Saturday, June 6, 2020

Statue of Confederate soldier to be removed from Montgomery Bell Academy campus

Statue of Confederate soldier to be removed from Montgomery Bell Academy campus

Sam Davis Statue at Montgomery Bell Academy – Contemporary Sculpture by Alan LeQuire
by Richard Upchurch - It is hard to know where this popular compulsion to eradicate history or heritage that seems to fall short of current norms of righteousness will take us. There was the Soviet Encyclopedia, where the high commie muckity-mucks in Moscow sent out new pages with minute instructions as to how librarians were required by the all-powerful government to cut out selected pages and paste in new pages reflecting the new current party line.

According to Wikipedia, Montgomery Bell---like many successful entrepreneurs of that day----freed some of his slaves and paid their fare back to Africa. In other words, Bell had been a slave owner, and (like Lincoln himself) could not see how, after emancipation, the former slaves could ever become a part of our national society. Lincoln thought the emancipated black people would have to be sent back to Africa. Or to South America. Maybe progressives will decide an elitist school should not honor a man, who like Lincoln, advocated "repatriation" by retaining his name, and maybe the Progressives will, as they continue to progress and become more and more enlightened---more and more "woke" as they say nowadays---decide that the Lincoln Memorial should for the same reason be demolished or at least re-named and re-purposed, since Lincoln expressed the same ideas and misgivings and doubts as to whether emancipated blacks could or would become a part of normal American society.

Reposted from Facebook.

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Council members call for the resignation of Chief Anderson. Establishment protects rioters from arrest.

Bob Mendes
by Rod Williams - In a blog post and on Facebook last week I expressed an opinion that I thought Chief Anderson should resign.  I was incensed that police just stood by and watched and did not stop the vandalism and destruction during the rioting of last Saturday night.  Upon reflection and after being challenged by someone I respect to not throw the Chief under the bus, that perhaps he was just following orders of the mayor, I rescind my earlier call for the Chief to resign. I acted hastily.

I criticize the was the riot was handled, however.  As soon as the spray painting started, police should have made arrest.  They did not.  They allowed a police cruiser to be destroyed and did not act, they allowed the stature of Sen. Edward Ward Carmack to be toppled and windows to be broken and garbage can holders to be pulled up and thrown in the street and trash fires set and did nothing.  They allowed light poles in front of the court house to be toppled. I also do not think protestors should be allowed to just take over streets and block traffic.  They were.  The police did not act until arsonist set fires in the courthouse, even then they reacted slowly.  I was afraid they were going to let the fire get out of control before they responded.
Freddie O'Connell

I don't know if this just-stand-by-and-watch-it-happen police reaction was a decision by Chief Anderson or was a policy directed by Mayor John Cooper.  The council should hold hearings and determine who set that policy.  Unfortunately, I suspect that there is no appetite in the Council to question the policy.  I suspect most members of the Council agree with it.

There are now calls for Chief Anderson to resign coming from members of the Council.  Not because he stood by and simply observed lawlessness happen, but because he issued arrest warrants for two of the riot ringleaders.  The two people whom the police sought to arrest were Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris. They are well-known activist leaders.  Jones has been in the news many times for illegal activities.  I was once at a Marsha Blackburn event and during a moment of silence to honor victims of  a mass shooting, Jones yelled out a series of angry denunciations of Blackburn. When security tired to escort him from the building he resisted and had to be forcibly removed. You may also have heard of Jones for an incident when he threw a cup of hot coffee on Speaker Glen Casada at the State Capitol.
Dave Rosenberg

The warrants for Jones and Harris were for felony aggravated rioting for the vandalism of the police cruiser. That vehicle, a 2018 Ford, may be a total loss. Eighteen police vehicles were damaged during the riot and eleven of those are still out of commission. A warrant was issued for a third person for the same crime and it has not been rescinded. The third person does not have the same activist celebrity status as does Jones and Harris.

Calls for Chief Anderson to resign have come from Council members Freddie O’Connell, Dave Rosenberg, and Bob Mendes.

