Tennessean Q&A: 2019 Metro Nashville Mayor Election
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CandidateDavid Briley John Ray ClemmonsJohn CooperCarol SwainJody BallJulia Marguerite Clark-JohnsonBernie CoxJimmy LawrenceJon SewellNolan Starnes
Age55416365Note: This candidate did not fill out a questionnaire.From the Old School54563839
Office soughtMayorMayorMayorMayorMayorMayorMayorMayorMayorMayor
Town or city and ZIP codeNashvilleNashville 37212NashvilleNashville 37211Nashville 37209Nashville 37219Nashville, 37221Nashville 37203Nashville
EducationGeorgetown University, B.A. History, Class of 1988

Golden Gate University School of Law, J.D., Class of 1995
Lebanon High School
B.A. - Columbia University
J.D. - University of Memphis School of Law
BA in History from Harvard University
MBA from Vanderbilt University
Associate’s Degree, Virginia Western Community College; B.A., Roanoke College,
magna cum laude; M.A., Virginia Tech; M.S.L., Yale Law School; Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Fontbonne University: BBA, Business Administration, Webster University; M.A. Business Administration/ Human Resources Management: Walden University, Ed.D.Business Administration/ Business owner/entrepreneurHigh School/Some College.HS: MBA (dropped out); GED: Cohn Adult MNPS; BA, Philosophy and BA, Political Science: University of Memphis (2004); MA, Vanderbilt (2006)Working on my Bachelors in Entraprenural Leadership at American Baptist College
Job historyCoucilmember At Large (1999-2007)
Vice Mayor of Nashville (2015-2018)
Mayor (2018-present)
Legislative Aide, U.S. Congress, Rep. Bob Clement (1999 - 2001)
Research Analyst and Communications Aide, Clement for U.S. Senate (2002)
Political Director, Tennessee Democratic Party (2003 - 2004)
Associate, Blackburn & McCune, PLLC (2007 - 2011)
Associate, Chaffin & Burnsed, PLLC (2011 - 2013)
Co-founder and Member, Clemmons & Clemons, PLLC (2013 - Present)
I have spent my career in finance, real estate development, and project management. I have spent the last four years serving as an at-large Metro Council member.Associate Professor, Princeton University; Professor, Vanderbilt University; author; podcast hostU.S. Army Corps Engineers: Clerk-Typist, Mercantile Bank: Clerk-Typist, Salvation Army Headquarters: Executive Secretary for the Director of Social Services, Normandy School District: Teacher/Educator, St. Louis County Board of Elections, Paid Elected Official: Board of Trustee/Mayor, Supervisor: Hogan Transportation, Inc.: Greyhound Bus, Contractor, Walgreens Medical Narcotics Pharmacy Delivery: Driver, Enrich School District/Guest Teacher, US Xpress Transportation, Inc. Out West Express Transportation, Inc., Covenant Transportation, Inc., Wal-Mart Transportation, Inc., Star, Inc., Koch Brothers & Sons, Westside Express, Inc., Dino’s Logistics, Inc., FedEx Transportation Professional Driver: Western Express, Inc.: Administrator/Instructor CDL-A for Professional DriversBoard of Directors/ Cumberland on Church
Wildhorse Saloon- bartender, marketing, production, supervisor, manager
Licensed CA General Building Contractor (15 years)
Exclusive Tennessee Distributor; Tridipanel-OTEAL
BMI composer/songwriter/ affiliation
Restaurant/Bar/Entertainment Owner
Self-Employed Entrepreneur, Manufacturer, Real Estate Investor.Carpenter, United Brotherhood of Carpenters apprenticeship program & self-employed; Actor, Screen Actors GuildFounder of All-In All Starz, Inc. for ten years ( Youth Mentoring & Community Development ), Entreprenuer in Commercial Trucking and Logistics, TN State School Sports Official for twenty years, and I am also a Certified Farmer in the state of Tennessee.
FamilyWife Jodie, Son SamWife - Tamara Baxt Clemmons
Children - John (9), Finn (7), Henry (4)
Dog - Wrigley (10)
I was born in Nashville and grew up in Shelbyville. I have lived here for over 30 years. My wife, Laura, is a former constitutional law professor, and we have three sons. Our oldest son is in college now. I am proud to have a long family history of public service.I was born one of 12 children in a poor rural family. My father dropped out of school in the third grade, and my mother before completing high school. Our home had no running water and only two beds. My father physically abused my mother, and I left home at the earliest opportunity. I married at 16 and had two sons and a daughter by age 21. My early family experiences were difficult, but shaped me into the person I am todayThe proud parent of two Masters of Science Ivy League University adult children: one son and daughter, and a two-year old granddaughter. I have three sister siblings, father, mother and brother all of whom are deceased, a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.(2) amazing daughters/ (5) grandchildren and one more on the way! Mom lives close and expects a call each day; and a retired Navy Captain brother that keeps me grounded!3 wonderfully productive children, A Metro Nashville Public School graduate & one currently attending UT Knoxville.1 wife, a Director at Nashville Cares, and 2 kiddos, aged 1 & 3.A wife of 13 yeas with five children. Two of those are in college.
Why are you running for this office?As mayor, I’ve worked hard to make sure everyone in Nashville is given the chance to prosper and that no one gets left behind as we continue to grow. We know that Nashville’s prosperity gives us more resources to make progress that will benefit Nashvillians. Equitable prosperity is the lens through which my team and I look at every decision. I plan to continue to take this approach as we keep working to build a stronger Nashville.I am running for mayor to provide strong and decisive leadership, restore fiscal responsibility to Metro government, and do the hard work necessary to move our city forward in a manner that improves everyone’s quality of life. I am passionate about the most pressing issues facing our city, such as public education, affordable housing, and infrastructure (transportation and water). They demand immediate attention, careful planning, collaboration, and action. My vision for our city is rooted in our core values - opportunity, equity, and justice. As an MNPS parent, I believe that every child in every part of our city deserves an equal opportunity to succeed and receive a high-quality education. As a former neighborhood association president, I understand the threats to the character of our neighborhoods and the skyrocketing housing costs that are displacing long-term residents and small businesses. As a state legislator, I have worked extensively on all of these issues, as well as our infrastructure needs. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address traffic and begin building out an efficient, 21st-century transportation system. I’m running for mayor to build a better future for my children and every child who calls Nashville home.I am running for mayor to create a Nashville that works for everyone. In Chapter 1 of Nashville’s growth, we spent a lot of public money creating a thriving downtown. We’ve done that. Now in Chapter 2, we need to invest in neighborhoods and schools. Our future depends on it.

Nashville is at a crossroads. This administration has lost track of the public’s priorities and lost the public’s trust. In the time of our biggest boom, we are struggling to pay our teachers and first responders what they deserve. The current mayor’s affordable housing plan is woefully inaccurate and misleading. As for transportation, the current mayor doesn’t even plan to have a plan within the next four years. If I have the privilege of serving you as mayor, we will develop real solutions to the costs of growth. I will put the focus back on residents -- on our neighborhoods and schools.
One of the main reasons I’m running for mayor is that I believe the city government needs to start listening to all people, not just the politically-connected. I am laying out an agenda to make sure the quality of life in Nashville is going up, not just the cost of living. We have got to stop the crime wave and make our streets safe, fix the traffic nightmare and ease congestion, and ensure our young people are getting a quality education that prepares them for success in life. Working together, I know we can do so much!Your answer: To win (LMBO)! Seriously, I am running for Mayor to offer my expertise as a professional highly well-trained white/blue collar experienced Missourian public servant. If elected, I promise to model commitment and dedicated work for the betterment of all residents. For those Nashvillians who do not understand the responsibility and duties of their elected representatives, I plan to open my doors in exchange for our community neighbors’ willingness to learn and/or inquire information regarding my political responsibilities. I vow to actively participate in community resources assistance; but not limited to, modeling a nonpartisan approach on behalf of all Davidson County residents. Regardless of income class, cultural backgrounds and differences, religious beliefs, and etc., I’m willing to teach and/or learn how to invest in our rapidly growing, prosperous communities and neighborhoods. The public and I will bond together in unity to implement educational programs, workshops and seminars that ensure all our neighbors achieve their personal/professional goals. This is why I am running for the office of Mayor; it for a better you!I’ve come to cherish Nashville’s roots as Music City. However, I see that image in jeopardy of being permanently tarnished by a flurry of mismanagement. For instance, the fastest growing investment market in the country is jeopardizing our culture and unique architectural clime. Despite amazing and necessary growth, our city runs tremendous budget deficits, outsourcing typical revenue-producing services and duties to private industry to run lucrative contracts at the city’s long-term expense. I applaud industry’s innovation to bring positive change to Nashville, but I want to manage that change with a renewed emphasis on maintaining Nashville’s heritage, maintaining the architecture that is so important to us, and reversing those changes that detract from those and tourism.

Underlying all this is embracing a budget strategy that operates within our revenue streams, like all Americans must do every month. I’m very confident that expenses will have to be curbed, and likely manpower savings will have to occur within our administration and with those whom the Nashvillians entrust their tax dollars. As a non-politician, my guess is that in the last decade we have grown significantly more staff within the many government institutions, and likely more than absolutely necessary. Regardless of our deficits that we’re running each year, if a position isn’t absolutely necessary, then we should not be asking our citizens to pay for that position.

I would begin by looking at my own staff for government waste, as well as create an internal task force to look for similar waste at every local government entity. We must understand that it’s not our money, but funds entrusted to us by our citizens and businesses.
I wish to enter public service to better serve my fellow citizens of Nashville in a meaningful and productive way by utilizing my unique business skills and life experience.I'm here to twist and shake. I'm gonna come at some of the issues with a little twist, maybe salty maybe sour, and demonstrate that it is possible to create a more democratically representative municipal government. I'm Down to Clown to Save this Town, and maybe, just maybe, someone sees me acting a fool and realizes they can do better. We need more DIY in local government without the corrupting influence of hypocritical money-changers. My campaign is an exercise in direct democracy to inject ideas that are outside the range of 'safe' political discourse. My ideas may be outside the lines, but they are definitely not out of touch or out of bounds.To create an Innovative, Self-Sustainable, and Civil Nashville
What makes you qualified to hold this office and better qualified than your opponent(s)?I have been in this role as mayor for 15 months, and I’m proud of what my administration has been able to achieve in that time in education, public safety, affordable housing, job creation, small business development and other areas. Before this, I served as a Metro Councilman At Large from 1999-2007 and as Vice Mayor from 2015-2018. My record is clear. I care deeply about this city, and I have the knowledge and experience to lead the city forward while ensuring no one is left behind. I respect my opponents’ willingness to serve, but none of them have the same understanding of how Metro works or of how to get things done.I do not have a million dollar last name or a million dollar bank account like my opponents. What I have is a lifelong commitment to public service and a sincere desire to improve the quality of life of those I represent.

