Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Report from Caffeinated Conservatives: What the at-large candidates had to say.

From Stephen Clement, host of Caffeinated Conservatives:

Hi everybody,

Our coffee talk with 6 candidates went well yesterday, and I wanted to report back what our candidates had to say for themselves. They were given 5 minutes to introduce themselves, and then we went to questions. These summaries are written to the best of my note-taking ability and memory. Please contact the candidates if you have any questions or comments for them.

Also, as I give points to those who choose to take the time to talk to us, I would like to point out that: 
- Don Majors was invited and did not respond 
- Sharon Hurt said she would be out of town on business
- Erin Coleman sent a representative, as driving on Saturday would violate the Sabbath for her. She reportedly contemplated walking from West Nashville, but her representative convinced her to let him just drive over.

What makes them awesome, as they said it:
Ken Jakes - wants to bring small business principles to the way the Council runs the city. Ken has been a government watchdog for years and will use his position to help root out corruption and waste.
John Lasiter - wants to focus on getting the basics right: better roads, sidewalks, transit, drainage, and fiscal management. No shiny new projects on his watch. He stated that he is a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, but that last part essentially has no impact on what the Council does. He loves everybody.
Bob Mendes - originally from Chicago, he built his own law practice, served on the Nashville Electric Service Board, and has drafted legislation for the Council in the past. While on the NES board, he helped outsource their internal auditing process, which found more cost savings opportunities for rate payers.
Phillip Hostettler - started his political career early by winning a string of student offices, once served as a Opryland horse-mounted police officer, and is conservative.
Jason Holleman - has served on the Council in his district since 2007, where he voted against the AMP, against the Convention Center, and sponsored legislation to save the Fairgrounds. He is a lawyer, and he believes that his experience on the Council (particularly in the mainstay of Council work, being zoning and land use) will be invaluable to the incoming class of Council people.
Erin Coleman (her representative Paul Nye) - she is a fiscal conservative, believes in focusing the Council's efforts on things that actually work for everybody instead of nice-to-haves that aren't a real benefit. She served in the US Army as an engineer officer and has deployed to Iraq.

What do they think about the future of transit:
Ken Jakes - we should sync traffic lights to ease congestion, and work with CSX to build our light rail capacity to move people to/from outlying communities likes the Music City Star does.
John Lasiter - thinks the AMP presented the wrong kind of idea and would rather focus on making what we have work better.
Bob Mendes - spoke about a multi-modal approach, including light rail, more bus service, giving everyone a bus pass to get them to try it, and not being afraid to try out ideas so we can see what works. Thinks we need to really push park & ride programs.
Phillip Hostettler - interested in copying the efficient practices of private companies like Uber, Lyft, and Blue Bus (who can take you to Atlanta for $4).
Jason Holleman - wants buses to be equipped with credit card swipers so everyone can use it, like the Music City STAR, and instead of using the $200 million the Mayor wanted for the AMP on building a deluxe line for a small part of town, he'd rather spend that $200 million to upgrade service for the entire county.
Erin Coleman - no statement given.

Are you for reducing the Council size and extending term limits, as in the proposed Charter Amendments?
Ken Jakes - yes on reducing, no on term limits.
John Lasiter - is torn on the issue and doesn't like the way the amendments are written. For instance, reducing the Council size will make each Council person responsible for more people, but the Council does not pay enough to be a full time job.
Bob Mendes - yes on both.
Phillip Hostettler - no on both.
Jason Holleman - yes on both.
Erin Coleman - no statement given.
What do you think about innovative businesses like Uber and Lyft? (this is a litmus test to see how free market a politician is, as the taxi companies and unions tried to get the Council to hamstring any competitors to their monopoly of the professional driver industry)
Ken Jakes - loves it.
John Lasiter - loves it.
Bob Mendes - loves it.
Phillip Hostettler - loves it.
Jason Holleman - likes it, and thinks this opens the issue for discussion on overall regulation of the professional driver industry.
Erin Coleman - loves it.

What do you think about an inclusionary zoning mandate, as currently pushed by the Council?
Ken Jakes - against it, doesn't want the government taking away property rights.
John Lasiter - was shocked to find himself in 100% agreement with Ken Jakes on something. He is fine with incentives, but not mandates.
Bob Mendes - for it, as he helped draft the bill the Council is using, and pointed out that the government puts restrictions on all of our property rights all the time. Pointed out that he wants incentives, not mandates.
Phillip Hostettler - against it.
Jason Holleman - he's for it.
Erin Coleman - torn on the issue.

Are you for or against the proposed local hire Charter Amendment?
Ken Jakes - for it.
John Lasiter - torn on the issue.
Bob Mendes - torn on the issue, as he would like jobs to go to local workers first and not out of towners, but given the restrictions on the Charter Amendment, he thinks its overkill to amend our Charter for an issue that impacts maybe 900 workers.
Phillip Hostettler - for it.
Jason Holleman - torn on the issue.
Erin Coleman - torn on the issue.

Are you for two-term Metro Council members being able to keep Metro health care insurance for life? (this is heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, to the tune of $1 million per year)
Ken Jakes - against it.
John Lasiter - for it.
Bob Mendes - against it.
Phillip Hostettler - against it.
Jason Holleman - against it.
Erin Coleman - against it.

I hope you have found this helpful in picking which At-Large candidates you would like to vote for this election.

Stephen Clements & Terry Torre
Caffeinated Conservatives

Stephen Clements is himself a candidate for Councilman in District 7. 

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