Capitol View Commentary: Friday, June 15, 2018

Posted: 7:23 PM, Jun 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-16 00:23:26Z

By Pat Nolan, Senior Vice-President, DVL Seigenthaler Public Relations, a Finn Partners Company
June 15, 2018

The number of Tennessee gubernatorial TV ads continue to proliferate with at lease one candidate
running more than one ad simultaneously. It is also interesting to note how two of the leading GOP candidates, Congressman Diane Black and Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, are running commercials on the same political hot button topic at the same time. And this is not the first time it’s happened.

First it was being tough on immigration or supporting the Mexican Border Wall. Then it was opposition
to abortion and how they sport or are politically similar to Donald Trump. Now it is requiring able bodied recipients of Tenncare to work or be cut off from benefits.

Black has always been a heavy user of TV in her campaigns for Congress. Now she is running multiple
ads such as this one touting her Tea Party support.

And there is this ad running in the Nashville media market touting her transportation plan “Lanes not
Trains.” It proposes finishing the north portion of the 840 loop to facilitate trucks moving around not
through Nashville. The ad does not mention her earlier support of double decking the interstates
through downtown.

The other Republican gubernatorial candidates are being active on TV too. Here’s the latest from Bill
Lee, who tries to position himself as “the only conservative outsider in the race” and the “only nonpolitician
running for governor”

House Speaker Beth Harwell is now up with her second campaign ad. It touts her work as Speaker in
terms of balancing eight state budgets in a row among other achievements. Note: it is sometimes not
easy to it, but an annual balanced budget is required under the state’s constitution.

One of the Democrats running for governor, former Nashville mayor Karl Dean has his second ad on the
air as well. He says he is looking to hear from voters…

When you add up all these campaign spots, you can see why this election cycle is well on its way to
becoming the most expensive one in Tennessee history. It is also why come July (when you add in the
commercials for our U.S. Senate and state legislative candidates) you may well get more than your fill of
politics on the air.

Here’s how THE TENNESSEAN and Tom Humphrey add up the TV campaign dollar totals so far (and we
are still not to August or November.

Throughout the campaign to select his successor, Governor Bill Haslam has declined to endorse a GOP
primary candidate and, for the most part, he has refrained from critiquing the candidates’ campaigns.
But this week in an appearance before the Collierville Chamber of Commerce in West Tennessee, he
briefly diverted from that in his remarks. Tom Humphrey has a summary of what he said based on the
news coverage it generated. You may find the Governor’s comments not unlike the critiques some have
espoused about the types of issues being given top priority on the campaign trail and on the air by the
Republican candidates.

Neither U.S. Senate candidate has a new TV spot running. In fact, Republican Marsha Blackburn has yet
to run any over the air spots. I think that starts next month. But if the Republican congressman is holding
her fire, outside groups are not, going after Democratic candidate, former governor Phil Bredesen.
Here’s a link to the latest on-line video posted by the Republican National Senatorial Committee. It
leans pretty heavily on the criticisms leveled against Bredesen by President Donald Trump when he was
in Nashville late last month.

Blackburn herself is starting to pick up the pace of attacks on her opponent as mirrored in this

Meanwhile a POLITICO article, indicates the Senate race in Tennessee remains competitive for
Democrats and the national Senate Democratic PAC may well be investing dollars here to support Phil

Some white nationalist groups are coming back to Tennessee this weekend to hold a conference at
Montgomery Bell State Park. There may not be many things that our U.S. Senate candidates agree on
between now and the November election. But both Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen are on the
same page on this: White nationalists are not welcome in Tennessee:

It is approaching mid to late June, the time when the U.S. Supreme Court usually issues several of its
decisions (especially the controversial ones) as it approaches the end of its term. One that came out on
Thursday struck down a Minnesota law that strictly regulates voter political apparel at the polls. Several
national news reports say Tennessee is one of several states that have similar laws.
This should give our new governor and General Assembly something to work out when they get to
Nashville in January.

While much of the focus of national politics remains on the upcoming mid- term elections, there are lots
of foreign policy related issues in the headlines as well. In fact, it has been a remarkable week in that
regard. To put them all in perspective, we have asked Vanderbilt University professor, Dr. Thomas
Schwartz to join us again. We thank him for sharing his insights on the recent North Korean Summit in
Singapore, the brewing trade wars engulfing the U.S., China and even our closest allies such as Canada,
France and Mexico. We also discuss the latest immigration controversy with young children being
separated from parents who are being deported.

INSIDE POLITICS airs several times each weekend on NEWSCHANNEL5 PLUS. Those times include:
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This week’s show and previous INSIDE POLITICS interviews are also posted on the NEWSCHANNEL5
website for your viewing under the NEWSCHANNEL5 PLUS section. A link to the show is posted as well
on the Facebook page of NEWSCHANNEL5 PLUS. Each new show and link are posted the week after the
program airs.

The Metro Council has set next Tuesday night (June 19) as the final decision time on a new operating
budget for Nashville including whether to raise property taxes to fully fund schools and provide a cost of
living raise for employees.

The 50-cent hike being pushed by some Council members as a “rate adjustment,” faces a daunting task
no matter what you call it.

