Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ronnie Steine says that Mayor Dean should not be criticized for vetting failures in the IQT debacle

CM Ronnie Steine once threw a kanipshin fit in council when a bill shepherding one of the Mayor's real estate deals was pulled on first reading for discussion (bills on first reading are usually passed together without discussion on a consent agenda). How did Steine get his comeuppance? He moved to pull every other bill on first reading to prove a point.

The point I took from his stunt was that raising questions about policy is wrong in the beginning and that discussion on legislation should be limited and tightly controlled by committees that many of us who work for a living don't have time to attend. In other words, Steine's point was to discourage any probing, far-reaching or no-holds-barred discussion on an important economic development policy favored by the Davidson County executive who otherwise does what he wills, remotely detached from the citizens affected by the policy.

Steine's comments yesterday to a news organization on a different Dean economic development policy that sailed smoothly through the council indicates that the at-Large CM chooses to have it both ways:

Shorter Steine: "STFU about IQT"
Steine, a Dean ally who is running to keep his at-large council seat, said the administration should be responsible for the due diligence. The mayor’s office has staff resources, is designed from a governance perspective to handle such deals and is better able to work with companies on privacy concerns early on, he said.

But he considers it hypocritical for Dean critics to be speaking up now, instead of back when they had the chance to raise questions.

“My perspective is that I think there was a reasonable amount of due diligence done,” he said, adding that there probably are lessons on what else to look at in the future.

As if CM Steine would not have pulled another parliamentary stunt to limit consideration when the discussion was just getting going. As the Mayor's ally, Ronnie Steine's job is to hammer Dean's policies through the least amount of resistance. Claiming now that resistant questioning was facilitated--especially when Dean critics have to weather hails of anonymous source invective repeated by local newspaper reporters and amplified by columnists in the following days--is dishonest.

If all of these questions were appropriate before council approved, they remain appropriate irregardless of council procedure. CMs who fail to follow-up on this fiasco by demanding to know what happened ultimately fail us.

1 comment:

  1. I have never understood why Ronnie Stein(e) is part of Nashville's equation.

    When I was running InReview newspaper, we spelled his name wrong.

    And he let us know.

    One thing I do remember:

    Ronnie was one of the guys (along with Chris Ferrell, now CEO of SouthComm, which publishes The City Paper, The Nashville Scene, etc), who proposed the "three-foot rule" for Nashville strip bars. This was back when they were both Metro Council members, in one form or another.

    This rule stopped lap-dancing (apparently a form of prostitution!) as well having a woman dance naked on the stage while you could enjoy the view and toss her a few dollars.

    Wow! Wasn't that a good piece of legislation for our convention center business!

    Besides Mr. Stein(e)'s run-in with the law, I have NO idea, what the guy has EVER brought to the table (Besides taking away a good time).