By Tom Rowland [Special to The Tennessee Conservative] –
Albert Einstein is credited with having coined a pertinent definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
The question of the sanity of Nashville voters will become clearer on September 14th, when the run-off election between progressive leftist councilman Freddie O’Connell and pragmatic conservative businesswoman Alice Rolli concludes.
The city of Nashville and the remainder of Davidson County consolidated to form what is now known as the Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County in 1963. Nine mayors have served since then – all from the democratic party.
The community has endured tumult and leadership instability the last eight years under three different mayors. The rapid leadership changes are owed to scandals involving taxpayer-funded affairs between Mayor Megan Barry and the head of her security detail, both of whom were married at the time; an emergency replacement that her Vice Mayor David Briley fulfilled; (who continued Mayor Barry’s bad policies and couldn’t win re-election); and the misdirected leadership of current Mayor John Cooper, who spent more energy giving taxpayer’s money to Oracle and the Titan’s organization than filling potholes and enacting compassionate solutions to the homeless crisis.
Nashville is saddled with numerous, serious problems not unlike many of America’s cities today. Addressing these challenges will require adult supervision, a characteristic that has been sorely missing in the wild-eyed, utopian-inspired fantasies of progressive democrat mayors in cities across the fruited plain, including Nashville.
We’re told that if we just have enough “hope”, social workers, and leniency on criminals, enough over-spending and accumulated debt, enough woke indoctrination in our schools, enough multi-billion-dollar mass transit systems and corporate welfare handouts, enough “freedom” to live in tents on the streets, enough identity politics in every public policy, enough “equity”, that we can achieve the utopian dream.
Sixty percent of Davidson County residents believe the city is on the wrong track. And after witnessing the Cooper administration’s (and Metro Council’s) hostilities with the Tennessee state legislature and governor, ninety percent believe that one of the major priorities for the next mayor is to work constructively with the state.
Candidate Freddie O’Connell is a “council creature”, having served two terms in the Metro Council. He is enamored with progressive ideas about mass transit systems and wants to convert all Metro buildings to 100% solar power in a three-year time frame. He voted against additional fencing at the Brookmeade Park homeless encampment, which would have provided added security for the (metro owned) property, and constrained its growing homeless population, reflective of many council members “not my problem” attitude towards the homeless issue.
The past three mayors have all come from prior Metro Council roles. And the next one will too if Nashvillians elect O’Connell. City Councils, along with other legislative bodies (assemblies, congresses, senates) are environments that foster debating-society mindsets, not executive leadership traits and qualities.
Nashville needs a new leader with an executive leadership mindset. Leaders have to be able to see clearly, paint a realistic picture for what’s possible, speak honestly (not in “politic-speak”), name out loud the problems we face without being captive to the status quo, wisely determine solutions that benefit all residents, build cross-functional coalitions, allocate finite resources and follow through with the courage and determination to enact improvements that will put the community back on a better path.
Alice Rolli is that candidate.
While Metro has never before elected a non-democrat mayor, there are reasonable odds that could happen this year, and it’s a move that should be seriously considered by voters across the spectrum. Dissatisfaction is at its highest level, and a broad understanding exists that problem areas need to be addressed, and not just given lip service. Another outside contender made it through the primary and came close to defeating the democrat city-council creature, Megan Barry in 2015. Had that outcome been different, the city could have avoided the shameful embarrassment of her public theft and indiscretions and the ensuing void in clear leadership direction for the city.
With hard work and a keen intellect, Alice Rolli has beaten all odds to best 10 other candidates in the primary and believes that three priorities for all Nashvillians can be achieved in the next four years.
1. Public Safety – crime rates have skyrocketed. The system has swung left and is imbalanced towards “criminal’s rights”. Starved resources for police have led to the lowest clearance rate for homicide investigations – moving towards levels seen in Newark New Jersey and Detroit Michigan. Alice will enact renewed investments in and support of public safety officers, along with shifting emphasis towards victim’s rights.
2 Fiscal Responsibility – Metro has a larger debt burden than does the entire State of Tennessee. Interest payments on the debt ($413 million annually) is squeezing resources for vital city services like public safety, and streets and infrastructure maintenance. Alice has pledged to veto any new taxes and dig through the waste of city government to reallocate funds to top priorities.
3. Education – Focus on reading skills for 1st through 3rd graders in Metro schools. Reading skills are the foundation for all learning, and to not address this is certain to create an entire generation left behind. Nashville’s school outcomes are ranked at the bottom of all counties in Tennessee.
In the 2016 and 2020 national Presidential year elections, 80,000 and 100,000 Davidson County voters respectively cast their ballots for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. This election is not about Donald Trump. It is about a renewed and healthy future for our ailing city.
It will take about 60,000 votes to elect Alice Rolli over Freddie O’Connell. If conservatives, centrists, independents, libertarians, and moderate democrats in Davidson County can show up in numbers anywhere close to the turnout of 2016 and 2020, we can lay the foundations for a better future for all middle Tennesseans, and not fall prey any longer to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.
About the Author: Tom is a retired husband, father and grandfather. He got a sweet taste of Tennessee years ago via a corporate job transfer to Nashville. Recently relocated back to Nashville, from the gulag known as Illinois, he brought most of his family back to Tennessee with him. He and his wife Cindy spend their time investing in their children and grandchildren’s lives, and serving at their church and several faith-based nonprofits in Nashville.