Friday, May 31, 2013

What is on the Council Agenda for June 4th.

Here is a link to the Council Agenda for June 4th. If you will wait I will analyze it for you, but if you just can't wait, here it is: Council Agenda.

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The Council's wish list considered

This is the Council budget work session where council members propose changes to the mayor's budget and explain how they would pay for it. This is where something gets in the budget or not. If something is put in, something must be taken out or a new source of funding must be identified. There is apparently not much disagreement with the Mayor's budget. Providing a subsidy for the fair ground is the only thing that seems to have a lot of support.  I suspect a subsidy for the farigrounds will make it into the budget. There are only a handful of proposed changes and this meeting is only 26 minutes long.

I am disappointed that no one proposed eliminating the Department of Human Relations and spreading that money among other needs. That department serves no useful purposs except for political correctness indoctrination. I feel we should not be funding a youth pavillion at the gay pride event. Maybe some one's alternative budget will propose defunding this department.

For more information on the proposed budget follow this link: Citizen's Guide to the Metro Budget.

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Metro Schools budget hearing before the Metro Council



I am not posting all budget hearings, only those that I think will be of most interest or generate controversy. Since the bulk of our tax revenue goes to support public education and since the School Board got considerably less than what they requested, I think the school budget is one that deserves close scrutiny. If you would like to view more budget hearings, you can find them at this link.

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The Government attack on the First Amendment

From:

THE TENNESSEE FREEDOM COALITION
*** Update from the TFC ***

Rod -

ACT! for America and many other groups are paying attention to a serious issue here in Tennessee: civil liberties and free speech. Read below for a message from the national ACT! for America group.



On June 4th, an event titled "Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society" will be held from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd, in Manchester, Tennessee. The special speakers for the event are a U.S. Attorney and an FBI special agent.

The instigation for this event was a Facebook posting by a Coffee County Commissioner, a Democrat. The posting showed a picture of a man pointing a shotgun at the camera with the phrase, "How to wink at a Muslim."

ACT! for America believes this posting was ill-advised, offensive and provocative - but it appears to us to be the kind of political satire that is protected by the First Amendment. And it's certainly less incendiary than some of the comments jihadists have been known to publicly make.

In an article in The Tullahoma News, the U.S. Attorney is quoted as saying:

"If a Muslim had posted 'How to Wink at a Christian,' could you imagine what would have happened?" he said. "We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we're here, they're going to be protected."

We know the answer to his question - nothing would have happened.
There would have been no meeting like this one to warn Muslims about how they might be violating the civil rights of non-Muslims.

The attorney further went on to state in the article that violations of civil rights will be prosecuted. ACT! for America is not in the business of violating anyone's civil rights. We are, however, in the business of protecting our constitutional right of free speech. And we find the tone of the U.S. Attorney's remarks, and the very existence of this meeting, disconcerting at best and a preemptive assault on the First Amendment at worst.

On March 11th we conducted a national webcast announcing the creation of "Americans United to Defend Free Speech." We explained how our own State Department was complicit in efforts by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to impose what amounts to "hate speech" laws in countries around the world.

This State Department effort is unprecedented, which is why we're encouraging people to sign our Open Letter to Congress and the state legislatures to oppose the effort.

Here's your opportunity to stand up against the intimidation of free speech in your state. You can join the many others we know who are planning on attending the meeting in Manchester.

Our message-your message-at this event is simple: The First Amendment right of free speech is one that we cherish and that we will defend - even provocative, offensive speech must not be used as a pretense to muzzle it.

Should you choose to attend, we encourage you to be respectful with any questions and responses to the speakers, and stay focused on the issue of free speech.



The Board of Directors
Tennessee Freedom Coalition


My Comment: Even "hate speech" should be protected and the government should not be engaged in indoctrination campaigns. 

I am more concerned about the growing trend of our government to indoctrinate people and to force people to conform to political correctness than I am those who may exercise bad taste and offend someone. I am more concerned about a coercive government that tells you what to think and forces you to display proper attitudes than I am the odd bigot who lumps all Muslims together and lets it be known he doesn't care for them. 

A good example of this trend to coerce proper attitudes is the incident in which the Department of Justice issued a memo to employees saying that failure to actively promote LBGT pride month would be construed as disapproval. "Silence will be interpreted as disapproval,” said the memo. If a Christian who thinks the transvestite in the next cubical is living a sinful life of which he does not approve, it is not good enough just to keep his opinions to himself and ignore the co-worker. No, he must actively show his acceptance, or surfer the consequences. He must display a LBGT sticker or leave a brochure promoting tolerance on his desk or do something to actively affirm acceptance. 

 If some coalition of advocates of toleration want to have a seminar in Coffee County because of this anti-Muslim Facebook posting incident, I would say, "go for it." It is another matter, however, when the government sends in an Attorney General and FBI agents to conduct a seminar preaching the virtue of diversity. This incident and the use of IRS police powers to silence conservative organizations and the DOJ LBGT memo are all evidence of a government attempting to coerce uniformity of thought and silence dissidents. The real threat to our liberty is an out of control government that does not respect the First Amendment.

