to choose what works best for the students.

Q: Can Metro School System do better to retain good experienced teachers rather than losing them to elsewhere?
A: Yes, we need to do better in our School System. We have made quite a bit of improvement, the graduation rate is up in all area and the test scores are getting better. We are on a right truck but still a long way to go.

Mina also discloses that the Mayor says he has no plans to pursue a legal remedy to the Tennessee General Assembly's crack down on Metro's nondiscrimination ordinance. That's news to me.

On the subject of the ballpark, Mina writes:

The location of a new ball park stadium was asked. The Mayor responded RFP was issued a recently to study and compare new stadium site. He said he is somewhat biased towards Sulphur Dell site because the location is supported by a lot of neighbors and it will be great to energize North side of down town.

"A lot of neighbors" may or may not support a Sulphur Dell ballpark without any qualifications or assurances or attention to community character. However, until bona fide community meetings are held this baseball fan is not buying the vacuous marketing or the campaign fodder. If I had been present I would have asked Karl Dean why a construction timeline for a new ballpark should jump ahead of the one for the Museum of African American Museum of Music, Art, and Culture, which is no less important for North Nashville's economic development and has been planned for a much longer time. Although, I fully grant that museums are not as sexy during election campaigns as ballparks are.


  1. A lot of neighbors? Sounds like the same thing he said about the Fairgrounds.
    Remember Dean saying that a majority of the vendors wanted to move to Hickory Hollow Mall? The vendors spoke loudly in disagreement.

  2. maybe he wants to put the museum in the park facility?? probabaly not a bad idea given the african american heriatge at that site....

  3. Mayor aide, Jim Hester, told me the same about vendors and the mall. He said, "They all like the idea."

    Dean folk have a habit of lying through their teeth.

    Others, just nod.