Saturday, November 03, 2018

Save Church Street Park

by Councilman Angie Henderson, Reposted from Facebook
Angie Henderson
  If you care about the standards Nashville sets for swapping, selling, or renting your public park land for private, profit-making purposes, please follow this matter closely and share with fellow lovers of parks. If you were interested or engaged in the Fort Negley/Greer Stadium/Cloud Hill debate, you should be engaged in this matter too.

Ask yourself what has been the catalyst for these two recent contentious conversations about our parks? 
#1.  A developer has an idea/desire and goes to the Mayor’s Office where the developer finds a willing ear and a pride and penchant for deal making. The developer and the Mayor’s Office compile a complex package with several community benefits, which obfuscate the deal’s core flaws and make it appealing to a variety of constituencies. After everything has been worked out to the maximum benefit of the developer, they trot the deal out for some token “community engagement.” As I said regarding the Cloud Hill proposal, this approach to community planning is top-down and backwards. Smoke and mirrors. Again. 

The recent Plan to Play Master Plan calls for MORE park space and pocket parks in the downtown core. Swapping this lone park, ideally located right across from our beautiful downtown library, for an awkward parcel on James Robertson Parkway with high traffic volume, high speeds, next to a traffic island and a parking garage, one building away from the bus station, at a major intersection and immediately adjacent to the already sizable and successful Public Square Park, is NOT a gain or even a balanced swap. It is a loss for Church Street, the core of downtown, which is already lacking green space, and for Nashville’s future.

Church Street Park has several problems and challenges today. A group of homeless persons spend the majority of their day in the park and thus in the absence of intention, vision and planning, the park has been allowed to languish rather than being elevated into the gem that it can and should be for everyone who lives and works nearby. Every major city has homeless persons, and every major city has pocket parks. We are not unique. If we truly want to make this a great park, we can. Not saying it’s easy, but it’s the right thing to do.

With the passage of the proposal before the Parks Board, Church Street Park will cease to exist and become another Giarratana high-rise tower. To soften this blow, it is proposed that he would contribute funds and design for the adjacent street to become an enhanced, park-like streetscape. I’m sure that would be lovely, but we don’t have to swap the park to create that. Just like we don’t have to swap the park to design and build supportive housing for the homeless on 2nd Avenue North that the city already owns.

This “swap” is a bad deal. I urge you to speak up to the Parks Board to oppose it, if you agree. Don’t hesitate to contact me, if you’d like to discuss or learn more. Please follow the provided link to read deal-related documents and be sure to send an email asap to and The developer’s team has already set up an automated email to encourage support of the land swap. It is important that you lend your voice as well.

The public hearing on Oct 22 at 6:00 PM is specially called, and the Parks Board will deliberate and vote on the matter at their regular noon meeting on November 6. Don’t delay! Your participation is needed to #SaveChurchStreetPark. Please share this post!

Rod's Comment: I support saving Church Street Park.  As Councilman Henderson points out, the reason behind this proposed swap is that the Church Street Park has been taken over by the homeless. The park is not a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the outdoors.  If not for the homeless takeover, it could be.  If you are not familiar with the park, it is directly across the street from the stately downtown public library. It has a nice fountain and the back wall of the park features a large interesting mural.  

I don't know the limits of policing authority to curtail the homeless residency in the park but surely
Church Street Park
there is something that can be done to reclaim the park for public use. It seems to me that the park could restrict homeless use by prohibiting overnight sleeping in the park, perhaps closing the park from  12 AM to 6 AM and posting and enforcing a "Keep Off the Grass" rule.  Rules against alcohol consumption and other violations could be enforced. In any event, it should not be the policy of the city to close a park and develop the land, just because it is being used by the homeless. There has to be a better solution.  Cities in which people live need green space. 

Also, we cannot just surrender public places to the homeless.  The grand public library is frequented by the homeless who sit in the reading room and who use the public restroom.  Should we close the library? 