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Bill Haslam: Continued Momentum, Continued Success

From Gov. Bill Haslam


Gov. Bill Haslam : Workers' Compensation Reform Bill Signing 

As governor, one of my top priorities is making sure we're doing everything we can to make Tennessee the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family. And while there isn't a metric or an organization that measures exactly that, there are several annual rankings that help us gauge our progress. Several of those were released earlier this month. Here's a quick run-down of how the volunteer state faired:

No. 1 State for Retirement | Bankrate.com
No. 4 State for Business | Chief Executive
No. 4 State for Job Creation & Business Recruitment | Site Selection

Speaking of job creation, we've announced over 1,600 new jobs at 14 different Tennessee businesses in the last month alone. In fact, one of our initiatives aimed at improving the state's business climate, bringing clarity to the Workers' Compensation system through reform, is the subject of the video above. We've made some significant progress over the last few years despite the difficult national business climate, but being proud of the progress we've made doesn't mean we're going to rest on our laurels. Folks across state government are working extremely hard to keep up this significant momentum.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Williamson County GOP guest is Marsha Blackburn


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The Sumner County Republican Women host panel on Common Core

Here is a balanced article about the new Common Core education standards. The Sumner County Republican Women hosted this panel of Tennessee experts on Common Core. 

Former State Representative Debra Maggert reports on her facebook page that she had attended the anti-common core rally in Williamson county last month and noted that it was very unbalanced and their "experts" were not Tennesseans. She says the Sumner County Republican Women's club tried to find anti-common core experts to speak on the panel, but were unable to find anyone with an education background who had first hand knowledge about Common Core to speak. All but one of the panelists at the Summer County event was a Sumner countian.  

Educators say Common Core sets higher expectations 

The Tennessean, May 28, 2013- Adopted in Tennessee in 2010, the Common Core initiative was a state-driven, bipartisan effort spearheaded by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. The movement was aimed at reforming schools to better prepare students for college and career readiness. In all, 45 states have signed on. With Common Core, states will for the first time be teaching the same standards at each grade level across the nation.

 The pushback is perhaps being fueled by a misunderstanding of Common Core, panelists said. The new standards will emphasize not only student knowledge, but students will also be expected to be able to apply what they know through higher-level, critical thinking skills, educators said. (link)

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Appeals Court overturns mosque ruling

Appeals Court overturns mosque ruling

The Murfressboro Post, Thursday, May 30, 2013 - A Tennessee Court of Appeals panel ruled Wednesday that the Rutherford County Planning Commission did provide adequate public notice prior to approving construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

“We have concluded that the (Rutherford County Chancery) Court erred in finding the notice provided to be inadequate .....(link)

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School Board will balance budget and not cut teacher positions

NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro School Board Members said they're preparing to make some difficult decisions when it comes to balancing the district's budget, but vow that won't include cutting teaching positions.

The proposed $1.81 billion budget before Metro Council Members includes $746.4 million for schools — a $26 million increase over last year's budget, but $18 million less  than school board members asked for. (link)

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Governor Mike Huckabee joins Lamar Alexander to Honor Republican Party Chairs from Middle Tennessee

“Lamar has consistently helped build a stronger Tennessee Republican Party and I’m excited to join him in honoring the state’s grassroots leaders.” – Governor Mike Huckabee

NASHVILLE, TN –Lamar Alexander’s re-election campaign today announced that Governor Mike Huckabee will join Senator Alexander to salute Middle-Tennessee Republican Party Chairmen on July 20 in Rutherford County.  

The event will feature Governor Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, presidential candidate, and host of the Fox Network’s Huckabee Show. Other musical and political special guests will join to pay tribute to Republican grassroots activists from across Middle Tennessee.  

“Governor Huckabee has been a champion of our party’s principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism. I’m delighted that he is coming to Tennessee to join me in honoring the men and women who work daily to advance our party’s mission” says Alexander. 

The event is free, but advance registration is encouraged to guarantee entry into the event.  More information and event registration can be found here: www.lamaralexander.com/salute or by calling the campaign at 615-678-1940. 

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher and Fleischmann.  

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.  Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

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1st Tuesday guest is Alberto Gonzales

1ST TUESDAY members and friends
 
Unless you've missed ALL that has been in news lately, you must have questions about  the WIDE ARRAY of breaking stories and investigations going on in Washington DC.
 
So.... you ask .. "WHO KNOWS"... understands and can answer questions about  the complex aspects of so many various political and legal topics ???....  
including questions applicable to...BUT .... not limited to ...
 
1]  The unfolding IRS scandal and the hearings in Congress ?   
Will we hear more from Lois Lerner? Can she still invoke the 5th Amendment?
 
2]  Team OBAMA's assault on FOX News, The AP, and others in the PRESS ?
Is FOX's James Rosen really a "co-conspirator" ?
 
3] Why can Team OBAMA still be preventing those who survived the attack at our  US Embassy in Benghazi from testifying ? 
How can an Ambassador die .. members of the Military refuse orders to "Stand Down" and join the effort to save fellow Americans .. No one answer where the President was that night... and still all these months later Congress is getting stonewalled by Team OBAMA?
 
4] How do the lines of responsibility and communication REALLY WORK between the White House and the various other Federal Government agencies including : 
 
a] Justice Department ? 
b] Treasury Department & the IRS ? 
c] State Department ?
d] "next DEPARTMENT to make the news" ?  
 
Again.."WHO KNOWS"... ... from actually having been ......inside the eye of many Washington DC political storms and "WHO KNOWS"  how it all really works ?....
 
Well..if you remember the classic NIKE ads. then you know the answer is .. "BO KNOWS"  !
 
