Metro Council Raises First Amendment Questions After Rejecting Morgan Wallen’s Bar Sign

Morgan Wallen

Nashville’s Metro Council voted to reject a sign for Morgan Wallen’s new downtown bar, raising questions about the council’s compliance with the First Amendment.

Wallen, a country music star, is set to open This Bar and Tennessee Kitchen in Nashville over Memorial Day weekend. However, the bar’s main sign, which was planned to hang over the public walkway outside the building, will not be installed because of a 30-3 Metro Council vote.

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Nashville Transit Plan Approved by Audit, Mayor O’Connell Says in State of Metro Address

Freddie O'Connell Metro

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell announced in his first State of Metro address on Tuesday that his Choose How You Move mass transit plan passed a required independent audit.

O’Connell’s mass transportation plan Choose How You Move includes public transportation available 24/7, almost 600 upgraded traffic signals, 86 miles of sidewalks, and other features, all proposed to be funded by a half-cent sales tax. The plan must meet certain requirements under Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act, like the independent audit, before being considered by Nashville voters on a November ballot.

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Ben Cunningham: Half-Cent Sales Tax Hike ‘Just a Small Down Payment’ for Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell’s Transit Vision

People Riding Bus

Nashville Tea Party founder Ben Cunningham warned that the half-cent sales tax increase being considered to fund Mayor Freddie O’Connell’s transit reform plan will be “just a small down payment” from Nashvillians.

Cunningham posted to X, formerly Twitter, in response to a piece by Tennessean reporter Cassandra Stephenson.

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Nashville SC Owner Against Neighboring Fairgrounds Speedway Rebuild Proposal

The owner of fellow Nashville Fairgrounds tenant Nashville SC spoke out in a letter to Nashville’s Metro Council against a deal to rebuild the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway with a 30,000-seat grandstand.

The speedway deal, expected to cost taxpayers $120 million and first be discussed by the council in July, would include $86 million in Nashville Sports Authority bonds and $34 million combined from Tennessee and Nashville’s Convention and Visitors Corporation. The Nashville CVC funds come from a Davidson County hotel tax surplus.

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Term Sheet Calls for Seven Separate ‘Definitive Agreements’ for the Stadium Projects

When Nashville Mayor John Cooper and the Tennessee Titans announced on October 17 that they had reached an agreement to build a new stadium, a 27-page term sheet was released that outlines the principal terms and conditions for the financing, development, construction, operation, use and occupancy of the multi-purpose, enclosed stadium.

The term sheet, however, is subject to the negotiation, preparation, execution and delivery of seven “Definitive Agreements” by the four parties – Metro Nashville government (Metro), the Nashville Sports Authority (the Authority), the Tennessee Titans (the Club) and a to-be-formed entity under common control of the Titans referred to as StadiumCo.

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VSG Report Released That Claims to Substantiate Estimate of $2.1 Billion to Renovate Nissan Stadium

The much-anticipated report from VSG (Venue Solutions Group), which claims to substantiate the estimated $2.1 billion in projected costs to renovate Nissan Stadium was released Tuesday.

The previous estimates for an upgrade to the stadium to the “first-class condition” required in the 1996 stadium lease agreement at costs ranging between $1.75 to $1.95 billion is what is driving the argument for a new stadium.

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Metro City Council Votes to Appropriate Millions in Funding for New Tasers for Metro Nashville Police Department

police belt with taser

Nashville Metro Council voted last night to give Metro Nashville Police Department $3.15 million dollars to fund the purchase of new tasers. That was far short of the $5.8 million that MPND had requested.

As previously reported, The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) had requested a budget for new tasers, stating that the tasers in current use are obsolete and are not reliable.

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Metro Nashville Council Surveying Residents on Preferred Spending of Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds

The Metro Nashville Council released a survey on Monday for the city’s residents to note their preferred recipients of federal coronavirus relief funds that will be dispersed throughout the year.

The survey responses, which will be collected throughout January, will be considered by the committee with the authority to appropriate the funds.

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Metro Council to Meet on Party Bus Alcohol Policy

Upstage Party Bus

Nashville’s Metro Council is set to meet this week to discuss the possibility of allowing alcohol back onto party buses. In October, the Council and Mayor John Cooper voted to change the rules regarding the open-air vehicles beginning December of this year.

