Legislation that reduces Nashville's minimum vehicle-for-hire fee and would open the door for the app-based services like Uber to be used in the city is headed for final approval in the new year.
The Metro Council approved the bill on second reading Tuesday night and will take a final vote at its Jan. 7 meeting.
Uber, which rolled out its cheaper ride-sharing service in Nashville last week, is an increasingly popular service in cities nationwide, which allows people to order black-car service by using a smartphone app.
At-Large Councilman Ronnie Steine, who's sponsoring the bill, said he believes the council was "acting in good faith" when it passed regulations four years ago that included the $45 minimum fee for limousine and black-car services.
"We have now had time and experience to realize that that number is too high," he said.
A recent article in the Tennessean describes East Nashville developers March Egerton and Dan Heller as bemoaning “the tough land use restrictions” standing like an iron rampart across the path of progress in East Nashville. In Egerton’s case, it’s actually “re-moaning,” since he’s complained for years about the straitjacket on developer freedom imposed by the Metro Development and Housing Agency’s (MDHA) Five Points redevelopment district. The pair wants the redevelopment district eliminated. They say the purpose was to eliminate blight, and that blight has gone away.
Councilman Peter Westerholm, who represents the area containing the redevelopment district, says he “could support” its removal. “I want to figure out a way to help a good project without unforeseen consequences,” he says. By way of explanation, he points out that Metro Planning “is trying to double density in Nashville.” Westerholm says he’s “concerned about a handful of other properties” likely for redevelopment, but is vague as to particulars.
Egerton and Heller’s grievance centers on the former Fluffo mattress building at 901 Woodland St., which the pair proposes to redevelop as a mixed-use complement to what they’ve done with the other Fluffo buildings on Main Street. Those buildings house emporiums serving up craft beers, barbecue and hot yoga. Egerton has also had issues with MDHA over a vacant lot he owns and wants to develop at the corner of N. 11th St. and Forrest Ave. next to the old foursquare house that’s currently home to Pizzereal.
Unfortunately, statements the developers made to the Tennessean exhibit the very “murkiness” that Egerton decries about the redevelopment district. He and Heller have failed to respond to repeated emails and calls from the Scene requesting elucidation on their specific problems with MDHA’s rules.
Memphis has discovered that we're trying to build a National Museum of African American Music here in Nashville and they are laughing at us:
Is Nashville a strange place for a National Museum of African American Music? Well, let's be honest. It's a little counter-intuitive. Memphis, New Orleans, Detroit, hell, even Kansas City, all spring to mind long before Nashville. But, I'm with Beecher Hicks, the CEO of the endeavor. From the Nashville Business Journal story that the rest of Tennessee is laughing at:
For Hicks, Nashville is the obvious choice for the museum, given the city's long history with African-American music, ranging from the Fisk Jubilee singers to Jefferson Street labels to modern day gospel. But there is also an opportunity for Nashville to expand its Music City brand with the museum, he said.
Okay, maybe I wouldn't go as far a "the obvious choice," but I'm think we're for sure an appropriate choice. After all, a song slaves were singing here in Nashville in the 1850s, was on the album that won the Album of the Year Grammy in 2000 ("Down in the River to Pray" on the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack). I don't think many other places can argue that kind of prescient taste. Are you singing a song now that's going to win a Grammy in 160 years? I don't think so.
Which leads into my next point — the line between country music and African American music has always been drawn by record company catalog, not by how people actually listen to music. When Ray Charles recorded Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, he wasn't recording songs he'd never heard before. He recorded songs he knew and loved.
The first link is a favorite and a great example of how narrative storytelling can work on a medium as choppy as Twitter. Plus, we're suckers for a happy ending and it's got a great one. Just read it.
From Billy Baker: A story on Twitter about a reporter, two boys and a happy ending
From Al Jazeera English: Expensive cities are killing creativity
Even though a Tea Party challenge to his reelection next year has transformed Sen. Lamar Alexander from reasonable moderate into raving right-winger, he showed today he has managed to retain some slight grasp on his sanity.
