Council committee approves new Convention Center Authority

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 6:06pm

Citing a need for accountability and transparency, the Metro Council budget and finance committee unanimously voted to support a resolution to create a new Convention Center Authority, which would oversee the development of the proposed Music City Center.

Council still must pass the resolution creating the new board at its Tuesday meeting.

District 4 Councilman Michael Craddock said he supported the resolution because it took oversight of the $635 million project away from the embattled Metro Development and Housing Agency and gave it to a board, over which Council will have more oversight.

The nine-member board will be selected by Mayor Karl Dean and approved by Council. The Convention Center Authority will also make quarterly reports to Council.

MDHA has faced strong criticism from Council members, since it was revealed that public relations firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox billed Metro more than $450,000 for communications for the convention center project. MDHA has oversight over all predevelopment activities and the original communications contract was for just $75,000.

“I’m not totally sure that MDHA is spending that money the way they ought to be spending it,” Craddock said. “I think this is the best and the quickest way to bring accountability back to this process.”

Dean called for an independent audit of predevelopment spending on Monday, while the powerful PR firm also announced it was stepping down from communications work for the convention center.

12 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 8/17/09 at 8:13

I am wondering what council members have been promised to make them believe they will have more transparency and control with yet another OBE. The most transparent and accountable path would be to use actual Metro department personnel under the direct control of council and with a public access and published and approved budget requirement. None of this "we had $900,000.00 in mind for the real budget."

By: idgaf on 8/18/09 at 4:15

Before they work on this project it should be voted on, first by the council then I expect a referendum by the people who don't want these people to throw away a BILLION dollars of their money.

That are acting like it is a done deal and it's not.

By: sidneyames on 8/18/09 at 6:17

Yep, idgaf, you are right on target because everyone I know says "NO" to the billion dollar project. And I think they have a done deal and are just going through the formalities. They just got caught with their pants down and now they're gonna try to pacify us while they shoot us the moon. Think about it. A hand-picked panel picked by the guy who wants the convention center. I'm calling today to volunteer for the panel. Wanna come on board?

By: producer2 on 8/18/09 at 6:32

You guys are funny, I mean lol funny. Really you should put together a morning coffee club for yourselves at McDonalds, get together and tell each other how much smarter you are than those elected officials and how much more you know about all these subjects than those chosen to lead the projects and overall solve all the worlds problems each and every day. But please don't quit posting we need it for comic relief...

On a more serious note, wasn't Craddock one of your heros? Why is he so uniformed now that he wants this Authority? Are you flip flopping like your other Hero Crafton?

By: govskeptic on 8/18/09 at 7:15

Of course it was unaminous vote. Nay sayers aren't allowed to serve on committees the Mayor and Vice-Mayoree have a special interest in controlling. I think the administration has the council thinking their 3/4 city paid _LIFETIME-health insurance might be cancelled if they resist this monster project. Thank Mr. Tigert & former council atty. Mr. Jones for that one.

By: bfra on 8/18/09 at 7:25

pro-2 - Maybe the taxpayers need to ask, what part of the $450,000 did you get?

By: JeffF on 8/18/09 at 7:48

I am still laughing that all the supporters that were here everyday are now down to just 2 once the contract was initially suspended. Producer does not work for MPF, I do not think that he is even a meeting planner any more. What he does do (I am going to guess working for a small private college here in Nashville) gives him relationships to meeting planners and media wanna-be working PR instead. In fact he/she probably is one of the many, many media people currently working in other fields.

The convention and media industries have become tied at the hip in Nashville. Media is dying a little faster, with a lot of formerly perky types spreading out. Now the dying convention industry is reaching out and hiring the dying media to promote them up and keep that dying light burning just a little longer.

"Ignore the gang green in my legs, we are not capable of hosting 75% of the shrinking meeting market"

By: Time for Truth on 8/18/09 at 9:37

I missed the reference to Craddock being 'uniformed'. If he is 'uniformed' it is likely in a Realtor jacket. His comment on MDHA, though, is a massive understatement. Phil Ryan should do us all a favor and take early retirement.

JeffF, give nashbeck and the one other guy some time, they'll show up today at some point. One will say, 'I like shiny new buildings. Build it now!' and the other 'We are music city, we need this for the future!'.

And my tired old ramblings persist: Waste of money. Obsolete in ten years. Dying industry. Money needed elsewhere. Already questionable tactics and expenses. And last but not least, We need a referendum.

If creating a Convention Center Authority (which to me seems like another waste of time and money) allows these clowns to do an end run around the citizens, then it should not happen. The MCC needs to go to a public vote.

By: pandabear on 8/18/09 at 11:11

Right on Jeff.

Producer is an arrogant media scumbag who only shows his shadow
when he sees a green buck.

Deano is pushing this through in fine, underhanded, fashion.
Those who attain perfection in this art, are uplifted by the
act of taking control away from others, even as others pay for it.
There is no thought or care of what's good for the city here.
That's not even a consideration.
What's important for Deano is "getting one over".

That's why there is no vote.

Oh, and one of the reasons people vote is to eliminate
being ruled by the arrogant ones who think they are smarter
and better qualified to
"solve all the worlds problems each and every day".

Elected officials are put there to serve, not rule.

To actually put in print that it's otherwise shows how comfortable
some have become in stating their arrogance out loud.

By: airvols on 8/18/09 at 12:19

Well I see the same old I'm against "air" crowd is hammering the boards again. Titans, against, Predators, Against, English as official language, for. Yep that's progress. By the way your horse needs to be watered, he's all tied up outside and he's about to ge hit by that dang new motorwagon.

By: JeffF on 8/18/09 at 12:52

I really do not see the world's great cities building these things like there is no tomorrow. Seems to be mostly a U.S. and Canada thing. Maybe we should be more progressive and quit building these convention centers.

Convention center proponents are holding back our city to make a quick buck on someone else dime. Why let just one side decide that they are the modern thinkers without justifying it? Build a great city, not just another unneeded convention center!

By: Time for Truth on 8/18/09 at 1:38

That's right, it's 'airvols', you're the one other guy. I think I got your usual quote- the second one- pretty close.

I don't remember getting a vote on the Preds but I was a 'yes' on the Titans and a loud 'no' on EO. You've been on here long enough to know that I've supported quality of life improvements and opposed moronic xenophobia.

But I see the convention center as something different. I see it as investing in the PAST, not the future. The equivalent of building an expensive state-of-the-art Betamax or CRT television. And in pushing this boondoggle past the voters, the self-serving clowns in the mayor's office, MDHA boardroom and sadly largely on the metro council are using money that should be spent on something that those who live here and pay taxes can actually benefit from. The footprint of this monstrosity will eliminate a golden opportunity to create an income-generating and viable cityscape in that area. It will create a roadblock between the exciting things happening near the Hall of Fame -symphony area and the gulch. When it is empty in ten years it will be a blight on the landscape that will be a detriment to downtown.

Sometimes an initiative or project is just so wrong that the citizens need to wake up their elected representatives to stop the madness, or toss them out at the next election. This is one of those times. Unfortunately Deanie, who will likely not run again, will have already done the damage if this montrosity proceeds.