Friday, March 24, 2017

Why Nashville is not a sanctuary city, and what that means.

I still occasionally see people refer to Nashville as a "sanctuary city."  We are not.  Just because Mayor Barry offers platitudes that Nashville will remain a hospitable and open friendly place does not make us a sanctuary city.  Back on January 26, the day after President Trump issued his executive order saying sanctuary cities would be subject to losing federal funding, I posted a piece called Nashville is not a sanctuary city.  I explained what makes a city a sanctuary city and why Nashville is not one.  Earlier this week The Tennessean ran an article called Why Nashville is not a sanctuary city, and what that means.

The article explains that a "sanctuary city" has no legal meaning but that cities with sanctuary policies typically decline to cooperate with federal immigration officials outside of what is specifically required by law. When the police arrest someone, the arrest goes into a shared database. When the Immigration and customs Enforcement agency (ICE) sees a person of interest has been arrested, it will request local law enforcement hold the person for 48 hours to give, ICE time to pick up the person.  This is called a "detainer."  Sanctuary cities refuse to honor these request.  Nashville, does not do that. 

A city is not a sanctuary city simply because government officials do not inquire about a persons immigration status when a person has an encounter with government officials.  Cities are not required to enforce immigration law.  Essentially, "Sanctuary Cities," are cities that refuse to honor ICE detainer request.


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Thursday, March 23, 2017

What happened at the 3/21/17 Council Meeting: new storm water fee passes, new animal protections, not much else.





This is a pretty boring council meeting. Everything you would expect to pass, passes. There are no surprises. You really do not need to watch this meeting. To access the agenda, staff analysis, and my commentary on the agenda follow this link.
Here are the bills I found of interest: 

RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-566  by Scott Davis expresses support for the Medical Cannabis Access Act currently pending before the Tennessee General Assembly. This was on the agenda the last two meetings and deferred. I strongly support this memorializing resolutions. This was not on consent. It is substituted and passes on a voice vote. There was a little discussion but of little significance.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-587   request that the Metropolitan Department of Codes Administration seek diverse candidates that are inclusive and representative of Nashville’s local demographics and languages when filling existing vacancies and adding additional personnel to enforce property standards. This passed on the Consent agenda.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-591 appropriates  $3,897,200 to the Fairgrounds for administrative purposes. $2,5 million would be to fund the Summer Youth Employment program. $2.75K of this appropriation is revenue generated by the Fairgrounds above the amount budgeted for the year. This would pay overtime and other miscellaneous expenses. This passes on consent.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-616  by Councilman Steve Glover would adopt a policy to set a percentage limit on the amount of debt service to pay General Obligation bonds in the budget.  This seems like a prudent measure. While times are good for Metro now, they may not always be so good.  Our debt obligations and pension obligations could force the city to raise taxes in hard times unless restraint on indebtedness is not exercised. This would set a maximum debt service limit of 10% of the operating budget. This was not on consent. At the request of the sponsor, this was deferred two meetings.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-617  ask the police department to ask for more money
additional officers, salary increases, and additional police vehicles and motorcycles in the FY2018 budget proposal. I think this is bad idea. They will ask for more money without being prodded. Also this circumvents the established process.  This was not on consent. There is some discussion. Councilman Sledge makes the case against this. Weiner also argues against it and says we have a process and this resolutions puts the cart before the horse. It passes on a machine roll call vote of 22 in favor, nine against and three abstentions.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-618   requesting the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to introduce and enact legislation to increase penalties for the desecration of places of worship or burial. This is now a Class A misdemeanor which is the most serious class of misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. This passes on consent.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-619 honors the life of State Senator Douglas Henry. This passes on the consent agenda. I assume that at a future council meeting he will be honored with the presentation of a scroll.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-620 recognizes Tommy Lynch upon his retirement after having served 46 years working for Metro Government. This passes on consent.
Bills on Second Reading. There are 15 bills on Second Reading. Most of them are abandoning unneeded sewer easements and water easements and other routine business. There are a couple that deal with how people must provide for their pets protecting them from bad weather. One of the bills would extend animal protection laws county-wide, whereas now they only apply in the Urban Services District. This animal control bill pass.  If you want to know more about this topic read The Tennessean report, Nashville moving toward stronger animal control rules.

These are the other  bills of interest.

