Sunday, July 22, 2018

These are the candidates runnng for school board in district 6.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I don't live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them. This is different from the 2012 school board election in which there were forums and lots of money spend and lots of attention paid to the school board races. Why there is so little interest being paid to school board elections this election season I don't know since our schools are getting worse instead of better.

There are four candidates seeking the school board seat in district 6. All four candidates are African American and all have impressive credentials. District 6 is southern Antioch or Cain Ridge and straddles both side of  I-24 north of the county line. Tyese Hunter is the incumbent seeking reelection and she has three challengers.

Below is information about the candidates gleamed from a recent Tennessean article which you can find at this link and information from candidates website, Facebook posting and a few other sources.  

Tyese Hunter
Tyese Hunter is the incumbent. She is married, has three children, is the daughter of a retired police sergeant, is a licensed speech pathologist and has served in the US Navy reserved.  Her name was on the May ballot for Juvenile Clerk Court but she dropped out of the race after her daughter, who has a disability, became ill. She said she needed to make her daughter's health her priority.  

She serves as budget and finance chair of the school board. She is very supportive of Dr. Joseph.  She is supportive of charter schools.  In April 2016 she had guest editorial published in the Tennessean titled "Nashville School Board must regain focus, accept facts." In this article she addressed the generally poor quality of Metro Schools and how the gap between the bad schools and the good schools is widening. In this article she writes,
While most children in Nashville are falling behind, there are a handful of schools reversing this bleak trend. The report identified 10 “gap closing” schools – meaning schools that are actually reversing the achievement gap. Notably, 6 of the 10 gap closing schools are public charter schools.  These non-profit, open enrollment public schools serve about 10 percent of our students, but represent 60 percent of our best schools. ... Contrary to what some of my anti-charter colleagues on the school board claim, when you factor in these other measures, charter schools look even more promising.
I am an advocate of charter schools and Tyese Hunter's outspoken support of charter schools is a plus. She has the endorsement of  the Metro Nashville Education Association which is the teacher's union, the Service Employees International Union, and Nashvillians for an Effective School Board. While I do not view these endorsements as reasons I would support someone, I know that organizations such as unions often go with someone they think is likely to win because they do not want to make powerful enemies. So, while these endorsements are not a factor in her favor in my view, I would not vote against her because she got these endorsements.

For more information on Tyese Hunter you can visit her website at this link her twitter feed at this link and she has a Facebook page but you want gain much insight about her from visiting it. To see a Tennessee Tribune video interview with Ms.Hunter and candidate Earl Lattimore, follow this link.

Fran Bush
Fran Bush is a married mother of five children, three currently enrolled in Metro public schools and two who graduated Metro schools. She owns Model Kids Learning Academy, a childcare center. She said she is also a longtime board member of her homeowner's association. Bush said she isn't opposed to charter schools and that every family deserves a choice in where their kids get an education. But she said the district must do a better job of managing the cost of charter schools.  She has criticized Joseph for cutting Reading Recovery program out of the budget. My view on this issue is that this particular reading program was not cost effective. It was very expensive and did not show impressive results. You can read more about this program at this link. Bush has advocate adding metal detectors to schools. I don't know if this is practical or not and it would obviously be very expensive but given the tragedies of recent school shootings, I would not criticize a person for proposing it. 

Fran Bush has no endorsements.  You can visit her campaign Facebook page at this link, To see a Tennessee Tribune interview with the candidate, follow this link.

Earl Lattimore
Earl Lattimore has one daughter who attends LEAD Academy High School. He is supportive of Dr.Joseph's vision and says Joeph has not been on the job long enough to prove himself. He has worked with MNPS since 2012 and is currently a consultant for the state Department of Education. He says he takes middle ground approach to charter schools. "I am not going to say I am a proponent, but I do believe in choice," he said. You can visit his campaign Facebook page at this link. To see a Tennessee Tribune video interview with Ms.Hunter and candidate Earl Lattimore, follow this link.

Aaron McGee the executive director of Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee, which is a faith-based
Aaron McGee
nonprofit that provides tutoring services to kids. McGee received an endorsement from the Power of 10 Political Action Committee, which recruits, funds and supports African Americans and other ethnic minorities seeking local and state elections. The WPLN voters guide, attributes these positions to McGee:
  • Will focus on overcrowding and transportation. “We’ve got to have transportation that matches the growth we are experiencing in Antioch.”
  • Won’t abandon Joseph, wants to help him get results by creating a clear framework.
To view his campaign Facebook page follow this link.

