Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mayor Barry's Statement on Homeless Encampment at Fort Negley and my suggestion that they "Occupy."

Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 29, 2015) - Mayor Megan Barry issued the
following statement regarding Metro’s response to homeless encampments in our public parks:
“Use of police force should be a last resort to resolving the situation of an unauthorized camp and as such I don’t anticipate the need for arrests or criminal citations. The key focus of my administration is to find alternative locations for those who are camping at Fort Negley. I’m optimistic that by working with the homelessness commission, the homeless community and advocates, our Metro Parks, and the faith community, we can find a workable solution that realizes the fact that our public parks are not camp grounds, and they can’t be used as such.”

Could the Fort Negley homeless "Occupy?"

My Comment: I don't find fought with this. Use of police force should be the last resort in dealing with these poor unfortunate people.  I wouldn't want the homeless camp near my home, but can't we find some place were they can go and just be left alone?

When Occupy Nashville was camped out on the legislative plaza, they were allowed to stay there for months, until they finally gave up and went away.  They were much more of a nuisance than the homeless camping at Fort Negley. The homeless campers of Fort Negley should say they are engaging in symbolic political speech and they are part of the Occupy movement.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mayor Barry Announces New Positions Within Her Administration

Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 28, 2015) – Mayor Megan Barry has announced key hires in the positions of Law Director, Executive Assistant, Senior Advisor, and Press Secretary within her administration.

Jon Cooper will serve as Metro Law Director. Cooper is currently Director of the Metro Council Office and Special Counsel to the Council. A graduate of Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Jon earned the bachelor of music degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where he was a member of various musical ensembles and the debate team. He worked in the music industry for several years before switching careers and serving as a legal assistant for a private attorney while attending law school prior to accepting a position with the Metropolitan Council Office in 2001. He was appointed by the Metropolitan Council to his current position as Director and Special Counsel in 2008. Cooper is a member of the Nashville Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee County Attorneys Association.

“Jon Cooper was an incredible asset to me when I served on the Metro Council and I am grateful that he has agreed to join me in my administration,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “He has a wealth of knowledge as it relates to State and Metro law, which will help to guide my administration as we seek to implement the policies and programs that will move our city forward.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve Metro Nashville in a new role that will involve implementation of many of the laws I helped to draft during my time assisting the Metro Council,” said Cooper. “I thank Mayor Barry for the opportunity and look forward to representing our Metro Government as Director of Law.”

Also transitioning from the Metro Council Office to the Mayor’s Office will be Elease Waller, who will serve as the Executive Assistant to Mayor Barry. Waller has served for 30 years as a staff assistant to the Metro Council, where she helped members of the 40-member body with administrative, clerical and managerial duties that included constituent services and correspondence.
Claudia Huskey will join the administration as a Senior Advisor, focusing over the next few weeks on helping to implement transition plans that come from the Mayor’s Transition Team chaired by Charles Robert Bone. Huskey served as Campaign Manager for Barry’s mayoral campaign after working as Senior Aide to Former Vice President Al Gore.

Sean Braisted will serve as Press Secretary for Mayor Barry. He will be a member of the communications team which also includes Michael Cass, who will continue to serve in the role of Communications Advisor and Speechwriter for the Mayor. Braisted served as communications director on the Megan Barry for Mayor Campaign. Prior to that, he served as Press Secretary to the House Democratic Caucus under Chairman Mike Turner.

“I wanted to bring the best and brightest into my administration to help with the challenging work we have ahead of ourselves,” said Barry. “I believe these new additions to the talented staff we already have in place will help significantly as we continue to navigate the transition process and implement some of the goals and policy proposals I discussed on the campaign trail.”

Huskey and Waller will begin their new roles starting today, Monday, September 28. Cooper will begin upon being confirmed by the Metro Council, which is scheduled for the October 6 Council meeting. Braisted will officially begin on October 12.

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Long-Awaited Vanderbilt Pre-K Study Finds Benefits Lacking

by Blake Farmer, Sep 28, 2015, Nashville Public Radio - A five-year study conducted on Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K program is leaving researchers scratching their heads.
Vanderbilt Peabody College professors followed a thousand students from pre-K through third grade and compared them to a control group who skipped pre-K. All of the students are considered economically disadvantaged.
Not only did students who missed pre-K catch up within a year or two. But researchers found, on the whole, students who attended pre-K fell behind their peers by the time they finished third grade.
“We’re pretty stunned looking at these data and have a lot of questions about what might be going on in the later grades that doesn’t seem to be maintaining, if not accelerating, the positive gains, professor Mark Lipsey, director of the Peabody Research Institute, said in a statement.
This study was highly anticipated by policy makers. Gov. Bill Haslam has said he was waitingfor the results before deciding whether to expand pre-K in Tennessee.
A previous study done by the TennesseeComptroller found similar results, showing that the benefits of pre-K wear off by third grade, leading some early childhood learning advocates to suggest the study was flawed. LINK

Comment: Please, please if anyone knows Megan Barry, who campaigned on a platform in favor of universal Pre-K, see is she can be persuaded by facts to change her mind.  To expand pre-K services to all 4-year-olds in Nashville would cost around $5 million annually, by Megan Barry's own estimate.

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Tennessee School Boards Association is telling districts to fight records request about what is being taught about Islam.

It is unbelievable but true that the Tennessee School Boards Association is telling districts to fight a records request from a conservative legal group that's trying to get school districts across Tennessee to reveal  what they are teaching middle-schoolers about Islam. 

I am not prepared to claim that the opponents of what is being taught are overzealous, xenophobic, know-nothings or that what is being taught amounts to pro-Islamic indoctrination.  It could be a little of both, but before reaching a conclusion we need to know what in fact is being taught.  Public schools are not the private laboratories of educators who get to mold little minds to their liking with no interference from the public.  Parents, legislators, the press and anyone else should have access to everything taught in the schools.

The American Center for Law & Justice has made an open records request of all Tennessee school districts requesting records and information on what students are learning about Islam and other religions and how students are being taught and what resources teachers are using. That seems like information to which anyone should have access.

The State Legislature should take a strong stand against any district that stonewalls revealing what they are teaching and make it clear that the public has a right to know what is being taught in public schools. Refusing to reveal what is being taught causes me to suspect the schools have something to hide.  For more see links here, here, and here.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mayor Karl Dean and DC panel of politicians, experts agree charter schools ‘work’

CHARTING A COURSE: A panel of politicians and education experts, including Nashville Mayor Karl Dean,  expressed that charter schools play a role in helping improve education in cities around the country.

By Nicholas C. Fondacaro, Watchdog Arena, Sept. 22, 2015 -  On Tuesday, Politico Magazine held its latest installment of its “What Works” series on what state and local governments could do to improve their education systems. According to a panel of politicians and education experts who gathered in Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, there is no question that charter schools are what work.

“Speaking for Nashville, I certainly thought that charter schools needed to be part of the mix,” said Mayor Karl Dean (D), of his city [far left in the image]. “They can change the atmosphere, they can actually change the lives of individuals by giving them a real chance.”

Dean believes in charter schools because he had done his homework. He traveled to cities and saw that the cities with thriving education systems were ones that allowed charters to flourish. He also said that charters could provide a chance for Nashville to improve in education. A better education system would allow for Nashville to have a “plus facture” for families and businesses looking to relocate. (read more)

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The Tennessee World Affairs Council, China Town Hall, Monday, October 5, 2015

The Tennessee World Affairs Council invites you to a public affairs event, CHINA Town Hall, Monday, October 5, 2015, 5pm. CHINA Town Hall is a national day of programming on China involving about 75 cities throughout the United States. For more information follow this link.