BILL NO. BL2017-581  would grant full investigative authority to the Metropolitan Auditor in order to allow for independent audits and reviews of all Metropolitan Government departments, boards and commissions as well as the performance of contracts by entities that contract with the Metropolitan Government. It passes with little discussion.
BILL NO. BL2017-588  would amend the graduated storm water user fee schedule. This fee is part of one's water bill and pays for the handling of storm water runoff. Those with larger homes or other impervious surfaces greater than 2,000 feet would pay more under this change. This passes on a voice vote.  No one speaks against it. To read The Tennessean coverage of this issue, follow this link.
Bills on Third Reading: These are 24 bills on Third Reading and not much that is of interest. Most are rezoning bill and they have all been approved by the Planning Commission. Here is this one of interest. 

BILL NO. BL2016-483 would require the police department to provide a quarterly report to the Council on how many traffic stops were made and what happened as a result of the stops. such as how many pat downs and how many searches and the race of the person stopped. It is deferred one meeting.

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It’s Time For Republicans To Embrace The Nuclear Option For Neil Gorsuch

Grant Starrett
By: Grant Starrett - The United States Senate is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. Amidst the fallout, it’s time enough at last for us to get things done and confirm Judge Gorsuch and every other person we need to the bench—all with 51 votes. By dawn’s early light, our Senate Majority Leader needs to activate Mad Mitch: Fury Road.
Some believe that passing laws and confirming appointees in the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes, calling any attempt to do otherwise a “nuclear option.” Such a move is well within the Senate’s defined constitutional powers, but allegedly a newfangled innovation in an institution supposed to prize precedent and tradition.
The trouble is the Senate did not start out working this way, and even if we are inclined more toward recent practice, the sum of all fears has already been realized: Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pushed the nuclear button. The only reason anything requires 60 votes anymore is because 51 votes say so. Does anyone doubt that, if Senate Democrats had a majority in 2016, Judge Merrick Garland would have replaced Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court? Relaxing on the beach and pretending that nothing has happened in the Senate wastes our precious majority without securing future minority rights.

Simple Majority Votes Used To Be The Norm

Let’s go back to day one of the Senate in 1789. Neither the Constitution nor the original rules describe anything approximating a filibuster, in which a single Senator could delay a vote by holding the floor as long as he could stand. In fact, quite the opposite: an original rule specifically allowed for a simple majority to shut off debate. That rule was eliminated in 1806, yet a Brookings Institution study found that no real filibusters took place until the 1830s. Even then, most major legislation passed with simple majority votes, as Senators in the minority understood that to use the filibuster too frequently would invite a rule change.
In 1917, a formal rule was reintroduced to allow debate to be shut off. This time called “cloture,” the rule required a two-thirds majority vote. And yet, according to Senate procedure expert Martin Gold, “between 1917 and 1962, cloture was imposed only five times.” The filibuster frustrated but did not prevent civil rights legislation, and a victorious but irritated majority in 1975 reduced the number of votes required to shut off debate from two-thirds to three-fifths, i.e. the famous 60-vote threshold.
There are two controversial ways to the reduce 60 votes to 51. The first path would change the Senate rules at the beginning of a new session, i.e. every two years. Current Senate rules require a two-thirds majority to change Senate rules, but Senators have debated since 1789 whether previous Senate sessions can bind future Senate sessions. The question has not been definitively resolved because Senators have always tended to renew the rules. But if Senators are unbound, then the Senate could change its rules at the beginning of a new session with only 51 votes, and use that rule change to lower the threshold for every other vote to 51.

We Can’t Ignore The Precedent Harry Reid Set

The second path is the one Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chose, and is even more controversial among the small group of people who have any idea how the Senate operates. In 2013, Republicans were using Senate rules to block leftist judges from being confirmed. Reid did not have the 60 votes required to invoke cloture and shut off debate and he certainly did not have the 67 votes required to change the rule, so he decided to pull the nuclear trigger. Reid invoked a point of order to redefine the words “three-fifths” to mean a “simple majority” for judicial appointments below the Supreme Court. 51 Democrats supported the doublespeak, and the day after the Senate was forever changed.
And yet still some insist, despite all the evidence of radioactivity, that the Senate still enjoys some sort of pre-nuclear unique practice about Supreme Court justices or major laws. Imagine if the Soviet Union had nuked all of our medium-sized cities but had temporarily spared the biggest metropolitan areas. Would we spare Moscow? Of course not.

