Wednesday, November 26, 2014

MNPS School Board Work Session of Nov. 25th




I have not watched this meeting yet and may or may not get around to it, so if you are interested in what happens at the school board, don't wait for me to watch it for you. This meeting is 2 hours and 21 minutes long. I usually watch meetings in 1.5 time or 2 times the speed and lose little content. If you are not offered the option to watch it in a faster speed, see this link for instructions.

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How the Metro Council buckled to the SEIU and voted to continue fiscal irresponsibility.

Last week when reporting on what happened on at the November 18th Council meeting, I reported that RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1269 which would extend the term of the Study and Formulating Committee to March 31st, 2015 failed by a vote of 16 in favor and 17 opposed. That immediately ended the work of the committee because without the extension the Committee had to have their work completed by November 19, 2014. I reported that the work of the committee was  not finished and that the Council staff analysis said the extension was needed.  Every five years the mayor has to appoint such a committee to study and make recommendations on employee benefits. I did not know why the term of the Study and Formulating Committee was not extended; now I know.

At the time I opined:

I wish the employee retirement plan would be changed to a Metro defined contribution plan rather than a defined benefit plan, but I don't think that will happen anytime soon. Most private sector plans, if there is any retirement plan, is a defined contribution plan rather than defined benefit. A defined contribution plan is less risky to the employer. A defined contribution plan specifies the employer make contributions on a regular basis and within a set range of options, the employee decides how his contributions will be invested.
Well unbeknownst to me at the time, the Study Committee was considering such a move and to stop them from making a recommendation to move away from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, the Service International Employees Union Local 205 urged council members to defeat the extension.  If you are still confused by what is the difference between the two retirement plans, a "defined benefit plan" says that after x number of years of service you can retire and draw x number of dollars per month, usually based on a percentage of your salary at the time you retire. 

A defined contribution plan is like a 401K and the city contributes money to it but the plan is the employees and within limits the employee decides where the money is invested and how much risk he wishes to take. No current employees would have been affected by any change in benefit plan policy unless they voluntarily chose to come under the new plan instead of the old plan. Also, any recommendation made by the Study Committee would go back to the Council and would have to be passed by the Council.

According to an article in today's Tennessean, The Study Committee had been working for months with Pew Charitable Trusts to review Metro’s defined-benefit pension plan and retiree health benefits. Pew’s preliminary findings, released in September, raised more concerns with health care obligations than with the state of Metro’s pension system. The city has accumulated $2.3 billion in unfunded costs to cover retiree health benefits.

SEIU feared the study committee would would recommend moving away from Metro’s defined benefit pension plan and was successful in shutting down the work of the committee. Unions like defined plans, because the risk is all born by the employer and it gives the Union power since unions can claim credit for forcing the city to grant generous retirement plans. Also, some employees do better under a defined contribution plan than a defined benefit plan.  Many plans match the contribution of an employee up to a certain limit.  Some employees leave money on the table and do not provide the maximum match.  So, irresponsible employees who are not too bright may be worse off under a defined contribution plan and other employees be much better off.  Unions are generally opposed to different outcomes and want everyone to be rewarded the same regardless of contribution or effort. 

Cities across America are being faced with unsustainable pension obligations and the problem is only going to get worse. Cities will be forced to raise taxes to meet retirement health care and pension obligations. The responsible thing to do is to phase out defined benefit plans and phase in defined contribution plans.

Below is how the Council voted. A fiscally responsible vote was a vote to extend the life of the study committee. The names of Council members in red text are those council members who I normally think of as the "good" council members, several of them self-identify as Republicans or conservative or have usually voted in a responsible manner.
“Ayes” Barry, Garrett, Tygard, Matthews, Banks, Scott Davis, Westerholm, Bennett, Claiborne, Allen, Langster, Weiner, Evans, Blalock, Dominy, Todd (16)

“Noes” Harrison, Hunt, Hagar, Glover, Stites, Stanley, Tenpenny, Gilmore, Baker, Holleman, Harmon, Johnson, Potts, Bedne, Dowell, Duvall, Mitchell (17).

I hate to say that Megan Barry voted for fiscal responsibility and Robert Duvall did not, but that is the way I see it.  It is difficult to say Peter Westerholm cast a conservative vote and that Josh Stites cast a liberal vote but that is what happened. It seems contradictory to vote against tax increases and then vote for policies that are likely to make a future tax increase mandatory. That is hypocritical and having your cake and eating it too.

Now, I know how things work.  A person who campaigned for a council member may have come to that member and asked for him to vote to not expand the Study Committee and he does so. Or, out of animosity to the Mayor or friendship with the Mayor one may have cast a vote a certain way without regards to the merit of the issue.  Or, if  one was endorsed by the SEIU,  he may feel he owes them.  Those Council members who voted the wrong way have a chance to redeem themselves.  Mayor Dean says he plans to resubmit names of the five-member committee for reappointment, setting up a new council vote Dec. 16. I hope the Council does the fiscally responsible thing and votes to allow the Study Committee to continue their work.



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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teachers having sex with students


A first-year female teacher at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School is being accused of having sex with a male students.  Details are not yet available.

Is this an epidemic or what? It seems like this is a fairly common occurrence.  One thing I have noticed is that most of the teachers who abuse these poor children are damn hot. When I was in school it seems like I never had any hot teachers. Also, some of the predators are multiple rapist and had more than one student as a lover. Several of these incidents happened here in Tennessee.

Here is a sampling of some of the incidents and pictures of the predators.  Also, keep in mind that these are not clamor shots; some of these pictures may be photos taken after they were confronted about their crime and they may not have looked their best.

Pamela Rogers Turner
Pamela Rogers Turner, 27: Former model and beauty-pageant contestant also taught at Centertown Elementary School in McMinnville, Tenn. She was arrested in February 2005 for allegedly having a three-month sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy. She resigned her teaching position and was charged with 15 counts of sexual battery and 13 counts of statutory rape. Originally sentenced to 270 days in August 2005, she got in additional trouble in April 2006 for sending text messages, nude photos, and sex videos of herself to the same boy while using her father’s cellphone. In July 2006, she was sentenced to serve eight years for violating her probation, and in January 2007, was given an additional two years for sending the photos.

Sandra Binkley, 35: The Portland, Tenn., High School teacher was charged Sept. 25, 2008, with statutory rape by an authority figure as the result of sexual contact with a 17-year-old boy during school hours. A week later, two more students came forward claiming they had had a sexual encounter, also, on and off campus.

Amy McElhenney
Amy McElhenney, 25: Charged with having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student, the 25-year-old Hebron High School Spanish teacher and former Miss Texas contestant will not be serving any jail time after a Denton County, Texas, grand jury refused to issue an indictment in September 2006. While the age of consent in Texas is 17 years, a state law bans sexual relationships between educators and students even if the student is of legal age and the relationship is consensual. She could have faced 20 years in prison if indicted and convicted.

Angela Comer
Angela Comer, 26: Middle-school teacher from Tompkinsville, Ky., fled with her alleged lover, her 14-year-old male student, before being tracked down in Mexico where she reportedly planned to marry the boy. Comer later claimed she was forced at gunpoint by the boy to go to Mexico. She was indicted in January 2006 for illegal sex acts with a minor and returned to Kentucky. Charges included felony custodial interference, two counts of third-degree sodomy and four counts of unlawful transaction with a minor relating to sexual acts. On May 9, 2007, Comer pleaded guilty to one-count of third-degree sodomy, and was slated to serve 10 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.

Cynthia Horvath
Cynthia Horvath, 45: Former English teacher and cheer coach at Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona Beach, Fla. was arrested Oct. 22, 2008, on charges related to an ongoing sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student. Police reports say most of the senior class at the school knew there was something going on and it was finally students who told a staff member about the affair and the school told police. Horvath is married and has a 17-year-old son who attends Warner Christian.


Melissa Dawn McCord
Melissa Dawn McCord, 35: Special education teacher at West Carroll
Elementary in Atwood, Tenn., faces several charges, including statutory rape by an authority figure after being arrested on Jan. 29, 2009. Police say a 14-year-old junior high student, who had dated McCord’s daughter, reported the woman had performed oral sex on him at a city park on two occasions. The police report said the teenager’s parents had several text conversations between McCord and the boy in their possession.

Stacy L. Hopkins
Stacy L. Hopkins, 28: Physical-education teacher and basketball coach at Arlington High School in Shelby County, Tenn., was arrested May, 5, 2011, after allegedly having sex with two male students and texting them nude photos of herself. The students, both under age 18 at the time of the alleged incidents, told school officials they had sexual intercourse with Hopkins. The teacher told investigators she taught both students and admitted to the crimes.

Summer M. Hansen
 Summer Michelle Hansen, 31: Special-education teacher at Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., was charged Aug. 13, 2013, with having sex with five students and sending the boys sexual text messages and nude photographs of herself. Hansen faces 16 felony counts and could receive up to 13 years in prison if convicted. Court documents show Hansen was suspected of engaging in sexual intercourse and oral sex with the boys on campus and at one victim’s home as far back as May 2012. All five boys were students at the school, but none was a student of Hansen. One student,17, told detectives Hansen had been exchanging sexual text messages with him, some attached to revealing and nude photographs. The teacher allegedly said she wanted to give him a “prize” for doing well in a baseball game. She kept him after class in Saturday school and, after all of the other students had left, began kissing him, and engaged in sex acts, the boy claimed. Hansen, through her attorney, has denied the allegations.

For dozens more stories of this nature, follow this link.

I can't fathom what would make an attractive women such as Pamela Rogers Truner want to have sex with a 13-year-old boy. Is it a mental illness? Is it stunted emotional development? Has this always happened and just not been reported or is this a new phenomenon?

I know that situations of this nature are treated the same as if the sexes were reversed and it is just as much of a crime if a 31-year-old female teacher like Summer Hansen has sex with five male students as it would me if a 31-year-old male teacher had sex with five female students. I, however, do not feel the same about it.  If a 31-year-old male had sex with five female students, I would feel outrage and want him to go to prison for a very long time. Pamela Rogers Truner's victim was only 13-years-old. If a 27-year-old male teacher had sex with a 13-year-old girl, I would be feel very differently about it than I do Pamela Rogers Truner having sex with a 13-year-old boy.  If I had a 13-year-old daughter who was a victim of a male teacher's sexual advances I know I would feel differently about it than if I had a 13-year-old son who was Pamela Rogers Truner's victim. I know there may be emotional damage to the 13-year-old boy, but somehow it just does not seem as bad. If a male teacher took advantage of my 13-year-old daughter, I would want to kill him.

I know that we cannot condone any teacher of either sex having sex with students and I don't, but I admit I have a double standard about this.  We are supposed to pretend that we are equally outraged regardless of the sex of the predator and victims and it is just not politically correct not to think the crime is equally reprehensible regardless of the sex of the parties involved.  I can't always explain my double standard but I admit it.  In many ways I think male and female are different. I think a double standard may be rooted in nature. I am going to say something totally politically incorrect but I bet I am not the only male who feels this way:  When I was a teenager, I wish I would have been a victim of a teacher like Pamela Rogers Turner or Summer Michelle Hansen.

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Rick Womick says Beth Harwell has "compromised our trust," and has been "insincere" and "unethical."

In his campaign for Speaker of the House, Representative Rick Womick has come out very critical of  current speaker Beth Harwell. In a letter to fellow members of the House of Representatives he says she has shown "a lack of accountability to the members of the Caucus," that she has "compromised our trust," and has been "insincere" and "unethical." Below is the letter. The underlining is mine.


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Monday, November 24, 2014

First Tuesday Guest Speaker Metro Nashville Police Chief STEVE ANDERSON !

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends,

Let me apologize for being tardy getting to you this late, but a scheduling conflict has brought about a need for a change of Guest Speaker for our DEC 2nd meeting.... Given the most timely issue of the day.... and with what is dominating the news across the county... I feel proud [and VERY thankful ] to announce that our Guest Speaker on Tuesday will be none other than Metro Nashville Police Chief STEVE ANDERSON !

 NO question.... our city has been experiencing a great of growth....and great Press lately... But with so much good news also coming some serious GROWING PAINS.... Chief Anderson and the rest of "Nashville's Finest" face that side of our city every day..... and every night.

 THEN.... with what's on TV [seemingly endlessly ...].... is Nashville prepared for something like this?

2015 RACES for Mayor, Vice Mayor and 40 Metro Council members are a mere 9 months away.... Here's a chance for you to a get a 1ST-HAND look behind the curtains and learn what you will want to ask candidates about !!

As usual...join us at WALLER LAW... 511 Union Street -- 27th floor for this highly informative event!

 Doors open at 11AM for Coffee and Social time. Several candidates for Metro Council in 2015 will be join us. Lunch is at 11:30 and the program will start promptly at Noon. Chief Anderson is testifying that morning, but will be staying after our Q&A ends at 1PM to meet more of us and answer questions that you may not have had a chance to ask.

 Lunch is $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. Visit our 1ST TUESDAY website, click on the Shopping Cart - and secure seats for you and your guests !!

REMEMBER.... the Nashville Republican Women...and the TOY DRIVE !!! Those who bring a check for $50 or more will have their 2015 DUES waived !!!

See you on TUESDAY !
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY

 PS --- some GREAT NEWS for 1ST TUESDAY will be announced ! YOU are gonna love it !

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Mayor Karl Dean on President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration

Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean today released this statement following President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration.

"I am proud that Nashville is a welcoming place that recognizes the many contributions of the New Americans who have chosen to make our city their home. Immigrants and refugees make Nashville stronger and more vibrant. Congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but until they do, the President's action will allow some families in Nashville to participate more fully in our community.

From a local perspective, our Mayor's Office of New Americans will work with our nonprofit partners to help immigrants access the information they need. In the coming months, we will have resources available at New Americans Corners that are located at Metro branch libraries and community centers throughout Davidson County."

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The Weekly Standard examines Common Core

I knew about Tennessee's Race to the Top education reform effort before I knew it was part of the implementation of Common Core. As a close observer of current events I have known that education has being reformed as long as I can remember. I remember Governor Alexander's reform effort called "Teacher's Career latter" or something like that, that encouraged teachers to go back to school and get more education. I remember when phonics was dropped and the prevailing wisdom was that students should learn to read before they learned the alphabet. I remember an experiment with open class rooms where students from different grades and classrooms were in one very big room without walls dividing the class rooms. I thought that was one of the dumbest ideas of which I ever heard. And, of course, we all know about George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind." Despite constant education reform, American education has continued to decline. While at one time America was near the top as one of the countries with the most educated population, our educational ranking in the world has continued to drop. 

When Common Core came alone I was all on board early.  Maybe it is because of my own experience as a child. In my first five years of school, I was in five different schools.  On my first day of school in the fourth grade, the teacher handed out a math work sheet.  This is easy, I thought. I completed it but did not know that it was multiplication instead of addition.  In this south Knoxville school, they had learned multiplication in the third grade; in the school I had attended in the third grade we had not been exposed to multiplication. It was a humiliating and a scary experience for a nine year old boy.

We are a very mobile society.  It seems to make sense to me that their should be some standard that says, in this grade you should learn this. Also, the standard should be high so that America's place in the world does not continue to slip. We need an educated work force. Our standards are too low and many do not graduate ready for a career or college. Common Core seem to me to beef up the standards and requires a uniform minimum standard so that a student in Alabama is learning pretty much the same thing that a child in Massachusetts is leaning in a specific grade.  The standards also require critical thinking.  I also liked that the standard was voluntary and that it originated with the states and not the federal government.

When the political campaign against Common Core started, at first it seemed that it was being led by the populist conspiracy-theory-prone right wing fringe and I did not take the criticism seriously.  After the Heritage Foundation and other more mainstream conservative groups began campaigning against Common Core however, I took a second look.  I have read the criticisms bit still do not find a legitimate reason to oppose common core. So much of the criticism of Common Core appears misplaced. An inappropriate reading selection or a teaching method is discovered and opponents of Common Core point to that and offer it as an example of what is wrong with Common Core. Often it has nothing to do with Common Core.

The populist right united with teachers unions appear to be gaining ground in defeating Common Core and Tennessee seems to be on the verge of abandoning Common Core as have several other states.  While most on the populist right are waging the war on Common Core, the mainstream conservatives are, for the most part, acquiescing, and not defending it.

I was pleased to find this article by Andrew Ferguson who is a senior editor at the Weakly Standard that defends Common Core and explains the battle against it.  The Weekly Standard is a major conservative publication. Below are excerpts. I encourage you to follow the link and read the full article.

The Common Core Commotion 

Most of the criticism of the Standards has come from the populist right, and the revolt of conservative parents against the pet project of a national educationist elite is genuine, spontaneous, and probably inevitable. But if you move beyond the clouds of jargon, and the compulsory gestures toward “critical thinking” and “metacognitive skills,” you will begin to spy something more interesting. There’s much in the Standards to reassure an educational traditionalist—a vein of subversion. At several points, Common Core is clearly intended as a stay against the runaway enthusiasms of educationist dogma.

The Standards insist schools’ (unspecified) curriculums be “content-rich”—meaning that they should teach something rather than nothing. They even go so far as to require students to read Shakespeare, the Preamble and First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and works of Greek mythology. Phonics is the chief means of teaching reading in Common Core, rejecting the notorious “whole language” method first taken up in the 1970s and—research shows!—a likely culprit in the decline in reading scores. The Standards discourage the use of calculators, particularly in early grades where it has become a popular substitute for acquiring basic math. The Standards require memorization of multiplication tables as an important step in learning arithmetic, striking a blow against “fuzzy math.” Faddish notions like “visual literacy” are nowhere to be found.

Perhaps most impressively, at least in language arts, the Standards require students to read and write ever larger amounts of nonfiction as they move toward their high school diploma. Anyone familiar with the soupy “young adult” novels fed to middle- and high-school students should be delighted. Writing assignments, in tandem with more rigorous reading, move away from mere self-expression—commonly the focus of writing all the way through high school—to the accumulation of evidence and detail in the service of arguments. The architect of the Language Arts Standards, an educationist called David Coleman, explained this shift in a speech in 2011. He lamented that the most common form of writing in high school these days is “personal writing.”

......The populist campaign against the Standards has been scattershot: Sometimes they are criticized for being unrealistically demanding, at other times for being too soft. Even Common Core’s insistence on making the Constitution part of any sound curriculum has been attacked as insidious. Recall that students will be required to read only the Preamble and the First Amendment. That is, they will stop reading before they reach the Second Amendment and the guarantee of gun rights.

Coincidence? Many activists think not.

The conservative case, as seen in videos and blogs posted on countless websites, relies heavily on misinformation—tall tales and urban legends advanced by people who should know better. Revulsion at the educationist project predates Common Core by many decades. It is grounded in countless genuine examples of faddish textbooks and politicized curriculums. For the last few years, however, Common Core has been blamed for all of them. Textbook marketers and lesson-plan designers are happy to help. Their market, after all, isn’t parents but fellow educationists on state and local school boards that control purchasing budgets. Once Common Core was established as the future (for now) of education, the marketers knew the phrase was catnip. Every educational product imaginable now bears the label “common core,” whether it’s inspired by the Standards or not. A search of books for sale on Amazon.com shows more than 12,000 bearing the words “common core” in their titles. Many were produced long before the Standards were even a twinkle in an educationist’s eye.

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Davidson County Young Republicans meet Tuesday Nov. 25th.


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Reps. Diane Black and Ted Poe and Respond to President's Amnesty Plan, Introduce the Separation of Powers Act

Rep. Diane Black
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Diane Black (TN-06) and Congressman  Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced the Separation of Powers Act.  This legislation would prohibit the use of funds for granting deferred action or other immigration relief to aliens not lawfully present in the United States.

“President Obama will regret this decision,” said Congressman Black. “The American public has loudly voiced their objections to the President circumventing Congress like this, and now President Obama has ignored the will of the people and set a terrible precedent for future Administrations. In doing so he has also reversed his own previous position on the limits of his power, further degrading his credibility and disgracing his Administration. My colleagues and I will explore our options to stop this overreach and restore the proper Constitutional balance to our government – this legislation is an important start.”

“Time and again this lawless administration has defied Congress in order to unilaterally implement its own agenda,” said Rep. Poe. “The President’s latest edict announcing that he will disregard immigration law, rewrite the rules and grant amnesty and work permits to millions of foreign nationals is just the latest illegal act. These actions are motivated by politics, not people. This legislation will allow Congress to exercise its 'check' on an out-of-control White House that treats the Constitution as a mere suggestion, not the law of the land.”

