Sunday, April 03, 2011

SNAP makes third unilateral move against the Fairgrounds

There they go again.

First, the South Nashville Action People organization supported Mayor Karl Dean's plan to exile the State Fairgrounds Expo's fleamarket to Hickory Hollow mall and sell off the property to private developers. After the exile scheme crashed and burned, SNAP backed the Mayor's plan to keep the fleamarket for a short time but demolish the racetrack. Then that pitch was crushed by an opposition whose scale dwarfed the handful of SNAP reps we've actually seen.

A few days ago SNAP leaders made its third unilateral attempt to dictate its terms without direct negotiation with Fairgrounds supporters in Davidson County. Yesterday I obtained a copy of the SNAP document called "Community/Neighborhood Terms for a 2011-2012 Race Track Lease," which I posted at Google Docs. Look over the document and give your feedback in the comments section.

Two issues immediately come to my attention. Both reflect the same brazenness that SNAP has shown since it first grasped at Karl Dean's ill-fated plans. One problem with the terms is that they limit all racing but one event to daytime hours. This not only ignores the principles of fair negotiation, but it denies racetrack supporters the same flexibility accorded to the Nashville Sounds or the Tennessee Titans to hold their events at different times.

The other ostensible problem with these terms is that they give a stacked State Fair board "absolute right" to modify and even terminate the lease. Hence, the SNAP proposal is a Trojan horse, which sneaks in the probability of killing the speedway with or without regard to a community-informed master plan. Even more problematic is the fact that SNAP sets itself up as an untouchable majority on an advisory committee to the State Fair board, increasing chances that the board will eventually carry out Karl Dean's plans. This document contains no checks and balances that facilitate broader community input.

I might be able to take these terms more seriously if they represented a position that SNAP was taking in an open process of negotiation. But I have yet to see SNAP leaders express an openness to negotiation. They latched on two Dean plans and they refused to consider the impact of those plans on communities in Antioch and South Nashville, on fleamarket business owners, and on the Fairgrounds preservation group. But SNAP's Colby Sledge made it clear to the Tennessean this morning that this third plan is "final" and not negotiable.

That is bad faith. That is also SNAP's MO. On those terms, SNAP's terms are DOA, if you ask me.


  1. It appears that SNAP's latest proposal is simply desperation. They have lost the war, yet want one last bloody battle. Fortunately, it's an ill-fated move on their part. Good luck to the new promoter and let's all go out and enjoy these night-time races on non- flea market weekends!

  2. The neighbor's proposal seems pretty reasonable. At least they are not saying no racing at all. Who knows what the fair board will do on Tuesday.

  3. Anon, I am going to have to disagree with you concerning the neighbors proposal.
    This is not the Nationwide or Cup series.
    The majority of the fan base works on Saturday.
    This was a factor in the Friday night program not being successful a few years back. Customer input was heavily in favor of moving the program back to Saturday night. Many fans work on Saturday and then have an evening out with the family on Saturday night.

  4. The fair board is not to be trusted. It has been packed with Dean supporters. Or in the case of Buck Dozier, favors have been made and per the emails released via the Freedom of Information Act, the dealings between Dozier and Dean are suspect.

    Ned Horton, a fair board member, lives near the fairgrounds (just behind Douglas Corner Cafe on 8th Ave.) Horton has been involved in real estate within one half mile of the fairgrounds. Dean Advisor, Jim Hester used to be employed by Horton. Ned Horton's marketing company did the web-site for Dean's election campaign. His company may still be working with Horton. Hester brought Horton and his company into the fold.

    Dean Advisor Jim Hester brought in Horton because he sides with Dean. This displays a huge amount of arrogance on the part of Jim Hester AND Karl Dean (Dean should have vetted the relationship between Hester and Horton. And perhaps, Hester did not disclose his previous relationship with Horton, to Dean).

    More importantly, Horton was paid money by Dean for the campaign web-site. And now, he has been "rewarded" with a seat on the fair board committee.

    Council-at-Large person, Megan Barry is aware of this conflict of interest. This is a major, ethical violation. Mrs. Barry had the chance to address this issue. But she did not.

    Megan Barry is a culprit in this situation. She is not to be trusted. She has proved her mettle. And she has little.

    Therefore, Megan Barry should be charged with unethical conduct by Metro Council, or any bodies that oversee such matters.

    Any other council members who are complicit in the matter of Horton being appointed to the fair board should also be charged.

    My comments may seem strong, but they are not far-fetched. I have known Barry and Hester for over 15 years.

    I am willing to put aside friendship and speak my mind with regards to their behavioir.

    My fellow Nashvillians are more important to me than my relationships with Mrs. Barry and Mr. Hester.

  5. I have always wanted to say with regard to SNAP:

    If SNAP were primarily a group of the black citizens who have lived around the fairgrounds for decades, would Dean give a damn?

  6. Boyer, I agree with you 100%..well said and so true. I think you should consider running for council at large. Let's get rid of the snippity snips who think they are better than those of us who like racing. They are child like in behavior when they don't get their way and they have the nerve to point fingers at us. I'm sick and tired of paying them to play games....!!