Saturday, July 14, 2018

Diane Black wins Nashville GOP picnic straw poll

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

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

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

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

The Statesmen award was given to Connie Hunter.  This is an award given to the volunteer who is

Gene Wisdom and Rod Williams
deemed to have done the most during the previous year to advance the Davidson County Republican Party other than a party official. The person honored gets a framed certificate and a autographed copy of the biography of former governor Winfield Dunn.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

We deserve to know how much corporate welfare was handed out to AllianceBernstein

The secrecy surrounding the corporate welfare deal that brought AllianceBernstein to Nashville is an outrage. The state and city of Nashville both bribed Alliance with tax dollars to get them to relocate here, yet we have no idea how much since the government is keeping that information a secret. 

It is a big deal that AllianceBernstein is moving to Nashville. The company is a major financial firm, will be bringing 1,050 jobs to Nashville, and invest $70 million. If you want Nashville to be an even bigger city then this relocation to Nashville should be a cause for celebration. 

I really do not want to see Nashville grow anymore. I think we have passed the optimum size. I would prefer we remain a mid-size city with our own identity rather than a super metropolis .  As far as I am concerned we should have pulled up the draw bridge about three to five years ago. Growth does not pay for itself.  One of the reasons our city finds itself in financial difficulty now, is that we have paid so much out in incentives that the growth is not swelling the city coffers. 

Seth Bernstein, president and CEO of AllianceBernstein, said Nashville was chosen among 30 cities due to its cost of living, affordability, and quality of life. Those are all things that will diminish with growth. The more we grow the more we will be taxed, the more housing will cost, the worst traffic will get, and the more crime we will have. Growth will not make our schools any better. Quality of life will decline.  

The way I see it, a city has to be of a certain size to have certain amenities. Dining, cultural, entertainment and shopping opportunities come with growth, but beyond that certain size, the cost of growth is not a plus but has diminishing returns and then negative returns. I know that this is a minority position. City leaders want to grow, grow, grow.  

Even if you want Nashville to become the Wall Street of the South, or the Hollywood of the South - even it you want us to be the next Los Angeles or Chicago or Atlanta, should we the taxpayers not be entitled to know how much we are paying for companies to locate here?  How can one judge that the growth is worth it, if we do not know how much we are paying for it? We are footing the bill, we should have the right to know.


How many incentives will AllianceBernstein receive? The state won't tell

 By Adam Sichko, Nashville Business Journal - There's no telling how much in incentives AllianceBernstein will receive from Tennessee taxpayers for moving its global headquarters from Wall Street to downtown Nashville.

What the state has disclosed is a $17.5 million jobs grant tied to the money manager's decision to uproot its executive team and an estimated 1,050 back-office and wealth management jobs from New York City and move to Music City. State officials won't say anything about another vital piece of the pie: tax credits that AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB) expects to tap once it begins filling those forthcoming jobs. ... AllianceBernstein is poised to receive at least four types of tax credits. (Link)

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Davidson County GOP picnic July 14th


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Should the father of the Waffle House shooter be liable? Lawsuit filed.

by Rod Williams, July 12, 2018 - Shaundelle Brooks, the mother of one of the victims of the Waffle House shooting filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit yesterday against the shooter, Travis Reinking, and his father, Jeffrey Reinking.

On April 22 at 3:24 in the morning Jeffrey Reinking pulled up to the Antioch Waffle House in his pickup truck and fatally shot two people outside the restaurant with an AR-15 type rifle, then entered the restaurant and  gunned down other patrons, killing at least one person. One patron who was wounded in the shooting  later died at the hospital.

Twenty-nine year-old James Shaw Jr. was dining at the Waffle House at the time and when he saw Reinking struggling with the rifle at one point, Shaw rushed Reinking and wrestled the weapon away him and tossed it over the restaurant’s counter, no doubt saving many lives. James Shaw was a hero.

Reinking was wearing a green jacket and was otherwise naked at the time of the shooting.  He fled the scene on foot naked, dropping the green coat he was wearing. A manhunt ensued and Reinking was captured the next day.

Reinking who was from Illinois and had recently moved to Nashville. In Illinois, to own a firearm, one must have a firearm owners identification card. which at one time he did.  However, in 2017 he had  his weapons removed from his possession, including the weapon used in the Waffle House shooting, following an arrest by the U.S. Secret Service for being in a "restricted area" near the White House. He told the Secret Service he wanted to set up a meeting with the president. 

The county sheriff of the county in which Reinking resided took the guns from Travis and gave them to Reinking's father who had a valid firearm owners identification card. Travis Reinking's firearm identification card was revoked. The father was advised that he needed to keep the weapons secure and away from his son. Unfortunately, Reinking's father soon returned the weapons to Reinking. Doing so, may have violated federal law but he has not been charged with a crime.

In addition to the arrest by the Secret Service, there were other indications that Jeffrey Reinking was a nut-case. He had previously been arrested for showing up at a public swimming pool in a pink dress and exposing himself.  Another bizarre behavior was that he had told people that he was being stalked by Taylor Swift.  He once was arrested for threatening someone with a weapon. He was fired from his job in Nashville after telling co-workers that people in the company were out to get him and exhibiting what his boss called paranoid behavior. 

Daniel Horwitz
The attorney representing Ms Brooks in the case is Daniel Horwitz. "Let this lawsuit serve as a stark warning: If you entrust someone that you know to be both dangerous and mentally unstable with one of the most efficient purveyors of death in modern society, you will be held personally accountable for the consequences," Horwitz said in a statement.

I know that some supporters of gun rights will no doubt be rooting for Mr. Jeffrey Reinking in this case. Not me. I support the Second Amendment, but at a minimum, I agree that if you give someone who is dangerous and mentally unstable a weapon and they kill people with it, you should be held personally liable.