The Separation of Powers Act:
1.      Prohibits any funds from being appropriated or otherwise made available to grant parole or deferred action to any alien other than for reasons permitted under current law; and
2.      Prohibits any funds from being appropriated or otherwise made available to provide work permits or green cards to aliens who are currently unlawfully in the U.S.

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Congratulations Councilman Ludye Wallace on your election as President of the Nashville NAACP. Keep Ludye on Duty!

From left to right: VP Brenda Gilmore, President Ludye Wallace,
secretary Sheryl Allen.  Vernon Winfrey with Rev Enoch  Fuzz
Former Councilman Ludye Wallace was elected President of the Nashville NAACP this week. 

When I served in the Metro Council in the 1980's, I served with Ludye Wallace. While I occasionally disagreed with Ludye on issues of preferential treatment for minority contractors and such, those type issue actually seldom arose. Ludye was one of the best Council members with whom I served. He was often an opponent of higher taxes and cronyism.  While an advocate for the Black community, Ludye was not a firebrand. He was reasonable, and if you disagreed with him and could not support him on an issue, he never took it personally and you might be allies on the next issue.  Councilman Wallace was a master at parliamentary procedure and I learned a lot from him.  Use of parliamentary procedure is often like playing chess and Wallace knew how to do it. Ludye Wallace was also one of my best friends on the Council and when I was going through some personal stuff, he was very supportive and encouraging.

Congratulations Councilman Ludye Wallace on your election as President of the Nashville NAACP.  Keep Ludye on Duty!

Officers of the local charters of the NAACP serve without pay. Other elected member of the Nashville NAACP include Brenda Gilmore who serves both in the Metro Council and as a member of the State Legislature, Secretary Sheryl Allen,  and Vernon Winfrey with whom I also served in the Metro Council and who is the father of Oprah Winfrey.

Pictured in the photo with the new board members of the NAACP is Reverent Enoch Fuss pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist a large and influential African-American church here in Nashville.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Legislators request Haslam to file lawsuit against Obama's illegal amnesty

State Rep. Andy Holt, (R- Dresden)
State Sen. Mae Beavers,  (R- Mt. Juliet)
Press Release, NASHVILLE,  November 21, 2014-- On Friday, in response to President Obama's plan to take executive action on illegal immigration reform, two Tennessee legislators are filing a Joint Resolution requesting Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) file a lawsuit against the Obama Administration on behalf of the state.

"Article II of the United States Constitution is explicitly clear on the powers vested within the Executive Branch. President Obama lacks the authority to execute even the slightest change in policy. The Constitution delegates President Obama the power to make suggestions concerning policy and nothing more," said State Representative Andy Holt (R- Dresden) Thursday night after President Obama delivered a prime-time speech announcing his plan of action. "Anything beyond making suggestions is an illegal usurpation of undelegated power, and we simply cannot allow it to go unchecked."

The two legislators are citing the commandeering of state resources, which would be required to execute the President's Executive Order, and the lack of enforcement of deportation statutes as warrant for legal recourse.

"President Obama's moves are a dangerous and insidious display of blatant abuse of power. Tennesseans will not stand for it, and I am here to demand the integrity of our Constitution and our state is protected," said State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet). "As state legislators, we have a constitutional responsibility to ensure our state is not illegally commandeered by the federal government."

Holt and Beavers cite 180 years of Supreme Court precedent protecting state governments from the federal commandeering of resources.

"Illegally assigning millions of illegal immigrants what equates to pseudo de jure citizenship will cost Tennessee incalculable tax-payer dollars," said Beavers. "Not even Congress has the power place this undue burden on Tennessee tax-payers, so it's unclear why President Obama, acting alone, believes he has the authority to do so. Let me be clear-- he doesn't."

"The United States Supreme Court has been very clear concerning the commandeering of state resources by means of federal legislation and initiatives through coercion," said Holt. "For more than 180 years the Court has explicitly repudiated such acts of commandeering in Prigg v. Pennsylvania, New York v. United States, Printz v. United States, and most recently in NFIB v. Sebelius."

Both legislators believe the need for reform exists, but that it must be delivered by legal means.

"Our immigration system is wrecked, and I doubt anyone denies that. However, we are a nation of laws, not men, and we must work together to resolve these issues while maintaining the integrity of our Republic," said Holt.

Holt will draft and sponsor the House Resolution, and Beavers will carry it in the Senate.


                           

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Don't compare Reagan and Bush executive action on immigration to the dictatorial actions of President Obama. There is a major difference.

Your liberal friends or family may post to Facebook a graphic like this one, such as my liberal sister-in-law did, that says Obama's Executive Order on amnesty is no different than the executive amnesty granted by Reagan or Bush.  This is going to be the primary line of defense to charges that Obama was acting more like a King than a president. I expect to hear this repeated often.

Don't believe it.  Obama's amnesty really was unprecedented and unconstitutional.  Obama's amnesty was going against the will of the Congress.  Reagan and Bush's executive orders on immigration were to fulfill the desire of Congress. They made administrative corrections designed to carry out congressional intent. For a more detailed examination of the differences between executive action of Reagan and Bush on immigration and the dictatorial actions of President Obama, read this article: Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty Really Will Be Unprecedented—and Unconstitutional.

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Tennessee Lawmakers respond to Obama's Executive Order on Amnesty.

Lamar Alexander
Senator Lamar Alexander:    Our founders did not want a king, and the American people don't want a president who acts like one. Our immigration system is broken, and our border is a mess. The president should be working with Congress to secure the border and create a system of legal immigration not disregarding the rule of law and the will of the American people.


Bob Corker
Senator Bob Corker:     The president is not acting in strength, he is acting in weakness.
This decision makes it clear that the president doesn't have the ability and willingness to lead by rolling up his sleeves and doing the hard work to reach a consensus that is in the best interest of our country.
The president is blatantly ignoring the rule of law and Congress' constitutional role, and I could not be more disappointed. Congress has to respond, but the response should be prudent and we should not lose sight of the fact that our job over the next two years is to enact policies that will make our nation stronger.

Jim Cooper
Rep. Jim Cooper, 5th District Democrat: President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do if Congress did not act. Comprehensive immigration reform already cleared the Senate with 14 Republicans, including both of Tennessee's senators. Speaker Boehner should allow the House to vote on the bill. There's still time before the end of the year.


Rep. Marsha Blackburn, 7th District Republican:  After months of
Marsha Blackburn
crafting comprehensive immigration reform behind closed doors and delaying it to shield Democrats up for re-election, the self-proclaimed most transparent administration in history is finally announcing the scope of its lawless amnesty. The president's decision to nullify the immigration laws of this country through executive action will hurt our economy, lead to more unemployed American citizens and make us less secure. It signals that America is an "open borders" society with no rules governing entrance except those announced through royal decree.