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1st Tuesday guest speaker is Marsha Blackburn, Monday, Oct. 5th

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members, friends and guests. 

Marsha Blackburn

YES......she's back !!!

Congressman Marsha Blackburn is flying home after appearing on Sunday's CNN broadcast of "State of the Union" to speak to 1ST TUESDAY on MONDAY, Oct 5th !
1] Boehner resigns -- can McCarthy become Speaker after his terrible gaffe? If not, WHO ?
2] Boehner's leaving affects? will Committee assignments change for TN Congressmen ?
3] The Pope's visit
4] The Budget ....with Republican majorities in both Chambers, why are we still using CRs ?
5] What is the House's special committee investigating Planned Parenthood going to do ?
6] What is coming regarding Putin? Benghazi? Hillary's emails? and more ?

TALK about a "power lunch"! Who knows what else will break by Monday? 

Marsha is literally in the middle of everything. Come get a behind the scenes insights on what has been making the news... and what more is coming next !

Yes...its on MONDAY ! 

But even with Congress in session ...Marsha is coming to see us on MONDAY. If .... Marsha can make it on Monday... Can YOU make it on Monday as well ? As "usual" we will meet at Waller Law - 511 Union St -27th floor. Doors open at 11:00. Lunch begins at 11:30 and is $20/Members and $25/Guests with Marsha starting shortly after Noon. What will be a dizzying Q&A session wraps at 1:00PM. Secure your seats at the 1ST TUESDAY website at - then click on "Join Us"

Remember: its $5 parking under the building if you tell Billy you've been to 1ST TUESDAY.

Pass the word ! Call your friends! Then get seating while it lasts !! See you on MONDAY, October 5th !

Tim Skow Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Deck stacked in proposed MNPS Director Search Advisory Committee

School board member Will Pinkston posted the following notice to Facebook today.

Friends: Today, the nine-member Nashville School Board officially rebooted the search for the next director of Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in a breakfast dialogue with Mayor Megan Barry. During our conversation, Mayor Barry agreed to serve on a proposed MNPS Director Search Advisory Committee that would include Vice Mayor David Briley as well as representatives from the following community organizations: Conexión Américas, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA), MNPS Parent Advisory Council (PAC), NAACP, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), and Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF). The objectives for this Committee: Assist the school board in gathering data about higher performing urban school systems in the U.S., and help the school board in recruiting leadership talent from those school systems. The next chapter of the MNPS director search remains a work in progress, but I believe the school board has a profound opportunity to work with the new mayor and a broad-based community coalition to move one of America's largest school systems forward in a productive way. I'll keep you updated this fall as the work progresses.
This is properly not good news. I say "probably," because I am unsure how the Black organizations will stand on education reform and school choice. I am not sure what they will seek in a new Director. Some of the strongest advocates for charter schools are now coming from members of the Black community.  Charter schools have proven that Black children born in poverty can achieve academic success if expectation are high and the school environment encourages success.  This has not gone unnoticed in the Black community and many Blacks are breaking with liberal orthodoxy on this issue.

Also, I am not sure how Barry and Briley stand.  Mayor Dean was an advocate of charter schools. Barry's position is unclear. No one can any longer assume that just because someone is labeled a liberal or progressive that they oppose education reform and charter schools. While school choice and advocacy for excellent schools has most often been a position advocated by conservatives, there is by no means a clear cut left-right divide on the issue.  Quite a few liberals now advocates for school choice and tough standards while some conservatives have taken issue against tough standards and appear to favor the status quo and mediocrity. Among some populist conservatives there is a view shared by many liberals that looks at success and excellence as elitism.

MNEA, the teachers union, is opposed to any competition to traditional public schools and they take the labor union position of  opposing any out sourcing of functions or other cost saving measures if it causes any employees to lose their job.  They will also oppose any efforts that would make it easier to dismiss bad teachers.  They are basically a labor union concerned with protected the interest of their members. They will not support a reformer for Director of schools.

NOAH is the group that pushed the local hire amendment and the inclusionary zoning proposal.  I would not expect them to support a reformer.  The NAACP seems much more concerned about the proper racial balance in schools than schools that educate children. Some of the other organizations I do not know too much about. The makeup of the advisory committee should not surprise us. Elections have consequences.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Megan Barry sworn in as mayor of Nashville

Megan Barry sworn in as mayor of Nashville

The Tennessean, by Joey Garrison, Sept. 26, 2015 - Megan Barry was sworn in Friday as Metro Nashville’s seventh mayor and the first woman to hold the top post, declaring that “today we shatter a glass ceiling” and using her first speech as mayor to call on Nashvillians for their ideas and help.

“I want to hear from you, Nashville,” Barry said repeatedly in a short, eight-minute inauguration speech dominated by a pledge to listen as well as themes from her campaign, including pitches about transit, affordable housing and public education. (link)
 I did not attend the event but watched it in double time in the above video. Mayor Barry and all members of the Council swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States "so help me God."

If you want to just see the swearing in of Barry and her comments, go to time stamp 41:26.

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Stopping Planned Parenthood’s Appalling Activity

Phil Roe
By U. S. Congressman Phil Roe - Since mid-July, several videos have been released showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the organization’s most gruesome practices. I was saddened, sickened and appalled at how a fellow physician could casually discuss the dismemberment of babies for their body parts. As an OB-GYN who delivered nearly 5,000 babies and spent countless hours in the delivery room, I can’t begin to imagine how someone could watch a newborn deliver and not try everything in their power to keep that baby alive. That is certainly not health care.
What we have witnessed isn’t about being pro-life or pro-choice, though I am proud to say I will always be a defender of the right to life. This debate is about the despicable actions of an organization that receives about $500 million in government funding each year and the very serious allegations that some babies who survive abortion procedures are denied emergency medical care. Immediately after the first videos were released, I called on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood while congressional investigators looked into these claims.
I was proud to vote for two important bills that would protect newborn babies and defund Planned Parenthood. The first was H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would provide legal protections to infants that survive an abortion. I spoke on the House floor in support of this bill, and you can find that video on my YouTube page. I’ve spent my life caring for patients, so this is an emotional issue for me. I fully believe in those sacred words that state all humans are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, the very first of these being life.
Next, I voted for H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act. H.R. 3134 would immediately ban all federal funding of Planned Parenthood for one year while Congress investigates the videos released this summer. I was proud to speak on the House floor in support of this bill as well, and that video is also on my YouTube page.
I was extremely disappointed to see Senate Democrats reject a plan that would fully fund the government through December while defunding Planned Parenthood. The plan would redirect roughly $235 million from Planned Parenthood to community health centers. Senate Democrats’ rejection of this commonsense proposal proves they are not interested in finding common ground and that this is not an issue of access to health care for them.
You can rest assured I will continue to support policies that will hold Planned Parenthood accountable.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

World Affairs Council Welcomes Ms. Samar Ali to the Board of Directors

From Tennessee's World Affairs Council, September 24, 2015, NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s World Affairs Council announced today that Ms. Samar S. Ali, distinguished local attorney and former Assistant State Commissioner for International Affairs, has been elected to the Board of Directors. Ali is a member of the Nashville law firm Bone, McAllester and Norton where she concentrates on cross-border transactions, international law and private diplomacy.

