OPINION: Disservice to District 2

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The most important vote a Councilmember makes is on the City’s budget. That vote sets the priorities for all of Metro Nashville Davidson County. At the Metro Council meeting on Tuesday, June 18, there was contention over a proposed property tax increase.

An increase in property taxes is a double edge sword.

A yes vote, to raise the property tax, would have an adverse impact on the poor, and people struggling to make ends meet and keep their residence in Nashville.

A no vote, not increasing the property tax, means the city loses firefighters, police officers, transit options, and funding for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

So, what does a vote to abstain mean? Why would a Councilmember abstain from the most important vote in their political life? In this case, we are left with questions such as;

Do you support raises for teachers?

We will never know.

Do you support hiring new police officers and providing raises for existing officers?

We will never know.

Do you support hiring new firefighter and providing raises for existing firefighters?

We will never know.

What are the priorities and values of the constituents in the District?

We may never know.

Every Councilmember, whether at-Large or District, is elected to represent the values and priorities of their constituents. Every District Councilmember voted for or against Nashville’s budget. Each voter and constituent was heard as to whether or not to raise property taxes except for one District, District 2.

Is raising property taxes the right thing to do at this time? The Nashville Voice has no opinion. But every constituent, voter, and property owner has a right to have their voice represented by their elected official. This was not the case for those who live in District 2 because Councilmember DeCosta Hastings voted to abstain on the budget.

The abstention from voting shows a lack of leadership. The voice of District 2 was silenced on the most important vote on the council. All of District 2 was relegated to a non-vote on the City’s budget because their representative failed to lead. This is a grave disservice to the constituents.

Every Councilmember is elected to represent the voice of the constituents that elected them. A councilperson listens to their constituents to make a decision to vote for or against legislation. By abstaining to vote, a councilmember renders their district voiceless.

Even Jesus Christ condemns the lukewarm in Revelations by saying, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot… So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

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