Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mayor Barry proposes expansion of the Urban Services District

While Nashville-Davidson County has a metropolitan form of government, we still have two taxing districts. Most of the counties population lives in the Urban Services District (USD) where they have a tax rate of $4.516 per $100 of assessed value.  In the more rural areas and some suburbs, people live in the General Services District (GSD) and have a tax rate of  $3.924 per $100 of assessed value. The only thing the people in the USD get that people in the GSD do not get is garbage pick-up and street lights. They still get the same library services, police services and fire services and of course we only have one school system for the county.  Mayor Barry is attempting to annex into the USD some of the developed suburbs.

While I generally oppose tax increases, I do not oppose this effort to bring into the USD those highly developed suburban areas.  I think it makes sense.  I see it as an equity issue. It appears the GSD area gets services they do not pay for subsidized by the USD ratepayers.  I would like this proposal better if it was revenue neutral and if tax rates were rolled back so that after paying for expanding street lighting and trash pick up in the annexed areas there was no net increase in revenue to Metro government.

For many living in the suburban communities to be annexed, the increase in taxes will be less than the cost they currently pay for private trash collection. To learn more about this issue see this link and this link to Tennessean stories.  For those who want to delve deep into the issue, here is a link to a Metro Planning Commission staff report beginning on page 156.
Below is the mayor's letter to the Planning Commission requesting the annexation be deferred to the first meeting in October.


Below is the map showing the proposed expansion of the USD. The light brown areas are the areas of the proposed expansion.

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Ketron: Voter fraud compromises the electoral process

Sen. Bill Ketron
by Tenn. Sen. Bill Ketron, The Tennessean Op-ed, Aug. 23, 2016 - In 2005, I sat in a Memphis courtroom with many of my Senate colleagues to hear a case of voter fraud regarding the election of Ophelia Ford to the 29th senatorial district of Tennessee.  .... The returns indicated that Ford won the election by only 13 votes over opponent Terry Roland out of the 8,653 cast for the Democrat and Republican candidates. ...investigation that showed voting by felons and nonresidents of the district, as well as ballots cast by dead voters. ... I was astounded that this kind of fraud existed and took action to put measures into place to protect the integrity of Tennessee’s elections by introducing and passing a voter ID (identification) law. ....

Voting, however, should be conducted according to our laws and our Constitution so that is not compromised by those who would cheat and suppress the vote of another. (link)

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Shelby County Democratic Party "decertified"

Memphis Flyer - ...the Shelby County Democratic Party has ceased to exist, having been formally decertified last Friday by state Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini of Nashville. .... one of the known factors in forcing Mancini's hand, and likely the precipitating one, has been the Shelby County party's months-long impasse over what to do about the case of former local party chair Bryan Carson, who resigned last year after an audit turned up evidence of unexplained shortages in the party treasury. (link)

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tim Kaine’s ObamaCare is Collapsing in Tennessee

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn.-August 23, 2016--Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine comes to Tennessee this evening where the latest damaging development about ObamaCare is reverberating throughout Tennessee. This is the the law Kaine has called a "great achievement."

Tennessee's Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak has said the ObamaCare exchange is 'very near collapse', as reported by the Nashville Tennessean. On a related note, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports ObamaCare rates are set to skyrocket by the "biggest amount since the program began three years ago." U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander told the newspaper these rate hikes are "only the most recent proof that Obamacare is spiraling out of control."

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes discussed the Virginia Senator's woefully-timed fundraising visit to the Volunteer State. "While the Democrat Vice Presidential nominee is here to prospect for checks, Tennesseans are dealing with headlines that ObamaCare's exchange in Tennessee is near total collapse. This isn't a 'great achievement'--it's a failure. Democrats passed this law based on false promises and now it's hurting our citizens who deserve better than government mandates and higher taxes. Yet, as part of the Clinton campaign, Tim Kaine wants to double down on this disaster. That can't happen," stated Haynes. "Republicans are ready with an alternative that allows for higher quality care, more choices, and lower costs. It's time to put patients back in charge of healthcare, not the government."

