Direct Marketing Expert Craig Huey Explains the Left Wing Groups in Nashville Organized to Get Out the Vote

Direct Marketing Expert Craig Huey Explains the Left Wing Groups in Nashville Organized to Get Out the Vote

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed creator of the Huey Report and direct mail expert, Craig Huey, in-studio who identified a coalition of left-wing groups in Nashville actively organizing to get out the vote for Democrats.

Leahy: In studio with us, Craig Huey. The man who’s leading the charge against the Californication and the Georgiafication of Tennessee. Craig, during the break, you told me about an effort to oppose this referendum that will roll back for a 34 percent property tax increase. It’s a coalition of lefties called Save Nashville Now?

Huey: Yes it’s called Save Nashville Now. And basically, what it is, it’s left-wing groups and the Chamber of Commerce.

Leahy: Which is now a left-wing group.

Huey: And the unions.

Leahy: This is like a match made in hell.

Huey: Right. It’s terrible. Lots of money, lots of organization, a lot of political consultants telling them how to get out the vote, how to identify their voter, and get it out.

Leahy: This referendum to roll back the 34 percent property tax increase that our tinpot dictator Mayor John Cooper, that’s my friendly name for him and his left-wing minions on the Metro Council passed. There is a referendum that the Davidson County Election Commission scheduled now to be on the ballot on July 27.

There are, in fact, several legal efforts to stop that. Our friend Jim Roberts says they’re not going to succeed. He thinks it’ll be on the ballot. I think he’s probably right. That’s going to be voted on July 27th. Now, this alliance out of hell from the Chamber of Commerce and the unions and these left-wing groups are funded by the Democrat National Committee and other usual left-wing billionaires. They’re putting together a big campaign to oppose this rollback. Tell us who the left-wing groups are.

Huey: The left-wing groups include Equity Alliance.

Leahy: You know, (Huey chuckles) nothing says left-wing social justice like the Equity Alliance. I think this guy who’s involved in it was a former member of the Community Oversight Board who was a convicted felon and resigned suddenly. I think he may be affiliated with that group.

Huey: It’s a left-wing organization that’s dedicated to the mobilization of the voters. And then Stand Up Nashville, which, again, they’re trained on how to register and get out the vote.

Leahy: So Stand Up Nashville has been around for a while. Isn’t that this group that kind of held up the soccer stadium guys and got, like, $100 million community benefits agreement.

Huey: And part of what they do are these lawsuits and legal actions. They have a team of lawyers. That’s part of their strategy because they know it works as intimidation.

Leahy: And they basically threaten lawsuits against the soccer state guys. And again, that itself was a bad deal. But nonetheless, taxpayers are footing the bill for that. And then they gave a whole bunch of money in this. It’s kind of like a community development arrangement or something like that. Community benefit agreements are what I think it is. They got around one million bucks to play around with.

Huey: Well, see, here’s the thing. They are going to put together an organization to defeat this initiative. The people who want to pass this initiative, the business owners. I mean, I’m a small business owner. And the fact that I moved to Nashville, not knowing I was going to be hit with this extra tax, that’s horrific.

Leahy: So if you had perfect information when you moved from California you would have set your offices up, not in Nashville, but probably in Williamson County?

Huey: I don’t want to get anybody upset with me, but I will speak the truth and that is I tell companies in California all the time, move to Tennessee, and I tell them, don’t go to Davidson County. Don’t go to Nashville. You have to go outside. And that’s because of what Cooper has done.

Leahy: Yeah. Don’t you wish somebody told you that? (Laughter)

Huey: Yes. But I’ve got a lease.

Leahy: You got a lease. (Huey chuckles) Downtown Nashville, a lot of good things about downtown Nashville.

Huey: I love it. I love it. I’m in a historic building. We got everything we need.

Leahy: But you’re gonna get pain. You are going to get dinged.

Huey: I’m going to see the initiative passes. There’s a group called Speak Up Tennessee. You’re going to see them involved in this too because they understand how to mobilize the voters with data and identification.

Leahy: Where does all this money come from? It just says that this is sort of a truism. But I’ll just tell it to everybody. If you are a conservative nonprofit group and you are trying to raise money, lots of luck because it’s going to be, you know, it’s really something. It’s hard to do it because the reason it’s hard to do is that the wealthy people on the right just aren’t generous. But there are exceptions.

Huey: There are exceptions, yes.

Leahy: But on the left, they are going to give you tons of money.

Huey: Because they’re trying to transform America.

Leahy: Exactly.

Huey: The government is our God. Their religion is to be able to expand the coercive power of the state over the lives of the individual. They want to take away individual freedom. And they basically want to have an elite control of us.

