Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Passing Sulphur Dell: the ends of getting a new ballpark do not justify the means used to steamroll democracy

The Mayor's plan for a new ballpark at old Sulphur Dell will pass tonight. It will pass because most bills pass on third and final reading.

More significantly, it will pass because council considered it without proper public vetting given the timing of the holidays and the abject paucity of community meetings. It will pass because the council only pushed negotiations with the Sounds owner to the slightest degree before potential plan opponents began falling like dominoes.

Despite my past support for the Sounds and their previous plan for a new ballpark, I will not be able to lend my support to passage of this plan because of how a few council members (even my own), enabled by the Mayor, ran roughshod over a proper public process of involving all stakeholders, including those of us who live here, in the decision for building at Sulphur Dell.

We have seen other cases where the local community was ignored in the name of the Mayor's ambitious capital projects that usually suit his cronies more than our communities. We saw it in the West Nashville police precinct, which was catastrophically flooded in 2010, just as neighbors warned him beforehand that it would be. We saw it in the State Fairgrounds unpleasantness, which turned into a populist blow to the Mayor's muscle-flexing and clearly defined his take-no-prisoners style of governing.

There was simply not enough time or energy during the holidays to slow this particular project down in order to give people a chance to respond to it. Likewise, so little has been said about the details, and advise-and-consent is practically impossible.

Finally, I believe that the Sounds owner has said some things publicly during this affair that should make those of us who will be his team's new neighbors concerned about how they will treat us in the future. More on that later.


  1. Alson how convenient that they scheduled the emergency meeting on the same night that the MNPS school board meets so the council meeting will not be televised nor will it appear on streaming video. The mayor hides his votes behind the curtain, and we all no that, "Nobody gets to see who is behind the curtain, not no way, not no how!"

    Mike please post the vote tally and anything that you know of how the meeting proceded. We have some council members who have some explaining to do, and those who plan to run again for public office this will come back to haunt you. You basically just ensured a tax hike in the near future just to pay for the basics.

  2. You can likely find the tally shown at the Nashville gov YouTube site in the video taken last night:


    I'd like to help you out with more info, but I can only sit through the high hat of Ronnie Steine and Jerry Maynard so many times before wanting to claw out my eardrums.

  3. The West Nashville police precinct was not flooded.

    The area the precinct currently sits on was flooded; a vacant car dealership was flooded.

  4. If you wish to quibble, the old Bob Frensley dealership was bought by Metro with the intent of putting the West Nashville precinct, including the crime labs, there. The deal was controversial from jump:


    It flooded in 2010:


    Substantial revisions were made to the original plan (which should have been made in the first place) including relocating the crime labs to protect them from flood waters, and cops moved into the old dealership in spite of continuing community concerns:


    Technically, you may seem right, but you are only half correct, anon. It was a vacant car dealership in 2010 that was being prepared since 2009 to become the West Nashville police precinct.

  5. I don't think it is quibbling at all. There was no police station there during the flood, and my first post is 100% correct.

    I acknowledge that Metro owned the parcel at the time of the flood, and appreciate the added context to both the original blog post and my comment.

  6. But, anon, you seem to be completely tearing my observation about the flooded property from its original context and away from my point in mentioning it: that this Mayor digs in his heels on capital projects that largely benefit his friends regardless of processes that involve community input.

    When the Charlotte property flooded it was one of the capital projects I refer to in the post to make that point. It was funded as such, not as an abandoned car dealership. A ballpark at Sulphur Dell has not been built, yet the project is going. The Mayor's plan for the state fairgrounds remains unrealized, but it still threatens to re-emerge. Likewise, at the time the property flooded the plan for a police precinct was not yet finished. Overtightening claims that it was strictly a former car dealership in black-and-white fashion is itself pure red herring.

    You really are picking at nits in my opinion. I tire of that sort of exchange when it ignores the point of the post.

  7. OK, let's think about Dean's master plan. He has buddies that want property close to downtown for cheap. Dean needs property to sell them (more like give away). Since the property he wanted to give them ( the fairgrounds) could not be pried from the hands of the citizens, he decides to give them the property that Greer Stadium sits on. He rams a new stadium down the throats of the taxpayers and in turn works to win the black vote when he runs for governor against Beth Harwell in the near future by building it in North Nashville.

    Now that the deal is done we watch for two things, 1. Will the Ward and the Sounds actually buy the nearby property and build the condos? 2, Who will Dizzy Dean give the present Greer Stadium property to? (Did you ever really think of how close the fairgrounds is to Greer Stadium?) Somebody wanted property in that area really bad and Dean had to deliver or else lose something. Hmmm.

    The story will soon unfold. My guess is the Sounds property goes to one of Dean's campaign contributors or someone kin to Dean's wife. They may have secretly already been buying up nearby property. Taxpayers have to pay for a new Sounds Stadium so that one of Dean's buddies wants the land. What if he does a do over and gives this land to HCA,? Does the AMP die quietly because we will no longer need it to transport all of the HCA employees to work because of the lack of parking near what was suppose to be their new headquarted. HCA will sell the downtown property and make another profit, then build their new headquarters on the present Greer Stadium site. Maybe the Sounds deal goes down because the AMP cannot get funding and HCA needs a place to park their employees?

    This deal is more crooked than anything on Nashville the TV show.

    Does Dean really think Nashvillians will ever vote for him again?

  8. Since Vanderbilt owns a 2 million dollar piece of property across the street from Greer Stadium, I now see Vanderbilt as a possible new owner of that property. They were my guess as to who wanted the fairgrounds since so many who were connected to Vanderbilt owned dilapidated rental property that backs up to the fairgrounds that was included in one of the original master plans to destroy the fairgrounds into a large development. Isn't Dean a Vandy alum? Nashville had better not give this property away or sell it at a less than fair market price. We have losses to make up for the future!

  9. There are two properties across from Greer that belong to Vanderbilt. One is valued over a million dollars, and the second over 2 million. The 2 million dollar parcel is tax exempt. Vanderbilt owns property over Nashville including a huge mansion in BelleMeade that are tax exempt.

    Will Dean give away or sell this land at a very low price to Vanderbilt? If so, we will never collect another dollar of property tax from this piece of land ever.