Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Celebration with Special Guest U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

https://secure.build111.com/custpage.cfm/SID/412/frm/12069/form/12069/eid/0/e2

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Latinos for Tennessee Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Let's Celebrate our Diversity, Including Diversity in Thought  

Nashville, Tennessee - Latinos for Tennessee, an organization dedicated to providing the Hispanic community in the state with information and resources on issues relating to faith, family and fiscal responsibility joins the rest of the country in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month - which provides a backdrop to celebrate Latinos' contributions to the state and the country in the arts, business, science, sports and politics, to name a few.

Although there is much that unites the Latino community, there are important differences that should not be lost as our country celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. Raul Lopez, Executive Director of Latinos for Tennessee elaborated:

"During this Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, let's also celebrate the diversity in thought of our vibrant and growing community. For many of us that have fled tyranny, statist and corrupt governments in search of economic opportunity, Hispanic Heritage Month is also an opportunity to celebrate the free enterprise system and the idea that anyone can rise in this country through hard work, perseverance and strong families - with limited government intervention," said Lopez.

Lopez went on to add: "The impact of the Hispanic community is just getting started. Latinos for Tennessee intends to continue being an important voice for Latino Tennesseans," concluded Lopez.

Latinos for Tennessee is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a strong presence in Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee. For more information on Latinos for Tennessee, please visit: http://latinosfortn.com

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Thursday October 6th is Bring Your Bible to School Day.

Thursday October 6th is Bring Your Bible to School Day. Sponsored annually by Focus on the Family, the event empowers students to take their Bibles to school as a visual way to share their faith with friends and celebrate their right to free speech.  

Sign up for the event and download free age-specific participation guides for students and get other resources, including student testimonies.

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Join me in signing the petition demanding the NFL require players to stand for the National Anthem

Dear Rodney,
We are working with our friends at S.T.A.N.D on a very important petition demanding the NFL
require players to stand for the National Anthem and show respect to our nation’s Flag.
The National Basketball League requires their players to stand but yet the National Football doesn’t. You will not see the disrespect Kaepernick has shown with players among any other sport and you will not see it among student athletes.
Please take this patriotic stand with us. Sign our petition asking the NFL to require players to stand during the National Anthem.
Kaepernick’s means of protesting is an insult to our nation as a whole. By not standing for the flag, he is protesting all of the sacrifices made (before) 1776 until now.
I come from a very patriotic family. I was raised to respect our flag, our country, our national anthem, and the men and women who serve and served before them.
Our nation is not perfect and has errored many times. And, despite strongly disagreeing with many of our current national policies – the death of 1,616 unborn babies today alone, same-sex marriage in all 50 states, teaching our children the LGBT agenda in schools and exporting the same agenda to other countries, and a list that could go on for daysI will always stand at attention to the flag during our Pledge of Allegiance and our National Anthem and even God Bless America. Hand over heart each time.
I respect the foundation our nation was built on, with the help of God as he led many of our founding father. I respect my Grandfather who served as a Frogman in WWII, and my other Grandfather who served in Korea, and also my brother who just spent 8 years overseas post 9/11. I respect firefighters, police officers, and our other first responders. These folks gain nothing to give everything. The least I can do and the very least NFL players can do is honor them and the nation they help build.
As you know, I pledge to use my voice to bring change in the areas I disagree with. You hear from me many times each week. I don’t have millions like Colin Kaepernick, but I still hound my politicians and I still show up at Congress for big votes. I try to do my part.
I am offended. My grandfather is offended. My brother is offended. The Santa Barbara Police Officer’s Association is beyond offended, rather irate.  
If you are like me and feel the NFL should require their employees to stand during the National Anthem, please take a moment and sign this petition.
http://www.citizengo.org/en/36939-ask-your-players-respect-our-country
It is more than my personal story or how Kaepernick’s disrespect flat out disturbs me. There are many other reasons why the NFL should require players to stand.
There is no freedom of speech for an NFL football player. Dallas Cowboys attempted to wear stickers on their helmets to show support for the fallen police officers of their city, the NFL stopped them. New York Giant’s players were fined for wearing shows and/or socks that honor victims of 9/11 on 9/11. If a NFL player or coach speaks negatively about a referee, that player or coach is fined or suspended.
Not to mention Kaepernick’s disrespect has caused division among players in the locker room and damages the NFL league brand.
Please take a moment to sign our petition now.
http://www.citizengo.org/en/36939-ask-your-players-respect-our-country
Thank you,
Gregory Mertz and the entire CitizenGO team
CitizenGO is a community of active citizens that seeks to defend life, the family and fundamental rights worldwide. To find out more about CitizenGO click here or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. This message is addressed to rodwilliams47@yahoo.com. If you do not wish to receive emails from CitizenGO, click on this link.
To contact CitizenGO, do not respond to this email, reply at this link: http://www.citizengo.org/en/contact.

