Fairgrounds referendum criticized as ploy to aid Dean foe

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 10:05pm

One of Mayor Karl Dean’s Metro Council allies is questioning the motives behind Councilman Jamie Hollin’s fairgrounds referendum push, suggesting efforts are equally geared at fueling Election Day opposition aimed at the mayor’s re-election bid.

“My suspicion is that he wants to help his cause to promote car racing in Davidson County, and he wants to try to increase voter turnout for the opposition to the mayor,” At-large Metro Councilman Ronnie Steine told The City Paper.  

Hollin, who represents parts of East Nashville, has taken the lead on trying to collect nearly 16,000 petition signatures by May 16 to add a referendum to August’s local election on whether to retain all existing activities at the 117-acre property off Nolensville Pike. If approved, the change would come in the form of a Metro Charter amendment.

Hollin is also widely believed to be helping the mayoral candidacy of Metro Councilman Michael Craddock, Dean’s main challenger who has been an outspoken critic of the mayor’s stalled attempt to develop the Metro-owned fairgrounds. Most observers believe a fairgrounds referendum could lure to the polls people inclined to vote for Craddock, who faces an enormous financial obstacle to unseat Dean.         

Steine, who is up for re-election is August, recognized Hollin and other fairgrounds preservationists are exercising their rights to get an issue before voters.

“I guess my biggest concern is what the use of our Metro Charter really is, and whether or not the charter is a land use document or not,” Steine said. “But if enough folks want to put it on the ballot, then so be it.”

Asked for his response to Steine’s remarks, Hollin pointed to the council’s recent approval of a bill requiring Metro contractors to write sexual orientation and gender identity into their non-discrimination policies, an ordinance Hollin sponsored.

Leading up to the final vote on the nondiscrimination bill, Steine had criticized Hollin and original co-sponsors for not reaching out to other council members to gather support from the get-go. The council ultimately passed the ordinance.

“Is [this not] the same council member that questioned how I went about passing BL2011-838, who took a shot in the press, however, right when it got enough votes for passing on second reading? He signed onto the bill,” Hollin said. “I do not communicate with Councilman Steine, and so his question of my motives is not worthy of a response.”

Hollin and others are up against a tight time frame to accumulate the necessary signatures to hold the referendum. When asked, Hollin could not say how many signatures his group has collected, but said, “We’re counting every day.”

“Many in the past have questioned whether I can get the ball over the goal line,” Hollin said, perhaps alluding to his success in ousting former Councilwoman Pam Murray through a special recall election. “I will let my record and reputation on that speak for itself.” 

29 Comments on this post:

By: Shane Smiley on 5/3/11 at 12:19

At-large Metro Councilman Ronnie Steine has voted against the Fairgrounds with every vote taken.
Is this criticism really a surprise?
If memory serves correct, Councilman Steine was also against the public hearing for the Fairgrounds.
As Councilman Stein is up for re-election, Let's hope the voting Fairgrounds supporters keep his flagrant disregard for the will and voice of the people in mind.

It is important for the people of Nashville to have this opportunity.
The Master plan being commissioned by the Mayor would most likely come back with the opinion of the one who commissioned the study. That's how those things generally work.

Thank you councilman Hollin for being a champion to the people and giving the voters a chance to have their voices heard.

If this issue brings more voters to the polls on August 4th, and they happen to be in favor of the Fairgrounds and Michael Craddock for Mayor, So be it.
After all, elections are supposed to be about the issues, not who has the most money.

By: Shane Smiley on 5/3/11 at 2:39

One more observation.
Councilman At Large Steine quotes: “My suspicion is that he wants to help his cause to promote car racing in Davidson County"
The last time I checked, The Fairgrounds and this ballot initiative are about more than just car racing.
The Fairgrounds is about the Tennessee State Fair, The Expo center events, The nationally acclaimed and top five ranked Flea Market, bicycling for the visually impaired, and yes, auto racing at the countries second oldest race track.
For Councilman Steine to attempt to pigeon hole the wishes of thousands to keep the Fairgrounds for everything it offers shows his narrow mindset pertaining to this issue.
The Fairgrounds is a common ground meeting place for citizens of all walks of life sharing a wide variety of interests, activities, and fellowship. With 1.2 Million visitors attending over 200 events last year, The Fairgrounds truly is the highest and best use for the property.
If any other property in Metro cost the tax payers nothing, created $50-60 Million dollars in economic impact annually, and enjoyed the vast number of visitors the Fairgrounds draws, it would be considered a treasure to the Mayors administration.
Although it does not fit the mold of the elitist view of what Nashville should be, The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue is under minded by such a large number of visitors, vendors, participants, competitors and fans enjoying the Fairgrounds.
May it stay an asset for the citizens of Nashville and middle Tennessee for generations to come.

By: titm on 5/3/11 at 4:22

Just another example of public offecials playing games, waisting time and money, not getting anything done except for what help's them. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Just working for a living with honesty and integrity.

