For more than a decade, Nashville has acknowledged that its economic vitality depends upon the adequacy of its broadband infrastructure. (See, Report of the Task Force on Telecommunications Innovation, August 2006). This acknowledgement has not led to the kind of private investment necessary to build out the network we need to compete in today’s economy.Read more
More than a year ago, I announced that I would be running for Vice Mayor of Nashville. I said that I would engage in a "conversation with our community about where Nashville should be going, what we want this city to be, and what are the most pressing issues of the day." Since that time, I've written both about process and about substance.
As I work for the citizens of Nashville, I will focus the process on the values of inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. Focusing on these values will go a long way in helping the public decide whether the decisions of their government are well-informed and make sense. We will also stay focused on these issues:Read more
Over the past couple of years, I've written about public education a bit. I've written about charter schools, the need for site based management, and values to which I believe the Director of Schools should adhere.
At the same time, I've stayed on the sidelines as Nashville has engaged in a spirited debate about the growth of charter schools. My silence was not out of a lack of interest but for other reasons. First, I have friends that were making good arguments on both sides. Some friends opened charter schools, others vigorously oppose them, and at least one who has done both. Second, I've been around long enough to know that the School Board and the mayor are almost always at odds and to take the rhetoric from both sides with a grain of salt. Finally, I found my opinion on the matter somewhere in the middle.Read more
It's no surprise that the phrase "affordable housing" is one of the most prevalent in this campaign season. One recent study cited that over 15% of Nashville households have housing concerns - predominantly related to cost. On top of that, urban infill development has resulted in a lot of change in neighborhoods that traditionally had an abundance of low cost housing. Finally, elderly Nashvillians and people of color are disproportionately affected by these changes.
I've spent much of the last decade on the Board of Directors for The Housing Fund working to help create and maintain affordable, healthy places in which low and moderate income people live. That experience has taught me that the policy goal of providing low-cost housing is often complicated by the realities of an economy over which our City has little control on its own.
To give some meaning to this idea, here's an example:
When the first Earth Day teach-ins took place in 1970, President Nixon was apparently suspicious because they were taking place on the centenary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. He dispatched J. Edgar Hoover to investigate but nothing suspicious was found. Perhaps this was the first indication of the fall of international communism - who knows? At any rate, people around the globe still celebrate Earth Day every April 22.
Today, the intrigue has faded and most accept that environmentalism is not a plot to overthrow America. Instead, Earth Day has become the environmental movement's annual day to celebrate the idea that it makes sense to pay attention to human impact on the environment and to take steps to leave the planet in a better state for future generations. As part of our campaign, I wanted to lay out just a couple of thoughts I have about Nashville and how we can leave its environment in a better condition for the next generations.Read more
Today our City is growing faster than ever seemed possible. As Nashville grows, as money plays a bigger role in politics and as Council members represent more people over time, we risk having our elections lose influence over the direction of our City.
The principal reason that I'm running for office again is to do what I can to make sure your election on August 6 has influence over Nashville's direction. I've written about the abstract notions of inclusion, transparency and objectivity as the values important to me and how I think those values should influence what Nashville's going to be. I know it's pretty dry, serious stuff. So, I wanted to add something more concrete, less serious:Read more
Almost 120 years ago, my great, great grandfather Andrew Beverly Vaughn shot and killed John Kirk in the State Capitol. Here's a description of the shooting, which started as a dispute between a third man, J.T. Davis, and Vaughn over a fourth man's firing from a prison job.
Vaughn grabbed the stick, but Davis snatched it back and struck his opponent on the head. Enraged, Vaughn pulled a gun from his pocket, firing three shots. The first barely missed Davis, causing powder burns to his face. He pushed past Deputy Insurance Commissioner Ridley Wills and raced into the corridor. Vaughn followed, firing at least two more shots in the main corridor, where Superintendent Kirk crouched near the north wall. The second or third bullet accidentally struck Kirk behind the left ear, lodging in his brain.