Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ricky Gervais and Elmo

A dream team if ever there was one. Outtakes from an interview that coincided with the co-creator of The Office and Extras taping an appearance on Sesame Street for their 40th anniversary season.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stephenie, David, John and District 18

Stephenie Dodson wants David Glasgow, John Ray Clemmons and the voters that supported them last Thursday to know that their priorities are also among hers. From a message she sent out today:

To the good folks of District 18,

Here’s an old adage you’ve probably heard – since we each have two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk. I’ve been listening to voters throughout the district during this campaign. I’ve also been listening to the other candidates.

It’s vital as a leader to know that’s it’s not just your ideas that are the only good ideas. When I read the thank you message David Glasgow sent to his supporters on Sunday, I was once again reminded of just how passionate and insightful David is about District 18 and Nashville.

He said in that letter he planned to ask me if I supported the measures he and his supporters have been concerned about. The answer to David is a resounding, “Yes!”

David and I agree these actions are among those that should be taken (and I’m basically quoting from David’s message for the following to show we’re in complete agreement on these matters):

-- Make our streets safer for walkers and bikers by adding crosswalks, at least at 21st and Bernard, Blair at Harris Teeter's back entrance, and two more along the south end of Belmont Blvd. The new crosswalk on Blakemore must also be made safer.

-- Clean up Love Circle for good by breaking through the bureaucratic impasse that keeps the area in limbo. Work with the neighbors to solve the new traffic and parking issues created by new development.

-- Improve traffic safety at Chesterfield/Fairfax by adding a traffic mirror added at the bend in the alley between there and the Continental.

-- Add parking along Magnolia. Institute 2 hour parking between 9am-4pm and longer parking available between 6pm-6am in the outer lanes. This would help merchants in the Village, provide places for more people to start their jog or walk and help visitors and Belmont students avoid residential streets.

-- Adopt the green space on the Brightwood overpass as a demonstration project. This requires gaining the necessary permissions from metro, state and federal agencies, inviting Civic Design Center staff to develop ideas for using this neglected space up to its full potential, and bringing together neighbors from the bordering neighborhoods to raise the funds and donate the time needed to put the plan into action. This could be used as an example of what can be done with other green spaces around our neighborhood and the city - including Love Circle.

-- Social issues. Our representative should take the lead on social issues that hurt Nashville's reputation and ability to attract new businesses and commerce. English Only was a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and time. Discrimination should not be tolerated in any guise.

-- Work with Metro Transit Authority to develop a pilot project to take people from residential neighborhoods to commercial districts from 6pm-2am on Thursday through Saturday nights.

John Ray Clemmons said the following when The Tennessean asked him for the top three things he’d want to do in District 18:

“We must support and strengthen our public schools. I also believe we should focus on parking and traffic issues that plague certain parts of our district. Permit parking is a solution that may not work everywhere, but if a residential street or neighborhood wants to enjoy their fundamental right to park in front of their own home, I will champion it. Also, there are improvements that can be made to make the district friendlier to bikers and pedestrians.”

I concur with those statements as well.

I salute the commitment to and the ideas for our district voiced by David, John and many others throughout our vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. Their causes are mine, theirs, yours and ours. What an exciting future we’ll have in District 18 and Nashville as we work to make these ideas realities!

Warmest regards,

Stephenie Dodson
Working For You

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Run-off Forum For District 18

That's what Stephenie Dodson and others want. Even if I wasn't one of her supporters I'd agree. She notes the "unfiltered" nature of such live encounters in a statement today. As someone who witnessed many such events during the last mayoral campaign, I concur that it's a good chance to size up the candidates without the filters that polished campaign materials and messages possess.

Here's the text of the email she sent out this afternoon:

To the good folks of District 18,

As I’ve gone through our neighborhoods talking with residents one thing is clear – the people here care deeply about the direction in which we take District 18 and Nashville. They’ve got needs and concerns they want government leaders to know about. They have questions they want answered.

There were two terrific candidate forums with the four people on last week’s Metro Council District 18 special election ballot. In those forums residents got to hear from each of us and ask questions. They also got to talk to us one-on-one before and after each forum.

Now Kristine LaLonde and I are in the April 30 run-off to decide who will represent you as we deal with budget, safety, education and other important matters in the challenging years ahead. I’ve already heard from many people across District 18 that want the chance to see us both in another forum now that the final candidate slate has been decided.

