john cooper

Sethi denounces Nashville mayor as ‘cowardly’

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi speaks at a campaign event in Clarksville on Feb. 4, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi is denouncing Nashville Mayor John Cooper as “cowardly” for his approach to street violence following protests over the weekend.

“We saw this past weekend was political correctness run amok: cowardly Democrat Mayors, like John Cooper, are more concerned about political correctness and about what the liberal media thinks, than about protecting the people in our cities,” Sethi said in a statement.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Republican Senate candidate and conservative outsider Dr. Manny Sethi released the following statement on the violent riots in Nashville and across our country:

I am deeply saddened and angered by the death of George Floyd. America has justifiably already started a conversation about real criminal justice reform. President Trump had already signed a landmark bill. That was a good start, and we must continue this work so these types of incidents finally end. 

But what we saw in that video was not representative of most police officers. I have cared for police officers who have put their bodies in front of bullets to protect us. I have seen their courage and devotion up close.

Protests are inherently American. The right to petition for redress of grievances is a basic constitutional right. However, we cannot allow what these protests have morphed into to continue. We have moved far beyond peaceful protest into lawlessness. These ANTIFA-trained revolutionaries have no interest in a more perfect union. It’s not about solving problems in policing to them, or helping heal neighborhoods. They want to bring down this country. 

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Tennessee politicos react to upheaval

Nashville Mayor John Cooper walks by the Metro Courthouse damaged during weekend protests on May 31, 2020 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

 

Here’s how some elected officials reacted to statewide protests that included clashes with police, vandalism, and fires.

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Nashville bars to be shut down, restaurants limited to 100 guests

Nashville Mayor John Cooper is planning to shut down Nashville bars to help stem the spread of  the coronavirus, but restaurants will be able to remain open in a restricted capacity.

Under Cooper’s order, establishments where food makes up less than half of revenues, must close their doors. Restaurants are limited to seating half of their capacity, or up to 100 guests. Bar service at such restaurants is also limited to 50 percent of capacity and no standing is allowed.

State law includes a provision for “limited service restaurants” for the purpose of applying for a liquor-by-the-drink license. They are defined as deriving less than 50% of gross revenue from the sales of food (excluding “prepared food, chips, popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and other similar snack items.”)

So what makes a bar that derives, say, 40% of its revenue from food more prone to spreading the virus than one that brings in 55% from dining service? It’s unclear. But videos like these have caused a widespread backlash against people crowding into downtown Nashville clubs amid the pandemic:

See the full release from the mayor’s office after the jump:

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New Nashville mayor’s transition team raises eyebrows

A  Tennessean report about Nashville Mayor-elect John Cooper’s transition team included several items that raised eyebrows. One was the selection as Greg Hinote, an aide to former Mayor Karl Dean, whose pro-development record ran counter to Cooper’s neighborhoods-first platform. The other was Victor Ashe, the former four-term Knoxville mayor and Republican state senator. Though it turns out there’s a pretty big caveat to the latter’s role in the transition.

Ashe, it turns out, retired after 20 years on the faculty of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he has been involved in the biannual Seminar on Transition for Newly-Elected Mayors (this year’s version is scheduled for Dec. 3 to Dec. 5).

“I am happy to share with mayor-elect Cooper my experience in transition to the mayor’s office, issues likely to be faced in short term, and how to prepare for it,” Ashe said in an email.

Meanwhile, there has been great rejoicing among legislative Republicans about the defeat of incumbent Nashville Mayor David Briley. But it remains to be seen how long the lovefest between the GOP and the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) will endure.

Cooper trounces Briley in Nashville mayor’s race

Metro Council member John Cooper trounced incumbent David Briley to be elected Nashville’s next mayor. The result wasn’t unexpected, but the 39-percentage point margin came as a bit of a surprise.

Cooper is the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville).

Here’s a release from the Cooper campaign.

NASHVILLE, TN – At-large-Councilmember John Cooper has defeated Mayor David Briley to become the ninth Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. According to the Davidson County Election Commission, unofficial election results show that Cooper defeated Briley by a vote of 70 percent to 30 percent.

In a speech at The Nashville Palace, Mayor-elect Cooper thanked the voters and laid out plans on how to build a Nashville that works for everyone. 

Excerpts from the speech are included below:

As Mayor, I will work every day to continue to listen and learn. To put neighborhoods first and make sure that this Administration reflects the values of our city and her people in all of our actions. To restore trust that our people and their needs come first.

In the speech, Mayor-elect Cooper also spoke to the issue of fiscal responsibility:

I’ve been told that I care too much about the numbers. But if we don’t get the money right, we can’t get anything else right. Because in government, to care about finances is to care about people. That is how you make their dreams real.

Paying attention to the bottom line allows us to support people on the front line — our teachers, our police, our firefighters, our bus drivers, our paraprofessionals. And yes: teachers are the real developers we need to support. 

He also expressed gratitude to Metro employees and invited the entire city to come together and move Nashville forward:

And to the great people who work hard for Metro every day, I need your ideas and your help in the work to come. It is my job to support you in our work ahead. 

For everybody who voted for me, thank you. For everyone else, know that I will work every day to earn your trust and respect. This is a city for everybody. 

We’re going to have more growth in the next five years than in the last five years. Those new cranes are lifting up our skyline. We need to lift up our people with it. That is our challenge — using this prosperity to build a better, more livable city. This is the moment to make Nashville work for everybody. 

We started at two percent in the polls. Hundreds of volunteers and more than a thousand donors — from every district — got us here.

But this isn’t the end. I need all of your help. We must not waste this moment. Together, we will make a Nashville for everybody. Thank you!

Nashville mayor blasts comptroller’s letter as ‘political document’

Nashville Mayor David Briley is blasting a letter from state Comptroller Justin Wilson‘s office questioning the city’s finances as “essentially a political document.” The letter, Briley said, was instigated by Councilman John Cooper, his opponent in Nashville’s mayoral runoff next month.

“It’s my understanding that Councilman Cooper and his conservative, Republican friends on the council solicited it,” Briley said in a candidate debate Monday evening. “So he certainly should know a fair amount about it.”

The comptroller is elected by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which has a long track record of nullifying ordinances enacted in the heavily Democratic city.

Cooper, the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), called the letter a “big wake-up call” as Nashville’s debt has doubled over the last four years.

“The facts speak for themselves,” Cooper said. “It’s not Republican and Democratic — I’m, of course, a long-time Democrat myself — it’s dollars and cents. Are we being well-managed? Are we on it?”

Briley cited the city’s strong credit rating from Moody’s as an objective seal of approval for the Nashville’s finances.

“Our finances are, in fact, under control,” he said. “And when the final budget is assessed at the end of this year, you’ll see that our fund balances are actually up over last year.”

The runoff is on Sept. 12. Early voting is underway and runs through Sept. 7.