Broad Logic: Locking down Craddock's liabilities

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 11:44pm

That sound you hear coming from the Metro Council chambers is a version of political Kumbaya. As The City Paper’s Nate Rau recently reported, some members of our local legislative body are holding hands with an unlikely suitor. And the improbable support of colleague Michael Craddock in next year’s race for criminal court clerk has certain local lawmakers catching flak from ideologically like-minded observers.

That’s because they hold political and public policy views that are utterly contrary to Craddock’s, which could be fairly characterized as extremely conservative. He voted for English-only. He voted last week against protecting gay and lesbian government workers from discrimination. It’s not at all hyperbolic to suggest that, were he in Congress, he might be a “birther.”

By their own explanation, Council members are backing Craddock’s political run because he happens to be a really nice guy who can occasionally inspire collective fiscal commonsense. What’s more, he does what he says he’s going to.

“There’s never any doubt about where he stands, either in private conversation or public comments,” Councilman Mike Jameson told The City Paper. “When I have gone to him and said, ‘Can you support me on this bill?’ whereas others will hem and haw and eventually stab you in the back, Craddock will tell you ‘yes or no’ and he sticks with it.

“So despite the fact that Councilman Craddock and I are light years apart on social issues and political disputes,” Jameson continued, “this is a guy that has a great deal of sensitivity to fiscal restraint and constant responsiveness and those are qualities that far outweigh any philosophical differences when it comes to this office.”

But it may be too much to assume that Craddock’s major political liability as progressives see it — his on-the-record votes against certain constituencies — wouldn’t affect his job performance. That’s extending some major benefit of the doubt, as he would be charged with managing workers and serving a diverse clientele: the public. He should be credited for what appear to be strong personal virtues — his honesty and sincerity — but his public policy votes also should be considered.

How those positions might translate if and when he’s a boss and manager is an important question that the likes of Council members Jameson, Jason Holleman and Megan Barry, among others, haven’t addressed.

Another is whether Craddock, a Realtor, is as qualified as the incumbent to lead a critical government office charged with essential record-keeping and docket juggling, as well as court date continuances, collections, expungements, driver’s license releases, etc.

In addition to his two terms on the Metro Council, Craddock’s résumé lists the following educational qualifications:
• East Nashville High School, 1974
• Institute of Real Estate Training, 1980

Meanwhile, incumbent clerk David Torrence, who’s held the post since 1994, has a college degree and related experience, including 20 years as a criminal court clerk officer and seven years as chief administrative office of the court before being elected to the office’s top job 15 years ago.

This isn’t an apologia for Torrence, who admittedly owes his career to his late father Joe Torrence, who was clerk for many years before him. But it’s worth noting that the office is effectively run. It’s not in the news. Records haven’t been lost or mishandled. That’s in part because Torrence had the wisdom to hire, and has been able to keep, an exceptional chief administrative officer in Tommy Bradley, a former Metro Council member who stepped down when he was tapped for the job. Bradley has modernized the office, overseeing technological and other advances that have made records more accessible to the public.

Which raises another question about Craddock’s candidacy? Would he keep Bradley? If not, he might risk the stability of an all-important office.

No doubt Craddock’s allies will try to leverage Torrence’s legacy status in argument for their candidate. And if Craddock proves formidable enough to acknowledge, Torrence will cast his opponent as less qualified.

Meanwhile, if Craddock is successful, Spanish-speaking homosexuals might want to send someone else for their filings.


17 Comments on this post:

By: girliegirl on 8/24/09 at 7:22

My ONLY concern is that we STOP releasing these guys (like the one several weeks ago who had 138 PRIOR convictions) into the general public! This city has earned a really bad reputation of late because of the rampant crime wave....and nearly all of it being committed by REPEAT offenders.

By: Loner on 8/24/09 at 9:35

Liz, you gotta be kidding. Craddock is a self-centered, throwback to the old days of privilege, pride and prejudice. His white supremacist streak has been exposed several times and he has demonstrated an ability to overlook the law and the public interest when their is money to be made.

Case in point - the Evergreens fiasco. Craddock supported and defended the developers who sidestepped the legal system to raze the abandoned antebellum landmark, in order to build another franchised, big box store. Craddock is a realtor and as such his conflicts of interest have harmed Nashville in the past.

Liz, with his sleazy track record and demonstrated xenophobic tendencies, why on earth would you support this guy for any government position?

By: Anna3 on 8/24/09 at 9:56

Michael Craddock is one of the few people on the Metro Council that has integrity. I 've known him for years and he ALWAYS tells you the truth whether you want to hear his answer or not. I have found that he uses thoughtful reasoning and logic to arrive at his conclusions. sound like a NIMBY wacko...Did you happen to see the Evergreens? It was a condemmed fire trap, homeless crack house...left to collapse by its owners....Craddock gave the NIMBY community a chance to buy it if they wanted it restored long before he gave the potential purchaser the OK to raze it to no want to call people flaky stuff like "White Spremicist"? What do you propose comrade? That the collective tell others what to do with their property? Get a job in the Obama White belong there with the rest of the flakes. Note to Loser...I mean Loner, why don't you disclose whom you are? Let us vet you for conflicts and associations...I'd bet you are quite a piece of work. PS....I don't work with Craddock, I don't do business with him, and I owe him nothing! I just know a guy with integrity when I see one, and I also know a wacko when I read one...Take it personally Loner its meant to be....I'm sick of folks like you. Get a life.

By: Melstruck on 8/24/09 at 9:58

Loner-Did you read the article before commenting? It doesn't read to me like Liz Is supporting Craddock.

