Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Meet and Greet for Michelle Foreman, Candidate for Metro Council 35th District

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text 

Monday, July 22, 2019 at 6 PM – 8 PM
7517 Wood Stream Dr, Nashville, TN 37221-6566

If you would like to help host the event to cover the costs of beverages and light hor d'oeuvres, please let either John Patrick Shorter or Tonya Shorter know.

We look forward to seeing you all on Monday.

Tonya and John Shorter

Please RSVP by Friday, July 19th.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mayoral Candidates stake out positions on affordable housing

Last night candidates for mayor took part in a forum sponsored by NOAH, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope. This is a  progressive coalition of interfaith and labor groups. About 500 people attended the event but unfortunately I was not able to attend. One of the topics of this forum was  affordable housing. In addition to this event, the mayoral candidates shared their views on affordable housing at a televized event on June 25th and each talked about affordable housing when interviewd by the Tennessean editorial board. Below in a nutshell is the opinion of the candidates on affordable housing:

David Briley
David Briley says affordable housing  is a "human right."  I am bothered by categorizing the things to which society may determine people are entitled as "rights."  Liberals do not know the difference or do not recognize a difference between liberties and entitlements. Categorically, freedom of speech and a right to paid maternity leave are different things. Right off the bat, Briley is losing me by calling affordable housing a "human right."

Briley has outlined an affordable housing initiative called Under One Roof 2029, which would spend $750 million over 10 years, primarily towards the redevelopment of aging public housing into mixed-income communities. This plan has come under a lot of criticism. Critics says it takes pieces of what is on the drawing board anyway and puts it in a new package. Also it calls for increasing funding to the Barnes Fund, the money to come from the operating budgets.  Budgets are approved each year and there are competing needs. This intent to fund the Barnes Fund at a higher level is no more than a good intention. One mayor or council cannot obligate the next.

$350 million of the money Briley proposed would come from issuing new general obligation bonds. This is at a time when Nashville has the highest debt obligation per person of any city in America. We need to be lowering our debt, not adding to it.

$250 million would come from voluntary investments in affordable housing by the private sector.  This is pulling money out of thin air. He could have made his plan a billion dollar plan by saying the private sector would make $500 in voluntary investments.

Briley's plan is smoke and mirrors based on wishful thinking.

John Cooper
At the NOHA event, Cooper pandered and said he advocates putting a NOHA representative on MDHA's board. While I generally have a negative view of NOHA, and while I would not want to specify than any one political group be entitled to a representative on the MDHA board, I would not oppose that their be a low-income person  from a "pocket of poverty" or low-income census track be on the board.  In my view, MDHA is too focused on building luxury condo's and one advocate for poor people on the board, would not hurt. That is not much of a solution to the problem of the declining availability of affordable housing however.

Cooper has a modest, practical affordable housing plan on his website. He advocates small changes that can make a difference. It is not a bold creative vision; he is not reinventing the wheel, but I like that.  It includes better management of what resources we already have, a new revolving fund for affordable housing, and greater leverage of federal and state housing funds for affordable housing.  

Carol Swain
Carol Swain has a plan she says is based on parcels of land owned by the city. She would make those excess parcels available for development of homes costing about $200,000. While I like this, those parcels are already being made available for development under an existing program. I am not sure, this is anything new. One thing she does advocate is to "use modular technology, new creative ideas to get the price down even further."  It is a shame Nashville stands in the way of the development of affordable housing by the private sector by effectively prohibiting the use of factory build housing in Nashville. I am pleased to see the advocacy of modular construction.

John Ray Clemmons
He says affordable housing is a "real crisis."  He would commit at least $50 million a year to the Barnes Fund using a dedicated revenue stream, but he does not identify that revenue stream. There is nothing magic about a dedicated revenue stream.  If the city, for instance, should take $50 million that now is paid in codes fees and direct that money to the Barnes Fund, that is $50 million that now goes into the city coffers to pay for education, police protection and everything else the city does.  That is not free money. That means the city would have to make $50 million in cuts to other services or raise taxes.

He would also create "income-source protection" for people with Section 8 housing vouchers, and a land bank for surplus public property. I am not sure how "income-source protection" works. So, I would have to know more to know what he is talking about.  For a primer on Land Banks, follow this link.  I tend to favor letting property be developed to its highest and best use but am not opposed to land banks playing a limited role in helping low income people become homeowners but it is no magic bullet that will solve the housing "crisis."

Rod's thoughts
First of all I do not think we have a housing "crisis." We have an "issue" or "problem."  For the person making the median income in Nashville, the median priced house is still affordable. We are in much better shape than many other cities in America where the median income person cannot afford the median priced house.

In one sense, this is what we asked for. When you attract people to move from elsewhere to Nashville and those people make a much higher income than most Nashvillians, they are going to drive up housing prices. A lot of what we are experiencing is simply supply and demand. That is not to say that for lower income people that they are not priced out of the market. What we are experiencing is an issue to be addressed but not a crisis.

I am disappointed that none of the candidates took the position that Nashville should stop taking actions that make the problem worse. Much of the fault for loss of affordable housing, is directly due to government policy. As an example of this, there is a new plan to redevelop Dickerson Pike. The Dickerson Road area has long been one of the cheapest parts of the city to live.  In addition to affordable apartment buildings along Dickerson, the neighborhoods adjacent to the thoroughfare have lots of modest affordable homes.  On Dickerson Road there are several old-fashion junky trailer parks.  On Dickerson Road itself there are businesses that serve the people who live in the vicinity. There are businesses such as laundromats, payday lenders, convenience stores, and discount tobacco stores, and used car lots.  Dickerson Road has always had a problem with hookers walking the street and the area has a lot of drug dealers.

Metro has a plan to improve this bad part of town. The plan envisions a dense collection of modern offices, shops and multifamily housing, widened streets and added transit hubs, greenways, crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes.  The city is going to beautify and upgrade one of the worst parts of the city.  The Tennessean says, "But the increased investment is expected to send property values soaring in one of the few areas where relatively affordable housing can still be found near downtown."  I am pleased to see this recognition of the effect of improving parts of the city.