Councilman Freddie O’Connell submitted a bill quickly after the decision and told WKRN News that his bill would allow party buses to keep alcohol on their vehicles.

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Metro Council Passes Ordinance to Create ‘Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer’ and ‘Workforce Diversity Manager’ for ‘Social Justice’

Nashville Metro Council agreed to create two new positions relating to racial diversity, equity and inclusion for “social justice” on Wednesday. If approved by Mayor John Cooper, these two hires could cost taxpayers over $250,000 a year.
Cooper has already agreed to the creation of these positions, along with Director of Finance Kevin Crumbo and Director of Human Resources Shannon Hall. The ordinance passed unanimously without discussion, after a unanimous vote from the budget committee.

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Recall Cooper Effort is ‘Issue of Right and Wrong,’ Organizer Says

Citizens opposing Mayor John Cooper’s property tax hike and war against bars and restaurants filed a petition to recall him and seven Metro Council members Monday.

Restore Nashville and Re-open Nashville, were among the groups that held the “Recall Mayor Cooper Petition Kickoff Rally” Monday at Public Square Nashville.

Stop Mayor Cooper was another group on Facebook organizing the rally.

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Nashville Metro Council Gives Mayor John Cooper the Power to Deputize Certain City Employees to Cite Bars and Restaurants That Violate Coronavirus Rules

The Nashville Metro Council on Tuesday gave Mayor John Cooper the authority to deputize certain city workers to issue citations against bars and restaurants that violate his coronavirus restrictions, The Tennessean reported.

Metro Health Department employees are overworked in trying to combat businesses, the newspaper said. Only workers who already have citation powers will be authorized to serve as restaurant police, according to the bill that passed on third reading. The mayor must still given written permission to workers to use this new power.

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Initiative to Roll Back Nashville’s 34 Percent Property Tax Hike Receives Election Commission Verification, Heads Back to Clerk’s Office

Nashvillians now likely will have input on the city’s 34 to 37 percent property tax hike, a conservative activist said in reaction to the verification of a ballot initiative.

The Davidson County Election Commission on Monday verified the referendum effort for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act, WSMV said. That could limit the property tax increase to 2 percent. The effort now goes to the Metro Clerk’s Office and potentially to the Dec. 5 ballot.

Tori Venable, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN), lauded the initiative’s progress in a statement. 

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Grassroots Groups Pledge to Recall Nashville Mayor and Council Members Who Vote for a Property Tax Increase

The Nashville grassroots group NoTax4Nash announced that it and other like-minded groups pledge to recall Mayor John Cooper and any members of the Metro Nashville Council who vote for a property tax increase without an audit to determine if there is need for one.

The NoTax4Nash pledge comes as the Metro Council is scheduled to vote on Mayor John Cooper’s proposed budget Tuesday, June 16.

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Poll Shows Nearly Two-Thirds of Liberal Davidson County is Against Mayor Cooper’s Proposed 32 Percent Property Tax Hike

  A new Triton poll finds decidedly liberal Davidson County is solidly against Mayor John Cooper’s proposed 32 percent property tax hike. The poll is available here. It was conducted last Thursday and Friday by Triton Polling & Research and was paid for by Nashville Smart, a local 501(c)(4). Lonnie Spivak, an election expert, is with Nashville Smart. He spoke with The Tennessee Star about the poll Monday. Spivak also will be on Tuesday morning’s 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. On Monday, Spivak said Nashville Smart, as a 501(c)(4), has no position on whether the tax increase should pass, and that it commissioned the poll for informational purposes. “We wanted to judge what the public opinion of the tax increase is going into the budget season,” Spivak said. “Metro Council doesn’t have the resources to poll.” The Triton poll sampled 769 registered voters, with 53.5 percent identifying as Democrat, 28.8 percent Republican, 15.3 percent Independent and 2.4 percent Not Sure/Undecided. Mayor Cooper had a 47.1 percent favorable rating, 25.6 percent unfavorable, and 25.7 had heard of him but had no opinion. Regarding Cooper’s…

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Nashville Mayor Reveals Plan to Raise Property Taxes Amid Tornado Devastation and Coronavirus Pandemic

Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced during his virtual State of the Metro address Tuesday that he plans to “sharply increase” the city’s property tax rate.

