Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bloomburg: Let's Go Back to Nashville and See If We Want to Buy It

This is not a financial advice blog and I am certainly not qualified to give financial advice but I did want to pass on some investment news that people who feel invested in Nashville might find interesting.

If you have read my blog with any regularity, you know that I am very bullish on Nashville.  I love this city and would not want to live anywhere else. I love our climate and the location and that we are the state capital and I love country music. I like our parks and festivals and outdoor music offerings and a lot of other things about our city. While I think Mayor Dean may have overextended our financial commitments, I am more concerned about the cumulative effect of all of the projects than thinking any one project was a terrible mistake. Many of my conservative friends think the Music City Center was a mistake.  I don't.  If I were in the Council when it was voted on, I would have supported it. I don't think I would support it for my city if I was a policy maker in Knoxville or Memphis or Louisville or most other cities, but I think Nashville has enough going for it, that it can be a success in our city.

I could not be more pleased that Nashville is either in the top ten or at the top of the list as a great place for corporate relocations, for most people employed in the arts, for a top place for a vacation, for a town with great food and all kinds of other list. I am concerned that as we grow we do not lose the character that makes Nashville unique.

I am not by any means a wealthy man and I have never earned more than a modest income, but I have regularly saved and invested and have an adequate retirement nest egg. I have never done anything risky, letting my financial adviser guide me and my investments have been in a broad based balanced portfolio, becoming more conservative as I have gotten closer to retirement age.

About a year ago or so, a Nashville ETF was established. An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an investment fund traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks but it is a collection of stocks much like a mutual fund. The Nashville EFT invest in only Nashville-based companies, companies like Pinnacle, Old Cracker Barrel, Correction Corporation of America, HCA and others. Health care related companies make up about a third of the holdings.  I wanted to invest, not that I expected to get rich and I wasn't going to put much money at risk, but I just wanted to own a little piece of Nashville's diversified economy.  I already pay attention to what happens in Nashville and I wanted a reason to pay closer attention. I feel invested in our city, so I wanted to actually invest in our city.  I called my financial adviser and he said the fund looked adequately diversified with investments in solid companies and he thought it was Ok to put a little money in it and I did.

The Nashville ETF was the first of its kind to be based on a location.  When it launched, many dismissed it as a cute gimmick. Well the cute gimmick is doing OK. Here is what Bloomburg recently said about NASH ETF:

The Nashville Area ETF (NASH) was pretty much put into the gimmick category by many analysts and news media when it launched one year ago. Its attempt to turn local pride into profit by holding stocks of companies based in and around Nashville, Tennessee, sounded a bit too cute. The ETF has attracted just $9 million in assets.
So it was a surprise to see that it ran circles around the broader stock market this summer. It has returned 12 percent since Memorial Day, while the S&P 500 Index has returned 6 percent. One good run doesn’t make a gimmicky ETF any less gimmicky. But when you pull the thread to see where the outperformance came from, it reveals that this fund -- the first-ever city ETF -- has some unique things going for it. (read more)
I am very pleased, not that I have enough money invested to make a financial difference to me, but I am pleased to see that Nashville is being recognized as the unique place that it is.  I am pleased that Nashville can do what most cities could not do. 

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Monday, September 29, 2014

About "Hunger Action Month": Just how bad is hungar in America?

This is Hunger Action Month and we are told that one in six Tennesseans "struggle with hunger."  I don't believe it! I have never believed the hype about hunger. I remember a few years ago there was a ad, with sad music in the background, for some organization fighting hunger that went something like this: "It could be the person you work next to, it could be that person you ride the bus with every morning but x number of x number of people go to bed hungry every night." I didn't believe it then and do not believe it now. I thought, if they go to bed hungry it is probably because they are on a diet.

Most of my working career, I have worked one way or the other with poor people and people in crisis.  I don't know that I have ever witnesses real hunger. At one time the place where I work was an outlet for Nashville's Table and Second Harvest Food Bank.  The food people got from that place supplemented their budget and helped them, but I don't think many of the clients were hungry and maybe it was because of these agencies they were not hungry, but those agencies were there. Even among the homeless there is an abundance of free meals in Nashville. This is link to a list of 113 food pantries in Nashville.

What do people really mean by "hunger?"  Well notice that the campaign does not say they are starving or have nothing to eat or do not know where their next meal is coming from; it says they "struggle" with hunger.  I think "struggles with  hunger" is synonymous with "food insecurity" and that means "without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life." Here is how an article in Forbes called, 29 Uncomfortable Myths About Soaring Poverty In America described it:

21. Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity. In other words, that means that “one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.”
Food insecurity is one of those odd numbers again. It’s whether the household has ever skipped a meal in the year, or had a less than adequately nutritious one, or even had to drop the quality of their menu, as a result of not having the money to buy food. So having to have pasta with ketchup for lunch and dinner because Pops blew the food budget on a bottle of whiskey counts here. We can indeed call this poverty if we want to but it’s obviously not an extreme form of it.
We have 47 million Americans on food stamps (now called SNAP) and our local school system decided to give free breakfast and lunch to every child in school and end the necessity to qualify for free or reduced lunch. We are very generous to the poor in America.  We are so generous that people become trapped in poverty and it is too expensive to stop being poor.  If one is eligible for Aid to Dependent children, medicaid, public housing, earned income tax credit, food stamps and a free telephone and gets the free stuff such as clothes and schools supplies and Christmas gifts from non-profit agencies, it takes a lot of money to equal that same level of income one has living in poverty.  If one tries to enter the workforce and fails, then they must requalify for those benefits and there may be a long waiting list for some of them.  It is easier to stay poor.

Why do we sensationalize hunger? I have some theories. (1) The non-profits and government bureaucrats want to keep their job. If the problem does not appear a severe crisis then people may not give and tax payers may be more demanding that government spending be cut. (2) There is a political payoff to perpetuating a myth that times are really bad and only the government can help hurting people and that the wealth needs to be redistributed.  Democrats are looked upon as the party that cares about poor people so by spreading a perception that there is widespread hunger in America it helps Democrats stay in office. (4) It is simply advertising and advertisers exaggerate and lie. These agencies helping the poor will get more money to help the poor if the situation appears dire. They have advertising agencies create a fund raising campaign. And, (4) it makes good copy and TV.  The liberal media shares the world view of other liberal but also a story about hunger in the richest country in the world makes a good story. 

