Page 1

ALL FOUR

MAYORAL CANDIDATES Answer YOUR Questions page 6

ARTS &

CULTURE

ISSUE! art, music, and more

page 22

June–July 2019 VOL. III, ISSUE 4


EUROPEAN••DOMESTIC DOMESTIC • ASIAN ASIAN ••DIESEL EUROPEAN DIESEL&&HYBRIDS HYBRIDS

6015 HIGHWAY 100 | 615.353.5666

6015 HIGHWAY 100 | 615.353.5666 Monday-Friday 7am-6pm; Saturday 7am-4pm Monday-Friday 7am-6pm; Saturday 7am-4pm

MIDAS MIDASTIRE TIRE&& AUTO SERVICE AUTO SERVICE WHILE YOU WAIT:

WHILE YOU WAIT:

• FREE WIFI • COMFORTABLE • FREE WIFI WAITING • COMFORTABLE AREA

WAITING AREA

MOST MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED: MASTERCARD, VISA, DISCOVER, MIDAS CREDIT CARD

6008 CHARLOTTE PIKE | 615.356.6367 Monday-Friday 7am-7pm; Saturday 7am-6pm

6008 CHARLOTTE PIKE | 615.356.6367 Monday-Friday 7am-7pm; Saturday 7am-6pm

PHONE QUOTES: Keith Boldus, General Manager MOST MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED: MASTERCARD, VISA, DISCOVER, MIDAS CREDIT CARD

PHONE QUOTES: Keith Boldus, General Manager 615.356.6367 | midas6008.com

615.356.6367 | midas6008.com

SERVICES

SERVICES

TIRES

BRIDGESTONE • COOPER • FIRESTONE TIRES GOODYEAR • BF GOODRICH • MICHELIN

BRIDGESTONE • COOPER • FIRESTONE GOODYEAR • BF GOODRICH • MICHELIN

EXHAUST & CATALYTIC • CONVERTER • BRAKES • EXHAUST & CATALYTIC • TIRES & BALANCING • CONVERTER• •BATTERIES BRAKES •• ALIGNMENT TIRES & STRUTS BALANCING • SHOCKS • ALIGNMENT• •DIAGNOSTIC BATTERIES • ELECTRICAL STRUTS • • •SHOCKS AIR CONDITIONING ELECTRICAL • DIAGNOSTIC CHECK ENGINE • • AIR CONDITIONING • OIL CHANGES

CHECK ENGINE • OIL CHANGES

LIFETIME WARRANTY!

BRAKES, SHOCKS, MUFFLERS LIFETIME WARRANTY!

SHOCKS, MUFFLERS FREEBRAKES, BRAKE EVALUATIONS FREE TIREEVALUATIONS ROTATION FREE BRAKE WITH OIL CHANGE

FREE TIREWELCOME ROTATION FLEETS WITH OIL CHANGE

FLEETS WELCOME


JOIN US FOR A FIELD DAY WITH NEIGHBORS SATURDAY, JUNE 22 | 11 AM - 3 PM

Where? St. Luke’s Campus | 5601 New York Ave When? Saturday, June 22, from 11AM - 3PM Why? To bring our community together The Best Part? It’s completely FREE!! What’s going on? Basketball, Tug of War, Corn Hole, Kan Jam, Face Painting, Bounce House, Snacks... and more! w w w. u n i t e t h e n at i o n s . o r g All are welcome| Todos son bienvenidos | Tất cả đều được chào đón


Founder and Publisher MIRIAM DRENNAN

Creative Consultant EVELYN MARIE PARRISH

Copy Editor JENNIFER GOODE STEVENS

Contributors KIMBER ANNIE MARY KATHERINE ROOKER

HANNAH HERNER

SANDRA KING

JENNIFER GOODE STEVENS

BRIGID MURPHY STEWART

EMILY TULLOH

ELLIOTT WENZLER

Art Direction and Design ELLEN PARKER BIBB

Photographers HANNAH HERNER SANDRA KING BRIGID MURPHY STEWART

Distribution DON GAYLORD

COVER

DAMON SPROUSE Damon Sprouse is a local artist who enjoys working in mixed media. Like what you see? View more on Instagram at @abstract.damon or contact him at abstract.damon@gmail.com. Advertising Inquiries: 615.491.8909 or 372WestNashville@gmail.com. @372WN

@372Wn

@372wn

372WN is a print and digital magazine published every other month by Next Chapter Publishing, LLC. All content presented herein, unless otherwise noted, is the exclusive property of Next Chapter Publishing and cannot be used, reprinted, or posted without permission. 372WN is free for readers; excessive removal of the product or tampering with any of our distribution racks will be considered theft and/or vandalism and subject to prosecution.


CONTENTS VOL. III, ISSUE 4 | June–July 2019

MAIN FEATURE 6

Who’s Who in the Race to be Nashville’s Next Mayor?

CURRENT HAPPENINGS 22

Sopranos in Sylvan Heights

34

The True Nashville Underground: Local Fest

52

Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival

FEATURES 28

33

Artist Audry Deal-McEver Marries Beauty and Function

Reader Submission: Front Porch Swing

40

Opinion: Bring Jackson Square Concept to Nashville

46

Barbershop Theater Collective Combines Community Vibe with Cutting-Edge Art

IN EVERY ISSUE 63

372 . . . ?

64

372Who kNew?


4

372WN.com | June–July 2019


thistlefarms.org @thistlefarms

SAFE. EFFECTIVE. D E E T- F R E E . Lab tested and proven over 99% effective against mosquitos.

“The best there is. I bought it for my whole family to use and it’s safe for our kids too!” — Cheryl A.


____

Who’s Who in the Race to Be Nashville’s Next Mayor?

photos courtesy of each candidate’s respective campaign

by Emily TULLOH

Four Candidates. Fifteen Questions. Their Words.

At 372WN, our mission is to provide readers with an honest accounting of the history, culture, people and current events of West Nashville. Our dedication to this task carries even more weight as the August 1 mayoral election approaches. On that day, we have an opportunity to elect a leader who represents what Nashvillians care about, to decide who will deliver on the vision that we have for our city.

SO, WHO WILL EARN YOUR VOTE? We solicited questions from the entire 372WN team and community influencers, then met with each of the four leading candidates to get to the bottom of their respective agendas, learn about what’s important to them, and find out how they plan to handle the most pressing issues facing our city. The stakes are high as incumbent David Briley vies to keep the city’s top spot after only one year in office. At press time, three other candidates have entered the race, all with diverse backgrounds and disparate views about how to move our burgeoning city forward: State Representative John Ray Clemmons, retired professor Dr. Carol Swain and At-Large Metro Council Member John Cooper.

6

372WN.com | June–July 2019

We asked all four candidates the same 15 questions so that you can easily compare how they feel about affordable housing, development and infrastructure, traffic, and other issues that are dominating this election. The candidates did not see the questions in advance, and their answers appear in the order in which they responded and have been edited minimally for clarity. Please note that these are the candidates who had filed papers announcing their run as of April 25. The deadline to file was May 16, and the Davidson County Election Commission posted the official list on May 23. The election will be August 1; early voting is July 12–27.


____

Meet Your Candidates Why are you running for mayor? CLEMMONS: Because the city needs leadership, and we need direction and a vision for the future of our city. I feel very passionately about the issues facing the city. I’ve been working on transportation, infrastructure, education, affordable housing and other issues at the state level throughout my tenure in the State House, and we’ve had some success in what can fairly be described as a tough environment in the state legislature these days, not only for Nashville but as a Democrat. I just feel very passionate about those issues. As my wife and I, like other families sitting around town saying Nashville is experiencing all this prosperity and we’re having this great boom, but we don’t know what the plan is for the city moving forward. Nobody knows what the plan is. What’s the city doing to address the issues that everybody cares about—education, affordable housing, transportation and other infrastructure issues, public safety? There is no plan. There is no leadership. I’m running to bring that to the mayor’s office. It’s time for a fresh start in this city. We need change, and we need a vision for the future. BRILEY: Nashville is a place I love, and I’ve had a great year leading the city forward, addressing the issues of growth while still trying to make sure we’re prosperous. I’m focused on the issues of equity that are so important to our city to make sure that everybody gets a chance to move along together with the rest of us. I think I’m uniquely qualified, both based on my experience as mayor and as a resident of Nashville, to move the city forward. 

SWAIN: Well, I was approached by a number of people who asked me to run. I’ve lived here long enough to care about the future of the city, and I was concerned about some of the same things they were concerned about. I did not see anyone last year, when I first ran, who was articulating the issues that I thought were important. I was persuaded to get into the race last time and again this time. This year, I did not anticipate running for office, but the problems have only worsened since last year. I’m running, not for myself or because I’ve had this lifelong desire to be in politics. I’ve loved studying politics and I like educating people about how government is supposed to operate, but I saw my role as a citizen as a role of informing other people and trying to hold politicians accountable. My whole brand has been “be the people,” you know, trying to get the American people to realize that the power lies in their hands. It’s up to them to hold elected officials accountable. So that’s what I’ve been talking about for the last 10 or 15 years. So, I did not see myself as a person who would run for office. I don’t like the sound of politician because it has a negative connotation. I really don’t want to ever be a politician. I’m consoling myself with the belief that I don’t have to be a politician—that I can be a stateswoman and that there is a need for people who are statesmen and stateswomen who go into public service not for themselves, but to serve other people. And so that’s my honest answer. I did not see this coming.  COOPER: Well, it’s the most exciting city in the country, and we have the chance to make the next chapter our greatest chapter.

What do you consider to be Nashville’s greatest strengths? Greatest vulnerabilities? CLEMMONS: The greatest strengths of Nashville is its people, the people of Nashville. We come together when disasters strike, and we stand together when people seek to divide us. If there’s some sort of legislation, you know, for instance in the state legislature, Nashvillians come together and stand against these types of things. This is a city that got hit with a flood, and Nashvillians rallied around each other and got each other through that disaster. Nashvillians came together and opposed English-only, which is a blatantly discriminatory piece of legislation or a referendum and we defeated that. Nashvillians are what makes this city great. They are what makes Nashville, Nashville. It’s a welcoming city, it’s an incredibly diverse city. People come here from all over the world every week. A lot decided to stay here, and so that’s what’s great. You can drive across I-40 from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast and you can pass a hundred different cities and they all look the same. But Nashville is different. Nashville stands out. We’re a unique city with great people, and that’s our biggest strength. Our biggest weaknesses are lack of leadership and a lack of vision right now in our government. We have serious issues facing the city, and there is no plan for how to address them. There’s no action on addressing those issues. So we’ve gotten into a situation where we have to ask ourselves: are we ready for continued growth in this city or are we going to fail to do anything and allow our prosperity to plateau? There’s a serious

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

7


____ issue when it comes to leadership in the city right now, and it leaves everyone scratching their heads asking themselves, “Where’s all the money?” and “Why isn’t anything being done to address the needs of everyone in this city?” BRILEY: I’d say its greatest strength is its sense of optimism, that regardless of what the challenge is we can find a way to move forward and take care of each other. Our biggest challenge is the pace of growth. We’re growing pretty quickly, and it’s presenting us with a new set of challenges that are more intense than we’ve had before. Redoubling our efforts and our focus to confront them is a challenge. SWAIN: Well the greatest strength, I think, is the people. I fell in love with Nashville. I moved here from Princeton, New Jersey, about 19 years ago. At the time, I didn’t anticipate that I’d be here many years, I thought I’d be here for a few years and I would move on to someplace else. I did not see it as a final destination. There is a charm to Nashville. We’re losing some of that, but all of that together sold me on Nashville. The vulnerabilities have to do with the pace of growth. It’s just been so fast that we have not been able to keep up the infrastructure and there’s been this gross neglect of public safety. And it’s much worse than I think the average Nashvillian realizes when it comes to the number of people that we are short when it comes to the number of dispatchers, police officers, firemen, and the equipment that they’re working with. I think that right now we’re not prepared for any kind of major emergency, whether it would involve the fire department or the police department, there’s a shortage. One of the roles of government is to look out for the welfare of people and

8

372WN.com | June–July 2019

keep them safe. We are not making that a priority. COOPER: Our greatest strength is our unique blend of culture and our livability, and our greatest danger is losing our livability and preserving our uniqueness. It’s authenticity that is making Nashville a special place to live. We have to preserve that authenticity because that’s what people are coming for and that’s also what we [people living here] enjoy. 

Looking over the past 20 years, if you had one “do-over” for Nashville, what would it be? CLEMMONS: I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the type of growth we’re experiencing, but we certainly should have and could have planned better on the infrastructure side for growth. I think Congressman Bob Clement was ahead of his time. He was working on a regional transportation system back in the early and mid1990s. If I had a do-over, we would make sure that we were building out a transportation infrastructure system to facilitate the increased needs of this region because transportation is a regional problem that requires regional buy-in. And so, if I had a do-over, I would have started to build that out, and I would have also addressed the infrastructure underground. The infrastructure under this city, specifically our water systems, are well over a hundred years old. There are wooden pipes in part of the city, there are brick pipes in part of the city, and so Nashville is sitting on a ticking time bomb when it comes to underground infrastructure. This isn’t a new issue, this isn’t a new problem. This is something that we should have been addressing over the last couple of decades to modernize and just prepare.