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This isn't about transparency, it's about intimidation.

By TRACIE SHARP and DARCY OLSEN
When voters in Missouri, South Dakota, Washington and Oregon go to the polls in November, they will vote on ballot measures that are cleverly marketed as legislation aimed at reducing “big money” and “outside influence” in local elections. If passed, what these measures would really do is limit the ability of nonprofits like ours to weigh in on policy matters we care about. This is an infringement of our First Amendment rights.

The South Dakota Government Accountability and Anti-Corruption Act is a good example. Also known as Measure 22, it would force nonprofit organizations to report the names and addresses of their donors to the state government, subjecting them to possible investigation by an unelected ethics board that is given the power to subpoena private documents and overrule decisions made by the state attorney general if the board disagrees.

Nonprofit organizations—like the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, National Rifle Association, churches, Boys and Girls Clubs and art museums—are legally allowed under federal law to take positions on legislative matters that impact their missions, as long as they do not financially or otherwise support candidates for office. Because they are not engaging in candidate campaigns, they are allowed to protect the privacy of their financial supporters. The South Dakota measure and others like it would overrule these protections.

The South Dakota legislation is part of a growing national trend. Since 2013, 17 states have considered, and five have passed, state laws to require donors to charitable groups and nonprofits working on issues—not campaigns—to report the names and addresses of their donors to the government.

Once collected, this information is posted on a public website for anyone to access. This might not sound like a big deal in today’s era of living our lives online, but some historical context is in order.

In the 1950s the state of Alabama tried to force the NAACP to turn over its membership list, with the result that segregationists could show up on the front lawns of those who supported the civil-rights movement. In NAACP v. Alabama (1958) the Supreme Court recognized the physical dangers this invited, and the threat to the First Amendment, which guarantees our right as Americans to express ourselves not only with words, but with actions and dollars as well.
Things have certainly changed since then, but we know from personal experience that violence directed at people who support controversial issues is still a real threat.

In 2011 the Goldwater Institute was engaged in a high-profile public dispute with local officials and the National Hockey League over the legality of a multimillion-dollar subsidy to Arizona’s hockey team. During that fight, hockey fans used property tax records to find the home address of the institute’s president, Ms. Olsen, and post it online. The next day a gutted rabbit was found on her porch and the animal’s blood smeared over her house.

In 2012 the Arlington, Va., office of Ms. Sharp’s nonprofit organization, the State Policy Network, was broken into and trashed. In 2013 the homes of our colleagues at the Wisconsin Club for Growth were raided in predawn, paramilitary-style assaults by the police who were looking for evidence that the group was illegally coordinating with the campaign opposing the recall of Gov. Scott Walker. But the group had not run one ad in support of Mr. Walker, sent one piece of mail, or made any phone calls; it simply spoke out in support of his union reforms. Staff at the Freedom Foundation in Washington state had their car tires slashed; an attorney at the Mackinac Center in Michigan was spat upon, the CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute’s home was vandalized, and so on.

Non-conservatives are also targeted. Last Thanksgiving a man went on a shooting rampage in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, tragically killing three and wounding nine others. What if the state had forced Planned Parenthood to post a list of its donors online? How much worse and widespread could that tragedy have been?

Do we want America to be a country where government keeps public lists of law-abiding citizens because they dare to support causes they believe in? Every American has the right to support a cause or a group without fear of harassment or intimidation. Protecting donor privacy is essential to safeguarding that right.

Ms. Sharp is president of the State Policy Network. Ms. Olsen is president of the Goldwater Institute.

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Protecting Our Homeland

Phil Roe
by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee - I want to begin this week’s column by sending my thoughts and prayers to those across the country, particularly Minnesotans, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, who were targeted by senseless acts of terrorism over the weekend. Unfortunately, these attacks are seemingly becoming the new normal in our country, and it’s clearer than ever that these radical Islamic terrorists present a serious threat to our security. The cowards who carry out these acts are weak, and desperately want to change the way we live our lives. As Americans, we must unite in our resolve to eliminate this evil from our country and world.
Now, more than ever, we need to take strategic and concrete steps to protect and secure our homeland. That’s why House Republicans put forward a plan including 67 recommendations to keep Americans safe and free, both at home and abroad. This plan is a better way.

