Nashville, TN (TN Tribune) — Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance will hold a press conference Monday to pose questions and concerns about the impact Oracle will have on Nashville.
Oracle Corporation recently requested a public hearing for approval of an Economic Impact Plan with the Metro Industrial Development Board (IDB). Approval from the IDB and Metro Council is needed to finalize Oracle’s proposal to bring 8,500 jobs and a $1.2 billion investment to Nashville. The 8,500 new jobs are reported to have an average salary of $110,000.
Community activists are raising concerns about the impact Oracle will have on Nashville’s Black community.
As part of the deal, Oracle is asking Metro Nashville to reimburse them for 50% of their $175 million investment in public infrastructure by foregoing paying property taxes for the next 25 years. The deal also includes bringing 8,500 jobs – the largest deal in Nashville’s history.
“City officials are touting this move as a huge win, but for whom? Usually by the time we get answers, the deal is already done,” according to a joint statement by Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance.
The organizations say the Industrial Development Board – a citizen-run Metro board – is slated to vote on the deal Tuesday, April 27 without the public ever weighing in on it.
“Why do we as a city continue to make deals behind closed doors without the most important stakeholders in the room: the community. We continue to roll out the red carpet but ignore the real impacts that these massive deals have on our neighbors, on housing and gentrification, on traffic and infrastructure, and on jobs and economic mobility for the people who already call Nashville home,” according to the statement. “We as a city have an opportunity and an obligation to do business differently.”
The groups are calling for a deal that involves transparency, accountability, long-lasting public investments, racial equity, and community engagement.
“Nashville doesn’t need Oracle. What Nashville needs is affordable housing. What Nashville needs is adequately funded public schools. What Nashville needs is a minimum living wage ($18/hour) for jobs that don’t require a degree or specialized training. What Nashville needs is for you to care about the person beside you, the person barely holding it together, the family whose home will be gentrified when 8,500 people making over six figures decide they want to live closer to work,” according to a joint statement by Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance.
The groups say Black people in this city more than any other demographic have felt the negative impact of what deals like the Oracle proposal can bring to working class communities.
“What the community needs is more Black-owned businesses, homeownership, and pathways out for poverty,” according to the statement. “If we raise the expectations, these companies will meet it. Companies having the opportunity to move to Nashville is a privilege, not a favor. Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance are holding this city accountable for conducting business in a way that looks out for the “least of these” as an obligation, not a choice.
Stand Up Nashville Executive Director Odessa Kelly and The Equity Alliance Executive Director Charlane Oliver, along with clergy, and elected officials are scheduled to speak at Monday’s press conference.
Kelly is a candidate for Congress running against longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville). Stand Up Nashville is a community engagement and social justice nonprofit organization she co-founded.