Even if we weren’t anticipating this level of growth, we should have been anticipating the reality that growth would occur. We needed to build an infrastructure system that could accommodate and facilitate the growth that we hoped we would see and now we’re experiencing. But we’re so far behind the curve now that it’s going to cost us a lot more money, and it’s going to be a lot more difficult to fix it.  BRILEY: When I was on the council before, we got the city focused on investments at MNPS, and we made significant investments in K-4 in my first term. I guess I wish we could have found more resources to go to MNPS during that second term I was on the council. I worry that that’s the city’s biggest potential issue in the long run is that we’re not getting enough folks high-quality public education. I guess I could look back and say there were a couple moments where I wish we could’ve done a little bit more. SWAIN: Again, there’s a lot that’s happened that’s been great for Nashville. Like Nashville is not just country music, we have all kinds of music and we have a symphony. All of that’s been great. But I think that when you look at the pace of development, like downtown and some of the corporate deals that have been cut, they have not benefited native Nashvillians. I think if they had a do-over, they should have involved more of the public on some of the planning decisions because the people who live here, especially with people who grew up here, they should have a say in what kind of city they want to have. Maybe they don’t want to be an Atlanta or Chicago or someone else’s vision of what Nashville could be. I think it’s problematic that a lot of people move here from bigger cities, and they move here like I did and they like the


____ charm of Nashville, but in some cases, they’re doing everything they can to change Nashville into whatever they left behind. And for the people that came here from New York City, they left behind high taxes, they left behind congestion, they that behind a quality of life that was deteriorating. Here in Nashville, we see that happening to ourselves. I believe that with better planning about growth, we could have avoided some of the things that we’re suffering with right now. With the traffic and transit problems—that should have been anticipated. We could have already had a solution. Our leaders did not think that far down the line. So, we have this unfortunate situation now where we are borrowing money to pay for things that any city that’s having the kind of growth and revenue that Nashville rakes

JOHN COOPER is a Nashville native and At-Large Metro Councilman with a neighborhoods-first message. He has a diverse professional background that includes banking, retail and real estate. He’s a developer whose vision includes fiscal responsibility and a commitment to investing in human capital. The most recent to throw his hat into the ring, he announced his candidacy with the slogan “Teachers are the developers we need to be supporting.” He’s also an animal advocate with enough dogs at home to outnumber his three sons. johncooperfornashville.com

615-383-1444

Your Neighborhood Dentist

Dr. Tim McNutt, Jr.

www.richlandcreekdentistry.com · 406 Morrow Road · Nashville, TN 37209 Dental Cleanings Teeth Whitening Fillings and Crowns Adult and Children’s Dentistry

Emergency Care Preventive Dentistry Oral Surgery Veneers and Bridges

Most PPO Insurance Accepted Prompt Service Provided Caring and Helpful Staff Payment Plans Available

Committed to serving your family’s dental needs. ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS! June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

9


____ in, ought to be able to afford. We’re living off of a credit card, and we’re barely paying the interest on the credit-card debt. As individuals, we wouldn’t want to live our lives that way, yet the city is operating like an irresponsible borrower. So, we’re making the minimum payments on a credit card that just keeps building interest, and that’s how we’re running our city. COOPER: Well, I don’t think there are a lot of do-overs. I think people have really worked very hard to do what’s best at that time for the city. The trick is to adjust and reset for the challenges that are ahead, and obviously this has been very successful. We should also realize that we have competitor cities, sort of major super-regional cities. They are also doing very well, but we have a special mix here that makes us unique and I think especially well-positioned for the years ahead with one concern I suppose—which is particularly our information technology workforce skills. In the 21st century economy, clearly that’s going to be a major factor for creating prosperity for everybody. I suppose if there’s one thing I would do over it would be to increase our technology footprint beyond health-care IT. Thank goodness we have health-care IT, but that’s a skill set in the population.

As mayor, name at least two ways you will propose to combat the traffic issue. CLEMMONS: We have to look at this not just for the next four years, but for the next 40 years, and we have to have two trains running simultaneously. One is focused on what we can do now to address traffic in the city. There’s a lot of smart technology that can be used, there are a lot of different things that can be used to address this issue in the short term to make

10

372WN.com | June–July 2019

traffic less of an issue. But we also have to keep our eye on, and start working on, a plan for the long term—which means we’ve got to start going out there and soliciting the feedback from all the communities in this county because they all have different needs, they all have different desires and what they think is best for their community. We need to go out and listen and then build a plan after actually listening to the communities of this city—build a plan and then put together that plan and go out and sell it, and then work to pay for executing that plan. And again, that’s something that requires a long-term vision. It requires money, and it requires regional buy-in. Those are the things we have to work on, but those two things have to be worked on simultaneously. Not doing either of those, like we’re doing now, is failing the residents of this county. And it is making life much more difficult on a lot of people in this city who cannot get to and from work, they can’t get to and from the grocery store, and they are being displaced. A lot of people are being displaced from their homes, grandparents are having to move farther away from their grandchildren. These are things that we have to be taking action on today. BRILEY: There are a couple of things that we’ve already started working on. One is that most people, looking forward over the next few decades, are still going to use cars to get around. That’s pretty clear in our region. What we have to do is be more focused on using the resources we have more effectively. We’ve been working with TDOT over the last few months to build out a better sense of collaboration in terms of managing the existing system. What that means is more sensors, more communication, more signalization and a centralized location for controlling the

thoroughfares in and out of town in conjunction with the interstates in and out of town. On top of that, you have to do some more traffic-demand management to look at data to determine if there are not certain folks in certain jobs that we can adjust their hours by just a little bit so that traffic works better. We don’t have bad traffic everywhere all the time in Nashville right now. We may in 20 years if we don’t do some stuff. Right now, we have bad traffic in some places at some times. By using our resources better, focusing on traffic-demand management, we think we can do better on traffic. The second thing we need to do is to look at the downtown core and do a more comprehensive mobility study down there. We shoot ourselves in the foot occasionally down there by closing a road or by allowing construction to bleed over. With a better mobility study down there, and more focus on downtown mobility, we think we can improve the quality of life of people moving in and out and overall, get more people in and out of downtown. One of the things is that ultimately the infrastructure down there can only handle so many cars a day, period. You can’t manage around it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting people in and out with what we have down there and trying to move people out of their cars where we can. SWAIN: There has to be a shortterm and a long-term solution. My short-term solution is common sense. There are about 50 intersections that have already been identified—I’ve heard Councilmen John Cooper and Steve Glover talk about this—50 intersections where you could put in turning lanes and more modern lights, I think they call them intelligent lights, but use technology that would relieve some of the congestion. There are places where the lights are timed, where if you had this intelligent


____

technology, it would respond to the flow of traffic. You wouldn’t get in those situations where there’s a light and you’re stuck there for five or ten minutes and when you’re about ready to go through the red light because you think it’s broken, it changes, right? [laughs] That shouldn’t happen. Some of our neighborhoods are in those situations where some people are turning left and some people are turning right and you’re stuck behind this long line of cars. If you had a right turning lane, more people would be able to get out. I would like to do that as a short-term remedy. I’d also like to encourage more major employers to institute flex time. I don’t want to make it bad for every hour of the day because right now, we can figure out when it’s going to be really bad, but flex time and more work-at-home technology. There’s technology now that an employer can actually know if the employee is working when he or she is supposed to be at their desk. And for people who want to work at home, not everyone wants to work at home, but for those that want to work at home, they ought to be able to do so. And I think that’s the trend of the future, and it probably makes for better quality of life. If they want to work at midnight, and that’s when they’re best productive—if they get their work done, it should be between them and the employer. Long term, it’s a regional problem. So, I have to work with the regional governments, but also with TDOT and the federal government. I don’t think that a rail system is what Nashville needs. Every place that I read about where they have tried to build one, or they already have one, it’s failed or it’s been triple the cost of what the voters were told. I think an aboveground situation, with the stacked highways, so that people who

DR. CAROL M. SWAIN grew up in poverty in the rural South and overcame tremendous odds to earn several degrees, eventually becoming a prominent figure in the world of conservative politics. She is the author or editor of eight books and is known for being outspoken on issues of race, evangelical politics and immigration, making regular appearances as a TV analyst. She is a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. She describes herself as a truth-speaker whose vision calls for the same level of transparency from our elected officials. swainformayor.com want to go through Nashville won’t necessarily get caught in local traffic—that is a less-costly solution. As mayor, part of what I would do would be to work with people that have already been working on these issues and again, work with the regional governments and TDOT for long-term solutions. But some of the major highways, even like Charlotte, aren’t even owned by the city—some of those are highways that you’ve got to work with the federal government and you’ve got to work with the state. I was told recently that all the time that we were pushing the rail system, no one pushing the rail system had spoken to TDOT and they’ve not even said what their goals were. Is it to relieve congestion? Is it to make it easier for the traffic to flow, to bypass Nashville? They did not sit down to articulate

the goals for Nashville, and that’s something that I would remedy. COOPER: We need a transportation plan sooner than 2024. We’ve created the problem, let’s go ahead and address the problem. In transportation, we do need a community up, time-to-work metric. The last plan simply didn’t deliver enough benefits to enough people. So, my job is going to be to deliver a plan that people do see as delivering benefits to them. And it should start with intersection improvements and turning lane improvements and smart traffic lights. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that we should go ahead and do and not wait for something glamorous that’s hugely expensive and is not delivering benefits to everybody. So, let’s go ahead and get on it. We’ve got the problem, let’s do what we can to address it. 

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

11


____

Would you support a moratorium of all building permit applications in certain areas of Nashville until infrastructure can catch up? Why or why not? CLEMMONS: I don’t know if a moratorium is the right answer for that, but I think we definitely have a duty to the residents of our neighborhoods to have more responsible management of growth. You’ve got instances right now where, for instance, on Knob Road you have a development wanting to be built without any consideration for the impact of water runoff, without any consideration for the concerns of neighbors, and apparently no consideration for the lack of infrastructure underground with the gross of water pressure, which has public safety concerns and other things in mind. So, we have to be more mindful of the needs and the concerns of neighbors when we’re looking at development in this city. And we also have to consider the impact on what appears to be completely unregulated development and the effect it’s having on our environment. People are building into flood zones, building into buffer zones. We have to be more mindful of the overall quality of life in this city, the impact on the environment as well as the concerns of neighbors and what neighborhoods want and need. BRILEY: No. Whenever you say all, that’s the wrong answer because you’re going to have certain instances where allowing construction might actually help with infrastructure. We clearly don’t want to prohibit that. You have to be conscious about people’s differing circumstances. Somebody might need to add an addition to their house because their parent needs to move in with them. Do we want to deny that permit? I think we

12

372WN.com | June–July 2019

probably don’t. We might want to do that, right? I think we’ve got to be more forward-leaning in terms of investing in infrastructure, especially in The Nations, but I don’t think we need to have a stark rule. SWAIN: Well, I would never box myself into a blanket solution and that sounds like you would be boxing yourself in. But I do think that we have situations where developers have built a lot of those skinny homes and the sewer systems and the pipes are not adequate. It is problematic that we are putting too many houses in areas where we have not upgraded the sewer system. And that might be why we are getting more flooding. I think that we need to look at what we’re doing and see what the people in those neighborhoods want—I think those should be neighborhood decisions. People that live in neighborhoods ought to have a say about the character of their neighborhoods. That’s how I would address that. I see myself as going more to the people. I will be having lots of town hall meetings and not just to show up, but to really listen and survey people more to know what the residents want. Because at the end of the day, as a public servant, I’m working for them, not working for myself and my buddies. COOPER: Well, I’m not going to support a moratorium. We shouldn’t go backwards as a city, we have to grow and develop. Now that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to try to link infrastructure with improvements. It is a constant frustration that we do zoning first before infrastructure and infrastructure never quite gets there. So, it’s going to be an obligation in the mayor’s office to match that density with infrastructure improvements. But to blanketly say a moratorium is prejudging a whole lot of projects that may be valuable, that may contain afford-

able housing, that may contain grocery stores for communities. So, the projects themselves may actually be desirable. Just to put in a moratorium, I think, is too blunt an instrument.

As mayor, what alternative revenue streams would you introduce so that raising taxes and finding new things to tax wouldn’t be the go-to solution? CLEMMONS: I think we have to sit back and look how our budget is structured today. Again, the question is fairly asked—where’s all the money? Where is the money being sent right now that the city is generating? I think you have to evaluate the property tax breaks that have been given. I think you have to evaluate the money that’s been set aside for various special projects that had been built in the past. And then, when you get into creatively looking at ways to generate new revenue, I think it would be completely fair to consider linkage fees for developers of these big commercial projects in town. They’re building these massive projects and putting additional burdens and pressures on our infrastructure system, but they’re not helping pay for it on the front end. That’s just one example of something that we can consider as a city that other cities use to help modernize and support their infrastructure system. If a developer wants to shut down a road in downtown Nashville, they should be paying a sufficient amount of money to shut down an entire road and inconvenience everyone in this city to do that. Currently, that’s not the case. There are ways that we can facilitate growth without discouraging development, because growth is good. But we need to be realistic and make sure that we are able to generate enough revenue to build a


____ better future for the city with the things that we need to have to be a 21st century city. BRILEY: We’re limited in terms of what we can tax, that we’re not already taxing, by state law. So, there’s very little that we could consider, frankly. One of the things we have done, it’s not a tax but it will be in this cycle of the budget, is we’re changing the fee for shortterm rentals. Right now I think it’s $50 a year, and we’re raising it to $300 a year for short-term rentals. What that will do is allow us to go hire three more inspectors to do enforcement on short-term rentals. We have more than a thousand short-term rentals that are unpermitted right now that are just getting onto one of the platforms and renting, so we’re not collecting the hotel/motel tax or any of the fees associated with them. So, we know that we can adjust our fee structure a little bit along those lines to be more efficient about enforcing the law without imposing a burden on the property taxpayer or sales tax. Another example is what we’re trying to do with the parking. Right now, our parking enforcement as a city is very ineffective. Most cities across the country have moved to some sort of a public-private partnership when it comes to that. We’re close to doing that too. We think that that will increase our collections by more than a million dollars a year in terms of revenue to go towards the General Fund. 

I think there’s a tremendous amount of waste in Metro government. I’d like to set up some type of incentive system where employees that come up with creative ideas to save money for the city would get rewarded monetarily. They know where the waste is. They also know the departments where they have employees that may be on the payroll and are not actually there. I’ve been told that there are some departments where there are employees that no one has ever seen. I think that just by cutting waste, by having metro employees help you identify that waste, and just holding departmental heads accountable—that would generate revenue. I don’t want to see city employees being laid off, but in some cases, there are a lot of people that have used jobs as a way to reward people. There may be positions where people are retiring, or they quit that job—maybe they don’t need to fill all of them. But I would look to balance the budget. My goal as mayor would be to balance a budget. I don’t want to see Nashville have any more deficit budgets, and deficit budgets come from the inability of a leader to say, “No. I would love to help you, but the city is broke and this is all we have.” That needs to be said because departments are always going to ask for more and more, you know, that’s part of what they do. My priorities include public safety, and so I have to find money for the fire-

SWAIN: Mayor Briley has proposed borrowing even though we can barely pay the interest on the debt that we own. Last year it was $251 million. $1 in $10 taxpayer dollars go toward debt servicing, I think I have that right, so there’s not a lot of money left over. I think that you can work with the free market and private developers. A lot of the land that the mayor and the previous administrations have cut special deals for –people have paid as little as $5 million for land that might be valued at $100 million. I think it’s totally appropriate for the city to sell land, or to make land available to private developers who are building things that we need, such as affordable housing—but then it has to be done in a way that’s transparent and open, open-market bidding. The current administration did an online auction of land, and online auctions are usually used for discarded furniture and equipment—that’s how you get rid of it. You don’t use that for land. As mayor, I would also look at selling some of the land that the city owns that’s just sitting there, but I would do it with realtors and an open-market process and expect people to pay market value for prime land, especially some of the land has practically been given away downtown. It should be sold at market prices, and that is one way that you could generate revenue for the city. June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

13


____ fighters and the police officers and to make sure we have the newest equipment. That money has to be found, and it has to come from somewhere. My goal would always be to have a balanced budget—no more deficit spending—and if I can help it, no more borrowing. COOPER: That started with the author of a process called the Blue-Ribbon Commission, which issued its first report, and it’s a worthy process to try to identify budget and revenue savings, and it feels like it’s come up with $20 million in its most recent report. I think you make that process really valuable to the city, and that’s going to require getting the finance department, and probably some consultants, to really systematically examine best practices around the country and to use those savings. You can only contemplate tax increases once you have thoroughly gone through the budget for savings. There are some sources of revenue to try to get the marvelous tourist economy downtown to really completely pay for itself. The era of the general taxpayer subsidizing downtown needs to be over because downtown is so successful. So, it’s not bad news in any way, it’s recognition of success, right? The hotel taxes and the sales taxes collected by the tourist economy downtown are robust and going way up. The financial effect of 3,000 or more hotel rooms is really positive and beneficial and I do believe will allow the tourist economy to pay for itself going forward, hopefully covering things like police overtime and the additional expenses that a city has. The extra-large tourist development zone downtown, the sales tax coming from that—from the convention center, I hope inspires them to have a bigger sense of stewardship of the city than just that building because it

14

372WN.com | June–July 2019

is collecting taxes from much more than that.