Cooper said the Nashville Finance Department predicts that revenue from sales taxes and other activities will be down between $200 and $300 million because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of the unusual circumstances, Cooper didn’t have a budget proposal to discuss but said the budget ordinance he plans to present to the Metro Council in April will “sharply” increase the city’s property tax rate. Cooper said the final rate will still be lower than other cities throughout Tennessee.

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BREAKING NEWS: Metro Council Candidate Steve Glover Intends to File Civil Suit Complaint Against Mayor David Briley Over Illegal Executive Order

Nashville Metro Council candidate Steve Glover said that he is currently working with an attorney  and intends to file a civil complaint against Mayor David Briley’s recent executive order instructing Metro employees not to cooperate with federal agents who are enforcing immigration law.

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Dear Tennessee: Nashville is Not a ‘Sovereign State Within a Sovereign State’

  On Tuesday’s 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 welcomed in-studio guest and Nashville Metro Council at-large candidate, Steve Glover to the show to discuss David Briley’s recent desperate decision to enforce an executive order against ICE and it’s federal orders to detain illegal immigrants in Tennessee. Nearing the end of the show, the men discussed how and if a Mayor had the power to enforce an executive order and clarified the legalities stating that “Nashville is not a sovereign state within a state.” Leahy: So we are joined in studio by Steve Glover who is a current council member of the Metro Council. Which district do you currently represent? Glover: Well, I was the current council member until September first at midnight. Leahy: Oh. Glover: It’s all changed now. Leahy: Oh, that’s right. So you are not now a council member? Glover: Correct. Leahy: OK. Which district did you formerly represent? Glover: District 12. Hermitage. Leahy: Hermitage. Great. It literally is Andrew Jackson’s? Glover: No, it’s Larry Hagar’s district. I’m on the other side and I go to the water of…

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Leahy Talks with In-Studio Guest Nashville Metro Councilman Steve Glover About Saving Nashville from Left Wing Fiscal Irresponsibility

  On Monday’s Tennessee Star Report – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Michael Patrick Leahy talked to Nashville Metro Council member Steve Glover about Nashville’s fiscal irresponsibility and how Glover is the ‘last man standing’ to help save the city from destructive fates similar to Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore. As the show progressed, Leahy implied that a vote for Glover would be a vote for prudent financial management. Glover agreed stating that Nashville needs to prioritize their spending with an emphasis on services that keep the city safe and clean. Nearing the end of the show Glover added, “So much is at stake. I’m just telling you right now we are at a turning point. If we don’t get a hold of this. And we can fix it. But we don’t have anymore time. We’ve got to fix it now. Our children and grandchildren cannot afford for us to lose this game.” Leahy: We are here with Steve Glover a member of the Metro Council. Who’s a candidate for the Metro Council at large. He’s in the runoff. Welcome to the studio here Steve. Glover: Thank you sir. How…

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Carol Swain Urges Support for Steve Glover, ‘Only Experienced Conservative’ Running for Council

  Former Metro Nashville mayoral candidate Dr. Carol W. Swain is calling on her supporters to turn out to the polls once again — to support at-large Metro Council candidate Steve Glover. Early voting runs to September 6. Election Day is September 12. In an email newsletter to her supporters, Swain says that Glover is the “only experienced conservative running for a seat on city council” and that he needs votes — and she asks people to vote for only one at-large candidate to give Glover his best chance. Swain also asks her supporters to vote for District 26 council candidate Courtney Johnston, who is engaged in a run-off against Jeremy Elrod. Current Metro Council district member and at-large candidate Steve Glover has been a critic of incumbent Mayor David Briley, including lately, the mayor’s budget, The Tennessee Star reported. Glover believes that the budget submitted by Mayor David Briley and recently passed by the Metro Council violates state law and Metro rules requiring a balanced budget. Glover asked State Senator Farrell Haile (R-Gallatin) to request an opinion from Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery concerning the legality of that budget. During her concession speech in the Aug. 2…

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The Tennessee Star Report Talks to Metro Council at Large Candidate, Adam Dread About Public Safety and the Low Early Voting Turnout for the Nashville Mayoral Race

During a discussion Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy spoke to Metro Council at large candidate, Adam Dread about low early voter turnout and scooter safety and how it ties into the public’s concerns.

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The Tennessee Star Report: Metro Council District Member Steven Glover Requests Opinion from Tennessee’s AG on Alleged Illegal Budget

  During a specific interview discussion Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill spoke to Metro Council district member and At-Large candidate Steven Glover about his plans to request a budget opinion from Tennessee’s state Attorney General. Nearing the end of the segment the men discussed the alleged illegal budget proposed by Mayor Briley and the Metro Council and questioned the legal ramifications of whether or not the Metro legal department could get involved. Gill: Now the Tennessee legislature, not the only one’s that love to raise taxes. Metro Council, Nashville. They wanted to raise taxes a few weeks ago but instead opted to balance the city budget by including money to be generated by a parking meter scheme that Mayor Briley has proposed and that is overwhelmingly opposed by voters in Nashville. They haven’t passed the tax scheme to bring in thirty million dollars or so in revenue but they’re counting that revenue that hasn’t been approved and the deal that hasn’t been cut to “balance their budget.” They’re also counting money to be derived from selling property…

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Steve Glover Seeking Tennessee Attorney General Opinion Regarding Apparently Illegal Davidson County Budget

  Despite the fact that both Tennessee State law and the Metro Davidson County Charter require a balanced budget, current Metro Council district member and At-Large candidate Steve Glover believes that the budget submitted by Mayor David Briley and recently passed by the Metro Council violates those provisions. As a result, Glover has asked State Senator Farrell Haile (R-Gallatin) to request an opinion from Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery concerning the legality of that budget. The 2019 – 2020 Davidson County budget was presented by Mayor Briley to the Metro Nashville City Council and was adopted on 19 June, 2019. Glover points out that the budget relies upon revenue sources that have not yet been approved by the Metro Council. “It is pretty obvious that you can’t ‘balance’ a budget with a revenue stream that doesn’t currently exist,” Councilman Glover said. “It’s like telling your bank they shouldn’t bounce your checks this week because you plan to deposit money into the account next week. That’s nonsense.” Councilman Glover notes, “Mayor Briley’s budget included the sale of public assets including, but not limited too, the management of city-owned parking meters. It is my opinion these funds are in question…

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Metro Nashville Council’s Planned 16 Percent Property Tax Hike Would Increase Cost of Living for All Residents and Is ‘Unacceptable,’ Carol Swain Says

  Nashville Mayoral candidate Dr. Carol Swain is taking aim at Metro Council’s proposed 15.8 percent property tax increase. Two council members — Budget Committee Chairwoman Tanaka Vercher and At-Large Councilman Bob Mendes — combined efforts after having had differing plans, Nashville Public Radio said. Mendes is dropping his plan to support Vercher’s plan of raising property taxes by 15.8 percent, increasing the rate to $3.653 per $100 of assessed value. Mayor David Briley told Nashville Public Radio he opposes a tax increase and that he’s alarmed by the council’s plan. Swain said in a press release she also takes issue with that and that if she were elected, she would balance the budget. With the council’s planned tax hike, a home valued at $250,000 would see an increase of about $300, Swain said. Briley could veto the proposal and it would take a two-thirds majority vote to override. “City Council is proposing a property tax increase that raises the cost of living for all Nashvillians without any intention of giving Metro employees the 6 percent raise they need and deserve. Mayor Briley has stated that Nashville’s forecasted revenues are up by about $100 million without property taxes. If the Mayor…

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Metro Councilman John Cooper Will Not Challenge Nashville Mayor David Briley, May not Seek Re-Election to Council

John Cooper

Metro At-Large Councilman John Cooper will not run against Nashville Mayor David Briley in August and may not seek re-election to the council, he said Thursday. According to the Nashville Scene, Cooper said it is good to have a rotation of leaders in government. State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-TN-55) is the only candidate running against Briley. According to the Scene: “Rotation of personnel in citizen government is a good thing,” Cooper told the Post. “Having a bench of personnel who have gone through this learning experience is also super for a community.” To that point, two new names have recently appointed treasurers to run for one of five at-large seats on the Metro Council: former state Rep. Gary Moore and Zulfat Suara, a controller at Meharry Medical College and chair of the American Muslin Advisory Council. Constitutional lawyer and civil libertarian Daniel A. Horwitz tweeted, “I’m very sad about this news.  However, it makes going all in for @JRClemmons easy as can be.  Everyone should be grateful for @JCooper4Council’s service on the Council and his contribution to an otherwise insane and clueless body.” Cooper is the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) and the son of former…