Republicans Shouldn’t Fear The Nuclear Option

The Senate needs to confirm Gorsuch with 51 votes. Fewer than 60 is preferred because Gorsuch is essentially unobjectionable and therefore provides a good precedent when the Senate needs to push through a qualified conservative justice who might be more controversial—like Robert Bork once was.
In some ways, I would prefer an alternative. I worked for the Senate Steering Committee in law school, and we took maximum advantage of the Senate’s rules empowering a minority to make a difference. Allowing a minority to block bad ideas can be meaningful to conservatives because even a Republican majority has proved unreliable in curbing government. But the sad truth is that Harry Reid killed minority rights, and Republican majorities need to summon the courage to shrink government and advance a constitutional conservative agenda. If they don’t, then what’s the point of winning elections at all? Republicans should learn to stop worrying and love the bomb. 

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mayor Barry's stormwater fee hike advances in Metro Council

Mayor Barry's stormwater fee hike advances in Metro Council
Joey Garrison , USA Today Network - Tennessee - The Metro Council voted unanimously by voice to advance a stormwater fee hike that is intended to address a backlog of $207 million in stormwater needs. The overhaul puts a greater financial burden on Nashville’s largest commercial and residential property owners than existing rates.

Barry’s proposal, which requires a third and final vote next month, would raise stormwater fees for 85 percent of Nashville’s homeowners and three out of every four businesses in town.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

What's on the 3-21-17 Council Agenda: Stormwater fee hike, More protection for pets, a Driving while Black report requirement, support for medical cannabis, $3.9M for the Fairgrounds, a debt limit for Metro, more authority for the auditor.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse.  Council meetings are really boring and I watch them so you can be a well-informed citizen of our city and still not have to watch them. If, however, you are going to watch the council meeting, you really need the agenda and  the Council staff analysis, otherwise you will be clueless about what is going on.  Follow the highlighted links above to view the agenda and staff analysis.

There is not that much of controversy on this agenda. There are six appointment to Boards and Commissions on the agenda and you can expect all to be approved unanimously.  There are 12 bills on First Reading but bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote except in rare cases. I do not read bills until they get to Second Reading. There is one resolution on public hearing.  It is to allow an exemption to the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit.

There are 34 resolutions on the consent agenda. Resolutions on "consent" are passed by a single vote of the council instead of being voted on individually. If a resolution has any negative votes in committee it is taken off of consent.  Also any council member may ask to have an item taken off of consent or to have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded.  Most of the resolutions are routine things like accepting grants. Here are the resolutions of interest. 

RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-566  by Scott Davis expresses support for the Medical Cannabis Access Act currently pending before the Tennessee General Assembly. This was on the agenda the last two meetings and deferred. I strongly support this memorializing resolutions.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-587   request that the Metropolitan Department of Codes Administration seek diverse candidates that are inclusive and representative of Nashville’s local demographics and languages when filling existing vacancies and adding additional personnel to enforce property standards. I support this. Not because I favor preferential treatment for reverse discrimination, but it does seem like it would be helpful if we had codes officers who spoke Spanish. I know some want Nashville to be "English-only" and put the burden on immigrants to learn English.  However, it would save the city money and improve services to all of us if when a codes inspector knocks on the door with a house-full of Mexicans, the codes inspector could explain what he was there for and the violation. I would think an equally qualified codes inspector who is also bi-lingual would be a more valuable employee.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-591 appropriates  $3,897,200 to the Fairgrounds for administrative purposes. $2,5 million would be to fund the Summer Youth Employment program. $2.75K of this appropriation is revenue generated by the Fairgrounds above the amount budgeted for the year. This would pay overtime and other miscellaneous expenses.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-616  by Councilman Steve Glover would adopt a policy to set a percentage limit on the amount of debt service to pay General Obligation bonds in the budget.  This seems like a prudent measure. While times are good for Metro now, they may not always be so good.  Our debt obligations and pension obligations could force the city to raise taxes in hard times unless restraint on indebtedness is not exercised. This would set a maximum debt service limit of 10% of the operating budget.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-617  ask the police department to ask for more money
additional officers, salary increases, and additional police vehicles and motorcycles in the FY2018 budget proposal. I think this is bad idea. They will ask for more money without being prodded.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-618   requesting the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to introduce and enact legislation to increase penalties for the desecration of places of worship or burial. This is now a Class A misdemeanor which is the most serious class of misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. I am not sure this needs changed. I of course do not approve of desecrating houses of worship, but anyone caught doing so would most likely also be prosecuted for a Federal hate crime. I would have to carefully listen to the discussion in committee before being convinced this is needed.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-619 honors the life of State Senator Douglas Henry.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-620 recognizes Tommy Lynch upon his retirement after having served 46 years working for Metro Government. Most of that time he served with the Parks Department. He was a well-liked and respected Metro employee
Bills on Second Reading. There are 15 bills on Second Reading. Most of them are abandoning unneeded sewer easements and water easements and other routine business. There are a couple that deal with how people must provide for their pets protecting them from bad weather. One of the bills would extend animal protection laws county-wide, whereas now they only apply in the Urban Services District. These are the bill of interest.
BILL NO. BL2017-581  would grant full investigative authority to the Metropolitan Auditor in order to allow for independent audits and reviews of all Metropolitan Government departments, boards and commissions as well as the performance of contracts by entities that contract with the Metropolitan Government.
BILL NO. BL2017-588  would amend the graduated storm water user fee schedule. This fee is part of one's water bill and pays for the handling of storm water runoff. Those with larger homes or other impervious surfaces greater than 2,000 feet would pay more under this change.

