I have been receiving a LOT of e-mails about the Convention Center. I want to tell you that after a lot of consideration and information gathering I am leaning toward voting for the Convention Center. This project was begun 10 years ago. The tourist taxes that were approved then has been collected and that is what has been paying for the projects that have been ongoing toward the building of the new center. These taxes by law can only go toward a new convention center. Because of the unemployment rate and cheaper material costs, I feel that now is the time for this center to be built. It will create 2500 - 3000 jobs while the building is going on and approximately 1500 jobs after completion. I have heard a lot about the convention business being in a downward spiral and I agree to a point. I also believe that the only way to get out of this recession that we are in is to build our way out. I have faith in our city and I know that we are in a special place for the tourist industry. People want to come here not only for the music but for the business as well. Some of the arguments that I am hearing I heard 23 years ago when we built our present convention center. It was too small then and it is still too small. There is no room to expand other than up and it would be too expensive to do that. We are better off as a city to lease that building to the Medical Mart and let them pay for the expansion. I personally believe that with the Medical Mart and the convention center there will be a hotel built by a private developer. I do not believe that the city of Nashville should be in the hotel business. Unless we can compete with other cities for the larger conventions, and they are still being held, we cannot expect to gain more tax money in the form of sales taxes. I have heard from 16 Labor Unions, 15 are for the convention center and 1 is against it. I am for putting our people back to work, i.e.: more work, more taxes paid, more money for the government to work with. As most of you know, I was a firefighter for 40 years, 2 years I worked on Rolling Mill Hill with the Public Works Dept. I know what it is like to have to work for a living and I know how hard these people work. I feel that it is my job to represent all of the 20th District when I make these decisions, some of them I don't like to have to vote for but I have to do what I feel is right. If I can help provide jobs for the unemployed that is what I will do.Any thoughts from Baker's constituents or union members out there?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
From CM Buddy Baker's latest newsletter to District 20 constituents: