🤿 Mask Mania!!! Nashville’s mask mandate came to an abrupt end early Friday morning, halting Mayor Cooper’s obsession with demonizing Bill Lee’s COVID approach that began last summer. Cooper has long asserted his administration’s superiority as science-based saviors of the local population by insisting that mask mandates remain in light of the Governor’s lifting of COVID restrictions three weeks ago. As recently as Thursday afternoon, Metro Health officials persisted in making the case that the mandate was vital to Nashvillians’ safety despite the release of the CDC’s revised mask guidelines earlier that morning.
Yet, all it took to topple the mayor’s passionate pro-masking stance was a Joe Biden tweet, leaving Metro to engage in a Pavlovian backtrack so Cooper & Co. could get in step with the party line. Less than three hours after the President’s ultimatum to the unvaccinated, the Metro Nashville Public Health Department scrubbed all recent references to mandate support from their website and social media under the guise of “updating,” clearly illustrating the dedication to transparency that anchors the Cooper administration. The city’s major media outlets followed by “updating” their earlier stories and blunting the administration’s embarrassing paper trail of the about face. Cooper has even swapped his masked Twitter profile pic, reminding Nashvillians that his similarities to Burgermeister Meisterburger from the classic Christmas special Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town go far beyond his draconian tendencies.
😨 Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt As the rest of Nashville celebrates the return of sanity, local institutions like the Belcourt Theatre  continue to fetishize masks as if they are ancient runes one can rub to provide them with eternal life. The Belcourt announced—and continues to gloat about—its intent to keep the mask mandate intact, even going so far as to plead with patrons to donate on top of the normal ticket price to reward them for their caution. No thanks. We can look after ourselves. There was once a time when the Belcourt was a window into another kaleidoscopic, cinematic world. Now, it sits as a gentle consolation to insecure residents that, yes, you live in a "modern, cosmopolitan" city and not the city that invented that lowly country music.
🏛 Who's in charge here? The CDC's sudden pronouncement that masks need not be worn by the vaccinated took everyone by surprise and was met, in equal parts, by fear and joy. From the CDC Director's warning of 'Impending Doom' back in March to the unimpeded speculation that masks would be the new normal to last week's sudden reversal, we can't blame you for having some whiplash. But, it should come as zero surprise that the CDC took such a brazen line following the April jobs report and the Federal Reserve's public acknowledgement of inflation—albeit transitory. Take this in stride with the recent NY Times profile that made Bumbling Biden sound more like a senile, confused inmate than a capable world leader, and it seems obvious that this house of cards will collapse.
💰 Nashville property tax hike: Commission's decision likely clears way for single-issue referendum in July (Tennessean)
+ Metro council wants to include its own property tax proposal on ballot in July
+ Referendum supporters claim Metro's counter offer is 'misleading'
+ According to Metro, property tax cut could affect $50 million investment in Nashville teacher pay raises, or funding for the 40 new police officers for the Southeast Precinct, incidentally, both union demands
+ Isn't this what we all want? Less police and obliterated teacher's unions?
💸 Lawmakers leave door open for special session to handle fed funds (Lookout)
+ The state is to receive $8.6 billion in federal funds
+ In short, the coffers are overflowing thanks to federal stimulus funds
🚨 Nashville’s Community Oversight Board Wants Metro Police to Increase Diversity Hires Based on NAACP-Prompted Report (Star)
🏚 Cooper announces partnership to reimburse landlords for missed payments (Main Street)
🐎 David Plazas' half-assed defense of the indefensible Critical Race Theory (Tennessean)
+ Plazas fulfills his mediocre role as emissary of the new status-quo
🏗 Development updates
+ Hill Realty sells Midtown property for $3.2M (Post)
+ Antioch industrial property sells for $17.6M (Post)
+ NYC development company buys again in North Gulch (Post)
+ Mixed-use project eyed for Marathon Village area (Post)
+ A look at Sam Fox's The Twelve Thirty Club at Fifth + Broadway (Biz Journal)
+ Atlanta-based brewery headed to massive Germantown development (Biz Journal)
🛁 In Defense of the Bath (Read) and the bathhouse as a symbol of Rome (Read)
🖼 Roger Scruton's visual essay on why beauty matters (Watch)
🦠 A long, reveltory read on the origins of COVID (Read)
🍹 A Guide To: Country Singers' Cocktail (Read)
 Emphasis on the deliberately pretentious French spelling of Theatre