Monday, October 22, 2018

Vote "against ratification" on Amendment 1, Amendment 5. and Amendment 6.

When you go to the polls to vote you will see six proposed Charter amendments on the ballot. To view the complete language of the amendments, go to the Election Commissions website and go to page 3.

I am recommending that voters vote "against ratification" on amendment 1, Amendment 5, and Amendment 6. 

Two of the  other three amendments are harmless housekeeping amendments that do no harm and may even be beneficial. One of the other three, I think, is flawed but not a disaster and it doesn't much matter if it passes or not.  If you get into the polling booth and cannot remember which amendment does what and in doubt how to vote, just vote against them all.


Below is a summary of the six amendments.

Amendment one would establish a community oversight board that would have the power to investigate allegations of misconduct against the Metro Police Department. This is a terrible proposal.

There are currently at least eight different layers of accountability in place for our local law enforcement agencies, several made up of civilians. These include local agencies such as the Office of Professional Accountability as well as state and federal agencies such as the TBI and FBI.  Also, there is no requirement in the proposed amendment that would require the perspective of someone who is knowledgeable of law enforcement policy, procedure and training. Nor is there a requirement for anyone on the board to have a comprehensive understanding of local, state and federal law.  Also, this would add another $2 million annually to the Metro Budget. When the metro government cannot give employees a promised raise and is cutting tens of millions of dollars out of the budget to stay solvent, Nashville cannot afford this redundant, expensive layer of bureaucracy.


The amendment would also stack the deck to have the board dominated by liberal activist. Also, there is not even a requirement that board members be U. S. citizens.

Amendment two would set a procedure to follow if the mayor's seat is vacant and for some reason the vice mayor can't or won't fill the seat.

Amendment three clarifies and changes when special elections would be held for vacant mayor, vice mayor and council member seats. A special election would be held for mayor if there is more than 12 months left in the term. For vice mayor, that number is 24 months. District council members would have an election if more than eight months were left in the term and at-large council member seats would remain vacant and have no special election.

I think this is flawed and will vote against it also but don't care that much. I like the part about the call for election if the mayors seat would be vacant for 12 month and if the vice mayor's seat would remain vacant 24 months. I think a district seat should have more than 8 months left before calling a special election, however. By the time you could have the election, there would be less than 8 months remaining. By that time you could have the special election, people are already campaigning for the next regular election. So, whoever gets elected would not even have time to recover from the campaign before campaigning for reelection. A council member at large looks after the affairs of vacant council seat. I think there should only be a special election if at least 12 month are remaining so I will vote against this but don't care that much one way or the other.

Amendment four would require certain elected city officials to take an oath to uphold the Charter of Metropolitan Government of Nashville. Currently, those officials only take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State and the Constitution of the United States. A charter of a city does not protect basic rights the way a State or the U.S. constitution does, so I don't think this is terribly important, but it does no harm.

Amendment five would change the term limits for council members from two terms to three. I don't think there is inherently anything better about two terms than three terms and am not a big proponent of term limits. However, the people have spoken on this several times and I think the issue ought to stay settled for a while. I am tired of the opponents of term limits continuously bringing this back up.
 
Amendment six would change masculine pronouns in the Metro Charter to gender neutral pronouns. For example, references to "he" would be changed to "he/she." "Councilman" would be changed to "Council member." This is butchering the language and grammar for political correctness. The singular pronoun "he" or "his," includes people of either sex.  Consider the sentence, "Everyone brought his own lunch."  The "his" covers both males and females. That flows much better than this awkward sentence: "Everyone brought his/her own lunch."

To summarize, I am voting against amendments 1, 3, 5 and 6. Or, I might just vote against them all, just for the heck of it.

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How Republicans deny people the right to vote.


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Ride a bike, take Uber, walk. You may not miss your car.

This week the organization Nashville Connector has launched a Commuter Challenge asking downtown commuters to pledge to make at least one trip to work not driving alone during the week of Oct. 22-Oct. 28. I don't work downtown but if you do, I encourage you to try it.

