Councilman blasts pro-City Center group's 'manipulative tactics'

Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 7:06pm
Councilman Mike Jameson

Stirred by efforts to sway a public opinion poll towards support of a proposed $585 million convention center, Metro Councilman Mike Jameson has warned his brethren to look out for similar forms of manipulation that could create artificial backing of the project.

In a letter e-mailed Thursday by Jameson to his fellow Council members, the East Nashville representative points to attempts at influencing public support for the project, carried out by Cooley Public Strategies — a public relations firmed hired by the Music City Center Coalition, a group lobbying on behalf of the convention center.

“Regardless of our individual perspectives upon the proposed convention center, we have a collective interest in an honest assessment of public opinion,” Jameson wrote. “Tactics which seek to manipulate polling data or to create artificial appearances of public support have no place in this discussion.”

What apparently pushed Jameson over the top was a mass e-mail sent Thursday morning from Mark Brown of Cooley Public Strategies to folks believed to be supporters of the Music City Center, which encourages them to vote in a WSMV-TV poll.

“WMSV has an online poll on the Music City Center,” Brown alerted his e-mail list. “Could you take a second and vote in favor and then get a few other people to do the same?”

Brown seemed nonplussed by Jameson's comments.

"Our job is to rally support for the Music City Center project. We will continue to do that vigorously despite Councilman Jameson's protestations," Brown said.

Jameson also calls attention to two separate e-mails from earlier this week rallying Music City Center troops to attend yesterday’s Council question-and-answer session and a debate held Tuesday.

“Over the next several weeks, as we are confronted with poll results and Council chambers filled with supporters or opponents, let us take special care to discern the legitimacy of what we’re being told and to encourage a more objective debate,” he concludes.

The Metro Council is set to vote on the finance plan for the proposed convention center Jan. 19.



52 Comments on this post:

By: producer2 on 12/10/09 at 6:12

This is going to get good. Mike I think you should quit acting like your efforts are all for the public good. If they were you would call for BOTH sides to quit with the lobbying and manipulative tactics instead of just the one you are against.

By: Floyd2 on 12/10/09 at 8:37

What a huge baby. It's an online poll, Jameson. Why weren't you opponents sending out emails to supporters? What's that? No one likes you. Maybe that's because you're a whiner. A PR firm does it's job and you cry about it? Geez, no wonder your political career is nearing an end.

By: NoodlesSarducci on 12/10/09 at 9:00

CLICK HERE for Jameson's full statement.

Da Fatha

By: idgaf on 12/10/09 at 11:20

Bottom line is they cannot produce the financeing they sad they would and are spending/wasting taxpayer money playing games with us.

NO councilman will get my vote if they go along with this charade/scam.

1/2 billion is bs it will be closer to a billion if these clowns are foolish enough to vote for it, and if they do expect a referendum movement. People are sick and tired of getting ****** over. We are talking BIG money here in a declining market and not to long ago he was talking layoffs.

By: CityProgress on 12/10/09 at 11:39

prod, your slithering is disturbing, but good for shock value.
If there was ever proof that cut-throat tactics and morality are mutually exlusive, you're a shining example.
You've got some nerve to speak with any authority about the public good.

Why weren't you standing up for the public good when MDHA got busted?

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 7:50

Read my post you idiot, I said plainly he should be complaining about both sides.

By: bfra on 12/11/09 at 8:00

prod - You have no room to call anyone "idiot"! Where is your sanity & money for all your postings coming from?

By: JeffF on 12/11/09 at 8:01

Why should he be complaining about both sides? Only one side has a history of using taxpayer money to promote its cause.

By: govskeptic on 12/11/09 at 8:08

Calling the opponents "idiots" is exactly one of the
hugh problems in this whole debate. We(the Davidson
county Taxpayers) that are not being paid by some
organization to booster this project or that have no
financial interest in this monster are treated like
uninformed childred or idiots by this administration,
the council, and the proponents. They have now
gotten the all important endorsement from the Sports
Council (LOL) and await the ultimate approval of the
SEIU and the Mid-town Restaurant association to close
this deal!

