About 6 weeks ago, Dr. Jesse Register announced that he had plans for a Third Way for Metro schools in East Nashville. What this meant was not clear - giving rise to concern among East Nashville parents. At the time, I wrote that inclusiveness, transparency and objectivity should guide any changes to the East Nashville schools. I harbored no illusion that Dr. Register would read my post but I hoped that as the community expressed its concerns over his undefined plan he would take a step back, seek input, clarify his objectives and build some support for his Third Way. Such a response seemed obvious. Boy, was I wrong.Read more
During the last few days, as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has become more real in the United States, I've read and heard varying opinions about our nation's responsibility to react to the crisis in Africa. Based on what I've learned, it is clear that from a public health perspective we've got to go to the source (West Africa) if we ever hope to stop the spread of this deadly virus. I've made a donation here and encourage you to make one somewhere as well.
The discussion also reminded me of Middle Tennessee's 19th century connection to Liberia through the colonization movement.Read more
A big part of the job of Vice Mayor is managing process - how the Council works.
Three broad principles that will influence how I manage process are: 1) inclusiveness; 2) transparency; and 3) objectivity. Here's what I mean by these principles. The principle of inclusiveness requires that significant decisions by the City occur after the public has been heard. Transparency means that significant decisions of the City are made after a discussion or debate that is open and available to the public. Additionally, the written materials upon which the decision-maker relies should be available to the public and archived for later reference. Finally, decisions should be as objective as possible. In my opinion, objectivity comes, at least in part, from reliance on experts and measurement of the success or failure of decisions in a predetermined, verifiable way.
Obviously, there's a lot more to be said about each of those principles and I'll try to elaborate as the campaign goes on but for now I thought I'd apply them to a topic of current concern - Jesse Register's decision to implement a Third Way for East Nashville schools. So, here are three questions about process for Dr. Register:Read more
Like most of Nashville I have no day to day, personal connection to Music Row. My only experience there was in the summer of 1977 cleaning out the basement of a flop house on 17th Avenue South. Also, like most of Nashville I do have connections that are less concrete. I have friends who moved here because of the music scene, Nashville musicians have transformed the neighborhood where I live, and I love music made in Nashville. That's how Nashville's music scene makes life great for me.
Nevertheless, it was only with passing interest that I read Ben Folds' letter regarding the potential loss of historic RCA Studio A. However, after I read his letter and reply a couple of times, looked over the owner's response and took in the commentary online, I concluded not only that Ben Folds is right but also that people outside the music business ought to back him up.
I don't know Ben Folds, so I'm not speaking for him but:Read more
Take a look at this interesting map the American Communities Project built using census and election data. The map is most focused on the political outcomes generally associated by different types of communities but it also gives a stark visual reminder of Nashville's most pressing problem - transit.
Two stories caught my attention in The Tennessean over the weekend.
First, there was an article by Michael Cass on Friday about a worker stuck at minimum wage. Unsurprisingly, the worker, a single parent, was struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage. The article went on to point out the lack of a political appetite in Tennessee to raise the rate. As a counter-point, an owner of Demos Restaurant expressed the sentiment that an increased minimum wage would result in fewer hours for his workers. The Demos logic currently holds sway at the State Capitol.
According to one article, the amount of digital information increases tenfold every five years. This trend applies as much as to local government as it does for the internet.
Take a look at Metro's record center.Read more
Perhaps you've noticed the occasional yard sign that has popped up in the right of way. Or maybe you're directly involved in the judicial system. Otherwise, you might not know there's an election on May 6 and early voting is going on today.Read more
I remember when country music meant Hee Haw. I remember when moral victories were all you got at Dudley Field – think Alabama 66 - Vanderbilt 3 - September 29, 1979. I remember when traffic was not a problem - think no rush hour west of 12th and Broad. Those days are gone – mostly for the better.
This week, Mayor Dean came to the realization that the proposed bus rapid transit (AMP) he’d promoted for the last few years was not going to happen as initially envisioned. The Mayor deserves credit for taking a step back to hear more from the public on a project that I know means a lot to him. He also deserves credit for tackling one of Middle Tennessee's most pressing issues - our overburdened roadways.
As the City starts the process of “revamping” the AMP, I’d suggest we consider the following:Read more
Before I start writing about the relative merits of the AMP, the role of charter schools, or how Nashville can navigate the perils of a of legislature dominated by rural and suburban interests, I thought I'd take a minute to talk about somethings less controversial. Spring has sprung, chickens are laying, and hiking is good.