I go downtown about once a week, sometimes more.  I am using my car less and less. Last time I went down town was last Wednesday to attend the First Tuesday event. I Uberred to the the event and walked back.  I try to get some exercise each day so I often walk for exercise. It was a pleasant day for a walk.  The fare to the event was about $8. When I drive, I park beneath the public library in that garage and get my ticket stamped at the library so the first hour is free. It still ends up costing me about $5 to park. Sometimes, I have to drive repeatedly around the parking garage waiting for someone else to leave in order to find a parking space.

Sometimes I go to Lower Broadway to listen to music and drink beer. From my house near the Wedgwood  Ave and  8th Ave intersection, to lower Broad is about two miles. I just checked the cost of an Uber fare. If  I was going right now at noon on Monday, October 22nd the fee for an UberX would be $7.53.  If I wanted to take the Uber Pool it would only be $4.58.

Actually, I usually walk when going to Lower Broad which is good exercise and free. Last time I went, I rode mys bicycle. If I am going with someone else, I Uber. If two people are sharing the $7.53 fee, it is cheap. To park near lower Broadway is about $20 and those parking spaces can be hard to find.  Another advantage of Ubering is that I do not have to monitor my beers in take so much. When driving, I carefully monitor to make sure I do not drink more than one beer an hour. When some one else is driving, I can enjoy an extra beer. Like Judge Kavanaugh famously said, "I like beer."

Uber is quick to respond, and catching an Uber at my house or downtown is almost always quick. My usual wait time is about two minutes.

Back in September, my daughter and I went on a weekend trip to Montreal. The trip to the airport was $13.34. The return trip was $15.42.  There is no way I could get there and back with less hassle and as cheap. Driving is a hassle and even leaving your car at a fly away lot is expensive.

I know if you live further out, to take Uber or Lyft can be more expensive, but if you have never tried it, you owe it to yourself to at least see what it would cost. Unless you have a free parking space downtown, taking an Uber may be cheaper than the cost of parking.

I know habits are hard to break, but if you start not driving you may find out you like not driving. Door to door service, no stress of driving, no looking for a parking space, no paying up to $20 to park or $20 to park and $2 for valet service are advantages of not driving.

The market and technology are providing solutions to congestion and traffic woes. There is much more the market and technology could do if government would become a welcoming partner rather than an obstacle. In the meantime, rather than just complain about traffic and parking and congestion, embrace what we already have.  I have not ridden one of the Lime or Bird scooters but last time I was biking, I saw lots of people using them. They are becoming a significant contributor to mobility without relying on ones own car.  So, I encourage you to try life without a car: Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, MTA bus service, bike, walk, carpool. It is not expensive and you may not miss your car.

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

What happened at the Council meeting of 10-16-18: council approves mayor's $351M spending plan, more gentrification policies approved, Blue Ribbon Commission established.




This is the Council meeting of Tuesday, October 15. It is three and half hours long.  If you are going to watch ii, it will make a lot more sense if you can follow along with an agenda. To access a copy of the agenda, the agenda summary and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link. Four members were absent for this meeting. Those absent were O'Connell, Mina Johnson, Bedne and Dowell.

Below is a summary of the meeting highlighting what I deem to be the most important items. After a couple ceremonial presentations, the Council gets down to business at time stamp 16.

The Public Comment period starts at timestamp 18:52 and ends at timestamp 25:55.  The first speaker advocates for the decriminalization of prostitution, another speaks about traffic problems, and another speaks about the problems in Metro Schools. Having an open public comment period is working out better than I thought it would.
 
There are a several position to be filled to various boards and commission. Most were confirmation of mayoral appointments and those were approved.


