The agenda was released for next week’s Nashville Metro city council meeting. Here’s what’s coming down the pipe.
MAYOR COOPER SUPPORTS DISRUPTIVE NONPROFIT
This week, the Community Safety Partnership Fund Advisory Board voted to recommend that Metro Council provides funding to Gideon's Army and Raphah Institute for a violence interruption pilot project in North Nashville. The pilot initiative, which came out of Mayor Cooper’s office, has already sparked controversy due to its affiliation with Gideon’s Army.
Earlier this month, News 5 reported that Gideon’s Army, a Nashville group “which promotes a public health approach to non-violence,” was banned from Pearl-Cohn High School after a “profanity-laced tirade.” A member of the group charged into the school’s offices, refused to leave, then tore down and stomped on a photograph which was hanging on the wall.
If the name “Gideon’s Army” sounds familiar to you, it may be because the nonprofit has been under scrutiny in the past: in 2021, the group falsely claimed to have eliminated violence in a North Nashville neighborhood. The nonprofit’s exaggerations may be attributed to policy and political efforts to garner support for violence interruption programs. These types of “community” initiatives have cropped up in Nashville following the “defund the police” movement sparked by riots and protests following the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Continuing with the laundry list of questionable stories linked to the nonprofit, Cleveland Shaw, a major player once involved with the group, was shot and killed in a drug-related incident while he was on Gideon Army’s payroll. Another former leader in Gideon’s Army, Jamel Campbell-Gooch, expressed concerns about the group’s involvement in violence back in March, stating: “We had members of Gideon’s Army that were literally hurting other community members.” Campbell-Gooch has since left the nonprofit. The Mayor continues to stand behind the group’s affiliation with the initiative; if approved by City Council, Gideon’s Army could receive part of the $1.5M in funding set aside for the violence interruption pilot project.
GARTH BROOKS INITIATES TRAFFIC CALMING DOWNTOWN
Two bills concerning traffic monitoring downtown are underway, and Garth Brooks has something to do with it. Recently, the country music legend announced he would be opening a classic honky-tonk style bar in downtown Nashville. Ever since then, he’s been working with Metro to develop traffic monitoring and management solutions that will operate from properties connected to Brooks’ bar on 411 and 417 Broadway.
One of the bills is on its third reading and allows for the development of a proposed special operations center to be used by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) and the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT). Brooks’ 411 LLC will pay all real estate taxes and insurance and will also cover the general liability insurance connected with the properties used for the operation center. The other bill is on second reading, and if passed will allow traffic information to be collected by ”video technology, connected vehicle communications technology, and/or traffic sensor technology.”
ALSO ON THE DOCKET
- The final reading of the smoking and vaping ban bill will be heard and voted on by the council. If passed, the bill will not include a grandfather clause for smoking establishments but will provide exceptions for cigar bars, vapor shops, and hookah bars. A fine of up to $50 will be instituted and enforced for violations of the ordinance.
- A bill on second reading to fund the installation of “wayfinding” kiosks in downtown Nashville will be voted on.
Resolutions to be voted on next week…
- A resolution to help fund an initiative aimed at “reducing infant mortality for pregnant and parenting women.”
- A resolution that will grant funds for “DUI enforcement initiatives and to target distracted driving and seat belt enforcement.”
- A resolution in which grant funding from the state will be accepted to “enhance and improve the practices of confinement facilities” (put in place to “mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards”).
Review the entire agenda before the council meeting next Tuesday. (More Info)