Bills on Third Reading: These are 24 bills on Third Reading and not much that is of interest. Most are rezoning bill and they have all been approved by the Planning Commission. Here is this one of interest. 
BILL NO. BL2016-483 would require the police department to provide a quarterly report to the Council on how many traffic stops were made and what happened as a result of the stops. such as how many pat downs and how many searches and the race of the person stopped.

To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel.   If can stand the suspense and just wait I will post the video here and provide commentary.


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Thursday, March 16, 2017

First person account of going to the Trump rally and not getting in.

I attended the Trump rally last night and did not get in. Here is what I wrote on Facebook at the time:

The below is the Facebook posting of Bill Hobbs, conservative political activist and former blogger. He gives a good report. I agree with him; the Trump phenomena is a movement. Also, the anti-Trump anguish and hysteria is unprecedented and is a phenomena.

Bill Hobbs
I used to silently laugh at the notion that Trump was leading a "movement." Winning a campaign? Sure. He did that. But leading a movement? That's a whole different political animal.
I'm not laughing anymore. In a blue city, a city where Democrats always win every election that matters, Trump drew a massive crowd to Nashville's old Municipal Auditorium. The line to see him was a mile long. That's not hyperbole. It really was a mile long, snaking around the state capitol and through downtown streets.
Thousands of people stood in line for hours to see the president and were turned away because the arena was full. The arena holds more than 10,000 people for an event like a political rally in which the floor is covered with temporary seating. Even without floor seating, Municipal Auditorium has more than 9,600 fixed seats. With floor seating that number is above 10,000.
The Secret Service stopped letting people in when the arena was full.
How many were turned away?
There's no official count, but from my observation the number of Trump supporters who couldn't get into the venue because it was full was at least double and probably triple the number of anti-Trump protesters gathered outside the venue.
Hundreds, probably thousands, more gave up and went home after standing in the cold for a few hours and realizing they were unlikely to get in to the arena.
I stand by my estimate that if the Trump rally had been held at Bridgestone Arena, it, too, would have had every seat full, at more than 19,000 seats.
The local daily birdcage liner estimates the number of protesters at 2,500. I'd say that's a generous number, probably inflated by the standard inflation that the liberal media tends to give liberal crowds. (There's also a standard deflation the liberal media applies to conservative crowds. A good rule of thumb is if 75 liberals show up it's 100 in the newspaper, and if 125 conservatives show up it also is 100 in the newspaper.)
But the newspaper can't apply the standard conservative discount to the pro-Trump crowd inside the arena as it was a ticketed event at a venue with a known number of seats. The exact attendance number is a number that can be known with a fair degree of accuracy and certainty.
Which makes it rather curious that the newspaper has a number for the protestors but not for the Trump supporters.
The newspaper's main story about the Trump rally doesn't give a number for attendance at the event. It only describes it as "thousands in attendance."
The word "thousands" is the same word it uses later in the story for the number of protesters, as in "thousands of protesters." A separate story is headlined "More than 2,500 protest Trump rally."
Somehow they are certain about the number of protesters though there's no way to get an accurate count, but they don't know how many people were in the arena even though an accurate count is possible.
The paper uses the same phrase - "thousands of ..." because it wants to mislead readers into thinking the protesters and supporters were there in comparable numbers.
It isn't true. The arena, with seating for more than 10,000, was full. And somewhere around 5,000 people were turned away, judging from how much of the formerly mile-long lines of people were left standing outside the venue when the arena was full. An unknown number didn't stand in line that long or didn't come because they heard on the news about the mile-long line and realized they had no change to get into the venue.
Even if you accept the inflated number of 2,500 that the newspaper claims for the crowd of protesters, that is still only a quarter the size of the pro-Trump crowd in the arena - and only a sixth, or less, of the total crowd that came out and stood in line for Trump. (And that doesn't even include the thousands of Trump supporters who lined the motorcade route from the airport to the Hermitage.)
Let's be clear: This was a huge crowd that came out to support President Trump. Nashville saw nothing like it on the various occasions when President Obama came to town - and this is a Democrat-majority city. Supporters of President Trump vastly outnumbered the protesters. In a Democrat city.
Yes, there is a Trump-lead movement. A bigly one.
Photo by Connie Hunter
Here is a link to a video of the protestors by Chris Butler, Investigative Reporter with Tennessee Watchdog.