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James Smallwood Commentary: Vote No on Amendment 1

by James Smallwood   This year Nashvillians will head to the polls to consider Amendment #1. At face value, without any research, a civilian oversight board sounds like a good concept. However, a closer scrutiny of the details, i.e. the massive budget, lack of equal representation, absence of regulations on those who would be appointed to the board (directly by politicians) reveals genuine concerns that this board would be rife with corruption, overspending, and an anti-police agenda. For starters, Nashville’s budget is a mess. Despite a strong economy and record low unemployment, Nashville has defaulted on promised pay raises to Metro employees and cut millions of dollars out of the budget from nearly every department. Police, fire, libraries and schools are all experiencing serious budget cuts. This, coupled with an increasingly crushing debt service, makes it obvious that the last thing we need is a redundant government board which, as proposed, would cost Nashville taxpayers $10 million over the next five years; we simply cannot afford it. For example, police still do not have body cameras. These devices would provide the desired transparency on police interactions with the public. Nashville needs millions of dollars to pay for this program. However,…

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Metro Council Moves Forward With Subsidized $275 Million Soccer Stadium

A Major League Soccer stadium planned for the fairgrounds in Nashville is closer to happening. The Metro Council voted 24-7 Tuesday on the second of three readings to move forward on the $275 million deal, The Tennessean said. The third reading is scheduled for Sept. 4. The vote was to demolish buildings at the fairgrounds to allow a 30,500-seat stadium for an MLS expansion club. Eight council members abstained. The council also voted 24-9, with six abstentions, to declare 10 acres of fairgrounds land as surplus. The bill would lease that land to a team ownership group led by billionaire businessman John Ingram for 99 years for a private mixed-use development next to the stadium. People both for and against the plan packed the council chambers, NewsChannel 5 said. A public hearing on the mixed use project will be held Monday at 6 p.m. In a lavish ceremony last December at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, Gov. Bill Haslam, Mayor Megan Barry, and a slew of dignitaries gathered to hear Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Gaber announce that Nashville was awarded an MLS expansion club, The Tennessee Star previously reported. The Sept. 4 vote to demolish the fairground buildings will need 27 of 40 votes…

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Nashville Metro Council Asks Citizens to Critique Future Budgets

Nashville Budget

Nashville residents soon will have a voice in Metro Council’s spending habits. Metro Council voted 34-4 to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission” like a popular one in Atlanta in which private citizens may critique the budget, Nashville Public Radio WPLN reports. The commission will form by October. Councilman Fabian Bedne said he doesn’t want to see the effort turn partisan as people do not always agree on spending. Councilman John Cooper suggested the commission. The commission’s recommendations will be just that — recommendations. “This is a statement from us as a council that we recognize … our budget process is somewhat broken. That we do need fresh eyes,” said Councilwoman Angie Henderson. WPLN also reports that Metro Council members, who were dissatisfied with the surprise budget shortfall, also voted to cut funding by $103,000 for the city’s Finance Department. Those funds will provide a finance expert to work directly for the council to help them handle the budget. Betsy Phillips of The Nashville Scene reports that move will help the council hold the Finance Department accountable — since the department answers to the mayor. Phillips compares the mayor’s office’s control of the complicated budget to The Labyrinth of Greek myth:…

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Metro Nashville Faces Reality of Heavy Borrowing in $34 Million Revenue Shortfall

John Cooper

Surprise! Nashville is growing skyscrapers and other developments at an ever-increasing rate yet faces a $34 million revenue shortfall. Councilman-at-large John Cooper, who is on Metro’s Budget and Finance Committee says Nashville’s revenue continues to grow faster than most cities, to the tune of a couple billion dollars, NewsChannel 5 reports. At the same time, Metro can’t fully fund schools or provide promised pay raises to employees, and some are calling for a property tax hike. Nashville has been glutted with massive capital projects despite some narrow misses. Most of the new money has gone to debt service to pay for pretty and shiny projects like the Sounds baseball stadium and the convention center, plus more conventional needs like school improvements. Borrowing costs have increased about $100 million in the last five years. Former Mayor Megan Barry’s resignation earlier this year following a sex and ethics scandal was followed by the failure of the $9 billion transit plan, the Nashville Scene reports. Then there was Barry’s quickly abandoned plan to end inpatient care at Metro General Hospital, the same week that the Metro Council approved a $275 million soccer stadium plan; the proposed Cloud Hill development, a sweetheart deal for…

