The last decade was a gas.
Let's do it again sometime.
|Metro's map: 20% to 100% people in poverty in the North End|
United States poverty rates are at or near the top of the range when compared with poverty rates in other rich countries. The United States child and elderly poverty rates seem particularly troublesome. America’s elders also have poverty rates that are high, particularly on relative grounds. In most rich countries, the relative child poverty rate is 10 percent or less; in the United States, it is 21.9 percent. What seems most distinctive about the American poor, especially poor American single parents, is that they work more hours than do the resident parents of other nations while also receiving less in transfer benefits than in other countries
|From Governing map: Salemtown definitely gentrified 2009-2013|
lower-income Census tracts experienced significant growth in both home values and educational attainment. To be eligible to gentrify, a tract's median household income and median home value needed to fall within the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area at the beginning of the decade. Tracts considered to have gentrified recorded increases in the top third percentile for both inflation-adjusted median home values and percentage of adults with bachelors’ degrees.
Urban people’s interest in where their food comes from, and the quality of it—their worry about poisoned food, soil loss, toxicity, etc.—is a good thing. Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farmers markets, urban gardens, community gardens and school gardens are also all good. The worry, to me, is that all of this is entrepreneurial. Too many CSAs in any given area can make it hard for a farmer to sell enough CSA shares to get by. Our work is to try to get farmers out of a faddish economy.
The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who had the first CSA in Kentucky. He was saying that the CSA is a great model for a young farmer. He paid off his farm with a CSA. (He had borrowed the money in the 1980s, at 13 percent interest.) But he said, “You know what? It’s a young person’s game.” And that’s true, simply because it’s really hard work. He’s 55 now, sustainably logging on his own land and doing fine, but do we want farmers to quit at 55? No. We need a place for farmers, an economy for them to function in.
The team's new identity, brought to life by Brandiose, a San Diego, Calif. company, pays tribute to Nashville as the world-famous "Music City." The centerpiece of the identity is a new guitar pick "N" logo stylized from an f-hole on a guitar. The logos feature Music City style lettering and the platinum silver color is a reference to platinum records associated with the music industry.
Two and a half months before opening day at the Nashville Sounds' new baseball stadium, Metro officials are searching for places where fans can park their cars.
That's because an $18 million parking garage to accompany the city-financed stadium won't be ready this season, presenting complications for the inaugural year of First Tennessee Park ....
The 1,000-space garage — paid for by Metro and built by the state of Tennessee on state-owned land — is part of an agreement between the two governmental entities and the Sounds. The plan is for state employees to eventually use the garage during the day and for stadium-goers to use the garage at night and on weekends.
But the state, which will own the four-story garage, only recently broke ground on the project and state officials estimate it won't be finished until Oct. 31.
"Will it be perfect?" Sounds owner Frank Ward said of the parking plan. "No, but it will help alleviate the parking issues. And we're working hand-in-hand with the city in coming up with that and making sure that we get it out to all our fans in sufficient time.Maybe I missed something. Who expects perfection? Please, Mr. Ward, don't confuse demanding good and careful planning before jumping into historically huge construction with "perfection." Don't confuse expecting the mayor to have contingency plans already publicized with "perfection." Don't confuse a real, transparent risk assessment of higher costs after ground is broken with "perfection."
"Part of the plan with the city is to minimize the inconvenience of residents in Salemtown and Germantown and to keep [the parking] all south of Jefferson Street."
|"Creative visualization is my new plan to see that parking garage behind right field."|
Another big question that has emerged this week is related to parking, a concern for the neighborhood, which has seen an influx of residents and visitors in recent years, crowding already narrow streets with cars. Dean's original proposal included a 1,000-spot garage to be funded by Metro but built by the state on state-owned land .... the garage won't be ready this season.So maybe we will eventually get some answers to a laundry list of quality-of-life questions that should have been answered in the planning stages before approval was ever given to start construction.
On Wednesday, Dean shifted responsibility for the garage's delay to the state, noting that on Metro's side, this is a fast-moving project. He added that his team has been working on a back-up plan for months, anticipating a delay, and that he hopes to reveal something in the next few weeks. Both Dean and Sounds owner Frank Ward said details are being worked out as to which party would pick up the tab for an alternative parking situation (which would most likely use shuttles to get fans to satellite parking locations) ....
The mayor's office will organize and host neighborhood meetings in the coming weeks to offer details on traffic patterns, noise and light pollution.
"It really put us in a lurch to figure out where we're going to park people," Metro Sports Authority Executive Director Toby Compton said. "A. We wanted to figure out as much of a parking blend as possible. And the mayor was really insistent that there be a free component to the parking. That was big.Metro powers-that-be have "cobbled" together a transit plan that includes free parking at Farmers' Market, state lots on James Robertson Parkway, and the "center piece," $5 parking at the Courthouse 7 or 8 blocks away from the new ballpark.
"To layer that, what we've also done is encourage people to think about mass transit options ...," he said. "Once they see this plan, they are not going to go north of Jefferson."
|Will baseball fans buy the idea that no parking exists|
above the map's top edge?
|Mayor Karl Dean throws out the first pitch|
(as celebrated by CM Jacobia Powell on her Twitter feed)
|Charlie's long Bellevue nightmare is over (CM Tygard in red-shirt).|
That's not all either Tygard or Manning said .... Tygard demanded that both Manning and [Mayor] Purcell explain to Bellevue residents why they would not be getting a library or more elementary schools. And then, he overplayed his hand: he accused the Mayor of spending less money on the Nashville community and more money on the courthouse and public square, which Tygard called, "monuments to government."
Manning countered with facts that we all know: this Mayor has spent more money on the neighborhoods than any other Mayor ever has or probably ever will. The Finance Director said that if previous mayors and councils had taken steps to maintain and repair the courthouse over the years, then Metro would not now be spending so much to do so now. He also took his own shot at the Metro Council by saying that the mayor spends more time out in the neighborhoods than any Council members.
[Metro] should address is conversion of the public property bordering the Treatment Plant to a landscaped greenway spur connecting to Morgan Park. That spur should include a decorative wall to hide the unsightly Plant from the view of the neighborhood. The strip of land running from Hume Street on the south to Coffee Street on the north is currently unlandscaped green space with a chain link fence and some trees and rose bushes.
Currently, there is nothing about the green strip that attracts pedestrians strolling around the neighborhood. The rose bushes on the chain link fence seem almost like a token, half-hearted effort by Metro to beauty-up the strip. The space as it stands more designed to encourage people to hurry past in cars, because there is really nothing to see but a sewer plant.
we need a more vigorous and comprehensive effort by our next council member to pursue a wholesale renovation to the I-65 corridor through Salemtown that includes many of the community-sensitive compromises that TDOT made with West End-Hillsboro neighbors when they put I-440 in the 1980s.
The Neighborhood Plan calls for noise walls and heavy landscaping along the perimeter of Salemtown. The plot of an interstate up against the walls and yards of urban neighborhoods without the addition of sound buffers is unconscionable. Our next council member needs to find ways to help us motivate TDOT to correct its obvious oversight.
Salemtown is a neighborhood of families that will not stay that way very long unless some measures are taken to keep it from becoming a place super-saturated with amenities only for singles and young families with no children.
One of the things that should happen to attract families with children to locate and to stay here is to replace a quality neighborhood public school here. However, there are no feeder schools proximate to the North End. Fehr School sits right in the middle of Salemtown. Decades ago it provided an education for neighborhood children, but it is used to provide other Metro Services now, having little to do with the neighborhood itself.
Salemtown, just like the rest of 19, is experiencing tremendous growth and redevelopment. The result is that we do have some greedy entrepreneurs who could care less about working with the neighborhood honestly for balanced growth in which everyone wins. Recently we found ourselves in the unenviable position of contending with both investors and Metro officials because growth is outstripping infrastructure in our neighborhood. The investors don't care because they only want to make money. Departmental officials only want to cover their butts. And many of our residents feel caught in the middle with no where to turn.
