Saturday, November 17, 2018

Please tell your councilman to oppose "policing for profit" and to support innocent until proven guilty and due process.

Most people, whether they think of themselves as liberal or conservative, agree on certain basic concepts of government. Most people believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty and believe in due process. Most people do not want the police to be able to confiscate their property if they have not been convicted of a crime. On Tuesday November 20th, the Council will have on its agenda a resolution to approve Metro's participation in a program that violates these basic concepts.

Sometimes called "Policing for Profit" the program the Council will be voting on is to participate in the “Equitable Sharing Program” of  the  civil asset  forfeiture program. The legislation is Resolution RS2018-1486  which formalizes  an agreement between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD). This agreement would govern the participation of DEA Nashville District Office Task Force participants in the DOJ “Equitable Sharing Program” and formalize MNPD's participation in the program.  What this program does is allow Metro to become a partner with the State and Federal government in the civil asset forfeiture program.


What civil asset forfeiture does is allow the police to confiscate the cash one is carrying and one's vehicle and possession one may have in his vehicle without being proven guilty of a crime. The person whose property is confiscated may not even be charged with a crime. Often it will come about that the police stop a car for a traffic violation and the owner gives the police permission to search the car or the police search the vehicle under probable cause. Upon searching the vehicle, the police discover the driver has $5,000 in cash, for example.  They can confiscate the money and the vehicle.  It may be that the person was on his way to Florida to buy cocaine, but he may have been on his way to Florida to rent a truck and buy a truck load of landscape plants for a work project.  In any case, the person who had his property confiscated, in order to get it back must go to court and prove he was not in procession of the cash and the vehicle to commit a crime.  This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Often people do not have the means to wage the legal battle and just lose their property.

I know this is unbelievable. You may have thought that in America you were innocent until proven guilty. That is not the case. Under The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 the procedure as described is perfectly legal. Many poor people who may be carrying cash, with their cash gone, can't afford to hire a lawyer to fight to get their money and car returned and are forced to just accept the injustice and the loss.  It they can fight to get their property returned it may take months or even years to prevail.

Civil Asset Forfeiture is an outrage. It is opposed by liberal groups like the ACLU and conservative groups like The Institute for Justice and The Beacon Center, yet it prevails. The police often use this money to supplement their budget and the practice is sometimes referred to as "policing for profit."  The Council should vote against this resolution and refuse to participate in this shameful practice.

This is the second time this issue has been before the Metro Council. This agreement has to be renewed every year.  It was before the Council last year and by a vote of 16 to 15 with four abstentions the Council approved participation in the program. Councilman Dave Rosenberg spoke against the resolution and argued Metro should not participate in this program.  To view that discussion see timestamp 2:35:10 in the video at this link

Below is the result of the roll call vote when the issue was before the Council at that time.

Voting YES to approve Resolution RS2017-920. Voting in favor of Civil Forfeiture

Nick Leonardo, District 1                 Brenda Haywood, District 3         Bill Pridemore, District 9
Doug Pardue, District 10                  Larry Hagar, District 11                Steve Glover, District  12
Holly Huezo, District 13                  Jeff Syracuse, District 15              Mike Freeman, District 16
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20   Russ Pulley, District 25                Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District  29              Jason Potts, District  30                Jacobia Dowell, District 32
Antionette Lee, District  22

Voting NO, a vote against Resolution RS2017-920. Voting against Civil Forfeiture
 
John Cooper, At-large                     Jim Shulman, At-large                Scott Davis, District 5
Bret Withers, District 6                   Anthony Davis, District 7           Nancy VanReece, District 8
Burkeley Allen, District                  Freddie O'Connell, District 19    Ed Kindall, District 21
Mina Johnson, District  23              Kathleen Murphy, District 24      Jeremy Elrod, District 26
Davette Blalock, District  27           Fabian Bedne, District 31            Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Voting "ABSTAIN"  
Erica Gilmore, At-large                  Bob Mendes, At-large                  Sharon Hurt, A-large
Angie Henderson, District 34 
                                               
NOT VOTING
DeCosta Hastings, District 2        Robert Swope, District 4                 Keven Rhoten, District 14
Colby Sledge, District 17             Sheri Weiner, District  22                                      

Please note that minutes show the only one absent from this meeting was Robert Swope. The others may have been there at one time and stepped out of the room, not paying attention, or simply chose not to vote.  It is very disappointing that some of those who voted in favor of the bill are members who are thought of as among the small handful of conservatives in the Council. Those who I am extremely disappointing with for supporting this bill or failing to vote against it, I have highlighted in red. 