Ms Henderson is also right about the deal.  Even if the city deemed it a good policy to close the park, it should be closed and the site developed in an open transparent process not by means of a backroom sweetheart deal. 

Since Ms Henderson posted the above to her Facebook page, the Metro Parks board's acquisition committee, in a tie vote, voted 3-3 on recommending approval of the Church Street land swap deal. Mayor Briley appeared before the Committee speaking in favor of the deal as did the district Councilman Freddie O'Connell.  Councilman Angie Henderson spoke against it. This coming Tuesday, the full seven-member Park Board will take up the issue. The Committee's vote will not be binding but would carry considerable weight with members of the Metro Council who ultimately will decide the issue.

To learn more about the issue and the details of the land swap, read the Tennessean's coverage at this link.  If anyone is inclined to appear at the Park Board meeting, the board meets at 12:00 p.m., on the first Tuesday of each month at the Parks Headquarters, 2565 Park Plaza. The next meeting at which time the Board is taking up this issue is November 6th. There is not a public hearing on the issue but sometimes the presence of members of the public at an event can impact a body's decision. I have not seen any public call for supporters of the Park to attend the Board meeting. 

If you are inclined to communicate your position on the closing of Church Street Park to a Park Board member, follow this link for a list of members and their contact information. To contact all of the Park Board members as well as Metro Parks staff send email to It is also important to let members of the Council know of your concern. To email all of the Council members in one email, email to

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Friday, November 02, 2018

Judd Cowan was once an infant. He was not born as a 35 year old man.

Recently Bo Mitchel put out a negative mailer attacking 26 year old Judd Cowan for being young. He pulled pictures from Cowan's Facebook page of when he was a teenager in high school and created a collage to attack Cowan as too young to serve in the State House.  Judd writes that his friends didn't think the attack piece went far enough and made the above mailer for Bo to use.

Time is short, if you can do anything to help Judd Cowan who is challenging Bo Mitchell in the race for the District 50 State House, please do.  There is a lot that needed between now and the end of the day November 6th.  Candidates always need more money, but they also need door to door canvassers, phone call help, and people to work the polls on election day. Please help Judd beat Bo!

For more information visit, Judd Cowan's website at this link.

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John Ryder explains why Republican electoral chances are not nearly as dire as sometimes reported.

John Ryder
Nov. 2, 2018 - John  Ryder is former General Counsel to the Republican National Committee and is currently Chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association. He is a "Republican numbers Guru" known for his statistical insights, predictions and analysis. He seldom gets it wrong. I saw him speak at a First Tuesday event in October 2016 and he predicted Trump would win the election when almost all pollsters said he would lose. 

Writing in yesterday's Memphis Commercial Appeal, Ryder offered his insight into the upcoming election and says Democrats prospects are not nearly as great as they seem and Republican chances are not as dire as sometimes reported.  Below is an excerpt:
It looks to me as though the Blue Wave is confined to the blue enclaves and the Red Tide is concentrated in red precincts. Where the concentration is less pronounced, the “wave” is less prominent.

In other words, the spatial polarization that exists in society will manifest itself in increased turnout – one way or the other — in the areas where partisans are most concentrated.

Is there a hidden vote? It’s hidden in plain sight, almost. While the generic ballot for Congress favors the Democrats, the generic ballot in the most competitive districts is tied or favors the Republicans, according to the ABC News Poll and the Wall St. Journal/NBC poll.

That is because the generic ballot in heavily Democratic districts, like the 9th District in Memphis, overwhelmingly favors the Democrat, while in the competitive districts, perhaps the Second district in Arkansas, the generic ballot is closer. There the Republicans have a slight advantage.
That is reassuring and makes sense. He also writes about the impact of negative advertising and the impact of news media bias in the article.  You can read it at this link.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Metro Underestimates Cost of Controversial Tax Incentive. Robbing Schools to pay developers.

