Sunday, August 5, 2012

Update: What's on the Council Agenda for August 7th

Without an agenda, Council meetings can be really, really boring. With an agenda, they age just really boring. You can find  the agenda here and the agenda links to the analysis.

The first thing on the agenda is the election of a County Clerk to replace the disgraced John Arriola. The person elected would serve the remainder of the current term. Nominees are Mr. James A Baxter, Mr. Kenneth Eaton, Mr. Charlie Tygard, and Ms. Brenda Wynn. I agree with Ken Jakes, the Council should not fill the Arriola vacancy.

Brenda Wynn will win it. The council has a history of filling vacancies from within their own ranks for these plum positions, so Charlie Tygard should be a strong contender. However Tygerd has said he only wants the position for the interim and if elected to the position by the Council he would not seek election to the post in November. Some Council members have told me they do not see the point in giving the position to someone for only a few months. By the time the appointee takes office and makes changes in procedures and personnel,  his term would be up and new changes would have to be made again within a very short period of time.  That is just too much disruption and they see no point in giving the job to someone who says he will not seek reelection to the office. Also, the position of County Clerk is a partisan position and Brenda Wynn is already the Democratic nominee for the position. While the Council is a non-partisan body, Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans and party loyalty would probably override the promotion-from-within mindset even if Tygerd had not crippled his chances by saying he would not seek election to the position in November.

There are seventeen zoning bills on public hearing. These bill will probably be of no interest except to the people who live in the vicinity of the zone change.

There are also seventeen bills on the consent agenda. These are bill deemed non-controversial and that received unanimous recommendation from the committee to which they were assigned. I agree with this designation. None of them are unusual. They pay claims, appropriate money, and accept grants- all routine stuff.   

There are several bills on first reading that may prove controversial, however bills on first reading usually pass unanimously and are not discussed. I am summarizing the ones that may prove controversial or that I find interesting but am withholding further analysis until second reading.

  • BILL NO. BL2012-213 by Councilman Garrett would require members of boards and commissions to provide an email address and telephone number for posting on the website.
  • BILL NO. BL2012-214 by Councilman Tygard would limit the Metropolitan Government’s contribution to the Partnership 2020 program.
  • BILL NO. BL2012-215 by Councilman Josh Stites would prohibit the use of Metropolitan Government funds to purchase, construct, or erect building or ground signs that identify the name of an elected or appointed official. See Metro Nashville councilman's bill would keep officials' names off ..,
  • BILL NO. BL2012-216 by Councilman McGuire would provide an option to property owners to receive their tax bill by email rather than US mail and maybe do some other things.
  • BILL NO. BL2012-218 by Councilmen Hunt and McGuire would authorize a temporary reduction of sewer charges for customers who install green roofs on buildings within the combined sewer area.
  • BILL NO. BL2012-228 by Councilman Tygard would amend the backyard chicken bill but this appears to be an attempt to improve it. 
Here are the bills of interest on second reading: There are none. However, "NO. BL2012-211 is a routine ordinance that readopts the Metropolitan Code  prepared by Municipal Code Corporation to include all ordinances enacted on or before April 17, 2012. Municipal Code Corporation has the contract with Metro to codify all ordinances enacted by the council, as well as to update and maintain the on-line version of the code. The council periodically readopts the code to make sure the printed and online versions are kept up to date."

I know for a fact that not all bills adopted by the Council make it into the code. Of course some things with only a one time application, such as renaming a street, should not be in the code. However important bill can be left out. I wish the council would establish a safeguard mechanism to insure that all bills which should be in the code, make it into the code. When I served in the Metro Council I worked long an hard to get an ordinance adopted that required radon inspection in Metro Schools. I was out of the Council by the effective date of implementation of the ordinance and the ordinance was ignored for twenty-two years. There has never been an acceptable explanation of how this happened. All council members should be aware that the bill you pass may just get left out of the Metro code if powerful forces don't like it. To read more about the radon issue and the 22 year delay in enforcing it, follow this link.

Here are the bills of interest on third reading: None. There are only three and none of them are of interest.

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