In making the announcement Council President Patrick Ryan said, “The Tennessee World Affairs Council’s ability to deliver global awareness education programs and resources to the community is greatly enhanced by the addition of Ms. Ali to our board.” He added, “She has built a sterling record of accomplishments advancing public and private interests in the global arena in Washington and in Tennessee and we are thrilled to have her as a member of our board.”

Samar Ali
 Ms. Ali, a Vanderbilt University alumna – undergrad and Law School – worked as a White House Fellow and adviser in the Homeland Security Department in Washington and in Doha, Qatar before being named by Governor Bill Haslam as an assistant commissioner in the Tennessee Economic and Community Development Department. There she managed the state’s global economic relations overseeing an international strategic plan to build international commerce related jobs and opening and managing offices around the world to boost Tennessee trade and investment.

In addition to working in Administrative Law, Business and Corporate Law and International Law practices at Bone, McAllester and Norton, Ms. Ali is Director at Lodestone Advisory Group in Nashville, specializing in international business development. “Ms. Ali’s work in the community includes numerous boards and projects serving public interests and we’re gratified that Nashville leaders of her caliber count the World Affairs Council as among the educational organizations that have earned their support,” said Ryan. “The Council’s mission of educating and inspiring people, especially youth, to learn more and engage more in global affairs is an important element of citizenship and I’m sure Ms. Ali’s time and talents will make a difference in tackling that challenge.”

The World Affairs Council is an independent, nonpartisan educational organization that is part of a 96-member network of similar grassroots organizations in the United States, the World Affairs Councils of America. They serve to educate Americans on international developments. “Although some of the country’s world affairs councils are almost 100 years old there had never been one in Tennessee until we established our Council several years ago in Cookeville,” said Ryan. “We’ve recently launched from Nashville after several years in Cookeville and it’s rewarding to know that leaders like Ms. Ali are directly supporting our service to the community and we can benefit from their vision.”

The Tennessee World Affairs Council, a nonprofit group, hosts town hall meetings where visiting speakers share insights and perspectives on global issues; small group discussions at venues around the city; and global awareness programs in schools like the WorldQuest program for students that encourages world affairs familiarity through competition. WorldQuest, which includes a trip for the state’s winning team to a national championship match in Washington, recently launched the 2015-2016 season. Past Nashville winners have included teams from Martin Luther King, Jr., Magnet High School and Montgomery Bell Academy.

The speakers program, which is hosted at Belmont University, is very popular, said Ryan. He noted that visits from foreign Ambassadors, like past events with the Kazakh and Czech envoys, were popular and insightful. In addition other leaders and specialists are regularly featured and provide equally informative presentations. “We aim for monthly speaker events including about four ambassadors this year, and we’re in talks with the embassies of Russia, South Korea, Italy and others for visits.” On October 5th the Council and Belmont will host a Town Hall on US-China economic relations.

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Tennessee Ranked 4th Top State for doing Business in 2015

Area Development - States that consistently rank at the top for business performance know what it takes to be successful — an attractive business environment (taxes, incentives, permitting), labor pool (cost, availability, education, skill level, training), and infrastructure/global access (transportation infrastructure, energy costs, intermodal capabilities, certified sites). When combined with a creative and proactive state economic development team, these advantages can seem irresistible to companies that are looking to locate or expand their operations. Companies want a quick, seamless startup. With an ever-widening global market, they need a well-integrated, modern transportation infrastructure to be competitive in these markets. Also, top-performing states know how to deal with tough times — something many CEOs still have in the back of their minds......

Top States For Doing Business 2015 
3.South Carolina
5.Alabama 5T.Florida
7.North Carolina

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Heated conflict at the Election Commission. Democrat Commisioner Tricia Herzfeld has a point.

Disagreement over whether or not to give Kent Wall, the Davidson County Administrator of Elections, a routine across the board cost-of-living pay hike that all other Metro employees got has gone public and was reported in this morning's Tennessean. (link)

The five-member election commission, with one Republican member absent, voted 3-1 last month to award the 2.5 percent pay hike on top of Wall's current $102,500 annual salary. While the Election Commission budget must be approved by the Metro Council as part of the normal budget process and while employees of the Election Commission are Metro employees, the Election Commission determines the salary of their own employees.

The opposition to awarding the pay hike came from  Democrat Commissioner Tricia Herzfeld. Her primary reason for opposing the pay hike was that Wall has not pursued a certification of administrators from the Tennessee Secretary of State.

I think Herzfield has a point. If I were serving on the Election Commission, I think I would have voted with her.  We are the State's capital city. Nationwide we are the "it" city. For our election commission to be only one of 13 counties in the State without a certified administrator of elections is embarrassing. Some very small, rural, low-income counties have certified administrators of elections and Davidson County does not?  Also if the Administrator of Elections is certified, the State pays the County more money than if the Administrator is not certified.

To obtain certification,  administrators must complete a course of study that covers 40 election law topics and pass a  closed book, written test that can last up to three and a half hours which ask questions based on statutory requirements and range from voter registration to Election Day guidelines.  Secretary of State Tre Hargett is pushing to have all administrators of elections become certified. I think if 74-year-old Kent Wall does not want to get certified, he should resign his position. If he does not pursue certification, he certainly does not deserve a pay raise. 

The Tennessean reports that the Election Commission meeting where Herzfield made her case against giving Wall the pay raise, became heated with finger pointing and Chairman of the Election Commission Roy Buchanan and Herzfeld questioning each others motives.

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Inauguration Ceremony set for Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.

Press Release,NASHVILLE – The inauguration ceremony to be held at Public Square on Friday, Sept. 25 launches a new chapter in the Nashville story that Mayor-elect Megan Barry has named: We Make Nashville.

The visual for the swearing-in ceremony will include the words “We Make Nashville” in 10 languages. It celebrates Nashville's variety in business enterprises and musical forms, consolidated approach to government, and spirit of cooperation and humanity.

“This is about celebrating all of Nashville,” Barry said in the unveiling of the theme. “What makes Nashville great is the diversity of our economy, our culture, our ideas, our music and our spirit.”
“With our growing and vibrant economy and neighborhoods, Nashville is a place for everyone. I invite you to join us for the events on Sept. 25, as we embark on Nashville’s next chapter.”

Inauguration Event Details
WHO: Mayor-elect Megan Barry, Vice Mayor-elect David Briley, and new and current members of the Metro Council
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 25

  • 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Interfaith prayer service (limited parking available)
  • 2 – 3 p.m. Swearing-in ceremony
  • 3 – 5 p.m. – Public reception with mayor, vice mayor and Metro Council members
Interfaith Prayer Service
Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church
1415 Horton Ave.
Nashville, TN 37212
Swearing-in and Public Reception
Metro Courthouse
1 Public Square
Nashville, TN 37201

In case of rain, the swearing-in ceremony and public reception will take place in the Music City Center's grand ballroom. Public parking with shuttle service will be available in Lot A on Woodland Street beside Nissan Stadium.

Nashville MTA will provide free service on all routes Sept. 25. For attendees of the interfaith prayer service, MTA bus routes No. 2 – Belmont, No. 17 – 12th Avenue South and No. 25 – Midtown serve the area with bus stops near the church.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Who may seek either the governor's office or Corker's senate seat next election.

