Monday, February 29, 2016

(update 3) What's on the March 1 Council agenda: Gun shows at the fair grounds, new regs for payday lenders, ....

Please see the text in red typeface below for update # 3 additions.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday March 1st. Council meetings are really, really boring if you do not know what the council is doing.  If you have a copy of the agenda and the Council staff analysis of the agenda, then the meetings are not really, really boring, they are just boring. To get your own copy of the Metro Council agenda, follow this link. To read the Council staff agenda analysis follow this link.

There are ten appointments to Boards and Commissions on the agenda for Council confrimation but as is the norm, they will all be approved unanimously.

There are three resolution and fourteen bills on public hearing.  The three resolutions are to allow establishments that already have a liquor-by-the-drink license to have a license to serve beer despite not meeting the distance requirements from a certain entity. Beer license are a Metro license and a liquor license is a State license. To serve beer you must be a certain distance from daycare centers, parks, homes, and churches. The same distance requirements do not exist for liquor, so some establishments end up without a beer license but they do have a liquor license. If those cases, the council, after holding a public hearing, can approve them to get a beer license. I think this should be changed so it is automatic and does not require a public hearing or council action, however that is not the case.

Most of the bills on public hearing are zoning bills and would interest no one except nearby neighbors. I don't read each zoning bill or form an opinion on their merits. I only report on those that have broader implication or are that I suspect will be exceptionally controversial. Below are the ones I find on interest.

BILL NO. BL2016-132 is an alternate to bill  BILL NO. BL2016-117  which was deferred last council meeting. This bill is an attempt to regulate alternative financial service businesses such as pawn shops, payday lenders, and check cashing business, and title loan companies, not by trying to define the products or service they provide but by saying they are alternatvie financial service companies if they operate outside the hours of 8AM to 6PM Monday through Friday and 8AM to 1PM on Saturday. Dumb idea! So, if a bank should decide that it wants to stay open all day on Saturday or until 2PM rather than 1PM, it is then considered an "Alternative Financial Service."

The regulations these "alternative financial service" companies would be subjected to are distance requirements from each other. A 2008 zoning change said these companies had to be at least a quarter of a mile apart. The industry created new products that were also alternative credit type, high interest loans but were different enough that they did not fit the definition in the 2008 ordinance. So while bill 117 tried to define the new products to make them fit into the category of "Alternative Financial Services," this tries to defines them as financial service companies operating outside of current banker hours.

In my view, we should butt out and let these Alternative Financial Services locate wherever they want to in accordance with otherwise compatible zoning. I am not a fan of these pay day lenders and related subprime lenders.  I have spend most of my career in a field where I counsel low income people. I have tried to educate them not to use these type services and have tried to educate them to use standard financial services. I think pay day lenders and title loan companies are kind of slimy and prey on ignorant poor people. However, if only used in an emergency, using a pay day lender is no more predatory than the late fee associated with bouncing a check or the reconnect fee for having your water turned back on.  This is a bad bill and needs to be defeated even if one agrees with the intent. To identify a type of business by their hours of operation is a bad way to define a business. Some day banks may not want to keep "bankers hours" and may want to be more accommodating to their customers. This bill would stop them from expanding their hours of operation.

I am really disappointing by the staff analysis of this bill. Instead of simply explaining what the bill would do, it engages in advocacy.
I received the following email from bill sponsor Councilman Jeff Syracuse explaining his bills: "My bill actually does something to help differentiate financial institutions from the AFS industry for the first time, which is something that is fairly well supported by the industry.  I'm also introducing an amendment that makes it an and/or situation where the distance requirements stand even if they fall outside of the hours of operation definition.

I'm basically doing what Donelson (and other areas of the county) needs to escape the bonds of an over-abundance of these businesses keeping us from being able to redevelop properties into more meaningful and positive businesses.  I'm a free-market guy, but these businesses are dragging us down.  I wish the free market could solve this on its own, but it's only going to spiral down in a worse way if we allow the industry to come up with new business models in order to skirt around established zoning ordinances.  My intent is to simply put an end to the game of legislative whackamole with this industry.  I believe I've achieved that.