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Briley Pushes $125 Million Flood Wall in ‘Residential’ Downtown Nashville While Firefighters, Police Get Pinched on Raises

Nashville Acting Mayor David Briley has resurrected failed plans for a flood wall in downtown, wanting to spend $125 million the city does not have. The latest big ticket item on Briley’s wish list comes days before the special mayoral election on Thursday. Former mayors Megan Barry and Karl Dean failed to get the project approved, The Tennessean said. That is because some City Council members wanted to focus on mitigation efforts in residential areas following the 2010 flood. Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter is trying to sell the flood wall by calling downtown another residential area, the newspaper said. The original flood wall price tag in 2015 was $110 million. Briley has added the wall to the city’s proposed capital improvements budget, which the council will look at next month. The City Council is not exactly rolling in cash — it is considering a proposal to raise property taxes by 50 cents as The Tennessee Star reported earlier this week. News4 I-Team recently ran a story saying former Mayor Dean used $7.4 million in HUD disaster relief money to pay for design and engineering work for riverfront development, including Ascend Ampitheater. You can read more about that report on…

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Refreshing Candor From a Metro Councilman About Mayor Megan Barry’s Adultery with Subordinate

When asked his opinion about whether the Mayor’s leadership credibility has been damaged by the Mayor’s two year extramarital affair and details like pictures of the Mayor interacting with her lover’s family while the affair was on-going, Metro Councilman Steve Glover responded with his trademark candor: I am not qualified to speak about the city’s view of her credibility; I will simply say that if it were me dealing with this issue, I would question if I could continue to lead with this cloud hanging over my head. On-going investigations may show that the “cloud” of the Mayor’s affair implicates members of her staff who arranged publicly financed travel for the Mayor and Sgt. Forrest, facilitating the adultery and providing opportunities for them to be alone together. The Mayor has expressed confidence that an investigation into the expenditure of public funds will find that all trips were related to city business and that police department policy mandating her security detail means that those funds would have been spent regardless of whether or not it was Sgt. Forrest providing her security coverage. The Star has asked Sean Braisted, the Mayor’s Director of Communications, Police Chief Anderson and Don Aaron, Public Affairs Manager for…

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Nashville Metro Council Plays Shell Game With Transit Costs

The Metro Council voted Tuesday to not disclose the true cost of Mayor Megan Barry’s light rail transit plan to voters on the May 1 referendum. Metro Councilmembers John Cooper and Tanaka Vercher had asked that the May ballot language include the full $9-billion-dollar costs. They proposed the amendment that Metro Council voted on Tuesday night during the plan’s second reading. The amendment is available here. The council voted 21-14 not to accept the amendment, according to a spokesman for NoTax4Tracks, a PAC that opposes the transit plan. There will be one final reading, but it is not immediately clear if amendments will be allowed, the spokesman says. That vote could come in as early as two weeks. Once the amendment failed, the council voted on the Barry administration’s favored language for the referendum, citing a price tag of just over $5.3 billion. The council voted 30-6, with three not voting, to create the ballot language, according to Barry’s Twitter feed. NoTax4Tracks PAC on Tuesday had announced their support for the proposed amendment’s effort to let voters know the full cost of the city’s light rail transit plan. “The city does not want voters to know the full costs of the light rail…

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Nashville Metro Council Approves Plan for Soccer Stadium and Development at Nashville Fairgrounds

Nashville’s Metro Council on Tuesday voted 31-6 to approve $225 million in revenue bonds for a soccer stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds despite concerns about the fairgrounds’ existing uses as well as the growing list of costly city projects. Mayor Megan Barry pushed the deal to attract a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team to Nashville. Cities need to have a plan in place to be in serious contention. MLS is expected to choose two cities for expansion teams next month. The deal includes allowing the ownership team to lease 10 acres for a mixed-used development including housing, a hotel and retail. There also will be several recreational soccer fields, a dog park and a greenway. The 10-acre development was a major sticking point for critics, who consider it a land giveaway designed to sweeten the deal for investors. Other concerns involved the revenue bonds and how much Metro could be at risk if the stadium doesn’t generate the expected revenue. The group Save Our Fairgrounds fought the plan approved Tuesday just as the group previously opposed a plan by former Mayor Karl Dean to redevelop the fairgrounds. The group led a petition drive for a May 2011 referendum, resulting…

