Letter to the Editor

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 10:00pm

Members of the Metro Council, I found this quote from Ben Franklin over 200 years ago, and it is my opinion Franklin knew how the system worked even then. Please review the quote several times and each time the meaning will be clearer: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” — Ben Franklin, April 17, 1787.

Let me state as clear as I can my position regarding our fairgrounds. This property does not belong to the mayor, or the council for that matter. It belongs to the people of Davidson County. To take something without approval of the party who has ownership is nothing short of stealing. The people of Davidson County elected each of you to represent them in the council. I do not believe there is one council representative who could truly say it is the will of the majority of the people to shut down our fairgrounds.

Council members, I read the story in The City Paper where Mike Jameson had said Metro Public Works had tried to use pressure in promoting the lease for the administration and referring to keeping yellow trucks in his district. Please do not let this type action steer you away from making the right decision. This is nothing short of extortion. Sounds to me like a stunt you would find the Mafia taking. I would have loved to have been in your position and he made that statement to me. I would have told him you better believe I would not support the administration, and I would have dared him to pull the first yellow truck out of my district. I believe he would have found out that he bit off more then he could chew.

This is my opinion but you must form your own as the final vote will be in your hands. I’m still hoping the will of the people will prevail.


Ken Jakes

Joelton, TN 37080


Filed under: City Voices

69 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 11/18/10 at 5:31

Those magic words of today: "Jobs and Economic
Development" is the phrase the Mayor and Chamber
uses on all Governmental over reaches. They certainly
don't ring very true for this project at all, quite the opposite.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 7:29

I think the Mayor's office need a full audit, not by some committee he has appointed, and full public disclosure made, of any & all, backroom, under-the-table dealings that can be found. Where the money is coming from for HH, and where all the money received, on this deal, is going.

Then audit the Fair board, also giving full public disclosure.

By: MAmom on 11/18/10 at 8:05

My comment is also related the Benjamin Franklin quote in your letter: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” — Ben Franklin, April 17, 1787.


During the Council meeting Tuesday night, around 40 people opposed to "redevelopment" were given 3 minutes each to express to the Council how they felt about the leases and plans for "redevelopment".

Later in the meeting one Councilman actually made a comment to the effect that he was offended by the departure from normal procedures...that in a Democracy people had to follow the rules.

Sounds like in his "Democracy" people in his district are allowed to elect him to office - but then he wants them to shut up and do as they are told.


Call or email your Council representative. Tell them to oppose Deans plans to steal the Fairgrounds.

By: girliegirl on 11/18/10 at 8:19

Gdia's comment the other day may be the best...."just nuke it" LOL

By: MAmom on 11/18/10 at 8:25

Dean wants to steal the property from the people of Davidson County and Middle Tennessee.

Other examples of less-than-honest behavior
1. Dean's projected revenue & job numbers are all unsubstantiated estimates - underlying assumptions have not been revealed - so these numbers cannot be evaluated. So are effectively lies.

2. The Fairboard has been running up expenses and chasing away revenue - to make the financials perform poorly to "justify" disposition of the property (even though provisions of the original Fairgrounds legaldocuments made provision for difficult financial times).

3. Dean promises thousands of jobs from "redevelopment" - implies that these jobs will go to local people. Realistically, a big Corporate employer will not be a new company - and when they move there the good jobs will go to their existing employees - not to unemployed local people.

4. Deans representatives have said the HH site is is acceptable (to them) for flea market/expo events. That is despite the facts:
- there are not enough doors to enable vendors to set-up and break-down in a timely manner,
- HH has less square footage than the Fairgrounds,
- there are insufficient people/stuff movers (i.e.: elevators/escalators),
- car and boat shows have said the structure will not support the weight of their vehicles,
- animal events will not work there,
- there are fire code limitations on how many people can be in the building,
- there are parking restrictions at different times of the year,
- traffic around Bell Road is terrible, etc.
- and the public doesn't want to go to a failed mall. if they did, they'd be shopping at a mall.... instead of at a flea market.