My entire career, from working in the U.S. Congress to chairing an inner-city non-profit to providing pro bono legal services, I have proven my work ethic and commitment to fighting for marginalized people and working families. I know what it takes to make progress happen, and I strongly believe in listening, first and foremost, and evaluating all available information and data before making any policy decisions.

As an attorney with experience working in and with every level of government, I have a unique perspective and valuable insight as to how government can work best for the people. During my five years in the state legislature, I have demonstrated my willingness to stand up and fight for what I believe in, work across the aisle, and make significant accomplishments in the toughest of political environments. I have authored and passed substantive legislation on issues ranging from affordable housing and public education to mental health parity and bike lane safety. These bills are in addition to other legislative initiatives that I helped get across the finish line, such as the IMPROVE Act which resulted in I-440 finally getting repaired and the ability for counties to pass local transit referendums. I also led efforts to defeat legislation and initiatives such as the privatization of state parks and repeated attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care.

Nashville needs a mayor who is not afraid to make tough decisions or fight for working families. I will work to ensure equity, create opportunity, and demand justice for all Nashvillians.
I might not have been the right mayor for Nashville 10 years ago and I might not be the right mayor 10 years from now, but given my financial background and experience on Metro Council, I am the right person to lead Nashville right now. I am uniquely qualified to provide sound financial management and rebuild trust in Metro government. Nashville needs better management and a mayor who will responsibly steward taxpayer dollars and public assets.Part of what makes me qualified to lead the city is my 28 years as a political science and law professor. I know what good effective government is supposed to look like, and I have the vision, courage, and intellect to assemble a top-notch team to help get the city back on track.

Unlike my opponents, I am not a politician and I don’t ever want to be one. As mayor I will be a servant leader, bringing people together to solve problems and personally getting my hands dirty to get things done. I’m not beholden to special interests, I’m committed to the public interest.
My knowledge, skills and ability qualifies me to hold this office. I am good at what I have trained for decades to do; that is educating and building/saving lives for the betterment of people’s states, cities, communities and neighborhoods. I have twenty years of active, historical public servant work; introduced to politics at young age of ten, survived in high, middle and low income classes, moved one week after birth to live on foreign soil. I participate actively in advocacy for women’s rights and equity in a male dominated world where the “glass ceiling” is beyond broken. Alone, I drove this entire beauty county and other parts of the world to help save lives of people experiencing natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and etc. other types of government emergency. I attempt to remain private as to what I do and why I risk my life to do what I do! My answer: it’s to simply make others smile and motivate other women to successfully train for this type of work. Can any of my opponents match my testimony? If so; I am happily eager to know!I don’t know the personal backgrounds of all my fellow candidates, and they may be qualified to hold the position as leader of this great city. However, qualifications don’t naturally make a good mayor. My several years experience as a business owner and entrepreneur has been varied, living as a private citizen and never once living on the taxpayers’ dime as a politician. In that sense, I am grounded closer to reality with the citizens of Nashville in what we see as real problems and glaringly obvious solutions to our budget and growth plan. It only takes the courage of someone who does not want to play politics with those solutions. We certainly do not have an income problem. Just the opposite.I am a private citizen with a sensible pragmatic business skill set that allows me to approach the issues facing our wonderful city without the burden of pleasing special interests, developers and campaign contributors. In private business, one does not have the luxury of procrastination. Problems must be solved as a matter of survival. I will utilize this approach while governing our city and bring real time solutions to every issue placed before me. I will not pander to any one interest group but work alongside my fellow elected officials and business leaders to get results and do so quickly. My mantra is, that We, (the citizens of Nashville) Built This City. The Citizens will always come first when I am elected.Honestly, I feel somewhat embarrassed for candidates who tout their superiority of qualifications. If they want to puff up some intellectual plumage, I can meet them there, I have the education background that pairs well with my vocations as well as the civic service bona fides putting in the time on the street level. I'll dance in the alley just as soon as I'd dance in the halls of academia. But the idea of 'qualification' is not to be the best- anybody who acts like they're an expert in all issues is selling you something, maybe a goofy t-shirt or yard sign and at worse an incomplete policy masquerading as vision.For me, it's not about being more qualified because I don't believe that a candidate need to have experience in a political seat to be worthy of the position. I was born and raised only about three minutes from downtown, and a product of Nashville's Public School System. My vision to keep Nashville moving forward is like no one else's. No one in any political position has proven that they know what is necessary to reform our culture in this city.
What are your top 2 to 3 priorities for your new (or next) term in office?Public education, public safety, and affordability will continue to be my top priorities.Improve our public schools and accelerate the rate of improvement in crucial subject areas by increasing funding to schools, supporting teachers, building a strong partnership with MNPS;
Increase the net stock of affordable housing throughout our city by creating a dedicated revenue stream for this purpose;
Make significant progress in alleviating traffic by enacting cost-effective solutions such as lane shifts, synchronized timed lights, improved WeGo service, and updated public parking;
Begin to update and improve our city’s outdated infrastructure systems, both transportation and water; and,
Provide our first responders with the respect they deserve and the equipment they need to keep our community safe.
My top priorities after taking office are:
1) Restoring public trust in Metro through transparency and accountability
2) Fiscal stewardship; rebalancing the city’s priorities and refocusing our budget to address all neighborhoods’ needs, not just a single area of the city.
3) Addressing the costs of growth by focusing our economic and community development efforts on people and not just buildings. I will invest in our schools and neighborhoods, create a real affordable housing plan, and address our transportation needs within my first term.
Public safety comes first, and unfortunately, Davidson County’s rapid growth has not been matched by an increase in law enforcement and public safety resources. Our police, firefighters, EMS, dispatchers, and other first responders are overworked and underpaid--leaving our citizens at risk. As mayor, I will immediately get to work re-ordering the city’s priorities to invest in the crucial services that affect our daily lives.

Second, I will prioritize better investing in transportation so we can fix the traffic nightmare and ease congestion. It’s hard enough for working families and individuals to keep up with the rising cost of living in Nashville. Let’s make sure they don’t have to struggle with long commutes, constant construction chaos, and a lack of transportation options that meet the needs of all residents too. I support innovative ideas like Uber-type vans that harness the technology of our smartphones to pick up and drop off riders where they’re trying to go. This could help us modernize the public bus system to make riders’ lives easier and improve cost-efficiency.
Affordable Housing, Economic Equity and Job, EducationFocus city development on those projects that enhance our heritage as Music Capital of the World, protect the tourism industry, and all while operating within our revenue streams.1) Restructure the bureaucracy known as the Convention Center Authority. I will lead the charge to have the Metro Council create a plan to take over the board and release the millions of dollars in excess money into the General Fund. The hoarding of money by the "Authority" while our schools suffer and roads deteriorate is an abomination.
2.)Fix the "Traffic Flow" problem. The immediate issues with our citizen's commute is often exacerbated by ongoing construction without regard to "Traffic Flow". Quite simply, the easiest mass transit fix we have is to control traffic in and out of the city for commuters. This can be done with a logical approach to all road projects and their timelines. For one example, I-440 has been a mess for too long. Last year we had a motorcyclist die after hitting a pothole and being dislodged from her bike. This is an outrage. In my administration, potholes will be filled in real-time with an online campaign where citizens identify the holes and public works fill them. Road closures and lane closures will be all but eliminated during rush-hour traffic except in an emergency.
3) Our schools need to be properly funded. We are a wealthy city. We need to pay our teachers, city employees and first responders a competitive wage. We currently do not. A competitive wage for a competitive city should be expected. As Mayor of Nashville I will fight for all City employees pay.
1. Expanding the Field:
From Decriminalization of Drug Use and Sex Work to permanent street closures and even entertaining a free public transport network there are ways we can save lives and save money. Permanently ending corporate welfare schemes and implementing Impact Fees and Adequate Facilities/Development Taxes will provide appropriate and fair cost-sharing between our residents and our businesses that will allow for expansion of the priorities that impact residents most- from street safety initiatives (Complete Street designs, artwork for traffic calming) to human capital infrastructure improvements in our schools even as encompassing as Universal Pre-K. Its possible folx.

2. Democratization of Decision-making Processes:
From expanding limits on Board membership and providing more opportunities for Participatory Budgeting, there are ways we can save lives and save money by thinking big and helping those of our neighbors who suffer from addiction to power. We can limit board-bouncing just as we have applied term limits on elected officials, and get these people the proper help.
Moreover, our election procedures can be updated to provide more democratic outcomes: finally pushing thru IRV/RCV (Instant run-off/Ranked Choice) can be just the beginning. We can also pursue Negative Voting and "None of the Above" options. For instance, its established history now that a percentage of Briley votes from 2018 were actually votes against Carol Swain: we can allow these type of input mechanisms to inform our outcomes better.
To this end, I am also initiating a Campaign Reform Apprenticeship Program, building off my experiences from last year and new approaches this time around to help share my campaign experiences (the glamour and the grit) with the next generation. As we move to a better tomorrow, why not live it today.

3.Damn the Money:
We can live in a future without money corrupting politics by discussing the possibilities now.
Money Talks- We can get serious about addressing a woefully insufficient local minimum wage and then we can get even more serious by discussing a Maximum Wage, whereby publicly funded municipal benefits are not accessible for companies with a CEO:average-wage of 50:1.
Money Walks- we can initiate and encourage more money-free campaigns and not treat them as fringe movements by providing more inclusive political discussions and not limiting debates/forums based on campaign contributions. Democracy should be one person/one vote not based on donation Returns-On-Investment. We can lead by example and Damn the Money. "Don’t do it for the money. Do it and Be Damned to the Money."
Balancing the city's budget. Giving Metro Employees some attention on their raise request. Not the entire 10 percent, but something. Reforming our School System.
Do you think Nashville is headed in the right direction? Why or why not?Yes, Nashville is moving in the right direction. But we need to be intentional about each step we take. Nashville will continue to grow, and that growth will create a lot of opportunities for the city and its residents. Our job is to use our prosperity to create a Nashville that leaves no one behind.Yes and no. Nashville’s local economy is heading in the right direction, as it is experiencing unprecedented prosperity, and we want that to continue. However, it is clear that Nashville’s government is on the wrong path because far too few people in our city are benefiting from the boom. There is no excuse for our city to be cash-strapped to the point where our public schools, first responders, working families, and infrastructure needs are being ignored. Metro must be more mindful of the many and purposeful in our planning so that we can all continue on the path of progress together.With its current leadership, I believe that it is not. Restoring trust is the key. We need a return to sound financial management. There are lots of examples of public business being conducted poorly. We need to prioritize our neighborhoods and schools again, rather than focusing all of our energy and resources on downtown development at this point in Nashville’s growth. The rest of the county needs to see a dividend. We need a transportation plan and a real affordable housing strategy. Our schools need greater investment. With the right changes, our potential is unlimited.Nashville is headed in the wrong direction, and I hear constantly that we need to make a course correction ASAP.

