Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dear Councilman Glover

TL; DR: Councilman Steve Glover is threatening to withhold $28million for improvement projects for southeast Nashville if the plan that he supports to relocate the downtown jail is not passed by city council. Below is the letter that I wrote to him. He can be reached at steve.glover@nashville.gov if you are interested in contacting him.

Mr. Glover,

After reading the analysis of your plan for the relocation of the jail, I must let you know that I, as a resident, relatively new homeowner, and taxpayer of southeast Nashville, am very disappointed on a number of fronts. As an elected official, you work for the people that elected you. You do your best to serve the interests of the city at large at not just a part of it which is what you are doing here: namely the downtown area. You claim that the city would benefit greatly from the sale of the property of the current jail in downtown through not only the influx of cash from the sale itself but tax dollars as a long-term result. If the city were in dire straits financially, I might be inclined to agree. But the recent explosion of new buildings (both public and private) indicates otherwise.

You're still entitled to your opinion of where the jail should be (relocated or not) just as everyone else is. Your cavalier attitude toward not understanding "what all the ruckus is because there's already jails out here," is a shame. Just because a necessary evil already exists doesn't mean that it should be compounded. What grinds my gears, though, you threatening to block "funding for a new Cane Ridge Elementary School, a new community center in the Smith Springs area, a new Head Start facility and upgrades to Una Recreation park." (according to The Tennessean) if the plan to relocate the jail fails. You're threatening current residents by withholding a well-deserved community center. You're threatening current residents by withholding well-deserved upgrades to Una Rec Park. But more importantly than those, you're threatening children who certainly could benefit from a new Head Start facility and elementary school. If you were to ask anyone who lives in this community what they would rather invest in, I would wager that most of them would side with education and recreation as opposed to a correctional facility that would only seek to benefit future tax revenues of Downtown.

Southeast Nashville is a growing and rapidly developing area in our town. There's an awful lot to offer here: excellent food that, thankfully, the culinary country at large hasn't found out about yet; homes for those of us, like myself, who recently bought their first house can afford (all those new private 'tall-and-skinny' homes that are popping up in East Nashville just look terrible and cost way too much money); improving recreational options (my dog loves the new William Pitts dog park that's just a few miles away); and a whole host of other things.

You said it yourself: "At the risk of sounding rude, I don't see where it's going to hurt anything." Your shortsightedness into investing into the community in the interest of tax dollars makes you sound smug, arrogant, and totally unconcerned with the thousands of people who live and work in this part of town. And I don't care in the least if that makes me sound rude.

I'd suggest taking a long hard look at your plan and re-evaluate where your priorities lie, Mr. Glover, and maybe take a visit to the southeast side sometime. You'll find out that we've got lots of good things going on here and would like lots more to happen in the future. You're in a unique position to help make that happen and I hope that you leverage that opportunity.