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Addressing the Unaddressable
Photo by Brian Patrick Tagalog / Unsplash

Addressing the Unaddressable

♟️ 4D chess · Addressing Strain's death · Lily-white unions · East Bank come up · Much more!

“We’re already working on some fencing along just the Gay Street area,” explained Downtown’s district council member, Jacob Kupin, to his colleagues during last night’s meeting. “Some people have asked if I’m fencing the entire riverfront from interstate to interstate. No, we are not building a barrier to the water.”

Since the body of Riley Strain was found in the Cumberland River, local leaders have been doing damage control— especially in regards to Music City’s reputation as a safe tourist destination. Policymakers are already proposing multiple solutions to a problem that has yet to be satisfactorily identified. The case remains an open mystery—in spite of MNPD’s preliminary toxicology report, Strain's family is still awaiting their own private autopsy results.

Notably, Strain was missing his pants and boots when he was discovered. "It is unusual. Normally if you fall in the river, it's very difficult to get your pants off," said Dr. Bill Bass, the founder of the University of Tennessee's famed Body Farm and one of the foremost experts on body decomposition in the world.

Kupin presented a resolution calling for a “comprehensive analysis” of the areas near the Cumberland River, with the goal of increasing safety, security, and “housing resources for the unhoused.” Though the initiative was deferred for another month, there’s no indication that it lacks support. The delay has more to do with the complexity of the problems along the Cumberland— problems that will require more than just a new fence.

The legislation requests input from at least ten departments, including MNPD and the Office of Homeless Services. You may remember that two TikTokers uncovered Strain’s bank card along the riverfront near Gay Street; though the mainstream media avoided characterizing the area where it was found, it can easily be identified as a homeless encampment.

“The hazardous materials are there: drugs, guns, knives, weapons, bats and such,” Barry Doupnik, coordinator of some of the largest homeless cleanups in Nashville, told the council last meeting. “Most of which the homeless use to protect their space.”

Though Kupin’s resolution would address Nashville’s “out of sight, out of mind” attitude toward the riverfront homeless network, the solution has come at a steep price. Despite the city council and administration embarking on a multi-billion dollar East Bank Development plan, it took the death of a university student and overwhelmingly negative “public concern and media attention” for the city to finally prioritize the homeless issue—according to the resolution’s language. 

If passed, the Homeless Services will assess the river’s homeless encampments, with plans to provide “services and housing” to those settled there. Other departments will inspect the riverside’s lighting, fences, rails, walls, and landscape features while additional camera systems will be installed along the embankments.

The resolution assures that no protocol will unnecessarily “restrict access to or view of the riverfront,” but will “take steps to secure hazardous areas.” If passed, the final reports are expected to be submitted to the Council by March 8, 2025. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

We're hosting a Bitcoin Halving Happy Hour with the folks at Media Farm and the Bitcoin Conference to celebrate the imminent Bitcoin halving. Attend for a chance to win a free pass to this year's Bitcoin Conference in Nashville from July 25-27 (RSVP)

🌸 Lily-White Unions Governor Bill Lee joined five other governors in opposing the United Auto Workers’ unionization campaign, which could affect the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. As expected, a chorus of union supporters condemned his statements. “Bill Lee is anti-worker,” wrote CM Sepulveda. “Lame as hell statement hope the workers win,” wrote CM Sean Parker. It’d be easy to believe that worker strikes and unionization efforts are doing well based on the fawning media coverage they receive. Back in September, Joe Biden shook hands with striking UAW workers in Detroit, making him the first sitting president to visit a picket line.

Interestingly, though, union membership has never been lower. The Bureau of Labor Statistics first recorded data on union membership in 1983,which showed 20 percent of the country’s workforce to be active union members. In 2023, only 10 percent are active union members. The reasons for this are multifaceted, but what it shows is that unions’ hold on workers has never been weaker. And with this information in mind, Biden’s visit and the glowing press coverage indicate labor unions are antiquated institutions on the way out.

So why does the public still seem to support unions? In 2022, 71 percent of respondents to a Gallup poll voiced support. But given the same poll shows only one in six Americans live with a union member, the support seems to be superficial at best. In other words, much of the support for unions comes from people who only understand them vaguely as weapons against capitalism or something. Yawn. DAVIS HUNT

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🏗️ East Bank Come Up The council unanimously approved the Master Developer Agreement last night, with the Fallon Co. kicking off the development of 30 acres of Metro-owned land on the East Bank. Council fans celebrated the vote as an example of this new council getting things done. 

"Nashvillians told us they wanted great neighborhoods on the city’s East Bank,” said Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell. “This agreement with The Fallon Company will help us deliver a neighborhood for all Nashvillians – with unprecedented commitments in affordable housing, childcare, and complete streets.” Fallon Co.’s portion of the development will include

* 40-story hotel with 450 rooms, plus retail

  • 16-story hotel with 325 rooms and retail
  • Building with 550 apartments; 25 of them would be affordable housing units;
  • Building with 175 apartments, all of which would be affordable housing units.

I don’t think neighborhood is the right word here, but the statement describes it as a “vibrant, mixed-income, multimodal community adjacent to Nashville’s downtown.” DAVIS HUNT

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🗣️ My Testimony An AP article by Kimberlee Kruesi and Christine Fernando celebrates the bravery of female candidates sharing their abortion stories on the campaign trail. Like Christians during antiquity, persecuted by the Romans for practicing their faith, fearless women like Gloria Johnson deliver their testimonies in defiance of the state. DAVIS HUNT


An aerial rendering of the mixed-use development vision that The Fallon Co. pitched to Metro next to the new domed stadium for the Tennessee Titans.


  • Southwest Airlines adds nonstop flights to Cincinnati, Greenville, and Richmond (WKRN)
  • Five Points Pizza expands to Wedgewood-Houston (NBJ)
  • Midtown Cambria hotel opens rooftop restaurant (Post)
  • Rutledge Hill building slated for hookah lounge (Post)
  • Humane Association pays $1.85M for property (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


🪕 The Po' Ramblin' Boys @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

🎸 Alice Phoebe Lou @ The Basement East, 8p, $20, Info
+ indie pop singer-songwriter

🎸 The Brother Brothers @ City Winery, 7p, $20, Info
+ indie folk duo

🪕 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info