Support for The Covenant School Families, Titans Stadium, Reduction of Council, and Change in Civic Design Center Event
I share our community’s heartbreak and anger about the mass shooting and murder of three children and three adults at The Covenant School. I am very thankful for the heroism of all our Metro Nashville Police Department Officers, and in particular Rex Englebert and Michael Collazo, who raced into danger and put a stop to it before others were killed. We honor the victims and hold them and their families close in our hearts.
Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9-years old
Hallie Scruggs, 9-years old
William Kinney, 9-years old
Katherine Koonce, 60-years old
Cynthia Peak, 61-years old
Mike Hill, 61-years old
Metro Nashville Public Schools Announce Security Enhancements
Last month, Metro Nashville Public Schools announced security enhancements of our schools for gun detection. Private schools like Covenant could also consider these measures. It's heartbreaking to know the reporter who contributed to the article linked above was also on scene at Covenant and shared her experience of being a survivor of a school shooting when she was younger. This nation must end gun violence, especially the proliferation of assault rifles. We cannot solely focus on mental health support, which is indeed a key component, but it must be tied with removing the ability of those individuals to be able to secure these deadly weapons.
As the Chair of Public Health & Safety for Council, I will be working with our Metro Nashville Public Schools, Mayor’s Office, Metro Nashville Police Department, private school community, and likely some subject matter expert guests to take part in special called meetings to focus like a laser on school safety and ensure we’re doing everything in our power to keep this from happening again. I’ve also been in discussions with Sandy Hook and Uvalde to learn from them. Stay tuned for more details on that.
Thank you Nashville Fire Department
Here are all the Nashville Fire Department personnel that were involved in the response to The Covenant School tragedy. We thank them for their extraordinary service on this day but on each and every day.
Tennessee House votes to expel Democratic Rep. Justin Jones
In the aftermath of the tragedy, tensions were high at the State Capitol as hundreds if not thousands of protestors over the course of the week demanded action by our State Legislature to protect children and our schools. State Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson broke decorum rules on the House floor as they demanded the Legislature act. That led to the House taking up resolutions to expel the three from the House. The decision by House Republicans to expel Representatives Jones and Pearson was an egregious disservice to their constituents and a corruption of the democratic process by which they were duly elected to office. No elected official in the State of Tennessee has ever been expelled for breaking decorum. Representative Johnson was not expelled by one vote. When there is an open elected seat, the local legislative body is responsible for appointing a replacement while a special election is called. There is nothing that prohibits Jones and Pearson from being appointed by their respective bodies. Therefore, at Metro Council’s special meeting on Monday, April 10th, I will vote to reappoint Justin Jones back to his seat in the House of Representatives. Justin is dedicated to his community and his commitment to justice and equity is unwavering. His voice is critically important, especially during these difficult times and I look forward to working with him and others to bring meaningful change to protecting our schools.
5 Year Remembrance of Waffle House Mass Shooting
We are coming up on five years since the mass shooting at the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike in Antioch. There will be a remembrance event on April 22nd hosted by the Akilah Dasilva Foundation. His mother and family have been extraordinary advocates for gun safety and taken their unspeakable loss and turned it towards action and change.
Titans Stadium Update and Metro Council Reduction Proposal
Two major items before Council are the Titans stadium and the reduction of Metro Council, which is being litigated. To review all the documents, presentations, and meetings we’ve had as part of the East Bank Stadium Committee, view them here. In a nutshell, I support the new stadium proposal because it’s a much better deal for taxpayers.
We’ve had seven public meetings where public comment was taken and the East Bank Stadium Committee met roughly 25 times over the last several months. Currently, we’re on the hook for roughly at least $700 million in upgrades and repairs of the current stadium, which was not built to be sustainable when we made a deal with the team that was squarely in their favor. To fix up the current stadium would be a waste of taxpayer dollars, which ultimately would come from General Obligation debt (i.e. the Metro “credit card”) and paid via our Operating Budget, which is how we fund employee pay, schools, roads, sidewalks, public safety, affordable housing, and the list goes on of all Metro operations. The new enclosed stadium proposal means that obligation for the current stadium is wiped out and we would instead pull a $760 million revenue bond. Revenue bonds do not impact our credit rating and the payments come from encumbered future sales tax revenues from in and around the stadium.
The revenue potential from in and around the stadium are plentiful. It was important for me to be comfortable that this deal wasn’t just something that benefits tourists and those using the stadium, but that the revenues benefit every resident in Davidson County. There is an extraordinary amount of information at the link provided above, including the finance plan and a market study just recently added. Plus, we own the land around the stadium, so we can control how it’s development, include affordable housing, transit, and ensure the development is intentional and quality economic development that supports all of us. When you consider all options and weigh the pros and cons, a new enclosed stadium as an anchor development of a totally revitalized East Bank is a better deal for taxpayers and will pay off long term. This is the kind of deal we should have done in the 1990’s.