These Black and White photos are of the protestors are by Bill Hobbs. To see more follow this link.
Here is Big John Smith's Facebook report:


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St. Patrick's Day tips from the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving.

Saint Patrick’s Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold and good luck and wearing green. Unfortunately, March 17 has become a deadly day in the United States, with a dramatic spike in drunk-driving fatalities.  It can't compare to New Year's eve for a favorite day to drive drunk, but its close. A lot of people who do not normally go to bars and drink will be out drinking tomorrow night. In recognition of St. Patrick's day I am again posting my guide on driving drunk.

This  guide from the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving is provided  to help you improve your drunk driving skills.

(1) Don't Drive drunk. That is the number one rule: don't do it. Getting arrested for drunk driving is only one reason not to drive drunk.  The most important reason is you could kill yourself or someone else.  If you are lucky and don't kill someone else or yourself, getting arrested for drunk driving could cost you your job, your election, your social standing, custody of your children or visitation rights, a lot of money, and maybe your marriage.

If you overindulge, there are alternatives to driving drunk. Take a taxi, get a hotel room, call a friend or family member and ask them to come get you. If at a friend's house and you have had too much to drink, stay the night.  Use the peer-to-peer livery services like Lyft and Uber. These services are cheep, fast, and convenient.  To use these services you page a ride using your phone. To do that you must first download an app. Don't wait until you're drunk to try to download the app. Here is a link to the Uber app.
(2) Pick the designated driver before you start drinking.  If you are not going to rely on a commercial service such as a cab or Uber, and you know you are going to be drinking and you are going with other people, then have a designated driver. I prefer being the designated drinker, but someone needs to be the designated driver.
 
Despite the above advice I know there will be times when a person will have had too much to drink and not think they are too drunk to drive but will have had a sufficient amount of adult beverage that they could register drunk even though they don’t think they are drunk. I myself have probably driven many times when I would have registered drunk had I been stopped. I am not by any means advocating driving drunk, but if you are possibly driving impaired I am providing these below tips to help you increase your chances of getting home safely without getting arrested.

(3) Know that you don’t have to be “drunk” to register DUI. You do not have to be sloppy, falling down drunk to register as DUI. If you think you should not drive then by all means don’t. See the above tips. Often you will not know if you are drunk or not, so unless you know exactly how much you have had to drink and whether or not that would constitute drunk driving, then assume you are technically drunk. You do not have to appear intoxicated or have any of the symptoms that we think of as “drunk” to have a Blood Alcohol Content that legally makes you guilty of Driving Under the Influence. If you drink and you drive you have probably driven “drunk.”

(4) Track your consumption and don’t have “one for the road.” That is what often happens. If during the evening you are having dinner with friends and you have a pre-dinner cocktail and wine with dinner and an after dinner liquore with coffee, and a champagne toast, you might register drunk. Try to keep your alcohol consumption to a level that falls below the BAC limit.

On occasion, but not as often as I would like, I like to go to Lower Broadway to listen to live music and party. If I have 8, 12-ounce beers in a four-hour period I should have a BAC of about .068, however if I have 9 beers in four hours that means I have a BAC of .085 and am legally drunk. “One for the road” could put me over the limit. Actually, I seldom have eight in a four hour period, but it has happened.

