Okay, I’m really trying to rekindle some support and respect of Karl Dean and his administration. After all, the fact that pretty much no one was willing to take him on must mean something . . . right? His re-election is all but a coronation — which was affirmed in the e-mail I received today inviting me to the City Rising Rally on Saturday which is nothing more than a big party to spend down some of the campaign coffers he’s accumulated. Here is the mayor giving back to the city — a family rally featuring none other than Danny Gokey (who is . . . some sort of singer, right?). All should be right with the world.
Yet, something didn’t sit right in my soul. Something seemed odd about the timing. And then I read a Facebook post from our friend Catherine which reminded us that there is something else going on Saturday. It seems this weekend is the Taste of Music City Event (www.tasteofmusiccity.com), which is a fundraiser for the Martha O’Bryan Center, an organization well known for helping at-risk kids succeed in the world. Of course, the mayor can’t know every event that’s happening in Nashville, even those sponsored by one of the major employers in the region (Nissan) and which is marketed to good, moderate Democrats, the same pool of folks that his event would like draw. But one would think that someone on the mayor’s staff would realize that this event is happening since IT’S HAPPENING IN PUBLIC SQUARE PARK, IMMEDIATELY IN FRONT OF THE MAYOR’S OFFICE AT THE COURTHOUSE!!!
Yes, this is a little scheduling error. In the whole scheme of things it’s not a big deal. Yet, for me, it feel like another case of folks in the administration having no clear sense of what is happening in the city beyond those things that they are involved in creating. It doesn’t seem like much to have a person in the office who checks the community calendars and keeps the office informed on what is happening in the city. Perhaps Billy Fields, the Office of Neighborhoods Director (someone I like very much) could take that on. But somewhere, somehow, folks are so tunnel visioned that there is little awareness of what’s going on out their own window, let alone throughout the city.
I confess that the entire notion of the rally is a bit unnerving to me. Mayor Dean has all but basically won. There is no viable opposition. So, why hold a campaign rally other than to pat one’s self on the back and to spend a little campaign cash? I don’t need a party from the mayor. I need serious answers to the serious problems we face, and if he really want’s to help he can donate some of that cash to the organizations like Martha O’Bryan that really need them.
So, here’s an idea Mayor Dean. Cancel your event. Encourage everyone to head over to the Taste of Music City Event to help one of the success stories in our city. If you want to give a gift to the citizens, buy a bunch of tickets to the Taste of Music City and hand them out at the gates. That would be a better sign of your commitment to the needs of our city. Don’t lift yourself up — lift up Martha O’Bryan for the excellent work they do.
And then hang out. Drink a beer. Taste some great food. Talk to some real Nashvillians.
You can bring Danny along with you if you like.