Nashville Libertarian Party protests Music City Center

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 8:50pm

A small group gathered outside the historic Metro courthouse prior to Tuesday’s Council meeting holding up signs and handing out fliers opposing Music City Center.

The fliers list 101 reasons not to build Music City Center. The No. 1 reason listed is “the extra local convention space is not needed.” No facts are offered to substantiate the 101 reasons listed on the fliers and the issue was not on Tuesday’s agenda.

A Nashville Libertarian Party Web site inviting protestors to the meeting says the group plans to protest weekly against the new convention center.

"If you oppose the purchase of land for Music City Center or the construction of Music City Center come join us to let Metro Council know we do not want them building Music City Center," the Web site says.

32 Comments on this post:

By: Time for Truth on 5/6/09 at 12:37

I often agree with the Libertarians and often disagree with them. I certainly prefer them to what has become of the Republican party, which is amoral on fiscal and foreign policy issues and 'church ladies' on social issues. A legacy of the worst President in our history that the GOP is not smart enough to shed.

In this case I agree with the Libertarians. A waste of taxpayer dollars is a waste of taxpayer dollars. A flagrant and destructive waste of taxpayer dollars is the Music City Center.

By: arkay61 on 5/6/09 at 5:44

Legacy of the worst president in history? Really? What do the repubs have to do with Jimmy Carter?

By: idgaf on 5/6/09 at 6:51

Good for them. Hopefully if necessary they will launch the partisian campaign to get it on the ballot.

By: Kosh III on 5/6/09 at 7:11

Carter, you mean the President who inherited the economic mess of Nixon and Ford and left the economy in good shape for Raygun?
The President who helped craft a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt?
The President who was a genuine Christian as opposed to the lip-service Raygun and Bushes?
The President who actually tried to craft an authentic moral and ethical foreign policy?

By: Kosh III on 5/6/09 at 7:13

And no. No convention center. Use the money for schools, roads, buses, parks, police, fire and other services which benefit all the city and not just the bars downtown.

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 7:33

Best part of the brief article

"No facts are offered to substantiate the 101 reasons listed on the fliers and the issue was not on Tuesday’s agenda."

typical....

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 8:24

and having Nate Rau appear on the byline of at almost a dozen articles concerning MPF (Google "Nate Rau" and McNeely Pigott & Fox) is just a coincidence? Nate was not being a good journalist when he inserted the "no facts" line since that occurs in just about every news event.

It is good to have friends Nate but you should not let their careers and clients derail the objectivity required to do yours. Your friend at MPF is using you as a resource for their career not vice versa. PR firms are hired to create news and having friends at NCP, the Tennessean, and WSMV gives them the ability to pull discourse their way. It looks like a simple protest by well-meaning people was just portrayed as a bunch of know-nothings.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/09 at 8:33

I thought that the Tax money would be coming from the Hotel/Motel sale of room. Tourist money.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/09 at 8:41

The Libertarians might be a good alterative over the rat party.

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 8:46

Producer you were absent the other day, please post a response to the following:

http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/who-will-pay-music-city-center

Who will pay for Music City Center?
Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 11:10pm
Source: Metro Finance Department

The following Metro Hotel/Motel Tax appropriations would go from current beneficiaries to Music City Center project after the next budget year.

$7.4 million Sommet Center

$1.4 million Metropolitan Transit Authority

$1.2 million Regional Transit Authority

$835,000 Police Special Events overtime funding

$668,000 Municipal Auditorium

$632,000 Convention Center

$425,000 Convention & Visitors Bureau

$400,000 Opryland Tourism Development Zone

$300,000 Partnership 2010

$200,000 Adventure Science Center

$150,000 Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

$120,000 Farmers Market

$100,000 Arts Commission

$100,000 Nashville Sports Council

$40,000 Sister Cities

$25,000 National Historic Commission Conference

Isn't this all something we ignorant taxpayers were not going to ever have to pay for? I believe you once stated we were getting worked up worrying about something we would never have to pay a dime for.

By: klskelley on 5/6/09 at 9:58

How bout that for a bush legacy...destroying the Republican Party. That would be impressive.

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 10:19

I believe that list is correct.

second question:
Why does everyone that thinks differently than you on this subject automatically become an employee of MPF?

