We agree 100%. “Citizens for Greater Mobility,” the political action committee behind the campaign to promote @TransitForNash, has received the vast majority of its contributions from the very wealthiest Nashvillians. tntribune.com/community/loca…
The leadership of this PAC, which was founded and is primarily run by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, is operated by people who make huge financial donations
to Republicans, the same candidates with whom we’re told we support in opposing this plan.

The donations from the leadership of the Chamber alone reads like a who's who of the membership of @GOP.
Chamber chair Milton Johnson has given $$$$$ to Bob Corker and Jeb Bush and made $1000 donations to such “liberals” as Mike Pence and Orrin Hatch. The chair of Citizens for Greater Mobility is James R. Schmitz, the Chamber’s Vice Chair & President of Regions Bank.
According to apps.tn.gov/tncamp/, since 2012 Schmitz has given over $10,000 to Regions Bank PAC, which in 2018 cycle has given twice as much money to Republicans. They did give $1000 to Jim Cooper, but also $5000 to David "100% rating from Americans for Prosperity" Kustoff
and $3000 to Marsha "Opioid Crisis Promoter & Seller of Your Info to Cambridge Analytica" Blackburn. Political donations by other major contributors to Citizens for Greater Mobility are similar.
Given what kind of graft and corruption we denounce every day, we don’t shock easily. However, even we were taken aback when we decided to take a look at who’s donated to the Citizens for Greater Mobility PAC
as registered with its year end report to the TN Department of Election Finance, which was filed 12/17 and amended in Feb.
(Go here: apps.tn.gov/tncamp-app/pub… and search for the PAC’s name. The info is under “Report List.”)
Advocates of @TransitforNash will tell you they have a broad-based coalition, which may or may not be true. However, we believe it’s smart when researching any topic to “follow the money.”
Out of 131 contributions to Citizens for Greater Mobility, there were 72 under $250 from private citizens, totaling $2766. None of them appeared to be the nonprofits or community groups touted by transit plan supporters, though
we could be overlooking principals from those groups. 59 of the contributions were over $250 and total $1,295,000; all of them are from corporations or public entities, or high profile people associated with them (Steve Turner).
Of the 40 contributions over $10,000 apiece, here’s the breakdown:

13: Architects/engineering/construction interests: $237,500
4: Banks that do construction loans: $110,000
4: Straight up real estate developers, Board of Realtors: $225,000
4: Law firms that do financing deals for real estate developers: $140,000
3: Hospitality companies (tourism): $45,000
Only 12 were free of obvious construction-related financial incentives, though all but Belmont and Lipscomb Universities are huge corporations which may have financial incentives not immediately clear
(Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA - a private-prison contractor that draws a lot of criticism from human-rights advocates - gave $25,000).
Of the eleven that gave more than $40,000 apiece:

2: Law firms that do financial deals for real estate developers: $115,000
5: Real estate developers: $325,000
1: Banks that do construction loans: $50,000
3: Chamber of Commerce itself, HCA, Bridgestone (various incentives): $200,000
People who want to tell you opponents of @TransitforNash are all in league with the right wing aren't being transparent about the fact they’re also being bankrolled by people who support candidates owned by the Kochs, Americans for Prosperity, etc.
They’re also not telling you this campaign is being bankrolled by people with a direct financial interest in the kind of gentrification
that’s already made Nashville 7th least affordable in the USA tennessean.com/story/money/20…
These people have overseen destruction of vast swaths of affordable housing so they could profit from expensive condos marketed to newcomers, who are lured here by the “It City” cachet promoted by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is also financed by public money.
While we understand there’ll be an offset to poorer households to make up for the increase in regressive sales tax, our issue is whether there’ll even be any poorer households left if this plan takes hold.
In short, while it simply isn't true that everyone opposing @TransitforNash are Trump-loving Republicans and everyone for it are progressive Democrats, we have to hand it to Citizens for Mobility: they’ve played their cards on this well.
We're sorry to see folks we like and respect have purchased snake oil in the flavor of a classic corporate scheme to socialize losses while privatizing gains. We hope some of them reconsider. (end)
One more thing: this Aug '17 article by @NSHBizGarner says Citizens for Greater Mobility planned to raise "millions"... our guess is more big bucks *not* from grassroots community leaders have already come in. We'll keep you posted.

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