Tax Increment Financing Study and Formulating Committee appointees were voted upon. This is the Committee established to study TIF financing. TIF is the tool used to fund a lot of metro's Commercial development. When this tool is used, instead of the tax revenue from the development flowing into Metro coffers it flows to MDHA to fund development. The use of TIF is a major reason Metro is experiencing a revenue shortfall despite unprecedented growth. The nominees were Mayor Briley’s nominees Mr. Brian Kelsey and Ms. Talia Lomax-O’dneal and MDHA’s nominees Mr. Charles Robert Bone and Mr. Bert Mathews.The confirmation motion was seconded and adopted by a unanimous vote of the Council.

Council election to fill three vacant positions on the Tax Increment Financing Study and Formulating Committee: The President called for an election to fill three vacancies . There were a bunch of nominees. Some were ruled ineligible or withdrew. There was some parliamentary maneuvering to change the election process and that failed. Votes were taken and all of the votes were by roll call vote and each candidate received some negative votes. Dr. Paulette Coleman and Council Member Mendes were elected to the Tax Increment Financing Study and Formulating Committee.

A second vote was taken to fill a remaining vacancy. There were four candidates for the remaining position. Again there was some discussion and then Mr. Richard F. Warren garnering 16 votes was elected to the Tax Increment Financing Study and Formulating Committee.


Resolutions: Most were approved on the Consent Agenda, meaning they were not acted upon individually, but lumped together and passed by a single vote. Here are the resolutions of interest.

Resolution RS2018-1452  spends  $3,070,000.00 from the General Fund Reserve Fund for the purchase of equipment and building repairs for various departments. That is a lot of money to pull from this fund at one time. However, the fund is set up for this purpose. This was approved 32 to 0.
Resolution RS2018-1455  approves the issuance of up to $25,000,000 in GSD general obligation bonds to provide funding for various projects, $15,000,000 of the bond proceeds would be used for projects exclusively in Council District 1. Some of these are for projects not listed in the Capital Improvements Budget. I would expect this to be deferred or amended or defeated. The Council cannot fund projects not in the Capital Improvements budget. This resolution is sponsored by newly elected Councilman Hall of District 1. Usually these type resolutions are sponsored by the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. Hall moved to defer the resolution, which motion was seconded and approved by a voice vote of the Council.
Resolution RS2018-1454 (as amended)  to issue general obligation bonds  in an aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $351,100,000.  Council Member Vercher moved to defer the resolution, which motion was seconded and failed by a roll call vote: 9 "yes,"21 "No," and one abstention. After some parliamentary maneuvering and debate, and attempt was made to defer it again and that also failed by a vote of 10 to 20 to one. The resolution then passed by a vote of 22 in favor, 8 opposed and one abstention. The "no" votes were Cooper, Mendes, Hall, Swope, Hagar, Glover, Huezo, and Henderson. Council Cooper and other complain they did not see the list of projects and associated revenue sources until right before the meeting. Also, some of the bonds are no interest for the first year, which can have financial implications and needs more study. It seems like this was ramrodded through and the Council was buying a "pic in a poke."  To watch the council action on this resolution see time stamp 36:42- 1:6"34.
This discussion is worth watching. I am impressed by John Cooper. Angie Henderson also peruses a good line of questioning. To read The Tennessean's coverage of this issue see: Nashville council approves mayor's $351M spending plan, despite calls for delay.
 Bills on Second Reading: There are 16. These are the ones of interest.

Bill BL2018-1188  would establish a committee system to review high-value real property transactions by Metro Government. It was approved by a voice vote.

