Bellevue's Mitchell-Jones Metro Council race becomes bitter

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 2:38pm

The race for Bellevue’s District 35 Metro Council seat has gotten downright bitter, with the incumbent launching a negative website attacking his challenger, and both candidates unveiling campaign material that takes jabs at their opponent.

Metro Councilman Bo Mitchell, looking to thwart a challenge from conservative former Metro Planning Commission member Tonya Jones, released a website over the weekend dubbed www.thetruthabouttonya.com.

On the site, Mitchell paints Jones as someone willing to raise property taxes, displaying a shortened clip from a recent candidates’ forum that shows Jones utter the words “tax increase.” The site also suggests Jones sleeps during planning commission meetings (at least at those meetings she attended) and that she was hypocritical on her stance regarding liquor stores in Bellevue. Unflattering photos of Jones appear on a page called “Out-of-touch Tonya.”

“I think that’s to be expected, I guess,” Jones said. “I haven’t gone to the site, but I’ve heard about it. I think it’s pretty inconsequential and trite when you list all the dates of absences at planning commission meetings.”

Jones characterized the property tax video clip as “scare tactics,” adding that she’s a “fiscal conservative down the line.”

“He cut and pasted those things,” she said. “The question that was asked was, ‘Would I be willing to raise property taxes for schools?’ My answer was, ‘No, that for 30 years we’ve been raising property taxes for schools and putting more and more money into them, and getting the same results.’”

But Jones said if schools continued a trajectory toward positive results, she would consider a tax increase.

Mitchell suggested the release of the anti-Jones website followed his opponent’s actions. 

“Her attacks,” Mitchell said of the reasoning behind it. “Her just continuous untruthful attacks on me and my family. It just gets to the point where you have to respond to it, to let people know the truth and what their choices are between the two candidates.”

For her own part, Jones has sent a campaign mail-piece that says Mitchell is “in the pocket of unions” –– a photo shows Mitchell literally inside a giant pocket –– and that he stands for “more regulations” and “higher taxes.” The flyer claims Mitchell has lived in the district for fewer than five years.

“If you look at his financial disclosures, most of his money comes from union PACs,” Jones said.

Mitchell has taken particular exception to the claim about his years of residence in the district. He said he has lived there since 2003.

“It’s just a blatant lie,” Mitchell said. “You’ve got to respond.”

Still, when asked if the race has gotten nasty, Mitchell disagreed: “I knew from her supporters, from who’s supporting her, what it was going to be.”

The Bellevue incumbent, meanwhile, has released a negative mailer of his own that alludes to the so-called “Tonya Jones Campaign Playbook.” Featuring two photos that capture Jones with strange facial expressions, the campaign literature touches on many of the same themes as the website. It also alludes to a recent neighborhood cleanup in which Mitchell has accused Jones of improperly tapping Metro employees for campaign purposes.

“I’m not an ugly woman,” Jones said of the ad’s unflattering photos. “I thought that was really amazing. I walked around with it for two days, going, ‘Do I look like that? That’s Photoshop.’

“Mr. Mitchell has never gotten in his head that what we did in the Bellevue cleanups was through the drug courts,” she added. “They are totally funded by grants and donations.”

Jones also strongly rejected Mitchell’s assertions that she sought to redistrict Bellevue’s council boundaries so that she could run unopposed. During Metro’s expedited redirecting process, Jones had supported a plan that would have split Bellevue’s two council districts along Interstate 40. The plan failed, but Jones said the plan made more sense for the area.

“He has made such a damn big deal out of this; that’s why I did it,” Jones said. “I did it for the Bellevue community, and I’m so p---ed off that he’d string that around.”

18 Comments on this post:

By: 5 Fingers on 7/27/11 at 1:11

Catch-up with Steine fundraising here:
http://nashvillebunion.blog.com/2011/07/27/cm-steines-card-auction-a-home-run-for-him-at-least/

By: therapacize47 on 7/27/11 at 2:41

I'd still like to see those pictures of the Bellevue clean up debacle so I can judge for myself if it was self-promotion or civic responsibility. Where's the pics???

By: Mama Butterfly on 7/27/11 at 3:36

Therapacize47--

There are pictures of the event at the following link: http://blogs.tennessean.com/politics/2011/bo-mitchell-says-tonya-jones-used-metro-resources-at-political-event-today/. Here is another picture of Tonya actually wearing a campaign t-shirt while posing with the Drug Court workers. (Note her friend next to her is actually holding up a campaign sign.): http://www.tennessean.com/assets/jpg/DN175914621.JPG.

