It seems as if we idolize musicians, athletes, movie stars, etc every other day of the year, and today is the day we are called to honor one of the most amazing men that has ever walked this planet, Martin Luther King. I want to encourage each of you to wake up everyday and live your life and stand for something. That something or cause may be a whole lot bigger than what you can imagine, but stay the course.
This is an exert from an Instagram post I did back in September after I visited Selma, Al to see my favorite artists Mr. Charlie Lucus and really just to visit the historic city of Selma Alabama.
You all can idolize musicians, actors, athletes, good looking people/models (and in sure this post will get about 1 like vs the non substance bikini pointless pic cause this is Instagram and that's how it rolls) .. But I'll continue studying my heros and teachers, which include MLK at the very top of my list. I felt oddly connected to the small southern desolate town of Selma Alabama. I drove an hour off the interstate to visit Mr. Lucas, my favorite artist, and spent another hour or so getting lost in Selma. I was saddened that one of the most historical cities regarding the #civilrights movement, has been practically forgotten And somewhat eerie. Historical African American museums practically vacant and dead bolted. I actually shed a tear and whispered to myself.. "What is it about that place that gets to me" .. I don't know. Maybe it's the mental pictures of the "Bloody Sunday" and the way humans were treated during those marches to #montgomery ... But I sure have a special place for Selma in my heart, not just because of #MrCharlie but because of the significance this city played in the human rights and civil rights movement for not just #africanamericans but #equality for all humans . LOVE is stronger than hate .. PRESERVE blackhistory and all UShistory that sheds light on #progression and forward thinking ... and young people .. never forget that we all, as a human race, every color , have to respect the people who are got us here and the ones who will get us where we need to go in the fight for love. I'm convinced and have hope for a better world everyday. ( if you don't know about The Selma Movement, do yourself a favor, look it up) #selma #alabama #leadership #history #movementsmakehistory and that's a fact.
I have not yet seen the film Selma, and I actually wrote this before I even knew there was a film about Selma Alabama and the march to Montgomery. But I would like everyone to really think hard about who you look up to, who influences you, and how well you care about the ones who created the world we live in today. I was not living during all of the civil rights movement, and I honestly couldn't imagine. MLK said "Today's expression in Montgomery is the expression of 50,000 people who are tired of being pushed around." I continue to be inspired by MLK EVERYDAY to NOT BE PUSHED AROUND. If it weren't for him, I don't know if I would be inspired to stand up against the corruption and some of of the issues I am currently dealing with in my own neighborhood. I truly believe that each of us can create a movement if we are passionate enough about what we are fighting for. So today I marched in honor of MLK, but I march everyday because of him and the example he set as a true martyr and the TRUE definition of LOVE .
One of my favorite MLK quotes that reminds to be great everyday , and LOVE is everything is the following :
Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Here are some of the photos I took of Selma, Al in September of this year. when I went to visit my sweet friend and favorite artist Charlie Lucus. His art is all inspired by the civil rights movement, his passion for the arts ( outsider art is what we call because we have no formal training :-) it and for human rights means so much to me. Also a few picture of me at the Lorraine Motel In Memphis Tennessee where Dr. King lost his life
This is what it is like to live on Katie Hill. I can't really write into words the feeling this production by Ray Zate and Stephanie Langston with Dark Room Creative gives me. Just watch. And LOVE.
Nashville Ready Mix Proposes concrete Batch Plant - NorthEast Nashville's Katie Hill Community is Not Happy.
* notice of correction. I incorrectly quoted who is representing Nashville Ready Mix as Jessica Lucyshyn. Those statements were corrected below and now show the correct attorney representing Nashville Ready Mix as Erica Garrison with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP.
I debated to write about this on my blog, but hang with me through this. I then realized I am a community organizer and this is what I do. Plus I have a Pit Bull and an English Bulldog. The saying goes true " An owner makes a conscience choice when deciding a particular dog breed that reflects their own personality" :-) .I chose appropriately.
On December 22, 2014, I received a notice from the planning commission titled " Notice of Development Application Filing". ( see image) . The request states the applicant is requesting to amend the community plan and rezone properties to Specific Plan district to permit a new concrete batch plant. As I am sitting down for a hot cup of tea to read the mail, I suddenly stop in silence to process what i just read. What? A concrete batch plant?
This blog entry addresses the following -
The Confused Councilman?
I immediately decided to email My district 2 councilman, Frank Harrison. His response was " How did you find out about this?" and asked me to give him a call. RED FLAG.
After Christmas and all of my Toy Drive, I was able to sit down, and read through the additional notice I received stating there will be a community meeting on January 5, 2015 at the Nashville Ready Mix location at 605 Cowan. I then gave Frank a call to discuss what all of this really meant, obviously before I jump to any conclusions. But the notice was pretty Clear: Amend the community plan and rezone properties to Specific Plan district to permit a new concrete batch plant.
Below is the conversation Frank and I had on 12/28/2014 ( you can either read or listen - i am posting the recording in a separate blog - click here ). Either one of two things occurred, either Frank was lying to me, or really just has NO idea what is going on in District 2. Either way, what a shame. I had not intended on recording this ,but I was so busy that week, and quite honestly did it so I could listen back. I'm ADD and I miss things. If you would like to read the transcript, here ya go. I have highlighted a few important statement and my thoughs during this conversation are in green after i listened to the conversation over and and over again. ( or BS statements really )
Me- I am finally able to sit down for a minute and look at things. So I wanted to call you and see what you know about this concrete batch plant and re-zoning request that I received a notice on.
So there you have it. I felt disgusted after that conversation. This the first time I have ever first hand experienced the downside of politics. When I asked Frank Harrison his thoughts, he could not answer my question. Frank Harrison really just wanted me to go away. Well, sir, that is not going to happen. His reaction at the community meeting was quite opposite. He knew a lot about the plans to sound so uneducated about them when i was on the phone with him. I have since then spent days and hours doing research with some of my neighbors and found quite a bit of disturbing information about Nashville Ready Mix. I first went to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to see how well This company has complied with environmental standards, unlike what NRM stated in the Tennessean article just written last week. Please take a look at the following violations.
Next up - Nashville Ready Mix - Obviously not Environmentally Ready Mix.
This is a complaint Just recently in October and photos sent in from the individual who filed the complaint - TDEC Stated in the investigation " The failure to maintain appropriate sampling and monitoring records and the failure to have a site specific SWPPP meeting the RMCP permit requirements at the site are violations of the RMCO General NPDES permit, and the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act."
Below are more violations by Nashville Ready mix over the years. I can see why they have never really fixed any of their environmental problems. What is the consequences or fines for dumping concrete in the river, or not having a proper storm water pollution prevention plan? Nothing really.
If you do not wish to read through all of the violations above, let me give you the cliff notes version:
1. Multiple violations in regards to no Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans on Site throughout the years.
2. Complain in 2005 from a citizen that states cement solids were being dumped into the Cumberland River by a front end loader. The results of the investigation concluded that The General Manager of the plant did not even know if a SWPPP for the facility even existed. They also discovered materials had spilled over the walls of the storage bins.
3. in 2012, a complain was made by the city regarding large amounts of materials being tracked out onto Cowan Court. TDEC recommended a sweeper attachment to keep the street clean, yet Jeff Bryant, GM of NRM, decided that they would just "put measures in place to prevent the tracking of materials onto the street". Well, Mr. Bryant, your system hasn't worked very effectively. (See photos ).
4. May 2008 - A NOV/SWO was issues to James, Mark, and Steve Meadows, for grading/Filing without a permit and in a floodplain, inadequate EPSC, and illicit discharge. The penalty was $500. Are you kidding me? $500? This was actually at 1326 Baptist World Center Drive, where Meadows Excavating is located. But interestingly enough, I have NEVER seen a Meadows Excavating truck there, they all say Nashville Ready Mix. It is a huge lot filled with Nashville Ready Mix Trucks. I wonder if this is still going on today since Frank said they are just wanting to "part their trucks legally".
6. May 2011 - A file review indicated that Discharge Monitoring Reports for the following facilities were not submitted to the division since October 2007.
and the list goes on.
All of the violations above are all pretty much awful for our environment and negligent on the part of Nashville Ready Mix. It's obvious they have zero concern for the environment and could give a crap about the community or neighborhood. This is a photo of what it looks like in front of their property just a couple of weeks ago before the community meeting. Hmmm. Looks really nice and clean. I'm sure their attorney or PR person had someone clean it up since I looked yesterday and it wasn't as bad.
