The Metro Council's fairgrounds work session is set for Saturday. And there's gonna be donuts and everything:
“I can’t really say that the level of rancor is at an all-time high,” Jameson told The City Paper. “Certainly, we’re not screaming at each other on the floor. But there is a level of contempt between council members that I’ve not seen before. And there are quite clearly individual council members and various factions that simply aren’t talking to each other at all.” The meeting comes 10 days before the council is set to consider on a crucial second of three votes a bill that would move forward with the demolition of the fairgrounds racetrack. The council seems split on the ordinance, which has the backing of Mayor Karl Dean and his administration. In the background, there’s a competing bill filed by Councilman Duane Dominy that would keep the status quo at the fairgrounds. Dominy’s bill has been deferred. Former Green Hills Councilman Jim Shulman, who helped play facilitator during similar council work sessions in the past, will serve as moderator for the meeting. Shulman said he hasn’t set a formal agenda for the work session. “I was simply asked to moderate a discussion regarding the fairgrounds,” Shulman said. “I don’t have an opinion on it. Obviously, I don’t have a vote on it. From what I understand, obviously it’s a very hot topic among the council. The people who asked me to do it simply want to have a good, general informal discussion.”
Jan 7, 2011 7:30 AM
The Metro Council is set to consider a bill - backed by the CVB and sponsored by Mike Jameson - which will limit the use of personal amplification - think bullhorns - on downtown thoroughfares - an effort to muffle the accusations by street preachers that various tourists are Whores of Babylon and what not. Unfortunately, of course, such a law could have some unintended consequences:
“We understand and support free speech,” Spyridon said. “But when we’ve worked for decades and spent millions to create major events and draw people in for economic development, there’s got to be some sense of reason within the permitted areas that sure, if someone wants to protest, that’s fine, but if they want to try to ‘out-noise’ the event, then where are the rights for the event holders?” ... Because Metro’s downtown noise ordinance exempts live music from bars, Cooper raised an important legal issue, pointing out that it “would be difficult to compete with the bar noise if you were not allowed to have a microphone or a megaphone.” Cooper said he’s still unsure how the bill might be amended moving forward. Already, a handful of skeptics have chimed in to council members to express their concern about the bill. Sarah Passino, who teaches English at Vanderbilt University, said she worries that the ordinance’s application to public right-of-ways would include the public park outside the Metro Courthouse, where demonstrators often meet prior to council meetings. “I’m concerned that our public spaces are being curtained off to the extent that names like ‘public plaza’ are becoming a misnomer,” Passino told The City Paper.
Jan 3, 2011 7:10 AM
Who will succeed Jamie Hollin? The fellas at In Sesh say Hollin backer Wes Aull and Nashville Pride owner Scott Davis are likely. During the recall of Pam Murray, the Pride had an article which began thusly (courtesy J-Gar's Nov. 2009 City Paper debut):
Underscoring the cultural and racial demarcation in the district was an Aug. 28 story about the political contest in Nashville Pride newspaper. “Carpet (bagger) bugs invade Metro District 5,” the headline read. “There has been an infestation of Carpet (bagger) bugs (CBB) in the 5th Council District,” the story began. “This infestation was spotted by Councilor Pam Murray who mentioned that these bugs may be ‘coming from the rotting remains of opponents she defeated in the last two Council elections,’ ” it continued.
Dec 29, 2010 8:00 AM
Jamie Hollin is only spending two years on the Metro Council:
The 36-year-old attorney said Tuesday he won’t run for re-election next year and doesn’t aspire to higher office. Hollin led the community effort called “We the People,” which worked to force Murray out of office. The group claimed Murray was unresponsive to community concerns and criticized her support for an apartment development, which many neighbors opposed. “I never anticipated being a candidate for office anyway,” Hollin said. “The reason I got involved to the level I did was because of things going on, taking power away from the people. The reason I wanted to get involved was to demonstrate for citizens the power in government indeed lies with the people.”