The above is all I know about the candidates. If I lived in District 6, I would hope I would know more. It really does look like they are all good candidates. Some of them have advanced degrees and have relevant job experiences and appear to be accomplished people. If any reader of this blog or Facebook post has a candidate they are supporting in this race, please feel free to leave a comment and tell who you are supporting and why.  If you have a good reason for favoring one of the candidates over another, I would not want to influence you to change your mind. Given my limited knowledge of the candidates, if I were voting in this election I would probably vote for the incumbent Tyese Hunter.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

In school board district 2, Adam Barese appears to be the less bad candidate.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I do not live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them. This is different from the 2012 school board election in which there was forums and lots of money spend and lots of attention paid to the school board races. Why there is so little interest being paid to school board elections this election season I don't know; our schools are getting worse instead of better.
School board races are important. Some people take the attitude that the only people who should care about school board elections are people with children in public schools.  I strongly disagree. The quality of our schools and how much of our tax dollars they spend affects us all. It impacts home values, taxation, crime, incarceration rates and more. If I lived in a district with a school board race, I would educate myself on the candidates and vote in that election.  The School Board spends the bulk of Metro's tax money and most of our schools are low performing.  Nashville has a lot of good things going for it but the quality of our schools is not one of them. While the population of Davidson County is growing, school enrollment is shrinking. Apparently, parents are enrolling their children in private schools or the population moving to Nashville are skewed toward people people without children and those with children are moving to surrounding counties instead of Nashville.

In selecting who I would vote for there are certain factors I would consider. School board elections are non-partisan but if a candidate's political affiliation can be determined, I would vote for a Republican over a Democrat. If a candidates political ideology can be determined I would prefer a conservative over a liberal.  I would usually prefer an educated candidate over a less educated candidate. There are exceptionally capable people with only a high school education, of course, but in general, if I had limited knowledge of the candidates and other factors were equal, I would vote for the better educated person. I would tend to vote for someone who calls for increased efficiency and wise use of current resources over someone who calls for an increase in the school budget.  I would support someone who supports school choice over someone who opposes charter schools.

There are some factors that would not sway me to vote for a particular candidate and some that would be negative factors. Some candidates tout as a qualification that they have children in public schools. That does not carry weight with me.  School budgets and school quality affect us all.  If a person has a child in private school that is not a reason to vote against them, the way I see it.  Everyone has to do what is best for their family.  The person with a child in private schools may be better aware of just how bad our schools are and may be committed to making them better.  Also, being childless or single is not a negative in my view.  I want the kind of people who I would want to serve as Board of Directors  of a company.  Being wise decision makers may not be dependent on weather or not one is a parent.

Having been a teacher or married to a teacher or having teachers in one's family is not necessarily a factor that would make me vote for someone. The former teacher or person with teachers in their family may be biased in favor of more spending. They may be less objective than someone else.  Getting the endorsement of the MNEA which is the teachers union, or getting the endorsement of the SEIU would not be a disqualifying factor but would make me less likely to vote for someone; not more. If a candidate got a union endorsement then they are probably committed to higher taxes and more school funding.

There are two candidates running for school board in district 8. District 8 is the district that includes Hillsboro, Antioch, McGavock and Pearl Cohn. I know neither of the candidates. There was a debate between the two candidate on July 19th but I did not attend it and have no news from the debate. The incumbent, Mary Pierce is not seeking reelection. Today The Tennessean ran an article profiling the candidates. You can read the article at this link. Another website called Rover provided a little more information on the candidates. From information gleamed from the Tennessean article and the candidate's websites and a couple other sources, here is what I know about the candidates.

Adam Barese

Adam Barese is the owner of a medical distribution company and he has two children in Metro public schools. He serves as a PTO treasurer at Glendale Elementary. He is a critic of Dr. Shawn Joseph and says it is time for him to go. I like that. He advocates more autonomy for school principals, which is something I support. He has only raised $1350 while his opponent has raised $37,000. That is not a good sign. Knocking more doors can be more effective than raising lots of money, but I have no idea how hard either of the candidates have been working. He says he wants a budget for schools that will focus on proper pay for teachers and other underpaid school employees. On his Facebook page he says the failure of the Metro Council to pass a property tax increase was "disappointing." Prior to the Council action on the budget, he urged people to call their councilman and lobby for a tax increase. I cannot find where he has taken a position on school choice. To visit his campaign Facebook page follow this link. To view his campaign website, follow this link.