Online: ObamaCare will be known as a ‘Great Achievement’: During an interview with CNN's State of the Union, Sen. Kaine remarked about ObamaCare: "I think health care reform is going to go down in history as one of the great achievements of this president." (1/2/11)

On Health Care, Kaine said when the American people “Immediately see the benefits,” then Health Care would be “a great thing politically for the Dems.” AMANPOUR: “You mentioned health care. I want to say something that you, yourself, said about this issue when it comes to elections.” KAINE: “OK, great.” KAINE: “When make this happen, and people immediately see the benefits that are going to come their way, I think this is going to be a great thing politically for the Dems. And we’re trying to show members that they’ve got their constituents behind them if they vote with the president.” (ABC’s “This Week,” 10/24/10)

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Monday, August 22, 2016

U. S. District Judge temporarily blocks Obama's transgender bathroom policy

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of  Texas has temporarily blocked President Obama’s directive that boys who think they are really girls be allowed to use girls restrooms in public schools across the country. Texas and 12 other states including Tennessee had challenged the Obama administration’s unilateral move, calling it unconstitutional. Here is how it was reported in Politico:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, immediately cheered the decision.
“This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threating to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform,” Paxton said. “That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect states and school districts.”
The federal government told U.S. public schools in May that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. That announcement came days after the Justice Department sued North Carolina over a state law that requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate, which U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had likened to policies of racial segregation. Republicans have argued such laws are commonsense privacy safeguards.
Schools were not explicitly told to comply or lose federal funds. But the Obama administration also didn’t rule out that possibility in court documents filed in July, saying recipients of federal education dollars “are clearly on notice” that antidiscrimination polices must be followed. Texas alone gets roughly $10 billion in federal education funds.
Read the judge's order.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Humor break: Donald & Hilary joke

Donald and Hillary go into a bakery, while on the campaign trail. As soon as they enter the bakery, Hillary steals three pastries and puts them in her pocket. She whispers to Donald, "See how clever I am?" The owner didn't see anything and I don't even need to lie." Then she says "I will definitely win the election."

The Donald says to Hillary, "That's the typical dishonesty you have displayed throughout your entire life, theft, trickery and deceit. I am going to show you an honest way to get the same result."

Donald goes to the owner of the bakery and says, "Give me a pastry and I will show you a magic trick." Intrigued, the owner accepts and gives him a pastry. Trump swallows it and asks for another one. The owner gives him another one. Then Donald asks for a third pastry and eats that, too. The owner is starting to wonder where the magic trick is and asks, "What did you do with the pastries?" Trump replies, "Look in Hillary's pocket."

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An Alternative plan for Transit

Nashville now has a proposal for a plan for mass transit. The nMotion plan has been in the works for a long time and is now in. It is a $6 Billion Plan (that's billion with a "b", $6,000,000,000 or 6 thousand million). It will build the transit system of the past for the Nashville of the future. For more on the plan read The Tennessean's The $6B plan