The current administration and Metro Council have not made wise spending choices, so now they’re failing to pay our teachers, school bus drivers, police, firefighters, first responders, and other public servants competitive wages. Owing to their fiscal mismanagement, this mayor and Council have tried to rush through a bad parking meter scheme to get fast cash today, on terrible loan shark terms down the road. That’s wrong and as mayor I won’t stand for it.

As just one example of these poor spending choices, I would not have supported spending $14 million for a private waterpark that local residents can’t even use. As mayor I will audit spending city-wide so that we can broadly eliminate corporate welfare and other wasteful spending that costs too much and crowds out the budgetary needs of our local city services and priorities.
I do! Nashville is heading in the right direction. The proof is Nashville rapid growth. Once the budget shortfall issue is resolved, improvements in Davidson County’s infrastructure, traffic congestion, COLA and etc. will result in positive change. No one person and/or group are to blame for this catastrophe. Nashville’s problems grew due to the unexpected, unforeseen rapid growth of this city. Sometimes it takes time to see positive changes. If we learn to change our negative attitudes as fast as we get them, work together as a team, and exercising patient practices, Nashville communities and neighborhoods will improve, gradually and infinitely in the right direction.Obviously, a path leading towards the growth we’ve seen over the last decade cannot be in a wrong direction. However, the path hasn’t been a typically straight or narrow path.Balance the budget and negotiate the best deal for Nashville . . . not politicians .Nashville is clearly an "IT" city. Constantly written up as a wonderful place to visit, live, work and worship. unfortunately, over the past few years we have seen the disparity between the "haves" and the "have-not's". Our last few administrations have clearly put their own "needs" and ambition ahead of that of our beautiful city. That ends when I am elected. Nashville and our citizens come first under my leadership and I promise we will continue to grow in an organized and thoughtful manner.Do You? We've been sold out hard on the municipal level by some folks who want to buy-in at the state and federal levels. Our decision-making processes have democratic deficits so the outcome is a surplus of visionless meandering. We're about as lost as a city as the woo-girls and bro-country tourists vomiting behind Tootsies who thought they were in Printers Alley. We're finally starting to realize that maybe when the car is overheating it's not a good idea to kick into a higher gear. Now I'm afraid it's too late; but there's also hope of infesting their money grab with outsider encouragement. Nashville is a great city, but the people who have built this town are now just boys and girls from nowhere. And now we’re finally coming home. Not Left behind, Not Right ahead, but Not Wrong.I do not think so, because the proper things aren't in place where everybody can see where we are going with our education, budget and taxation, court and civil system, etc. We have to know what the end goal is in our priorities, but nobody can see that end goal. Where Karl Dean was Mayor, there was an end goal. He and his administration met their end goal, and they set Nashville up for all of this growth and to be prosperous. But, we are falling short because the current administration doesn't have the answers for Nashville's continued growth and reform. Reform is necessary when anything is rapidly growing and changing.
What is your opinion on Nashville's growth and should it be sustained? If so, how?As I said, Nashville is going to continue to grow. The challenges for us are a) to make sure that we use our growth to lift up all Nashvillians and b) to ensure that our boom doesn’t take away what makes Nashville special. Meeting the first challenge has been a central part of my work over the last 15 months. This year’s budget includes a $101 million increase in revenue over last year’s budget, and that’s largely due to Nashville’s continued growth and our careful management of expenses this year. That money goes back into our city: schools, infrastructure, libraries, etc. For instance, I allocated $34 million of that $101 million toward our school system so we can give all of our teachers a raise while continuing to pay down debt.

Preserving what makes us special is an ongoing effort. When I pushed to convert the Greer Stadium site into green space last year (and succeeded), that was a good example of preserving an important part of Nashville’s history (Fort Negley) instead of opting for more development. Similarly, we need to be smart and intentional about development in the Music Row area to make sure the heart of Music City is preserved.

It’s also important to point out that our growth has added to our culture in many ways. Over the last 15 to 20 years, we’ve seen an influx of new Americans relocating to Nashville, and now our immigrant communities represent more than 12% of the population. I’m a firm believer that a diverse and welcoming city is a strong city, and Nashville checks those boxes. Growth also has created more cultural opportunities for Nashvillians.
First, we must acknowledge that only certain parts of Nashville are growing and prospering, while others continue to be ignored and left behind. Nashville will continue to grow, though unlikely at the current pace. Therefore, we must be more thoughtful about how we grow and ensure that it is taking place in an equitable manner that respects and protects the character of our city and residents’ quality of life. We must also immediately take steps to improve and update our infrastructure systems because they are overburdened and far behind the curve as it is. During this time of unprecedented prosperity, we should be more fiscally responsible and take affirmative steps to address our biggest challenges.Nashville is going to grow more in the next five years than in the last five years. We need to welcome everyone who comes, and honor everyone who is already here. The job before us is preparing our kids for success in a growing city. The question is how we manage growth and deal with the costs of growth.

Managing our growth means investing in our infrastructure and respecting what makes Nashville special. We’ve seen that growth brings traffic and higher rents, so we need effective transportation and affordable housing plans to address those costs of growth. We need to prioritize education and infrastructure that allows for sustainable, livable growth. As mayor, I will focus on economic and community development through human capital rather than incentivizing development and hoping that benefits trickle down.
Rather than giving sweetheart, multi-million dollar deals to lure out-of-state companies here, we should be focusing tax dollars on the basic city services we all rely on every day. We also need to make sure that regular residents have a better say in the future of their neighborhoods. Growth and development can be a good thing, but it can also be destructive to the character of our community.Nashville, in my opinion, is the Hollywood of the South. People from all over the world visit and love it! This is a college/university town: people will always come and go. After residing in my hometown where I taught at one high school for over twenty years, I decided to resign for a career change. Six months after my employment in a career I trained hard for with blood, sweat and tears and; most importantly I love; my manager informed me that it was mandatory that I relocate to Tennessee. I cried as I left behind my beautiful home, donated my gorgeous furniture and car to accommodate an unexpected career and transfer request. Yes, I donated everything I worked all my life to achieve. One early morning in August 2017 while walking toward an unlighted employee entrance in Tunnel Hill, GA, I tripped over a curve breaking my wrists and arm for a total of seven different bone areas. I, also, busted both legs wide open. I was ambulanced as the doctors termed my condition as serious. Three days later, I was hospital released in a wheelchair and the nurse provided me with crutches to carry home. As she and three other professional drivers struggled to lift me in the vehicle she stated; “Julia, I know you are in chronic pain, but you must try to use your legs are you will never walk again. I was driven back to Nashville where my plan for a temporary stay became an unexpected permanent stay. I became a victim of FMLA and Workers compensation for the first time in my life. I tell this story to say often we don’t know why Nashville is so populated or why so many people have relocated here. So how is it possible to control its growth?Nashville’s growth is strong and vibrant. Over the last decade, we have had the enviable position as one of the hottest markets in the country, and our real estate values reflect that. However, the speed of this growth may be diluting the uniqueness that is Nashville, and that we must maintain. More than just the history of the old brick buildings, and live music downtown, it is this specific landscape that folks from around the world expect to see when they visit. We must preserve that Nashville flavor, while encouraging continued growth in the tourism industry. I want to continue this growth while preserving our heritage.Nashville's growth is tremendous for some. It should continue and we can control the amount of corporate welfare we are doling out to the developers and investors that have made nice profits on the backs of the citizenry. It's time to put our citizens first. Under my leadership, projects will not be subsidized, while teachers need second jobs. It's time to take care of those who take care of us: Teachers, City Employees and First Responders to start.This town needs an enema. “it" city? Really? Can a city have an ego? We know cities have a memory, but is its collective conscience self-aware? Let’s bring some big heads down to size. Those pushing the growth narrative have a personal benefit from the municipal costs.
To put it in a historical perspective, even the WASPY Watauga group saw the adverse effects of rapid growth and buzzed away from the shiny appeal. But the leaders of today did not heed the lesson, maybe being newcomers. We got our own groove and if its Tennessee Waltz or 4/4 in the Nashville System let's dance our way, but the attraction of rapid growth for personal political legacy creation had us dancing to someone else's drum and we gave away the stage to enshrine a platform. Our leaders got lost in the green leaving the green room.
The growth of Nashville should be sustained, but it should not be sustained at this current point because there isn't any successful direction. Nashville is only doing business at this point. We are not tackling our issues of reform, and Nashville's citizens are the only one's suffering from this. The whole idea of taxation is for citizens to play their part in sustaining everyday society, and in return, live comfortable. But instead, they are being starved out. For right now, we need to slow up on some of the growth planning and focus on reform of education and taxation.
In his State of Metro address, Mayor Briley said he wants Nashville to be the most equitable city in America. How do we get there and what barriers are holding the city back?I have been working towards this goal since coming into office last year. An equitable city means a city in which every person, regardless of his or her zip code or demographics, is able to thrive in Nashville. They have access to a good education, a place to live and a well-paying job, and they feel safe living here. Right now, I would consider public education to be our biggest barrier. Nashville has 21 priority schools, schools that are among the lowest-performing in the entire state, and a lot of them are at low capacity. In some of them, less than 50% of the seats are filled, which hurts them badly in terms of the funding they receive from the state. We’ve also just seen a very tumultuous year for the school board.

The good news is, we’re making progress. I have nothing but confidence in Dr. Adrienne Battle, the interim schools director, and I’ve told her she has my full support. The Kitchen Cabinet I appointed last fall is working to find best practices to lift up our priority schools. We’ve seen successes in individual schools like Napier Elementary, where Principal Dr. Watechia Lawless has started to turn things around.