In our case   ............  "ALBERTO KNOWS" 
 
"Alberto Knows" the Law
"Alberto knows" the White House
"Alberto knows" the politics of Washington DC
"Alberto knows" the Washington DC PRESS
"Alberto knows" the storms that form during a Washington DC scandal and crisis
 
 
 
Plan to join us at 1ST TUESDAY on June 4th... when our Guest Speaker will be [former] United States Attorney General, The Honorable, ALBERTO GONZALES
 
NO doubt, there will be MORE news.. and questions.. coming between now and our lunch event on Tuesday, June 4th... NO doubt, Mr Gonzales insights will be fascinating to say the least ! 
 
As usual, we will meet in the conference room at WALLER LAW - 511 Union Street -27th floor. Doors will open at 11AM for Coffee & Social Time. Lunch from Alexander's Catering starts at 11:30AM and our program will start promptly at NOON.
 
Lunch is $20 for MEMBERS and $25 for Guests and $30 at the door for all who have not paid in advance.Secure your seat at our 1ST TUESDAY website - www.1sttuesdaynashville.com and click on Shopping Cart.
 
Expect several other special guests to join us... so expect our noted Q&A SESSION to be remarkable !!!          [ but please don't address him as "BO"  ]
 
This will be a GREAT event to bring a guest or someone you know who is intrigued by what is happening these days in Washington DC. Please invite guests to join us. Expect full house of friends and others who are rarely able to join us.
 
Looking forward to seeing YOU at 1ST TUESDAY on TUESDAY, June 4th  !!
 
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense

Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense 

Investors Business Daily, 05/23/2013 - IRS Scandal: The inexplicable raid nearly two years ago on a guitar maker for using allegedly illegal wood that its competitors also used was another targeting by this administration of its political enemies. (Read More)

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Not In Vain (Memorial Day Tribute)

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Poetry Break: JUST AN OLD WORN OUT HAMMER.

JUST AN OLD WORN OUT HAMMER.
 By Ken Jakes

I have an old hammer, its like any you could buy.
But this hammer is special, I'd like to tell you why.

This hammer was my Dad's, it has seen better days,
The handle has become loose, and a crack well displayed.

This hammer was held for years, in the hands of a true man.
It has driven many nails, in structures that still proudly stand.

It is just a simple hammer, that is an example of Dad's life.
He built his home strong to share, for his children and his wife.

He used that same old hammer, he'd say this will do just fine.
He saved the expense of a new one, keeping family on his mind.

He showed me it doesn't take a lot, to complete a job well done.
This hammer would not bring a dollar, but it is priceless to a son.

Dad I will keep your old worn out hammer, to remind me every day.
Of the Nails you drove in life, let your hammer guide me along life's way.

This old worn out hammer is the most expensive of them all.
It will still keep working for Dad, as it proudly hangs on the wall.

Just an old worn out hammer, seen by most people in the world.
But I hope to leave this hammer on the wall, to my precious little girl.

I hope it will bring to her memories, of a Dad who loved her so much,
That he left a special hammer, and through it may she feel his touch.

If it will bring to her just a small portion of the memories it brings to me.
Then Dad's hammer will continue to build, and Dad would be pleased.


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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ron Paul Political Training Class

Ron Paul Political Training Class

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MNPS charges Charters push out difficult children to look better on achievement test

Charters say charge is untrue

By Andrea Zelinski, City Paper, May 23, 2013 - .........School board member Jill Speering said she sought out district attrition numbers this year after hearing complaints from principals who said they were getting back hard-to-teach students straight from charter schools in the weeks before the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests. The annual exams measure students’ achievement as well as their teachers’ and schools’ ability to advance  student performance.

Speering, a retired teacher, was particularly interested in the case of students leaving KIPP. She found that 19 of 20 students who left the charter school since the end of January had served at least two out-of-school suspensions. Eight of those students also are categorized as having a special-needs disability.

“If this is the case, and they’re able to, through attrition, perhaps get rid of children with behavior issues and students that have academic challenges, then we can’t compare their [TCAP] scores to Metro scores,” Speering said. (link)

My Comment:  There seems to be a continuing hostility to charter schools on the part of some in Metro Schools. It seems some would prefer no child left behind even if the cost is no child excels. There also seems to be a mind set that social engineering is more important that quality education. There are a couple school board members who are the most hostile to school reform that need to be replaced.  Also, I would hope that the state would appoint a charter school authorizer next session and even go further and remove Charter schools from accountability to local school boards.  

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Conservatives and the Common Core

Conservatives and the Common Core 

By SOL STERN AND JOEL KLEIN, Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2013 - Although the two of us have disagreed about several school-reform issues, we strongly believe that the Common Core State Standards, voluntarily adopted by 45 states, is one of the most promising education initiatives of the past half century. If implemented properly, they can better prepare students for college-level work and to gain the civic knowledge that is essential for democracy to prosper.

All Americans, including conservatives, should applaud these standards, which celebrate the country's foundational documents and enable students to share the heritage of Americans. 

Unsurprisingly, the adoption of common educational standards is opposed by some hard-liners on the educational left. ........ Progressives tend to favor pedagogical approaches in the classroom such as "child-centered" instruction and "teaching for social justice," rather than rigorous academic content.

Much more puzzling has been the fervid opposition to the Common Core by some conservatives, including tea party activists,......

The Common Core Standards were not written by the federal government, but by a committee selected by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The committee's efforts were backed financially by several private foundations, including ........(link)

My Comment:
Unless you subscribe to the WSJ, the link will not let you read the story.  I was tempted to repost the whole piece but wanted to respect the private property rights of the WSJ and abide by Fair Use rules.