An Alternative plan for Transit
I have an alternative view of transit. I want to see Nashville develop a system of mass transit that uses the private sector to the largest extend possible.  I would like to see us transition from a public mass transit system to a private mass transit system.  I would like to see us do things never done before. We should break new ground. We should be known as the city with a great transportation system primarily dependent on the private sector to provide the service.  We should privatize mass transit. 
By “privatized” I mean both fully privatized non-governmental transit, and public-private-partnership and out-sourcing, private companies hired by government to provide transit services.  As an example, Uber is a fully private operation with no government subsidy and minimal regulation.  Airport-hotel express bus service is private form of mass transit. A private-public partnership may be that a company builds a light rail line and operates it, say from the airport to downtown, and we lease the rail line for 75 years.  Some turnpikes are built like this.  Hiring a private firm to provide a service is the way the state often houses prisoners and the way we pick up most of the city’s garbage and the way we provide janitorial and grounds services for our schools.
Seek a unique solution:  If I were mayor I would seek out consultants who have experience in successful cost effective mass transit relying on private providers.  If we cannot find a consultant with a track record of doing this, we could do it ourselves.   I would call Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Grayline, Megabus, and others to the table and ask for RFP’s for moving masses of people efficiently.  These app-dispatched type companies like Uber and Lyft are relatively new.  They have made lots of money and have lots of money to invest and they may be looking for opportunities to grow.  Brainstorm with them. Invite them to help us solve our transit problem.
Look at Megabus: For $10 one can go from Nashville to Atlanta on a Megabus.  Would Megabus want to take over a Nashville Express bus services?  Or, maybe Grayline?
Remove prohibition against private companies competing with the MTA. At this time probably no company would want to provide a purely private bus service but we should remove the impediment if one did want to.  We should change the environment to one that welcomes private solutions, competition and innovation instead of a climate that penalizes private solutions. 
Remove the requirement for a 'certificate of necessity' before one can operate more cabs or start new cab companies.  The only logic for restricting supply of taxis is to protect those already in business from competition. Taxis are not mass transit, but they complement mass transit.  For one thing, they get people out of their private car and once one has become accustomed to not driving their private car, then other forms of transportation may also become more attractive.  Also, if one takes a bus from Murfreesboro to downtown, often one must still get somewhere else.  Taxis can take you the few blocks or miles from the end of the bus line to where you need to be.  Also, taxis do not need to park downtown for 8 hours at a stretch and if we had more taxis in use there would be less demand for more parking. 
Look at how we pick up garbage:  I was in the Metro Council when we changed the way we pick up garbage. The city picked all up of it, it was a more labor intensive process and garbage cans were manually lifted instead of mechanically lifted and service was twice a week instead of once a week. We transitioned to a once-a-week, mechanical-lift, uniform-garbage-can system.  Metro still designs the routes and supervises quality but most garbage is now picked up by private companies.  This has saved metro a lot of money.  Garbage workers were some of the lowest paid employees in the city but disability claims and retirement was very expensive. Metro employees and the public resisted the transition to private companies collecting the garbage but the transition to the current system happened and it has worked well.  During the transition, Metro public works “competed” with private companies. The cost of metro picking up garbage was established counting all cost in order to measure and compare the deal we were getting from private firms.  If Metro could “bid” lower on a route than a private company, Metro continued the route.  Eventfully, private companies took over most to the routes. The city simply could not pick up garbage as cheap as a private company. 
My Thai observation #1: It doesn’t matter the color of the bus.  I did not know what I was observing at the time but as a young man I spent 15 months in Thailand. I was in the Air Force and I lived off base and enjoyed my experience.  I learned how to take the local buses and get around.  I noticed that on a bus route that I used, I sometimes caught a brown bus and sometimes a green bus, but the bus followed the same route and regular schedule regardless of the color of the bus.  It was only years later when doing some research on transportation that I realized that the local government set the routes and allowed private companies to bid on the routes.  On the same route,  one time the bus may be one owned by one company but the next bus may be a bus owned by another company.
My Thai observation #2:  It is not a taxi and it is not a bus. Often instead of catching a bus, I would catch another type service.  In Thailand, they were often mini- pickup trucks that had a top but open sides with benches facing each other on each side of the truck bed.  Later I realized this type service is called a “jitney” and operates in many countries, but we do not have it in America.  It is a service that operates on a relatively fixed route but can deviate a block or two off the route to drop someone off at their home or place of work.  With modern phone apps and almost everyone having a smart phone, I think an Americanized version of jitney service could work in Nashville.  Obviously, Instead of pick-up trucks however I would envision vans or very small busses. 
The Nashville Star has been a failure and not a model to follow. This 30-mile line starting in Lebanon was projected to move 750 per day but on average it only moves 550 people a day.  The fare box only covers only 15% of the cost of a trip on the train.  With an operating budget of $5.1 million, that is not a sustainable model.  Also it gets very few cars off the road.  If  550 people a day are taking the train, some of those would be riding with a spouse, or car pooling or riding a bus or not working downtown. So if we consider 75% of those riding the train would be driving a car that is only 413 cars taken off the road in that 30 mile stretch of I-40 or Lebanon Pike.  That is an insignificant number.
We do not need to widen roads. There may be bottle necks that could be improved, but widening roads is like solving a weight problem by buying a bigger belt.  Sitting in traffic is one of the “cost” that will result in people being willing to use mass transit and also influence people’s decision about where they live and work.
Not everyone minds their long commute. People like to talk about their horrible commute, but some people are accustomed to it and value the independence of their car and do not want to ride mass transit.  I think I would hate it myself, but some people have told me the ride home gives them time to unwind. They do not find it nerve wracking. They want to listen to their music or choice of talk show or sports and do not want to share that choice and they want to stop off at the grocery store on the way home.  Don’t assume people want to give up their car.  We are not now maximizing the use of vanpools and car pools and the express bus services. If we are not now maximizing alternative options, they why should we assume other options would get people to give up their car? There may not be as much demand for mass transit as some assume. Equal to the challenge of how we move people is selling people on the idea of using mass transit.  Don’t assume that if we build it, they will use it. 
Not every bus has to be the same.  Some millennial and young professionals may want luxury seats and Wi-Fi and a smooth ride. Recent immigrants living out Nolensville Rd may be happy with a school-type bus and lower priced service and greater frequency of service may be more important than a luxury ride. Let entrepreneurs have a chance to provide different models and see what works. What works on one route may not be the same as what works on another route.