The important thing to remember is that becoming the most equitable city will take time. I’ve been working toward it since Day 1, and I will continue to do so. Real progress takes dedicated effort and time.
It is one thing to talk about equity and another to lead and make the tough decisions that will create and increase equity. To indeed be an equitable city, Metro’s policies, priorities, and spending have to reflect that goal. Fully funding our public schools and providing every child across this city with an opportunity to succeed is step one. Improving public transportation and making it more convenient and reliable for people to not only get downtown but to move freely in and around the city to the grocery store and community center is another necessity. Acknowledging that we have an affordable housing crisis and creating a dedicated revenue stream to increase our net housing stock is another way to create a more equitable city. Making significant improvements to our water systems so that half of our community does not have to worry about their home flooding every time it rains would also be helpful. In addition to these, we must acknowledge that poverty and homelessness are serious issues throughout our community. Currently, our most significant barrier to equity is the lack of political will in this city to truly do anything to make Nashville more equitable. It’s time for change and actions that will lift all working families across Davidson County.When the current mayor stated that his goal was to make Nashville known as the “most equitable city,” it was a tacit admission that Nashville is NOT equitable. In fact, Metro Government has too often contributed to inequities. The Mayor’s Office’s approach has been to incentivize downtown development and hope that benefits trickle down. Time and time again, Metro has been co-opted in the service of incentives that are no longer necessary. We can make Nashville more equitable by investing in our schools, paying our civil servants the wages they deserve, making affordable housing central to every decision we make, and investing in the forgotten neighborhoods of Davidson County.A significant challenge I have heard from residents is the lack of equity across the city in terms of geography. Growing up as I did, I know just how difficult it can be to overcome disparities of geography and local income levels. Effective, reliable city services must not be concentrated only in affluent parts of town. As part of my audit of city spending, I will be working to identify disparities and engage with neighborhoods to ensure we are meeting their needs, not just focusing on downtown.Mayor Briley is doing an excellent job attempting to clean up the mess as a result of other administrator’s simply not forecasting decades ahead. Sure, he is my opponent, but I am not going to bash the efforts of anyone attempting to tackle the mayor’s job. I did it for years and his job very difficult. He has not been in office long enough for his accomplishments and changes to go noticed. I trust Mayor Briley’s goal is to help to make Nashville the most equitable city in America. He has the will and power to achieve his predicted accomplishment. Nashvillians, please be patient and work with your chosen elected officials in their decision-making process. Stop trying to fight each other and learn to respect your Mayor and Metro Council’s decision-making process. Learn how to work together to address and solve problematic issues free from animosity. If we watch and/or change our attitude supporting and helping him to make Davidson County the most equitable city in America, it can be done!I’m not buying into the politics of this statement. I don’t think we have a disproportionate problem of wealthier neighborhoods unfairly extracting more government services than poorer sections of the city, simply by virtue of ‘class’ or whatever this is supposed to mean. I don’t think the majority of Nashvillians believe this to be a fact, if this is what the Mayor intended by this comment.

In reality, America is the most fair and equitable country in the world, and Nashville is America. Every citizen in this country and in this city has the absolute God-given right to the pursuit of happiness, however he or she wishes to pursue that goal. An administration of mine will do absolutely everything in its power to ensure that those who make good choices are afforded opportunities relevant to those choices, and those who make less-than-good choices are afforded opportunities to recover from their mistakes or unfortunate circumstances and can continue to pursue their dreams.
The words "equitable" and "fair" are subjective words thrown about easily by campaigning politicians. Equitable is used by Mayor Briley to make him sound "fair". He is not listening to his own teachers and their starting pay is an embarrassment to such a wealthy city. His idea of "fair" is not the same as mine. Equitable is not how I would describe how our Mayor is treating our employees. Here is how we become equitable: 1) Pay our people a competitive salary. 2) Create a solution to the housing issues before us by asking developers to saddle some of the responsibility. By asking the big developers who are making huge profits to not only build for themselves and their wealthy customers, but to also help create low and moderate income housing alternatives. We can overcome the disparity we see in the housing market. If they don't do it voluntarily, I would lead the charge in creating requirements for low and moderate income housing to be developed simultaneously with new high-rise multi unit buildings and multi-unit single family home neighborhoods with income restrictions for the buyers and renters. These requirements have worked in other parts of the country and they need to be utilized here. I believe we can get the results we need with the current slate of developers in Nashville on a voluntary and philanthropic basis. I will give them the opportunity to "do the right thing". If we can't get a coalition of responsible builders to lead the way. I will lead it by requesting new building requirements to make it happen.Ain't mad at that. 'Equity' is a function of beneficial inclusion. Its not an executive action or a charter amendment, it's literally a way of life- a manner of being. Not a state of being but an essence of that being. Let's Become who we Are. We can help our less-advantaged neighbors flourish and share in the gains of a booming economy that they too have sacrificed to help create. Those of us who can give more should , and those who need help more should receive that aid. But we need fewer band-aids and more long-term inclusive visioning that doesn't continue to gut the definition of 'inclusion' or 'equity' into meaningless vacuous political marketing.Property tax, Affordable Housing, pay wages that reflect our cost of living, etc are the barriers. I am not going to get too detailed on how we get there because I rather be voted in before I give up my vision. But, we will have to do away with everything that is not working for Nashville and it's citizens anymore. Then fix it to where it does.
What are you hearing most from voters about what they want you to accomplish, if elected?Improving our public school system, transit and addressing affordable housing are consistently the top issues.We have held 40 kitchen table talks and numerous listening sessions in neighborhoods across the entire county, and the same three issues come up in every conversation, regardless of the neighborhood -- public schools, affordable housing, and traffic. People are tired of inaction and the lack of leadership and a plan to address these challenges. Voters realize that none of them will be solved overnight, but they reasonably expect a strategic plan to make progress on all of them, as well as other issues.The issue that I hear about most often on the campaign trail is Metro’s fiscal mismanagement. At every event, I receive some form of the same question: “How, in this time of unprecedented economic success, can we not afford to fund our priorities?” Many people don’t know about Metro’s deficit spending, our rising debt per capita, or that Metro has over $100 million in new revenue this year.

Many people are frustrated that even with all this growth, we cannot fulfill the primary obligations of a city, which is to provide high-quality universal services. We fall short of these basic duties because we have prioritized tourism and development, often over residents and neighborhoods. This is the foremost issue that voters have asked me to address as mayor, and fiscal stewardship will be my first priority in office.
One theme I hear time and again is, if our city is booming, and we’ve got lucrative special events like the NFL draft and CMAs, and there are tons of tourists bringing in tax revenue, how in the world are we broke? I agree with voters this is outrageous and as mayor, I will start making wiser spending choices on day one.Actually, the same issues are on the forefront that I heard last year. They are affordable housing, economic equity and jobs and education.Politics over policy and the divide between Republican and Democrat. Quite simply . . . Nashville has had enough!

What I hear from them is the same thing that motivates me to run for this office::
* Manage our budget and keep spending in check
* Teachers pay and education
* Support law enforcement and needs
* NO to privatized parking
* Scooters must go
* Protect our brand as Country Music Capital of the World from growth that
threatens to diminish our heritage.
The voters want results. The unprecedented growth in Nashville is not sustainable if we do not care for our citizenry. The single biggest question I have heard is where is the money from the Downtown Nashville Zone and the Convention Center Authority going and why can't we pay our bills? We have had a banner year and yet we face a budget shortfall. To the average citizen, this seems unfathomable. Where is the money going? Why is not going where it is needed? I will get answers and dismantle the bureaucracy that is hoarding that money for their own pet projects and to fund unnecessary expenditures with their pals. Teachers, road repair, first responders and city employees are my concerns not subsidizing conventioneers or 4 star hotels.Goodness gracious, don't bring the voters into this. They work hard and just want adequate representation. While most of my supporters would like to remain anonymous ( I wish i could too but we had to put someones name on the ballot!), the program goes on- one of democratic interaction not governed by a debt to campaign contributors, but rather opening the process. We absolutely have to break the money connection. How many other candidates are pushing campaign finance reform on a municipal level? (incl 'progressive' candidates). How many candidates are pushing to let others onto the stage? Where's inclusion when it competes with their time in the limelight? Lets give them a twist.

So, I'm walking that walk, out here trying to tap into my apprenticeship classes for rigging and trying to unrig the system. I've initiated an apprenticeship program of my own: Campaign Reform Apprenticeship Program to illustrate and demonstrate that it is possible to get involved. With my campaign manager Jacob Corenflos, we are also maintaining a video series on our YouTube channel: As part of the educational component, we plan to chronicle the journey on the campaign trail and clarify the process by demystifying the procedures in place, not just at the municipal level but also the interaction with state law.

Education is a fundamental cornerstone of the project. But why stop with the general public? Why not teach those in charge and wanting to be in charge? Why not address this addiction to power? To that end, I am proposing a reduction in political recidivism rates through increased application of term limits (incl. increased transparency in appointment and ending 'board-hopping'), as well as Continuing Education Credits for appointed and elected officials, so deep in the gears, they forgot who funds the machine.
Mostly affordable housing and metro employees' raises.
What is your position on economic incentives to private companies in the past and in the future?Incentives have their place as a way to attract good jobs that can help more Nashvillians, including New Americans, share in the city’s prosperity. And we’ll pretty quickly recoup the investments we’ve made in Amazon and AllianceBernstein, which will bring a combined 6,000 jobs to Nashville.I plan to use incentives selectively and strategically -- and they won’t necessarily be focused on downtown Nashville.Nashville must continue competing for new jobs, but we must stop negotiating with companies from a position of weakness as if we have to give away the farm to get them to relocate here. Nashville is an attractive top tier city with a lot going for it, so we must start negotiating from a position of strength. While some type of incentive is necessary to compete, it makes little to no sense for us to give away significant amounts of the primary funding source for our public schools when the quality of our public education system is the first thing companies and families consider when relocating to our city. The quality of our public schools also has a direct impact on the quality of our workforce, which we should expect to be hired for any jobs created.

