First Reading: Board Director, Members Appointed to Community Oversight Board, Homelessness | Pith in the wind

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@startleseasily is an avid observer of the Metro government’s whereabouts. In this column, ‘On First Reading’, she will recap the Metro Council’s fortnightly meetings and provide her analysis. You can find her on the bench in the corner by the mic, ready to publicly comment on anything that sparks her passions. Follow her on Twitter here.


In a relatively low-key meeting on Tuesday, the subway board elected three members to the community oversight board and approved a contract to review the city’s approach to addressing homelessness.

Play slowly and freely

Recently, we have a new board director: Margaret Darby. The board director is the unsung hero of the board. They’re tasked with overseeing the council’s office, serving as legal counsel for the council (namesake alert!), and essentially holding the deputy mayor’s hand as he navigates the meeting. Darby’s been with Metro Legal for 21 years, and I’m sure she’s awesome. But either she hasn’t studied the council’s rules of procedure or she hasn’t gained enough footing to know when to stop the deputy mayor from breaking them, because these last few meetings have been excruciating for the very many issues of procedure. the.

Perhaps we were spoiled by former board director Jon Cooper, who spent more than a decade in that role before moving on to greener, more lucrative pastures. But it’s probably good that a recent rule change has been postponed indefinitely, because Vice Mayor Shulman has enough trouble with the rules as they currently stand. If this is driving you as crazy as it is driving me (which it must be, because this is a highly relatable frustration), please reach out to Shulman and ask him to please agree. I really don’t want to have to start an online petition.

Big Internet must have greased its hands, as the World Wide Web came into the spotlight on Tuesday night. Vice Mayor Shulman celebrated Black History Month by sharing some knowledge he picked up “just by searching the internet” for famous black Nashvillians. I will have to look into this “internet” situation. It sounds downright revolutionary!

Apparently, some board members can also use the internet (or they have friends who can) because they came to the rules committee meeting too prepared to discuss tweets from Jamel Campbell-Gooch, a candidate for the board of supervisors. community. A self-proclaimed abolitionist, Campbell-Gooch has served on the COB since its inception in 2019. His tenure ended unceremoniously on Tuesday evening, as the Board chose not to give him one of the three vacancies on the COB. These seats will be filled by current COB member Walter Holloway and two newcomers: Michael Milliner and Maxine Spencer.

Any potential COB candidate watching Campbell-Gooch’s interrogation is likely to think twice about applying, especially if they’re inclined to openly share their not-so-praising reviews of the police online. Maybe that’s the goal. For my part, I do not accept the idea that the members of a board of directors must be indisputable personalities in their personal life. But hey, they don’t let me make those decisions.

How to end homelessness in 10 days

If you hadn’t noticed, people in Nashville are, like, very concerned about homelessness all of a sudden. CM Freddie O’Connell has responded to the abrupt resignation of former Metro Homeless Impact director Judith Tackett by tabling a bill to create an independent housing and homelessness office. The administration responded by asking for time to hire a consultant who could study our current governance structure and provide recommendations for improvement. O’Connell delayed his bill until April and on Tuesday the council approved a contract for those services.

I give the administration great grief for all the studies and investigations they do — Nashville seems to be perpetually in a study of perfection — but in this case, I’m actually on board. We have become so polarized in our attempts to address homelessness in this city that I honestly think a neutral, third-party perspective would do us all good. Like therapy, but for a city’s response to homelessness.


If all goes as planned, I will make my triumphant return to the historic Metro Courthouse for the next council meeting. It’s going to be a tough transition off the couch. I hope my self-assigned seat in the gallery wasn’t stolen.

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