Monday, June 17, 2019

At-large candidate Matthew DelRossi arrested for violating an order of protection and vandalized his sister's home. Embarrassing video.

Below is a video of at-large candidate Matthew DelRossi ranting about a camera mounted on the house next door pointing into his yard. Be aware that this video is laced with profanity.


He was arrested on June 10th for violating an order of protection and vandalized his sister's home. He threw shovels, a fishing pole, a stick and a pickax at the security camera mounted on his sister's house.  This is not DelRossi's first brush with the law.

Last year, he ran for the office of Vice mayor and got 12.5 percent of the vote, which was enough to keep either of the two other candidates from winning a majority and forced a runoff. To see the Tennessean's report on this incident follow this link


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Two Candidate forums Tuesday, June 18th. District 7 and District 18.



There are a bunch of Candidates running in District 7. Below are their names and links to their webpage, Facebook page or any other information I could find and something about them, if I know anything.

Clint Camp: He supports the Robert Mendez's proposed 16% tax hike. link. link.
Stephen Downs:He has the screwy idea the companies have to get city permission before they are allowed to move here.  link,
Daniel Fitzpatrick: No info found.
Jacob Green: No info found.
Stephanie Johnson: No info found.

Randy Reed: He is a retired police officer. He unsuccessfully ran for this office in 2015. See Is a dirty cop the kind of person who should serve in the Metro Council.  
District 7 is the District in East Nashville currently represented by Anthony Davis.  For District information, follow this link.

Attachment with no description
Two candidates running in the 18th District.
Tom Cash: Endorsed by the local chapter of SEIU.Endorsed by the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee   Facebook pageWeb page.
John Green: Facebook, web page.
District 18 is the district currently represented by Burkley Allen. It is in the Hillsboro Village, West End part of town.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

The 'it city' struggles to fund the basics

The Tennessean: The 'it city' struggles to fund the basics.

This article does a fairly good job of laying out the process by which this thriving, growing city finds itself broke.  The article does not, however, expose the effects of  our financial woes, such as teacher and police retention problems, understaffed fire services, traffic lights not synchronized, and sidewalks that are not build and roads not paved. The article does not expose the wasteful spending, the mismanagement, and corruption, and cronyism that contributes to Nashville's financial woes.

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Robert Swope's tribute to his father

My father believed that there are only three things a man needs to do in life to succeed: Don’t lie, don’t cheat and don’t steal. He instilled in me if I did my homework, worked harder than those around me, and believed in myself, anything in the world was possible. He also taught me how to build a car.

When my dad turned 60, my family decided that he deserved a present he would never forget. My mother’s eyes teared up talking about his first car, the 1950 Chevy Fleetline that he cherished. He bought it worn out, rebuilt it, painted it his high school colors, courted and married my mother in it.
I found an unrestored, low-mileage, rust-free ‘50 Chevy in New Mexico and drove it back to Nashville. After hundreds of long hours on my part, the car was now completely restored, identical to my father’s original love. When I pulled into my parents’ driveway that August afternoon, surrounded by 200 people there to celebrate my father, he stopped in his tracks and almost fell over.
When I handed him the keys, he cried, I cried, my mother cried, everybody cried! It was one of those moments in life when I could say a real, tangible thanks to the man who raised me to believe that anything in the world was possible.

Twenty years later, my mother and father still regularly drive the Chevy. I love them both. Happy Father’s Day, Pop!
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This is part of a long article appearing in today's Tennessean in which sports figures, country music artist, business leaders and other celebrities pay tribute to their father on this Father's Day. Read the full article at this link.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Dem forum for the non-partisan mayoral race excludes the Black female candidate


Image may contain: 1 person, indoorby Rod Williams, 6/14/2019 - Three of the four leading candidates for the non-partisan office of mayor of  Nashville, took the stage at the Belcourt theater last night to participate in the Davidson County Democratic Party mayoral forum. The three participants allowed to participate were all white men; the other major candidate who is a Black Women was excluded.  I spoke to the person in charge of the event who clarified that Carol Swain did not simply not participate, but was excluded.

About 500 people attended the event. The Belcourt has a seating capacity of 700 and not all seats were taken.  The free event was listed as "sold out."  Apparently a lot of people signed up for the event but did not attend.  Often at events like this, those who attend are turned out and not people who just spontaneously attend.  Clemmons had the most visible and loudest supporters at the event.

As events like these go, it was good.  It was well-organized and there were no glitches. The format was that each candidate got three minutes to make opening statements and at the end, each candidate got three minutes to make a closing statement. A series of six questions were asked of the candidates and candidates were given three minutes to answer each questions.  Three minutes allowed the candidate to give more detailed answers.

