Monday, December 10, 2007

Searching for Mayor Dean on Bicentennial Mall Security

Catherine McTamaney draws a sharp contrast between the beginnings of the Bill Purcell Administration and the beginning of the Karl Dean Administration:

Candidate Dean was focused. Candidate Dean was on-message,. From announcing on the Shelby Street Bridge to his election night acceptance speech, Candidate Dean talked about connections. It's all connected. Public safety and public schools lead to economic development. In that order. Which is why this leaves me longing for the days when a candidate, at least for that sweet first few months after he left office, actually did the things he said he was going to.

Remember that ad with Purcell's desk in the front yard? Remember Purcell's first Walk Your Child to School Day, just two months after he took office? Or how it felt when you first saw a new sidewalk being poured in the fall of 1999? Or how Purcell immediately made good on his promise to visit every single Nashville school? Remember how Purcell called for a comprehensive audit practically on his way back to the office after his swearing in? Dude got stuff done.

And yeah, yeah, eventually we got used to him, and we started feeling complacent with what he'd brought to the city, and I think we suffered from a little Purcell exhaustion. But here's something that Purcell knew that his successor sadly lacks: people need to see stuff getting done if they're going to continue to believe that you're the guy to do it.
She goes on to point out that Mayor Dean walks the walk of the Phil Bredesen Mayor's Office while merely talking the talk of Purcellian quality of life issues.

This contrast becomes particularly problematic for Catherine in so far as the Mayor's Office has seemed unresponsive to overnight security issues around Bicentennial Mall:
So, hypothetically, in the middle of the downtown community that you've promised to support, you've got this expansive, 17-acre greenspace. Theoretically, how long should a rapist be able to violently attack a 22-year old new Nashvillian before it warrants response? If a two hour long rape doesn't warrant a change in the patrol schedule, would a three hour long rape do it? Four? How about if the rape lasted the entire time that the park was both unpatrolled and dark?

You promised that if I called your office, I wouldn't have to talk to a Deputy Mayor. But a bunch of us, for a long time now, have been asking you to respond. And you haven't.

The silence is deafening on this one.
Jim Grinstead points to the possible reason for the lack of a response, and it has to do with dollars and the difference between suburban and urban.

I share these concerns, and I wonder what the Dean Administration is waiting for. If they are taking steps to fill the void that the state and Governor Bredesen's Office is leaving overnight at the park, then they are not communicating those steps to North End neighborhoods.

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