And the fact is, they are dedicated to donating these groups between foundations. And the Chamber of Commerce is involved in this. You’ve got these business elites and top corporations doing this against the small business owner.

Leahy: As a graduate of a top business school, I can say this. If you think that most Fortune 500 companies support free markets, you are dead wrong. They want monopolies.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: They want power.

Huey: They want favors.

Leahy: And they structure it so that they can maintain those favors. And as a result, they end up getting barriers to entry. All sorts of small monopolies. They want to crush small business guys. There’s no question about that. You’ve experienced it your whole career.

Huey: All my career I’ve seen this happen and we’ve got to stop that in Nashville.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs In on the Killing of 800,00 Jobs by Death Tax

Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs In on the Killing of 800,00 Jobs by Death Tax

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to outline his latest article which addresses the Biden death tax that would kill 800,000 jobs.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by the very best Washington correspondent in the country. The Washington Correspondent for The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network, Neil McCabe. Good morning, Neil.

McCabe: Good morning, Michael. A pleasure to be with you.

Leahy: Every time I turn around, you’re breaking a new story. Your story was filed and published yesterday at The Tennessee Star. GOP’s Top Dog on Ways and Means: Biden’s ‘Death Tax’ Scheme Kills 800K Jobs. Tell us about that.

McCabe: Well, Kevin Brady is the ranking Republican on Ways and Means. He was the chairman from November of 2015 until the Republicans lost control of the Chamber after the 2018 midterms. He was the key guy writing the 2017 tax bill. Kevin Brady is from Texas.

He has a personal and emotionally vested interest in the state tax because his father was an attorney who was shot and killed in a courtroom when Brady was 12 years old. And he watched what the estate text did to his mother and his family.

And he became sensitive to how it was affecting other people in his area because there are a lot of people with small businesses, small farms, and ranches in his district. And in the 2017 tax bill, the House bill eliminated the estate tax.

The estate tax or death tax is you pay taxes all your life and whatever is left over when you die, the government wants to tax it again. That’s why it’s called a death tax. It is opposed by the life insurance lobby. And when that 20 17 House bill went to the Senate, the state tax was put back in by Senator Mike Rounds from South Dakota with the help of John Coon.

John Coon, who ran I don’t know if you remember this, Mike, but John Coon defeated Tom Daschle, who was the majority leader. He was a Democratic leader in the Senate. He defeated the sitting majority leader of the Senate. And his campaign pledge 12 years ago was he would eliminate the estate tax.

But when the Republicans had the chance to get rid of the estate tax in the 2017 bill, Coon and Rounds put it back in. And they were able to raise the caps so that going into this tax year and the state tax doesn’t affect you unless you have an estate over 11 million for an individual and over 20 million for a couple.

So for most people, it isn’t really an issue. But because it’s still on the books, you can always tamper with the rates. If it’s been eliminated, trying to put it back in the tax soda is a much more difficult thing. And even at $20 million, which seems like a lot of money, if you own a farm and you have three combines that you paid $600,000 for and then you have some land and then you have a barn and then you have a house and then you have a shed and then you have some trucks.

All of a sudden, it’s very easy to get to $20 million, but it’s not in cash. So what ends up happening to family-owned businesses and farms and ranches is you have to sell the farm to save the farm. It’s just ridiculous.

Leahy: It’s crazy. What’s interesting here is how anti-small business and anti-middle-class American the Biden administration is. Crom Carmichael has some overall questions for you on what’s going on with that tax legislation.

Carmichael: Neil, there are three big pieces of legislation. The great big giant tax bill, and then two great big spending bills. The so-called infrastructure bill and the so-called family bill. What I see from where I’m looking is I don’t think the infrastructure bill will pass with anything more than what Republicans are willing to agree to. And I think the family bills dead to water and the tax bill is dead in the water. What are you hearing?

McCabe: I’ll tell you right now, everybody’s talking about how Biden is going to have trouble getting things through the Senate. I’m telling you right now that Biden is going to have trouble getting things through the House. And Kevin McCarthy is restoring the Whip.

It’s something he never did when he was the Whip. (Leahy chuckles) But as a majority leader, he’s finally putting the stick to these Republicans. And the Republicans stay firm. They’re only down something like three seats. If McCarthy convinced four Democrats to flip parties, he’s the Speaker of the House.

That’s how close this thing is. And you have a number of House Democrats who are frightened about what’s coming at them in 2022. This state tax thing is very dangerous because Brady told me that if this thing goes through, it’s 800,000 jobs out the window.

