The Tennessean's Nashville Opinion Roundtable

The Tennessean dedicated its editorial page today to Joy Ford’s plight.

The paper’s editorial board itself came out in favor of Joy and her property rights, calling on the city to respect Ford’s desire to own her own property, as it is her right to do so.

In a stronger piece, Councilman Michael Craddock comes to defense of “the very essence of Music Row.” He calls the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority out on its attempt to characterize the condemnation as a “public use,” which it clearly isn’t. He also makes the point that the entity responsible for this condemnation is the MDHA, and being a government agency made of appointed bureaucrats who aren’t accountable to anyone, including taxpayers.

The Tennessean, of course, gave space to both sides.

From the developer came the defense of action by talking about how the area is blighted a decade ago. He also talks about the improvements made since then, which ironically make the blight argument less tenable. He also gives the standard line about tax revenue for “schools and other important public uses.” Unfortunately, when you take property for a real public use, the property is there to be used for that public use; when property is taken for dream of increased tax revenue, there’s no guarantee that tax revenue will ever actually appear.

Also, defending the MDHA, is its executive director, who enumerates notes the city’s previous failures to develop the area around Joy Ford’s property. He blames Ford and only Ford. He also says that without the condemntion they will have to “abandon” Nashville’s downtown. That’s as melodramatic as it is false. The current developer himself, noted last year, that the planned hotel could be built without Ford’s property.