We are talking about hundreds of units of housing are going to be lost.  Thousands of people will no longer be able to afford to live there.  Some of the people living in trailer parks rent by the week. Where are they going to go?   No one likes to have a seedy part of town, but when you beautify and upgrade a seedy part of town you are destroying the only place poor people can afford to live.  Every community can't look like Brentwood and still have affordable housing.

Less ambitious than a master plan such as is planned for Dickerson Road are city policies that little by little destroy affordable communities and thereby affordable housing.  These are policies that make busy corridors look nice. These are rules which say used car lots must have an attractive decorative fence in front of them, that say one can not have in close proximity businesses of the same or similar type such as used tire stores and auto repair businesses, and rules that say all dumpsters must be placed on a reinforced concrete pad behind the building, and rules that require a certain distance between pay day lenders.  These rules drive out the kind of business that serve low-income people.  They make unattractive parts of town more attractive and change the character of the community and make it attractive for people who make more money.  They turn low-income parts of town into middle-income parts of town.

Another way in which Nashville destroys affordable housing is by the policy of making large parts of the county single-family only.  Almost every Council meeting, there is a bill to down-zone a neighborhood from a zoning which allows duplexes to a zoning which does not.  Such legislation may change a zoning from R20 to RS20. I understand people wanting to preserve the character of their neighborhood.  I understand people wanting things to stay the same. However, this has an impact on future home prices.  This makes future affordable housing less likely and it encourages urban sprawl.  With higher density, there are fewer places to build houses and this causes the available places to be more expensive.  Also, with less available building spaces close in, it causes people to move further out.

Another way the city causes a loss of affordable housing is by driving up the cost of development and stifling the development of more affordable housing. Take the policy that requires a sidewalk in front of every house.  Sidewalks can add thousands of dollars to a the price of a house. This means developers will build more expensive homes rather than less expensive homes to absorb in the home price the cost of the sidewalks.  Also, I have talked to developers who say they have tried to build communities of affordable housing and instead of getting assistance from planning, they got obstacle after obstacle thrown in their way.  It is simply easier to build pricey homes rather than affordable homes.

Another way government destroys affordable housing, is my stringent codes enforcement.  I own a little rental house in Woodbine.  I only own one rental property.  It is the house I lived in  myself until I moved to my current home.  It is a two-bedroom one-bath house.  A few months ago I got a codes complaint and I had to deal with it. It is not the first time.  It was a headache and an annoyance.  I have a tenant who has different taste than I do and likes "yard art."  He also keeps a lot of stuff that he might can sell to make a little money.  The stuff was stored neatly in covered storage.  He also was parking a car on an unpaved or graveled area.

I only charge the tenant a modest price for rent.  I could put central heat and air in the house and dress it up just a little and rent it for about half again what I am getting, or I could sell the house.  I get about two postcards a week from someone wanting to buy that house. If I sold it they would tear it down, and build an expensive house on the lot. There would go a unit of affordable housing.

Quite frankly, I don't need the money I could get from selling the house or from upgrading and raising the rent.  My tenant is a Cuban refugee who really did come to America by a raft made of intertubes.  He has been here about twenty years or so but has a heavy accent and little education. He makes a living by selling scrap metal.  He would have a difficult time paying more rent.  I rent to him at a modest rent more out of a sense of doing a good deed than anything else.  When I get a codes letter, however, I am tempted by the postcard offers to buy my house.  I have talked to other landlords who get harassed by codes.  I know we have to have codes enforcement, but there is an effect.  When codes officials harass property owners they destroy affordable housing.

The other way Metro government contributes to the loss of affordable housing is by refusing to zone property for greater density if what is planned to be build on the property is affordable housing.  Worse yet, is the taking away of ones property rights in order to stop them from building affordable housing. This was attempted in Antioch. Ultimately, the person's property rights were not taken but the threat hung over the owners head for two years and the affordable property was never build.

Nashville could have more affordable housing if would embrace manufactured housing. There is a certain snobbish elitism that doesn't want "trailer trash" in Nashville and Nashville has had a long-standing attitude that we would keep "mobile homes" or "trailers" out of Nashville. A lot of the prejudice against manufactured housing is irrational. Manufactured housing could play a major role in insuring there was housing available at various price points.

The best way to make housing affordable is to increase incomes for those at the bottom of the income scale.  Rather than subsidizing poverty, in my view, we should strive to lift people out of poverty. You can't lift all people out of poverty, but we should have as a goal to have fewer poor people.

The loss and increasing lack of affordable housing is of concern, but much of the blame can be laid at the doorstep of the same people who bemoan the fact that we are losing affordable housing.  You can't have affordable housing if you don't want affordable neighborhoods.  You can't have affordable housing and have every neighborhood look like Brentwood. You can't have affordable housing, if you are going to ban greater density or fight having affordable housing in your neighborhood.

For source material and more information, follow these links: link, link, link, link, link.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

For voters in Metro Council District 30, Please vote for Lydia Hubbell

by Rod Williams- If I lived in District 30, I would be voting for Lydia Hubbell for Metro Council. She is fiscally conservative, pragmatic, and a good person.  I am posting this special endorsement blog post because Lydia has ran into an unexpected obstacle to her campaign and I want to help her out. She has been placed in Facebook timeout.  While nothing still beats door-to-door campaigning and yard signs, social media has become an important campaign tool.  It is a shame that one's opponents can report you to Facebook and have you banned during a crucial period of the campaign.  It may be after the election before her Facebook privileges are restored. Please repost and defeat her opponents underhanded attempt to silence her voice.  