Metro is losing critical professionals like teachers and police officers. One of the contributing factors is the lack of affordable housing available in the neighborhoods they serve. (Service professionals are also affected by this.) What is your price point for affordable housing, and as mayor, how will you reach that price point and what sort of incentives will you offer to bring these professionals back to Metro? CLEMMONS: When you consider affordable housing, you don’t want anybody paying over 30 percent of their annual income for housing, so that’s really what has to be the driving factor. When we look at the fact that we’re going to have a 31,000unit shortage over the next six years? You can break that down—I would say about 9,000 of those units, looking at the current map and the low-income households in the city, about 9,000 of those 31,000 units fall under the category of affordable and workforce housing. But 22,000 of them probably fall into the category of Section 8 housing. Those are people who can only pay about $325 to $350 a month on housing if you look at that 30 percent threshold. You’ve got to break it down into the realities of what those income brackets are throughout the city. I approach affordable housing from the stand point of . . . it is a crisis, and this city has to make it a priority. We have to create a dedicated revenue stream upon which nonprofits and private developers can rely to build affordable housing in the city. We’re currently not doing that, and we’re only paying this issue lip-service. Bragging about

$9.8 million in affordable housing is an embarrassment to people who really care about this issue, and it’s offensive to the families who are being displaced in the city every single day. Other cities, with which we like to compare ourselves, are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into affordable housing— and this administration is bragging about $9.8 million? That’s offensive. We have to do more. We can do more, and it has to be a sufficient amount. Fifty million dollars is generally considered a baseline for the Barnes Fund to remotely be effective. Not only do we need to get up the amount of money, but it has to be a dedicated revenue stream with a recurring budget line item so that these nonprofits and these project developers can rely on those funds to build these projects and get that equity piece for their financing to address this issue. I can tell you, if we do a better job and we work with HUD and THDA to build Section 8 housing in the city, we can build 9,000 units of affordable and workforce housing—this city is capable of building 9,000 units in six years. This is a challenge that we can overcome, but it requires admitting it’s a crisis, it requires prioritizing the issue, and it requires putting the money where our mouth is, unlike this current administration. You can’t talk about affordable housing without talking about transportation, without talking about education, without talking about wages. All those issues are connected, and they have to be approached holistically. You can’t just talk about affordable housing without talking about those other issues. You can’t talk about transportation without talking about affordable housing and wages because people are being displaced, transportation then becomes an option. Their wages are a reason they’re possibly being displaced


____ because that’s the main factor for what is affordable and what’s not. My children are in public school in Nashville. When I’m elected, I’ll be the first city mayor to have children in public school in a long time—I can’t really point to the last person who did. So I know this is a reality, and we have to address all these issues holistically. We’re seeing firefighters, policemen, teachers—all these metro workers are being displaced from our own city and they’re having to drive in—we have to address these issues. These have to be the priorities on which our government is focused. And that’s why it’s so important that we have real leadership with a plan for the future of this city and with a vision to move us forward. Because right now, like I said, we’re a 21st century city with 20th century infrastructure. That covers a broad spectrum of issues, and we can do better. But then, because wages are involved in this, we have to keep our promises to metro workers, we have to keep our promises to first responders and teachers.  We cannot continue to underfund our public school system. There are incredible things going on in every school across the city under very challenging circumstances, in a very challenging environment. We have to ask ourselves, just think how great our schools could be if we actually pay teachers what they deserve and if we actually funded schools to the extent they should be funded. There is no excuse for our teachers using their money to buy our children’s school supplies. We have to address all these issues in one, and we have to come at it from the standpoint of it’s not just that all these issues are connected, we have to view this through a lens of the fact that we’re all connected. Our campaign—everything we’re talking about—it’s about people. It’s about the people, and if we look at things through that lens, it will

JOHN RAY CLEMMONS grew up on a farm in rural Tennessee and went on to earn a degree from Columbia University in New York City, eventually settling in Nashville with his family. He is serving his third term as the state representative for District 55 in the Tennessee General Assembly and co-founded the law firm Clemmons & Clemons PLLC, where he is a practicing attorney. He is a PTO member with three young sons in public school and a progressive agenda. johnrayclemmons.com make it a little bit easier to address these issues. BRILEY: The price point question is harder for me to answer, but let me give you an example: a starting teacher, I think, makes somewhere in the low $40,000s. That means that they should pay no more than 30% of their income, so that’s about $1,100 a month that they should be paying. Take for example, Buena Vista Elementary, which is over in North Nashville—right now, we’re in the process of moving forward with a multifamily building right there that would be funded, in part, by the housing program that we announced just a couple of weeks ago. It’ll be a mixed-income building, it’s called Cheatham Place II, I think that’s what it’s called. A significant part of those units will be affordable to the teachers who are teaching just a block away, even if you’re a brand new starting teacher. By investing at least $500 million

in public money over the next decade, we know that we’ll be making a lot of progress to get housing built that fits that particular need. One building that we’re considering over in West Nashville, on some property owned by the city already, would be housing that got built with a priority for teachers. So, we’re very much aware of the need to make sure we’re focusing on that, and so the Under One Roof program that we announced just a couple of weeks ago is going to focus a lot of city effort on that. I would sort of say that if you had to pick a price point, that would be the price point. You know, what does a starting teacher make? What does a starting police officer make? We’ve just got to make sure we have more housing in that area. It’s interesting, that’s not where the real shortfall is in Nashville though. That’s not where we’re critically short of housing. Where

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

15


____ we’re critically short of housing is in the zero to 30 percent AMI [area median income], which is for people who are on disability or who retired 30 years ago with Social Security and nothing else—only the city can build that housing. A lot of the other stuff other people are building. So, for example, last Friday up at Dickerson Road and Briley Parkway, I did the groundbreaking for a development up there that’s 261 units. Every single one of them will be affordable to a starting professional. They’re rentals, and they are really quite nice. That’s 261 units that are getting built by the private sector up there with a payment in lieu of tax from the city, and some low-income tax credits from the state and federal government. We’re working on that, it’s very much a part of the mix of what we’re trying to build, but we’ve really got to stay focused as well on that very bottom end of the spectrum, the “deeply affordable” housing is what they call it now. [Writer’s note: At this point, I asked him to respond to the portion of the question about what incentives he would offer to bring these professionals back to Metro.] As I talked to teachers . . . we have a fair number of teachers leaving the school system here to take lower-paying jobs, and they’re leaving to take a lower-paying job because teaching in metro is pretty difficult right now for a lot of reasons. We’re trying to work on that, as well, to change the culture at MNPS and to get more resources in there to assist with teaching. For example, they changed the suspension policy last year, making it much more difficult for an in-school suspension or a suspension of any sort, but it didn’t provide them with any sort of backup resources to help in building on that front, so we’re trying to work on that as well. I think it’s partially that and it’s partially building new housing—

16

372WN.com | June–July 2019

and it is of course the 3 percent pay raise that we’re giving to all our police and fire this year. Over time, we’ll have to look comprehensively at the pay structure to see if it’s adequate. We’ve done that before, and in the next year or two we’ll do it again. We may have to do more than just a cost-of-living adjustment to keep everybody in the system. SWAIN: Well, first of all, I’m glad you asked the question, and it’s something that I care about. I come from poverty—I’ve worked minimum-wage jobs. I’ve been a nurse’s aide, I’ve worked in a garment factory, I’ve been a sales clerk . . . I’ve worked enough low-wage jobs to know what it’s like to struggle from paycheck to paycheck. But to me, when I’m thinking about affordable housing, I’m thinking the median income in Nashville for a family is around $50,000. A family earning $50,000 a year ought to be able to afford a mortgage that’s $150,000 or less. I’ve already been speaking with developers who say that they can build houses that would sell for $150,000 or less. Some of these would just be regular houses that were built, and some would be modular housing. And when you say, “modular housing,” sometimes people get a stereotype because they think I’m talking about trailers—I’m not talking about trailers. There are modern ways of building houses and there is a factory in Huntsville, Alabama, that builds modular homes that are really nice homes. We could bring something like that to Tennessee with the help of Governor Lee, and maybe to Nashville, and you would sort of be killing two birds with one stone (even though I’m not in favor of killing animals) [laughs]. It would be an opportunity for the schools to have vocational educational training for students that are not college-bound. They can work in this factory. These homes have granite countertops, hardwood floors—they can be high-

end or they can be more modest. So, when I’m thinking about homes for people that are working people and young professionals, I’m thinking $150,000 or less. When I think about rents, what’s affordable, I’m thinking $600 to $1,000 for a one- to two-bedroom apartment. And two years ago, you could find that in Nashville. And now, I think for a two bedroom it’s at least $1,200, maybe $1,200–$1,400 if you get really lucky, but probably average $1,400 or more. I think it can be done and I, as mayor, would work with developers to identify parcels of city land where we could come up with a creative solution that would be profitable to the developer because, of course, you don’t expect them to do something for free. Some of them are Christians that are concerned about people and concerned about affordable housing, and so they want to do it almost like a ministry, but the land is the problem. And I think the city can work with them for land. Those are the price points that I’m thinking about. And then when it comes to people that are the poorest of the poor, I think that you have to work with HUD. I believe that there are people at HUD that know about new programs, and I have no problems getting on a plane, flying to DC and sitting down with people I already know who work at HUD and finding out what they can do for Nashville. In those situations where money has been allocated but has not been spent for the purposes intended, I would certainly monitor that and make sure that money that’s already been allocated for repairing homes and bringing them up to standard, that that money is spent as intended and is not used to buy buildings downtown the way that the current administration has done. COOPER: I think you have to use the national standards for affordable housing as a percent of AMI, and too


____ many of our professionals fall below the AMI. My commitment is better pay for our professionals by finding the money and the revenue to do it. It’s not going to be solved in a day, but it will be solved over time. There has been a question about linking affordable housing with professionals that you have, like specialized teacher housing. I would rather just give them the money rather than creating some sort of teacher housing. Ultimately, the market has to respond to the housing needs, but the retention problem created by letting our professionals be hired away with a little bit more money— we can’t do that. We have to pay them better, and it has to be about retention. So, you solve the retention problem first. All of that requires systematically moving money. I had a slogan in my announcement that somebody put on a T-shirt—and the T-shirts have been actually selling out or moving pretty quickly—which is: “Teachers are the developers we need to be supporting.” So, I have a hard time with incentives to wonderful but unnecessary projects. I mean, these national developers—you pay $120 million for a site and then you really can’t go forward unless you get $15 million from metro as an incentive. They just out-nego-

tiated us. So, that’s why you run for mayor—to negotiate fairly with the people in mind. And all that savings, the first place to put it is in paying our professionals better so that we can retain them. How can you be a great city if you’ve got 120 police vacancies, and how can you be a great city if your retention numbers for your teachers are not adequate to build the education system that we need? It’s just a question of enforcing priorities.

Crime is on the rise in our community while much-needed law enforcement and educators are on the decline, in part because officers, teachers, etc., cannot afford to live in the neighborhoods they serve and those who remain are overworked. As mayor, what solutions would you propose to directly benefit these individuals (and others)—not builders— who need affordable housing without stacking them on top of each other? How would you help officers address neighborhood crime? What are specific ways you will support our neighborhood schools?

CLEMMONS: Let me just start with the public safety side. First of all, we have to value and respect our first responders in our community. We have to keep our promises to our policemen and firefighters who are keeping our neighborhoods safe. Once we start there, then let’s look at what is being done and what are the ways that we can address the crime in our city? West Nashville has increased spikes in crime, but our city as a whole has really seen an increase in teen crime. Violent crime among youths is on the increase, while other trends are on the downward side of that. We can address that through our school system and wraparound services for children. If we can keep children in a positive environment from the hours of three o’clock until seven o’clock, that is a crucial aspect of keeping youth out of trouble and addressing some of the crimes taking place, not only in West Nashville, but around the city. We must do a better job of that, and we can. In the past, our city’s benefited from programs like The Developing Community Leaders initiative that was done from 2006 to about 2009. The average age for gang members increased from the age of 16 to 22, and that was a direct result of going into the schools

I’m asking for your vote on August 1st! Early voting July 12-27 marycarolynroberts@gmail.com • www.MaryCarolynRoberts.com

Mary Carolyn for METRO

COUNCIL

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

17


____ and getting children into these programs where they had positive role models and interactive experiences in various aspects. If we focus on reaching the children and providing them an atmosphere where they can be productive rather than just having idle time, I think that will go a long way towards addressing the crime in the city because that’s really where the crime is picking up is among that age group. Another thing that I love is Commander Imhof over in East Nashville has gotten officers out of the car and put them on the beat, and they’re on their feet and they’re out there building that trust in the community and building those relationships—and it’s actually paid dividends in the East Precinct. While that doesn’t necessarily apply to every community in our town or parts of West Nashville, with increasing density, that’s something that is going to become increasingly relevant and something that should be much more attractive to our police force to reduce crime and create better relationships within the community. BRILEY: Well, I hate to disagree with you again but I’m going to disagree with you. Actually, violent crime is down in almost every single category, and it’s down for the second year in a row. There are certain parts that are significantly up, but not considered violent. So, auto thefts are way up. Most violent crime is down—murders, rapes, robberies—down in virtually every part of town. I think that is a good thing. We need to do more to invest in our police, so we’ll be opening a new precinct over there on Murfreesboro Road. And we’ve already acquired the land for the process of designing a new police precinct. In the coming years, we’ll be adding 66 new officers, which will take the officers that are spread out right now and give them basically a smaller area to cover. On top of

