Dr. Franklin's recent column is a scathing reflection on the transit injustice wrought by MTA and Karl Dean's administration and the minions supporting "the Amp":
...Amp advocates, backed by the mayor’s office and Metro Transit Authority officials, selectively picked winners and losers for the project. They relied on flawed data, steered federal civil rights officers away from studying North Nashville bus routes and backed zoning changes to boost the appearance of higher ridership in the West End corridor, which stands to benefit the most from the Amp.
The pro-Amp group’s East Nashville angle also has been an insincere attempt to inoculate itself from racial and civil rights scrutiny. Pro-Amp advocates claim that Amp terminals east of the river will help working-class blacks, when in reality, they are located in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. The project could actually accelerate the displacement of blacks who still remain in the Main Street-Five Points area.
The Amp debate also has exposed how Nashville’s leading officials exploit the politics of race while lacking any real commitment to systemic racial inequities. Similar to the debate about the Sulphur Dell ballpark, Amp supporters have brought attention to distressed communities and African-Americans, but only to bolster a stage-managed narrative of Chamber of Commerce boosterism — a narrative that is not intended to help African-Americans or distressed communities, but meant to convince urban pioneers that Nashville is the premier Southeast destination.
The irony is that the so-called distressed neighborhoods for both projects (Germantown for Sulphur Dell and Main Street-Five Points for the Amp) are places where working-class African-Americans are being pushed out in record numbers.
In both cases (a new ballpark and the east-west connector) development for the business sector has taken priority over residential interests and social justice. Metro Nashville does not seem committed to balanced, smart and sustainable growth, but seems more bound to a malignant growth that devours quality of life and historic communities. The scales are tipped toward money and power. If you don't have much like the predominantly white Courthouse class does, then you are only in the way.
The truly sad part for me personally, is that there does not seem to be a critical mass of people organized at the grassroots who care enough to speak up for equity in development and in mass transit. The opponents who do speak out are ignored, pigeonholed and marginalized, even by North Nashville council members who are supposed to represent them.