Time is short but a campaign contribution would help her in these final days of the campaign. Visit her campaign website at

From Lydia Hubbell:
Lydia Hubbell

--If you want someone on the council who is honest, transparent, and responsive.
--If you want someone on the council whose "agenda" is to be the voice of the constituents and promote their best interests.
--If you want someone on the council who is fiscally conservative and hates wasting other people's money even worse than they hate wasting their own, and will vote to raise taxes only when absolutely necessary. 
--If you want someone who is open minded, humble, and looks at issues from all sides before making important decisions. I am NOT a "know it all" and I will change my position when new information is presented that supports a change. And I will share that information freely with my constituents.
--If you want someone who will put the needs of others ahead of their own desires.
--If you want someone who is an outsider, not a "politician". I am probably one of the most "reluctant politicians" EVER. But I stepped up when no other conservative would. We need options, and "conservatives" and "moderates" need to know that I am on the ballot because I wanted them to be able to vote for someone like them. 
--If you want someone who is solution-focused, who looks for common ground and who will compromise when appropriate, and who will communicate with and solicit feedback and ideas from the constituents so that I can involve them in the decision process and keep them informed.
--If you are a Constitution-lover and want someone in office who promotes liberty and justice and the common good.
--If you think it doesn't matter who you vote for. If you think "all politicians are the same"...let me show you how different I am and what a difference I can make that will affect you in a positive way. I am the underdog in this race. I need as many votes I can get to win, and the ambivalent or uninformed voter's vote counts as much as anyone else's. I may not be any better than the other candidates, but I am not any worse.
Why not cast your vote for me?

--If you want to maintain the status quo. I have shown myself to be a warrior for truth, liberty, and justice (not to be confused with "Social Justice Warrior"). I know what we have in place and the way things have been done is hurting a lot of people. It is my intention to promote positive changes and I know it will be an uphill battle, but I don't think anyone will fight harder to right wrongs and find creative and practical solutions to thorny problems than I will.  
--If you think certain individuals or groups need special treatment. I believe we all have the same rights and I support and defend the Constitution. I'm a mother and I know you can't make everybody happy all the time, but I know you can always be fair. We ALL needed to be treated fairly and that is a goal of mine as Councilman. It is a way of life for me as an American.
--If you think "endorsements" of groups and organizations that lobby legislators to promote their interests make a candidate better qualified. I didn't even bother responding to most invitations for "endorsements" after learning that some of these groups pay money after questioning candidates to see which one is most likely to promote their agenda. I would not even want to give the impression that I would pander or curry favor. I promote liberty and justice for all, and don't feel beholden to people who help me get elected, though I am appreciative. 
--If you think Nashville should be a "sanctuary city." I believe "cutting line" is unfair, but I also believe not helping people who are in need is wrong. We live on a very rich earth and there is enough to meet all our needs. We need to do things "decently and in order" because it is the best way to promote the rights and interests of the greatest number of people. I have a heart of compassion. I have suffered hardships and have sought out the help of others. We all need somebody to help us in some way or at some time. I do not think making Nashville a "sanctuary city" is the best way to solve anyone's problems.
--If you want the government taking a bigger role in controlling the way we live our lives.  I like to be free to make my own decisions in my private life. I will defend other people's rights long as they are not exercising them in a way that infringes upon other people's rights.
--If you think "years of experience" in politics and "name recognition" are the most important reasons to vote for someone. I have 53 years of experience in LIFE and decades of preparation to serve others, including serving in public office. I have done my work mostly "behind the scenes" for years. 
--If you think you need a college degree in order to qualify to be a "citizen legislator" or a voice for the people. I value education and I am a "lifelong learner" and I am not ashamed, and I do not feel inferior in any way, because I do not have a college degree. I think “on the job training” is often the most beneficial.
--If you think we need to tear down the "old" to make way for the "new," or that growing "bigger" equals growing "better." I want to find the healthy balance that I know this city needs and can have if the Nashville residents are made the priority they deserve to be.
I appreciate your support and your vote July 12-27, 2019 or on August 1, 2019! Together we can make our great city even greater! 


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The at-large candidates share their, "Big Ideas For Improving Nashville."

WPLN, Nashville's public radio station, asked the candidates running at-large, "What’s your big idea for improving life in Nashville?"

Steve Glover, the only candidate I am voting for gave this answer: "To honor our commitment to all Metro employees and work to find a real solution to fix education and pay down the debt in Nashville."

That is a pretty good answer. If I was answering this question, I would say, "recapture some of the money that now is used exclusively to fund tourism promotion and downtown development, cut wasteful spending, improve government efficiency and management practises, close General Hospital, reduce the debt, cut corporate incentives for companies to locate to Nashville, and change metro's pension system from a defined benefit system to a defined contributions system."

Or, maybe I wouldn't. My answer would require answering "why," when it came to General Hospital, and few people would  have a clue what I was talking about when I advocated for a "defined contribution plan" as opposed to a "defined benefit plan." I guess, if running for office,  the best answers are short and simply.  People have short attention spans and like answers that make good Facebook memes or fit on a bumper sticker.  Glover's answer is better than mine.

There are 15 candidates running for five at-large seats.  These includes six current council members, a former council member, a past state lawmaker and some political activist and public figures with name recognition and some people of whom I have never heard.  While one may vote for five, to do so weakens the power of ones vote. Rather than divide my vote five ways I am going to vote for only Steve Glover. I want to lessen the chances that one of the radicals will win and I want one of the five at-large candidates to be a conservative so I am voting for only one person for at-large and that is Steve Glover.

To read the answer of all of the at-large candidates who answered the question, follow this link.

WPLN also asked the candidates two other questions. Follow the below links to see those answered.

Meet The At-Large Council Candidates: How Will They Lead Countywide?

Meet The At-Large Council Candidates: How They’ve Navigated Thorny Projects.

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Join John Cooper for an evening at Gruhn Guitars

or to Kaye Whitacre

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Should the director of Nashville schools report directly to the mayor?

When the candidates were asked if the Director of Schools should report directly to the mayor, only Carol Swain said "yes;" the others said "no." I agree with the others.

“Each member of the school board represents 9,500 children and their parents and those children and those school board members deserve a voice in who is the superintendent of schools,” is what John Cooper said.  While I am disappointed with the functioning of our school board and the last director, I do not want to concentrate all power in the hand of the mayor. I wish the public elected better people to the school board but don't want to take away the power of the people to have a say in public education. I agree with John Cooper.  To see more on this follow this link.

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

John Cooper's video interview with the Tennessean

This is an insightful video. Given this format, Cooper has time to explain the shortcoming of Metro's budgetary process and management and why Metro is short of money at a time of economic boom and what needs to be fixed to address this problem. He points out that much of the money generated from tourism, stays in tourism and development and says there needs to be a balancing so that is not the case. He points out that the Music City Centre has wildly surpassing the income it was projected to generated but that  that excess revenue is not available to the city and that the cost associated with our massive downtown growth has exceeded projections, which is a cost that must be absorbed by the city.