Ultimately, any deal must benefit both sides. Therefore, we should be securing guarantees on the front end for minimum volunteer hours by employees, investments in affordable and workforce housing for employees, partnerships and technology exchanges with public schools, and assistance with infrastructure improvements, in addition to guaranteed jobs and wages. We should then increase transparency so that we can hold companies accountable for their failure to keep any promises.
We need someone at the table who represents the people of Nashville, saying ‘no’ to bad deals and ‘yes’ to good deals that will benefit everyone. As anyone who has heard me speak publicly can attest, I believe we have dramatically over-used incentives. I’ve voted for economic development incentives when they provide a good return on investment and bring benefits that we would otherwise miss out on. But in deal after deal, City Hall has governed by giveaway, shepherding public land and money into private hands. Tax increment financing has been awarded for development that often would have happened anyway. Metro government is stuck in a 1980s approach to economic development: subsidize buildings and hope the benefits trickle down to our schools and neighborhoods. Today’s challenge is addressing the costs of growth and lifting up the whole county.For too long the city has given away tax dollars to big corporations at the expense of the local companies that helped build Davidson County in the first place. We need more accountability and transparency if we are going to use tax breaks to attract new businesses. The current system benefitting only the politically well-connected cannot continue.No commentWe must rely on privatization to continue to be our engine of economic development, but not at a cost. There are ways to incentivize industries to bring their ideas, their wares and technology to town, rather than simple economic incentives. Are we negotiating these deals for Nashville or politicians?

We should revisit the massive regulations and red-tape to starting and running a business. However, we cannot give away the farm in the process, simply to grow our services. For example, the 30 year proposed contract for privatized parking is less than attractive once details are observed.

We should focus on increased revenue to the city as a result of new business, via more taxpayers and taxes as a result of sales.
Incentives might have made sense 5 years ago. As I understand it, we currently pay the Omni Hotel 12-15 million dollars a year and will do so until 2033. That was the deal our past administrations made. Perhaps at the time it seemed prudent. But today, it is no longer as necessary to make these deals. We are a booming city with a bright future. We are no longer a city that needs to make sweetheart deals to entice companies to come here. THEY want to be here! In the event it is necessary to "bid" for a deal, the offer to pay out incentives will be very openly negotiated under my administration. Everyone plays on the same field and sees the deals offered if need be. We will however continue to welcome all businesses big and small to our wonderful city and create an environment for growth and success.If I'm selling apples and you want to purchase one, why would I then give it away for free? Maybe, because, I didn't personally pay for it, or perhaps, I don't personally suffer the brunt of the loss. Our city leadership has been giving away goods/services that people are offering to buy. Not to upset the apple cart: they are salesman with nothing to lose and everything politically to gain. They take the credit for the big sale, but they are selling someone else's goods- public goods for private gain. The indirect ROI is a campaign contribution (check the financial disclosures) and support when they go for higher office. Ending TIFS and corporate welfare is an encouraging start but not a panacea for a political culture of personal benefit and the willingness to accept a Pyrrhic victory. The infrastructure doesn't belong to Dean, Barry, or Briley- it belongs to the city and they're throwing it in the pot as well. Why sweeten the pot unless you have your hands in the honey jar?Nothing wrong with incentives to private companies if it's a sweet deal for both parties. But no company should get tax cuts when our citizens aren't getting any breaks with their cost of living.
How involved should the mayor and Metro Council be in governing Metro Nashville Public Schools?I am already playing a much bigger role in our public school system than any previous mayor. I am working with Dr. Battle to write a memorandum of understanding between MNPS and the city that will lay the foundation for a new relationship that involves higher Metro involvement in operations, finance and human resources. Outside of the MOU, I want to work to build community support for meaningful improvements in our school system, and I want to help grow confidence in our school board. Great things happen in our schools every day. I know because I’ve visited many of them as mayor and before as a member of council. We just need more great things to happen more often for more kids.The mayor should be a partner with MNPS officials working to achieve a shared vision. My vision for MNPS is to accelerate improvement in every school across the county. To this end, we must fully-fund our schools. The money we spend on education is more than just a line item in our budget -- it’s a direct investment in the future of our city.

We must work together, build trust with MNPS, and stop the finger pointing and threats. The mayor and Metro Council must start taking responsibility for their impact on students’ performance in our schools. Children spend 17 hours a day outside their school in the community, and everything children experience is taken with them into their classrooms. All adverse childhood experiences, such as hunger, housing instability, traumatic events, or a lack of transportation, can negatively impact a child’s educational performance. Metro can address those issues by improving families’ quality of life, and we must acknowledge its duty to do so for the benefit of everyone.

I would also seek to appoint individuals from the public and private sectors with relevant expertise and experience to various school board committees to provide subject matter advice to members who may have little to no experience in that area.
Education is the most important thing we do as a city. Instead of swinging around making threats, we need a mayor who listens and can bring out the best in everyone. I would work with the school board and the community to make sure that we find the best person to lead our school district. In the meantime, I plan to give Dr. Battle and the current board the support that they deserve and to do my best to find ways to refocus more of our city’s money on our school system. I am passionate about proper fiscal management because that is the mechanism through which we will find additional funds for education. Support from the mayor will be crucial for the next phase of putting schools first.We need to hold the Metro School Board accountable for ensuring our young people receive a high-quality education. As mayor I will also work to prioritize education resources so that teachers, school bus drivers, and other school personnel receive the raise they deserve.The mayor and metro council should intervene in governing the Metro Nashville Public Schools whenever necessary. The Board of Directors is responsible for controlling their environment. Whenever issues get out of control internally, there is nothing wrong with its higher government body attempting to professionally resolve issues that cannot be immediately resolved in-house.By "governing" I assume you reference funding, and not controlling how and what gets taught at public schools. Properly funding our public schools, and specifically ensuring our unsung heroes in the classroom are properly compensated, must be a priority of any mayor’s budget. Our teachers must have the resources they need without having to purchase supplies out of their own pocket.The mayor should be the number one champion for Metro Nashville Public Schools to encourage improvement and get it right for our children. As the parent of a MNPS graduate I saw the good and the bad up close and personal. All of my children attended public schools and my Mother was a public school teacher (While having 9 babies. Is she a super-hero or what?). I am a believer in public schools. My main responsibility as mayor to the MNPS would be to get ALL the funds in the budget that MNPS says it needs to function and perform at it's peak for our children. The School board is an elected body that needs oversight. As all elected officials do. We can do that with dignity while we get them the money they need and stop trying to short change the teachers and students of Davidson County by under funding them.We have a strong-mayor system in Nashville. Giving the Mayor's Office even more influence over MNPS is a mistake and a corruption of the division of labor and our checks-and-balances. So let's check the power grab and balance the discussion. The method for allocating money for MNPS may require a little more influence the other way. Personally , I think the Mayors office should have less power in some of the decision-making and I say that as someone applying for the job!Now this is a very important piece of my platform. I believe little to no involvement. Let's give the people more power to sustain their own schools.
Do support increasing the property tax rate for Metro Nashville residents? If so, why? If not, why not?I do not support increasing the property tax rate for Nashville residents this year, and there are a few reasons why. First of all, our low-income residents can’t all shoulder a tax increase right now. During Nashville’s last property reappraisal, our poorest population was hit the hardest in many areas. These are people living paycheck to paycheck, and we owe it to them not to add to their expenses any further.

Secondly, I’m confident that we can live within our means right now. This year, as I mentioned, we saw a $101 million increase in Metro’s revenues. If we can continue this kind of growth, we will be able to run our city and provide adequate funding where it’s needed.

There are good reasons to raise taxes, but we can’t raise them every year. Any effort to raise property taxes should support our fire, police, transit, affordable housing, education and all areas that matter to residents. We need to have a calculated plan for where the money goes, and the people of Nashville deserve more than two to three weeks to consider it. The recent proposals in the Council to raise taxes would only leave us wanting to raise taxes again in a few years, and it would be harder to do it then.
Our city finds itself in a difficult financial situation during a time of unprecedented prosperity for multiple reasons. These include the city's failure to readjust the property tax rate, our debt, the loss of significant tax revenues within the TDZ and through the TIF process, as well as its failure to collect other available fees and revenues. The job of a mayor is to set priorities and make the tough decisions necessary to fund them. We must fully fund our public schools, support our first responders and working families, improve our transportation and water infrastructure systems, and address the affordable housing crisis. To do this, we should first evaluate any possible new funding streams, consider redirecting revenues, and increase efficiencies within Metro, if possible. A property tax rate adjustment cannot be taken off the table by any serious candidate. As mayor, I am prepared to do what is necessary to restore our city’s fiscal integrity and lead us forward.No. Metro has over $100 million in new revenue for fiscal year 2020. A properly managed city should be able to thrive with a 4.5% revenue increase. Metro needs a return to fiscal stewardship. I don’t feel good about asking taxpayers to pay more in taxes when we aren’t properly managing the money we already have.Raising property taxes is the absolute wrong place to start correcting the city’s budgetary problems. Under the current regime, the funds taxpayers are contributing are already being unwisely spent on the wrong priorities. That has got to stop. I have been working with budgetary and public policy experts to identify over-spending, waste, and mismanagement in the city’s finances. As mayor, I will be looking to these leaders to begin implementing smarter, more efficient city government, and not just trying to take more and more of local residents’ paychecks.A personal property tax increase is necessary. However, if I am elected, I will consider a percentage pay cut annually to contribute back into the general budget fund as a sacrifice. I will propose that the council members agree to keep the personal property tax percentage increase as low as possible.Absolutely NOT. I continue to maintain that we do not have an income problem, but a spending problem. The fastest growing city in the U.S. must be able to live within its means. There are other revenue sources to pull from, rather than on the backs of our residents.Absolutely not. The money we need is here. The coffers of the Convention Center Authority and Downtown Nashville Zone are full and those balances show exactly how profitable we are and can continue to be. It's time to take back our money and use it on the citizenry of this great city. It's ours. Let's take it back.Yes. I do support raising property taxes as long as they are accompanied by an equal effort to expand Tax Relief programs (be they abatements, freezes, subsidies) for our more vulnerable populations. I say that as an owner of local real estate, including a successful arts-centered building, The Packing Plant, whose taxes have increased several orders since I bought it. It definitely stings to pay more when I see the waste and corrupting cowardice of leadership, but I'm willing to put in more: from each according to their ability.No I don't because the average wages do not reflect room for increase.
Although the transit referendum of 2018 failed, how should Metro approach transit and transportation issues into the future?We need something on the ground now that can serve as a model for successful transit alternatives. That’s why we’re working with federal, state and local leaders to develop better transit systems for corridors like Dickerson Road, Murfreesboro Pike and Nolensville Pike. Dickerson Road, especially, is a route where we can build a transit system before the area is overwhelmed by development.

