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The Tennessee Tribune

Election “Rigging” Alleged in Maury County

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — A Maury County woman says she’s complaining to state election officials about what she calls “rigging” of the August 2018 election for county commission.

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Patricia Hawkins complains to state election officials about irregularities in Maury County’s election for county commission.  Photo submitted

By Clare Bratten

NASHVILLE, TN — A Maury County woman says she’s complaining to state election officials about what she calls “rigging” of the August 2018 election for county commission.

“If I go through the local [officials], it’s not going to be resolved fairly,” Patricia Hawkins says. Maury County’s elections administrator refutes her allegations. 

In 2016, Hawkins was elected to the county commissioner because of her write-in campaign during a special election to fill a seat vacated by a commissioner who moved from the district. On election night, write-in votes were not tabulated before Ross Jaynes was announced as the winner, but only according to early voting. After write-in votes were counted, Hawkins won by a good margin.

In the August 2018 election to retain her seat as a commissioner, Hawkins alleges irregularities potentially damaged her re-election. “After investigating and talking to local citizens, I am of the opinion that election officials committed electoral fraud, election manipulation, voter rigging and/or ballot rigging and manipulation of demographics during the … Aug. 2, 2018 general election in Maury County.”

Hawkins says her complaint is filed with state election officials in the Snodgrass Building in Nashville.

“On Oct. 8 … I filed four complaints,” Hawkins said. She complained about County Elections Administrator Todd Baxter, St. Catherine’s Precinct Election Inspector Richard Brickner, Colby Block, who ran against Hawkins, and County Commissioner Eric Previti who represents another district.

Hawkins says on election night, vote totals are to be printed and posted soon after the polls close. She says she was told by the precinct inspector they were not available at the promised time, 7:15 p.m., due to a “computer glitch.” Later, records show the last computer terminal used in voting was not “closed” until 7:30 p.m. and she says the final printout was signed by poll workers at about 8:30 p.m. Further, her complaint names other commissioners and candidates as working against her candidacy. She says Previti blocked her signs near the election polling place. Hawkins also questions whether one candidate was actually a legal resident in the county.

Baxter counters, “It wasn’t a computer glitch. It was basically a loss of power to our voting machines. I’m not aware of anything other than that. It took a while for technicians to get the results, but it didn’t affect the result. Even if the power went off, nothing was lost.”

Baxter also said having different times for closing voting machines is normal because it takes about four minutes for each machine to be closed. “It was during the last two or three machines is when they ran into the issue” of power loss. According to Baxter, it took technicians time to drive across the county to Hawkins’ district poll to restore power. That explains any delay in getting results. 

“All voting equipment has redundancy,” Baxter said. “We’ve used this equipment for 10 years and never had any loss on those machines.” 

August 17, Hawkins filed a request for a recount. Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Deanna Johnson was the judge for the complaint because judges in Hawkins’ judicial district recused themselves.

Johnson “did not give my lawyer enough time to respond to some of the motions that [Maury County Attorney] Daniel Murphy filed … Sept. 27,” Hawkins. The hearing was held Oct. 3. Hawkins, was out of town and learned of the hearing Oct. 2. “My lawyer did not have the appropriate time to properly respond,” Hawkins said. Johnson dismissed Hawkins’ complaint, denying Hawkins a recount. 

Hawkins says she also complained to Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins. Attempts to reach Goins and Previti last week were unsuccessful.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune.

Community

Gamble Campaigns for District 3 Council Seat

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — A veteran of neighborhood, city, association and political committees is campaigning to represent District 3 on metro’s city council. Jennifer Gamble of Bellshire Terrace and founder of her own business wants to succeed Council member Brenda Haywood who’s not running for re-election.

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Speaking on the campaign trail, Jennifer Gamble is a candidate for the open seat to represent District 3 on Metro City Council. (Courtesy photo)

By Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — A veteran of neighborhood, city, association and political committees is campaigning to represent District 3 on metro’s city council.

Jennifer Gamble of Bellshire Terrace and founder of her own business wants to succeed Council member Brenda Haywood who’s not running for re-election.

“I want to improve the quality of life in District 3, as well as the rest of the city,” Gamble said. “Our city has experienced a lot of growth and prosperity … but our communities in general … in particular our communities of color, have not benefited … from the prosperity.

“As a councilwoman I will work to bring fairness and equity and prosperity for all of our communities,” Gamble said.