I am not opposed to programs to help families in poverty.  I do think food stamps is out of control and there is a lot of waste and corruption in the program and the food stamp program needs to be cut, but I am not opposed to programs that help the poor. I occasionally give to the Nashville Rescue Mission or buy a homeless newspaper or contribute to Second Harvest or  Meals-on-Wheels.  These are good programs. I hate to see food go to waste and I think Nashville's Table and Second Harvest are good programs.  I admire the work done by all the churches who help the poor supplement there food budget. However, it is dishonest and unnecessary to create an impression that there is widespread hunger in America.

According to the Census Bureau, 96% of parents classified as poor said their children were never hungry.

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2012 - We take it as a given that hunger stalks America. We hear it in the news, we see a myriad of government and private organizations set up to feed the hungry. And we are often reminded of the greatest of all ironies—in the richest nation on earth, there are still those without enough to eat. But are these media portrayals of hunger in America accurate? 

A hungry child is the ultimate third rail in the entitlement debate. Few candidates—Democrat, Republican or independent—would even question conventional wisdom on this particular issue because that would make them look indifferent to hungry children and that, of course, is political death.
The U.S. government spends close to $1 trillion a year providing cash, food, housing, medical care and services to poor and near-poor people. (read more)

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Gordon Ball Plagiarized Almost Everything Written On His Website

Buzz Feed News, Sept. 29, 2014 - Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Gordon Ball appears to have plagiarized nearly every word on his issues pages from a vast array of politicians including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

Ball, a practicing attorney, is taking incumbent Republican Sen. Llamar Alexander in the heavily Republican state.

Ball has likewise used much of the plagiarized text in an interview.  (link)

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Frank Niceley and ten other Carr primary supporters endorse Lamar Alexander




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SHERIFF DARON HALL ANNOUNCES HE WILL NOT RUN FOR NASHVILLE MAYOR

Press Release, Nashville, TENN. – Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced today he will not run for Nashville mayor and instead will continue concentrating his efforts on the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) and the criminal justice system.  He was recently elected to a fourth term.

“After months of careful consideration, I have decided not to run for mayor of Nashville,” Hall said.  “The challenges and pressures of campaigning, balancing of my family life, and the responsibilities as sheriff have all led to this decision.”

As sheriff, Hall is credited with managing the DCSO’s budget effectively, improving criminal justice operations, and working tirelessly with Nashville non-profits to bridge the gap between community resources and offenders released from jail; making those offenders taxpayers not tax burdens.  Hall serves as Sergeant-At-Arms for the National Sheriffs’ Association and immediate past president of the American Correctional Association.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Representative Councilman Bo Mitchell got a full page puff piece in the most recent issue of The Nashville Scene.

In case you missed it, Representative Councilman Bo Mitchell got a full page puff piece in the most recent issue of The Nashville Scene. Mitchell is profiled as a maverick who enjoys voting no. He is applauded for voting against the cost-saving privatization of Metro schools' janitorial services and  against privatizing the Bordeaux nursing homes. A vote he took to disallow limited commercial sponsorship of events in Metro Parks is also praised.

In the article, Mitchell states he is against Amendment 1 which will be on the ballot in November. Amendment 1 is the proposed amendment to the State constitution that would allow the State legislature the ability to regulate abortion clinics the same way they are regulated in other states. Tennessee abortion clinics have no waiting period and do not have to be licensed as they are in other states and this has made Tennessee an abortion destination. Mitchell says, "I'm never gonna come between a person and their doctor."  To read this article, follow this link.

Bo Mitchell is being challenged for his seat in the General Assembly in the General Election in November by Troy Brewer, a Bellevue accountant. In 2010, Mitchell came within 156 votes of being defeated by challenger Charles Williamson.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

(update) Grand jury says Ramsey, Harwell should face charges

(9/28/2014 update) Frank Daniels editorializing in today's Tennessean says he has lost a lot of respect for newly elected DA Glenn Funk, because Funk is refusing to indict Ramsey and Harwell. See, Will Nashville's new DA ignore grand jury?

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -  A Nashville grand jury is recommending Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell face charges for manipulating the rules when it comes to judges.

Ramsey and Harwell have not been charged with anything at this point, it is simply a recommendation from the grand jury for the district attorney to consider. (link)

My Comment: I would hate to see either indicted, but maybe they should be. I like both Harwell and Ramsey, but elected officials should not just ignore the law when they don't like the law.  That is the same thing President Obama has done time and time again. President Obama should not ignore the Federal Constitution and Ramsey and Harwell should not ignore the State Constitution.  Elected officials should follow the law.

What this is about is appointments to the  Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission which makes recommendation as to which appellate judges should be retained or replaced. The Commission no longer exist as of June 30, 2014.  However, the law that was in effect the last time appointments were made said that the commission should "mirror" the state in its makeup of women and minorities. It did not. The last commission was comprised of seven white men, one white woman and one African-American woman.

Harwell's office said she appointed four commissioners, two men and two women, including a Hispanic person and an African-American person. Assuming that is true, Harwell did follow the law, but not Ramsey. Just because you don't like a law (and I don't like this law) it should not be ignored. The rule of law is too important to allow laws to be ignored. (For more on this, follow this link and this link.)

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TN House of Representatives District 53 & Senate 21 Event at Nashville's East Ivy Mansion

Tonight Oct. 2
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales & Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney request your presence at Nashville's East Ivy Mansion on October 2, 2014 from 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM for an evening of wine, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and cigars.
209 S. 5th Street Nashville, TN 37206
 
Please join Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, House Majority Leader GeraldMcCormick, Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney and multiple members of the Tennessee State Senate and House of Representatives in meeting two very special candidates running for state office. 
 Running for House District 53 is John Wang. John is an insurance broker and real estate investor. Before immigrating to America, John was a doctor in China. He left it all behind to have a chance at the American dream. Once in America, he started from the bottom as a dishwasher. After graduating from East Tennessee State University with an advanced degree in biochemistry, John moved to Tennessee's 53rd House District where he met his wife Vivien, a Nashville School of Law graduate specializing in political asylum cases for individuals being persecuted for their faith around the world.

