Saturday, September 22, 2012

Final update: What happened at the 9/18/12 Council meeting: Midtown rezoned, poll books bought

Meeting of the Metro Council on September 18th, 2012 More

Click on the above link to watch the Council meeting.  Below are the highlights with notation of where to go in the video to see the more interesting portions of the meeting.

It is announced that Juvenile Judge Betty Adams Green resigned effective the day prior to the Council meeting. The Council will fill the vacancy. Nomination for the office are to be in the clerk's office by September 25, and the Council will fill the position at the Oct 16th meeting. It will be interesting to see who the Council chooses to fill this vacancy. The Council gets lobbied hard on filling vacancies for these plum positions.

Three bills are pulled from the consent agenda.  This rarely happens. The three bills are Resolution 412 which would appropriate $400,000 from the 4% fund to purchase electronic poll books for the election commission, Resolution 412 which approves an agreements between TVA, NES and Metro for the purchase, interconnection, and operation of electricity generated by solar units installed at two fire halls, and Resolution 428 which authorizes the parking of vehicles at the former Stokes Middle School property.

Discussion of Resolution 410 (purchase of poll books) starts at 16:10. Budget and Finance had approved unanimously. Charlie Tygerd explains that the issues surrounding the controversy of problems with the electronic poll books were fully explained at the B&F committee and half the books have already been purchased and the new poll books save time and money.

Bo Mitchell who is running for a State House seat, gets a lot of TV face time grandstanding on the issue and says the B&F committee did not get adequate answers. He makes a motion to defer. Duane Dominy Speaks and says the answers to the questions raised by Mitchell were provided in committee. On a machine vote the motion to defer fails, 15 for deferral and 24 against.

Councilman Maynard attacks the integrity of the Election Commission and Charlie Tygerd defends the election commission. (This is good stuff. Maynard starts at 29:45; Tygerd at 33:25.) Tygerd gets frustrated and heated and does a great job responding to Mannard. Councilman Tony Tenpenny also takes to the floor revealing his frustration. Several other members speak on the motion and the resolution passes by voice vote. The way I see it, those who are attacking the election commission are simply not wanting to understand the explanation that were offered and are grandstanding.

Resolution 412 which approves an agreements between TVA, NES and Metro for the purchase, interconnection, and operation of electricity generated by solar units installed at two fire halls is discussed. Thanks to Charlie Tygerd, the questions I wanted asked were asked. (See it at 37:10) The return is a twenty year return on investment. That is a bad deal! Great job Councilman Tygerd! 

 Councilman Stein points out that the money has already been spend and all this bill does is enter into a contract to recoup some of the money already spend. On a machine vote, the resolution passes 37-2 with the two "no" votes being those of Tygerd and Duvall. If I had been in the Council, I also would have voted no. This measure was nothing more than a feel-good green project that was not in the city's best interest. The Council should have voted against this bill and sent General Services a message to stop the feel-good green stuff and only engage in green projects if they are good investments.

Councilman Evans explains her opposition to Resolution 428 which authorizes the parking of vehicles at the former Stokes Middle School property. (see 42:52) The resolution passes on machine vote 34-4-1

Each proposed charter amendment is considered separately.
  • RS2012-279 by Tygard which would have Nashville’s mayoral, vice mayoral and Metro Council elections at the same time was withdrawn following a recommendation against the bill from the Council's Charter Revision committee. 
  • RS2012-280 by Gilmore that would prohibit the Metropolitan Government from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history on the initial job application is withdrawn following a negative recommendation of the Council Committee. 
  • RS2012-377 by Garrett, which would clarify the duties of the sheriff’s office passes. 
ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-237 on second reading amends the Metro Code to implement a number of the recommendations of the study and formulating committee pertaining to employee and retiree benefits and pensions. This ordinance basically curtails the benefits of employees going forward. This is a wise move. Many cities are going broke because of liberal defined benefit packages and retirement plans. The bill passes.

An attempt is made by Councilman Clairborne to amend the bill so that going forward, former council members would not be eligible for the subsidized health insurance unless they had served 10 years and then they would pay the same rate as retirees who had served 10 years. (see 1:09:15 for discussion) Councilman Clairborne withdraws the amendment after several council members raise objections that the amendment has not been to committee, but he promises to bring it back as a separate bill.

Prior to term limits there were not that many former council members; with term limits there is growing number of former members of the Metro Council. Claiborne's proposal should be adopted.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-241 by Dominy, on second reading to require the annual contract for services between the Metropolitan Government and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for the Partnership 2020 economic development program to be approved by resolution of the council and would require 21 affirmative votes to be approved, is deferred for two meetings.

BILL NO. BL2012-195 which would rezone more than 1500 properties over a 450 acre area in Midtown (between Charlotte and West End from I-440 to downtown) passes. The discussion starts at 1:32:50.

Below are news reports regarding this council meeting.

Council approves Midtown rezoning
 also. approved purchase of poll books

by Michael Cass,The Tennessean, Sep 18, 2012

The Metro Council voted Tuesday to approve a 455-acre rezoning in Nashville’s Midtown area and agreed to put five proposed charter amendments up for public votes in November.

 The council also voted to appropriate $400,000 to buy controversial voting equipment for the Davidson County Election Commission, agreeing to honor a contract with a vendor over objections about the technology’s performance in the August primary.(link)

 Metro Council Purchases Controversial Voting Equipment

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Metro Council Members exchanged some heated words over controversial electronic poll books during a meeting.

Despite the debate, the council voted to appropriate $400,000 to buy the equipment for the Davidson County Election Commission.  The money will purchase 200 machines and upheld a contractual agreement signed last year.

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