Craddock criticizes Convention Center Authority process

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 2:59pm

Michael Craddock supported the formation of the Convention Center Authority to oversee the proposed Music City Center project, but the outspoken District 4 Council member said Wednesday he doesn’t like the process Mayor Karl Dean’s administration is using to put the authority in place.

Dean’s administration filed a resolution last week to appoint nine members to the new board, which will oversee development and management of the proposed $635 million Music City Center.

Craddock believes each of the nine Dean appointees should be considered individually, and not as a group as the administration has proposed.

In response, Craddock and District 12 Councilman Jim Gotto have filed nine amendments to the resolution, which would allow each prospective appointee to be considered separately.

When the mayor makes an appointment to a Metro board or commission, Metro’s charter requires that the individual be vetted by the Council rules and confirmations committee and then voted on by the entire legislative body.

“I just don’t understand why, given the fact this is the most important project that the city has ever built in its history, we would deviate from the norm,” Craddock said, adding he expected to have as many as 15 co-sponsors for the amendments. “There seems to be widespread discontent among Council that these were filed all nine at the same time.”

Craddock said he lamented filing the amendments, given the fact he supported creating the Convention Center Authority. The new board will gradually take control of developing the convention center from the Metro Development and Housing Agency, which has handled the responsibilities to this point.

The Dean administration always planned to have the new board oversee the project, but decided to speed up the process after a media exposé revealed MDHA had spent more than $450,000 for communications work with public relations powerhouse McNeely, Pigott & Fox. The PR firm quit the project and Dean has ordered an independent audit of invoices turned in thus far.

Part of the process

Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling said the administration anticipated Council members filing an amendment to consider an appointee separately if they had a problem with a particular individual.

“It’s his right to file the amendments if he wants to,” Riebeling said. “It’s his right and a part of the process. I’ve always assumed that if someone had a major problem with one of the members they could always amend them out [to be considered separately].”

Craddock would not specify which appointees he had an issue with, but said, “I don’t like the process and I don’t like the makeup of the board in general. We don’t have an architect, we don’t have an engineer and we don’t have a [certified public accountant].”

Craddock has had differences in the past with prospective Convention Center Authority member Leo Waters, a former Councilman and former member of the Nashville Electric Service board.

Prospective appointees to Metro boards and commissions must be asked three questions by Council — are you a resident of Davidson County, are you registered to vote in Davidson County and do you serve on any other boards or commissions? Council members may ask additional questions if they choose.

One Dean appointee — C. Mark Arnold — registered to vote with the Election Commission on Aug. 19. Arnold, who moved to Nashville in June after purchasing a controlling share of Gray Line bus tours, said Wednesday he registered to vote before he was ever contacted by the Dean administration about serving on the Convention Center Authority.

Another prospective appointee, Willie McDonald, already serves on the current Convention Center Commission. The administration said McDonald would likely resign from the current board should he be appointed to the new Convention Center Authority.

20 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 9/9/09 at 2:05

Why does it take an amendment. This is a council process, they can
handle it anyway they want to without having to go by any administration request. All at once, one at a time, they don't have to
make an exception on this.
Mr. Craddock and others get on my nerves when they vote for
something they know is going to be controversial and then complain
later as to process. It's like being a little bit pregnant. What are
these members going to do when the final vote comes and the
estimates are higher, the financing different, many more taxpayers
complaining, and the administration requiring a straight up or down
vote. What a crazy way to build a Billion dollar project!

By: bfra on 9/9/09 at 2:27

Somebody needs to do something drastic & quick! Dean is ramrodding this convention center right on thru and from what I have seen, read & heard, against the majority of the people. He is hand picking his gronnies to oversee everyting and he needs to be stopped.

By: pswindle on 9/9/09 at 5:31

Do we want to be a great city that can handle large conventions or do we want to stay where we are? Progress is thinking big, and getting big jobs done. Craddock just wants something to wrap his name around. He says," look at me!!!!!!!!!"

By: idgaf on 9/9/09 at 8:21

Why don't they demand that the mayor present his finacing proposal before they let him spend another dime?

He said revenue bonds which he isn't going to get so that means we have to vote on it so lets stop playing games and vote on this folly.

By: Kosh III on 9/10/09 at 6:07

We are already a great city. We don't need more massive money losing public projects to prove it.
If this is so great, let the motels, bars and convention businesses fund it. Free enterprise?

By: producer2 on 9/10/09 at 6:42

Kosh III,
They are funding it. The money comes from additional taxes on hotel rooms and the tourist zone businesses which include all the bars and convention businesses you mention. Without the facility far less people would be staying in those hotels, eating at those restaurants and drinking in those bars and not paying any of the taxes that go towards this facility. You have it correct and that is how it will be accomplished.

