Candidate: Gilbert Ramirez (“Gil”)
Metro Council At-Large
Occupation: “Work with different Security companies in a casual outfit or in uniform capacity depending on the client’s, needs. Duties are safety while directing traffic, in churches, schools, and commercial property. Retired Metro Nashville Police Department 14 years”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “None”
Community experience: “My years with the police department was successful. For eleven years, being part of the El Proctor Program, I have organized the annual El Protector Kids Fall/Spring/Summer camp (from 5 to 13 yrs of age). I also spear headed the Neighborhood educational events like Baby Shower, Fire Safety, Health Fair, Community Festival and more. I also organized sport tournaments like soccer, and karate. I attended school activities, spoke and read to kids, attended many community meetings addressing their concerns, and many more.”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Education: Our children are our future. Therefore, we must invest in their education. I aim to emphasize literacy and reading comprehension in children from preschool to middle school. Providing these students with phonics learning.
Affordable Housing: There are a multitude of approaches we can and should be taking to improve current housing costs by increasing funding, continuing mixed-income developments, repairing and renovating existing affordable housing properties.
Infrastructure & Transportation:
Our growing county and large commuting population, we need to focus on improving public transportation and reducing traffic congestion. We need to invest in better roads and traffic control equipment.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“Before we battle with any development in the downtown district, we need to deal with the issues that affect the residents of Davidson County. We keep on building and building and the infrastructure of our city is being destroyed. We need to slow down the pace and prioritized the issues that are affecting Nashville residents. We need to bring more family activities to the outskirts of the Nashville area. We currently have the Nashville Zoo, Adventure Science, and a Water Park. We need to build some swimming pools in the Metro Parks Community Center, Skate Parks, and expand the Metro Water Park (Wave Pool), and bring family businesses, not only bars. Once we deal with the important issues first then we work on remodeling downtown East Bank.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“First I need to see the details and plans before I could say yes or no to the new stadium. I will need to see where the funds will be coming from and make sure it’s not coming from property taxes. It’s not fair that the residents of Davidson County have to contribute to the cost of this new stadium. If we build this stadium we need to make sure that the profit from the stadium will help with the needs of the community. A yes vote needs to be a win-win for everyone.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“Yes, due to the ratio-police to the population in Davidson County, we are 400 officers short plus 200 unfilled positions. We need to hire qualified personnel to be able to decrease the response time on all pending calls from the community. The safety of the community is very important but we can’t forget the services of the Fire Department and Emergency Communication Center. They all work together and is important to provide the service that the community expects.”
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?
“Face recognition technology can aid in identifying potential threats, preventing crimes, and enhancing security measures in public spaces, airports, and other sensitive areas. It can expedite the process of identifying suspects or persons of interest in criminal investigations, potentially leading to faster apprehension and resolution of cases. But Facial recognition systems have been shown to have higher error rates for people with darker skin tones and women, leading to concerns of racial and gender biases. False positives or misidentifications can have serious consequences, including wrongful arrests or accusations. We need to do more studies before we implement this technology. False arrest could lead to lawsuits to the city.“
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“Maintaining the current property tax will help homeowners who may be struggling. Holding the property tax for one to two years will enable the county to stabilize the budget, verify our spending, and allow for the reallocation of funds based on the priorities of the community, which are roads, sideways, bridges, sewers, and water pipes. Remember the reasoning for the increase because they were no intake revenue during the closure of COVID. Downtown is generating revenue we don’t need to increase property taxes and we need to control wasteful spending.”
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 as a council at Large member may vary depending on the specific council and its governing rules. I may see my role as representing and reflecting the views of our district’s residents. First I need to educate my constitutes on the issues in detail. It’s important for the resident to be informed about the issues entirely. By doing this the residents will understand the issues in detail and I could represent them with no misunderstanding and based on the facts. Then I could battle the issues with my constitutes support.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“The relationship between a city and its Council with the General Assembly can vary depending on the specific political structure and legal framework of the country or state in question. However, in general, when faced with adverse legislation from the state, the city and its Council can take certain actions to address the situation. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these approaches may vary depending on the specific circumstances, political climate, and legal framework of the jurisdiction in question. The city and its Council should consult with legal experts and engage in strategic planning to determine the most appropriate course of action based on their specific context.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“When comes to Affordable Housing we need to partner with developers by providing incentives for the construction, and implementing inclusionary zoning policies that require developers to include affordable units in new projects. Work with non-profit organizations like Habitat of Humanity to build more units. They are many other options we could do but we need to act quickly and smartly. Also we could expand housing voucher programs or providing subsidies to low-income individuals and families can help make housing more affordable. These programs can provide financial assistance to renters, enabling them to afford market-rate rents.
Finally, the Tennessee state government could enact legislation granting local municipalities the authority to implement rent control measures. This would require support and approval from lawmakers.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“WeGo gets its funding through state and federal grants to improve transportation for the residents of Davidson County. We as well could help with funding this will allow WeGo to add more buses during peak hours to decrease vehicle usage and reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life. Also, they could add more substations throughout the city of Nashville to have connecting routes without having the buses go to the main hub in downtown Nashville. This will increase the usage of buses throughout the day for the community.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $530.17
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $1,020
Link to full disclosure here