NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville Vice Mayor Jim Shulman says he lost his cool when he exited the public hearing for the city budget last night to scold members of the public.
The meeting that went nearly 11 hours long was the longest meeting in recent history. Vice Mayor Jim Shulman runs the meetings and after hours of public testimony he confronted speakers in the hallway outside of the meeting.
For hours speakers were asking the city to defund the police department and use funds in other areas of the city such as for the arts or education.
Shulman believes the speakers were part of a group who were trying to take over the meeting.
"We got hit with this organization and they had a lot of people which was fine, but then we started realizing that at some point we weren't hearing from anybody else, any other Nashvillians." said Shulman. "It's fine to listen to this group from Nashville but this is a dollar property tax increase. And so, we've been hearing all along from lots of constituents who are very upset that they're not working right now and they're very upset and they're very worried about the tax increase."
Nearly every person was requesting the same thing of the council.
The woman who took this video said she was inspired by Gideon's Army, a social activist group that works to keep black children out of jail.
Lydia Luce is a Nashville resident and she was hoping to get to speak for her community. Luce says she couldn't get through on the public hearing phone lines. So, she decided to drive to metro council.
"This budget doesn't support working class communities. Most of the budget is going to the police and it's not supporting healthcare resources or education. They're trying to decrease education funding," said Luce.
While Luce said she agrees with the cause, she was not compelled by any particular post, but rather is a representation of how Nashville is feeling right now.
"This is our community," she said. "That's the group. This is Nashville speaking up and saying similar ideas because this is what w care about."
While Shulman said he wished to hear from other people who are interested in the historic property tax increase, other metro council members said it didn't matter if the message was repetitive, every voice is valued.
"My job is to listen to my constituents, to listen to Nashvillians and make the best decision possible," said Metro councilwoman Kathleen Murphy. "If it takes 100, 200 people to tell me the same thing over and over until I finally hear and understand them, then I want to hear it over and over."
Members of Gideon's Army spoke at the meeting and made similar points to the majority of the other speakers.
Shulman said if he could do it again, he would've stayed inside and not confronted the other speakers.
"I'm pretty calm and patient. I spent 11 hours there last night trying to run that meeting. I probably wouldn't have gone out. A lot of times I try to go out and figure out what's going on. I think the frustration kind of boiled over there," he said.