The article points out that Common Core helps student get an understanding of our American heritage by requiring reading of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers.  They say that Common Core is an advance in rigor and academic content.  From what I have read about common core, I think it is a valuable educational reform. Please, before you jump on the anti-Common Core bandwagon, carefully consider the issue. There are many conservatives who think Common Core is a significant reform and others who may not be as enthusiastic but see nothing to fear in Common Core.

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Mike Huckabee on Common Core

Mike Huckabee and former Michigan governor John Engler, who is now president of The Business Roundtable, talk extensively about the history of Common Core and the states' role in creating the new standards on Mike Huckabee's radio show. This is informative. I know that some conservatives have criticism of Common Core. Some of the criticism is minor and may have merit and some verges on irrational hysteria. The tinfoil hat brigade conservatives have been attacking common core and even tying it to the Muslim Brotherhood and Agenda 21.  Before you jump on the anti-Common Core bandwagon, please carefully consider the issue. I tend to think Common Core is a positive development.

Here is the link: http://www.mikehuckabee.com/_cache/files/74e7850e-7848-4c8d-b223-4935a20ea4f7/John%20Engler.mp3


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Bob Corker seeks answers. CIA delivering $ millions in secret cash to Karzai?

With the Obamacare shakedown scandal, the Bengazi scandal, and the IRS scandal, and the AP phone tapping scandal, you may have missed this one. This is an outrage, and it may go all of the way back to the Bush administration. Have we given million of dollars in unaccounted for cash to
Afghan President Hamid Karzai?  That certainly is no way to combat corruption and build a democracy. This is another scandal that needs to be fully investigated. We need answers.



In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN this week, Senator Corker discussed his letter to President Obama seeking answers to reports alleging the CIA has been delivering millions of dollars in secret cash payments to Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the past decade. 

"Bag fulls of cash...for the last decade, there is no accountability. And again it breeds the kind of thing that we're really trying to keep from happening there," said Corker. "One of our big efforts...has been to try to get the government from being corrupt, but yet it appears we are participating in that process ourselves."

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Art Break: Little Pigeon River in the Fall


Little Pigeon River in the Fall by Ouida Williams

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Enclave: Aerial photo of water treatment plant during the 2010 flood troubles me

Enclave: Aerial photo of water treatment plant during the 2010 flood troubles me Enclave: Council Member Gilmore says she opposes Metro Wate...: In the wake of the bad news that Metro Water, Codes and TDEC approved of a new landfill for banned chemicals near Salemtown, I wrote my cou... Metro and the state moving to create a landfill of toxins next door to Salemtown and Germantown

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Job opening at Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT)

(FACT) is seeking a mature, experienced Director of Communications to manage and carry out its communications needs. It is a full-time position that comes with paid vacation, holidays, and some personal days.  Very competitive compensation, dependent upon experience. For more information follow this link.

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State of Metro Address, 05/20/13

In case you missed it.


The theme is "Opportunity for Everyone." It is 33 minutes long and is delivered from the new Music City Center. It praises the show "Nashville," Nashville recoginition in catergoreis from job creation to culinary offerings. He promotes Bus Rapid Transit. He announces the creation of a new $3 million affordable housng trust fund. He says we have a lot of work to do, especially in improving education. He quots Bob Dylan. He says diversity is important in making cities vibrant and strong. He advocates for the new small business incentive program.

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A $4 million dollar city construction contract that violates Metro procurement policy

WSMV Channel 4 

Thanks to Ken Jakes for uncovering more Metro malfeasance.

For Metro to award a $4 million dollar contract to Bell Construction without a bid  is outrageous. It violates Metro procurement policy. It smells of cronyism and corruption. A $4 million dollar change order? For a completely different building never intended to be part of the new Convention Center? Give me a break!


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Commentary and Video of the May 21st Council Meeting

Budget hearings, Fairgrounds and more



If you want to follow along with the agenda, the council staff analysis, and my analysis follow this link where you can find them. 

This meeting is only one hour and thirty-eight minutes long, which considering that is the night of the public hearing on the city budget is not that long of a meeting. 

Confirmation of Mayor's appointees to Boards and Commissions:

Hundreds of people serve our city by serving as members of boards and commissions.  These entities  include everything from the Board of Zoning appeal, the Historical Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Beer Board to the Sexually Oriented Business Licensing Board.  These citizens serve without pay and often without recognition, simply because they care about our city. In most cases the Mayor appoints the members and the Council confirms them.  These commissions can be quite powerful. The Council really is a pretty weak body. One of  the few powers they have is the power of the budget and the power to approve the Mayor's appointees  to these unelected bodies. The Council almost never rejects a mayor's appointee. 

Tonight seven of the members of the seventeen member Human Relations Commission are up for confirmation of their appointment or reappointment. The HRC is a  commission that served no useful purpose. Anything they do that is worth doing could be done by other agencies or private entities. They are essentially Metro's agency for political indoctrination. They serve to promote political correctness. I do not think there has ever been a conservative or traditionalist appointed to this commission. One of the things they do is sponsor a youth pavilion at Nashville's Gay Pride Festival. In my view Metro government should not be in the business of normalizing a gay lifestyle among our city's youth. Tonight the Council had an opportunity to take a stand against Nashville sponsorship of the youth pavilion at the Gay Pride Festival. I had hoped that members of the council would question the Mayor's appointees to the HRC and reject those appointees who support this. I don't know that if in Committee anyone was questioned about their position on the appropriateness of Metro's sponsorship of this youth pavilion at the gay pride event or not.  If anyone council member or member of the public was at the committee, I would appreciate knowing what happened. Among those appointees to the HRC:

  • Mr. Richard Kennedy's nominations was withdrawn.
  • Reappointment of Ms. Sharon Kay was deferred one meeting.
  • Reappointment of Mr. Don Peterson was deferred one meeting.