BILL NO. BL2016-135 rezones property at 4th Avenue and Chestnut St.  This is a welcome development in this depressed neighborhood close to downtown. Here is a link to a Tennessean story on this development: Large Wedgewood-Houston project faces key vote. This will increase property values in this part of town. Those who oppose evil "gentrification" should oppose this bill. 
Thee are 13 resolution's on the consent agenda. Resolutions on "consent" are all lumped together and are passed by a single vote of  the Council.  A resolution is taken off of consent if it fails to gain unanimous approval from the committee to which it is assigned.  Also, any council member may, from the floor, object to a resolution being on consent or may ask to have his dissenting vote or abstention recorded.  This is the only resolutions of interest:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-102  which takes out the north shed portion of Farmers Market and turns it back over to the State is back on the agenda after being deferred two meetings. It is revealed that the $4M that the State is going to pay Metro for releasing the northern sheds, will not flow back to the Metro General fund but will go to subsidize the operation of the Farmers Market. I do not like that and think the money should go to the General Fund and any additional subsidizing of Farmers Market should have to come before the Metro Council. In my view the Farmers Market should not have to be subsidized. I like Farmers Market but think it should be able to cover its own operating cost. One of the amendments to this bill would remove the prohibition against selling alcoholic beverages at the Farmers Market. I'll drink to that!  On occasion, metro has ignored the current prohibition and allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages. 
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-142  request that the appropriate Metropolitan Departments review the possibility of turning vacant Metro-owned buildings into affordable housing in the Davidson County area. After the review, the agencies would report back to the Council. I support this resolution
There are 19 bills on First Reading. I have not read them. First Reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are passed all lumped together by a single vote. Bills do not go to committee until after they pass First reading. There is one bill on first reading however, that may prove controversial. I support this bill.
BILL NO. BL2016-161  Here is The Tennessean's report on this bill:
Bill would block off dates for fairgrounds gun shows 
A Metro Nashville councilman wants to order the city-owned fairgrounds to block off weekends next year to reserve space at its facilities for future gun shows. Councilman Steve Glover has followed through on legislation he promised after the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners last week opted to stand by its controversial December vote to halt future gun shows at the fairgrounds until gun show operators agree to new safety parameters.
There are seven bills on Second Reading. This is the only one that I find of much interest.
BILL NO. BL2016-147 is a liberalization of a blighted property grant program. I am not necessarily opposed, but hope the Council carefully considers this program change. I tend to oppose programs than put Metro in the position of picking winners and losers.    
There are 13 bills on Third Reading. This is the only one of interest.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-99  would strengthen the Human Relations Commission by removing the term limits for members of the Commission. In my view this useless agency should be abolished instead of strengthened. They serve to indoctrinate people in  political correctness. Any thing of value they do could easily be done by other agencies.  One of the offensive things they do is sponsor the Youth Pavilion at the Gay Pride Festival. This bill should be defeated.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why I voted for Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio
Yesterday I cast my vote in the Republican primary and I voted for Marco Rubio. The position of all of the Republican candidates is similar. All pledge to secure the borders, cut taxes, grow the economy, reduce the national debt, balance the budget, scrap Obamacare and rebuild the military.  In voting for Rubio it came down to confidence he would actually do it, likability, and electability.  I like Rubio's personal life story, he seems genuine, and I think he could broaden the base of the party.

I am an advocate of free trade and was disappointing to see Rubio defend sugar quotas, but everyone has their faults and that is a minor concern.  Also, Rubio sometimes seems so programmed that he can not deviate from the canned speech, but every candidate has their standard stump speech and talking points. Also, Rubio has missed some important votes in the Senate.  Those are all minor criticisms however. 

Rubio is accused of being soft on immigration but I do not fault him for that. When he says he will secure the border first, I believe him.  I think the harsh rhetoric on immigration coming from some candidates will hurt Republicans and I also think it is simply unnecessarily hateful. I think anyone who thinks we are going to round up and deport 12 million or more illegal immigrants is simply living in a dream world.  Eventually we are going to have to let them come out of the shadows and legalized their status.  Also as a tactical political strategy, Republicans are going to lose future elections if we cannot attract minorities. By 2050  white non-Hispanics will be the minority in this country. We need to attract Hispanics to the Republican Party. I think Rubio would be the candidate most likely to woo Hispanics, young people, dissatisfied Democrats and independents to vote Republican. I think his personal story, his youth, his good looks and his message of optimism makes him the most attractive candidate. I also feel he is the one candidate who could straddle the divide between establishment Republicans and tea party Republicans.

Prior to settling on Rubio, I was initially torn between Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio. When the other two dropped out of the race I settled on Rubio.  Occasionally I have wavered between Rubio and Cruz. Cruz throws out the red meat and I like what he has to say, but I have my reservations also. It is widely reported that he is not very well liked by his colleagues in the Senate. If that is so, how can he build a coalition to pass an agenda? Also, when he did his famous "filibuster" on raising the debt ceiling in which he read Green Eggs and Ham, I thought it was a self-promoting stunt. The outcome of that vote was never in doubt. Cruz to me seems earnest and dedicated to principle but he turns me off by being a little to evangelical. I do not mean "evangelical" in the religious sense but it seems a little too preachy, or dogmatic. In my view, he comes across as a self-righteous televangelist. That is more style than substance however, but Cruz just does not seem that likable except to people who already like him. I doubt he is going to attract people to vote Republican who are not already Republican.

The other candidates have all had their moments in which I liked what they had to say but I was never tempted to vote for any of them. I am over the Bushes and do not want Jeb. Both John Kasich and Chis Christie never seemed conservative enough for my taste. I never got over fearing Rand Paul was too much of an isolationist in order to support his candidacy, although he said many other things I really liked.  I think Ben Carson is probably one of the nicest people running, but I don't know that nice can win and while there is something attractive about an outsider, I want someone with some relevant experience to be our next President.

So what about Trump?  Trump is the candidate I least want to see get the nomination.  Some of my good Republican friends are enthusiastic Trump supporters but, quite honestly, Trump scares me. He does not scare me as much as Hillary or Bernie and if he is the Party's candidate I will support him, but I hope he is not the nominee.  He scares me because I fear he will start a trade war.  I don't know enough to know that China's currency manipulation rises to the level of risking a trade war, but I am not ready to risk it.  I also do not buy the argument that we can impose tariffs on Mexico to make Mexico pay for a massive wall along the southern border. In my view, the mechanism that has been developed to lower tariffs under both Republicans and Democrats should not be abandoned. If we unilaterally impose tariffs there will be retaliation. I fear a trade war could lead to a world wide depression.