By: airvols on 5/6/09 at 10:26

So now the Libertarians are looking for a few headlines , and in view of the falling support for the Republican Party they might get it. I think this is the wrong cause, but a good public project is a great starting point gain headlines. You can whine all you want about taxpayer money, but in the end the taxes on the industry that will gain from this being built is logical. This city is better off looking to the future, and not living in the past. I am finally glad to see visionary leaders move this city behond the vocal few who always oppose everything that is submitted for consideration. Build it, and they will come!

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 10:44

I prefer a vision of the future where our government is not under the thumb of tourism interests. There a lot of more businesses that exist in Nashville that do not require the tax revenue they generate be refunded back to them. There are a lot of businesses (all of them in fact) they pay better and are better stewards to the community.

The future should not be hijacked by tourism. The future should not be dictated to meet the petty interests of a industry on perpetual welfare. Spend the time building a real future, not a convention center. Build neighborhoods, offices, sidewalks, hospitals, drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, abused women's shelters, parks, schools, schools, and schools. Don't build large widescrapers that will sit empty of clients at least 70% of the time and most citizens will never use or see benefit from but will still have to pay to operate.

The real front porch view of a city does not include the convention center. That is simply the building a few meeting attendees see for 8 hours or more a day before they head out on an airplane at the end of the week. No one sells post cards of their city's beautiful convention center, now or in the future. A future minded city plans for the future of its citizens, it does not commit 5 years worth of its budget resources to a single convention center. That is what meeting planners and hotel owners do, not future minded cities.

Nashville be a city, not a convention center brand.

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 10:44

Nate is not an employee of MPF. Where did you see that written?

By: dnewton on 5/6/09 at 10:46

The convention center will just be another toxic asset on the books of Metro.

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 11:11

JeffF,
Prove your statements with facts not opinions.

By: Time for Truth on 5/6/09 at 11:43

producer, all I've seen from you, Nashbeck and Airvols ("build it an they will come?" How original!) is opinion and industry-related happy talk. Jeff has been all about the facts, and they were largely corroborated in the Scene article. The comment above was the first 'speech' from him in a while and being in agreement I rather liked it.

You'll be happy to know that as a citizen who 'won't have to pay anything towards the center' I just paid about $90 in MCC surcharges on some cars I rented. This is a drop in the bucket compared to what we'll all be paying to keep this thing open. For starters, where will the 14 million come from to subsidize all the worthy and somewhat less worthy projects listed above when the giant albatross sucks all of it up?

Logic also dictates that the off-the-beaten-track MCC will probably result in LESS activity at the tourist epicenter of Lower Broad and Second Avenue, a few steps from the doors of the current facility. The MCC is wrong on so many levels that I am really starting to wonder about Dean's ability to govern logically.

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 11:52

You mean the Scene article that used Heywood Sanders as their only source of information? A lot of people cite Heywood Sanders as the authority on the demand for convention centers. He’s a professor in San Antonio. During the time their homeboy expert has been telling everyone the convention center industry is overbuilt, the city of San Antonio has expanded twice and built a dome. I guess you have to be from out of town to understand these things. For crying out loud, even his hometown doesn’t buy his “research.” You want some real solid figures, try these from UT about the impact of tourism on Davidson County. http://web.utk.edu/~tourism/reports/Davidson-Co-06.pdf

Also where do you think the money to pay for those subsidizes comes from now TFT? From tourism and when you can no longer compete for the dollars when your facility is virtually of no use because of its size then YOU will be paying for those things. What part of this equation is escaping you? And how did you come up with that lame comment onLESS activity in downtown with MORE people? I am really starting to wonder about YOUR ability to think logically.

By: Time for Truth on 5/6/09 at 12:17

Some of that money is coming from me. So I'm tired of hearing how 'no citizens will have to pay towards the center'. And I saw no answer as to where the money to subsidize existing recipients will come from next year. The Tourism Fairy?

Your entire premise that the MCC is viable is based on the assumption that the number of people coming to Nashville is directly proportional to the square footage of its convention center. That is an optimistic and faulty assumption. The cost versus benefits, location outside of the actual tourist zone, and unavoidable fact that the convention industry is in steady decline all point to this project being a bad idea at the wrong time.

By: Dragon on 5/6/09 at 12:23

It's a shell game. They will increase your taxes to help pay for the MTA, RTA, Sommet Center, etc, etc.etc.

After all, they need to make up the $10 or $15 million somewhere.