A female can drink less than a male and a slender person can drink less than a heavy person. For a 115 pound female, three glasses of wine in two hours is drunk. Don’t try to keep up with the other people in your party. Know your limit. Skip a round. Drink slower. Some people assume that wine is less inebriating than tequila shots. That is not so. A 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of 100 proof distilled spirits have the same impact on an individual's BAC level.

Here is a calculator that will give you guidance on how much alcohol you can consume and an estimate of BAC. Please be aware that this is only a guide. If you are drinking on an empty stomach, your BAC may be higher than indicated in the calculator.

(5)  Point your car in the direction of home.  Plan your trip. A good car should be able to find its way home, with a little help.  Avoid places where the police might see you. In the days before Uber and when you could still park on Broadway, I would visit the honkytonk strip of Lower Broad. I would I never park on Broadway, however. I live on the south side of town, so I would park a block or two south of Broadway on one of the one-way streets heading south. That meant I did not have to circle a block and be concerned about traffic lights and stop signs. The less exposed one is to the police the less chance one has of getting caught. It is worth parking four or five blocks away to reduce your exposure.

(6) Be aware that you are impaired. If you didn’t keep track of how much you drank then assume you are may have had enough to register drunk and use your best drunk-driving skills. "Thinking" skills, like perceiving and evaluating risks, or processing information are not easily visible to outside observers, but they are the first skills to be adversely affected by alcohol. Be aware of this.

(7) Stop the Party. You are having a good time. You are joking and singing and laughing. You hate to end the party, but if there is any chance that you are driving with an elevated BAC, then stop the party. Say, “OK folks, we need to straighten up. I need your help in getting us home.” Don’t sing or engage in distracting conversation. Turn off the radio. Don’t talk on the cell phone. Give driving your undivided attention. Don’t let anyone in the car have an open container. You may be perfectly capable of driving, but if a drunk passenger is yelling out the window, the police may stop the car and give you a drunk driving test. The moment you get in the car the party is over.

(8) Check the checklist. Have a mental checklist. You don’t want to get stopped because you failed to use your turn signal. I was once stopped by the police on lower Broadway and forced to take a Breathalyzer. I knew I had only had two beers in a two-hour period so I was not concerned. The reason they stopped me is that I had not tuned on my headlights as I pulled out into the street. This was in a previous car years ago when headlights did not turn on automatically. The downtown area is well lit and this was just an oversight. The police are looking for excuses to stop you; don’t give them one. Seat belts? Check. Adjust the mirror? Check. Turn off the radio? Check. Turn on the headlights? Check.

(9) Do not also commit other crimes while driving drunk. If stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, don't compound your problems by being arrested for drunk driving and somethings else.  Don't smoke dope while driving drunk. Don't get arrested also for speeding, possession of a controlled substance, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or soliciting prostitution.

(10) Concentrate; pay attention. Be aware of your driving. Don’t relax. Keep both hands on the wheel. Don’t be distracted. Don't answer the phone. If you feel you must answer the phone, safely pull off the road. Don't even engage in conversation.  Make sure you do not weave. Are you staying within the lines? Drive just below the speed limit. Don’t tailgate. Pay attention to the car in front of you. If they put on their brakes, notice it. If you are approaching an intersection with a traffic light, pay close attention. Plan that traffic light stop. Don’t run a yellow light.


(11) Use your co-pilot. Ask the person in the passengers seat to help you drive. Ask them to tell you if you weave or tailgate or go too fast. Make them pay attention to your driving.

(12) If you get stopped. Unless you are certain that you have had less than the number of drinks it would take to raise your BAC level to the .08 level, then common wisdom holds that it is a good idea to refuse the breathalyzer test. It generally is more difficult to convict a driver of drunk driving if no chemical tests are taken.

Rep. Bill Beck
(13) Use your influence to get the charge thrown out. Be a State Representative or other person (link) with important friends who can get a judge to throw out the charge based on lack of probable cause for making the stop. Despite the police seeing you drive with wheels over the lane line and observing the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, and inability to walk straight and a despite the arresting officer saying you were "absolutely hammered," the judge may rule the arresting officer did not have probable cause for making the stop.

This is an additional tip suggested by a student of the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving.

(14) If you are seeing double, close one eye. 

I have never been arrested for drunk driving but I admit I have been guilty of it. I guess I have been lucky. As a young adult I was more often guilty of it than I have been as an older adult. Nevertheless, from time to time, I still have probably technically met the blood alcohol level for being drunk.

Stay safe. Don't drive drunk. Drive careful. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

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