First and foremost, this proposal would help keep terrorists and other criminals out of the United States by securing our border and closing loopholes in our immigration system. I’ve repeatedly said that border security must be one of our top priorities, and fixing our broken immigration system will go a long way toward keeping Americans safe at home. Further, recent disclosures that at least 858 individuals were improperly granted citizenship by the Department of Homeland Security undermines the confidence Americans have in our country’s ability to keep us safe. These serious shortcomings must be addressed. Not all who wish to enter this country are violent criminals or terrorists, but it is well known our borders are not secure. We must be realistic about the fact there are individuals who will prey on and take advantage of this weakness.
Our proposal streamlines security programs and improves the way information about potential threats is shared. It takes steps to prevent domestic recruitment and radicalization and ensures there are plans in place to both respond to and recover from terrorist attacks. Additionally, law enforcement and first responders must have the tools and resources they need to respond to threats and attacks, and this plan includes proposals to provide those necessary resources. Still, Islamic terrorism isn’t just a threat to the United States; it’s a threat to the world, which is why we can’t fight this battle alone.

That’s why the Better Way plan includes measures to hold our allies accountable. We need buy-in from all peaceful nations to eliminate this threat and keep terrorists from bringing the battle to our shores. I strongly believe President Obama’s passive approach to foreign policy and his lack of strategy to defeat ISIS is partially why this and other terrorist organizations continue to have the ability to recruit and train new fighters. ISIS is not the “JV team” as President Obama has called them, and we need an aggressive plan to defeat this enemy in their stronghold. We also need our foreign allies to join us in winning the war of ideas. This war isn’t just a physical one; it’s a war we must fight from a physical and ideological perspective if we expect to win.

America is still the greatest country in the world, but there’s no question we’ve lost power on the world stage. Many of our allies question our leadership, and our enemies question our strength. This is a direct result of the Obama administration’s failure to keep their word and stand toe-to-toe with aggressors like Russia and Iran. In fact, just this week, the House is voting on a series of bills to bring transparency to our dealings with Iran by demanding a report on the finances of Iranian leaders and stopping future ransom payments by acknowledging the administration violated longstanding U.S. policy when they paid ransom in exchange for the release of Americans being held in Iran.
For almost eight years, the Obama presidency has led our country in the wrong direction, especially when it comes to national security. There is a better way, and you can read the full Better Way plan to make our nation strong and secure at better.gop.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Clinton Foundation Report On Watered Down HIV/AIDS Medication

From U.S Congressman Marsha Blackburn:


Clinton Foundation Report On Watered Down HIV/AIDS Medication
The Clinton Foundation has a long history of shady business practices and a complete lack of transparency.  My office first started looking into the Foundation in April 2015, and this week I released a 78-page report detailing its partnership with drug companies in the distribution of watered down HIV/AIDS medication in sub-Sahara Africa. You can read the full report HERE. I know that many of you have raised concerns about the Foundation over the years and I am working diligently to get answers.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Council Meeting of 9-20-19: Three short-term rental bills deferred, two pass; Google Fiber One-touch bill passes; Pot bill passes,



If you want to have a better understanding of what is going on, follow this link for a copy of the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda. If you are going to actually watch the meeting, you really need to follow along with the agenda.

If you are going to watch the meeting you may want to watch it in double speed. That is usually what I do with council meeting and most meetings and speeches. I can watch it in double time and not lose much content and I slow it if something is interesting. To watch it in double speed, hover your cursor over "YouTube" and click it. The video will then open in another screen. Then click "setting" which is indicated by a gear icon. When that opens change speed from normal to the desired speed.  If you are not given that option, then follow this link for instructions.

Below is a summary and the highlights of the meeting.

All resolutions pass on the consent agenda except for an insignificant bill to be deferred and the two below. 

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-380 by Council member Weiner ask Google Fiber and Comcast and everyone else involved in the process of facilitating the stringing of cable, to make Google Fiber available in Nashville, to play nice and make it happen. It says that "WHEREAS, industry stakeholders oppose BL2016-343,"  "the industry stakeholders, including but not limited to Google Fiber, AT&T, Comcast, and NES, are to come together in good faith and execute a Memorandum of Understanding to memorialize process enhancements that substantially eliminate the current backlog in make-ready work to facilitate the Google Fiber deployment and reduce the timeline for broadband deployment by all Internet service providers in Nashville. The stakeholders shall aim to complete the permit for each make-ready poll in 30 days and the subsequent make -ready work shall be completed within 45 days or less." This sets out what would be in the MOU and says that a minimum of 125 poles per week for a period of 18 months will be completed. The staff analysis says. "It is arguable that Metro Council does not have the legal authority to control how private companies address one another,much less mandate that they meet. Initiating a requirement making one private company liable to pay a penalty to another company is likewise problematic. It is anticipated therefore that a substitute resolution will be offered." This resolution was offered as an attempt to kill the One-touch-make-ready bill by offering an alternative approach.  To see the discussion see time stamp 16:33- 31:48.The bill fails on a roll call vote. To see how members of the council voted follow this link.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-382   ask Live Nation Entertainment to implement anti-scalping controls for events conducted at Ascend Amphitheater. Ticket scalping has become a major concern everywhere. Individuals and companies using software programs often buy up huge blocks of tickets of popular shows and then scalp them at higher prices.  This resolution was deferred three meetings. 