By: JKennedyMD on 12/11/09 at 8:27

There's only so much convention business to go around our nation. Just because we build a convention center does not mean that they will come.

Perception is reality. We've all bought bills of goods, such as the lottery, liquour by the drink, the Titans, the Predators, and such by these tactics.

Mike Jameson may be well founded in his beliefs, however given the shallow nature of Tennessee voters, Cooley Public Strategies knows that manipulation works.

By: border collie on 12/11/09 at 8:32

consultants, public relations firms BS BS BS BS!!!!! All that money WASTED on trying to influence nashville to eagerly fund an idiotic project. does anyone care about the kids in this town and the fact that the schools are falling apart!!!! why should 6 year olds in bordeaux have to go to school with water pouring from the roof. it has not been fixed due to lack of funds!!! METRO REFUSES TO PUT A ROOF ON AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL with kids inside it that will lead our town someday ! MLK HAS RATS!!!! RATS PEOPLE!!! WHO IN THE H*LL IS OK WITH THAT??? then send your kids there councilmen and women....if it is ok. THELMA HARPER needs to get back to business around here. come down from the hill Thelma and show them what you are made of!! the new folks around here do not know !!!! We need you!!!

By: JeffF on 12/11/09 at 8:45

Bravo Collie. If convention center is supposed to bring in revenue sufficient to help anyone why are there countless examples of decay and funding cuts after the "success" of the current center putting Nashville on some silly top 10 convention list? Conventions are the slot machine that never pays off, it just gets expanded when too few of people play it.

By: dogmrb on 12/11/09 at 8:58

How many commentators actually live in Davidson County and could/would vote in a Metro Election? We elected these people to make this kind of decision so let them debate. And, our schools have had significant building/repair dollars poured into them over the last 10 years. That's the problem: Metro Council/then Mayor Purcell voted capital bonds to BUILD schools but didn't fund furnishing, maintainance and operations. Kind of like the new convention center: build it and they will come.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/11/09 at 9:16

When are they going to stop talking and start building?

By: border collie on 12/11/09 at 9:42

I use to go to the council meetings on a regular basis and my butt is going to start again!!!! I own two pieces of property in Davidson Co. and my family owns approx 200 + acres that enough????
FIX OUR SCHOOLS KARL DEAN!!!!! I think the NAACP may be interested in the fact that the school in the "who cares part of town" is pouring water!!!! Are any of the schools near brentwood pouring water inside????? Are there RATS scurring around the vending machines on the more fortunate sides of town???? DOUBT IT!!!!

By: border collie on 12/11/09 at 9:57

Thelma Harper ,for those of you who don't know , gathered together a large group of people and formed a human barracade to stop the dump from continuing on in her area when she was on the metro council. she is a little controversial...because she is assertive and not scared and nashville needs you more than ever Senator Harper......
No-one cares about the community anymore...just $$$$$$$$$$$$

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 10:19

You poor babies, nobody is being nice to you. Do you think it is just for any public figure to chastise only one side for mud slinging when both sides have clearly shown a propensity to do this? That would seem to be an attempt to promote his side of the argument as well don't you think? What do you think the false advertising of Nashville Priorities is, a public service announcement..LOL It is a bunch of scare tactic lies with no basis in fact. Do you see any of the majority of council who are more than likely to vote yes on this project out there looking for headlines and press coverage and openly criticizing the opponents? If Jameson, Evans and the rest want to be fair, they should comment on both sides of the equation, not just the one that helps them get a higher Q factor. Yes Mike I am talking to you...

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 10:44

For your information border collie, Senator Harper is the person who sponsored the bill that allows Metro to collect the additional room night taxes needed to fund the MCC. I think you will find she is a supporter...

By: NewYorker1 on 12/11/09 at 11:07

Wasn't Senator Harper a prostitute at one time?

By: CityProgress on 12/11/09 at 11:08

prod, you're usually so sensitive about mean ol' name calling, but if calling me an "idiot" makes you feel better, so be it. At least I know i'm getting under your skin.

Stating the obvious: if we wanted fairness in this debate, then opposition groups would have a blank check to crank out PR just like you good ol boys did. Until the opposition makes enough legitimate arguments to catch up with the MCC's dirty tricks, YOU HAVE NO ARGUMENT.

In perfect world, this would have been an honest debate from the get go. Now, the opposition still takes the high road, possibly to our disadvantage, while Rayburn & co make personal attacks. Classy.

By: Kosh III on 12/11/09 at 11:09

To pay for this, almost 14 million will be taken from other sources, see the article in the Tennessean about a week ago. Where will we get the 7 million welfare check to the Predators, plus the other 7 million that will be lost? We the taxpayers will pay for it.
Who will pay for ongoing upkeep of the Center? The taxpayers.

Well Producer2? What say you?

By: DustyU on 12/11/09 at 11:27

Like I've said before Mayor Dean will contitue to manipulate the numbers and conive with his cronies until he gets his monument to himself and the taxpayers will inherit the financial mess long after he's out of office. Then everyone will blame Metro Council for their irresponsibility.


By: border collie on 12/11/09 at 11:31

I bet Senator Harper would not appreciate the fact that the schools in her old district have water pouring through the ceilings onto the kids heads. I wonder if she knows. I will call her office and see. she has been one of the only ones through the years who has responded to the citizens in this area. when you send an email to all of the Senators....Mrs. Harper is frequently the only one who will send a response back...every time.
To New Yorker: you are a real fine specimen. how dare you.

By: MusicCity615 on 12/11/09 at 11:32

Councilmen Jameson complaining that a PR group hired by the MCC is promoting the MCC????? GIVE ME A BREAK.

Build the Music City Center.

and NO, I am not getting paid by any promoters.

By: CityProgress on 12/11/09 at 11:32

Not to mention $2.8 million drained from MTA out of that $14 million.

By: nvestnbna on 12/11/09 at 11:40

"In perfect world, this would have been an honest debate from the get go. Now, the opposition still takes the high road, possibly to our disadvantage, while Rayburn & co make personal attacks. Classy."

Yes, sadly this is a characteristic of the touristas. I don't remember the proponent group for the Titans deal being taxpayer funded? It's also interesting that it appears both council members who represent the district this thing is to be placed in have serious concerns, apparently mostly unanswered and or dismissed.

By: CitizensWin on 12/11/09 at 11:49

Council has been over-served with Happy Talk.

Between the bag men for the Music City Center, the lobbyists for it's Coalition, Siegenthaler PR, McNeely Pigott & Fox and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, this thing has boondoggle written all over it.  How much tunnel vision can one behold at once? 

This has been an incredibly inept read of the public's imagination, gullibility and intelligence. Regardless of the legal maneuvering to block a public referendum, Council and Company are whistling past the graveyard without a public referendum. 

Time to ask tough questions. Before it is too late

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 11:49

City progress,
You did not really say this did you?

"Until the opposition makes enough legitimate arguments to catch up with the MCC's dirty tricks, YOU HAVE NO ARGUMENT."

Keep working on it! Hopefully between you and Nashville Priorities you will come up with something.....

By: CitizensWin on 12/11/09 at 12:52

Google This: - Metropolitan Clerk - Registered Lobbyists Index 2009

I find at least 13 lobbyists for the MCC Coalition and the Convention and Bureau Center. Can you find more?

Much has been said about the $8500 that Nashville Priorities received, yet little to nothing has been made of $900,000.00 that McNeely Pigott and Fox's efforts are going to. Remember the 75K budget ballooning to 438K and THEN expanded to $900K. Wow!!! That sure wasn't in McNeely's original proposal. Talk about being rewarded for bad behavior. They essentially paid a 19K penalty for a 825K 'Bonus'!

If the city cannot manage a simple PR budget, one can only imagine what surprises lie and wait.


By: NewYorker1 on 12/11/09 at 1:19

I was just asking a question.

By: CityProgress on 12/11/09 at 1:25

prod, apparently you agree that MCC goons are up to dirty tricks.
Answer this: How will Metro come up with $14 million the MCC will drain?
What is the #1 thing that Nashville needs?

