Monday, September 26, 2011

When banality gets confused with boldness in Metro governance

The Mayor has been droning the same 3 talking points--economic development, education, and public safety--now for a half-a-decade as his mantra for governance (or lack thereof). As if lulled to a semi-hypnotic state, the media just takes the talking points as realized, ignoring inconvenient perceptions like our neighborhoods seem actually less safe, like public schools are not getting any better and like revenues and jobs are not trickling down from big ticket items.

Nonetheless with the constant white noise dispensed from the Mayor's Office on the holy trinity, it is no wonder that senses are dulled and comprehension dumbed-down to the point that when Hizzoner deviates from idling the routine script he appears to be "bold". In fact, last week's Nashville Business Journal gushed on how "bold" Dean was in his usual pander to the upper crust:

Dean was speaking before dozens of business and community leaders at the CEO Cafe, put on by the Bank of Nashville and hosted at ESpaces in Belle Meade. The mayor acknowledged the dour national economic picture affecting Nashville and highlighted a tight municipal budget, but also pledged to continue pushing government to spur the city forward.

Dean touted the future Music City Center and existing Nashville vitality in entertainment and entrepreneurship as assets. Future economic development projects could include a range of initiatives, with advocates in various corners pushing mass transit, a new ballpark for the Nashville Sounds, an amphitheater, various revitalization projects and bigger movement in the corporate recruitment game.

Bold? Really? Dean was merely tossing some corporate red-meat, some of the same stuff the Mayor has been peddling from day one. During the summer he took a break from talking about wealth to Nashville's richest segments long enough to hold a handful of "neighborhood gatherings" during his re-election campaign. So, it might sound bold. However, now that the election is over he is right back to big capital projects in an era where Metro's basic services to neighborhoods are shrinking.

Bold? I would call that playing it safe and dancing with the people who paid his cover charge to get in.

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