Friday, January 23, 2009

Gentry Targets Metro Council District 19 for Yesterday's GOTV

According to the Tennessean, former Vice Mayor Howard Gentry returned from Barack Obama's Inauguration this week inspired to beat English Only. And so it goes:
He picked five Nashville districts that had supported him in his unsuccessful race for mayor two years ago — 1, 2, 3, 19 and 21. He noticed those same districts were mapped in a Tennessean analysis on early voting, and participation from them wasn't strong ....

And by 3 p.m. Wednesday, a call with a recording of that script began going out to 5,000 households.

"I am a product of segregated schools, segregated bathrooms," Gentry said. "I became the vice mayor of Nashville.

"Through it all, Nashville has changed. It has gone from a very, very unwelcoming city to a welcoming city."
As one of the few District 19 residents who did early vote, I appreciate Gentry's efforts to get other neighbors motivated. But the cynic in me also wonders whether the fits that CM Eric Crafton gave Gentry when he was Vice Mayor did not serve as proper motivation for some payback.

UPDATE: Gentry is catching a little criticism from a fellow English Only opponent over at the Post blog for coming "late" to the election. That kind of criticism seems uncalled for to me, and not because I haven't been critical of Howard Gentry in the past (I have). I've consistently argued for the last few months that English Only will win or lose on the votes of the African American community. Whether I was correct or incorrect about that yet to be seen. But if a prominent African American leader, who was also competitive against Karl Dean in the last Mayor's race, can maximize GOTV in predominantly African American precincts, why minimize the influence of his late campaign robocalls to targeted precincts? I was among the first to actively oppose English Only and I am sincerely grateful to Mr. Gentry for stepping in when he did, especially if the election day returns show that the targeted districts had good turnouts. We should not write this win as exclusively Karl Dean's as the criticism seems to suggest. Keep your composure, Deaniacs.


  1. Did you hear Crafton's concilation comments to WPLN? Taken from the story by Blake Farmer that's on their website now:

    Councilman Eric Crafton, who has spearheaded the English-only push, says the people have spoken and he’s prepared to drop the subject.

    “It’s a clear majority of the people that want to move in a multi-lingual direction and may be that’s what we need to do. We can be the San Francisco of the South or the New York of the South.”

    So now that we've rejected his xenophobic attack, we're to be equated with San Fran or NY. Some of us would be thrilled with that, but we recognize that we sill live in the South, and that's not likely to happen any time soon.

  2. Thanks for your updated comment about my former boss. I know that he's always been against this proposal and just because his public visibility in this election came late in the cycle doesn't mean he came late to the opposition.