Shortly after being issued, the Metro police recalled the warrants. In an official Metro press release it was stated, "After a review of additional information from last Saturday, some of which was just received this afternoon, the MNPD and District Attorney General Glenn Funk agree that the arrest warrants issued last night against Justin-Bautista-Jones and Janeisha Harris will be recalled for the present."  I imagined what really happened is that Glenn Funk told Chief Anderson he would not prosecute even if the police made the arrest.  Who knows?  Maybe the mayor overruled Anderson.  In any event, two leaders of Nashville's radial movement were protected from arrest.

Fortunately, a protest on Thursday night remained peaceful. There is another protest scheduled for tonight and we will see what happens.  Protestors have pretty much been given a green light to do whatever they want and the Nashville political establishment will protect them.  Elections have consequences and Nashville has elected a soft-on-crime District Attorney and a very progressive Metro Council.  Metro is getting the type of government for which they voted.

For more on this see these links: link, link, link.

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Friday, June 5, 2020

Senator Rand Paul, M.D. Endorses Dr. Manny Sethi for Senate

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Republican Senate candidate and conservative outsider Dr. Manny Sethi was endorsed today by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), one of our nation’s most important voices for liberty and limited government.

“Tennessee deserves a true conservative who supports President Trump, is pro-liberty, and will fight out-of-control federal spending. I believe Dr. Manny is the right choice, like me, he’s a physician, not another politician. We need more outsiders in Washington, and I’m proud to endorse him today,” said Senator Paul.

"Senator Paul has been a strong voice for liberty in the US Senate, and I am honored to have his endorsement. I look forward to working with him, standing on the side of liberty, prosperity, and a return to the Constitution," said Dr. Manny. “With under nine weeks until Election Day, we're seeing momentum and this is more evidence of just that.”

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Councilman Steve Glover will be presenting his alternative budget, Tomorrow morning, June 6th, 10AM at Peg Leg Porker

Tomorrow morning, June 6th, 10AM at Peg Leg Porker , 903 Gleaves Street, Councilman Steve Glover will be presenting his alternative budget that proposes a much lower tax increase than does the Mayor's budget or the Bob Mendes budget.  

Unfortunately, there will be a tax increase.  The deck is stacked to make that inevitable. The Charter is designed to give advocates of a tax increase an advantage.  Also,  Nashvillians elected a very progressive, big-government loving, Metro Council.  

However, it is not inevitable that we have a 32% or 37% tax increase.  If the Council hears from the public, Steve Glover may be able to get 21 council votes for his alternative budget.  So far, the budget process has been hijacked by those favoring much higher taxes and even those wanting to cut funding for police.  Both may happen if citizens do not get behind the Steve Glover proposal. 

I plan on attending this important event. 



 To see the video of Councilman Steve Glover announcing tomorrow's meeting follow this link:

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The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act

This is reposted from the website www.nashvilletaxpayerprotectionact.com.

Nashville was flat broke before the Covid-19 crisis hit our City.  Last fall, the State Comptroller Justin Wilson was threatening to put Nashville into a receivership and take over running the City.  Our financial troubles are the consequence of the Metro Government's years of financial mismanagement and failure to operate the City in a competent manner.   

Nashville is $3.6 BILLION DOLLARS ($3,600,000,000.00) in debt, and $1 in $10 tax dollars received goes to paying interest. It is time for this nonsense to stop!  Fixing Metro’s budgetary mismanagement and financial incompetence can no longer be trusted to the Government.

Now, at a time when businesses are shut down, unemployment is the highest in decades, and families are suffering Mayor Cooper's "solution" is increase property taxes by 32%. and spending by over $100,000,00.00 this year!  The Mayor's proposed budget is just "more of the same" spending spree with no serious cuts which has gotten us in this mess to begin with.  This budget merely kicks the can down the proverbial road, and we will face another 30+% hike in the near future when the cause of the problem - overspending - is not addressed.

Nashville will never recover from this economic downturn if we drive our restaurants, bars and other businesses into bankruptcy and destroy jobs while causing residential property rates to soar upwards.  Now is the WORST TIME to raise property tax rates and the BEST TIME to cut wasteful spending.

The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act is just the First Step in bringing financial stability back to Nashville.  The Act amends our Metro Charter to bring financial common sense to Metro in several ways:


LIMIT TO PROPERTY TAX RATE INCREASES

Property Tax Rates. Property Tax Rates shall not Increase more than 2% per year after January 1, 2020.