Bill BL2018-1281 (as amended) would require all metro employees and contractors doing business with Metro with contracts of over $500,000, to take a sexual harassment training course under the Direction of Metro Department of Personnel. There are a couple problems with this. It may be contrary to a state law that prohibits cities from imposing additional requirements on state licensed firms, Human Resources cannot say how much it will cost, and the city does not have the resources at this time to track and assure compliance. This was on Second Reading last Council meeting and was deferred. This time it was approved by a voice vote.
Bill BL2018-1329 establishes some rules for the residential parking permit (RPP) program. Some residential areas near popular commercial area have had a problem with parking. Visitors to the nearby commercial establishments have been taking all of the parking on neighboring streets and residents who rely on on-street parking can not park on their own street. This permit system attempts to solve that by allowing only cars with permits to park on that street. If however you want to have guest for a baby shower or family dinner, it means they would be illegally parking on your street. Residents could purchase two guest permits good for a year. While this RPP system is new to Nashville it is common in lots of larger urban areas. No doubt this policy will be tweaked from time to time.  This was on Second Reading last meeting and was deferred. It was approved by a voice vote.
Bill BL2018-1334 tweaks the  ticket tax for the Major League Soccer Stadium. I don't expect this to generate controversy, but it might. This would raise the overall price of attending a game and may suppress attendance. This was approved by a voice vote. Bills on Third Reading: There are 16. These are the ones of interest.
Bill BL2018-1183  would establish a distance of a quarter of a mile between auto

repair businesses and used auto car lots and "auto services."
This seems like too much micromanagement to me. It also seems like an attack on poor people.  I know Nolensville Road is not very attractive and if you drive the road south of the fairground now, you will see used tire shops and used auto dealers and similar places clustered. A lot of these places are owned by immigrants. Those already operating would be grandfathered in, but if ownership changed the establishment could not continue. I assume that is the way that would work. That is the way it normally works with changes like this.  New used tire shops could not open unless they were 1/4 mile away from other such businesses.  I think we should let the market work this out. Poor people need jobs and places to shop too. Bills like this push out poor people and indirectly cause a loss of affordable housing.  To have affordable housing you need affordable communities. Affordable communities are going to have used tire shops and alternative financial institutions such as pay day lenders. You cannot gentrify all of Nashville and still have affordable housing. This was approved by a vote of 29 to one. The only "no" vote was Angie Henderson.

Bill BL2018-1314   establishes the Blue Ribbon Commission to look for government efficiencies and cost savings. The Commission would be 15-member. This lays out how they are appointed and their duties. I am pleased to see the council doing this. I hope some good comes from it. Despite Metro's rapid growth we have a financial crisis that is only getting worse. This was approved 30 to zero.

Bill BL2018-1316 would establish screening requirements and standards for waste
dumpsters. This is great for those of us who have to walk or drive by unsightly dumpsters but will add expense for the same people who might want to open a used tire shop on Nolensville Rd as described above. Well intention measures like this drive gentrification by making it difficult for poor neighborhoods to exist and if all parts of the town are aesthetically pleasing to middle class taste, you price poor people out of their neighborhoods and this leads to loss of affordable housing and makes it harder for struggling entrepreneurs to start new businesses. You cannot not have a lot of affordable housing without affordable neighborhoods and affordable neighborhoods may have unscreened dumpsters behind tire shops. You can't still have affordable neighborhoods and expect every neighborhood to look like Green Hills. This was approved on a voice vote.  

For more details see the meeting minutes at this link.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Every life has meaning- so does every vote. Make yours count.

From Tennessee Right to life:or

For a list of candidates who stand strong on life issues, click here or visit www.vote4life.org


Lives are being saved because of your investment in the election of sincere pro-life legislators and the passage of protective pro-life state laws. Children and moms are being spared the grief of an abortion decision because of positive public education programs in churches, campuses, and community events where friendly Right to Life volunteers share facts, alternatives to abortion, and opportunities for involvement in the pro-life movement.

Speaking of facts, did you know:
  • 4 abortion facilities have closed in Tennessee since 2012
  • 7 facilities remain which advertise and perform surgical and/or chemical (RU 486) abortions
  • The facilities are in Bristol (1), Knoxville (2), Memphis (3) and Nashville (1)
  • In 2016, 9,732 abortions were sought by women residing in our state
  • 85% of women and girls seeking abortions are unmarried
  • 38% of abortions are sought by women having had 1 or more previous abortions
Thanks to you and the work of fellow pro-life Tennesseans, we have the strongest pro-life legislature and laws at any time since Roe v Wade. Required informed consent for women and girls considering an abortion and a mandatory 48-hour waiting period help to ensure that every woman has fuller knowledge about the age and development of her unborn child as well as public and private agencies available to assist her. Upon her request, she must also be given the opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her child. 

