Live from music row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – host Leahy was joined by all-star panelist and Metro Councilman Steve Glover on the newsmakers line.
During the top of the third hour, the councilman gave his take on how he thought the city of Nashville may have made drastic decisions without thoroughly thinking through the consequences. He suggested that the city needs to look at the economic impact of all the things that have occurred to us over the last two to three weeks as our number one priority.
Leahy: We are joined by our very good friend, Steve Glover who is our metro councilman at-large. And we are talking about the economic consequences of the decision by Mayor John Cooper to shut down bars all across Davidson County.
Now just for the record, I think this is the correct public health decision. I think we are going to see everything shut down in the country for the next 14 days. Everything but gas stations, groceries, and pharmacies probably. I think this is coming this week sometime.
But Steve Glover points out something very important. What about the people who work at these bars? They need to make their payments and if they don’t have money they are not going to be able to make their payments. What is the duty of the city which is shutting them down? Steve, what is your thought on that?
Glover: Well, I mean I always have I guess and an interesting way of making certain people mad because I think we should talk about every aspect of an issue before we make a final decision. I can’t sit here and argue with you Mike that it’s the wrong thing to do to close these things down.
I don’t know. You see that’s the problem. None of us know. We haven’t thought it all the way through. So what are my thoughts on it? If we are going to do that then what do we have the authority to do?
You asked me in the last segment, maybe the one before that, what does the city have the authority to do? I will have to ask the lawyers exactly under what authority do we have under the charter and the state constitution.
Do we have the authority to roll back water rights right now because we just raised those a few months ago in January? Can we roll them back until we get through this? Like NES, can we ask them to roll back and to give power free? This literally affects every aspect of our lives.
If we are going to do this and it’s going to be a 14-day shutdown and everybody is going to basically stay at home during this period. Maybe we sit down and say OK if your last name begins with G you get to go to the grocery store between this time and this time.
I don’t know how far this goes. And as radical as what I just said may sound you have to consider that what we just did yesterday and what’s happening right now in the country is radical from the things that we during our lifetime I believe have ever seen.
I don’t know that. I wasn’t alive during WWII and when the Great Depression hit. We have to think it all the way through and determine if it is absolutely the best and right thing to take care of as many people as possible. Somebody is going to get hurt either way you go.
Leahy: Here is what I think ought to happen in Davidson County. (Leahy asks bar owners to call-in) So basically the bar owners now are paying the price for this appropriate public health decision in my view.
It’s all about personal liquidity. And the city through these corrective actions is causing them economic harm. And it could really spiral out of control I think. What if the city doesn’t have a lot of money hanging around does it?
Leahy: It doesn’t have cash money.
Leahy: Here’s what I think makes sense. I think the mayor ought to go to the governor today. Today before noon today and say, governor, let’s put a moratorium on all sales taxes being collected by the state from these bars. Let us do that today. What do you think of that idea Steve?
Glover: I think if the governor wants to do the same action we did in Davidson County across the state that would be the proper conversation. Unless that’s about to happen I think the only conversation we’re allowed to have is the one about how do we take care of the Davidson County people.
Leahy: I don’t see why the governor couldn’t do that. The governor would have that authority. And by the way, we have a huge surplus in the state. Why shouldn’t we use that huge surplus right now to help out the bar owners?
Glover: I can’t use the constitution for one thing and not use it for all things. I don’t know because I’m not the legal minds here. I don’t know what we constitutionally can and cannot do. It could be the right answer. But it sure would have been good to have these conversations prior to the drastic measures that have been taken at this point.
Glover: Now we’re in a position that we are literally putting people in jeopardy on how they will continue to live over the next 14 days, two months…We won’t recover from this in a couple of months.
Glover: Let’s not kid ourselves.
Leahy: Steve, what else is on your agenda this week? It’s a busy agenda already. What’s the metro council going to be doing?
Glover: I’m not sure what all the metro council will be doing because apparently we’re going to have an abbreviated agenda. I’ve asked to see what that agenda is going to look like. There’s a lot of things going on.
I want to bring up one more thing I think is extremely relevant here in Music City. The keyword being Music. The one thing about becoming an at-large versus a district which is not to say the districts don’t have their deals because obviously I did that for eight years. Absolutely.
Being at-large you do end up talking to a few more people about a few more topics. How many people are thinking about the musicians that are going to be out of work? That payroll right there by some estimates that I’m receiving so far is about a quarter of million dollars a week. A week! Now that may not sound like a lot of money.
Leahy: These are independent musicians? That’s a collective amount that is earned by musicians?
Glover: The musicians just in the downtown area.
Glover: It’s the approximate payroll that I’ve been told. Now again I don’t have that documented. I don’t know it for a fact. What’s our agenda in my opinion? We only have one agenda right now and that is how do we handle the economic impact of all the things that have occurred to us over the last two to three weeks.
Leahy: Right. Tornado and coronavirus.
Glover: Since we’re going to close down all the bars again, you and I will not disagree. You say absolutely. I say I don’t disagree it’s the right thing to do. I think we have to protect the people but also think we need to think through all the consequences. But while we’re at it let’s shutdown and not allow the stock market to be open on Monday. In my business, it’s going to kill me over the next two weeks.
Leahy: And that’s not a metro city decision but I will tell you that sources tell me there is a possibility that the stock market may actually be shut down at some point in the near future for a period of time.
Glover: And it may be. When we do these things there are rational people who can look at every aspect of this and give us estimates of what the actual cost will be for us to determine.
And delaying collection of taxes will not fix the problem either because if we delay all of these payments all we do is create an additional hardship down the road on an economy that’s already stretched and where people are already having to make tough decisions. Which they do every day.
Welcome to America. We just have to look through it. And if we create a situation we have to be honest enough with ourselves to have the conversation of how do we take care of folks in order for them to continue to survive.
Listen to the full third hour:
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