He believes Nashville and the surrounding counties can work together to get the state's assistance in addressing our transportation needs as a regional problem and to get State assistance with other issues. Regarding the animosity between "blue" Nashville and "red" Tennessee, he says the mayor needs to "get beyond that" and work to solve problems.

He explains some of the really bad development deals the city has gotten into such as selling the site of the old convention center for only a fraction of what it is worth and the deal that results in the city paying the Ohmi Hotel more money that it collects in taxes from the hotel. He is critical of  MDHA's role in funding luxury condo development. He says some city involvement in downtown has been "strategic" and smart but others have been deals for the sake of doing deals. See the video at about timestamp 16 where he explains some of the really dumb deals the city has entered into. He criticizes deals with companies that bring their workforce with them instead of deals that offer an opportunity for Nashvillians.

See timestamp 19 where Cooper discusses the city's debt. I don't think the general public is aware how drastically in debt we are as a city. He points out that some manipulation has occurred to keep from being reported as "debt" what really is "debt." He points out that Nashville's debt is far greater than that of the whole state of Tennessee. He points out that we have very few audits of the capital spending. He says our spending is out of line with similar spending anywhere else, as an example in square food expenditures for school construction.

This is very informative. I am supporting Cooper for mayor and it is because of his focus on these problems and my belief that is the person who can fix these problems that I am doing so.

To see thee interviews with other mayoral candidates, follow these links:

Mayoral candidate Carol Swain speaks with the Tennessean editorial board

Mayoral candidate John Ray Clemmons speaks with the Tennessean editorial board

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Williamson GOP Annual Summer BBQ

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Early voting begins Friday July, 12, 2019

Early voting for the August 1st election for mayor and council begins tomorrow, Friday July 12th.  Please do not vote early unless you have given adequate thought about for whom you are voting.  You still have two more weeks to gather information, meet the candidates and think about your decision. 

Please don't vote at all unless you have a reason for voting for whom you are going to vote. Please don't base your decision simply on who has the most yard signs. Often people are shamed into voting and think it is a civic duty.  I have never thought that masses of uninformed people voting made for a better democracy. Selecting who will represent you in the Metro Coucil and who will lead our city is serious business. There is no shame in leaving the decision to those who are better informed.

In the pages of this blog I have listed the names of some of who I am supporting and the reasons why. I will provide a more comprehensive list in days to come.

Below is the early voting schedule.

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Nashville Justice League PAC endorses 15 candidates in Metro Council election. Don't vote for these people!

The Nashville Justice League is not a collection of comic book superheros but Nashville's newest Political Action Committee.  It is made up of some very liberal organizations including the Equity Alliance Fund, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes, and the Central Labor Council. Their focus is on electing a more progressive Metro Council. A spokesman for the League said, "We’re going to fight for civil rights, immigrant rights and workers rights."

The organization did not endorse a candidate for mayor. Below are The Nashville Justice League's endorsements for Metro Council. Please, don't vote for these candidates:

  • At-large: Bob Mendes, Sharon Hurt, Fabian Bedne, Burkley Allen, Zulfat Suara, and Gicola Lane. 
  • District 2: Kyonzte Toombs
  • District 13: Russ Bradford
  • District 16: Ginny Welsch
  • District 17: Colby Sledge
  • District 19: Freddie O’Connell
  • District 29: Delishia Porterfield
  • District 30: Sandra Sepulveda
  • District 31: John Rutherford
  • District 33: Antoinette Lee.
(For original source material, follow this link.)

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Nashville Business Alliance endorses candidates

There are a lot of groups with similar sounding names. The Nashville Business Alliance is not to be confused with The Nashville Business Coalition. The Nashville Business Coalition is a group representing local big business.  This groups made endorsements for mayor and council a couple weeks ago. You can read about that groups endorsements at this link.

The Nashville Business Alliance is designed to promote and advocate for minority- and women-owned businesses. Members of the Alliance include Michael Carter, a co-founder of Pinnacle Construction Partners; Jacky Akbari, board chairwoman of the National Organization for Workforce Diversity; Lee Molette, CEO of Molette Investment Services; Turner Nashe, senior vice president of education services at Innertainment Delivery Systems/Global Tel*Link; and Jerry Maynard, CEO of The Maynard Group.

Like the Nashville Business Coalition, the Nashville Business Alliance also edorsed David Briley for mayor. Other endorsements with the exception of Johnathan Hall and Robert Swope are of the most liberal members running. With a few exceptions, this is a list of for whom not to vote.

 Below is the full list of The Nashville Business Alliance endorsements:

  • MAYOR: David Briley
  • VICE MAYOR: Jim Shulman (incumbent)
  • METRO COUNCIL AT-LARGE: Berkley Allen, Fabian Bedne, Sharon Hurt (incumbent), Bob Mendes (incumbent) and Zulfat Suara
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: Johnathan Hall (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 2: Kyonzte Toombs
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 3: Elise Hudson
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 4: Robert Swope (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 5: Charles Flowers
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 7: Emily Benedict 
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 8: Nancy VanReece (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 9: David McMurry
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 10: Zach Young
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 12: Erin Evans
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 13: Russ Bradford
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 15: Jeff Syracuse (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 16: Ginny Welsch
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 17: Colby Sledge (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 19: Freddie O’Connell (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 20: Mary Carolyn Roberts (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 21: Ed Kindall (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 22: Gloria Hausser
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 23: Mina Johnson (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 26: Jeremy Elrod (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 28: Tanaka Vercher (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 29: Delisha Porterfield (incumbent)
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 30: Sandra Sepulveda
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 31: John Rutherford
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 32: Cheryl Mayes OR Joy Styles
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 33: Martez Coleman
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 34: Terry Jo Bichell
  • COUNCIL DISTRICT 35: Dave Rosenburg (incumbent)
(For original source information, follow this link.)

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The Tennessean' profile of each of the four major candidates for mayor.