Other appointments to the HRC were the following and they were all approved by the Rules committee 7-0 and were approved by the council:

  • Reappointment of Ms. Debra Palmer George for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
  • Appointment of Mr. Richard Kennedy for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
  • Appointment of Ms. Tasha French Lemley for a term expiring April 18, 2016. 
  • Reappointment of Mr. Avi Poster for a term expiring April 18, 2016. 
  • Appointment of Mr. Frank Trew for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Budget Hearing:

The budget hearing starts at 15:13 and ends at  45:20 in the video.  Only a few people speak on the budget. Several metro employees speak in favor of a pay increase. 

At 27:19 in the video Rick Williams, Director of Save Our Fairgrounds, speaks in opposition to the budget making a plea to fund the fairgrounds. While I usually take a position that those entities which could operate off of their own revenue should do so, this time I make an exception for the fairgrounds. In my view, there has been a cynical effort on the part of the administration to destroy the financial viability of the fairgrounds by creating uncertainty in order to justify selling off the property.  I support subsidizing it for one year and then bringing about a process that ensures stability so it can return to profitability. George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitar also speaks in favor of the fairgrounds. Over a million people attend the over 500 events a year at the fairgrounds he says. 

I am surprised that there was no speakers in favor of fully funding the school budget request.
Usually you can count on several people speaking in favor of greater school funding. None do this time. The budget passes second reading and is rereferred to Budget and Finance Committee. The budget is amendable on third reading.

Resolutions on the Consent agenda:

All except three resolutions were on the consent agenda. 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. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. Any member of the body however may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda.

Other Resolutions:

RESOLUTION NO. RS2012-522 authorizing the purchase of property on Smith Springs Rd to build a public school.  This location been controversial in the effected community and Councilman Duvall ask for a two meeting deferral. By a vote of 10 "yes," 23 "no" and 2 abstentions, the deferral fails. He then moves to defeat the bill and that motion fails with a vote of 4 in favor of a defeat and 29 against and 4 abstentions. The bill then passes 31-1-2. (see 50:27-59)

RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-670  which establishes the certified tax rate in both the General Services District and the Urban Services District is deferred to track with the budget.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-700 which establishing the the Metropolitan Animal Care and Control fee schedule is deferred.

All bills on First Reading pass. 

Bills on Second Reading:

BILL NO. BL2012-291 amends the definition of “recycling facility” to clarify that it does not include the conversion of material into a fuel product or asphalt. Public works says this bill is not necessary since state regulations do not permit a C & D landfill to have an incinerator  anyway.  This bill is disapproved.


Bill NO. BL2013-360 requires that there be a compensation and benefits study for the mayor, vice mayor, and members of council. Included in this will be a review of the lifetime health insurance benefit provided to former council member who served at least two terms. This generous and costly benefit was up for repeal or reduction twice before in this council and failed. This bill calling for a study passes.

BILL NO. BL2013-420 creates a small business economic development incentive grant program.  As you are probably aware, Metro Council has been picking winner and looser by bribing big companies not to leave metro and "enticing" big companies to expand or relocate to Davidson County. Some have argued that this is wrong and the same enticements should be offered to small businesses. I do see this policy as a problem. By paying companies to locate or not to leave we create an incentive whereby a company would be foolish to move here unless they get their pay-off and we have created an incentive for companies to threaten to leave unless we pay them to stay.  Unfortunately, it is hard to stop playing this game since other cities are also playing it.  Cities have created an environment to where they have to pay the incentive or another city that does pay the incentive will get the big corporate headquarter relocations and manufacturing plants. I don't think the way to fix this problem is to expand it to small businesses. This bill was deferred last meeting to track with the budget ordinance. It passes by voice vote. If no one asks to be recorded as voting no, then it is assumed they voted for it. 

BILL NO. BL2013-422 pertains to the procedure to be followed in designating residential permit parking areas.  I live not far from the popular 12th South Ave area and see the need for residential permit parking.  Residents off of 12th sometimes must park blocks from their homes because patrons of the popular restaurants on 12th take the parking spaces.  Two restaurants have recently sued Metro for approving permit-only parking in the 12 South neighborhood. This bill is deferred indefinitely.

BILL NO. BL2013-423 would swap some Metro land for some State land. The land that the School for the Arts sits on and the land that will be the site of the future STEM charter school located on the old Tennessee Preparatory School site on Foster Ave, would be swapped for the old Ben West Library site downtown at Eighth and Union Ave . Metro now owns the library and the State owns the TPS site. There is some opposition to tearing down the old Ben West library because some preservationist consider the building architecturally significant.  The most persuasive argument against the deal is that there is a deed restriction that requires the site to be used as a library or revert to the heirs of those who gave the land to Metro to be used as a library. I think deed restrictions should be honored as a matter of principle but as a matter of practicality we should not move forward with this deal until the title issues have been resolved. It is again deferred one meeting. 

 BILLNO. BL2013-432  which establishes the tax levy for the fiscal year 2013-2014 passes and is rereferred to Budget and Finance. 

