NO NEW NASHVILLE STADIUM
NO NEW NASHVILLE STADIUM
Why this petition matters
Metro Council will take up its second vote on the Mayor's plan to build a new NFL football stadium in Nashville THIS TUESDAY APRIL 3. For dozens of reasons this proposal will be bad for our city. Please contact your Metro Councilmember and urge him or her to cast a NO vote. Be sure to CC the five At-Large Councilmembers. Direct emails HERE.
You can contact ALL the Councilmembers via firstname.lastname@example.org. This is particularly important because we don't know how the attack by Tennessee Republicans on Metro Council's numbers and redistricting may play out - more on this later in the document.
A refresher: Proposals like this get three votes. The first one is basically procedural just to open the subject up for debate. The second is (we're stating this loosely) to confirm it's something the Council wants to move forward.
The third vote, if it's approved by the second vote, makes packages like this final. Again, THIS TUESDAY is the SECOND vote.
And now, some background we think is very important as our civic discussion on the proposal plays out:
There's been much in the news about the Tennessee Republicans' recent assault on Nashville's autonomy. We think it's important to put pieces together on some political motives applying to this project, which would be the most expensive NFL stadium project in the history of the United States.
This proposal is problematic on the face of it. From local outlet WPLN and many other sources, Nashville likely won't reap the economic benefits its supporters say: Experts say Nashville won’t recoup money from building a new stadium with taxpayer dollars
Recently, Tennessee Republicans have declared a full scale assault on our city's sensibilities and autonomy. (We've been talking about it on Twitter via the #WarOnNashville hashtag.) First they gerrymandered our 150+ year bright blue Congressional district to take away our voices at the Federal level. Nashville is now represented by people who live in other counties and are unresponsive to our needs. This week, when an assassin murdered children at Nashville's Covenant School, the gerrymandered district Rep. Andy Ogles failed to show up at our city's official vigil for the victims - he didn't come to Nashville at all. Then Ogles posted hugely insensitive remarks to social media and was the butt of national jokes for his family's Christmas card showing his children posing with weapons of war. (Gerrymandering is a huge reason our state is increasingly failing on everything from life expectancy to average income to school funding. Candidates don't have to run general elections any more, so extremists are fighting one another in primaries.)
Republicans want to cut our Metro Council in half - doubling the number of people per representative and making our government less responsive. They plan to remove local control from our airport authority, and take over our Sports Authority (which would physically build the stadium), probably to use its immense cash reserves as a slush fund. Republicans claim this all is in retaliation for Metro Council's NO vote on letting Donald Trump hold a hugely disruptive Convention in our city, but our guess is it has a lot more to do with the financials than they're letting on.
In 2022 Nashville generated an immense amount of money for the Tennessee state treasury - more than $2.6 billion, at least $700 million more than any other single county. We've seen estimates that Nashville's MSA generates as much as 1/3 of the state's GDP (we're trying to source that, @ us if you have it.) This is in front of a backdrop of around 36% of Tennessee's annual budget that comes from the Federal government.
Part of TNGOP's radical posturing is this fake maverick pile of hooey in which they claim to assert that nobody can tell them what to do. But part of their problem is that most Federal funding comes with strings directing its use. Discretionary spending of the type Republicans can get from local sources is a coveted resource. Which makes controlling the single largest local source of discretionary spending they can get their hands on - Nashville - all the more relevant, although again we think the slush-fund aspect is probably the most appealing to them. The Airport Authority alone controls around $1.4 billion in the BNA Vision project.
Sugar on the sundae is Republicans like Cameron Sexton out claiming "Tennessee is funneling millions of dollars to support Metro" when the opposite is true (about 2/3 of the way thru audio attached to story here: https://wpln.org/post/the-battle-between-state-republicans-and-nashville-is-coming-to-a-head/)
The $500 million Tennessee wants to "give" us for the stadium is LESS THAN ONE FIFTH of the money NASHVILLE sent TENNESSEE in ONE YEAR. And it's entirely self-interested b/c of course TNGOP wants the income Nashville generates. (Most of this is via sales tax - Tennessee's is one of the highest in the US, another whole story. Other taxes come into play also such as various business and property taxes.)
If this stadium plan is approved and Republicans take control of the Sports Authority, they'll give every contract to companies outside Nashville to reward their friends. See Bill Lee and the COVID sock mask debacle.
Speaking of slush funds, the Titans want to use tens of millions in Nashville public funds without accountability. There’s no provision in the proposal for what will happen to the money left over after $760 million is used to pay construction bonds. Councilman At Large Bob Mendes has written an entire website, very nearly, about why this stadium deal is such a bad proposal for Nashville. Here he talks about the nondedicated funds left over after construction: https://www.tiktok.com/@bob__mendes/video/7212662298970737963
Mendes' detailed memo on why this deal is so bad for Nashville is a must-read: https://www.mendesfornashville.com/s/stadium-deal-memo-feb-2023.pdf. See the rest of his articles here.
Not the least of our concerns is an issue raised this week in which the stadium plan would endanger public transit funding. Nashville is currently among the 25 major U.S. cities without a dedicated transit funding income stream. Our traffic is tied for the 22nd worst city for traffic in the U.S., with commuters losing an average of 41 hours to traffic delays in 2022. Additionally, nearly 94% of commuters drive or carpool to work. We desperately need a comprehensive transit plan.
As our correspondent @_kellykitty_ points out in another must-read document we're told she delivered to Metro Council yesterday, this deal relies heavily on a 1% tax on motel/hotel stay - but thousands of Nashvillians stay in hotels. Nashville regularly uses them as short term housing for people experiencing homelessness, for one thing.
Again: Proposals like this get three votes. The first one is basically procedural just to open the subject up for debate. The second is (we're stating this loosely) to confirm it's something the Council wants to move forward.
The third vote, if it's approved by the second vote, makes packages like this final. Again, THIS TUESDAY is the second vote.
Contact your Metro Council Member TODAY.