The Tennessean has done a profile of each of the four major candidates for mayor. Each piece tells the biography of the candidates and essential facts about the candidate and lets the candidate share his or her vision for Nashville.  With a word length of about 2600 words, the articles are long enough to do the candidates justice and let their personality shire through. None of the articles are a hatchet-job and none of the top four are slighted. Good reporting.

 David Briley, after an improbable political comeback, wants to finish what he started

Carol Swain is running for Nashville mayor after 'a life of beating the odds'

Cooper sees bipartisan path to win in election 

John Ray Clemmons: A mayoral candidate underdog who wants to change Nashville

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Neither Mark Green nor Bill Haslam is running for the US Senate in 2020

Below are The Tennessean stories on this topic:

US Rep. Mark Green says he won't run for US Senate in 2020  
U.S. Rep. Mark Green, a physician and Army veteran who ascended from the Tennessee statehouse to Washington in January, is taking himself out of the running to be Tennessee's next U.S. Senator. ....In many ways, Green's exit from the race comes as a surprise. With a conservative pedigree that includes opposing Medicaid expansion and supporting Trump, he has ascended the political ladder since first entering politics less than a decade ago.

Former Gov. Bill Haslam won't run for US Senate, saying it is not his calling 
 "While I think serving in the United States Senate would be a great privilege and responsibility, I have come to the conclusion that it is not my calling for the next period of my life," Haslam, 60, said in the letter.

BILL HASLAM: Why I am not running for U.S. Senate in 2020 | Opinion

Rod's Comment: I am surprised. I thought both would run. I would have been torn in reaching a decision who to support.  I think Bill Haslam made an excellent governor but I also really like Mark Green.  This leaves in the race, Nashville orthopedic trauma surgeon Manny Sethi and Bill Hagerty, the U.S. ambassador to Japan.



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African American PAC endorses Mayor Briley

African American PAC endorses Mayor Briley, The Tennessean, by Bandrew Wigdor - Buffalo PAC, a Nashville political action committee made up of African-American business leaders, endorsed Mayor David Briley due ahead of the Aug.1 election. 

The group cited Briley's commitment to "equity for minority businesses" as the reason for the endorsement.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Impressive list of people endorse Carol Swain

I am convinced that John Cooper is the person we need for Nashville's next mayor.  I view the number one problem facing Nashville as mismanagement and massive debt. I am convinced John Cooper is the best person equipped to address these issues.

Many of my Republican friends are supporting Carol Swain.  Early in the race, before Cooper declared, I too supported Swain.  Last year when Swain ran against Briley I supported her. Not only am I now supporting Cooper because I think he is the best person equipped to deal with the problems we face, but on a pragmatic level I do not see a path to victory for Swain. She is an opinionated outspoken conservative with many things she has pontificated about. In a progressive city like Nashville, I simply do not think she can win.  Even under the best of circumstances, with a less opinionated or published candidate, a moderate Republican can only garner about 35% of the vote.

While I don't think she can win, Swain has picked up some impressive endorsements. John Rich of the Country music superstar duo Big and Rich is hosting a fundraiser on her behalf.

Dr. Ming Wang has endorsed her. You may know Dr.Wang from his full page ads in the Tennessean promoting his lasik eye surgery clinic. You also may know him as host of the annual Eye Ball fundraiser event which promotes classic ballroom dancing and raises money for the non-profit Wang Foundation for sight restoration. I have met Dr. Wang several times and have attended several events at his home. He is a remarkable multi-talented person. He is not only a leader in lasik surgery here in Nashville but is a world renowned leader in the field, having made worthwhile contributions to various areas of molecular biology. He has a compelling life story having escaped China durning the worst period of Chinese Communist totalitarian rule, known as the Cultural Revelation.  He fled China with only a few dollars in his pocket to become an extremely successful vision surgeon. He tells his story in a autobiography that I have read and recommend, From Darkness to Sight. Dr. Wang is also a board member of the Tennessee Republican Minority Coalition, co-founder, Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group, and founding president of Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Nashville resident and world renowned economist and developer of the Laffer Curve, Dr. Arthur Laffer, has endorsed Carol Swain. Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson has endorsed her. Nashville-based national financial guru and radio host Dave Ransey has endorced her as has Dennis Prager, of the on-line Prager University. Evangelist Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, came to Nashville to host a fundraiser on her behalf.

That is an impressive list of supporters. It still does not change by support for John Cooper, but I am impressed.

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Are we a better city since the last election?

by Thom Druffel - Hindsight is 20/20. This means we always see things more clearly in retrospect. Let’s test that.

Since the last Metro Council Election—are we a better city? If size and head count were the only criteria, I would say yes. But for the sake of argument, let’s use another touchstone—the quality of community life.
Is our public education better? No.
Are we repurposing our public lands/resources in a responsible and equitable way? No.
Is our city’s spending equitable, transparent, accountable, and fiscally responsible? No.
Is our public transportation better? No.
Are our aging and deficient infrastructures better (roads, sewer systems, and storm water systems)? No.
We all pay significant property taxes. Are we getting the benefit?
The Metro Council is the steward of our tax dollars and the guardian of our neighborhood's quality of life and resources.
The Metro Council impacts our education system by supporting programs that empower and encourage teachers and enhancing the environment in which they work.
The Metro Council facilitates and encourages legislation that ensures and preserves: greenways and parks, sidewalks, peace and quiet, minimal traffic congestion, financial, healthcare, and utility assistance programs for our seniors
I want to represent you/District 23 in the Metro Council. It's important that you are familiar with my background, my work, and why I am qualified to work the problems that threaten our quality of life in West Nashville. Please visit
There’s no question that Nashville is on the move, but in what direction? Ask yourself: Are we a better city since the last Metro Council election?
If you have any questions and concerns please email me
 Thom Druffel is seeking the Council seat in District 23. I am supporting his candidacy. Rod Williams

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Country Music superstarr John Rich hosting fund raiser for Carol Swain.

John Rich
On Monday July 15th, Country superstar John Rich will be hosting a reception for mayoral candidate Carol Swan at this home, Mt. Richmore.  I am not supporting Carol Swan, but am instead supporting John  Cooper. If I was supporting Swain, this is the type of event I would like to attend. Rich's home is atop Love Circle overlooking Nashville and it stirred opposition from neighbors when it was constructed. It is huge and unique. The mansion has been featured on The Today Show and written about in other places.  I would like to see it.

