All-Star Panelist Clint Brewer: Titan Stadium Deal ‘Is Going to Get Bumped to the Heel of the Discussion’ After Mayor Cooper’s Announcement He Will Not Run for Re-Election

All-Star Panelist Clint Brewer: Titan Stadium Deal ‘Is Going to Get Bumped to the Heel of the Discussion’ After Mayor Cooper’s Announcement He Will Not Run for Re-Election

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 all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to discuss how with current Mayor John Cooper out of the mayor’s race, the Titans Stadium deal is no longer important amongst candidate positions.

Leahy: With us, our very good friend Clint Brewer. Clint, we only have you for this segment. You have to boogie out and do some business.

Brewer: Got some business to attend to.

Leahy: Got some business to attend to. But I wanted to go back to the mayor’s race. I think it’s fascinating. I have an idea. I don’t know if all my ideas are good.

Brewer: I don’t know if anybody in the Metro government is going to listen to you either, Mike.

Leahy: Oh, nobody in the Metro government would listen. Let me just stop for a moment. Nobody currently in the Metro government is going to listen to me now. I think right now in Metro Nashville, probably 30 percent of the population listens to this show and they probably all pretty much agree with 90 percent of what we do, right?

Brewer: Ehh. Ehh. (Laughs)

Leahy: But yeah, okay, maybe not 90 percent, maybe 70 percent. Anyway, we have a base in Davidson County of people who vote in the mayoral election. And I wanted to run this by you since your experience in Davidson County and have been a Tennessean your entire life.

Brewer: Entire life.

Leahy: Yes, which I haven’t. I mean, I’ve only lived here for 31 years.

Brewer: You’re grandfathered in.

Leahy: Am I grandfathered in?

Brewer: Yes.

Leahy: But here’s the question. Would a mayoral candidate who makes, as one of their key platform elements, opposition to the Tennessee Titans Stadium deal, would they be able to garner support and gain support with such a position?

Brewer: I don’t think you’re going to find a candidate who is out front and overwhelmingly in favor of it. I mean, they may not be against it as it currently stands, the current version of the deal. They’re not going to say, I support it; we’re going to do this deal. I don’t think any of them are going to say that.

I think all of them are going to say something very similar, which is, we need to take a look at it. We’re going to have to revisit that. We’ve got a conversation about other priorities in the city. I know the people who are working on it don’t want to hear this, but I think it’s going to get bumped to the heel of the discussion.

Leahy: And by that, you mean it won’t really be fully discussed until after we have a new mayor.

Brewer: Yes. I think that you’ll have maybe a couple who will come out and say, I’m against it as it stands now, we need a better deal. I think there are some who are going to come out and say, we have more studying and more thought to apply to this.

I think with Mayor Cooper out of the race, I don’t think that taking a position opposite the stadium gets you as far as it would have with him in the race. Does that make sense? Okay.

Leahy: Because could have been the poster child, right, that you could go after.

Brewer: That only sort of buttresses your argument. If you’ve got a counterpoint. Had he chosen to run again, he would have had to have owned it. And he would have to. Without that foil there I just don’t know how much I don’t think that the difference in the candidates’ positions is going to be that different, where it gives anybody an advantage.

Leahy: A foil, you say? I love that term. (Laughs)

Brewer: Before we move on, I know this is our host’s least favorite topic in the mayoral race, but I’m just going to say it.

Leahy: Well, hold it. You can say whatever you want to.

Brewer: I know. That’s why I’m about to say it.

Leahy: He’s trying to set me up for this.

Brewer: No, I’m not. I just want to say that we’ve had another interesting entrant into the race. It’s a very interesting field, but until former mayor Megan Barry says whether she’s going to run or not, we don’t really know what we’re dealing with.

Leahy: Oh, I’m delighted to talk about the former mayor.

Brewer: Well, I’m just telling you, she’s the heavy out there, and in an open seat, somebody with that level of popularity can’t be discounted. And I just think she has to continue to be a political consideration for the field until she states affirmatively. I don’t know that a reporter has asked her, but she is still a very popular public figure in Nashville, and I think she would be formidable in a race.

Leahy: She’s never accepted our invitation to come on The Tennessee Star Report. She’s welcome to come on. It will be a direct set of questions for her. For the traffic at The Tennessee Star and for the ratings of The Tennessee Star Report, it would be a boom if Megan Barry got into the race because of her disgraceful departure from the mayor’s office.

Brewer: And to be fair to her, I don’t know that she’s even entertaining the idea. But with an open seat, it just creates a lot of possibilities.

Leahy: Yes, I think that’s right. Now, let’s talk about possibilities. I’m very interested as you know, the Davidson County Republican Party will be selecting their new chair on Saturday. I’ve gone on the record as endorsing my friend Lonnie Spivak for that role.

He’s been around for a long time and is a very capable, very good guy. And I think the mayor’s race presents an opportunity for the Davidson County Republican Party. I think our listeners will know that Clint’s facial expressions indicate he’s not so sure.

So let me pose that in terms of a question. Is there an opportunity for someone who’s not a total left-wing lunatic, and I would put pretty much, I don’t know, just Jim Gingrich at all but the others, I think, are?

Brewer: I don’t think any of them are left-wing lunatics.

Leahy: I think they are.

Brewer: I think the field as a whole is left of center.

Leahy: You are such a kind person Clint.

Brewer: Broadly, there’s opportunity in metro politics for Republicans and conservatives to run and win. I’m always a fan of let’s crawl before we walk and let’s walk before we run. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Republican Party here could maybe pick off a school board seat or two?

Leahy: I understand what you’re saying. I don’t disagree.

Brewer: Let’s start somewhere reasonable. Let’s not just go straight to the top of the ticket.

Leahy: But here’s the other thing. You see, from an organizational perspective, this opportunity is so interesting, I think it makes sense to have a credible candidate out there that the GOP can support. Maybe they get 30 percent, maybe they get 35 percent. Maybe they squeak into the runoff.

Brewer: Mayor Cooper was very effective at recruiting conservatives to his last campaign.

Leahy: And they are not feeling good about the way he treated them. They felt like he was deceptive.

Brewer: And so the question becomes, do conservatives in this county repeat that exercise and sort of pick a horse that they can live with?

Leahy: Let me say from the announced candidates, and I’ll add Bob Freeman to this, Bob Mendes or Megan Berry, the absolute unanimity, is we’re not going to fall for the Jim Cooper plan again. And we need somebody else.

Brewer: The John Cooper plan.

Leahy: Thank you. It’s early.

– – –

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










Nashville-Area Democrat Bob Freeman Ponders Leaving the State House for City Hall to Tackle the Titans Stadium Deal, Metro Public Schools

Nashville-Area Democrat Bob Freeman Ponders Leaving the State House for City Hall to Tackle the Titans Stadium Deal, Metro Public Schools

Live from Music Row, Monday 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 State Representative Bob Freeman (D-Nashville) in studio to answer questions on a run for Nashville mayor, reducing Metro Council, Titans Stadium deal, and the state of MNPS.

Leahy: State Representative Bob Freeman is in studio. Well, Bob, the political world here in Nashville kind of blew up on Tuesday when Mayor John Cooper, announced on Tuesday that he’s not running for reelection surprised a lot of people. And then all of a sudden, they’re various people who hadn’t announced are considering it.

And so already announced Matt Wilshire, Freddie O’Connell, and Sharon Hurt. In the possible running lane, Bob Mendes and former mayor Megan Barry. I hope she gets in because it will be like traffic gold for us here. Ratings gold for us if Megan Barry gets in, for obvious reasons.

But the big question, since you’re in here today, since your father, who founded the very successful real estate company that you run now. Your father, Bill Freeman, ran for mayor in 2015, spent a lot of money, and finished in third place, I think it was.

Freeman: Yes. About 150 votes out.

