Candidate: Deloris Vandivort
Metro Council At-Large
Website: “still working on that”
Occupation: “I am a Registered Nurse of 35 yr. I have worked in a lot of different areas in the Nashville area over the years and other states. I have been contract nursing for the past 4 years building more experience. I like to be a patient advocate and share what I have learned over the past 35+ years in healthcare. I still work at the bedside and love it.”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “I was a School Board Member in the Wentzville School District in MO”
Community experience: “Mostly with my kids when they were in school. Doing things for individuals as I see fit. I offer to help people as need arises. I did drive in the tornado area and pulled off and just started helping others, helping others. I went door to door in 2019 when the water started rising up to peoples houses in the middle of the night. During 2010 flood was able to get a pump from a local business and passed it around with the help of a friend after I used to help multiple families at no cost to them to keep their houses safe when people were trying to over charge for services. I have helped mow lawns when people need it. I maintain scholarships at the HS I graduated from. I try to plug people into resources the community has to offer that can help them and educate them on other things that may be available to them for health care and other services. I try to keep up on services and benefits that help the elderly with fixed incomes. I share my experience with people of all the things I have learned while caring for my parents and brother of special needs over the past 14 years.”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Where’s the MONEY? All the increased tax hikes in the past 5 years. We have hosted the largest events possible? All the building? Selling out to outside Investors? The mayor has been able to over assess property without a vote of the people causing some taxes to raise up to 50% for some with nothing to show for it. NO infrastructure improvements to match the rate of the building in the city. The building commission handing out variances like they are nothing, in already overlaid areas causing overcrowding in neighborhoods, not following already set building codes, and allowing outsiders to set the standard of a community that they are no apart of except to make money without thought and respect to those living there, leaving roads with horrible conditions and pushing some residents out just from difficulty to pay their taxes due to overpriced housing. Not to mention pushing the envelope on setbacks with poor oversight of inspectors and building commission. Power grids not being large enough to handle increased building, roads not able to handle traffic, no sidewalks to assist with safety, bike lanes where appropriate. Poor oversight on water sheds. If we have rains like in 2010, which was close in 2019, the flooding would be considerably worse due to all the building in places that should have not been allowed. Not to mention using TIFs for revitalization of an IT city, allowing outside builders to profit at the cost of the residents. Two of the highest priced areas in Nashville, The Gulch and Germantown, which were TIFed to give builders tax savings that should have never been done. TIFs work against financing salaries for Police, Firefighters, Schools and Infrastructure. Taking profits off of the money being made by the convention center being placed in the general fund and not being earmarked for needs and debt payment that could be paid off early. I liked Nashville as a low tax area with a feel of a Big Town when I moved here. Nashville is not NYC nor LA nor Chicago and if that is what you want then GO LIVE THERE. I’m sure I missed something. My aim is accountable spending on needs and get rid of areas not needed. I know that there are too many looking for what the residents should provide for the elected over the constituents. Benefits need to be abolished while in office and when you are no longer in office.”
“Schools: When we moved here from MO in 1999, My kids were zoned to a school that was 2 yrs behind in curriculum from where we left, not to mention was behind compared to most schools in the Nashville area. That is unaccusable. Teachers scared of their students, teachers arriving late, leaving classes unattended, a principal that had been caught cheating on student test scores that, and wasn’t fired but moved later to another school that became at risk. I do know that education in a city reflects its priorities. There should be equity through out the district in all schools no matter the location. I have never been an advocate of Charter schools. I don’t like that they can take tax dollars and turn them into profit for themselves. They are a nonprofit that in turn, uses for profit businesses, owned by them, to run the school making money for the investor that starts the school making large profits into the millions. They hand pick their students, they mandate parent involvement, limit class sizes, and don’t provide much for at risk students or special needs because they want to show excellence under false pretenses. They do have higher standard that could be adopted by public schools. I believe if we ran public schools to a higher standard and made parent involvement mandated it would make a huge difference in education. The kids do better because they see their parents care and the parents being involved takes ownership of how well the school does. I also know that if we go back to focusing on the basics of education children would learn more with less interference at the younger ages. I do have an idea for funding increases to metro and that would be working with legislators to change Lotto moneys to funnel into Elementary, Middle, and High Schools and not just College. If kids can’t read in these levels, then how can they be successful in college. It is important that proper funding be done from the state to the counties. I do know that the state did some new legislation in 2022 but did it focus enough on true need and usage? I fought for changes in the school system for changes for grade averages when my kids were in school and it took them almost 10 years to see the need for change. Now I hear that the leadership is wanting full time subs. That’s great. I was part of the movement in the 90’s where we lived. It is important to keep continuity in the classroom. There also has to be commitment of teachers with good attendance. Substitute teachers, where there aren’t permanent subs, cost a lot of money over all, not to mention class continuity. Sometimes in some budgets in schools, the amount ranges in 1 or several teachers salaries could have been paid. Lower class sizes also are important. Safety in schools fall in this. Resource officers are great additions to schools. I do not like the idea of teachers being pushed to carrying guns however. That can make them targets for gain members and other things not to mention the stress it can cause. Let them be teachers not everything else also. I am a nurse and I get dumped on all the time. Other safety things would be sidewalks for those that want to walk. Making public schools better makes no need for going elsewhere. Higher standards and changes in curriculum that is more affective and tried and true. Take out the special agenda of everybody and their brother and go back to education being the agenda. I know there is more to be discussed in the area.”
