Friday, July 21, 2017

Progressives are frustrated with Mayor Barry

In the July 13th edition of the Nashville Scene in an article titled Progressive Frustrations Boil Over On Mayor Barry And Immigration, author Steve Hale says progressives are frustrated with Mayor Barry over her opposition to the recently withdrawn sanctuary city bill. He says progressive feel betrayed.

I can understand their frustration because Mayor Barry has surprised me by not being the flaming liberal I thought she would be. I don't doubt that she is liberal in her values, but she certainly has a pragmatic streak.  I would still support David Fox over Megan Barry in a heartbeat.  I will not be contributing to her reelection campaign any time soon, but I have been pleasantly surprised by some of her actions that I am sure are some of the same things that frustrate progressives.

Her coming out against the sanctuary city bills is the most obvious. Progressives (I don't know the difference between a liberals and a progressive, but I think a progressive is a liberal without pragmatism) wanted her to support the bill and the city to pass it even though it was not enforceable and would have been nullified by the State legislature in a special session. They wanted to make a symbolic stand on principle.

One of the first actions that disappointed progressives and was mentioned in the article, was Mayor Barry clearing of the homeless camp on the Fort Negley site. She worked with homeless advocate and social service agencies to find solutions for those illegally camping at Fort Negley and gave the homeless ample time to leave. I support the humane way she went about it.  In the end however, she cleared the site. She did the right thing.

Other actions that I am sure disappointed progressives was her handling of the so-called "local hire" charter amendment. Progressives got it on the ballot and it passed. The "local hire' amendment was pretty specific that on all Metro funded projects that 40% of the workforce was to be made up of Davidson County residents. Mayor Barry treated it more like a suggestion rather than a legally binding mandate. (See Megan Barry sees the light and flip flops on "Local Hire.")  I am pleased she did but I am sure some progressives were disappointed. (For much more on local hire follow this link.)

On inclusionary zoning which is a form of housing price-fixing, Metro, under Barry's leadership, passed a bill that was part carrot and part stick.  I oppose what passed and hope it is overturned, but I am sure progressives think it did not go far enough. Never mind, that it was probably pushing the limit of what the State would allow, I am sure progressives wanted a much more aggressive bill.

One area in which I am sure Megan Barry disappointing her more progressive supporters was in her welcoming and celebrating of Marine Week, an event in September 2016 that featured 80 events including display of Marine aircraft and weapons, and Marine led physical work-outs, and programs in schools, and seminars, and art and musical performances.  The Marines would not have had this event in Nashville, had the mayor not been welcoming.  She not only welcomed the event but was a gracious host.  Among many progressives there is a sneer at patriotism and a disdain for the military.

One thing Barry did that pleased me and I am sure displeased some progressives is that she did not raise taxes this year.  At a time of a general property reappraisal, a tax increase can be slipped in almost unnoticed since many people do not understand how the process works and will blame higher taxes on the reappraisal instead of a tax increase.  From a liberal point of view, there is always a need for more public spending.  Barry could have slipped in an unnoticed tax increase and spend more for mass transit, schools, sidewalks, affordable housing and everything else.  It was her most opportune time to raise taxes.

On other issues, Barry has certainly pleased progressives.  She is totally supportive of "gay rights."  Her support however does not challenge any existing laws.  She says all the right things for progressives about supporting the homosexual agenda and a  lot of other things but does not go out on a limb for progressive causes.  I wonder if Barry can continue to be a pragmatic liberal without losing her more progressive supporters. 

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