February 07, 2022

Good Monday morning, folks. Let's charge into the workweek with gusto.

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: A sunny and relatively temperate week awaits. The high today is 48Β°.

Today's newsletter is 942 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Shooting victims remembered

Shaundelle Brooks, mother of Waffle House shooting victim Akilah DaSilva. Photo: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

One by one, family members took the stand Saturday to commemorate the four people killed by a violent burst of gunfire at a Nashville Waffle House.

  • At a sentencing hearing for Travis Reinking, they described searing, almost unbearable pain that began after the mass shooting on April 22, 2018.

Driving the news: Reinking was convicted Friday of first-degree murder for the deaths of Akilah DaSilva, 23; DeEbony Groves, 21; Joe Perez, 20; and Taurean Sanderlin, 29.

The latest: Family members said they were relieved to put the criminal case behind them. But their testimony made it clear Reinking's conviction was not an ending.

What they're saying: Shaundelle Brooks said her family was "forever broken" after her son Akilah DaSilva died that night.

  • She remembers rushing to the scene and being blinded by the police lights. She saw her son's shoes through open ambulance doors and called out. He didn't answer.
  • "The pain is so great that some days I'm not sure I can even open my eyes," she said.

Akilah's brother, Abede, was with him at the Waffle House. The victim's last words to his brother were, "I can't breathe."

  • "My family has joined this informal and sadly growing club of gun violence survivors," Brooks said. "The members of this club are the only ones who truly understand the never-ending pain, the unbearable loss, the trauma that we relive over and over."

What's next: Reinking, 33, will receive additional penalties at a later date for attempted murder and weapons charges.

Meanwhile, Brooks said her family would focus on preserving her son's memory. They started a foundation in his name.

  • "I have dedicated my life to preventing gun violence," Brooks said. "I want to do whatever I can to prevent another mother from having to bury her children, from having to wake up every day with a broken heart."

2. Lee's budget funds Cleveland St. extension

The proposed Cleveland St. extension. Image courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Transportation

Gov. Bill Lee's proposed budget includes $40 million to extend Cleveland Street to the River North site of the incoming Oracle corporate campus.

  • Metro Councilmember Sean Parker tells Axios "it's great to see funding for multimodal infrastructure" in Lee's budget. Parker says he hopes the state and Metro can partner to make the Dickerson corridor "a safe and accessible destination for all roadway users."

Why it matters: The road extension is part of last year's $175 million economic incentive package that helped bring Oracle to Nashville. The tech giant is planning to invest $1.2 billion and bring 8,500 jobs with an average annual salary of $110,000 by 2031.

Details: The Cleveland Street project will extend the East Nashville road from Dickerson Pike to Cowan Street and will include an I-24 underpass.

  • "The state's investment affirms how vital the overall project's economic impact is for Nashville and Tennessee as a whole," Mayor John Cooper tells Axios.

3. Odessa Kelly may switch districts

Photo: Yihyun Jeong/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

Odessa Kelly is pondering a jump into the new District 7 congressional race.

  • Kelly has been running for the District 5 seat as an insurgent primary challenger to Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.
  • Backed by Justice Democrats and fueled by progressive support, the labor and social justice activist has established herself as a force in Nashville politics.

Why it matters: The newly drawn congressional districts, which favor Republicans, started a domino effect that led to Cooper's retirement.

  • Redistricting opens possibilities for which Nashville district Kelly might seek. A congressional candidate does not need to live in a district in order to seek its seat.

By the numbers: Political data analyst Dave Rosenberg, who also serves on the Metro Council, tells Axios that District 7 voted for former President Trump in the 2020 election by 15 points.

  • On the other hand, Marsha Blackburn defeated moderate Democrat Phil Bredesen in the 2018 Senate race by just 0.5 points.
  • Republican Rep. Mark Green currently represents District 7.

What they're saying: "She is analyzing all of the new districts and is considering running in the 7th," a spokesperson for Kelly's campaign tells Axios. "The campaign has not made an official decision or announcement."

4. The Setlist

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🐘 Nashville's prospects of hosting the 2024 Republican convention are rising. (Politico)

🍽 A Vanderbilt poll found high food insecurity among Tennessee children. (Tennessee Lookout)

New state legislation proposes returning the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest to a Confederate group in Maury County. (The Tennessean)

Fresh job openings around town

πŸƒ Turn over a new leaf with our Job Board.

1. Senior Software Engineer (Backend) at Axios.

2. Salesforce Loyalty - Manager at PWC.

3. Consulting Application Engineer at HCA Healthcare.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

5. Music Mondays

Mary Chapin Carpenter. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

πŸ‘‹ Nate and Adam here. For Music Monday this week, we each recommended three albums we love for the other to enjoy.

  • Nate picked "Live Through This" by Hole, "Merriweather Post Pavilion" by Animal Collective and "The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers" by Valerie June.
  • Adam picked "Hearts in Armor" by Trisha Yearwood (duh), "Come On Come On" by Mary Chapin Carpenter and "The Lonely, the Lonesome and the Gone" by Lee Ann Womack.

πŸ’­ Nate's thought bubble: Streaming stats aren't the end-all, be-all, but the Trisha and Mary albums are criminally under-streamed. There are songs on "Hearts in Armor" with less than 100,000 streams!

πŸ’­ Adam's thought bubble: My go-to for any playlist is emotive women singing ballads, and Valerie June's songs of longing fit right in alongside those under-appreciated Trisha gems.

  • But I can confirm "Violet" from Hole pairs well with a Friday evening after a long week.

We also included songs recommended by readers Jeremy B., Dan F., and Axios Dallas reporter Michael Mooney.

πŸ“¬ Reply with songs you'd like us to add, and be sure to like our playlist on Spotify.

⚾️ Nate is getting quite worried about the baseball season starting on time.

β›Έ Adam is watching Olympic figure skating competitions and feeling very out of shape.