Candidate: Ginny Welsch
Metro Council District 16
Occupation: “Co-founder and executive director, WRFN-LP Radio Free Nashville; Executive assistant – Space Inch Custom Software; Voice over artist (including audio books)”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “Metro Council Member, district 16”
Community experience: “BOARD SERVICE: Community Shares Tennessee, Exchange Club, Family Center, Tennessee Health Care Campaign, Nashville Peace and Justice Center (chair), Americans United (chair). VOLUNTEER SERVICE: Walk Bike Nashville, Remote Area Medical Clinic, Rape and Sexual Abuse Center, Crisis Intervention Center, Hands On Nashville, Red Cross, St. Luke’s Community House, VISTA–Cohn Adult Learning Center”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Homelessness, affordable housing, and language equity.”
What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“Quality of life issues are dominant in the 16th. Drag racing and speeding, noise and loud music, and lack of sidewalks make life difficult. And the options for dealing with these are limited. MNPD and Codes both have to catch people in the act to do anything, and that rarely, if ever, happens, so people feel helpless. We definitely need to make sure our departments are fully staffed and supported.”
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 is a downtown that is centered on the people that live here and not on tourists. I know we are a tourist town, but great cities, thriving cities, lasting cities, are those that have a vibrant everyday life for their residents that tourists meld into as they experience the culture. And what makes a culture is people. Not attractions, not buildings, but people. If those people leave as we continue to focus on tourists, then no matter what the landscape looks like, the culture, the city, is dead. And I fear we’re on the path toward that with all these new things that aren’t really for the majority of us.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“I was 100% opposed to the Titans stadium deal, and was a no vote from 1st reading on.”
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 am opposed to LPR technology, and facial recognition technology. Both are harmful to the fabric of society. The supposed benefits are widely oversold, never materialize, and in fact actually cause harm. As a straight, white women, I am not likely to be on the receiving end of those harms. But others will not be so lucky.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“Yes. Nashville is continuing to grow, and with that growth comes increasing costs just to maintain our current level of services, which we already know are too low. If we want to improve our quality of life and invest in all those things we say are important to us then we need to recognize that those things cost money and the costs will increase as we grow.”
Do you view your role in the Council as leading your district on issues or simply reflecting the views of the district’s residents?
“Both. No district is a monolith, and every district has a vocal group that believes that they are 100% representative of their area. That, of course, is not true. The views of my constituents vary wildly, with a clear line in some cases between the old guard and the new. For the most part I see my job as listening, assessing and then making what I believe is the best decision for the district, and the city, as a whole. Because everything is all interconnected.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“There is no relationship between the city and the state. The General Assembly is fascist. They’ve made it very clear that they do not believe Nashville has a right to exist and self-govern, and they are hellbent on destroying us. Pretending otherwise has no upside.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“Council should be taking a lead role. We need to encourage and support affordable housing in community benefits agreements (as much as they are allowed) in all relevant Metro funded projects; work to get more viable Metro land donated to the community land trust;
work to create an incentivization program to increase the amount of other land donated to the community land trust; work to create a community land bank and prioritize building affordable homes on metro owned property; and continue to use PILOTS, when appropriate. We have to be careful with PILOTS so we don’t find ourselves in a hole in the future.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“More routes and more service, more frequently. If we really want to replace our car centric , culture, people have to have faith that it is guaranteed they will be able to get from point A to point B when they need to, no matter the day or time. But without a dedicated funding source, nothing significant can happen. So dedicated funding is crucial.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $31,728
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $34,234.40
Link to full disclosure here