Key supporters and opponents reacted Friday to Channel 4's independent poll about the proposed Music City Center.
Channel 4's scientific poll suggests that if there were a public vote now, Nashville voters would reject the idea. Only one in four voters polled said they support plans to finance and build the Music City Center. There was strong support for letting voters make the final decision.
Mark Naccarato, political and communications coordinator, Service Employees International Union Local 205
"The results of the Channel 4 poll are consistent with the results of an automated poll we did of our union's members who work for Metro Nashville, though our poll found that city workers were much more against the project than the general population. The WSMV findings are also consistent with a poll that Nashville's Priorities did as well. The supporters of the Music City Center can no longer claim that these are push polls or aberrations. There is a steady pattern here and, if anything, opposition is growing to the project as more and more people learn about it.
We think that the most fascinating numbers are those who say that they would be less likely to vote to re-elect a council member who voted for the MCC. While this is certainly the sentiment we've been hearing at the community meetings over the last month or so, it is still shocking to see such a wide cross section of the public willing to punish their representatives for voting for the $1 billion project ... The elected representatives need to know that the public is against this."
Councilman Michael Craddock, District 4
"I have seen evidence tonight on your news of what I've been hearing for three years in the community. I'm hearing, 'Don't build it. Don't do this to us.'"
RAW VIDEO: Watch Craddocks Interview
Councilwoman Emily Evans, District 23
"I'm not that surprised. We've been attending community meetings now for several weeks, and the poll is consistent with the feedback we've been getting in the community. It's also consistent with the one other prior poll from the summer of 2007, so I don't find it very surprising."
RAW VIDEO: Watch Evans Interview
Marty Dickens, community volunteer serving as chairman of the Convention Center Authority
"My reaction to what I heard in the poll is really tied to the way the question was asked. I wasn't surprised by the answer to the question of do you support the efforts to finance and build the Music City Center, the new convention center, because if I were asked that question without all the details and all the facts and all the financial impacts and the economic impacts and the employment impacts and how it's so important to our overall economy, if I didn't know that information or even if I sort of peripherally knew it but I didn't know exactly how this was being paid for, how it's being financed, my answer to that question would be no also."
RAW VIDEO: Watch Dickens Interview
Councilman Duane Dominy, District 28
"Residents have been told, 'Trust us. We know what's best. This won't cost you. The other guy is going to pay.' Then the check arrives and ... surprise ... the resident gets the bill. My concern has been from the start that government be fiscally responsible and protect the residents of this county from the 'SURPRISE.'"
Ralph Schulz, CEO of Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, member of Music City Center Coalition
"My first reaction to the poll was that the question wasn't a complete question. I believe that the initial question about funding, when you've been out for the last three or four years talking to the community about the issue as I and others have done, one of the things you find out is that if you ask that group, 'Are you in favor of a visitor-funded, job-producing, tax break-based broadening convention center?' they all say, 'Yeah.' And then if you say, 'Are you in favor of the taxpayer paying for a new convention center?' they all say, 'No.' And so when I saw the question, I knew immediately that there was just so much room for misunderstanding that the results didn't really surprise me."
RAW VIDEO: Watch Schulzs Interview
Kevin Sharp, president of Nashville's Priorities
"It's interesting but I'm not surprised by the numbers. We've been out there since August, September, talking to neighborhood groups, talking to the citizens, getting the information out there, and it was very consistent with what we were seeing."
RAW VIDEO: Watch Sharps Interview
Councilman Mike Jameson, District 6
It wasnt surprising based on the community meetings that Ive seen, based on some previous polling -- nothing as sophisticated as what Channel 4 just did -- but there were online polls, there was a poll by a Metro employees union, but there were also e-mails to the council, which have run pretty heavily against, so this poll was consistent, I thought, with what wed already seen before.
RAW VIDEO: Watch Jamesons Interview
Councilman Jason Holleman, District 24
"Actually, this poll was consistent with a mid-term survey that I did in my own district. I mailed out about 5,000 cards and had several hundred returns. And my poll was somewhat similar, and I heard some of the questions earlier about, 'Well, it depends on how you ask the question.' I broke the question into do you support it if it's only tourist dollars involved and do you support it if it has to be supplemented with non-tourist revenues. Mine was 60-40 in favor if it was tourist dollars only. If it was non-tourist dollars at all, it broke down actually a little higher than yours; almost 80 percent were opposed.
I think that's the reaction you're feeling, is a skepticism by the public as to whether or not their tax dollars are going to be involved. At the end of the day, I think we all believe in Nashville, we all want Nashville to be a better place, and the question is whether or not this is going to have an impact on our ability to deliver other services to our citizens. Are we going to continue to be able to build our school system, expand our parks system, to do all those other important things that we as a local government do? And I think that's the reaction that people are having, is at this point, many people aren't convinced that if we move forward with this project that there's not going to be an impact on their pocketbooks and their services that they currently receive from Metro government."
RAW VIDEO: Watch Holleman's Interview
You will see in our raw video that several of the convention center opponents were asked how they felt about the fact that none of the convention center supporters agreed to go on-camera reacting to Channel 4's poll. After those interviews were done, members of the Music City Center Coalition did agree to on-camera interviews.
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