By: Mama Butterfly on 7/27/11 at 4:16

If you go to the Drug Court website you will see that "the Davidson County Drug Court is funded by local, state and federal contributions. Additionally, all residents pay fees for the services provided at drug court." (http://drugcourt.nashville.gov/portal/page/portal/drugCourt/funding/). Is Tonya not aware of this fact? If so, does she not know that local, state, and federal governments receive income by taxing its residents? In addition, does she not understand that the statement "all residents pay fees" equates a tax? A "yes" answer to any of these questions will reveal Tonya to be a liar. A "no" answer will indicate that she is extremely ignorant and incapable of drawing simple conclusions. Either alternative is very disturbing and reflects characteristics of someone who does not need to be in a leadership position!

And who really cares about the caveats she used in regards to her property tax hike statement? The fact is that most of her supporters would see such a quote as blasphemy regardless of the context in which it is used. It also does not seem to support her claim that she is a "fiscal conservative down the line".

And about her attempt to realign the Bellevue districts, her I-40 split plan went against the non-partisan recommendations of the Metro Planning Commission and she provided no clear evidence for how it would benefit the community. For more information on the likely political motivations of her unsuccessful attempt to redistrict Bellevue, please see http://blogs.tennessean.com/politics/2011/councilman-tygard-wants-new-bellevue-lines-could-run-for-district-seat/. As you read the article, please remember that she and Charlie Tygard are friends and that he is currently advising her campaign.

Last, her response to Mr. Mitchell's mailer is very enlightening about her character. She is the one who sent out the first attack mailer! It appears that she can dish it out but she sure can't take it. Stuff like this happens during elections and "politicking" in general. It is very apparent by Tonya's obsession with her appearance in the mailer and use of profanity in this article that this election is getting to her. You must have thick skin to be a successful politician in this day and age--it is obvious that this is a trait Tonya is lacking. As my mama always says, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!"

By: Mama Butterfly on 7/27/11 at 4:36

Excuse the error: ** "Is Tonya aware of this fact? If so, does she know that local, state, and federal governments receive income by taxing its residents? In addition, she understand that the statement "all residents pay fees" equates a tax?"**

By: racer84 on 7/27/11 at 11:11

No matter what anyone says.....the 2 most critical council votes for constituents and both times Bo chose Dean over the people who elected him.

All these candidates being openly endorsed by Dean are fools for not having the common sense to know that's poison.

By: ashesashes on 7/28/11 at 5:54

racer84, if you're talking about the convention center and fairgrounds then you obviously don't live in Bellevue. We out here are concerned about issues that affect our community, and those two things are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the list. Bo's service to constituents and community are what are going to get him reelected.

By: JohnGalt on 7/28/11 at 6:50

Actually, Mitchell's blind obedience to Dean is of great concern.

By: LiLi on 7/28/11 at 7:10

Having interacted with both candidates, I say Mr. Mitchell should perhaps put forth the truth about Bo Mitchell. Using the floods of 2010, as a campaign point? How low can one go. Where was Mr. Mitchell in disseminating information. I recall at one of the most informative meetings, I saw Crafton, and Tygard, but where was Mitchell? In all of his campaign flyers, I guess I missed his flyer reminding his constituents, some who did not know, about the tax refund deadlines for flood victims.
I actually find Tonya Jones refreshing. I don't expect her to be the polished politician Bo Mitchell is. Perhaps it's because I am not looking for another politician. I am looking for an advocate for Bellevue. I am not looking for someone who gives the impression of using this position as a means to his own ends. I am looking for someone who has an proper outlook for our community now and in the future. I am not looking for someone who to me is Mr. Soundbyte. In my opinion, Bo Mitchell for another term is one mistake we as Bellevue can avoid and should avoid, if we do not let ourselves be fooled by what he puts forth.

By: girliegirl on 7/28/11 at 8:29

Bo Mitchell is well known for his issues from which he suffers. LOL

By: bfra on 7/28/11 at 9:19

Vote for the one Karl ISN"T backing!

By: fireobama on 7/28/11 at 9:55

Bo is on top of things when we ask for help with issues. From what I know of Tonya it doesn't seem likely she'll be so responsive. Seems like she got in for other reasons and not to make Bellevue a better place for families.