House 53 is composed of approximately 60% immigrants, which makes John wildly popular across the District. John has earned the support of Representative Beth Harwell, Madam Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. 
 Make Checks Payable To: "John Wang for State Representative", or process your payment online HERE
If unable to attend, please mail checks to: John Wang For State Representative 2720 Nolensville Pike Nashville, TN 37211 
Running for Senate District 21 is Diana Cuellar. Born in the heartland of America, Diana grew up in the Midwest before moving to Tennessee's 21st Senate District. Currently, Diana works as a financial adviser with Lawing Financial where she develops economic strategies for both businesses and individuals. Her success in the finance industry comes from a long career working for industry giants such as Oil-Dri Corporation of America, Bank of America and Chicago Equity Partners. Diana's advanced knowledge and training in the financial sector makes her a natural choice for Senate District 21 voters who are looking for accountability in government. Diana has earned the support of Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey. Make Checks Payable To: "Friends of Diana Cuellar", or process your payment online HERE
If unable to attend, please mail checks to: Friends of Diana Cuellar P.O. Box 111924 Nashville, TN 37222

Donors are encouraged to donate to both candidates. However, if you are only interested in one, then you may donate to that single candidate. If you decide to donate to both, you will receive tickets for both donations. To RSVP & Address Questions Call 615-586-0771 / 615-598-1215.

Another reason for attending this event in addition to supporting two great candidates is that the venue is an experience in itself.  I recently had to opportunity to attend an event at this place, and the grounds and the house make you feel like you are a guest at a European villa. The mansion is an experience.

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Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club talks Amendment 2 this Saturday Oct. 4.

Betty Hood writes:

Dear BRBC Friends, Welcome Fall and the color changes of the leaves.  I'm ready for the crisp mornings with cooler weather.

Yes, it's that time when we meet again for our monthly breakfast club.  It will be Saturday, October 4 at 8 AM at the Shoney's in Bellevue.  Our topic will be voting NO on Amendment 2 on the November ballot.  Dr. John Emison from Alamo, TN will be our guest to talk about that.  Also, Sterlina Brady, candidate for state Senate, will share some thought as well.  As always, there will be time for Q and A after the presentations.
 
Hope to see you there!
Betty 

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Davidson County Early Voting Schedule Set for October 15-30

Davidson County voters have two weeks, including two Saturdays, to cast their ballots in the State and Federal General Election during early voting.
Early voting begins on Wednesday, Oct. 15 and continues through Thursday, Oct. 30. Voters have a choice of 11 locations for early voting.
The ballot for the upcoming State and Federal General Election includes races for the U.S. Congress, Governor, Tennessee State Senate and House of Representatives, four amendments and the Wine-in-Grocery Stores referendum.
Early voting is available at Metro’s Howard Office Building, 700 Second Ave. South, Oct. 15-30.  Additionally, 10 other voting locations will be open Oct. 21-30.  Those locations are:

  • Belle Meade City Hall, 4705 Harding Pike, Nashville 37205
  • Bellevue Community Center, 656 Colice Jeanne Road, Nashville 37221
  • Bordeaux Library, 4000 Clarksville Pike, Nashville 37218
  • Conexión Américas @Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville 37211
  • Crossings Event Center, 5380 Hickory Hollow Parkway, Antioch 37013
  • Edmondson Pike Library, 5501 Edmondson Pike, Nashville 37211
  • Goodlettsville City Hall, 105 South Main Street, Goodlettsville 37072
  • Green Hills Library, 3701 Benham Ave., Nashville 37215
  • Hermitage Library, 3700 James Kay Lane, Hermitage 37076
  • Madison Library, 610 Gallatin Pike South, Madison 37115
Polls open at 8 a.m. each day.  Polls remain open until 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and until 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  Polls are closed on Sundays.
Registered Davidson County voters can vote at any location during early voting.  However, those voting on November 4 must go to their designated Election Day polling location.
A sample ballot with an early voting schedule will be mailed to all households with a registered Davidson County voter.  Early voting locations and times, and a sample ballot are posted at Nashville.gov/vote.  Voters are encouraged to review the sample ballot, make their selections and bring the sample ballot when they come to vote.
When voting, all voters must present a Federal or Tennessee State government-issued photo ID unless an exception applies.
The Davidson County Election Commission (DCEC) is responsible for providing free and fair elections to every eligible citizen.  The Election Commission is regulated by State of Tennessee law and funded by Metro Nashville government. The main office is located at 1417 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37217.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

(update) School Board meeting of 9/24/2014: Jesse Register will be leaving.

9/25/2014 I have still not watched all pf this school board meeting and may not get the opportunity to watch it and provide time stamp notations, but another report of what happened is added to this report.



Here is the link to the Agenda.  

This big news from last night is that Jessie Register, Director of Schools, will not seek an extension of his contract. I hate to see that.  I have not always agreed with everything he has done but he has done some good things, such as the privatization of janitorial service which saved the system money and took courage to stand up to the unions.  Most recently I have been pleased with his proposal to deal with failing "priority" schools by being willing to close some failing schools, giving parents school choice and transitioning some schools to charter schools.

My early preference for a new director, should he want the job,  would be Dr. Alan Coverstone, the Executive Director of the Office of Innovation of Metro Schools.

by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean, Sept. 24, 2014- Jesse Register says he will not seek a contract extension as director of schools of Metro Nashville Public Schools, ending silence on his future and paving the way for a closely watched search for his replacement. (link)

Below is a report from Brett A Withers posted to nashvilleneighborhoods@googlegroups.com.

 - Dr. Register acknowledged the East Nashville United group's efforts
to get parents/community members out to participate in the meetings that
have been scheduled with the priority schools. A few of us were in the
audience and acknowledged Dr. Register's comments.
- School Board Member Elisa Kim reported that Dr. Register's
announcement has captured the "undivided attention" of East Nashville
families and urged him to create an advisory committee that represents the
diversity of East Nashville. East Nashville United tweeted our
appreciation of Ms. Kim's championing of this central point of our platform.
- School Board Member Amy Frogge complimented the East Nashville United
group's communication pertaining to the complex issues surrounding school
performance.
- School Board Member Will Pinkston asked Joe Bass to clarify what
efforts MNPS is making to inform parents about the priority school meetings
in writing and whether any written communications have been provided in
translation for the benefit of parents who have limited English language
ability. Mr. Bass offered to provide a copy of the written notices, and
Dr. Register indicated that live translation services can be arranged. I
assume that such a request would come from the school principal.
- School Board Member Anna Shepherd asked whether transportation
arrangements are being provided for families with limited transportation
options. School Board Member Jill Speering touched on this issue in a
follow-up conversation with me after the meeting.
- School Board Member Jill Speering asked when the ASD take-over and
KIPP school conversion location decisions would be announced. Dr. Register
replied that he would expect an announcement after January 1st.