Gini Pupo-Walker
Gini Pupo-Walker is a former educator and works at Conexión Américas as the senior director of education policy. This organization provides a lot of worthwhile services that helps immigrants assimilate and improve their economic well being. Unfortunately, the agency also engages in advocacy on behalf of illegal immigrants. While I would not automatically vote against someone because they had made a contribution to this organization or because they worked for the organization, doing so does raise a red flag.  Her position on charter schools is nuanced. She says the district must better manage its charter schools and hold them accountable and she says,“I understand the impact they are having on neighborhood schools. They’re here to stay and we need to be a good actor." She seems supportive of Dr. Joseph. Like her opponent she advocated for a tax increase. She has the endorsement of the Metro Nashville Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, the Nashvillians for an Effective School Board, the Equity Alliance and the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund. To view her website, follow this link

I know no more about the candidates in this race than what I have reported above. The endorsements received by Pupo-Walker is a reason I could not support her candidacy. Adam Barese appears to be the less bad candidate.






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Southeast Conservatives Breakfast Club, Sat. July 21st

Saturday, July 21st
Breakfast begins at 8am; Meeting called to order at 9am

Shoney's near the corner of Thompson Lane & Nolensville Road
Ben Cunningham will be the keynote speaker.  Ben is working on a Debt Limit Petition regarding Nashville's out of control city government, from a spending versus revenue standpoint. Learn more at: NashvilleDebtLimit.com

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Should Bill Lee's contributions to Democras disqualify him.

Mark Rogers
by Mark Rogers, from a Facebook post, April 20, 2018 - If you sincerely believe that Bill Lee's contributions to a few Democrats are such a huge issue, please answer a couple of questions for me.

1) If donating to Democrats is unacceptable that it disqualifies a candidate and all such donations are public record and easily accessible on-line, why are two well-funded and heavily staffed opposing campaigns acting as if it took the Rogue 1 team, fighting Imperial storm troopers, Darth Vader and Voldemort {in a special crossover episode} to make this known? 

Early voting has started and Lee's opponents are blasting this 'news' as if they just got word. The truth is that they have known all along but didn't say anything because they didn't think it mattered to voters. And, as someone who believes in the People, I think they were correct. But now, with early voting going full stream and Lee surging in the polls, they are trying to convince voters that this is existential. Well, it isn't. If it were such a high crime, they would have made it an issue far earlier. There is a rule in campaigns that the later you raise something like this, the less voters think it matters and the more they feel you are trying to manipulate them.

2) If an occasional donation to a Democrat is such a moral sin, shouldn't that apply to everyone? I can think of a New York City developer and reality tv host who donated to Senator Clinton a few years ago. I imagine all sorts of Republicans have donated to Democrats for business reasons.
The only reason it matters here is that Bill Lee is a threat to upend the careful plans of two rivals. And they are turning a mole hill into a mountain in desperation.

Mark Rogers is a long-time Republican activist and commentator.  His experiences range from campaign strategy to policy development to speech writing.

Rod's Comment: I wholeheartedly agree with my friend Mark Rogers about this. Bill Lee gave $250  to Karl Dean's Nashville mayoral campaign and $500 to Megan Barry's mayoral campaign and $1,000 to Bredesen's reelection campaign for governor. Over the years, according to a Tennessean report, Lee has given over $160,000 in political contributions and the overwhelming bulk of it went to support Republicans and conservative causes.  Also, it should be noted that while Dean and Barry are Democrats, the office they were seeking was non-partisan. As governor, Bredesen governed more conservatively than the Republican he replaced.  I wish Lee had not given money to Democrats but this is insignificant and would not impact my vote one bit.

Diane Black is making a big deal out of this non-issue, yet she is working hard to align herself closely with Donald Trump who gave large amounts to lots of Democrats. When she attacks Trump for contributing to Democrats, then I will believe she really believes what she is saying about Lee.  The amounts Lee gave is paltry. It won't buy much influence. It won"t assure you get a government contract. I'm not even sure that for $250 you can get your phone calls returned.

The issue that concerns me in all of this is that people like Donald Trump and Bill Lee feel they have to make contributions for "business reasons."  In a more perfect democracy, government favors or access would not be for sale.

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The Tennessean has provided great coverage of each of the candidates for governor.

The Tennessean has a liberal editorial policy and sometimes conservatives disparage the newspaper as biased. I criticize the paper for what they don't report, but I think that may be a function of being understaffed rather than bias. I often think their news coverage is shallow and weak but occasionally they cover an issue in depth and do a good job. 

I am often surprised at the number of otherwise informed people who seem to care about local government and their community but who do not subscribe to The Tennessean. I know sometimes it seems like there is not much news in newspapers and they may not be worth reading but I think that may be more reflective of readers who do not care much for real news, rather than newspapers that do not want to report the news.  Unfortunately, as readership of  newspapers fall, newspapers have smaller staffs and can report less news. I honestly think Americans have shorter attention spans than in the past and they want large pictures and lots of graphics rather than in depth news coverage.

