Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund Goes Negative in the 18th

From Michael Cass:
[NNDF mailer] tries to paint LaLonde as a tool of a university that occasionally has done battle with some of its neighbors, most recently in its successful bid to get the city to turn over part of Edgehill’s Rose Park for Belmont athletic fields. (The school plans to spend $6 million on the necessary upgrades to the park, which will remain Metro property.) It also points out that LaLonde’s husband, physician Claudio Mosse, works at Vanderbilt University, another prominent 18th District denizen.

“Both universities regularly lobby members of the Metro Council on a wide variety of issues - zoning, right-of-ways, easements, parking, fees and many others. … On many issues of consequence to property owners and residents in the 18th District, Kristine LaLonde will not be able to represent them.”

Lane Easterly, treasurer of the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund, said the organization likes LaLonde and thinks she’s capable but is concerned she could have two big conflicts of interest.

“We’re not trying to be negative about her,” Easterly said, adding that his organization had not coordinated the ad with Dodson’s campaign, which came in second in the general election and hasn’t raised as much money as LaLonde’s campaign.

LaLonde has said the citizens of the district would be her first priority and that Belmont doesn’t expect any special treatment on issues before the council. She also has noted that professors by nature don’t always tow a university administration’s party line, and she’s said she’ll recuse herself from some, but not all, Belmont votes.

“I can’t advocate directly for Belmont’s interests,” she said in a phone interview this afternoon.

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