In other school board news, Dr. Register announced that he will not seek a
one-year extension of his contract when it expires in June 2014, but he
pledged to work with MNPS to ensure a smooth transition when the new
Director is identified.

School Board Chair Sharon Gentry announced new committee assignments.
Board Members Pinkston and Pierce will chair the board's Community
Engagement Committee. Board Member Kim will chair the Director Evaluation
Committee.

All in all, the East Nashville United group was pleased that the school
board members seem to be responsive to our communications urging
consultation with affected families prior to making decisions to close or
convert schools. Thanks (or thanks in advance) for your support on these
issues.

Brett A. Withers
Eastwood Neighbors

.

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Common Core losing support of Tennessee teachers, survey finds

In Case you missed it:

Common Core losing support of Tennessee teachers, survey finds 

by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean, Sept. 24,2014 - Most Tennessee teachers now oppose the academic standards, new statewide survey shows.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mayor Appoints former Tennessean Journalist Michael Cass as Communications Advisor

Press Release, Sept. 23, 2014, NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean today announced that he has appointed veteran reporter Michael Cass as Communications Advisor/Speechwriter in his office, where his responsibilities will include preparing and writing speeches. Cass has worked for 19 years as a reporter, including at The Tennessean since 1999 with the last nine years covering Metro government and politics. He will assume the post starting Oct. 20.

"Michael brings a wealth of experience having been a journalist for his entire career," Mayor Dean said. "He has a deep understanding of Nashville and Metro Government, and I know that will serve the city well as Michael helps our office communicate with the public."

Janel Lacy, who has served as Communications Director since 2011 and as Mayor Dean's primary speechwriter for the past seven years, is joining Metro Schools in early October as Senior Communications and Outreach Officer. Bonna Johnson, who currently serves as Press Secretary in the Mayor's Office, will take on the additional role of Communications Director, taking the lead on communications planning.

While working at The Tennessean, Cass has written about everything from Metro policy debates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention and President Barack Obama's visits to Tennessee. He also has written about the lives of Nashville's civil rights heroes. Cass covered Middle Tennessee's higher education scene for six years before moving to the politics beat.

"After covering governments of one kind or another for 19 years -- from school boards to city and county governments and congressional elections -- I'm looking forward to this new experience in public service," Cass said. "I appreciate Mayor Dean's trust in me to help him as he continues to lead the city over the next year."

A native of Macon, Ga., Cass previously worked as a reporter for The Macon Telegraph and The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and a master's in mass communications from The University of Georgia. He and his wife, Heather, and their two daughters live in Bellevue and are active members of St. David's Episcopal Church.

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Lamar Alexander on Obamacare Website Costs Exceed $2 Billion, Study Finds.

Bloomburg Businessweek, September 24, 2014 - The construction of healthcare.gov involved 60 companies, supervised by employees of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instead of a lead contractor, according to the inspector general at the Health and Human Services Department. The project was marked by infighting among the contractors, CMS officials and top officials at HHS, the Cabinet-level department that oversees CMS, according to e-mails released Sept. 17 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 
.....
Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who has scrutinized the Obama administration’s construction of healthcare.gov as the senior Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said the cost of the site exceeded the combined value of his state’s three professional sports teams. 

Despite the spending, the site “still isn’t secure, doesn’t let people easily compare doctors and medications covered by each plan, and has not processed all of the applications from last year’s open enrollment,” he said in an .....(link)

My Comment:  If they can't even build the website, why would anyone think they could manage the healthcare system. 

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Haslam, Bredesen talk up Amendment 2



Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is leading the charge to amend the Tennessee Constitution to eliminate any language in the state’s guiding document that alludes to direct elections of Supreme Court judges by the voters. Haslam is being joined in that effort by former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, who served for eight years as Haslam’s predecessor. The two spoke together in favor of Amendment 2 at a Sept. 17 campaign event for the measure in Knoxville, after which they took questions from the press.

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How our Reps and Senators voted on funding of the Syrian opposition to fight ISIS

President Obama has not asked for Congressional authority to use force in Syria, relying upon the 13-year old resolution that authorized President Bush to wage war against Al Qaeda. In my view, this is a terrible mistake.  There should be some buy-in from Congress and debate.  The closest we have had to a vote by Congress to show support for the President's action in this war is a vote on House Joint Resolution 124 which is a continuing resolution that authorizes continued funded for a lot of agencies and programs.  Included in this is was this language:

Sec. 149.
(a) The Secretary of Defense is authorized, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals for the following purposes:
(1) Defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition.
(2) Protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria.
(3) Promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.
The resolution also contains requirements and time period of what must be reported back to Congress. In the House, the amendment to add the Syrian section passed by a vote of 273-156. Republican voted in favor 159 and 71 opposed and Democrats voted 114 in favor and 85 opposed. That is, 69% of the Republicans voted to support the President's policy and only 57% of the Democrats. Here is how the Tennessee House delegation voted:

Yea       R   Roe, Phil TN 1st
Nay       R   Duncan, John TN 2nd
Yea       R   Fleischmann, Chuck TN 3rd
No Vote   R    DesJarlais, Scott TN 4th
Nay     D   Cooper, Jim TN 5th
Yea      R   Black, Diane TN 6th
Yea     R   Blackburn, Marsha TN 7th
Nay     R   Fincher, Stephen TN 8th
Yea     D  Cohen, Steve TN 9th

As you can see, there is not an ideological divide on this issue with the most liberal member of the Tennessee delegation, Steve Cohen, voting with Republicans like Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black. On the other hand, the very conservative John Duncan voted "no" as did Democrat Jim Cooper. 

This had to be a difficult vote. It is going to be hard to vet the forces we are training if we are not embedded with those forces. Also, as I continue to listen to experts discuss the matter, it is going to be difficult to vet the factions to ensure they are moderate. The Free Syrian Army seems like the most moderate and viable of the factions but it is not clear that they are reliable and it they are defeated by ISIL, then those arms would fall into ISIL hands. I can see opposing this amendment because it does not do enough, however if I was in the Congress I would reluctantly have voted for it.

