League of Women Voters of Nashville election voter guide responses

Heres a little ditty about Jack and Diane sucking on a chili dog outside the Tastee Freeze, or it could be a somewhat legitimate series fo responses to the League of Women Voters candidate questionnaire. 


Dear Jon Sewell,

The League of Women Voters of Nashville would like to invite you to participate in our May 2018   election voter guide.

The online voter guide allows voters to compare your positions with those of your fellow candidates and see the information that you supply.

We are using a Web-based system to pose questions to you and other candidates and collect your responses. You can post your replies yourself, in your own words so that voters can gain a clearer impression of who you are and of the platform on which you stand. Your responses are limited to 1000 characters.

We would like your answers to the following questions:


  • What qualifies you as the best candidate to be mayor of Nashville?


Well, Im running an awareness campaign, fully acknowledging from the outset that Im not the best candidate for my own platform. The platform has a solid 4-fold approach: Corruption, Hypocrisy, Influence, and Taxes (CHIT)- a platform that has a guaranteed success rate. Corruption- its a pay to play program going to the highest bidder. We might as well open the general funds to the general public. Hypocrisy - make promises, break promises, just claim that your ideas have ‘evolved’ for an easy-out. Influence - who are the men behind the mask? Where is the fountain of eternal dark money? Most of our seasoned politicians can point you the way. Taxes - regressive taxes borne by general public to benefit the private few will occur, but favors will be made to special friends and special interests to ease their burden. Implementation is not contingent on my victory. In fact, because I would be so bad at executing the CHIT program, I am asking my supporters to actively support the more seasoned politicos. I’m just a political newbie who doesn’t know the ropes, but still isn't afraid to get in the ring. If it’s all an act, you might as well go with an actor.


  • If elected, what will be your three highest priorities?


Gor forbid one get elected on a CHIT platform, but we must always be open to new opportunities. Porbably my first question would simply be how in the world did people find out who I was, and then why in the world would one vote for CHIT. It's gonna happen anyway, but the novel approach of exposing the political theatre certainly helps highlight the stagecraft but does not lend itself to easy support. In all honesty Im running to help expand the political landscape: if someone can see my acting a goofball then maybe it will help encourage someone else to get in here and do it better. If by some longshot catastrophe, enough Russian hackers can pull off a coup and I get elected, I would be able to propose some unconventional approaches to urban problems because hey im the goofball:

  1. No more giveaways to our more well-resourced neighbors who dont need the giveaway for starters. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but hey im not well sewn into the political tapestry. This also includes giveaways to incentivize development, which is an astronomically bewildering concept in a town that cant catch its breath from construction dust. Commercial neighbors should pay their fair share. A recent Tennessean report highlighted that 80% of recent property assessment write-downs went to commercial properties, meaning the rest of us are paying too much and subsidizing the balance.I say this as an owner of a commercial property. Along those lines, why are giving all these tax breaks to encourage new companies to move here? Basic estimates alone on Amazon HQ2 would result in an average of 3.3% rent increase in Nashville. Why use municipal resources to benefit only a few when the rest fo have to pay the tab- doesnt seem very neighborly to me.

  2. Free transit passes to our less-fortunate neighbors - easily financed if the balances sheets for Metro income were fairly applied to all residents without specific and shady carve-out for special interests. If youre a billionaire, do you really need to ask the city for free or reduced price land? Pay your fair share and help out your neighbors in the process.

  3. Decriminalization of drugs - hey im the goofball candidate so i get to propose such unconventional methods that actually have a scientific body of research supporting them. Sounds crazy but Portugal did it and guess what the result has been: "HIV infections and drug-related deaths have decreased, while the dramatic rise in use feared by some has failed to materialise. However, such improvements are not solely the result of the decriminalisation policy; Portugal’s shift towards a more health-centred approach to drugs, as well as wider health and social policy changes, are equally, if not more, responsible for the positive changes observed." (https://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/drug-decriminalisation-portugal-setting-record-straight)

In essence, discontinue trying to legislate personal habits thru a shameful method that ends up targeting the poor and adding a burden to mothers and grandmothers; treat drug use as a health and medical issue, not an issue of criminal justice. It sounds too basic: let a doctor deal with a drug use not a cop.


  • What is Nashville's greatest unmet need?


Nashville’s greatest unmet need right now might be its own self-discouraging attitude honestly. We keep desperately searching for outside forces to move here and help us make it a great city. It already is. If no one else ever moved here we would be fine. Along that line we are also so desperate to make new wealthy citizens that we have done so by scorched earth thru poorer neighborhoods. We have been so eager to please developers that we have squandered the largest windfall this city has ever seen. This fire behind the development boom does not need to be fanned thru incentives but managed thru responsible growth. By wasting the opportunity to encourage responsible growth, we have let some fo our most need neighbors seen their neighborhoods turn a profit without protecting the assets that made the community what it is. We also put our blind faith in leaders. We look to the great overwhelming joy that accompanied the election of our first female mayor and struggle to get past the lack of control she had with power in office: unilateral decision-making, poorly informed decrees having to deal with public land, and eventually the attempts at whitewashing the crime. I honestly could care less about the adultery: for all I know they were both consenting adults- but the act like nothing wrong was done later transformed into an admission to felony theft. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, but we should focus on creating a climate of good policy, not cults of personality. I think one of the ways forward would be to save this town the charade of the political theatre and get some honest leaders in there: no more behind-the-scene deals done with developers for city land, no more kleptocrats masquerading as ethicists, no more shady influence and debts owed to dark money financiers, and no more self-contradictory taxes, where rates are established for the general public but carve-outs created for special interests. It’s a sham and a spectacle and until we can move past the drama, we must embrace it to expose it.