By: Community-carl-... on 5/3/11 at 6:04

I remember Ronnie Steine's history........and I personally find his integrity questionable, to say the least. Another example of a self-serving politician attempting to further his political career by alignning himself with what he thinks is the more viable power base (the mayor) rather than the wishes of the majority of the citizens. If Dean and his cronies are so sure they are right about their wishes for the fairgrounds and related activities, why should they fear a public vote?

The last time I checked, we are still living in a democracy, and the people should have a right to vote on important issues like the Fairgrounds and its use and activities. I am tired of certain Metro councilpersons choosing to be accountable to the mayor rather than their constituents. The only way this entire issue will ever be put to rest will be by putting it to a public vote.

By: karlwithak on 5/3/11 at 7:55

We have 2 choices of who to believe in this story.

I'm going to have to go with Hollin, He hasn't been proven to be a thief, and we all know if you have a history of stealing you also are a liar. Dean sure has some class acts on his side.

By: TITAN1 on 5/3/11 at 8:12

Below the belt, Karl. That is unless you have never done anything wrong.

By: Community-carl-... on 5/3/11 at 8:44

Hey TITAN1 -

Stating facts is not "hitting below the belt." Steine's history is what it is....you can't rewrite history. And you can usually tell a person (in this case, a mayor) by the company he/she keeps.

By: BigPapa on 5/3/11 at 9:48

We should erect a big wooden windmill on the race track so Craddock and Co. will have something tangible to chase.

By: OHSMAN74 on 5/3/11 at 10:27

Letting monied interests incorporate the noise of racetrack into the Charter would be an incredible outrage and mistake. The people who live on that side of town should not have their enjoyment of the quiet of their homes and yards stolen from them by unmuffled racecars. It is ridiculous that the idea of putting mufflers on the cars was not even considered until it was deemed necessary to save the racetrack. You can hear the noise over half the city.

If it has to be a racetrack, why not a racetrack for electric cars, so at least there would be some benefit in improved technology rather than simply wasting the earth's gasoline??

If people don't speak out in opposition to this, those wanting to profit from this noise will succeed. Shut down the racetrack. Don't sign a petition, and if they can buy enough signatures, don't vote for it.

Thank goodness we have a Mayor who can and will stand up to this foolishness.

By: Floyd2 on 5/3/11 at 10:32

What does it say about Craddock that all of his supporters are so negative? All they can do is launch personal attacks, hurl invectives, and call names.

Nashville votes regularly on its support of the racetrack. We vote by NOT ATTENDING races. Over 90% of this city has never attended a race, and we never will.

I would really like to know how Hollin can live with himself when he is trying to elect one of the most-bigoted politicians in this city to be our mayor? What has Craddock promised Hollin to get him to toss his principles overboard?

By: TITAN1 on 5/3/11 at 10:39

OHSMAN74, must be your first time here or you would have seen the many posts we have made stating "The track was there when the people moved in". It is also obvious you are not a race fan and have no clue how many race fans there are and how passionate we are to racing. The 'noise' is a big part of it, music to our ears. If you don't agree with that, then I would advise you not to go to any races and don't move next to a track, or for that matter, an airport, train station, bus terminal, or trucking company. Electric cars? LOL!

By: GUARDIAN on 5/3/11 at 10:45

GUARDIAN- I don't know who is lower, Karl or his supporters. Nashville should of elected Bob Clement mayor and the city would of been in better hands as well as honest ones.

By: karlwithak on 5/3/11 at 11:36

Floyd, Doubletalk king

Repeating the same drivel doesnt make it come true.

By: BigPapa on 5/3/11 at 1:20

Yes, how terrible that those people want to improve that area of town and their neighborhood. They should be ashamed.

By: TITAN1 on 5/3/11 at 1:45

BP, you keep ignoring the fact that the track was there first. As I told you the other day, no matter what is there, you won't see one dime.

By: Shane Smiley on 5/3/11 at 1:56

BP, The Millions of visitors to the Fairgrounds annually want to improve the property. These improvements will spur additional improvements to the neighborhood.
Shame on our city leaders for not doing their jobs and keeping the Fairgrounds upgraded and beautified.
Here is a pdf of the proposed face lift to this property.

Keep in mind, this property has never cost the tax payers a penny and reels in an estimated $60 Million dollars in economic impact for our city. No other property in Metro can boast NO COST and High reward.

Karlwithak, Thank you for putting all of our thoughts to words!

OHSMAN74, If you knew how misinformed you are concerning the finances of the fight to save the fairgrounds, Even you would donate $5 bucks to the cause.
Heart wins over money time and time again!

By: karlwithak on 5/3/11 at 3:41

Titan - It's amazing what it says about our society when telling the truth about someone is below the belt.

Especially while endorsing what the side that is not being honest wants.

That is why the Fairgrounds Preservationist are angry, and why the majority of voters with common sense and decency will vote to save the property. Not everyone is fooled.