Among the House Republicans who voted "No" there were not any high profile Republicans except Trey Gordy. Among Republicans voting "yes" were Paul Ryan, Steve King, and Tom Cotton.

In the final vote on the bill as amended in the House was 319 to 108 with Republicans voting in favor 176 to 50 and Democrats voting in favor 143 to 55.  In the Tennessee delegation, Marsha Blackburn changed to a "no" vote, otherwise they voted the same as they did on the amendment.

In the Senate, there was not a separate vote on the amendment, but only on the final bill. It passed 78-22, with 33 Republicans voting in favor and 12 voting "no," and among Democrats a 44 to 9 vote in favor.  Both Senators Alexander and Corker voted in favor. Prominent Republicans who voted "no" included Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Lee.  Marco Rubio voted in favor.

s

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Friday, September 19, 2014

City to define, regulate and tax "short term rentals" in private homes.

Remember when food trucks made there appearance in Nashville. The brick and mortar resturants did not like them and tried to put them out of business. A few year ago the Metro Council tried to stop a new form of transportation, "the black sedans", from operating in Nashville by forcing them to charge a minimum fee. The city also engaged in unlawful harassment and went to court and spend thousands of dollars to defend the minimum fee. Then along came Uber and Lyft and the city reversed itself and lifted the minimum. Every time there is an innovation, politicians want to protect the status quo and tax the new service.  Now, we are seeing a new innovation in lodging rentals. A phone app matches people who want to rent out a room in their house for a night or two with people who are seeking an inexpensive rental for a night or two. If someone is not watching, this new form of vacation lodging will be outlawed or regulated and taxed to the point it is prohibitive.


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Governors Haslam, Bredesen Urge Passage of Amendment 2

The Knoxville News Sentinel - Gov. Bill Haslam and his predecessor, Phil Bredesen, said Wednesday that a proposed constitutional amendment on the selection of appellate court judges provides clarity and accountability that is needed to keep the state's judicial system fair and impartial.

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Jim Cooper votes against an audit of the Federal Reserve.

The House of Representatives passed a bill on September 17 that would require the U.S. comptroller general to make a full audit of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks. The legislation, “The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013,” was passed by an overwhelming 333-92 bipartisan vote. The measure received bipartisan support, with 106 Democrats joining 227 Republicans to pass it. The bill has not yet been acted on in the Senate.

Here is how the Tennessee delegation voted.

Yea   R   Roe, Phil TN 1st
Yea   R   Duncan, John TN 2nd
Yea   R   Fleischmann, Chuck TN 3rd
No Vote   R   DesJarlais, Scott TN 4th
Nay   D   Cooper, Jim TN 5th
Yea   R   Black, Diane TN 6th
Yea   R   Blackburn, Marsha TN 7th
Yea   R   Fincher, Stephen TN 8th
Yea   D   Cohen, Steve TN 9th

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Donelson-Hermitage Conservative Breakfast meeting, Sept. 27th

Jim Garrett will be hosting his Donelson-Hermitage Conservative Breakfast meeting at the Shoney's (546 Donelson Pike  37214) on Saturday September 27th starting at 8:30. He will have speakers for both yes and no on Amendment 2.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fund Raiser for Bob Ries Thursday, Sept. 25th.

This is tonight! Sept. 25th. 
If $100 is a little steep, don't let that keep you from attending. Bob put out an email and said
Also Gary Chapman will be performing tonight

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Mark Winslow tells me, the election is over ...Find something else to bitch about.

Mark Winslow
To Me 
Sep 4 

Actually it's now Judge Blackburn. 
The election is over and the people of my district said clearly they are satisfied with my work on their behalf. Find something else to bitch about. 

Mark Winslow 
Tennessee Republican Party 
State Executive Committee District 19 
615.424.0883 

Me 
To Mark Winslow 
Today at 10:33 AM 

Mark, I just now found your email. 
The election may be over and you won but that still does not make what you did right. I do not see how in good conscience you could work to elect a Democrat and defeat a Republican and still serve on the Republican Party Executive Committee. Please do the honorable thing and resign your position with the Party. 
Sincerely, 

Rod Williams 
A Disgruntled Republican 
home 292-8900, cell 509-3900, work 850-3453 
Please visit my blog: http://adisgruntledrepublican.com

In case you do not know what this is about, see below.

Mark Winslow, member of the Republican Party SEC, is still working for Democrat Judge-elect Melissa Blackburn.

Mark Winslow, the  member of the Republican
Party State Executive Committee who works
to defeat Republicans and elect Democrats.
Remember Mark Winslow?  He is the member of the Republican Party State Executive Committee who worked to defeat a Republican candidate and elect a Democrat to the office of judge in Davidson County. He first worked to help Melissa Blackburn win her Democrat nomination.  When he came under criticism for working for a Democrat, he claimed that he was only working for her during the primary and would not be doing so in the General Election.  He claimed he was doing so only because it was required by his employer, SmithWaterhouse Strategies.  We know that Winslow continued working for Blackburn because he was still seen at events with her and putting up yard signs on her behalf during the General Election.  He helped Blackburn beat our Republican candidate, Marian Cheadle Fordice for that office. Our candidate had much more experience in the field of mental health law and had a real heart for the job.

Winslow's candidacy to run again for a seat on the State Executive Committee was challenged on the basis that he was campaigning for a Democrat. Unfortunately, Chris Devaney, Chairman of the Party and a person up until that point that I had always respected, failed to rule Winslow as ineligible to run for that seat. Winslow ran and was reelected.

Serving on the Republican Executive Committee gives one access to Republican strategy and data and puts one in the position to vote on how much, if any, funds will be given to Republican candidates.  I do not see how anyone cannot see that having a member of the Republican SEC campaigning to elect a Democrat and defeat a Republican, is not a conflict of interest.

I do not see how Mark Winslow in good conscience could work to defeat a Republican and elect a Democrat and still serve on the SEC.  A person of character would have resigned his position with his employer or would have resigned his position on the Republican State Executive Committee. One cannot serve two masters.