There are also steps I am already taking to ensure that Nashville’s transit continues to improve. In last year’s capital spending plan, we allocated $85 million towards streets, paving, sidewalks, greenways, traffic calming, traffic management and transit. The traffic calming projects are in progress in eight key areas around Nashville to ease congestion and make our roads safer.
When discussing transportation issues, we must be mindful of how we can facilitate and improve non-auto transportation, such as walking, biking, and other transportation alternatives. It is also important to remember that technology and transportation options are rapidly evolving. We must embrace change and be prepared to pivot with any plan. This requires building out our infrastructure systems in a forward-thinking manner that can adapt.

I feel strongly that we cannot afford to wait any longer to begin building out a 21st-century transportation infrastructure system that reflects the needs of all parts of our community and the wishes of our residents. The next transit referendum will happen during my first term in office and will be run out of my Office of Mobility inside the mayor’s office. This is important because the mayor should be accountable for any plan proposed. We will begin on day one by gathering feedback from all parts of the community, building on existing data, and collaborating with local, regional, and state officials. It’s essential to secure the buy-in of everyone at an early stage with the recognition that everyone is putting burdens on our infrastructure system and needs to have skin in the game. We will then bring in the greatest minds to design a transit plan that is reflective of the community’s feedback, supported by reliable data, and focused on improving mobility around and through our city and region. This plan will then be proposed to the public to generate necessary funding.
We all agree that Nashville has traffic and transportation problems. Time spent in traffic is increasing. Pedestrian deaths are on the rise, less than half of our streets have sidewalks, and we have an inadequate and under-resourced bus system. Voters rejected last year’s transit plan supported by this mayor because it cost too much and delivered too little. Last year’s vote was on a specific plan and therefore should not be interpreted as a lack of countywide interest in funding the right plan. Instead of listening to these criticisms and developing a new plan, Mayor Briley has announced that if he is reelected there will be no plan in the next four years. Nashville can’t wait five more years for transportation solutions. As mayor, I am committed to developing a people-first transportation plan that is focused on helping you get to where you work and where you live in a timely, safe, and cost-effective manner. My transportation policy statement is available on my website at https://johncooperfornashville.com/transportation/We need both a short-term and a long-term approach to traffic and transit problems. Short-term, we can engage Public Works to install turning lanes at 50 already identified intersections and also better synchronize traffic lights for smarter flow during peak travel times. That approach recently helped reduce travel times by 12% in Los Angeles. Long-term, we need an in-depth analysis of transit efforts throughout the region and a comprehensive plan coordinating the efforts of regional governments, TDOT, and the federal highway system. There are simply too many institutions involved to go it alone as some have tried. Nashville’s continued growth and success depends on solutions to our traffic problems, and as mayor I commit to working with experts in this field to develop a better transit plan that local residents actually support.Meet with district leaders and instruct them to form community and neighborhood committees. The At-Large Council team can be assigned to oversee and collect the responses for drawing up a new referendum. People should work together to educate residents about the proposed transit plan and take it to another vote.No doubt Nashville has a transit issue, not unlike other cities of our magnitude. Going forward on transportation infrastructure development, we must develop incrementally and create strong partnering relationships with our neighboring cities to provide adequate and efficient mobility, especially during business hours. Perhaps enhancing neighborhood transportation hubs that encourage our local population to come to town, by making it easily available and affordable. In addition, we could study the Atlanta transit model and adapt a reasonable solution for Nashville.

One major flaw with the referendum of 2018 is that it planned the entire $9B project on four additional taxes, and largely on the backs of our tourists, businesses and taxpayers, with little or no impact to our growing congestion.
1) Traffic flow will help tremendously. Stop impeding traffic with never ending projects with little oversight by city government. We need to make our roads safer and have plans to move traffic along in the direction of rush hour. One answer is optional lanes that become available thru signals depending on traffic flow. This is done through lights and switches and designated lanes. It works in other cities and we need to find out how we can make it work for us. I will create a panel of private citizens and government employees to research and develop the answer. True knowledge is knowing where to find the answer. I will find it.
2) We should be looking at technology not trains. Trains running down the center of a street sound more like San Francisco 100 years ago than what we need to implement here in Music City. There is a technological answer and we will find it. We need to look towards the future not spend billions of dollars on outdated transportation techniques.
Free Public Transport
Traffic Calming: from the traditional to the outlandish. Art in the Streets Public Arts initiatives, combined with low-cost measures, such as re-striping, bollards, etc
Complete Streets Programs
Street Closures (Perm & Temp): A Post-car Future made Present. From Reclaim the Streets to Open Streets the precedent is there.
BRT: Bus Rapid Transit
Take our time and get it done right. Keep the citizens involved in the decision making and make sure the most congested areas of transit are targeted routes.
What is your position on the future of scooters in Nashville?Scooters as they exist right now have been a failed experiment. If they have a future in Nashville, we are going to need drastic improvements. That means more accountability from scooter companies, harsher penalties for violations (both for riders and the companies), and better enforcement from the scooter companies. Last month I wrote a letter to all of the scooter companies in Nashville declaring that I will file legislation to ban them unless I see serious improvements from them. Scooters can be a first-mile/last-mile solution for some residents, but right now, the risks and inconveniences that come with 4,000 scooters on our streets and sidewalks outweigh the benefits.Currently, scooters are not a “last mile option” for most Nashvillians, because our city lacks the necessary infrastructure to support their use. Unless and until that infrastructure exists and we have full enforcement of existing regulations, scooters will continue to pose a threat to the safety of users and others.Scooters need to be effectively regulated, and that starts with enforcing existing regulations. Scooters may be a useful mode of transportation, but we need to make sure they aren’t blocking sidewalks and that we are facilitating safe operation. Building out our protected bike infrastructure is a big part of that.The recent death of Brady Gaulke in a scooter collision was a tragedy that demands action. As mayor, I would require a new and better approach, or else have no choice but to ban them. Since scooters first arrived in Nashville, they have created new health and safety issues, obstructed streets and sidewalks, and encouraged reckless behavior. Police and first responders tell me the number of scooter-related incidents is on the rise and taking precious resources away from vital law enforcement and emergency response activities.

If scooters are going to stay, I believe it is the scooter companies that have a responsibility to develop and implement solutions. It should not be the city’s problem to analyze and address these companies’ shortcomings. As mayor I would be glad to work with any organization for the betterment of our community, but in this case, scooter operators need to step up, or get out.

Perhaps scooter companies test out a required training program for new users to understand the rules of the road. Or they could incorporate helmets or other safety gear, establish limitations on the hours of operation to end impaired late-night use, or initiate other creative approaches. Whatever their ideas, the community needs to have confidence that scooters are a positive addition to the Nashville transit scene, not just a danger and a nuisance.
NoneIt failed! And my belief is they will be here for sometime until we enforce existing bicycle laws already in place. (Wear a helmet and no riding on pedestrian walkways) For now, we created a band-aide solution with the creation of "Scooter Corals". This will NOT solve the problem. It only extends the problematic fact that people will end up in hospitals from injury due to reckless and often inebriated "scooting".

I actually am one that likes the mobility of scooters [though as of yet, I have not ridden one!]. I suggest, if you want one to commute as a local resident . . . buy one! And don't forget to buy a helmet.
Treat them as motorized vehicles (which they are):
1) Registration and insurance.
2) Must have a valid riding/driving license (like a small motorbike).
2) Riders must obey traffic laws, no sidewalks, must move with flow of traffic.
3) No operating while intoxicated. DUI enforcement.
4) Must where protective head gear.
5) Must have designated parking, no parking on sidewalks.
6) Owner (or owning company) Must carry liability insurance and show proof.
7) Must have operating headlights, brake lights and turn signals.
8) All traffic violations are similar to that of a small motorcycle.
Yes, they are a nuisance, but an outright ban is pandering 101. I personally enjoy the rapid influx of a 2-wheeled personal mode of transport highlighting the incredible deficits in our accommodation of non-car transport. So, what about this: add a Use Fee to each ride in the CBD. For arguments sake, lets say its an extra $1/ride. Use that money raised to pump directly back into expanding our dedicated bike lane network. We can make lemonade here. The scooters would then be able to travel in the bikelanes where they should be and we create new safe travel lanes for our residents.Scooters are a good thing, but people need to be safe. Nothing wrong with walking either. The scooters are not necessary though.
How should Nashville address the affordable housing scarcity? And what is your position on Mayor Briley's Under One Roof initiative?The Under One Roof 2029 initiative is the unprecedented commitment to affordable housing that we need so we can balance growth with an investment in our people. Not only is it Nashville’s biggest-ever investment in affordable housing, but it also addresses affordability on several levels: from housing the homeless to providing workforce-priced housing. These 10,000 new units over 10 years will deconcentrate poverty by creating mixed-income communities, which studies have shown greatly improve a person’s chance of getting out of the cycle of poverty. Under One Roof also brings the private sector to the table. Affordable housing affects everyone in our city, and we can work together to address it.Our focus must be on increasing the net stock of affordable housing throughout our entire community to address this crisis. No neighborhood should be off limits to anyone. To accomplish this, we must create a dedicated revenue stream for the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, better leverage equity with private investment, and collaborate with nonprofit and faith-based organizations to mitigate displacement and end homelessness. My goal would be to commit at least $50 million per year to the housing fund.

I would also work with Planning and Codes to expedite services and give priority to those developing affordable and workforce housing. We will seek to adopt income source protections for the benefit of those seeking to use Section 8 vouchers as well. Additionally, I would create a land bank for processing and determining the best use for any property deemed to be “surplus” in a transparent manner, with primary consideration given to the development of affordable housing.

My administration will also form a housing task force to evaluate private and public efforts and create an annual scorecard to track the city's progress on the state of housing and affordability so that we are held accountable.
Finally, I recognize that housing is only part of the affordability issues facing our families. I am committed to taking a holistic approach to improving affordability by working to increase wages, increase access to public transportation, and improve our public schools.

Improving public housing is essential and necessary, but it is intentionally misleading to present “Under One Roof” to the public as a solution to our affordable housing crisis. We are projected to have a 31,000 unit shortage of affordable housing by 2025. The mayor’s plan seeks to pump five hundred million dollars into MDHA over ten years to renovate and gentrify existing public housing developments in select parts of town. It appears that significant amounts of this money will be used to fill in the budget overruns of the current Envision Cayce project. Notably, the half billion dollars is not guaranteed and remains contingent on the political whims of the mayor and Metro Council from year to year. Even if the money materializes and the plan, as proposed, is successful, it would do very little to address the affordable housing shortage in our city and likely result in the further displacement of many current low-income residents.
Our current mayor is on the record disagreeing with this statement, but Nashville is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. I know how to manage large, complex projects. No one in the mayor’s race understands the real estate market better than I do. My full affordable housing policy statement is on my website, but here are the key things that we need to do. We need to increase transparency and improve the functioning of MDHA. We need to improve residents’ access to services. We need to bring real expertise to housing policy and get it out from under the political purview of the Mayor's Office. As your mayor, I will create a real 10-year plan to preserve and create a meaningful number of affordable housing units at an appropriate price. I will also establish a revolving loan fund for affordable housing.

