Metro Council Run-Off Races: District 13 and the Case of the Questionable Address

(Editor’s note: With the Metro run-off election less than two weeks away and early voting in its second week, The Tennessee Holler will take an in-depth look at several of the hotly contested Metro Council run-off races. In the first of the series, we take a look at District 13, which runs from Nashville International Airport south to Antioch.)

The rumors about Andrew Dixon’s residency began circulating during the heat of the summer general election campaign.

Dixon, one of three candidates for the District 13 seat being vacated by Holly Huezo, listed his address on financial disclosure forms and in voter files as an apartment building in the district. Nothing wrong with that: Plenty of people live in apartments. In fact, many will look to selling their homes to move into an apartment, especially if they need to downsize or they have been relocated due to a job. Property owners will look at key phrases such as ‘sell your house in Riverside as-is‘, ‘selling a Texas home’, ‘real estate buyers’, etc.

But Dixon, married and with two young children, has purchased two houses in the last year – in District 15.

Dixon and his wife closed on the purchase of one house in the McGavock area, a three bedroom, three bath, in October 2018. That house is appraised at $304,000. They closed on the purchase of a second home, also a three bed, three bath valued at $269,000, in March 2019.

The apartment building in District 13 in which council candidate Andrew Dixon reports he lives.

So, why, several sources asked when they contacted the Holler, would a guy with two roomy houses choose to move his family into an apartment in a different council district and run for office there, instead of his home district?

The questions about Dixon’s residency are relevant because the Metro Election Commission specifies a candidate for a district Metro Council seat must be a resident of the district in which they run for a minimum of six months.

We called Dixon twice to clear up confusion but got his voice mail and no return call.

As the Holler reported in July, Dixon is supported by Davette Blalock, a two-term Metro Council member and 2016 Trump backer as well as conservative former council member Roy Dale. The pair started a PAC together, the generic-sounding Good Government PAC, which has spent no money except on mail pieces supporting Dixon.

One of Andrew Dixon’s two houses, this one purchased in October 2018.

Russ Bradford, who placed first on August 1 in the three-way council race, is openly gay and has earned a number of endorsements from organizations as diverse as the conservative-leaning Nashville Firefighters Union (IAFF Local 140) and Victory Fund, a national organization focused on electing people from the LGBTQ community to office.

Bradford also declined to make any comments on this story.

Dale has a history of anti-gay comments. In his 2003 Metro Council At-Large race, he sent mailers disparaging his opponents for supporting measures to protect LGBTQ Metro workers.

Without comment from Dixon, we are left to speculate on why he lists an apartment complex in District 13 as his address despite owning two homes in District 15 and why he didn’t run for office in his home district.

Draw your own conclusions. If Dixon calls us back. the Holler will update the story with his response.

ROWE: Rep. Roe Can’t Pretend to Care About Veterans And Stay Silent On Military Children Citizenship Issue

“You can be anything you want when you grow up! You might even be the President one day!”

These are words military parents whose children are born abroad will no longer be able to say. You see, one of the requirements to run for President is to be a natural-born US citizen, and that’s a requirement military children born overseas will no longer meet.

Rather than being granted “birthright” citizenship, as every child born to US servicemen and government employees serving abroad has been granted for as long as we’ve had families doing so, they’ll now have to be naturalized after the fact. This change will make them explicitly different from being American citizens by birth.

Obviously not every military child is going to grow up and run for President, but that’s just one of many ways this one decision will be a detriment to every future child born to our brave men and women overseas.

When our members are serving abroad, they face unique challenges – interacting with different cultures, integrating their families with their small piece of America that is the base, and a multitude of other factors that aren’t part of a normal citizen’s life. These are all hurdles people expect when they volunteer to serve our nation.

What they don’t expect, however, is to have those challenges compounded by our own country’s insistence on xenophobic and otherwise cruel policies. But that’s exactly what’s happening. In addition to all the other problems being overseas presents, this reversal on birthright citizenship will force them to either go through the hassle of petitioning for naturalization of their children while overseas, or be required to get a travel visa – no small task, especially on short notice in the event an emergency arises – to bring their own biological children to their rightful homes.

The most important factor in all this, however, is who specifically this targets.

The current laws allow children born to two native US citizens (or long-established naturalized ones) birthright citizenship, regardless of their actual birthplace. In other words, this is another overt attempt to discriminate against immigrants. It places an undue burden on people who’ve pledged their loyalty to our country, and makes their lives that much harder if they want to have a family while they’re serving their new country.

This decision is blatantly anti-immigrant, by design. Any person who considers themselves a patriotic American should be appalled by such a decision. It spits in the face of all America claims to represent as a nation, and is just another way of discouraging legal immigrants from coming to our country.

