Candidate: John Rutherford
Metro Council District 31
Occupation: “Program Management”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “Metro Council, elected in 2019”
Community experience: “Former HOA board member”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Building a new fire station in District 31 / Controlled Strategic Development, protecting the rural areas of Southeast Nashville / Expanding the Veterans Service Office and elevating it to full departmental level to better serve our local veterans, along with creating a Veterans Commission.”
District candidates only: What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“Safety related to poor EMS response time. Building a new fire station in the district is a priority for me and a priority for the department. Additionally we need to fully staff MNPD. Non-emergency response time in our area will only improve with more officers and more neighborhood policing. We must provide MNPD with the resources to do this.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“Downtown is important, but we have been over focused on downtown, while areas outside the urban core feel ignored. We need more of a focus on how to get our people in and out of downtown without being in traffic gridlock, and that mean significant mass transit improvements. WeGo just barely touches my district and the conversation on light rail currently feels nonexistent. We need to reengage on both of these topics.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“I voted for it and in fact cosponsored it.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
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?
“I supported/cosponsored the legislation creating the pilot LPR program and will support it’s full implementation. It has proven itself as a valuable tool in policing. The concerns expressed during the debate have not materialized as actual issues with the program. We made a significant effort to include privacy protections. As for facial recognition technology downtown, we need to know more.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“The property tax rate is often in flux, related to property values, but as to a rate increase for the purposes of generating new revenue, there is nothing in the near future that would warrant a need for such an increase. But, Metro went far too long previously without addressing this, plugging budget holes by selling property, which led to the increased rate earlier this term.”
Do you view your role in the Council as leading your district on issues or simply reflecting the views of the district’s residents?
“It’s both. The district doesn’t tune in to every issue. When they do, it certainly matters. Otherwise, constituents depend on me to lead.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“Nashville is not only the capitol city, but the economic engine that drives the state. The relationship between the two is critical, which makes the states actions baffling. Politics should not weigh into this, but unfortunately it does. The state has taken actions against Metro simply because they can, and as I expressed in writing to the leadership in both houses, you shouldn’t do something just because you can. I recommended then and reiterate here now that leadership of the House and Senate should meet regularly with leadership of the Council and Mayor. Metro should not rely on our lobbyists to speak for us on these matters. Hopefully, the next term of Council and the new mayor will provide a breath of fresh air on this matter.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“It is imperative that we create more affordable housing so that everyone who works here can afford to live here. That means working with the development community and nonprofits on real solutions. One example of a proven solution is Curb Victory Hall, which was built as affordable housing for veterans. This model should be replicated across the spectrum of need for affordable housing in Metro.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“WeGo must look at ways to offer service to currently underserved areas. In many cases, that means just extending routes such as reaching further south on Nolensville Road. We should be able to do much of this under the current model and funding, but we also need to look for ways to connect other parts of town with each other and not just be focused on downtown. That will take more funding, and yes I could support a dedicated funding source depending on what that looks like.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $35,579
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $34,613
Link to full disclosure here