Despite the availability of lots of sources for news, I think we may be less informed, especially about local issues, than ever before. When I served in the Council in the decade of the 80's we had two vibrant newspapers competing for the story as well as the three local TV stations and WSM and WLAC radio with actual reporters digging for news. Now it seems the radio and TV news contains less real news. If you take away the sports, car wrecks, shootings and weather there is not a lot left.

With social media and bloggers you may get lots of opinions but not much news.  Facebook is no substitute for a daily newspaper. To have the dirt and corruption exposed and complex issues explained you need paid reporters whose job it is to report the news. I think the disappearance of newspapers and declining readership does not bode well for our democracy.

The Tennessean has provided great coverage on the race for governor. If you want to know the position of each of the candidates on medicaid expansion, or immigration or transportation policy or any number of other issues or you want to fact-check an attack ad, the Tennessean has provided good coverage.

I could not be more pleased with the Tennessean than I am with the profiles the paper has written on each of the major Republican candidates for governor. The profiles tell the life story of each of the candidates and something of their position on the issues.  They do not demean or mock or make snide remarks about any of them. They do address the negatives of each candidate but I think the reporting of each in these profiles has been insightful, balanced and fair. In fact, in each case it almost seems like the reporter actually likes the person they are covering.  If you want to know more about the candidates than just the info you get in a 30 second commercial, read these:

 Randy Boyd, a former economic development chief, hopes to 'come back and finish the job' as governor, by Tyler Whetstone.
 Diane Black says her aim is to 'protect our Tennessee values,' by Joel Ebert.

Beth Harwell says she is best positioned to 'hit the ground running' as next governor, by Joel Ebert.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Please vote for Dr. Brent Moody, Republican running in District 56

In District 56, I am supporting Dr. Brent Moody.


Dr. Brent Moody and his family live, work and love being a part of Nashville. Dr. Moody’s professional life is dedicated to treating and serving his cancer patients daily. Dr. Brent Moody and his family have made their home in Tennessee’s 56th district since 2003.

Brent was born in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Following graduation, he attended medical school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and completed a combined 7 years of post-graduate medical training in Saint Louis, Missouri at the Washington University School of Medicine and the Laser & Dermatologic Surgery Center.

Brent, his wife Shelby, and their two daughters moved to Nashville when he served as a staff surgeon at Vanderbilt Hospital. Later, Brent opened a private surgery practice with Shelby, an accountant, helping manage the practice. This was truly a small family run business. Brent and Shelby grew the practice from just three employees to nine full-time nurses and support staff. By prioritizing care for patients and staying on the cutting edge of medical research, Brent successfully treated thousands of patients, many with potentially fatal cancers.

After growing the practice, the Moodys merged with a larger medical group, allowing Brent the opportunity to collaborate with other physicians and caregivers. Brent has the all too rare background of experience in medicine and small business. Through it all, Brent understands first-hand the value of small businesses as well as the challenges they face.

Brent serves as an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, paints landscapes and seascapes and is a huge college basketball fan. His philosophy of life can be summed up as ‘Helping people in their time of need is an amazing responsibility and incredible privilege.’ Brent wants to bring his passion for finding solutions to difficult problems to Tennessee Government.

From Dr. Moody: “My political philosophy is straightforward. Government needs to be small, smart and serve the people and guided by conservative principles. We need serious minded problem solvers to make sure Tennessee continues to succeed. Tennessee needs conservative commonsense legislators who can analyze facts, understand the data and make good decisions while all the while remembering that people have the final say. This is the same approach that I have used to serve my cancer patients. Listen first, analyze second, act third and then assess the results.” 

For more information on Brent Moody, visit BRENT MOODY FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE.

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What happened at the July 17th Council meeting: Bill trampling property rights deferred again, call to divest investment in private prison firms passes, Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan delayed, ....


Above is the video of the Council meeting of July 17th.. To see my commentary on the agenda and a link to the agenda and the Council staff analysis follow this link.

Following the prayer and pledge there are a couple memorializing presentations and then candidates running for office get to introduce themselves, stating their name and office they are seeking. Following that, the Council takes up the confirmation of mayoral appointments to boards and commission and all are approved without discussion.

