The day after Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr raged
against CM Emily Evans for being uppity and doing what she was elected to do--ask critical questions on policies affecting voters--a supporter of Mayor Karl Dean's Fairgrounds redevelopment plan, Nancy McCune responded emphatically unimpressed with an outpouring of support for Evans on the Nashville neighborhood leaders elist. Ms. McCune insisted in no uncertain terms that she had "plural" interactions with CM Evans in the past and that she believes that CM Evans is "egocentric, close-minded and extremely negative."
Today Ms. McCune took her opinion of the District 23 Metro Council Member to a new level. She herself appears in a Tennessean story
on her filed formal complaint to the Metro Clerk that she heard CM Evans tell Bells Bend supporter of race track demolition, Sumter Camp, that she did not want him to speak at last Tuesday's public hearing on proposed demolition. Ms. McCune told reporter Michael Cass:
“I was simply appalled by the audacity that this woman would step through the door and say what she did,” McCune said. “Her tone was threatening.”
It is fairly clear from Ms. McCune's December elist comments that her opinions of Emily Evans were formed and conclusive before the Tuesday night meeting, so it is entirely reasonable to ask whether her strong opinions that CM Evans is close-minded and negative might have influenced her interpretation of a threat to Mr. Camp.
And an affirmative answer to that question becomes plausible given that Mr. Camp himself denied those allegations in an interview with Cass:
Camp said Evans “was just surprised to see me there.”
“She said, ‘What are you doing in this line?’ ” Camp said. “Since we hadn’t talked, she wasn’t sure where I was coming from. … It certainly wasn’t anything that was going to dissuade me from speaking or that I took offense at. Emily’s very bright and she’s very passionate, and that’s usually a good thing.”
Is a charge of intimidation plausible when the alleged victim expresses seeming warmth and no fear? It may be anecdotal for me to say it, but in no instance have I ever witnessed CM Evans act in the way that Ms. McCune describes, and like her I have observed the CM on "plural" occasions. I would honestly be shocked and a little suspicious if Metro Legal finds anything to make of this complaint, given Mr. Camp's comments.
One other thing to consider before taking this formal complaint as gospel is that Ms. McCune has made troubling statements about others before. She got into a tit-for-tat with Fairgrounds preservationist Lisa Leeds on a June 30, 2010 City Paper comment board
, during which she referred to those who opposed demolition of the Fairgrounds as "knuckle-draggers." Consequently, the administrator of the neighborhoods elist informed members that he had "moderated" her, meaning that he temporarily blocked her comments for review before posting so to prevent the same personal attacks on the list (he revealed that Ms. Leeds had previously been so "moderated").
The upshot to that drama: the elist administrator told the membership that his concern was affirmed after Ms. McCune's husband sent her previously blocked comment that judged preservationists "myopic" to the elist anyway.
Finally, take a look at the recently released Metro e-mails on the Fairgrounds. An August 2010 e-mail from Ms. McCune to the Mayor's Office accuses Fairgrounds preservationists of "accosting" her (p. 24
). The State Fair Director replied to the Mayor's Office that vendors were allowed to invite the preservationists and later that--under observation by Fairgrounds staff--the preservationists were found to be breaking no rules in asking people to sign petitions.
Am I the only person who sees a pattern of statements against demolition opponents that are exaggerated and overwrought? Shouldn't they give us pause before taking seriously the already tenuous and rather improbable charges that Ms. McCune leveled at CM Evans?
If anyone is willing to put their actual identity by their comments has any experience with CM Evans to substantiate Ms. McCune's allegations, then by all means comment away. But I will be strictly screening anonymous comments on this post, because some influential sources around town, whom the news media will not name, seem out to cut the council member off at her knees. I would not put it past them to make hay out of these wild accusations.
UPDATE: a commenter at the Tennessean claims to have been present for the exchange and corroborates Sumter Camp's denial to the paper that the exchange was unfriendly:
As it turns out, McCune has no idea what she’s talking about. I was just outside the council chambers when Emily Evans walked through. I didn’t pay any attention to what she said to Mr. Camp, but from the way he responded to her, it seemed that he was a friend of hers. It doesn’t surprise me that McCune would make accusations without knowing what she was taking about. It’s nice that that Mr. Camp was so easy to find, and explained what the conversation was about.