All bills on introduction and First Reading pass without objection by a single vote, as is customary. 

BILL NO. BL2016-336 says that if a local company is competing with a company that is not local for a metro contract and the local company submits a Matching Low Bid with the company that is not local, that preference be given to the local company. The staff analysis says that, "Historically, the Tennessee Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals have strongly disfavored local bidder preferences, citing the negative impact such preferences can have on competitive market forces," and that this bill may violate the Metro Charter and State law. This is deferred two meetings.

BILL NO. BL2016-375  would prohibit more than three unrelated people from sharing a STRP among other things. This would eliminate renting the properties to a bachelorette group or any other group of more than three unrelated people.  This would not apply to those who already have a permit for a STRP.  This would not be enforceable and seems overly restrictive. I oppose this measure. It is deferred two meetings and sent back to committee. To see discussion see time stamp 39:32-45:16.

BILL NO. BL2016-381 says that an  STRP permit applications shall be valid for sixty (60) calendar days from the date filed and shall expire if the application process has not been completed within that time. This seems unnecessarily restrictive and I oppose this bill. It is substituted and deferred two meetings and rereferred to committee. To see the discussion of this bill and the next one, see time stamp 46:01-49:39.

BILL NO. BL2016-382   places more stringent restrictions on the number of STRP permitted.  It reduces to only 1% of the properties the Not Owner-Occupied STRP permitted in any single census tract. I oppose this measure. This is substituted and deferred two meetings and rereferred to committee.


BILL NO. BL2016-385  requires members of the  Metropolitan Council and other Davidson County elected officials and members of Boards and Commission to receive Sexual Harassment training. Ridiculous political correctness and unnecessary in my view. It passes on a voice vote with no discussion. 
 Bills on Third Reading. There are 27 bills on Third reading. Here are the ones of interest. 

BILL NO. BL2016-257   would make changes to the Short Term Rental Property regulations.  If someone was caught operating a STPP without a permit, a "stop work" order could be issued and they could no longer operate their property as a STRP and would have to three years before they could apply for a STRP permit and they could be fined $50 a day for each day they were found to have operated a STRP without a permit. Currently if found operating a STRP without a permit, they must wait a year before they can apply. It is a little more complicated this however. It is amended so that those simply not in compliance out of ignorance can get in compliance but those willfully evading compliance would be severely penalized. It passed on a voice vote when on Second Reading. To see the discussion at last council meeting when this was on second reading see see time stamp 1:30:25 - 1:40:53 at this link.  It passes third reading without discussion.

BILL NO. BL2016-343 is the “One Touch Make Ready” (OTMR) bill which would allow one company the right to work on a utility pole and move all of the cable that must be moved in order to accommodate a new company adding a cable to the utility poll.  This is being proposed to accommodate Google Fiber, which is trying to provide high-speed Internet to Nashville.  Other companies, such as Comcast, do not want anyone but their own people moving their cable. Also, there are labor contracts that complicate this. The Mayor's office has tried to work out a some agreeable accommodation but has not been successful. Google Fiber has threatened to abandon their plans for Nashville to get Google Fiber unless something can be worked out. After Louisville passed a similar bill, AT&T sued the city arguing that the city lacked authority to pass such an ordinance and they have threatened to sue Nashville if this passed. For more on this issue see this link, this link, and this and read the staff analysis of Sept.6The bill passes by a vote of 32 to 7 on second reading. This has been one of the most heavily lobbied bills before the Metro Council in a long time. For more information on the council actions on this bill when it was on second reading and to see how members voted on the motion to table and the motion to defer and the final bill on Second, see this Tennessean article. To see the discussion that occurred when the bill was on second reading  see time stamp 1:42:45 - 2:39:20 at this link.

