Wednesday, April 28, 2010
That new blogging project I mentioned earlier
Monday, April 26, 2010
2010 Country Music Marathon photos
Sunday, April 25, 2010
North Nashville leader believes Metro can do more to prevent crime
As a social scientist, I have examined various crime reduction strategies. As a resident who has been afforded more opportunities than most of my neighbors, I have observed Nashville's approach to remedying violent crime. Suppression alone will not solve violent crime in inner-city neighborhoods already traumatized by violence and neglect. The police department's zero-tolerance approach, emblematic in its Operation Safer Street initiative, leads to over-policing, distrust and racial profiling.
An alternative to suppression that Nashville may want to consider replicating is the Measure Y initiative (www.measurey.org) in Oakland, Calif. The $20 million annual program offers a holistic approach to crime reduction. This includes the hiring of six dozen police officers, many of whom belong to specialized units dedicated to community policing and school safety instead of suppression. Additional money is allocated for fire safety, emergency service, school-based conflict resolution counselors and community interventionists (respected community activists with ties to gangs and at-risk youth) who canvass high-crime neighborhoods in order to prevent retaliation killings in the aftermath of violence.
2010 Country Music Marathon elite men's race produces first non-African winner
Columbian William Naranjo won the men's side of the 2010 Country Music Marathon after keeping pace with the leaders through Germantown. In the photos above Naranjo (#10) is in the middle of the pack at the 12 mile marker and hangs in second place approaching the 19th mile.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
2010 Country Music Marathon has its first American winner
While she trailed Ethiopian runner Serkalem Abrha (left-F1) at the 18 1/2 mile in Germantown during the women's marathon, Ilsa Paulson (right-F2) rallied to become the first American, man or woman, to win this race.
Friday, April 23, 2010
An eye opener!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Comment away -- sorry for the delay
Local union alleges that public schools director met for months w/private contractors and relied on their projections before proposing to privatize
SEIU Local 205 released a series of internal emails that reveal that administrators at Metro Nashville Public Schools have been working behind closed doors to push forward a plan to privatize custodians and groundskeepers as far back as November, 2009. The union also found that Dr. Register’s statements of a $5 million dollar cost savings to the district were based on a claim made by one of the contractors who is bidding on the project, not through a scientific cost-benefit analysis or impact study (see page 1 of Attachment, Item #3).
As a result of an information request from MNPS, union officials discovered that school administrators have been contacting and meeting in secret with representatives of GCA Services Group, based in Knoxville, with regards to outsourcing as far back as November 18, 2009, though even those emails indicate that there had been previous communications before that. Register had not mentioned any interest or inclination in privatizing these two departments until he released his budget on March 11. “Register has said that the reason he wants to outsource 700 custodial workers’ jobs is because of the economy, but he was negotiating with a contractor months before anyone even knew what the city’s revenue was,” said Doug Collier, President of SEIU Local 205, who represents support staff in Metro Schools. “Keep in mind that Register has privatized custodial services in his previous positions in Chattanooga and in North Carolina. He didn’t use the economy as his excuse then because he couldn’t. Now he could, and he has.”
Largely because of assurances by Dr. Register and School Board member Steve Glover that a savings would be seen, the Board narrowly voted to accept the budget by a vote of 5-4. “Dr. Register has not been a straight shooter with the School Board who hired him or with the public,” says Teresa West, a food service employee at MNPS. “He is claiming some kind of dire economic emergency, but now we know that he was just out to privatize our jobs.” West says that the $5 million savings that Register claims will happen from the privatization will have to be paid by taxpayers anyway since many custodians will have to go on public assistance once they lose their jobs or see their pay and benefits cut. “Because of his drive for privatization, Register has opened the district up to lawsuits since 88% of the workers affected are minorities and because GCA may have been given an unfair advantage in the bidding process.”
GCA Services, the company that school administrators were in contact with, is expected to bid on the custodial and groundskeeping contracts since their representatives were present at a March 26 question and answer session for prospective contractors. The bidding period on the contracts close this Friday.
Mayor Dean has yet to present his schools budget to the Metro Council and he has not taken a position on whether or not he will support the School Board’s proposal to outsource nearly 700 custodians and groundskeepers. He has until May 1 to present his version of the budget to the Council.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Nashville's new convention center debt a "leap of faith"
With convention center attendance down nationwide -- a 30 percent decline in Las Vegas and 28 percent in Orlando, Florida, two of the largest convention markets in the U.S. -- Nashville’s taxpayers may wind up paying part of the cost if use of the new center falls short, said Heywood Sanders, professor of public administration at the University of Texas in San Antonio, who has studied convention centers.
“It’s quite a leap of faith,” said Sanders, who’s writing a book on convention center financing. “It’s a pretty large chunk of debt.”
The city is selling in four parts, with about $605 million as taxable Build America Bonds, which come with a 35 percent subsidy from the U.S. government under economic stimulus legislation passed last year by Congress.
