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No. 577: Everyone Knows What's Coming
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No. 577: Everyone Knows What's Coming

📅 Today, Davis ponders if the new Metro government knows what's ahead, Megan takes a look at some key players on the council, and Jerod furnishes his weekly film rundown.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Mayor Cooper assumed office almost four years to the day.  Within two months, he was beset by demands from then-Tennessee state Comptroller Justin P. Wilson to amend the city's $41.5 million budget shortfall.

When Metro Government resumes operations on Tuesday with a newly elected mayor, vice mayor, and a number of new council members, one could bet they’ll be beset by similar concerns.

Mayor-elect Freddie O'Connell has given no indication he takes residents' concerns over the city's fiscal health seriously aside from declaring that he does not plan to use taxpayer funds on "stadium deals."

In the coming weeks and months, it will be worth keeping an eye on whether O'Connell can get ahead of the well-known and publicized concerns about the city's debt level.

Will he raise taxes or put forth a plan to reduce the city’s looming debt? Or, will he voluntarily run headlong into the confrontation that everyone knows is going to happen and use it to further gin up animus between the city and the state?

Today, Jerod will preview the Nashville Film Festival with local filmmaker Jay Miller. You can catch that here. If you missed it yesterday, be sure to catch his rundown of what to catch at the festival here.


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Since 2019, Nashville has grown accustomed to certain personalities filling the room during the bi-weekly meetings in the David Scobey Council Chambers. We’re sure to see some of those members get right back into character when the new council’s first meeting commences next Tuesday.

From Joy Styles, forever known as the person who walked into the courthouse wearing a hazmat suit, to resident Democratic Socialist Sean Parker bringing forward more legislation aimed at “reimagining” our city, to Ginny “no pass for fascism” Welsch taking to the mic for yet another soundbite — sometimes making more sense than we care to admit–- we expect the newcomers to amplify the antics of the old guard.

Last week we gave a quick rundown of the five at-large council members, all of whom we’re ahem, excited to hear from in lively discussions on the floor and in committees. Today, we’ll take a look at a few of the districted members. 


WHO IS SHE?  Sepulveda has represented the Haywood-Tusculum area since 2019. A progressive and nearly lifelong resident of Southeast Nashville, she’s an advocate for transit initiatives, workers’ rights, and development within her district.  

WHAT TO EXPECT It isn’t surprising that the youngest member of the council uses TikTok as a platform to engage with constituents. As the first Latina elected to Metro Council, she often lends her advocacy and voice to Nashville’s Latino community, initiating a push for translators and other accommodations. As one of the plaintiffs in the suit filed against the state’s council reduction bill, Sepulveda has proven that she’s not afraid to go toe-to-toe with an adversary. We expect new legislation and outspoken discussion from her during her second term. 


WHO IS HE? A freshman council member who won his runoff race in District 11 by a 50-vote margin, Nashville native Eslick ran a campaign focusing on neighborhood preservation. 

WHAT TO EXPECT Eslick is an unapologetic conservative, a rarity in the new council.  While campaigning, he advocated for neighborhood safety through accountability, stressing his support for the police and his plans to do something about the homeless encampments popping up around Old Hickory. Interestingly, he’s found himself on the Public Facilities, Arts and Culture, and Government Operations and Regulations committees. We’re sure to see his conservative stances ruffle a few feathers in council.


WHO IS SHE? The council member for District 26 since 2019 attracted no opposition during her second campaign. Known as a common-sense candidate who is a bit more conservative, Johnston’s moderate approach has grown her support over the last four years. 

WHAT TO EXPECT Johnston is politically ambitious and may run for higher office after this term. That being said, she’s also getting iced out by the current coalition of progressives dominating the council. The proof is in her committee assignments; she was noticeably not assigned a chair position by Vice Mayor Angie Henderson. Never afraid to hash out the logistics of Metro policy practices whenever necessary, Johnston’s sure to initiate more back and forth on the floor this term.


WHO IS SHE? The daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, Terry Vo is another young freshman we’re sure to hear a lot about.  Back in 2020, Vo, a DEI consultant, established API Middle TN, a nonprofit that “works toward racial justice by building API community, lifting API voices, and celebrating API identities.” Her campaign that won her the District 17 seat emphasized this mission. 

WHAT TO EXPECT We’ve seen Vo rub elbows with far-left activist and newly elected representative for District 51, Aftyn Behn. Slated as one of the Nashville Justice League’s chosen progressives, South Nashville’s newest council member isn’t likely to take a backseat as she learns the ropes. 