By: Iam4Tnac on 7/28/11 at 11:08

Anyone can cut and paste stuff to put on a website. I think it's interesting that no one has really dug into the information about Bo Mitchell's past employer Barry Stokes and his temper tantrum that cost him his position with Governor Bredesen. I think Ms. Jones piece could have been a lot harder, but checking with the election commission, it seems that Bo's contributions do come from a lot of union money and a lot of his endorsements are from liberally based programs.

Nevertheless, I agree, it's been nasty and I was glad to see that Bo cleared up how long he lived in Bellevue, I am sure Ms. Jones' probably got that confused with his tenure in all the different jobs that he has had. Like Bo stated about his wife Chastity signing as a witness and the Tresaurer, "It was an honest mistake."

By: babeegirl on 7/28/11 at 1:15

I voted Tuesday for Ms. Jones, because of the experience, competence and good judgment she will bring to the council.

To point, I know that she has been appointed by three Tennessee governors and four Nashville mayors to various boards and commissions for her competence and expertise (not for how much money she may have contributed to political campaigns or for party affiliation) over the past 20 years, including 12 years on the Metro Planning Commission.

I also know that she is a state licensed contractor and knows how to produce and to get things done. For example, she has been a Rule 31 Mediator for 17 years for the Better Business Bureau and is Rule 31 approved by the state supreme court. This proves to me that she is able to bring together people who have differing positions, viewpoints and opinions in a beneficial manner that enables people to move forward. We need people in the council who have the skills and acumen that will move grow our community and improve our standard of living.

Furthermore, Bellevue and Nashville badly need economic development that will create new jobs. Mitchell's anti-developer and anti-development stance would take our community in the wrong direction as it contradicts economic growth, development and new jobs.

Residents of Bellevue need to see the Bellevue Mall area re-developed as soon as possible, and I think Jones' business acumen, development and planning commission experience, and proven ability to bring people of differing viewpoints together would be a great asset in getting that accomplished.

We need Ms. Jones's competence, expertise and good judgment in the Metro Council!

By: bfra on 7/28/11 at 1:25

babeegirl - To point, I know that she has been appointed by three Tennessee governors and four Nashville mayors to various boards and commissions for her competence and expertise (not for how much money she may have contributed to political campaigns or for party affiliation) over the past 20 years, including 12 years on the Metro Planning Commission.
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And you know this, how? Sounds more like a "yes" person for whichever is in office at the time. We already have enough of those & need people that will stand up for & represent the people that elected them.

By: racer84 on 7/28/11 at 1:27

I actually do live less than 5 minutes from Bo and have friends and family members on the same street as Bo. I also worked along with Bo on previous campaigns....I think I know him and his intentions far better than most. He wants a handout in the form of political payback....always has, always will.

By: SirKnight on 7/28/11 at 1:47

Mitchell has taken particular exception to the claim about his years of residence in the district. He said he has lived there since 2003.

“It’s just a blatant lie,” Mitchell said. “You’ve got to respond.”
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Okay, Bo. You've lived in Bellevue almost 8 years, not 5. That's not a huge lie, really. You are still a newcomer to the area. Calm down.
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“Her just continuous untruthful attacks on me and my family. It just gets to the point where you have to respond to it,.."
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What attacks on your family have been made on his family? I have not heard or seen one. Nor did Bo state what he was upset about.

I was undecided up until this all came out. I'm inclined to vote for Tonja Jones only because of the way Bo seems to have lost his temper many times in the past. Why so defensive?? Is he that worried he will lose?

Bellevue is a predominantly traditional conservative community both politically and socially. I have never felt that Bo even remotely has represented my feelings regarding funding the convention center or saving the fairgrounds. I'm still trying to figure out why he never held a single community forum on the annexation of key Bellevue properties to be zoned as USD land for THREE new liquor stores! If he did, how did I miss it???

By: babeegirl on 7/29/11 at 8:08

To bfra:

If the appointee has been appointed to multiple positions by only one mayor or one governor, or two elected officials who are members of the same party, then maybee (note the spelling, haha) one could say that the appointee is a "yes man," but that would still be something of a stretch.

However, Ms. Jones has been appointed to multiple posts by multiple elected officials of both political parties.

That only occurs when the appointee has a good reputation for being competent, fair, honest, pleasant to work with, and has a reputation for using good judgment.

Sincerely,

Babeegirl