Crafton withdraws bill to remove fair board commissioners

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 6:30pm

Lost in Tuesday night’s chaotic discussion over when to hold a public hearing on the future of the fairgrounds, Metro Councilman Eric Crafton led the withdrawal of his bill to remove and replace the five-member Board of Fair Commissioners.

At the time of filing the resolution, Crafton said, “It’s nothing personal, but they’ve said they can’t make it work,” referring to the finances of the Metro-owned fairgrounds.

But on Tuesday, the council voted to withdraw the bill at the request of the Bellevue councilman, who — after conferring with the council’s Rules-Confirmations-Public Elections Committee — concluded the five fair commissioners may have different views. Some may think they can financially sustain the fairgrounds, while others may not, he said. 

“What we’re doing is we’re extending them an opportunity to come meet with the rules and confirmation committee, and I plan to look each one of them in the eye, should they choose to accept the offer to come to speak,” Crafton told his council colleagues. “I want to ask them, ‘Are you committed to making the fairgrounds work? Are you committed to making it profitable or to at least break even?”

“And if they say, ‘Yes,’ that’s great. But if [they] say, ‘No,’ that might mean they should resign,” he added.

It seems unlikely Crafton will have the chance to ask those questions in a council setting.

The genesis of Crafton’s request –– and bill –– was “Rule 44” of the council’s rules of procedures, which allows the council to call for the removal of board members. Part of the rule says commissioners “may” appear at a corresponding rules committee meeting but are not “compelled” to.

Prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, board chair James Weaver declined Crafton’s invitation in an email to council members who serve on the rules committee.

“They [the fair commissioners] should not be made a pawn in a political dispute between the executive and legislative branches of government, no matter how worthy or hotly contested the underlying cause may be,” Weaver said in the email.

“Our silence should not be considered an act of disrespect,” he continued. “We deeply respect the individual members of the committee, the committee as a whole, the members of council and the council as an institution.”

Contacted by The City Paper, Weaver pointed out that he and his fellow fair board members have appeared before the council’s Codes, Fair and Farmers Market Committee numerous times. He said the board is more than willing to answer additional fairgrounds questions moving forward, but questioned whether invoking “Rule 44” is appropriate.

“Asking board members questions while they’re standing on the gallows seems a little dramatic,” Weaver said.

Weaver readily responded to Crafton’s questions.

“Each member of the board has always been committed to the fair, the flea market and to the expo events,” Weaver said. “We’ve always been committed to those three events. What we have said is that we have found it practically impossible to break even with those three events on this site.

“We’re completely committed to a sustainable, growing, vibrant state fair,” Weaver added. “We’re completely committed, have been, and remain committed to one of the better flea markets in the Southeast. And we’ve said all along, consistently, that the space that we provide for our expo event clients is an important part of the overall event landscape of the city. We’ve never said anything other than that.” 

18 Comments on this post:

By: racer84 on 12/22/10 at 10:06

But on Tuesday, the council voted to withdraw the bill at the request of the Bellevue councilman, who — after conferring with the council’s Rules-Confirmations-Public Elections Committee — concluded the five fair commissioners may have different views. Some may think they can financially sustain the fairgrounds, while others may not, he said.

Thanks Alex Joyce, I knew when you shook my hand you meant it.

By: MAmom on 12/22/10 at 11:55

When I searched earlier, I found NO conflict-of-interest between Alex Joyce and DEAN.
His appointment to the Fair Board PRE-DATES Dean's inauguration.
It is good to know that at least ONE FAIR BOARD COMMISSIONER IS NOT INDEBTED TO DEAN.
Thank you, Mr. Joyce, for your objectivity.

----

These four FB Commissioners WEAVER, VARNEY, SUEING, AND HORTON are closely connected to Dean. DEAN wants to "redevelop" (i.e.: destroy/sell) the Fairgrounds. DEAN, his legal department, Riebeling, and others have been sabotaging Fairgrounds operations for several years now. These 4 are the majority on the FB.

AT THE VERY LEAST - these 4 have the appearance of a conflict of interest (especially Weaver, aka the CBL lobbyist) . Did these 4 have a fiduciary responsibility to operate the Fairgrounds honestly & effectively? Did they do so?

