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No. 632: Vibe Check

No. 632: Vibe Check

馃槑 Checking the vibes of the racetrack 路聽Last Metro Council meeting of the 路 Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

One thing you get used to while monitoring city politics is petty opposition to certain initiatives which boils down to "vibes." By that, I mean arguments thrown up against a particular initiative鈥攆or example, the council's recent opposition to extending and expanding MNPD's taser contract鈥攃ould just be translated to "yeah, that ain't the vibe," and you wouldn't miss any crucial information.

This attitude has characterized opposition to rejuvenating the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, which has been neglected by Metro Nashville leadership for decades. In the aftermath of the Titans stadium deal, to some extent, this is understandable. But fatigue and "vibes" are not excuses that should be taken seriously.

Many things can happen at once, and serious leaders and committed stewards of the city can handle it. As you'll learn in my conversation with Norm Partin below, the proposal by Bristol to fix up the long-neglected speedway looks pretty good on paper, even if it "ain't the vibe.鈥

In the rest of the newsletter, Megan recaps the final Metro Council meeting of 2023 where you'll learn more about the "vibes."


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Davis sits down with Norm Partin to discuss the history of the Fairgrounds Speedway, how Bristol plans to rejuvenate it, and the obstacles facing proponents of an updated racetrack. (Watch or Listen)


It took a half hour to figure out how to adopt the amendment and defer a zoning bill for the new Wawa going up in Antioch, but the council made it through 2023鈥檚 final meeting before the clock struck ten. Vice Mayor Henderson exasperatingly ushered everyone through the relatively short agenda, which was drawn out because of a few lengthy discussions and procedural snags.


After a scrupulous examination of a resolution to accept a Homeland Security Grant of about $750,000 to enhance counter-terrorism technology, the council finally accepted the funds鈥攂ut not until everyone got their two cents in.

鈥淲e need to vet this information in a timely manner鈥攖hat鈥檚 why we get it ahead of time鈥攁nd to continually defer things that could help save a life is not what we're voted in and elected to do,鈥 said Councilmember Sheri Weiner, after sharing her own experiences with bomb threats at her grandson鈥檚 synagogue. 鈥淕uys, the time is now. Our safety is now.鈥

Councilmember Emily Benedict later spoke in support of the motion to defer the resolution: 鈥淲e discuss things in committee and then subsequent to that, we discuss things on the floor. And as new information comes to light, or lack thereof, we make determinations of which direction to go.鈥

鈥淚'm rising in favor of this resolution because Nashville truly does face, what I believe, is one of the most existential threats to our national security,鈥 stated Councilmember Jeff Preptit of South Nashville, 鈥渨hich is white nationalism.鈥


During the discussion, concerns as to whether MNPD would be able to implement the 287(g) ICE program came up, leading some to question how performative these chamber discussions and recurrent delays have become. 鈥淚鈥檓 not sure why everything with the police department gets a thousand and one questions,鈥 said Councilmember Bob Nash. 鈥淨uite frankly, it鈥檚 off the charts in my humble opinion.鈥 

鈥淚 wonder how much opposition is just visuals/vibes,鈥 Travis Gaither commented on X.

In the end, the council voted against the motion to defer and passed the resolution with 34 votes in favor of accepting the grant. 


Speaking of delays and deferments, the council decided to bump the resolution to amend the Stormwater Capacity Fee, passed back in March, until January 16th. The new amendment would add exemptions to the original bill, which tacks on a stormwater utility permit fee for future developments that plug into Metro鈥檚 water and sewer system. Established to offset the cost of the growing city鈥檚 impact on the upkeep of its water and sewer systems, the law will be enacted on January 1st.

If adopted, the new resolution is essentially meant to cover all the bases, a lesson learned from the cautionary tale of requiring developers to pay for sidewalks in Nashville. Specifically, it would waive the fee for 鈥渟atellite cities and single-family, two-family, and residential multi-family projects鈥 outside of the downtown core that don鈥檛 directly connect to the mixed water system.

鈥淎t the end of the second quarter of 2023, the master plan [for the stormwater capacity fee] was complete,鈥 explained Councilcmember Sheri Weiner during Monday鈥檚 Budget and Finance Committee meeting, 鈥淎nd that's when the residential developers and their attorneys came and said, 鈥業f you don't take us out there's probably going to be a lawsuit because this should not apply to us.鈥欌 

We鈥檙e sure to see further discussion on the resolution when the council reconvenes in January.


Meet the MBA alumni building unicorns (tennbeat) Gray Skinner and Morgan Miller won multiple track and field state championships during their tenure at Montgomery Bell Academy. 20 years later, the Class of 2002 alumni are teaming up again. This time the childhood friends aren鈥檛 running relay races. They're building unicorns.

Tennessee received tenth most unaccompanied minors from border since fiscal 2015 (Center Square) Tennessee received the tenth greatest number of unaccompanied alien children, primarily arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border of the total 20,715 since fiscal 2015. The greatest numbers have consistently been sent to the most populous states of Texas, California and Florida.

Tennesseans on education: Less than half give public schools positive marks, poll finds (Tennessean) Just 49% of Tennesseans polled would rate the state of public education as "excellent" or "good," with 44% of respondents rating it negatively overall.

General Assembly Bill Permits Flying Only U.S., Tennessee Flag in Classrooms (Star) The bill was introduced by State Representative Gino Bulso (R-Brentwood), and would prevent teachers from flying political flags 鈥 like the LGBT or Black Lives Matter flags 鈥 in their classrooms.


  • First batteries produced at $2.6B Ultium plant (Post)
  • Micro-room SoBro hotel plan progresses (Post)
  • 'Nashville' TV show home sells for $7.35M (Post)


View our weekly film rundown here.

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

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and our 2023 southern festival guide and 馃帴 2023 movie guide.


馃巹 Amy Grant & Vince Gill Christmas @ Ryman, 7:30p, Info

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

In case you missed it...

馃摪 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 631: On tonight鈥檚 docket
馃棑 Tonight at the Metro Council 猬嗭笍 Growth in Middle TN 馃崡 Arnold鈥檚 returns 馃摤 Much more!
No. 630: City Character
馃搮 Today, Davis talks about city character, Miles recaps yesterday鈥檚 disappointing Titans loss, and Megan looks at a study on housing in the city.
No. 629: Kicking Into Gear
馃巹 Christmas is upon us 馃巵 Gift guide 馃摎 Plenty Downtown Bookshop in Cookeville 馃殫 Is your car spying on you? 馃摤 Much more!
No. 628: The Tyranny of DEI
馃帗 DEI overreach 馃彨 Carol Swain responds 馃挜 Updates on Second Avenue 馃摤 Much more!
No. 627: Dollar Pig
馃嵒 Bar Hours returns tomorrow (12/14) at 6 p.m. at Von Elrod鈥檚 in Germantown. Join us for a beer to celebrate the end of the year. Good afternoon, everyone. The Beacon Center released their annual Pork Report this week highlighting instances of wasteful spending in the state. There were


  • 馃摎 Plenty Downtown Bookshop furthers Cookeville鈥檚 quiet transformation into one of the state鈥檚 most impressive cultural hubs. (Read)
  • 馃巵 The Pamphleteer's 2023 Christmas Gift Guide (Read)
  • 馃彉 The double-edged sword of prosperity in Tennessee's small towns (Read)馃帪 The Pamphleteer's Fall 2023 Streaming Guide (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.