Leahy: But now here you are. You’ve served in the state legislature since 2018. You have, as you pointed out, which I didn’t know, you’ve been a sponsor of a number of bills that have come become law, which is not, for our listeners, an insignificant accomplishment for a member of the minority party to be able to work that. But now, Bob, you said that you’re considering running for mayor. Are you going to run for mayor? Will you make that announcement on this program here today, this morning?

Freeman: That’s a tricky question. You get me in here at 6:00 am in the morning, a little loopy, and see if I’ll…

Leahy: I did offer you coffee.

Freeman: I know, I know.

Leahy: But you’re not loopy. You’re coherent. You’re on point.

Freeman: I’m kidding. So when he made that announcement, my phone immediately started blowing up. And there has been a pretty strong draft me to run group of people that are looking for the candidate that they want to support. It’s not a secret, but my wife had a health scare.

We dealt with some breast cancer last year, and my father has been going through some health issues. It’s not as easy as just deciding what do I want to do, there are other factors there and I am actively working through those decisions. I’m talking to people that I trust and asking their opinion, and I plan on making a decision this week or the first of next week.

I think that what our city needs right now more than anything is that our next mayor can actually work with the state and can help the state realize that this should be a very profitable and successful partnership and that the success of Nashville drives the success of the state.

We provide, depending on what you’re listening to, half of the state revenue. We account for all of the population growth for the most part of the state. People are moving to Middle Tennessee and droves the growth of Williamson, Wilson, and Rutherford is in large part due to Nashville.

And this idea that we can have a combative relationship with the state has been shown to not be true. Look at the legislation that’s in front of us right now to cut the council size, remove the funding for the Music City Center, remove the airport board or airport authority, and the sports authority.

These are all decisions that should be made locally. And if we had the ability to sit down with the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker and negotiate in good faith, I think we would be in a different spot.

Leahy: You mentioned the bill before the Tennessee General Assembly to cut the size of the Metro Council from 40 to 20. What’s your opinion on that bill?

Freeman: I’m going to answer it two ways. One, I think the bill is horrible. I think the idea that people from outside of Nashville get a say in how we do politics here locally is laughable at best. We have members on the right that run for small government local control, and here they are coming in from a body of 99 saying it’s unwieldy to have a body of 40 is kind of a joke.

Especially when they’ve got a county commission of 25. Again, saying that 20 is the right number is kind of a joke. That being said, I don’t know that it isn’t a bad idea to have a smaller council. I don’t know that it isn’t a bad idea to have a council that maybe meets as we do for half the year.

Leahy: By the way, people listening said, oh yeah, Metro Council only meets half a year. I think there’s a lot of applause going on for that right now. Mayor Cooper, being the leader is probably applauding that.

Freeman: I come from a legislative body that meets for half the year. And we are very effective. We have standing committees that meet year-round which I think the council could do. But again, that’s the decision of the voters of Nashville, and they voted it down in 2000. And what was it? 15, I think was the most recent.

Leahy: Let me ask you another question. The Tennessee Titans want to put together a $2.2 billion stadium, mostly subsidized by the state and the city, asterisk, on the city, but the state, the Tennessee General Assembly voted to give $500 million to the Titans for that stadium. You were in the General assembly. Did you vote for that?

Freeman: I did.

Leahy: You did? So you think it’s a good idea for people living in Johnson City to subsidize a bunch of millionaires in the NFL? Do you like the way I framed that? (Chuckles) 

Freeman: If you put it that way, no. But if you talk about a $500 million dollar investment in an entity that could make billions of dollars every year in tax revenue from hotels, restaurants, buildings, and businesses that want to be downtown next to the new Titan Stadium, it’s a great business deal.

I always look at things, especially within the government, as a return on investment. We invest regularly in exits to nowhere. We invest in community centers in some of these small rural towns that have no return. We need to continue to do those, but we need to start looking at some of these things and look at the return on the investment that we’ve got.

Leahy: Question for you, and this is very detailed. If you were to run for mayor and if you were to become mayor and win the election right now, the Metro schools are an absolute, total abysmal disaster. Two-thirds of third graders can’t read or write at grade level.

Freeman: Across the state.