Rocky Top Politics has engaged in some Idle Speculation about who may seek either the governor's office or Corker's senate seat, next time those seats are up for election. Please visit that site for the commentary. Here is who they list: State Sen. Mark Green, Speaker Beth Harwell, Former ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Current ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, AFP State Director Andy Ogles, AFP State Director Andy Ogles, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Congressman Stephen Fincher, Senator Mark Norris, and Former State Rep. Joe Carr.

I realize AFP has a statewide organization, but I doubt it is strong enough to support a successful statewide race by Andy Ogles, although if he had sufficient funds he might could pull it off. I think he would be a long shot.

When State Rep. Joe Carr ran for Lamar Alexander's senate seat he did better than I thought he would, but I think people were voting against Alexander, not for Joe Carr. I think Joe Carr is too far outside the mainstream to be elected to statewide office. I suspect the more people know about Carr, the less they will like him.

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Sunset on the South Harpeth, September 26th.

If you like the great outdoors, if want to see Tennessee's natural beauty preserved, see beautiful waterfalls and majestic views saved for public use, and critical habitats protected, and see park lands extended, you need to support The Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.  

Next weekend TPGF will be hosting one of the best deals I have ever seen in a fund raiser. Since the food and beverage and music and site is donated, the cost can be kept low for TPGF supporters. This would be a great deal even if the money did not go for a good cause. For a donation of $30 you get an outdoor meal served in a beautiful sitting, wine and other adult beverages, music, hay rides and fun around a bonfire.

Please join me in attending this event: 

Hosted on a beautiful farm on the South Harpeth River in Williamson County Saturday, September 26, 2015 - 3:00 PM. Program at 5:00 PM.
 ~ 1920s dairy barn
~ Hike along the South Harpeth River
~ Kayaking
~ Hayride
~ Horseback riding
~ Silent Auction
~ Music by Buckdancer’s Choice and Bevin Gregory & Gray Gordon
~ Bonfire
~ Camping

Tickets are $30 per person. Children twelve and under free. Reservations requested to Steve Walsh at (615) 545-0195 or Kim Holst For more information, visit

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Downtown parking is going to get a little easier

Parking spaces in downtown Nashville can be hard to come by.  As Nashville has grown, surface parking has been gobbled up by new construction and new development has added new workers and increased tourism has brought more cars looking for parking spaces.

I seldom go downtown, except to attend First Tuesday.  When I do, I usually park in the library

1,183-space garage under construction at 505 Chruch
parking garage. On the rare occasion that I go to something else downtown I usually take Uber. To park at a parking lot off of lower Broadway can cost $20 and I can go round trip from my house by Uber for about $10.

Parking is going to get a little easier. Metro is planning to add 350 spaces to the public garage that adjoins the downtown Nashville Public Library in what is expected to be a $10 million job, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Two new levels will be added on top of the existing four-story garage.  During construction the garage will remain open. The project will take about 18 months to complete.

While I do not know the exact details of how this is funded, most public parking garages are not subsidized by tax payers and the parking revenue pays the bonds for the construction.  Read more here and here.

In addition to these new 350 parking spaces a 1,183-space garage is under construction at 505 Church Street.

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TONIGHT - DOWNTOWN, FROTHY MONKEY COFFEE HOUSE, 5th Avenue. "America in the World: What Next?"

TONIGHT - DOWNTOWN, FROTHY MONKEY COFFEE HOUSE, 5th Avenue. "America in the World: What Next?" Hosted by World Affairs Council. For details, follow this link.

Last night I enjoyed the lively discussion at the TNWAC hosted event on the same topic at another location.

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AFP-TN: Axe the Tax (Hendersonville) (Oct 1, 2015)

From Americans for Prosperity:

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (CDT), Barefoot Charlies, 125 Sanders Ferry Road Hendersonville, TN 37075

Some politicians are focused on raising the gas tax - just when we are finally getting a break at the pump. Join us for our Axe the Tax tour to learn how you can join in to defeat the looming gas tax increase. 
State Representative Courtney Rogers will be our featured speaker. We'll be discussing the gas tax and other issues that affect all Tennesseans. We'll provide the appetizers and first beverage for those who RSVP here.
For an updated list of where your legislator stands on raising the gas tax visit:

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2015 "On Eagle's Wings" Conference, October 3, 2015.

October 3, 2015, Embassy Suites Cool Springs, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin, Tennessee, 37067. Phone 1-615-515-5151. Conference: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Banquet with special Keynote Speakers will follow at 6:00 p.m.
Keynote Banquet Speaker: Kamal Saleem, Former radical Islamist.
Other Speakers for this year's spectacular conference are:

  • Steven Bucci, expert on Foreign and National Security Policy, Heritage Foundation
  • Mary Byrne, Ed.D., The History of Failing Standards
  • Sen. Jack Johnson, Insure TN
  • Clarke Forsythe, Author, The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade
  • Don Warren, engineer, Progressive Math vs. Traditional Math
  • Genevieve Wood, update on Immigration, Heritage Foundation
  • Craig Honeycutt, Islam in TN classrooms
  • David Folwer, Esq., Family Action Council, Impact of Supreme Court decision on marriage
  • Myra Simons, YES on 1: The 15 Year Journey
  • Billie Cash, Billie Cash Ministries
  • Cameron Sheppard, TN RTL Speech, Let Us Bring Hope
  • Ann Corcoran, Refugee Resettlement Watch
  • Joy Pullman, Heartland Institute, All That Data
  • Rep. Judd Matheny, Legislative Overview
  • Frances Arthur, Teens See Legislature Up Close and Personal
Space is limited. To register, follow this link.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Event: Nashville Federalist Society presents Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller on Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Nashville Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society presents "Supreme Court Practice as a State Solicitor General" with Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller on Thursday, September 24, 2015 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, and CLE Credit Will Be Available RSVP Here:

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The Council should have its own swearing-in seperate from the Mayoral inauguration

Randy Foster
The following is a Facebook post by former Metro Councilman Randy Foster. It is worth reposting:
Not to be negative toward Mayor-Elect Barry's inauguration theme ("We Make Nashville), the logo displayed in the attached story (…/Mayor-Elect-Barry-Unveils-The…) focuses on her inauguration only. WHAT ABOUT THE METRO COUNCIL?

Alas, Metro inauguration day inevitably leaves the Council members as a pack of also-rans who troop in together, are ceremonially sworn-in together at what is really the new Mayor's party, and who are then (metaphorically) patted on the head and sent off to do the Mayor's bidding.  Until my dying day, I will continue to advocate for the Council to separate itself from the Mayor's office in every reasonable way it can. It exercises the legislative authority of Metro Government, is an important check on mayoral authority, and ought to act like it.
I am in complete agreement.  The Council should have its own swearing-in separate from the mayor and otherwise separate itself from the Mayor's office whenever it can. The Council should act like an independent, separate and equal branch of the government.  The Council should take itself seriously as a legislative body.

Unfortunately, the Council is very weak.  Part of that is because it is a forty-member body and part of it is because of term limits.  A major part of it is also because of the metro charter which makes it impossible for the council to cast a vote against the city budget and property tax increases.

Another reason we have such a weak council is because the council does not exercise what power it does have.  The council should carefully scrutinize and consider mayoral appointments to boards and commission and occasionally reject an appointee when there is a reason to do so.  If a department has not been cooperative with council request for services or information, then request from the 4% fund should be held up. The Council should also hold special hearing to investigate things that need investigating, such as when there is corruption at NES or when we have a sidewalk program that replaces perfectly serviceable sidewalks but builds few new sidewalks. Also, not all legislative initiates have to come from the mayors office.

The previous council showed little independence from the Mayor, but I fear this new council will set a new standard for being rubber stamps, lap dogs, and yes-men of the Mayor.

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Paychecks for Patriots job fair, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015

The Tennessee Department of Labor has partnered with Dollar General and several major employers in Tennessee to connect veterans with jobs. The “Paychecks for Patriots” hiring fair will be held on Thursday October 1st 2015 throughout Tennessee and will feature local employers interested in putting veterans to work.

The Nashville event will be at the Tennessee Titans Nissan Stadium,10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. One needs to pre-register.  Sixty employers are participating in the Nashville event, including, Southwest Airlines, Coca Cola, Fed Ex, Comcast and TVA. For information on the event in other cities and to register, follow this link

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Trail West building demolished overnight.

The Trail West building on lower Broadway which was on the Register of Historical Places and listed by Historic Nashville as one of the most endangered historic building worth saving, is no more. The building was torn down overnight.  This site has been the subject of controversy. At one time a hotel wanted to build on the site and then Walgreen wanted to keep the buildings but open a Walgreen there. Council member Gilmore left these parcels out of a historic overlay protection for the site for a long time. They were only included in the last meeting of the last council.  A demolition permit was not issued for the site, but the attached link explains why that was not necessary. For an explanation of how and why this demolishing occurred follow this link.

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"America in the World: What Direction?" Global Dialogue discussion group series, TONIGHT or Tuesday or Wednesday or next week.

From Tennessee World Affairs Council:

  • You're invited to the Global Dialogue discussion group series.
  • One topic a month, four options -- dates/venues -- to participate.
  • Learn and share perspectives on the United States global challenges and policies.
    There could be no more timely topic for us to share perspectives on than "America in the World: What Direction?"  Check below for details or visit our Web site.
The four locations are Lipscomb University on Monday, Green Hills Public Library on Tuesday, or downtown at the Frothy Monkey on Wednesday, or Belmont University on October 7th.   You need to register. There are also a list of suggested reading and questions.

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Bellevue Breakfast club meets Oct. 3

From Betty Hood:
We will be meeting Saturday, October 3 at 8 am at the Shoney's on Hwy 70.  Our guest speaker will be Vincent Kreul from the Americans for Prosperity.  There will be time for Q & A after his presentation.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

What do you know about communism?

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, many believe that communism is no longer a threat to the world. In fact, in many academic and political circles, the acceptance of Marxist Ideology is on the rise.

Exactly what is so dangerous about communism? Why must we remind younger generations about the atrocities perpetrated by communist regimes? Take this quiz and discover why communism remains a threat to human liberty.

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Nashville is in the top ten of happiest metropolitan areas.

I love list and am pleased to see Nashville at number one on so many list or at least in the top ten. This list of happiest metro areas was published in Science Daily in July 2014, based on data from 2010, so it is five years old now. Traffic is a little worse than it was five years ago and that was before the Music City Center, the new downtown baseball park and a lot of downtown growth. I wonder how we would compare now?  I assume we would still be in the top ten.

One thing I notice about this list is that they are all southern cities except for number ten, that is if you consider Washington DC a southern city.  Are there other factors these cities have in common? What is the occupations of people in these cities?  What is the poverty rate? Do they have great parks? To they have good places to eat, and good night life, professional sports teams, and good museums, and good schools?  Do they have mass transit? Washington D. C. has a subway system, but not a great system. I don't think the others do, bit I don't know.  Washington D.C also has terrible traffic and this is a list of the metropolitan area, so it includes those people who commute and sit in traffic two hours a day. Maybe bad traffic does not make people unhappy. Washington has great extremes of wealth and poverty, so apparently that does not create a lot of unhappy people. Washington D. C itself has terrible schools but since this is the Metro area, maybe the suburban communities have good schools. I don't know. I wish this report went further and examined the factors that make a happy metropolitan area.

I am surprised to see Atlanta, Georgia on this list.  Atlanta is always held up as an example of what we do not want Nashville to become, yet Atlanta ranks higher in happiness than Nashville. I notice that not a single California city is on the list. I know California has its problems with excessive taxation and drought, but I always thought San Fransisco would be a "happy" city. Austin Texas is not on the list. Portland Oregon is not on the list. New Orleans Louisiana is not on the list. Lots of places that seem in someway desirable places to live are not on the list. Almost everyone likes visiting the beach, yet only one of the ten is located on a beach.

What is the number one unhappiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million? New York City. I guess with all New York City has to offer, it still does not produce happy people.

Top 10 happiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010):

1. Richmond-Petersburg, VA
2. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA
3. Washington, DC
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
5. Atlanta, GA
6. Houston, TX
7. Jacksonville, FL
8. Nashville, TN
9. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
10. Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Taking Inclusionary Zoning All the Way to Supreme Court

From The Atlantic:

... California's inclusionary zoning laws are heading to the Supreme Court.

The California Building Association is arguing that the law--which requires market-rate developers to set aside a portion of their units as affordable housing--constitutes an illegal seizure of property by government forces. Their argument failed at the state's supreme court, so they're now taking it all the way to SCOTUS:

Developers in California are taking their fight against the state’s inclusionary zoning laws to the U.S. Supreme Court, just as cities across the nation are increasingly committing to similar laws to address affordable housing shortages. The California Building Association opposes the soon-to-kick-in law mandating that developers discount a percentage of units in new housing projects for low-income families. They claim it constitutes an illegal “taking” of private property by the government and hope that SCOTUS justices will agree with them. (link)
My Comment:  I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the challenge to inclusionary zoning and will strike down inclusionary zoning laws. I am also hopeful that the State Legislature will ban such laws.

On July 21th of this year the Nashville Metro Council passed  BILL NO. BL2015-1139 which directed the planning commission to come up with a specific proposal to implement this form of housing price control known as "inclusionary zoning." The bill required that the final proposed text change to the zoning ordinance from the Planning Commission provide that 14% of new construction or renovations be set aside as "affordable." The planning commission's proposal will have to come back to the council for approval 180 days from the date it was passed by the council. 

The new Council is going to be much more "progressive" than the old council, which was bad enough.  We cannot expect the new council to reject a final inclusionary zoning ordinance and we certainly cannot expect Mayor Barry to veto it.  It is my hope than the State legislature will pass a law prohibiting Metro from enacting this policy of taking private property and price control. Three states have outlawed inclusionary zoning and Tennessee should follow suit.

For more on this topic, follow this link.    

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Look at the data to grasp charter schools savings.

In today's Tennessean, School Board member Mary Pierce explained why those who say charter schools are a cost to the school system are simply wrong and why charters actually save the system money (link).  If you are not convinced by her argument, look at the data. The online edition of her article contained links to data that proves the point. 

Below is a portion of a study conducted by the MNPS Finance Office that shows the cost or savings associated with the students attending charter pubic school broken down as to which school they would be attending if attending a district school.  While in some schools it cost more to send a child to a charter school than to educate the child in a district school, in most schools there is considerable savings.  Notice that for each child whose district school would be Buena Vista Enhanced Option, there is a $3,810 saving if the child is educated in a charter school. To see the complete list follow this link and this link

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Metro School Board member Mary Pierce explains how charters schools save money; not cost money.