WHAT DO YOU THINK - Does it sound like these have a conflict of interest?
a. James Weaver, the CBL Lobbyist
b. Katy Varney, partner in McNeely, Piggot & Fox - Dean's PR firm of choice (and lets not forget that Riebeling and Mike Piggot have a previous relationship - having worked together at the Banner a few years ago)
c. Charles Sueing, insuranceman - Question: Is he related to someone named Marie Sueing - who is the Convention Sales Manager at Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau? I don't know - but Sueing is not so common a name. CSueing is a director of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.
d. Ned Horton, a Realtor - possibly someone who stands to benefit from "redevelopment" - also owns the web design firm that did the mayor's website.

It's all connected.

----

SAVE THE FAIRGROUNDS! MANAGE IT BETTER!

MAKE DEAN A 1-TERM MAYOR!

By: hottrodd on 12/23/10 at 9:13

voice of nashvie that karl dean refuses to hear

KARL DEAN HAS MORE OF HIS HANDS IN THE FAIRGROUND / RACTRACK THAN IT LOOKS.
IF IT WERE UP TO KARL DEAN THE WHOLE FAIRGROUNDS / RACETRACK WOULD BE FLATENED A.S.A.P.
ALL THE FAIRGROUNDS IS TO HIM IS A PEICE OF PROPERTY, HES NOT FROM HERE AND DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE FAIRGROUNDS OR RACETRACK
ALL HE SEES IS DOLLAR SIGNS AND WHAT HE WANTS TO DO WITH THE PROPERTY TO HELL WITH ANYONE ELSE OR ANYONE THAT GETS IN HIS WAY
AS IVE SAID BEFORE I PRAY TO GOD HES A ( 1 } TERM MAYOR AND IF I HAVE TO GO DOOR TO DOOR HERE IN NASHVILLE TO CAMPAINGE AGAINST HIM I WILL GET IN A WHEEL CHAIR AND DO SO.
HES REALLY PISSED OFF ALOT OF NASHVILLE OVER THE RACETRACK AND HES ABOUT TO FIND OUT HOW BAD AT THE NEXT COUNCIL MEETING
ONE OF THESE DAYS HE WILL THINK ABOUT ALL THIS AND WISH HE HAD LISTENED

By: govskeptic on 12/23/10 at 10:25

Sounds like majority are committed to wishes of the Mayor
and accepting Fair Board appointment of little importance
other than acknowledge of help in campaign and a little
public service notice!

By: tjprichard on 12/23/10 at 3:40

MAYOR DEAN AND THE COUNCIL NEED NOT BE REMINDED THAT ELECTIONS ARE COMING,,BUT THERE ARE TWO WORDS THEY NEED TO THINK HARD ABOUT AND THOSE ARE"""RECALL ELECTIONS""".. I THINK THAT THE WHEELS FOR A RECALL ELECTION SHOULD START TURNING NOW FOR THOSE COUNCILMEMBERS THAT ARE SO WILLING TO DESTROY A PROUD HISTORY... MY VOTES WILL GO TO THE MEMBERS AND MAYOR THAT VOWS TO LEAVE THE FAIRGROUNDS AND RACETRACK AS THEY ARE

By: hottrodd on 12/23/10 at 4:09

voice of nashvie that karl dean refuses to hear

THANK GOD THERES MORE PEOPLE IN THE GREAT CITY OF NASHVILLE THAT FEEL THE SAME WAY AS I DO !!!!!!
SO IM GOING TO START A SLOGAN AND HOPE IT STICKS ,

1 TERM DEAN & HIS TRAINED PUPPETS !

SO PLEASE STAND TOGEATHER AND SAVE THE FAIRGROUNDS / RACETRACK FROM KARL DEAN AND HIS LOYAL PUPPETS !

By: MAmom on 12/23/10 at 8:14

I was told Dean NARROWLY won the last election because:
1. the "silk stocking district" came out for him in a big way -
2. voter turnout in the rest of Nashville was light,
3. his wife put A LOT OF MONEY into his campaign, AND
4. people did not know him.

Now we know what DEAN is like.

Next election time MORE REGULAR PEOPLE people (and "silk-stocking" voters who are embarrassed by DEAN) need to vote him OUT - because with another term - he will be accountable to no one.

