Friday, April 13, 2018

Erica Gilmore switches sides, now opposes the transit plan.

by Rod Williams - Erica Gilmore, an at-large member of the Metro Council and candidate for mayor, who voted in the Council in favor of the $9billlion transit plan has switched sides and says she no longer supports the plan. She made the announcement on Monday April 9th, two days before early voting begins April 11. Brenda Gilmore had not only voted for the plan in the Metro Council, she sponsored the legislation that put the question on the May 1 ballot and had advocated for the plan's passage. She was the proponent of the plan in a WKRN News 2 debate that aired in February. As early as two weeks ago she was still advocating for the plan.

Erica Gilmore
Erica Gilmore is African-American and high profile. Her opposition could be a major blow to the transportation plan.  The Black vote is crucial to passage of the plan.  The election is May 1 and that is the Democrat primary, which in Davidson County is tantamount to the election. Courthouse officials, such as County Court Clerk, Juvenile Court Clerk, Sheriff  and some judges will be nominated in the Democrat primary to run in the August general election.  Since Republicans will not be fielding candidates, those who win the Democrat primary on May 1, will run unopposed in August. Traditionally, in the Democrat primary and off-elections in general in Nashville, Blacks turn out is higher than white turn out.

There has arisen serious opposition to the $9 billion transit plan in the Black community. Some  of the opposition is the same as in the larger community, that it is too costly and ignores modern technological changes that is changing the face of transportation. Of concern to many in the Black community is that a fixed rail system on major thoroughfares will not benefit them.  They see a greater need for a better bus system. There is also a concern that the transit plan will further the process of gentrification.

In the race for mayor, David Briley who was elevated to the office of mayor when Mayor Megan Barry plead guilty to a felony and resigned, is running for election to the office of mayor for a one year term to complete the unexpired term of Mayor Barry.  Ten other people are also seeking the office. Many will feel that Briley should be retained in the office for the remainder of Barry's term just so we do not have four different mayors in the span of a little over a year. With eleven candidates for mayor, I do not think Briley can win without a runoff. The way I see it, the person most likely to make the runoff is Erica Gilmore. While she is not my choice to oppose Briley, I think she is most likely to be the Briley alternative.

David Briley is an enthusiastic supporter of  the proposed transit plan. Weather Erica Gilmore has had her mind changed as the debate has brought new facts to light or if it is a calculated move to benefit her in her race against Briley, I don't know. Either way, it is welcome.

At yesterday's press conference Gilmore said the city's current plan is "unworkable." She also  said the plan before voters "distracts from the things that are most important," such as education funding, affordable-housing shortage and the city's increasing cost of living.

“I can no longer support this particular plan,"  she said. "As hopeful as I had been in the past to make this plan work, I recognize that it is too imperfect. I have concluded that salvaging this plan is currently unworkable. I was definitely trying to make this plan work. But as I talk to more and more citizens, they are not in favor of this plan."

For news coverage of this development see this link, this, and this. 

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