Lakewood is most famous these days for being a little stretch on Old Hickory Boulevard where it is wise to hit the brakes. The “independent city,” which never fully joined up with Metro, has a reputation — cultivated and deserved or not — as a speed trap.
But now the Slow Down City has a new controversy on its hands. The pro-Metro forces won the vote to finally join the consolidated government by the slimmest possible margin: 400-399.
Lakewood leaders — a decidedly anti-Metro bunch — are preparing their challenge to the vote, with the council setting aside money to formally contest the results.
There are rumors circulating of Lakewoodians having to ask for the referendum ballot. There are rumors of non-Lakewoodians getting to vote on the referendum.
It’s a very sticky situation.
Perhaps to some old-timers it seems a little too familiar. Maybe to the longtime residents, as they look around town trying to decide which anti-Metro voter stayed home or which on-the-fencer voted for consolidation or where the ineligible voter came from, they look up and down the OHB at Lakewood’s two neighboring burgs and think of the old days.
Lakewood sits between Old Hickory and Hopewell on the boulevard: Old Hickory, where Garner Robinson pulled the strings for the Sheridan-Robinson machine that controlled Nashville for decades; and Hopewell, a now mostly forgotten wide spot in the road where Robinson and his cronies allegedly manufactured decisive margins in key elections.
James Squires wrote a whole book about the secrets of the Hopewell Box, about all the (alleged) vote rigging that came out of this one little corner of Davidson County. Who knows how many jiggered ballot boxes passed through what is now Lakewood as the funeral-director-cum-sheriff and his pals inflated the numbers?
So, forgive the folks in Lakewood if they smell something fishy about the vote. They’ve seen a fix a before.