NOAH Forum questionnaire

Id like to tread respectfully with some of these organizations who have put a lot of effort into building some large coalitions and who are actually trying from the grassroots level to take on a system that definitely aint made for them. Good god, where does Sisyphus hang out when he's on break? probably with these folks. Then when the odds weren't daunting enough, he likes to relinquish his seat in the breakroom to Tantalus who probably shares war stories about the victoires he's had that outnumbers theirs. 

I cant imagine what it must feel like to be building a coalition like this, making small victories as you grow, only to have your feast be slaughtered whole hog and sold by promising allies, who showed up to help out. Their dreams have literally been sold down river by the very people who provided them the glue for their vision board. If it weren't such a damn travesty the joke that's been pulled on these people would at least be worth a oneliner at Zanies.

The cynic in me wonders how many 'leaders' in this coalition knew about the selling-out perpetrated by 'leaders' of the city. Somebody somewhere is getting rich. 


Brief introductory statement.

I am Jon Sewell. I am running for Mayor of Nashville as an awareness campaign for what I perceive as the age-old local political tradition of Corruption, Hypocrisy, Influence, and Taxes (CHIT). Trust has eroded in this town. “Progressives” (hypocrisy) are peddling public resources (corruption) to well-connected financiers (influence) and then trying to make up the difference thru regressive measures (taxes). As a professional actor and member of the local arts community, I am using what I know best and attacking this systemic breakdown to expose it by embracing it via a satirical yet nuanced criticism. Let’s widen the political arena.


What are your priorities for the city?

Lets have an honest accounting of how in the world IT city went from windfall to shortfall. This conversation must include a reckoniong on corporate giveaways to the well-heeled. Its easy to cut checks with other people’s money and then end-result has been catastrophic, revealing the city leadership’s approach to the desire for development to be reminiscent of a Ponzi scheme: take money from people living here to pay other people to move here to make more money to pay other people to move here? If we don’t have enough to house our own affordably, how can we afford to pay to house others? Lets have that discussion frankly because obligations to our citizenry have been neglected in order to make new corporate neighbors feel welcomed. What at first seemed like a concerted effort of blue-blood progressives to redistribute public resources for private wealth may end up being exposed as complete mismanagement by those who said they had a sustainable plan as long as they were in control: our leaders were lying, nobody’s driving.


What do you expect to accomplish by the end of your term?

By the end of my term, I hope to have created a city where new wild ideas are at least entertained. Let the dispossessed speak for themselves on how to handle redistribution of wealth to include economically marginalized populations. I think for too lone ‘leaders’ have told the people what will be done after engaging in disingenuous “listening” meetings (town halls, community charrettes, etc). Lets allow every idea its moment to be proposed and judged on its own merits. Pilot studies will be funded by the immediate cancellation of incentive packages for corporate relocations. We don't have the cash for those give-aways and the people receiving them don't need the money as much as our less-resourced neighbors. We have to prioritize problem solving. Let’s discuss the unconventional: free transit passes for our less-fortunate neighbors, drug decriminalization, legalization of marijuana, the end of petty crime offenses that disproportionately affect marginalized and already sensitive populations, decriminalization of prostitution, expansion of local healthcare options, housing the homeless. Let these situations be addressed as social and health issues and not retributive criminal justice problems. In doing so, we also remove an enormous discretionary burden off the police force allowing them to focus on domestic violence, property crimes, and traffic control.


Why do you believe that you are the best person to carry out the remainder of this mayoral term?

In a word, I dont believe Im the best person. Simply put, I believe I have a valid viewpoint that may also help reduce crime and save money for Metro, but I hesitate to say I’m better qualified than the other candidates. There is new energy in this race and new faces. The old guard is having trouble looking at this town squarely because frankly their programs and packages have failed large sections of the demographic, so new people are stepping up, making themselves vulnerable, in order to provide fresh ideas. That’s where we need to head- direct democracy with new (even wild unconventional and unfamiliar yet proven) ideas. I’m here to satirically embrace the political theatre in order to expose it. In doing so, I hope to expand the political landscape and open up the parameters of debate. I will do so by getting my foot in the door with comedic parody, and then once in the room allow space for the unfamiliar policy decisions that are dramatically improving lives elsewhere.