Mass transit and planning for development should coincide.  I have traveled quite a bit in Europe and in some other countries. A visitor to Europe may think the walled cities with big cathedrals and cobble stone streets are quaint and that everyone lives like that. If you take a train from one city to another in many of these countries, however, you will find that much of the population live clustered around railway stops at different points along the route.  One may pass through miles of sparse development or pasture and farmland and then come to a railway stop and there will be a population center with multi story apartment buildings around the train stop.  Should we build a light rail line or develop a Bus Rapid Transit route down Nolensville Road or some other major corridor, then land use planning should allow high rise, high density development of apartments clustered around the transit stop. 
We need greater density to make mass transit successful.  We should discourage rezoning of neighborhoods to single-family-only, should encourage zoning that allows auxiliary living units on residential properties (mother-in-law apartments) and increase density along major corridors, at mass transit hubs, or major transit stops.  This would also increase the supply of affordable housing. 
Express bus service is a “public good. “ It is a given that getting more people to take buses from Murfreesboro to Nashville, or Gallatin or Clarksville to Nashville is a public good.  When someone takes the bus it makes the road less congested for the rest of us.  It reduces the demand for widening roads, reduces commute times for other drivers and cuts pollution by reducing idling cars.  It reduces poverty by making it possible for low-skilled workers to get to jobs, it increases disposable income and spurs economic growth by allowing people to spend more of their money on other goods rather than transportation.  Yet ridership is low. (I do not know the number, but know it is low. We need the numbers in order to say:  “X number of people commute from Murfressboro to Nashville everyday, yet only X percent takes the express bus service.”)  
Regional transportation is also a State public good. Metro should not pay the lion’s share for regional transportation. The more people who take the Murfreesboro to Nashville bus, the more it helps the State, since it reduces traffic on the interstate highway. We need regional support and state financial support for efforts to increase mass transit.  Our Nashville legislative delegation should advocate for regional transit to get TDOT support for every vehicle that is taken off a state road due to someone using mass transit.
Express Bus service is a bargain.  One can take a bus from Murfreesboro t o Nashville for $4 for one trip or 20 trips for $70. That is only $7.50 a day!  To park at the 701 Church Street garage is $5 for one hour, $8 two hours, and a $13 daily maximum if one can find a place to park.  So to take the bus for a month is $7.50 x 20 days= $150 a month; to take a car is $150 parking (assume one leases a space by the month), gas $200 (assume a tank a week at $50 x4= 200) maintenance and oil changes assume $50 a month, and assume the wearing out of a car used mostly for work $400 a month. (Assume a $20,000 car for 5 years plus interest). So the cost of taking the bus is $150 a month and the cost of driving is $800.
So, how do we get more people to take the bus? Assuming it is a pubic good and we want more people to take the bus, and it is a bargain, why won’t people take the bus? It could be that it is inconvenient to be at the bus stop on time, one may want to stay in town to have dinner, one may have to pick up the kids or stop at the grocery store and the bus does not take you to the door of your business.  Other people may not take the bus because they just love their car, and you would have to pay them to take the bus.  However, many people do not know of the option of express bus service or have never even considered it.  One thing government does not do well is advertise its services and most of the time with good reason.  Most government services do not have to be advertised because people have to have them, want them or not.  Other services are government monopoly and people have no choice of provider. For other services, if more people use the service such as libraries or parks we will have to build more libraries or parks. However, getting people out of their cars can save money and solve a problem. We need to “sell” people on using the bus.  We need billboards and ads touting the benefit of taking an express bus service. Any RFP for a private company to take over an express line should include a proposal for advertising and increasing ridership and perhaps provide an incentive for increasing ridership.  Even if we do not privatize the line, we still need to advertise.  