Also, I simply do not trust Trump. I do not believe he has any core values. I do not understand why he is the most hated candidate among Democrats because the reason I do not like him should make him more attractive to Democrats. I do not believe he is a real conservative. He had defended Planned Parenthood, he has justified using eminent domain to take the property of individuals for economic development, he has been soft on the Second Amendment and he has contributed money to Democrat candidates.  I am not certain he would appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. I understand some of his appeal. He refused to play the political correctness game and says what he thinks and people find that refreshing. I think, however, that Trump is a populist playing on popular resentments and fears rather than being a true conservative. Who knows how he would govern?

If you have not already voted, please cast a vote for Marco Rubio.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

If Rubio is “establishment,” then the establishment is now very conservative.

The Patriot Post - Despite my admiration of Cruz for his conservative credentials, he has driven much of the infighting with Rubio, and Trump has thrived on the crossfire. Cruz has pasted the “establishment” label on Rubio, but if Rubio is “establishment,” then the establishment is now very conservative.

Rubio has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 98 (out of 100). He has a perfect NRA rating. Citizens Against Government Waste gives him a 95, and National Right to Life gives him a 100. Fact is, he’s a genuine conservative. And it is no small testament to his conservatism that the Koch brothers' senior political adviser, Marc Short, signed on with Rubio’s campaign this week.(link)

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Rep. Tim Scott, Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Peter King, Sen. Jeff Flake, Rep. Trey Gowdy, Sen Jim Inhofe endorse Marco Rubio

Tim Scott
Sen. Tim Scott endorses Marco Rubio for president - …"2016 may be the important election," Scott says in the video. "I'm putting my confidence and my trust in Marco Rubio." 
Rick Santorum
 Santorum Endorses Rubio “He’s a tremendously gifted young man,” he said of the Florida senator. “I just feel a lot of confidence that he is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together.” 

Rep. Peter King endorses Republican Marco Rubio for ..rejecting “He’s a tremendously gifted young man,” he said of the Florida senator. “I just feel a lot of confidence that he is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together.”
Peter King
Republican front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz because "Republicans can't afford to forfeit this race to Hillary Clinton by nominating the wrong candidate."

Sen. Jeff Flake Endorses Marco Rubio "I’m
Jeff Flake
supporting Marco Rubio for president because he has the ideas, the principles, and the toughness necessary to bring reform to Washington," 

Trey Gowdy officially endorses Marco Rubio - … "It's not my job to tell you who to vote for, but I
Trey Gowdy
am going to tell you who I am going to vote for. And I'm gonna tell you why. I'm going to vote for Marco Rubio,"

Bobby Jindal

Marco Rubio Endorsed by Bobby Jindal in 2016 Election …“Marco can unify our party,” Jindal said on Fox News Friday. “I think he’s a principled conservative. I think he’s the right guy.”

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe Endorses Rubio - Calling Rubio "a
Jim Inhofe
solid conservative," Inhofe added, "Marco and I have shared, similar values, such as working for a smaller federal government and putting an end to wasteful spending. At the same time, we both recognize the need for the United States to be a global leader and that it requires a well-supported, world-class military that can safely and effectively answer when called upon."

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NashVegas Cab Asks Metro for the right to grow. They are the only taxi company using 100% of their issued permits.

Press Release - On February 25, 2016, Nashville-based NashVegas Cab will be on hand, once again, asking Director Billy Fields and the members of the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission to lift the stay on enforcement of Rule #3 and issue to them any unfilled permits currently held by the other taxi companies. During the annual meeting held last month, the board had the opportunity to issue more permits to NashVegas, but instead delayed action on the issuance of new permits. The delay has spurred some taxi companies into offering temporary weekly fee or “lick”reductions, in an attempt to fill their currently unfilled permits. Why didn’t these companies lower their fees before? The lick trick shouldn’t fly with our TLC! 

“We ask that the TLC enforce all of its rules and award our company with additional permits,” said Solomon Tadele, President of NashVegas Cab. Studies generated by the Convention and Visitors Bureau show that as our city continues to grow, the demand for safe, affordable, and dependable transportation also continues to grow.  NashVegas wants to continue to meet that demand! The issuance of additional permits to NashVegasCab helps them hire more local drivers from all parts of the world who have established citizenship. Furthermore, additional permits helps NashVegas support their families and support our local tax base. NashVegas stands apart from their rideshare competitors who do not contribute to our local tax base.

Tadele further stated, “We are the only company with all of our permits completely filled with happy drivers, but we can’t grow our business and employ new drivers until the TLC decides we can. Please don’t punish us for being successful!” The driver-owners of NashVegas Cab Corporation asks that Mayor Barry, the Metro Council, and the members of the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission enforce the law and its rules and end the current practice of issuing permits to companies unable to fill them. Nashville’s own NashVegas Cab Corporation just completed its second year of providing the utmost in service to visitors and residents of Nashville. In only a short period of time, NashVegas has proven itself as a company willing to provide service to those in underserved communities by establishing a service grid, with cabs strategically placed throughout the city, all accessible by way of the NashVegas Cab app.

My Comment: I adamantly disagree with the statement, "NashVegas stands apart from their rideshare competitors who do not contribute to our local tax base." That is ridiculous! Certainly drivers for Lyft and Uber also contribute to our local tax base. The independent business men and women who drive for rideshare companies also earn money which they spend locally and support their families and support our local tax base. That disagreement with the unnecessary jab at Uber and Lyft aside however, I am 100% in favor of giving NashVegas the permits they need to expand their company and hire more drivers. Simply because other cab companies have permits they are not using is no justification for denying new permits to NashVegas.

The way the taxi cap companies operate is that a taxicab company gets issued a permit for so many caps and pays an annual fee of $255 for each permit. The company then hires  taxi drivers who are forced to pay a weekly fee, called a "lick," of between $200-$350 a week for the right to use a permit issued to the company by the TLC. The taxi driver actually owns his own cab but does not own the permit to operate his cab.

My view is that we should abolish the permit system and let any taxi driver register his cab and operate. Metro should simply get out of the business of controlling the number of cabs permitted to operate and let supply and demand determine the optimum number of cabs needed to serve the community. It is immoral that a cab company owner, who has very little in the way of investment in the company, pays $225 a year for the right to place a cab on the street then charges a driver over $18,000 a year to work as a taxi driver using that $225 permit.

NashVegas is using all of the permits they have been issued and have more drivers who want to go to work for them but cannot put them to work because Metro will not allow the company to expand. That is simply wrong. While I would prefer we totally abolish the permit system, in the meantime, NashVegas should be issued all of the permits they can use.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

John Kasich plans Nashville rally Saturday, Feb. 27th

John Ksich
The Tennessean, by Dave Boucher - Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will host an open rally Feb. 27 in Nashville as part of his campaign's three-stop trip to Tennessee ahead of the March 1 primary.

Kasich's townhall is set for 11 a.m. at Rocketown, a popular venue for GOP presidential contenders recently in downtown Nashville. The event is free and open to anyone. Attendees can RSVP online, according to local communications official and Kasich's state coordinator John Crisp.

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Conservative Groups of Middle Tennessee January Meeting w/ Senator Mark Green, Rep. Mark Pody, more.

Meet State Representative Mark Pody | WJLE
Mark Pody
From Conservative Groups of Middle Tennessee: January Meeting 
Tennessee Senator Mark Green announces Legislative Priorities
Mark Green
Our meeting this month will be held at Logan's Steak on Elliston Place near Vanderbilt University.. The meeting will be held on Thursday February 25, 2016  starting at 5:30 for networking and the meeting from 6:00 to 7:00. The agenda for the meeting is a wake-up call for the state of Tennessee and the Nation.  The agenda will concentrate on the importance of elections and the issues involved in the upcoming years through policies, new legislature, and the effects on the American People. 

Our keynote speakers include Senator Mark Green, State Representative Mark Pody,
Andrew Ogles's Profile Photo
Andy Ogles
GenmaSpeaks: Dr. Ming Wang on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes
Ming Wang

 Andy Ogles, and Dr. Ming Wang.

Senator Green will speak on new proposals and new legislature that affects all Tennesseans.

 Representative Pody will speak on state rights and the guaranteeing of laws guaranteed by the state constitution.

Mr.. Ogles will speak on present races and targets proposals of Americans For Prosperity.
Dr. Ming Wang will finish with the importance of reaching out to the different Minorities and highlight his book on emphasis on freedom in the American Culture.

The agenda for the meeting is a wake-up call for the state of Tennessee and the Nation.  We will concentrate on training for candidates and supporting the most important elections of our lifetime. We ask all interested in running for office to attend this event.

Please RSVP to Tony Roberts  Dan Davis

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Marco Rubio to visit Franklin on Sunday.

The Tennessean, by Dave Boucher  - Fresh off the Republican primary vote in South Carolina, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is set to bring his presidential campaign to Franklin on Sunday.
Rubio will host a 1 p.m. rally in the ballroom of the Embassy Suites in Franklin.

It will be his first event after the South Carolina GOP primary on Saturday, said campaign spokeswoman Micah Johnson. Doors open at noon, and the event is open to all. Johnson said anyone who wants to attend needs to RSVP, either online or at the venue, if space is still available.

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Haslam Endorses Rubio In Tennessee Primary

Haslam Endorses Rubio In Tennessee Primary

“To win in November, conservatives need a candidate who inspires Americans from all backgrounds,” Haslam said. “With Marco standing next to Hillary Clinton on a debate stage, the choice between the future and the past will be clear to every American.”

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Fox News TV Host Sean Hannity and Ted Cruz in Nashville THIS Friday Feb 26th at 11:30AM

From Nashville Tea Party:

Sean Hannity
Ted Cruz
URGENT NOTICE - Join National Talk Radio Host and Fox News TV THIS Friday Feb 26th at 11:30AM at Rocketown in downtown Nashville. The address is 601 4th Ave S, Nashville, TN and here is a link to a location Map:

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Meet Jackson Miller - Candidate for School Board District 7, Saturday Feb. 20th.

