Thursday, July 27, 2017

Greer Stadium redevelopment faces mounting pushback in Metro Council

by Nate Rau, The Tennessean - Before the plan to redevelop the Greer Stadium property even materializes as actual legislation, the proposal is receiving pushback from the at-large members of the Metro Council. The five at-large members — John Cooper, Erica Gilmore, Bob Mendes, Jim Shulman and Sharon Hurt — sent a letter to Mayor Megan Barry on July 19 expressing concerns about the Cloud Hill development. Cooper has already been outspoken against the proposal.

At this point, the at-large members say they prefer for the property that previously was home to a minor league baseball stadium to be converted to parkland. (link)

My Comment: I agree.  The baseball site should revert to park land.  The site destroys the view of the hill and development of the baseball park  will make the fort look crowded. With the baseball field gone, the view looking up at the fort and the view from the fort will both be more impressive. As Nashville continues to grow we need more reserved open spaces, not less.

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Vice President Mike Pence to be keynote speaker at TNGOP Statesmen's Dinner.

Vice President Mike Spence
Press release, Nashville, TN., July 15, 2017 - Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott
Golden released the following statement on the 2017 Statesmen's Dinner:
I am very excited to announce that the Tennessee Republican Party's Keynote Speaker for the 2017 Statesmen's Dinner will be Vice President Mike Pence. This is an exciting time for the Tennessee Republican Party as we continue to grow and gear up for 2018's critical elections. With Vice President Mike Pence as our Keynote Speaker and Governor Bill Haslam as our Dinner Chair, we expect this will be one of the largest and most successful Statesmen's Dinners to date. It will certainly be an event no Republican in Tennessee will want to miss. 
The 2017 Statesmen's Dinner will be held on August 3rd at the Music City Center in Nashville with receptions beginning at 5:30pm and the dinner starting at 6:30pm. Past Statesmen’s speakers include former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (2016), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (2015), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (2014), U.S. Senator Tim Scott (2013), former Vice President Dick Cheney (2002), and former Vice President Dan Quayle (1989).

For ticket information, follow this link.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Nashville City Wide Community Meeting

From the Metro Council:

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Why Trump's 'Buy American, Hire American' is un-American



President Donald Trump has spent a week encouraging us all to buy products "Made in America."  There is nothing patriotic, virtuous, are wise about buying made in America products.  Buying only made in America products may put Americans out of work. The last thing we are the world needs is a trade war.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sen. Corker supports 'repeal and delay' of Obamacare


Sen. Bob Corker changes mind and says he will support 'repeal and delay' of Obamacare

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Progressives are frustrated with Mayor Barry

In the July 13th edition of the Nashville Scene in an article titled Progressive Frustrations Boil Over On Mayor Barry And Immigration, author Steve Hale says progressives are frustrated with Mayor Barry over her opposition to the recently withdrawn sanctuary city bill. He says progressive feel betrayed.

I can understand their frustration because Mayor Barry has surprised me by not being the flaming liberal I thought she would be. I don't doubt that she is liberal in her values, but she certainly has a pragmatic streak.  I would still support David Fox over Megan Barry in a heartbeat.  I will not be contributing to her reelection campaign any time soon, but I have been pleasantly surprised by some of her actions that I am sure are some of the same things that frustrate progressives.

Her coming out against the sanctuary city bills is the most obvious. Progressives (I don't know the difference between a liberals and a progressive, but I think a progressive is a liberal without pragmatism) wanted her to support the bill and the city to pass it even though it was not enforceable and would have been nullified by the State legislature in a special session. They wanted to make a symbolic stand on principle.

One of the first actions that disappointed progressives and was mentioned in the article, was Mayor Barry clearing of the homeless camp on the Fort Negley site. She worked with homeless advocate and social service agencies to find solutions for those illegally camping at Fort Negley and gave the homeless ample time to leave. I support the humane way she went about it.  In the end however, she cleared the site. She did the right thing.

Other actions that I am sure disappointed progressives was her handling of the so-called "local hire" charter amendment. Progressives got it on the ballot and it passed. The "local hire' amendment was pretty specific that on all Metro funded projects that 40% of the workforce was to be made up of Davidson County residents. Mayor Barry treated it more like a suggestion rather than a legally binding mandate. (See Megan Barry sees the light and flip flops on "Local Hire.")  I am pleased she did but I am sure some progressives were disappointed. (For much more on local hire follow this link.)

On inclusionary zoning which is a form of housing price-fixing, Metro, under Barry's leadership, passed a bill that was part carrot and part stick.  I oppose what passed and hope it is overturned, but I am sure progressives think it did not go far enough. Never mind, that it was probably pushing the limit of what the State would allow, I am sure progressives wanted a much more aggressive bill.

One area in which I am sure Megan Barry disappointing her more progressive supporters was in her welcoming and celebrating of Marine Week, an event in September 2016 that featured 80 events including display of Marine aircraft and weapons, and Marine led physical work-outs, and programs in schools, and seminars, and art and musical performances.  The Marines would not have had this event in Nashville, had the mayor not been welcoming.  She not only welcomed the event but was a gracious host.  Among many progressives there is a sneer at patriotism and a disdain for the military.

