Monday, October 05, 2009

Local Newspaper Takes May Town Center Personally Rather than Journalistically

The Tennessee Tribune spins the rapidly receding chances of permitting urban sprawl across rural Bells Bend to near conspiratorial levels and practically impugns the well-organized, community-based opposition to the May Town Center proposal. According to writers Leslie Hart and Ronald Weathersby:
Local community and business leaders are angry about the stalemate that has resulted due to opposition of the proposed May Town Center in Bells Bend. Jack May is a native of Nashville. His family has resided here for over one-hundred years. As a result of their hard work and determination the family has truly been blessed financially. Mr. May says the family continuously seeks to give something back to their fellow Nashvillians ....

Unfortunately, it seems the multi-billion dollar development which is to be located in Bell’s Bend is suddenly being attacked by certain factions in and around the city ....

The seemingly questionable lack of support of the project by Mayor Karl Dean and his Administration along with an ad-hoc group of apparently influential interests groups has the mostly African American North Nashville community and local businesses up in arms. The financial and social opportunities represented by Jack May’s proposal would have a watershed effect on communities that have been left behind financially for decades ....

In the opinion of Tribune Publisher Rosetta Miller-Perry the abrupt stalemate that has resulted due to opposition of the proposed May Town Center in Bells Bend is not creditable ....

Miller-Perry said she sees these conflicting rationalizations as being a result of lack of respect for the African American community in Nashville.
The Tribune described May Town opponent groups as "sudden," "ad-hoc," and "abrupt" without bothering to interview them. Neighborhood leaders from across Nashville have been organizing against sprawl on Bells Bend for some time and I've been blogging on cooperative efforts to oppose the May family for a couple of years. It is a stretch to claim that they are "factions" in the sense of being clandestine and controlling. The Tribune writing seems shrill and desperate.


  1. Mike, you miss the broader perspective on this. It's really about so-called progressives denying the county's largest minority group at least an opportunity for economic development. At what cost is the stopping so-called "sprawl" relative to the desires of the Black community there? This links into the convention center as well. An unhappy block of 10 Black council members could have a very big impact on whether the financing package goes through on the CC.

  2. The comments by the Tennessee Tribune were well researched and on point. There are many individuals that will be directly effected by the proposed May Town Center that actually support the project. How is it that one group of residents opposition trumps another groups' acceptance?

    We believed May Town Center actually gave North Nashville an opportunity to finally take advantage of the economic development which has taken place all around that community and in many instances was actually harmful.

    Why is it that developers can come into North Nashville and get approval for projects that enhance corporate interests at the expense of the existing community without community support but other communities can veto development which will enhance the entire Metro area?

    There is still a double-standard in Davidson County which must be addressed in a realistic manner.

    Stop denying the truth!

  3. Speaking of the truth, Mr. Weathersby, I am told by one source that Tony Giarratana paid the Tennessee Tribune for front page article. I e-mailed the Tribune several weeks ago asking for confirmation or denial and I have yet to get an answer. I also searched for contact info on you to ask you and I was only able to find some Democratic Party social networking site that I would have had to join to correspond.

    Simply put, were either you or the Tennessee Tribune paid by Tony Giarratana to write and publish this front page story (which some would call more advertising than journalism) for May Town Center?

    The fact that you believe strongly in the subject you promoted is self-evident. The possibility that you are reporting news is not.

  4. S-town Mike,

    It's funny you are playing the stereotype card with the Tribune. Any time you guys want to disparage an African American newspaper or news source you bring up the crap about how some one paid for a story.

    Fact is all the reports about the mixing of editorial and advertising in newspapers has centered on the big dailies which have effectively mixed the two departments.

    I am a reporter for the Tennessee Tribune and I have never been pressured by my publisher or our advertising department to write ANY NEWS story in the five-years I have been writing for the Tribune.

    Fact is, the May Town Center proposal was a bright light for Davidson County, Nashville West Nashville and North Nashville in general and Bordeaux in particular. The opposition to May Town is disingenuous at best and it was a travesty that the proposal was withdrawn.

    Everyone talks about the need to improve Nashville’s standing economically. However, when a privately-funded project comes around that would be an economic blessing for the Metro area a small group of residents can somehow block it.

    Where were you when the citizens of Bordeaux were fighting the Waste Management landfill near Bells Bend?

  5. So, I guess this means you refuse to answer the question of whether Tony G. paid either you or the Tribune for that fluffy promotional piece on MTC?

    You can impugn my intentions to your heart's content with insinuations of racism, but any one who reads Enclave knows that my criticism of newspapers and reporters is color blind and equal opportunity. I challenge you to go count the number of times I've criticized the Tribune and then compare that to the my relentless harangues against the City Paper, the Tennessean, and the Nashville Scene. They catch a lot more flack from me than your publication does.

    Frankly, my intention was never to play any race card, but I was prepared for the race card to be played against me in the face of criticism. You don't seem willing to answer criticism directly, so you evade it by throwing around charges of racism, offering a straw man. I simply received an e-mail from a respectable person with whom I am acquainted who suggested that I try and confirm information that money changed hands as a quid pro quo for the rah-rah story on MTC. All I did was ask you and your editor to confirm or deny that info, which you seem to be unwilling to do. Your indirectness makes you look suspect, all aspersions against me aside.

    I respect your right to have wishful feelings that MTC will make a profound difference to North Nashville. But I also acknowledge those who argue that MTC will turn into another MetroCenter that offers nothing but crumbs from the master's table to North Nashville. I agree with those who argue that conservation of the last large piece of urban farm community will be ground under the tires of sprawling car culture as 3 bridges will have to be built to accommodate the projected growth.

    Finally, if you are referring to the 2004 controversy regarding the landfill (and not the ones previous), I was not blogging at that time. Enclave started in 2005. However, I would have opposed in writing the attempt to reopen the landfill if I had been blogging. Now answer me this: since my stat counter says that you are commenting from Los Angeles I'm wondering how you can stay on top of North Nashville issues in southern California?

  6. Answer your question? You made an unsubstantiated accusation about the journalistic integrity of the Tribune and, since I wrote the "fluff piece" me also.

    If you really want to know and, if you have the ability to hear something contrary to what to want to hear and make use of the information there were absolutely no payments made by Tony Giarratan to the Tribune or to me for that front page article. By the way do you also accuse the City Paper, Tennessean, Business Journal and Scene of taking money for their favorable stories also?

    So just maybe that so-called "respectable person with whom I am acquainted" may not be so respectable after all.

    As for your assumption May Town would have been another Metro Center that's your opinion. I have a degree in Urban Studies and my emphasis was planning. To compare the low-density development at Metro Center to a $4-billion privately financed state-of-the-art development in Bells Bend is disingenuous at best and illustrates a total lack of knowledge in these matters.

    So, it seems to me you are flying by the seat of your pants with no real knowledge base in these matters. But that doesn't really matter does it?

    Besmirching individuals and companies that do not agree with you maybe your modus operandi but the debate is bigger that you and your respectable acquaintances.

    Lastly, do you watch the TV News (I'd guess FOX) or the local TV news? I know from your comments you read the several newspapers available to individuals living in Nashville. So, do you really believe these news gathering entities have someone in EVERY town, city, county, etc. they report about? Do you not think a person can gather information by speaking to individuals, researching stories via the Web and other sources and reading?

    When I write a story it is with the intent of telling the truth.

    In many instance my intent and that of Mrs. Perry is to do what we have been attempting to do in the Black Press for over two- hundred years in our a voice to the voiceless.

    The Tribune's perspective is that of Nashville's and central Tennessee's African American community just as the perspective of the Tennessean is Nashville's business and cultural elite.

    It is unfortunate the struggle of African American communities throughout our country has common threads so many African Americans know what each other faces in terms of the lack of services and institutional neglect.

    We also know and understand many of the shortcomings our communities have in general and, a majority of us know these needs and are attempting to educate our community and the community at large and, become the catalyst for positive change.

    It seems you and the Tribune will probably agree on very few issues. However, please do not blindly accept the concept that we do not have the mental capacity or the integrity to understand complex issues and make independent judgments regarding those issues as they pertain to our individual and community needs and aspirations.

    To do so is to overly underestimate and trivialize our POV and the power we have (along with our allies) to bring about 21st century progress throughout every aspect of life in our country.