Weston Hotel
by Ben Hall, News Channel 5 - Metro council members are raising questions about the true cost of a controversial tax incentive program known as tax increment financing (TIF). ...Last year the city was forced to withdraw money directly from Metro School's budget -- without warning -- to cover the cost of the program. ... the city unexpectedly took nearly $1 million dollars out of schools accounts to cover "tif tax breaks." ... Last year, the total cost of the city's TIF program came in at $28.5 million. (link)

Weston Hotel paid more than $1.9 million in property taxes last year but only about $43,000 went to Metro to pay for city services. 

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Video of the protestor interupting the moment of silence at the Marsha Blackburn rally on Sunday.

Below is the video of the protestors who interrupted the moment of silence at the Marsha Blackburn rally on Sunday.

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Help Us Elect Conservatives to the State House & U.S. House of Representatives!

From Davidson County Republican Party: 
The below Republican candidates have districts that include Davidson County. If you are interested in helping to elect more conservative candidates, please contact the below campaigns and volunteer! 

State House Dist 50 - Judd Cowan
If you can help Judd please text (615) 474-0505, or e-mail, if you can take a couple of hours to do any of the following: 
  • Phone bank with Judd on Monday or Wednesday, 4:00 to 8:00, at the Corner Pub In The Woods, 8058 Tennessee 100, Nashville, TN 37221
  • Greeting Voters - Early Voting polling locations Tuesday, 10/30 or Thursday, 11/1 any time, but particularly after 5PM; or Sat, 10/27 8:00 - 4:30
  • Brochure drops (Judd can give you a location for this)
  • Helping put up yard signs at a polling place in District 50 on Wednesday, 11/5, after 3:00pm
State House Dist 56 - Dr. Brent Moody
(Dr. Moody's campaign is working out of the Victory 2018 location).
7110 Town Center Way, Ste 201, Brentwood
(423) 494-2008

State House Dist 59 - David Birdsong

State House Dist 53 - Amberlee Brooks
U. S. House Dist 5 - Jody Ball
(615) 351-6173

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Vote NO on Nashville's Amendment 1, Say "no" to the $10 tax hike.

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Bo Mitchell stealing yard signs caught on camera

Video footage shows Democratic State Rep. Bo Mitchell stealing yard signs for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and State Rep. candidate Judd Cowan in Davidson County.

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Desperate Bo Mitchell attacks Judd Cowan for his youth

Incumbent State Representative Bo Mitchell has gotten desperate in his campaign to hold on to power. He has put out one of the most childish, ridiculous, attack campaign pieces I have ever seen. He mined challenger Judd Cowan's Facebook page and put together a collage of pictures from when Judd was a freshman in high school and attacked Cowan for his youth.  Maybe Bo Mitchell never went to high school.  Maybe Bo Mitchell was never young. Judd Cowan is 26 years old and has an impressive list of accomplishment and qualifications.  We need his kind of maturity in the State House.

Meet Judd

About Me:  

My name is Judd Cowan, and I am proud to be a Nashville native and a product of Davidson County public schools. I attended high school at Hume Fogg. Upon graduating, I went to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where I earned my degree in mechanical engineering. In order to pay for my education, I owned and operated a small business, gaining valuable experience as a small business owner in the process. I also founded a newspaper on campus and served as the editor-in-chief for three years.

After graduating from college, I began practicing as an engineer in Nashville. Currently, I am a machine designer and project manager, and I oversee the production of manufacturing equipment. I also work part-time as an aerospace engineer at the Smyrna Airport for Resource Air Charter. I am a self-taught machinist, a hobbyist woodworker, and an amateur historian.

I grew up in a religious household and now attend St. Henry's Catholic Church. In high school, I earned recognition as an Eagle Scout and continue to be involved with the Boy Scouts.

I look forward to hearing your concerns, your questions, and informing you of my vision for Tennessee. I am available at your convenience and can be reached by email on the "contact me" page.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Marsha's Get-out-the-vote rally featuring good music, Marsha, protestors and Senator Lindsey Graham.

