Rex: Let them eat Brie

Monday, November 12, 2007 at 1:08am

With the new version of the Metro Council but weeks old, city political watchers say the leading liberals on the Council are jockeying for position and control of the legislative body.

Conveniently, the power struggle is breaking down along lines pretty easy to ascertain; East Nashville versus West End. And though the battle is a quiet one, some say it is a mean game of Hacky Sack.

Supposedly, a steady stream of East and West Nashville contingents from the Council have been making their way to Mayor Karl Dean’s office in the hopes that their grievances might be addressed.

Then again, it could also be that some current members of the Council didn’t actually know what the inside of the mayor’s office looked like until Dean took over. Apparently former Mayor Bill Purcell didn’t suffer too many visits from Council members.

Can’t imagine why.

You’ll get nothing, and like it

It’s usually a great battle when the rich take on the rich.

The tony city of Oak Hill is fighting tooth and nail with First Lady Andrea Conte over the proposed “Conservation Hall,” the 13,000 square foot “bunker” planned for the front yard of the governor’s mansion.

Accusations are flying every which way. According to Kelley Beaman, Conte and Co. are “arrogant.” Gov. Phil Bredesen, sticking up for his wife, said the Oak Hillians were “rude” to Conte during a neighborhood meeting.

“Trust me, I know her and she is more than capable of dealing with this kind of situation,” Bredesen said of Conte on Friday.

Dan Kraus, Oak Hill’s city manager, of course disagrees with the characterization that Oak Hill residents were rude to the First Lady.

Kraus says there was just a “great, great frustration on the part of the people.”

Now, there is a movement for another meeting. Thursday, Oak Hill’s attorney sent a letter to the Tennessee Residence Foundation Board, inviting Conte and Co. to attend a special meeting of the Oak Hill Planning Commission for either Dec. 13 or Jan. 10.

Meanwhile, construction is planned to start next month. But Kraus says he hopes that the construction won’t begin until “this has had its full hearing.”

Barring something unforeseen, Oak Hill’s legal hands are likely tied on this. But they don’t appear to be backing down anytime soon and look like they’ll be complaining loudly up until and through the construction.

As Conte acknowledges, some of this angst may have been avoided if she and her group had gone to Oak Hill residents earlier and explained the project in full.

As it is now, the wealthy residents of Oak Hill are in the unfamiliar position of being backed into a corner with limited options except to turn to something many of them prefer — whine.

Point of parliamentary procedure!

With a new administration and a slew of fresh faces on the Metro Council, Rex has obviously been braced for more than a few stumbles out of the gates of government.

But he was equally surprised when what many would consider to be a typical rookie mistake came last week at the hands of a non-rookie.

Granted, it was the first committee meeting before the first official gathering of the Council, so it’s understandable that many of the city’s politicos may have felt rusty, but no one expected Councilman Greg Adkins to pull off the gaffe that he did.

Yet when the Rules Committee was considering the nomination of Judy Sweeney to the Sexually Oriented Business Licensing Board — a very non-controversial appointment — Adkins surprised some when he launched into a fairly technical question.

Eyebrows rose even higher, though, when it became apparent that Adkins was asking about the city’s regulation of beer and wine sales.

“Uh, wrong board, Greg,” a number of the other councilors interrupted.

After the laugher died down — and Adkins’ face returned to its normal shade — Rules chairman Rip Ryman summed up the room’s sentiment.

“Now, Councilman Adkins, if you had wanted to ask about the three-foot rule, well that would have been just fine,” said Ryman.

See! Billy Idol gets it!

Rex loves a Chamber official who knows how to rock.

To Rex’s delight, he recently figured out that the master DJ behind one of his favorite radio shows is none other than Marc Hill, chief education officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and former education head under Mayor Bill Purcell.

Hill’s show, New Wave Smackdown, is on Vanderbilt University radio station WRVU 91.9 FM. In the words of one music-loving City Paper staffer — who loved the show long before she learned the records were spun by a local heavyweight — New Wave Smackdown includes the best new alternative music, rounded out by favorites from past decades that may have been overlooked by mainstream music history.

The hip musical ear of Hill has also, Rex hears, been utilized at East Nashville start-up wine bar Vino. The restaurant’s owner recruited Hill to populate an iPod playlist that keeps foodies happy.

Catch the show Saturday mornings, from 6 to 9 a.m. Or if you, like Rex, don’t like to get up that early on weekends, playlists are online at

While we’re watching ‘Viking Quest’ reruns…

Look, Rick Dumas, Rex knows that you’re climbing these mountains for a good cause and all, but really, do you have to make the rest of us look so bad in the process?

As reported in today’s paper, Dumas, a defense attorney in Nashville, and his fellow attorney friends will be climbing the highest mountain in the western hemisphere, which also happened to have one of the highest mountain death tolls in the world — all to raise some money for the Davidson County Drug Court program.

Not only will Dumas be climbing this mountain during the holidays (Dec. 15-Jan. 6), while the rest of us are dying a slow death from overindulgence and possible hangovers, he’s doing it as a vegetarian.

So he’s super healthy, super active, super… uh, good looking, and enjoys giving money to charity… so from slackers everywhere, thanks a lot, Rick.

For more information on Rick’s fundraising project, e-mail him at

Rex appears Monday in The City Paper. Contact him at

Filed under: City News
By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

RUDE?They had a meeting in a tent like the hired help or slaves on the plantation not permitted in the house which btw I suspect they pay a lot of tax dollars to support.Unless they are going to let the preds play there (his deal remember) they don't need a low class undergrond bunker to entertain. He had been hanging around the jocks too much and wants a bigger rec room then they have to prove his/her manhood.

By: EasyWriter on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The house is under construction. How can they meet in there? You're just silly sometimes, idgaf.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Besides, the wealthy often congregate in tents for parties, presumably so the guests can admire the nearby mansion (lol). The governor's mansion, which the Bredesens never moved into, is long overdue for a rehab and updating. Placing the reception hall underground is I think a better solution than building from ground level.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

In re the Andrea Conte contretemps: What do you expect from a Republican?In re the Sexually Oriented Business Licensing board: What a waste of time & oxygen. Besides Baptist Chris Ferrell's ridiculous three-foot rule, what about these businesses needs a special board? What can't be regulated by any committee that licenses all the other businesses in Nashville?Finally, what IS this about "liberals" & brie? Plenty of regressives eat brie. Being politically stupid doesn't impede one's enjoyment of soft cheese. Indeed, "soft cheese" would be a good description of brain of our current president.