After four years on the city council, I’ve also seen what Metro is doing to address the problem. The answer is not much. In the past couple of months, this administration has talked a lot about its affordable housing plan. Look closely, though, and you will see a plan that is all sound bite and no substance. The mayor’s supposedly three-quarter billion dollar housing investment is made up of unsecured promises for private contributions and a reframing of pre-existing funding and development plans. It is important to note that Mayor Briley’s current budget proposal does not include any new funds for the Barnes Fund. You can read the breakdown on my site: https://johncooperfornashville.com/affordable-housing/
The cost of both home ownership and renting has been on the rise in recent years—squeezing family budgets and holding Nashville residents back from pursuing their dreams. As mayor, I will work to improve access to affordable housing for all, recognizing that this issue doesn’t just impact our low-income communities, but is also a challenge for working middle class families and young people just beginning their careers.

There is a public sector role in promoting more blue-collar housing options, as I call it. We can look at tapping unutilized and underutilized land owned by the Metro Government and partnering with developers for building $150,000 to $200,000 homes. I’ve had discussions with builders who say they can meet these price ranges using current pre-fab and modular construction technologies, and the samples I’ve seen are actually quite nice. That’s much more affordable on a salary of say, $50,000 a year, verses apartments where two bedrooms could cost $2,000 to $3,000.

For white-collar workers, there is a potential for solutions by engaging employers. For example, housing benefits could be a part of compensation packages. As I drive around the city I see signs for apartment discounts for HCA employees. Larger companies can leverage their numbers to negotiate these types of favorable terms for their workers.

As cities around the country also grappling with this problem have demonstrated, we need to keep in mind that there won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. We need to look at creative ways to use vacant and under-utilized lots and government properties like former administrative, school, firehouse, and library sites. We need to bring businesses to the table to consider solutions like housing benefits for employees. We need to go through the building code and zoning processes to identify obstacles to rehabbing older buildings in a cost-effective way. And we need to support the community organizations doing important work in this space. Above all, we need to discard the current model of continuing to simply throw money at this problem—it hasn’t worked for Nashville and it hasn’t worked for other cities around the country. It’s past time for us to wise up and take a better approach moving forward.
Mayor Briley’s Under One Roof initiative sounds like a good plan of action to address the affordable housing scarcity. Let’s give it a try!I think this is a $500M failure in the works. Additional affordable housing is a laudable project, but unless we taxpayers provide the sustainment funding every year thereafter to maintain our investment, it’s a rabbit hole we should not go down. And no, we should not provide sustainment funding year after year. See Detroit as an example.

My priority is to provide the leadership to balance the budget while enhancing those city infrastructure projects necessary to grow our future. This is the absolute wrong way to do that. Keep in mind the mayor is talking “borrowed money” here; nothing we actually have in the “taxpayer bank.”
The burden of affordable housing should not fall on the shoulders of the taxpayers. It should be shouldered by the big developers. Encourage the builders who want to help us tackle this chronic issue. Mayor Briley is pandering to the voters on this one, yet we have a budget shortfall. Pay the teachers and the police a decent wage and let the big money making developers create affordable housing. They will do it if you make it a prerequisite to building in our city.Rent control is banned by the state but there are still mechanisms in place that can prioritize the creation of an extensive affordable housing stock in Nashville, be it thru streamlining codes processes and detached dwelling categorizations, Inclusionary Zoning type approaches, putting more money into Barnes Fund, are all obvious places to start. Similarly a lot of these tools can be funded, but David's plan seems to be a shell game with the money. I do applaud any steps in the right direction even if they happen to be less than meets the eye. and I walk that walk and in fact , I met with Urban Housing Solutions about a project in my neighborhood this morning with innovative ways to fund interesting projects of these private non-profits as well that can be incubators of new approaches with more flexibility. But going to lay claim now to most of the already-planned growth in AH to come over the next 10 years while still being insufficient in terms of big picture demand? I mean, come on, get real.I am not familiar with Mayor Briley's initiative.
What is your position on a proposal to privatize parking enforcement in the downtown and surrounding areas?I still support an upgrade to our current parking system, but I want us to have time to educate the public about the proposal and keep this issue from getting overly politicized. This topic was raised well before I was mayor because it is smart and important. Nashville is way behind some of our peer cities when it comes to how efficiently we use and manage on-street parking, and it still needs to be addressed in the future to make parking not only affordable but also accessible. It’s important for everyone to know that Metro won’t be selling any meters or other assets, and we’ll remain in control of parking policy, such as setting parking rates and approving placements of new meters. The plan is simply to hire a company to manage the system, which would remain Metro’s system - and would generate much more revenue for the city than it does now.I strongly oppose the mayor’s plan to privatize public parking and was one of the first community leaders to do so publicly. Multiple cities across the country have shown that privatized parking is a failed model, as Nashville would no longer retain the full value of its parking or complete control of our roadways. It would result in higher fees and fines, longer pay-for-parking hours, and allow for expansion of meters into residential neighborhoods outside the existing footprint. As a former neighborhood association president, the detrimental impact on residents’ quality of life resulting from the latter is very concerning. This deal would also make infrastructure and public transit improvements more difficult in the future because any upgrades would require negotiations with a private company.

In addition to the inherent problems with the fine print of the plan, it’s so-called selling points reek of privatization plans that I have fought as a state representative, including Governor Haslam’s efforts to privatize state parks, increase the state’s reliance on private prisons, and outsource jobs at public colleges and universities. Like most privatization efforts, the mayor’s plan to sell our public parking for thirty years to fill a budgetary gap comes with lots of promises of cost-savings and efficiencies, but it would inevitably result in less accountability and transparency, negative impacts on employees, and higher costs to the public than anticipated.

I openly acknowledge the need for our city to update and improve our public parking technology. This should be a public effort and investment so that we can enjoy the full benefits of our public parking and remain accountable to residents.
The plan has lacked detail and transparency at every step of the way, and given their track record, we have to question whether this administration is even competent enough to award a 30-year parking contract. Other cities that have privatized parking have regretted it, and Nashville should not go down that path.

Our current mayor’s “parking modernization” plan would result in private management of our street parking, an increase in fees and fines, and a doubling (at the very least) of the number of parking meters. The real purpose of the plan was to raise $30 million to plug a hole in this year’s budget. This is short-term thinking at its worst. However, even this was botched. The first time the parking deal was awarded, Metro miscalculated the bids and released an intent to award to a company that bid $74 million less than another company. The next iteration also had serious problems. One was the lack of details. The parking plan did not include a business plan, finalized rates, a map of where new meters would go, or a firm commitment to the number of additional metered spaces. I and many others objected to this proposal. In response, Mayor Briley announced that he was “hitting the pause button” on his parking plan. However, his budget continues to include the parking meter proposal.
I was one of the first and staunchest opponents of the Briley Parking Plan, which is a payday loan that provides a short-term gain but a very large long-term loss for the city. I have also called for more thorough consideration before moving forward with the sale of the city’s energy assets to earn a quick buck. As any family or small businessperson knows, the key to fixing a budget imbalance is usually about controlling spending, not pawning off assets at low prices to temporarily patch over unwise choices.I respectfully disagree with a proposal to privatize parking enforcement in downtown and surrounding areas for fear that some business will take advantage of the residents and tourist for profitable gain. If not properly monitor, this could really get out of control.I am adamantly against privatized parking, especially under a 360 month contract. Under terms specified in this agreement, Nashville will actually lose revenue due to having to rent back these spaces for large sporting and entertainment events.

Chicago is presently witnessing the pain associated with lost revenue. Privatization raked in $134.2 million last year, putting private investors on pace to recoup their entire $1.16 billion investment by the year 2021. And get this; with 62 years remaining on the lease! Why would Nashville want the identical scenario?
Terrible Idea by Mayor Briley. He is a place holder from a special election. He should not be selling any of the citizen's assets.Racket. The problem with the webbing in this instance for the guilty parties was that the net was see-thru so people could look at existing unimpressive precedent and possible income earned and wonder why were selling for so cheap with a bizarre procurement process that has an outsider like me scratching my head and realizing that yes, maybe you're right i don't know anything about government because I want fair market value at the least and to advocate for my city as an average. whew, that got away from me there! To make up for a one-time budget deficit, we're trading ownership to cover debts, so now we are the vulture capitalists descending upon our own city scrapping it off like its a past-prime profit taking enterprise? Pray for us because we're being preyed upon.If it saves the city money, I'm for it. If the city makes money from enforcement, then I am against it.
What is your position on the future of the Nashville Fairgrounds?I believe the Fairgrounds is here to stay. That’s what the voters decided. But the property can be more appealing to more people - and thus more productive. The Major League Soccer stadium is part of that solution, and I’m proud of the work my administration and the Metro Council did to complete that agreement. The new Fair Park is a strong addition, too. A mix of long-term and newer uses, from the state fair, flea market and auto racing to MLS, recreational soccer fields and an already popular dog park, make the Fairgrounds a revitalized place that can serve residents for decades to come.As a former member of the Fair Board, I am uniquely aware of the challenges facing our Fairgrounds, as well as its value and importance to our community. While these challenges have been partially addressed and compounded by the soccer stadium since I departed the Fair Board, I am committed to furthering the purpose and protecting the integrity of the Fairgrounds for the next generation.I believe that the historic uses of the Fairgrounds need to be valued and protected. Our Fairgrounds is a valuable part of our county’s entertainment portfolio. Protection of public land has to be a strategic priority. A responsible city needs to evaluate opportunities systematically and openly. That didn’t happen when Major League Soccer came to Nashville. Instead of running a site selection that invited public input, City Hall offered to build the stadium in Fairgrounds, with no consideration of its impact on such current uses as the State Fair. Then, to the surprise of the city council, it gave 10 additional acres to the developer. Building the stadium itself should have been enough of an incentive for a soccer team. We should not have included a bonus of ten acres at the Fairgrounds beyond the incentive of the stadium. At the same time Mayor Briley was patching a budget hole with ill-advised one-time property sales, his administration steered ten acres at the Fairgrounds into private hands. City Hall sold land with its right hand and awarded it away with its left.As the cost of living in Nashville continues to increase year after year, the city must be very mindful to allocate its scarce resources appropriately to address the affordable housing and fiscal crisis. It isn’t wise to instead offer substantial tax incentives to wealthy groups in this city for their pet projects. Nashville deserves elected leaders who respect the wishes of the voters.No commentThe Fairgrounds redevelopment effort has been ongoing for many years. Any plans to disrupt what developers, council members, five different metro boards and commissions have ironed out at this point will only result in higher costs to the city, and likely no enhancements to the much-needed Fairgrounds. Though I will point out that I agree with others that when it comes to the Speedway, I question the safety of such development due to the proximity of buildings around the track.