The silence on this from Tennessee’s federal representatives is deafening. Even Phil Roe, the House Veterans’ Affairs chairman, has been completely mum on the subject. For all his standard crowing about all the “great things” he fights for on behalf of veterans, he seems to be prepared to let this decision go completely unchallenged. Ultimately, what matters most is not how high the country’s flag flies on the telescoping flagpole, but rather what you do for it.

This is unacceptable. Phil, on behalf of every single active duty member and veteran in Tennessee, of which I am proud to count myself as one: step up to the plate on this. You can’t pretend to care about veterans or their families ever again if you do nothing to push for a reversal on this policy. You’re an embarrassment to your seat, your post on the VA committee, and our state.

Chris Rowe is an Air Force veteran challenging congressman Phil Roe as a Democratic candidate in TN-1 in 2020. Learn more about Chris and his campaign for congress HERE.

Why Won’t Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland & Former Mayor Willie Herenton Debate?

No matter how you vote, we should all be able to agree debates are an essential part of democracy. Every candidate for every office should stand before the people and make their case for why they deserve your vote.

In 2018 we saw a number of Republican candidates across Tennessee refuse to debate their Democrat counterparts – Mark Green, Brandon Ogles, Scott Desjarlais, to name a few.

As it turns out, Republicans aren’t the only ones who play this game.

Nashville has just seen two its mayoral candidates – Mayor David Bailey, and John Cooper – debate each other. But a debate in the Memphis was just canceled, apparently because former mayor Willie Herenton declined to participate, which gave current mayor Jim Strickland all the excuse he needed to pull out.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer and Lemichael Wilson were ready to go, but the mayors, it seems, were not. From WMC Action News 5:

Herenton would only say he “respectfully” declined to partipicate. In response, Strickland’s campaign opted out.

“without the top challenger in the race participating, in informed and balanced debate could not happen,” said a spokesperson for Strickland’s campaign.

News 5 goes on to relay Sawyer and Wilson’s comments.

Sawyer:

“By refusing debate — no matter the circumstances — Mayor Strickland and Herenton are denying taxpayers the right to hear where we all stand on the issues and make an informed choice on who will lead our city over the next (four) years.”

Wilson:

“It’s unfortunate that the citizens won’t have an opportunity to engage with mayoral candidates in order to share their concerns or to hear the candidates’ visions to address their concerns.”

Columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee of the Memphis Commercial Appeal agrees, saying:

“The two top contenders for city’s top job are choosing convenience over courage… If Strickland and Herenton can’t handle a debate, can they handle Memphis’ real issues?”

Sawyer has been running an inspired campaign with a lot of grassroots momentum, just recently drawing a mention in a tweet from Hillary Clinton. Could her footsteps be what is causing the mayors not to want to stand on a stage next to one another?

There’s no excuse for this type of behavior. These men are robbing the people of Memphis of the opportunity to hear from those who seek to govern them. It’s cowardice, and Strickland and Herenton both need to feel the pressure.

ACTION STEPS:

Email Willie Herenton HERE, Reach out on Facebook or Twitter, and call Dorchelle Spence for him: 901.628.7760

Email Strickland HERE Reach out on Facebook or Twitter, and call him: 901.636.6000

Post and tag them on social media asking them “WHY WON’T YOU DEBATE?” with the hashtag #MemphisMayorDebates and #DebateMeMane.

Let’s fix this together.

Rep. John Rose Says Health Care Not a Right

TN GOP congressman John Rose for Tennessee says if we make health care a right we’ll turn into Venezuela or Cuba… Doesn’t explain how all other developed nations with universal health care have avoided that fate.

He says universal health coverage would make us “not free” — Sorry Canada, France, England, etc.. y’all aren’t “free” according to Rep. John Rose!

LINK: http://herald-citizen.com/stories/rose-hospital-admins-talk-health-care,36359

INTERVIEW: Independent Casada challenger Brad Fiscus!

LIVE Interview with disgraced speaker Casada challenger Brad Fiscus!
 
‪The youth pastor/educator/Williamson County school board member opposes vouchers, vows not to elevate child sex abusers to chair of education subcommittees.‬
 
Support him here: www.fiscusfortn.com

Election Eve Shenanigans

Metro Nashville has certainly had elections with more drama and mud-slinging than the one scheduled for tomorrow, but as is always the case, disputes between candidates and their camps always rise to fever pitch the week of the election. The Holler is doing our part to call attention to some of the more egregious acts with our Election Eve Shenanigans Spotlight.

Mayor’s Race

Depending on who you favor, it’s either worse than John Cooper – widely considered to be the biggest challenger to incumbent David Briley – has self-funded his campaign with about $1.5 of his own money, some of which has been earned from private development, or that Briley has taken hundreds of thousands in contributions from members of Nashville’s development community.

While controversial, neither rises to scandal. However, activist Eric Patton charges Cooper has violated campaign finance law by accepting contributions for a run-off he isn’t assured of making yet.

Cooper’s pre-general election financial disclosure, filed with the Davidson County Election Commission, shows he’s taken the maximum donation amount – $1,600 – from his treasurer, Mary Falls, and from his oldest brother, William Cooper. But he’s also taken the maximum amount from both Falls and William Cooper and earmarked it for the runoff election, which is slated for Sept. 12.

Patton filed an ethics complaint with the office of District Attorney Glen Funk Tuesday and said today he’s waiting on a response from the DA.

Screen shot of Eric Patton’s twitter post showing hand-written ethics complaint filed against the John Cooper for Mayor campaign.

 

Screen shot of Eric Patton’s twitter alleging ethical violations by Cooper.

 

 

 

 

Davidson County Administrator of Elections Joan Nixon confirmed in a phone call with the Holler that candidates are prohibited from accepting contributions for the runoff until after the August 1 general election.

In 2015, four mayoral candidates —  Megan Barry, Charles Robert Bone, Bill Freeman and Jeremy Kane — similarly took too much too soon and were ordered by Nixon to refund it.

And in Metro Council Races . . .

Thus far, no punches have been thrown, as there were in 2015 when candidates Nick Leonardo (now a judge) and the late Loniel Green became physical at on Election Day 2015 at Cathedral of Praise, D1’s largest precinct. But the usual negative mail pieces and Facebook posts abound. Here are a couple:

District 13

District 13 features a three-way race between front-runner Russ Bradford, Andrew Dixon and Dan Meredith.

Davette Blalock, a two-term Metro Council member and 2016 Trump backer, supports Dixon, as does former council member Roy Dale. Dale is an engineer and developer who attracts controversy: In 2018, he served as a consulting engineer in the proposed move of a grease and waste water treatment to in North Nashville. Earlier in his career, while running for Council at Large in 2003 (against David Briley and current At Large candidate Adam Dread) Dale took an anti-gay approach and sent mailers disparaging Briley for supporting anti-discrimination measures to protect gay and lesbian Metro employees.

“David Briley and Adam Dread voted to give ‘special rights’ to the gay and lesbian community. If you want Nashville to be more like California, say ‘hello San Fran Nashville’ and vote for David Briley and Adam Dread,” read Dale’s mail piece.

Dale’s anti-gay rhetoric is notable: Bradford is openly gay. And Dale and Blalock have formed a PAC that has apparently spent money on nothing but mail pieces to support Dixon

Mailer sent by Good Government PAC.

In fact, ‘Good Government PAC’ wasn’t registered with Metro Nashville as of Tuesday, July 30 but is federally registered to

Dale’s office address. One would think two people with a combined four terms on council would know the dangers of supporting a local candidate with an illegal PAC, but apparently not.

Unlike Dale and Blalock, Meredith doesn’t make voters guess at his motives. Scoop Nashville wrote in April about Meredith’s tweets saying that calling black women apes is funny; that the business world would be better without women; and referring to gay men as ‘prissy homosexuals.’

So no surprise Meredith attacked Bradford on Facebook today, using an unflattering picture of Bradford presumably in costume with the phrase: ‘Why send a boy to do a man’s job?’

Meredith was promptly roasted on his own page for his derogatory portrayal of Bradford.

District 35

Incumbent Dave Rosenberg faces Michelle Foreman, a member of the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee. Foreman makes a number of charges against Roseberg, including belittling him for moving to Nashville, as many others have, from other cities, voting to make Nashville a sanctuary city and critically tweeting about Trump. We at the Holler can’t vote for Rosenberg but on the basis of Foreman’s charges, he sounds good to us.

Michelle Foreman nastygram.

 

 

VIDEO: Mayor Pete Comes to Nashville

Recently Mayor Pete Buttigieg brought his hopeful message here to Tennessee, and told us “there’s no such thing as a permanently red state”.

Here’s some VIDEO. We encourage ALL candidates to come pay us a visit!

VIDEO: MEET ZULFAT SUARA – Candidate for Nashville Metro Council At-Large

There are 15 candidates running for 5 at-large seats on the Metro Council in the August election. Zulfat Suara is the first Muslim woman to have ever run for any position in the state of Tennessee- she ran in 2014 in Bolivar, Tenn., for school board – and if elected, she will be the first Muslim, male or female, ever elected in Tennessee.

She has been the target of hate online, but she has persevered, and was just recently one of the candidates endorsed by the Tennessean.

We spoke with Zulfat in Nashville at a candidates picnic at Vanderbilt, where one of her daughters is enrolled in Medical school. Please watch and SHARE the video.

MEET ZULFAT:

VIDEO: LIGHTS FOR LIBERTY ACROSS TENNESSEE

Tennesseans across the state gather to protest the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of refugees and immigrants at the border, especially children.

VIDEO: BETO COMES TO NASHVILLE

Video from Beto O’Rourke’s rally here in Tennessee this week. Beto was impressive, and the energy was great. We appreciate his optimistic message about immigration, and we also appreciate that he came to see us and spent time in the community.

We hope all the other presidential candidates will do the same.