Monday, November 4, 2013

Update: What's on the Council Agenda for November 5th with analysis and summary

This is an update, after having read the staff analysis. There are no substantial changes to my previous post.

Council meetings are really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda, they are still boring but not quite as boring. To follow along, you can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. You can download the Council Staff Analysis at this link: November 5


Confirmation of Appointment: There are four appointments to boards and commission on the agenda. The council does not take its responsibility of confirming appointments seriously and always approves unanimously all of the mayor's appointments. One of the appointments is to the Transportation Commission. I wish we had someone in the Council who would question appointees to this commission to insure we do not appoint people who support the policies of the commission that protect current providers of transportation services from competition and does not support favoritism and selective enforcement of regulations and harassment of transportation providers.

There are several scandal plagued agencies that need lots of scrutiny, including careful questioning of the appointees. In addition to Transportation, other agencies that deserve careful scrutiny are Farmers Market, NES, and the Human Relations Commission. All appointees should be carefully evaluated however. They have enormous power and some some of them control a lot of money.

Bill on public hearing: There are ten bills on public hearing. Eight of them are zone changes and will interest only neighbors of the subject property. Two however are text changes and are worth watching.

  • BILL NO. BL2013-568 expands the districts where LED signs are prohibited.  There are some people who are always interested in legislative concerning signs.
  • BILL NO. BL2013-569 places a lot of restrictions on car sales lots, including prohibiting chain link fences or razor wire within twenty five feet of a street, requiring a low decorative fences separating the lot form the street, prohibiting more than one lot per block, requiring a 1000 feet between car lots, and more. Some of these proposed regulations sound reasonable. I especially like the prohibition of razor wire and chain link fences. That creates and image of being in a war zone. It makes a community feel dangerous and uninviting. Some of the restrictions seem excessive however. I wish something else besides used car lots were up and down Nolensville Rd., however, used car lots are there because there is not demand for the land that can demand a higher price. If not used car lots, the places that are car lots would probably be vacant. There will probably be a lot of interest in this bill both from neighborhood activist and owners of car lots.

Consent Agenda: There are eighteen resolutions, all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda but it doesn't happen often. At this time, I see no resolutions that raise a red flag not anything of much interest.

Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are fifteen bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are seven bills on second reading.  I do not see any bills worth getting worked up over.

Bills on Third Reading: Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened. There are fourteen bills on third reading. None of them appear controversial. Here are some of interest:
BILL NO. BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 establish a Metro Injury-on-duty clinic and approve an entity to operate it. It looks like it has been a deliberative process to reach this point and it appears this will save the city money. Apparently this mode of operation is successfully used by major corporations. These are good bills.

Memorializing Resolutions: There are six memorizing resolutions on this agenda. Unless someone objects they will be added to the consent agenda and passed as group with other resolutions. Memorializing resolutions do not have the force of law and simply express the will of the council. Most often memorializing resolutions simply honor someone on their retirement or recognized a sports team for a victory but on occasion, they are used to express the will of the Council advocating a policy position on a State or National issue. When that occurs it is most often an extremely left wing position and they always pass unanimously. Why the "conservative" members of the Council do not oppose them or at least ask to be recorded as voting "no," I do not know, but some really bad memorizing resolutions have passed the Council unanimously. All of the memorializing resolutions on this agenda are harmless and are of the "congratulation" variety.

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