18

372WN.com | June–July 2019

that, we need to do more in terms of recruiting officers—that’s a big part of it. And we’re going to have to make some adjustments to starting pay for police officers. The first step in that will take place this year. There’ll be more to do in that regard. Again, we’re doing a costof-living adjustment for police to try to help with the retention. One of the things that a chief tells me is that 20 years ago a police officer would sign up and say, “That’s my career.” And that across the nation you’re seeing officers just not staying as long. They just say, “I want to be something else.” And so, we’re seeing that to a certain degree as well. There are things we need to do to address police pay and the number of police officers we have, and we’re working with the chief on those. I’ve already talked about housing affordability and things we’re doing in that regard. SWAIN: I think that a lot of the crime, not all of it, but a lot of it comes from young black males. That’s a problem that needs to be addressed within the communities, as well as through law enforcement. There is a problem with that whole approach to juvenile crime. There’s a concept called restorative justice where they are just turning people out. Police say by the time they fill out the paperwork, the child has been released back home. Well the home that they came from may be part of the problem. I think that we have to look at what happens when young people are arrested. I’m not sure at this point what type of curriculum they receive when they’re in detention, but I think there’s a problem with turning them out too fast, back to the neighborhoods and the community. Police have told me that a lot of the young men, and young people, but they are young men for the most part, that commit murder or they themselves get murdered—they are known to police because they’ve picked

them up several times and they got released and then they go out and they rob someone. There’s something wrong there. A lot of our focus with the Community Oversight Board has been on police, and it’s blaming the police for all the problems. I think that’s been detrimental to law enforcement. We have to take the problem back to the schools and to the parents, as well, when it comes to youth crime. When it comes to police, the morale of police and teachers tends to be very low. That has to do with poor leadership. As mayor, I would want new leadership for the police department, and I would want to be involved. The mayor picks the police chief. I would like to be involved with the committee that had representation from the police department to select the next chief. And so, there’s a need for new leadership, there’s a need for competitive pay and there’s a need for better community relations. Those would be my priorities. I have a special interest in law enforcement. One of my degrees is in criminal justice; I thought about having a law enforcement career myself. I’ve been doing roll calls—I haven’t done Bellevue yet, but I’m working my way there—going in for 6:30 and 2:30 roll calls, meeting the officers before they go on their shifts—and I’ve done a ride-along with North Nashville. I’ve been able to see firsthand what some of the problems are, not just for the police officers, but also the firefighters because they work hand in hand. At least three or four of the calls that we went on, the firefighters were there, the paramedics were there and they are all understaffed. So that’s what I would do there is to try to improve morale by getting better leadership. It would be better for our city if our officers more than lived in the city. Repeatedly, they’re telling me that they don’t live in the city because of the poor quality of


____ schools or the affordability. So, it’s the schools as much as the affordability. Those that have young children, they’re looking to live in communities where the education is better. And when it comes to education, we constantly hear that we need more and more money because of teachers’ pay. Teachers’ pay is always the excuse for more and more money. Well, the school board gets almost a billion dollars a year. They have a spending problem. They have money, and if they wanted to pay teachers better, they could pay teachers better. If they wanted to repair schools, they could repair schools. They are not being held accountable. They are well organized because of the teachers unions and so they always talk about teachers’ pay, yet teachers’ pay never improves. There’s a problem and a disconnect. They need to be held accountable. I actually would like to meet with some teachers and just hear their concerns. I care about education, and I will be the mayor that would go into some public schools and talk with students, especially those that come from neighborhoods and schools where there’s a lot of failure and hopelessness. I think the messages that our society sends young people, especially minorities, is so negative that people give up. If you hear all the time “you can’t, you can’t, you can’t—everything’s stacked against you because you’re black or whatever,” then why try? I believe in the American dream. I came from poverty. It worked for me. I think that we need to give our children more hope and you will get less crime. COOPER: You’ve got to fully staff the police department that you have, and you need to always be adapting your policing methods. It’s maybe not about traffic stops, but it’s about crime rate. It’s hard to evaluate where we are until we staff it appropriately. The other part of

DAVID BRILEY is a Nashville native and the incumbent mayor seeking reelection. He was elected vice-mayor in 2015, became the acting mayor after Megan Barry’s resignation in 2018, and won the special election that ensured his position as mayor for the remainder of her term. He was elected as an At-Large Metro Councilman from 1999-2007 and was a practicing lawyer at Bone McAllester Norton PLLC before becoming mayor. He’s an ardent supporter of Nashville’s not-for-profit community, speaks Spanish, and remains unruffled in the face of competition. davidbriley.com this is youth programs, which are probably very cost-efficient. So, NAZA (Nashville After Zone Alliance), afterschool programs . . . the two are connected. If you fail on your youth, then you really have created years of problems. The first thing is, once again, to staff the police department correctly, to have it run under the policies that are most appropriate for the need. Youth services funding isn’t a luxury. It is connected to the health of your community. Finding more money, that’s step one in supporting neighborhood schools. In time, I’ll come out with an educational plan, but there are a lot of incremental things. That’s where we are, you have to figure out the incremental things that give teachers the support that they need. We’ve got to put schools front and center in everything that we do going forward, not begrudgingly, but in fact that’s what we’re here to do. 

We continue to have a problem with 18-wheelers illegally short-cutting on our residential streets. The streets cannot handle the weight, and taxpayers foot the bill for repairs. What will you do to get 18-wheelers off of residential streets? CLEMMONS: That’s an enforcement issue, and there has to be better enforcement of that. As state representative, I’ve worked with The Nations neighborhood because there was an issue with the tankers leaving the refineries on 51st and so we worked on that issue. Once an ordinance has been put into place to prevent them from being on those roadways, it’s a matter of enforcement and that falls on the police department to enforce those. State roadways are a different jurisdiction, obviously, but it’s just a matter of encouraging that. June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

19


____ BRILEY: What Mary Carolyn Roberts has tried to do in District 20, there along 51st, is to try and get some of the business owners that utilize the gas depot back there, trying to get them voluntarily to move their routes. There is a bridge under construction, I think by river quarry, that will pull a lot of the traffic off of Robertson over there a bit west of The Nations. So we have to work with the traffic and parking commission and with the district council members to try and get those commercial vehicles off of residential streets where we can. The council is considering lowering the speed on all neighborhood streets to 25 miles an hour. That would, I think, have an impact in terms of pulling some of those off the streets. I have semis rolling by my house all day every day, so I know what it’s like. I have to think about a more comprehensive approach to that. SWAIN: To me that’s a police question, right? And right now, they can barely handle the emergency calls. A lot of this goes back to public safety. I think that when we have more police officers in our city and we won’t have those ATV vehicles—it’s clear that people know the capacity of the Nashville police and the fact that they are understaffed. And so, there’s evidence that people are coming from other parts of the state to Nashville because they know they can get away with things. And if you have departments, police departments that are adequately staffed, you would have people out there monitoring all the highways and giving tickets and the 18-wheelers would know not to come through the residential areas. That’s the only way it’s going to be addressed is through more police officers. It’s a public safety issue. COOPER: Well, I think you’ve got to enforce the code. 

20

372WN.com | June–July 2019

West Nashville needs to be more walkable. As mayor, how will you help us increase the number of berms, curbs and sidewalks? CLEMMONS: It’s a mandatory issue that requires addressing in the mayor’s office. It has to be at the top of the agenda. Too many people are dying in the city every year trying to cross the street or on bicycles. And I would argue that one is too many. We need better crosswalks, we need better-lit crosswalks, and we need sidewalks connecting people to public transportation and the crosswalks. Sidewalks to nowhere work for no one. So, we need to improve walkability in this city. Again, if we’re going to portray ourselves as a progressive 21st century city, this is something that we’ve got to do a better job of. BRILEY: In Whitland and Cherokee Park, it’s great, and so the aspiration should be to have that same level of walkability as many places as we can. I think you have to look at each one sort of individually, right? We’re going to see a ton of development up and down Charlotte, so as developers go in, they’re going to have to improve the quality of the pedestrian infrastructure along that corridor, and it’d be part of the development cost. If you go to The Nations, it’s much more complicated because our existing regulation doesn’t require single and two-family developers really to do a lot under every circumstance. So, we’ve been thinking preliminarily about a more comprehensive investment in The Nations to look at sidewalks and storm water infrastructure over there. It’s a unique little part of town because when it was subdivided, when they did the platting a long time ago, they platted very small lots—25 feet wide and 100–150 feet deep—and so folks

would come in and buy two or three lots and build one house on it when they initially did it. Now that it’s getting redeveloped, we’re seeing a lot more where they build two houses on what seemed to have been one lot before. I think it’s going to require us to do some more substantial infrastructure investment just in that part of town. The income associated with the increased property values warrants doing so. So, that’s one place where we’ll have to do something more comprehensive. Otherwise, we’ll continue to invest at least $30 million a year in sidewalk construction like we did last year. We’ll actually do more than that next year because we’re going to spend some money finishing the bollards down on lower Broad. Those have been built so far from the $30 million pool, and we’re taking it out of the $30 million pool next year and doing it on its own. So, the $30 million wouldn’t be spent downtown—none of it would be spent downtown. You go to a place like Hillwood, and the houses were built on acre lots or half-acre lots, so they’re maybe 400 feet per house. And so, I think we have to be creative about how we add walkability there. It may not make sense, the expense may be too much in some neighborhoods, for us to put in typical sidewalks everywhere. I think we’ve got to be sort of creative about how we do things over there. SWAIN: Here’s what I can say. As mayor, I want to be able to keep my word and so I don’t want to overpromise, but I do think the infrastructure, which includes sidewalks, is important and it’s been neglected. Until I actually take office, I don’t know what the possibilities are. You really have to sit down and know what the numbers are. A lot of emphasis has been on bike paths as opposed to sidewalks, and I continued on page 60


21


Sopranos IN

Sylvan by Jennifer

Goode STEVENS

photos courtesy of Nashville Opera

22

372WN.com | June–July 2019

Heights


ashville and the music industry have a long and storied relationship. Music City USA is home to the legendary “Grand Ole Opry,” to the Mother Church of Country Music, to the honky-tonks of lower Broadway, to the movers and shakers of Music Row. It’s even home to the acoustically magical Schermerhorn Symphony Center, where the musicians of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra are building wider and wider world renown. West Nashville, however, holds another facet of Nashville’s music scene—the headquarters of the Nashville Opera.

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

23


ven after 10 years, “sometimes people are surprised that we’re not in the middle of downtown,” says John Hoomes, CEO of the company, from his office in the Noah Liff Opera Center. His windows look out over Redmon Street in Sylvan Heights. “We like being in the middle of a west side neighborhood, and we love feeling we’re a part of this community.” The Nashville Opera got its start in 1975 with a bequest to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Maestro Thor Johnson, who was music director for the Nashville Symphony from 1967 until his death in 1975, intended his gift for opera production.

The gift did not bear immediate fruit. Five years later, the next Nashville Symphony maestro recruited renowned soprano Mary Cortner Ragland to oversee the first operatic production, and Ragland established the Nashville Opera Guild as a fundraising organization. The first production, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, was performed in 1981 at TPAC, and shortly thereafter the guild separated from the Nashville Symphony to become an independent 501(c)3 organization. From there, the opera’s professional and volunteer structure has grown and shifted with the times and with the explosion of artistic and reputational excellence that today’s “It City” enjoys.

Where there first were sole annual productions and biennial fashion-show fundraisers in borrowed and shared space, now there are four productions a year put on at TPAC or in the opera’s own hall, plus multiple outreach programs that take productions to area schools and community centers. “When my wife and I first came to Nashville with the opera, the budget was maybe $350,000. Now we’re operating with a budget of over $2 million,” Hoomes says. He and his wife, Carol Penterman, joined The Nashville Opera as artistic director and executive director, respectively, in 1995. “As the city has grown, it has helped us to grow.” The organization is seeing a broadening of support in both donations and ticket sales. “A show we did two years ago sold really well, and we analyzed the data and found that twenty to twenty-five percent of those sales were to people who were brand new to us,” Hoomes says. Among the estimated 100 people a day who have been moving to Nashville for the past several years (although the most recent numbers indicate that trend is slowing) are transplants from larger metropolitan areas. “Our new audiences, we’re attracting a lot of people who are coming

Above: 2015 production of Hydrogen Jukebox, which involved really unusual lighting and staging, including projecting images onto the audience. Left: 2013 production of Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat

24

372WN.com | June–July 2019


from California or New York, where they’re used to a larger arts scene,” Hoomes says. “They want to support that here in Nashville.” The Noah Liff Opera Center sits as a shining example of dedication and support—a gleaming edifice on Redmon Avenue. And much of its new splendor can be traced to scrap metal. Noah Liff was an entrepreneur who arrived in Nashville in 1952. His recycling business empire grew to include Steiner-Liff Iron and Metals and Steiner-Liff Textiles—much of which was housed near downtown Nashville. Over Liff’s decades of involvement in his adopted hometown, he supported multiple arts and community service organizations—through monetary donations and through serving on nonprofit boards across the city. He especially loved opera. In fact, when he was battling terminal cancer in 2000, the “magic wand” thing he wished for was being able to go to New York’s Metropolitan Opera one last time. His wife, Judy, made it happen early the next year—they saw Deborah Voight and Luciano Pavarotti in Aïda.