I think that’s an excellent idea.
I’m ready to meet Kristine anytime, anywhere to discuss and debate the issues that matter to you. I’m ready to answer the questions you want to ask in a public, unfiltered setting where you can see us “in action” and decide for yourself who will best serve your needs in Metro Council.

Let’s get this done to give all residents the chance to assess the two of us before casting their final ballots. Early voting begins April 10, so we should have our forum as soon as possible.

Together we’re going to make our wonderful district and city the best it can be!

Warmest regards,
Stephenie Dodson
Working For You

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stephenie Dodson: The Real Work Begins Now

Here's the message Stephenie Dodson sent out today:

Thank you so much for all you’ve done to get our campaign this far. I wasn’t the first to enter this race, and we didn’t spend the most money. But our message about schools and neighborhoods certainly gave us a strong run in the backstretch. Now we’ve got the momentum as we make the turn for home! Visit www.stepheniedodson.com and get involved with our campaign.

The real work getting our message out begins now.

With the run-off on Thursday, April 30th, early voting will start less than two weeks from now. Our opponent, Kristine LaLonde, has run a first-rate campaign and is well-financed.

I welcome the supporters of David Glasgow and John Ray Clemmons to join our campaign. These two fine candidates ran good campaigns, and the issues they talked about matter. I want those of you who supported them to know that your needs and concerns will be voiced in council chambers along with those of other district residents.

We need to continue telling voters that our neighborhood experience is unique in this race. As I’ve said before, people can tout their professional or party political resumes, but I’m the only candidate who’s lived here and worked for our district concerns for more than two decades. My track record on issues that matter to District 18 is clear and extensive. That’s why the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund endorsed our campaign.

Also, there is absolutely no employment conflict of interest on matters that would be part of my duties as Councilperson. The after-care program I work for is funded by parents. I don’t work for a major institution in this district. It’s not just about recusing yourself from occasional council votes about Belmont; it’s about being able to work effectively on a weekly basis with the university and neighbors about issues like traffic, parking and the Institutional Overlay. These issues affect many neighbors daily. To effectively work with the universities and neighbors, you need a Councilperson who does not have to worry about their employer. I can represent all of us all the time.

Contribute money! I know times are tough. But every little bit you can give – $5, $10, $15 and so on – will have a great impact on our ability to get our message out over the next month. Please go to the
Donate page on my website. Every dollar is greatly appreciated!

Volunteer! We’re going to be knocking on more doors and continuing to spread the word! Help us with that or the other vital tasks we’ll undertake during this run-off. Call me at 582-8892 or email me at Stephenie@stepheniedodson.com to sign up today!

There have been many great folks who’ve been alongside me as I visited with voters across this great District 18, including former District 18 Metro Councilmember Ginger Hausser Pepper who has been a great source of support and encouragement to me in the race. Thank all of you for believing in me and in our campaign!

Folks, it’s this simple – I haven’t, and can’t, do it without you. I need you once again in this run-off, and then I need you alongside me as I go to Metro Council. Thanks again for all you’ve done and all you will do, including voting for Dodson on April 30!

Warmest regards,
Stephenie Dodson
Working Hard For You

UPDATE: The Davidson County Election Commission already has the sample ballot with early voting schedule up on its website. Early voting begins April 10 and ends April 25.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stephenie Dodson in the Run-off!

The votes are in and Stephenie Dodson is in the Metro Council District 18 run-off! As she thanked jubilant supporters at Brown's Diner tonight, she noted, "The work begins now."

Indeed it does. While Metro mayoral runoffs have always gone to the candidate who finished first on Election Day, that's apparently not always been true of council run-offs. It will be interesting to see how the vote breaks down April 30.

Here are the unofficial results (first numbers are Election Day votes; second numbers are early and absentee votes):

Kristine LaLonde: 403 + 80 = 483
Stephenie Dodson: 283 + 49 = 332
David Glasgow: 239 + 62 = 301
John Ray Clemmons: 86 + 22 = 108

The 1,224 who cast ballots in the race represent about 11.1 percent of the district's registered voters. A low turnout, but not too surprising in a special election.