An attempt to defer the bill two meetings, fails. The point is made by Councilman Elrod and Councilman Swope that the lawsuit pending in Louisville Kentucky may not be relevant to Nashville, because of difference circumstances and that should not be used as an excuse for inaction by Nashville. The motion to defer fails on a roll call vote, and on a voice vote the bill is passed on third and final reading.  To see the discussion see time stamp 1:01:42-1;20:09. 

BILL NO. BL2016-373  says that any advertisement for a STRP must include the permit number of the property. The AirB&B website and similar websites do not actually have the ads placed there read by a real person. When the software that reads the entries sees a series of numbers, it assumes it a phone number.  If a phone number of the person offering the property for rent was posted, AirB&B would not get their commission and the whole app business model would fall apart. This could destroy completely the STRP business in Nashville. The staff analysis fails to address this concern with this bill. This concern is addressed by the sponsor and an amendment is offered and passed that says the ad can include the permit number or a picture of the permit. That apparently  resolves this concern. The bill passes on a voice vote without discussion.

BILL NO. BL2016-374 would require an affidavit from the permit applicant that is renting the property as a STRP does not violate any HOA rules or Condo rules. I oppose this. I do not think Metro should get in the business of ensuring people are abiding by private contracts and an HOA reg or Condo rule is a private matter and Government should not involve itself.  This passed on a voice vote without discussion when on second reading. This passes on Third on a voice vote without discussion.


SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-378BILL NO. BL2016-378  is the bill that would substantially reduce the penalty for  possession or

causal exchange of up to a half ounce of marijuana. Currently one can be fined up to $2500 and spend a year in jail.  Under this bill one would not be arrested but given a $50 ticket. Unfortunately, this bill is amended so that it is less attractive than the bill as introduced. The amendments replaces "shall" with "may,"  saying police "may" issue the ticket for $50 instead of saying that shall.  Discretion is not rule of law.  The police should not have that much flexibility. It leads to unequal treatment and makes the policeman "the law" instead of enforcers of the law.  The amendment also removes the lessened penalty for casual transfer. This is still a step in the right direction but a much smaller step. To see my views on marijuana follow this link.

This bill was debated at length on Second Reading. For more on this legislation as reported in The Tennessean see this link. The bill passed on a voice vote with some audible "no's" on Second Reading.  To view the discussion of this bill on Second Reading see time stamp 2:42:24 - 3:20:28 at this link.

The point is made that this bill is not in conflict with state law. I am disappointing to see Councilman Glover who is running for a seat in the State legislature take a strong stand against this bill. While I would almost always prefer to see a Republican replace a Democrat in the legislature, Councilman Glover's stand on this bill makes me less inclined to think he deserves to win that legislative race. The bill passes on a roll call vote of 35-3-1. The three "no" votes are Doug Pardue, Sheri Weiner, and Steve Glover.  To see the discussion, see time stamp 1:33:17-148:59.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Alliance of Black Parents, Education and Community Leaders Speak Up to Say: Charter Public Schools Work!

Baeo press release - Parents with children in charter public schools, as well as those on waiting lists to get in, are speaking up for parental choice and the positive impact charter schools are having on Black student achievement across the nation. Led by the Black Alliance for Educational Options  and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the new ChartersWork campaign tells a clear and compelling story of why more than 700,000 Black families have chosen charter schools. The campaign formed in response to a growing number of voices from San Antonio to Washington, DC  calling on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to reconsider the position it took in July to put a moratorium on charter schools.


The campaign is launching with a letter from more than 160 Black education and community leaders who are calling on the NAACP to reconsider and learn more about how charter schools are helping Black families. Signees include Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of Oliver Brown, plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education, and founding president and CEO of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research; Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone; Mariama Carson, founder of Global Preparatory Academy Charter School and wife of Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN); Dr. Howard Fuller, founder and chair emeritus of Black Alliance for Educational Options; Dr. Deborah McGriff, acting chair, Black Alliance for Educational Options; Dr. Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund; Bishop Reginald Jackson of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Dr. Rod Paige, former US Secretary of Education; George Parker, former president of the Washington Teacher’s Union; Dr. Steve Perry, founder and head of school for Capital Preparatory Schools; and more.

Citing a shared understanding that Black students are getting a raw deal in America’s schools, and are frequently underserved by the traditional public education system, the ChartersWork campaign is calling on the NAACP’s national board to reconsider the organization’s call for a moratorium and learn more.

“Over 60 years ago my father joined with numerous parents to stand with the NAACP and fight for all African American students stuck in a separate, broken education system. Brown v. Board of Education created better public education options for African American students, and made it the law of the land that neither skin color, socioeconomic status, nor geography should determine the quality of education a child receives,” said Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of Oliver Brown, plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education and founding president and CEO, Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research. 

