Sunday, April 13, 2014

Leader or Tyrant

At last Tuesday's (4/8/14) council committee meeting, council president Jim Neighbor gaveled down a citizen (Ernie Straub III) and another council member (Neal Sawyer).  I personally felt his actions were reprehensible, so I sent him an email.  Naturally, he did not respond to the email. Could it be because his ghostwriter was unavailable.  We do know who usually writes his emails for him.

Anyway, here is what I sent:


You really surprised me last night when you gaveled down Ernie Straub III when he came up to speak.  You said he was not to get into personalities with Jeff Vaught. 

Well guess what?  He wasn’t engaging in personalities.  If you listened to what he said he was refuting a statement that Vaught made.  Vaught had indicated that he had spoken with folks in the affected area and knew what they wanted.  Mr. Straub wanted to point out that the comment did not seem credible as Vaught never knocked on his door.  The development that Mr Straub lives in has very few residents.  Which ones did Vaught talk to?  That is NOT engaging in personalities.  That is presenting a counter argument.  Are council members going to be permitted to make statements and not have them challenged because that would be “engaging in personalities”?  Are council members going to be permitted to use the dais as a shield to protect them from being held accountable for their statements?  Are statements made by councilmembers supposed to be taken as gospel truth? 

I find your actions last night to be the height of rudeness towards a member of the community.  And then you top that off by gaveling down council member Sawyer because he was trying to make an analogy about other types of spending.

IMHO, you owe both gentlemen an apology.  And a public one at that.


You can listen to the audio portion of the meeting to hear what transpired, but to simplify things I have had the portion that pertained to Mr. Vaught's comments already transcribed since the minutes will not be available for a few weeks.  Mr. Straub was just trying to clari\fy that he never saw Vaught in his neighborhood, never knocked on his door, and there are not that many homes in Bell Meade since they are large acreage lots:

You know, I've campaigned in Belle Meade twice, I've campaigned in those areas, uh, you know I've heard a lot of support in Bell Meade to, to get a cut through street, uh, one in particular is right where that street is going to cut through there. Um, $800,000 house looking at a field of weeds and, and, and, uh, scrub grass, um, uh, watching cars drive around the barriers and cut through there. You know, it's, it's a quality neighborhood, um, the lots in Belle Meade, I know that, I believe they changed hands here in the last couple years, uh, you know, that could be, uh, some of those lots could have been a challenge as people look at that and go well I gotta drive all the way back to up to Clare and come all the way around to get out of here. You know, maybe they would have built out faster, and, and, those aren't cheap houses so we might have had another, you know, 3, 4 million dollars worth of, of, of assessment on our tax rolls right now so when we're talking about um, you know, 90 thousand or, uh, to me those aren't huge numbers. You know one of the interesting things is we are all being real protective of excise, you know, we voted to abate the excise tax. We don't have it right now. And it's, and it's been a great tool, and because of that we have eco-commerce park with an 80 acre development, 180,000 foot building, uh, being completed right now. So, you know, I've always said from the beginning that I'm adamantly opposed to excise tax so whatever the numbers here are, I mean if I could just waive the whole thing of the excise tax due I would because I've never believed in an excise tax, I just, it's, it's, to me, it's, it's, not a tax that I like so, um, we gotta do this and if for no other reason for public safety. We have residents living there that, I mean literally, ffff, for the fire department if they come up, you know, you, you gotta, come all the way up, come all the way back up to Clare which is, when you get past 55th street there, on Clare, it becomes very narrow, um, it becomes somewhat of a dangerous road for a fast traveling fire truck and you have some blind inters, or some blind driveways, uh, you have a very skinny road, you have some very deep ditches and you know, you know,  I don't, I don't think it's um, regardless of how we got to this point, for the quality of house on Belle Meade, I don't think it's fair just to dig in and say, well, no, um, we're just going to wait until this magic moment when somebody can step up and spend this money. People have been looking at this for years, um, finally somebody's come forward who says hey I can make this happen I just need a little bit of help and, you know, whether we like it or not, I think it's something we just have to do.

So, I'm in support of it and I know the people I've talked to in the area are in support of it.

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