5. Dean has said that vendors want to go there. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Vendors have conducted unofficial surveys amongst themselves - and except for a handful - overwhelmingly vendors do NOT want to go to HH. Many plan to boycot HH because their customers have told them they will not attend flea markets at HH.

6. The fairgrounds are empty 6 days a week. Again, wrong.

There is a lot of vacant commercial property around town - some of it not too far from downtown.

Why not develop these properties?

By: MAmom on 11/18/10 at 8:27

Originally Dean's plan was to "redevelop" the Fairgrounds. Then when there was push back ... he started throwing out "bones" to get more people on board with his plan. These were not part of his original plan ... they kind of morphed as the discussion moved forward.

The following promises have been made - but all are contingent on "redevelopment" of the Fairgrounds (plus a multimillion lease debt):
1) a park in a flood plain for the Fairgrounds neighborhood (could have been done anyway),
2) cleaning up a portion of a polluted stream (should have been done anyway),
3) giving a Community Center to HH residents (should have been done anyway).
4) make HH viable again by bailing out CBL (even though there is a high likelihood that the flea market, etc. will fail at HH).

By: Community-carl-... on 11/18/10 at 8:37

I have sent 2 Emails to the entire Metro Council in which I adamently opposed Mayor Dean's plans for the Fairgrounds and Hickory Hollow Mall. To date, I have received two responses back, and they were both from the same Council person.
(Thank you.)

This demonstrates to me that the vast majority of the Metro Council apparently does not feel accountable to the citizens who elected them. It is a sad state of affairs when elected officials blatently disregard the wishes of the majority of the citizens.

I used to think that I knew and was friends with at least several of the Metro Council persons, but their blind loyalty and refusal to stand up to Karl Dean's ill-advised projects has caused me to lose repect for most of them and our local political/governmental processes here in Nashville.

I feel like we citizens are getting "The bum's rush." Well, I might be going, but I'm not going quietly.

As MAmom said above, "Call or Email your Council representative. Tell them you oppose Dean's plans to steal the Fairgrounds."

By: global_citizen on 11/18/10 at 8:47

I think Mr. Jakes is mistaken on several counts. One, we're not a democracy, we're a representative republic. Which means our elected leaders (i.e. our mayor and metro council) members represent us in governance. So like it or not "the will of the majority" doesn't bear any weight in the matter beyond the extent that people can exert pressure on their representatives to vote the way they wish.

Secondly, it's an unsupported assertion to claim the majority of Davidson Co. residents would wish to see the fairgrounds remain. I know many who think it's a perfectly good waste of valuable land.

Third, land that is public land does not indicate the public has an ownership interest. If I'm mistaken, Mr. Jakes, won't you present your certificate of shares or deed of trust in this land.

Mr. Jakes, you're full of hyperbole but short of facts.

By: walkabout on 11/18/10 at 8:51

I'm curious if any of the above opinions are from people who actually live in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. I've lived here for over 7 years and find the fairgrounds a complete eyesore and vacant 95% of the year. Unless you actuallly live in this neighborhood, I do not think you have the right to have an opinion. Can you sit on your patio on a Saturday afternoon and have peace and quiet? I couldn't when the racetrack was running. Can you walk around your neighborhood in the evenings and feel comfortable and safe? I can't. The fairgrounds either need to be completely renovated and improved and move OUT. Let the citizens directly affected by this property have a chance to prosper!!!

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 8:51

girlie, why didn't you put your 11/17 comment here this one you posted under another topic?

From yesterday - girliegirl said - those of us with any real income won't go to the Fairgrounds because, frankly, that's the spookiest section of the entire city.

I also responded to this under the other topic!

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 8:54

walkabout - WHO are you? This belongs to & affects every citizen in Tennessee.

By: Community-carl-... on 11/18/10 at 9:03

You express yourself very well, "global_citizen." However, I suspect we share many of the same views.

I've lived in Nashville for 57 years and am a well known retired educator, am very active in a medium sized local church, and am blessed with a large circle of friends and acquaintances including "friends in high places and friends in low places."

That said, I can only say that while a few of my acquaintances support the Mayor's plans for the Fairgrounds and Hickory Hollow Mall, the overwhelming majority
oppose those plans.