“Infrastructure: There needs to be increased and better planning in the city for growth. I was shocked at the building codes and mentality when I moved here in 1999. I ran a small construction company with my husband at the time, who was trained in a vo-tech program in High school and became a master carpenter, where we had to follow reasonable and sometimes stringent guidelines that were worth it in the end. A lot of thought and planning had gone into the county and at that time was the fastest growing in the nation. Thanks to my School Board Education, it gave me a better understanding to what was needed and why. We need to slow down now and get caught up on the infrastructure of the city to better serve the residents before it all falls apart. The first thing to go out the door in most businesses is maintenance. That is what has happened in Nashville. We are not even maintaining minimal standard needed for the growth we have. We spend money on fixing a road, only to tear it up shortly after to fix a sewer line that should have been repaired or improved before putting asphalt down. I see improvements in other areas that should have waited, where roads need to be widened, that will be waste again when torn down. Make outside investors have to pay to build here. I know that a judge ruled that sidewalks don’t have to be placed now, but that was a great start and it is sad that it was stopped. There should be no street parking in new building areas either. All builders should have to place fire safety standards in all buildings that are of certain sizes to protect people and firemen. Sidewalks available to allow people to travel safely by foot. Bike lanes where appropriate. Not downsizing some roads for bike lanes either. Public safety advisories on television to remind people of driving rules of the road, bike rules of the road, and pedestrian rules of the rode. Respect for others, which causes safety with better infrastructure plans with castability. Getting better contractors with competitive bidding practices. Using materials that are more cost effective like asphalt for bike lanes or walking paths along roads with out sidewalks. Using better reflective paints and reflectors on roads.
I hope you are understanding where I am coming from. I am a political outsider that has no personal agenda. Most of the items I have mentioned I hear echoed by others. I have nothing to gain personally but Nashville back to all of its residents in a better condition and mindset. I want to build trust transparency and accountability where it has been lost by finding commonality in the differences to provide solutions. Thank you.”
District candidates only: What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“Drugs and overbuilding. I work with the local police to identify those coming in and who they are selling to by taking pictures and being available to speak with law enforcement and encourage neighbors to be watching also. I have attempted in the past to get my council person to get us cameras in the neighborhood.
I have spoke at the building commission about it and call different people in the city pertaining to this matter as needed.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“I would like to see consideration for a walking only on lower Broadway or better barriers for safety because pedestrians do not follow the road crossing properly and endanger others especially when drinking. I would like to see things kept to the style of Nashville and new building to stay to that standard. I personally cannot stand the Apple store downtown Nashville. A slowing down of skyscrapers being built, stop over building. I would rather see a baseball stadium next to the baseball stadium , but don’t know all the reasons the plan is what is. I would like to see it safer for walkers. some areas are not lit well on side streets at night.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“Not as is. The stadium is 67,000 seating capacity now. The new plan is 60,000 seats. The NFL expects 70,000 seats for a Superbowl. This also causes problems for ticket pricing that makes it mostly accessible for the the wealthy. I am not sure that what I have read about shuttling people in, is the best idea either. I have attended a lot of baseball games in St. Louis and they continue to need more and more parking plus you can shuttle by choice from Illinois or other areas. Yes they do have a train system that goes from the Airport, across into Illinois and back that you can take, but it isn’t all the people. I have safety concerns for that if there were catastrophic happening. I also am concerned for parking in general for the down town area on the west side. We already have parking issues. I know for fact, no matter how green you try to be that you will always need parking and will barely ever have enough.