By: TITAN1 on 5/3/11 at 6:50

karl, it is amazing that you can't comprehend anything. If you will check my posts on this subject in the past, you will see that I want the track to stay and I hope that it is even improved. All you have to do is READ my post in this thread at 11:39 today. My problem is the way you portrayed councilman Ronnie Stein. He made a mistake, but you make him out to look like something terrible. You are not perfect and I'm sure you have done something that you regret. Don't throw rocks when you live in a glass house.

By: karlwithak on 5/3/11 at 8:17

Titan - I know where you stand on this issue. If you think Stein isn't in the mayors pocket and willing to be less than honest then you haven't paid attention to his past actions and statements. He fights hard to keep the people from being heard or considered.

I was trying to point out if you look at who is holding fundraisers for dean, and who comes out publicly in his corner they read like a lineup of whats wrong with politics today.

Maynard - Lost his law license over numerous ethical violations
Stein - Shoplifting and other issues
Briley - DUI and the other issues
Reibeling - Caught in numerous ethical violations
Barry - Married her college professor and now is an "Ethics" professional who just happens to have more private dinners and meetings with Rich R than any other council member ?
And she was able to raise $80k (about 5 times of most council members) for her metro council run because ?
People know she can be bought, It's worked so far.

Actually Rich meets with Stein and Maynard quite often as well. Is the inner circle not clear to you ?

And those are some of the people shaping Nashville's future

By: Jeremiah_29-7 on 5/3/11 at 8:58

Hey folks! I got a robo-call from Jamie Hollin, asking that I send in my postcard to sign the fairgrounds petition. When I checked the caller ID, the phone line was registered to "Friends of Michael Craddock."

By: Captain Nemo on 5/4/11 at 6:35

You have got that right BigPapa! Cradock’s is a hillbilly Don Quixote.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/4/11 at 6:41

I remember the last robo-calls from Cradock, Hi Neighbor! To hear the mans voice is like finger nails on a chalk board.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/4/11 at 8:06

Calling by telephone is a necessary way for candidates to get there message to the public, but I find the robo-calls very annoying and says nothing to of the candidates ability to muster supports. This is a cheap way ofdoing it, especially the way Cradock’s has done it the pass. Sometime 2 or n3 times in one week.

By: BigPapa on 5/4/11 at 11:04

So because some area of town sucks is should always suck?? That's cazy! The race track was there when that as "out of town" now its in the middle of Nashville nobody.. no city wants a track smack in the middle of town.
I'm glad the mayor wants to improve that area and Im glad the neighbors care enough to lobby for changes.
Some of us live in Nashville, we arent like Waltrip and the race supporters that live in Maury and Wmson county.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/4/11 at 11:10

I have to disagree BigPapa. That is a part of the old city limits I believe. I will do some checking to see if my memory is correct.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/4/11 at 11:17

The race track has been at the persent site for at less 50 years, because I use to watch dirt track racing when I was 10 yrs old.That was before Nashville became Metro Nashville.

By: OHSMAN74 on 5/4/11 at 11:18

The racetrack noise is so loud it can be heard in houses all the way across town, which were there long before the racetrack; as if that mattered. Fairgrounds is fine; but there's no sense in having a racetrack with dozens of unmuffled engines blasting away in the middle of a city where people have to live and sleep so they can do their work.

Amending the Charter, the Constitution of the city, is ludicrous.

By: breathofdeath on 5/4/11 at 12:07

Sorry, but I have no problem with the way Ronnie Steine is being portrayed. When he was vice-mayor he was caught shoplifting. Steine stated publicly that he had never done anything like that before, but information came out soon after that he HAD been caught shoplifting. If that doesn't constitute being a thief and a liar I don't know what does. That may be harsh, but the truth often is. I'm not perfect and have never claimed to be, but I'm also not an elected official either. Even though I think it's unreasonable to expect elected officials to be perfect I do reserve the right to hold them to a very high standard. Steine violated that high standard for me and a lot of other people with his past misdeeds and in the process blew his credibility. I don't hold his actions against him personally but I could never in good faith or conscience vote for Ronnie Steine for anything ever again.

By: Shane Smiley on 5/4/11 at 8:43

I realize you are coming into the conversation pertaining to the Fairgrounds late.
Let me get you up to speed.
After hundreds of hours of homework, conversations with professionals and manufactures of performance exhaust systems, and a sound abatement test carried out weeks ago, The sound has been reduced by 16dba. From 80dba to 64dba. 16 dba is a HUGE reduction in sound. With every 10dba of sound reduction, the sound is cut in half. That's right, the homework payed off to the benefit of everyone involved. The sound coming from the cars was cut in half and nearly in half again. Not a bad beginning.
As teams have time with these exhaust systems, tune the motors and the exhaust, even more reduction is anticipated.

As far as people sleeping, the 5 night races scheduled must be completed by 10:30 pm.
If you will look at the sounds schedule, you will find 62 night games in the same neighborhood with 22 Fireworks displays scheduled. 10:30 cut off for racing on 5 Saturday night should not be too much of an inconvenience on anyone.

Come on out, enjoy the show. Let me know when you want to come to the races and I will buy your first ticket.