It is time to end this shameful practice. If you would like to tell your councilman to vote against this bill, follow this link and you may do so. To find your individual  council member's  phone number and email address, follow this link and click on their name. If your council member voted the right way last year, you may want to encourage them to also vote that way this year.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

None of the worst cities for African-Americans are Southern cities

The Wall Street Journal has published a list of the 15 worst cities for African-Americans and none are southern cities. The report looks at Black unemployment rates compared to White unemployment rates, Black median income compared to White, Homeownership rate comparisons, level of segregation and various other factors. The worse city in America for Black people, according to this study, is Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA. Other cities on the list include Chicago, IL; Freso, CA; and Rochester, NY;  To see the study follow this link.

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Judge denies injunction seeking to stop fairgrounds overhaul for Nashville MLS stadium

The Tennessean - After two days of testimony, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle sided with Metro government on the request, arguing that Tennessee law does not authorize issuing an injunction to halt the work under the circumstances. ....

Jim Roberts, lead attorney for Save Our Fairgrounds, said he is disappointed in Friday's outcome but expressed confidence that his client will ultimately prevail in court.

“Quite honestly, they were able to survive an injunction hearing, but they’re not going to be able to survive trial," Roberts said.

Roberts has said the fea market — a fairgrounds use that is protected in the Metro Charter — cannot survive the loss of some 3,500 parking spaces where the new expo center will be built. Metro broke ground on the new facility on Nov. 1. (read more)

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Newly elected Democrat calls Tennessee racist, Republican voters 'uneducated'

A Tennessee Democrat newly elected to the House of Representatives has said the state is racist and most residents who voted Republican are uneducated.

WREG-TV reports London Lamar said the comments in a now-deleted Facebook video posted following last week's election.(link)

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Beacon Center Condemns Amazon Incentive Package

by Mark Cunningham, Beacon Center, Nov. 13, 2018- News broke this morning that the state of Tennessee and city of Nashville will give Amazon more than $100 million in taxpayer money for a new operations site in downtown Nashville. The Beacon Center has issued the following statement decrying the incentive package. 

Mark Cunningham, spokesman for the Beacon Center stated, “Nashville was passed over for Amazon’s second (and third) headquarters, yet city and state officials still got scammed into giving the company more than $100 million in taxpayer giveaways for a consolation prize, which includes $80 million in cash handouts. Amazon, one of the world’s most valuable companies, and the government played taxpayers with this incentive deal, and it is time for us to speak up against this type of corporate welfare. While we welcome new businesses and the jobs they create to our state, forcing middle-class Tennesseans and small businesses to give their hard-earned dollars to a multi-billion dollar business is both unfair and immoral.” 

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

We have paid off Amazon to move here; now, put away the bribe money and pull up the drawbridge.

by Rod Williams - Amazon has chosen Nashville as their East Coast hub of operations it was announced today.  While this is not one of the two big corporate headquarters, it is still a big deal. They will invest $230 million and are expected to create 5,000 full-time corporate jobs. I guess it is an honor, but I am not pleased.

"According to officials, Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million, including a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of Tennessee for $65 million, a cash grant from the city of Nashville of up to $15 million and a job tax credit to offset franchise and excise taxes from the state for $21.7 million. (link)" This is how not to do economic development.

In addition to incentivizing companies to move here to the point that it cost more to attract them than the benefit they bring and drains public coffers rather than enhances them,  I don't want to grow.  We should have pulled up the welcome mat about five years ago as far as I am concerned.

I do not understand the penchant for growing bigger and bigger.  I don't want to live in a small town.  I like Nashville's size but liked it better about three to five years ago.  I want the amenities a big city has to offer but beyond an optimum size there, it appears to me, there are diminishing returns and then at some point the negatives outweigh the positives.

Although I don't take advantage of all Nashville has to offer, I like that we have museums, good restaurants, a lively art scene, a good symphony, and good places to shop. However, I want to live in a pleasant place, where you can still find a parking place, where crime is low, where people are friendly and taxes are not burdensome. We have passed that point and are headed down the other side of optimum.