There’s no greater destroyer of family-owned farms and ranches and businesses than the state tax. And it’s insane how it’s just wiped out. When you look at the Midwest or these great farm areas and you wonder why do we have all these corporate farms and we no longer have family farms, it’s because of the estate tax.

And there are companies that suck up all of these farms at the estate sale. Going back to Biden’s program, what I think you’re really asking is have the wheels fallen off the cart for Biden? Yes. Biden has completely run out of time. I’ve said this over and over again. He has no more runway.

He just announced he was going to take the sanctions off of that German pipeline to Russia, the Nord Stream Two. Well, do we have an ambassador to Germany? No. Do we have an ambassador in the UK? No. We don’t have ambassadors in Canada, Afghanistan.

Japan we just nominated Rahm Emanuel. But South Korea, England, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Vatican, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia, we don’t even have ambassadors nominated. Those are the easiest things to do.

Leahy: And he’s not doing it.

McCabe: There just isn’t time to get things done.

Leahy: Speaking of time, Neil, we have one political question for you. If you could wrap your mind around this one for us.

McCabe: Sure.

Leahy: In the Senate in 2022, the Republicans have a disadvantage in terms of the way the seats play out. But if you look at key states that are currently represented by Democrats, one state is New Hampshire. The incumbent is Margaret Hassan.

I think that’s how you pronounce it. H-A-S-S-A-N. Apparently, the Republicans there are trying to get the very popular governor, John Sununu Jr. to run for governor. The polls show him with a five or six-point lead. Will he run for the Senate in New Hampshire? Will he beat Margaret Hassan?

McCabe: Yes. And I wrote about this for The Tennessee Star. This is one of the three seats that the Republicans can flip to take back the Chamber. And Hassan, she barely beat Kelly Ayotte. And that’s only because the Democrats bussed thousands of students from Massachusetts who pretended that they had moved to Massachusetts and they did same-day registration and they lied and said that they were residents of New Hampshire.

They had just moved there that day. And pretended they were going to spend the rest of their lives in New Hampshire. And as soon as they voted, they went back to take their midterms.

Carmichael: Has New Hampshire changed that law?

McCabe: They have changed that law. A student ID is no longer accepted as part of their voter ID law.

Leahy: Hooray for New Hampshire!

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job Creators Network CEO Alfred Ortiz Talks About the Response He’s Received on Time Square Billboard

Job Creators Network CEO Alfred Ortiz Talks About the Response He’s Received on Time Square Billboard

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Job Creators Network’s CEO Alfred Ortiz to the newsmakers line to talk about their cheeky billboard that calls out Major League Baseball Commissioner Manfred on pulling All-Star Game from Atlanta.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line our very good friend, the CEO of Job Creators Network, Alfredo Ortiz. Good morning, Alfredo.

Ortiz: Good morning Michael. How are you?

Leahy: Well, it’s great to finally interview you on the radio. We’ve been on a lot of projects together and worked together. And I must say, my hat is off to you my friend because you are the man behind what I’m going to say now is perhaps one of the most iconic Times Square billboards in history. And tell us what the billboard says and tell us what the reaction has been.

Ortiz: Yeah, well, you know, as you know in the news, there’s been a lot of conversation about the pullout from the All-Star Game out of Atlanta and the Commissioner Manfred. Manfred being the guy who made that decision. And so we’ve been trying to make a statement about that because in Atlanta it cost $100 million for mainly minority small business owners. So the billboard we just put up went up first thing Monday morning, basically says Commissioner Manford, all strikes, no balls? (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: Wait just a minute, just a minute. So you’ve got a picture of Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, who, by the way, from what I can tell he is a Harvard Law School grad attorney. I don’t think he’s ever played baseball in his life. I think he made this politically correct just out of a knee-jerk reaction to pressure from left-wing groups. I don’t think I even looked at the Georgia election law, the common-sense election law.

Ortiz: Right.

Leahy: But just to be clear, you’ve got this is so funny. I don’t know how you came up with this Alfredo. It’s just pure genius. (Ortiz chuckles) So there’s a picture of Rob Manfred, and it says, wait for it…All strikes and no balls?

Ortiz: Michael, I don’t even understand. It just like a baseball term, isn’t it? But in all seriousness, I think it’s so appropriate because of the way we see it, right? First of all, we call them the way we see them. And strike one, first of all, is he gave in to the whole misinformation and all the lives of this woke crowd about the Georgia voting law. As you said, I doubt he even read the darn thing.

Strike two, he moved the MLB game out of Atlanta on that false information. And then the third strike against him, he cost the state of Georgia again, mostly minorities small business owners. Estimates are over $100 million in lost revenue for again, primarily minority-owned small businesses. And for what? To move it to Denver, of all places, probably one of the most white suburban areas that you can find, right? You’ve got Atlanta that is like minority to nine percent Denver.

You’ve got nine times as many Black-owned small businesses in Atlanta then there are in Denver. Yet he decides to make the move to Denver out of Atlanta. And so what are we doing? We’re basically saying, look, Commissioner, do the right thing, move it back. You hurt minority small business owners. And with the same speed at which you pulled it out of Atlanta, you can put it back in.

Leahy: Has he sent you a response to that request yet Alfredo?

Ortiz: You know, oddly enough, he hasn’t called me for lunch yet. And I’m not quite sure why Michael. (Leahy chuckles) I’m still trying to decide that. But just in case he missed the billboard, we’re going to go for a letter very soon here that’s going to be hitting his desk. And we’re going to try it again because again, there is time. He literally made that move.

Michael as you know in two days. Basically, in two days, he made that move. And so we’re saying move it back because that is the right thing to do. Forget the woke culture, the Stacey Abrams pressure, which is absolutely ridiculous and complicit in all this as well. I’ll put the Delta’s and I’ll put the Coca-Cola’s in there because they are also part of complicit in this dissemination of misinformation on the Georgia Voting Act.

And, of course, they’re taking this playbook now, Stacey Abrams and company and taking it to all different States. And basically what I’m calling it is extortion. It’s kind of the old mafia shakedown of our public companies and CEOs.

Leahy: Let’s go back to the decision to go with all strikes and no balls? (Laughter) How does that idea? I mean, it’s perfect. It’s beyond perfect Alfredo.

Ortiz: Well, you know, Michael, you probably remember that we started off kind of on using billboards. I’m an old marketing guy, and I like billboards. I know it’s an old media, but I actually think it really works. And Times Square is so powerful. Remember when AOC brilliantly decided to push Amazon out and the 25,000 jobs it was bringing to New York City? We put up a nice billboard on that, which basically says, thanks for nothing AOC.

And we started that, of course, then she got on Twitter and we responded with a billboard. So it was the famous billboard Twitter war between us. And so part of it is just we need to be public about this. I think part of the issue that Conservatives have is that they’re conservative by nature and we’re afraid to go out there and take the gloves off and just really go at it. And the left doesn’t do that.

The left just comes out, they intimidate, and they push against the wall. We’re so ginger about so many things in our conversation. I think we need to get to this point, Michael, where we just take these stances, we make it public and we go, you know what? Enough is enough. We’re going to make these comments that we’re going to say things like all strikes and no balls Manfred because that’s exactly what it is.

And so, again, we’re going to be holding people accountable we’re going to be holding public officials accountable. We’re going to be holding CEOs accountable because I think we’re at the point in this country, Michael, where people are just fed up. People are just so fed up about all this wokeism and all this other stuff, and it’s just really now hurting this country.

Look what happened in Georgia. Again minority small business owners primarily got hurt. Cobb County, Fulton County, minorities, and minority-owned small businesses. $100 million. I mean, what are they going to do? How are they going to get back $100 million? Is Coke or Delta going to write a check for that amount to cover that loss now?

Leahy: Well, that’s a very good point. Now, the billboard has been up in Times Square in New York City for a little over 48 hours. Tell us about the reaction to that billboard in the media and around the country.

Ortiz: Well, it’s gotten a lot of attention as you can imagine. People have actually made comments about my own particular. I wouldn’t even say it.

Leahy: (Laughs) I got you. We know what you mean, Alfredo. You don’t have to say it. We got it. (Ortiz laughs)

Ortiz: From this perspective. People are finally saying thank goodness. A group, an organization that finally speaks up. And Molly Hemingway picked up on this right away. She’s got, like, 600,000 Twitter followers.

Leahy: From The Federalist.

Ortiz: And I have to tell you, I mean, the response, if you look at that Twitter feed, it’s been great. I think, like, 99 percent of the people are like, yes, stand up! A few people are like, well, you know how we immature and stuff like that. Sure. Maybe if you want to call it that. But I don’t think I actually think it was very mature. We’re just calling it the way it is.

Leahy: It was just an accurate description of what kind of guy. Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball is all strikes and no balls. I don’t even think you need a question mark on it. (Ortiz chuckles) 

Ortiz: Here’s where he could basically redeem himself, and it would show that he actually does have a pair is moving it back to Atlanta.