Another consideration I have is that given the relatively small footprint of this master plan, relevant to the amount of activity planned within it, I caution about designing a multi-use facility that accommodates many simultaneous events, but not one or two adequately. I know I have not been as involved as the current mayor or other council membrrs, but I look forward for the opportunity to dig deeper into the final planning.
Opposition to the closure was supported by a referendum that was passed by 70% of the voters. I think the people have spoken. We need to stop our leaders from privatizing city property. Just like the Music City Convention Center, it belongs to the citizens of Nashville. Yet, the developers are circling to make it theirs. The voters have spoken, stop re-purposing city property for private profits.I'm a longtime attendee and participant. From early wrestling days, to the roller derby days to my own performance debuting as "Mr. Christmas" in 2017 when I wrestled in front of dozens in the main hall, where many of the greats performed. I also co-sponsored a car that another woodworker friend ran in the 2014 season. I laid it all out on the mat against LilBenny "StoneMan" Pearson and I'm willing to do it again to expand the programming there to be truly inclusive, accessible (physically and in curation), and open to the neighborhoods. The Fairgrounds is part of the cultural heritage of this town and should be preserved for all to enjoy.Whatever the people want, and it should also be a development that brings revenue to the city as well.
How could Metro better balance the needs and wants of downtown and the outlying neighborhoods?What we need to do - and what we’re already doing - is to reinvest the money from our booming downtown into our neighborhoods. Tourism and business are thriving in our urban core, which means increased sales tax and property tax revenue. In my FY20 budget, we are reinvesting this money into our neighborhoods. That means things like a new library in Donelson, a new community center in Bellevue, a new police headquarters and a budget for our school system that exceeds $1 billion in operating, capital and debt service funds.

We also need to ensure that we aren’t spending unnecessary resources downtown. Our new deal with the Predators is a perfect example of that. The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena have grown into extremely successful entities that are downtown anchors. They no longer need taxpayer support. In their new lease at Bridgestone Arena, which will keep the Predators here through 2049, the Predators will no longer receive any Metro subsidy.
As a former neighborhood association president, I truly understand the importance of strong neighborhoods and the desire of residents to protect their character. It is time for us to once again prioritize the interests of neighborhoods in our city. As mayor, I will revitalize and strengthen the Office of Neighborhoods to level the playing field by acting as a resource for residents and work to ensure they have an equal voice in what happens in their neighborhoods.

Maintaining a strong urban core is vital to the health of the entire city, but it is past time for Metro to recognize and operate with the understanding that communities outside of downtown require our attention and deserve to benefit from the boom as well. For too long, entire communities, such as Bordeaux, North Nashville, and others, have been ignored by our city. They deserve just as much attention as other areas in a manner acceptable to residents that does not threaten their character or affordability. To this end, I will work with council members, neighborhood leaders, and the community at large to determine the most beneficial and desired types of investments in each area.
Nashville has built a thriving downtown and that should be celebrated. That said, we don’t need to keep subsidizing a boom. A property owner in Bordeaux or Donelson should not be paying for the costs associated with downtown. As mayor, I will make sure that tourists’ dollars are spent on residents, not residents’ dollars spent on tourists. We have 157 schools and each school represents a neighborhood. Neighborhoods are the most important part of our city’s future success, and they deserve meaningful investment. All across the county, we should be building bus stops and community centers, improving stormwater and intersections, and increasing livability and walkability.I think it is amazing that we have hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals spending their time and money at our downtown establishments, but the mayor’s office must focus its resources on neighborhoods all throughout the city. Crime is on the rise, housing prices have skyrocketed, and our current transportation system is a failure. As mayor, I will go to every neighborhood to listen to its unique concerns and work together for a better tomorrow.Elected officials, please listen to the people. Remember: It’s not about you; it’s all about building bridges with your constituents.Enhance neighborhood transportation hubs that encourage local population to come to town by making it available and affordable. No need to drive into town; ride. Coordinate with local events, including the Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Nashville (TPAC), football and hockey events . . . get the neighbors involved!Downtown properties in the Downtown Nashville Zone are selling for an average in excess of $600.00 per square foot. There is a 2% vacancy in the Broadway retail inventory. One of the lowest in the country. There are 2800 hotel rooms currently under construction. 15 million visitors came to Nashville in 2018 and 2019 will shatter that number. Downtown is doing just fine. We need to utilize some of the taxes generated by that zone and spread the wealth to the outlying neighborhoods. It's time to take care of the citizens who built Nashville long before it was a top 10 tourist attraction. Share the wealth. It's time. Now THAT WOULD BE Equitable. after all, We Built This City.Obvious low-hanging fruit we can all pick at includes expanding the footprint of the Mayors Office of Neighborhoods, as well as the Office of New Americans as outreach can be often synergized.
But to get deeper into the sideroads, we can also look at creating Participatory Budgeting mechanisms for neighborhoods to decide how Metro money in their district is allocated. Every neighborhood has a unique character to it, so why not tap into that potential? By democratizing the input processes we can improve transparency and civic engagement to know what is needed and how to allocate finite resources.
I don't see a lot of issues in this arena.
When visitors ask you, "What should I do in Nashville?" what are the top 3 things or places you recommend?I recommend getting out and about a bit for a bike ride or hike in one of the Warner Parks or Shelby Bottoms, which are incredible natural resources within our city limits. A trip to the Ryman Auditorium or the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is good for an understanding of what “Music City” means. And I realize it’s where I work, but visiting Metro’s historic courthouse and the Public Square out front will give anyone a sense of how regular people, working together across gaps in age, race and class, can create real change, as the civil rights activists of the early 1960s did when they sat in and marched.Station Inn, Prince’s Hot Chicken, and a Nashville Predators game. Radnor Park and the Tennessee State Capitol are right there at the top too.The first place I would recommend they visit is Fort Negley. It is Nashville’s most important historical landmark, and it offers stunning views of our city. Once they’ve seen the Ryman, I’d recommend the cheeseburger platter at Brown’s Diner. And finally I’d suggest visiting Plaza Mariachi, the cultural gem on Nolensville Rd.Go hiking at Radnor Lake, eat some delicious Soul Food at Swett’s, and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame.Hattie B’s, Plaza Mariachi, Nashville ZooBroadway Honky Tonks, Ryman/Bridgestone/Nissan/Stadium, Wildhorse Saloon!1)Meet US, the wonderful citizens who built this city and hang out & visit with us.
2.)Check out Lower Broadway's Honky-tonks & hear the best music in the USA.
3.)See a Titan's or Predator's game then visit Printer's Alley and hang out with us some more.
Lucys Record Shop, Off 12th Books, Fugitive Art GalleryThe downtown nightlife and Broadway. Opry Mills area. Visit our museums
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you, your values and priorities?After I left Nashville to go to college in the 1980s, I lived in several different cities and even other countries before returning to my hometown to help contribute to the progress I was starting to see here. I learned another language (Spanish), but, more importantly, I learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work in city planning and growth management. I’m ready to put those lessons to work for the next four years so Nashville can continue to become a more equitable, more prosperous and even stronger community.My tireless work ethic and values are the direct results of my upbringing on my family farm and the strong influence of my grandparents. Equity, opportunity, and justice are the values that drive my policies and priorities. By rolling up our sleeves and working to ensure equity, create opportunity, and demand justice, we can build a better Nashville for the benefit of everyone. I am committed to an equitable vision for our city -- one that will protect the character of our neighborhoods and empower residents.I’ll do the math and I’ll tell you the truth. This is the moment to rebalance our city’s priorities. I’ll work with you to develop real solutions to the costs of growth. And I’ll put the focus back on you and your neighborhood.I have enormous love and compassion for people from all walks of life. We are going to need diverse solutions to the challenges facing our city, and that’s going to require listening to and incorporating diverse perspectives. As mayor, I am committed to acting openly and honestly--not playing the political games of the past.Haven’t I told you enough of my business? I don’t think your printers can take any more (smile)!I've personally witnessed the highs and lows that life can deliver. I know too well what it feels like to hit the roadway pavement after reaching for an unclouded sky. I know the feeling of abundance and how quickly it can be lost. However, there is one thing that will always remain until my last breath of this world. Morals, values, integrity . . . and faith.I love Nashville and believe that the citizens of this diverse city deserve better representation. We Built This City! If it weren't for us, the citizens, there would be no boom. As Mayor, I will work to solve problems for all the citizens of Nashville and the priorities of our residents will be paramount. Every decision I make will be for the residents city-wide. I hope the citizens of Nashville trust me with this task and I ask each of them for their vote in the upcoming election.Im running an unconventional outsider campaign that aims to engage the political process on its terms thereby highlighting the need for social reforms (decriminalization of drugs and sex work, making them public health issues not criminal justice concerns), as well as the need of reform of the political decision-making process itself (focusing on the opportunities to democratize locally: new voting methods- IRV/RCV, Negative Voting, and "None of the Above" options and helping those in power with their addiction to political prestige). I would require elected and appointed officials to get Continuing Education Credits themselves- these programs would be a public education exercise required of all officials. Demonstrating the potential of removing the corrupting influence of money in the process, I am also personally running a No-Money campaign. I aim to raise $0 and spend even less. I believe we can unrig the system from within, or at least apply pressure from without. We can learn a new way while also teaching thru an educational method of socially engaged practice.Tennessee has a very rich history, and that history lives in me. A frontiersman is a man that lives between cultivated land and the wilderness. Cultivated land is farmland, and the urban city reflects the wilderness. I am a Frontiersman, and Nashville has to set a new frontier of reform. I have a pride, and a plan, for this city and state that no other candidate compares to. I come in the likeness of Davy Crockett and other common men whom pioneered our great state of Tennessee.
Will you commit to being civil in how you present yourself and the way you interact with opponents and others? (Our definition of civility is being a good, active, honest and respectable citizen)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes