Doesn't add up< I enjoyed your convention center article ("Nashville's big bet on the dying convention business," April 23). I am so tired of this convention center boosterism for a project that is financially irresponsible. In the past few months, many projects have fallen through. Signature Tower, West End Summit, the Sounds SBER Project, Griffin Plaza, The Lionstone Project, The Eakin Twin Tower Development, Encore Phase Two—not to mention a dozen others. What is the city thinking? Murfreesboro just completed a 100,000-square-foot convention center, thus taking business away from Nashville.
Nashville is just too small. We only have 600,000 in the county and 1.5 million in the metro area. If these boosters think tourist taxes are going to pay for this, think again. Taxpayers will be building this, and eventually this will be a general obligation bond that the citizens will have to vote on, and those voting against will be made to be pariahs like those who voted against the Titans' stadium that we are still paying for 10 years later.
I spent seven years in the hotel business, and tourists are not eating breakfast in fine establishments; they asked me where McDonald's is. Many tourists coming here for country music are frankly poor, and they save up all year to come here. Their pockets are just too lean to buy Nashville a $1 billion convention center.
No more empty boxes I wrote a note to the mayor earlier this week regarding my concerns about the convention center and had several exchanges with Paul Ney before reading the Scene article this afternoon. How serendipitous. My gut was clear, but I didn't have the research to point to until I read the article.
It was not a feeling of vindication that came over me—quite the contrary. As I read, I became increasingly nauseous.
At this critical hour, when resources are so tenuous and the needs of Nashville's residents so great, a big-buck gamble to draw in visitors seems so very senseless. The gist of my argument had to do with the number of empty spaces in unsold downtown condos and vacant storefronts. All we need is one more empty big-box to turn downtown from a vibrant, naturally building community center into a ghost town. Kudos to Caleb Hannan for his well-researched and -reasoned article. We need more like this and like him.
Help from the other side
I had some friends ask me if I wanted to go to the "tea party," and I said no ("The crazies come out on Legislative Plaza," April 23). They know I am more conservative than most, but I just wouldn't have anything to do with it, and here is why:
First off, it's a stupid symbol of our discontent. We have representation; they just aren't in the majority, so we don't get what we want. Tea bags then become a bad metaphor.
Secondly, there was no real theme; it was a crowd that had no guiding "thing" that anyone could hang their hat on. They just weren't happy.
There is a large group of people here in America who do not like how Congress is handling the economic mess that Congress and irresponsible businesses have gotten us into. Notice I said Congress, and not liberals or Democrats.
GM wants the money but won't change its business model. The unions want the auto industry to keep going, but the tick is larger than the dog. Everyone wants change, but nobody wants to change. Some people shouldn't buy a home or the fancier car.
So what do we do? How are we going to pay for the stimulus? I don't want government running a huge chunk of private industry, and I don't want business running the government either. This is what is on our plate right now. And we have a huge disagreement on how to handle it. Welcome to America.
Yes, the tea parties looked stupid, but how can this group of people who have a very different idea of what they want the country to do voice that opinion and not get eviscerated in the press? To all of you liberal protesters who seem to be good at it, how can we conservatives throw a good protest? How should we voice our common discontent with Congress, seriously greedy businesses and special interests throwing tea bags at us? We have just as much of a right to try to shape our government's policy as everybody else. Should we find our own Sol Alinsky? Form our own ACORN? What?
It's going to be a long four years, and I don't want us to keep looking stupid. Help us out here.
Stick to your guns
Regarding your snarky title to my letter last week, "Mean streets of the 'Vue" (Love/Hate Mail, April 23), you and your readers should know that Forbes just ranked Nashville as America's ninth-most-dangerous city, and Memphis, just a few hours' drive away, was number two (just behind Detroit). I suppose the Scene's snarky anti-gun slant is of the same naïvety that allows the young, too-hip-for-the-rest-of-us liberal crowd to settle into trendy, gentrified enclaves only to ultimately be held up at gunpoint or be slaughtered in their cars because they're SURE that Nashville ISN'T a "mean streets" kind of place. Or perhaps it's just that the editors of the Nashville Scene don't have as much time for local and national headlines while so busy selling advertising to all the hot new restaurants and bars? Hey—whatever keeps your doors open, right?
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