Leahy: (Laughs) That’s very good, Alfredo. That’s very good. Our listing audience is cracking up as we go. And our in studio guest Andy Ogles Mayor Maury County is laughing because it’s so funny. The Job Creators Network is based in Atlanta. You basically represent the ideas and policies that support small businesses around the country. I notice CNN is also based in Atlanta. Have they paid any attention to this story?

Ortiz: Oh, are you kidding, Michael? C’mon. They wouldn’t cover this at all. As you notice, you rarely hear about the plight of small businesses. In fact, I haven’t seen a single story on CNN, and I may go back and try to find one and there may be one in the past three years. But really, the plight of small businesses is not covered at all by CNN.

It’s not covered at all by the left media by the lamestream media, as we call it, right. And that’s because they don’t want to highlight that because really small business owners are being really just crucified effectively by some of these policies that Biden has already put in place or looking in putting place. We’re actually calling it the war on small business.

Leahy: Yeah, it is.

Ortiz: If you really look at what’s happening. First of all, the COVID came out of nowhere. It hit these small businesses. Thank God though, under the Trump administration, we had a great program that was put out there that we actually got very involved in with the paycheck protection program. It saved 50 million jobs, Michael. 50 million jobs across over 5 million businesses in this country.

And when we needed to do more they just stalled it, stalled it, and stalled it. It’s a miracle that the small businesses that were able to pull out did actually pull out. Once the Biden administration came in, instead of coming up with other great programs like that. What are they doing? They’re talking about federally mandated $15 minimum wages. They’re talking about potential tax increases in three different ways.

A million small business owners that do their taxes, and our C corps. A million of those could be subject to that increase of 33 percent on that corporate tax rate. And then you have another 15 million small business owners, Michael, that are probably going to also feel the pain and the bruise if they roll back that 20 percent tax deductions that so many small business owners use to pay higher wages, hire more people, more benefits, and invest back in their businesses.

They might lose that. And then to top it all off, the third round of potential tax increases that he’s looking at is the increase on the top tax rate. So every successful small business owner that actually survives through this and kept people on the payroll is now going to have a tax increase on top of everything else.

Listen to the full broadcast here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

CCO of Job Creators Network Elaine Parker Describes Their Advocacy for Small Businesses

CCO of Job Creators Network Elaine Parker Describes Their Advocacy for Small Businesses

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the CCO of Job Creators Network Elaine Parker to the newsmakers line.

At the top of the second hour, Parker outlined the purpose and mission of Job Creators Network and the 30 million small businesses that they represent advocating for lower taxes and fewer regulations, and pro-growth policies. She added that the best stimulus small businesses could receive right now is to be able to open up in all of the states.

Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend Elaine Parker the chief communications officer of Job Creators Network. Good morning Elaine.

Parker: Good morning Michael. How are you?

Leahy: I’m just great to have you on. I think this may be the first time we’ve talked many many a time on many many projects. I think this is the first time we’ve actually interviewed you on a regular program. So it’s a real pleasure for me to have you this morning.

Parker: Well, thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Leahy: So Job Creators Network. Tell us a little bit about the Job Creators Network because a lot of people who are in our audience are small business owners. And as you know, you can tell it’s about what you guys do. Small businesses drive the economy and create jobs in America. Tell us about Job Creators Network.

Parker: Absolutely Michael. As you said, they do drive the economy in America. There are 30 million small business owners in this country and they include 60 million people. They’ve obviously been extremely hurt under this pandemic for the last ten months or so. But Job Creators Network has really been advocating for them. Not just during the pandemic but for the last 10 years that we’ve been in existence as a national small business advocacy organization.

And we are founded by a man named Bernie Marcus. And if you haven’t heard of Bernie Marcus well he’s the co-founder of the Home Depot. And he really believed in small businesses. He still thinks of himself as a small business owner. He’s not part of the Home Depot anymore. He’s 91 now, but very much involved in the business of America and keeping it America and defending free enterprise. And he believes that it starts with defending entrepreneurs and people like him who have the next big idea. And so we advocate for small businesses for lower taxes and fewer regulations and pro-growth policies overall.

Leahy: If somebody our listening audience is a small business and wants to learn how to be part of this advocacy group, what do they do? And how many small businesses are part of the network? The Job creators Network?

Parker: Well, we represent all of the 30 million small business owners that are in America. They are actually members of the organization. We’ve got probably about half a million grassroots members as part of the organization. If anybody listening is interested in learning more that you go to jobcreatorsnetwork.com.

They can join the organization and sign up for our newsletter. There’s just a lot of information particularly with the upcoming Paycheck Protection Program, which has been renewed finally by Congress and will help small business owners continue to get through this pandemic and provide some additional assistance. So we’re trying to be an information center on issues like that for small businesses as well.

