Good afternoon, everyone.
It’s 2023. Democracy is in shambles. A literal orange dictator is running for president. There are wars all over the world, some in places you can’t even point to on a map. Things just feel more expensive with no sign of getting cheaper. The border remains porous, and dangerously so. Daylight Savings Time means it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. Kids can’t even read anymore. Political corruption is so nakedly obvious we yawn at it. I’ve survived a week behind the Sepulveda Curtain. Taylor Swift is Time person of the year.
Could Taylor Swift be the answer to our nation’s woes? Can she get me unblocked by Councilwoman Sandra Sepulveda on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter? I’m not the only one asking these important questions.
In a column headlined ‘How Taylor Swift could save Joe Biden,’ Hill contributor Kevin Monnin wonders aloud if she could sway the election. Meanwhile, Rick Reilly fangirls about the possibility of Swift and her latest boyfriend doll, Travis Kelce, “saving democracy.” The seeds are being sown: will Swift meet the moment and save this great nation?
Meanwhile, Donald Trump looms like a massive glowing Cheeto on the horizon. Last night, he said an awful thing. The Economist declared him the “biggest danger to the world in 2024.” Politico announced that ‘Trump Is an Authoritarian. So Are Millions of Americans.’ It’s obvious to anyone that’s paying attention: Trump is going to be worse than Hitler. By a lot.
My amygdala is atrophied from never seeing a single catastrophe predicted by legacy media outlets come true, so I’m immune to the fear-mongering. I also just don’t think this latest campaign to spike my cortisol by calling Trump Hitler, again, has any basis in reality.
It’s a weird thing to focus on, but how bad can things really be if Taylor Swift is the Time person of the year? In 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, they chose Adolf Hitler.
Unless… Taylor Swiftler. Is that you?
❒ LAST NIGHT AT METRO COUNCIL
NEW TASER CONTRACT BURNS OUT
The meeting’s most notable discussion concerned the contract between Taser manufacturer Axon Enterprise and Metro. Not only was the bill's failure indicative of the council's priorities, it further exposed some of the tactics used by contractors who partner with Metro Government.
It’s like girl math, but with more zingers. Midway through discussing the new contract, Councilmember Quin Evans-Segall set up a classroom easel to do some quick arithmetic for the class— ahem, the council. According to Evans-Segall, MNPD used Tasers just over 70 times in 2022 meaning it would cost Metro over $12,000 more per tase each year over the next four years under the new contract.
The math may have mathed for some, but using cost-per-tase as a frame of reference—a number that would only become more economical if MNPD started tasing more people— didn’t quite add up for everyone. Councilmember Thom Druffel, who represents West Meade, wanted a bit more clarification from the Metro Finance Department.
Assistant Director Mary Jo Wiggins explained that the new contract would allow all MNPD officers who are armed with Tasers–1,658 in total— to upgrade from the Taser 7 model to the Taser 10 model for $21.98 more dollars a month per officer.
WEIGHING THE OPTIONS AND REAL FRICKIN’ TASER BEAMS
Despite the various topics brought up during discussion, the essential decision the council had to make was whether they wanted to pay to upgrade MNPD’s Tasers and lock in a “limited time” price point set by Axon.
“The reality is, if we defer this or… vote ‘no’ on this, who gets punished are the taxpayers, ” said Councilmember Courtney Johnston, who ended up voting in favor of the new contract. Councilmember Bob Nash presented different reasons for his support of the bill. “Our officers deserve the best equipment they can have to face [dangerous criminals] and not have to use deadly force,” he told his colleagues, “to protect the public and themselves.”
Councilmember Porterfield, on the other hand, told her colleagues that if they believe Axon’s sales pitch, “I’ve got some oceanfront property to sell you on Nolensville Road.” She went on to explain her concern over the fact that nine of the twelve Axon Ethics Board members recently resigned. Though she didn’t mention it, the mass resignation happened after the company went public with a plan to introduce drones armed with Tasers.
After a lengthy debate, Coucilmember Emily Benedict pulled a move reminiscent of former CM Robert Swope and called the previous question. Her motion ended the conversation on the floor and prompted a vote on the new Taser contract. Before votes were taken, at-large Councilmember Burkley Allen reminded the council that allowing the bill to prevail and continue onto the third reading would give them more time to get answers.
Next, Councilmember Porterfield had Director Darby clarify that no amendments could be added to the new contract on third reading. In the end, the council killed the new Taser deal on second reading, with 24 votes against the bill; MNPD will continue using the Taser 7s per the current contract, which was established in 2022.
OTHER TELLING COUNCIL DECISIONS AND INSIGHTS
Jeff Eslick of Lakewood/Old Hickory was the only council member who didn’t vote in the affirmative for a resolution urging the state to accept federal education dollars. “I'm not against this resolution, but I believe our state leaders were elected and are going to make a good decision on this,” he said before abstaining.
Also of note, Councilmember Jacob Kupin, who represents Downtown, used the topic of deadly force to discuss sidewalks. “The question came up, ‘what is the value of a life,’ and I agree with that,” said Kupin. He swiftly refocused that concern towards pedestrian infrastructure: “We have been ranked consistently lowest in pedestrian and bicycle safety. If we want to save lives, let's build sidewalks. Let's put lights on streets.”
Energy Secretary celebrates steps towards TVA nuclear power (Lookout) The utility’s board authorized $200 million to explore building a reactor on the site last year after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave TVA an early site permit in 2019. This first-of-its-kind small modular reactor would be smaller than standard nuclear reactors and generate less power, but it would have other advantages.
Tennessee State Officials Sued Over “Unduly Burdensome” Candidate Requirements (TCN) Libertarian Party leaders claim that the laws in Tennessee make it virtually impossible to effectively run as a third-party candidate. The lawsuit is filed against Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins.
3 Nashville police officers remain on admin assignment after Covenant writings leak (Fox17) Seven officers were originally placed on admin assignment, with four returning to regular duty mid-November. The department says they were moved to protect the integrity of the active and progressive investigation.
Chattanooga nets $500K federal grant for Nashville-to-Atlanta Amtrak planning (Center Square) The funds come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Corridor ID program and allows Chattanooga to develop a plan for the scope, engineering and full requirements of making the Amtrak route reality.
- Ohio developer closes $2.3 million deal for 54-acre Lebanon property (NBJ)
- Berry Hill eyed for $250M film, music studio project (Post)
- Austin taco chain to open in 2024 in Midtown (Post)
- Broadway Brewhouse owner buys in Bellevue (Post)
- Music Row property listed for $3.5M (Post)
THINGS TO DO
View our weekly film rundown here.
📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.
🎄 Trans-Siberian Orchestra-The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve @ Bridgestone, 7p, Info
🪕 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info
🎙 Angel Olsen @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $50, Info
📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.
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