Metro's current dysfunctional plan is to continue overspending to create an "emergency situation" where a 32% property tax increase is "suddenly" the only solution.  Our property tax system is designed to be complicated and confusing to allow it to be manipulated behind the taxpayers' backs.  Property taxes should increase with inflation and a fiscally responsible government should raise tax rates to track the inflation rate.  Under this Amendment, the Metro Council and Mayor cannot raise tax rates MORE than 2% without justifying the same to the Davidson County taxpayers who get to vote on the increase.  This change will force the Metro Government to explain why a greater tax increase is needed.

NO GIVE-AWAY OF OUR PARKS, GREENWAYS, OR PUBLIC LANDS.

No Give-away of Our Parks, Greenways, or Public Lands. No part of a Park, Greenway, Public Land, or other real property shall be given away or conveyed without 31 votes of the Metro Council in favor. Transfers of interest in real property shall only be at fair market value or greater based on an independent appraisal.  A voter referendum shall be required for transfers of interest in real properties valued over $5,000,000.00, and for leases exceeding twenty (20) years, commencing after January 1, 2020. 

Nashville has been in a race to give-away millions of dollars in valuable real estate to well-connected developers at the taxpayers' expense.  Properties such as the Church Street Mall, Broadway Convention Center, and the downtown Public Library were given away for pennies on the dollar.  Irreplaceable park land such as 24 acres of E. S. Rose Park in the Edgehill Neighborhood were transferred to Belmont University by a via 40 lease for a paltry $50,000 annual lease payment.  More recently, Metro is giving away 10+ acres of the Nashville Fairgrounds for $10.00 per year for 75-years.  Another 10-15 acres valued at over $30,000,000 is being given away for 99-years for a commercial development which will enrich its owners $12,000,000 - $15,000,000 per year while paying the Fairgrounds less than $200,000 per year.  No park, greenway or public land is safe from exploitation without this protection.

This Amendment prevents Metro from giving away Our Parks, Greenways and Public Lands for less that fair market value and without an independent appraisal.  The taxpayers deserve to know, and more importantly the Metro Government should know, the value of the Parks and public lands BEFORE taking it from the people and giving it to developers.  For property valued over $5,000,000.00 ($5 Million) and/or leased for more than 20 years, the people shall be permitted to vote on the wisdom of giving away the property.  

Nashville's irresponsible giving away of valuable irreplaceable property for free is one reason we are in such financial trouble.

ISSUANCE OF BONDS.

Issuance of Bonds. All bonds issued or guaranteed after January 1, 2020, exceeding $15,000,000.00 for a specific project (excluding construction of educational classrooms, public libraries, public healthcare buildings, and police and fire stations, and Charter protected facilities) must be approved by voter referendum.  

One (1) in every ten (10) dollars received in property taxes is used to pay bond interest.  Nashville is presently  3.6 BILLION ($3,600,000,000.00) in debt and plans to issue another $225 MILLION ($225,000,000) in bonds to build a billionaire developer a soccer stadium.  It is time to stop spending ourselves into a hole.

Nashville has more than half the debt level of the State of Tennessee.  We have "refinanced" much of our debt to the point we are essentially making "interest payments."  This irresponsible behavior means future tax increases on our children and insolvency.  

The Amendment restricts the use of bond financing to essential government functions such as the building of educational classrooms, public libraries, public healthcare buildings, and police and fire stations, and Charter protected facilities.  Other, non-essential uses of debt require the voters' approval.  In 1996, the people voted to bring the Titans to Nashville and build a stadium so there is a history of letting the people decide. 

FAILED PROMISES:

Failed Promises: If a professional sports team leaves Nashville, or ceases playing professional games for more than twenty-four (24) months, all facilities and related commercial development shall revert to the people, and all related contracts shall be terminated, including land leased from the Nashville Fairgrounds. 

The taxpayers have been asked to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build sports complexes for wealthy developers and sports promoters.  This Amendment simply requires that if a sports teams leaves Nashville that all the benefits the taxpayers gave as an inducement go back to the taxpayers.  It is only reasonable if the Titans leave Nashville, we the citizens should get our stadium back.  Additionally, if MLS abandons the Nashville Fairgrounds the citizen should get all of the Fairgrounds property back.  It is only fair the taxpayers get their property back if a team breaks its promise to the citizens and leaves.