Use Technology, synchronize lights, and build roundabouts and pedestrian passageways: My favorite bad example of uselessly sitting at a traffic light is Craighead and Bransford.  The light takes forever to change with traffic going neither direction.  Often I have been tempted to run the red light. This would be a great place to build a roundabout or turn the light to flashing red and flashing yellow after 8PM unless there is a function at the Fairgrounds.  I am sure this is only one of a thousand examples in town. I have traveled in Europe and I know roundabouts take some getting used to but they are safe and keep traffic moving. Also, by reducing idle time, they improve air quality and reduce air pollution.  All lights should be automated to be timed to move traffic most efficiently.  On super busy roadways with pedestrian traffic, we should construct pedestrian bridges or tunnels.  This will increase safety of pedestrians and reduce the light timing necessary for pedestrians to cross the road.  This would not be something for downtown where we want to encourage pedestrian traffic and slow traffic, but I am sure there are some areas where this would be beneficial, such in Greenhills. I have seen these used European cities. It works.
Make the city more walkable by stopping building sidewalks stupidly. Stop tearing up an replacing very serviceable sidewalks and instead build new sidewalks. Require new developments to have a “pedestrian plan,” just as they must now have a traffic plan, a lighting plan and a storm water plan. I have examples of poor planning and building sidewalks stupidly that I could show you.  It seems as if some streets were designed to ensure people never walk. 
Most people do not work downtown.  A lot of people do, but I have never worked downtown.  If we moved masses of people from Murfreesboro to downtown, then how we would they get them to their jobs which are scattered throughout the city and the region?  Before we focus on a massive investment of a Murfreesboro to Nashville route or similar routes we need to figure out how to get people where they want to go once they get downtown.  Private paratransit could help accomplish this. 
We must realize that it is difficult to retrofit a city build mostly after the advent of the car to accommodate mass transit.  Cities with really good mass transit are cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.  These are all cities that had large populations and were built prior to the advent of the automobile.  We should not over promise on mass transit. Atlanta has a large rail system but its job centers are not clustered, making that rail system less useful.  
Realize the future may be here before you know it and needs may change. It was not that many years ago that everyone did not have a smart cell phone. That technology has changed much of how we live from how we find places, connect with people, and decide the routes we take.  The demand on our roads and use of one’s own car may decrease. More people may work from home. UPS, Federal Express, pizza delivery and running to another office to deliver a set of document may be done mostly by drones in five to ten years.  To go somewhere, you may click an app on your phone (or key bob type device or whatever) and a driverless pod rushes to your house and takes you where you want to go. We will still need roadways but some problems may take care of themselves and it is difficult to plan for a future 75 years down the road when technology we have not even dreamed of yet, may appear at any time.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What happened at the 8-15-16 Council meetng: Pot bill survives rare First Reading challenge, Affordable Housing bill advances, Google Fiber bill deferred.