She’s one of three District 3 candidates in the Aug. 1 election. Early voting is July 12-27. District 3 includes Bellshire, Parkwood, Whites Creek and some of Joelton.

As a member of the economic development committee of the Nashville Branch of the NAACP, Gamble works with Don Majors and Alex Coure. They co-chair a committee that was instrumental in Metro Council’s enactment of the Equal Business Opportunity Ordinance.

Her interest in local issues is exemplified by her attendance at the council meeting to hear comments from teachers, police, firefighters and metro employees who want pay raises.

Warehouses were proposed in District 3 but a request for planning commission approval was withdrawn after a meeting — Gamble was there — in Whites Creek.

“We are looking for development that would enhance our community,” Gamble said. “Industrial warehouses are not what the community feels will enhance our community.”

Gamble is a member of the Metro Beautification and Environment Commission. That’s been with Walter Hunt and, recently, Haywood.

On June 15 from 9 a.m.-noon at Whites Creek High School, she’s to help with a district-wide clean-up cosponsored by the mayor’s office, Haywood, the beautification commission, and O’Neill Property Management. It’s where residents can discard furniture, bikes, water heaters and stoves. Residents may also shred their personal paper at no charge.

“Bring up to eight bags of documents and papers you need shredded,” Gamble said. “Recycling is at the high school all the time.”

From 2014-2016, Gamble was a committee member for the local Democratic Party. She’s a: past president of the Bellshire Terrace Neighborhood Watch; former board member of the Nashville Neighborhood Alliance and the Nashville Education and Community Arts Television Board as appointed by Karl Dean.

“I feel I’m the best candidate to navigate the balance between the growth in our city and preserving the character and quality of life in our community,” Gamble said.

In September 2012, she founded Nelson P.R. & Communications.

Born in Chicago — her mother’s a retired Chicago public school teacher; her father is a retired Chicago transit authority employee — Gamble moved here in 1987 to attend Fisk University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English. Her masters in mass communications is from Middle Tennessee State University.

While studying at Fisk, she met George Gamble. He’s now a Tennessee State University graduate working for Metro Water Services. They married, have lived in District 3 more than 26 years, are members of St. Vincent De Paul Church and have two sons; Justin, 26, and Jared, 17.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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Lifestyle

‘The Cover Magazine’ Launch Exclusive Reveal and Red Carpet Celebration

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — The Cover magazine will provide you with its compelling content of beauty, fashions, entertainment, real life issues, healthy lifestyles, celebrity news, rising stars and dreamers.  The Cover magazine has also been produced to market and promote business owners; especially women own businesses.

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Catherine Doggett Hernandez

MEMPHIS, TN — Welcome to the premier issue of The Cover Magazine. 

We are very excited to present this new monthly magazine to you and hope that it is inspiring, motivating, educational and entertaining.  The Cover magazine will provide you with its compelling content of beauty, fashions, entertainment, real life issues, healthy lifestyles, celebrity news, rising stars and dreamers.  The Cover magazine has also been produced to market and promote business owners; especially women own businesses.

Our vision and main focus will be on the real lifestyles of business owners, models, singers, dancers and others who are in the fashion and entertainment industry that dreamed of one day being on the cover of a magazine.

I would like to take a moment to thank our staff and dream team for their contribution and hard work to launch this magazine.

To our readers, advertisers, subscribers and fans, this magazine has been published and produced with you in mind.  It’s for real, a dream magazine that comes alive at your fingertips; when you open the first issue of The Cover magazine it is our sincere hope that you are inspired and motivated to become one of our advertisers, subscribers, fans, supporters or contributors who enjoy reading and dreaming of a dream that can be made a reality.  

For more information about Anner J. Echols or Dreamland Productions please visit https://www.ajedreamland.co/ or call (901) 650-4955.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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Politics

At-Large Candidates Get Questioned on Topics

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — Six candidates for at large council answered questions Monday night before a crowd of at least 1,000 at Plaza Mariachi on Nolensville Rd. A coalition of 21 pro-immigrant organizations hosted the forum to hear the candidates answer questions about immigration enforcement, criminal justice, small business and the economy, affordable housing, education, and workers’ rights.