Great Country music by Senator Jack Johnson
by Rod Williams, Oct. 28, 2018- An almost capability crowd filled the Ray Stevens nightclub,
Cabaray Showroom, this afternoon for an enthusiastic "Get out the vote" rally for Marsha Blackburn.  Senator Jack Johnson and the Austin Brothers Band warmed up the crowd with hardcore uptempo County Music. I like Jack Johnson's brand of Country featuring the songs Ray Price, Merle Haggard and George Jones. It is always a pleasure to see he and his band perform.

I enjoyed getting to see old friends I seldom get to see and getting to speak to the various Republican candidates  running for other offices. Among the other candidates mingling in the crowd was Jody Ball running for the Fifth Congressional District,  Brent Moody seeking the State House District 56 seat and Judd Cowan seeking the District 50 house seat. Tennessee GOP Chairman Scott Golden recognized them from the stage.
Marsha Blackburn

Introductory remarks were made by Scott Golden and he introduced Marsha Blackburn. Marsha spoke for maybe 20 minutes, but I didn't time it. She spoke about her support for the military, the tax cuts, the booming economy under Trump, the importance of securing the border and the importance of putting constitutionalist jurist on the Supreme Court.

Her speech was interrupted by five different protestors. They, one after the other with intervals in between, interrupted her speech. Early in her speech Marsha called for a moment of silence to honor the memory of those who lost their life in the horrible  mass shooting at a Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  After the room fell quite, a protester
Protestor interrupts solemn moment of silence
screened out in a loud voice, "Marsha Blackburn is a White supremacist!"

When a protestor would start hollowing out, the room would burst in to shouts of "USA! USA!" and drawn him out and then security would escort him from the building. Most of the protestors allowed security to escort them out with minimal resistance, but one guy put up a fight, swinging his fist and kicking. Security had to wrestle him to the floor and then handcuff him before he could be removed.  I don't know if he was charged with a crime or not.

violent protestor had to be subdued
There was only the five and they did not save a protestor for Senator Graham. I don't understand this type protest.  It does take some courage to go into the camp of the opposition and shout out denunciations of the candidate or proclaim your dessent but I don't know what is the point.  For the people attending the event it makes it more exciting and heightens enthusiasm. It seems to be counterproductive. Especially the screening out during the moment of silence to honor the dead, I don't think helped the cause of the protestors. If I was the conspiracy-minded type, I would think people pay protestors to protest them. Protest of this type does not help the cause of the protestors but helps the cause of what ever it is they are protesting.

Senator Graham was great! He touched on several topics but focused on the Kevanaugh confirmation.
Senator Lindsey Graham
He said the Senate had hit a new low and the "advise and consent" had been replaced with "search and destroy."  He said it used to not be that way. He recounted liberal jurist who had won unanimous or almost unanimous confirmation. He also was critical of the press for not harshly criticizing the Democrats. He said if the situation would have been reversed and Republicans had a serious allegation against a nominee but waited until the last minute to bring it up, the press would have crucified a Republican. He said the only way to bring back a level of normally to the Senate confirmation process it to make Democrats pay at the ballot box. He said Democrats not only need to be defeated but defeated by large margins.

Graham was complementary of Trump and praised his stance toward illegal immigration and the approaching caravan, the tax cut and the booming economy and Trumps handling of foreign affairs. Graham did get in a couple little lighthearted quips at Trump's expense however.  After praising President Trump, paraphrasing, he said, "Trump and I have a lot in common. I like Trump; and, (pausing) Trump likes Trump."  That got a hearty laugh as did this one. In speaking of the Trump nomination of Kavanaugh, Granham praised his qualifications and record and said he is one of the most qualified men in America for the Supreme Court.  He said when he saw the list 25 of potential nominees he was immensely impressed. He said they were all outstanding. Then he said something like this, "I was expecting Judge Judy."  That got a big laugh. He continued, "I'm glad we didn't: TV needs the talent." That got more laughs

This was a fun event and it was an honor and thrill to see Senator Graham up close and in person.

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