Jackson Miller
Meet Jackson Miller - Candidate for School Board District 7, Saturday, February 20 at 9 AM Red Bicycle Coffee, 2519 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN.   

Join Jackson Miller for a cup of coffee and learn more about him and why he is running for School Board in District 7. Stop by at anytime between 9-11 to chat with the candidate. For more information follow this link

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Kasich to host Nashville rally, Thursday Feb. 27th.

John Kasich
The Tennessean - Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will host an open rally Feb. 27 in Nashville as part of his campaign's three-stop trip to Tennessee ahead of the March 1 primary. Kasich's townhall is set for 11 a.m. at Rocketown, a popular venue for GOP presidential contenders recently in downtown Nashville. The event is free and open to anyone. Attendees can RSVP online, according to local communications official and Kasich's state coordinator John Crisp.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What happended at the 2/16/2016 council meeting: new conservation overlay for part of Inglewood, other important items deferred.

At less than an hour long, this is a short meeting. There is not much of importance on the agenda but to find the agenda, agenda analysis and my commentary follow this link. There is no drama in this meeting and not much point in watching it. Here are the highlights:

  • BILL NO. BL2016-99 which would strengthen the Human Relations Commission by removing the term limits for members of the Commission  is substituted and passes without objection. This is a minor change and not terrible important but in my view this useless agency should be abolished instead of strengthened. This agency serves to indoctrinate people in  political correctness. Any thing of value they do could easily be done by other agencies. I am disappointed that no member of the Council took this opportunity to speak against the HRC. 
  • BILL NO. BL2016-123  which would give the Council more information on the status of Tax Increment financing in the Rutledge Hill Redevelopment District is deferred to the second meeting in April.  
  • BILL NO. BL2016-117 which would impose a proximity distant requirement on alternative  Financial service establishments is deferred. This refers to those business such as pawn shops, title loan companies, payday lenders and check cashing places. It would require them to be 1320 feet apart.

Here is the Tennessean's report on the meeting: Council approves building restrictions for part of Inglewood.

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How Charter Schools transformed New Orleans public schools.

There is undeniable proof that charter schools can transform public education and yet liberals work tirelessly to stop this common sense reform.  If one were skeptical of liberals motives one might think that liberals want to keep poor people, and especially Black people, poor and ignorant so they will continue to be constituents for the liberal welfare state. One might conclude they do not want them escaping the liberal plantation.

There are examples all over the country where kids that would have ended up dropping out of school and on a road to single motherhood or reform school, instead are on a road to college and the middle class. In New Orleans there has been a big scale experiment that shows how charter schools can transform a failing education system.

In New Orleans in the aftermath of the 2005 Katrina hurricane,  instead of rebuilding a traditional public school system where roughly two in every three schools were “failing,” the city transformed almost all of its traditional  public schools into charter schools. Under this new structure, attendance zones were eliminated, union control of education was weakened and parents were given a choice in where they would send their kids to school.

Today, 92 percent of students in New Orleans attend charters. Instead of graduating roughly 54 percent of its students, as New Orleans did before the storm, the city’s public schools  now graduate 73 percent of students, even beating the national average in male graduation rate.  Last year at Cohen College Prep, one of the city’s worst-performing schools before Hurricane Katrina hit, 100 percent of its students were accepted into college. 

The above includes excerpts from a longer story one can find at this link

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Nashville fair board sticks with gun show decision

Nashville fair board sticks with gun show decision
The Tennessean, ...the largest gun show operator at the city-owned fairgrounds says a lawsuit against Metro is likely. ..Metro Department of Law Director Cooper,.... unveiling his formal legal opinion for the first time, said no law requires Metro to hold gun shows at city-owned facilities such as the fairgrounds. .

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The educational schism among Nashville "progressives"

TN Edu-Independent- I believe much of the debate over education reform and charter schools today in Nashville is actually more divisive among competing camps on the "left" side of the political spectrum than it is with the traditional right vs. left divide. I'll be honest in that I'm totally confused by this. If it helps clear up where I'm coming from (so that you can try to assume my biases), politically I'm an Independent and have voted for Democrat, Republican and Independent candidates in the past.

Traditionally, I've heard the Democratic party as the party that claims to be for the underdog and the under served in our society, often poor and minority families and individuals. The party claims to be about providing policies and avenues for poor and under served individuals to make it into the middle class, and to strengthen and grow the middle class that already exists (there are many middle class claims by both major parties).

I share that ethic, and I see many "progressive" Democrats doing this work every day in classrooms and schools (charter and traditional public) with that goal very much front and center in what they do -- to bring greater equality and justice to neighborhoods and communities in Nashville. I really have a lot of respect for this brand of "progressive."

BUT I've also seen many cases of other "progressive" Democrats who do things and say things that are very counter productive towards this supposedly stated platform of justice and equality, and being for the under served and marginalized of our society.

A question I've often heard posed when it comes to improving public education in Nashville, a historically urban Democratic center is:

"when it comes to education, what sort of Democrat are you, really?"

This debate is also playing out in other cities and on a national level.

One example I'll point to is New York City. Mayor de Blasio, a Democrat was elected in 2013 with more than 73% of the vote (that's not a close election).