I had heard a few weeks ago that Winslow was working for Judge-elect Melissa Blackburn, but wanted to wait until it was confirmed to bring it up. Below is a news paper story that confirms he is still working for Blackburn.
Two fired from Davidson Mental Health Court 
by Brian Haas, The Tennessean, September 3, 2014- Newly elected General Sessions Judge Melissa Blackburn is quickly making her mark as the head of Davidson County’s Mental Health Court.
Two weeks ago, she forced all five court employees to resign and reapply for their jobs. On Tuesday, she told two of them they would not be re-hired. .....
Blackburn’s transition into office included an Aug. 14 email sent to all Mental Health Court employees forcing them to resign by the following day, with a resignation date of Sept. 1. (link)
“All employees, if you wish, shall be eligible to reapply for positions with the court as part of Judge-Elect Blackburn’s evaluation of performance, efficiency and staff cohesion,” read the note, penned by Mark Winslow of SmithWaterhouse Strategies, a political consulting firm. (link)
I am so disgusted by this whole episode that I am at a loss for words. One thing I am not going to do; I am not going to give any money to the Tennessee Republican Party as long as Winslow is serving on the State Executive Committee.  I will not be attending the Statesman's Dinner or responding to party solicitations for contribution. I think only real Republicans should be sitting on the Executive Committee, not phoney Republicans who are working to defeat Republicans and elect Democrats. I don't know, but I would suspect that there is a way the Executive Committee could refuse to seat a member or remove one. They should.  If this is the kind of Republican Party we have, that can allow a political mercenary-for-hire to have a seat on the Executive Committee, then I want no part of that Party.

I guess there is no point in beating a dead horse, but one more piece of evidence that Mark Wislow is a Democrat in Republican clothing, he picked up a qualifying petition for Gary Blackburn to run for the male seat for District 21 of the Democrat Party. Why would a State Executive Committee member of the Republican Party pick up the qualifying petition for someone seeking a seat on the Executive Committee of the other party?  See the below record.
 
To learn much more about Mark Winslow, follow this link.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

(update) What happened in the Metro Council 9-16-14: The another-Million- for-'Nashville' meeting.




This is a short meeting at only 40 minutes long. If you want to link to the staff analysis, agenda and my commentary follow this link.

After the Pledge and prayer, the first order of business is a recognition given to CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates.  The presentation is made by Councilman Westerholm. CASA trains volunteers to speak for abused and neglected children caught in the court system and helps them find safe and permanent homes. I am a little familiar with the program. I once had a volunteer working with me at my place of employment, trying to start a support group for single mothers seeking to get child support. Unfortunately, this effort never was successful.  This same volunteer was also active in CASA and I learned from her some of the heart breaking cases in which she was involved. CASA does important work. This is a well-deserved honor.  If someone is looking for meaningful volunteer work, I think working with CASA would be very rewarding.

Confirmation of appointments to boards and commissions are all approved. All resolution on the consent agenda pass. Three resolutions listed below were not on consent:

 RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1215 appropriates $2,573,300 to various departments and includes $1 million to fund an economic incentive grant for the TV show Nashville. Supplemental appropriations are how equipment and repairs are paid for and how departments with cost overruns get more money. Included in this resolution is $250,000 to host the League of Cities Convention in 2015. This is the first I had heard of this.  I think this is money well spend.  It brings thousands of locally elected officials from all over the country to Nashville and lots of exhibitors that do business with cities. Nashville shows them a good time and showcases what we are doing right in our city. They will spend a lot of money while here but it also raised the profile of Nashville. 

The controversial part of this is the $1 million for Nashville. As it turns out it apparently is not controversial, at least not in the council. It passes unanimously. Nashville has been good advertising for Nashville, no doubt, but things like that are hard to measure.  Also, having the program filmed in Nashville has helped develop the film industry in this city.  However, I do not support another million to subsidize the program. Nashville has been renewed for a third season. If at this point they were to film the program elsewhere, the skylines and scene footage would still be Nashville and the title would still be Nashville. We would get the advertising benefit even it was filmed in Atlanta or Hollywood. The staff analysis says the filming of Nashville adds $40 million to the economy in spending on salaries, good, and services. In a way, this is not much different than when we pay a company to stay in Nashville or to locate to Nashville, but I don't much like that either. I think it is time to pull the plug on subsidizing 'Nashville' but the Council passes this bill without discussion.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1216  appropriates $3,959,500.00 to various other departments and it passes unanimously.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1217  authorizing the execution and delivery of an economic development incentive grant agreement between The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Music City Productions, Inc. which is the paperwork for the $1 appropriated in 1215 above and it passes unanimously.
Bills on First reading pass unanimous as is the custom. Everything on Second and Third reading pass and none of the bills are of much interest.  Almost all are rezoning bills or bills concerning acquiring or abandoning easements or letting signs protrude over a sidewalk.

Below is the meeting of the Budget and Finance committee. This provides a more detailed explanation of the bills and resolutions that spend money and councilmen ask questions. To really understand the operation of the Metro Council and how the city is spending money, one needs to watch the meetings of B&F.

Below is the Tennessean's report on this Council meeting. 

'Nashville' gets $1 million from Metro, double last year's grant
The Tennessean ‎-The Metro Council voted unanimously and without debate Tuesday for a $1 million economic development grant to the local production of ABC's “Nashville,” ..

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tennessee Libertarians Sue To Change Party Recognition Laws

This video has been removed because it is one of those that start automatically, and I find those very annoying. You can follow the link to view the video. I wish the Libertarian Party well in this effort to secure ballot access. Rod

 By Todd Walker.  Sep 15, 2014 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Four years after the Libertarian Party of Tennessee filed its first lawsuit to get on the ballot, the group is still fighting for access in a state that has some of the most restrictive ballot access rules in the country. In a lawsuit filed last month, the party claims Tennessee laws violate its members' constitutional rights to free speech, association and equal protection. (link)

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Education Summit could offer taste of Common Core fight, Sept 18

Education Summit could offer taste of Common Core fight

Gov. Bill Haslam has billed a special-called Education Summit next week as a wide-ranging review of the “past, present and future” of Tennessee’s public schools.
Some, though, are looking squarely at Common Core....Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell are co-hosts for the summit, set for Sept. 18 at Nashville's downtown Sheraton Hotel.... “Let’s give them all an ear full,” reads a flier from a group that calls itself Tennessee Against Common Core, which plans to stage the rally.