Diane Black
Rep. Diane Black, 6th District Republican:  Once again, President Obama is prioritizing election-year politics and illegal immigrants ahead of the rule of law and the American people.  His policy change amounts to back-door amnesty that will be funded on the backs of hard-working, law-abiding Americans. When unemployment remains above 8 percent, for some reason the President thinks it's a good idea to add hundreds of thousands of new people to the job market to compete with Americans for jobs. That's insulting to the millions of unemployed Americans. I have sent a letter to the President calling on him to reverse his decision. As long as the decision stands, I will pursue all means necessary whether that’s through legislation or the court system to fight this outrageous power-grab by the President.

John Duncan
Rep. John Duncan, 2nd District Republican: There is a right way to do things, and there is a wrong way to do things. This is the wrong way. President Obama has said on several occasions in the past that executive orders are the wrong way to fix immigration and that he isn't a king, but now this is exactly what he is trying to do.
With unemployment and underemployment rates still high and so many millions of people who have given up looking for work, it is not a good move to bring in millions more people from other countries.
Rest assured, there will be a strong and coordinated response from the Congress to stop this unconstitutional overreach of power.

Scott DesJarlais
 Rep. Scott DesJarlais, 4th District Republican:  President Obama's decision to act unilaterally on immigration shows a blatant disregard for the constitutional checks and balances upon which our government was founded and sets a troubling precedent for the use of executive power. Congress has the sole authority to create and amend laws, with the president's duty being to faithfully execute those laws. Although he might wish otherwise, the Constitution does not give President Obama the authority to circumvent Congress simply because existing immigration laws conflict with his particular ideology. My colleagues and I will be reviewing all available options afforded to Congress to prevent this usurpation of power and preserve our rule of law.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Governor Bill Haslam Elected Chairman of the Republican Governors Association

TNGOP Chairman: Because of Haslam's success, he's a "natural choice for this position."

NASHVILLE, Tenn, Press Release --The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is known as one of the most successful political organizations in the country. It will now be led by a Tennessean who is also known for his political success.

Governor Bill Haslam today was chosen by his peers to be the new Chairman of the RGA, succeeding the outgoing chairman Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney remarked, "I congratulate Governor Haslam for being elected the new Chairman of the RGA. With his leadership skills, fundraising prowess, and track record of success, he's a natural choice for this position. It's proof that on a national scale, more and more people are taking note of what he's doing in Tennessee."

The RGA's primary mission is to help elect Republicans to governorships throughout the nation, but the group is also dedicated to providing Republican governors with the resources to help them govern effectively.
Background 

  • With his re-election, Gov. Haslam set the Tennessee record for percentage of the vote for a governor’s re-election in modern Tennessee history (70.3%). 
  • Additionally, Haslam won by the greatest margin of victory of any governor in the country (47.5%). 
  • With the RGA's leadership, the Republican Party will now have 31 governors leading states across the country.

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What happened at the Nov 18th Counicil meeting? The limit-pawnshops-meeting. (Updated)

Councilman Peter Westerholm's memorializing resolution endorsing President Obama's plan to force coal-fired power plants to close was pulled off of the consent agenda and deferred. Westerholm failed to appear before  the Rules Committee so the vote was deferred "by rule." The plan to force Pedal Pubs to get a certificate of necessity was deferred one meeting.

Council meetings are not quite as boring if you know what the Council is voting on. To get your on copy of the agenda, the staff analysis and my commentary, follow this link. I normally notate the timestamps of the portions of the meeting worth watching, but there is nothing noteworthy worth watching in this meeting.



Here is the items worth mentioning:

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1269 extends the term of the Study and Formulating Committee to March 31st, 2015. Every five years the mayor has to appoint such a committee to study and make recommendations on employee benefits. The work of the committee is not finished and the staff analysis says this extension is needed. Without an extension the work of the committee will have to be completed by November 19, 2014. This resolution was deferred last meeting. Any recommendation of the Study and Formulating Committee would have to come back before the Council.  Any recommendation would not change benefits of current employees but only future employees. I wish the employee retirement plan would be changed to a Metro defined contribution plan rather than a defined benefit plan, but I don't think that will happen anytime soon. Most private sector plans, if there is any retirement plan, is a defined contribution plan rather than defined benefit. A defined contribution plan is less risky to the employer. A defined contribution plan specifies the employer make contributions on a regular basis and within a set range of options, the employee decides how his contributions will be invested. A defined benefit plan specifies how much retirement income the retiree will receive. This resolution to extend the term of the committee fails by a vote of 16 aye's and 17 no's.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1289  is the bill to offer incentives to Bridgestone to get them to stay in Nashville.  Actually, if I were in the Council, I would vote for this but I wish that was not the way business was done, but if we don't bribe them to stay, some other city will pay them to relocate so we have to play the game. They will bring 1700 jobs to downtown and build a new 30-story tower in SoBro. They already have about 1100 employees in Nashville but the lease on their location near the airport is expiring and they were looking at relocating.  The metro incentive is about $50 million, mostly in a exemption on paying taxes for some years on the new building they will build downtown. In addition to the Metro incentive the State is also offering an incentive. You can read The Tennessean's story about this deal at this link. It is deferred one meeting to "track" with the bill on first reading which addresses the same issue.

Three bills on First Reading sponsored by Councilman Westerholm are pulled from consideration as  bundled with all other bills on First reading and he them moves to have them passed and deferred to the public hearing in February.  As I had it explained to me, Westerholm had put bills on the agenda to rezone property and the owners of the property did not request the rezoning. They were not even aware of the rezoning proposal before they were introduced. This is almost unheard of. Councilman Robert Duvall explains this and speaks against the bills and says they should be defeated. Council member Megan Barry speaks against defeating of the bills. The bills do pass on first reading. I heard several "no's".  I wish the "no's" would have requested a machine vote. If Westerholm would like to explain how this happened, I would be pleased to post his explanation.

BILL NO. BL2014-925 on second reading would regulate pedicabs and pedal pubs. Pedicabs are the three wheeled non-motorized vehicles that travel in the 2nd Ave and lower Broad area. Pedal pubs are those traveling taverns powered by the customers, about eight on each side. These regulations would require a certain amount of insurance and certain safety requirements. I am OK with that. What I don't like is that Metro would allow them only after they prove a necessity for the vehicles.  Metro can say "we have enough" and not allow new providers to get in the market. I don't think any business should have to show a need to enter the market.  Let whoever wants to try to make a go at it, have a shot. No one should be protected from failure or competition.  What if one had to show a need before one could open a new restaurant? We would not have the great restaurants we have today, but we would have some really mediocre restaurants. There is probably never a "need" for a pedal pub.  One pedal pub may succeed because of the type of beer they sale or the price of the beer or the bartender tells good jokes or the barmaid is cute and shows cleavage. Let them compete and let the market determine which ones survive.   If I were in the Council, I would vote against this bill.   The bills is deferred one meeting. As I had it explained to me, it would not be lawful to require a certificate of necessity for Pedal Pubs.

BILL NO. BL2014-926 on second reading subsidizes the cost of a rain barrel purchased form a company Metro will contract with to provide them. The justification for this program is that it will help with storm water management.  It sounds like a waste of money to me. I would have voted against it. It passes.