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Waiting on deck l-r; At-Large Candidates Zulfat Suara (2nd left), Gary Moore, Councilman Bob Mendez, Gicola Lane, Councilman Fabian Bedne, and Council member Burkley Allen

By Peter White 

NASHVILLE, TN — Six candidates for at large council answered questions Monday night before a crowd of at least 1,000 at Plaza Mariachi on Nolensville Rd. A coalition of 21 pro-immigrant organizations hosted the forum to hear the candidates answer questions about immigration enforcement, criminal justice, small business and the economy, affordable housing, education, and workers’ rights.

District 18 Councilperson Burkley Allen got a question about Affordable Housing. In 2014, Allen managed to get a small source of recurring funding dedicated to low income housing. 

“What would you do to address the affordable housing crisis?” asked Katherine Ledezma, a board member of Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).  Allen, who helped create the Barnes Fund, said Nashville’s attempt to establish inclusionary zoning for working families was preempted by the state legislature. 

“I’m working on providing funding that would be geared toward lower-cost housing without requiring such a high return on the investment,” she said. “There are more tools and we’ve got to bring those to Nashville and I will continue to work to make those happen,” said Allen.

One by one, the at large candidates fielded questions asked by a member of one of Metro’s immigrant communities, most of whom now live in South Nashville and Antioch but who speak at least two languages and whose families came from all over the globe. 

District 31 Councilman Fabian Bedne got a question about access to services for immigrant and refugee families, a subject close to his heart. Bedne told the crowd he was the first immigrant ever elected to the City Council. 

 “Usually an immigrant is not interested in services. They just want to be left alone. They come to know about problems with the city when the city comes to them and tells them to mow their grass or you gotta take care of the dog,” he said. Bedne said immigrants make up 20% of the city population and they deserve to be treated equally.  

“I’m frustrated when people get a notice from Codes and it’s in English. Even if you’re an Anglo

you cannot understand those code notices,” he said. “Imagine if English is your second language and you’re trying to figure out what you did to get this scary notice from the city telling you that you’re going to have to go to a judge,” he said. His remarks drew laughter as well as applause.  

Gicola Lane is a community activist who helped create the Community Oversight Board.

“For many immigrants even minor encounters with law enforcement can result in their detention or deportation. If you were elected what would you do to address inequality in our justice system,” asked Evelin Salgado, a teacher at Cane Ridge High School. 

“I’ve bailed out immigrants,” said Lane. “It’s a rush against the clock before we’re seeing a hold placed on someone. So I think one thing we can do immediately is to stop working with ICE,” she said. Lane was roundly applauded.

Incumbent Bob Mendes was asked about cooperation between local police and federal immigration officers. He’s against it.

“Local government doesn’t work if people are afraid to interact with it,” Mendez said. 

He said nothing works right if people are worried that the first thing that comes up is their citizenship status.

“During this last term we did file a couple of pieces of legislation to try to keep our jails from being used by ICE and to keep city government from paying for federal immigration enforcement,” Mendez said. He wrote those bills but the TN state legislature overruled them. 

“I’m still interested in that legislation and hope we get a chance to pursue it again in the next term,” Mendez said. He said it would take 21 members of the city council to challenge the state law in court. 

Gary Moore was asked about wage theft and job safety: immigrant workers get plenty of the first and not enough of the second. Moore comes from the ranks of organized labor. He is a former firefighter and served in the Tennessee House of Representatives for seven years. 

“What will you do to address the experiences and conditions of immigrant workers in Nashville?” asked Abey Lissane, member of the Nashville Ethiopian Community Association.

“This is something I have fought for my whole career,” said Moore. “I have fought to protect the rights of immigrants and all working men and women…. I will continue to do that,” he said. 

Workers’ safety is supposed to be enforced by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a state agency, but Moore said issues like wage theft can be addressed at the local level.

“In the procurement process we can make sure there is language in there that protects the rights of the workers… to make sure we have no more wage theft,” Moore said. 

He said on big jobs general contractors tend to “push things down to the subcontractors.” 

Moore said tougher language in city contracts would make general contractors police subcontractors better so they don’t steal from workers. “We can do that in the procurement process. I would fight to make sure that happens,” Moore said. 

Moderator Judith Clerjeune, asked all the candidates what they would do to represent the experiences and perspectives of immigrant and refugee communities on the council. Zulfat Suara would be the first Muslim on the city council.

She is a longtime advocate for refugee and immigrant families and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She was Assistant Comptroller at Meharry Medical School and in her CPA practice, she had four counties and two city governments as clients. Suara wants to make sure Metro budgets reflect the issues important to her community. 