Public Comments begins at timestamp 20:30 in the video. This is new for the council. To speak one must sign up in advance and then may speak for two minuets on any topic. Five people take the opportunity to address the council. The first speaker slams Core Civic and denounces "systemic racism where incarceration has been aligned with profit." Following the first speaker there was a round of applause from the audience. I think the vice mayor should have banged the gavel and admonished the audience to refrain from applause, but she did not. The second speaker also spoke on the same topic urging the council to pass Resolution RS2018-1309. One speaker urges the council to not build the soccer stadium at the fairgrounds and gets emotional while speaking and says the plan for the stadium and ten acres mixed use development will kill the fairgrounds. Another speaker criticizes the MTA and says it is being mismanaged. The comment period is concluded at timestamp 32.

Resolutions: Only the resolution listed below is of much interest. Most are routine things and most pass on the consent agenda.

Resolution RS2018-1309 request that the investment committee of the Metropolitan Employee Benefit Board divest funds invested with entities engaged in the operation of private prisons. . Private prisons have become a liberal target but they save cities and states money and are usually safer and better managed than government prisons. CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, is a Nashville-based national private prison company. Memorializing resolutions express an opinion of the Council, are not signed by the mayor and have no force in law. However, since the Council is in a position to take stronger action if they wish, this resolution can have real impact. This carries more weight than when the Council opines on a national or state issue. Councilman Gilmore says private prisons violate human rights. Surprise, Surprise! It is revealed that Metro has no money invested in private prison companies and hasn't since 2016. The resolution is amended to say that in the future the city will not invest in companies that manage prisons. After some discussion, the resolution passes by a vote of 20 in favor, 3 against, 11 abstentions and 6 not voting. To see the discussion see timestamp 48:46 - 1:21:43.

Councilman Glover attempts to offer a resolution concerning the pending soccer related development at the fairgrounds.  I do not know the specific content of the resolution but Councilman Glover is a champion of the fairgrounds. To consider a late filed resolution requires unanimous approval to suspend the rules and there was objection, so his resolution was not considered.
Bills on Second Reading: The only bills of interest are three bills that were previously on Second Reading and deferred to this meeting.
Bill BL2018-1200 would require that if hotels or roominghouses accept cash payment, they must also accept at least one other form of payment such as check or credit cards. It passes on a voice vote.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 proposed new rules for scooter prompted by the

arrival of Bird Scooter here in Nashville. It would require new fees including a fee of $35 per scooter. This does a lot in addition to a money grab.. This is deferred one meeting at the request of the sponsor.

Bill BL2018-1203  which also deals with scooters, in-line skates, and roller skates is also deferred one meeting.

Bills on Third Reading:
The Ridge at Antioch
Bll BL2016-219 is the bill to trample private property rights and kill an affordable housing development. It is deferred one meeting. This bill would cancel an approved Planned Unit Development and down zone a persons property without their consent. This effort to pass this bill has been pending since June of 2016.

If this bill passes the State of Tennessee has threatened to withhold future tax credits used to help finance affordable housing developments. Should this bill pass and the owner wants to continue the fight, he probably has a winnable lawsuit to pursue.  This would most likely be considered a "taking" of property.  When government takes property the owner should be compensated and it should only be taken for a public purpose.  Government taking of property does not have to mean taking title.  To take away a right that one previously enjoyed may be a "taking" of property. It is shameful that this threat to take property continues to hang over the owner's head. This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and will require 27 votes to pass when it comes back up. For more on this story see this  link and this.
Bill BL2018-1099  is a disapproved zoning bill in Scot Davis' district. He substitutes the bill for a version approved by the Planning Commission and the bill passes.

Substitute BL2018-1139 (as amended) is the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan. It is deferred one meeting.  This has been worked on for a long time and is a complex bill.It would guide redevelopment around the Music City Star Donelson train stop and contains an affordable housing component. New authority from the state provides for this type of designation and this will be the first time that authority has been used.  This development hit a bureaucratic snag explained in this Tennessean article: $300M Donelson development stalled by oversight dispute.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1157  establishes a 50 foot floodway buffer along the Cumberland River and prohibits variances.  It passes. This is an attempt to address a real problem but this appears to me to be the wrong approach. If is not the nearness to the river bank that impacts flood potential but the elevation above the flood bank.

Bill BL2018-1182,  a disapproved zoning bill in Karen Johnson's district. It is deferred one meeting. 