Leahy: You look at what’s going on in the country today and you see the rise of power of the Big Tech oligopolies. And the people that are getting crushed by this are our smaller businesses. You know, the restaurants that have all these rules and regulations. and really the larger companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, they’ve done well in the pandemic in part because of local and state and federal policies. What do you see going forward over the next six months or 12 months as the big challenges facing small businesses?

Parker: Yes. So one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is their inability to open up. And that would be the best stimulus to them is to allow them to open up in all of the states. Michael, as you know that we had a jobs report last Friday, which was extremely disappointing. We lost 140,000 jobs. And that’s a result of all of these shutdowns.

And you are absolutely right, you know, big business has done extremely well during this pandemic because that’s the only place that anybody can go to get anything. And you know, when you look at states like New York and California, New Jersey, they’ve continued to keep their small businesses shut down telling them that they’re not essential businesses. And yet large businesses are able to stay open.

It’s interesting, I don’t know if you saw Governor Cuomo’s Tweet yesterday. But I think he’s finally coming around because he tweeted out that we have to open and he wants to get his economy open otherwise there won’t be an economy to reopen. And he says that we can do it safely. Well, I’m in the state of Florida and my governor’s been saying that for a month and he’s been accused of putting politics over safety. But yet my state is doing a lot better.

Leahy: Florida is doing much better than New York.

(Commercial break)

Leahy: So Elaine in eight days and five hours now Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. At a national level, what issues are going to be important to small businesses? And what do you see will be the big agenda items for Job Creators Network?

Parker: Well, you know Michael next week we will have a new president and the new administration coming in. And unfortunately with the Senate turning over to Democrats, they have the trifecta of power in Washington D.C. And the biggest losers there is the small business because it will allow the Democrats to implement a very anti-business agenda which will include a massive tax hike.

Healthcare public options, energy, environmental, and labor regulations. And that’s unfortunate because our small business owners are coming out of trying to come out of this pandemic after 10 months of shutdowns and just catastrophic economic damage. And we’ve lost a lot of small businesses at this point. And that’s going to be really important.

But the big-ticket items that we think the Democrats want to go after first is going to be the Green New Deal and a tax hike and that healthcare public option. And they’re going to want to do that by eliminating the filibuster. And our goal is to help organize and focus the small business voice so that we can focus on pro-growth politicians in Washington D.C. and amplify that voice so they can hear what kind of detrimental impact that will have on small businesses.

Leahy: But Elaine, the Democratic senator from was West Virginia, Joe Manchin has promised, has promised he’s going to oppose a filibuster. If he were to honor that promise, then they wouldn’t be able to get past the 50 that would give them the ability with the tiebreaker from Kamala Harris to get rid of the filibuster. Are you having any conversations with Joe Manchin to see if will honor his promise on the filibuster?

Parker: I’ve not had any conversations with him. I’m not a lobbyist obviously but you know, those are the types of Democrats in Washington that we would like to hear from and that understand the importance of not only a free enterprise system but the impact that small businesses play on our economy. You know, they produce two-thirds of all new jobs and they employ half of our labor force.

And they have driven this economy for the last four years up until this pandemic which we’ve seen, you know records in every area from hourly earnings growing to the lowest unemployment rate that we’ve seen in half a century in every demographic across the board. And when you’re staring at tax increases on federal and in some cases state levels in some of these states like New York, you’re looking at hurting job creators, small business owners, and their employees.

Because when you hurt small business owners and when you hurt job creators, you hurt the employees that work for them because it takes capital away from being able to create jobs and expand businesses and it puts it in Washington D.C. It’s not as useful there.

Leahy: You mentioned state governments. And this is a theme that I’ve been talking about that it’s time for the states to assert the authority that they have in the Constitution that’s been usurped by the federal government. You look at the states and you see that there are a number of states maybe 15 or so that have really gone out of their way to crush small businesses.

But there are other states like Tennessee that are more small business-friendly. What kind of role do you play in talking with these various states and do you see an increase in the small business friendliness of certain states while it becomes less friendly in other states?

Parker: Yes. So we have members all across the country and obviously a lot of the issues that we deal with at the federal level. We see in a microcosm at state levels. And so we do focus on those issues directly impacting our members. First of all, let me start with the fact that small business owners are not political. It’s not about It’s for them. It’s about growing their business.

It’s about having the freedom to grow their business and hire more people and be the entrepreneurs that they are. And they are the most flexible and they can adjust in ways that big business can’t to things like the pandemic. I mean, you’ve seen restaurant owners go from indoor dining to curbside pickup to deliveries. I mean the things that small business owners have done to survive this pandemic in spite of the government.