“We talk about Nashville being welcoming…it’s about time our government actually reflects the population that it serves. I think we need to have more voices on the council and as a Muslim woman, immigrant, African American, I bring all those diverse voices to the table. But I want people to also remember that I am that Muslim women who is also a CPA ..and I’m an immigrant who is an MNPS parent and a woman that has actually worked with Tennessee women and children,” she said. 

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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Divine 9

Lelan Statom Named “Father of The Year”

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — Lelan A. Statom has been voted Father of The Year by the Nashville, Tennessee Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated as part of its International Fatherhood Initiatives Program.

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l-r; Taylor Statom, Dr. Yolanda Statom, Kayela Statom, Lelan Statom, News Channel5 meteorologist
By The Tennessee Tribune

NASHVILLE, TN — Lelan A. Statom has been voted Father of The Year by the Nashville, Tennessee Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated as part of its International Fatherhood Initiatives Program.

The award honors men who have made their families a priority while balancing demanding careers and community involvement, and will be presented Saturday, June 15th at the 4th Annual Black Fatherhood Prayer Breakfast which will be held at the Z. Alexander Looby Center located at 2301 Rosa Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN beginning at 8:00 a.m.

The Prayer Breakfast is a casual family affair and will include a full meal, sports physicals for student athletes, and basic health screening for adults.  

People of all backgrounds are called upon to participate in support of strong families.

This event is entirely free of charge.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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Business

Nashville General Opens Midtown Clinic for Primary Care and Medical Specialties

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — Nashville General Hospital CEO Dr. Joseph Webb cut a ribbon Monday on a new health clinic in midtown. The facility on Charlotte Avenue is taking new patients and making same day appointments.

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By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville General Hospital CEO Dr. Joseph Webb cut a ribbon Monday on a new health clinic in midtown. The facility on Charlotte Avenue is taking new patients and making same day appointments.

“Now bless, Lord, the hands of all who work in this place. Give them radiant smiles on their faces and receive those who are sick and help to make them well,” prayed Chaplain Omarán Lee.

The opening was attended by the clinic staff, officials and department heads of General Hospital, and members of the Metro Council Health & Hospital Committee. Just two years ago Nashville General was on the verge of closing. It survived and is now expanding health services to patients in West and North Nashville.

“In most cases it’s just primary care or specialty care. Usually you have one or the other but not both,” Webb said.

The idea is to have patients pick one of the center’s two general practitioners to be their primary care physician. And if they need to see a specialist, they are across the hall. The center will have board-certified specialists in orthopedics, cardiology, and ophthalmology. And there is an urologist on the second floor.

Medical services like MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays will be done at Nashville General. “You just go in and get it. And then you’re out,” he said.

Webb said the new center is a primary care center, an ambulatory clinic, not an urgent care center. He said Nashville General’s medical model has not changed. It’s just getting a larger footprint. “If you break your arm you go to an emergency room,” he said. “And then we’ll bring you back here for your follow-up.”

Two primary care doctors, Dr. Monica Davis and Dr. Taura Long, will see patients in five exam rooms on one side of the clinic. Specialists will see patients in five exam rooms on the other side. The Frist Clinic on Patterson St. pioneered multi-specialty family healthcare, which offers primary care and internal medicine specialties under the same roof.

“It’s a one-stop shop, I like having access to specialists nearby. If I have a question or if I have a patient who needs to be seen they can see them quickly,” said Davis.

Davis said she and Long can each see 20 patients a day. The clinic is open M-F, 8:30 am-4:30 pm. The midtown location is convenient and there is ample surface parking under and around the three-story brick building on 20thand Charlotte Ave. The center is on the first floor.Hospital officials hope the healthcare center will become the primary care medical home of Metro employees.

“We’re hoping we have Metro employees because we can provide care for them inexpensively,” Davis said. Because the clinic is owned and operated by Nashville General Hospital, Metro employees do not have to make a co-pay to be seen by a doctor.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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Politics

Top City Hall Contenders Play the Plaza Mariachi

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — On Monday three of the four top candidates for Mayor answered questions from Nashville’s refugee and immigrant population at the Plaza Mariachi. The plaza has a food court and performance space in the middle of a strip mall on Nolensville Rd.

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On Monday, June 10 at Plaza Mariachi a big crowd applauds candidates running to be Nashville’s next mayor.
By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN – On Monday three of the four top candidates for Mayor answered questions from Nashville’s refugee and immigrant population at the Plaza Mariachi. The plaza has a food court and performance space in the middle of a strip mall on Nolensville Rd.