Leahy: Metro Nashville is a terrible school system. Would you agree or not?

Freeman: I wouldn’t use the word terrible at all.

Leahy: Really?

Freeman: You’ve got a city of 800,000-ish people.

Leahy: So you’re happy with the performance of K12 public schools in Nashville?

Freeman: I think that there’s always an ability for improvement, but I would not say they’re abysmal.

Leahy: Really?

Freeman: If you look at how we perform compared to other cities our size that have the same socioeconomic issues that we’ve got and I used to know the number, but I think there are 100 different languages that are spoken in MNPS right now.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Bob Freeman” by Tennessee General Assembly. Background Photo “Titans Stadium” by Thank You (23 Millions+) views. CC BY 2.0.


Nashville Mayoral Candidate Natisha Brooks Outlines Her Agenda Items

Nashville Mayoral Candidate Natisha Brooks Outlines Her Agenda Items

Live from Music Row, Friday 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 mayoral candidate Natisha Brooks in studio to discuss her stance on the Titans Stadium deal, reduction of Metro Council members, police support, education, and fixing the budget.

Leahy: We are in studio with the sartorially splendid Natisha Brooks. She’s running for mayor. That website will be up in a couple of days over the weekend. Natisha, are you ready for the big question?

Brooks: Yes, I’m ready.

Leahy: All of the experts tell us that to mount a successful campaign for mayor. The election is going to be in August. August 3rd.

Brooks: Correct.

Leahy: You need about $2 million.

Brooks: That is correct.

Leahy: Now, I looked at your financial reports from the time you were in for Congress. There were fewer zeros on that report.

Brooks: Yes.

Leahy: And so the question is, do you agree that will take $2 million to win?

Brooks: Oh, yes.

Leahy: You do?

Brooks: I already predict the outcome. Myself against Sharon Hurt. And if you don’t know who Sharon Hunt is, she’s going to play the color card. We’re going to do the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We’re going to play the character card. Bring character back to Nashville.

Not your color. We’re not vying to try to be the first black mayor. We’re trying to bring character, not color. Character back to Nashville. Folks., we will raise the money.

We have to raise at least $2 million to help take this city back. Hit that donate button. Donors, PACs, I’m coming for you. We love your prayers, but, Michael, we need your cash.

Leahy: (Chuckles) Love your prayers but need your cash.

Brooks: Need your cash.

Leahy: This is why people love Natisha. Just right to the point.

Brooks: We need your cash.

Leahy: And you think you can raise $2 million? It’s a long order. Color me a little skeptical on the ability to raise $2 million from scratch.

Brooks: Catholics, Methodists, we believe. We’ve got faith. We’re going to raise it. I need you to hit I need your cash. We need your cash. We got to get out there, get ahead. By the way, some of you will wake up Monday morning and see signs all over Nashville. Ms. Brooks is already ready to put at least $100,000 of my own money into the race.

Leahy: Now, let me ask the next question. You know, there’s this little deal out there where I’ve talked about it, and I think it’s a terrible deal. It’s where the Tennessee Titans have basically stuck their hand out and said, Tennessee state taxpayers give us some money.

And the state of Tennessee inexplicably is giving them half a billion dollars. And then Metro Nashville is doing all sorts of things to leverage their special taxes and privileges that have been given to them by the state legislature to use that for bonding to raise another $750 million.

And then the NFL supposedly is going to give $800 million. But it doesn’t look like there’s really a lot of it actually coming out of the pockets of the family that owns the Titans. It’s a $2.2 billion deal. As mayor, do you oppose or favor this stadium deal?

Brooks: Currently, right now, Michael, we oppose it, and I’m going to tell you why. One, if someone would put a concrete plan in front of Natisha of how we’re going to pay for the stadium, and that’s why you need to vote Natisha for Nashville for mayor, we’re the only ones that are going to be able to work with the Tennessee State Legislature.

I’m going to be up there, and we’re going to have to have a talk because, Michael, if you looked at the plan so far, where we are parking, Michael, with all this money? Where the stadium is going to be, where are we going to park and why do we have to pay for it?