“It’s a wonderful memory for me, and I can remember every single bit of it,” Judy said, according to Nashville Opera’s subscriber magazine. “It was our last date.” Noah Liff died in May 2001. Several years later, as the Nashville Opera’s operations were straining the seams of its space on Trousdale Drive (across from Purina Mills, where the corporate giant manufactured cat food), the necessity of moving became apparent. By then, Judy’s current husband, Joe Barker, had joined the opera leadership and was discussing with Hoomes the possibility of moving. When Barker said, “It might be a good idea for us to build an opera center,” Judy Liff Barker immediately thought, “Why didn’t I think of that? Of course that’s what we should do.” Fundraising for the Liff Center began in 2006 with the opera company’s first capital campaign— Raise Your Glasses. The goal was $12 million, which was intended to purchase and renovate space and establish the opera’s Fund for Artistic Excellence—an endowment and capital reserve to provide lasting

Scene from 2015 production of Puccini’s Turandot at TPAC.

support for The Nashville Opera’s mission. The effort was greatly aided by Martha Ingram, who offered to match Joe and Judy Liff Barker’s gift, and then later upped the ante by challenging them to give 50 percent more. “We have wonderful families who have been fundamental in our fundraising,” Hoomes says. “It’s a big part of the arts, and these works need that kind of support to exist.” Construction on the $6 million project began the following year by DF Chase Inc., and the public grand

Noah Liff

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

25


fantastical nature make it accessiopening gala for the 26,000-squareble to everyone from the frequent foot facility was kicked off in April opera-goer to the audience member 2009 with an address by then-Maywho is seeing their first opera.” or Karl Dean and a pair of swashCrigger also is an adjunct profesbuckling costumed swordfighters sor at Austin Peay State University cutting the ribbon. and has been chorus librarian for It has been a mainstay of the the Nashville Symphony for four neighborhood ever since, in a space years. She moved to Middle Tenthat once housed an indoor tennis nessee in 2009. facility and a recording studio—and “I consider it a real privilege that where the Nashville Ballet occupies I had the opportunity to make my the other side of the building. role debut singing for my own com“We really love having the opera as munity,” she adds. neighbors,” says Sierra Smith, public The Nashville Opera also partrelations director for the Nashville ners with Belmont University— Ballet. “As a whole, our city has such where it once operated in donated a collaborative arts scene, and it’s space. The Nashville Opera Fellows wonderful to have two incredible program, begun in 2006, provides arts nonprofits tucked away in this Belmont students who are workWest Nashville neighborhood.” ing on master’s degrees in vocal The opera staff and performers performance the opportunity to have truly enjoyed seeing West gain valuable experience with the Nashville evolve around them. professional opera company. “One thing we love about this “The Nashville Opera Fellows location, about being here in Sylvan program is very important to the Heights—we have watched our School of Music at Belmont,” says lunch options grow just about evMark Whatley, coordinator of vocal ery week!” Hoomes says, laughing. studies. “It attracts a high quality of “We feel we are in a growing and student to audition for our graduthriving part of our city.” While performers from around the world come to Nashville to participate in Nashville Opera productions, the company draws on local talent, as well. One of its more recent performances was Jacques Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, April 4–6. Mezzo-soprano Sara Richardson Crigger made her role debut playing Nicklausse, the closest friend of the main character, as a Mary Ragland Emerging Artist. Four young singers every year are selected for the program and perform roles in a production that tours area schools, libraries and community centers—in addition to its Liff Center run. “Tales of Hoffmann . . . isn’t done often enough,” she says. “The catchy music and Noah Liff Opera Center ribbon cutting, April 2009

26

372WN.com | June–July 2019

ate program, provides real-world experience for the Fellows with a world-class opera company, and continues the long tradition of collaboration between Nashville Opera and Belmont University.” “The talent of Nashville is massive,” Hoomes says. “Many times we bring in the main artists from Europe or from New York, but we have a (paid) chorus of anywhere from sixteen to fifty people who are all local.” And the opera’s most recent production had even more of a Nashville flavor. The Cradle Will Rock, a politically controversial jazz opera originally commissioned by Orson Welles in the 1930s, was packed with local talent. “There are 21 principal artists,” Hoomes says, “and ninety-five percent of them are Nashville singers. This piece walks the line between opera and musical theater, and you will see a lot of wonderful people you’d also see on state at The Rep [Nashville Repertory Theatre] or at Nashville Children’s Theatre. “It’s a Nashville homegrown production here in the Liff Center. We have a lot of collaboration with the wonderful artists and talent here.” The Liffs remain actively involved with the opera, carrying on their family tradition. Judy Liff Barker is a lifetime member of the board of directors, and Zach Liff is on the advisory board. Judy told The Tennessean in an article about the Liff Center opening: “To note the cultural impact Nashville Opera makes in Nashville and beyond, and then to understand that never in the history of the company have they embarked upon a capital campaign or established a permanent home—it’s astounding. This company has done so much with so little, and we will be delighted to see what it will be capable


Jennifer Goode Stevens is a profes-

N

sional editor who lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, their two 'tweens and a dog. She's a Virginia native, an overeager gardener and a water aerobics instructor at the area YMCA.

S

’S MAG

AZ

IN

N

LLE

2W

2W

VI

37

37

H

S

H

E

E

IN

A

A

’S MA

Z GA

N

N

LLE

ST

VI

WE

N

A

H

E

N

ST S

37

ST

2W

WE

modern event venues. With spaces suitable for anything from corporate meetings to weddings to musical performances to elegant dinners for up to 270, the center is available for tours by appointment only, according to its website. www.nashvilleopera. org/the-noah-liff-opera-center WE

of accomplishing with this new home and endowment for enhanced programming.” Hoomes says something else people might be astounded about with The Nashville Opera is how much they’d love it if they give it a chance. Stereotypical, inaccessible performances are a thing of the past. Supertitles scroll above the stage—in English—so audience members can keep abreast of the storyline. “People who say they don’t like opera often have just not seen one that works for them,” he says. “Don’t let a lack of experience with opera keep you away. Once we can get people into the theater for a production of Carmen or of La Boheme, they’re blown away by the drama and music working together. They had no idea they’d be so moved.” The opening production for the 2019–20 season is a great opportunity, he says. The company is getting back to its origins with a production of Madam Butterfly at TPAC in October. “If you’ve never tried opera before, that’s the time.”

VI

LLE

’S MA

Z GA

IN

NOTA BENE: • The Nashville Symphony Orchestra League held a youth scholarship competition in Maestro Thor Johnson’s name until the mid 2010s. Prizes were awarded in middle school, high school and college-bound categories and totaled thousands of dollars over the life of the scholarship. • Mary Cortner Ragland, who died in 1999, set up a bequest to further the excellence of the Nashville Opera through the support of young artists. The Mary Ragland Emerging Artists program continues today. Applications are handled through yaptracker.com, and auditions occur in the fall. • The Noah Liff Opera Center, designed by renowned architect Earl Swensson and Earl Swensson Associates, is one of the city’s sleekest June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

27


28

372WN.com | June–July 2019


Artist

AUDREY DEAL-MCEVER

Marries Beauty and Function by Elliott WENZLER photos courtesy of Audry Deal-McEver

rabbing a mug for morning tea isn’t a mundane task for local artist Audry Deal-McEver. For the 33-year-old potter, it’s a chance for inspiration. As she sips her tea, she contemplates how the mug was created, how well the handle fits in her hand and what details went into the design. That’s because on most days, Deal-McEver is headed into her studio to spend a full eight hours creating mugs and other ceramic pieces of her own. On a warm afternoon in late March, Deal-McEver’s studio, which sits behind her Sylvan Park home, is brimming with color. All around the studio, once simply a stand-alone garage, flowers are beginning to wiggle their way through cracks in the sidewalk and cherry trees are beginning to blossom.

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

29


Innumerable flowers can be found inside the studio as well, only these ones are year-round. Deal-McEver is in one of the stages of creating a ceramic, functional piece of art and for this body of work, everything is influenced by florals. The soft melodies of Andrew Bird, Father John Misty and Sufjan Stevens quietly hum in the corner as she picks up her current project, a tall mug that is ready to be carved with an intricate surface design. To get the mug to this point, she’s already carefully shaped the clay on a wheel, attached a handle and carved a foot ring. After carving the design, she will fire the mug in the kiln at about 1840 degrees, then add the colorful

30

372WN.com | June–July 2019

glaze. Lastly, she will place it in the kiln for the final firing at about 2300 degrees, she said. As Deal-McEver begins to carve the semi-soft clay, an activity that’s more meditation than planning, she speaks about the ideology behind her work.

The philosophy For Deal-McEver, it’s not just about creating a bowl, mug, vase or any of her other pieces for people to use in their homes. It’s about inspiring those who hold her pieces in their hands to be more intentional with their lives, she said. “I truly believe that there’s an intentionality that comes with the drinking of a handmade cup,”


Deal-McEver said. “If you can teach people to slow down and be deliberate and intentional about these moments of sustenance I think that there’s trickle down into the other aspects of their lifestyle” Deal-McEver, herself a minimalist, believes in being deliberate in every aspect of her own life as well, including being aware of how her work affects the environment around her. She has solar panels to help offset energy use in her studio, uses recycled packaging to send her pieces to customers and recycles all of her unused clay, she said. “I try to practice what I preach,” she said. It’s the connection between people, environments and art that motivated Deal-McEver to create this body of work. She and her husband were renovating their 100-year-old home when the inspiration struck. “We found 11 layers of linoleum on the floor and 13 layers of wallpaper,” she said. “(It was) like a time capsule of design and what I was realizing is almost every one of those patterns was inspired by the botanical world around us.” Deal-McEver realized that perhaps that’s because of how little time people actually spend outside. “These botanical prints in our

homes, these nature images end up being kind of somewhat of a surrogate natural experience in our world,” she said. This inspired Deal-McEver to research the history of these floral patterns, which date back to India in the 1600s, she said. “So that’s what this body of work has all been inspired by,” she said. “I look at these historic textile patterns and I study them but then I put the book away . . . and I reinterpret them again because I’m really interested in being part of that process.”

Floral patterns that have stood out to Deal-McEver also decorate her own studio and home, covering many tables and even a shower curtain. Visitors don’t have to look far to find the botanical-inspired prints that Deal-McEver speaks about.

The artist’s background Deal-McEver was also going to be some kind of artist, she said. Growing up in Franklin, Tennessee, Deal-McEver watched both her parents dedicate themselves to cre-

CONFERENCE ROOM & VIRTUAL OFFICE Located in the Nations. Hourly, daily & monthly rates available. 615-864-1062 | mark@westnashvilleliving.com $40/hr | $250/day | Mention this ad to receive 20% off.

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

31


her philosophy that talent has nothing to do with art. “I don’t think I am (talented),” she said. Instead, she’s just worked incredibly hard to develop the skills she has today, she said. Perhaps that’s because even though Deal-McEver has a creative mind, she’s also highly goal-oriented and a linear-thinker, she said. This balance in her personality also mirrors the balance she hopes to find in her business. “The constant temptation is to make what sells, right? And to dictate your entire art practice around the economics of how do you run a successful business. But my goal is to do it with creative integrity,” she said. To Deal-McEver, it’s important to continue growing as an artist while keeping her business alive, she said. “I’m not interested in making 100 pots a week,” she said. “I’m interested in every pot being different

and I’m interested in the opportunity to continue exploring design and shape and color.” This approach makes selling her pieces online not as practical as direct, in-person sales at different art shows and events, Deal-McEver said. “I get to meet everybody who buys my work and I get to form relationships with my clients, which is very important to me,” she said. Deal-McEver posts all of her upcoming shows and even some pieces that are for sale on her Instagram, which is the best way to keep up with her work, she said. She also offers studio tours to those passing by or anyone who sets up an appointment. “I have repeat customers who . . . show me pictures of my pots in their office or their house and with their food in my bowls,” she said. “That’s the warm and fuzzy moment of being a potter.” LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

N

VI

2W

ST

ST

2W

H

WE

WE

N

A

S

E

N

37

ST

2W

WE

N

ative careers. With her father, a jazz guitarist, and her mother, a visual artist, the importance of creating was always close at hand, she said. The artist wasn’t set on working with clay from the beginning, though, she said. Deal-McEver actually spent 14 years practicing and playing piano before she took her first clay class at Ohio University, where she attended undergraduate school. “I did not like it ironically,” she said. But still, she worked relentlessly to improve her work until she found herself loving it. Deal-McEver, who also teaches ceramics in various workshops and at Middle Tennessee State University, talks about the importance of being comfortable with failure, especially when working with clay. “You’re going to ruin a lot of pots,” she said. “I didn’t like what I was making until about a year ago.” When teaching students about ceramics, it ends up being a little bit like life coaching. So often, people find what they’re good at and “run full speed in that direction,” but helping people learn to cope with failure can be a beautiful thing, she said. It speaks to

32

372WN.com | June–July 2019

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

37

37

VI

S

H

E

E

H

A

A

S

N

N

Nashville native Elliott Wenzler graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in May of 2017 with a BA in journalism and minors in both business and Spanish. Wenzler fell in love with journalism through long-form podcasts and magazine pieces that capture the heart of an issue, culture or phenomenon. You can find her enjoying tacos at 51st Deli, jogging in Sylvan Park or playing trivia at Neighbors. VI

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN


READER SUBMISSION

FRONT PORCH SWING by Kimber ANNIE

Gently swinging. Quietly creaking. Back and forth. Back and forth. Here I sit. Here I listen. Listening to the music of the front porch swing. The weathered wood all laced with stains creaks clearly. It tells of cold snow, warm hugs, and hot summer nights. It tattles of spilled lemonade, talks of tipped tea cups, and shares of precious tears. This is a sacred place. A place where conversation and emotion grace the air. A place where dreams are free to dance. A place where finding oneself is possible.  Gently swinging. Quietly creaking. I keep listening to the music of the front porch swing.  I hear it speak of hands. Many hands. Little hands. Large hands.  Smooth hands. Wrinkled hands. Muddy hands. Gloved hands. Helping hands. Holding hands. Hands in love. It is here I fold my hands, and it is here I talk to God. He holds my hands, and it is here He talks to me.  Gently swinging. Quietly creaking. Back and forth. Back and forth. Here I sit. Here I listen. Listening to the music of the front porch swing.

West End neighborhood resident Kimber Annie is a published poet in over 30+ books. She is the producer of two published musical children’s albums, the author of several inspirational selfpublished books and known for being an intuitive healer. Because of her love for words/music/singing and songwriting Nashville has always been the land of her dreams and when life took an unexpected turn that exactly where the broken road led her. She is blessed to be close to her son country artist, AJ Kross, who also lives in Nashville. For more information, visit kimberannie.com. June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

33


Local Fest Gives Artists Their Due

Soy Milk Boy

Neon Black

by Hannah

HERNER

photos provided by Joseph Page

Fischer’s Kitchen

34

372WN.com | June–July 2019

Hungry Mother


Nuclear Bubble Wrap

eLcERkO eLcERkO

Bl_ank

The Chewers

De3ra

Chop Chop Chang

Vladopus9

Coastal Elites June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

35


“Nobody really knows who we are,” one musician says. “That’s not true,” another chimes in. “Yeah, that’s not true. People know who you are,” another immediately adds, reassuringly. hat’s the ethos of the underground music scene in Nashville—always giving an encouraging word, promoting one another, exchanging talents and helping each other with projects. That kind of immediate, matter-of-fact affirmation carries over to touring bands as they come through, too. Local bands will host out-of-towners and give them most or all of the money that comes in, even if the locals and visitors don’t even know each other before the day of the performance. Local Fest on July 12, 13 and 14 at Betty’s Grill in West Nashville will be an opportunity for local acts to get their share. A total of 21 bands based in Nashville and the surrounding area are set to take the stage. The proceeds from the $10 cover charge will be divided among the seven local acts each night. “It’s an unspoken rule that all of the money goes to touring bands from the [cover charges],” says Joseph Page, organizer for Local Fest

T

and guitarist for Vladopus9, which will be Saturday night’s headliner. “So ninety-nine percent of the time the local band plays for free. I just wanted to do something where the local bands can finally get paid to play a show at Betty’s.”