Substitute Bill BL2018-1197 (as amended)
is withdrawn. This was for a food waste recycling facility that would "digest" food waste and turn it into mulch and compost. This would have been an innovative means of handling food waste and diverting it from landfills. There was community opposition to the location of the facility.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

These are the candidates running for the School Board in District 2.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I do not live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them.  School board races are important. Some people take the attitude that the only people who should care about school board elections are people with children in public schools.  I strongly disagree. The quality of our schools and how much of our tax dollars they spend affects us all. It impacts home values, taxation, crime, incarceration rates and more. If I lived in a district with a school board race, I would educate myself on the candidates and vote in that election.  The School Board spends the bulk of Metro's tax money and most of our schools are low performing.  Nashville has a lot of good things going for it but the quality of our schools is not one of them. While the population of Davidson County is growing, school enrollment is shrinking. Apparently, parents are enrolling their children in private schools or the population moving to Nashville are skewed toward people people without children and those with children are moving to surrounding counties instead of Nashville.

In selecting who I would vote for there are certain factors I would consider. School board elections are non-partisan but if a candidate's political affiliation can be determined, I would vote for a Republican over a Democrat. If a candidates political ideology can be determined I would prefer a conservative over a liberal.  I would usually prefer an educated candidate over a less educated candidate. There are exceptionally capable people with only a high school education, of course, but in general, if I had limited knowledge of the candidates and other factors were equal, I would vote for the better educated person. I would tend to vote for someone who calls for increased efficiency and wise use of current resources over someone who calls for an increase in the school budget.  I would support someone who supports school choice over someone who opposes charter schools.

There are some factors that would not sway me to vote for a particular candidate and some that would be negative factors. Some candidates tout as a qualification that they have children in public schools. That does not carry weight with me.  School budgets and school quality effect us all.  If a person has a child in private school that is not a reason to vote against them, the way I see it.  Everyone has to do what is best for their family.  The person with a child in private schools may be better aware of just how bad our schools are and may be committed to making them better.  Also, being childless or single is not a negative in my view.  I want the kind of people who I would want to serve as Board of Directors  of a company.  Being wise decision makers may not be dependent on weather or not one is a parent.

Having been a teacher or married to a teacher or having teachers in your family is not necessarily a factor that would make me vote for someone. The former teacher or person with teachers in their family may be biased in favor of more spending. They may be less objective than someone else.  Getting the endorsement of the MNEA which is the teachers union, or getting the endorsement of the SEIU would not be a disqualifying factor but would make me less likely to vote for someone; not more. If a candidate got a union endorsement then they are probably committed to higher taxes and more school funding.

There are five candidates running for school board in district 2. I know none of the candidates. Today The Tennessean ran an article profiling them. You can read the article at this link. From information gleamed from the Tennessean article and the candidate's websites, here is what I know about the candidates.

Edward Arnold
Edward Arnold: He ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 2014. He says he hopes to monitor and be a voice against what he sees as a ballooning Nashville public schools budget. He says charter schools have a place in Nashville but questions the number in some districts. Arnold has a specific proposal for improving our schools which he calls TIPS, Teacher Incentive for Public Schools. While I pause at the idea of creating a new paid board for studying our schools, as envisioned by Mr. Arnold, the proposed new study group would only exist for six months. That could be a better expenditure of money than all of the money we spend on outside consultants. This proposal shows that Mr. Arnold has thought deeply about our schools and has ideas for improving the schools. He also is critical of the School Board for doing away with two programs that improved the school offerings for better students. These are the AP classes and the Cambridge Program. I agree with him in this criticism. I am somewhat favorably impressed. For more information on the candidate follow this link and to visit his website, follow this link

Rachael Anne Elrod
Rachael Anne Elrod: She is the wife of Councilman Jeremy Elrod and a former teacher in another town.  She is critical of charter schools repeating the claim that charter schools drain money away from the school district. Charter school funding, of course, follows the student, so when a student is no longer educated in a regular school the school the child was attending no longer gets the funding to educate that student. Charter schools drain money away from the school district the same way magnet schools do.  She has the endorsement of Nashvillians for an Effective School Board and the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund. I would not vote for this candidate. To view her website follow this link

Jesse Gentry

Jesse Gentry: He is a former Tennessee Department of Children Services attorney. He tells The Tennessean he takes a middle of the road approach to charter schools. He is endorsed by the SEIU, which in my view is a negative.  Here is a link to his website and his school board campaign Facebook page.