Bills on Third Reading:

BILL NO. BL2013-348 is a massive rezoning increasing the density in midtown. The rezoning will likely impact the probability of getting funding for federal funding for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit development. It passes by a vote of 34-1-1.
 
Below is a news report on the council meeting.
Council holds public hearing on Dean's budget, approves small cities agreement

By Steven Hale, City Paper, May 21, 2013 - 
It was a familiar scene at the Metro Courthouse Tuesday night, as red-clad fairgrounds supporters turned out for a public hearing on Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed $1.8 billion budget.

Their numbers did not approach the unprecedented crowd that showed up for a hearing on the property’s fate in 2011, but members of the Save Our Fairgrounds group arrived Tuesday intent on reminding Metro Council members of that night as well as of a referendum on the century-old fairgrounds later that year.(link)Below is the video. It you haven't watched it, wait and I will watch if for you and tell you where in the video is the good stuff and also give you my opinions of what happened. check back.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tennesseans really like Sen. Lamar Alexander and Gov. Bill Haslam

From Dru's Blog
Tennesseans really like Gov. Bill Haslam. Vandy's May poll shows a 63 percent approval. Sen. Lamar Alexander also polls well with a 53 percent approval. Both Republicans are up for re-election state-wide in 2014. Is either likely to be "primary-ed" by a more conservative Tea Party candidate? Not likely. Alexander has a 62 percent approval from […]

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Metro violates enviornmental and landfill rules

WSMV Channel 4 

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
There is a lot of demolition and construction going on in Nashville these days, but there are serious concerns about the city's plan of action for getting rid of an old building with troublesome things inside.

 The city wants to bury the materials, including arsenic and PCBs - a mixture of individual chemicals so toxic to the environment, they're no longer produced - right where they lie, just 300 yards from the Cumberland River. (link)

Thanks to Ken Jakes for yet again exposing government wrong doings. This again demonstrates how government plays by different rules than those they regulate. Whether it is violating their own rules by selling wine at farmers market, allowing a nasty dumpster to block a public sidewalk, allowing lots to be overgrown, or as in this case by violating their own rules regarding land fills and environmental hazards, government does not follow the same rules they impose on others.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Metro Nashville government employees rally for raises

Channel 2, May 21, 2013. NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Employees of Metro Nashville government rallied in front of the Metro Courthouse Tuesday night as city council members prepared to hear public comments on their proposed pay raises.

The group of roughly 100 police, fire, service union members and supporters gathered to cheer the efforts to get Metro employees more pay following years of budget cuts and layoffs.

On Monday, the Civil Service Commission approved a pay plan put forth by Mayor Karl Dean. The plan includes a 1.5% pay raise for all Metro employees and restores so-called increment raises. (link)

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video of the IRS protest in Nashville

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Chip Saltsman Joins Joe Carr Team For 4th District Congress 0521 ...

Chip Saltsman Joins Joe Carr Team For 4th District Congress 

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Three hundred protest at IRS today

I joined about three hundred other protesters today on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Court House to protest the IRS's targeting of conservative groups.  Earlier this month, the IRS admitted that the IRS had targeted groups that had the words “tea party” or “patriots” in their names for additional scrutiny.  Such additional scrutiny included asking questions such as the names of members and contributors and asking groups to explain any association with other named individuals, and asked groups to explain their activities, and online presence. There was not an equal scrutiny of liberal groups. Some groups had a delay of as much as two years before having their tax except status approved and some never did get an approval, but never did get a denial. This caused some groups to miss fundraising and grant opportunities.

This campaign of intimidation and delay in approving tax except status for conservative groups has been blamed on low-level staffers by IRS officials, although that claim is being challenged.  Few believe that low-level staffers undertook this campaign without any direction. Many believe this campaign of intimidation may be a scandal on a scale equal to the Nixon "enemies list" and may reach all of the way to the White House.

Today's events was emceed by Ken Marrero, a blogger at Blue Collar Muse and well know activist. Speakers included radio talk show host Steve Gill, Phil Valentine, and Ralph Bristol. Other speakers were Bobbie Patray of Tennessee Eagle Forum and anti-tax activist Ben Cunningham of Nashville Tea Party. Speakers called for an in-depth investigation to get to the bottom (or top) of the scandal.

Given that the protest only had a couple days of planning and advance notice, that it was in the middle of the day, that it was downtown where weekday parking is expensive and hard to find, and that there was a threat of sever thunder storms, I was impressed that so many people turned out on short notice. The bad weather held off until the conclusion of the protest and then there was a downpour.

Check back for updates.


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Council Members: Vote against Human Relations appointees who support the Metro Youth Pavilion at Gay Pride Festival

There are several people up for Council confirmation of their appointment to the Human Relations Commission next Tuesday night.  The Human Relations Commission is an organization that serves no purpose except to promote political correctness and should be abolished.  

One of the things the Human Relations Commission does is sponsor a youth pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival. I am sure many Nashvillians believe that homosexual activity is deviant behavior and a sin.  Metro should not be in the business of normalizing and promoting acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle among our youth.

I would hope that the appointees to the HRC will be questioned and asked if they support Metro’s funding of the youth pavilion at the gay pride event.  If they do, the council members who do not believe this is a proper roll for Metro government should vote against those appointees. 