Betty’s is a dive bar, in the truest sense of the word. Whether you’ve been around since it was Candy John’s Pie Wagon or still refer to it as The Trolley, Betty’s is one of the few things that hasn’t been completely overhauled in The Nations neighborhood. It’s a beer-only establishment that’s so dark inside, it takes a few minutes for patrons’ eyes to adjust. It serves burgers. And its Golden Tee game is in high demand. It’s completely unpretentious, not at all yuppie or “hipster,” nor does it cater to tourists. It’s the kind of place where a writer meets four members of underground bands in the early afternoon on a Tuesday and interviews them out on the patio— PBRs and American Spirits in hand.

Page’s love affair with Betty’s began when he saw a band called Secret Friends perform there. Secret Friends had fashioned instruments and a speaker system out of rocks. He estimates that Vladopus9 has played there upwards of 30 times now. “All of these normal people were in here, and they just started leaving. The bartender was like, ‘Hey, don’t leave! This is art,’” Page says. “I really fell in love with Betty’s at that point. They really didn’t care that they were losing customers, they cared that there was a place that people were making art. That’s what sold me on this place.”

(L to R) Travis Caffrey, Zac W. Caffrey, Joseph Page, and Michael Sadler

Young Robot

36

Skin Tension 372WN.com | June–July 2019


Zac W. Caffrey, Travis Caffrey and Michael Sadler are all West Virginia transplants. Travis (guitar and vocals) and Michael (drums) make up The Chewers, Friday night’s Local Fest headliner. Zac W. Caffrey performs as Chop Chop Chang, a one man-disguised-as-an-ape-from-space act. He’ll be Sunday night’s headliner. None of them moved to Nashville expressly to play music, but they ended up carving out a space for themselves. Betty’s cemented itself in all of their lives. In fact, The Chewers’ first show was at Betty’s 10 years ago. Since then, the duo has played dozens of shows there. “That was such a surreal experience to play here for the first time. It’s not a heavy space to play, it’s easy to feel comfortable here,” Sadler says. On Zac. W. Caffrey’s first night in Nashville, he watched one of those Chewers shows. He’s since played Betty’s four times as Chop Chop Chang. “Punkish music exists well in a dive-y space, and Betty’s is very much that,” he says. “You’re sometimes playing here just to the couple of old drunks who are mostly interested in video bowling.” “It’s charming,” they all agreed. There’s no stage fright. It’s a low-pressure place where bands like these can do what they do best—experiment.

The descriptor that all of the bands in the Local Fest lineup hold in common is “underground.” The words “weird” and “eclectic” also are thrown around when describing them. House venues are their bread and butter. Many are unsigned and don’t necessarily seek record deals. You won’t hear them on the radio, unless Page has a DJ spot on WXNA.

Terrible People

Spirits Republic

Altered Statesman Thank You Please

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

37


S

372WN.com | June–July 2019

VI

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

N

H

2W

2W IN

37

37 AZ

S

H

E

E

’S MAG

A

A

38

LLE

N

N

“It’s more about wanting art in music than wanting music just itself,” Travis Caffrey says of the genre. An artistic stage show that could read as just plain strange is often an important part of the act—which is definitely the case with Vladopus9. Sadler, Zac W. Caffrey and Travis Caffrey have a house venue called Mouthhole, which has hosted everything from 30-piece folk bands to hip-hop sitar acts to plays, stand-up comedy and live painting—including Vladopus9. “Joe (Page) once played a show at our place where he cooked bacon on stage and blew the smell out into the crowd while he was playing. So I’m always excited to see what he will do,” Sadler says. Zac W. Caffrey remembers Vladopus9 playing a show where they started playing inside a cardboard TV set, only to destroy it by the end of the performance. “I think out of any band in Nashville, Vladopus9 experiments with their stage presence most,” he says. Vladopus9 will debut a song at Local Fest that Page describes as “the craziest song that we ever even tried to do,” as well as tracks from their newly released album Expires on Tuesday through label SweetSong Nashville.   The Chewers haven’t gotten to play their newest record, “Downhill Calendar,” much, and they look forward to doing so at Local Fest. Each show is different for the duo, and the song probably won’t sound just as it did on the record. It’s weird, experimental, noise rock, but you can tap your foot to it, the band says. The goal of Chop Chop Chang is to make the audience feel entranced with its brand of instrumental electronica, effectively taking them to space and back, Zac W. Caffrey says. Page insists that not one of the 21 bands set to play at Local Fest is like another.

VI

ST

ST

Vamptones

H

WE

WE

N

A

S

E

N

37

ST

2W

WE

N

“The thing with the underground scene here is no one is really competing because we’re all doing very different things. The competition that exists in the industry, that doesn’t exist in the underground as much,” he says. Page says Vladopus9 could not have released their album without help from Sadler, Zac W. Caffrey and Travis Caffrey. People from the band’s label were shocked by the strength of the underground community and its willingness to help without payment. “It is just for the love of the game and the love of the scene,” Zac W. Caffrey says. “It’s not just us, there’s a lot of people in the scene who will just contribute whatever they can contribute. We’re all sort of in the trenches of being weird and not wanted, necessarily.” For those looking to take a dive underground, Local Fest is the ideal introduction. VI

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

Local Fest will take place on July 12th, 13th and 14th at Betty’s Grill, 407 49th Avenue, North. Doors open at 8:00 p.m., and music starts at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 per night and will be sold at the door only. Hannah Herner is a freelance journalist, resident of Bellevue and recent graduate of The Ohio State University. She is also an alternative music fan, tap dancer and a Jeni’s ice cream enthusiast.


June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

39


OPINION:

Bring the

Jackson Square

Concept to Nashville written and photographed

by

40

372WN.com | June–July 2019

Sandra KING


R

emember the kid you went to school with who was always drawing? What are the chances they would actually grow up and make a living making art? In Nashville, we are very supportive of our musicians, showcasing them at Musicians Corner and allowing them to busk downtown, but I think we could do better at helping our visual artist community. Current park guidelines and downtown vendor guidelines, written with musicians in mind, work against the needs of visual artists. How can we help them succeed?

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

41


B

y the time I got my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I was keenly aware of how hard it is to sell paintings for a living. Although I had a lot of commission work, it was not enough to live on. Like most artists, I got a day job after graduation and did my artwork on the side, setting that working artist dream on a shelf. Fast-forward to 15 years later as a Nashville resident taking a vacation with my now husband to New Orleans, Louisiana, where I saw artists actually making a living on their art. Between Bourbon Street where tourists go drinking and the French Market where tourists go shopping, you’ll find Jackson Square, a histor-

42

372WN.com | June–July 2019

ic but fresh art destination. Jackson Square is a plaza with a small city park in the center. The park is bordered by tall wroughtiron fences with art hanging on them. Artists stand at easels actively painting local scenery, crowds and other visions, and hanging their art on the fence for sale—it’s their studio and their storefront for the day. Working in Jackson Square gives artists the freedom to take commissions on the side and go to the square only on the days they have time and weather permits. The convenient location and steady flow of people through the area make it possible to make art your day job, if you have the talent and are willing to put in the time. And

Artists stand at easels actively painting local scenery, crowds and other visions. here’s the kicker—it only costs them $175 a year, which includes their business license and permit to paint and sell their work there. If you’re over 65, you only pay $25 for the year. The only other thing they have to pay for the right to sell their work is taxes. The range of talent was amazing, not to mention the range of prices I saw ($10 to $3,000). Some of the artists are actively showing in galleries but still like to come work in the square for the public contact, and also because it’s just a beautiful place to work with the sun shining and a gentle breeze crossing through. I saw career artists, sideline artists and even retired people supplementing their fixed income with their artistic talents. The exterior edge of Jackson Square is populated by various shops and restaurants all benefitting from the strolling business the artist market brings. Tourists sit in the famous Café Du Monde sipping chicory coffee and nibbling beignets while watching the artists, musicians and public in the square. Benches are located around the square where people sit and enjoy the scene. People stop and silently watch painters at work. There are sometimes other activities within the fence of Jackson Square, but the outside of the fence belongs to the visual artists. Each artist can take an eight-foot length of fence to hang finished art for sale, and they can set up their easel and chair about 12 feet back. This allows the public to inspect


Page 38–43: Op-Ed: Bring Jackson Square to Nashville (we have photos) ad: Miel

the artwork without the artist hovering over them. It also allows the artists to work pretty much without interruption, the exception usually being when someone is asking to make a purchase. I spent a day with an artist in the square to see what it was like. The great thing was that she could spend the day painting, so it wasn’t like working at a retail store where you have to stay smiling and ready for a customer interaction at all times. The artists are friendly and polite with each other (Jackson Square has had guidelines that artists be polite and unintrusive both to the public and to other artists), and this helps to make for a very calm and enjoyable environment both to

why can’t we do this in Nashville? paint and to view the art). An artist next to us was selling work for a few thousand dollars per painting and asked we watch his work for him while he ran an errand, which we did. We didn’t know him, but the artists in the square look out for each other and each other’s work. They also notice when someone is working without a permit displayed, which is not allowed. There’s a sense of community and safety with so many peers working alongside you, and having artists exhibit their work one after another along the wrought-iron fence makes for an interesting walk with a friend. Spots are available first-come,

first-served so there is no fighting over spaces; all in all it seems to run very smoothly, and the artists pretty much police themselves. I was energized by the experience and the possibilities. I then asked myself, why can’t we do this in Nashville? I looked into existing locations where artists can sell their work direct to the public in Nashville and found them lacking. Displaying art in businesses tends to give the businesses free art more than it ends up in sales for the artists. The internet is a great marketing tool, but due to the variance in photography and monitor quality, you may June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

43


not see the colors and details on screen as accurately as you might like, plus the public has to know about you to look you up and shop your work. Artists sell out of their own studios, but there are hundreds of studios in the greater Nashville area. And it’s not practical or convenient for people to go studio to studio looking for art unless the studios are conveniently located or they already know a particular artist they want to see. Galleries represent only those who fit into their featured type of art and then may take 40 percent of the sale price to cover overhead, plus the artist won’t have a say in how often or how much work can be exhibited. Farmers Market in Nashville will rent a table for a minimum three weekdays per week for a year, which is a $4,680 minimum commitment whether you show up or not. Craft and other shows in the parks or schools are now charging $100 to $175 per day to set up a booth. For artists just getting started, who are not assured of sales or whose work sells for under $500, it’s hard to get off the ground with that kind of overhead.

44

372WN.com | June–July 2019


S

AZ

IN

N

’S MAG

2W

2W

LLE

37

37

VI

H

E

E

H

S

A

A

A

N

N

VI

N ZI

ST

H

WE

N

A

ST S

E

N

37

ST

2W

WE

N

If you would like to help make this space a reality, please email NashvilleOutdoorArtistMarket@gmail.com and let me know how you would like to help. Parties interested in voicing your support and/or hearing about our progress, please like and follow us on facebook at Nashville Outdoor Artist Market. Once we have a space, a call for artists will be broadcast. WE

Compare this to the cost in New Orleans where for $175/year you have a plein-air art “studio,” business “storefront” and vendor permit all paid for an entire year in a spot that is dedicated to the artists 365 days a year. There is steady foot traffic, and you can show and sell as much as you want, taking home 100 percent of proceeds. It’s very freeing. True, there are some artists who won’t want to go make or sell their art outdoors, but it should be an option for those who would. It seems to me that Nashville artists, and the city itself, would benefit greatly from bringing a Jackson Square type of low-overhead outdoor artist market to Nashville. Senator Steve Dickerson, of the Tennessee General Assembly, supports the arts and is on board — making some inquiries to try to help us get a location. Metro Parks also agreed that we should have a place for visual artists or a place they could share with musicians. Unfortunately, some parks are controlled by the city and some by the state, and many are already designated for other purposes or as rental spaces. Although we are in discussion, it can take a while to sort out park options and restrictions. Visual artists need a larger space than a musician to show their art. They need to be able to set up next to each other to encourage pedestrian traffic from artist to artist, and they need a designated location so once they set up all of their work they won’t be informed they have to move due to some event scheduled for that location for that day. They also need to be able to set up a patio umbrella to protect their work from the elements. If we are going to use city space, those city guidelines and ordinances in conflict with those needs should be addressed and modified for visual artists to be able to participate in independent sales the way our musicians do. While we are looking at potential city and park spaces, we are also open to private property near downtown that could be designated for our use.

VI

AZ

IN

Sandra King is a resident of West Nashville who paints portraits of LLE

’S MAG

LLE

’S MAG

people and their pets.

y p p ha r u o h MI EL RESTAU RANT

in the bar and on the patio T U E S - F R I 5 - 6 : 3 0 ( R E M A R K A B L E $ 5 S N AC K S A N D D R I N K S ! ) & S AT - S U N 5 : 3 0 - 6 : 3 0 ( D R I N K S O N LY ) 3 4 3 5 3 R D AV E N U E N O R T H | M I E L R E S TA U R A N T . C O M

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

45


Barbershop Theater Collective Combines Community Vibe with Cutting-Edge Art

by

Brigid Murphy STEWART

photos courtesy of The Barbershop Theater, unless otherwise noted

46

372WN.com | June–July 2019


Q

uietly tucked between houses at 4003 Indiana Ave., The Barbershop Theater occupies the building once known as Billy’s Barbershop, a favorite neighborhood hangout. Billy’s was the spot where young and old alike came to get haircuts, weaves or shaves, to prepare for special occasions or just to gossip and talk politics. The barbershop was a local fixture. After Billy died, the barbershop closed and became the punk rock and DIY scene of DRKMTTR Collective until they moved on to another location. Then, in March 2018, the building changed hands and became a new and different kind of venue. Driving by its quiet exterior by day, you might not ever guess that the building is now home to

some of the most daring and inclusive live theater in Music City by night, blending the cutting-edge art scene with its former community hangout vibe. The Barbershop Theater was the shared dream of owners Graham Mote and his wife/partner Nettie Kraft. When they found the old barbershop, with its rich history in this West Nashville neighborhood, they knew they had found their ideal location. “When we bought the place, we wanted to give homage to our ancestors as a sign of respect,” Kraft said. Keeping the old theme alive, they named it “The Barbershop Theater” and hung the original, hand-painted “Billy’s Barbershop” sign prominently inside the theater. The theater doesn’t resemble other theaters around town. The

little white building looks deceptively small, but that is exactly what its owners were looking for—a more intimate space to offer dynamic theater experiences for Nashville. According to Kraft (who is also the artistic director of Verge Theater Company), The Barbershop Theater is similar to small neighborhood theaters in Chicago. “Historically, the community theater movement (under 100 seats) grew up during the Depression,” she said. “These small theaters are a point of pride and bring money into the community where neighbors can walk by and ask, ‘What’s playing this week?’” When Mote and Kraft first opened the theater, they offered the space to rent for theater rehearsals and shows on a contractual basis

Scenes from Razorglam photo credit: Brigid Murphy Stewart

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

47


but soon started to look for another way to organize. “We wanted to make it affordable to theater companies,” Mote said. But he and Kraft found that renting from week to week really cut into the time needed to put on great shows. They decided to form a Collective with other theater companies. This arrangement made it more economical for all and ensured more shows throughout the year. Currently the Collective consists of five local theater groups—Verge Theater, Garden Theatre Company, Woven Theatre Company, Razorglam Productions and Bonfire Collective—that offer a variety of shows. Most of the Collective companies put on one or two shows per year. Others, like Razorglam, offer shows more often, like The Factory’s burlesque shows on the last Saturday of each month. Some Collective members also offer acting classes, and Garden Theatre Company will hold “Techie: Design and Build Camps” this fall for kids and teens.