One thing Barry did that pleased me and I am sure displeased some progressives is that she did not raise taxes this year.  At a time of a general property reappraisal, a tax increase can be slipped in almost unnoticed since many people do not understand how the process works and will blame higher taxes on the reappraisal instead of a tax increase.  From a liberal point of view, there is always a need for more public spending.  Barry could have slipped in an unnoticed tax increase and spend more for mass transit, schools, sidewalks, affordable housing and everything else.  It was her most opportune time to raise taxes.

On other issues, Barry has certainly pleased progressives.  She is totally supportive of "gay rights."  Her support however does not challenge any existing laws.  She says all the right things for progressives about supporting the homosexual agenda and a  lot of other things but does not go out on a limb for progressive causes.  I wonder if Barry can continue to be a pragmatic liberal without losing her more progressive supporters. 

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What happened at the Metro Council on July 18th:$26M spend from 4% fund, bills dissaproved by the Plannng Commision pass the Council.




To access the council agenda, the council staff analysis of the meeting and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.  This is a uneventful meeting with no controversy or drama. There is not much reason to watch the meeting. I watched it for you. As expected, the Council deferred action on the bill that would ban some forms of home-sharing (See The Tennessean's "Council delays short-term rental bill.)

RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-785,  which appropriates $26 million to various department from the 4% fund, including a million dollars to General Hospital, is approved with very little discussion by a voice vote with no recorded or audible "no" votes.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-786  and RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-787 both of which appropriates money to subsidize the development of what is called "workforce housing" are withdrawn at the recommendation of the Budget and Finance committee. Why, I do not know. By the time it gets to a resolution appropriating money, a developer and project has been selected.  If one were to watch the Budget and Finance Committee meeting, which I have not done, one could probably learn why this is withdrawn. I wish the reason for the withdrawal would be explained from the floor. The curious may want to watch the B & F committee meeting to learn why.

BILL NO. BL2017-800 on second reading, which would make a modest change to the juvenile curfew law is deferred two meetings. This bill would make the curfew more restrictive than it is now. 

BILL NO. BL2017-801  and BILL NO. BL2017-802,  on Second Reading, both of which deal with obstruction or closure of public right of ways are deferred to the second meeting in September.

Bills on Third Reading

BILL NO. BL2017-701  by Karen Johnson is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission.  It would apply an Urban Design Overlay District on 11.25 acres on Moss Springs Rd and Bluewater Trace. An Urban Design Overlay is a tool to insure that future development or redevelopment is in character with what already exist in the neighborhood and addresses such things as height  of buildings and construction material and orientation of the front door and location of the garage. The Planning Commission says this would impose standards that are more stringent than what constitutes the current character of the neighborhood. It can take some effort to get a dissaproved bill passed. A bill disapproved by the Planning Commission requires 27 affirmative votes to pass. The bill won approval from the Planning Committee of the Council. The roll call vote was 32 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstentions and 6 not voting. I really do not care about the merits of the bill, but am surprised that no one voted against it.  In previous councils, there have always been some members who would simply not vote for disapproved bills. This passage speaks to the legislative skill of Councilman Johnson.  A cynic would say Councilmanic courtesy is alive and well.

BILL NO. BL2017-719 by Scott Davis  is a rezoning bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. This rezoning proposal is to SP zoning and would permit an accessory detached recording studio on the property. Councilman Davis makes the point that lots of people have recording studios in their home or teach piano or other music lessons in their home and are not properly zoned to do so.  He is attempting to properly zone a piece of property so his constituent can legally do what many in Nashville do illegally. He says this issue is something the Council needs to address.  This has been tackled by the Council before but an agreed upon bill was never passed.  I think if I served in the Council, I would be inclined to support this bill.  Disapproved, it would require 27 votes to pass.  The Planing Committee of the Council had voted 4 in favor, 7 against and one not voting. It is deferred one meeting.

BILL NO. BL2017-741 would require that private parking lots or garages post a sign listing the amount of any fines or penalties that may be charged by the parking facility and to post such information not only at entrances but also at each automatic pre-payment station for those with that type arrangement. Parking facilities must already post their parking fees at the entrance of the facility. This seem reasonable and it passes.

BILL NO. BL2017-782 by Councilman Roberts is another rezoning bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. It passes by a vote of 32 in favor, none opposed, one abstention and 6 not voting. 

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nashville Sounds stadium's rushed timeline blamed for busted budget, report says

 When the Metro Council approved building the Nashville Sounds stadium, it was to cost $60 million dollars.  It ended up $10 million over budget and costing an additional $21 million in ball park related expenses.  The $60 million project ended up costing $91 million. One of the reasons for the cost overrun is due to a rush to get it finished which resulted in paying a lot of overtime.  I suspect a lot of the ball park related cost were not included in the cost estimate in order to make the project more palatable to the public and the Council.  It was easier to sell a $60 million project than it was a $91 million project. To read The Tennessean story on this topic follow this link.


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