“I am eternally grateful to the NAACP for their leadership on this case and for giving African American families the opportunity to send their children to the best schools that would help them to succeed. But I am troubled that in 2016, the NAACP would oppose placing better educational choices in the hands of families across the country. Charter public schools present African American families, especially those in low-income communities, with the choice to choose a public option that is best for their child. We must protect this choice.”

Brown Henderson and other advocates are speaking out because charter schools are working for Black students. According to Stanford University's CREDO 2015 Urban Charter Schools Report on students in 41 urban regions across the country, low-income Black students attending charter schools gained 33 percent more learning in math and 24 percent more learning in reading each year as compared to their traditional public school peers.

"For generations, the NAACP has been at the forefront of the fight for political, educational, social and economic equality for Black Americans. This is why their resolution calling for a nationwide moratorium on charter schools, many of which serve the same Black families the NAACP is fighting to protect, is inexplicable,” said Jacqueline Cooper, president of Black Alliance for Educational Options. "The truth is, banning new charter schools will only widen the achievement gap for low-income and working-class Black children by reducing the number of high-quality educational options available and increasing the number of names on existing waiting lists. As a result, there will yet again, be another generation of Black children who will not be prepared to go to, through and beyond college to become economically independent adults.”

More than 20 years after the formation of the first charter school, there are now more than 6,800 charter schools across 43 states and the District of Columbia, educating nearly three million children. Black students account for 27 percent of charter school enrollment nationally, versus just 15 percent of traditional district school enrollment. And the number is growing. One in 10 Black students who attend a public school in this country attends a charter school. And many of the one million names on waiting lists to get into charter schools are Black children.

“The reality is that for too long, many traditional schools have been leaving Black students behind,” said Shirline Wilson, a parent in Washington state whose third child to go through public schools has chosen a charter school. “Charter schools are meeting the needs of so many families like mine and providing real opportunities for kids who deserve equal access to a great education.”

ChartersWork will run through the end of 2016 and focus on elevating Black voices and stakeholders from the civil rights and charter communities, dispelling myths and putting the focus of this conversation back on what works for children.

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Mayor Barry Statement on Marijuana Ordinance

9/20/2016, Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement on the passage of BL2016-378, commonly referred to as the marijuana decriminalization bill:

"This legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the overly punitive treatment of marijuana possession in our state that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority residents.
“It is important to stress that this ordinance is not a license to sell, possess, or use marijuana in Nashville. When this ordinance becomes law, police officers will still have the ability to make arrests or issue state criminal citations for marijuana possession as circumstances warrant, which is a Class A misdemeanor under state law.”

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Mayor Barry Statement on One Touch Make Ready Ordinance

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement on the passage of BL2016-343, the “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance, which she intends to sign into law once it arrives on her desk:

“One Touch Make Ready appears to be a common-sense way of speeding up the deployment of high-speed internet throughout Davidson County. Unfortunately, the likelihood of protracted litigation could delay implementation of this law designed to benefit Nashville’s consumers. That is why I encouraged fiber providers to work together on a solution they could all agree upon, which they were not able to do. My hope now is that any potential legal disputes over this new law can be resolved quickly, and we can move forward with expanding fiber access throughout the city.”

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Council passed One-touch-make-ready to accommodate Google Fiber and passed the bill to lessen the penalty for possession of a small quantity of marijuana

In Council action last night, the Council passed One-touch-make-ready to accommodate Google Fiber and passed the bill to lessen the penalty for possession of a small quantity of marijuana. Council video and more details to follow

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

(update) The Council agenda for Sept. 20, 2016: A bunch of Anti-Short-term rental (Airb&b) bills, Pot bill, One-Touch-Make-Ready for Google Fiber

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, September 20th at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and are streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. You can catch the meeting the next day on the Metro YouTube channel. If you will wait, I will watch it for you and post the video and point out the good parts so you can go to that point in the video and watch just those segments. Also, I will  tell you what I think about what happened.  Council meetings are really boring and I watch them so you don't have to.

If you are going to watch a council meeting, you really need the agenda and  the Council staff analysis or you won't have a clue about what is going on. Follow the highlighted link to view the agenda.  Here is my commentary and analysis of the agenda.

There are eight people up for confirmation to Boards and Commissions. These are people appointed by the mayor subject to approval by the Council. They will be rubber stamped as always.

There are no bills or resolutions on public hearing.

