Friday, July 27, 2007
I've been holding out long enough, trying to give Karl Dean and Howard Gentry their fair chances to demonstrate a serious focus on the common interests of the over 600 neighborhood associations that now populate Metro Nashville, but the concerns of both seem to lie elsewhere. So, I'm going to vote for David Briley next week, and let me tell you why.
Every opportunity I have to talk to Mr. Briley, he makes a concerted effort to listen, to chat with me authentically, and to be accountable for what he tells me. We have not agreed on every issue and I have questioned some of his decisions, but I never had a doubt about where he stood or whether he might say one thing and do another. He was honest and forthcoming with me and I appreciate that. I have never seen him evade a difficult question put to him. Such a Mayor would be someone with whom we all could work.
I admit that I wish Mr. Briley would have come out with a stronger, more comprehensive plan for neighborhoods. What we have are more piecemeal indicators--a strong stand for LEED standards in building, a reasonable height restriction bill, and speeches promising to balance growth and infrastructure--that he is more of a "Neighborhoods Mayor" than the others currently running.
However, I did have the chance to look at unreleased plans he had for restructuring the Office of Neighborhoods. I thought that they represented a bold and exciting opportunity for neighborhood feedback on policy that went far beyond what Mayor Purcell offered in the current set-up or what Bob Clement proposed in his idea of a "Neighborhood Advisory Council". But those venturous blueprints never saw the light of publicity. I wish they had.
Nonetheless, David Briley is hands down the best and most qualified person to be our next Mayor. Whether it was the first time he asked me to sit down to lunch in order to listen to my priorities and concerns for Salemtown or the recent time that he beelined to the Council gallery--while our support for a zoning measure was being obfuscated--and asked us straight up how we wanted him to vote, David Briley has reached out to us and included us in the debates that affect us in ways that the other two candidates for whom I might have voted have not.
That is not a tribute to any leverage our local communities might have to command attention. It is a testament to who David Briley is: a consummate leader who is not simply versed in the intricacies of governing, but a man readily attuned and energized by his responsibilities to the communities that he governs.
Few have governed us as well in the last few years as David Briley. And I believe that few will govern us as well in coming few years. I am going to vote for David Briley, and I hope you will, too.