And last .. So Fast Foward ... Nashville Next... What?
On Monday January 5, 2014, my self, around 20 other Katie Hill Neighbors, Stephanie McCullough with Metro Planning, Erica Garrison with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP Jessica Lucyshyn, the Attorney for Nashville Ready Mix ( Gresham, Smith & Partners), Frank Harrison - District 2 Councilman, Scott Davis - District 7 Councilman, Walter Hunt - District 5 Councilman, and the GM for Nashville Ready Mix, all gathered in a little tiny room at the Nashville Ready Mix location on Cowan Street. Throughout the entire meeting I was completely confused. Does Stephanie McCullough work for NRM? Does Erica Garrison work for Metro? It was as if we were walking into a situation in which there was no reason to have a meeting. If you would like to hear the entire meeting, click here. This is what Frank Harrison stated half way though the meeting:
"Correct me if i am wrong Councilman Hunt ( who is on the planning commission) , there is no guarantee right now, so when this goes to the planning commission for rezoning and the SP, there may be some questions about the dust, concern about the contamination, or concerns about the proximity to the river and storm water, but all of the engineers at the planning commission are the ones who will be looking at all of this and they are the ones to decide if this is a done deal and if this gets done. So we could sit around here all day and discuss or talk about the pros and cons and what you think would be better or what you think would best, but still the bottom line is that the planning commission and engineers are the one who will determine and give the final ok if this SP and if the rezoning occurs."
Ummm.... So why are we here? Why did you tell me to come to this meeting and express my concerns to Mr. Meadows ( who wasn't even there). The entire room sat in confusion and verbally stated, "Why are we here again?"
The attorney for Mr. Meadows, Erica Garrison, had some very encouraging words as well (Sarcasm) -
This is an SP ( Special Project) so in a very real essence of the community , anything can be put on that site without any community input in the current IWD zoning. In terms as to what can happen on that IWD zoning, anything can happen on that property, there is absolutely no incentive to get community input or requirements to clean up the property, and I’m not saying as a threat, but I am saying that is just the current status of what it is, but under the new SP, if you want additional landscaping that is a conversation that we can have. A Batch plant is not something that everyone absolutely is going to love, but it is a necessary for Nashville and our economy and it is one of those things that we must have and if done in a sensitive way, for areas in which industrial is already there, it can be done very good in our opinion.
News Flash Ms. Garrison, we completely understand what is there now, and understand that Nashville Ready Mix doesn't give a sh*t about cleaning it up obviously. There is trash everywhere and they dump concrete in the Cumberland river. WE get that. And that gives us even more conviction in fighting this. What makes you, as an educated woman, come to the conclusion that Nashville Ready Mix is going to all of the suddenly follow the rules and regulations when it comes to protecting our environment and natural resources? You wouldn't like a concrete batch plant in your back yard spreading contamination, noise, and creating a safety hazard when your children are playing or walking home from school. Get a heart woman, and save your political correct answer for someone else besides me. It's sad to me that people will fight for something so blatantly wrong for a community AND the environment, to get a paycheck or push some hidden agenda. I understand what it is zoned as now, and have NEVER complained. I moved here looking at that dump. I didn't move here and work this hard for my community, to have my councilman, his back door political "good ole boys" system, or the planning commission to change the entire community plan to build a concrete batch plant in my back yard. And lastly Ms. Lucyshyn, no, not just anything can be put in the IWD zoning. Such as a concrete batch plant. If that were the case, the batch plant would already be there, but IWD does not permit Heavy Industrial for a purpose. And yes, its obvious that they don't have to clean it up or do anything with it, its a legal junk yard flowing into the Cumberland River contaminating our water and killing our wildlife. So your creative way to make the SP sound brilliant, doesn't work so well. Your SP would puts heavy manufacturing in an area. It's pretty obvious Ms.Garrison assumed she was talking to a group of Kindergartners.