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TNGOP Chairman: Gordon Ball Will Be One More Vote for Barack Obama's Agenda

State Republican Party launches new web ad and new site, ObamaBallAgenda.com, to expose Gordon Ball's support for Barack Obama's liberal agenda

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—President Barack Obama has his sights set on Tennessee this fall.
While Tennessee has increasingly become a Republican stronghold, Washington Democrats believe they have an opening to gain a foothold in the Volunteer State with the November 4th election. In the last few months, news reports have surfaced that reveal a secretive liberal agenda targeting Tennessee. Whether it is with a former OFA staffer running for Congress or the funding of a liberal strategist for a pro-abortion campaign against Amendment One, it’s clear Democrats believe Tennessee can be turned into a battleground.
And, at the top of the ticket, will be a man who would be one more vote for Barack Obama's harmful agenda -- Gordon Ball. Mr. Ball, a liberal personal injury lawyer from Knoxville, will only serve to empower Obama and strengthen Washington’s stranglehold on our economy.
"Ball's thin record and slick plan to fool voters should be alarming to Tennesseans,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “Like many Democrats in Tennessee—and every personal injury lawyer I’ve come across—Ball will try to cloak himself with conservative rhetoric in order to win. But the reality is: He'll be one more vote for Barack Obama’s agenda. His commitment to ObamaCare and the fact he would help President Obama impose more job-destroying taxes and regulations, all while eroding our Second Amendment rights and the rights of the unborn, proves he wouldn’t be a bluedog—he’d be Obama’s lapdog in the Senate.”
To counter the efforts of the Tennessee Democratic Party and Gordon Ball’s own self-financed public image campaign, the Tennessee Republican Party today announces the creation of a new website designed to be a strategic resource center for voters and journalists alike. The site, ObamaBallAgenda.com, will reveal the truth about Gordon Ball’s record and explore his support for the liberal Obama agenda.
Additionally, the TNGOP released a :30 web advertisement that can be seen by clicking here, that highlights Gordon Ball's campaign to be one more reliable vote for Barack Obama's reckless agenda in Washington.
Devaney added, “Tennessee has been at the forefront in the conservative movement. We’ve had--and continue to have--outstanding leaders who look for solutions and reflect the values of our citizens. This fall, we have the chance to return one of those leaders, Senator Lamar Alexander, back to the Senate to defend us from President Obama. The last thing voters should do is be tricked by Gordon Ball’s campaign--an effort that promises to be as slick and contrived as the candidate himself.”

Background
The liberal agenda in Tennessee will take several forms this fall, including:
• VIDEO: TNGOP Web Ad.
• The Tennessee Democratic Party is spending a significant amount of money to bring in a consultant to fight against Amendment One, a pro-life constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall, and advise Democratic candidates.
• In the Fourth Congressional District, Democrats are backing a candidate who has "worn the Obama stripes as...regional field organizer for Organizing for Action" and has nearly $100,000 cash on hand.

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Federalist Society Presents 2014-2015 U.S. Supreme Court Preview, Sept. 24th

The Nashville Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society presents 2014-2015 U.S. Supreme Court Preview with Ilya Shapiro & Brian Fitzpatrick on September 24, 2014, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at The Law Offices of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP Nashville City Center, 511 Union Street, Suite 2700, Nashville, Tennessee 37219.

 Lunch Will Be Served.  RSVP and pay $15 by visiting this website.

This program is approved for 1 hour of general CLE in Tennessee.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.

 Brian Fitzpatrick is a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, where his research focuses on class action litigation, federal courts, judicial selection and constitutional law.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Herbert Slatery III, Haslam’s chief of staff, picked as AG

Herbert Slatery III, Haslam’s chief of staff, picked as AG
 Slatery, 62, is set to become the first Republican attorney general in Tennessee since Reconstruction when he takes over for Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr., who sought to keep his job.



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Reception for Diana Guellar, Sept 23rd


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Benefit for YES on 1 Campaign, Sept., 22, 6:00 pm

Benefit for YES on 1 Campaign, September 22, 2014, 6:00 pm, at the Steinway Piano Gallery, 4285 Sidco Drive, Nashville. RSVP to Myra Simons at 615-714-7997 or Myra.Simons@comcast.net.

This is tonight, September 22

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Ashley Judd says she was a victim of Sexual Harassment in Hollywood

Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd, the Hollywood actress and liberal activist who last year was threatening to move from Kentucky to Tennessee to run against Lamar Alexander and who then considered running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and who occasionally makes forays into Tennessee to support liberals such she did when she attended a fund raiser for Jeff Yarbro, recently sounded off about being a victim of sexual harassment and the misogyny she's encountered in Hollywood.

According to the Huffington Post: "She also recounted numerous times she received "sexually charged" comments from producers and fell victim to "egregious sexual harassment" from a "famous movie mogul." Judd told Virtel that, despite being a well-versed women's studies minor, it wasn't until years later when her and other actors traded similar stories of this man's inappropriate behavior that she realized it was sexual harassment."

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What's on the Council Agenda for Sept. 16th: Another $1 million for the Nashville soap opera.

Council meetings are less boring if you know what the Council is voting on. To get your own copy of the agenda and analysis follow the links.

There are four appointments to boards and commissions, but none are to the controversial and troubled commissions.

There are 14 resolutions on the agenda. At this time all, of them are on the consent agenda, which means if they pass the committee to which they are assigned unanimously and no one object they stay on consent and will all be taken together and passed by a single vote instead of being considered individually.

 Below are the ones of interest:

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1215 appropriates $2,573,300 to various departments and includes $1 million to fund an economic incentive grant for the TV show Nashville. Supplemental appropriations are not unusual. That is how equipment and repairs are paid for and how departments with cost overruns get more money. There is a system in place to justify the request to the Department of Finance before the request ever gets to Metro Council. This is where it is important to have good people on the Budget and Finance Committee who can question expenditures if something looks out of line or unusual.