“We found companies we like and were like-minded,” Kraft said of the Collective members. “We offer freedom, but balance—nothing gratuitous, but there are a lot of scripts that can’t be done in some spaces because of content and this leaves Nashville behind in terms of conversations about what happens in society. “Our rule is ‘No Steel Magnolias and no Nazis,’” Kraft pointed out, meaning that dramatists should be courageous—taking risks, not producing the same old tried-andtrue scripts. “Try something new,” she encouraged. As far as the Nazi part of the rule, Kraft explained, “We want everyone to feel comfortable in our house. Anyone who was targeted by Nazis should feel at home here.” According to Jillian Frame, producing artistic director of Garden Theatre Company, “Going to see theatre not only entertains us through live storytelling, but also encourages us to reflect on ourselves and the world around

us. Theatre is an essential tool in helping us develop empathy and process situations we may not otherwise encounter in our own lives.” Frame defines the Collective philosophy as an “aim to lead Middle Tennessee in inclusive, equitable theatre experiences and opportunities while maintaining intolerance for hate and ignorance in every aspect of our organization, the communities we serve, and the world at large.” “Of course, villains and bad guys are welcome as characters,” Kraft said, laughing. “But it should be shown that it’s just not wise to be that way. You’re just not allowed to make the populace feel ‘less than’ without that being addressed.” Looking for space in Nashville that could work as a small theater was not easy, Mote said. He described how he and Kraft searched for 16–17 years and when the barbershop building became available, they jumped on it—especially happy that it was in West Nashville. Mote liked that West Nashville

Scenes from Woven Theatre Company’s: Uncanny (Left); Lungs (Above)

48

372WN.com | June–July 2019


Scenes from Woven Theatre Company’s: Truthdare (Above); Dakota and King (Right); Giant Squid (Below)

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

49


still had the old Nashville feel. And better yet, it had already shown itself to be open to the culture of theater-going. “The Dark Horse had really put their foot in the door and hung on,” Kraft said of the theater on Charlotte Avenue. But Dark Horse could still be too expensive, especially for budding artists to develop. Barbershop Theater offers a smaller venue with less overhead, making it more affordable not only for the players and producers of the shows but for the audience as well. “So many of the bigger venues have to bring in major productions and have conflated large production costs,” Kraft explained. “Small companies cannot afford to produce shows there.” Razorglam Production Director Kelsey Lane Dies, for instance, is able to put on fun and innovative burlesque shows along with her other productions. Having produced Off-Broadway shows in New York, she revels in the Barbershop Theater’s affordability and the free-

dom to create exciting new shows. “The space is similar to other black box theaters around,” she said. “But no other space is as flexible and accessible for small independent theater companies presenting live entertainment.” She also maintained that the Barbershop Theater has the best lighting of any other theater around. “It’s all LED lights, and it doesn’t get hot in here.” So the Collective seems to have found the theater perfect for their needs, and they enjoy their association with each other. “We are stronger together,” Kraft contended. The Barbershop Collective encourages new playwrights and talent. According to A.D. Timms of Woven Theatre Company, the theater gives new artists “opportunities to create IMAGE the art they feel passionate about.” Woven emphasizes LGBT and women’s stories, as well as

Scenes from a Razorglam burlesque show

50

372WN.com | June–July 2019

innovative original theater. Barbershop Theater’s variety of shows should appeal to many theater lovers. Frame encourages everyone to come see one. “An evening at the Barbershop is a solid MUST,” she insisted, also pointing out that it doesn’t cost much. Tickets are generally $15 and can be purchased on their website or at the door. Discounts are often available. The Garden Theatre Company, for instance, offers some discounts to those who receive SNAP, WIC or TANF benefits and some programs for homeless individuals in Nashville to make it even more accessible. The Collective members are very enthusiastic about the theater community and want the neighborhood to feel the theater belongs to them.

NO LONGER AVAILABLE


down . . . this old cinder block. We wanted to keep the name and the building as it is. “It’s perfect for us,” he continued. “And we want it to be a place where, like the barbershop, people come together to talk, tell stories and be a community.”

N

TO LEARN MORE The Barbershop Theater is in the process of planning their schedule for the summer and fall. Check www.thebarbershoptheater. com for upcoming shows, classes and workshops and for parking information! 2W

S

AZ

IN

N

’S MAG

2W

2W

LLE

37

37

VI

H

E

E

H

S

A

A

A

N

N

VI

N ZI

ST

ST H

WE

WE

N

A

S

E

N

37

ST

rehearsal for a play that was using the informal space. “It still looked like an empty barbershop then,” Dies said. “But I was like, ‘Wow! This is amazing! What are you going to do with it?’” Nettie responded, “We’re going to make it into a theater.” Today, the name and the building’s purpose may have changed, but the barbershop spirit remains the same. A hand-painted “The Barbershop Theater” sign graces the wall where the big plate-glass window was, welcoming neighbors to enjoy the space once again. Some might have wanted to raze it to build a more modern structure, but Mote countered, almost lovingly, “We’re not going to tear it

WE

Along with offering great entertainment, the theater also opens its doors for other services like Small World Yoga classes and as community meeting space. “Nettie and Graham are passionate about their community, the art happening in it, and empowering local theatre artists,” Frame said. That same passion inspired her and other members of the collective to join. “We wanted to be a part of that passion and help amplify it,” she continued, describing Garden Theatre’s interest in joining the Collective. “Being a Collective member not only provides us with an affordable venue for our shows and educational programming, but more opportunities to collaborate with fellow theatre professionals and develop stronger connections with our community. ”They [Mote and Kraft] are incredibly enthusiastic about expanding accessible, inclusive theatre experiences,” Frame said. “So, naturally, we jumped at the chance to work with them and the rest of the Collective members.” Dies remembers her first chance meeting with Kraft at the theater before it had been renovated to a theater. She and Kraft were at a

VI

AZ

IN

Brigid Murphy Stewart is a fifth-generaLLE

’S MAG

LLE

’S MAG

tion Nashvillian, writer and editor who always considers West Nashville her stomping grounds, regardless of where life takes her.

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

51


Bringing Together a Mosaic of Cultures in Music City

by Mary

Katherine ROOKER

photos courtesy of Celebrate Nashville Culture Festival

52

372WN.com | June–July 2019


June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

53


Growing up in rural Missouri, Cindy Politte knew there was a world full of cultures and

experiences beyond her small town of Old Mines. “There everyone looked exactly like me,” Politte

recalled. Reading about far-off places and people fueled her desire for global exploration.

“I was so hungry and thirsty for knowledge

and to meet other people. I was fascinated by stories. I dreamed of traveling the world.”

That curiosity serves Politte well in her role as executive director of the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival, which promotes and honors the city’s rich ethnic diversity. As Politte described it, “It’s like a party with a purpose.” Established nearly 25 years ago as the Celebration of Cultures, the event attracted 2,500 people to the campus of the Scarritt-Bennett Center. Today, the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival is presented by Metro Parks and Recreation and Celebrate Nashville Inc. Held annually on the first Saturday of October, the event now welcomes more than 50,000 people to Centennial Park. The surge in attendance reflects the city’s changing population. “When the festival started

54

372WN.com | June–July 2019

almost 25 years ago, 1 percent of the population in Nashville was foreign-born. A few years ago, it was 15 percent, and by 2040 there will be no major ethnicity,” Politte said.

Travel the World in One Place If you needed a passport to attend the festival, you would run out of room for stamps from all the countries you’d visit. “Once you make it to this event, it opens your eyes to how culturally rich Nashville really is,” Politte said. At least 50 countries or ethnicities are represented at the festival. “Different ethnic communities will have booths. They’ll have costumes or traditional dress. They may have music. They decide what they want to represent as far as their country’s cul-

ture,” Politte explained. A large map provides a snapshot of the festival’s diversity, as people can put dots on their countries of origin. “I hope people make the effort to come out because once you’re there, it’s an experience like you can’t have anywhere else in Nashville but truly represents everyone in Nashville,” said Politte. Organizers add something to the festival each year. This year, for example, they’re bringing back the “Parade of Cultures,” in which participants will march through the park carrying the flags of their countries. If you fancy yourself a dancer, you’ll get a chance to show off your skills. “We’re adding a dance instruction stage so that before some of the performances you can actually be taught some of the dance moves and then participate,” Politte said. The celebration is also a foodie’s dream. Politte said, in some instances, the festival is your exclusive introduction to a new cuisine. “There’s a Serbian church and this is their fundraiser, as well. This is the only time and the only place in Nashville ever that you can sample their Serbian food.” Of course, there’s music at the festival. While the familiar sounds of country, bluegrass and jazz will be represented, you’ll also experience music not often heard on


June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

55


56

372WN.com | June–July 2019


lower Broad. “Every time that I’m in Cincinnati or other places, when I tell people I’m from Nashville, they immediately say, ‘Oh, country music! Bluegrass!’ I say, ‘No, no, no. We are making some changes in the music scene. We are becoming more and more visible, the guys who are playing various kinds of music from various places,’” said Nermin Begovic, an accordion player from the former Yugoslavia who’s lived in Nashville for more than 20 years. Begovic has performed at the festival and credits the event with helping him grow his audience. He and his band perform at Shalimar, an Indian restaurant, every Saturday night. “The best response is when [festival attendees] show up at Shalimar in Green Hills or when they call me to play for their birthday party or private party,” Begovic said. In addition to musical performances, food vendors, and booths, there are also separate kids and teen areas. As popular as the festival is now, Politte hopes to make it even bigger. “The day it’s over is the day we begin the next year’s planning,” she said. Politte would like to add special programs throughout the year to highlight

various elements of the festival. For example, music from around the world may be the focus of one event. The smaller showcases would culminate with the annual festival in October.

A Better Understanding Throughout the history of the event, organizers have remained steadfast in their mission: to celebrate the unique faces and places that make up our city. “It’s that one day where you can get a sampling of everyone that lives here. This is a representation of Middle Tennessee and it’s a safe place. You can come ask questions. You can sample food. It depends on where you are in your journey, what you’re going to take away from your experience. Maybe you want to read more about a particular culture and there are maps and you want to speak with someone about their traditions. Or maybe you just want to try different food.

Maybe you just want your child to play with another child that doesn’t look like them,” Politte explained. The wonder of experiencing a world of different cultures in one place is sometimes overwhelming to Ngawang Losel, a frequent performer at the festival. “When you see the diversity and the different views of people, it’s just so beautiful. I’m just in awe,” he said. Losel fled Tibet at the age of 12. He plays the music of his native country and speaks to groups across the country, spreading a message of peace. “We, as human beings, we’re not that different. All the exteriors, the colors and looks

June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

57


and differences, are all minor. What brings us together is the common: we all have to go through death, sickness and all the struggles of being a human being. I try to remind people that we can build a society, a community where there’s no more need for war or weapons, no more need for fear,” Losel explained. As the city’s popularity and population continue to escalate at warp speed and people talk about “old Nashville versus new Nashville,” Politte hopes everyone will be more mindful to honor and respect the people, places and traditions that still remain. “I want people to support things we do have before they’re gone. The more people support the things existing right now, the more likely they will continue. This has city funding behind it. I don’t think a lot of people of realize

58

372WN.com | June–July 2019


Put It on Your Calendar The 2019 Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival will be at Centennial Park on Saturday, October 5th. Hours are 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. For more information, go to http://celebratenashville.org. The festival is free, but be sure to bring your wallet to sample all the delicious food! S

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

N

VI

2W

2W

H

37

37 IN

S

H

E

E

AZ

A

A

’S MAG

N

N

LLE

ST

VI

WE

N

A

ST H

E

N

37

ST

2W

WE

WE

S

Mary Katherine Rooker is an Emmy award-winning journalist. After nearly 20 years as a television news producer, the Murfreesboro native traded the TV screen for her laptop. An avid runner and sometimes triathlete, Mary Katherine lives in Green Hills with her husband. She's obsessed with her corgis, Phoebe & Fig, and cat, Sister Kitten (sung to the tune of 'Sister Christian').

N

that this is a gift to give back to the community so that we can understand, on a basic level, that we all are the same. This is something provided for us … it’s just an amazing, family-friendly day.” That gift is not lost on performers like Begovic. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share music from southeastern Europe . . . it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other people and other bands who share their culture, their music. To me, it means great experience creating new friendships with new people from various countries and learning about their culture,” Begovic said. For Politte, spreading a message of inclusion and understanding is the best gift she could hope for. “If one person leaves and has just a little different perspective, then we’ve done our job. Because that one person will tell another person and share their experience.”