Ironically, not all businesses or residents got notification of this meeting. Although there was one lady at the meeting in favor of moving the Nashville Ready Mix plant to Vashti. She works for Sound Check and name dropped all of the famous artist who store their equipment in her building and stated they would NOT store their equipment there if dust was a problem or even noise. This lady tried to compare Vince Gill storing his guitar in the building to the fruit distributors that would be storing the fruits and vegetables that feed the army and all of Nashville. Considering the doors being open in the 4 produce buildings surrounding the proposed concrete batch plant, contamination and pollution of food is a HUGE concern and could put these companies out of business and even worse, an epidemic of food contamination across the city of Nashville and beyond. Quite horrific to thing about right? I also researched more into Sound Stage, and ironically, Mr. Steve Meadows, the owner of Nashville Ready Mix, owns the property at 740 Cowan St. , in which Sound Check stores all of its famous and fancy equipment of the almighty country music empire. I wonder why she was even there? It is proposed to move AWAY from her, not in her back yard. She should be screaming praises instead of even opening her mouth. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Mr. Meadows also purchased 411 Cowan Street for $1.25 million in September under the name of :
CI Partners, LLC
6E Monroe Street Suite 300
Chicago, ill. 60603
which is affiliated with:
Monroe Investment Partners
30W Monroe, Suite 1000
Chicago, Ill 60603
All in all, sorry lady, you are not a property owner, you are a renter. And even more, you are irrelevant in the conversation. Bye Felicia.... and bye Vince Gill or Amy Grant. I don't care ???
In conclusion regarding the meeting, it was basically to tell us what to expect and we could pick out what type of trees we wanted as the buffer, how in the hell do you buffer an 85 ft silo in the air? Following the meeting, I nearly cried for 2 hours. I felt so disappointed and saddened that my councilman felt as if this is something good for the community. After all of the hard work I have put into building my community, all of the Nashville Next meetings I have attended and given feedback on how we envision Katie Hill (with Frank Harrison sitting right beside me), and all of the community service work to build my neighbors up.
In the process of everything, I was told Frank Harrison is interested in running for the metro council at large position in the August elections. His seat is up for re-election for district 2 come August. Frank Harrison has stated to a couple of my colleagues " I would like to run for council at large if I don't get any bad press." I have also had 2 people inform me that the right amount to get this stop would be around $30-40k, as that is what would be needed to run a good city wide campaign to be an effective candidate for the council at large position. I have not been able to pin point the money part quite yet, but I will find it if it exist. I have already spent hours in the election commission looking at the contributions made to past 2 campaigns which include mainly of developers and real estate agents. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion if they truly support him, and I cannot state factually if those individuals do or not. I also uncovered that Mr. Meadows was the former Potentate of the Shriners here on Brick Church Pike. Apparently the Shiners are pretty influential people, and ironically where we hold our Nashville North By Northeast meetings every month. No wonder my NNxNE colleagues won't back me up here and just want to sit back and watch.
Let me also say this, I have NEVER taken credit for starting Nashville North By Northeast United, but I will let you all decide who you think is responsible for it, and doing any of the work. I will also let you decide who is in this to build a community or who is in this for money. Wow, have I learned a lot. For example, Not one business owner showed up to the Talbot Family Cemetery Clean up ( which is NOT on Katie Hill, but part of Nashville Northeast) to actually work. One came for a photo op and then left. That was my test in showing who really cared, and no one cares, unless money is involved. It really was just something to talk about in the monthly meeting, and I am tired of being the only one who shares good news, or any news at all. I'm learning so much these days.
I have realized.... those of my colleagues I normally would depend on backing Katie Hill up, have stood silent. Either stood silent, or are completely in favor of the concrete plant. THIS MAKES ABSOLUTELY no sense, based on all of the past Nashville Next community meetings with UT and Georgia Tech students, as well as the community surveys. Why the hell do we even do these surveys? Is this just a ploy to make people think as if Nashville really even cares about what the neighbors want and money is the true factor in all of this?
Read these blogs also - I am apparently not the only ones questioning this and now I feel like I am experiencing this power crunch first hand.
"My considered suspicion of Nashville Next is often met with disbelief, defensiveness and frustration by those who enthusiastically participated in its process or those who believe it changes nothing about past community planning.
