Heidi Campbell releases her policy book in front of the Women's Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park. Credit: Nashville Banner photo

Standing in front of the Women’s Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park, Heidi Campbell rolled out her policy book on Monday, highlighting specific actions her administration would take if she’s elected. 

“The thing that frustrates many residents, myself included is that these problems didn’t come out of nowhere,” Campbell said, highlighting transit as one of her main priorities. “We knew that our infrastructure was inadequate, and that our population was exploding, but feasible solutions to our traffic nightmare have yet to be enacted.”

She went on to highlight three specific areas for response: affordable housing, transit and trash.

On housing, Campbell pledged to increase the Barnes fund and expand on initiatives the Cooper administration has been rolling out. On transit, she wants to explore the purchase and move of CSX’s Radnor Yards, a plan first pitched in 2016 that would free up real estate and right of way for a rail plan. The $756 million cost has likely gone up since first proposed. 

As for trash, Campbell pointed to trash operations in Oklahoma City and DC that have significantly more trucks on the road than Nashville, which subcontracts trash removal. 

“I think the problem is, is that we haven’t been negotiating the right deals with the right providers. And so that’s something that we have to look at,” she said.

Campbell also said that “we have underfunded Metro Nashville Public Schools to the tune of $1 billion every single year.” When asked if she would pursue litigation to increase Davidson’ County’s share of dollars in the state’s new education formula — as MNPS did in 2017, joining other school systems in suing the state over its Basic Education Program formula — Campbell said “no,” although she left the door open.

“I’m willing to look at that. I have no intention of entering into litigation against the state at this moment,” she said. “But that’s something that I will discuss with the school board and with Dr. Battle.”

Email oops

The event was a better day for Team Campbell than over the weekend, when a fundraising email went out noting that “the entire Nashville state legislative delegation has endorsed my campaign for Mayor.” This was news to several members of the delegation who have yet to endorse a candidate, including Sen. Charlane Oliver, and Reps. Caleb Hemmer, Harold Love Jr., Vincent Dixie, Jason Powell, and Darren Jernigan. 

It’s especially not true for Sen. Jeff Yarbro, one of Campbell’s opponents.

When reached for comment, a Campbell campaign staffer took the blame for not proofing the email before it went out and said the language that was used wouldn’t be used again. Campbell, for her part, called the Banner to express her regret for the error getting out.

And Finally …

How was the Fox 17 “town hall debate” on Monday night? The first half aired on the station’s broadcast feed while the second half was streamed. But the station, which only allowed candidates 30 seconds to answer incredibly complex questions of policy on homelessness, transit and more, mistimed the break and cut to a re-run of “The Big Bang Theory” before Jeff Yarbro could make his closing statement for the first portion. 

The Banner reached out to campaigns for reactions that ranged from “a s*** show” to “long.”

“F***ing Mickey Mouse Clubhouse over here,” said one unnamed campaign staffer. “I’ll second that,” said another. One said the production was “A little bit of a mess technically. The online version was pretty glitchy.” 

From what the Banner observed through a Facebook stream embedded on the Fox 17 site, barely any audience switched over to the online.

Steve is a three-decade veteran of newspapers, working around the country at places like the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune before returning home to Nashville in 2011 to edit The City Paper and Nashville...