Dec 28, 2010 12:42 PM
Shock! The Metro Council is apparently factional:
In the end, Tuesday turned into just another strange chapter in the ongoing fight by some to save the 117-acre fairgrounds and racetrack. During the process, one council member questioned the council’s lack of civility in discussing the fairgrounds issue, and is eyeing a special work session to help facilitate some genuine discussion. Those concerns, and the call for a casual work session on a future Saturday, came from Councilman Mike Jameson, who said he’s sensing “antagonisms and animosities” right now in a way he’s never seen during seven-plus years on the council. “We are separating into camps,” Jameson told his council colleagues. “We are talking past each other.” Jameson said he envisions the fairgrounds work session to be a “roundtable discussion that is public, transparent,” allowing council members to sit “in jeans and slacks” to talk respectfully about the issue at hand. The source of the commotion Tuesday was a bill proposed by the council Budget and Finance Committee chair Megan Barry that would keep the state fair and expo center at the fairgrounds for one more year, but demolish the property’s racetrack to make way for a 40-acre park. The bill, co-sponsored by eight other council members, comes as Mayor Karl Dean pulled back on plans earlier this month to immediately pull the plug on the fairgrounds. Barry’s bill came before the council Tuesday on the first of three votes. Under normal council procedures, bills on first reading unanimously pass without discussion. But Councilman Duane Dominy, who supports the preservation of the fairgrounds and racetrack, pulled the bill separately and later called for a surprise public hearing on the issue. It was a tactic the council’s coalition of fairgrounds supporters worked to their advantage just last month. Dominy’s move prompted At-large Councilman Ronnie Steine, a stickler for adhering to council rules, to pull all bills on first reading, giving the evening an especially unusual feel.
Dec 22, 2010 8:23 AM
The bill to rescind the Rose Park deal was yanked:
The move came at the request of Metro Councilman Mike Jameson, who along with fellow East Nashville Councilman Jamie Hollin, sponsored the ordinance in light of the school’s controversial recent dismissal of gay women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe. Metro should contract with institutions that share the same nondiscrimination policy, sponsors had said in proposing the bill. Speaking before the council, Jameson cited conversations with colleagues who were worried about the “collateral damage” attached to the ordinance, presumably referring to the loss of $7 million in park renovations that Belmont plans to pursue. Jameson also suggested the proposal has perhaps “already had its desired effect,” alluding to Mayor Karl Dean’s directive last week to apply Metro’s nondiscrimination policy to the city’s autonomous board and authorities. Jameson said the indefinite deferral request was made “to give Belmont what I think is the opportunity here and encouragement to eventually do the right thing. “They’re obviously exploring that with great endeavor,” he added. “I think the trick at this point is to prevent this from happening again.”
Dec 22, 2010 7:45 AM
Several members of Metro Council are pushing back on a proposal by Mayor Karl Dean's office to change the way the city's economic development grants are administered. Among other things, the mayor's plan would channel money that is now being administered by the IDB through his office. As for the Council's questions, Finance Director Rich Riebeling says things haven't been explained as well as they could be.
“It all has to come to the council for approval,” he said. “I mean, read the bill. It’s real simple. [The bill] doesn’t say that the mayor can decide to give money to people. It says that we come up with a recommendation, and it comes to the council for approval. The mayor has a role. The council has a role. That’s all it does.”
Dec 21, 2010 10:54 AM
More on the non-discrimination front from Metro:
Metro Council members Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson said Thursday they plan to file a bill that would require third-party vendors that contract with Metro to have nondiscrimination employment policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s the latest council proposal spurred on by Belmont University’s controversial dismissal of gay women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, who her supporters say was fired after school officials discovered she plans to have a baby with her same-sex partner.
Dec 16, 2010 1:40 PM
The BCS title game has forced a change on the fairgrounds:
College football’s Bowl Championship Series title game between Auburn and Oregon has forced the Metro Council to change the date of an upcoming public hearing on the future of the fairgrounds. The joint committee hearing, organized by the council’s Budget and Finance, and Codes, Fair and Farmers Market committees, had originally been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 10. But with college football fans expected to tune in for the sport’s biggest event that night, the council has changed the public hearing time and date to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 13. The public hearing will take place in the council chambers inside the Metro Courthouse.
Dec 16, 2010 9:20 AM