The questions were selected by a process of the question being submitted by the participating public to the Davidson County Democratic Party Facebook page, then a poll was created and the participating public voted on the questions to ask.  The six questions getting the most votes was the questions included.  There was no off-the-wall questions about the Green New Deal, how are you going to resist Trump, or how will you turn Nashville into a sanctuary city. The first five questions were questions that would have likely been asked even if Republican would have participated in drafting the questions. Only, the last question, about how will you make Nashville a greener city was one that I would categorize as not a mainstream concern. The other questions were about affordable housing, traffic, Nashville's debt, and funding for public education.

The full video of the forum is available at this link, so I am not going to attempt to summarize who said what. I encourage readers to watch the video. Of the three participants, I was least impressed with Ray Clemmons.  He did not have detailed answers and seemed to display what I thought of as phony passion.  Maybe it is just me, but he seemed to be posturing and pontificating.  I also think he was trying to position himself to the left of David Briley, which is hard to do.

On the question of affordable housing, Clemmons was critical of the efforts being made and said it was not near enough and we need to put $50 million a year into the Barmes Fund and he said no neighborhood should be off limits to anyone. That may appeal to liberal sensibilities but it is illogical. If you build affordable housing in the most expensive parts of town, the cost of land is going to mean you don't build very many units.

David Briley scored a point with me when answering the affordable housing question.  Part of the question asked what you would do to keep the elderly from being forced out of their homes by rising housing cost.  Briley said that increased property tax was a factor in housing affordability and that was a reason to hold the line on taxes.  Often it seems politician ignore this fact. Briley scored another point responding to the traffic question when he pointed out that some of the bus riders are being subsidized up to $40 per trip.  He said having buses cover more territory with more bus routes was not a solution.  Of course, I wish candidates would embrace markets, technology and innovation but an admission that subsidizing bus rides up to $40 per trip is not wise policy is a start toward rethinking transportation.  For those who attended First Tuesday last week and saw Mayor Briley speak, he gave no different answers to a room full of Democrats than he did to a room full of Republicans.

On the environmental question about a greener Nashville, candidates covered a lot a ground. Candidates said due to global warming, we can expect more frequent flooding.  I found it interesting that not a one of the candidates mentioned building the flood wall that was once a city priority.  I guess that idea is finally dead. I am pleased it is but kind of surprised that it is not being advocated by a candidate trying to tap into environmental angst and passions.

John Cooper came across as informed and gave good answers. On the question of the city's debt, Cooper said that the city has a debt of $6,000 per man, women, and child in Davidson County. On this question, I think he showed the greater mastery of the issue.  If I knew nothing about the candidates other than what I observed at this forum, I would have to give Briley a slight edge and Cooper a close second and Clemmons a distant third.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Steve Glover proposes a 11.5 cent property tax hike.

Rod Williams, 6-12-19  - I have seldom seen a tax hike that I liked. I am predisposed to oppose a tax increase and I don't think Nashvillians are under-taxed. I don't think Nashville has a revenue problem but a spending and management problem.  However, I am ready to bite the bullet and support a modest tax increase. If we do not have a modest tax increase, then we might end up with a much larger increase. Also, I think that we have to face the facts that Nashville is in financial trouble. I talk to people who are informed and involved and they all say that things are really bad in Nashville. I know we have a problem with retention of teachers and policemen and we are understaffed in the fire department. Our public schools system keeps getting worse with an increasing number of failing schools.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a former police officer who still has a lot of friends on the force.  She said a lot of policemen are applying for and some getting hired by surrounding cities such as Clarksville where they make more money in a less stressful environment. This former officer said many policemen are simply getting out of law enforcement and others, when they near retirement eligibility, are taking their accumulated vacation and sick days and retiring at the earliest possible date. Normally policeman might work several years after the date at which they could retire.  We know morale is low among Metro employees who have not had a raise in several years.

Mayor Briley has not proposed a tax increase. He is a progressive and I assume he has no great desire to reform metro and cut nonessential services and institute fiscal reforms. He wants a more activist government, not a more restrained government. He wants to do more, to help the homeless, the housing cost-stressed, the LGBT community and immigrants. He is not called for cutting services.  I think he simply thinks it would be political suicide to raise taxes a month before the election.

Mayor Briley, however, is a weak mayor.  He became mayor by accident and he has not done much to inspire confidence.  He supported the proposed transit boondoggle which failed to pass public referendum and he opposed the referendum on the police oversight board, which did pass. He looks weak. He seems to flounder from one mishap to the next without a plan. The Cherry trees episode is an example  He does not appear in control and he does not appear to lead.

Much of the situation Briley faces is not his fault. Megan Barry left Nashville in this mess.  She did not raise taxes when she had a prime opportunity. The most opportune time to raise taxes is early in a term, so voters have time to get over it, and during a massive  reappraisal since most people will blame their tax increase on the reappraisal and not the mayor and council. I am pleased she did not raise taxes.  However, if you are not going to raise taxes, you need to cut non-essentials and increase efficiency.  Barry was not on a campaign to do that, but maybe she would have done some of that had she not gotten distracted. To her credit, she did propose closing Metro General Hospital which is not required, is wasteful, and is unnecessary. She proposed it but did not make the effort to make it happen. She didn't sell it. She did not expend political capital to make it happen.  So, Barry was not successful at cutting government and she did not raise taxes. At the time, Barry was pushing the transit referendum and maybe she thought raising property taxes would hurt the referendum. As it turns out, she was forced out of office before the transit campaign got underway and it failed.