By: pswindle on 11/18/10 at 9:31

The Chamber of Commerce is not a friend of the people. The next move is to out source the fairgrounds overseas, and start taking foreign money to help in sthe move.

By: girliegirl on 11/18/10 at 10:10

I'm going to Providence! To spend money. :-)

By: Captain Nemo on 11/18/10 at 10:17

I find it interesting that Kenny Ja.kes could remember any of Franklins quote from that far back.

By: Captain Nemo on 11/18/10 at 10:32

By: bfra on 11/17/10 at 6:14
yogi is so in love with Obama, he thinks about him 24/7!

That has to be very, very wrong bfra. Yogi can only think half wa…..

By: AmyLiorate on 11/18/10 at 10:32

Once again you have a leadership position where the people elected a lawyer.

They are smart, but not known to be visionaries. Karl wants to act like a city planner, manipulating everything the city could be involved in.

What Nashville needs is someone who is working for the citizens and not some future visitor. The mayor should focus on schools and the infrastructure.

Stop creating "jobs" because that's not what the mayor does. Create well educated people and the jobs will come to Nashville.

Next time elect someone who isn't checking the bond rating and eager to spend on speculative construction and things that can be named after them.

By: gdiafante on 11/18/10 at 11:35

I've changed my mind...I love the fairgrounds...it's the only place I can go to browse junk while standing in dried urine...or go to a fair and have punks that can't pull up their pants yell obscenities at my children...or watch bad racing while cockroaches scurry next to my feet...

Yes, we need to keep this historical and cultural center just as it is.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 11:42

g - You can do all of those things, except the racing, at several places in Nashville. Even some schools, if they are in the mode of selling junk, for supplies they need, because our elected officials think schools aren't important. That would also include Opry Mills, when it was open.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 11:44

Nemo - My mistake, should have been 12/7. LOL

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 11:46

Amy I agree with your comment 100%.

This moving Fairground activities to HH, is one of the most hairbrain ideas anyone could come up with, much less someone that is supposed to be Mayor.

By: gdiafante on 11/18/10 at 11:57

I also agree that moving it to HH is a bad idea. Very congested traffic and I'm not sure the parking is any better.

However, to compare the flea market to Opry Mills is as absurd as tearing down a functional amusement park to build a mall.

By: AmyLiorate on 11/18/10 at 12:45

plus 1 for gd @ 11:57

By: AmyLiorate on 11/18/10 at 12:46

just for fun, substitute Harpeth Hall every time "HH" is used. lol

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 1:05

g - You could find everything you named, except racing at Opry Mills. The only thing worth going there for, was the Bass shop.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 11/18/10 at 1:08

I too give gdiafinte a plus 1. As a bonus I nominate the past fair board that would not give the racetrack operator at the time a long enough lease so as to keep the two Winston Cup races in Nashville. That cost the city about 2 or 3 million for each event. The fair board needs to be completely independent of political appointees and the finances need to be audited independently each year. Metro should pay for refurbishing the buildings and be charged for their use. It all needs to be very transparent. This is a real asset for the city and surrounding counties, it needs to be treated like one. I empathize with the surrounding residents in respect to the track's noise but it was there long before they were born. The bottom line to this is that the fairgrounds could be a remarkable financial success if the right people were in charge.

By: gdiafante on 11/18/10 at 2:16

IMAX, Gibson, Rainforest Cafe etc...yeah, really comparable to a flea market and run down state fair.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 2:25

g - So you never walked around the mall & listened to the language or payed any attention to the kids (dropped off, for the mall babysitting) and notice their attire. I'll give you a plus 1 on tearing down Opryland to build a mall, about as stupid as moving Fairground activities to HH.

By: AmyLiorate on 11/18/10 at 2:26

I watched them making guitars once for about 5 minutes. It was interesting but seriously how often do people buy a guitar? I know, i know... tourists.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 2:29

Rainforest Cafe was ok, not the best and the location (Opry Mills) was lousy.

By: gdiafante on 11/18/10 at 2:34

I did Amy.

