The Nashville skyline has a building what looks like Batman, what does YOUR dumb city have?

Nashville is a fast-growing city that looks like it was originally designed by a toddler on meth who just REALLY loves circles. The traffic there? ES BAD! But at least downtown is in the middle. Memphis, on the other hand, starts at the Mississippi River, moving east (and north and south), and developers have historically treated the surrounding land like it's AT LEAST twice as big as Siberia, and probably bigger. In short, the two largest cities in Tennessee need more mass transit options, and BAD.

So here is kind of a Wonk update on a story we brought you last year, of how Democratic Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, whose term in office ended at the end of September, had a dream project to make transporation in the city just a little bit easier. It was called the Amp, and it was a "trackless trolley" with a dedicated lane, which would connect the very cosmopolitan West End with gentrifying East Nashville, home to a growing number of musicians, and also some of the city's poorest residents. It would have looked like this:

Pic via Nashville Public Radio

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So what happened to The Amp, which had a hell of a lot of support, from residents, from the federal government ($75 million in support!), and from the city? Well, the state's portion of the funding didn't come through, thanks to the Brothers Koch and Tennessee's very successful state-level chapter of Americans For Prosperity, led by a man named Andrew Ogles. (Such cute "Opposite Day"-style names wingnuts come up with for their various endeavors.) So thanks, Koch brothers and Americans for "Prosperity"!

The project officially died last year after wingnut Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy introduced an ultimately successful amendment to kill it, shocking just about everybody. But the Boston Globe highlighted the situation this weekend as Mayor Dean hands the torch to a new mayor, and as a textbook case of what's happening all over the country now, as booming cities -- which tend to be run by Democrats -- are being stymied in their efforts to do much of anything about fuck-all, by state-level Republicans and their Koch brothers-funded handlers.

But, but, but! There were Nashvillians who hated the Amp too, so maybe it's not just the Koch brothers slithering in and shitting on everything? Sure, you say, Vanderbilt University and the Nashville Chamber Of Commerce wanted the Amp, but what about this lady, who lives out West Nashville way, who is NOT afraid to let her racist flag fly?

But some in the West End, in luxe neighborhoods such as Woodland, feared an influx. One resident, Edie Wenczl, elegantly dressed and wearing a string of pearls, stood during a 2012 public meeting on the Amp to declare her opposition.

“We don’t want the riff-raff of East Nashville in our neighborhood,” said Wenczl, who lives in what she calls a “precious” enclave of stately homes near the route’s western terminus, and explained in an interview that part of her concern was traffic on her street.

Oh, Edie. We know people like you in Memphis. You're a fuckweasel and a bad person.

Another asshole named Rick Williams, who owns a limousine company, explained that those dumb fucking poors with no cars should just stop being dumb fucking poors with no cars:

“Is it my job to use tax money contributed by everybody to help a certain segment out, to say, you don’t want a car and responsibility of owning a car, or car insurance, is it my job to make transportation easier for you?

Hey Rick, have you met Edie? Sounds like y'all should fuck.

Here is a handy list of other things Nashville has tried to do, only to be fucked in the earhole by Republicans in the legislature:

A city ordinance designed to stop discrimination against gays and lesbians was undone by the state. An effort to ban guns in Nashville’s parks was overturned by the state. A plan by the Republican governor to expand Medicaid, providing health insurance for 179,000 Tennesseans, with Nashville the greatest beneficiary, was defeated because it was linked to “Obamacare.”

Man, "small government" Republicans sure do love them some big government when it suits their OWN purposes, don't they? So much for "local control." We're reminded of Maine Gov. Paul LePage's plan to keep dirty liberal Maine towns from paying people a living wage, out of a stated need for "consistency" throughout the state. (The truth, of course, is that Supply-Side Jesus cries when poor people are given tools to rise out of poverty, and people like the Koch brothers like keeping the poors on the lowest rung of the caste system, where they belong.)

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What's insane about Nashville's situation is that literally no one actually won in this fight, aside from the Koch brothers. State Sen. Tracy, who sponsored the bill to murder the Amp? He lives 55 miles away in Murfreesboro and faces a 70-minute commute each way, every single day, according to the Globe. Oh, maybe that asshole lady we quoted above is real happy she hasn't seen any blackity black people on her street lately, but she's probably also the type who bitches and moans when her cleaning lady and her gardener are late for work. Wonder if better public transportation might help them, HUH!

The Globe points out that Nashville is projected to add a million new residents over the next 20 years. So this problem isn't going away anytime soon, but apparently neither are the Koch brothers. (At least until they die LOL how sad that will be awww.)

So now, as newly elected Democratic Mayor Megan Barry begins her time in office, Nashville can report that it's still stuck in traffic. And down here in Memphis, next time we think, "Why the fuck isn't there an easier way to get to X?" we'll remember what the Koch brothers and Americans For Prosperity did to Nashville, and we will put voodoo witch hexes on them, because why not, fuck them.

[Boston Globe]


Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.


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