I like John Rich.  I like his fearlessness in standing up for conservative values and his not being afraid of being politically incorrect. He speaks his mind with swagger. On a recent visit to Lower Broad, I noticed flying above his Redneck Rivera honky tonk was an American flag and below it a Gasden flag. The Gasden flag is the yellow flag with the snake and the slogan, "don't tread on me."  It was adopted as the flag of the Tea Party movement. I like a person who is not afraid to show his patriotism and political persuasion.

 I also like John Rich as a performer.  Years ago, before Big and Rich ever became superstars, for several months, I attended several of a a weekly show they put on at the Cannery Ballroom. It went by some name, such as, "the Music City Mafia," if featured various rock, county and Americana acts and was a loud, energy-filled event. Regulars, beside Big and Rich,  was some rockers whose name I don't recall, Black country artist Cowboy Troy,  "Redneck Women" artist Gretchen Wilson,  a midget named "two-foot Fred," and a visual artist who painted an impressionistic portrait of an entertainer or band or musician while the show went on, painting in bold colors and strokes at a high energy frantic pace. This weekly show was a bizarre circus. I loved it! Being able to participate in events like this and soak up the vibe of the city and see the stars before they are superstars is one I have always loved about living in Nashville. At these "Music City Mafia" shows, I  was by far the oldest guy in the room but really enjoyed the shows.

I think John Cooper is the person we need for our next mayor but if Carol Swain should be the candidate who makes it to the the runoff and the other person is incumbent David Briley, I will be supporting Carol Swain. Carol Swain is doing better than I thought she would and may make the runoff.  Should she make it to the runoff, I do not think she can win because then the kid gloves will come off and everything she has ever said that the left would consider homophobic, racist, Islamophobic, or misogynist will come to light if it looks like she is within sticking distance of winning.  As of now, there is no need to attack Swain, because Briley is probably hoping she is his opponent in a run off. Carol Swain has an author and pundit has a long record of opinions she has shared, which I agree with for the most part, but which will be used to demonize her if it become necessary to do so to prevent her from wining.  She is a social conservative and a Christian in a city of progressives and secularist.

While I hope John Cooper is the candidate who faces Briley in a runoff, if it is Swain I will support her, even though I think her chances of beating Briley in a runoff would be slim. If she does make the runoff I will be hoping my analysis of her chances and Nashville's electorate is wrong, but I don't think it is.  If she does make the runoff, maybe she will have another fundraiser at John Rich's and I can attend that one.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

1st Tuesday, July 12; guest is Ralph Schulz, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President.

From Tim Skow:
1ST TUESDAY Members, friends and guests 

As this 4th of JULY holiday weekend comes to a close, I hope each of you have new reasons to be thankful, be proud of America and have new memories with those who matter to you most.


In order to avoid the lull in attendance that always happens during a holiday week,  the July version of 1ST TUESDAY is slated for Friday, July 12 and features the man in the eye of the whirlwind of the wicked paced growth engulfing Nashville and the surrounding area!

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Schulz returns to 1ST TUESDAY to discuss the likes of MITSUBISHI announcing they are moving to their Headquarters for North America to Cool Springs, iconic hotels from the MGM, 4 SEASONS, GRAND HYATT and many high profile and high impact companies coming to town !  No question, it will cause many heads to spin as the pace of Nashville's rise to international prominence is discussed !


1ST TUESDAY again in 2019 will aim to help those on the ballot who have visited 1ST TUESDAY on multiple occasions over the last year.
For this election cycle the special promotion is as follows. Those who come to lunch of July 12 with a check for at least $50 [or mail their check this week for the candidate(s) of their choosing will be granted a free pass to one of our remaining events over the next 6 months. 

YES ! ….provide your support for any of the names on the ballot found at the bottom of this invite and …..
YOU will be granted a pass to 1ST TUESDAY event of your choice for any event from August to our event in January! 
[ just an FYI, Senator Blackburn is confirmed for August 6th and we have other MEGA-speakers confirmed between SEPT and JAN]

Our 1ST TUESDAY website has details at 
You can RSVP there now. Once the new portal taking credit /debit cards comes on line this week you will be able to prepay for your JULY lunch!

Hope you will join us on this coming FRIDAY for a fascinating visit with Ralph Schulz and a couple of special guests !
Look forward to seeing you at WALLER Law. Remember doors open at 11AM and parking under the building is still just $7 for 2 hours.
Spread the word and bring your friends!!  
Looking forward to seeing many of you this FRIDAY !

Tim Skow

LIST of candidates to make your check(s) to include

Jody Ball
Thom Druffel
Michelle Foreman
Steve Glover 
Jonathan Hall
Lydia Hubbell 
Courtney Johnston [ a 1ST TUESDAY Sponsor ]
Bob Nash
Russ Pulley
Geric Smith
Carol Swain
Robert Swope [ a 1ST TUESDAY Sponsor ]
Sheri Weiner

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Music City Republican Women sponsor "Coffee with Courtney."

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Joint DCRP and Nashville Young Republicans Quarterly Social!

 From The Davidson County Republican Party:
Tuesday, July 9th at 5:30pm
The Crow's Nest,  2221 Bandywood Drive, Nashville

Join us on Tuesday, July 9th for our joint quarterly social!  We will be introducing our candidates for Metro Council and possibly Mayor.  Mix and mingle with like-minded conservatives and have the opportunity to ask candidates about their platform, their vision for Nashville, and any tough questions you may have!

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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Should electric scooters be banned? Here is what the mayoral candidates think and here is what I think.

David Briley and Carol Swain say "yes;" Clemmons and Cooper say "No." Watch this Channel 4 report to see a slightly expanded explanation for the candidates' opinions.