In the 55-year plus history of Metro government, no Council has ever proposed or approved a property
tax on its own in opposition to the Mayor. Mayor David Briley’s proposed spending plan does not
include more taxes and he has been outspoken in recent days opposing this 50- cent increase in the
property tax rate.

There are other Council leaders who don’t want to raise property taxes either. They have been working
on their own” substitute” budget. But after studying the matter and looking for ways to realign Metro’s
“priorities” more towards the city’s employees and schools, it did not seem to get very far. In fact, the
substitute budget to be placed before the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee on Monday apparently
only found $2 million in cuts, giving no extra monies for raises and not much more for schools either.
There are also questions being raised about the small cuts the substitute budget does propose that
some say seem more political than beneficial. Others (including community groups) want changes in the
Mayor’s budget including holding up or deleting the sale of city park property to benefit schools. But if
that potential $13 million in revenue from a property sale goes away, it makes balancing the overall
budget even more difficult. And this is not Washington, whatever budget passes must be balanced

It’s been some years since Metro has faced a budget dilemma like this. But it’s here and portends some
long nights (Monday & Tuesday) to try and figure it out. The Council could wait until the June 30
deadline by which it must pass a balanced budget (or the mayor’s budget goes into law automatically).
That’s never happened before, just like the Council passing its own property tax increase over the
opposition of a mayor has never occurred. But the first half of 2018 has been unprecedented in Metro
politics as well, so who can say for a certainty what next week holds at the Courthouse?

The greatest sporting event in the world may be coming to Nashville eight years from now. The United
States, Mexico and Canada (hopefully with their trade wars in the past) will be hosting the 2026 World
Cup. Our IT City is one of 17 potential U.S. host cities for the soccer matches.
The city’s chances to make the cut to be one of 11 U.S. cities selected for the games look pretty good.
Nashville has built quite a positive reputation as a big game soccer venue in the last few years. An MLS
team is coming (providing the Metro Council gives the final approvals needed to build a stadium at the
Fairgrounds). Our reputation as a music mecca and tourist destination helps as well along with soccer
officials liking Nissan Stadium as a good place to stage events.

But will it still be as good eight years from now? The facility is now almost 20 years old (opened in 1999)
and will be pushing 30 when the World Cup and the World come to town in 2026. The stadium appears
to be in good repair, but by most facility standards, it’s getting up there in years. When will the Titans
want a new or totally renovated home? Remember the team left Houston and came here because they
did not like the Astrodome.

Building a new or totally renovated stadium won’t be cheap. It will add more to the city’s bond debt
which is a major reason Metro is having its major budget squeeze this year. It appears this World Cup
opportunity make begin discussions about the city’s continued appetite for professional sports perhaps
a bit earlier than some thought. But it’s coming.

After almost 46 years of service, one of this city’s finest employees, is retiring. Yes, I am biased. Long-time Metro Assistant Finance Director Gene Nolan is my first cousin.

We’ve been closer than brothers since we were children. Maybe that’s why, so many over the years, have thought we are brothers. Working in the Finance Department is the only job Gene has ever held after graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1972, with an undergraduate degree in Business and an M.A. Degree in Public Administration.

He has served under every Metro mayor from Briley to Briley. There are not many left at the Courthouse who can say that and who have the kind of experience and institutional memory Gene possesses.
Despite being related to me, he has a sterling professional reputation. That includes with his Finance
Department colleagues, and the many city leaders and officials he has worked with over the years in the
Metro Council and in every mayor’s office. He’s more careful and diligent about spending the public
money than he is his own. Metro will be lucky he will remain working on a part time basis with the city beginning later this summer. But first, he will take a little time off, then spend more time with his children, grandchildren and that honey-do list. 

I have been so blessed to have Gene not only as a relative, but my closest friend. I look back and I am a
little amazed about that. Gene is about two and a half years older than me. That’s not a big difference
when you are as old as we are today, but it was a big deal when we were kids. Yet Gene always treated
me well, even if I was years younger and less mature. We have both been blessed our better halves and
our children have become good friends too.

Gene and I have had lunch together once a week for many years. I hope we can continue doing that with
some frequency in the months ahead. He’s a very special person in my life and our ongoing
conversations about family, going up together, and of course, politics, are things I hope to keep

I did not do a Capitol View column or an INSIDE POLITICS show last week. Here’s the sad reason why. I
have lost one of the major father figures in my life and one of my most faithful readers. Here is how I
tried to put the loss into words on my Facebook page:

After 96 years we took Dr. Fred William Love to his rest Saturday afternoon, with full military honors. I
could never have asked for a better father in law. In fact, he was a father figure in my life for 44-plus
years, longer than my own dad who passed away before I turned 30.
From the day I joined his family he was kind, wise, caring and always helpful and supportive. As "Pop
Pop", he was perhaps the greatest grandfather and great-grandfather ever for his 16 special
descendants who got the chance to meet him. Those descendants still to come will long hear the stories
of his life and what a great man he was.

It was moving to hear so many come forward during his memorial service to affirm what a great doctor,
community leader, and just a great human being he was. As his obituary reads: "He loved his family, his
friends, his church, his country, his career and good food." He was mentally sharp to the end, working 2-
3 crossword puzzles a day.

His four children know what a special father he was, their "Pater." Now he is with his wife Doris ("Rosie")
and what a glorious reunion that must be!
Rest in Peace