I do know that we need to do what is best for all and how will this help the city financially to better our finances to support our needs.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“I don’t know, about beyond, to be honest. I do know we need to look at why we have vacancies and if the number we have is the right need. In 2021 pop. was 703,953. We currently have approx 1450 officers, not all on the street, making each of them having 485 people. We are ranked at #4 in the Nation for a Capital City in crime and #14 for a City in general for crime. That’s not a great standing. I do know they are in harms way. I do know that I don’t want to be one. I do know we need to do better to retain good officers. I do know that they need to have accountability to them selves and the county for transparency. I do know that other agencies need to work to assist in some matters to keep officers on the streets and not sitting in locations with some that could be taken care by other agencies or even creative hospital staffing, and also keep them out of the courtrooms with the same people over and over. I do know they need to be funded. I do know as a council member I have to be fiscally responsible. I do know that the residents need to take responsibility to be good citizens, good examples, and work within their neighborhoods to assist the police.”
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 don’t have as big of a problem with LPR, but I get very concerned when we start talking facial recognition. I personally have nothing to hide, however, I do see us going into overreach of privacy in this country and it is concerning to me.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“I sure hope not. Shutting the city down was a huge mistake in 2020. (That’s another conversation.) I think that with the right leadership in the mayors office and on the council, with a mindset of proper budgeting and spending responsibility saying no to special interest, it could be avoided. We need to stop giving the city away to outside investors and start making them pay to build here, if it is merely for their benefit and not the residents.”
Do you view your role in the Council as leading your district on issues or simply reflecting the views of the district’s residents?
“My role is transparency and accountability with honesty and integrity. That can entail both. Issues that come up or may already be at the forefront need to be discussed in a way to look at the pros and cons honestly and what will be best for Nashville residents not special interest and outside investors. Setting priorities with input of the residents and looking at income to finance them. Getting back to the basics and then eating our cake too, once all the needs are covered. Finding common ground within differences and building unity to solve problems for the greater better.”
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 personally get sick and tired of all the arguing I see. There is always things that is common within differences. You have to step back and get your personal feeling out of the way, and do what it best, and stop acting like children and wanting to get even. Just like with the RNC coming to Nashville. Why would the council vote against something that brings taxes into the budget just because of pettiness. I would gladly bring in the DNC if it meant more money for Nashville. The same goes for funding changes for schools especially. Working with legislators to help bring more funding to schools, again, putting differences aside. I do get concerned of what is overreach from both groups and what is the motive behind it. I do know that laws are in place and should be followed until changed if needed. If more would stop yelling and start listening we could get much more accomplished.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“Stop allowing outside investors bringing in outside prices into our market. It always amazes me how other people will leave where they are because of taxes and high cost of living, and move to other cities with better cost of living, and want to buy, and then charge the same high prices that they moved from. Sad. It is happening all over. Overbuilding doesn’t help. allowing such large houses to be built where more affordable houses are or were. Overlays in areas not to be changed. Sylvan park was an area built for working America. The nations by the size of the houses look as if they were to but maybe a little less income. not sure but to see how the prices are is crazy. When we moved in 1999 to Nashville we thought the house prices were to high then. Sylvan park was an average of $80000, 3 years later 120K then up to 150K and today the house I sold for 200K, sold for 1.2M 2 years ago. yes with some renovation but not like some. I bought a foreclosure when you still could before everything started selling before market and modestly renovated it and have been there for 11 years. I can’t afford to sell at a high price to rebuy in my neighborhood for the quality I have. I believe in capitalism but I also know if we don’t change the heart of this country, we will be, divided we stand and united we fall.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“Make more routes, more often to shorten waiting times. I would have to see how funding works for it currently to better answer that question. I am not going to act like I know everything about everything. I have used the bus system, more so in the past. It is a nice clean and safe way to get around as far as I have seen. I have been on some in some cities not so nice. I know there needs to be some changes but how to finance that and how it is already financed will need to be seen first.”
Second quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $125
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Did not file