UPDATE: The Davidson County Election Commission has now posted updated figures that include one more vote for LaLonde and four-write in votes:

Unofficial Election Results - March 26, 2008
Special Election Council District 18

Registered Voters: 11,096
Voter Turnout: 11.09%

Candidate Name: Election Day + Absentee/PV + Early + FS = Total

John Ray Clemmons: 86 + 6 + 16 + 0 = 108
Stephenie Dodson: 283 + 5 + 44 + 0 = 332
David Glasgow: 239 + 6 + 56 + 0 = 301
Kristine Lalonde: 403 + 11 + 70 + 0 = 484
WRITE-IN: 4 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 4
Totals 1,015 + 28 + 187 + 0 = 1,230

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stephenie Dodson on Liberadio(!)

Liberadio(!) interviewed Metro Council District 18 special election candidates today. Here's the link to their segment with Stephenie Dodson. The election is Thursday, and if no one gets 50 percent plus one vote, there will be a run-off with the top two vote-getters April 30.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund Backs Dodson in 18th District Race

The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund is backing Stephenie Dodson in the March 26 Metro Council District 18 special election. Here are the releases from the candidate and the NNDF:


(NASHVILLE, March 9) -- Stephenie Dodson has received the endorsement of the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund in the March 26 special election for the Metro Council District 18 seat.

"I'm honored and humbled to receive the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund's endorsement," Dodson said. "Like them, I know our diverse and vibrant neighborhoods are the backbone of our great city. I won't forget that when I'm serving District 18 on Metro Council."

More on Dodson can be found at www.stepheniedodson.com. Early voting for the March 26 contest began Friday and goes through March 21 at the Metro Nashville Election Commission office (800 Second Ave. South).

The full text of the NNDF's announcement release is below:

For Additional Information
Contact Lane Easterly
At (615) 957-0969


The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund has endorsed Stephenie Dodson for Metro CounciL in the 18th District Special Election.

"There are four well-qualified candidates in the 18th District race, but only one, Stephenie Dodson, has a proven track record of neighborhood involvement," said Lane Easterly, Treasurer of the NNDF.

"The support was overwhelming among our members for Stephenie’s candidacy," continued Easterly, "her 22 years of involvement with neighborhood and school issues gives her a knowledge and depth of experience in the 18th District that none of the other candidates match. She is clearly THE neighborhood candidate."

"Our neighborhoods are concerned about incompatible development, about better schools, about better police and fire protection, about improved services, about historic preservation, and many related issues," said Burkley Allen of the Hillsboro-West End neighborhood. "We can trust Stephenie to represent the wishes of the residents and neighborhoods, because she’s worked on these issues for 22 years and she’s been active in our neighborhood association."

"I believe Stephenie will make an excellent Council representative," said Ginger Hausser Pepper of the Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood. "She’s been active in the community for years. She’s a tireless supporter of our public schools, served on the Eakin PTA Board for years where her children attended school. She was instrumental in helping preserve Eakin School as a founding member of the Friends of Eakin and through our conservation overlay. She’s knows the issues; she knows the neighborhoods; she will represent the wishes of the community."

The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund is a group of neighborhood activists whose goal is to support candidates for office who are committed to protecting and preserving Nashville’s neighborhoods. The NNDF is not directly affiliated with any other organization or neighborhood association. Our members are active in their neighborhood associations and related organizations. Many serve in leadership roles.

Neighborhoods represented in the NNDF include:
Belle Meade
Cherokee Park
Dodson Chapel/Central Pike
Donelson Hills
Hermitage Hills
Hermitage Meadows
Hillsboro-West End
Jefferson St./ D.B. Todd
Kenner Manor
Lake Park
Lockeland Springs
Nashboro Woods
Priest Lake
Richland-West End
South Nashville
Stanford Estates
Sylvan Park
Warner Park
White Bridge Road
Woodlawn West


Friday, March 6, 2009

The Voting Begins

I was only the sixth person to cast a ballot when I voted for Stephenie Dodson down at the Metro Nashville Election Commission shortly before 12:30 PM today. It's the first day of early voting for the March 26 special election where Dodson and three other candidates are vying to succeed Keith Durbin as District 18 representative on the Metro Council.

When our district last had a contested council race, it was between two people on a August 1999 general election ballot that also featured a wide-open mayor's contest. Despite the intense interest in the overall election there were only about 1,000 district residents that voted in the race between Ginger Hausser and Jayne Gordon. Hausser won by a mere 10 votes. It's hard therefore to expect a big turnout for this race when it's a special election, despite the strong field of four candidates.

Early voting goes through March 21. If no candidate gets 50 percent plus one vote on March 26 then the top two finishers will square off in a April 30 run-off to decide the issue.