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No. 671: Just Look at the Numbers
Photo by Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

No. 671: Just Look at the Numbers

📅 Today, Davis talks about making numbers go up, Miles explains the NCAA vs. UT case, and Megan looks at what's behind Vision Zero.

Good afternoon, everyone.

One thing that miffs me about the new Titans stadium—and the East Bank development at large—is how indistinguishable it is from any other place in any other mid-sized American city. There is nothing uniquely Nashville or even uniquely Tennessee about it, aside from its location along the Cumberland.

Think of the creative possibilities latent in building a stadium for a football team called the Titans in the Athens of the South. The original name of  Adelphia Coliseum at least made explicit that the stadium sought communion with the spirit of the city.

I recently asked an architect why an architectural firm would avoid pursuing ideas in this direction. He commented that projects like this one are viewed as a stepping stone along the path to acquiring bigger clients in other locales. Producing a particular building that resonates with a particular people is of lesser concern. In other words, it is the taste of prospective clients that drives the designs of current clients.

This dynamic both mirrors and helps explain the priorities of our own Metro Government. Megan discusses Vision Zero in some detail below, but another recent news item that seems to be rooted in this same reasoning is Mayor O’Connell’s announcement at the end of last week kicking off the development of the East Bank. The inclusion and dynamics of affordable housing took up much of the word count.

There’s something very copy-paste about it. As if, in an effort to up the numbers, they just shoehorned affordable housing into the East Bank deal to satiate critics—the same critics who want to see every square inch of available space, regardless of whether it makes sense or not, filled with housing units.

As I repeatedly point out, housing affordability and transit rank far below improving public education and public safety in terms of importance to voters, and until we solve both those problems, Nashville will develop more at the poles of circus and slum than in the middle of stability and strength.

As an aside, I can’t think of a worse place to live than right by a stadium. Then again, I’ve got hair in places I used to not, and tanking twelve beers on Friday afternoon now ruins my entire weekend. 


University of Tennessee and Virginia granted temporary injunction by Federal Judge as NCAA cannot enforce NIL rules

From Miles Harrington

Approximately one month ago, the NCAA irrationally decided to target the Vols for violating Name, Image, and Likeness bylaws, which allow for Student-Athletes to receive compensation through third party brands for promotion and their partnership. These newer rules were a massive turn for the NCAA that used to strictly forbid “pay-for-play” for all collegiate sport participants. However, in 2021 the Supreme Court ruled that this banning violated antitrust laws. As a result, the NCAA scrambled to create NIL rules and regulations, and boy, did they blow it.

Fast forward to this year as Tennessee’s star quarterback Nico Iamaleava was placed under the spotlight for potentially speaking with brands about what potential compensation he would receive if he chose UT. You know, like any reasonable human being with multiple job offers would want to discuss with employers what salary they would receive prior to accepting the position. Yeah … the NCAA in its infinite wisdom said that’s a no-no for student-athletes.

Continue reading...


From Megan Podsiedlik

This weekend, Nashville’s 7th Annual Pedestrian Memorial took place at Trinity United Methodist Church. The day before, an assemblage of reporters gathered at Cumberland Elementary School for Mayor O’Connell’s weekly roundtable. Amid questions concerning the lack of MNPD foot patrol and questions about the East Bank, one reporter asked him about pedestrian safety, specifically the Vision Zero Action Plan. How realistic is it? 

“I think Vision Zero is a goal [that] ought to be attended to,” O’Connell answered.. “Any places…[it] might be public safety related, might be housing related, might be choices related to infrastructure, that we can ensure that we are helping people extend their lifespan…. We want Nashville to be a city where people thrive.”


As the name implies, Vision Zero is a five-year plan designed to reduce traffic fatalities to zero. Most of the plan focuses on pedestrian and bike safety, education, and equitable transit options. Over the past two years, Nashville has passed legislation allowing a substation to be built downtown with the intention of reducing traffic congestion, as well as an ordinance reducing garage space requirements that will only add to the torture of parking downtown; a handy deterent to vehicles coming in and out of the city.