Metro Council Forced reduction by the State
Follow this page for all information about the forced Metro Council reduction by the State. Things are fluid. In a nutshell, we are taking two simultaneous paths. We are litigating this issue against the State for forcing this reduction while also working to comply with State law, which of course could go away if the courts rule in our favor. What is a standard several months long process every ten-years based on US Census data changes that takes our Planning Department months to prepare, engage, and adjust based on community input, we are being forced to do all this in less than a month. Please stay close to the website listed above, use the opportunity in it to provide feedback on the proposed maps, sign up for email updates, and stay in touch with Council on your thoughts. As you’ll note on the website, Planning has put two maps up as proposals, one with 17 Districts and 3 At Large, and one with 15 Districts and 5 At Large. A special-called meeting to watch was held on March 16th and gives a lot of information about how Planning, the Election Commission, and Council are thinking about how this process plays out.
Dreaming Big for the Heart of Donelson
In my last newsletter, I announced a forum for Donelson called “Dreaming Big for the Heart of Donelson” hosted by the Nashville Civic Design. It will still be on April 15th at 10am but will be hosted at Donelson First Baptist and they are shifting the format of this event to focus on neighborhood assets and opportunities, specifically evaluating community priorities to share with future developers. A portion of this event will be a neighborhood “walk audit,” however, they will also facilitate a virtual audit for anyone that would prefer to stay behind and evaluate the ½ mile radius from inside. It’s free to register. Sign up here.
End of an era for Donelson Bowl
The end of an era is here as the family that has owned Donelson Bowl for many years has decided to sell. They’ve considered many offers over the years. They chose to sell to Pizzuti, who have done some high-quality developments in Nashville. It’s being proposed as 154 apartments. What they’re requesting will not require a zone change, so this doesn’t have to come through me. My understanding is that they were chosen by the Donelson Bowl owner’s because they will pay homage to Nashville’s oldest bowling alley, and they will preserve the sign. Pizzuti is also a company that holds art in high regard, so the development should look incorporate some nice architecture and support local art. You can read more here.
Merry Oaks Neighbors Traffic Calming
Merry Oaks neighbors are finally getting some traffic calming. See the graphic below for a depiction of the location of permanent speed readers on Fairway Drive and Blue Hills Drive.
Fifty Forward Donelson Station Corn Hole Tournament
The next Fifty Forward Donelson Station Corn Hole Tournament is back on Saturday, April 22nd and District 13 Council Member Russ Bradford and I are teaming up again to support Fifty Forward Donelson Station to help raise funds for the center. All the information is below. Please consider signing up and participating in this fun event for a great cause.
Tennessee Ukrainian Community Gathering
Come learn about Ukrainian culture at a Community Gathering at Plaza Mariachi on Saturday, April 15th from 4pm – 7pm. See flyer below for details.
Donelson Presbyterian Church Bluegrass Acoustic Slow Jam
Donelson Presbyterian Church is hosting a Bluegrass Acoustic Slow Jam on the third Monday of the month from 7-9pm. Come enjoy good music and fellowship with Donelson neighbors and musicians. See flyer below.
Tennessee School for the Blind Fundraiser
The Tennessee School for the Blind is hosting a “Lights Out Dining and Silent Auction” fundraiser on Thursday, April 27th. See flyer below and click here for more information.
D-H Chamber's "Influencing Women's Awards Gala"
Also on Thursday, April 27th is the 5th Annual Donelson-Hermitage Chamber’s “Influencing Women Awards Gala” Awards. Local business and community leaders will gather to honor the women who lead the way in business, industry, enterprise, and community hosted at Gaylord Opryland Resort. Ticket information is here.
Donelson Lion's Club Hosts Community Shred & Medication Disposal
The Donelson Lion’s Club is hosting a shred event at the Tennessee School of the Blind on April 29th. There is a donation of $5 per box to help with their fundraising efforts. MNPD will also be on site collecting unused prescriptions. See flyer below for details.
Nomination Petition for being on the ballot!
I picked up my nominating petition and have officially begun securing signatures to be listed on the ballot. I will have my petition just about everywhere I go and will be having some meet and greet events to have deeper conversations and listen to neighbors across the county. If you’d like to sign my petition, I’d be happy to stop by and would be honored to have your support.
Go Vote and St. Paddy's Day Parade
Make sure your voter registration is up to date! Go to www.GoVoteTN.com to register or update your registration online.
I’ve been having a wonderful time travelling around Davidson County meeting with neighbors and engaging in events. Thanks to the Irish Network Nashville for bringing back the St. Paddy’s Day Parade. This year’s parade was held the day after St. Patrick’s Day and went around the Five Point Area of East Nashville. I enjoyed the festivities and marching in the parade with my wife Gina. Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, who also Chairs the Belfast Committee for Sister Cities, was this year’s Grand Marshall. Great to see District 6 Council Member Brett Withers and District 6 candidate Daniel McDonnell among other friends and neighbors.
Southeast Nashville Egg Hunt & Festival
The annual Southeast Nashville Egg Hunt & Festival was an absolute blast! My wife Gina and I brought some Italian cookies and chocolate as well as some branded egg shakers. I had a lot of fun showing kids how to use the shakers together to make different rhythms and play along to songs. I’m thankful for this great event and really enjoyed meeting many families.
Human Rights Campaign Dinner
I enjoyed attending the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner supporting LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Violence, discrimination, and target legislation against any of our neighbors is wrong and can not be tolerated. Everyone deserves the same freedoms and protections that many of us take for granted. It was great to see Judge Lynn Ingram, District 11 Council Member Zach Young, and Eric Patton, who serves on the Human Rights Campaign Nashville Steering Committee.