Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
7 minutes reading time (1426 words)

“The State of Donelson and Hermitage” Forum Coming Plus the Next Mayor’s Night Out and Budget Meetings

Dear Friends –

The Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association is hosting a “State of Donelson and Hermitage” forum at FiftyForward Donelson Station on Monday, March 9th at 7pm.  See flyer below for details.  See you there.

Thursday, March 12th from 6pm – 8:30pm at Hickman Elementary School will be the next Mayor’s Night Out.  See below for details.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, March 12th is also the night is also one of the Budget & Finance Community Meetings.  It will be from 6pm – 7:30pm at the Hermitage Branch Library.  Unfortunately, there was no way to avoid this scheduling conflict with the Mayor’s Night Out.  Initially, this budget community had been scheduled on a different day but had to be moved.  As Budget & Finance Chair At-Large CM Bob Mendes states, “the idea behind these meetings is to give the public an opportunity to see and hear the budget information that the Council has seen and heard over the last 90 days.  During that time, the Council heard from the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee and Metro Finance Director Crumbo about the size and scope of the city’s budget problems and the types of solutions that are available.  We want to make sure the public has this same information and an opportunity to talk about it before Mayor Cooper presents his budget on March 31, 2020.”  Here is the presentation CM Mendes and Budget & Finance Vice Chair District 2 CM Kyzonte Toombs will use to lead the community meeting.
The Metro Public Health Department is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) newest guidance to plan for the likelihood of local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.  Preparing for and responding to outbreaks of diseases is a routine part of Health Department’s activities.  In close and continuing consultation with the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Health, MPHD is taking an approach to COVID-19 similar to that used for other potential  threats such as the H1N1 flu virus, SARS, Ebola and Zika, and the re-emergence of more endemic diseases such as hepatitis A and measles.  As part of the effort to prevent local transmission of COVID-19, they have been monitoring Davidson County residents who meet CDC’s guidelines, based primarily on symptoms and travel history, and/or close exposure to a known positive case.  None identified locally have had the virus.  There has been no local transmission in Nashville, or community-wide spread anywhere in the United States.  While the goal is to prevent local transmission, MPHD’s obligation is to prepare for it and they are doing that.  The Health Department is working with the Mayor’s Office and local partners to ensure that we respond timely, appropriately and efficiently should the need arise.  Mayor John Cooper has indicated any additional resources will be made available should the need arise. 
MPHD will provide timely, accurate and appropriate information to the public and to partners on a regular basis.  To date MPHD is communicating with the CDC and TDH; reviewing its local preparedness plan; implementing an Incident Command System within the department to ensure direct and frequent communication both internally and externally; monitoring travelers who recently have been to China, per CDC guidance; briefing the Mayor’s office and other Metro department heads; and providing local media updates and social media communications.  Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as pneumonia.  The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  Currently, most of the confirmed cases of the illness in the United States are associated with people who recently traveled from China.  There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection.  The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
Even though the risk of COVID-19 is low in the U.S., the Health Department recommends everyone take routine precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as this one, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What follows are links to the CDC’s, TDH’s, and Metro Public Health Department’s websites with more information and guidance specific to 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Our Metro Nashville Police Department’s Body Worn and In-Car Camera Program is finally being launched.  The Metro Council Public Safety - Beer and Regulated Beverages Committee held a special meeting at the Music City Center where MNPD leadership explained the process and demonstrated their use.  I have high hopes their use will be a tool that will help bring greater transparency and trust as well as stronger support of our men and women who protect us each and every day.  I enjoyed the demonstration and thank Chief Steve Anderson and his leadership for implementing a robust and intricate system.  Pictures below are the personal tour of the demonstration vehicle I received from Captain Blaine Whited, who will lead this program.  Thanks to MNPD’s Don Aaron for the photos.  Visit this link for more information and a great video about how they will be used.

Railroad crossings along our major corridors that are blocked during morning and afternoon rush hours is something that I hear quite often.  I have shared this on multiple occasions with US Representative Jim Cooper.  I’m pleased to report that as he was asked to appear before the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, he asked me to submit written testimony to support his appearance at the committee.  Thanks to the many neighbors who provided examples and personal experiences that I included in the below letter I sent in support of the effort to look into this issue.

Save the date!  Our Spring Neighborhood Clean-Up and Bulk-Item Drop-Off will be on Saturday, April 25th from 8am to noon.  Thanks to the Beautification Commissioners in Districts 12, 13, 14 and 15 for organizing this.

I had the opportunity to attend the Jewish Federation’s “Stronger Than Hate” event to stand together against anti-Semitism and support our Jewish community’s initiative to strengthen security at their institutions and places of worship.  I enjoyed the event and was moved by the keynote speaker, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, who was involved in the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history.  Read about it here.  At-Large CM Zulfat Suara and I attended the event along with Vice Mayor Jim Shulman and other elected officials and many community members.

I’ve truly been enjoying being in the Class of 2020 of Leadership Music.  There was a recent opportunity to support One Country Give, in association with Numana, Inc., in hosting a meal packaging event at Cross Point Church to stock up Second Harvest Food Bank.  The event helped pack about 150,000 meals!  It was an extraordinary operation and fun to be part of.  Here’s Deb Barnes (LM Class of 2016) and me showing off our efforts.

As part of the new fare collection project, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board authorized WeGo to enter into a construction contract with Stansell Electric Company, Inc, to install new ticket vending machines (TVMs) and platform validators at all WeGo Star train stations.  These installations will enable customers to purchase new fare cards at each rail station and scan either their phones or card at the platform validator before boarding the train.  The project duration will take approximately four months upon starting and is funded through the FY2019 Capital Plan, utilizing federal dollars matched with state and local funding for a not-to-exceed project total of $450,314.81.
Here is some valuable information on Census 2020.  It’s very important we get this right and be counted accurately for this decade with the incredible growth that’s occurred.  Let’s get every bit of federal investment we can that is reflective of our great needs in keeping up with growth. 


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