Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined in studio by state Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield).
During the second hour, Leahy and Roberts questioned the motives of Mayor John Cooper who continues to hold Nashville small businesses hostage.
(Miami Mayor Francisco Suarez clip plays)
Leahy: That’s Mayor Francisco Suarez. They are actually opening in Miami. They seem to be more interested in getting that city back to work than here in Nashville. Mayor John Cooper is doing everything he can to make it difficult for businesses in Nashville. He’s got his social distance contact tracing police health director out there. While the protests are going on Friday, he sent a bunch of them out to shut down restaurants on Lower Broadway.
Roberts: Well you just need to make them a venue for protesters. Then you can open up for full capacity. You just need to put a sign out that you’re protesting something. (Chuckles)
Leahy: I think what you should do is go to these, we had somebody call and say look, let’s just have a big protest. And the way you protest is you go to a business on Lower Broadway and you spend money there. (Roberts chuckles) That would be a protest.
Roberts: That’s like the businesses that shut down learned to sell food. Because if you sell food then what are you? You are an essential business. I told several people who were complaining about that to find some kind of food to sell then you can claim to be an essential business.
Leahy: Here is our story from this morning. Fourteen Nashville businesses cited for not complying with health orders. Health officials in Tennessee have cited 14 Nashville businesses including a restaurant owned by Kid Rock for not complying with coronavirus public health guidelines.
Roberts: Now you said is that the State Department of Health or the Metro Department of Health?
Leahy: It’s the Metro. Metro Health Department Director Michael Caldwell visited Kid Rock’s Big Blank, I’m not going to say that word on air. Honkey-tonk and rock-n-roll steakhouse on Saturday. I won’t say the world. But I’m going to go down there and get a steak this week I think. Just because.
On Saturday, after receiving a complaint citing a statement from the health department. They are sending these health inspectors around to look for violations in restaurants and then reporting them. Then giving them fines. Of course, how do you tell the difference between a fine and a 32 percent property tax increase? Which is what they want to give these guys.
Roberts: I don’t know. But I just think it’s horrible. It’s horrible, horrible that Metro Health Department would be seeking out people who are simply trying to preserve their livelihood for themselves and their employees and doing what they think is necessary to do to survive. When in the history of humankind have we quarantined healthy people? When have we told healthy people they can’t do things? When have we shut down businesses like this? This whole thing is shameful and I hope that when we get around to the polls I hope some people get voted out of office, never be seen or heard from again. It’s ridiculous.
Leahy: Did any health department folks like Director Michael Caldwell, did they go to the protest rallies that the mayor encouraged to happen?
Roberts: Of course, they didn’t.
Leahy: And say, you know we’re going to cite you for violating social distancing?
Roberts: No. Of course, they didn’t because there is such a hypocritical double standard. It’s just amazing to me that the people of Nashville, I’ll tell you what, what the rebellion needs to be is against Mayor Cooper and his government.
Leahy: Yes, he’s really turning into a tin pot progressive dictator.
Roberts: You know what? Let the people alone and tell them if you don’t want to get sick, stay at home.
Roberts: Just stay at home if you don’t want to get sick.
Leahy: If you want to defend Mayor Cooper. Just give us a call. Mayor Cooper, you can just call in because you are too afraid to show up. I know that for sure. If you want to defend Mayor Cooper for being an authoritarian dictator over legitimate businesses in Nashville exercising your illegal un-constitutional executive orders to shut them down now and to fine them.
Attorney Brian Lewis by the way from our story who represents the owner of Kid Rock’s Honkey Tonk and other businesses said the citation by Mayor Cooper’s health department was “selective prosecution” and they intend to fight it.
“We find it very unfair that Mayor John Cooper can encourage thousands of people to march with him in violation of his own phases but he wants to hold the Nashville business community hostage.” We need to have attorney Brian Lewis on here.
Roberts: I’ll tell you what. I can’t tell you that I disagree with what he’s saying. It’s ridiculous. Let’s get to court. But you know what? Where are you going to go to court? In Nashville, Tennessee? And what kind of outcome is that going to be?
You’re going to be in front of a liberal judge who’s going to do this on a Zoom meeting because they don’t want you in their courtroom. This is something else that bothers me. People are being denied the right to a jury trial right now.
Leahy: We had an attorney call in about that.
Roberts: That is a constitutional right. (Sighs) A lot of stuff is messed up in the world today.
Leahy: But hey, we’ll see if there are rules for thee but not for me. We have a story at The Tennessee Star. Montgomery Bell Academy, a fine school by the way.
Roberts: Asking for permission to do a graduation.
Leahy: They are waiting for Metro approval on whether they can hold commencement. The mayor’s son is graduating among the other Montgomery Bell graduates. They have a commencement planned. But the plans right now would be in violation of Phase Two. It’s on Thursday. They are asking the mayor to approve it. We’ll see what happens. Will he move to Phase Three just in time for his son’s graduation from Montgomery Bell Academy.
Roberts: You know what? If that’s what it takes for him to move to phase three, more power to him. You know what I mean?
Leahy: Or will he make a special exception. Because he makes special exceptions for protesters.
Roberts: Here is the thing. If that is something that would be allowed under Phase Three then I would tell every business in Nashville, Tennessee to reopen however you want to reopen and line up in court with a class-action lawsuit against all these people doing this stuff. It’s ridiculous.
Leahy: I am in favor of that. They should all open up. I think these executive orders are unconstitutional.
Roberts: What is their defense going to be?
Roberts: The experts don’t agree on what does or doesn’t work. So how are you going to defend yourselves? Anyway. (Leahy laughs) What are you doing to me? You’re getting me in a negative mood again. I came here in a good mood and look at what you’ve done for me.
Leahy: When you come back for the next hour we will have a positive hour.
Roberts: Hour of rainbows and unicorns.
Leahy: Rainbows and unicorns! The Tennessee Star Report, a beacon of hope in a land of turmoil.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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