The controversial part of this is the $1 million for Nashville. Nashville has been good advertising for Nashville, no doubt, but things like that are hard to measure.  Also, having the program filmed in Nashville has helped develop the film industry in this city.  However, I do not support another million to subsidize the program. Nashville has been renewed for a third season. If at this point they were to film the program elsewhere, the skylines and scene footage would still be Nashville and the title would still be Nashville. We would get the advertising benefit even it was filmed in Atlanta or Hollywood. The staff analysis says the filming of Nashville adds $40 million to the economy in spending on salaries, good, and services. In a way, this is not much different than when we pay a company to stay in Nashville or to locate in Nashville, but I don't much like that either. I think it is time to pull the plug.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1216  appropriates $3,959,500.00 to various other departments. There is nothing unusual about this. I hope someone in B&F however takes a hard look at it.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1217  authorizing the execution and delivery of an economic development incentive grant agreement between The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Music City Productions, Inc. I assume this is the paperwork for the $1 appropriated in 1215 above.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1221 appropriates $7000 to match $7000 in a State arts grant to fund 12 big band dances in Centennial Park. I use to attend these dances with my wife Louella before she became too ill and I enjoyed them a lot.  I wonder however, why should they be subsidized? Other music events are sponsored by advertisers or they charge admission. However, we subsidize golf and public art and other recreation and $7000 is not a lot of money. I would not vote against it but do wonder what is the logic in funding some music and not other. 
There are only two bills on First Reading.

There are eleven bills on Second Reading and 17 bills on Third Reading and none of them are of interest. Most of them are zoning bills or bills accepting easements or abandoning easements and they would interest no one but the property owners or nearby neighbors. 

There are two non-controversial memorializing resolutions.



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Davidson County Young Republicans to meet Thursday 9-18

The Davidson County Young Republicans are having their monthly meeting at Jonathan's in Green Hills at 6 p.m. this Thursday (9/18). 

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In Nashville, taxpayers pay for ‘art’ few people want to look at

By Chris Butler, Tennessee Watchdog, NASHVILLE — Let’s try making sense of this, shall we? Nashville officials offer subsidized housing to local artists on the pretense it’s the only way to keep artisans in the city. They live in the Ryman Lofts, in one of Nashville’s most expensive areas downtown. These same city officials have given away nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer money so out-of-state artists can create abstract art that only hard-core art connoisseurs may appreciate.

Attention Nashville City Hall: We have local resources for this kind of thing.

And why is it the taxpayers’ job to fund any of this, especially art?

Photo by Chris Butler
Photo by Chris Butler
GHOST BALLET: This structure, in front of Nashville’s LP Field,
 reportedly cost taxpayers $340,600.
Never mind government officials only fund this art because, when regular people have a choice, they would never in their right minds pay to look at such things.

As Tennessee Watchdog reported, Nashville’s Metro Art Commission has forced taxpayers to pay all this money for the following abstract sculptures:
Let’s face it, folks, only a few consider this “art.” While the rest of us go to Titans games, Comic Con and the latest blockbuster movies, these “connoisseurs” hold their noses, sneer at the rest of us and believe it’s their job to force their art down our throats.

They do this because they think they know what’s best for us common folk. And the only way they can make that happen is with taxpayer money.

Let’s address another problem. You’re on vacation in Savannah, Ga., or perhaps New Orleans.
You want to sample the local culture and absorb it before you head home. Obviously, local culture includes art. Wouldn’t you rather take in art that came from a local as opposed to someone on the other end of the continent?

Photo courtesy Nashville Metro Arts Commission
Photo courtesy Nashville Metro Arts Commission
STUCK WITH THE STICKS?: An artists’ rendering of the sticks that will be placed in downtown Nashville, at taxpayer expense, at a cost of $750,000. While it doesn’t address the problem of government paying for art in the first place, here’s a pragmatic approach Nashville officials probably never considered. The only public art Nashville officials pay for would come from the residents of the Ryman Lofts. They only live there as long as they create that art for free.
Granted, from the free market point of view it’s still an undesirable option — Government has no place whatsoever subsidizing art.  Why does the city of Nashville even have a Metro Arts Commission?  But this option would save Nashville taxpayers some money and at least give them, as well as tourists, locally produced art.  We’re taxpayers, and our views merit respect. It’s nothing personal, we just want to save some money.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

(Update) Register calls for school shake-up, advocates choice at School Board meeting of 9/9/14.




The School Board produces great agendas including most of the handouts that the Board gets. To view your own copy of this 35-page agenda follow this link. This meeting is a little less than 2 hours long.

The first order of business is electing the new chair and vice chair. Dr. Gentry is elected Chair, the other candidate being Jill Speering. Elissa Kim is elected Vice Chair in an uncontested election.

The Director's Report where Dr. Register presents his bold plan for improving Nashville's "priority Schools" starts at time stamp 59:31 in the video. Priority Schools are failing schools that are under threat of being taken over by the State if they do not improve. Priority Schools are schools that rank in the bottom 5% of all Tennessee public schools. Register analyzes the state report pointing out the good and the bad in the report. He calls for a goal of eliminating all priority schools in Nashville within the next three years. There is a period of Q and A with the board. The discussion ends at time stamp 1:46:09.

He says we must have three strategies to turn around failing schools: Great leaders, great teachers, and innovation and collaboration. He says to get great teachers in priority schools we need to consider incentives to attract teachers to the those schools.  He calls for developing transition and conversion strategies and an East Nashville Corridor Strategy which would make the East Nashville corridor an all-choice zone where parents could sent their child to any school of their choice and where some schools are closed or consolidated. We cannot continue business as usual, he says.

One of the highlights of this meeting is comments by Elissa Kim. She is so enthusiastic and animated that it is contagious. She says that one school had an incredible 33 points of academic growth this year and that this should chance one's conception of what is possible. She says Cameron went from a failing school to an award school. See 1:26:13 - 1:30:02.

Resistance to the plan is voiced by Amy Fogge and Will Pinkston.

In my view, the plan laid out by Register is exactly the right course of action. Unfortunately it appears some on the board would rather provide excuses for why schools fail rather than change the way we do things.

To read the Tennessean article reporting on this meeting see: Jesse Register calls for swift shake-up at struggling schoolsThe schools most vocal supporter of School Choice, Elissa Kim, praised the plan while anti-choice zealot Amy Frogge and her two allies, Will Pinkston and Jill Speering, were critical.

Since this meeting, Dr. Register's plan has created a lot of discussion. Below are other recent news articles and editorials generated by Register's proposal.

Metro Schools Director Jesse Register answers questions from The Tennessean

Register Calls for Closing, Chartering, Mandating Choice for East Nashville schools

An editorial by Mayor Karl Dean: 'All hands on deck' only way to transform schools




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