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 Tennessee Star education reporter TC Weber in studio to discuss the lack of good candidates for Nashville’s upcoming mayoral election.
Leahy: Our great education reporter, TC Weber is in studio. TC, I’m going to throw you a curveball. Are you ready?
Leahy: What we want to do here is chat a little bit about the mayor’s race. It’s not exactly an educational story, but it’s a local story. You’ve lived here since 1989?
Weber: I’ve been here since 1989. And over the last several years, I’ve been very involved in monitoring the mayor’s race. As you know, Nashville is set up very uniquely. The mayor does not have any power over the school board and over the schools other than writing a check.
Weber: But he can’t tell them what it goes to. And various mayors have tried to put forward effort to take over the school district and try to exert their control. And there are those who feel they should have more control because they’re judged by schools as part of the record, but they have no influence.
I always pay attention, and I know many of the people involved in the mayor and the council and such. This is an interesting race. This is the one that makes you scratch your chin and go, hmmm.
Leahy: Who’s the least bad at the present? Historically, what the school board has done is they’ve given the one-finger salute to the mayor when they asked to control. Because it’s our budget. Just sign the check and you got nothing else to do.
We can get into that a little bit more. That’s got to change because we have some of the worst-performing K12 public schools in the state and in the country here. Okay, so let’s kind of shift gears. You’ve been writing for us for about a year now, and you’ve been doing your blog, Dad’s Gone Wild for a long time.
Weber: Almost 10 years.
Leahy: Is it true that you’ve got into fights with Twitter? Or fights or discussions with just about every major candidate for mayor?
Weber: Now that I sit here and talk about it, I think that I have had a scrap with just about every candidate except for Matt Wilshire. But Matt Wilshire hasn’t been anywhere near the radar relatively. I’ve got into a scrap with his ex-wife Lisa before about issues. But, yes, sad but true, I’ve had a scrap with just about every one of them.
Leahy: Can I give you my assessment right now and get your reaction to the announcement, of potential candidates for mayor?
Leahy: From the ones we know about. Sharon Hurt, Freddie O’Connell, Matt Wilshire, and Jim ‘Carpet Bagger’ Gingrich.
Weber: I don’t know who he is.
Leahy: Well, nobody knows who he is except in his mind, he’s a legend already. And he’s lived here for what, three years?
Weber: Yeah, I think three. I think. And during the pandemic, let’s say. He didn’t get out and meet a lot of folks.
Leahy: Bob Freeman, who’s been in here, this studio a week ago today, he was here in this studio. And then I heard the name and briefly spoke with her on Saturday, Alice Roli, who’s kind of a Lamar person. She’s kind of gone through a series of jobs.
Weber: Well, she was with Music Makes US, and they’ve done good work there, but I’m not sure how you make the jump from that. I’m baffled by that one. And I like her. I like her family a lot, but I’m baffled.
Leahy: Yes. I don’t think any of them, any of them are going to be good candidates. Would you agree with me on that?
Weber: I would agree 100 percent. And I think this is one of those elections where we have to really think about because it’s going to set the direction of where Nashville goes.
We may actually be at a breaking part from the past and move into the future, or we’ve got to figure out how much of old Nashville we’re going to keep and how much new Nashville is going to embrace. And it’s a hard decision, and I hope people are paying attention and I hope they’re getting out and voting.
Leahy: Our listeners represent about the 25 percent of Nashville that is conservative, and that’s our base. And for our listeners, folks, we’re going to find a candidate that you can back that has a chance to win. I don’t know who that person is yet.
Weber: I don’t know. It sounds to me like you might be out looking for the Loch Ness Monster.
Leahy: (Laughs) Boom. That’s funny, TC. (Laughter)
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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 “TC Weber” by Thomas “TC” Weber for MNPS District 2 School Board. Background Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.