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Save Our Fairgrounds Wants Nashville Metro Council to Vote No on Soccer Stadium Tuesday

The group Save Our Fairgrounds is getting ready for Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting, at which members plan to ask the council to vote no on Mayor Megan Barry’s proposal for a soccer stadium and development at the Nashville Fairgrounds. The group’s main objection is the plan to allow for a mixed-used development on 10 acres that is in addition to the soccer stadium. Plans call for affordable and workforce housing, a hotel and retail. Some Metro Council members have also expressed concerns about that part of the deal. Barry wants Major League Soccer (MLS) to choose Nashville for an expansion team. The 10 acres for development would be leased to the MLS ownership group. “We would welcome MLS soccer and the soccer stadium to the fairgrounds, but not at the expense of taking away 10 acres and giving it away freely to the team owners,” Rick Williams, chairman of Save Our Fairgrounds, said on Facebook Friday. Some Metro Council members have voiced concerns about the 10 acres as well, and also have pressed Barry’s office for stronger language holding the ownership team responsible for costs of the stadium to limit risks for taxpayers. While some general obligation bonds would be used, Barry’s office…

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Nashville Metro Council Members Express Concerns About Mayor Megan Barry’s Soccer Stadium Proposal

Some Metro Council members are expressing reservations about Mayor Megan Barry’s soccer stadium proposal ahead of next week’s vote. Most of those voicing concerns are primarily raising questions about the 10-acre mixed-use development planned for the Nashville Fairgrounds along with the stadium, according to what they told the Nashville Scene.  Barry is trying to attract a Major League Soccer expansion team to Nashville, and her $250 million plan calls for Metro to allow the ownership group to lease 10 acres at the fairgrounds for a mixed-use, mixed income development that would include affordable and workforce housing. There also would be a hotel and retail. Council member Jeremy Elrod told the Nashville Scene he supports the stadium but not the plans for the 10 acres. “Handing over the 10 acres for free isn’t needed to get a team here or to build the stadium,” Elrod said. “The team says they need amenities to make the game day experience work, but why should they receive for free the right to build them on Metro property? If the stadium and the area is going to do as well as everyone thinks, developers will be lining up to build around there.” Council member Tanaka Vercher,…

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Nashville Metro Sports Authority Gives Soccer Stadium Green Light

Nashville’s Metro Sports Authority has approved issuing revenue bonds for construction of a soccer stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds. The sports authority approved a resolution Thursday, reports WKRN News 2. The project still must be approved by Metro Council, which will vote on the proposal Nov. 7. The council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Creative Arts Building at the fairgrounds. The resolution approved Thursday would allow the sports authority to issue up to $225 million in revenue bonds for the 27,500-seat stadium if Metro Council also signs off on the project. The project would cost a total of $250 million. Mayor Megan Barry’s proposal for the stadium is controversial because of the costs and also because of how it might impact existing activities at the fairgrounds. Barry, a progressive Democrat, wants to entice a Major League Soccer expansion team to come to Nashville. MLS will make a decision in December. Her proposal also involves opening up 10 acres at the fairgrounds to mixed-used development that would include affordable housing. Monica Fawknotson, executive director of the sports authority, told WKRN that the stadium is “an incredible opportunity for the city” and that “there are a lot…

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Nashville Metro Council Encourages Recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Columbus Day

Nashville’s Metro Council on Tuesday passed a resolution urging businesses, organizations and public entities to from now on recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday of October, most often recognized as Columbus Day. The non-binding resolution passed 26-5. It was sponsored by council members Brett Withers, Fabian Bedne, Nancy VanReece, Colby Sledge, Mina Johnson and Freddie O’Connell. Columbus Day recognizes the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492, but has been treated with increasing disregard and contempt nationwide by those who want to keep the focus on European mistreatment of Native Americans. Defenders of Columbus Day say critics downplay Columbus’ accomplishments and ignore the cruelty between Native American tribes, falsely painting mistreatment of other groups as a uniquely European trait. The Metro Council resolution says the council “opposes the systematic racism towards Indigenous Peoples of the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education, and social crises.” The resolution notes that Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to a United Nations-sponsored conference. It also notes that the U.S. endorsed a U.N. declaration in 2010 recognizing that “indigenous peoples have suffered from…

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