Along with growth comes greater congestion, higher prices, and more crime. More people leads to more social problems. Some will argue that more people will provide the density to have better mass transit. I am not buying that argument. Greater density will make mass transit more likely and increase demand for it, but it will still require massive subsidies and tax increases to pay for it. If you look at the tax burden in almost any large city, it is greater than it is in smaller cities. I am not supportive of bigger government and higher taxes.

I do not want Nashville to be the next Los Angeles, or Chicago, or even the next Atlanta.  Many of these new jobs will not be filled by Tennesseans, but by immigrants from California and New York and other big metropolitan areas fleeing high housing cost, high taxes, crime, and dysfunctional governments. Once here, many of them will want to turn Nashville into a copy of the place they just left. Politically, an influx of people from liberal parts of the country will turn Tennessee into a more liberal state. Culturally, Nashville will change. If not already the case, there will be more Nashvillians from other places here than people from this region. A Tennessee or southern accent will be the exception. We will lose our identity and be just another interchangeable metropolitan city.  Politically and socially and cultural and environmentally, Nashville will be worse for this growth.

We have paid off Amazon to move here; now, put away the bribe money and pull up the drawbridge.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: Here's how the GOP turned Democrats' 'Blue Wave' into just a ripple

Ronna McDaniel
by RNC Chairwomen Ronna McDaniel - The Republican Party faced historic odds ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Since the 1920s, the party in control of the White House has lost seats in both the House and Senate during the president’s first term. Pundits and politicos fixated on this trend, claiming for months that a blue wave would descend across our nation, bringing massive Democrat victories during midterms. But Tuesday’s results proved otherwise.

We staved off a blue wave thanks to the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) largest-ever ground game and record-setting fundraising, and President Trump’s energizing rallies for our candidates.

This week Republicans gained seats in the Senate – a historic achievement that has only happened four times. Our minimal losses were in spite of the retirement of 43 House Republicans, the most for our Party since 1930. Democrats, meanwhile, had very few retirements and their candidates had a significant cash advantage, out-raising Republican incumbents in 92 districts. Despite the odds, the Democratic Party’s so-called tsunami hit a Republican wall and became nothing more than a ripple.

Our success was thanks to grassroots enthusiasm for President Trump and his agenda, our Party’s far-reaching ground game, comprehensive get-out-the-vote operation, and record-breaking fundraising haul. This week, the American people sent a clear message to Washington: Stop obstructing the America First agenda, or go home.

With our permanent infrastructure and strong team in place, Republicans are ready to do it all over again and keep President Trump in the White House in 2020. President Trump did more for Republican candidates this cycle than any other president in history, energizing voters with 53 rallies across 24 states. His rallies brought half a million Americans together in support of Republican candidates in competitive races. On Tuesday our investments paid off. Republicans closed the enthusiasm gap among voters and delivered victories in competitive races across the country.

Look at the way longtime Democrat incumbents lost to strong Republican Senate candidates in key states, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Missouri’s Josh Hawley, and Indiana’s Mike Braun. The RNC had its largest-ever mobilization ahead of the midterms to ensure victory. We outpaced the DNC at every turn, raising a non-presidential year record-breaking $270 million. Our unprecedented fundraising allowed us to invest a record $275 million into this election cycle, making it our most expansive data and ground game investment in history.

We had more than 550 staffers working on the ground across 29 states. We trained more than 25,000 Republican Leadership Initiative fellows, our Party’s most active volunteers in the field. We recruited more than 200,000 volunteers in communities across the country. Our team’s dedication and hard work enabled us to spread our Party’s message of opportunity through 2.6 billion voter contacts, including over 79 million traditional volunteer contacts through door-knocking and phone calls in every corner of the country.

With our permanent infrastructure and strong team in place, we are ready to do it all over again and keep President Trump in the White House in 2020. Now that we have defended and increased our Senate majority, Republicans will continue to fight for President Trump’s agenda and deliver more wins for the American people.

The administration has done so much to lift up American workers and families, with policies that have created millions of new jobs, cut taxes, and grown our economy. We are in a strong position to continue those gains, protect our communities, and confirm the president’s qualified judicial and executive branch nominees.

Americans made their voices heard on November 6. They told us that they demand results and will hold their elected officials accountable. Now, it is time for Democrats to turn away from obstruction and resistance and instead work with Republicans on behalf of their constituents and our country.

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