TC Weber
Thomas 'TC' Weber: He is an education blogger and the name of his blog is Dad Gone Wild.  He is well-informed and opinionated. I was not aware of his blog until today, but have spend a couple hours reading it. He says he supports more funding for education but thinks it should come from the state.  A lot of people think the funding formula is unfair to Nashville and I don't know if that is true or not but I am pleased to see that he did not call for a property tax increase. I am impressed by anyone who is as informed as he and who puts as much work into advocating a position on the issues. He gets into the details of how much it cost to rent a bus for field trips, and when school employee training is cancelled and personnel vacancies and the process of evaluating the director. He is supportive of IB, Cambridge, and AP classes, as am I.  He is however an opponent of charter school growth and I am very much in favor of expanding charter schools. He also has the endorsement of MNEA but years ago when I ran for the Metro Council I received the same endorsement, so it is possible to get that endorsement without promising to always support tax increases.  While TC Weber's depth of knowledge is impressive, I would find it difficult to support anyone who opposes charter schools. He has some legal offenses in his background for such things as DUI, trespassing and assault but they were twenty years ago. He says he was an alcoholic but has been sober for years and is a changed man.  I would not hold his past against him. For a lot of information on his position on the issues see his blog. For his campaign Facebook page follow this link.

Radir Annoor, the fifth candidate did not submit information for The Tennessean's article on the District 2 school board race and I cannot find a campaign website or any information about him. Apparently he is not a serious candidate.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Senator Corker says Trump’s comments during Putin meeting made U.S. look like a ‘pushover’




Rod's Comment: I agree. President Trumps throwing of our intelligence establishment under the bus was disgraceful. Trump's performance was embarrassing. Any Republican who defends what President Trump said should ask themselves what their position would have been if President Obama or President Clinton would have done the same think. They would calling that president a traitor.

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What's on the 7/17/18 Council agenda: Effort to trample property rights and kill planned affordable housing resurrects, and regs and taxes of scooters.

By Rod Williams - The most important item on this agenda is Bill BL2016-219  on Third Reading which is the bill to

The Ridge at Antioch
trample private property rights and kill an affordable housing development while doing so.  This bill would cancel an approved Planned Unit Development and down zoning a persons property without their consent. This effort to pass this bill has been pending since June of 2016  If was first pushed by Karen Johnson and is now being taken up by Councilman Bedne. 

If this bill passes the State of Tennessee has threatened to withhold future tax credits used to help finance affordable housing developments. I don't know why this development has not already occurred.  I can guess that with the threat of this hanging over the head of the developer, that it impacted the financing. Should this bill pass and the owner want to continue the fight, he probably has a winnable lawsuit to pursue.  This would most likely be considered a "taking" of property.  When government takes property the owner should be compensated and it should only be taken for a public purpose.  Government taking of property does not have to mean taking title.  To take away a right that one previously enjoyed may be a "taking" of property. This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and will require 27 votes to pass. For more on this story see this  link and this.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the staff analysis for those who want to watch the Council meeting and follow along.  Below is a summary of what is on the agenda.

Elections and Confirmation: There are 6 mayoral appointments to Boards and Commission before the Council for confirmation. Usually, these are confirmed without controversy, discussion or dissension.

Public Comment Period:  This is new for Nashville.  Time is dedicated to allow members of the public who have registered in advance to speak upon matters related to the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County community. The only public comments we have had heretofore have been on zoning matters and once a year on the budget.  We have never had an open comment policy. This is common in smaller cities and I don't know how common it is in other cities the size of Nashville.  I suspect liberal activist will use this platform a lot.  I hope conservatives will also. Unfortunately, liberals seem to be much more engaged in advancing a big-government, liberal agenda than are conservatives in advancing a conservative agenda.  I also expect to hear from a lot of people talking about pot holes, and stray animal, and the quality of trash pickup. I hope this does not make Council meetings a lot longer.  

Resolutions: There is one resolution on pubic hearing exempting Jefferson Street Cafe from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit and there are 25 other resolution on the agenda. Initially all resolutions except a resolution on public hearing are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which it is assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter-agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. This agenda has a resolution approving a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) deal to build affordable housing, a resolution to expand a foreign trade zone and a resolution to fund the Big Band daces in Centennial Park. I don't expect any of these to be controversial. They will likely pass on consent. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Here is a resolution of interest.
Resolution RS2018-1309 request that the investment committee of the Metropolitan Employee Benefit Board divest funds invested with entities engaged in the operation of private prisons. I oppose this. Private prisons have become a liberal target but they save cities and states money and are usually safer and better managed than government prisons. CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America is a Nashville-based national private prison company. Memorializing resolutions express an opinion of the Council, are not signed by the mayor and have no force in law. However, since the Council is in a position to take stronger action if they wish, this may have real impact. The council could direct the investment committee to do this instead of asking. This carries more weight than when the Council opines on a national or state issue   This should be defeated, but I ddon't know that anyone will choose to take a stand on this.
Bills on First reading: There are only nine bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. They are all lumped together and pass by a single vote except in rare circumstances. I don't read them until they get to second reading.

