Rex: Does end of school mean beginning of administrative fight?

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 3:44am

Ring, ring goes the bell

Get ready to hear a little extra noise in your neighborhood as Metro’s munchkins rock out to Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out” this week. Of course it would probably be better if the kids learned about Cooper in music appreciation class.

Anyway, the final clang of the bell at Metro Schools this week could be the bell that starts some fights over on Bransford Avenue.

This is just gossip. But since Rex specializes in “just gossip,” here goes. Rex hears that there are one or two top Metro Nashville Public Schools administrators who aren’t particularly well liked by some officials in the mayor’s office.

I’m not naming names. Criticism of individual district leaders has trickled consistently to Rex over the years, however, so Rex can’t think that the mayor’s office is particularly fond of the “changes” — or lack thereof — that Director of Schools Jesse Register has made.

All that being said, the mayor’s office has invested heavily in positioning itself to be able to bring about “positive changes” in the schools. It wouldn’t make sense for the mayor’s office to be in this position, but not interested in shaking up the school system’s leadership.

So Rex thinks some of what he’s heard may just be the static emanating from a larger power struggle, and doesn’t think much will come of it unless Mayor Karl Dean is given control of the school system this summer.

In the meantime, there’s a long wait until late July or early August, when Nashville will likely learn the district’s fate.

Unplug the mic

Metro politicos may not be internationally known, but now they want to rock the microphone (sorry Rob Base).

Nashville has many open-mic nights. But now East Nashville is home to an “Open Mike Night” that sounds truly lacking in entertainment.

“Open Mike Night” was the name of Metro Councilman Mike Jameson’s conversation with constituents about property taxes not too long ago. As a bonus (of sorts), another “Mike” was thrown into the mix — state Rep. Mike Stewart.

From what Rex hears of the event, neither Jameson nor Stewart cut loose with their opinions on the more controversial matters plaguing our city, and were not literally “Open Mikes” in that respect. That, Rex would have been more interested in hearing.

In all seriousness, Rex is as big a fan as anyone of politicians who actually talk to their constituents. He hasn’t heard anytime recently of, say, an “Open Pam Murray Night.”

Maybe she has that one scheduled for Motown.

This one goes to 11

Last week at a meeting of the State Senate’s Finance, Ways and Means Committee, things got a little hot. So hot in fact that jaded lobbyists started texting their colleagues and telling them to get to the hearing room ASAP and watch another stellar performance.

Nope, there wasn’t a discourse that was full or repartees that would rival a Lincoln-Douglas debate. State Sen. Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Kyle was fuming over legislation and comments made by his Republican counterpart, State Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville). The comments Norris made weren’t incendiary, but were partisan. Apparently Kyle had had his fill of GOP comments that day.

Watching Kyle go off was a source of great entertainment for those in the hallways of the capitol on both sides of the aisle. While obviously not all agreed with what he was saying, it was like watching a symphony of emotion that could only be rivaled by baseball legend Lou Piniella.

When Piniella, and Kyle, go off one needs to just sit back in their seat and enjoy the fireworks. Now if we could only get some real dirt in the capitol for Kyle to kick we’d be rocking.

Speaking of Kyle

Word on the street is that Jim Kyle is getting closer to throwing his hat in the Democratic race for governor in 2010. At first many thought that Kyle was playing the classic political game of making sure your name is in the paper, but now the talk is amping up.

Should Kyle enter the race, it would upset the West Tennessee Democratic dynamic even more.

Mike McWherter of Jackson and State Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden are already dialing for West Tennessee dollars. Former State Rep. Kim McMillan and Nashville businessman Ward Cammack are also in and East Tennessee attorney Gordon Ball is rumored to be in the mix as well.

Are there enough Democratic dollars to support this many candidates? For that matter will there be enough GOP money to support their four major candidates of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, Congressman Zach Wamp of Chattanooga, and Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons.

Seriously folks, Rex is starting think that there will be as many candidates for governor as there are Starbucks.

Coolest mayor in America?

International rock star and Nashville transplant Jack White ended a meeting with Mayor Karl Dean earlier this month by calling him the “coolest mayor in America.”

Could Dean rope White into joining him on the re-election campaign trail in 2011 the way other politicians have latched onto celebrities. Mike Huckabee had Chuck Norris. Barack Obama had Oprah. George Bush had Curt Schilling. Perhaps Dean could have Jack White.

The mayor appointed White to his new Music Business Council, a 46-member group assembled to meet Dean initiatives like improving music education and bringing more live venues to Nashville.

White expressed an interest in being more than just a token member, although he missed the first meeting and heads out on a national tour with his new group the Dead Weather next month.

White was a pretty good appointment, but since he's out of commission, Rex would like to point out to the mayor that no one is cashing in on music row more than Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Perhaps another celebrity appointment, or two, is in order?

Rex and the City appears Mondays in The City Paper.

1 Comment on this post:

By: dogmrb on 5/18/09 at 9:50

Who is not liked by the Mayor's office and why is it just one or two?