There are 14 resolutions on the consent agenda. Resolutions on "consent" are passed by a single vote of the council instead of being voted on individually. If a resolution has any negative votes in committee it is taken off of consent.  Also any council member may ask to have an item taken off of consent or to have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded.  These are the ones of interest:

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-380 ask Google Fiber and Comcast and everyone else involved in the process of facilitating the stinging of cable to make Google Fiber available in Nashville to play nice and make it happen. It says that "WHEREAS, industry stakeholders oppose BL2016-343,"  "the industry stakeholders, including but not limited to Google Fiber, AT&T, Comcast, and NES, are to come together in good faith and execute a Memorandum of Understanding to memorialize process enhancements that substantially eliminate the current backlog in make-ready work to facilitate the Google Fiber deployment and reduce the timeline for broadband deployment by all Internet service providers in Nashville. The stakeholders shall aim to complete the permit for each make-ready poll in 30 days and the subsequent make -ready work shall be completed within 45 days or less." This sets out what would be in the MOU and says that a minimum of 125 poles per week for a period of 18 months will be completed. The staff analysis says. "It is arguable that Metro Council does not have the legal authority to control how private companies address one another,much less mandate that they meet. Initiating a requirement making one private company liable to pay a penalty to another company is likewise problematic. It is anticipated therefore that a substitute resolution will be offered."
BILL NO. BL2016-343 is the “One Touch Make Ready” (OTMR) bill which would allow one company the right to work on a utility pole and move all of the cable that must be moved in order to accommodate a new company adding a cable to the utility poll.  This is being proposed to accommodate Google Fiber, which is trying to provide high-speed Internet to Nashville.  Other companies, such as Comcast, do not want anyone but their own people moving their cable. Also, there are labor contracts that complicate this. The Mayor's office has tried to work out a some agreeable accommodation but has not been successful. Google Fiber has threatened to abandon their plans for Nashville to get Google Fiber unless something can be worked out. After Louisville passed a similar bill, AT&T sued the city arguing that the city lacked authority to pass such an ordinance and they have threatened to sue Nashville if this passed. For more on this issue see this link, this link, and this and read the staff analysis of Sept.6The bill passes by a vote of 32 to 7 on second reading on Sept. 6th is on third reading this meeting so, I am not sure why this resolution is on the agenda.  it seems unnecessary.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-382   ask Live Nation Entertainment to implement anti-scalping controls for events conducted at Ascend Amphitheater. Ticket scalping has become a major concern everywhere. Individuals and companies using software programs often buy up huge blocks of tickets of popular shows and then scalp them at higher prices.  
Bills on First Reading. There are 14 bills on First Reading but I usually don't review bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. They are not evaluated by committee until they are on Second Reading. All bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. These are 14 bills on Second reading and these are the one's of interest.
BILL NO. BL2016-336 says that if a local company is competing with a company that is not local for a metro contract and the local company as Matching Low Bid with the company that is not local that preference be given to the local company. The staff analysis says that, "Historically, the Tennessee Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals have strongly disfavored local bidder preferences, citing the negative impact such preferences can have on competitive market forces," and that this bill may violate the Metro Charter and State law. 
BILL NO. BL2016-375  would prohibit more than three unrelated people from sharing a STRP among other things. This would eliminate renting the properties to a bachelorette group or any other group of more than three unrelated people.  This would not apply to those who already have a permit for a STRP.  This would not be enforceable and seems overly restrictive. I oppose this measure.

BILL NO. BL2016-381 says that an  STRP permit applications shall be valid for sixty (60) calendar days from the date filed and shall expire if the application process has not been completed within that time. This seems unnecessarily restrictive and I oppose this bill.


BILL NO. BL2016-382   places more stringent restrictions on the number of STRP permitted.  It reduces to only 1% of the properties the Not Owner-Occupied STRP permitted in any single census tract. I oppose this measure.

BILL NO. BL2016-385  requires members of the  Metropolitan Council and other Davidson County elected officials and members of Boards and Commission to receive Sexual Harassment training. Ridiculous political correctness and unnecessary in my view. 

Bills on Third Reading. There are 27 bills on Third reading. Here are the ones of interest.  
BILL NO. BL2016-257   would make changes to the Short Term Rental Property regulations.  If someone was caught operating a STPP without a permit, a "stop work" order could be issued and they could no longer operate their property as a STRP and would have to three years before they could apply for a STRP permit and they could be fined $50 a day for each day they were found to have operated a STRP without a permit. Currently if found operating a STRP without a permit, they must wait a year before they can apply. It is a little more complicated this however. It is amended so that those simply not in compliance out of ignorance can get in compliance but those willfully evading compliance would be severely penalized. It passed on a voice vote when on Second Reading. To see the discussion at last council meeting when this was on second reading see see time stamp 1:30:25 - 1:40:53 at this link.

