Former Director of Schools Pedro Garcia is no longer at Bransford Avenue but still very visible around town.
Following a long line of “farewell” parties that continued well into February, Rex still sees and hears of Garcia at parties, fundraisers, and social events. He’s around town almost as much as he was before the ousting. Garcia resigned in January just before a most likely negative evaluation from the Board of Education was slated to take place.
Though Garcia no longer is head Metro Schools, speculation follows him with no less fervor. Chatter is circulating that some of Garcia’s well-heeled business community supporters might be willing to cushion Garcia’s fall from grace with a plush new job.
We even hear Garcia is considering a run for public office.
Rex hasn’t heard about any surefire job opportunities for Garcia outside of Nashville, and hasn’t noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of Garcia’s stately Brentwood home. But none of the talk seems to make sense.
While Rex is a party animal himself and can understand Garcia’s remaining in the social mix while in Nashville, he’d be surprised if Garcia decided to settle here. The man was practically run out of Metro schools — and the 70,000 kids formerly under Garcia’s care have parents.
Perhaps it’s home state loyalty or simply the fact it’s one of the largest newspapers in the world, but Gov. Phil Bredesen likes The New York Times.
Last week, Bredesen pitched his superdelegate primary plan to The Times and was apparently very pleased that the old gray lady picked up his op-ed.
“The New York Times is probably the premier kind of political place in the country, obviously the Wall Street Journal might be in that category,” Bredesen said in response to a question about why he chose The Times. “But The New York Times is one that I think everyone reads and is a place where those kinds of discussions are held.
“And something like this you want to get on the table. So I wrote the piece and we called up and … and we were told it was very, very, very difficult to get a piece placed, and we got it up to them and they picked it up within a half an hour. So I felt really good about that.”
The op-ed ran in Wednesday’s Times, but was originally scheduled for Tuesday. It got bumped for a day in favor of financial coverage.
One may recall that the Bredesen’s chose The Times to announce their son Ben’s wedding in 2006.
Luvin’ on the Speakuh
Throughout this legislative session, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has been trying to broker a compromise between AT&T and the cable industry in their multi-million dollar battle over television franchising rights.
Gov. Phil Bredesen, in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free-Press earlier this year, questioned whether Naifeh’s efforts could be successful since the two sides were looking out for their best interests and Tennesseans’ interests needed to be considered.
After Bredesen’s comments, Naifeh called an odd, impromptu press conference that apparently had no purpose but to refute the governor’s questioning of his methods. The longtime speaker and the governor later had a conversation, with Naifeh claiming Bredesen said he was “misquoted.”
That leads us to last week. Bredesen was asked by a reporter if he thought the AT&T-cable talks had a chance of succeeding.
This time, Bredesen expressed faith in Naifeh’s efforts.
“Basically, I think if the speaker puts his mind to something, he’s likely to get it accomplished,” Bredesen said.
Another wounded duck
Councilman Eric Crafton’s strange memorializing resolution asking the Davidson County delegation to the General Assembly to tie driving privileges to progress toward high school graduation was mercifully withdrawn at the Council meeting last Tuesday.
The legislation was deferred three times and shot down in the Education committee with a 5-0 vote.
Rex noticed that Metro Ch. 3 didn’t quite capture the visceral reaction on the Council floor where various members rolled their eyes demonstratively while Crafton was speaking.
You’ll remember this is the same Crafton whose English-first bill went down in flames. And the same Crafton with an eye on a school board seat.
So, does that make North a 1 or 2 seed?
School board member Mark North has a potential opponent in Tim Coleman, who recently picked up papers to run against North.
But Rex hears Nashville’s politicos think North is one incumbent with a darned good shot at holding his seat, and that has nothing to do with Coleman.
North’s family has a powerful presence in the Madison area in which the race will take place. North’s grandfather, Ira North, was a long-time pastor at Madison Church of Christ. North’s father, Steve North, is a former Davidson County Circuit Court judge. And his mother, JoAnn North, is Metro’s current property assessor.
North’s real test will be the recommendations made by the board’s Rezoning Task Force — an initiative, headed up by North, with the formidable charge of overhauling the district’s school zoning play by April.
In the mean time, North represents a formidable incumbent for Coleman — and any other candidate who may consider running in District 3 — to deal with.
Rex Noseworthy appears Mondays in The City Paper. He can reached at email@example.com