In my view scooters should not be banned. That is not to say that I do not think we have scooter problem as it exist now.  Today, while walking from my home near Wedgewood and Eighth Ave toward downtown,  I had two scooters zoom by me on the sidewalk passing on my left.  I say "zoomed," but they probably were going no faster than a jogger who passes a person walking, but it seemed fast. If I would have inadvertently stepped to my left, I could have been run over by the scooter or the scooter to avoid hitting me could have careened off the sidewalk into the path of a car.  After that harrowing incident, later other scooter passed me coming up to me from behind and coming down the sidewalk were scooters heading toward me. These two groups of scooters had to pass on the sidewalk. That is dangerous.

I have also observed scooters switching from sidewalks to street and cut corners at intersection and driving between cars and doing other dangerous things. I am not for an outright ban on scooters however, because I thing we need to welcome innovation and market forces to solve our transportation problems.  We need a multimodal approach to transportation. We need options. They are not here yet, but on the way are electric bicycles which will add another transportation option that will probably be as popular, maybe more popular, than the scooters. If we have banned scooters, the electric bicycle will probably be reluctant to come to Nashville.

While a lot of young, often probably impaired, tourist zip around town on scooters enhancing their Nashville tourist experience and making life more stressful for pedestrians and drives, scooters are also used by a lot of locals.  In the last week, I talked to two locals who ride scooters.  One was a waiter at Southern Oyster and Steak on 3rd Ave. South.  Parking is outrageously expensive downtown, especially for a guy on a waiters salary.  This guy parks his car at the Nissan stadium across the river and scoots to work and back to his car every day.  The other person was an attorney who works at the Beacon Center and uses a scooter to get to and from a parking garage several blocks away.

I do think we need more regulations. We should tolerate them being parked on the sidewalk but require they be parked unobtrusively. Certain busy blocks should not allow scooters on the sidewalks but require the scooter companies to lease parking spaces for conversion to scooter corrals. I tend to think they should be banned from being ridden on the sidewalks. If allowed at all on the sidewalk however, they should be allowed to be driven at only a rate of speed equal to that of someone walking at a fast pace and be required to sound a warning when approaching a pedestrian from the rear. The rules should be posted around town and on the app when one rents the scooter. Enforcement could be paid for with a tax or fee charged to the scooter owners. 

I do not want a limit placed on the number of scooters.  Artificially capping the numbers makes those who have them on our streets, have a more valuable product and the ability to charge more.  We should not enrich those lucky enough to win the scooter lottery.  There will be a number at which it will not be profitable to add more scooters. We should let the market determine that number.  When electric bicycles come to Nashville, they will cut into the scooter market.

I also do not want to require riders to wear helmets.  I know helmets may save lives but people should be free to evaluate the risk for themselves after being made aware of the risk. While scooter owners could make helmets available at certain locations such as hotels, requiring every scooter user to wear a helmet is simply impractical.  Also, I don't like wearing a helmet myself. I don't want to stop other people from having fun. I occasionally bicycle. I enjoy biking much more without a helmet. I have visited my daughter who lives in New Orleans and biking is so much more fun in New Orleans.  New Orleans does not have a bicycle helmet law.  Of course New Orleans has no hills also and that is a factor in making bicycling more fun. Since the introduction of scooters to Nashville, I have taken to not wearing a helmet, figuring that with all of the helmetless scooter riders, the police are not going to choose to pick on me to enforce the helmet law.

Don't ban the scooters, impose reasonable regulations, learn to share the road, don't resent other people having fun, and let innovation and the market solve our transportation problems.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Challenger Tori Goddaard uses Police Officer Anderson's death to criticize Council member Mary Carolyn Roberts.

As scooped from Scoop:

Rod's Comment: I don't have a favorite in this race and don't know Tori Goddard. I would not vote against Tori Goddard just because of this, but this is low blow in political campaigning. It makes me less inclined to favor her, even if she had other favorables. If I deemed the two candidates otherwise equally qualified, this would push me to vote for her opponent, incumbent Council member Mary Carolyn Roberts. 

Officer Anderson was killed when an unlicensed teen driver slammed into the officer's police car in an intersection. There is no indication the accident would have been prevented with more personnel and resources. 

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July

Ray Charles singing his version of "America the Beautiful."
This causes chills to run up and down my spin and a lump in my throat. 

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Out-of-State ultra liberal groups support progressives for Metro Council

A group called, "The Working Families Party" has endorsed a candidate for Council at-large in the upcoming Metro election.  This organization joins other ultra liberal groups like the  LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Women for Tennessee's Future  in attempting to influence Metro elections.  This is relatively new. In the past local elections were mostly local affairs.

Working Families Party uses the usual rhetoric of the left focusing on stroking class envy and claiming, "the very wealthiest just get richer and richer."  Their issues include affordable housing, climate change, debt-free higher education, LGBTQ issues, immigrant rights, paid family and medical leave and a $15 minimum wage.

In Nashville,  the WFP has endorsed Gicola Lane for Metro Council at Large.  This is the first time the organization has endorsed a candidate in Nashville and it looks like this is their first endorsement of a candidate in Tennessee. Lane led the successful Amendment 1 charter referendum campaign to create Nashville’s police Community Oversight Board.  In April, Lane attended a Working Families Party candidate training program.  It is not know how much money, WFP will funnel to Lane.

There are more progressive candidates running for Metro Council than ever before and they are being supported by outside forces.  If most of them are elected, we will have the most liberal council we have ever had.  While the state keeps Metro Nashville from going to far to the left by prohibiting sanctuary cities, prohibiting a city minimum wage,  and protecting some property rights, a far left Council could still wreck havoc and change the culture of the city.  It appears to me, that their is a national focus on Nashville to make it a beacon of progressive politics. I hope that citizens focus on this election and do not allow outside left-wing organization to pick our next Council.

While I wish local non-partisan elections could be decided by local people and focus on local issues, if the left is going to try to nationalize local elections, I wish there was a counterbalance from the right.  I know of no national conservative organizations supporting council candidates.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Who are all of these people running for the Council in District 7.

District 7 MapDistrict 7 is the Inglewood area and is currently represented by Anthony Davis who is term-limited.  Eight candidates are seeking to succeed him.  The Tennesseean published a piece today called, Meet the candidates in Nashville's District 7.  Each candidate is profiled with a picture and biographical information and statements about policy positions. Some useful information can be gleamed from articles such as this.  If the article does not give you enough information to make a selection, it helps narrow the field by telling you whom not to support.