Mary Pierce
Metro School Board member Mary Pierce writing in  today's Tennessean explains, counters, and demolishes Will Pinkston's argument that public charter schools take money away from regular public schools.  If you subscribe to The Tennessean you probably have read it, if not then you may want to follow this link and climb The Tennessean's paywall and read it. If that is too much trouble, let me summarize and quote from it.

Pierce ask what would happen to the school budget if all charter schools closed and the student now in charter schools returned to their zoned schools?  She writes, "This hypothetical exercise, completed by the MNPS Finance Office this summer, showed that if every student attending a charter school in 2014-15 had attended his or her zoned school, MNPS would have spent roughly $3.5 million more to educate them in district-managed schools."

She explains that the way those who say charter schools cost the system reason, is that they take the $74 million dollars that follows the 8,100 students educated to charter schools and say that that $74 million is a "cost of charters," She points out that this is inaccurate and illogical, because it assumes there would be no cost to educate these students if they returned to district schools.

Pierce says, "We need to acknowledge that in MNPS, charter schools are one of the most low-cost, high-return investments we are making for students. Six of the 14 State Reward Schools from MNPS are charters, and year-over-year, most Nashville charter schools' achievement and growth scores outpace the district."

While the cost savings is important and the argument that charters cost rather than save is simply not true, the more important advantage of charter schools is that they are saving lives.  While many district schools simply warehouse kids until they go to prison, charter schools are producing scholars among the most disadvantaged students in Nashville, and sending them to college. Charter schools are breaking the cycle of poverty. That is why we should support charter schools.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Tennessean takes another victory lap today and again ignores Megan Barry's race baiting.

The Tennessean took another victory lap today celebrating the victory of Megan Barry in the mayor's race and again criticized David Fox for an alleged negative campaign, with no mention of Barry's race baiting campaign. Here is a link to the piece by retired Tennessean columnist and political reporter Larry Daughtrey. If you missed it and don't feel like climbing The Tennessean's paywall in order to read it, don't bother; it didn't amount to much.

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Mayor Announces Establishment of Fund to Bridge Digital Divide

Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean, joined by representatives of Google, Comcast, the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dell, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and others, today announced the launch of a fund that will aim to close the digital divide in Nashville.

The Digital Inclusion Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will provide free or low-cost Internet access, computers, devices, training and support to Nashville citizens who don’t have them now. More than 40 percent of Metro Nashville Public Schools students did not have access to computers or Internet connectivity at home in 2012.

Mayor Dean called the lack of access “a wall that seals off too many people from the digital know-how that will carry many of us into the next decade.”

“I look forward to seeing the results the Digital Inclusion Fund will achieve in the years ahead – results that can make a profound difference in the life of our city by building bridges over the digital divide,” the mayor said.

Metro Government invested $100,000 in the fund in the current fiscal year’s budget. Google, the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation and Comcast each matched Metro’s donation, bringing the fund’s current balance to more than $400,000.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will invest the fund’s assets and make grants to qualified organizations to work on broadening digital access, hardware and training. Vanderbilt University Medical Center has already given 3,800 gently used computers to benefit families of students attending Metro Nashville Public Schools. Dell facilitated the gift, and Metro Nashville Public Schools has housed the computers.

During an event at Nashville Public Library, Mayor Dean thanked each of these organizations for their generous donations and their other efforts to bridge the digital divide, including Comcast and Google’s work to provide extremely fast Internet and television service and Comcast’s Internet Essentials initiative to bring access to low-income families.

“Access can help these citizens feel more included in the life of the city, which will have a big impact on public education, public safety and economic development, our city’s top priorities,” Mayor Dean said.

“While we're working to make the web faster in Nashville, we're also investing to get more people connected for the first time,” said Daynise Joseph, Google Fiber Community Impact Manager, Nashville. “Bridging the digital divide is a community effort, and Google Fiber is proud to be one of the local supporters of the Nashville Digital Inclusion Fund. We look forward to continuing to work alongside these partners to bring more of the community online.”

“Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Nashville Public Schools have been invaluable partners throughout the life of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program and have greatly contributed to our bringing the Internet to more than 6,000 low-income families in Middle Tennessee since the program began in 2011,” said Doug Guthrie, Senior Vice President, Comcast. “We are proud to support the Digital Inclusion Fund as an important next step in the ongoing community-wide effort to bridge the digital divide in Nashville.”

Anyone who wants to give to the Digital Inclusion Fund can do so on The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s website at

My Comment: This may very well be charitable cause worth supporting and Dell, Google, and Comcast are to be commended for their contributions. Be aware however that this does not become a government entitlement program.

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The Megan Barry transition team

Here’s the full list of Barry’s transition team:

  • Kasar Abdulla – Director of Community Relations, Valor Collegiate 
  • Samar Ali – Attorney, Bone McAllester Norton
  • Cristina O. Allen – Management Adviser, Compass Executives
  • Leon Berrios – Director of Immigration and Legal Affairs, Hispanic Family Foundation
  • Charles Robert Bone – Chair – Entrepreneur and attorney, Bone McAllester Norton
  • Brian Brockman – Nashville Fire Department
  • Dave Cooley – Principal, Cooley Public Strategies
  • Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings – Pastor, New Covenant Christian Church
  • Glenn Farner - Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer, Southeast Laborers' District Council
  • Beth Fortune – Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, Vanderbilt University
  • Ben Freeland – Owner, Freeland Chevrolet Superstore
  • Hon. Howard Gentry – Criminal Court Clerk
  • Don Hardin – Owner, Don Hardin Group
  • Ed Hardy – Co-chair, Music City Council
  • Clay Haynes – Managing Member, Oak Tree Properties
  • Henry Hicks - President &CEO, National Museum of African American Music
  • Claudia Huskey – Ex-officio – Campaign Manager, Megan Barry for Mayor
  • Shannon Hunt – President &; CEO, Nashville Public Education Foundation
  • Milton Johnson – Chairman &CEO, HCA
  • Tom Jurkovich - Vice President of Strategic Communications and External Affairs, Metro Nashville Airport Authority
  • Kristine LaLonde – Mayor’s Office of Innovation
  • Debby Dale Mason - Chief Community Development Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • David McMurry – President-elect, Madison-Rivergate Chamber of Commerce
  • Stuart McWhorter – CEO, Entrepreneur Center
  • Breonus Mitchell – Pastor, Greater Grace Temple Community Church
  • Hon. Betty Nixon – Former Vice Chancellor for Community Relations, Vanderbilt University
  • Bill Phillips – Principal, Windrow Phillips Group
  • Hon. Phil Ponder – former Metro Council member
  • Avi Poster – Community Activist
  • Rich Riebeling – Ex-officio – Metro Finance Director
  • Carolyn Schott – Attorney, Sherrard & Roe
  • Walter Searcy – Attorney
  • Pat Shea – CEO, YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee
  • Stephanie Silverman – Executive Director, The Belcourt
  • Keith Simmons – Attorney, Bass Berry & Sims
  • Renata Soto – Executive Director, Conexion Americas
  • Hon. Edith Taylor Langster – Former Metro Council member
  • Frank Trew – President of Hip Donelson
  • Katy Varney – Partner, MP&F Public Relations
  • Hershell Warren – Former Senior Adviser to Mayor Karl Dean
  • Grant Winrow – University Relations & Development, Tennessee State University
  • Hon. Brenda Wynn – Davidson County Clerk

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

For local DEMs..."The Ends [still] Justifies The Means"

Tim Skow
by Tim Skow - Most everyone with a valued track record in Nashville politics felt The Tennessean poll [conducted about Sept 1st ] ...showing a one point race was valid.