TO ALL THOSE OUT THERE CONCERNED ABOUT:
-Nashville's growing debt,
-Nashville's credit rating,
-"outsourcing" custodial help at the schools (hurting people who can't fight back),
-his appointment of friends and family (wife) to the various committees,
-the way he favors Corporate interests over people,
-the way he has tried to steal the Fairgrounds (hurting people HE THOUGHT wouldn't fight back),
-his condescending style of governing (like he is "King Dean"- not a mayor),
-his unwillingness to compromise,
-all the lies and manipulation and cronyism and bullying,
PLEASE VOTE DEAN OUT OF OFFICE NEXT ELECTION.

MAKE DEAN A 1-TERM MAYOR.

And, SAVE THE FAIRGROUNDS!

By: No More Racetrack on 12/23/10 at 11:28

DOWN WITH THE FAIRGROUNDS AND ALL THE HAYSEED REDNECKS THAT ARE SUPPORTING IT! YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE AN OPINION ON IT IF YOU DON'T HAVE A 37210 or 37212 ZIP CODE SO SHUT UP! THANK YOU MAYOR DEAN FOR WORKING TO GET RID OF THAT EYESORE/MONEYPIT/CRIMEPIT.

By: No More Racetrack on 12/23/10 at 11:30

*Shouldn't be able...Most of you dick heads don't even live in Davidson county...

By: fair_minded on 12/24/10 at 4:27

you realize that the Fairgrounds is not in either of the zip codes you list?

Isn't 37312 out by West End?

(but based on what you wrote, you seem to think everyone *except* 37210 and 37212 should be able to express their opinion)

and why do you think it should be restricted? It is the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.... not Nashville or Davidson County Fairgrounds, and it's certainly not a neighborhood park, no matter where you might live.

but never mind-- your language and shouting show us the mentality we're dealing with here...

Don't drink the Karl-Aid!

By: fair_minded on 12/24/10 at 4:28

correcting my typo, I meant to say ask "isn't 37212 out by West End?" (not 37312)

By: bfra on 12/24/10 at 9:18

No More Racetrack - The only "dickheads" posting here, are the ones that think the Fairgrounds are only used & enjoyed by people that live in Davidson County. Where did you come from?

By: gage on 12/24/10 at 10:08

Metro Councilman Eric Crafton would make a great mayor.

By: Dancer2010 on 12/24/10 at 7:29

It is unfortunate when an appointed commissioner believes they have the option
of turning down a request to be able to explain any concerns or questions that
is before the public and registered voters for clarification of activities and how,
when, and what has taken place and why. Boards and Commissioners are
overseers and with the fact that the Davidson County citizens were the investors
in the property of the Fairground, it is the thought that they too have the right as
American citizens to seek answers to any concerns, just as stock shareholders
have in the right of their share as a stockholder. To do this, there are mechanisms
in place for the process and check and balance within to work. Therefore, Mr.
Weaver should be willing to follow the process, and come before the Rules
Committee with all board members in order for the system to work.
There are many committees, and with all the issues regarding the Fairgrounds,
there will be other committees other than the ones he already has appeared before.
With all working together, perhaps the system will work and all the facts will come
to the surface to understand what happened and what roles and occurrences
happened for the Fairgrounds to be where it now is.
Come forward Mr. Weaver, and let's see the other side of the coin..

12/14/2010

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/27/10 at 8:13

You can hear the race track in 37212. That's near Belmont. 37211 is Berry Hill and south, 37203 is Cameron and 37210 is the other side of Nolensville Rd and south to (i think) Thompson Lane.

Down with the nasty racetrack!!!!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/27/10 at 8:13

btw, 37204 is 12 South and yes, you can hear the race track there too.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/27/10 at 8:15

According to the Sunday Tennessean, Karl Dean is Man of the Year. Just because you don't like him doesn't mean he doesn't have the support of Nashville. And he will be re-elected.

By: MAmom on 12/28/10 at 10:30

to blanketnazi2:

The Tennesseean bestowing their Tennessean-of-the-Year ("TOY") award on DEAN was not a surprise to anyone. They "gush" over him every chance they get.

Read the comments to the article & you will see that ALMOST ALL of the comments are NEGATIVE. If DEAN really has the support of Nashville, why are there so many negative comments?