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 1:29

here are four lobbyist that work for Nashville Priorities. Coincidentally I believe they also work for Gaylord:
Tom Ingram, Lou Connor, James Weaver, and Tom White

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 1:31

Also why won't Nashville Priorities release info on who has donated money to their cause? Sounds suspiciously like the English Only scenario where there were supposedly all these donors and in then end, not so much....

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 1:34

'Apparently memory loss is part of this process. All of a sudden no one seems to remember the Purcell administration saying clearly that the new found funding (as a result of the original notes being paid on the current NCC) were only going to be temporary measures until other resources were found. Did you conveniently forget that?

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 1:38

I am sure that this will not be accurate enough for all of you as well:

By Geert De Lombaerde
Posted on December 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

LeAnn Luna at UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research has crunched the numbers on the proposed Nashville Medical Trade Center. If fully bult by 2019, the place and its 2,900-odd projected employees will generate another 4,400 jobs and produce a total of $426 million in personal income as well as almost $21 million in tax payments

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 1:39

When did we get to a point that we no longer want jobs and growth in the city?

By: NewYorker1 on 12/11/09 at 1:42

Increase property taxes and build the damn building with the hotel. There, problem solved. Next.

By: Kosh III on 12/11/09 at 2:42


Twice you have been asked: "Answer this: How will Metro come up with $14 million the MCC will drain?"

By: JeffF on 12/11/09 at 2:52

Is the convention center the number 1 priority problem needing to be fixed in Nashville? Be the first proponent to get on the record saying this is more important than schools, public safety, or public transportation.

Please tell us that spending money on rotting, vermin infested schools would be a wasteful use of tax money.

Please tell us that the police and fire public servants are not deserving of the overtime pay for servicing the tourism-overlord special events.

Please tell us that sidewalks, roads, and buses serving Nashvillians are less important than pulling in a few tourists each year.

By: 117_acres on 12/11/09 at 3:09

Dear Councilman Jameson,
If you ever intend to run for public office again please tell your supporters to not contact me by calling my home, sending me any direct mailings through USPO or leaving campaign materials on my door step, or knocking on my door just so they can try to get me to vote for you. Thank you and good luck trying to win an election under those conditions.

By: 117_acres on 12/11/09 at 3:22

You have to generate money to provide public services.... Tourism is the number 2 employer in the City of Nashville. I agree with the Mayor when he says we have to invest in what we are good at and tourism is clearly something Nashville is good at. Using the main line from the movie Field of Dreams, "If You Build It They Will Come". If you build the New Convention Center tourist will come! If we don't build it we are stuck with the status quo and possibly left without a Convention Center if the Medical Mart is built on the existing site of the current Convention Center. Good thing Bob Clement was not elected to be Mayor because he wanted to bring the Olympics to Nashville which I thought was a good idea. I can only imagine the out cry from some of the worry warts regarding all of the news structures and new buildings that would have had to be built to host the Olympics...

By: govskeptic on 12/11/09 at 3:24

It's too bad Councilman Jameson and Evans don't
just sit down and do as the Mayor has requested
and fully support this project. In spite of their
intelliegence and knowledge of financial matters
they should accept the endorsements of the
Sports Council, the Girl Scouts, the Mid-town
Restaurant owners, the Ole Time Fiddlers Assoc,
the Dean for Governor Committee and vote to
make the council approval unamious when the
funding vote takes place.

By: producer2 on 12/11/09 at 3:48

Is this your new tactic, scaring little old ladies and children. You must be the person writing the ads for Nashville Priorities...

By: border collie on 12/11/09 at 4:23

It doesn't matter what all the poles show. it doesn't matter who says they will come and who says they will not. EVERYONE in this country who is working class is BROKE! people losing homes and jobs every day. businesses closing every day. Large businesses at that. people with college degrees have no money and cannot find jobs! it will take a long time for this country to recover from the damages to our economy. our schools are falling apart and lack materials necessary to educate our children.
this months heat bills are going to wipe out some folks bamk accounts
why can't we just STOP SPENDING for once!!! Hold off and see how fast our economy recovers.
and in the mean time REPAIR OUR SCHOOLS. what about the teachers who are making chump change for paychecks! buying school supplies out of their own pockets !

