One of them is a 43-year-old former comic, former radio disc jockey, former television producer, newspaper columnist and corporate spokesman whose concern as an at-large council member of late has been whether strippers should be allowed, as they once were, to give lap dances while completely unclothed. “I love naked chicks,” he explains during a phone call from Nantucket, where he’s vacationing this week.
The other is a former mayoral aide, former fire chief, former teacher, former Bible instructor, football coach and school president who some say is too morally rigid to be Nashville’s next mayor.
Yet when it comes to Decision ’07, Adam Dread, who’s introduced himself as a “man of leisure” for the better part of a decade, has a weakness for fellow at-large Metro Council member Buck Dozier, a Church of Christ patrician who counts reading theological literature among his favorite pastimes.
A match made in heaven? Probably not. But Dread says it was born out of loyalty. “When I was first running for office, Buck Dozier was the fire chief in 1999,” Dread recalls. “Buck took two hours, took more time than any other department head, to answer questions. I will never forget that.”
Dread says his support of Dozier—apparently Dozier’s first public commitment from a fellow council member to date—isn’t as odd as it might seem. They both point to business and public safety as key issues. “Buck really gets it when it comes to tourism,” Dread says.
As for Dozier, he seems unfazed that one of his most vocal supporters is in favor of making Nashville’s adult entertainment more wide open—along the lines of Atlanta or Tampa. “I’ve been around a long time,” Dozier says. “People know what stances I take on certain things. Adam and I might not agree all the time, but we’ll agree on business issues and things like that. I’m sure the public is astute enough to know that men disagree on some things but come together on others.”
Dread says his endorsement of Dozier is unconditional. He won’t defect if District Attorney Torry Johnson or a darkhorse candidate were to emerge. “Nothing against Torry,” says Dread, who now practices law, “but he’s getting in a little late. A lot of people have already made commitments.”
If most of those people are sympathetic to the city’s strippers, it could be Dozier in a landslide.
For many weeks, Metro Council member Michael Craddock’s colleagues have suspected that he has been posting pro-conservative, anti-liberal messages on a blog called “Word on the Street,” which proposes to enlighten Davidson County taxpayers on the inner workings of the Metro Council, ostensibly “to expose those that need to be exposed,” according to the blog ( www.nashvillepolitical.blogspot.com
The posts, written by someone calling himself “The Insider,” primarily target union and school officials—two well-known conservative fetishes. The author seems to prefer Kay Brooks for the open District 5 school board office and dislike her opponent, Gracie Porter. Craddock nominated Brooks for an interim position on the school board, much to the dissatisfaction of many Metro school board observers. (Craddock nominee Brooks won the seat narrowly—by a single vote.)
In a response to a May 17 post eulogizing conservatives, an anonymous blogger wrote, “Craddock—we all know this is your site.” The comment pretty much shut down activity on “Word on the Street” for three weeks. The anonymous blogger was himself a Metro Council member, who asked not to be identified in this column, reinforcing the clubhouse secrecy of the cyber talk. Nobody, it seems, wants to be connected to the site.
Especially not Craddock, a residential real estate agent who graduated from Metro schools more than 30 years ago. He denies even navigating to the site, much less posting to it. “I don’t have time to do that,” he says. “Somebody asked if it was me. I haven’t even been to the site yet.” Craddock says he remembers blogging only once on the Web, at a site called Enclave (
). Other than that, he’s been blog-free, he says.
Unfortunately for Craddock, longtime council watcher Catherine McTamaney, a supporter of Gracie Porter’s, has arrived at the exact opposite conclusion after analyzing the blog and Craddock’s writing samples. McTamaney, who has a doctorate in leadership and policy organization (and some extra time on her hands), specializes in determining how people define themselves inside the corporate world, both orally and with the written word. As a university lecturer, she’s also well versed in analyzing student papers for voice to ensure plagiarism is kept to a minimum.
McTamaney analyzed Craddock’s writing on the blog and what has been attributed to him in his official capacity as a council member. She says the blogger is either Craddock or someone so adept at imitating his writing style that they have included the same grammatical and spelling errors he commonly makes. In other words, “It’s either Michael Craddock or it’s Michael Craddock,” she says, leaving no room for error.
For example, in a June 10 email to the council, Craddock asks rhetorically if anyone “wanders
why the school board is in such a mess.” Wander
, of course, should be “wonder,” a mistake The Insider makes so often it’s easy to lose count. In a June 10 rant about school board member Ed Kindall, The Insider says, again, “No wander
our schools are in such a state of disrepair.” Interestingly enough, after McTamaney distributed a chart of the similarities between Craddock and The Insider, somebody changed the “wander”s in the June 8 “Word on the Street” post about a newspaper column dedicated to Gracie Porter. (But some of the other posts still contain misuses of the word.)
Craddock and The Insider also share a fascination with idioms like “evidently,” “thereof” and “to the tune of” (as in “to the tune of $395”)—not to mention an obsession with former Metro Council member Ronnie Steine, taxpayer-paid cell phones and Metro schools.
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say that McTamaney is correct and that Craddock is The Insider. Why should we care? “Because,” McTamaney explains, “it raises the issue why he isn’t being more forthcoming. He has the platform. He supposedly has the support of his constituents. Yet he’s trying to manipulate the playing field. He’s undermining the ability of council members and what their work on the council should be. He makes the process messier and more complicated. People get all stirred up by this online crap so we don’t know what effective policymaking in Nashville might look like.”
Hmmm, sounds convincing. Wander
if Craddock is reading….