OPEN RECORDS

Metro’s Records Shall Be Open to the Public. Citizens  are entitled to keep a close eye on Metro’s actions and entitled to inspect its books and records for free and consistent with the Tennessee Open Records Act’s protections (§10-7-501, et seq).  A person or entity receiving more than $250,000 yearly in taxpayer funds or benefits agrees to be bound by this Amendment. Persons or entities refusing to provide public records shall be barred from receiving public funds and liable for treble the Citizen’s damages, including attorney fees.  

The best and only way for the citizens to know what their Government is up to allow the people access to the Government's actions by inspecting its books and records.  This Amendment strengthens the Tennessee Open Records Act and makes it easier and less costly for citizen to find out what Metro is up to.  Consistent with the Tennessee Act, private and personal information is protected while allowing citizens free access to all "public" information.

One of the reasons Nashville is in such financial trouble is it gives away millions of dollars to public and private entities with virtually no oversight.  The Amendment conditions receipt of more than $250,000.00 per year with accountability to the public in the same way Metro will be accountable. The taxpayers are entitled to know not just who gets tax dollars, but how they are spent as well.  If an entity desires to operate in secret it is free to do so without taxpayer dollars.

In the past, Metro has stalled, delayed and even refused to turn over information to keep citizens in the dark as its actions.   The Amendment makes Metro liable for damages caused by its failure to comply. 

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Radicals hijack Council meeting. Demand city defund the police.

by Rod Williams-  Tuesday night's Council meeting was a circus.  If you follow the local news at all you probably have heard some of what happened.

The Tuesday meeting was public hearing night for the budget.  The meeting lasted an astounding eleven hours, perhaps sitting a new record for the longest council meeting on record.  It did not end until 5:30AM Wednesday morning.

With a massive property tax increase under consideration, one would have expected to have a large number of people to be speaking against a tax increase.  It didn't happen.  Instead, members of  Nashville's "progressive" community showed up early and in large numbers.  Also, since the city is trying to accommodate concern over the Coronavirus, people were allowed to call into the meeting with their pubic comment. The organized radicals tied up the phone lines.  Some people gave up trying to call in and showed up in person to find a long line of the radicals in front of them.  Some people waited until 2AM for a chance to speak but most gave up.

The message of the radicals was pretty much the same.  They called for defunding the police department and spending the money instead on social programs in the Black community.  Metro's police are understaffed and under funded as it is, as is Nashville's fire department. Then radicals also called for cutting funding for Metro jail.  Over one hundred in-person and call-in members of the public repeated the message to defund the police.

The meeting got tense at times.  With people repeating the same message over and over,  Vice Mayor Jim Shulman realized what was happening and went out and talked to the people waiting to speak ."You all are destroying any ideas that you are doing by what you are doing tonight,” Shulman said. “I'm just telling you that this is bad politics and it is bad policy that you all are doing here," he told them.  "You all should know better."  He spoke in a calm manner, trying to reason with people.  You can see his interaction with the radicals at this link.

Freddie O'Connell took issue with Shulman. "Here is a group of predominantly young people coming to speak about oppression that they perceive," said O'Connell, "and the last thing we should do as a body of the people is turn around an institute oppression."

The next day Mayor Cooper distanced himself from the remarks of Shulman, siding with the radicals, saying, "Throughout today, I have listened to people’s distress over Vice Mayor Shulman’s words to residents at last night’s Metro Council meeting. The Vice Mayor is an independently elected Metro official, and his words are his own. They do not reflect my views, or the views of my office. I fully support all public speech, and I believe every single voice must be heard."

Councilman Steve Glover said the public was cheating out of a public hearing and said the meeting had been hijacked.  Councilman Bob Mendes defended the process and said the public hearing was just fine and got personal and called Steve Glover a "blowhard." "I think Councilman Glover is sort of a blowhard about things like that," Mendes said. "I'm not sure how much people were really robbed of an opportunity." "Everybody in the county had the phone number, everybody in the county could have showed up here, and we got the comments that we got."








For more see these links: link, link, link, link, link.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Who were the arsonist and rioters who were arrested and who bailed them out.