Not because the government helped them but in spite of government shutdowns and local ordinances and things like that is what has helped them survive. And to come back and slap them in the face with things like $15 an hour minimum wage hikes and environmental regulations and labor regulations and healthcare increased costs and all kinds of things that are being talked about on the Democratic side.

We have to spend time educating our legislators on how will impact small business because they drove this economy. They were on the front end of the pandemic. But they, I truly believe Michael that they will be the drivers to get us out of this. But we have to help them through good policy.

Leahy: I can tell from your voice that you talked with a lot of small business owners and you can feel the passion they have for being successful and delivering the services and products that they want to deliver independently. I think that’s the theme. There’s a character of the members of small businesses that seems to it embodies the American character. It seems to me.

Parker: Yeah and I do talk to small business owners every day. And they’re very concerned about the types of policies that they are coming down the pike at them. And they are directed right at them because they don’t have wars of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington D.C. I mean, they are many times the chief, cook, and bottle washer of their organizations.

And what I try to help them understand is they are not alone. This is a community. The small business community. No matter what industry you’re in is a community of 30 million voices in this country. And when we rally them together and bring them together and amplify that voice through the media, through talking in Washington or your state capitals and talking to legislators and helping and getting involved and engaged through organizations like Job Creators Network.

This is what we do. Legislators understand. And the best thing that small business owners can do or any American can do is vote. And that’s what makes them so valuable to politicians is their vote. And so small business owners can have a huge impact in the next two years before the next election. In telling politicians what they need in order to come out of this pandemic.

Leahy: When you look at the various state policies and how they respond to these policies, are you seeing some states that have more small business-friendly policies than others? And what does that mean for the growth of small businesses in those states? We have one minute here Elaine.

Parker: Well, look, there’s an exodus of people from New York in small businesses and individuals coming to Florida. And they’re not coming just for the weather although that’s enticing. They’re coming because they’re tired of the lockdowns. They’re tired of the high taxes. Cuomo’s promised high taxes. And they want to come here and have more freedom and run their businesses and be left alone, frankly, and get out of this pandemic. My hope is that they don’t bring their politics to Florida. (Chuckles)

Leahy: Exactly.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Elaine Parker” by Elaine Parker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Avenue Owner of Simply the Best and Ensemble Geoffrey Lee Discusses the Loss of His Businesses in Nashville Downtown Blast

Second Avenue Owner of Simply the Best and Ensemble Geoffrey Lee Discusses the Loss of His Businesses in Nashville Downtown Blast

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Nashville small business owner Geoffrey Lee to the show to discuss the loss of his businesses in the Christmas day bombing and the lack of support from local and state governments.

Leahy: We are joined now by Geoffrey Lee who is the owner of two small businesses called Ensemble and Simply the Best. He is a small business owner whose businesses were destroyed by the Nashville bombing on Christmas day. Good morning, Geoffrey. Thanks for joining us.

Lee: Good morning, Michael. How are you?

Leahy: Well, you know, it’s a troublesome day and it’s been a troublesome week. It’s been a troublesome previous year and 2021 is not starting off well. Of course, for you, Christmas Day did not start off well at all. Tell us what your Christmas morning was like.

Lee: Well, Christmas morning started out well. I was out back smoking a brisket at about 4:30 a.m. in the morning and my wife came running out at about 6 am and said that there had been a camper explosion. And you know, it’s Second Avenue so we were used to things happening. And then she came back out and said you’ve got to see this and it was horrific. I mean we realized that both of our stores, Ensemble was basically at ground zero, and the other store the $10.00 Boutique was up the street and it was obvious that in a blink of the eye we’d lost everything.

Leahy: So you don’t live on Second Avenue you live elsewhere in the city? Is that right?

Lee: We live in Mount Juliet.

Leahy: Okay, so you’re out there in Mount Juliet and you see this. What do you do after you see this happen?

Lee: Pray. (Chuckles) We knew that we couldn’t get in the car and get down there because it was obvious that everything was blocked off. And so we sat riveted to the TV and watched it unfold and it was horrible.

Leahy: What time did you finally get to take a look at what remained of your businesses?

Lee: Well, actually Michael we haven’t to date. Both of our buildings are in what they call the red zone which means that the buildings are unstable. The one building had collapsed in on itself. So there’s nothing to see. And the other building is deemed unsafe. So we have really not been able to see our stores. The first responders have pulled a couple of things from the front of the store that was not damaged in the bomb blast, which is incredible. But as far as seeing it we haven’t been there.

Leahy: So tell us a little bit about what each store had, what you sold, and how much business you would have at each one. Describe each store for us, please.