BILL NO. BL2014-896 on third reading rezones 238 acres in east Nashville to allow accessory dwelling units on properties in the rezoned area. I think rezoning like this is a positive development, we need to promote affordable housing but not use the heavy hand of government to mandate it. Accessory dwelling units on a lot can provide more affordable units of housing and increase density which is necessary to have successful mass transit and it combats urban sprawl. This is deferred two meetings.

BILL NO. BL2014-902 on third reading is a zoning bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and there is some discussion of the bill but it really doesn't interest me very much. The contentious issue is the bill allows an LED sign. It passes. I would have been persuaded to vote for it if I were in the Council. If anyone is interested, see the timestamp at about 46:00.

BILL NO. BL2014-908  imposes proximity limits on what are often called predatory lenders, places like check cashing businesses, title loan businesses and payday lenders and pawn shops. These  businesses, except for pawn shops, could not be located within 1/4 a mile of each other and pawnshops could not be located within 1/4 mile of another pawn shop. I think this is a misguided effort and if I were in the council, I would have opposed it. To see my commentary on this, follow this link. When the bill was on public hearing, I was surprised that no one showed up in opposition.  Those in support did not speak and there was no discussion and the bill passed unanimously by voice vote.  I oppose this bill but it passes and there is little discussion.

Here is the Tennessean's report on the meeting: Limits on way for Nashville pawnshops, payday loan stores.
Here is the Nashville Business Journal's report: Bridgestone incentives clear first council hurdle.
This is the WSMV report: Ride-sharing regulations pass first Metro Council reading.

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Diane Ravitch Cheered By Anti Education Reform Crowd In Nashville

In case you missed it, Diane Ravitch Cheered By Anti Education Reform Crowd In Nashville.     There is a certain element that does not want tough standards or excellence in education. They would prefer the one-size-fits-all model of education.  They think that what we have is good enough.  If if means bad teachers never get fired and many students never get educated, they would prefer that to meaningful reform.

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Obama's Already Made the Legal Case Against Executive Amnesty



President Obama clearly know he does not have the authority to do what he is about to do.  Time and time again he said he did not have the authority to do it, but he is doing it anyway. He said he can't do it because he is not an "Emperor. "  He is willfully trampling the constitution and he damn well knows it. This is not a matter of dual interpretation of vague provisions of the law; he is willfully and intentionally exercising authority he does not have.

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Corker Hits Expected Obama Executive Order On Immigration

“He’s incredibly weak, and candidly, he is doing these things because he doesn’t have the ability to lead and is not willing to put the effort out to do the work to actually cause things to pass in  Congress.”


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Nashville Business Journal: How Lamar Alexander would fix Obamacare

By Eleanor Kennedy -When Republicans officially take control of the Senate at the start of 2015, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) will land the role of chairman on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor &Pensions. Since Alexander hails from a state where health care is, in many ways, king, I chatted with the senator Wednesday morning to get a sense of what he'd like to see happen to the Affordable Care Act under a Republican-controlled Congress.

"Obviously we would prefer to repeal and replace this. And there will probably be a vote and I will vote for it," Alexander said. He added, though, that it's very unlikely Barack Obama would sign a law repealing the signature health reform bill that colloquially bears his name. Even if a repeal effort fails, "the responsible thing is for Republicans to look past it," Alexander continued, and find ways to "repair the damage done."

"Fundamentally," he said, "we want to give Americans more choices and lower costs for their health insurance." Alexander provided examples of piecemeal steps the Republican Congress could take that would, in his view, improve Obamacare's provisions. Those include strengthening health savings accounts, allowing small businesses to band together to offer coverage, improving access to plans across state lines and allowing for major medical health plan options — all provisions that have been proposed by Senate Republicans.

Alexander himself is the lead Senate sponsor of a bill that would free employers to incentivize healthy lifestyle choices like quitting smoking or losing weight. Alexander said he also supports multiple bills that call for the repeal of the medical device tax, which he said "adds to the cost of health care and is driving companies out of Tennessee," especially Memphis, where medical device companies are common. But here in Nashville, hospital companies are the dominant player, and I asked Alexander how his goals are informed by those companies' experience. HCA Holdings, LifePoint Hospitals and Community Health Systems have reported early benefits to their bottom lines from the increased number of patients with insurance coverage, either via the online marketplace or Medicaid expansion in states that chose to expand the program.

 Alexander acknowledged hospitals have budgeted for a larger number of covered lives, and said the best way to continue to reap those benefits "would be for the Obama administration to be flexible enough to allow Gov. [Bill] Haslam to develop an expansion of ...TennCare that the [state] Legislature would approve."

"As a former governor, I understand Gov. Haslam's caution" not to implement an expansion program that would "bust the budget," Alexander said, noting that TennCare represents more than triple the percentage of the state's budget than it did when he was governor in the 80s. The senator said he has encouraged HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell to be as as flexible as possible to make Medicaid expansion in Tennessee a reality.

Outside of reform, Alexander said his biggest health-related priority as chairman of the health and education committee will be to restructure and reform the Food and Drug Administration to make it more responsive to modern times. For example," Alexander said, "in the current ebola crisis, if there's a vaccine or a treatment or a rapid-response diagnosis test that's promising, we need to make it easy for those new ideas to make their way through the FDA process as rapidly as possible and still be safe."

This article was reposted from Lamar Alexander's website

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rep. Rick Womick disavows and condemns attacks on Speaker Beth Harwell

RICK WOMICK STATE REPRESENTATIVE 34TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICK PRESS STATEMENT - There are several emails that have been showing up in legislative and personal email boxes that are attacking Speaker Harwell, her staff, and other legislators on a personal level, ultimately targeting the character and personalities of all involved. While I appreciate the efforts of undisclosed supporters across the state, I am not responsible, do not condone, and do not support these, or any future emails, that degrade, attack, or misrepresent the character of any individual associated with the Tennessee House of Representatives.

My bid for speaker is based on a fundamental disagreement in leadership style and a lack of accountability to the members of the Republican caucus. My challenge to Speaker Harwell is not of a personal nature and I will not allow it to degrade into a campaign centered around character assassination.

As I stated in an earlier press release, serving as Speaker of the House is a very serious matter and an extremely important position in our state's government. Such a position of leadership should not be treated as an inconsequential popularity contest for class president.  Instead it should be fully vetted before anyone is allowed to assume the office.

Over the next two weeks, I will be addressing the serious issues and misgivings that confront the current House leadership, as well as, revealing the truth, the facts, and the evidence as it pertains to their tenure. In return, I will offer the option of new leadership, with new direction, fresh ideas, accountability to its members, and a House that truly belongs to the legislators and the people they represent.

I will continue to be professional and respectful as I begin to detail the serious grievances and improprieties that confront the Republican caucus during this election for speaker-select. I have encouraged my fellow legislators not to be persuaded by disparaging attacks or hurtful innuendos that are beyond our control. It is my desire that we stay focused, get beyond personality differences, and address the most important aspect of our election, which is the constitutional governance entrusted to us by the people of Tennessee. (end of press release)
To read more about this issue, follow this link: Email urging Speaker Harwell's ouster casts her as puppet.

Here is an except from the story: 
The latest email featured House Clerk Joe McCord as a puppet master, pulling the strings of Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent and Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson from one hand and House Speaker Beth Harwell and former Republican Caucus Leader-turned education lobbyist Debra Maggart on the other.
“It is time to cut ties,” the image says in bold, capital letters. “Vote Rick Womick for speaker. No one will pull his strings.”

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's on the Council Agenda for Nov. 18th? Endorsing Obama's EPA Carbon Emission Rules, Bribing Bridgestone and Regulating Pedal Pubs.

Council meeting are really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on, with an agenda  and council staff analysis the meetings are not quite as boring. Follow the highlighted links for you copy.  

The big item on this agenda is a move by Westerholm to put the Metro Council on record endorsing President Obama's controversial job-killing EPA Carbon Emission Rules which will raise electricity rates, $50 million is subsidy to Bridestone to stay in Nashville and expand, and new regulation of Pedal pubs and Pedicabs.  Here is the agenda summary.

There are five appointments to Boards and Commission on the agenda, and they will all be approved without question or dissent as is always the case.

There are two resolutions on public hearing, both for restaurants that already have a liquor license but not a beer license. They are within the Metro beer code prohibited distance limit of a home or other type facility such as park, school or church.  It seems silly to me that one can sell tequila  but not beer in a restaurant.  I think the metro code should be changed so that any restaurant that has a liquor permit, automatically has the beer code distance requirements waived but that is not the case.

There are ten resolutions on the agenda, all on the consent agenda at this time.  A bill is placed on consent if it is assumed to be non-controversial and stays on consent it it passes the committee to which it was assigned unanimously. However, on the floor, any Councilman may ask to have a bill moved off of consent and considered separately or may ask to have himself recorded as abstaining or voting "no."  Here are the resolutions of interest:

  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1269 extends the term of the Study and Formulating Committee for a year. It is slated to expire on March 1, 2015. Every five years the mayor has to appoint such a committee to study and make recommendations on employee benefits. The work of the committee is not finished and the staff analysis says this extension is needed. This resolution was deferred last time, why I don't know.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1289  is the bill to offer incentives (bribe) to Bridgestone to get them to stay in Nashville.  Actually, if I were in the Council, I would vote for this but I wish that was not the way business was done, but if we don't bribe them to stay, some other city will pay them to relocate so we have to play the game. They will bring 1700 jobs to downtown and build a new 30-story tower in SoBro. They already have about 1100 employees in Nashville but the lease on their location near the airport is expiring and they were looking at relocating.  The metro incentive is about $50 million, mostly in a exemption on paying taxes for some years on the new building they will build downtown. In addition to the Metro incentive the State is also offering an incentive. You can read The Tennessean's story about this deal at this link
Please note that Westerholm's pro Obama EPA bill may slip though on the consent agenda, if no one opposes it. Memorializing resolutions get added to the Consent agenda if they pass the committee to which they are assigned unanimously. Memorizing resolutions only go to the Rules committee.

There are fifteen bills on First Reading but I usually don't pay much attention to them until Second Reading. First Reading is a formality that allows a bill to be considered and it is bad manners to vote against a bill of First reading unless it is really atrocious. Here are some to watch however:  
  • BILL NO. BL2014-951  regulates short-term vacation rentals in homes
  • BILL NO. BL2014-952 regulates non-taxi livery services such as Uber and Lyft.  Someone in the industry tells me these regulations are reasonable and do not include price-fixing. 
  • BILL NO. BL2014-953 is part of the Bridgestone deal and approves the 20-year tax abatement.
 There are nine bills on Second Reading. These are the ones one of interest:
  • BILL NO. BL2014-925 would regulate pedicabs and pedal pubs. Pedicabs are the three wheeled non-motorized vehicles that travel in the 2nd Ave and lower Broad area. Pedal pubs are those traveling taverns powered by the customers, about eight on each side. These regulations would require a certain amount of insurance and certain safety requirements. I am OK with that. What I don't like is that Metro would allow them only after they prove a necessity for the vehicles.  Metro can say "we have enough" and not allow new providers to get in the market. I don't think any business should have to show a need to enter the market.  Let whoever wants to try to make a go at it, have a shot. No one should be protected from failure or competition.  What if one had to show a need before one could open a new restaurant? We would not have the great restaurant we have today, but we would have some really mediocre restaurants. There is probably never a "need" for a pedal pub.  One pedal pub may succeed because of the type of beer they sale or the price of the beer or the bartender tells good jokes or the barmaid is cute and shows cleavage. Let them compete and let the market determine which ones survive.   If I were in the Council, I would vote against this bill.   
  • BILL NO. BL2014-926 will subsidize the cost of a rain barrel purchased form a company Metro will contract with to provide them. The justification for this program is that it will help with storm water management.  It sounds like a waste of money to me.
There are 16 bills on third Reading, most of them are zoning bills which would interest no one but the near by neighbors. Here are the ones of interest: 
  • BILL NO. BL2014-896 rezones 238 acres in east Nashville to allow accessory dwelling units on properties in the rezoned area. I think rezoning like this is a positive development, we need to promote affordable housing but not use the heavy hand of government to mandate it. Accessory dwelling units on a lot can provide more affordable units of housing and increase density which is necessary to have successful mass transit and it combats urban sprawl. 
  • BILL NO. BL2014-908  imposes proximity limits on what are often called predatory lenders, places like check cashing businesses, title loan businesses and and payday lenders and pawn shops. These  businesses, except for pawn shops, could not be located within 1/4 a mile of each other and pawnshops could not be located within 1/4 mile of another pawn shop. I think this is a misguided effort and if I were in the council, I would have opposed it. To see my commentary on this, follow this link. When the bill was on public hearing, I was surprised that no one showed up in opposition.  Those in support did not speak and there was no discussion and the bill passed unanimously by voice vote.  I oppose this bill.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-922 would prohibit the throwing of free newspapers or advertising into the yard or on the right of way by classifying it as litter.  This bill is hardly worth the effort because the biggest offender, The Tennessean, will be exempt from its application because regulating these free throws, if they contain any news, would be considered an infringement on the freedom of the press.

There are three Memorizing Resolutions on the agenda. A memorializing resolution is an expression of the will of the council and has no legal impact. The first two are not important. Here is the one of interest:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1300 expresses support for President Obama’s "Clean Power Plan" to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. I do not think the Council should be opining on matters like this.  The Council has enough to do to solve local issue. Let Congress deal with nations issues. If members of the Council want to opine on national issues, let them blog.  If we are going to consider matters like this, then I think the handful of Republicans on the Council should sponsor a memorizing resolution urging the president do follow the constitution and a resolution urging the President to not use an executive order to grant amnesty to five million illegal immigrants. Each council meeting could be devoted to memorialize the Congress on national issues. 

