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This might take a second to parse. So please bear with me.
May Town is dead. Again. Or, for now. Whatever. More accurately, the debate over May Town has been temporarily set aside, most likely to be revisited in the near future.
When May Town was
at the locus of Nashville politics, however, the city's most visible leader was, at best, implicitly against the $4 billion dollar development or, at worst, dubiously neutral on the issue of whether or not to build a second downtown out of whole cloth.
Bruce Barry made the case
that the Mayor's proxy vote in the Planning Commission might have betrayed his own feelings towards May Town. And, when faced with direct Are you for or against it?
questions, Dean did at least accent his side steps with a clumsy soft shoe about how Nashville needed to continue its focus on building downtown.
But did he ever come out and say how he stood, one way or the other? No, he didn't.
That we don't know. But what we do know is this: Mere weeks after May Town took its place on the political back burner, Dean is set to become the recipient of some very large checks provided to him both indirectly and not by the same people who, one could argue, he took extra care not to piss off...
On July 22nd, Dean will be attending a fundraiser sponsored by Joe Hall of Hall Strategies, the lobbyist who made unsuccessful attempts to stymie Aunt B and her wall-to-wall coverage of dead Indians in Bells Bend. A couple weeks later (I'll confirm when exactly when I get the confirmation from Dean's fundraiser), he'll be playing the same featured role at another fundraiser, this one for fellow May Town lobbyists Waller Lansden.
OK. So first lets dispense with any illogical outrage that might distract from the real point.
Politicians need money. Even politicians two years away from an election with no known opposition at this point. What Dean is doing has precedent both among Nashville mayors and mayors of probably every major city in America. Glad-handing. Back-slapping. Check-writing. Nothing to get too pissed off about.
worth getting pissed off about is this: What did Dean have to lose by actually stating his real opinion on May Town? What if, instead of proxy votes and ambiguous quotes, we actually had some hard-and-fast unequivocals. Like Jesus Christ, this is a stupid idea!
Or, in the interest of political palatability, At this time, I regret to announce that, much as I appreciate the grand vision of its creators and the passion with which they've pursued their dream of a sweet office park in Bells Bend, I can not give my approval to May Town.
Would anyone at these upcoming fundraisers have hesitated for a second when it came time to pull out their check books? Of course not! Because Dean is still the Mayor -- for the next two years, and likely more. And May Town, despite being quite the golden goose, is not the only interest that Joe Hall or Waller Lansden are paid to support.
I guess this is just an attempt to understand what exactly would have been lost if Dean had shifted out of neutral. Because in the narrow, largely naive confines of this little mind, it'd seem Dean would be much better off, both with the public and the lobbyists (who need an occasional reminder that they still answer to a boss), if he exhibited some political backbone.