As a big fan of The Fabricator, I got a kick out of your Dec. 25 piece on Nashvillian of the Year Colleen Conway-Welch, a thoughtful, compassionate community leader who isget thisa diehard Republican! I guess sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
Regarding your Dec. 25 editorial (“One Messed-Up Place”), I must concur. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department is troubled, but not hopelessly so. The perpetual crisis is not one of collective unprofessionalism on behalf of the officers. Excepting the obvious and notorious actions of certain individuals, the majority of officers are exactly the sort you want policing your city. By far, they are conscientious, well trained, and willing to assume the inherent risks of this socially redeeming occupation. The crisis you refer to as “business as usual” is one of leadership.
I readily acknowledge that those who have invested their professional lives in the department should be given special consideration in the search for a chief. This deference, however, should not be at the expense of the mission. The selection committee clearly understood this. What most citizens do not realize is that once the rank of captain and above is attained, one becomes more of a politician than a cop. Polls mean more than policy, and policy is accordingly vague. Any wonder why morale is low in the ranks?
The three local candidates rose through the ranks when a $5,000 “contribution” to the mayor’s reelection fund got you promoted. Patronage and low-grade blackmail were the only way to receive choice assignments. Initiative was rarely encouraged because it might expose others for what they were. Being a rolling billboard for the law enforcement dog and pony show was all that was expected. As a ranking member of the department once told me, “Remember, nobody has ever been disciplined for doing nothing.”
Can anyone believe that those who built their careers in this environment are free from the consequences of it? Certainly the acting chief (and her predecessor) had the time and authority to exercise true leadership and failed. The current top brass are enamored with “community policing strategy” and “commitment to diversity” but incapable of effectively implementing either. The records of findings, court decisions and the selection committee speak volumes.
The new chief may radically change things to the point of alienating the rank and file and thus rendering himself ineffective. He may also implement changes that a community and officer could only hope for until now. Rolling the dice on someone other than our local candidates was a chance well worth taking.
M. E. Agee
Regarding “The Year in Everything” feature in the Dec. 18 issue: Hello! Does anyone, like, rock at the Scene? Does anyone ever go to rock shows? Fourteen different writers, and not one mention of a live rock performance. There were some great rock shows in Nashville this year, but you wouldn’t know it, judging from your critics’ survey. Oh sure, you can read about alternative country, classical, jazz, even beard-stroking improv, but rock? Heaven forbid.
Your editorial on Israel (“What I Did on My Summer Vacation, in November, in Israel,” Nov. 27) brought mixed feelings. On one hand, I was impressed by your chutzpah in tackling such a complex issue in the span of one page. But I was disappointed by your flatly incorrect assertion that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are the three largest faiths in the world. As other readers have no doubt already alerted you, Judaism is demographically marginal. A quick trip to Google confirmed that there are many more Buddhists and vastly more Hindus living today than have ever called themselves Jews, and that Sikhs presently outnumber Jews 5 to 4. Three larger religions can be found without leaving the other great source of spiritual thought in the world, India.
We inadvertently omitted several local establishments from our Annual Manual listings last week: Ideaprov (www.ideaprov.com) should have been listed among local theater companies; the Artful Dog (269-6920) should have been listed under galleries; and the Mercy Lounge (www.mercylounge.com) and The Five Spot (650-9333) should have been listed in our entertainment and club section. Also, state Sen. Jim Bryson represents not just Williamson County, but part of Davidson County too. Our apologies for these oversights.
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