While, I do not believe, the council has ever passed a tax increase not propose by a mayor, it could happen this year.  In fact I think it is likely to happen.  For the second year in a row, Councilman Robert Mendes has proposed to raise property taxes. This year he's submitted a substitute budget that would increase the  property tax rate 52.5 cents or 16.6%.  Under this proposal the Urban services tax rate would go from $3.155 per $100 of assessment to $3.68.

Councilman Steve Glover has proposed a budget that would raise the property tax rate by only 3.6%. It would increase the property tax rate by 11.5 cents.  The Urban Services District property tax rate would increase from $3.155 to $3.27 per $100 of assessed value and in the General Services District the rate would go from $2.755 to $2.87.  This would give would give all Metro employees, including teachers, a 6% raise. 

In putting forth his budget proposal, Glover is quoted as telling the Tennessean, "I'm not ready to gamble on a property tax increase for 16%."  While I would prefer cutting government to raising taxes, I think Glover is right. The choice before the Council is to follow Briley and not raise taxes, vote for Mendes's 16% increase or Glover's 3.6%.  I favor voting for Glover's 3.6%.

If I was convinced that the council would get serious about cutting unnecessary government and fiscal reform, then I would favor no tax increase, but I do not see that happening. It is ironic that Steve Glover who is one of the most conservative voices in the Council was one of the leading voices that helped kill Mayor Barry's plan to cut General Hospital. Glover's proposal will raise $35.65 million in revenue.  The Council subsidizes General Hospital $46 million.

I am only in favor of Glover's plan because I prefer a 3.6% increase rather than a 16% increase. It is a pragmatic consideration.  If the choice is only between the mayor's plan and the Medes plan, I fear the Mendes plan will pass.  Unfortunately, those calling for cutting waste and fiscal reform are a voice crying in the wilderness.

Rather than raise taxes, what I think should happen is we should take a top to bottom, line item by line item examination of the budget and cut out waste, corruption, mismanagement and unnecessary spending. I would close General Hospital which serves no purpose other than to boost the ego of the Black community.  I would ban police overtime except in a declared emergency and make sponsors of events pay for their own security, I would stop the outlandish over payment of fees to the managers of Metro's pension fund, I would tell the school board to slash overhead and to rapidly consolidate schools to reflect the reduced enrollment, and I would find out why it takes $6 million dollars to build 3 miles of sidewalk.  I would fire a bunch of department heads such as those who allow it to take $6 million to build three miles of sidewalks. I would discontinue corporate welfare. I would change Metro's pension system from a guaranteed benefit to a guaranteed contribution system.

Unfortunately, when even the conservatives on Council won't vote for smaller government and work to make it happen but instead work to stop cuts when they are proposed, then we are left with the choice of raising tax a little or raising taxes a lot.

References: here and here and here.

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John Cooper's TV ad, "For all of us."


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nashville mayoral candiates on immigrantion policy, sanctuary city status, and more.

Last night a candidates' forum sponsored by The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Muslim Advisory Council, Conexion Americas and sixteen other organizations was held at Plaza Mariachi. I did not get to attend the event but it was covered by local media. The program was interpreted live in Arabic, Kurdish, Somali, and Spanish.  Mayor David Briley, Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Councilman John Cooper, and Julia Clark-Johnson took part in the forum but Carol Swain did not. 

According to the media, all took a position opposing the government's immigration policy.  Briley went total partisan and said."the number one priority is to beat Donald Trump." 

Below is media coverage:



The Tennessean, by Yihyan Jeong - From deportation to police body cameras, four mayoral candidates discussed how they would lead Nashville on immigration issues Monday, at a time when the country remains divided.
It was standing room only at Plaza Mariachi where more than 700 people attended the evening forum

Metro Nashville Candidates Say ‘Yes’ to Sanctuary Cities and ‘No’ to ICE
The Tennessee Star, NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Metro Nashville Council At-Large candidate Gicola Lane told a crowd of more than 1,000 people Monday she wants city officials to stop working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Later in the evening, Nashville mayoral candidate Julia Clark-Johnson said she wants to turn Nashville into a sanctuary city. ...

Mayor’s Race 2019: Candidates, Some More Than Others, Talk Immigration 
Nashville Public Radio, By Meribah Knight- .... Mayor David Briley addressed the topic directly, advocating for a combination of change at the federal level and policies at the local level.

“We’re supposed to be non-partisan, but I am going to say, the No. 1 priority is to beat Donald Trump,” Briley said.

Priority No. 2 was directed at a specific Metro department.
“Our police are directed not to ask about immigration status,”

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