1. Please provide personal biographical data including information on your family, community involvement, work history, and your qualifications for office.
I am a self-employed carpenter, who recently finished a build-out on a commercial building (that I own/run) that I rent out to various arts organizations for gallery and studio spaces. I went thru the Carpenters Union apprenticeship program and retired my card when I landed a recurring Series Regular role on a locally-filmed TV show for 2 years, becoming a member of SAG and active in the local. I am an active member of my neighborhood group and local planning processes.
2. Did you, your children, or grandchildren attend public schools? Please elaborate.
Yes, I attended Eakin Elementary for a few grades, in between living in Johnson City, then attended a public middle school in Houston- Pershing Middle. When I returned to Nashville, I enrolled at MBA, but ended up dropping out and getting my GED from Cohn Adult on Charlotte Ave.
3. What are the most important issues in your campaign?
Im running an unconventional outsider campaign that aims to engage the political process on its terms thereby highlighting the need for social reforms (decriminalization of drugs and sex work, making them public health issues not criminal justice concerns), as well as the need of reform of the political decision-making process itself (focusing on the opportunities to democratize locally: new voting methods- IRV/RCV, and helping those in power with their addiction to political prestige). Just as other registered professions are regulated, we can open up board appointments and I would require elected and appointed officials to get Continuing Education Credits themselves- these programs would be a public education exercise required of all officials. Demonstrating the potential of removing the corrupting influence of money in the process, I am also personally running a No-Money campaign. I aim to raise $0 and spend even less. I believe we can unrig the system from within, or at least apply pressure from without. We can learn a new way while also teaching thru an educational method of socially engaged practice.
4. Describe your philosophy, voting record and level of support for public education in Nashville.
Personally, I would love to see Universal Pre-K. I believe we can go big picture with a new vision that reclaims the old methods- we can look back to the Greeks and Plato himself in his description of all of society helping to raise all its young. As such, I would like to see a Universal Pre-K that also starts earlier. We can open our schools to ‘Safe Schools’ programs where all children feel comfortable attending.
5. What do you perceive to be the greatest strengths and challenges of our public education in Nashville?
Funding is obviously the big issue. We can open them pocketbooks for Amazon but can’t find a COLA increase in there? Somethings flat there- If an employer does not provide a COLA increase, purchasing power actually decreases for the employee effectively resulting in a pay decrease even tho nominal wages look the same. It’s a racket, so we need to find more equitable and fair distributions of public wealth that prioritize what matters most- teacher pay increases as well as infrastructure improvements, as older physical facilities need as much as maintenance as the relationship between Metro and MNPS.
6. What is your opinion about teacher compensation in Nashville and how does it compare to similar urban school districts?
See above- abysmally low. No COLA, no fizz, results in obvious morale deficit understandably so.
7. What impact have charter schools had on MNPS?
Charter schools are an experiment in new methods and should be treated as such. I’m not gonna pretend to be an expert and in fact anybody that says they have all the answers should be viewed with liberal amounts of skepticism. We need to have an honest assessment of their functional abilities certainly.
8. What is your position on involving teachers in all levels of MNPS organizational decision-making?
Obviously a good idea. Instead of top-down hierarchical system we can look to labor relationships in Europe where workers’ councils have a seat at the table with biz leaders, typically resulting in better communication and increases in efficiencies. There is precedent that worker input not only increases worker buy-in on the process but has measurable financial benefits for the employer.
9. How do would you propose to keep Nashville’s school from continuing to be a declining share of the Metro pie?
Im open to suggestions! I believe we can bend that cost-curve the other way and get MNPS an increased share of the pie. Metro’s finances are in a pitiful state with an unsustainable debt load. They have no long -term planning other than shiny new projects and Im beginning to think our leaders are lying- nobody’s driving. They’ve taken the school bus and abandoned the wheel, so maybe one can teach them a little about accountability. Thruough my Continuing Education for Officials program, I think we can help them pass the test through a series of pop quiz political engagements, instead of cramming constantly.
10. What are your thoughts about tax increment financing, other incentives to business and/or development, gentrification, and Nashville’s debt?
11. As mayor, what role would you play in in public education?
I’d love to showcase the extent of public education into our communities. We can be creative in finding new ways to highlight community education programs, including expanding attendance and enrolling myself, while also demonstrating the benefits from early youth thru our golden years. Public education is a fundamental right.
Please email your response byJune 3, 2018 at 6:00 PM to email@example.com.