Jameson sees 2011 as ‘finish line’ of his political career

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 11:45pm

Mike Jameson, the second-term District 6 Metro Councilman says he is now sprinting “to the finish line” of his own political career.

Jameson has told The City Paper that come 2011, he will be finished with politics and will give his time to his family and his law practice.

The councilman, whose ‘dream job’ was to be a judge like his grandfather, who maintains solid popularity in Nashville’s most civically engaged district and who possesses as much political sway as anyone on Council, says he’s ready to sail off into the East Nashville sunset — though not so quietly.

“I’m going to sprint to the finish line,” he said. “I’m going to try to make the last two years productive and look back on this period with pride.”

Jameson’s retirement from politics bears mentioning, because his critics believe his outspoken criticisms of Mayor Karl Dean have come across as grandstanding. Jameson claims he’s even had to tell political insiders, to their utter skepticism, that he is not going to run for mayor in two years.

The fact he’s taken on the role of Dean’s No. 1 antagonist comes as a surprise to Jameson himself, since not long after the 2007 inauguration, he was quoted as calling the new administration a “breath of fresh air.”

Jameson’s track record of coming to loggerheads with Dean began last year when he accused the Dean administration (although not Dean himself) of attempting to fire Metro Planning Department staffer David Kleinfelter.

Cemented in the Dean doghouse, Jameson mostly stayed quiet until March, when he claims he got wind of the administration’s intentions to alter the long-planned redevelopment of the Nashville riverfront. The first phase of redevelopment, approved during the Mayor Bill Purcell administration and with significant public input, called for an adventure water park on the river, but Jameson publicly declared that Dean was ready to scrap everything and begin redevelopment by focusing on the downtown side of the river — the side closer to the proposed new convention center, Jameson pointed out.

After a public meeting with media on hand and cameras rolling, Jameson pursuaded Dean to include the adventure water park in his first capital spending plan.

In between the March public meeting and August, Jameson was sufficiently on the outs with the Dean administration, but then came the fiasco surrounding Music City Center invoices turned in by PR firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox. Suddenly, there was Jameson calling for an independent audit and public answers to questions about the invoices.

Dean supporters have speculated on Jameson’s desire for a higher office, perhaps a run for a circuit court judgeship, and dislike his flair for the dramatic. However, his decision to call it quits in two years may quash such speculation.

“I like the idea of serving eight years, giving everything you’ve got, and then stepping aside so some new blood can come in,” Jameson said. “It would be audacious of me, living in this district, to say, ‘I’m the best there is, there’s nobody better than me.’”

As for East Nashville residents who gave their Councilman high-fives a few weeks ago before he ran in the Tomato Art Festival run, they can rest assured he isn’t going to turn sheepish his last two years in office.

“I never thought about this office ever until a year before running for it,” Jameson said. “and it has opened the door to a brand new realm you can actually do some good occasionally, and expand your horizons and better your neighborhood. But it’s amazing how few people ever believe anybody when they say, ‘I’m not going to do it any more.’ I ain’t running for anything. I just want to do a good job with the time I have.”


6 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 8/26/09 at 6:28

This is an example of why term limits has it problems(which I originally agreed with). Term limits was voted in because we had a few screwballs that kept getting reelected. Since the change we are losing many good councilmembers like Jameson that could provide long term experience and independence from the administration. With the limit we're getting a majority of incompetent suck ups that bring screwball ideas and bills with no expectation of anything but personal grandeur and future paid health benefits. Hopeful Mr. Jameson will keep up
the good work through the term.

By: Kosh III on 8/26/09 at 6:57

We need more like Jameson. Thank you!

By: JeffF on 8/26/09 at 7:20

skeptic I have thought this same thing for years. Note how few of the council members are able to ever take the reigns of Nashville. The mayors now come from somewhere else. A term-term limit simply gives us a fresh set of neophytes every 8 years. No council member ever attains sufficient clout to take on the executive mayor. We have neutered the legislative branch of our own government with these term limits. An idea that was coming from the right place that just did not work.

By: Kosh III on 8/26/09 at 9:51

Term limits give the unelected bureaucracy much more power as they are the only ones with enough experience and knowledge.
Sir Humphrey Appleby :)

By: Alphadog7 on 8/26/09 at 10:16

Can we switch the term limits to the US Congress instead?

Jameson has been great for his district. Its good to have a renegade in there :-)

By: Anna3 on 8/26/09 at 7:26

Term limits ARE what broke up a corrupt and institutionalized Council that for may years rarely if ever listened to their constituents. I am very conservative in my personal views...and although I do not agree with Mike Jameson on much, I think that he is very honest, very sincere, and that he totally listens to the "People"...this IS what has put him crosswise with Dean and his Chamber of Commerce puppet masters. Dean is absolutely corrupt and he and his robber barron friends routinely are raiding the city's coffers to line their pockets, a situation Jameson has interfered with on more than one occasion. Dean is frankly, and in my opinion, going to leave the city on the verge of financial ruin over this unnecessary Billion Dollar convention center and hotel...Jameson knows it, Emily Evans knows it, Eric Crafton knows it....and Mayor Karl Dean, sure as hell knows it...but he will be gone before the bill comes due....unfortunately, we all will not. Please do not re-elect Karl Dean.