Top Three Issues in District 34

The top three issues in my district are: 

1) Support for the public school system

2) Traffic, and the need for better transportation 

3) Preservation of the integrity of the community via a connection between community members and the Metro Council.

I am highlighting a need for thoughtful development, that will respect the voices of neighborhood leaders, encourage transit solutions and increase the budget for public schools.  I am also voicing a change to a positive campaign style and collaborative government. My constituents are tired of mean dealing and in-fighting and they want someone who will listen to their needs and find a way to make compromises so that we can work toward the goals we all want:  a clean environment, good schools, and a friendly city.

sidewalks

Sidewalks are foundational to a thoughtful and useful transportation program. We all agree, neighborhoods need to be connected and we need more sidewalks. The current ordinance falls short. Sidewalks are placed piecemeal but many lead to nowhere. Additionally, the ordinance puts a significant financial burden on small businesses and homeowners. Sidewalks are a great example of infrastructure investment the city should prioritize. As a district council member, I will fight for this type of investment.

Incentives for businesses

In the past, some of the incentive deals have not benefited the city as much as they should have, and the contracts had no clawback provisions in the event of breach of contract. The Dell contract is often cited as a bad deal for Nashville and an example of incentives gone wrong, but since that time, we have improved our contracting procedures.

Each case is unique and should be considered carefully. There is no benefit in saying that we will always, or never, offer incentives. We need to identify what companies or industries we want to bring to Nashville to round out our city’s development, and then we need to determine what is necessary to attract them while prioritizing benefits to the community. In some cases, economic incentives may be appropriate, but not always.

Short Term Rental Property

I have experience with every facet of the STRP issue. I have lived next door to bad long-term and short-term renters that have made life difficult. I have stayed in STRPs while traveling. I have owned STRPs and I have seen how STRPs can dominate and destroy the community fabric. I feel very strongly that STRPs should be regulated according to the needs and wishes of neighborhoods. There are large parts of my district governed by satellite cities that do not allow STRPs under any circumstances. In the areas where STRPs have been operating, there have been many complaints of noise, trash, traffic and lewd behavior which causes harm to the long-term residents raising their families in these areas. In addition to these nuisance factors, if too many long-term residents are displaced by STRP’s, the community itself ceases to feel like a community of neighbors who care about each other’s welfare. And, furthermore, housing costs for long term residents increase due to the inflationary presence of too many STRP’s. STRPs should be tightly regulated to control all nuisance factors, such as over-crowding, noise, trash and lewd behavior, with fines increasing exponentially for repeat offenders. I support 1000 feet apart requirements, increasing permit fees and number of code inspectors and I commit to lobbying the state legislature to allow the city to increase fines for violators.

Progressive + Pro-Business = Progress

I am fundamentally Progressive and I am also Pro-Business, and I think that those stances are not mutually exclusive. I want to encourage thoughtful development in Nashville that is mindful of the needs of neighborhoods, minorities, the impoverished, and the disabled. The incumbent has voted against city spending for development projects, without offering any solutions to transportation, job-creation or affordable housing. I want to help us solve these problems as a community and provide a progressive, rational voice on the Council.

Women’s Rights

I started out adulthood as a champion for women’s health and women’s rights. I worked for several years at Columbia University School of Public Health on a family planning project in African countries, to empower village midwives and market women to distribute contraceptives. I also made documentary films about maternal mortality and women’s health in the developing world, and about HIV prevention. 

I then became a public health nurse midwife, specifically because I wanted to help women take control over their own bodily processes, from menstruation to conception to parturition.  I “caught babies” and delivered women’s care in Boston, San Diego and Mexico. I worked in hospitals, birth centers, rural homes, and prisons, always with a goal of respecting and valuing the individual woman and her self-direction and well-being.  For many years, I served as an instructor and scientific advisor in a midwifery school in Mexico that was bringing back the profession of midwifery, which had been outlawed in the entire country by the male-dominated medical field. 

I have always been vocally pro-choice in every way, about women’s right to information and power over all decisions about their bodies and their lives. 

In 2006, I stopped working as a clinical midwife, in order to pursue neuroscience, but concern for women’s health, and women’s rights, have served as a philosophical foundation underpinning all the work I have ever done.

Health Care

In addition to working in women’s health and reproductive rights for many years, I have recently been serving as the Rare Disease Ambassador for the state of TN for the National Organization of Rare Diseases. As such, I have joined with other leaders of organizations serving vulnerable populations to work towards expansion of health care coverage, rejection of health care block grants, and rejection of work requirements for disability benefits. I have participated in discussions with state legislators and with the governor’s office, have written op ed pieces, lobbied our senators, and have participated in press conferences to encourage these goals.