Thursday, December 20, 2012

Notation and commentary of the 12/1/12 Council meeting

This meeting is only 52 minutes long. Below are the highlights with notations of where to go in the video to see the good stuff. If you want to follow the action and relate it to the agenda, follow this link. From that link you can link to the Metro Council staff analysis should you want to know even more about any particular bill.

The meeting opens with a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Newtown Connecticut shooting and a moving heartfelt prayer by Councilman McGuire. 

Resolutions: All resolutions are on the consent agenda except RS2012-522 which is a resolution authorizing the school board to purchase some property. Councilman Stanley has RS2012-523 pulled off the consent agenda.  RS2012-522 is deferred indefinitely.

Resolution No. RS2012-523 acquires 600 acres in the bend of the Stones River. This purchase, combined with other recently-acquired property, would result in 800 acres of contiguous park land. This resolution is not controversial and passes unanimously but is taken off of the consent agenda apparently just so the sponsors can explain the project and get some deserved credit and recognition for this accomplishment. (see 11:30-17:08)

Bills on Second reading

  • BILL NO. BL2012-283 would impose new regulations on commercial door-to-door solicitors and it passes unanimously. While I know aggressive sales people can be an annoyance and while I know some are unscrupulous, I do not think I could support this bill. We are grownups. We do not need to look to government to remove every annoyance from our life. I am disappointed there was no debate on this bill.
  • BILL NO. BL2012-284 would require public works to install rubber speed cushions as part of a traffic management program if petitioned by a majority of the resident homeowners on the street. It is deferred indefinitely. Speed bumps are controversial and many motorists hate them. (To see the discussion see 20:42-24:13)

  • BILL NO. BL2012-292 would permit home recording studios in residential neighborhoods is deferred to the second meeting in January.

  • BILL NO. BL2012-320 by Councilman Claiborne which would reduce the Metro lifetime health health insurance subsidy for former members of council.  This benefit currently costs Metro approximately $300,000 per year. Due to term limits there are a growing number of former metro council members. This cost is going to continue to increase. This bill deserved to pass and it does by a vote of 25 to 13. Check the video to see how the individual council members voted. (see 26:20-31:04)

Bills on Third reading

  • BILL NO. BL2012-301is Council member Karen Johnson's attempt to down zone a piece of property in Nashboro village. There is some controversy about what the committee vote really was. In my view this bill is a "taking" of private property without compensation. It deserved to fail and does by a vote of  18 for and 20 against. I am surprised and disappointed that some of the councilmen who I think of as the good councilmen voted for this bill.  The vote was a machine vote. See the video to see how council members voted. (See 34:20-42:18)
  •  Bill 2012-314 the voluntary retirement buy-out for Metro employees passes.

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