During the campaign, and shortly after being elected, Mayor de Blasio struck a fairly loud anti-charter tone:

"In September 2013, de Blasio voiced his opposition to charter schools, maintaining that their funding saps resources from classes like art, physical education and afterschool programs. He outlined a plan to discontinue the policy of offering rent-free space to the city's 183 charter schools and to place a moratorium on the co-location of charters schools in public school buildings. He said, "I won't favor charters. Our central focus is traditional public schools."

Hmm....where have I heard that line before?  "[charter school] funding saps resources..."  (The argument is intellectually dishonest and has been proven false a number of times. Nashville charter schools are actually saving the district money by MNPS' own analysis, and are also providing a much higher quality level of education.)

There was significant push back to de Blasio for his heavy anti-charter tone that saw large protests from charter school parents and supporters in New York City and at the state capitol in Albany.

There are estimated to be 95,000 students attending charter schools in New York City, with 42,600 students on waiting lists. See also: Charter schools enroll record 95G students, forcing expansion to meet demand.

Maybe de Blasio recognized that it's harder and harder (and foolish politically) to be anti-charter and continue to oppose so many parents in the City who value what th charter school is offering their child.

Flash forward to the beginning of the school year, and we see somewhat a different message, with de Blasio's Superintendent of schools touring some charter schools on the first day of school for the year: NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña Praises Charter on Visit.

The loud anti-charter tone is understandable for election seasons. The teacher unions are a powerful lobby in New York City (much more powerful than Nashville or in Tennessee). Yet when it comes to governing, it seems that Mayor de Blasio has shifted to a more reasonable approach when it comes to the issue of charter schools.

If you relate New York City's example to the issue of education reform and charter schools (not one in the same), it's also worth noting for our context in Nashville that Southern Democrats have taken an absolute beating politically in recent years (this trend has also occurred in Tennessee, more at the state level).

The chart below shows the Percentage of governors’ mansions, senators’ seats and state legislative bodies held by Democrats in the South outside Florida and Virginia:

For Southern Democrats in general, given that they've largely been voted out of favor from the governing political class, former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen has some good insight and wise words on this:

“I come out of the business world. If you have a product that’s not working, you don’t say, ‘Our customers are lazy’ or ‘Our customers don’t know what’s best for them.’ The ones that are successful say, ‘I need a better product.’”

“We’re just trotting out the same old nostrums: a little class warfare here and a nod to labor unions there and more money for X, Y and Z programs,” said Bredesen. “People are looking for a vision.”

Applying this to the issue of education and the pretty intense discord that I see among Democrats in Nashville, here are some thoughts:

  • Any objective look at the educational outcomes of students in this city clearly shows that K-12 education is not at the level of rigor where it should be, at all (somehow there's disagreement on this point among the differing "progressives"). 
  • When you drill down specifically to look at the educational outcomes of poor and minority students in this city, the outcomes are completely shameful. If the same outcomes were present in the K-12 public schools located in Green Hills or West Nashville, that would never be tolerated, and you'd see a complete overhaul of this city's elected leaders. 
  • For some of these Democrat "progressives" that are in the habit of being loud and telling the parents of now 8,000 students in Nashville who are enrolled in a charter school this year that "they're making the wrong choice by choosing a charter school," this seems completely naive at best, and likely going to be a very unsuccessful strategy. 
  • There is a reason that Nashville charter school enrollment has seen a near parabolic rise in enrollment in the last 7 years or so. There is NO WAY that the parents of 8,000 public school students are willfully ignorant or dumb enough to be duped to not know what they're choosing (or staying in) when it comes to enrolling their child in a Nashville charter school. 
 I think many voters are confused by Democrats in Nashville, at least on the issue of improving education, and that issue tends to touch nearly every voter. I identify with many self-proclaimed "progressives" on the what and how to improve public education, but then I'm so far away from this other camp of "progressives" in their what and how discussions on public education. For this second camp of Nashville "progressives," to claim that this many public school parents are being duped or shammed by some dark shadowy ulterior motive that supposedly lies beneath efforts to improve public education in this city (charter schools being one approach), this seems really far-fetched, and not anything close to the "vision setting" and execution of said vision that governor Bredesen references above.

There is warfare largely being waged between competing camps of "progressives" on the issue of education in Nashville.

Perhaps what's most confusing about this schism is that so many "progressives" from one camp, those that are likely to align politically on other issues with "progressives" in the other camp, are many of the ones that are heavily engaged in and doing the actual work to improve public education.

Some more reading on this topic can be found at the following:

Howard Dean's "Neoliberal corporate education reform"?: Howard Dean on Teach for America, teachers' unions and the politics of false choices.

Why liberals should learn to love charter schools.

The above was reposted with permission. To view the original blog post follow this link.  

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President Obama’s Budget: A Mountain of Debt, Regulation & Taxes

Phil Roe
by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. 1st District Tennessee - President Obama unveiled his proposed $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2017 this week, and it’s clearer than ever the president’s priorities don’t align with those of the American people. His proposal increases spending by more than $2 trillion, never balances and raises taxes by $3.4 trillion over the next 10 years. President Obama said that this budget is about looking to the future, but the only thing that would move forward under this proposal is the skyrocketing debt owed by future generations. I have some good news to share though: the president’s budget is dead on arrival here in Congress.

