In what is a very poor use of tax payer funds, Metro Nashville’s Codes Department in their neighborhood e-newsletter devoted an entire page to pushing the Music City Center project – the largest public building project in the city’s history.
Set aside any feelings about whether the MCC is the right or wrong move for Nashville. It was incredibly poor judgment to use this tax payer funded communication vehicle for what is essentially a political effort.
Certainly, Mayor Karl Dean or a sympathetic member of the Metro Council can use their bully pulpit to support a deal – this deal or any other. It is their choice as a politician and their right to do so. They can earn media and back it all they want. As with the fight against Metro’s English Only referendum, politicians can volunteer their time and political capital to raise independent funds.
One might even make the argument that if public funds are so appropriated by the Metro Council, outside “communications” help can be hired to advocate for a project that is already approved. That could be anything from a social program in the inner city to this mammoth convention center project. To communicate with a city of a million people, sometimes government needs expert help – to essentially privatize a communications effort.It can be money well spent as long as the government is not overbilled or charged over market rate.
However, this newsletter is clearly not intended for such a purpose. It is a vehicle to communicate simple, utilitarian information to residents of Nashville. It should not be used for what is presently a political battle at City Hall. The language used in the newsletter makes the intent of the communication clear: