Thursday, March 20, 2014

Council meeting of 3-18-14 with commentary and time stamps: The privitization of nursing homes and over regulation of outdoor music meeting.



This is a 1 hour and 24 minute-long meeting. To link to the the agenda, analysis and my analysis follow this link.

All appointments to Board and Commission are approved without discussion.

Substitute RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-948, did not make it to the consent agenda. It is the bill my Councilman Mitchell that appropriates $4.3 million from the Undesignated Fund Balance of the to the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools General Purpose Fund Operational Account for the purpose of funding the purchase laptops for teaches to assist in technology training for common core testing. This bill has been pending for months and at one time was over $13 million and included money for laptop computers and an incentive program for teacher retirement. The laptops and the teacher retirement incentive were financed in other resolutions which have already passed. Councilman Mitchell citing the State Legislature's pending bill to defer Common Core for two years moves to defer this bill indefinitely.

Memorizing RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1029 by Council member Karen Johnson which request the State of Tennessee to offer driver license examinations in Arabic is deferred one meeting. No explanation is offered about why this bill is being proposed or why it is being deferred.

A late resolution is approved which memorializes the State legislation to approve a pending bill that amends the landlord tenant act to require landlords to provide a physical address of the owner of the rental property so codes can serve summons to landlords.

All bills on First Reading pass without discussion as is customary.

 BILL NO. BL2014-696 on second reading which requires the Director of Finance to submit an annual debt report to the Metropolitan Council is deferred one meeting to add other requirements. This is a good bill and deserves to pass. The council needs a clearer picture of the city's total debt obligations. The sponsor of this bill is Councilman Clairborne.

BILL NO. BL2014-698 on second reading which would provide a new enforcement mechanism associated with the discontinuance of the delivery of nonsubscription published material is deferred until the second meeting in May to give The Tennessean time to work on the issue and see what they can come up with. You know those unwanted free newspapers the Tennessean throws in your driveway? They accumulate in the yards of vacant homes and in some occupied homes where the owner never picks them up. I find them real annoying. Why that is not littering is because the First Amendment give broad latitude to distributors of information . This bill would not put a stop to the practice of littering by The Tennessean, but would strengthen the opt-out option.

BILL NO. BL2013-588 on third reading 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. Council member Moore moves the bill and it passes. This was on third reading the last two council meetings and was deferred to this meeting. This is one of those bills that would concern no one unless they 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. This in my neighborhood and 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. Some in the community have been very much opposed and fought hard against it. To see the discussion go to  time stamp 44:30- 48:54.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2014-651 by Council Member Allen would regulate small outdoor music events in certain commercial areas. It is amended again and passes. Currently other than a noise ordinance, outdoor music events are not regulated. This bill sets all kinds of restrictions including setbacks, lighting, pre notification, only one per month, off street parking, and they must end by 9PM on week nights.  She says the bill does not make it harder to make music in music city but easier. She says it makes it possible to have music events where they are not now permitted. Assuming she is correct, this bill is still going to make it very difficult to host a music event in certain commercial areas on private property. The requirement of off street parking for people attending an event would prohibit almost all outdoor music event. In a commercial area, vacant lots for off street parking are simply not available. People park where they can find a place to park and walk to the event. If this bill was necessary to allow more outdoor music in music city, surely we could have developed a bill that made it possible to actually meet the regulatory requirements. The off street requirement alone will most likely kill most outdoor music events. To see the explanation see time stamp 50:28.

BILL NO. BL2014-688 which would get Metro out of the nursing home business passes. This is long overdue. It will save metro about $10 million a year. This was discussed quit a bit at Budget and Finance and on Second Reading last meeting. It is again discussed this meeting. Councilman Mitchell expresses concern about what will happen to the metro employees when the facilities are privatized. I have never felt metro's fuction was to provide jobs and generous benefits but to provide necessary services as efficently as possible. The bill passes on a machine vote with Mitchell being the only "no" vote. See time stamp 1:09:28 - 1:21:00.

From The Tennessean:

Council agrees to privatize Bordeaux nursing home, Nashville assisted living facility

by Michael Cass - March 19, 2014 - Metro government will start pulling out of the nursing home and assisted living businesses after council members agreed Tuesday to privatize two of the city’s heavily subsidized health care facilities.

Finishing a process that began nearly a year ago, the council voted 29-1 for Mayor Karl Dean’s plan to privatize Bordeaux Long Term Care nursing home and J.B. Knowles Home for the Aged, an assisted living facility. Dean plans to turn over the facilities, which have operated at substantial financial losses and are subsidized to the tune of about $10.5 million a year, to developers and health care providers. (link)

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