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 1:12

TFT,
How did you come up with your equations? How do you know it is an optimistic and faulty assumption?Where is your analysis of costs vs. benefits? What do you mean it is "outside of the toursits zone?" Where did you get your information that the convention industry is in a steady decline, Heywood Sanders? See that is the problem here, you have no facts to back up your assumptions, meanwhile there were 3 "libertarians" outside the courthouse last night for much of the evening. I am told a fourth actually joined in later on. Have you seen the flyer they were handing out? It s ridiculous with reasons like:
# 63 The unfair competition advantage will force other companies to close or downsize. What!
#70 The quality convention hosting will be diminished. .. Can someone enlighten me as to what the heck that means?
#66 this will reduce the ability of local workers to spend money in the local economy. .... Brilliant why didn't I think of that one!

All the while the 59,000 residents of Davidson County who have jobs because of visitors to our city are supposed to take a back seat to these 4 people with no facts just silly flyers. The paper should actually be ashamed for even publishing this garbage....

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 1:50

Seattle Convention business storms off in a huff because elected officials demanded factual information instead of the "data" from the industry consultant

At least they asked for real convention numbers

http://www.thenewstribune.com/callaghan/story/730900.html

Every now and then something happens in Olympia that surprises.

That is, someone acts in a way that breaks the pattern. In this case it has to do with convention centers – you know, those economic development machines that mint money. Except when they don’t because the U.S. has too much space chasing too few conventioneers.

Rather than admit to a mistake, cities keep building. The rationale is always that “we” are different than the other cities because “we” have a special niche in the market.

The problem in the convention business, however, isn’t that there is too much business. The problem is that there is too little. Seattle does less convention business now than it did before its last expansion in 2001.

How did the state convention center board react to the Legislature’s demand for better analysis? It voted unanimously to ask Gov. Chris Gregoire to veto the entire section. It would rather delay its plans than submit to an independent analysis.

“Too often with these studies, the outcome is dictated by who pays for the study. What we’re trying to do is come in with no bias and say ‘let’s look at the real numbers.’”

“You lose clients if you shoot down projects,” said Jeffrey Sachs of Strategic Advisory Group. “

******
State convention center expansion put on hold

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2009155072_conventioncenter01m.html

Backers of the expansion had asked for $15 million in local hotel taxes to move ahead with the design and to secure an option on the land for the downtown Seattle project.

Instead, lawmakers offered $10 million, with strings attached. The Legislature's capital budget makes the money available next July only if the WSCTC conducts studies on the feasibility and financing of the project and reports back by the end of the year.

Lawmakers also demanded that the state-owned WSCTC work with business and union leaders to write up a plan on how the expansion would create "full-time, stable, living-wage jobs" and "positive labor relations."

******
That last excerpt made me a smile real big when I read it. Looks like some elected officials finally discovered the fleeting nature of the low paying tourism and meetings jobs. This is not what the "industry" was wanting from elected officials. Someone apparently forgot to send out the campaign donations in the last election cycle in Washington State. Maybe they can start insulting everyone with their failure to support "the future"

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 1:51

Accommodations tax: Vanishing act
County poised to eliminate event, organization funds

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/apr/21/vanishing_act79427/

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 2:38

you left out (seems on purpose) this passage from the article:

"Meanwhile, lawmakers drained $22 million from the convention center's local hotel-tax account to balance the state budget — on top of the $65 million they diverted last year for the same purpose."

You also failed to mention that they want $766 million to just expand what they have and it will not reach significantly larger audiences. It one thing to spend $800 million to increase your odds by 20% vs. $635 million to increase them by 80%. We have had the discussion on cities overbuilding which would encompass most facilities that have 750,000 to 1,000,000 square foot exhibit halls. There is not that much business for halls that size. This is why Nashville is building a hall of 375k to 400k square feet. That is where the business is....

Same thing with the second article, more selective headlines. How about this passage from the same article:
"Just last year, the accommodations tax fund was flush. Charleston County even set aside an extra $540,000 for the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, to make up for state spending cuts. Receipts from the tax on hotel rooms have plunged, along with the economy, and the elimination of county funds would deliver another financial blow to cultural groups that already are suffering."

Now it is not a stretch to understand that in the current economy things will be tight, but all this article shows me is how much tourism means to this relativley small community. Toruism is finding things that no other business can. And when they let it go or the economy is in flux that creates a problem for them. Nothing in this article claims that those funds will not return as the economy picks back up.