BILL NO. BL2016-343 is the “One Touch Make Ready” (OTMR) bill which would allow one company the right to work on a utility pole and move all of the cable that must be moved in order to accommodate a new company adding a cable to the utility poll.  This is being proposed to accommodate Google Fiber, which is trying to provide high-speed Internet to Nashville.  Other companies, such as Comcast, do not want anyone but their own people moving their cable. Also, there are labor contracts that complicate this. The Mayor's office has tried to work out a some agreeable accommodation but has not been successful. Google Fiber has threatened to abandon their plans for Nashville to get Google Fiber unless something can be worked out. After Louisville passed a similar bill, AT&T sued the city arguing that the city lacked authority to pass such an ordinance and they have threatened to sue Nashville if this passed. For more on this issue see this link, this link, and this and read the staff analysis of Sept.6The bill passes by a vote of 32 to 7 on second reading so should pass without any trouble. This has been one of the most heavily lobbied bills before the Metro Council in a long time. 

For more information on the council actions on this bill and to see how members voted on the motion to table and the motion to defer and the final bill, see this Tennessean article. To see the discussion that occurred when the bill was on second reading  see time stamp 1:42:45 - 2:39:20 at this link.

BILL NO. BL2016-373  says that any advertisement for a STRP must include the permit number of the property. At first I thought this sounded reasonable but now I oppose this bill. The AirB&B website and similar websites do not actually have the ads placed there read by a real person. When the software that reads the entries sees a series of numbers, it assumes it a phone number.  If a phone number of the person offering the property for rent was posted, AirB&B would not get their commission and the whole app business model would fall apart. This bill needs to be defeated. This could destroy completely the STRP business in Nashville. The staff analysis fails to address this concern with this bill.

BILL NO. BL2016-374 would require and affidavit from the permit applicant that is renting the property as a STRP does not violate any HOA rules or Condo rules. I oppose this. I do not think Metro should get in the business of ensuring people are abiding by private contracts and an HOA reg or Condo rule is a private matter and Government should not involve itself.  This passed on a voice vote without discussion when on second reading.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-378BILL NO. BL2016-378  is the bill that would substantially reduce the penalty for  possession or
causal exchange of up to a half ounce of marijuana. Currently one can be fined up to $2500 and spend a year in jail.  Under this bill one would not be arrested but given a $50 ticket. Unfortunately, this bill is amended so that it is less attractive than the bill as introduced. The amendments replaces "shall" with "may,"  saying police "may" issue the ticket for $50 instead of saying that shall.  Discretion is not rule of law.  The police should not have that much flexibility. It leads to unequal treatment and makes the policeman "the law" instead of enforcers of the law.  The amendment also removes the lessened penalty for casual transfer. This is still a step in the right direction but a much smaller step. To see my views on marijuana follow this link.

This bill was debated at length on Second Reading. For more on this legislation as reported in The Tennessean see this link. The bill passes on a voice vote with some audible "no's" on Second Reading so should pass with no difficulty. . To view the discussion of this bill on Second Reading see time stamp 2:42:24 - 3:20:28 at this link.
 This is the update after reading the council staff analysis.

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How do American Muslims view Sharia Law and American values?

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz was alarmed by the growing number of Somali Americans living in Minneapolis who have joined up with the Islamist-terror groups ISIS and al-Shabaab. So he recently traveled to that city to speak with members of the community about how much American values resonated with them, their feelings about sharia law and terrorism, and whether they’d prefer to live in Somalia or America. Their answers were revealing.



It is easier to not see nuisances and complexities when dealing with controversial issue. When it comes to Muslim immigrants there are two prevailing points of view.  One view is that we must be welcoming and assume that Muslims will assimilate and that it is wrong to question their loyalty.  All religions are equally of value and ones religion is unimportant. To question this assumption is pure bigotry.

The other point of view is that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with American society and values and that all Muslims are terrorist in waiting and that we should ban Muslim immigration and that it is suicidal to welcome followers of this foreign ideology to settle among us.

I thought that the local opposition to a mosque being built in Mufressboro displayed a lot of pure bigotry, ignorance and nastiness.  On the other hand, I do not think all concern about Muslim immigration is unfounded. While one video may not be the final word on the issue and one does not know how representative the people interviewed in this video are of Muslim immigrant opinion it would be foolish to not recognize that the views expressed in the above video are representative of a significant number of Muslim immigrants.

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