Jameson uses obscure Council rule to defer convention center vote

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 9:57pm

Councilman Mike Jameson evoked an obscure Council rule in order to defer a vote on the creation of a new Convention Center Authority, which would oversee the development of the proposed $635 million Music City Center project.

A resolution to create the Convention Center Authority passed with a 37-2 vote and Jameson voting in support.

But immediately after the vote Jameson evoked Council rule No. 35, which allows a member in the majority to call for a resolution to be reconsidered at the next regular meeting — in this case the Sept. 2 meeting.

Jameson said earlier during the Council convention, tourism and public entertainment committee meeting that he had a problem with the process Mayor Karl Dean's administration had used to create the Convention Center Authority.

Jameson also said the resolution had been rushed by the administration as a Band-Aid for bad press stemming from a whirlwind of stories concerning invoices turned in by the public relations firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox for the project.

“In the committee meeting today Mr. Riebeling confirmed what he had previously indicated in media reports this was in the works for a long time, that they had planned to do this, but they had accelerated the filing of it because of recent developments with the invoices of the public relations
firm,” Jameson said.

“So the concern that I had asked him was, 'Was that true?’ he said yes. And secondly, obviously it was in a rush. In other words, if you weren’t planning on filing it on Friday, which you eventually did when it becomes a public relations concern, there’s no reason the Council needs to vote on
this on Tuesday.

“This introduction was reflective of other issues that brought before the Council regarding the convention center. They’re filed, deferrals are argued against, significant decisions are made and the Council doesn’t have time to take these issues out to our civic groups, out to our neighborhood
organizations, out to business groups. And we can’t do that any longer.”

Other Council members felt creating the new nine-member board would provide more oversight over the Music City Center project. But Jameson, and others, felt it was unnecessary to create the Convention Center Authority until a financing package was presented by the administration.

The administration pushed for the creation of the Convention Center Authority, after a NewsChannel5 report showed Metro had been billed $458,000 for communications for the project. The original communications contract, which was overseen by the Metro Development and Housing Agency, was for just $75,000. The proposed authority would oversee the development of the Music City Center project instead of the MDHA, which has managed predevelopment activities up to this point.

“MDHA has demonstrated they are not capable of doing this and we have no control over those folks,” District 12 Councilman Jim Gotto said.

Dean has called for an independent audit, which is in the works. He also moved forward with the creation of the Convention Center Authority, which was enabled by new state legislation earlier this year.

District 22 Councilman Eric Crafton warned against establishing the Convention Center Authority, because it took the option of using general obligation bonds off the table for financing the convention center. The state legislation included a promise that Metro would not use a property tax pledge to support financing the package.

Voting with Jameson on his call to reconsider the resolution were Council members Crafton, Emily Evans, Karen Bennett and Erica Gilmore.

Earlier story: Sparks fly during convention center funding debate

18 Comments on this post:

By: tv8527 on 8/18/09 at 8:24

Thank you M.R Jamison if this were really a feasible project it would be built with mostly PRIVATE dollars .

By: idgaf on 8/19/09 at 4:41

"But Jameson, and others, felt it was unnecessary to create the Convention Center Authority until a financing package was presented by the administration."

That about sums it up. Godfather Dean should not be spending money on anything before its been approved and we have a chance to call for a referendem. Buying property for this folly is improper prior to any approval.

By: producer2 on 8/19/09 at 6:46

There are no projects like this anywhere that are built with private dollars UNLESS they are attached to very large hotels. Not even those private entity facilities make large chunks of money. it is the hotel rooms, food, and other ancillary dollars generated by those facilities that create money and jobs for all, including the private ones. In turn that is how the facility is built, from taxes collected from folks who come to use the facility but stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, etc. So who in private industry would build the center downtown if they could not reap the financial benefits? It would be equivalent of Bud Adams owning the players only and not getting any revenue from the ticket sales or concessions. Your scenario is not going to happen.

By: nvestnbna on 8/19/09 at 7:45

No, discussion of the finance director's sidestepping the "moral obligation bond" question?

By: JeffF on 8/19/09 at 8:17

Let a private entity build the center and a hotel then. That way they reap the financial benefits. BTW I still do not think that the state allows "moral obligation bonds". They would have to get a special piece of legislation passed and enough heat can be put on our senators and reps that they would think twice about putting them names on a diseased piece of law making.

I asked my school board member to lobby the state to have the legislation amended that would allow these tourism taxes to go toward better purposes. If enough people do that then maybe we can do some real good and take on some real NEEDS with that money instead of just wasting it on a dying industry. If they make the request then I will lobby both my state officials to support making Nashville better. I don't think they knew that Nashville "leaders" were going to be so wasteful with OUR tax revenues.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 8:46

I think Jameson and Crafton both have their hearts in the right place on this issue. But as we have seen, Jameson strategizes and acts and Crafton bellows and misses votes. I know which one I'd rather see in the mayor's office.

