Harriet and Scott Wallace presided at the “You Ask, They Answer Mayoral Forum” presented by Pumps and Politics and Wallace Media Group in the Cal Thomas Family Center at Meharry Medical College. Photo by Clint Confehr

By Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — A mayoral candidate’s defense of racial profiling as a “necessary” police practice attracted a great deal of attention to the mayoral forum at Meharry Medical College.

The recorded forum is posted by Harriet and Scott Wallace who presided at the “You Ask, They Answer Mayoral Forum” presented by Pumps and Politics and Wallace Media Group on May 10.

At pumpsandpolitics.com, scroll to the uploaded videos player box for 65-70 minutes of questions and answers.

“Sometimes race might play some part in…” profiling, candidate Ralph Bristol said that Thursday. On Facebook, the former WWTN FM talk show host adds: “I didn’t ENDORSE racial profiling by police. I simply won’t rule it out, which shocked the audience.”

Harriet Wallace says “providing information” was the forum’s goal. She declined to say who won the event, but it soon became clear who was vilified by their own remarks about police profiling.

She chose North Nashville as the forum’s venue “because … [of] the overwhelming response and power of the black vote …

“Two issues really seemed to spark some emotion: when we discussed profiling by police; and when we discussed gentrification. Those are two big issues the African American community is facing right now.” Also of great concern: Metro General Hospital, she said.

Mayor David Briley had a schedule conflict and didn’t attend. Nor did Nashville NAACP President Ludye Wallace who, without “financial resources” is “not campaigning.” He “may do something in 2019 … depending g on who wins.”

So, 11 candidates participated in the forum.

Thirteen is more candidates for mayor than ever before, Harriet Wallace said. And “we have the most African Americans to run for this office than we have ever seen. That says there’s a turn in the city … there’s an elevated presence of the African American voice … and that Nashville is a welcoming place for people to run.”

She also sees a “diversity in the jobs held by candidates now, including a barber, actor, someone in the medical business, and of course the career politicians. This is a very diverse group … 

“We’re at an energized time in our city and a challenging time” given Megan Barry’s resignation, and “there are a number of trust issues between people who live in the city and those who run the city … People want to know who they can vote for who they can trust the most.”

Wallace Media CEO Scott Wallace said issues that stood out included transit and General Hospital … I was very interested to hear about spending … the fairgrounds (budget) … and we have a shortfall in Metro schools and in fire and police spending.

“What are we going to do about that?” Scott Wallace asked.

“Pretty much, everyone agreed … spending has to be controlled … and things people are doing with money in Metro need to be watched,” he said, noting a “sharp contrast” between “Carol Swain’s comments … with what others said” because she’s “a little bit to the right.

“The roar from the crowd was about racial profiling. It was something Ms. Swain and Mr. Bristol had some things to say about …

“Then Mr. carr came in and said a totally different thing,” Scott Wallace said. “carr also talked about how he was the first … who fought against transit …” Candidates want better transit, but not the plan that failed during the referendum.

“There are maybe 4-5 [mayoral candidates] who have a chance” of continuing their campaign in an expected runoff, Scott Wallace said “If I were a betting man I’d say it’s 15-1 that there will be a run off.”