For a link to the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.  If you are going to actually watch the meeting, you really need to follow along with the agenda.

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

Below is a summary and the highlights of the meeting.

All of the resolutions pass except the resolution to approve purchasing land for the new Cain Ridge school and it is deferred one meeting, apparently to track with a zoning bill not because there is any opposition. To see which of the resolutions were of significance see my commentary.

Bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. They are not evaluated by committee until they are on Second Reading. All bills on First Reading are lumped together and usually pass by a single vote. It does happens but is rare that anyone votes against a bill on First Reading. It is almost considered rude to vote against a bill on First Reading. All bills on first, pass lumped together with a single vote except for one that is with drawn and the bill that would  substantially decriminalized pot possession in Davidson County.

  • The bill that is withdrawn is a bill that would have imposed a 120-day moratorium upon the issuance of building and grading permits for multi-family developments on property within Metropolitan County Council Districts 28, 29 and 32.  This was a bad bill and should have been withdrawn.  We can't function as a city if we have different rules for different council district.  There is concern that those districts are seeing so much rapid growth that infrastructure cannot keep up with it. The concern may be valid but a moratorium on new development is not the way to deal with it.
  • BILL NO. BL2016-378 is the bill that would substantially decriminalized  possession or casual exchange of small quantities of marijuana in Davidson County. I favor this bill. To see my commentary follow this link.  The motion for a roll-call vote was made by Councilman Dour Pardue. In addition to Pardue others voting against the bill were council members Steve Glover, Holly Uezo and Bill Pridemore. Council member Karen Johnson abstained. It passes First Reading by a vote of 34 to 4. To see the discussion see timestamp 21:22 - 28:21.

Bills on Second Reading:
  • BILL NO. BL2016-334 is an expansion of the PILOT program (payment in lieu of taxes) for use as a tool to develop more affordable housing. This will be a new use for this program.  It is normally used by the Industrial Development Board as a tool to incentivize companies to locate in Nashville. This would allow MDHA to use this tool to encourage development of affordable housing. This passes by voice vote.
  • BILL NO. BL2016-342  is an Affordable Housing Grant program to encourage developers to develop affordable housing.  This is not the Council's version of the inclusionary zoning; this is the mayor's plan which really would be a voluntary plan. Before being amended it was to be a two year trial program capped at $2 million dollars. It is amended to make the cap $2.5 million. The sunset date is also extended. I do not have copies of the amendment and am not sure how long the trial period last, but it would not come up for review until the next council takes office. Both of these changes make the bill less desirable in my view.  Apparently the builders wanted the longer trail period and I can understand why they would, but it means a new council would be evaluating the bill rather then the council that passed it. While I was previously of the view that I would support this bill, if I were serving in the council, I am now less inclined to be supportive.  If this passes, however, then the much worse inclusionary zoning plan could still pass but this may lessen the likelihood of that bill passing. The only way I think I could support this bill as amended was if I believed that passing this bill would result in the inclusionary zoning bill not passing. This bill however would work with the other bill, if the other bill also should pass, so that those who are required to build affordable housing under the inclusionary zoning proposal could also get this grant and lessen the pain.
 Background and more information on this proposal is in the press release from the mayor's office which you can find at this link.  Both developers and housing advocates support this bill, for the most part, or at least they did before it was amended. The bill will still be amendable on third reading. For those who want a deeper understanding of this bill, you may want to watch the meeting of the Ad hoc Affordable Housing Committee found at this link and the Budget and Finance Committee meeting found at this link. The bill is amended as noted above and then passes by a voice vote. To view the discussion see timestamp 33:57 to 44:14.