There are 13 eateries with different kinds of food, two Spanish language radio stations, a Dominican Barber Shop, a Dubai Jewelry store, a Latin American clothing store, Latin American grocery store, an international calling and money transfer business. There are also regular outlets for H&R Block, GameStop, and Sprint. It’s not like the new Bellevue Mall or Opry Mills but has bits of both.

Some 2019 events at the plaza were Noche de Carnaval, Bollywood Night, Arabian Night, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Celebration, African Roots, and Chinese New Year. The plaza hosts a bi-lingual story time on weekday mornings for kids.

Last Monday evening Mayor David Briley, Representative John Ray Clemmons, and At Large Councilman John Cooper were the headliners. Carol Swain told the Tribune she wanted to attend but had a prior commitment.

Like the At Large candidates, the mayoral candidates were asked questions about workers’ rights, immigration enforcement, affordable housing, criminal justice, access to services, the economy, and neighborhoods. Each candidate had a short time to answer each question. There was no debating between candidates. Briley spoke about immigration enforcement.

“At this moment in our country our President everyday seeks to divide us. Our state legislature is anti-immigrant, and the last line of defense for folks in our community is city government. And I am running to make sure that your city stands up for folks who have moved here one week, one year, or ten generations ago. That is what is most important to this city,” said Briley.

On the question of workers’ rights and wage theft, John Cooper said people need to report safety issues and that Metro must begin to treat wage theft as a crime. “The first way to address it and the big stick that Metro has is “we’re not doing business with anybody who has that record,” he said.

Cooper also said the city needs to stop measuring police output by the number of traffic stops and instead commit to a community policing plan where the point of contact between law enforcement and the community is a positive one.

“That lack of trust that exists in some places needs to be replaced by reliability, communication, and hard work, and it can happen,” Cooper said.

Alex Macias of Conexion Americas asked, “As mayor, how would you support immigrant-owned businesses to launch, to survive, and to thrive in Nashville’s economy?

“We should be showing our small businesses just as much love as these big corporations we’re trying to recruit to Nashville,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons. The audience applauded.

“To help launch small businesses we need to make the business process and the permitting processes more friendly. We need to make the government work for the people and help facilitate the overwhelming number of immigrants who start their own business.

We need to facilitate and encourage more 504 loans with the Small Business Administration so more small businesses can get loans to buy real estate and buy their own buildings so they are not beholden to landlords,” Clemmons said. Again, the audience applauded.

He said Metro needs to make serious investments in the infrastructure throughout the city and that the Nolensville corridor is a rich corridor of diversity and culture.

“We need to make sure that people can get to it. We don’t need to be making cuts to our public transportation system. We need to be investing in sidewalks and we need to be making this an opening and welcoming district,” Clemmons said.

Clemmons was the most polished speaker on the stage. Briley acknowledged problems but defended his record and noted his accomplishments as any incumbent would. Cooper answered questions with brief but surprising answers. For example, he challenged the premise behind the question about developing the Nolensville corridor.

“The future comes when we realize that Nolensville Rd is not a corridor, it is a destination,” Cooper said. He said all of Nashville deserves investment, not just downtown.

“We almost completely ignore small business downtown. If you look at the lists of abatements and incentives, this is all very large corporations usually employing people who are not here now. You have to change that. You have to focus on small business. You have to focus on jobs that can come to people who are living here now,” he said.

In the forums the Tribune has covered, Clemmons has been the crowd favorite. Mayor Briley and Councilman Cooper are the other liberal alternatives. However, Cooper is a fiscal conservative like Carol Swain, a Republican.

The candidates have just released their first TV spots and it is too early to talk about the smart money in the Mayor’s race. But as the incumbent and supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Briley has a distinct advantage. His machine in City Hall pumps out new initiatives and photo Ops every other day and the TV stations dutifully cover them.

The one thing nobody is talking about much is the Swain factor. Her last challenge to Briley didn’t force a runoff in May 2018. She got 23% of the votes but Briley won that special election with 54% of the total votes cast. With two smart and able liberal politicians challenging Briley now, the conservative Swain could poll well enough to force a runoff after the election on August 1.

You can see the candidates’ forum held Monday at the Plaza Mariachi here: https://www.facebook.com/tnimmigrant/videos/2567091839990997/

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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