This past week Rex enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday as much as anyone, firing up the grill and listening to some tunes on his iPod. Somehow Rex got pleasantly stuck on a John Prine loop and cranked up songs from "Clay Pigeons" to the "Late John Garfield Blues."
In the middle of Rex's Prine fix was the song "Dear Abby," which got Rex thinking he should answer a few letters like ol' Abby did.
So crank up the tunes, kick off your shoes, and see what "The Oldest Baby in the World" has to say.
Dear Rex, The city said that our new convention center was going to cost about $635 million almost a year and a half ago. Since that time, construction costs have dropped at least 20 percent (if not 25 percent), so doesn't it stand to reason that the $635 million cost should NOW be $508 million?
If so, why are the convention center folks now talking about "dropping features" ("We may lose the green roof as value engineering") while still telling us it will cost $635 million? — Signed: Ghost of Manning
Dear Ghost, This is an easy one. It was NEVER going to cost $635 million. Had we not hit this giant wall called the "great recession of 2009" the mayor's Music City Center would have likely cost around $800 million. The city got really lucky, prices dropped, a lot, and they backed into the $635 number. Rex has always said it is a lot better to be lucky than be good.
Dear Rex, Has May Town Center's boatload of high-priced and high-powered lobbyists lost their collective minds or just lost control of their clients or their clients' maniacal alter ego Tony Giarratana? — Signed: Not Tony G.
Dear Not Tony, Good question. Exactly who thought paying TSU students to make lobbying calls to the north Nashville district of Metro Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr. was a good idea? And whose idea was it to defend doing it by saying "Oh, it's not lobbying, we are just providing information." Or the guy who booked that plane trip to Virginia for Planning Commission members? BRILLIANT!
Look "Not Tony," Rex lives far away from idyllic Bells Bend and, unlike some others, doesn't have an axe to grind with the May Town lobbying team, hasn't taken a position for or against the project or, for that matter, owe anyone on the project or against the project any favors, but geezus, this stuff is becoming increasingly indefensible and getting more so every single day.
Rex can't wait to see what's next. Maybe they could get Dick Cheney to do some radio spots on Phil Valentine’s show or have Miss California do her next “unauthorized” photo shoot there.
May Town Center is likely a good idea but we may never see it happen as someone over at May Town headquarters is slowly but surely killing it with really bad ideas. Rex is guessing it is Giarratana, but of course Rex doesn't know for sure.
Dear Rex, What's up with all these Metro Council members running for other (read "our") offices? — Signed: Vic, David, Charlie, Dardon, Ricky, George and John
Dear Bathrobe Brigade, Pull out your handy copy of the Metro Charter, the one that sits right there on your desk and place it beside your last pay stub. Now review the section in the Metro Charter on "term limits" for Council Members and then look at the section on your pay stub that reads "net pay." Repeat as necessary.
Dear Rex, I just want to say that I think that the state Legislature this year has done a fantastic job and really tackled important issues in this time of economic crisis. I have never seen the Tennessee House of Representatives function better. — Signed: A Voter
Dear Speaker Kent Williams, You are wrong.
Dear Rex, What kind of gun should I carry to formal dinners? And, can my wife carry her Browning .25-caliber pearl handle after Labor Day when dining at the Belle Meade Country Club, or should we purchase something like a customized Kahr E9 with onyx grips. — Signed: Packing
Dear Packing, I would say that you should base all your sidearm decisions on how many terrorists, muggers, carjackers, etc…you plan on consorting with in an evening. You don’t want to run out of ammo when you are fighting crime at the Club or at Chuck E. Cheese.
However, if you are spending the evening dining with John Rich you may need to pack extra heat, depending on whether or not you have a record deal with him or if Sebastian Bach is in town.
Dear Rex, Where can I order a good case of wine now that is legal to ship it into Tennessee? — Signed: G. Goose
Dear Goose, Rex loves his red wine and highly recommends the Napa Valley Wine Exchange in San Francisco (www.NVWE.com). This is the best place Rex has found to buy wines you just can't get here in the land of Jack Daniels. Just know if your last name happens to be Kroger or Publix, you are out of luck and won't get any.