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Is it campaign season yet?

Is it campaign season yet?

🗳️ It's quiet, too quiet · TNGOP Summer picnic · Council vs. Legal · Edgehill development · Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Hope everyone survived the heat dome over the weekend. I think the clouds are supposed to catch on fire next week. Make sure to coat your umbrella in aluminum foil.


Trump and Biden will take the stage this week to engage in the first Presidential debate of the 2024 election. This election season has been comparably demure. Given that Biden is essentially a walking zombie and Trump has been saddled with lawsuits, this should come as no surprise. Very little actual politicking or discussion of policy has occurred. Instead, we’ve been subject to a kind of ambient campaign strategy that focuses less on policy and more on the temperature (or  “vibe”) of the country. At such a crucial impasse, this fact is vaguely unsettling.

In the past few weeks, Trump has exercised his talent for reading the room, actively promoting ideas such as mass deportations as the country warms more to the idea, replacing the income tax with tariffs in order to stimulate the economy, and a number of other big proposals that, if we’re assessing the candidates based on policy alone, are ambitious and exciting. But of course, we’re not addressing the candidates on policy alone, thus the reliance of media outlets on “ambient pressures” to set the stage for the election.

Footman Phil Williams presents an interesting study concerning this phenomenon. I wrote at the end of last week about the Footman’s weird fixation on Millersville police officer Shawn Taylor, whom he’s dubbed the “conspiracy cop.” Considering his reporting on Franklin mayoral candidate Gabrielle Hanson last year, we can safely assume the goal of his Taylor reporting is to establish a narrative of Nashville’s exurbs being filled with raving MAGA lunatics ready to bull rush the state capitol and burn the whole thing down if a Democrat gets elected.

This theory is bolstered by a story he published this morning about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2023 report on hate and extremism. Though the report was first published three weeks ago, Williams has just gotten around to writing about it. It’s not a Footman Special by any means; instead, it just regurgitates the results of the report, showing that “new data points to dramatic rise of hate in Tennessee.” But most importantly for Williams, it provides justification for his focus on fringe figures with no real power or influence outside of their small, tight-knit following.

The data Williams draws attention to is incidences of “flyering.” The SPLC claims the number of racist flyers shot up from a reported 21 in 2018 to a whopping 268 last year. I don’t know what an “incident of flyering” is or how these things are counted, but I do have some experience with racist flyering. At the end of May, a member of the Nation of Islam handed my friend a flier that excoriated the “wicked” and “devil” blood of the white race and called on Allah to remove whites from the Earth. You can see the front and back of the flier if you want. I didn’t see the Nation of Islam included on the SPLC’s HateMap and can only conclude that this “incident of hate flyering” didn’t make it into their database.

As the incident happened on 12th South, I emailed Tom Cash, the Metro Council member who represents the area, about the flier and got a sympathetic response from him. But I highly doubt we’ll see any response from the Metro Council. 

To Williams, even pointing out the hypocrisy of all this will get me lumped into the amorphous blob of extremists who don’t like his reporting. Make no mistake, that’s by design. At the national level, this same pattern is repeated in order to prevent any kind of coalition from forming against the only political organization that has enough power and influence within DC to run a reanimated corpse for the world’s chief leadership position. DAVIS HUNT


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🌞 TN GOP Summer Picnic On Saturday, the Davidson County Republican Party held its annual picnic. Attendees enjoyed barbecue and ice cream in Dragon Park while hearing from a myriad of conservative candidates. There was campaign presence from Representative Andy Ogles; his primary opponent, Courtney Johnston, who currently sits on Metro Council; Representative Mark Green; Representative John Rose; and Senator Marsha Blackburn, along with a number of challengers to Democratic incumbents, including Wyatt Rampy (state Senate District 20), Jennifer Frensley Webb (state House District 50), and Chad Bobo (state House District 60).

Hosting the event was the Tennessee Star’s Michael Patrick Leahy, and at-large Councilwoman Burkley Allen and District 18 Councilman Tom Cash were also spotted making their rounds. As attendees milled about, they were asked to participate in a straw poll weighing their “choices in various races and opinions on important issues.” 

The overwhelming majority of attendees were not in favor of O’Connell’s move to increase Nashville’s sales tax by a half-cent, nor did they favor another property tax increase in the future. When asked about the largest issue facing our country, the top three responses were the economy, border security, and election integrity, in that order. Also, the majority would like to see Senator Tim Scott (R–SC) as Donald Trump’s running mate, followed by Senator Marsha Blackburn and Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR).

As far as Republican candidates for Tennessee Governor went, Congressman Mark Green won the poll with 86 votes. Behind him were Congressman John Rose with 45 votes, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs with 44 votes, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton with 8 votes. And for the upcoming 5th District Congressional Race, attendees favored Andy Ogles over Courtney Johnston, winning 144 votes to Johnston’s 48 votes. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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⚖️ Metro Council Vs. Metro Legal Yesterday on Fox 17’s Nashville in Focus, Jasper Hendricks, chairman of the Board of Fair Commissioners, spoke about his experiences with Metro Legal. After discussing the indefinite deferral of Councilmember Joy Styles’ No Confidence resolution, which deemed Metro Finance Director Kevin Crumbo and Law Director Wally Dietz responsible for the mismanagement of the Metro Arts Commission, Hendricks weighed in. “It’s a problem overall, you know, with the way that Metro Legal actually participates with various boards and commissions,” he told Scott Couch. “And instead of acting in an advisory capacity, they are—in some instances, they are actually directing.” 

Over the last few years, Legal has had to clean up a few messes set in motion by Metro. In May 2023, the court of appeals sided with two homeowners, Jason Mayes and Jim Knight, in their lawsuit against Nashville’s infamous sidewalk bill. The bill granted Metro the ability to withhold building permits, effectively allowing the municipality to coerce owners into building sidewalks on their properties. Since the court deemed the policy unconstitutional, the city has racked up legal fees and payouts, resulting in a growing bill that continues to drain Metro’s coffers.

In March, the council also rejected a settlement with a Nashville firefighter who was demoted after being reprimanded for a post on social media in 2020. The First Amendment rights lawsuit will now continue in federal court, which could result in a larger settlement.

It seems the council hasn’t learned much about free speech, as shown by their rejection of Morgan Wallen’s request to put up a standard-issue honky tonk neon outside of his new Nashville bar: a move that may result in yet another lawsuit on the taxpayer’s dime. “Morgan Wallen is childish and obnoxious, but even he has First Amendment rights, and Nashville's Metro Council might have trampled on them in trying to teach the country superstar a lesson,” wrote David Plazas in the Tennessean. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


Via Now Next Upcoming EdgeHill Project Emphasizes Neighborhood Retail In Nashville (More Info)
  • Eastside Bowl debuts new music venue, shows starting in July (NBJ)
  • Berry Hill properties listed for sale (Post)
  • Tower eyed for Melrose site near Publix (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 and yearly festival guide.


🎻 Peter Otto in Recital @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $26+, Info

🎸 Holy Wire @ The Cobra, 8p, $10, Info
+ post-punk

🪕 Bronwyn Keith-Hynes @ Dee's Lounge, 6p, $10, Info

🎸 Open Mic Mondays @ Tennessee Brew Works, 6p, Free, Info

🪕 Val Storey, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle & New Monday @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

💀 Grateful Monday @ Acme Feed & Seed, 8p, Free, Info

🕺 Motown Monday @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $5, Info