Live from Music Row Wednesday 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. – host Leahy welcomed Metro Nashville City Council Member-At-Large Steve Glover to the newsmaker line to discuss Tuesday night’s city council mask mandate vote and the need to properly regulate scooters and party buses in Nashville.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by our very good friend, Metro Council Member-At-Large, Steve Glover. Good morning, Steve.
Glover: Good morning, sir. How are you?
Leahy: I am delighted that you had time to talk with us this morning because you are up late last night at the Metro Council meeting, our headline by our new reporter, Kaitlin Housler: Nashville Indoor Mask Mandate Deferred Indefinitely. You kind of predicted this might happen. Tell us the details of what happened last night.
Glover: So here’s the best way to explain it. She didn’t have the votes. And so this is the typical move that you will make when you don’t have the votes in order to hold a hammer over people’s heads.
And that’s exactly what the sponsor is going to do now. She said it in The Tennesseean and this morning that the only way she could keep it alive was to defer it indefinitely. Now let me explain what deferred indefinitely means.
And if folks already know this, I apologize for being redundant. But for the next two years, while this session is in session with this body of the Metro Council, she can bring it back with a one-week notice to the clerk’s office that she wants to put it back on the agenda.
And so therefore she would be able to swoop in and this thing might be able to pass in the next two years. People better be aware that that’s exactly the game she’s playing.
And so I think there’s going to be a couple of us in the council that will probably need to go to some of our friends and say we need to remedy this and we’re already talking about it, and we’re going to do what we can do in order to protect the rights and liberties of the people of Nashville.
Leahy: Now you’re talking about the sponsor Council Member Joy Styles.
Leahy: Who moved to defer it. Big question. And you kind of gave us a hint last time you were on the program. Tell us why she was unable to get the 21 votes needed to get this indoor mask mandate passed on third reading at Metro Council last night.
Glover: So I’m going to stab in the dark here Michael Patrick. First of all, the health department said they thought it was a bad idea. The mayor didn’t support it. The majority of people in Nashville don’t support it, so you can choose the flavor that you want to pick from there.
She did not have the support of the community. She did not have the support of the health professionals. Now there are doctors who said yes, we need to do this. But as far as the Health Department, the same group that had us do the mask mandates a year ago said no, we think it’s a bad idea.
And even the Mayor said it was. And so from that standpoint, she just didn’t have the support. And I think Council members, even the ones who voted for it, except for the diehards, even the ones who voted for it maybe on first and second reading said, you know what?
This is a bad idea. This is not what we need to be doing. And so it unraveled on her. Clearly, she was not happy about it. But you know what? A lot of us are very happy that it unraveled on her. And we’re going to make sure we try to stay happy.
And we’re going to try to make sure we keep the people of Nashville happy by representing what their interests are. And if it requires us to go to a higher body of government in order to accomplish that, I promise you that there are a few of us who are going to go to work on that.
Leahy: You said something kind of intriguing about Mayor Cooper opposing this because he was big on this months ago. Why is he opposed to it?
Glover: As you’ve heard me say in the past, I don’t like speaking on behalf of others, but there was no support coming out of his office, so one could only assume that’s where they were. This is speculation all right.
So I have to be very clear here. I think they saw the writing on the wall. If we went ahead and did this, the state absolutely would come in and would start hammering down because it’s a bad move.
Here’s the thing we have to understand. If we had done this, then it would have messed with our business community badly. It would have messed with our tourism badly when it’s not happening in any other part of the state.
And a lot of folks need to understand Nashville is an economic engine for the state as well as for our local economy. And so when you start tinkering with those things when you don’t need to be tinkering with those things, it requires action by others.
And I believe they finally got the clue based upon things from the state legislature and from the state government that doesn’t need to be going down these paths when they’re not necessary.
And it certainly is not necessary to do this. Not when you can go anywhere without the mask except for Metro property. But here’s the other thing. And this was the biggest part in my mind. The police had nothing to enforce here.
Leahy: Yeah, exactly.
Glover: It just wasted their time.
Leahy: It was like $50. fine. Let me ask you about another issue that seems to be always coming up. And I don’t know if Metro Council is going to take any action on this or if action is appropriate, but we seem to keep getting reports of various folks engaged in activities on Lower Broadway downtown where they get hurt.
There was a guy that apparently had a little bit too much to drink about a month ago who fell off a party bus, was run over, and was injured. Apparently, he’s going to survive. And then there was a report the other day of a woman from Texas who was riding a scooter and it was out of control and she hit a truck and she’s dead.
Do you see any movement within the Metro Council to do further regulation on this, or is it needed or should just people use common sense? What’s your thought?
Glover: Last night, the sponsor Freddie O’Connell, we passed on this party bus thing. We began the regulations on that. It’s absolutely needed.
The question is, how far do you go with it and how do you regulate it? I mean, it’s always a fine line on that, but it absolutely is needed with regards to the scooters.
I thought that from the very beginning. I think they’re a bad idea. When you start putting these things on the sidewalks, then when you mix alcohol along with much larger vehicles with these little two-wheelers, it’s never a good idea.
The fire department will tell you when we put these things on the streets, they’re or injuries downtown and around the city. But downtown specifically went up astronomically.
So a lot of calls were coming out because of head injuries and things of that nature. Regrettably, we now have a person who is dead because of these things.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t get killed with other vehicles, et cetera. But why put that mixture together? I think it’s going to require sitting down and looking at it. We’ve begun the process on the party bus with regards to regulation there.
It has to happen. I think the state is going to get involved with that one as well. I think we’ve got to be complimentary of one another on how that’s done.
So as we go through this, I think that bill actually will go into effect on December 1. We can get you the exact details of what it is because it got amended late last night. And I just don’t remember the exact verbiage.
Leahy: And when those Council meetings go on late last night, it’s hard to remember all the details. Crom Carmichael has a question for you, Metro Council Member Steve Glover.
Carmichael: Steve, you do know what the last words of a red neck are don’t you?
Glover: I’m a redneck. You think I would.
Carmichael: Hold my beer and watch this.
Glover: Yeah, that’s right. (Laughter) Apparently, I’m not good enough.
Carmichael: Well, it’s in keeping with what you’re talking about. And that is that when you get people in downtown Nashville, I tell you what.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. It is crazy. People who overindulge need to have things to help keep them safe because they need them.
Glover: I was just going to say because apparently, they aren’t capable of keeping themselves safe. We do need to do that. That is one of the things that we need to do.
Leahy: Steve, I was just going to say, I’m talking to some younger folks who’ve been in Nashville for some time who say the rise of the party bus culture over the past couple of years has had sort of a negative impact on the overall character of the city of Nashville. What’s your take on that?
Glover: I think they’re exactly right. I mean, it began is sort of kind of like a phase, a fad, or whatever you want to call it. And now, on any given weekend, there are as many as 75 of these things that are not regulated. And so we have to step in.
We’ve got to make some regulations. We’ve got to make it safe. We’ve got to make it where it’s not so dadgum noisy and detrimental to the overall well-being in the city’s business district.
And so I think this was a good first step what we’ve done. I think we’ve got to keep going in and honing it and working on it to make sure it is properly blended.
Leahy: Steve Glover, Metro Council Member-At-Large. Thank you so much for joining us today. Come back again soon, Steve.
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