Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who ten days ago admitted to carrying on a two year long extramarital affair with her Metro Nashville police officer bodyguard, Sgt. Rob Forrest, showed on Thursday that she wants every voter in Nashville/Davidson County to know that she continues to support her much maligned $9 billion transit plan.
With no apparent sense of irony, Mayor Barry promoted her appearance at a Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce event Thursday in a tweet later in the day in which she said, in part, that her transit plan “is about connecting people.”
“Today I spoke at the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce about your transit plan, which will be on the ballot May 1 (early voting starts April 11), and all the benefits it will create,” she wrote, adding, “Transit is about connecting people to what they need jobs, schools, health care and much more.”
Today I spoke to the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce about our transit plan, which will be on the ballot May 1 (early voting starts April 11), and all the benefits it will create. Transit is about connecting people to what they need jobs, schools, health care and much more pic.twitter.com/Wcn93KYxmx
— Megan Barry (@MayorMeganBarry) February 8, 2018
Barry’s lack of self-awareness in her choice of words to promote the expensive transit plan immediately caught the attention of her critics.
One veteran Tennessee Republican political operative told The Tennessee Star “Mayor Barry has apparently confused her transit plan with Tinder.”
As of this writing, the Mayor’s tweet has garnered relatively little attention, with only 61 “likes,” 6 retweets, and 23 replies, but many of the comments were scathing.
You should have spoke to him about you resigning for your taxpayer-funded extramarital affair and the job you created for your lovers daughter on the taxpayers dime
— The Wrecker (@dptanking) February 8, 2018
Megan knows all about connecting people to jobs… pic.twitter.com/Q6bnHXEuOU
— 21 (@TheMaverick21) February 8, 2018
Don't forget the kid got a 40% raise after 12 months
— Matthew Neal (@bigmtsugolf) February 8, 2018
Isn't that what MTA Buses do everyday for years? It doesn't cost $9 gazillion dollars…
— MARKO (@69rszmarko) February 8, 2018
You’re a pro at “connecting.” Can we have our money back?
— Legal Zingers (@SloanPark) February 8, 2018
Despite the firestorm surrounding revelations of an illicit affair with a top staffer in recent days, Mayor Megan Barry’s $9 billion transit plan remains on the ballot. Late Wednesday, the Metro City Council approved the plan for a ballot referendum on May 1.
The Mayor’s Office is seeking to build on the perceived momentum by offering up subject matter experts to go speak at events to ‘inform’ the electorate of all the advantages the transit plan has to offer.
Last week, Vanderbilt University announced their endorsement for Mayor Barry’s transit plan and the subsequent formation, funding, and launch of a 501(c)(4) called, “Creating a More Mobile Community” aimed at promoting the proposal.
However, it’s far from smooth sailing, since most transportation experts have panned Mayor Barry’s expensive plan.
As The Tennessee Star reported, the plan’s hefty price tag comes with tax increases opponent say will raise Nashville’s sales tax to tie with the highest in the nation:
From apparel to zip-up kitchen bags, merchandise sold in Nashville would bear some of the highest sales tax in the nation if the backers of the city’s proposed light rail system have their way, a PAC says.
NoTax4Tracks is the PAC opposing the May 1 referendum in Nashville/Davidson County on a proposed increase in sales and hotel taxes. The organization issued a press release over the weekend criticizing Mayor Megan Barry’s plan to raise the state-city sales tax to 10.25 percent to help finance the transit plan.
The PAC says 10.25 percent would give Nashville the highest sales tax in the nation. According to the Tax Foundation, two cities currently are tied for the dubious honor of highest sales tax, and both have rates of 10.25 percent: Long Beach, California, and Chicago. Nashville would tie for the top spot in the nation’s most expensive cities in which to shop. Nashville is currently tied in ninth place on the Tax Foundation’s sales tax list.
The city’s sales tax would increase by 0.5 percent from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent, NoTax4Tracks says on its website. By 2023 the tax will have increased to 10.25 percent.
“Whether it’s a senior living off of social security and/or pensions, or someone who’s livelihood depends on disability payments, the transit plan, if passed, would be devastating,” the NoTax4Tracks press release says.
David Fox recently told The Tennessee Star, “I think that’s a very punitive approach for the middle class and lower-income.”
Given the political turmoil Mayor Barry’s admission of an extramarital affair with her bodyguard has created; the daily new unanswered questions about her conduct; the uncertainty about whether she will be able to continue to operate effectively as mayor; the recent call by pastor Enoch Fuzz for her to resign; and the fact that the mayor has become a walking catalog of ethical violations which has prompted three separate investigations into her conduct; opponents of the transit plan are delighted she continues to associate herself so closely to it.