He voted to overcome a Republican filibuster to clear the way for a final vote on the federal budget deal. He was the only Republican senator who faces a primary challenge to vote with Democrats for cloture.
But then in a doubtlessly futile attempt to make it up to the Tea Party, he decided to vote no on the budget agreement itself and went to the Senate floor to explain why. In the process, he started blathering about how much he hates wind power, neglecting to mention as usual that he owns property on Nantucket near an unsightly wind power farm.
Update: Joe Carr slams Alexander for voting yes before he voted no.
Nashville's own Jonathan Martin reports for Al Jazeera America on female prisoners at the Tennessee Prison for Women earning degrees through Lipscomb University.
In a speech to a Chamber of Commerce crowd yesterday, the mayor stuck to veiled threats but he couldn’t have been any clearer if he had said it out loud. Unless these uppity board members knuckle under to his demands on charter schools, they can’t expect much cooperation out of Dean when it comes to funding their next budget.
“No department gets a blank check and that includes schools,” he said, as if our perpetually money-starved school system has been on some kind of wild spending spree lately.
Saying arrogantly “let me point out some facts,” Dean claimed charter schools actually aren’t sapping the system of cash — at least no more so than magnet schools. That’s an argument against more magnets, not for more charters — and unlike charters, no one is trying to start a magnet school on every street corner in the city.
The school board isn’t banning charters anyway, merely directing them to Antioch where they can alleviate crowding in existing schools. But the mayor is fed up with this sensible, fiscally conservative approach. How many wealthy businesspeople live in Antioch? Dean wants charters everywhere, but most especially for his rich friends in West Nashville, and he won’t stop until he gets his way.
Let's be honest. Writing about Tennessee Democrats is mostly alternately boring and depressing. Like when you realize you could take all the Democrats in the State legislature out for pizza and it would only set you back twenty dollars. The only bright spot is Mike Turner.
You can count on Mike Turner to liven things up. (Though I realize that this means I've been kind of unfair to Will Pinkston over the years. He, too, can be counted on to make any occasion less boring and yet, in Pinkston, I find it appalling and in Turner I find it awesome.) He is a character.
So, I was bummed when he said he was quitting as chair of the state House Democratic Caucus. It's bad enough that the Democrats are so marginalized, but to be marginalized and not have their loudest voice? But, on Monday, he announced that he's un-quitting.
From the Times-Free Press:
"I've talked to my members and unanimously they've said, 'What were you thinking?'" Turner said last week. "You know me. I tend to shoot from the hip sometimes."
Turner said he was "extremely frustrated at the time with what was going on. But since then I've talked to Roy and Roy's doing the best that he can. And he's going to do what he does, and I'm going to do what I do and we're moving on."
That's good news. But I admit, I'm not convinced that the tension between Turner and Herron is resolved. "Do you and I'll do me" is a good lyric, but not the basis for a healthy working relationship.
We've got R. Kelly and the NSA on the brain today ...
From Village Voice: Read the "Stomach-Churning" Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly in Full
From Radio.Com: And R. Kelly's sort-of response. [Editor's note: Worst use of a football metaphor ever?]
On Friday, an office party from a Franklin television shopping channel was celebrating Christmas at the restaurant and ran afoul of Morton's dress code when one of the group put a hat on after dessert. The hat-wearer in question — Robert Chambers, better known as the host of The Coin Vault for the last 25 years — was cold, a side-effect of chemotherapy.
"We're almost done with dinner," Chambers told the Scene. "The chemo I had last gives me a cold sensitivity at the end of the day. It doesn't matter what I've done, there's a certain point. So I'm sitting there at the table, freezing and I put my toboggan on. We're two or three minutes away from walking out and the manager comes up behind me and says, 'Would you please take that off in the dining room.' I said, 'Sure.' "
But other members of Chambers' party were less willing to let the slight go.
Memphis is the obvious choice, starting with being the capital of the Delta. Which, I…
The manager should be blamed entirely.
By the way, Cincinnati is learing a $44 million per year lesson about public financing…
I actually passed out while reading this long piece. Every time I try to become…
Isn't Memphis where white musicians stole black music, to make it more palatable for white…