Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where do Metro's priorities Stand ?

by Ken Jakes

After hundreds of hours in the fight to help Save our Fair Grounds and watching the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce lobby all it's forces for the Mayor's redevelopment Plan of the Fair Grounds, the question entered my mind. I wonder how much tax monies have been provided to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce ?

The following public record request was made by me to Rich Riebeling of the Metro Finance Department.

Please provide this public record request for inspection and review.
Any and all documents regarding any grants or tax monies provided to the Nashville area Chamber of Commerce for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 .

After waiting well beyond the seven day window to respond to my request, without acknowledgment or any type of response from Metro I contacted the State of Tennessee Comptroller's Office ( open records ). After the State intervened I was provided my request. The total provided by the Finance Department to me was for the grand total of tax monies to the Chamber by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County was $ 10,552,682.30 from 2006-2010.

I now could see why it took the State of Tennessee to intervene in obtaining what was a public record.

In my opinion it became very clear why the Chamber would lobby so hard and bring out all it's forces for the Mayor's bidding of the Fair Grounds over the over whelming wishes of the people to save the Fair Grounds and Race Track.

I thought to myself, surly others beside myself could see a major conflict of interest. I also thought of how the Metro employees and retirees have been treated in the past few years while Metro has stated they were in a budget crisis and all the while funneling millions of tax monies to the Chamber. I thought about all the old infrastructure of our city that needed to be updated, while all the while funneling millions of tax monies to the Chamber. I thought about all the citizens of Davidson County who were struggling to pay property taxes during this recession while all the while funneling millions of tax monies to the Chamber.

The last thought that entered my mind was where are the priorities of Metro ? With the people and the needs of our city, or with the Chamber. I have been referred to by The Tennessean as a Metro critic. I could not agree with them more and I will continue to be a Metro critic as long as they are spending our tax monies in this manner.

I ask that the people vote for me on August 4, 2011 so the people and the needs of our city will be heard very loud and clear in the Metro Council.

Ken Jakes
Candidate for Council-At-Large,
www.jakesforthepeople.com

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