It is not supposed to be like that. We are supposed to have an advocate on the Metro Council who not only listens to the contentions, but who is willing to get right down in the middle of the ruckus and help the sides reach a balanced and negotiated compromise. That council member should also be one to assist neighbors in consulting Metro Departments that are not always responsive or accountable. The Council Member should be leading the charge on updating our sometimes century-old infrastructure, while encouraging measured and responsible growth.
Salemtown proper is cut off from the Cumberland River by the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Plant ... cuts our neighborhood off from direct contact with the river. So, the closest landing contacts our residents have with the river would be East Germantown and Downtown.
So, it would make sense to extend the proposed transit loop past East Germantown to Salemtown and possibly MetroCenter. This could be done most easily by footpaths: extending the proposed greenway from East Germantown to the Cumberland River Levee Greenway in MetroCenter. But if a trolley run is planned for the Downtown to East Germantown leg, I hope that the future District 19 Council Member would look into the possibility of doing what he or she could to extend that trolley leg to a Salemtown transit stop (perhaps a greenway turnaround at the 3rd Avenue Treatment Center strip).
There is nothing wrong with new stadiums and arenas per se — well, unless you think they’re ugly, but plenty of old ones are, too. But the reason the U.S. has so many of them, and is tearing down its not-quite-as-new ones to replace them with shinier models as fast as possible, has nothing to do with the alleged riches that can be made off of them, and everything to do with the fact that in order to get those fat checks from the public treasury, you need to be able to present a giant construction bill as justification. If we could only start subsidizing something useful instead ... there would still be a massive transfer of money from the public to a bunch of rich dudes, but at least we might get something out of the bargain other than fancier cupholders.
Mike Byrd is a resident of the Salemtown neighborhood in North Nashville. He writes one of the most prominent local blogs, Enclave, that covers neighborhood, local and regional issues. As an astute observer of Metro Government, Mike is responsible for breaking more than a few stories.I guess it wouldn't have sounded as good in 2011 if she recommended me as "some blogger."
|First Tennessee Park luxury|
|First Tennessee Park luxury|
|First Tennessee Park luxury|
|First Tennessee Park luxury|
rather than bringing residents together, and rather than functioning as legitimate public goods, the current generation of publicly funded stadiums systematically exclude an unprecedented percentage of American sports fans.
Of course, decisively rebuking the rhetoric of teams and leagues will not, in and of itself, solve the problem. This is especially true in a day and age when decisions about stadium subsidies have been largely removed from the democratic process, and when franchises continue to wield threats of relocation like a sword above the heads of residents and municipal officials. Nevertheless, reshaping fans’ consciousness is a necessary starting point.
Ideally, fans should see an intractable antagonism between the potential of spectator sport as a community asset and its current role as a venue for taxpayer-funded consumption by a handful of urban elites. Critics must also stress that, despite what leagues want us to believe, fandom is not necessarily contingent on having a stadium — or even a team, for that matter — close by, especially when attending actual games is unrealistic.
In the short term, transforming this consciousness raising into effective resistance against the sporting arm of the real estate business requires wresting fiscal control away from politicians competing to offer teams ever greater sums of state, county, and city money. This means making anti-stadium-subsidy campaigns part of bigger struggles for social justice in cities, like the rise of a new radical unionism in places like Chicago or recent electoral successes by socialists in urban centers, such as Seattle.
The games will go on even if the handouts do not.
|First Tennessee Park luxury|
Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?
-- James Baldwin
The masses .... They were in the majority. When the master got sick, they prayed that he'd die. If his house caught on fire, they'd pray for a wind to come along and fan the breeze.
-- Malcolm X
|Check the bottom for the diminutive council member retweets.|
Of the consumers who frequented the payday store fronts, most were women. People who were divorced or separated were 103% more likely to use the loans, while African-Americans were also 103% more likely to take out the often predatory loans.
“Based on the location of these lenders, it is clear they target minority and low-to-middle income groups, mostly in highly diverse populated areas,” the report states. “If this trend continues, these areas will no doubt be pushed into poverty.”
