What the Cluck: “It’s Just Politics”

Let’s be nice, they said. Let’s work together to make this a great place to live, they said. Let’s not be a city divided, they said.

Okay, we said. Let’s give it a try, we said.

And then last night’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting happened. Jason Cole has served on the Parks & Recreation Committee with distinction. He attends every single event hosted by the Parks & Rec Department. He runs in the Howl at the Moon 5K (remember the Darth Vader runner?). He was Easter Bunny one year. He has volunteered his time faithfully, even offering the prayer during the 4th of July event. He has always been respectful to all the elected and appointed officials. He doesn’t do name-calling or behave in any manner but professionally (unlike the mayor who decided to open a moon pie and stuff it in his face in the middle of the workshop last week.).

Jason Cole worked diligently to put together the Farmer’s Market for LaVergne. He contacted dozens and dozens of farmers to gauge their interest. He has spoken to numerous other cities who operate Farmers Markets.  He and Alderman Broeker and other committee members first approached the Board of Mayor and Aldermen two years ago about opening a market. They got the green light and he has worked on it for YEARS. Then at the April meeting two months ago, three of the Board members said “Nope” to the Farmers Market. They had the majority.

Why were they against it? At the time, the appointed alderman said he didn’t have enough information about it (even though all the information was in his packet). The mayor said it wasn’t fair to people wanting to have flea markets or yard sales. The other alderman who voted against it never bothered to comment.

So why would they be against a Farmers Market, really?  We suggest it must have been political since Jason Cole ran for alderman in 2014 and was the third highest vote getter.

They turned their backs on the Farmers Market that Jason Cole worked so hard to put together, so we suggested at that time that citizens contact the mayor, the elected aldermen, and the appointed alderman to let them know their thoughts. Evidently the calls came pouring in. Suddenly the mayor “liked” the idea of a Farmers Market and the next thing we heard is that the Library would help host the Farmers Market at Bicentennial Park (between City Hall and the Library).

Here’s what we say. The defeated proposal in April was not defeated because of location. It was not defeated because there wasn’t enough information about it.  It was defeated because Jason Cole had taken the lead on the project – as a Parks & Rec Committee member in good standing -and he had the nerve to run for alderman against them and was the third highest vote getter. They turned their back on him in November when they appointed the second lowest vote getter to fill the vacant alderman seat rather than Jason Cole – the third highest vote getter. They turned their back on him for the Farmers Market in April. And tonight he – a member in good standing and having served for four years with distinction – was removed as a member of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee.

The reasoning? According to the appointed alderman who was the second lowest vote getter, he didn’t like that Jason Cole gave a television interview and provided “erroneous information” in saying that the Civic Auditorium location on Old Nashville Highway would have been a “good location” for the market. That was the location that had been recommended by the Parks & Rec Advisory Committee that consists of a team of citizens who volunteer their time and services to the city on behalf of all residents.

And they named a person that has no problem very vocally despising the city she lives in as his replacement. They named a person who never seems to show up at any city events or functions. They named a person whose actions and words were so outrageous in 2007 that an entire committee that she chaired was DISSOLVED by former Mayor Ronnie Erwin.

The final irony? After they kicked Jason Cole off the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (with Waldron, Brown, and Jones saying NO to Jason and Vice Mayor Green and Alderman Broeker saying YES to Jason), they went ahead and passed the Farmers Market initiative that Mr. Cole worked so hard to put together. Perhaps they hope to take credit for Jason’s work? Grab some of the glory for themselves when they have done NOTHING to deserve it?

The always humble and consummate diplomat Jason Cole said after the meeting, “It’s just politics.”

He’s right. It’s just politics before citizens. Every single time. They can talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. They don’t care about our city.

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