Sunday, February 16, 2014

What's on the Council Agenda for Feb.17th with analysis and summary. Council to vote on Common Core.

If you don't know what the Council is voting on, Council meetings are really boring. With an agenda and an analysis they are just boring. To follow along, you can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. To get your copy of the Council staff analysis download it at this link: Council Staff analysis.

This will probably be a short meeting. There is not much that is controversial on the agenda.

There are 11 Confirmation of Appointments on this agenda. None of them are to the more troubled or controversial Boards or Commissions but it wouldn't matter anyway as the Council always rubber stamps whoever the Mayor appoints.

Public Hearing: There are no bills on public hearing.

Consent Agenda: There are 13 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. Almost all of the resolutions on the agenda this time are accepting grants. The only one of interest is the one below which will most likely be withdrawn.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-948 appropriating $13,100,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools General Purpose Fund to the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools General Purpose Fund Operational Account for the purpose of funding the purchase laptop computers and an incentive program for teacher retirement. This bill by Councilman Bo Mitchell is now irrelevant. The laptops and the teacher retirement incentive have been finance in other resolutions which have already passed.

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.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are nine bills on second reading. The following items are interesting:
  • BILL NO. BL2014-665 and BILL NO. BL2014-666 both concern creating a dedicated source of local funding to support mass transit. The mayor has said we do not need a dedicated source of funding for mass transit. The fair box never pays the operating cost of a mass transit system so we can find a dedicated source of funding or let mass transit compete with everything else for it's subsidy. I suspect these resolutions will be differed. 
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-three bills on third reading. None of them have unresolved issues or are of much importance. Most of them are zoning bills and would interest no one except the immediate neighbors of the property.
  • BILL NO. BL2013-588 is a rezoning bill that would allow the demolition of three duplexes and allow the construction of eight cottage-type units as single family homes in the Woodland-in-Waverly community. This in my neighborhood. This is one that would concern no one unless you live in the neighborhood or are the developer. This neighborhood has an historic overlay, but the three duplexes are non-contributing to the historic character of the community. I support this bill. I think the duplexes are more out of character of the neighborhood than the cottages will be and I think this will be an improvement. The bill will probably pass but some in the community are very much opposed, concerned about increased density and additional on-street parking. I attended a neighborhood meeting tonight where the vote was 13-1 asking the Councilmember, Council Lady Moore, to defer the bill for another month. This bills has been reviewed by the Historical Commission which did not act on the bill since the structures in question or non-contributing, it has been approved by the Planning Commission and the Planning Committee of the Council. It has previously been deferred. I see no reason for further deferral. If a rezoning meets all of the current requirements of a rezoning, it should not be killed by repeated deferral simply because some of the most active people in the community oppose it.
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. Usually when that happens it is advocacy of an extremely liberal position and the so-called conservatives on the council always allow these radical advocacy resolutions to pass without objecting. There are six memorializing resolutions on the consent agenda tonight. Only two are potentially controversial.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-984 requests the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to introduce and support the necessary legislation to provide a dedicated funding source for local mass transit. The mayor has come out against this resolution saying it is unnecessary. I suspect it will be differed.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1001 endorses Common Core and opposed all state action that would discontinue the use of the standards or delay their implementation. I support Common Core and if I were in the Council, I would have no problem supporting this resolution. However, many conservatives, especially the more tea party aligned conservatives have objections to Common Core. I am betting however, that this will pass the Council unanimously with no discussion. While I support Common Core, I would be pleased if someone would show enough guts to vote "no." I am tired of a council that thinks everything has to pass unanimously. I don't want a councilman to vote for something and then tell me that is not the way he really feels.

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