  • BILL NO. BL2016-343 would change the rules for how companies may use utilities poles to string cable. This may sound mundane but it is important. It is also not as simple as it sounds. As readers probably know, Google Fiber is coming to Nashville promising to bring cheaper and faster internet access.  This was announced in January 2015. What is taking so long?  What is taking so long is that it is a slow process to string cable. Before Google can string cable, Comcast must move their cable, but before Comcast can move their cable, ATT must move their cable, or who ever is below on the pole must wait for the provider with cable above to move their cable. The other providers and users of the utility poles are in no hurry to do what they must do so Google can do what they need to do.  This bill would apply a“One Touch Make Ready” (OTMR) approach for connections to utility pole. One company would be authorized to move all of the wires on the pole. The complexity of this is explained in  articles you can find at these links:
Google Fiber warns it could pull plug over Nashville impasse  
Council attorney raises legal issues with Google Fiber proposal  
"Google One Touch" plan: Solution in search of problem
The bill is deferred one meeting. 
 Bills on Third Reading 
  • BILL NO. BL2016-298 in Councilman Scott Davis's district would rezone 46 acres now with various zonings including commercial zoning to a multi-family zoning.  I would like to know if this has the approval of the property owners.  I don't know.  To downzone property without the consent of the owner is a "taking" of property. This is deferred one meeting.  
  • BILL NO. BL2016-309 changes some of the rules regarding signs in order to conform to a Supreme Court ruling regarding the First Amendment prohibition against regulating content of signs. It passes.
  • BILL NO. BL2016-319  by Councilman Davis is subject to a last minute attempt to amend that generate some discussion and controversy. It is a rezoning that attempts to change properties that now has various zonings "to  permit all uses permitted by the MUL-A district except for alternative financial services uses." I am not even going to try to explain the nuances involved, but if you want to see the discussion see timestamp 1:01:55 to 1:17:09.  
  • BILL NO. BL2016-329  which makes 60 "housekeeping" changes to the regs governing taxi cabs passes on a voice vote without discussion. 
The council passed the resolution and the bill that was necessary to facilitate "Marine week" in Nashville without any opposition.

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Liberty on the Rocks meets Thursday, August 18, 2016 starting at 5:30 PM

Liberty on the Rocks meets Thursday, August 18, 2016 starting at  5:30 PM at Smokin Thighs, 611 Wedgewood Ave, Nashville, TN.  This is a always an enjoyable event.  While the majority political persuasion of those who attend tends to be libertarian there are always a few of we mainstream conservatives in attendance to provide some balance.  Actually, I think we are making converts.

Stop by, have a beer and enjoy some good, stimulating conversation.  There is no formal program and attendance usually runs about twenty people and the big group just naturally breaks into several smaller groups and people often float from one group to the other. It starts winding down about 8:30 but sometimes last much longer and you can come and go whenever it suites you.  You don't have to RSVP but the organizers would like for you to, but you can just show up at the last minute if you would like to stop by. By attending, you are not "joining" anything and you will not get a lot of unwanted email or solicitations for political contributions. Liberty on the Rocks is just a bunch of liberty-loving people getting together to drink, talk, argue, and explore ideas. I hope to see you Thursday.

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Bill to substantially decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot, in a rare move is challenged on 1st reading. Passes 32-4.

While it is rare that a bill on First Reading is discussed or voted on separately, it happened last night with the bill that would substantially decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Nashville.  Usually all bills on first reading are considered together and pass by a single vote. It is almost considered bad manners to oppose a bill on First Reading.  Bills are not analyzed by staff, or discussed in committee until after First reading. First Reading is a formality that gets a bill on the agenda. The marijuana bill survived a roll-call First Reading vote in the Metro Council by a vote of  32-4, with one abstention.

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