Sunday, May 31, 2009

Convention Center Debate Got Ugly from His Perspective

I was too occupied by housework to get away to see the convention center debate on the Vandy campus earlier today, but one commenter over at the Nashville Charrette did not like what he saw from the side he supports:
As a supporter of the project, I was embarrassed by [Butch Spyridon's] performance. He read off the same talking points including taking credit for the revitalization of Broadway, reducing our property taxes, stating the Civic Design Center "chose" the location, etc. Difficult as that was to listen to once again, it was his constant interruptions, his innuendo and out right snide comments under his breath about "Dr" [Heywood] Sanders (he made it a point to reference him as "Mr" - I wonder who had him do that?)that was most troubling. His inability to address inconsistent projections and how they counted 'events'(apparently a wedding party garners the same count as a convention) also spoke to the credibility of the projections. As I was leaving, I overhead a councilman commenting they couldn't believe how 'rude' he was. Individuals seated around me were audibly uncomfortable with Butch and his comments. "Shut up Butch - - puuleeaase!" was heard more than once. Sadly, as a Nashvillian, I wish we'd had someone more respectful 'representing' us.

'Dr' Sanders (Graduate of Johns Hopkins, PHD from Harvard), was collected. I expected some of the points he made, but he was always respectful of Butch and the crowd, with maybe one exception when Butch, after numerous slights, was continuing to accuse him of 'killing' a large hotel project, something Sanders said the market did. He did note the city funded another one later and it's occupancy is running in the 55% range and has affected all the hotels in the market by discounting it's rooms. I think Dr. Sanders probably scored some points and gave even the most ardent supporters pause.

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