Time to respect District 1

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Time and time again, decisions have been made by others that have proven detrimental and unfavorable for District 1 in Metropolitan Nashville. It is no secret that District 1 (including North Nashville and Bordeaux) has been the dumping ground for anything other districts didn’t want. Those complicit in the exploitation of District 1, include: the Metro Council, mayors, and elected officials who didn’t provide the constituents the transparency needed to know discretionary decisions affecting the district.

In fact, it has been alleged that a recent decision was made affecting District 1 without conferring with the elected official representing this district, Jonathan Hall, until days before the announcement was made public. Councilman Hall alleges he was not consulted about the planned acquisition of two parcels of land in the Bell Bend’s area, totaling 789 acres and costing approximately $9.3 million. The tract was to be purchased by Metro Parks using the greenway acquisition funds to provide green space. The transaction was proposed only days before it was presented to the public. What a gross display of disrespect and possible malfeasance on the part of the establishment.

Whether the idea was good or bad, you would have thought that the mayor would have had the decency to confer with Councilman Jonathan Hall so he could present it to the constituents of District 1 and get their feedback. Hall has been diligent and consistent in keeping District 1 informed with prospective changes being considered in District 1, offering constituents meetings with developers and investors interested in projects in the district to get the residents’ feedback.

Councilman Hall alleges he was only made aware of the decision of the proposed purchase days before it was made known to the public.

Make no mistake, the decision to exclude and overlook Councilman Hall’s involvement in such a vital decision affecting District 1 is inexcusable and totally disrespectful. The way it was done was insulting to Councilman Hall and to the constituents in District 1.

But judging from years of overlooking the concerns and feelings of these constituents, maybe this was seen as acceptable behavior by the governing establishment. How could those who live in District 1 feel otherwise? They seem to get what other districts don’t want such as dumps, lockdown facilities and excessive subsidized living facilities devaluing the property value of existing residents. Then to add insult to injury, developers and investors use the lack of disposable income (as a result of concentrated excessive poverty in our district) as a reason to keep from introducing or providing certain commodities to the district, e.g., a commendable sit-down restaurant such as a Chili’s, O’Charley’s or Applebee’s. When you look at the booming development occurring all over Nashville, why is District 1 (North Nashville and Bordeaux particularly) the last to warrant any consideration? Is it perhaps because there is no other area left to consider?

This blatant and obvious display of disrespect and devaluation of our community is a matter that will not be tolerated. As it stands now, District 1 is the last area that remains to be developed, and we know changes are coming and inevitable. However, the constituents of District 1 are vigilant. They unapologetically seek acknowledgment and approval of developments and changes occurring in their district. That means we have an elected councilman, Jonathan Hall, who has been diligent and dedicated in presenting constituents with possible and pending changes affecting our community warranting our feedback.

Some call it transparency and accountability. That’s the primary reason a person should be elected representing any district. Therefore, it is imperative that governing forces be straightforward and truthful in keeping our elected officials aware of proposals affecting their perspective districts. Elected official’s involvement in the planning process in their respective district should be vital.

Unfortunately (and for whatever reasons), North Nashville and the Bordeaux area has been trivialized and disrespected by the governing powers as a whole for decades. Short of pointing fingers, it should be known that the era of exploitation and blatant disrespect for District 1 is over. Further abuse and disrespect will not be tolerated. Constituents of District 1 are not to be overlooked in the progressive development of the district. We will have a say in what will or will not be introduced in our community. Anyone who feels they can overlook us or disrespect our views will be deemed as an adversary or an enemy.