VI

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

NEW NAME, NEW SERVICES, SAME EXCEPTIONAL CARE URGENT CARE • Same day treatment for illnesses and injuries • Colds, flu, allergies, nausea, pneumonia • Fractures and sprains with onsite x-ray • Cuts, lacerations and abrasions PRIMARY CARE • Annual physicals and well-woman exams • Diagnosis and management of chronic conditions SPORTS MEDICINE • Non-operative treatment of joint pain and sports injuries

URGENT CARE 7 DAYS A WEEK | 9 A.M. – 7 P.M. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY 6 7 4 6 C H A R L O T T E P I K E | 6 2 9 . 2 0 3 . 7 8 5 8 | C O M P L E T E H E A LT H PA R T N E R S . C O M (Located in front of the Nashville West Shopping Center by the log cabin) June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

59


WHO'S WHO for NASHVILLE MAYOR, continued from page 20

think that the voters need to make the decision as to whether they want a bike path or a sidewalk or do they want both. But that has to be made maybe neighborhood by neighborhood. I definitely would like to see more sidewalks, and I am aware that the allocation of resources has not been equal and so there are neglected parts of the city. To the extent that West Nashville and North Nashville, those neglected parts of the city, I would hope that we would do better than all of the previous administrations. COOPER: We need to make sure we’re getting full value out of our sidewalk-building program and to realize that sidewalks are a form of transportation, too. I live on a street in West Nashville that has a huge car count. We have no sidewalks, so we can’t use the street. I personally am profoundly aware of traffic and sidewalks, and we just can’t wait 50 years for sidewalks, we need to speed that up and part of that is an evaluation. Metro can’t even really tell you what we spend per linear foot of sidewalk or what we should be spending per linear foot of sidewalk or what’s the best price for doing that. Almost everybody who studied the issue has red-flagged it, and part of that, I believe, will be bringing more of that capability in-house at public works and not relying on a public-private partnership, which is not held to business metrics in delivering linear feet of sidewalk. It’s embedded contracts where you’ve got private employees working in departments but on a different pay scale, and that’s not really right. We know we’re going to be building sidewalks for the next generation, so let’s go do that as cheaply as possible in-house, and let’s not give up on government’s ability to get things done.

60

372WN.com | June–July 2019

Flooding persists, and therefore, so does the erosion of West Nashville. What will you do specifically to help our community combat flooding? Specific examples include Knob Hill, Morrow Road, and Urbandale areas. CLEMMONS: There are several things that we can do and we must do, and one of them is to address our infrastructure issues. Our storm water systems are in bad need of modernization and updated repairs. We have to be more responsible and conscientious when it comes to developing in our neighborhoods. And we need to do more to respect the waterways in this city. That means protecting buffer zones, flood plains, and making sure that developers are responsible about the impact they’re having on the environment. BRILEY: Well, that’s a consequence of development, partially at least, is some flooding. I’m going to say 15 years ago, although I could be wrong about the actual date, all of our storm water work was done in public works and it was dependent upon the general fund to fund it. Ten years ago, at least, maybe 15—we switched that over to the Water Department and started the storm water fee. So, every parcel owner has to now pay a storm water fee, and it’s based on the amount of impervious surface that you have on your lot. What we have seen over the last couple of years is that we’re starting to collect more and more money into the storm water fund as a result of that storm water fee. It should, in the next couple of years, allow us to spend more and more money on storm water problems. The storm water division ranks them A, B, C and D or A, B and C for sure. A are like a crisis that we’ve got to fix right now. C, for example,

is cleaning out ditches and doing more to repair culverts and such. In this coming year, we’ll be spending more on those C priorities than we ever have before. That will help us go back and start to address some of these storm water problems that have come with development. I think there’s also sort of a change to the landscape, so to speak, that is not associated with development—well maybe indirectly, but it’s more about climate change. Climate change is likely to result in more frequent, more intense rain events. So, we will probably have to do stuff that we’ve never thought of in order to address flooding. With that storm water fee, and then we started this program called Root Nashville where we’re going to plant half a million trees in the city between now and 2050 to get back to a 50 percent tree canopy. A tree planted is, per dollar, by far the most effective way to deal with storm water. I know the council, on top of that, is working on an amendment to the tree ordinance to go back and look at what developers are doing in terms of tree replacement and maintenance, and so we’ve got to work on that. Unfortunately, it’s not one of those things where there’s a single answer. It’s really about more investment in storm water infrastructure and maintenance. It’s about planting more trees. It’s about requiring developers to do more as they build. And I think those three things, and then making some specific strategic investments neighborhood by neighborhood to try and address some of the infrastructure issues, those are the things we’ll do. SWAIN: I’ll be very interested in learning what engineers have said needs to be done. Until I know what needs to be done, then I couldn’t answer that question. Clearly, if there are things the city can do and the city can afford, then they need to address it. If there are engi-


neering solutions that have been proposed and for whatever reason have been neglected, I would think that that would be something we would look at. But until we get some revenue and stop doing the deficit spending, it’s going to be hard to do the things that the city needs. I think that when you look at the choice before the voters, they can vote and reelect Mayor Briley and get more of the same, or they could vote for me and get someone that actually cares about the voters but also would look and see what the possibilities are for getting the sidewalks and for the engineering projects that would stop the flooding. I know that when a house gets flooded, just how devastating that is for the people that live there and for the neighborhood. So that needs to be addressed. To the extent that development is causing the flooding, because I have people that tell me that they’ve had flooding, that they’ve never had before, after development is built, then that might have something to do with retention ponds that they are building. It may be something that builders are not doing that they should be doing. We have a problem with building inspectors; we need more building inspectors and we need to make sure they’re not taking bribes as some had been reported to be doing. COOPER: Storm water is a huge need, and this is part of the consequences of growth that we have to get behind to do it. Now we have a major storm water set of improvements that were finally being made because of an increase in storm water fees that only recently happened. So, I’m hoping that these improvements will begin to facilitate that. But urban ecology, which is a fancy word, but that’s not nice to have, it’s have to have. Right? And for too long we’ve ignored the consequences of all this pavement and kind of put it on the back burner, and we can’t do that any-

more. If we have to adjust the storm water fee to get appropriate storm water remediation, then we’re going to have to do that. That’s also being aware of an environment—that’s the canopy, that’s urban ecology . . . The other thing is, the quality of our watersheds is much better and we should take a bow as a city on beginning to start to get that right. There was a time, not that long ago, where our creeks were just terrible, and now we recognize them as the asset that they must be. But equally that’s going to require storm water dollars to keep that flooding in check. 

Name a hidden talent or little-known fact about yourself. CLEMMONS: I play ice hockey, and I grew up on a farm in Lebanon. We stopped growing tobacco when I was about seven years old, thank goodness. Then we mostly just had several acres of corn, and we had Angus beef cattle until my grandfather got older (I grew up on my grandfather’s farm) and couldn’t mess with the cattle and I was busy in high school. So, we stopped raising beef cattle when I was probably a freshman in high school, and then we shifted to goats. We ultimately ended up raising South African Boar goats, which is a meat goat. My wife grew up in DC, and we met in New York City at school. One of her first trips to Tennessee after we started dating included her having to neuter goats. So that was an interesting experience [laughs]. BRILEY: I once worked the Wendy’s drive-thru on 21st Avenue South. SWAIN: I’m a budding artist. I wanted to be a commercial artist when I started college, and my advisor told me to be practical and it was not practical for me to think that I could support myself as an artist. Then I’m going to try to do some drawing. If you know the techniques of drawing, you can draw

anything. So, I’m a budding artist. COOPER: I once, you might find this hard to believe, was an amateur stand-up comedian in Atlanta. I graduated from a comedy-writing workshop and performed a set. My favorite hobby is drawing and oil painting. I’m a failed golfer, but I really love that too. I love McCabe Golf Links as much as anybody can. It’s a great neighborhood experience, and I’ve never shot par or anything close to it, but it’s a particular joy. We have an amazing set of municipal golf courses. I’m not sure we would be doing those today, but it’s a legacy that is fantastic. I also have four dogs, which is maybe more dogs than anybody should have. And my favorite thing and my best idea ever is about 10 years ago, or a little bit longer, I lost another beloved dog and I was trying to make up for that. An idea came to me to create a pet supply store where all the profits go to animal rescue. So, I found the manager and I found the space and the supplies and I inventoried

We’re looking for West Nashville’s wealthiest.

A benevolent heart yields true wealth, so we are looking for the people, businesses, and organizations who selflessly give to our community. Who are West Nashville’s unsung heroes? warmest hearts? compassionate souls? Maybe it’s the neighbor who mows everyone’s lawns or the business that takes groceries to seniors . . . we want to hear about those who are filling in gaps by caring for others. Send your nominations to

372WestNashville@gmail.com June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

61


the store. It’s volunteer-directed, and the volunteers that work there direct the profits to the animal rescue charities that they support. It’s a great model for annual consistent earnings to animal rescue. It’s called Happy ReTales and it’s probably the best idea I’ve ever had. If I weren’t running for mayor, I would probably try to roll that model out in other places, particularly to have shelters connected to a sustainable revenue model. On your campaign, what is the number one issue you’re asked about?

tell me that they don’t have the equipment that would be able to fight a modern fire in one of those buildings. They also say that they are supposed to be four men to a truck, that it takes four to fully operate the truck, and they’ve been running three men per truck. The city has grown enormously, but the number of fire stations has not.

CLEMMONS: Traffic. Hands down. Traffic and transportation will define my first term in office.

We know why you’re running— now tell us why you are the better choice.

BRILEY: It’s really a tie between many things. Everybody sort of talks about the same stuff: public education, public safety, pace of growth, traffic, affordable housing—those are the things I hear about the most. SWAIN: It depends on which group. Affordable housing is a big issue. With the police and the firefighters, a lot of people are concerned about crime. There are a lot of metro employees that feel like they need relief and they need someone to listen to them. Those are probably the two biggest issues. Everyone knows about the traffic and transit, so that doesn’t come up as much as the other two issues. Affordable housing is a big deal and concerns about crime. I’m spending a lot of time with police and firefighters, and they’re clearly hoping that I will be the mayor that will make a difference for them. I don’t know why they’ve been neglected for so long because I think it’s at a critical point. If we don’t address it now, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. If we have an emergency downtown with the high-rise buildings, the firefighters

62

372WN.com | June–July 2019

COOPER: It is education, transportation, housing, and cost of living. A lot of it is people expressing excitement about the future but concerned that we get it right and that we’re not leaving people out as we grow.

CLEMMONS: I’ve had proven success in a very difficult environment in the state legislature, and I will bring much-needed leadership to the mayor’s office that has been sorely lacking. We’ll restore much-needed stability to metro government and provide a vision for how to build a better Nashville, not just for my children but for all children. It’s time for a fresh start. BRILEY: I love being mayor because very few opportunities present where you can both work hard to take care of people and improve the quality of life for the city. I think over the last year I’ve proven that I have the compassion for folks in town, the commitment to get things done, and the even-keeled nature necessary in a big city growing like ours to keep us moving forward. I'm not going to criticize anybody else running. Running for mayor—I think everybody should want to serve. SWAIN: Because I care about people and I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it because I love America and I love Nashville and I want to make people’s lives better. 

COOPER: The financial stewardship, the financial model of this city, needs rebalancing. We’re outof-balance financially here in the period of our greatest growth. We’ve run out of money. We’re having a hard time affording teachers and pay raises. We have deficits. We’ve maxed out on the credit card. So, the city could use a financial manager particularly at this time. And also, we’ve had some trust issues. Who’s negotiating these deals? Who benefited from the deals? The transit plan is an example of, my gosh, we need transportation, but this plan wasn’t going to help us at all. So, the city needs trust that the person who is putting together these plans is doing it entirely for the people in mind and not a particular subsection of the county. And to get us to this great next chapter, that is what needs to happen. And I believe that I’ve got that background now in metro government—I don’t think you could do this without the last four years of really spending time with the budget and metro. I’ve been a developer for the last 25 years with a lot of big projects in mind. And before that I was a banker and a financial person. So, I think I have exactly the right skill set needed right now because you’ve got to restore trust, you’ve got to make sure people know that you are negotiating for the people first, and then we need a period of financial stewardship to get us to the next place. 

If you’re elected, how will Nashville have changed for the better by 2024? CLEMMONS: Nashville will have a plan and the residents of the city will know what that plan is. We’ll be executing a plan to address the biggest issues facing the city: education, transportation and affordable housing. We will have made progress by that time.


BRILEY: When I’m elected again, over the next four years, I think you’ll start to see significant improvement in the quality of public education in Nashville. You’ll see more people have a road to prosperity and a real chance of benefiting from the growing economy. And you’ll see conscious efforts to balance growth with our neighborhoods and the people who live in them, and I think that’s what people are looking for.

372W. . . ?

SWAIN: Well, I will do everything in my power to keep my promises. So, I don’t want to overpromise and I won’t actually know how bad things are until I’m there, but I would do everything I can to keep the promises I make. And that’s why I’m trying to be careful about what I say I’m going to do.

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

N

VI

2W

2W

H

WE

WE

N

A

S

E

N

37

ST

2W

WE

N

COOPER: We’ll have a transportation plan that’s out there working. We will be funding our schools better. I think, hopefully, we’ll be making investments in youth and in IT training. The greatness of any city is taking people from a $10 or $15 an hour job and getting it to a $25 or $30 an hour job. That’s what you need to do. We’ve spent a long time doing trickle-down economics where we subsidized buildings, and then we hoped the buildings trickle down benefits to people. Well, nobody believes that actually works. So, you have to do a people-first view, and then you have to get this next phase of development right. But waiting until 2024 for a transportation plan is too long, we will have one by then. It will not necessarily be as ambitious, but it will be measured by time to work and how many people we’re serving and making their lives better and not imposing some sort of other view other than serving the people who are here right now. AZ

IN

37

37

’S MAG

S

H

E

E

LLE

A

A

VI

N

N

H

ST

ST

Emily Tulloh is a copywriter who enjoys S

VI

LLE

’S MAG

AZ

IN

TIFFANY LANHAM Tiffany Lanham Pennington's on 51st 615.249.0863 www.penningtonson51st.com @penningtonson51st photo credit: Shannon LeBlanc Photography

Where is West Nashville? West Nashville is the beautifully progressive area of Nashville lovingly referred to The Nations.

What is West Nashville? West Nashville is a rapidly developing neighborhood filled with history and pride. The new developments and businesses are helping to spruce up the area and bring life back to older buildings and establishments. I proud to own a business in the middle of all the growth! Such an exciting time for the community.

WHERE is West Nashville? WHAT is West Nashville? Let us know at 372WestNashville@gmail.com and you might see yourself here in our next issue!

being the creative voice behind some of Nashville’s favorite businesses and brands. She has lived in Hillwood since 2010. June–July 2019 | 372WN.com

63


372Who kNew? Name: What’s your relationship to West Nashville? Favorite thing about our community? Favorite food? color? drink? dessert? hobby? If you could run any single company or organization in the world, which would you choose? Where will you be on Friday night? Dog or cat? Surf or turf? Dream occupation when you were five? What’s your superpower? What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? What excites you most about West Nashville?

64

372WN.com | June–July 2019


Modern facilities & unique options.

center with catering Specialize in cremations with • Reception • kitchen and private patio memorial services • Private on-site crematory • Special program for veterans • Serving all cemeteries

Call today for more information: 6962 Charlotte Pike Nashville, TN 37209

615-352-9400

CELEBRATE LIFE. REMEMBER FOREVER.™

Michael Illobre Funeral Home Manager


Profile for 372WN

372WN Vol III, Issue IV  

June–July 2019

372WN Vol III, Issue IV  

June–July 2019

Profile for 372wn
Advertisement