I love how you selectivley pick passages that help your side of the equation. Tell the whole story next time, it is far more fair.

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 3:36

I did not leave out, thanks to my diligent work I left a link to both articles. Thanks for reading.

Doh you picked the wrong argument, You should not have used the STL arguement. Seattle currently has 307,000 square feet of overbuilt space. You want to build 370,000 square feet of non-overbuilt space in Nashville. Woops. Plus Seattle is a real tourism city raking in far more tourists than Nashville ever will.

Seattle CVB folks want to do the same thing using the same reasoning, build bigger, have someone else pay for it. Turns out they NEED to do it because their previous expansion (the one that you want to do in Nashville now) is not paying off like the consultants promised. They overbuilt previously, and now want to keep overbuilding. You simply want to have the opportunity the CVB folks in other cities has had, you want to overbuild on someone else's dime and risk so you can timeline into the next overbuilding in 10 years or so. I simply want everyone to see the foolishness of overbuilding before the event actually occurs.

Funny that you would view using tax money as draining tourism funds. That is a good summation of your feelings on who owns the taxes collected by a government. Every other industry has no right to the taxes collected in the course of its business. Tourism and conventions on the other hand are being robbed when they do not have every dime refunded back to them by the government. Freud would love to examine you .

Charleston more than compares with Nashville and its piddly 27 out of 30 ranking in total tourism rankings. Further examination of the tourism rankings has several cities with real tourism numbers (bigger than Nashville) having considerable problems with their convention centers not doing well for several years. #1 Las Vegas, #4 New York, #6 Washington, #7 Atlanta, #9 Houston, #10 Dallas, #11 Philadelphia, #16 Boston, #18 ST LOUIS, #21 Seattle, #22 Indianapolis, #23 Denver.

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 3:43

We are lucky, we could be having this debate in New Jersey where no one would give a darn about what gets built on that toxic waste dump of a state. We actually both want what's best for our city and state. It is funny though how no New Jersey city ever gets on any convention city rankings. Must be the smell from the land and residents.

By: producer2 on 5/6/09 at 5:50

considerable problems? In the last 6 to 8 months? For years? what does that mean, again no backup. As for Seattle you should pick your battles more wisely............

“Seattle is a real tourism city that will rake in far more than Nashville ever will.”
Draw a circle around Nashville and you get around 50% of the U. S population, draw a circle around Seattle and you get… oh yea you get half a circle of ocean.
Hotel rooms in Seattle 32,890
Hotel rooms in Nashville 34,852
Look it up before making claims

By: Time for Truth on 5/6/09 at 9:44

prod, I haven't seen your proof either. 59k people depend on tourism for a job? Does that include airline pilots, restaurant employees and others who also serve the general public? And is a huge building project seven blocks from the hall of fame museum really going to boost visitor totals by an amount to justify its construction? Are '4 billion dollars' going to start flowing into Nashville if we pay one billion to build MCC and who knows how much to run it?

Your numbers are probably guesses by the consultant hired to make the project look and sound good. A referendum should be held to get the true picture of what the citiizens who pay taxes here want. I sense you are afraid of that as you ramp up the rhetoric.

How big is your circle? I won't dispute Nashville's central location, it is how all those fan fair people can afford to drive here. For now.

By: arkay61 on 5/6/09 at 9:47

Kosh III, nice try at revisionist history. But no cigar.

Alas you are incorrect about Carter. Let's begin with the fact that inflation had reached 11.6% in 1979 and 13.5% in 1980, a devastating 25% increase in prices in just two years. The prime interest rate had reached 21.5% in 1980, with home mortgage interest rates soon climbing as high as 14.7%. Unemployment began an upward climb during the Carter years that eventually peaked at over 10% in 1982. The poverty rate actually started increasing in 1978 during the Carter years, eventually climbing by an astounding 33%, from 11.4% to 15.2%. A fall in real median family income that began in 1978 snowballed to a decline of almost 10% by 1982. Average real family income for the lowest income 20% declined by 14.2%. Indeed, during the Carter years (1977 to 1980), real income declined for every quintile, from the lowest 20% to the highest 20%. Real average income of U.S. households was, in fact, in a long-term decline, down rather than up from 1970 to 1980.

Yep, I voted for the moron and learned a huge lesson; just because a politician is a nice guy doesn't mean squat when what you need is competence. I'll wager before long the whole country is going to learn the same thing.

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