Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's on the Council Agenda for May 6 with analysis and summary

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: Staff 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. This ought to be a short boring meeting.

Confirmation of Appointment
There are eleven appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda but the Council does not take seriously its responsibility to confirm the Mayor appointees so this function of confirming appointees will be dispatched with quickly.

One of the appointments is to the Human Relations Commission. This is the agency whose duty it is to advance political correctness. One of the things HRC does is sponsor the Youth Pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival. Here is what should happen if we had some conservative councilmen with backbone on the Council. They would ask the appointee Mr. Abdishakur Mohamed, “Sir, do you support the Human Relations Commission’s sponsorship of the Youth Pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival?” If he says" yes," and he most likely would or otherwise he would not have secured the appointment, the councilman should then say, "I cannot support anyone who support the policy of normalizing homosexuality among the young people of this city and I respectfully must vote against confirmation of this appointee."

I bet there are at least ten council members who think the city should not be sponsoring a youth pavilion at the Gay Pride Festival but they do not have the guts to speak out and go on record. If conservatives on the Council vote just like the progressives, why do we bother electing conservatives? 

There are twelve bills on public hearing that for the most part would concern no one but the immediate neighbors of the proposed rezoning. However, here are couples bills of interest.

  • BILL NO. BL2014-725 tweaks the setback requirements for homes build in established neighborhoods.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-736 by Council member Blalock, downzones from Residential which permits duplexes to single-family-only residential 175 acres.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-736 by Westerholm expands a Conservation overlay to about 26 acres.
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. 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 but I don't expect that to happen.

I see nothing on this consent agenda that raises a red flag. There are a couple complex financial resolutions involving the sale of commercial paper. I saw them discusses in a hearing and am satisfied with the explanations offered but I hope someone with a better understanding of the complexity of the transactions carefully reviews them and I hope they are examined carefully in Budget and Finance Committee.

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 all the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are twenty-two 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 only five bills on second reading. None of them seem terribly important.

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 seven bills on third reading and I don't expect any of them to generate controversy. This is a bill to watch:
  • BILL NO. BL2014-715 would amend the code to remove the requirement that the cost of advertising and posting of signs for a proposed rezoning of property be borne by the person requesting the rezoning when the person requesting the rezoning is the metro councilmember. There would be limits on this exemption. A situation where this would apply is when a neighborhood wants to change their zoning, for instance, from residential that allows duplex to single family residential. In a case like this the cost of advertising and posting could be thousands of dollars. Some neighborhoods have paid those fees. Lesser affluent neighborhoods cannot afford that. In my view, this is a good bill. There is a difference between a neighborhood seeking a zoning change or overlay and a developer seeking it in order to earn a profit by the rezoning. The cost difference is a huge difference. To advertise and post signs for a single lot can be done for dollars; for a neighborhood it can be thousands of dollars. This is a good bill and deserves to pass. The Director of Finance has not approved the bill for availability of funds. This bill will require 27 votes to pass.
There are five memorializing resolutions. While memorializing resolutions are usually not controversial, sometimes some very bad memorializing resolutions pass, usually espousing extremely liberal positions. None of these five are of that type and they are not controversial. The memorializing resolutions will become part of the consent agenda.

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