Though Nashville became a Vision Zero city in 2022 under Mayor Cooper,the project is a multinational one: Sweden’s Parliament introduced the initiative in 1997. Since then, Norway and the United Kingdom have adopted the plan, with places like Chicago and New York becoming the first US cities to adopt it in the early 2010s. 

Metro’s inspiration seems to come from Mike Bloomberg, a strong proponent of implementing  Vision Zero in the states. In fact, Bloomberg’s signature seems to be on many initiatives we’ve seen supported by the O’Connell administration. For example, the council accepted an $800,000 infrastructure grant from the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling last January. O’Connell’s ambitious goal to convert all Metro buildings to solar by 2027 also mirrors a plank from Bloomberg's 2020 platform.

Is this connection to the former mayor of New York City surprising? No. During his campaign, Freddie O’Connell was never shy about his vision of a new Nashville, made in the image of other major cities. As we inch towards the official unveiling of O’Connell’s transit referendum, we’re sure to hear him hammer home the importance of sidewalk continuity, protecting pedestrians, and other selling points he needs to highlight during his campaign to gain dedicated funding for public transit.


Technical Advisers Push for Details on Transit Referendum (Scene) The TAC meeting brought together planners, transit professionals and policy wonks, about half of whom came from either WeGo or the Metro Planning Department. The other group — the Community Advisory Committee — held its inaugural meeting Feb. 15. O’Connell intends the TAC to focus on technical aspects of the plan, while the CAC helps refine community engagement.

Landslides, floods might get mapped in Tennessee under new bills (WPLN) Tennessee lawmakers are considering legislation this year that would require public access to maps of floods and landslides across the state. There are two bills with the same intent: the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation would collect and publish data on floods and landslides.

Report: record levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in NE Tennessee sewage sludge used as crop fertilizer (Lookout) The treated wastewater, discharged in local waterways, poses risks not only to drinking water, but to farmland across Sullivan County — and the resulting harvests that wind up on family dinner tables in Tennessee and beyond.


  • Developer Advances 30-Story Tower At Paseo South Gulch In Nashville (Now Next)
  • Possible BRT, Name Revealed For 7-Tower Beaman Site (Now Next)
  • Harding House Brewing Co. shuts down operations in The Nations (NBJ)
  • Historic downtown building listed for sale (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.


🎸 Blonde Redhead @ The Basement East, 8p, $15, Info

🎸 Bluegrass Monday with James Kee & Friends @ Dee's Lounge, 6p, $10, Info

🎸 Johnny Cash Birthday Bash Featuring A.R Cash: A Tribute To Johnny & June @ City Winery,7:30p, $15+, Info

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

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

In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 670: Off for the Weekend
📅 Today, Davis preps you, Jerod reviews May December, and Megan looks at a bill addressing juvenile crime and the governor’s proposed budget.
No. 669: Justin Jones’ Endless Summer
🌴 Rep. Jones’ long vacation from divinity school, a look at the upcoming school board races, a Nashvillian on Shark Tank, and much more!
No. 668: Density, Density, Density
🗺️ Density Galore, Derrick Henry’s legacy, Nolensville Town Square, and much more!
No. 667: Justin Jones is bad at his job
🗓️ Today, we catch up on the weekend, look at how good Justin Jones is at his job, and get you prepped for the presidential primary election.
No. 665: Cold Beer on the Rocks
🍻 Where there’s warm beer, there’s fire · a review of The Sweet East · Hale’s Toxicology report · Much more!


  • 📰 May December takes aim at Hollywood exploitation and the public’s impulses that enable it. (Read)
  • 🇸🇻 President Nayib Bukele’s historic transformation of El Salvador (Read)
  • ☢️ A small Tennessee town's forgotten history as a nuclear leader (Read)
  • 🤡 Metro Arts launches initiative to 'return land, money, and resources' to 'Indigenous, African, and Asian peoples' (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.