By then it had started... the vile, but not surprising, onslaught from those on the political Left with a track record of... "The Ends Justifies the Means".

SUDDENLY.. the claim is Mr. Fox is a Bigot. The claim is Mr. Fox is a Racist. And Mr. Fox will take Nashville back to the segregation days of the 1950's. Simply... all "dog-whistles" to scare, scar and agitate a significant portion of Nashville voters, by those trying to turn Mr. Fox into "the boogie man".

The TN Democrat State Party also stepped in trying to slime a good and honorable man. They all know better. But ask those on the political Left about it privately and they will laugh, smile and say.. "Ya...but it worked...AGAIN...Soooo...what's your question" ?

Many have asked in sheer wonder.... Why did Howard Gentry [who at the Belmont University debate was asked , "If you're NOT in the run-off who would you like to see as the next Mayor?" answered "David Fox." ] endorse Ms. Barry for Mayor?

I admit I too was shocked ...and saddened. Multiple times this summer Howard said to me "Tim, you can't get a slice of copy paper between what David and I want for Nashville." I cannot answer for Mr. Gentry. I can attest that Mr. Gentry will face DEM primary voters again if he wishes to keep his current well-paid elected position. So when looking at the track record of Nashville's political Left... and doing the math.... maybe Mr. Gentry's move should not have come as surprise at all. How sad.

In closing... its simply sad, that with purpose and malice during the last 10 days of the campaign, a fine and honorable man was "slimed". What is even more distressing and deplorable is the complicit role The Tennessean played. Despite having covered Mr. Fox for years and knowing him better, The Tennessean never called out or question the integrity of those who were trying to slime Mr. Fox. In fact, they clearly seemed to promote it. [but then again..."what's your point" ? ]

Those who contemplate running for office in Davidson County going forward must prepare accordingly.

Tim Skow is the organizer and host of the First Tuesday luncheon group. 

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Monday, September 14, 2015

The importance of not overlooking the basics

Stan Scott
by Stan Scott - This year’s elections shows the importance of not overlooking all the five separate but interdependent elements of a campaign; Planning, organization, message. communications and finance.

Freeman set a record for spending but his message was self-serving and planning influenced by ego.

Fox had adequate funds but his communications were ineffective during the runoff. He never challenged Barry to provide specifics while she spoke of feel-good issues in generalities. Additionally, the Davidson County Republican Party was incapable of playing a role in his organization as the Democrats turned it into a strictly partisan race. Fox’s planning did not consider the negative impact of his brothers PAC involvement albeit legal. From the lack of response to Barry’s negative ads they too were not anticipated.

Barry enjoyed the Davidson County and Tennessee Democratic Parties supplementing her organization by getting the Party faithful turned out at the polls. Her message was “Progressive”, government will raise the standard of living for all, never mind how it will be paid for. The only issue where she gave a firm figure was all housing developments are to have 13% set aside as "affordable”, something proven unworkable as well as an investment barrier.

Let us see that the GOP is better prepared to support its candidates in the next elections. One is only six months away.

Stan Scott is a retired professional engineer who was involved in facilities development for a wide variety of industries from concept through start-up. His last thirty years were spent marketing engineering and construction services. He has long been active in Davidson County Republican Party politics.

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Conservative Pastors Plan Rally At Tennessee Capitol Amid Fears Over Islam

Nashville Public Radio - Islam will again be at the forefront, when conservative ministers and lawmakers hold a rally Thursday at the Tennessee Capitol.
The event comes in the wake of the July shooting in Chattanooga and in the middle of a controversy over what schoolchildren are being taught about the religion.
The Tennessee Pastors Network lists a number of reasons for this week's demonstration — abortion to same-sex marriage to Obamacare — but a big concern is radical Islam. Organizers believe political leaders haven't responded strongly enough to domestic attacks.  (Read more)

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

5 takeaways from Nashville Mayor Vote and How Megan Barry became Nashville mayor, as told by The Tennessean

The Tennessean has had a post-election analysis of the Mayoral election on each of the last two days.  The Saturday story was 5 takeaways from Nashville Mayor Vote and Sunday's was How Megan Barry became Nashville mayor. If you subscribe to The Tennessean you probably have read the articles, if not then you may not want to clime over The Tennessean's paywall to do so online. For a long time non-subscribers could get all of The Tennessean content on line for free, then The Tennessean limited free access to eight items. Now you can still get eight free pieces of content a day but you must first answer a survey. I don't blame the Tennessean for trying to figure out a way to make money, but it very annoying. I will summarize the two pieces.

The five takaways are: (1) That the race being perceived as partisan really helped Barry.  Democrats even carried Davidson County when Gordon Ball challenged Lamar Alexander for Alexander's Senate seat. In the General Election there were six Democrats running for mayor and one Republican, with the Democrats splitting the Democrat vote. Fox could make the run-off but in the run-off a Republican did not stand a chance in Democrat Davidson County. (2) In a really red state, the Democrats needed to keep their strong hold in Nashville if they were to remain a viable party with a chance for future successes so Democrats rallied around Barry. (3) The election may be viewed as a referendum on Karl Dean's governance and apparently voters are pleased with the last eight years.  (4) The attack adds did not carry Fox over the top. Dave Boucher, the author of this piece, conveniently fails to mention the vile attack ad that implied Fox was a segregationist bigot. Maybe that reporting bias is why The Tennessean continues to shrink no matter what they do. Maybe instead of concluding that the so-called Fox attack ads failed, one could conclude the Barry attack ads worked. (5) The fifth point, doesn't really have much of a point except to say conservatives had an impact on the race. 

 The "How Megan," piece is some good basic reporting explaining where the votes came from for the two candidates. Barry carried the Black community heavily and won everything within the I-440 beltway, while Fox won the wealthy parts of town and the ring of suburbs.  The online version provides an interactive map that allows one to see the vote totals for each candidate down to the individual precinct. No wonder newspapers are disappearing- you don't do that in the print edition. For real political wonks, you will want to study that data and see where we lost where we thought we would win.  If you do go to the online version, turn off your sound first. An annoying  loud advertisement starts playing as soon as the page opens.  

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Why The Anderson's are suing Metro Government

From the Beacon Legal Foundation -

The Anderson Family

Their Story
P.J. and Rachel Anderson are a young couple with two children living in Germantown, a growing neighborhood just north of downtown Nashville. He’s a professional Christian singer-songwriter who is often on the road. She’s a graphic designer, and since she can work from virtually anywhere, Rachel and the kids try to travel with P.J. as often as they can. While they travel, P.J. and Rachel use a service called Airbnb as a means to supplement their income. It’s changed everything for their family.
View More:

Airbnb is a website for people to list, discover, and book homes and apartments in other cities. An alternative to traditional hotels, Airbnb is often cheaper and typically offers a more unique experience, such as staying in a residential neighborhood, having more space including a kitchen for cooking, etc. Airbnb has been massively successful, especially in Nashville, where it has introduced countless tourists to the city, addressed an often-cited hotel shortage that has been used to justify millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and supplemented the incomes of thousands of middle-class entrepreneurs.