Everyone wants to compile a spreadsheet for everything which is really just a bunch of numbers....until reservations are made and paid for at this new convention center....the projected figures mean nothing. by the time it is built some of the businesses that have said they will utilize this new facility will be bankrupt it is safe to say. maybe in 10-15 years it could be beneficial. but right now people cannot afford their medicine, heat bills, gas and groceries. someone is making $$$$$ and it will not be the taxpayers. there are more pressing issues than adding a new accomplishment to your resumes.

By: 117_acres on 12/11/09 at 4:47

Border Collie

1.You build the Convention Center now when the market is down so that it does not cost as much as it would when the market is up.
2.You built in now so those working class people have an opportunity to get a job building the Convention Center.
3. You build it now for under 1 billion so that it doesn't cost you 2 billion five to ten years down the road.
4. You can't repair our public schools without money. Tourism dollars go towards funding our public schools. We need to continue to be progressive with our tourism industry so that it can continue to grow and employ Nashvillians.

By: JeffF on 12/11/09 at 8:44

I see someone used the "number 2 industry in Nashville" chestnut that isn't even close to being true.

I am amused that somehow tourism can suddenly be depended upon to lift all boats and provide money for schools when it is obvious that it cannot even provide enough funding to build its own structures without taxpayer "backstops" and the movement of other activities to the general fund.. If someone can provide proof of an example of the tourism slot machine to the general welfare of a community I would be interested in hearing it. Right now the industry is documented as not even being in the top 10 employers in Nashville and further documented as having the lowest wages and employment benefits. WalMart and McDonalds look like Daddy Warbucks compared to the employers in "tourism". A recent economic study of the Great Smoky Mountains shows that it generates 15,000 jobs. Impressive. But believe it or not we are supposed to believe that this convention center will generate 30,000 new, permanent jobs!! Yes this one convention facilty will have an economic impact greater than the National Park has in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend, Sevierville, Cosby, Bryson City, Cherokee, and Fontana!

By: nvestnbna on 12/11/09 at 10:00

"4. You can't repair our public schools without money. Tourism dollars go towards funding our public schools."

Total Crap!! This money won't go anywhere but in the pockets of a few downtown tourist traps.

"We need to continue to be progressive with our tourism industry so that it can continue to grow and employ Nashvillians."

There are lots of better ways to grow jobs and employ Tennesseans. Ask the folks in Tuscaloosa AL, they spent $750m to bring Mercedes-Benz' only US plant to town. Average salary $75K. Mercedes just completed another $1b investment doubling the number of folks working there.

By: idgaf on 12/11/09 at 11:32

Point of order The "opposition" are those whos money you are trying to steal for your pet project.

By: producer2 on 12/12/09 at 8:42

Why do you continue to say things you know are not true. There is a portion of the HOT tax that goes directly into the General fund. It has nothing to do with tourism and is spent however Metro decides . Beyond that there are literally millions of dollars in tax revenues from visitors, businesses, and employees that can be directly traced to tourism that also go directly into both the State and Metro coffers. Your bias is such you no longer can see the forest for the trees.

By: CityProgress on 12/13/09 at 5:27

The ceo of the Nashville Medical Trade Center said if the MCC is not approved, they will still plan on developing somewhere else in Nashville. -NashBizJourn

Dirty Trick # 729: MCC promoters worked out an unnecessary site arrangement with Nash Med TC to manipulatively further their cause.

Dirty Trick # 563: "...No contract for $350,000 spent by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau for the "Blitz Campaign" for the proposed Music City Center ...though it was authorized by Riebeling..."

Dirty Trick # 385: Sectret meetings to exert "unclear authority" to buy land BEFORE council had approved land acquisitions!
"Present at the 2008 meeting were Riebeling and Deputy Mayor Greg Hinote; MDHA's Ryan; Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors; and council members Erik Cole, Jim Forkum and Tim Garrett. Councilman Mike Jameson, whose district included both the skate shop's original location and its new location in East Nashville, was not invited."

What's the #1 thing Nashville needs? How do we replace $14 million?