I don't live in District 7, but if I did, two of the eight candidates would be eliminated immediately from consideration as a result of the Tennesseean article.  Randy Reed, the article states, did not respond to multiple interview request. If someone won't be interviewed by the press for a story about their campaign, they are not a serious candidate.  I would also eliminate from consideration Cole Rogers since he states he supported the 16% property tax hike increase proposed by councilman Mendes.  My view is that we are not undertaxed.

Most of the candidates list sidewalks as priority need for their district and several mention more affordable housing and traffic concerns.  Below is a list of the candidates and any quick takeaway gleamed from The Tennessean article or other sources.  I have provided links to campaign web sites or other news about the candidates when I could find it.

Emily Benedict. She says she will personally work to bring thousands of tech jobs to Nashville.  She has the endorsement of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and WTF (Women for Tennessee's Future.) Those two endorsements would be reasons I would not vote for her. (Webpage, Out an About)

Client Camp. I can't learn much about him but he has some good credentials and roots in the community. (Facebook, webpage)

Stephen Downs: He appears to mistakenly think that companies have to get permission before they move to Nashville and he proposes making companies commit to building a certain amount of sidewalks and other things before they are invited to move to Nashville. He proposes a plan for community policing and combating youth violence. (webpage)

Daniel Fitzpatrick: He says the city should work to recapture some of the excess funds held by the Music City Center. He is also critical of using one-time land sales of Metro property and depleting the rainy-day fund to balance the budget. I am impressed by this focus. (webpage)

Jacob Green: No additional information located. If a candidate does not have a webpage or campaign Facebook page, my view is that they are not trying very hard to reach the public and must not be very serious.

Stephanie Johnson: She does say, "it's important to support teachers unions," which I do not like. However she says, "Each council person should be responsible for figuring out what we can cut instead of asking residents to be responsible for paying off the debt that our leadership has gotten us into." I like that. She also say She also said that strengthening transparency must be a priority in the future. I like that. She also says, "fiscal responsibility," must be a priority. I like that. (Facebook page.

Cole Rogers: He supported the proposed 16% property tax increase. Enough said, I couldn't vote for him. (webpage, Facebook)

Randy Reed: He did not respond to The Tennesseans's request for an interview, which makes me think he is not a serious candidate. He is a former police officer, however, he may be a dirty cop. See Is a dirty cop the kind of person who should serve in the Metro Council.  He ran in 2015. I cannot find a web page or other information about him.

I do not have a recommendation for whom to vote in this race.  I would, however, narrow my choices to  Client Camp, Daniel Fitzpatrick, or maybe Stephanie Johnson. I have reasons not to support the other five candidates. I don't have any friends advocating for any of the candidates and don't know anymore about them than what I have posted above. If I had to make a choice today, knowing no more than I do, I would probably vote for Daniel Fitzpatrick. However, this is not an endorsement. I would seek more information.

I have made a genuine effort to locate information about the candidates. If any candidate reads this and has a website or Facebook page and I simply did not find it, please share it an I will update this page. If any candidate would like to elaborate as to why they are the best person for the job please leave a comment, or contact me to talk to me. Any supporter of a candidate is free to leave a comment advocating for their preferred candidate.

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These members of the Council voted to raise your property taxes.

Fabian Bedne, voted to
raise taxes, Running at-large
Burkley Allen, voted to
raise taxes, Running at-large
On June 18th the Metro Council voted on a proposed substitute budget that would have raised property taxes by 15.8%.  That proposal came up one vote short of passing and as a result Mayor Briley's budget, which did not proposed a property tax hike, became the city's budget.

Here is who voted to raise taxes:

Erica Gilmore, Council member at-large, (not seeking office)
Bob Mendes, Council member at-large seeking reelection.
Sharon Hurt, Council member at-large seeking reelection.
Brenda Haywood, District 3, not on the ballot.
Brett Withers, District 6, unopposed, seeking reelection.
Anthony Davis,  District 7, not on the ballot.
Doug Pardue,  District 10, not on the ballot.
Mike Freeman, District 16, not on the ballot
Colby Sledge, District 17, seeking reelection unopposed.
Burkley Allen, Currently District 18, seeking an at-large seat.
Freddie O'Connell, District 19, running for reelection unopposed.
Ed Kindall, District 21, seeking reelection, has opposition.
Kathleen Murphy,  District 24, seeking reelection unopposed.
Tanaka Vercher, District 28, seeking reelection with an opponent.
Delisha Porterfield, District 29, seeking reelection with an opponent
Dave Rosenberg, voted to
raise taxes, Running for relectiion
Jason Potts, District 30, not on the ballot.
Fabian Bedne, Currently District 31 running for at-large. Jacobia Dowell, District 32,not on the ballot.
Antoinette Lee, District 33, running for reelection with opposition.
Dave Rosenberg, District 35, running for reelection with opposition.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund endorsed John Cooper for mayor.

The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund endorsed Metro Councilman John Cooper in the race for mayor. Apparently, this organization only endorsed in the mayor's race and not in council races. There are a couple or maybe more organizations claiming to be the voice of neighborhoods but I think this is the most legitimate of them.  The Tennessean says, "The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund is an advocacy group that registers as a political action committee, but doesn't raise funds to give to candidates. The organization is comprised of activists from more than 65 neighborhood groups."

I am glad to see Cooper got this endorsement. It is better to get it than not get it,  but I take all of the endorsements from neighbor groups or neighborhood associations or an organization representing neighborhood organizations with a grain of salt. Often neighborhood groups are mostly inactive and maybe once a year a half dozen people will get together to chose officers. Sometimes groups are dormant for years at a time. Sometimes there are more than one organization claiming to represent a neighborhood. A neighborhood organization may represent no one except the two or three activist who claim to represent the organization.

Neighborhood groups are most active when they have something to be mad about such as someone going to take their park or build a commercial development or some affordable housing in their neighborhood. When the issue that motivated them goes away, often the neighborhood group becomes inactive. There is another group called, Coalition For Nashville Neighborhoods headed by former Council member John Summers (at least I think it is another group).  I don't know much about that group either but I don't think it is much more than John Summers.

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