Best of Nashville 2011: Media & Politics Writers' Choice

Nashville Scene
Oct 6, 2011

BEST POTENTIAL BRAIN TRUST: JIM BRADFORD, ROBERT FISHER, BILL IVEY
Jim Bradford, dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, took the helm when Owen wasn't exactly rocketing up the national rankings. He then infused it with legitimacy and prestige. Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University, has probably overseen one of the most respectable ramp-ups of any business or nonprofit in this city in the last decade (that little Lisa Howe imbroglio notwithstanding). Bill Ivey is the former longtime head of the Country Music Foundation who then went on to run the National Endowment for the Arts and then Vanderbilt's Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy. My guess is all three are nearing retirement age, and I'm reasonably certain their golf games suck. But they are all so bright and accomplished that they should be pressed to focus their combined acumen on some vexing local problem, whatever that might be. What the hell — call a fourth guy, Keel Hunt, and get him to articulate the problem. BRUCE DOBIE

BEST CONTENDER FOR HIGHER OFFICE: MEGAN BARRY
Unlike most politicians, At-large Metro Councilwoman Megan Barry doesn't shy away from her interest in seeking higher office. Speaking on record, Barry, a favorite among local progressives (and the wife of longtime Scene contributor Bruce Barry), won't rule out a 2015 mayoral run or campaigning for Congress whenever Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper decides to step down. (Many Nashville liberals wish she would opt to challenge Cooper — the Blue Dog of all Blue Dog Democrats — in a future primary instead.) No doubt the 47-year-old Barry has emerged as one of Nashville's key political figures to watch. In August's general election, Barry was the leading vote-getter among Metro's five at-large winners, all incumbents. But her future potential candidacies could have some challenges. You see, in Barry's world, progressive politics have somehow been possible while also maintaining strong ties with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and other traditionally conservative spheres of influence. That could be a difficult line to continue to walk. JOEY GARRISON

FULL STORY