Among the short-sighted priorities outlined in his budget, the president wants to double funding for clean energy projects from $6.4 billion to $12.8 billion over five years and proposes a new $10-per-barrel tax on crude oil, which could translate to 24 cents more per gallon at the pump. In East Tennessee where people rely on their vehicles to get to and from work, school and other activities, a steep increase in the cost of gas could send an already struggling economy further south.

I was also disappointed that, in some areas where there could be common ground, the president appears to ignore good, bipartisan work that’s been done in Congress. For example, the president’s proposal would increase funding for cancer research by $1 billion with the goal of developing a cure for cancer. I wholeheartedly agree we should increase funding to research better treatments and cures for diseases, which is why I supported the 21st Century Cures Act when it passed the House last July. However, given the fact there are 10,000 known conditions and diseases and we only have cures and treatments for 500 of them, these investments must be strategic and smart. I hope that the president will work with Congress to get the 21st Century Cures bill across the finish line.

On education, the president’s budget pushes new, expensive proposals rather than focusing on the implementation of important reforms that have already been agreed to in Congress. The president said that real opportunity begins with education, and I couldn’t agree more. A high quality education is critical for our children and grandchildren’s future, and I was proud to have helped develop the bipartisan bill the president signed to get the federal government out of the classroom, replace No Child Left Behind and stop Common Core. There is still much work to do to move these important reforms forward, but the president would rather spend billions of dollars on new programs.

Finally, while I’m glad to see the president request an increase in funding for the Department of Defense, I’m still extremely concerned that the president has yet to present a clear, concise plan to defeat ISIS and to position the U.S. as the leader on the world stage. Under President Obama’s watch, the threat ISIS poses to the United States at home and abroad has grown, and we’ve seen aggressors like Russia and North Korea attempt to grow their influence on the world stage. As I’ve said before, we live in the best country in the world, and it’s time we start acting like it and stand up to rulers like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.

Overall, the president’s budget proposal is filled with one disappointment after the other. The picture on the cover of his budget is a mountain, and I can’t think of a more appropriate symbol. This budget fails the American people and will leave our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt, regulation and taxes. This kind of reckless spending is what caused our national debt to skyrocket, and I will continue to oppose the president’s budget and support proposals that fund conservative priorities while cutting spending and balancing the budget.

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If you commit any minor driving infraction in Tennessee, you can be pulled over. Also, you’re a criminal.

Supreme Court of Tennessee Blog, By Daniel Horwitz - Tennessee drivers beware: stray outside your lane – even an inch, and even for just a moment – and you’re subject to being seized and arrested by law enforcement. Also, you’ve just committed a crime that can land you in jail for up to a month.

In a pair of companion cases handed down by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon, the Court observes that “[o]ur legislature has chosen to criminalize the common driving infraction” of crossing lane lines. Moreover, the Court explains, the fact that “drivers in Tennessee [] cross lane lines ‘all the time’” makes no difference. No matter how minor the offense, if you’re suspected of having committed any driving infraction of any kind anywhere in the state, then neither the Fourth Amendment nor the Tennessee Constitution will protect you. is now a fact of life that virtually any driver in Tennessee can be stopped and jailed anywhere and at any time simply on an officer’s whim for no reason other than that it is impossible to drive perfectly within one’s lane at all times.(link)

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Liberty on the Rocks Feburary 18th, 5:30PM

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  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 the upcoming presidential primary or just whatever topic one brings up. There is no program.

When: Thursday, February 18 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. 

To RSVP follow this link

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Rep. Andy Holt Introduces Welfare Reform Legislation

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Press Release, Feb. 16 2016— Tennessee State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) has introduced legislation that will require able bodied, job ready Tennessee citizens  to prove they have been searching for a job before receiving certain welfare benefits. Benefits applicants will be required to apply for at least three separate jobs and provide verifiable documentation of their job applications to the State.

“We’re seeing a lot of welfare abuse in the State of Tennessee, and something has to be done about it. During the recession, the federal government vastly extended welfare benefits. Today, many people are still receiving benefits that shouldn’t be,” said Holt. “This abuse has taken resources away from people that actually need help, and is a massive burden to Tennessee tax-payers. In fact, current law virtually allows an individual to commit unemployment fraud for up to 8 weeks before actually being disqualified. That’s unacceptable.”

Holt’s legislation seeks to change or strengthen the law in three ways:

  1. Currently, people claiming unemployment are asked to provide proof to the Department of Labor that they have contacted at least 3 potential employers per week. However, compliance is only measured by random audits. Holt’s legislation will require that all able bodied, work-ready individuals receiving benefits are verified rather than randomly audited.
  2. Next, if an individual is caught  defrauding the system, they can currently do so for up to 8 weeks without even losing their benefits. “That’s just ridiculous, says Holt. “If you’re caught committing unemployment fraud, and are taking away resources from those that need them most, I don’t care if it’s for one  day. You’re out. So, we’ll be removing that 8 week window that basically legalizes unemployment fraud.”
  3. Finally, the law currently allows someone to be compliant as long as they are searching for a job ‘within their usual occupation’, rather than actually searching for any job that may be available. “Under current law, I can say that I’m an underwater basket weaver and simply cannot find a job. Therefore, I still get unemployment,” Holt said. “If there is an available job out there, you should be applying so long as you are able of doing the work.”
State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) will carry the Senate version of the bill.

