Mayor Bill Purcell's veto of the news rack legislation makes me wonder if he's trying to ensure that his future ambitions aren't torpedoed by some of the newspapers that are trying the hardest to keep those messy and intruding boxes in the right of way.
This is not a free speech issue. It's a demand by publishers to get free sidewalk rent from the citizens of Nashville in order to advertise and peddle their wares. The least they can do is neaten up this mess and make sure that pedestrians aren't impeded in their use this important public space.
"I strongly disagree with the rationale, and no one can explain to me the suggestion that this in any way is unconstitutional," said [Councilman Mike] Jameson [East Nashville/downtown] , who, like Purcell, is an attorney. "But he did what he did, and as the leader of the city, he's entitled to some discretion." TennesseanStrongly disagree?? If giving way to the Mayor despite the Council's vote and the opinion of citizens having to dodge these news racks is strong disagreement what exactly is Jameson's weak disagreement? Is the city, once again, expected to bow to the greater and more enlightened wisdom of East Nashville and it's liberal politicians? I hope not.
Now if the papers want to hire a person to stand on the street and hand out those all important apartment guides--that's another story. At least a person would give way when you're trying to navigate what is often a very crowded thoroughfare and might pick up the litter created. But a static box, providing 24/7 advertising of a product that doesn't pay the city for the use of the public space--that's not free speech. That's free advertising.
Let your Metro councilman know you want them to take back the sidewalks and override the veto.