But Nashville Next has been the next stunt to lead neighbors into believing that they have influence over their community's character, when in reality they little. Planners shift paradigms and communities are thrown off balance. Market-driven developers, power-hoarding politicians and esoteric new urbanists have the strongest hold of the reigns of planning of anyone." - Mike Byrd, The Enclave
I realize that concrete is necessary to keep up with the growth in the Nashville community, but why move the plant a half a mile up the road into a FLOOD plain when we already know this company HAS ZERO respect for the environment or taking pride in the community or their property? Metro Planning has taken "all of the information we provided them at the community meeting and "all of the research from their engineers" and come to the recommendation to have the planning commission (board) approve the community plan amendment and the zoning change to SP to build a concrete batch plant. Sadly, we knew this was coming because it is a political decision, not a planning commission decision.
So in conclusion, I am getting to the bottom of this and i have started an online causes petition in which you can find here and sign. I am also going to be posting photos, recorded conversations and will link through to those as soon as I get them posted along with the latest photos I have taken of the current site.
The public hearing is set for Thursday January 22, at 4:00pm at the Sonny West Conference Center ( First Floor), 700 2nd Avenue S. I will be there and I am encourage all of those who are interested in making a statement about what we as citizens can do to get back our communities, please attend also. Everyone has told me I am crazy and i can't make an impact or change this outcome, but at least I will go down fighting for Katie Hill, and fighting for my city and whats right.
Please share and hashtag
Click Here for More photos
Click Here for Audio of conversation with Frank Harrison
Click here to Show support and sign the petition
Wow. What an amazing December. And a Bit busy. I do not like using the word stressful, as it is over used, and giving back should be a privilege, not a stress. All in All, 89 kids received a Christmas this year on Katie Hill. 100s of you all made that happen. I just consider myself the "broker" or the common denominator between 2 worlds.
Ray Zate and Stephanie Langston, two of my greatest friends got a lot of this on video for me, and once I get it back, I will post and be sure to get your tissues! I am so thankful for their amazing videography skills and the ability to have capture the true essence and beauty of simply giving. And of course THANK YOU to everyone that contributed. It is so special to make a difference in the community in which I live.
With that being said, I attending Crosspoint tonight and Pastor Pete talked about a few things he would like to work on as an individual and encouraged us all to think about things we would like to do starting in 2015. He talked about More Attempts and Less Excuses. I truly believe most people to give back and help those who are in need. It is in our nature as humans to do such. Some of us are just go-getters and we will do it, others question themselves or are scared they don't have the audience to help others. Pastor Pete said, for those those you who are unsure of question yourself, do the following:
1. Don't Wait for an audience
2. Don't wait to be asked.
Difference Makers do not ask for permission. We just do. And most of us end up apologizing for being to tenacious.
So in 2015, here are a few things that I intend to focus on:
- I am learning that I have to stop apologizing for being "too passionate" or fighting for what I believe in and even what I don't believe in.
- I am learning that I am not normal. And will not apologize for it. I am me. I will also speak when something bothers me, even if is not politically correct or could offend someone else.
- I am learning that I haven't always had an audience, but it is growing. And a responsibility comes along with that.
- I am accepting the challenge to change the mindset of those around me. I am simply one woman. But I have a platform. It is not to change the world or even change my community. It is to simply transform the mindset of those around me, and with that transformation, comes growth and a shift in whats around me.
- I will not be afraid to speak about the political corruption that floats around me. The ones who simply turn a blind eye and say "Lindsey, this is the way it has always been done" can step out of my path. Because I clearly am not going down the same path as they are, and I am probably just going to piss them off.
