Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcasting live from WHO studios in Des Moines, Iowa – host Leahy joined Metro councilman, Steve Glover, and all-star panelist Crom Carmichael on the line in Nashville to discuss current attacks on Mayor Cooper’s decision to keep his campaign promise of remaining fiscally responsible.
During the third hour, the men questioned the current legal battle over the use of the Nashville Fairgrounds for a major league soccer team who’s ‘unfriendly’ style has ruffled Nashville’s political feathers by attacking the mayor. The men agreed that Nissan Stadium would be a great place as a major league soccer venue and don’t see any reason why taxpayers should fund another location when one already exists.
Leahy: Steve, I want to talk about some local issues. The big news, I follow with great interest is Mayor Cooper standing tough against the efforts by and very aggressive and unfriendly by the ownership of the new major league soccer team here in Nashville. They want him to go ahead and OK building the stadium on the fairgrounds that’s got all sorts of legal issues. But he’s not budging so far. What do you make of it Steve?
Glover: So I’m going to stay in the middle lane on this because the mayor’s negotiating this. I don’t want to interfere with him but what I will say is that he is simply doing what he promised he was going to do. He’s going to start cutting expenses. He’s going to start watching our pocketbooks and do the right things for the city.
Right now, I think the infrastructure piece is what’s driving him crazy. Now, I don’t know that for a fact. I haven’t spoken to him but I do have a meeting with him this week and we’ll talk about that. And certainly, it’s driving me crazy. Even when I go back to the Sounds Stadium, we spent millions and millions more than we were told.
So in my opinion, he’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do. I’m kind of sitting back in the background. Of course, I’m letting my opinion be known that we never should have done it. There is a lawsuit happening right now. And until that’s decided, I really don’t think we need to proceed because the problem is, once those bulldozers start hitting, it’s game over.
And then we’re committed to perhaps, I don’t know how many more millions of dollars. Now I know the team has offered 19 million more. I don’t know if that’s even close to what the additional costs would be for the infrastructure pieces.
Leahy: My question for Crom on this one is, I have no idea why somehow it’s the responsibility of the city of Nashville, to pay or help pay for this private soccer stadium when to me it seems like Nissan Stadium would be a great venue for our soccer team.
Carmichael: Well Nissan Stadium, I have been to soccer games at Nissan Stadium. So, Nissan Stadium certainly would be a very good venue for the team to start building a fan base. I enjoyed the game I watched there. It was a few years ago. But it was the USA versus an international team.
Leahy: So Steve Glover, metro council member-at-large, I noticed that Mayor Cooper went up to New York City to talk to the major league soccer commissioner and the ownership group. They couldn’t cut a deal. He’s flying back to Nashville. As he’s in the airplane, the ownership of the Nashville team attacks him and says, well we’re not going to get a bid.
They would not have given us a franchise had we not committed to having a new stadium. Well, that’s their problem. Not the city’s problem. The city is broke. Do you agree with me that there is no need to spend taxpayer dollars to build a stadium for some multi-millionaires if not more?
Glover: I believe their cash balance sheet looks a lot better than the city of Nashville does. Number one. But more importantly, when they take this stance there are so many aspects of this deal that are extremely complicated. And to make that kind of move I thought was a little uncalled for. They did that once before.
They threatened that if we don’t approve the exact plan, blah blah blah. And I use the word approve very sparingly and almost stupidly because I don’t think we ever had the authority to do it based upon the referendum from 2011. The previous mayors looked at how do we circumvent the system and circumvent the voters and how do we “put this deal together.”
Now I’m like you. It’s not a deal if it’s costing taxpayers one penny, it’s not a deal. If it costs a dollar and ten cents are coming from the city, um, I don’t know, maybe. But I don’t know. But the bottom line is, two days after the vote there was a plan b that came out and said we never had to do it. So they had a plan B from the very beginning.
Leahy: I have one question for both of you. Steve, you are there in the metro council where probably 80% of them are far-left Democrats. Is there a great big groundswell of support of interest for the upcoming Super Tuesday primary in Tennessee where Bloomberg and the various Democrat candidates coming? Is it a high level of interest or a low level of interest?
Glover: I hate to say this. I have no idea. I don’t get invited to their parties because after they asked multiple times and I’ve said no thank you, they don’t really invite me anymore. Which is OK with me because I don’t have to say no thank you. With regards to the Super Tuesday thing. Me, I’m extremely focused on who we go out and vote for.
So that’s what I’m working on. I’ll tell you what I love right now. I do enjoy the fact that the Democrats apparently have the same problem we had four years ago. A lot of people didn’t want Trump, but look at what he’s done. Now, I don’t believe the same will hold true with Bernie, but in fact, I know it won’t, nor any of the others.
All of the strides we’ve made economically, and obviously Nashville has enjoyed a lot of those. Unfortunately, the way the deals were cut, the monies were misappropriated and never got to the operating fund in the city.
I was telling Crom at the break, every time we turn around if there’s a surplus of money, they’ll find a way to spend. Even if there’s not a surplus, they’ll find a way to spend it. I’d love to answer you. I just don’t know. I’m not tuned in on that, I’m tuned in our side.
Leahy: Crom, I’ll pose the question to you. I know you have liberal friends. You talk to them and send funny emails every now and then to which they can’t respond. Are you seeing any Democratic energy on the ground in Tennessee for the March third Super Tuesday primary?
Carmicheal: I think what’s going to happen, Michael, you’re going to get through Iowa and New Hampshire. And that will be through both of those in the next eight days. Then after that, even though Nevada and South Carolina are coming up, the field will be somewhat winnowed.
And I think that even the media, the national media they talk about how important Super Tuesday is going to be but until the field gets winnowed, I don’t think anybody’s paying a whole lot of attention. You’ve got seven candidates who are going to be on the stage. And I think by the time you get to Super Tuesday that seven will be down to four at most plus Bloomberg.
Leahy: By the way, the evening of March the 3rd, Super Tuesday. Crom will be joining us and several others we’ll be broadcasting live election night with results of the Tennessee Super Tuesday at Jason Aldean’s in downtown Nashville on Broadway. Steve Glover, you were there with us when we did the mayoral election. It’s quite a studio there isn’t it?
Glover: It’s very nice.
Leahy: You’ve got a metro council meeting coming up. What’s on your agenda for local issues Steve?
Glover: We’ve got a couple of different things. Tomorrow night is going to be a huge public hearing night on zoning issues. A lot of things in that arena. We’re starting an uptick on the budget right now. There’s going to be an expedited budget season this year so I’m focusing a lot on that.
I don’t know if there’s anything controversial on the agenda for tomorrow night. There are a couple of things I’ve got questions about this afternoon in budget and finance in regards to how we are paying for it and doing this and that. Tomorrow night will be a very long night if it goes as I anticipate because of zoning issues.
Leahy: Do they pay you by the hour, Steve?
Glover: Yes. I make a penny an hour. No matter what. (Leahy chuckles)
Listen to the full third hour:
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