Elections are August 4 – On Election Day voters need to go to their specific voting precinct, which may have changed since last year or possibly even since the May election. Confirm voting precincts with this polling place finder.
This is a very long ballot, and the Election Commission is recommending marking up a sample ballot ahead of time. Sample ballots can be downloaded here. The ballot includes candidates in the primaries for Governor, US House of Representatives, Tennessee State Senate, Tennessee House of Representatives. There are new districts for all of these offices; voters can confirm which district they are now in here. Voters will need to select a primary ballot, either Republican or Democratic, before entering the voting booth. There are contested positions in both parties.
In addition to the state primaries, this is the general election for judges, school board, and Oak Hill Commissioner. Only one judge race is contested, General Sessions Judge Division IX between Republican, Brian Horowitz, and Democratic incumbent, Lynda Jones, who in her first term launched one of the country’s first Homelessness Courts, where people temporarily experiencing homelessness obtain solution-based services instead of costly jail time for non-violent offenses.
Even numbered school board positions are on the ballot, and all of them are contested. Opportunity Nashville held a very informative forum for all the school board candidates, which can be accessed at their Facebook page.
The ballot includes four proposed Amendments to the Metro Charter. I recommend voting YES to all four amendments. The first amendment will prevent frivolous and poorly written charter amendments from ending up on the ballot repeatedly and will save Davidson County taxpayers’ money on lawsuits. It changes Davidson County charter amendment requirements to be more like those of 93 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Most counties require15% of registered voters to sign a petition to get it on the ballot. Currently only 10% of voters who voted in the last Metro election are required in Davidson County. So, a low voter turn-out election can mean that 12,000 out of 460,000 registered voters (2.6%) can get an item on the ballot, even if it is poorly written, requires an $800,000 special election, or is likely to be struck down in court. This amendment would increase the threshold to 10% of registered voters, more like 93 other counties (but still a lower threshold), and it provides for a legal review before the language is put in a petition.
The second amendment changes the physical fitness requirement for Metro Police from Navy standards, to something that is more in line with the job requirements and the need for more diversity on the police force. The third amendment allows public health officials who are not doctors to head up the Health Department as long as there is a Chief Medical Officer who is a doctor. The Chief Medical Officer would have full authority to make decisions and issue directives about all public health issues. And the fourth amendment changes the name of the Public Works Department to Nashville Department of Transportation in the Charter.
More information on the election in general is available on the Nashville.gov website. Your vote is really important. Please make sure you vote.
The second annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix takes place August 5–7. The streets of downtown will again become a racetrack for three days. Beginning August 2, right of way and on-street parking may be intermittently restricted in the area around the Titans Stadium and Korean Veterans Blvd/Shelby Street. Beginning Wednesday, August 3, at 8pm, total road closures will be implemented and will remain in place through Monday, August 8th at 6am. More information is available at (615) 270-8705 or firstname.lastname@example.org Tickets are on sale now for WeGo Public Transit’s special event train from Lebanon to downtown Nashville for the race on Sunday, August 7. The train will depart from Lebanon Station at 12 p.m.,and arrive at Nashville’s Riverfront Station at 1 p.m. There is a 45-minute concert scheduled for after the race. The return train to Lebanon leaves one hour after the conclusion of the concert. Round-trip tickets cost $15 plus a $2 processing fee and are available for purchase through ticketsnashville.com. Tickets will not be for sale on the platforms. Parking is free at the inbound stations.
Metro Schools begin on August 8. Information on enrollment, meals, immunization, transportation, school attire, and family support can all be found on the Metro Schools website.
Brush pick-up is scheduled for the following areas:
- August 4 - Area 1: West Madison, Capital View, Douglas Park, Cleveland Park, McFerrin Park, Highland Heights
- August 11 - Area 2: East Madison, Inglewood, Neely’s Bend, Peeler Park, Maplewood Heights, Iverson, Maxwell Heights, Edgefield, Eastwood, Shelby Bottoms, Shelby Hills, and Lockland Springs
- August 24 – Area 3: Old Hickory, Lakewood, Hermitage, Stones River, Two Rivers, River Trace
- August 31 – Area 4 : Donelson, Airport, Percy Priest, Northeast Antioch
The Big Old Tree Contest, one of the Nashville Tree Foundation’s (NTF) most popular and longest running programs, fosters appreciation for the importance of trees by engaging Nashvillians in identifying our city’s largest trees. Trees provide the public benefits by cleaning our air and water, providing lower utility bills, reducing carbon emissions from vehicles, providing cooler climates, and giving shelter and food to wildlife. Mature trees are the most effective, so NTF wants to recognize the biggest and best.
Trees of any species in Davidson County can be nominated by anyone. The trees can be on the property of the nominator, a neighbor, friend, or stranger, or on public property. The owner’s permission is suggested but not required. Nashville Tree Foundation is the only organization in Middle Tennessee that awards trees with tree tags. Winners are judged by circumference, height and crown spread. The deadline for entries in the Big Old Tree Contest is August 31. Winners will be announced later this fall at the NTF Tree Spree celebration. The contest and event are free and open to the public. To view contest guidelines, entry forms and previous winners, visit the Nashville Tree Foundation’s website.
Metro Water Services invites neighbors to Adopt a Storm Drain. Keeping drains clear of sticks, leaves, and trash can help prevent flooding during the big rain events that seem to be happening more and more frequently. To adopt a storm drain near you, click here.
Companies can take advantage of WeGo’s WeGoRide, an employer-sponsored program that offers employees an alternative to driving a car to work and having to find and pay for parking. Offering employees WeGo Ride benefits allows them to commute at a reduced fare using public transit throughout the region. And, employers save payroll taxes while allowing employees to commute tax free. Employee ID’s can be used as bus passes, which can be free to employees or deducted from salary like other benefits. Either way, the bus fare is discounted and seamlessly integrated. Some of the largest employers in the city take advantage of this program, which reduces traffic and frees up limited parking downtown. The State government, Metro government, and several universities have been long time participants. Some of the newest WeGoRide users include:
- W Hotel
- BCycle Company
- Aero Service Group
- Holiday Inn Vanderbilt
- Fisk University
- Gresham Smith
- Chartwell Hospitality (Hampton Inn Capital View and Hilton Hotel – Green Hills)
- TriStar Skyline
- Mall at Green Hills
- Nashville SC
- Bavarian Bierhaus
- Frist Museum
More information is available here.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has arrived in Tennessee, and ash trees are beginning to die as a result. This little beetle out of Asia burrows under the bark, and ultimately kills most of the trees that it invades unless the tree is treated regularly. Because the trees can suddenly fall over once they are weakened, they need to be removed if they are showing signs of distress, which is usually visible first at the top of the trees. Nashville is full of ash trees, and all the ones in parks and on public right of way have been marked with a big blue circle on the trunk. Metro is working to remove any that seem to be a danger to anyone, but there are thousands of trees affected, so it is necessary to prioritize those that are most likely to fall soon and threaten life or property. Everyone can help by keeping an eye out for trees with the blue circle that have dead branches in their crowns and pale patches on their bark, where birds have removed it looking for the beetles. Distressed trees can be reported on HUBNashville under the tree tab. Homeowners can inspect their own ash trees for signs of infestation and check with a professional arborist about whether the tree can be treated or should be taken down. More information on the EAB can be found here.
Replacement shade trees of another species can be planted this fall through the Root Nashville program. Find information on free trees on the Root Nashville website.
If you live or work in Nashville, your drinking water just got more sustainable! That’s because Metro Water Services has added or will soon add over 4 megawatts (MW) of solar at three treatment plants. Metro Water wants to reduce the environmental impact of their operations and help meet Nashville’s goal of using 100 percent renewable energy to power the City’s buildings and infrastructure. Solar construction began last fall with a 211 kilowatt (kW) rooftop system for Metro Water’s new net-zero energy building at Central Admin & Maintenance. The building generates more energy than it uses over the course of the year, and excess solar energy flows to the adjacent Central wastewater treatment plant. This spring LightWave commissioned a 2nd solar system for Central wastewater treatment plant, a 437 kW ground-mounted array. By Spring 2023 LightWave will have installed 4 solar projects at three treatment plants totaling over 4,200 kilowatts Metro Water is committed to implementing solar as a way to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the other types of pollution that come along with using conventional grid power. They are also helping Nashville meet the goals of the bill passed in 2019 that requires Metro Nashville reach 100% renewable energy by 2041. Metro Water’s Central Admin and Maintenance is the first net zero energy building in Metro Nashville’s portfolio
Metro Water Services has published its consumer confidence report showing how our water quality compares with national standards. As always, it is very good. This can be found here.
Boards and Commissions – Metro has over 75 Boards and Commissions that help implement the goals and policies of the Metro Departments. These are made up of citizens from all over the county who bring their diverse perspectives and expertise to ensure good decision making. Board members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Metro Council. The Mayor’s Office is always looking for good people to serve. Within the next few months, there will be openings on the Homelessness Commission, Metro Development and Housing Authority Board, Parks Board, Health and Education Board, Housing Trust Fund Commission, Community Oversight Board, and Tourism and Convention Board. If you are interested in serving, you can forward a resume to Tom Jurkovich in the Mayor’s office at email@example.com or to me and I’ll forward. Mention which board you are interested in and what value you would bring to it. More information on all the boards is at Nashville.gov/boards .
Public comment period – The Metro Council invites citizens to speak publicly about important issues. The council meetings on the first Tuesday of the month always include public hearings for zoning issues on the agenda. The council has now added a citizen driven comment period for the alternating meetings. At the Council Meeting on the third Tuesday of every month, residents of Davidson County can reserve a two-minute time slot to speak about one topic of their choosing. Twenty minutes is reserved for the Public Comment Period, allowing for up to ten constituents to speak. Constituents can sign up for time slots on a first-come, first-served basis at here.To allow opportunity for many different people to speak, constituents may sign-up to speak at the Public Comment Period once every ninety days.
The Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) has issued its Vision Zero Action and Implementation Plan to eliminate traffic and pedestrian deaths. Over the past year a task force has compiled data, studied best practices from other cities, and proposed intersection revisions, signage, crosswalk improvements, and other innovations to make walking and biking safer modes of transportation. The strategies focus on High Injury Networks (HIN), where multiple fatal accidents have occurred in the past few years. Those are concentrated on Nolensville Pike, Charlotte Ave, Murfreesboro Pike, West Trinity Lane, Gallatin Pike, Harding Place, Lafayette Street, Old Hickory Blvd, and Dickerson Pike. The program will consist of “Quick Build” projects like traffic signal changes, signalized and raised crosswalks, lighting improvements, curb extensions, and pedestrian refuge islands. These can be accomplished in the next 6-18 months. Larger capital projects will take about 18 months to plan with the first year’s actual work to improve 15 miles of HIN. Those will be major engineering changes at intersections that have been identified as the most dangerous. NDOT has already successfully applied for a federal grant that will make changes at three intersections on Dickerson Pike identified as top priorities.
I hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer. Please let me know what concerns or suggestions you have for Nashville. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-383-6604. Sign up for my newsletter at www.burkley.org.
Metro Council At-Large