Bills on Second Reading: The only bills of interest are three bills that were previously on Second Reading and deferred to this meeting.
Bill BL2018-1200 would require that if hotels or roominghouses accept cash payment, they must also accept at least one other form of payment such as check or credit cards. I seldom carry cash and would find it inconvenient if I tried to do business with an entity that was cash-only, but why not let the market work this out?  Why must the government try to micromanage every aspect of commerce and our lives?

Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 proposed new rules for scooter prompted by the

arrival of Bird Scooter here in Nashville. It would require new fees including a fee of $35 per scooter. It seems to be the policy that everything must be taxed and regulated.  This does a lot in addition to a money grab, but if Bird can live with it and is not fighting it, then I would assume it is an OK bill. Bird and similar scooter companies are in lots of other cities. I hope we are not over regulating them. Something like Bird can be an important part of making our city more mobile and can take cars off the road. Some cities have welcomed scooters and merchants have installed scooter racks. I wish Nashville was less hostile to innovation and private enterprise.

Bill BL2018-1203  also deals with scooters, in-line skates, and roller skates by removing the requirement for wrist guards, elbow pads, and kneepads and updating audio device references. It redefines the word "scooter" to mean non-motorized scooters, so this section would not apply to the electric Bird scooters.They would be regulated by the regulations contained in 1202 above.
Bills on Third Reading: There are 33 bills on third and final reading. Most are zoning bills approved by the Planning Commission. There a few zoning bills that are disapproved by the Planning Commission in which cast those bills require 27 votes to pass. Council members can sometimes have a difficult time getting the 27 votes, especially if several council members are absent. I don't form opinions on the merits of most zoning bills. In addition to Bill BL2016-219 discussed at the top of this page, other bills on Third Reading of interest are these:
Bill BL2018-1099  is a disapproved zoning bill in Scot Davis' district.

Bill BL2018-1182,  a disapproved zoning bill in Karen Johnson's district.
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 it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary. 

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Diane Black wins Nashville GOP picnic straw poll (update)



by Rod Williams - The Davidson County Republican Party picnic was today, Saturday July 14th, at the Centennial Park event shelter. It returned to Centennial Park this year after being held elsewhere for the last few years. This was a real picnic, with barbecue and all the fixings from Whitt's barbecue and it was a bargain at only $10 a person. About 300 people were in attendance. It was great to see people I had not seen in a while.

The shelter and nearby grounds were doted with campaign signs of various candidates running for political office and a lot of those in attendance were wearing tee shirts promoting their candidate. Several of the candidates had booths at the event. Diane Black, Beth Harwell and Kay White, candidates for governor, spoke to the gathering and other candidates had representatives speak.

Entertainment was provided by JackJohnson and the Austin Brothers Band.  Senator Jack Johnson is a good musician and entertainer, in addition to being a great senator. He plays the type music that I love, the western swing, hard core country music of Merle Haggard, George Straight, Ray Price and similar artist. Senator Johnson also served as master of ceremonies.

Jack Johnson, photo by Randy Foster
The straw poll for governor was won by Diane Black who got 116 votes. Coming in, in second place was Bill Lee with 106  votes, followed by Beth Harwell with 28 votes, Kay White with 11 votes and Randy Boyd with only 2 votes. Many of the candidates it appears brought their own voters to the event. Still, I was surprised that Randy Boyd only got two votes.

Connie Hunter gets the Statesman's award.
photo by Randy Foster
Gene Wisdom and Rod Williams
Rod Williams, Donald Trump and Sue Deuss
The Statesmen award was given to Connie Hunter.  This is an award given to the volunteer who is deemed to have done the most during the previous year to advance the Davidson County Republican Party other than a party official. The person honored gets a framed certificate and a autographed copy of the biography of former governor Winfield Dunn.

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July Young Republicans Meeting with guest Marsha Blackburn, Thursday July 19th

From DCRP on behalf of the Nashville Young Republicans:
 
Thursday, July 19th from 6pm - 8pm 
Buffalo Wings and Rings, 105 International Dr., Franklin
Please join us as we host Tennessee's next senator, Marsha Blackburn. Marsha founded the Williamson County Young Republicans and we are very excited to host her during her campaign. Show your support and let's keep Tennessee red!

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Williamson County Republican Party Old Fashioned Fish Fry and BBQ

Join us in the "big, red Barn" for catfish,
hush-puppies & BBQ with all the fixin's!
Mix & mingle with elected officials and local candidates.
And, remember we sold out last year so get your tickets early!

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