Lee: Simply the Best $10. The boutique is really iconic on Second Avenue. It’s been there for 11 years. It caters to the tourists. The tourists will come in and they love it because it’s all one price point. They grab their souvenirs. If they forgot a belt they grab a belt and if they need a scarf they got a scarf. So it was kind of like a go-to destination. The local concierge would send visitors to Nashville to the other store Ensemble, which was two doors up is a ladies fashion boutique fashion and accessories and it’s catered to easy to wear stuff.

Leahy: Now you started the first business called Simply the Best 11 years ago. When did you start Ensemble?

Lee: Six years ago.

Leahy: So did put your whole life savings into both these businesses?

Lee: Yes.

Leahy: So where do things stand now? Do you have insurance? Do you have any government assistance? What’s your plan for your businesses now?

Lee: We do have insurance and thankfully it was not deemed domestic terrorism because that helps a great deal. and President Trump declared a national disaster zone so that helps with taxation. As far as other help we’ve had individuals reach out to us. We’ve had the downtown visitors bureau reach out to us.

We want to rebuild but we also are a realist and know that rebuilding where we were at is not going to happen. I mean, the buildings that we lost will not be salvaged. I mean they might salvage the front but that’s many years in advance. So we want to rebuild. We don’t know – we’re in a holding pattern right now.

Leahy: Now, did you own the building?

Lee: No, we don’t. We lease the building from a group out of Savannah, Georgia.

Leahy: Great. Can you hold through the break? We want to talk more about your plan to recover and what Nashville can do to help you.

Lee: Sure.

(Commercial break)

Leahy: We were talking and you said you do have insurance. You haven’t been able to go back there yet. The inventory in the stores is basically gone and not usable?

Lee: Completely. I mean that the fixtures the inventory everything is gone. One building collapse in and of itself. So it’s just rubble right now and the other one the blast went through it.

Leahy: So it’s gone. And you do have some insurance. Have you received the insurance proceeds or that in the process right now?

Lee: It’s all in process.

Leahy: What percentage of what you need to start again are you going to are you getting from insurance?

Lee: Well, it’s really up in the air, Michael, because some of it comes down to basing your profitability on last year, which was a COVID year when we were down 65 percent versus the year before which is a true number. So there’s a lot of moving parts with regard to the insurance. So we don’t really know.

Leahy: The likelihood that you’re going to get enough back on insurance so that you can start again is what? What’s the probability you’ll get enough or maybe be a little bit short?

Lee: It will definitely be short. Particularly because of our insurance policies. I mean, like so many people we really didn’t keep up with them as we should have. When we started in 2011 the costs were quite a bit less than they are now. And especially with Nashville being the ‘it’ city is in a premium downtown.

Leahy: So do you have a plan for securing enough capital open again? Will you open both stores? And if our listeners are interested in helping is there a way that they can do that?

Lee: Yes, we’re going to start with one store. We would open up Simply the Best again, and we’re just looking for space. As far as help, we have a GoFundMe page and it can be found on EnsembleNashville.com.

Leahy: EnsembleNashville.com. How much have you raised so far?

Lee: We’ve raised almost $30,000 right now.

Leahy: Well, that’s a start, isn’t it?

Lee: That’s a good start. That’s a good start.

Leahy: But significant capital is required to open such a business. I think your plan makes an awful lot of sense. Geoffrey, you need space. Where are you looking for space right now? Now, what would make sense? Somewhere downtown?

Lee: Our business model is really based on tourism. So we’re looking in the downtown corridor. We’ve got a real estate agent that’s helping us. And hopefully some other business owners as far as those that own buildings downtown will reach out, also.

Leahy: And you need street level right?

Lee: We do.

Leahy: How many square feet are you looking for?

Lee: We’re looking for about 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.

Leahy: What’s the market like? Are there retail spots available outside the blast zone that might make some sense for you guys?

Lee: It’s tough. It’s too early to tell. Most building owners would rather lease to larger honky-tonks and what – not just from a revenue standpoint. And we get that. So it will difficult, but we have complete hope and faith that it will happen. And I guess we move on from there.

Leahy: Well, it sounds so that when you’re operating in a non-COVID environment. The Simply the Best $10 products that are tourist-oriented sounds like that would be you know something that would have you probably having decent revenue.

Lee: We had great revenue there. Yes. It was a wonderful situation.

Leahy: So let’s assume you do find a place. If there’s somebody that owns retail property out there right now and they’re looking for a tenant, how do they get in touch with you? What’s the best way to connect with you?

Lee: The best way is through my cell phone at 615-944-4062.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio