Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Council resolution funding Gideon's Army withdrawn.

by Rod Williams, August 2, 2023 - On the agenda of Metro Council last night was a resolution to provide, funding to Gideon's Army in the amount of $750,000. Gideon's Army is an organization with criminal ties and is rumored to be engaged in criminal activity. The funding was to be used for "violence interruption services." I have posted about the organization at this link

The resolution appropriating the funding was on the "consent agenda." A piece of legislation is placed on "consent" if it is deemed non-controversial.  When it goes to committee, if it passes unanimously the committee or committees to which it is assigned, it remains on "consent." All resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass by a single vote of the Council. 

The resolution funding Gideon's Army also provided $750,000 to another organization by the name of Why We Can’t Wait, Inc. In committee, Councilman Robert Swope questioned Why We Can't Wait about their qualifications for the grant. It was revealed that the organization was only founded in 2015 and their budget for that year was only $23,000. Since that year, they have been relatively inactive. Councilman Swope voted "no" in committee which took the resolution off of consent and the sponsors then withdrew the resolution. 

This was a victory for sanity. An organization with no experience managing such large sums of money should not be awarded three-quarters of a million dollars. An organization with criminal ties known to hire criminals as employees and with a reputation of being an active gang should not be awarded any Metro funds.  Also, "violence interruption" is hard to quantify and there is little reason to believe such programs work. With Nashville short by 200 officers from fully funding the police department, we should not, in my view, be funding programs of such dubious nature. We should instead be funding police.  $1.5 million would have funded about 15 police officers.

While last night's council action was a win, I don't expect those who advocate funding Gideon's Army or groups like Gideon's Army to give up. They will try again. It is my hope that we elect enough good council members, that this type thing cannot happen and that we elect a mayor who would not support this. 

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