No, I never had anyone curse at my children at Opry Mills, bfra. That happened twice at the state fair. Needless to say, I take my money to Wilson or Williamson now.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 2:44

g - I didn't mean, curse at, just the language heard from all the kids, with no adult supervision. It's that way at a lot of malls, I just found it more so at Opry Mills. But then, I never had anyone curse at my children at the State fair, either.

By: gdiafante on 11/18/10 at 2:47

My original statment..."have punks that can't pull up their pants yell obscenities at my children".

I hear bad language everywhere, just not usually directed at children. That's the difference.

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 3:04

Doesn't really matter now, I think Opry Mills is long gone, unless our spendthrift Mayor decides to donate more taxpayer's money.

By: gdiafante on 11/18/10 at 3:04

They should build an amusement park...

By: bfra on 11/18/10 at 3:13

That would be great!

By: Community-carl-... on 11/18/10 at 3:29

...And while we're bringing back the Opryland Amusement Park, let's also bring back the paddleboats at Shelby Park, and Riverwood Riding Academy.......(I cleaned many stalls in exchange for free horse rides),

But alas, I have drifted into a state of nostalgia and the "warm fuzzies."

However, I'm not giving up the Fairgrounds without a fight. And I agree with what Judyboodo said above.

By: LizzyD on 11/18/10 at 7:16

Hey, I have an idea!

Why don't they GIVE the Fair Grounds property to Dell Computers, and .... ?

By: gdiafante on 11/19/10 at 7:56

As long as your feeling nostalgic...why not bring back Fair Park. That's when the fairgrounds were at there best.

By: Community-carl-... on 11/19/10 at 8:36

Hey gdiafante,

Bringing back Fair Park is an excellent idea, especially since the Opryland Amusement Park is gone.

P.S. As a retired educator, I would humbly submit to you that you need to check your grammar above......."your" should be a contraction, ie., "you're." And where you used a noun (there"), you should have used a pronoun, ie., "their."


By: HokeyPokey on 11/19/10 at 8:39

"hare-brained." The term you are searching for is "hare-brained."

By: Community-carl-... on 11/19/10 at 8:42

I had a pet rabbit once, and he was surprisingly bright...........

By: gdiafante on 11/19/10 at 8:49

Carl, as a retired student, I should tell you that I don't care.

By: yogiman on 11/19/10 at 9:04

Hey, Community-carl-,

As an educator you should know better than to correct those brainers in their misspelling of words. Many of them don't seem to have learned much in their school careers. Or were they drop-outs?

By: yogiman on 11/19/10 at 9:08

Captain Nemo,

What is the intelligent reason for you and that brilliant bfra making such facetious comments about me in this forum? Does that excel you intelligence or stupidity?

By: bfra on 11/19/10 at 9:16

yogi - I don't make brilliant or facetious comments about you, I just point out truth and facts. Not my fault you can't back up your rants with honest facts.

By: Funditto on 11/19/10 at 9:20

Speak for yourself yogi. I've seen your vernacular and lack of education shine through many times - especially when you're ranting.

I wonder when Eric Crafton is going to chime in or run for fair board or find a way to get some free publicity out of all this hubbub

By: bfra on 11/19/10 at 9:29

Fun - Not speaking up for Crafton, by any means, but they can't get any worse than Buck Dozier!

By: karlwithak on 11/19/10 at 9:30

Eric Crafton is HONEST, Intelligent and recognizes the difference between right and wrong, and isn't afraid to speak up when people are being ran over for political reasons. There were a whole lot of folks who had their backs turned when the people that voted for them were speaking.

I think he deserves National publicity, an Honest Politician is something to be proud of.I'm proud of Eric, and Dominy, Craddock etc.

By: Community-carl-... on 11/19/10 at 9:31

Regarding intelligence/education:

I found there are two kinds.....

1. The possibly overeducated B.S. kind...

2. The Common Sense kind.

The Dean administration, in my humble opinion, is using the thought processes associated with point number 1 above.

Thank God we still have the privilige of FREE SPEECH ! (Although I sometimes wonder for how long.........)