You can help keep these public policies by returning pro-life super-majorities to the Tennessee state House, state Senate, and Tennessee's Congressional delegation. In addition, Tennessee must have a Governor with the demonstrated commitment and capability to stand without fail for life.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Early voting dates, times and locations

Early voting began today Wednesday, October 17, 2018 and will continue through Thursday, November 1, 2018. Below are the dates and times for early voting

Date Time
Wednesday, October 17 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 18 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday, October 19 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 20 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday, October 22 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 23 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 24 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 25 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday, October 26 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 27 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday, October 29 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 30 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 31 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 8 a.m.–7 p.m.

Early Voting Locations
  • Belle Meade City Hall, 4705 Harding Pike,Nashville, TN 37205
  • Bellevue Library, 720 Baugh Road, Nashville, TN 37221
  • Bordeaux Library, 4000 Clarksville Pike, Nashville, TN 37218
  • Casa Azafr├ín Comm. Center, 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
  • Edmondson Pike Library, 5501 Edmondson Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
  • Goodlettsville Comm. Center, 200 Memorial Dr, Goodlettsville, TN 37072
  • Green Hills Library, 3701 Benham Ave, Nashville, TN 37215
  • Hermitage Library, 3700 James Kay Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076
  • Madison Station Fifty Forward, 301 Madison Street, Madison, TN 37115
  • Howard Office Building, 700 2nd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37210
  • Southeast Library, 5260 Hickory Hollow Pkwy, Antioch, TN 37013

To view a sample ballot follow this link.
Helpful Information: 
  • Election Day is November 6th.
  • Voting Hours on Election Day: the polls are open 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.
  • Photo ID: Voters must present a photo ID issued by the Federal or Tennessee state government, unless exception applies. You do not have to present your Voter Registration Card to vote.
  • Election Day Voting Location: On Election Day, you must vote at your assigned polling place. Use the Polling Place Finder at www.nashville.gov/voteto identify your assigned location .
  • Change of Address: If you have moved within Davidson County and not updated your address, you may do so during Early Voting. If voting on Election Day, go to your new polling location where you can change your address and vote.

Visit the Election Commission Department web site for more information

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Sountheast Conservatives Breakfast Club meets Oct. 20th.

From Robert Duvall
Good day to Everyone:
Additional Speaker added.
We will be having our October meeting on the 20th of October, at the Shoney’s on Thompson Lane. Breakfast at 8 AM.. Meeting called at order at 9 AM. Our agenda is as follows:

AFP, Americans For Prosperity will share the headliner position of the meeting, with our FOP, Fraternal Order of Police.
We have added Paul Manyok. Paul is an old member. One of the Lost Boys of the Sudan, and has an announcement to make!
Our guest speakers are Jimmy Gafford, FOP, James Amundsen, AFP, Paul Manyok. 
Hope to see you there. Come early. We expect a full house.
Smiles,
Robert

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Vote NO on Metropolitan Charter Amendment 1

Davidson County Republican Party - After a thorough review, the Davidson County Republican Party urges the citizens of Davidson County to vote NO on Charter Amendment 1 concerning the creation of a Community Oversight Board for law enforcement.

There are currently at least 8 different layers of accountability in place for our local law enforcement agencies, several made up of civilians. These include local agencies such as the Office of Professional Accountability as well as state and federal agencies such as the TBI and FBI. Our local officers are currently held to a higher standard of accountability than other departments nationwide. Also, there is no mandate in the current legislation that would require the perspective of someone who is well-versed in current law enforcement policy, procedure and training. Nor is there a requirement for anyone on the board to have a comprehensive understanding of local, state and federal law. 

