Bureau Chief’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series about Nashville’s sharp turn left politically and how it affects the rest of Tennessee. You may read Part One here.
After President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accords, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a draft study of how she and other city officials plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of this plan, city officials want to decide how much drivers should pay to park downtown and what fuel-efficient routes they should take to and from work. Officials also want to install new electric vehicle charging stations throughout Nashville.
As reported, Tennessee residents who drive electric cars rarely use taxpayer-funded charging stations, according to government documents. The Feds have already spent $400 million on these stations nationwide.
Tennessee officials spent $181,250 to place three charging stations at the Nashville International Airport. During a five-week period two years ago, 29 cars were charged a flat fee of $2 each. At that rate, the charging stations will pay for themselves in about 300 years.
“They’re Democrats,” said Ben Cunningham, president of the Tennessee Tax Revolt.
“They’re just trying to score points with their base.”
The $6 billion mass transit system for Nashville and the surrounding 10-county Middle Tennessee region, according to the Tennessean, can’t happen without people in those areas paying higher taxes.
“The mayor has made clear that any funding mechanism would need buy-in from other Middle Tennessee cities and counties and the state legislature,” the paper reported.
Nashville Metro Council member Bob Mendes withdrew a proposal last month to make Nashville a sanctuary city. This was after a city attorney wrote a legal opinion saying he and other council members can’t keep Nashville’s sheriff from cooperating with the feds on immigration laws.
A pattern of defiance
Justin Owen is the president of the Nashville-based free market think tank the Beacon Center of Tennessee. Owen said all of this, as well as Nashville officials defying state law on affordable housing mandate policies, is “deeply troubling.”
“If they can avoid state law when it comes to affordable housing and push for sanctuary cities then they’ll start doing this stuff in other areas. They can start to push gun bans and minimum wage increases and ignore our state’s right-to-work laws,” Owen said.
“These are West Coast ideas being imported into our city and, thereby, imported into our state. If we allow a city like Nashville to continue to push these type things then we will grow up in a state one day that doesn’t look like the one we grew up in.”
Sean Braisted, Barry’s spokesman, declined to answer any of Tennessee Watchdog’s questions.
All but one Metro Council member did not return requests seeking comment.
The one council member who did respond, Jacobia Dowell, spoke only of the sanctuary city push.
“I represent an area with a sizeable population of immigrants. I am very involved in my community,” Dowell said in an email. “I have not had one documented or not documented neighbor call me to say this was an issue. I didn’t hear of anyone being scared until the legislation.
“We are not able to discuss legislation with one another, but I would be interested to know what and specifically the who (names and addresses) of those neighbors who inspired him to sponsor this legislation.”
The state’s urban areas, including Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, will always have liberal voters, Cunningham said.
They may care little about how the policies they support affects the rest of the state, he added.
“Liberals believe they are morally superior to everyone else. If they have to, they will run the state into the ground as they did in Illinois,” Cunningham said.
“They say they want the best for everyone, but the only way to fulfill all of their dreams is to spend our money.”
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