Last week’s cover story (“Shed Strategy”) created a false perception about the $8 million that Congressman Bob Clement, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, allocated under the 1998 Transportation and Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) for the landport/train shed.
To even suggest that officials from TDOT, MTA, MDHA, and Metro were “puzzled” because they did not know about the funds is incorrect. In fact, back issues of the Scene, Banner, and Tennessean all reveal stories regarding the landport/train shed [funds] allocation dating back to 1998. At least one of these stories includes a quote from a Metro official about the formation of this “unique public-private partnership.”
No one knew about the allocation? In reality, everyone knew about the allocation. Beyond the print and media stories circulated throughout Middle Tennessee, local officials initially brought the request to Clement nearly three years ago, submitting an original design plan to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.
Congressman Clement would’ve happily shared this information with author Christine Kreyling or anyone from the Sceneif they had taken the time to ask. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone but Clement was contacted about the story, which resulted in a gross distortion of facts.
Maybe next time the Scene will check its archives or make a simple phone call before offering broad, inaccurate conclusions to readers as “fact.” One could only hope.
Christi Ray, press secretary for Congressman Bob Clement
336 U.S. Courthouse (Nashville)
It's the Fabricator
After reading of the upcoming name change for one of our local state parks (The Fabricator, Dec. 7), I’m grateful I purchased my Radnor Lake license plate this year. I can’t imagine the laughs it would afford other drivers (including those in my own state) to see “Dollar General Lake” on a Tennessee tag. I can’t imagine [the park] attracting those who are not already familiar with what a truly peaceful respite it is based on the new name. Hey, maybe Wal-Mart can buy the Parthenon and finish it up. Imagine what an attraction that new name would be!
Who's the turkey?
In the spirit of the Scene’s newly minted “Turkey Awards” (Political Notes, Nov. 23), I’d like to nominate Liz Garrigan for the first annual Katherine Harris Ambassador’s Award for her apparent lack of concern with problems in Tennessee’s voting process in the recent election.
As an acknowledged Bush voter, it seems fitting that Ms. Garrigan would pooh-pooh the importance of a flawless voting process. It was the GOP originally that fought against such voting reforms as Motor Voter and early voting. I’m sure Ms. Harris in Florida also downplayed the significance of Florida’s voting problems before the election. Simply because races across Tennessee weren’t as close as they were in Florida doesn’t mean we have a system that shouldn’t be scrutinized, as Tennessee Citizen Action and others have been doing.
Several state senators and representatives agree that had Tennessee’s vote been as close as Florida’s, a number of serious problems would make certifying the results here difficultfrom the hundreds [of voters] who had trouble with their Motor Voter registrations to the punch card [balloting] systems still used in 22 counties. The fact of the matter was that election officials largely did the best they could dealing with increased turnout, particularly in Davidson County. [Nonetheless,] our system needs improvement.
Perhaps Ms. Garrigan doesn’t remember the state House race several years ago that was won by 12 votes. Or the city Council race decided by one vote. Until every [eligible] voter can vote and every vote counts, I hope that more people will stand up for a better democracyeven if that means taking their Turkey Awards from the Scene.
Erik Cole, executive director, Tennessee Citizen Action
2130A Sharondale Dr. (Nashville)
When I was younger, the president of the United States came to town. I got to see him ride by in a parade. That day was wonderful. The excitement and patriotic feeling I had was almost overwhelming. Sadly, today that feeling is only a memory. I think we have made great strides in news reporting, but I sometimes wonder if we need to know all these dirty little details about our leaders.
History proves our leaders have made mistakes for thousands of years. We must remember these people are only human, and I know no perfect human. We all make mistakes. Let us try to sort through the dirty little details and weigh the good against the bad. But, let us consider recent events. We must not allow wrongdoings or questionable practices with regard to the people’s vote to go unchallenged. I hope and pray that no matter who is seated in the White House, the investigations, legal challenges, and media stories do not stop until this disgrace of our system is corrected and resolved. Maybe someday soon we can all meet at the parade and stand together with that great patriotic feeling in our hearts again. Hope to see you there!
James E. Smith
firstname.lastname@example.org. (Old Hickory)
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