Candidate: Jonathan Turner
Metro Council District 19
Occupation: “Sales and Marketing Firm.”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “None”
Community experience: “Volunteer with Nashville Rescue Mission, Serve on committees with the State Museum’s Tennessee Waltz, very active in Belmont Athletic Alumni”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Affordable Housing, Funding for Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Medical), Infrastructure”
What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“Growth. Infrastructure needs to be on pace with the growth and we cannot sustain at the current level without failure in the future. We need to be investing in our water and sewer lines and electrical grids to keep up with the demand. There are so many variables but growth is the center of them all. Growth of traffic…cost of living which is a by-product of growth…..its the common denominator.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“Expand downtown to the East Bank. Here is this huge swath of property that is not being utilized to its fullest and could help increase the tax revenues for the city so that in the future we can keep property taxes lower. However, we need to make sure that in developing this segment of downtown, keep in mind the commute times, safety and security and making sure its also a place whereas citizens can live, work and play.. We have this river that runs right through the city and we have not capitalized on what it can bring to downtown as well. We have a gorgeous waterfront park, but there is so much more to offer. When you look at other cities that have rivers running through them, we are lacking terribly in the opportunities that it can generate.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“Yes. The East Bank has been neglected and that whole area could be generating a greater tax revenue than what it has been.”
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?
“License Plate Readers, yes! Given the increase in human trafficking….we need every available resource. Metro Police needs more tools in the box to assist them and technology continues to improve and we need to be utilizing this to our advantage for the safety of its citizens. As far as facial recognition, I believe I would need to dive into the legal aspects of privacy rights in order to make an informed answer on that segment of the question. Personally, I do not have a problem with facial recognition for I am told that some bank ATM’s are utilizing this technology already. If you have nothing to hide, it should not be a problem. Some government facilities use this technology and have been for some time.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“At this time, I do not see it in the future. But we never know what may happen. We need fiscal responsibility at all times. I am not saying we have not had that, but running a city is like running a business. Things happen and things change. Buying at the best price while keeping the quality of the product is always key. I think since Nashville has become a top tourist destination, personally, I believe that more of the tax burden should fall upon those coming to the city. Living downtown I see things that most do not realize…destruction of sidewalks, green spaces, beautification projects all because tourists tend to think its included in the “bill”. We want our tourism to grow and continue but, they are our guest and need to realize that when they leave our wonderful city and my home, they need to understand that it is just that….a home to someone……my family, my neighbors, my friends and citizens of Nashville that make the city great. After all, they come to Nashville because it is a great city and our citizens deserve to keep it wonderful without footing the bill for their destruction.”
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 to serve my community, my district and my city. As a native of the area and a 9th generation Tennessean, I see my position as serving all in the long run for I am just a part of the whole.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“As someone who served under the late Honorable Senator Douglas Henry as a policy analyst, I understand the dynamics between the state legislature and the city council. I believe one thing that has been absent in the mindset that Nashville IS the Capitol city, not just Music City USA. I know this has been talked about in family settings that Nashville has incredible dynamics and needs to find a way to coexist with our state legislature. I can bridge those gaps for we all want to have a working relationship. I believe both entities have lacked somewhat in that aspect and its time we work together for the benefit of all. I have been told that 10% of the state’s GDP goes through the district that I am looking to represent while Nashville represents over 40% of the states GDP and the district represents 9% of the states tax revenue while Nashville as a whole represents 30%. I think bringing this into perspective can assist in creating a better partnership with the legislature. These figures illustrate as to why we need to coexist. We need each other and need to find the common ground in doing so.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“I believe that the council should be utilizing all of its available tools, initiating public and private partnerships and accessible federal dollars to invest in more options for buyers and renters. Perhaps subsidized housing at some level especially for our metro employees so they do not have long commutes from outside the city.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“As I am not a transportation expert, I have spoken with several current and retired WeGo employees and they are telling me that route changes should reflect the growth of the city. With the growth of air traffic at BNA and given the lines backed up to Briley Parkway and west towards downtown on given days, we need light rail/monorail. We MUST put in place multiple modes of transportation that work in unison to lessen the congestion. Yes, I would back a dedicated funding source as long as it does not create a burden on our taxpayers and or citizens. We should seek private investment, public funding, bonds and possible crowd-funding. Bottom line, we need to review every option available.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $374
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $2,679
Link to full disclosure here