The Chamber opposes this bill [to limit the operating hours of payday lenders] because it is an excessive over-regulation of business .... Regardless of the function of the business, we believe that this type of legislation sets a worrying precedent in restricting the hours in which any business can operate. Furthermore, this becomes even more ominous when legislation appears to target one specific company that operates 24/7. Our members include businesses in this industry; we would not recommend hour be restricted for any of them.
... the working group of residents and contractors ... got together and talked through the problems. They landed on a compromise that won’t need a change in law ....
The final draft is still being drawn up. But broadly, the rules require contractors to get special permission to blast between the hours of 9 pm and 7 am. And for other noisy activity – like pouring concrete – the builders have to submit a plan regarding their efforts to minimize the disturbance and notify the neighbors.
“We’re hoping that it works," [Erica] Gilmore says. "But if we hear complaints, we will revisit it.”
"When the conversation can exist between a neighborhood and developers, good things happen at the end of the day," [Jeremy] Kane says, adding that the gentrification problem could be solved simply through better communication.
|"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."|
You're probably familiar with eminent domain as the means by which the government forcibly takes private land to make way for a highway or public building or hyperspace bypass, having only to pay whatever a court decides after the fact to be fair market value.The legal principle goes back hundreds of years, and doesn't have a great rep, especially as courts have expanded the notion of "public use" to include taking people's houses to hand over to private developers so long as it would promote "economic development"—even if there was no guarantee that the development would stick around more than a few years.
In the eyes of the courts, though, there should be no legal difference between a few acres of dirt and other private property such as, say, a pro sports franchise ....
Say you're a city council with a pro sports team demanding $200 million or so in public cash for a new building—let's call them the "Milwaukee Bucks"—under threat of leaving town if its owners' demands aren't met. Instead of reaching for your municipal checkbook, you respond by drawing up eminent domain paperwork.
In the best case scenario, the mere threat is enough to force the team owners to lower their subsidy demands. In the worst, yes, you're stuck paying close to $600 million for an NBA franchise, but keep in mind two things: first off, that's how much the current Bucks owners just paid on the open market for the franchise, so presumably somebody thinks they'll bring in enough revenue to make that worthwhile. Plus, if you don't want to be stuck with the risk of the Bucks not earning back your investment, you can always re-sell the team to new private investors—even if you need to sell for $50 million or $100 million less in order to get new owners to agree to an ironclad lease, that's still cheaper than handing over $200 million for nothing.
[Karl Dean's plan] also includes $750,000 from a $50 million mixed-use development the Sounds owners — developers by trade — promise they will build.
Promise based on what? According to Mayor Karl Dean, little more than their word. There is not, and will not be, a contract pledging the Sounds to build this project. Pressed on that, Dean said if the Sounds didn't build the development, somebody would. Probably.
For the city — any city — to make a three-decade, $65 million [now $70 million and rising] commitment based on a handshake arrangement with absentee ownership is head-scratching at best and mind-numbing at worst.
But if that's the level of commitment the city is already willing to make, why not go whole hog?
Why not just buy the team?
The value of the Sounds is hard to pin down (though, presumably, it's gone up with the promise of a new stadium). But Forbes' recent estimate of the 20 most valuable minor league teams did not include the Sounds. The 20th ranked team on that list — the Oklahoma City RedHawks — came in at $21 million.
For, say, $20 million, the city gets the team ... and it gets the revenue. Not just the increased sales taxes budgeted in the financing plan — all of it. Ticket revenue, beer money, parking costs. All of it.
And if the mayor is to be believed, the city doesn't even need the Sounds for the $50 million ancillary development. It's going to happen anyway.
Right now, the city is spending at least three times the total value of the Sounds — that's being generous — to build a stadium. Doesn't it make more sense to own the entity outright?
|Photo credit: Sister Cities of Nashville|
When basic freedoms are attacked, when journalists pay with their lives for exercising their profession, for speaking out, for exercising their right to give their opinions, citizens can't walk comfortably.