Candidate: Tonya Hancock
Metro Council District 9
Occupation: “I work with 27 of the largest school districts in the country to help them save money and have more transparency in their purchasing.”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “Metro Council District 9”
Community experience: “Board Member for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Board Member for Highpointers Foundation, Board Member for Nashville Striders, Greenways Commissioner, Metro Action Commissioner, Public Records Commissioner”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“Fully Fund Education; Clean/Safe Neighborhoods; Parks & Greenways”
What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
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 a few blocks of pedestrian only streets in downtown, to allow for safe and scenic walking, especially in the heavily attended venue areas.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“I did vote to approve the new Titans Stadium. It was not about the stadium, it was about the lease. The old lease had $30M of bond and $38M of maintenance payments due, in additional to having Metro on the hook for a renovation of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.”
“The $2.1B for the new stadium is being for by the Titans/NFL ($840M), the state ($500M), and the countywide 1% hotel tax ($760M). None of these funds would be made available to Metro without the new stadium. By doing this we rid taxpayers of the burden, in addition, this returned 63 acres of riverfront land to Metro, and created a revenue source for Metro, half of which is earmarked for Metro Nashville Public Schools.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“With 200 unfilled positions it is difficult to say we would need more beyond that. We have been hundreds short since I was elected in 2019 and in this climate it is difficult to fill any service positions (police, firefighters, sheriff, military, etc.). Our goal right now is to get fully staffed, and the MNPD HR continues to aggressively go after that goal.”
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?
“The current trial on LPR usage has enabled some swift identification of wanted individuals and of stolen cars. It is allowing the MNPD to participate regionally in furthering criminal investigations and enhances the safety of Nashville neighborhoods. We only have one of the cameras in our district, but it has already been helpful to the Madison Precinct. I realize it has been a successful tool for Interpol and Federal agencies to identify terrorists, but I have not heard a recommendation that this is something thaneeded downtown.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“Absolutely. In fact, I think in June I will be voting for a tax rate adjustment of a few pennies less than we currently have. We are consistently needing to make adjustments to make sure the bills are paid and that the tax payer’s dollars are used judiciously.”
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 am elected to reflect the views of the district’s residents, and to vote what I think will be best for the district and the city in the long run. As we are a very diverse district, not everyone always agrees, but I am confident I am doing the best thing for the people.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“We as a Council should consult with our legal advisors before writing legislation that is either in conflict with or will be quickly overturned by the state. Instead of trying to push legislation though instead, in those cases we should sit down with the State and find out what we can do to accomplish our goals. For example, we wanted to increase eviction limits, but that was against state law. Therefore I went to two state legislators and talked about the reason behind my bill, set up a meeting for them with seniors that had been directly impacted, and they wrote and passed legislation to required twice as much notice (60 days) for seniors. This is not only helping seniors in Nashville, but across the state of Tennessee.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“Following the Nashville Next Plan, encourage developers not to shy away from apartments or townhouses in the T4 Urban Evolving areas, and MUL where appropriate.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“Continue their practice of monitoring ridership and adjust routes where there are heavier or lighter loads. Concentrate on getting coverage and seating at bus-stops. Work with Council Members and NDOT to try and have sidewalks along the bus route.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $14,198
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $10,035
Link to full disclosure here