Furthermore, the proposed amendment to create the Community Oversight Board would not only be redundant, but would add another $2 million annually to the Metro Budget. In a time when the metro government cannot keep its promised raises to employees and is cutting tens of millions of dollars out of the budget to stay solvent, Nashville certainly cannot afford this redundant, expensive layer of bureaucracy.

The current language in the proposed amendment also causes concern:
Section 11.1301
1. “7 of the 11 Board Members will be nominated by community organizations or private petition signed by 50 Davidson County Residents and approved by majority vote of Council.
2. “At least 4 of the 7 members must reside in economically distressed communities.”
Not only is the term “economically distressed community” not clearly defined, but there are many other vague descriptions throughout the proposed amendment.
Most importantly, nowhere in the proposed amendment is there language that any board members appointed are required to be United States Citizens. This is in direct violation of the sanctuary city legislation passed by the state legislature. How can we require our law enforcement officers to be citizens but not the individuals who have oversight of their livelihood?
It is for these reasons that we encourage all Davidson County Voters to vote NO on Charter Amendment 1 to allow our police force to continue protecting Davidson County residents.

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Vote for Dr. Brent Moody in House District 56

Brent Moody
by Mark Roger - If you live in District 56, Please vote for Dr. Brent Moody for State House.

Brent is a nationally respected skin cancer surgeon and is the best prepared choice to replace Beth Harwell who has left the Legislature. Brent brings a cutting edge understanding of medical issues to the role of Representative. This will be of great value as Governor Lee and the Legislature tackle decades long problems in health care. 

Another strength of Brent is that medicine has trained him to listen and do research before making a diagnosis or beginning treatment. He will bring this same focus on dialogue and data to all the issues that will come before the Legislature.

Mark Rogers is a prominent Nashvillian active in Republican Party politics and public affairs. 

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Vote for Bill Lee for Govenor

Bill Lee
by Mark Rogers - Early Voting begins tomorrow, October 17th. It is important for you to show up and play a role in determining the future of our state and federal governments.

I encourage all Tennesseans to vote for Bill Lee for Governor. Bill has proven his ability to manage a large organization with his skillful operation of the Lee Company. One element of his leadership ability was his building of an excellent campaign organization that enabled him to defeat two candidates who outspent him by millions of dollars. That skill, the picking of the right people, is crucial for anyone seeking to govern a state of over six million people spread across 95 counties and almost 500 miles.

Bill also showed his vision by running a campaign that was designed to unify all Tennesseans. In the primary he rose above the barrages of negative attacks to reach out to Republicans from the right to the center. His victory ensured that we could all put aside the divisiveness and focus on the general election and governing after November.

In the General Election Bill has continued to campaign in a manner designed to unify voters of all ideologies and parties. His vision for Tennessee will build on the achievements of Governor Haslam, Lt. Governors Ramsey and McNally and Speaker Harwell.

Karl Dean was a good mayor and a man to be respected. But Bill Lee has proven he can unify the party that will control both Houses next January and and can unify the citizens of our state as we move toward even greater improvements in Education, our Economy and in the overall quality of life in Tennessee.

Please vote early and often for Bill Lee for Governor.

Mark Rogers is a prominent Nashvillian active in Republican Party politics and public affairs. 

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Please vote for Judd Cowan in District 50

Judd Cowan
by Mark Rogers - If you are a resident of State House District 50, please vote early for Judd Cowan. Judd is the Republican in District 50 and he brings the skills we need to help with high tech issues that will face Tennesser in the coming years.

Judd is an engineer who understands how to secure our state computer systems so that our data and our services are protected. He is also well prepared to ensure that the outside companies we hire to do sophisticated computer programs are doing the job right the first time so we can get our school testing operating properly when we need it.

Judd is not a professional politician who puts reelection ahead of doing the right things. He is the sort of citizen legislator we need more of now.

Mark Rogers is a prominent Nashvillian active in Republican Party politics and public affairs.

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