Like most of Nashville, Rex has decided to take some time off.
The channels of gossip that he relies upon have for the most part gone on hiatus, and Rex thought it might be prudent to use that vacation time before the boss man took it away. As much as he wishes he was in the Bahamas, he’s busy at home with honey-dos and the Christmas tree takedown.
So this week and next, Rex is replaying some of the more memorable bits of intrigue that occurred in 2009 — less a “greatest hits” album than a recall of personal favorites.
The news from the state legislature was depressing this year. Citizens wanted a chicken in their pot, but elected officials gave us guns in bars.
A judge recently deemed that legislation unconstitutional, and so lawmakers have decided that they’ll just tweak the song lyrics. So much for the hope that anything worthwhile will happen legislatively in the coming year.
Meanwhile, the state Senate gratuitously snubbed both a dead man and a former vice president when it voted against “urging” the State Capitol Commission to build privately financed statues of Tennessee’s two Nobel Peace Prize winners on the Capitol grounds.
The two slighted Nobel laureates are former Secretary of State Cordell Hull (1871-1955) and former Vice President Al Gore.
A bust of Hull already sits inside the state Capitol, but there is no monument or recognition of Gore. The pro-Gore-statue crowd might have to settle for slapping his name on the side of a recycling bin.
In June, Rex was looking at e-mails and press releases from myriad people and groups for and against that shining city on an architect’s rendering called May Town Center.
Some virtually characterized moving dirt at the Bells Bend site as the seventh sign of the apocalypse, while others contended that it would trigger a new “Age of Reason” in Nashville — with developer Tony Giarratana as Thomas Paine. Either way, both sides seemed to have their share of drama majors.
But one significant entity (besides the mayor’s office) was AWOL on the question of whether to build a $4 million city inside a city: the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Finding the organization’s position on this thing was like playing a “Where’s Waldo” game to scale.
The mission statement on its Web site describes it as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating community leadership to create economic prosperity.”
In stark contrast to that self-proclaimed role, the chamber issued a letter to the Metro Council that ran from the issue as fast as possible. [We] “do not have a process to assess proposed private developments,” but have “appointed a board task force charged with developing an assessment tool.”
The letter went on to say: “As you have most probably heard or know, the chamber has historically taken positions only on public developments such as the arena, stadium and convention center, and corporate relocations that would have a significant impact on the city through branding or growth of our tax base.”
May Town, of course, has since died an unceremonious death, and Giarratana is somewhere licking his wounds and looking for a project to resurrect his self-image as Nashville’s Donald Trump.
Rex was kicking back at the homestead early this year when former Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley came on the tube pushing cars for Alexander Toyota. Headley, remember, had to give up the badge when he was busted for illegally obtaining prescription drugs. He subsequently made some noise about resurrecting a law enforcement career.
Well, he would have more time for it now. Headley and Alexander Toyota have since parted ways. But Headley is still warbling online, pushing his gospel music career on MySpace.