Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MCC Hearings...Open Mic Nites in Nashville


I have attended several of the hearings regarding the proposed plan for the Music City Center. This project is epic and historical as well. The largest of its kind proposed in Metro’s history, physically and fiscally. Metro government rolled out this ambitious plan that will be voted on by our Metro Council on Tuesday, January 19, 2009.

One of the things that has amazed me while listening to both proponents and the opposition to this mammoth project is the wonderful citizens of Davidson County that have stepped up to the podium meeting after meeting to express their thoughts on the how they see the MCC will shape the future of our great city. I have called each meeting I have attended, tweeted and blogged about “Poetry Nights from the Ville”. The voters have become political savvy poets at the microphone.

Many of the words that have been spoken communicate the zeal and passion of the voters in the community. No matter what side of town you live on, the poets have spoken zingers that have left me speechless and in awe that their words were uttered in a public forum so boldly and with straight faces. The MCC project shows how serious voters have become and are not taking this project for granted. Some have asked very practical questions, while others have preached sermons and I have heard a dissertation or two on public policy. This city is not just filled with only musicians but we have amateur and professional rhymesters, writers, critics, and lyricists, clothed as voters that come in every shade and hue of the rainbow. I have captured questions and statements that have heard repeated several times or ones that left me wondering should I trademark a remark and sell it on a T-shirt.

Nashville is “Shovel Ready” on day one.
Music City Center will create 1,000 construction jobs.
I am for the MCC but I thought it should be on land the city already owns, why not the thermal site?
We really need a hotel.
Nashville will be the most desirable city to build a hotel; we just don’t have any takers at the moment.
We have more things going on in this city other than music!
We don’t have textbooks in our schools? What about Jefferson Street?
Nashville is a tale of Two Cities.
The only way to expand this is to expand our tax base.
The stated goal is to have 20% minority and women owned contracts for the convention center.
Why are we focused on MCC when we have 28% unemployment among Black males in Nashville?
What is a medical mart?
Don’t get your hopes up on your jobs coming to our community.
Please slow down, this will be the biggest decision you will make for this city.
No one has mentioned cost over runs.
Give us the tools to work with.
The government should not be in the business of owning hotels.
I am a libertarian.
I represent the SEIU of Meharry and Metro General, they are the only hospitals in the area they are union.
I am a metro employee I have not gotten a living wage increase in two years.
Please vote no and let the people decide.
I have not gotten a raise either but that’s okay, I want to know about how we are going to pay for this when we don’t have money for anything else.
Folks are losing their homes to foreclosure…that is tax revenue the city does not collect.
I believe in this city and I want what is best for the city of Nashville.
Why are we doing business with Goldman Sach?
Goldman Sach used bonds for the city of San Diego and the city sued them for fraud. Aren’t the Goldman Sach bonds being dumped by China?
Metro school employees’ majority are against this project…we had 400 layoffs for Metro employees last years.
Metro employees have not received their longevity pay for the 2nd year in a row.
I asked 15 council members if there was a risk to the taxpayers, they all said yes.
Nashville has three classes of people; the rich, the potential homeless, and the homeless.
If Metro council members vote for this convention center, they can hang up their political careers.
Professional people built the Titanic and an amateur built Noah’s ark. Which boat would you rather be on?
Nashville Airport spent 60 million on contracts and of that you spent 1.8 million with minorities and you feel good about that?
That’s what the paper said.
This is not personal.
We love to wave and shout and that gets us nothing, we do not need to leave hear without a plan of action.
We have seen the same thing for twenty years; people are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
We have contractors that come into our neighborhoods on minority procurement and a Black contractor is never hired for the jobs.
Who will be policing the subcontracting?
1 million was spent on a disparity study that found Metro’s contracting discriminatory.
Another million was spent and the exact same time was said.
We must add goods and services, unbundle contracts, and offer legal and financing help.
Why are law firms that have not place a bid on MCC being paid, when I won the sub-contract as a minority lawyer and can’t get work from Bone?
I have veto power on financial payments.
The mayor left after fifteen minutes, he is going to have to stop that.
Are these the same folks who did not want May-Town but voting for MCC?
China is dumping Goldman Sach bonds…their bonds are not worthy to be toilet paper!


By the way, the lady who made the reference about Goldman Sach said that without any liquor on her breath and I did not see her sipping from a flask in the hallway. As I said before, folks have become poets about the MCC projects. Whichever way you lean on this issue, for or against, let it be known. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess but I do pray the Metro Council use discernment and common sense. Fancy verbiage is not necessary when one is doing right by the people and our tax dollars.

As for me, I want oversight, transparency, and no fuzzy math. The financing sounds iffy in a down economy to me. Watching how our federal government threw away taxpayer dollars to bail out the banks has me leary. The banks continued with their business as usual attitude and actions which makes me think long and hard of any government entity which says "we will work the details out later but we need this right now or else". We must learn from our mistakes and hold our elected officials accountable; federal, state, and yes, locally. If you are for this project, be proud not defensive. If you believe in the MCC, explaining why 1+1=2 on Monday, should not tie you in a knot on Tuesday. If you are against the building of MCC, don’t be ashamed. But please come with facts not Pius preaching. I know we are in the bible belt but quoting scriptures must not leave folks baffled. Lastly, if you are unsure about the MCC project, don’t be bashful about asking questions…I have. Lots of them!

1 comment :

jody.lentz said...

Genma: this is beautiful. Thank you for your thoughtful expressions of common sense. I do hope you've shared them with your council member(s). The Mayor's office is counting votes, and they think they have this sewn up.