By: govskeptic on 8/24/09 at 11:11

Calling out the perceived flaws of just 1 candidate and never mentioning the incumbent doesn't sound like support to me.

By: JohnR on 8/24/09 at 11:23

Liz, what on earth were you smoking when you wrote this one. I have a family member that works in this office. David Torrence is experienced alright. He's really experienced a the game of golf. I hear he is seldom in the office, rather I hear he plays golf two or three days a week. I am told that none of his employees like him, except of course Bradley. As a matter of fact his employees are afraid of him. I believe this is one of the worst run goverment offices in the city. Go ask any Judge what they think of Torrence. It;s time for a change and Craddock just may be the one to do what needs to be done with this office.

By: Loner on 8/24/09 at 12:02

Melstruck, thanks for reading my comment. Yes, I did read the article. My reading comprehension skills are usually pretty good. I re-read the article to see where I may have "errored".

Liz wrote, " He (Craddock) should be credited for what appear to be strong personal virtues — his honesty and sincerity — but his public policy votes also should be considered." That sounded like lukewarm support, certainly not opposition. Frankly, I question the man's honesty and sincerety.

Liz cast aspersions on David Torrence's pathway to the clerk's office, she reminded the readers of the nepotism factor underpinning junior Torrence, Craddock's would-be opponent. Liz credited Torrence's underling, Tommy Bradley, not junior Torrence, for doing a good job. Sounds like Liz is already doing some of the hatchet work for Mr. Craddock.

I interpreted her comments as subdued support for Mr. Craddock.

Maybe Liz will come online and clarify things.

By: Loner on 8/24/09 at 12:05

Perhaps, Tommy Bradley should run for the office...or is their an inherent flaw in that suggestion?

By: pswindle on 8/24/09 at 12:11

Don't kid yourself, Craddock is a hard nosed republican.

By: Loner on 8/24/09 at 12:42

Anna3, don't sugar-coat do you really feel?

Your flailing ad hominem attack on me aside, the fact remains that The Evergreens is gone with the wind. Were the antebellum mansion, its out-buildings (slave quarters) and it's grounds restorable? Depends upon who you ask?

Is the fact that the Jim Reeves museum in Music City, located in The Evergreens, was allowed to fall into utter decay and ruin, a blight upon the soul of Nashville Tennessee? Depends upon who you ask.

I have the distinct feeling that disclosing personal information to you, Anna3, would be risky business indeed. Based upon what you have revealed about yourself, I'd guess that you are a gun-totin' Obama hater.

Let me just say that I have no dog in the hunt. I am an outsider, living in upstate New York, who happens to love your city. Maybe that alone qualifies me for the "whacko" label, in some people's minds.

I see my role s that of an interested third party with no axes to grind or old scores to setlle...I can see the forest, from here, Anna3....all that you can see are the trees. And tree-hugging, NIMBY whackos.

By: fantitan on 8/24/09 at 1:09

After a black church got approval to build their new church in Madison from the Board of Zoning Appeal and after Councilman Craddock had testified that "there where all ready to many churches in Nashville" and "this is a good neighborhood and we don't want those people here", he grabbed the minister by his suit coat and threw him into the wall yelling at him "you've made an enemy for life" "you'll never get a building permit while I'm here". This happened in the hallway at the old Howard School building in front of horrified onlookers including me. I knew the contractor that built the church and the minister did take Councilman Craddock in front of the ethics board only to find out their is no rule for assaulting a constituent.

By: Loner on 8/24/09 at 1:27

You gotta admire Anna3's ingenius name-calling skills: "wacko", "comrade", "flake", "loser", "piece of work" and her creative sarcasm - "get a job", "get a life" etc. and to think, we just met.

By: house_of_pain on 8/24/09 at 1:28

Sounds like you've made a "Love Connection", Loner.

By: jstevens on 8/24/09 at 1:53

fantitan, I too was present at the BZA meeting since I live in the neighborhood where the church was built. What you conveniently failed to mention was that Councilman Craddock was opposing the church simply because the entire neighborhood was against a church being built at that particular location. Just to set the record straight, the Councilman never touched the minister, nor did the Councilman refer to the church as those people. Yes the minister much to the surprise of the neighbors present that day filed a complaint against the Councilman and the Ethis board found the complaint without merit. If as you alledge the Councilman grabbed the minister, why didn't the minister file a police report for assault? If anything the Councilman is guilty of representing the overwhelming majority of his constituients in the area by opposing the church. By the way the church was ultimately built and is a good neighbor in the neighborhood today. I still live in the neighbrohood as well.

And in my humble oppinion, Councilman Craddock is the best city Councilman Madiosn has had in the fifty years I have lived here.

By: Melstruck on 8/24/09 at 1:56

Loner - It is interesting that two people can read the same article have two completely different opinions on the meaning of the text. I think that may be a sign of the ambiguity of the writing rather than our reading comprehension. I see her questioning Craddock's ability to do a good job due to his strong conservative opinions - to me implying his votes for English only and against protecting gay rights would make him a a poor fit in a position which would deal with all types of people. She writes near the end,"which raises another question about his candidacy" - I read as not being supportive.

I do agree if Bradley has done so much for the department he should run.

By: fantitan on 8/24/09 at 5:50

what you call the "neighborhood" is a neighborhood homeowners association that the church property is not a part of. The real neighborhood is a couple of hundred run down rental units that not one person showed up to complain about this project. Your "neighborhood is a couple of dozen people who live on the river.

By: fantitan on 8/24/09 at 5:52

and yes he did grab the minister, and yes Councilman Craddock did say those things and yes he is a racist moron like you.