And I tell people all this all the time. You all know I transplanted from Texas. I say, you can Texas my Tennessee and Tennessee my Texas. But, hey, I would love to sit down and talk with the owner a little bit. I know she’s got a new general manager over there, but right now the answer is no. I am not in favor of the new Titan Stadium currently, right now.

Leahy: What I would suggest is when you say, why don’t you finance it entirely Amy Adams-Strunk? We think it’s a great idea if you pay for it.

Brooks: Yes.

Leahy: Not the city citizens and the voters of Nashville, Davidson County.

Brooks: And the 40-member Metro Council. Just 30 seconds on that. I am in favor of squeezing that down.

Leahy: To 20.

Brooks: You got it!

Leahy: It’s interesting to me; it’s been framed as a sort of punishment, supposedly.

Brooks: Retaliation.

Leahy: Retaliation for not hosting the Republican National Committee convention here in 2024. To me, I mean, I’ve lived in this area for 31 years. When I first moved here, and I heard they had a 40-member Metro council, I said, how do they ever get anything done?

Brooks: Exactly. Let’s just say, Michael, we win. Can you imagine us with 40 members? I don’t want to use the word against because Natisha is going to work, but how can we work with a 40-member council? And how many conservatives do we have down there? We got Swope.

Leahy: Three or four.

Brooks: Three or four. What are we going to do, Michael?

Leahy: Okay. Speaking of what are we going to do? So you’re on the record. Your goal is to raise $2 million.

Brooks: That is correct.

Leahy: You are opposed to the stadium deal.

Brooks: Correct.

Leahy: You favor reducing the council size from 40 to 20.

Brooks: Yes.

Leahy: What are your other agenda items?

Brooks: One, the number one is we have to talk about, everyone knows this. I’m the three C’s. Christian, conservative, constitutionalist. That’s very important to me.

I need you to understand that constituents. But the very first thing I want everyone to know is I am pro-blue. We’re going to take 30 seconds to talk about Memphis. I know Chief Drake myself, personally. He’s a great guy.

Leahy: John Drake here. The police chief in Nashville.

Brooks: Yes. And he’s been here a long time.

Leahy: Long time.

Brooks: Hey, I was in a car accident the other day, Michael.

Leahy: Are you okay?

Brooks: I’m okay a little bit, but I’m not okay that it took 45 minutes for an officer to come to the scene. And just so that you know, is an off-duty officer that got out of his car to help me. We need to talk and sit down about our police. They’re not going anywhere. If we’re going to do a Titan Stadium, let’s increase our police force.

I’m strongly pro-blue. Very pro blue. So that’s one thing. The other thing I want to get something done about this homelessness. Somebody said, well, Miss Brooks, don’t go left on us. I’m not going left, folks. I’m not going left. But one thing I do have to do is have some empathy about folks being on the streets.

Because of our 34 percent tax increase, we got folks that are not one check away from the streets, they’re almost under, just under away from the streets. And just because you’re rich and you live in a $2 million home or $3 million home, I don’t believe in punishing the rich.

Hey, I support the rich. I congratulate the rich. But just because we’re rich or you’ve got money doesn’t mean you need to be taxed more. So, as always, let’s get this budget going. I’m in education.

Let’s talk about the school board. My main focus on the budget with the school board is talking about that curriculum. As you know, Governor DeSantis in Florida did away with the AP Black American History, and I know a lot of African Americans are fired up about it.

Leahy: And the reason is that the last quarter of it was basically left-wing ideology.

Brooks: That is correct.

Leahy: They’ve resubmitted it, by the way.

Brooks: That’s right.

Leahy: And apparently he’s going to prove the resubmission without the left-wing junk.

Brooks: I saw that. But we’ve got to work with education.

Leahy: The problem with education is all the mayor does is say, oh, we approve your budget.

Brooks: Exactly.

Leahy: And then they can spend whatever they want. Are you going to change that?

Brooks: We’re going to change that.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Natisha Brooks” by Natisha Brooks. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by Ichabod. CC BY-SA 3.0.