Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Wrath of Gail Kerr

After a few months of duress for being coached by PR pros on the Metro dime and writing rah-rah fluff for Mayor Dean's convention center plans, Gail Kerr finally lets loose on the shamefully small number of council members who have dared to ask critical questions.
There are five or six council members who will obviously vote against it. Heck, they've been voting against it since day one, and anything else Dean proposes. They bad-mouth the plan and the mayor and everyone who supports it.
They sound exactly like the council members who fought the downtown arena, library, and bringing the Tennessee Titans here and building them a stadium.
The current Always-Anti complaint is that Dean presented this piecemeal, so that too much has been done to stop it now. They call it the cart-before-the-horse.
But if Dean had brought the entire convention center package to them at the first of this year, sans the actual financing, they would have bellyached about that, too.
Notice that Ms. Kerr mentions no names in her blind bombardment of those who didn't simply go along, but she must be referring to at least a couple of council members who are consistently above reproach: Mike Jameson and Emily Evans. Too bad Ms. Kerr lacks the fortitude to call them out by name and explain to her readers exactly how she believes they are mistaken. Instead, she trots out the same predictable screed we read over and over in her columns against the unnamed who would have opposed every attempt to rebuild downtown into a developers' and entertainers' dream at any expense to Metro taxpayers or to livable urban neighborhoods.

Understandably Gail Kerr is apoplectic. She's caught fire for her penned pandering to the powers-that-be. But that is still no excuse for conveniently ignoring facts. It's easy to pimp the Titans bandwagon now that they've overcome 0-6 impressively even as she fails to mention that funds are drained from our Metro Water Services to subsidize the team. As if the cost is not worth mention. She also should have pointed out that one convention center opponent, Emily Evans, has not opposed Karl Dean on everything sports-and-entertainment-growth-related. As if the truth is inconvenient. To the chagrin of some of us, Ms. Evans supported the Mayor's plan to shore up the flagging fortunes of the local pro hockey team.

But Gail Kerr rarely lets facts stand in the way of her mission to make pro journalism the lap dog of government fiat. Instead, she channels Spiro Agnew, as if any honest questioning or loyal opponents are "nattering nabobs of negativism" on every issue at every moment. She's behaving badly. It's bound to be laziness, arrogance, or just plain flunkiness. Rather than producing an actual argument against the opponents on this issue, she apparently intends to see the project through in spite of the embarrassment she causes herself over it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reading Gail Kerr so we don't have to.

    Not only is this a generally mean spirited column, I don't understand the purpose of it. "There are five or six council members who will obviously vote against it." Is this North Korea, does Dear Leader need 100% support? Reasonable people can disagree. Why is it necessary to quash all opposition.

    The basic premise of the column is correct, this is almost certain to pass by a wide margin. Much of the council seems unwilling or unable to even question this Mayor's office, much less oppose it. When the Mayor first presented this proposal, I said it would take a political or financial earthquake to stop it. Well we've had the financial earthquake and they've still managed to push it forward.

    There is little political risk in supporting this. The financing is set up in such a way that should problems occur, they will occur after the the current administration and most of the Council have left office. Plus, who's going to ask questions. Most of the media are either openly supporting the project or disinterested. Should anyone ever be questioned about any problems, I can already tell you what their answer will be: "We studied this carefully, but nobody could have predicted _______"

    On the other hand, opposing the plan does carry risk. Anyone who questions the wisdom of this project is painted as simply anti-change, anti-tourism, anti Nashville, anti-Dean or (more and more lately) tools of the evil Gaylord. Along the way, proponents have created enough strawmen, red herrings and bandwagons to fill the current convention center.

    I don't know if the MCC will succeed or fail. I think its a bad idea to tie up nearly all of our tourism taxes to service a small minority of our tourists. I don't think the risks are equal to the rewards.

    This will almost certainly pass by a wide margin, but I am also really glad there are people willing to ask questions. I hope we get real answers.