Forget Dean, he came in with the task from his backers of getting this albatross built and he is pulling out all the stops to keep the decision process away from the voters. For that alone he should be tossed out at the next election. Meanwhile we need to stop this train wreck before it gets to the station.

Erik Cole, you know this project is a turkey and you know your constituents don't want it. Man up and help vote it down.

By: BigPapa on 8/19/09 at 8:52

How much longer until Dean is up for election? Love to see him tossed out. So far he's been a total loser.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 8:53

Jeff, if you look at the losers on the planned allocation of 'tourism taxes' to build the MCC, you will see many worthy uses being cut out of the mix. Discovery Science Center, the Symphony, Hall of Fame, all viable tourist draws and also places that Nashville and middle Tennessee visit. The allocation goes from about 3 percent for the current center to 100 percent for the giant albatross. Where does the money come from for these other more worthy entities?

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 8:56

In Cincinnati Duke Energy paid for their convention center expansion and got to put their name on the building. Obviously NES is not the one to step in here-it's part of Metro-but naming rights would take the monkey off of the taxpayer's backs. The problem is, private businesses probably realize this project is a turkey.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 8:59

'Moral Obligation Bonds' to cover overbilling and immoral shenanigans to get this thing built? Hahahaha.

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 8/19/09 at 9:09

Why don't Gaylord build it? His name seems to be on everything else around here, anymore.

By: MusicCity615 on 8/19/09 at 9:53

Nashville needs a new convention center. Build it.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 10:18

Nashbeck, new name?

By: lisaleeds2008 on 8/19/09 at 10:20

Tonight the Metro Council delayed a vote on creating the convention center authority.
We have learned this week that Karl Dean and hid supporters have spent hundreds of thousands of your dollars promoting Music City Center. They have paid to have news articles written by a PR firm. They have paid a PR firm to go plug Music City Center on blogs and online newspapers. Karl Dean is wasting your money promoting Music City Center. Despite what the PR blitz is trying to tell us, Music City Center is not a done deal. We have been given about two more weeks to fight this. Our next big fight will come during the financing stage of this project in a few more months, but now is the time to grow vocal. The public is very displeased with the lack of accountability of this project being handled by MDHA. As Libertarians we know that more government with more power is never the answer. The proposed Convention Center Authority will not do any better than MDHA at managing this project. Please get active an urge Metro Council to kill this project. We do not have $100,000 of dollars to spend on a counter PR bliz, but we have the internet and we have each others. LPMNDC is all the tools you need to launch an effective fight.

1. Please sign up to follow Stop MCC (Music City Center) on Twitter.
2. Please take some time and read Public Chapter 474
3. Please look at our Convention Center Page http://lewisdt.com/lpmndc/conventioncenter.html
4. Please watch the Convention Center Con Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Acd1o0c2M18
5 Please take a few moments and contact Metro Council to let them know we do not want the Convention Center Authority and we the people do not want the convention center.
6. Contact Metro Council http://www.nashville.gov/council/feedback.aspx This is a simple form that will let you contact all of the council members in just a few seconds.

Do what is right. Stand up for what is right. Speak up for what is right. This is not about building a convention center, so much as it is about your freedom. The voice of the people has been deliberately silenced on this issue. Make your voice heard. Comment on any and all news articles. Post to blogs. Tell ten people about this and tell them the fight is not over. Tell them to tell ten people and so forth. Metro Council knows the libertarians are fighting this, now let us show them that Libertarians can defeat this.

By: JeffF on 8/19/09 at 12:46

Step 1, have council and Metro take over the duties of MDHA to bring a little sunshine to this thing.
Step 2, kill the Convention Center Authority or delay it until there is an actual financing package in place. Quit sinking expenditures into this thing until final approval has been given. This is not how cities' usually do this. Also this keeps the process transparent and operating as to the rules of government contracting and purchasing
Step 3 Contact your council person and let them know that this is not a NEED. Educations, safety, transportation are NEEDS. This is a want of a very, very, very small portion of the people of Nashville, many of which merely work in Nashville and live in Williamson, Sumner, eta al.

Beck, changing your screen name will cause me to not make fun of the use of the word "need" as it relates to the convention center. That is a word that most proponents will say is a stretch in this case.

By: airvols on 8/19/09 at 2:26

Time to call the pro votes, the crying minority is hitting he blogs again.

By: political1iam on 8/20/09 at 12:30

if i remember correctly all of the candidates running for Mayor, including David Briley for whom Jameson ran his campaign, were fervently in favor of building a new Convention Center.Karl Dean is simply followlng thru on his promise to the voters who elected him. An Authority is the most effective way to accomplish this as the vast majority of the Council recognizes.

By: producer2 on 8/20/09 at 12:59

Thank you for recognizing the truth!