Below are the list of  the Mayor’s appointees to the Human Relations Commission who will be  up for confirmation by the Council on Tuesday  May 21st.
Human Relations Commission
Reappointment of Ms. Debra Palmer George for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Reappointment of Ms. Sharon Kay for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Appointment of Mr. Richard Kennedy for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Appointment of Ms. Tasha French Lemley for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Reappointment of Mr. Don Peterson for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Reappointment of Mr. Avi Poster for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
Appointment of Mr. Frank Trew for a term expiring April 18, 2016.
If you would like to let your councilman know you would like for them to question and vote against those appointees who support Metro’s funding of a youth pavilion at the Nashivlle Gay Pride festival, follow this link to find the email address of  your councilman and the councilmen-at-large: Contact your Councilman.
I have written my Council member the following short message.
Dean Council Lady Moore,
I do not think it appropriate that Metro should fund a youth pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival. We should not be sending the message to our youth that homosexuality is normal and acceptable.
Several people are up for confirmation of their appointment to the Human Relations Commission next Tuesday.  I would urge you to question them on their views on Metro’s funding of the youth pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival. If they support this program, I urge you to vote against their confirmation.
Sincerely
Rod Williams
I am also sending a similar message to all of the Council-Members-at-large and a hand full of other council members who I consider conservatives who I think may be inclined to think that funding a youth pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival is inappropriate.

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Summary and analysis of the May 14 School Board meeting




This meeting is two hours and five minutes long. The MNPS provide good agendas. To follow along on the agenda follow this link.

Below are some items worth watching: 
Public Participation

  • Ms Sherry Etheridge makes comments lambasting the method of communicating to parents about the proposed school on Smith Springs Road. She finds the one-sided presentation via children offensive. (at 22:45 in the video)
  • A couple of parents speak in favor of the Explore! Community School.
  • Camiqueka Fuller speaks in favor of Kipp Academy and how her child has soared in reading improvement at Kipp. Later in the public participation segment, a student praises Kipp.

A lot of routine non-controversial matters pass on the consent agenda.

Dismissal of Teachers: 
Director Schools Jessie Register ask that teacher Tracy L. Stevens have charges "certified" for dismissal for unprofessional conduct and teacher Sylvia McCarthy have charges certified for insubordination. It is difficult to fire a teacher and this is one step in the process.  See page 88 of the agenda for the charges against Stevens and page 89 for the charges against McCarthy.

There is a  presentation of preliminary report on central office reorganization. There is a move away from central office management to having more resources managed at the school level. I am encouraged by these developments. The presentation and power-point presentation starts at 48:35 in the video. Under the reorganization, schools will be organized in small networks of principles led by a lead principle.While schools will have considerable autonomy, there will be guiding principles. "The guiding principles are non-negotiable," says Dr. Register. "We are going to implement Common Core. There will be a support system to implement common core."

School Board member Elissa Kim initiates a line of discussion that sheds light on how the current method of compensating teachers based on length of service and academic degree leads to inequitable per pupil spending. (see 1:31:30)

A discussion of the MNPS budget begins at 1:35. The presentation explains how MNPS will reduce there budget by $17.69 million from what they originally requested.






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Sunday, May 19, 2013

IRS Protest, Tuesday May 21, noon

Tea Party Patriots, 912s and several other groups are having a Nationwide protest against the IRS abuses at IRS offices across the country.

The Nashville Protest will be this Tues May 21, 12noon at 801 Broadway on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Bldg. I know this is short notice but it is an opportunity to raise our voices and protest this extraordinary abuse by our government.

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Common Core and the Muslim Brotherhood

I reposted an expose a couple week ago that tied Common Core to Agenda 21.  You know Agenda 21?  That is the conspricacy to kill 96% of the worlds population by posioning them with aspertame and floride. Everything from shady sidewalks to bike share programs to roundabouts to art in public  places is part of Agenda 21 according to many Agenda 21 critics. (I have posted extensively about Agenda 21, you can read it hear.)

At the time I reposted the expose that tied Agenda 21 to Common core I said, "I knew the tinfoil hat brigade would tie Common Core to Agenda 21. I just knew it!  I'm still waiting to see the connection to Sharia Law, the NAFTA superhighway, Chem trails, the Bilderbergs, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Aspartame, Fluoride, and the Federal Reserve. If you dig deep enough and really believe it, you can find the connections."

Well, I didn't have to wait long.  Common Core has been tied to the Muslim Brotherhood!  A website called Tennesee Fully Exposed has posted Episode 27: “Common ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ Core Curriculum.” This post features an audio interview with Cathy Hinners who is the founder of the Daily Roll Call and she explains how "Common Core in Tennessee is being pushed by Muslim Brotherhood organizations and why."

As soon as I find the connections to the Bilderbergs, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and chem trails, I will post it.

 

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Update from Senator Bob Corker: IRS Actions Outrageous and Disturbing

In a letter Wednesday to President Barack Obama, Senator Corker joined Senate Republicans in demanding that the administration fully comply with congressional investigation requests on how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups. The senators outlined concerns regarding conflicting responses from the nonpartisan agency and said it is imperative the administration work with Congress to restore public confidence.

Last week, Senator Corker called initial reports that the IRS inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews “outrageous [and] disturbing.”
“As I said last year, all nonprofit organizations seeking tax-exempt status should be treated fairly and equitably by the IRS,” said Corker. “The IRS’s admission that its employees were specifically targeting conservative groups – including groups in Tennessee – is outrageous, disturbing, and will further erode Americans' trust in the federal government. Swift and decisive action should be taken to punish those responsible and to assure the American people that these actions will not be tolerated at the IRS or any other federal agency.”
Last March, Corker joined Senate colleagues in asking the IRS to treat all nonprofit groups seeking tax-exempt status fairly in the designation process. In a follow up letter last June, Corker and colleagues asked the IRS to clarify what authority allowed them to request confidential donor information from organizations applying for tax exempt status.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

What's on the Metro Council Agenda for May 21st: Budget hearings and more.