The average yield on Build America securities fell 6 basis points to a three-week low of 6.17 percent yesterday, according to the Wells Fargo Build America Bond Index. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
What happens to our rights in public-private parks?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
North Nashville Community Plan: Salemtown Scenarios, Part I
Where are the existing parks in your community? Do the existing parks in the neighborhood meet your needs? If yes, how do they meet your needs? If they do not meet your needs how can it be improved to do so? Open space does not always have to be a park. If other open space exists or is needed what type of open space would it be and where would it be located?The existing parks in Salemtown include Morgan Park and the Downtown Connector Greenway. The greenway system meets the pedestrian and biking needs of the community well. It is prone to some abuse by vehicular traffic as I have seen cars parked on walking paths at Morgan Park for athletic practices and on the Cumberland River for people who fish. Also, trash is dumped at some spots along the river, which calls for both surveillance and receptacles. Finally, there were some young trees planted along the connector during the drought a couple of years ago that were not watered in a way to match the harsh weather. They have been taken out and should be replaced.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Metro Public Schools privatization wall of shame
- JoAnn Brannon
- David Fox
- Steve Glover
- Gracie Porter
- Kay Simmons
Those board members voting against selling out school support staffs included Sharon Gentry, Karen Johnson, Ed Kindall, and Mark North. They all deserve our thanks for supporting the dedicated service staffs that play an important role in the daily functioning of our schools. Special kudos to my own representative, Ms. Gentry, who was not endorsed by SEIU in the last election, but who nonetheless voted with them and with the parents of children who are concerned about the repercussions of privatizing public schools.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A teachable moment of silence in a Metro Nashville Public School
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
North End neighborhood leaders meet to discuss bringing baseball back to Sulphur Dell
Start Date/Time: Saturday April 17, 2010 12:00 PM Central Time
Subject/Purpose: Meeting about Sulphur Dell Ballpark
Duration: approximately 1 hour
Location: Farmer's Market in the Food Court area ....
A message from the organizer:
The best time for the majority is next Saturday at 12pm in the food court area at the Farmer's Market. Let's plan on gathering in the North/East corner of the food court. If you can't make it, we'll send out some notes to everyone. Thanks!
No pleasant surprises from MDHA during my blogging break
We have a community meeting with MDHA tomorrow night at 6:30 announced as a kind of closure meeting in spite of the loose ends. I'm not feeling good that MDHA will finish this strong.
A worthy endeavor that needs your help
Lowell Dempsey at buildthedream.org e-mailed and asked me to remind readers that April is the 42nd anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. One way to memorialize his noble life and tragic death is to help Build the Dream meet its goal of building a national monument in Washington DC. The foundation is only $14 million short of its $120 million goal, and they plan to dedicate the memorial in 2011. Please do what you can to help Build the Dream. Donate and/or promote through social media. Thanks.
I have also donated ad space in the right-hand column of Enclave to the Build the Dream effort. If you cannot respond immediately, you can come back to Enclave in the future and click on the Build the Dream ad to help the cause.
UPDATE (2012): What appeared a worthwhile endeavor is marred by flaws in design and in regressive working conditions for Chinese laborers.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Some North End neighborhood associations organizing for Sulphur Dell location for Sounds stadium
HGI voted to support building a stadium at Sulphur Dell on April 5. Hope Gardens president Jason Powell says he has brought in some "champions" to the stadium cause (which he says will take North Nashville "to the next level") after sending out e-mails to "all neighborhood leaders in the area."
The Salemtown Neighbors Neighborhood Association discussed the initiative recently and responded favorably, but with concerns about financing, vehicular traffic impact, and sustainable design. SNNA expressed interest in participating in the process, but stopped short of expressing the enthusiasm of others along the Jefferson Street corridor.
Google fiber for communities: does Nashville have a chance?
CRIME ALERT: Crime back in Salemtown as weather warms
we just arrested two of three that we feel have been a big part of the issues/robberies, and assaults/Muggings and we have identified a third that got away. (We believe they and their group of friends are responsible for most of these recent issues) We caught them almost in the act and in that area, from a good profile of their descriptions and attention to locations they impacted over the last 3-4 weeks. We are doing photo line ups on other cases before we give out details. The elderly lady had talked to the subject earlier in the day at her door, when he knocked and asked her some questions. We may be able to give out some helpful tips at the next meeting how to avoid some of these issues (and again remind folks to call in suspicious persons for us to talk to etc.). This suspect was not arrested, but had gathered items to take from the residence before running off when he realized he had been detected by the home owner. We took prints and are hopeful they will return with some suspect information. Please remember that I blast out details for assistance to our partners to help us get ahead of patterns we see or forecast and try to balance creating an over reaction or panic. I will gather some detailed data, but feel confident that your area, even with the last 3 weeks of activity is lower in crime issues than in the past several years; and will even better with our recent arrest and efforts down the road.