In spite of the fact that Trish was prescient about the fall out of Mayor Karl Dean's decision to locate the precinct in a refurbished car dealership near Richland Creek, her requests for information on plans for the police station and flood plain mitigation have been ignored both by the news media and by the Dean administration.
Trish, one of the neighborhood leaders who correctly warned the Mayor's Office that a major flood would would be catastrophic for the building (as it ultimately was on May 2, 2010), read Tennessean reporter Michael Cass's story last March on a flood team that the Mayor put together to gather information and make recommendations under the direction of Metro Water Services' Scott Potter.
Trish responded to the Tennessean story the next day by emailing the following to Cass (CC'ed to Potter):
Michael, I am writing to you both to commend you for the article you wrote yesterday "Flood team seeks way to keep city safe" and to ask that you do another article on this topic to answer some questions that have not been answered till now regarding the relocation site of the West Nashville Police Precinct to the former Frensley property on Charlotte.
I have included photos taken on May 2 at this site (and would be happy to share a video also shot that day with the full sound effect of raging water) if you would like to have it.
The questions I would like to ask about your article are these:
How can construction of this police precinct at this site meet this Metro council ban?
IN THIS CASE WE ARE NOT MOVING A POLICE STATION OUT OF HARM'S WAY WE AE SPENDING WELL OVER $14 MILLION DOLLARS TO PUT IT THERE right in the very site the above photos were taken! How can this be?
Of course, the NES station on Briley totally flooded as well, people were rescued from the roof and 27 bucket trucks were lost there and I constantly watch the rebuild there on the same site..looking more and more each day like it did before the flood.
I asked Trish if she ever got a response from either Cass or Potter and she told me that she never did. Having the reporter and the MWS bureaucrat ignore her after she specifically detailed for them how she and other leaders were ignored earlier strikes me as insult to injury. For her part, she continues to feel that people in influential positions cannot tolerate inconvenient questions. I cannot help but agree with her. Unless it fits the dominant narrative, generated by Dean's communications office and parroted by journalists, reality-based dissent is ignored.
As best I can tell, the "community meetings" played up in the reporting actually amounted to just one meeting held in late July for the purpose of making a PowerPoint presentation (which made no reference to the West Police Precinct in sections on Richland Creek). It appears that the primary means of collecting public feedback is not meetings but an online SurveyMonkey survey that allows people to to rank "five main criteria used to evaluate damage reduction solutions". It seems predetermined, minimalist, and controlled. If it does not mistakenly assume that everyone concerned has online access, then it is designed to limit rather than to encourage public response.
Wednesday Mayor Dean will go on ignoring West Nashville concerns about the flood-prone building on Charlotte Pike by tying it up with a pretty ribbon, which he will then cut in order to open the precinct up to whatever the future holds. And somebody from the Tennessean will no doubt be there to convey the festivities exactly as they are staged.
UPDATE: Trish's email mentioned the mitigation efforts at the new police precinct possibly pushing future floods on to surrounding properties in the Charlotte Pike area. Here is video of the May 2010 flood that hit a Pep Boys franchise near the precinct property. All of the water that flooded the old auto dealer in the still photos above would have to go somewhere else.
Rather than treating the Charlotte Pike flood plain as a natural barrier and not encouraging further development, the Dean administration seems content to build and then displace future flood waters elsewhere. [H/T Charles Maldonado]