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. You can find the analysis at this link: Metro Council Agenda Analysis. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just boring. 

Several of the board members of the Human Relations Commission are up for confirmation of their appointment or reappointment. The HRC is a metro agency with no function that needs to be done, that could not be done by some other agency.  The whole purpose of HRC seems to be to promote political correctness and liberal causes. One of the things they do is sponsor a youth pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival, which I think is inappropriate. I do not think Metro should be in the business of normalizing and promoting a homosexual lifestyle among young people.  I hope someone in the Council will question the appointees  about this and if the appointee supports continuing Metro's sponsorship of a youth pavilion at the Gay Prive Festival that the Councilman would vote against thay person and state the reason why. This is an occasion where a conservative leader could step forward in the Council.   
For more on this, see this link and this one

Public hearing on the budget: To know all you need to know about the budget, follow this link: Citizen's Guide to the Metro Budget. Also, see the Council staff analysis or see this link.

Since the Mayor is not proposing a tax increase there will be fewer people speaking on the budget than there were last year.  It seems critics of spending only show up in years in which there is a proposed tax increase. The mayor's proposed budget represents a 5.86 percent increase or about $100 million over the current budget and does not fully fund the Schools request of $44 million increase, but increases the Schools budget by  $26 million. It does not include a subsidy for the Auditorium, Farmers Market or Fairgrounds.  I normally would be opposed to subsidies for these functions, however this year I think there may be reason to subsidize the fairground.  Much of the reason the fairgrounds is losing money is because when the Mayor announced plans to sell  the fairground and turn the site into a corporate campus, those who would rent the fairgrounds for tradeshows did not do so thinking the fairground was going away.  I think there has been a deliberate attempt to make the fairgrounds lose money so there could be a justification to sell the property.  I could support subsiding the fairgrounds, this one year only.  To learn more about the fairground issue, follow this link.  

The budget dips pretty deeply into the "rainy day" reserve fund. Expect advocates of Schools, Farmer's Market, Fairgrounds,  and advocates of an employee's "step" pay increases to dominate the hearing. The budget is amendable on third reading, so it will most likely pass tonight. 

There are nineteen resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. 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. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. 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. I expect a couple of the resolutions to be deferred to "track" the budget including  RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-670  which establishes the certified tax rate in both the General Services District and the Urban Services District.

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 thirteen 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 twenty-one bills on second reading. None of them seem terribly controversial but below are a few worth watching:
  • BILL NO. BL2012-291 amends the definition of “recycling facility” to clarify that it does not include the conversion of material into a fuel product or asphalt. Public works says this bill is not necessary since state regulations do not permit a C & D landfill to have an incinerator  anyway.  This bill was on second reading last council meeting and was deferred to this meeting.
  • Bill NO. BL2013-360 requires that there be a compensation and benefits study for the mayor, vice mayor, and members of council. Included in this will be a review of the lifetime health insurance benefit provided to former council member who served at least two terms. This generous and costly benefit was up for repeal or reduction twice before this council and failed.
  • BILL NO. BL2013-420 creates a small business economic development incentive grant program.  As you are probably aware, Metro Council has been picking winner and looser by bribing big companies not to leave metro and "enticing" big companies to expand or relocate to Davidson County. Some have argued that this is wrong and the same enticements should be offered to small businesses. I do see this policy as a problem. By paying companies to locate or not to leave we create an incentive whereby a company would be foolish to move here unless they get their pay-off and we have created an incentive for companies to threaten to leave unless we pay them to stay.  Unfortunately, it is hard to stop playing this game since other cities are also playing it.  Cities have created an environment to where they have to pay the incentive or another city that does pay the incentive will get the big corporate headquarter relocations and manufacturing plants. I don't think the way to fix this problem is to expand it to small businesses. This bill was deferred last meeting to track with the budget ordinance. It will most likely be deferred again.
  • BILL NO. BL2013-423 would swap some Metro land for some State land. The land that the School for the Arts sits on and the land that will be the site of the future STEM charter school located on the old Tennessee Preparatory School site on Foster Ave, would be swapped for the old Ben West Library site downtown at Eighth and Union Ave . Metro now owns the library and the State owns the TPS site. It is unusual that a bill is discussed on first reading, but last council meeting this one was. Councilman Bo Mitchell argued against it, arguing that it was an uneven swap and Metro was getting a poor deal, however he may have been motivated by his dislike of  charter schools. (See his remarks at this link.) There is also some opposition to tearing down the old Ben West library because some preservationist consider the building architecturally significant.  The most persuasive argument against the deal is that there is a deed restriction that requires the site to be used as a library or revert to the heirs of those who gave the land to Metro to be used as a library. I think deed restrictions should be honored as a matter of principle but as a matter of practicality we should not move forward with this deal until the title issues have been resolved. It was deferred last meeting and expect it to be deferred again. 
  •  BILLNO. BL2013-432  establishes the tax levy for the fiscal year 2013-2014. This will probably be deferred. It has to pass after the budget passes.
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 twenty bills on third reading.  Most of them are zoning bills and I don't expect any of them to generate controversy.

There are no memorializing resolutions on the agenda.

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