Airbnb is exactly like Uber. People want it, except for special interests that have to compete. That’s why the taxi industry tried to regulate Uber out of existence, and that’s why the hotel conglomerates support stringent regulations on Airbnb. P.J. and Rachel’s case is about preserving the ability of middle-class families to use their property in a way that helps them provide for their family and their future.

houseBy renting their otherwise vacant home on Airbnb when they are out of town, P.J. and Rachel don’t have to worry about how to pay their mortgage each month. They can save and invest in their family’s future. Airbnb means financial peace. Or it did.
Due to family and career decisions, P.J. and Rachel may soon have to move their family, but they love Nashville, their house, and they want to keep it. When P.J. and Rachel looked into moving, Nashville suddenly denied them a permit to continue operating their home on Airbnb. They don’t want to sell the home they love. They hope to return to it some day, but they need to continue to earn a small side income to supplement their sometimes sporadic income from their regular jobs in order to keep the home in their family.

Yet, P.J. and Rachel have been denied this opportunity because there are no more non-owner occupied permits available for their Germantown neighborhood. This isn’t fair. They listed their home on Airbnb for more than a year. Out of 40 reviews, they have a five-star rating and overwhelmingly positive comments. Just because several of their neighbors are also on Airbnb, it shouldn’t limit Andersons’ ability to use their home as they see fit.

View More: reason that P.J. and Rachel can’t obtain a permit is because, effective July 2015, Nashville passed an ordinance that directly impacts Airbnb-ers like them. This poorly crafted ordinance requires a permit and unnecessarily infringes on P.J. and Rachel’s constitutional rights. Because of an arbitrary 3% cap on the number of non-owner occupied permits available, P.J. and Rachel were not able to get the permit they need to keep their current home as a valuable source of revenue when they move. The few permits available for their neighborhood—just 28 of them—have been claimed. P.J. and Rachel now have to make important family decisions based on the expectation that they cannot maximize their home’s value when they move.

This new ordinance is oppressive and unfair. Airbnb is a positive addition to Nashville, a city that currently allocates millions of taxpayer dollars to attract hotels because of a perceived shortage in bed space. Airbnb helps Nashvillians too. Like many Nashvillians, especially those who live in areas close to restaurants, bars, sports stadiums, and other attractions, the rules of the game have suddenly changed. As a result, P.J. and Rachel—and many like them—have lost the financial ability to better support their young family.

The Problem
The sharing economy has made entrepreneurs out of a whole new generation. Companies like Uber have experienced rapid success because of their convenience and affordability. But with that success comes attacks from established interests. Airbnb users currently face such a challenge.

The hotel industry has looked at Airbnb’s success and correctly perceived it as serious competition and a threat to its bottom line. Just as taxi companies responded by pushing for onerous regulations against Uber rather than engaging in honest competition, hotels are eager to make it more difficult for Airbnb to thrive. But why should big hotel chains from outside Tennessee make millions off tourists (and taxpayers via handouts and tax breaks), while P.J. and Rachel are banned from making a little extra income by opening their home to those same tourists? Unfortunately, cities are all too eager to accommodate the hotels to the detriment of everyday residents.

View More: before the ordinance, Airbnb was a win-win for the city. For Airbnb-ers, it is a great way to get a little financial cushion, as well as the thrill of participating in a growing business model. For the city, Airbnb has attracted tourists from all over who want to experience Nashville like the locals do. Those tourists bring their dollars and spread them around. A study in Chicago found that for every $100 spent on a short-term rental, another $69 went to food, $24 to transportation, $59 to shopping, and $48 to entertainment.[1]

Not only that, Airbnb addresses the much-cited hotel shortage, a problem so dire that Nashville literally allocates millions of taxpayer dollars to remedy it.[2] The recently constructed downtown Omni Hotel alone is estimated to cost Nashville taxpayers more than $125 million over the next 20 years.[3] Airbnb is not only free, it generates both tax dollars and tourism dollars. Nashville should do everything it can to encourage the growth of Airbnb in neighborhoods like the one where P.J. and Rachel live, not discouraging it with hastily crafted and burdensome regulations.

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Event: Afghanistan in Context: Understanding Where We Are and What's Ahead for the United States

Gen. Keith M. Huber
The Tennessee World Affairs Council
invites you to a public affairs event on the topic
Afghanistan in Context: Understanding Where We Are and What's Ahead for the United States

featuring Lieutenant General (Retired) Keith M. Huber, U.S. Army

September 14, 2015 - 6:30-7:30 p.m. Massey Boardroom, Jack C. Massey Business Center Belmont University,  Registration Required, Free and Open to the Public. For more information and a link to registration, follow this link

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Bob Ries on why David Fox lost the election and where do Republicans go from here.

Bob Ries
by Bob Ries - As the Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, I have been asked to provide an analysis of the Mayor’s race from my viewpoint. First of all, I want to make it plain that as an individual, not as the DCRP Chairman, I strongly supported and voted for David Fox. As a Citizen and property owner, I congratulate Megan Berry, wish her well and willingly offer any advice or service she may seek from me to continue to keep Nashville as the “it” city in the world.

 Now for my analysis: Even though the municipal races are supposed to be non-partisan, they are not. This is not sour grapes, it is a fact. I would suggest we consider making the judicial elections non-partisan and the municipal elections partisan, instead of the other way around. That would be more transparent and fair to the citizens of Nashville and the candidates.

It is a fact the Democratic Party has been better organized in Davidson County than the Republican Party. They have a great political machine that can turn out voters and volunteers in great numbers and the Republicans cannot. What I am going to say now will probably create some political enemies for me, but it is the truth. There are many Republican voters in Davidson County, but for all practical purposes there is no organized Republican machine in Davidson County, and there has not been one for years, if ever. To understand the reason for this, we need only to look in the mirror and say: ”We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.”

There are many voters in Davidson County willing to vote for Republicans. I proved this when I spent less than $100,000 in Davidson County and received over 45,000 votes. David Fox spent millions of dollars in Davidson County and still received less than 50,000 votes. We have been capped at about 50,000 votes and that has got to be changed. Can it be done? Absolutely it can be done.

We need to change the minds of approximately 5% of the voters, which can be done through education. It worked with me. I was a Democrat when the Democratic President was lowering taxes to stimulate the economy, standing firm militarily against Russian missiles in Cuba and saying, “Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country”. When I learned the leaders of the Democratic Party no longer believed in these three things, as well as our Constitution, I became a Republican. I am convinced we can, through education, convert at least 5% of the electorate from Democrat to Republican.

I can remember when, year in and year out, the New York Yankees were a virtual lock to be leading their Division. They are not in first place this morning. However, the New York Mets are leading their Division and I can remember when they were so bad their fans put bags over their heads. Santa Ana had the largest army and was winning every battle against Sam Houston, including the Alamo. Houston did not concede, he conceived a plan and eventually won the war. Everyone knows what George Washington faced and he eventually won.

Movers and shakers in Davidson County who philosophically should have been funding Republican candidates have been contributing money to Democrats for years, simply because that is where their money earned the best “return on their investment”. Republicans have got to earn their respect and change their minds so they will want to start contributing to Republican candidates

We have got to change the current mindset of conceding to the Democrats before the polls even open. That is my job and that is my goal. We need to organize and grow the DCRP so well that we not only re-elect Senator Dickerson and Representative Harwell, but we also elect at least two more Republican State Representatives as well as carry Davidson County for our Republican nominee for president. I am going to need a lot of help. I can assure you that every Republican willing to help me will be met with a welcoming hand extended in friendship and appreciation. Think of the joy we will all share when we accomplish the above goals in 2016.

Bob Ries is Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, the 2014 Republican nominee for the 5th Congressional District seat, and a retired small business owner. 

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