The new Congress plans to go after these new rules and overturn them. It is a certainty that the new rules will cause higher electric bills and they will most likely slow the recovery.  This is not a simple matter where all of the positives are on one side. The Council should vote against this.  There are about eight members of the Council who are identified as Republicans. They should vote against this. The Republicans on the Council have in the past voted for memorializing resolutions endorsing otherliberal position. These memorializing resolutions do not come out of no where but are part of a national effort to influence the Congress.  Council members who would argue against this resolution don't have to argue that global warming is not real or argue in favor of dirty air, they just need to say that this is not an issue the Council should be debating. To read more about this issue follow this link and A Dangerous Plan - EPA Proposal Perilous for State  and a story form the Tallahassee Democrat Mike Murtha: EPA’s Clean Power Plan would hurt Florida.  

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Nashville gets a "C" rating for being transportation-friendly.

This is not the map. To view the interactive map and scorecard that grades 50 cities on their regulatory openness toward car services click this link: View the Map.   From the map click on a city to learn about the regulatory environment of that city. Out of 50 cities rated for how transportation friendly they are, Nashville ranks 36.  That is not good, but had not Nashville ended their price-fixing in January of this year, we would have probably been in last place. Actually Nashville did not end price-fixing but reduced minimum fares for limousines from $45 to $9 which essentially made it of no impact. Below is what Ridescore had to say about Nashville.

  • Taxi Friendliness D
  • Limo Friendliness B-
  • Transportation Network Friendliness B-
Nashville has a highly regulated vehicle-for-hire market that imposes significant barriers to competition and innovation.
Competition in the Nashville taxi market is restricted by a regulatory limit on the number of entrants, which takes the form of a medallion system. Commodifying the right to do business is far worse than a fleet cap, as it creates a rent-seeking cartel of medallion owners with incentive to influence policymakers and promote regulatory capture.
Limos in Nashville operate relatively freely, but still face common legacy regulations that undermine their ability to innovate and be competitive. While there is a minimum fare in place that we’d like to see removed, it is only $9.
The regulatory environment in Nashville has been accommodating to transportation network companies, although policymakers have not officially legalized their operation.

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Special Joint Meeting of Metro Council Committees to discuss regs for non-taxi livery (Uber, Lyft)

This is the Special Joint Meeting of the Metro Nashville Council Budget & Finance Committee and the Traffic and Parking Committee on November 17, 2014 for the purpose of discussing ORDINANCE NO. BL2014-952. The city of Nashville and the Metro Council have had a very dismal record in regard to alternative forms of transportation. Initially when a innovation appeared in Nashville with a new business model that offered improved service and lower prices, the city did all it could to drive them out of business. Early this year the city reversed itself and made it possible for phone app dispatched ride-share services like Lyft and Uber to operate in Nashville.  I still to not trust the Council to do the right thing however.  Instead of being motivated by any commitment to free markets and capitalism, the council made a pragmatic decision to allow a service the tourism sector needed and wanted.

I hope someone is watching the Council like a hawk.  A friend of mine in the Black Car business, who was previously a victim of the Council's crony capitalism and price-fixing, tells me ORDINANCE NO. BL2014-952 only imposes reasonable regulations and will not drive alternative forms of livery service out of business. I have simply not had time to study this 34 page bill.  I wish someone could give me a one-page synopsis of the bill. I have not yet watched this meeting, but hope to before the day is out. I am posting it so that if anyone has an interest in the topic, either a financial interest as a provider of ride-share service or an advocate of free enterprise, they can be informed and attempt to influence the Council, should the Council again try to do something detrimental to free markets and transportation innovation.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Liberty on the Rocks, Thursday, November 20th

Who: A group of people, numbering anywhere between 8 and 25, who love liberty and who range in age from 18 to 80, and who vary in occupation from students to laborers to attorney's and businessmen, who are generally labeled "right of center" and may call themselves, libertarian, tea party, Republican, conservative, constitutionalists, Objectivist, and maybe an occasional anarcho-capitalist.
What: Liberty on the Rocks which is a get-together that involves eating and drinking and talking and respectfully disagreeing and exchanging of ideas usually about some political topic (but not always) which could be the news of the day, or foreign policy, or the monetary system, or the roll of the family and gay marriage, or legalization of drugs or prostitution, or privacy and the NSA, or the welfare state, or education reform, or criminal justice and prison reform, or the death penalty, or immigration policy, or morality, or just whatever topic one brings up. There is no program.
When: Thursday, November 20th from 5:30 until everyone leaves which usually people start leaving about 9:30, but sometime later but you can come as late or leave as early as you please.  
Where: Mafiaoza's on the patio, 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN.
Why: For the enjoyment of good conversation with like-minded people.

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Gruber, who said lying to the stupid America voters was necessary to pass Obamacare, was paid $5.9 for Health Care consulting

It is now clear that the Affordable care act was written in such a way to deceive the American voter. Jonathan Gruber who was the paid technical adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services and unofficial adviser to congressional Democrats has said so in very clear language. He is caught on video telling an audience at a University of Pennsylvania health care conference last year.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes.  Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever.”

Now, Democrats are saying he was a minor player in developing the ACA and they don't even remember him. For someone who Nancy Pelosie can't remember, saying "I don't know who he is"and "He  didn't write our bill," he sure got paid a lot of money. It is now revealed that he got paid $6.7 million for work on health care consulting since 2000 and most of that was for work connected to the Affordable Care Act. $392,600 was from the Dept of Health and Human Services for his Affordable Care Act consulting. 

Below are a couple of the videos where he candidly explains how deception was used to pass the Affordable Care Act. 

I know President Obama will veto it, but as soon as the new Congress takes office, they should repeal the AFC. After the veto, then they should began amending the hell out of it. 


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Say it Loud; Black, GOP, and Proud

Race hustlers and limousine liberals go ballistic when Blacks start wondering off the liberal plantation. Despite fifty years of Democrat political loyalty and millions of spending by the government to subsidizing poverty, the state of Black America is pretty dismal.  Not many, but some Black Americans are starting to question the wisdom of staying loyal to the Democrat party.  On some issues such as education reform and abortion, some Blacks are realizing they are more aligned with Republicans than Democrats. And some Blacks are beginning to realize that they fare better under free enterprise than hand-outs and quotas.

The Civil Rights establishment and race hustlers do not celebrate achievements by Black Republicans. Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, or Colin Powell are denounced as "tokens" or Uncle Tom's or not authentically Black. This year their were some historic firsts: Mia Love became the first Black female Republican elected to the House, Tim Scott became the first Black Republican from the South elected to the Senate since Reconstruction, and Will Hurd the first Republican Black man from Texas elected to the House since Reconstruction.

In response to these achievements, the Civil Rights establishment and race hustlers have expressed revulsion and contempt rather than celebration. In this article Black Democrat political analyst Juan Williams examines this: Williams: Say it loud: Black, GOP and proud.

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