How far we should go in this direction, I am not sure. If a parent leaves a gun unsecured and his teenage child takes the weapon and shoots up a school killing classmates, should the parent be liable? I don't know but I am open to listening to the arguments and thinking about it. 

Given the number of mass shooting in the last few years, I think something needs to change. I oppose gun registration or banning guns. I do not want to repeal the Second Amendment or ignore it.  I also do not want to trample the rights of someone who may be accused of being mentally ill.  If one is too mentally ill to own a gun, they are too mentally ill to vote or drive a car.  Those accused of being mentally ill should not be deprived of their rights without due process. However,  Jeffrey Reinking should not have been able to possess a weapon and his father should pay a price for giving his obviously troubled son the weapon he used to commit this mass murder.

For the Tennessean.s report on this development, follow this link

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Early Voting Schedule and sample ballots and my endorcements - State Primary and County General election.

Early voting for the August 2nd election begins begins Friday, July 13 and ends Saturday, July 28. Davidson County voters have 14 days - including three Saturdays - to cast their ballots early in the State Primary, County General and Oak Hill Municipal Elections. There will be both a Democrat and Republican primary. The most important item will be for the respective parties to pick their nominee for Governor.

I am not yet ready to vote because I am still undecided for whom I will vote for governor. I may be ready by the last day of early voting or may wait until August 2nd. I will of course be voting in the Republican primary. From the first I have been leaning toward Diane Black but one or another of the other top contenders have looked good from time to time. Recently I have been looking favorably at Randy Boyd.  I think all of the top four contenders are qualified and would make a good candidate and a good governor. The differences between the candidates appears minor and none of them have anything in their background or have taken any positions that would stop me from voting for them. One thing that could make me turn against a candidate is if he engages in mudslinging and smears his opponent. ("He," of course,  is the singular pronoun and means a person which could also be a female. That should not be necessary to explain but some people may not know that.) One of the candidates has lost some favor with me due to negative campaigning. I am fine with a candidate drawing distinctions between himself and his opponent, but the tone of the campaign should remain respectful and criticism should be truthful and there is no need to demonize the other person.

In other races I am supporting Marsha Blackburn for the U. S. Senate, Jody Ball for State Rep in District 5, and Brent Moody in District 56. For State Executive Committeeman in District 20, I am supporting Robert Swope. In District 20 there is a tough choice for State Executive Committeewomen between two real party work horses, Martha Brown and Connie Hunter. Both are qualified and I like both of them.  I am not making a recommendation and since that is not my district, I do not have to chose between them.

In the General Election most of the offices only have one candidate running and that is the Democrat nominee. Republicans did not field candidates. For Vice Mayor I am supporting Sheri Weiner. There are school board elections in districts 2, 4, 6, and 8, but I have not studied those races and am not making any recommendations.

For a schedule and map of the early voting locations, follow this link
For a sample Republican ballot, follow this link.
For a sample Democrat ballot, follow this link.
For a General Election sample ballot follow this link.



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Five Strange Features of the Trump Trade War.

by Rod Williams - In Five Strange Features of this Trade Warby


policies when the economy is in decline. That is not our situation.







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The effort to stop the fairgrounds giveaway is not over. The fairgrounds giveaway is not a "done deal."

At the last Metro Council meeting there was a bill on the agenda that would ban the sale, lease, transfer or conveyance of property adjacent to the proposed Major League Soccer stadium to any third party for purposes of private development. That bill was deferred indefinitely but that does not mean the effort to stop the giveaway of ten acres of fairground land to the developers of the soccer stadium is over.

I had a conversation yesterday with a member of the Council who is close to the issue who opposes the giveaway who told me the issue is far from over. He said the decision to indefinitely defer Bill BL2018-1205  was a smart move and there were other ways to achieve the same objective.  According to this council member,  there are four more bills that must be passed before the fairgrounds  land giveaway is a done deal. There are two bills that must be passed before the bond sale is complete. One issues the bonds, and the other does something else, but I am not exactly sure what. Then a bill to rezone the ten acres would have to be passed. The other bill is to authorize the demolition of existing buildings at the fairgrounds.

If any of these fail, the giveaway cannot go forward.  The best chance to stop the giveaway is the bill authorizing demolition of existing buildings. That bill will take 27 votes to pass the Council.  It does not look like that at this time, there are 27 votes to do that if the result would be the ten acre fairground giveaway.

The developers have long claimed that without the ten acres of fairground property the soccer deal will not work.  I doubt that is true.  There are probably other ways to sweeten the deal without giving away the fairground property. More than likely, the soccer stadium will be built at the fairgrounds, but the ten acre giveaway can be stopped it those who support the fairgrounds do not give up and stay engaged. The fight is not over.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

SIGN THE DEBT LIMIT PETITION

Initiated by Ben Cunningham with the Nashville Tea Party, working with other conservative groups across the city, there is an effort being made to amend the Metro Charter to limit Metro's debt.  I support this effort. Metro's current debt service obligation is slightly greater than 13% of the operating budget. One important thing this amendment would do is require the city to count its Metro pension obligations as a debt and set aside funds to service that obligation. Frankly, I am more concerned about Metro's pension obligations than I am our other debt obligations.  If this amendment passes, then Metro may get serious about switching from a guaranteed benefit system to a guaranteed contribution system.  Most pensioners do better with the later system but unions oppose it.

The Nashville Debt Limit Charter Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Nashville-Davidson County Charter which is designed to stop the growth of debt before it becomes dangerously high and burdensome. The amendment prohibits the issuance of new long term bonds when total debt service exceeds 15% of the operating budget of Metro Nashville. For more information, see NashvilleDebtLimit.com.

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