Federal appeals court rejects request to prevent TN ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors from going into effect (WBIR) On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said a federal appeals court formally allowed a Tennessee law effectively banning types of gender-affirming care for transgender youth to go into effect. It also upheld a similar Kentucky law.

Gannett Wants to ‘Save Local Journalism.’ It Thinks Taylor Swift and Beyoncé Can Help. (WSJ) USA Today parent is sifting through nearly 1,000 applications for reporting jobs covering the singers. Responses have come from Emmy-award-winning journalists, TikTok influencers and a reporter working at the White House.

In $11.3M federal fund maneuver, Planned Parenthood services expand (Center Square) Tennessee and Oklahoma will receive a combined $11.3 million in federal Title X money in a workaround after the states were denied that money earlier this year.


  • Progress At The 775-Acre June Lake Development In Spring Hill, TN (Now Next)
  • Von Elrod’s retools outdoor space (Post)
  • SoBro apartment building sells for $78.5M (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 our 2023 southern festival guide and 🎥 2023 movie guide.


🎸 Little Feat @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $39.50+, Info
+ Sailin’ Shoes in its entirety PLUS the hits

🪕 Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, 8p, $30, Info

🎸 UNDIE FEST 2 @ The Underdog, Info

🎸 Musicians Corner @ Centennial Park, 5p, Free, Info

🪕 The Cowpokes @ Acme Feed & Seed, 12p, Free, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

✹ WEEKLY FILM RUNDOWN: September 28-October 4

The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. For a list of new and upcoming films, check out our 2023 Movie Guide.

The Nashville Film Festival runs from Thursday, 9/28-Wednesday, 10/3. See The Pamphleteer’s picks here.

Surprised by Oxford Franklin-based filmmaker Ryan Whitaker adapts local professor Carolyn Weber’s memoir about her time finding faith and love as a literature grad student at England’s most famous university. As we said in our review earlier this week, it’s one of the year’s best. Playing Sunday in theaters. 

The Creator An ex-special forces agent (John David Washington) vows to hunt down a world-burning A.I. entity in the latest from Godzilla and Rogue One director Gareth Edwards. For Hollywood to return to wholly original IP, open religious undertones, and stunning world-building, audiences have to show up on the rare occasions one like this gets through the system. Now playing in theaters.

Fair Play A yuppie New York Couple (Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich) vie for a promotion at their soulless Wall Street firm. Critics call it a return to form for the 90s erotic thrillers, but I don’t see anyone touching middle-aged Michael Douglas’s run. Now playing at the Belcourt.  

The Kill Room An art dealer (Uma Thurman) teams up with a mobster (Samuel L. Jackson) for a money-laundering scheme that turns a hitman (Joe Manganiello) into the toast of the town in an art world satire that’s divided critics enough to indicate it has something interesting to say. Now playing at AMC Thoroughbred 20, AMC Murfreesboro 16, and Regal Hollywood 27

See the full list
In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 576: Is Tennessee Breaking Up with D.C.?
📅 Today, Davis talks about states distancing themselves from D.C., Jerod gets us ready for the 54th Nashville Film Festival starting today, and Megan takes a look at the latest analysis from the Sycamore Institute.
No. 575: Appointments, Movies, and Parks
📅 Today, Davis cues up this week’s livestreams, Jerod reviews Franklin-based filmmaker Ryan Whittaker’s latest, and Megan takes a look at O’Connell’s first appointments and some new developments at Brookmeade Park.
No. 574: Fall Continues
📅 Today, we revisit Edward Landstreet’s interview with Mike Armstrong, and Megan looks at the speaker’s efforts to turn down the fed.
No. 573: Fall Arrives
📅 Today, Davis welcomes fall, Megan introduces us to the five at-large council members and Miles talks about how bad the Titans are.
No. 572: In the Shadow of the 90s
📅 Today, Davis talks about the nineties, Jerod furnishes his weekly film rundown and goes live with his weekly show, and Megan looks at the governor’s response to the border crisis.


  • 📽 The 54th edition of the South’s oldest film festival aims for a return to form. (Read)
  • 🎓 Franklin Filmmaker Ryan Whitaker offers a much-needed respite from the dominant Christian movie mode by refusing to shy away from grappling with belief. (Read)
  • 🎞 The Pamphleteer's Fall 2023 Streaming Guide (Read)
  • 🧠 The rise of mental illness as a trendy identity marker in America's social media era (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.