Friday, March 25, 2011

Casting the net more widely on the census changes proposed in Metro Planning's "Alternative A"

A round-up of reactions to the first round of proposed changes to Nashville's council & school board districts, which were introduced a couple of days ago:
  • According to one Nashville Neighborhoods elist report, Metro Planning promises changes to "Alternative A" even though next week they will be introducing an "Alternative B"
  • I have posted the spreadsheet of Alt A district numbers with population and race/ethnic stats that a Nashville Neighborhoods elist member obtained
  • One of the oldest neighborhood associations, Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, already wrote a letter to Planning opposing Alt A saying that having 2 council members would disrupt their work. (But wouldn't having 2 CMs give Belmont-Hillsboro twice as much influence as say Salemtown, which would only have 1 under Alt A? I do not understand the concern with the inconvenience, when the payoff might be more).
  • Likewise, CM Anna Page erroneously refers to new council lines "dividing neighborhoods" in her current district. This is backward thinking. Council lines do not determine neighborhood boundaries. Neighborhoods define their boundaries. Or perhaps CM Page could show us how neighborhoods that are currently divided by existing district lines are disadvantaged by them (which would open a whole new can of worms about the disadvantaged in this council term).
  • Blogger Mr. Pink at the Nashville Scene worries about either the logic or the aesthetics of putting one side of Hillsboro Village in one district and one side in another. But he ignores the fact that the main campus of Vanderbilt currently sits in one district while the university's residential college campus at Peabody right across the street sits in another with no apparent ill effects.
  • Ever consumed with beauty-contest elections one local party insider/long-time Dean shill is hind-sighting and second-guessing the decisions of council candidates to focus on existing district boundaries in their run for office. Read at your own risk: grooming candidates for the Democrats often becomes more important than weightier matters of politics affecting our everyday lives.
  • Alt A would put the State Fairgrounds in a different district than the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Currently, both are in the same district and the most vocal opponents of the Fairgrounds seem to come from that neighborhood.
  • CM Erica Gilmore, whose run for re-election could be substantially affected by Alt A is "still processing" the proposal.


  1. I may be blocked from following you on twitter, but at least I'm not blocked from your heart.

  2. My big concern would be the Council looking to Fast Track this legislation, suspending the rules of the Charter.
    The council will try to take its three votes on redistricting on April 5, 7 and 12 if the planning commission approves new lines next Thursday, Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors wrote in a letter to council members today. Does this mean a public hearing would be held on the 7th?
    Amazing how legislation can be fast tracked when it directly effect the future employment of Council Members.
    It seems to me, the responsible way to handle this issue would be to extend the May 19th cut off to May 31st, and allow the process to follow normal channels. This still gives council candidates over two months to campaign.
    If a candidate can't get the 25 required signatures to qualify for the race in 2-3 weeks time, do they need to run?
    It is my understanding, If re-districting is not approved by council, the planned new district line alternatives are placed on a referendum and voted on by the citizens. I see this as a viable alternative.

    Suspending the rules of the charter to rush this thru sets a dangerous precedent. What will be the next RUSH job to be fired thru council?
    As many have said, Haste makes waste!

  3. Update: The City Council is not required to suspend the rules. Vice Mayor Neighbors, working with the Mayors administration, has exercised her power in calling a special meeting of the council to fast track legislation. The administration is making this push. Although it will most likely be spun to make the council look bad.

    Looking at the redrawn districts, It would appear the council members having voted against the administration are the districts most redrawn.
    The Fiscal conservative and outspoken council members appear to be targeted for destruction under the guidelines of Alternative "A"

    A few incumbent council members — including Karen Bennett, Erica Gilmore, Duane Dominy, Robert Duvall, and Anna Page — would lose a substantial number of their current constituent base and enter new political terrain with the new lines. But Bernhardt has said his department isn’t taking into consideration the addresses of sitting council members.
    It would appear, Mr. Bernhardt and his department have done exactly opposite of what he claims.

  4. Regarding the Belmont-Hillsboro split:

    I sorta like it.

    The folks who are upset probably don't like the fact that they'll have to work (or think) twice as hard.

  5. Big fan, but you are erroneous here and not CM Page. Over the last 5 years the Flatrock Heritage Foundation, which is made up of Woodbine,Glencliff, and Radnor, have worked diligently with the sitting CM to improve this area. Ms Page in particular has been instrumental in getting us over any wall we hit. The new lines put all three neighborhoods in different districts. When you say, you don't see how that's a bad thing, I'm a little shocked. you've been around long enough and know how it works. CM's do not interfere in each other's districts. So its entirely possible to have three different CM's with 3 different agenda's. I'm particularly worried about my neighborhood, Woodbine. Our new district would be all the way to Belmont Blvd. We both know where the CM for that district is coming from. Are they going to care when another tire store opens on Nolensville Rd? This redistricting would also cause the rewriting of the Foundation By Laws. To say the least we have concerns and are meeting on Tuesday at Coleman Center at 6 to discuss those concerns.Thanks for all you do, Your coverage on the Fairgrounds was invaluable.