Candidate: David Benton
Metro Council District 28
Occupation: “I am a semi-retired pharmacist having practiced across the Nashville area for 31 years.”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “None”
Community experience: “Currently, the Vice President of Ransom Place Homeowners Association where l have resided 29 years. I actively serve within my neighborhood with community cleanups and neighborhood meetings. I have also served several years on the Board at Two Rivers Church.”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Focusing on District 28, Equitable Education, Public Safety, Infrastructure, Increasing Small Business development and neighborhood preservation. A sustainable District 28 is a sustainable Nashville.”
What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“Public safety (i.e. excessive speeding, car thefts, response times), Infrastructure, Property Standards and community amenities. I will continue the community and HOAs work with our Metro Police Department to expand distinct solutions for our community. Each neighborhood is unique and each solution will need to be unique and evolving. Addressing excessive speeding on Murfreesboro Pike will need a different strategy than Una Antioch Pike. Additionally, continuing to advocate for public safety resources for our district. The new Southeast Police Precinct is a start! I will continue to build the neighborhood engagement with organizing neighborhoods that do not have active HOAs and expand to neighbors in apartments so that all neighbors remain engaged and are empowered to advocate for our community during the budget cycle but also during special interest votes (i.e. Google Fiber or Titans Stadium). The utilization of hub.nashville.gov has been a great start to connect neighbors to metro departments for direct services. I will also encourage more neighbors to participate in the participatory budgeting initiative and city studies.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“As a future district council member, I see the future of downtown no longer thriving at the expense of our neighborhoods. As our neighborhoods evolve and we lean into what we learned from COVID, neighborhoods and quality of life are at the forefront for my neighbors’ concerns. I say that to say, the vision I see for downtown remains our tourist hub, but families and businesses will come to District 28 for investment. The future of District 28-is the future for downtown.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“Firstly, let me say I am a big Titans fan. The proposal was not directly presented to our district; so I was not afforded an avenue to receive the details involving the financing legislation. If I had been afforded the details, I would have asked, “how does it impact/benefit District 28?” and “how does it impact/benefit Nashville?”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“Yes we need more police officers, just like we need more teachers, more firefighters, emergency dispatchers and public workers to keep pace with the growth of the city.”
What do you think of the current framework passed by the council around LPR (license plate readers) usage? Do you think Metro should allow facial recognition technology to be used downtown?
“Q #1 The city has already committed funding for the current LPR framework which is still being piloted. Q #2 As a city, we should utilize data and best practices to deliver better services to our residents, but also being sensitive to our residents’ privacy. It would be premature for me to offer an opinion without thorough discussions with all stakeholders.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“Today, I believe it may be needed based upon historical adjustments with the exception years where the rate was not adjusted.”
Do you view your role in the Council as leading your district on issues or simply reflecting the views of the district’s residents?
“I will be reflecting the views of the district and leading those views in the council.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“I view the relationship requiring a sober approach. Communities entrust us to lead beyond our differences.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“The city of Nashville is experiencing an affordability crisis; however, District 28 remains affordable for families. With that said, we as a city need to be intentional with the implementation of the plans that we already have. We know what to do, but we have not been executing. The answer is not to stress under-resourced communities with growth.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“Q #1 I think WeGo should be more involved in the neighborhood planning process and encouraging more participation in WeGo Ride. The groundwork needs to continue being laid for increases in better/safe bus stops, better ways to pay fares, more transit hubs and regional collaboration. We can’t expect successful transit with transit being an afterthought. In the Southeast, neighborhoods are created without the vision of mobility. Q #2 I would like an opportunity/creation for the reconsideration of a state/regional funding to assist us with a sustainable funding model for transit.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $677
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $6,536
Link to full disclosure here