By: sidneyames on 9/10/09 at 6:58

I love the way Dean has made us a "music city" with his new commission on making us a music city! LMAO. Isn't that what put Nashville on the map to start with?

By: WayneJ on 9/10/09 at 7:34

Can we force a recall election at the mayoral level before Dean and his cronies railroad Nashville into bankruptcy with this financial loser of an idea?

By: Time for Truth on 9/10/09 at 8:20

pSwindle is an appropriate screen name for an MCC advocate.

We are number 13 in convention traffic and number 31 in population. Both of those figures may not be current but they're close. I think that's good enough, we don't need to mortgage our future on a billion dollar dying quail to move up one or two spots.

Prod, the hotels, restaurants and rental car agencies aren't paying, those who USE those services are. And those who visit all those worthy venues such as the Discovery Science Center and Symphony Hall which are having their tourist subsidies sucked away by the 'big pswindle'. This includes those of us who live here and don't want the MCC. I should know, my rental car costs have risen about fifteen percent this year on less rentals.

Craddock is wasting his time. He shouldn't have voted for the authority in the first place and is probably hearing that from his constituents.

Sid, very funny.

By: pandabear on 9/10/09 at 9:07

" By: bfra on 9/9/09 at 3:27

Somebody needs to do something drastic & quick! Dean is ramrodding this convention center right on thru and from what I have seen, read & heard, against the majority of the people. He is hand picking his gronnies to oversee everyting and he needs to be stopped."

Correct. What would you suggest ?

By: producer2 on 9/10/09 at 9:32

Quit renting your cars at the airport. They are the only ones subject to the tax. I appreciate the fact that you think we are doing "good enough" others feel we could do better.

By: airvols on 9/10/09 at 9:32

This discussion is so old, the convention center will be built and we need to be working on more ways to attract business and groups to the center. We should be developing the "Music City Presentation" for the rest of the country to envy. It's always the same 5 people the oppose everything that dominate the discussion. Get over it!

By: MusicCity615 on 9/10/09 at 9:50

I am in favor of the Music City Center. Build it. Open it when the economy turns around.

By: millenboy on 9/10/09 at 2:05

I will support the MCC when producer starts supporting the Service Employees International Union organizing in his industry.

Wait I see a flying pig!

By: producer2 on 9/10/09 at 2:39

Give me some good reasons. Since we live in a right to work state, I would think it would be a mute point. There are already unions that you can use or not use such as stagehands, etc. You would think one of the Mayors Appointees,Vonda McDaniel, benefits representative for the United Steel Workers Local 1055 who has worked with community organizations including the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, would be sensitive to those issues.

Over 50% of the SEIU membership is in the Healthcare field. What percentage of the people who work in the largest employment sector in Davidson County are members of this organization? They also have an Exotic Dancers Union. I am all for that!

By: Time for Truth on 9/10/09 at 2:51

moot point.

And the exotic dancers are among the few Nashville citizens who will benefit rather than suffer because of the MCC. I think there are two or three nudie bars in the proposed shadow of the White Elephant.

Prod, I will again check prices at some rental outlets off site next time. Last time I checked they weren't competitive even without the money grab.

By: Time for Truth on 9/10/09 at 2:57

airvols, I think you would be closer to being correct if you said five people were FOR the MCC. If you're so confident, let's have a referendum. My educated guess is it would be a big LOOO-zer. Why do you think Craddock is doing this little hat dance? He probably got a buttload of phone calls from constitiuents after voting for this 'Authority'.

nashbeck, like your new screen name. Is it designed to show support for Deano full of Beano's 'Music City' iniative?

Hmmm, if this is Music City, why is Deano taking money away from the symphony to give to the white elephant?

By: producer2 on 9/10/09 at 3:14

not a moot point my friend. You are complaining about the extra taxes on car rental and that is a tax at the Airport only. If other outlets want to and can charge more for their rentals than I guess you can blame whoever you want but it is supply and demand at that point. On another note...exotic dancers need representation too.

Also please check your facts on who gets subsidies from the Hotel/Motel tax. On that list are Adventure Science Museum, Sommet Center (that's right you are not really paying for the operating expenses like so many complained about) and I think the CMHF. I am not sure the Symphony Hall is on that list. Those are only being helped currently because the outdated Center we have is PAID FOR and some of the surplus is being redirected to those facilities. Metro could always dive into the other $100 million in tax dollars that go the General Fund from tourism annually if they wanted to so as to not bother you with taking a few dollars of your tax money for public facilities that many like, appreciate and use (non tourists that is)

By: govskeptic on 9/10/09 at 3:55

Frequent guest into Nashville will learn how to rent cars,
stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, outside the special taxing districts causing their revenues to drop rather than
increase in very short order. Residents will learn the same
and probably already are noting the differences.

By: producer2 on 9/11/09 at 6:48

There aren't any differences in the zone, as usual a lot of talk with no facts included....