House Party; Corporate Welfare; Field of Honor

House Party:  A recent Harpeth Hills house party at the home of Pam and David Kidd honored 20th District Chancery Court candidate Scott Tift, 36.

As a partner at Barrett, Johnston, Martin & Garrison, Tift worked alongside the late George Barrett last five years of his life to represent people, often in employment and civil rights cases, with the goal of “trying to make good things happen in the community.” He practiced several years at Bass, Berry, Sims where he represented business interests before Barrett’s invitation to join his firm to “represent people.”

Tift notes his experience in both representing people and representing business would “make it easier to be fair and impartial in decisions.”  Chancery Court decisions often review Metro Government actions or appeal those of the State of Tennessee.

Tift is competing for the Democratic Primary nomination for Chancery Court with Bone McAllester Norton attorney Ann Martin. The winner of the 2018 general election against a Republican nominee would serve four years to complete retired Chancellor Carol McCoy’s term.

(L-R) Deputy Commissioner Ted Townsend, Economic and Community Development, visited with Green Hills Rotary President David Howard prior to a recent breakfast meeting.

(L-R) Deputy Commissioner Ted Townsend, Economic and Community Development, visited with Green Hills Rotary President David Howard prior to a recent breakfast meeting.

Now on the 20th district bench is Republican Chancellor Bill Young who Gov. Bill Haslam appointed last year following McCoy’s retirement. Young has not yet indicated whether he is running to retain the chancellorship.

The winner of next year’s election will serve for four years, completing McCoy’s term. The next election for a full eight-year post will be in 2022.

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Corporate Welfare?: Deputy ECD Commissioner Ted Town- send publicly denounced at Green Hills Rotary recent state-wide newspaper articles characterizing State Economic and Community Development capital grant campaign as an example of “corporate welfare” costing taxpayers money without creating promised jobs.

The Tennessean wrote that of 13 capital grant projects reviewed, nine have hit their job creation promises or are on track to do so.  There is, they say, no accountability for some companies that received incentives but don’t report their hiring progress to local economic development boards or the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Further, they claimed, “A group of companies getting subsidies from Tennessee’s main grant program, Fast-Track, fulfilled about 80 percent of all jobs committed. Some exceeded their hiring expectations, but nearly 40 percent said in 2016 they had fewer than half of the jobs promised.”

Speaking candidly at Green Hills Rotary, Townsend said, “We do track jobs and we also track how we are financing jobs and the cost per job. Why would we not?” He insisted ECD is careful with investments in corporations which create jobs.

Townsend called the newspaper series “irresponsible journalism” stating he found “many misrepresentations in the article.” He defended Gov. Bill Haslam’s economic development program which increased (economic development) spending by 80 percent from 2011 to 2017.  Townsend said “we are not writing these checks to companies and they are taking the cash. We are investing it.”
He said the series, “isn’t fair journalism  It doesn’t give you the right glimpse on what we are doing here and why it is important to our state.” However, he said writing an op-ed would likely be a waste of time.

Townsend did not address criticism from a State Comp- troller’s 2016 audit which asserts state and local officials rely only on companies’ self-reported job figures, which aren’t always accurate.
The ECD is responsible for recruiting business and industry to the state as well as Tennessee’s overall economic growth.  Townsend announced among the “most exciting (recruits) announced recently is LG.  “That manufacturing facility is going to be highly advanced probably the most advanced in their network.  They are going to be producing washing machines and hopefully many more appliances     in the future but that could have been gone anywhere. It was highly competitive and Tennessee won the facility for the state.”  He said the state would “happy to recruit an Amazon from Washington State to Tennessee.” He reported Tennessee is definitely competing for Amazon.

For further information on ECD, go to https://www.tn.gov/ ecd.  Green Hills Rotary meets Fridays at 7:15 a.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church, 3701 Hillsboro Pike.

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Field of Honor: The Donelson-Hermitage Exchange Club will hold their Second Annual Field of Honor Veterans Day Weekend November 8-12. The event is free and open to the public.

Those who would like to place a flag in honor of someone or in honor of all American veterans can order a flag for $30 by mail from Exchange Club of Donelson, Box 391, Hermitage, TN 37076. A flag may also be obtained from a secure site at healingfield.org/hermitage17/.  The flags ordered can be picked up at the Victory Field event.  View the display of 1,000 American Flags on the Victory Field facing Lebanon Road at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. The entrance is just off Old Hickory Boulevard at 4580 Rachel’s Lane in Hermitage. The opening ceremony will be Friday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. with the closing ceremony Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. Contact Phil Ponder at 615-481-4496 for further information or visit healingfield.org/hermitage17/ on the internet.

Contact Drucilla Smith at drucillasmith@outlook.com