- I don't do anything I don't want to do, and I am clearly bothered by organized "giving back". I attended a function recently to celebrate and raise money for a non profit here in Nashville that provides food etc., to the homeless. I was so grateful to be invited and accepted the invitation to learn about this organization. As I arrived, I noticed all of the very nicely dress upper class people/celebrities and I thought oh lord, I am not going to fit in here because everyone looks exactly the same. The presentation was thoughtfully orchestrated down to the 5 course meal and the servers tending to our every need. I then noticed as I walked to the bathroom, there was a table in the very back of the gymnasium (turned party room) with about 10 children and their parents (not dressed nice and you could tell they were completely uncomfortable) . During the middle of the ceremony, the children walked from the very back of the gym to the front to sing with the lady who started this non profit on stage, which I thought was super sweet and heart warming. After the children were done singing they walked off the stage and back to the last table in the room. I had heard that each table cost around $1k to purchase. I then immediately got angry. Why are these children and their families in the VERY back of the room and I am sitting at one of the front tables? They should be front and center because all of this is for them! It's not about the organization or the woman, its about the PEOPLE? RIGHT? I then began eating my $1000 plate of food and noticed that there were 5 empty seats at the table. Yet they still had the 5 course meal just sitting there getting cold. After I finished, I noticed all the food was still sitting there, and would soon be taken away and thrown in a trash can. I asked the server for boxes to take the food downtown to some of the homeless, but they didn't have any boxes. I left the event so angry and more so heartbroken. How could your foundation or non profit raise all this money, put on an event with celebrities etc., to feed the homeless, and all of this fancy pants food is wasted? Blows my mind. I then went online to find the financials of this non profit, but since it is a "church" it is not required to release the financials. Go figure. Not shocked at all.
Which leads me to what I all want you to know. YOU do not have to start a huge non profit, or even an organization to make a difference. I raised quite a bit of money for our kids at Christmas and I was so crazy about it, I cashed the checks and put the money in an envelope to spend because I wouldn't dare want to accidentally spend any of that money on anything but the families on the hill. But I encouraged everyone to actually shop for the kids vs. giving me money to do it. Because there is a lesson when you actually put thought and time into giving back. It's a great lesson for children to learn as well. I have a full time job to pay my bills. This is all strictly volunteer. Anytime anyone gives to Katie Hill 100% of it goes back to the people. I saw online somewhere that major non profit CEOs make up to $500k a year. That blows my mind. Non profits do so many wonderful things for communities and people, but i would ask you to do some research on who you give money to and how much of it actually goes back to the cause. Everyone plays a different role in improving the lives of others. Some have a ton of money, and can donate. I love those people because I couldn't help others without money. Others put their heart and soul into helping others hands on. Whatever your role is, I respect you for what you do. Seriously do. But you don't have to have money, an audience, or anything to make a difference. The audience will come if they know where your heart is and you are doing the right thing for people. I've decided I am not going to attend any more of those silly cocktail parties to raise money for an event or cause. The party itself most likely cost more than what will be raised. If I want to go drink wine and socialize, I will go drink wine and socialize. I don't need to drink wine and socialize and give back at the same time. I'd much rather volunteer my time and energy into the cause, and drink wine on my own time. That's just me. I love when some of my athlete friends or people who have a lot of money tell me what they do to help their communities. It's really quite laughable and a total PR scheme ( except Delanie Walker! He is the real deal and I love him for that! ) . I usually just shake my head. I even experienced politicians ( or 'want to be' politicians who will be running for an office )coming to a few of my events to strictly get their pictures made, and then leave. It made my head spin, but i still smile. Karma shall deal with all that mess.
My mission in life is to stay positive and help the ones who need help. I want to change the mindset of how to help, no matter what your cause is. My life is Katie Hill and I don't expect everyone else to live for Katie Hill, but i do want to encourage you to be that "power of one" no matter what your mission is - the ice bucket challenge is a great example of that in 2014. Y'all know what ALS is now right? haha. I am not a non profit, I am not superwoman, I am just a lil lady who wants to help. And if I can encourage others to do that, I am in love with that idea and will continue working. If that calls me to run for a political office at some point, I am not opposed to that, but it will most likely be the most real, unscripted, brutally honest campaign ya'll have ever seen, or I'm not doing it all. I am happy impacting lives the way I am right this moment. I will always speak my mind and not have to worry about offending someone, because I know my mind is always focused on people and making lives better, and unfortunately most political matters aren't focused on the basic needs and rights as humans, but focused on money. Shocker.
But I love you all and I am so excited for 2015 and to watch what happens in the lives of others around me. Life is so beautiful. So....
1. Carry blankets in your car and give them to the homeless
2. Always get your leftovers to go, someone would love your half eaten steak, trust me.
3. Please, whatever you do, don't litter and pick up trash wherever you are. Its the cool thing to do these days. Who knows, your trash could actually turn into a great piece of upcycled art :-)
Happy 2015 -
Love Lynclair xoxo