Candidate: Stephen Downs
Metro Council At-Large
Occupation: “Retired (health care) (social work)”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “Democratic Executive Committee”
Community experience: “I have coached basketball at St. Anns and football at St. Joseph. I taught adult literacy at Cohn School. I have worked in various political campaigns, organized neighborhood cleanups, and various community events over three decades.”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“1. build a genuine and sustainable working relationship with the Tennessee Legislature that will stop gridlock and facilitate meaningful discussions concerning issues that we face together as a community and not as a political foe. 2. working close with our public education system to make sure our children are being educated properly, and ensure they are healthy and safe and that we never leave no child behind in terms of achieving their full potential, and to monitor them for 1 year after they graduate. 3. Assess our municipal government environment as to health in our community and in terms of both, physical and mental health for all of our children, adults, and families.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“My vision for downtown turns specifically on smart growth we must put the brakes on a little until we can catch up at a minimum, of providing for our infrastructure needs, traffic and parking, transportation, safety, and waste management.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“I did not get the chance, but if elected to Council at Large I would have provided my constituents with the best data available and then I would have voted exactly as the majority would have instructed me to do.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“I think perhaps so, but the real issues and answer are that we need a police force that is paid well, has above standard mental health services, meaningful clothing allowances, and support for doing their job.”
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 personally do not like some of the overreach that may be perceived publicly by this type of framework. There are times where good intent just does not match up with public perception. We still have some work to do on developing meaningful relationships with citizens and our police department so facial recognition should start by our officers stepping up community walking patrols so that we all can be connected in real life and crime reduction should follow.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“I hope not, but we must face what is before us and deal with it accordingly in our honest effort to be transparent and get citizens involved to let them help vet what we need, and do not need, as a community moving forward on any tax related issues that may confront us.”
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 as an at large member would focus on providing all of Nashville with the best information possible on any given subject matter and then I would absolutely vote how they told me too regardless of how I feel about the situation myself.”
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 think we bit our nose off to spite our face when we did not allow the republican convention to come here, to me that was poppycock and grandstanding from members of the council that I’m sorry, were just not responsible and it hurt the city in what really matters and that is getting things done for all of Nashville. I believe the tit for tat must stop immediately and meaningful discussions take place whereby there is always a give and take platform to work with.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“We must take a stand for all of Nashville as a whole in real time and we must not forget our senior citizens who have helped to build this city and ensure them a place that is affordable and safe in there years of retirement. It should be mandatory that we engage with major developers to require 33% of all new units be designated as affordable housing, and we must start a scholarship program for affordable housing working with the State and the lottery commission.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“It is time to get this right and improvements can be talked about all day, the real issue is dedicated funding, that alone will help to facilitate improvements.”
Second quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $478
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Did not file