Vincent Hamer
by Rod Williams - During and following the Saturday night Nashville riots in connection with the protest over the death of George Floyd, police made thirty-one arrest. Three of the arrest were for felonies and the others were misdemeanor charges.

Westly Sommers
 Westly Sommers age 25 of Madison was arrested for aggravated arson.  He appears to be a local thug with prior arrest.

Tondrique Fitzgerald, age 23 was charged with aggravated rioting and felony vandalism. He is the one who pulled the granite plaque commemorating the civil rights movement in Nashville off the exterior wall of the courthouse. He is a convicted felon. He is a Nashvillian.

Vincent Hamer an 18-year-old of Nashville was just arrested today, Wednesday, June 3th. He is charged with aggravated rioting and felony vandalism. Police say video and photographs show Hamer using objects to break at least two windows at the courthouse.

A 20-year-old man was arrested and found to have a loaded gun and five magazines. The majority of
Tondrique Fitzgerald
those arrested were from Nashville or nearby cities but also arrested were people from Texas, Illinois and New York.  Of those arrested 23, were men, ages 21 to 61 and five were women, ages 17 to 28.  Sixteen of the arrested were black, 11 were white and one is Hispanic.

Westly Sommers bond was set at $255,000. Bail for Tondrique Fitzgerald was set at $75,000.  It is not known if they made bail.

Almost all of those who were arrested are out.  This was posted to the "Our Revolution," Facebook page.




While the purpose of bail is to assure someone shows up for trial, I fear that the time they set waiting to be bailed out is the only time they will serve.  I will not be surprised if all of those arrested on misdemeanor charges are not given community service.  I hope not, but I suspect that is what will happen.  Community service is a joke in most cases.  In my years of working with a local non-profit we would have people assigned to our organization to do community service.  We did not have staff to supervise them and get any meaningful work out of them and they spend most of their day sleeping.  If you did ask them to mop a floor or something, they had an attitude and moved in slow motion.  Community service is waste of time. Probably getting arrested will simply give this people more street cred with their peers.

For more information on the Nashville Bail Fund, follow this link.  For source material and more on this story see these links: link, link, link, link, link,

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Monday, June 1, 2020

The thugs who committed violence should be prosecuted to the full extend of the law. Chief Anderson should resign.

by Rod Williams - Police have made an arrest in the case of the courthouse arson.  Westley Somers is charged with felony arson, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. He was booked into the Metro Jail and his bond was set at $255,000. He has prior criminal charges in Tennessee, including in Davidson and Sumner counties. Court records show that in 2017 he pleaded guilty in a domestic assault case and was charged with child neglect in a separate case.

If he is allowed to plead to a lesser charge and gets a slap on the wrist I am going to be very disappointed.  These thugs cannot be permitted to get by with destruction of property and violence. Every person who spray painted a building or broke a window should be arrested and punished.

Saturday night I got on my computer about 5pm and caught a live feed from The Tennessean.  I have attended a few peaceful rallies in my life but never a riot.  It was fascinating.  I couldn't stop watching. The Tennessean live feed had no narration just a cameraman amongst the crowd filming.  I watched till after 10 O'clock.  Part of the time I also watched live reports from local news stations. When one thinks of a riot, you imagine rage and energy and maybe a running mob.  It was not like that at all.  It was like it was in slow motion. And, people were having fun.  They were laughing and socializing and it seems everyone was taking pictures with their cell phone. It was a social event.  It was a party.  Someone would start trying to tear lose a bench or light pole and then someone would join them.  They were having fun!

Some of the destruction reminded me of kids who will try to outdo each other in doing something reckless or daring.  Someone would break a window, then people would cheer and then after a while someone else would throw a rock and break a window.  It was like they were egging each other on.  The setting of the fire was like that.  It slowly unfolded.  I kept saying, "where are the police?"  "Where is the fire department?"  I was afraid the city was going to let it just burn down.  Response was slow.  Also, most police were on bicycles or normal street uniform.  The police were not in riot gear.  I guess the logic is that a show of force is provocative.  I am very disappointed.  Police should protect property and enforce the law.  People could commit destructive acts right in front of the police and there was no police response at all.

All of those people who violated the law are on film doing it.  A lot of people should go to jail.  I also think Chief Anderson should retire.  He failed to protect this city.




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