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day: Falling in love.

I had been in love before I fell in love with Louella. I had been married twice  and was in love both times and I had also been in other relationships were I felt I was in love. In the past, I would date someone and over time feel affection and then feel I was in love. Also, to be perfectly honest, sometimes I think I could not separate love from lust. Also, I am not sure I could separate simple enjoyment of companionship and intimacy and desire not to be alone from love. With Louella I experienced something different. I experienced love in a flash.

After losing a good job because the company I worked for went out of business, I went through a period of unemployment and underemployment and was seeking any work I could find and got a part-time job as a field representative with the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS is the agency of the federal government that produces the Consumer Price Index, which measures price changes over time. The CPI is generally thought of as a measure of inflation. My job was to monitor and report the prices of items or services over time, of a market basket of goods that included everything from new cars, to funerals, wedding dresses, medical procedures, rent, tools, grocery items, clothing and several other things. The methodology for selecting the item and for substituting an item was very specific and complex.

As training for my new job, in May 1992 I had to go to a several-day training session in Annapolis, Virginia and it was there that I met Louella. She was one of the trainers in the class I was taking. I met her due to one of those silly ice-breaker games that you often have to play at events like that. At the start of the first day's session, everyone was asked to list on a piece of paper their favorite book, beverage and broadcaster, then the answers were read aloud and participants had to guess who the person was who provided that answer. I listed my favorite book as Atlas Shrugged and so did Louella. Atlas Shrugged is the novel  by Ayn Rand which lays out a philosophical argument for capitalism. I wanted to meet this other person who had also listed Atlas Shrugged as their favorite book. During a break we spoke and agreed to meet for drinks after class that evening.

We met after class and got to know each other and immediately liked each other and found we had a lot in common. Despite each of us listing Atlas Shrugged as our favorite book, neither of us were libertarians but each fairly mainstream conservative Republicans. Our drinks in the hotel lounge turned into several drinks and then dinner. We talked for hours. After dinner a band took over the lounge and the lounge filled with people partying. The music was extremely loud and appealing to neither of us and we still tried to carry on conversation by shouting in each others ear. We gave up after a while and I walked her back to her rooms and we shook hands and said goodnight.

I returned home after the training and over the next several weeks Louella and I emailed and talked often. Louella was the only person I had ever met who knew the same things I knew. Not only were our politics in alignment but Louella and I had read many of the same books and studied the same subjects. It was invigorating to meet someone I could actually talk to about important things. We also engage in a lot of good natured arguing. It is fun to argue with someone with whom you are in basic agreement, playing the devil’s advocate. It is like a game of chess and strengthens your reasoning skills. Louella could hold her own. Not only did we share the same political philosophy but we shared an appreciation of so many other things. We both liked travel and art and architecture and good food and wine and found humor in the same things and had read much of the same literature that was not political. I looked forward to our email exchanges and conversations. I think we were both hungry for someone that understood us and to whom we could relate.

A couple months after first meeting Louella, I returned to the Washington area for part two of my training. This training was in Baltimore Maryland and was for two weeks. Louella and I spend a lot of time together and we got to know each other better and had lunch and dinner together several times.

I fell in love in a little mini park in Baltimore. It was a long time ago and I don’t recall clearly the setting, but it seems it was in a park no larger than a single building lot. I don’t recall if there was a fountain or not but it seems there was, but I know if was a pretty setting with meandering brick paths and nice landscaping and benches.

We were sitting on a park bench and Louella was telling me about her experience of watching a bull fight on a trip she had taken to Spain. She described the pageantry leading up to the actual fight. She described the matador as being graceful and handsome and his movements almost like that a of ballet dancer. And she described the powerfulness of the bull and how it snorted and pawed the ground. She said she knew the bull would be killed and she wanted to look away but could not. She said she was both attracted to the spectacle and repulsed at the same time. As she told me about this experience, she was animated and expressive and intense.

While watching her tell me of her experience watching the bull fight, I was listening intently and taking in what she was telling me but part of me was also watching her as she told me of the experience. While I was listening to what she was saying, I was also thinking how pretty she was and how much I liked her and how special I thought she was and I wanted to take her and hold her and never let her go. I remember saying silently to myself, “I could love this women.” I was not looking for a relationship and had pretty much given up on love, but it happened and it happened in that instant.

If you were to represent what happened, it was at that monument that cupid pulled back his bow string and let loose and I was smitten and fell in love.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

What is on the Council agenda for 2-15-15? Not much. A reallly boring agenda.

Council meetings are a whole lot more interesting (well not a "whole lot;" they are still boring but they are less boring), it you know what it is that is under discussion. To get your own copy of the Metro Council agenda and the staff analysis of the agenda follow the highlighted links. I must warn you this will be a more boring than normal council meeting even with an agenda and a staff analysis. There is just not that much on the agenda of interest.

Below is my agenda summary and commentary.

Boards and Commission: There are two mayoral appointments to Boards and Commissions on the agenda, including one appointment to the Human Relations Commission. If I were on the Council I would ask the appointee if she supported Metro's sponsorship of the youth pavilion at the Gay Pride festival, if she did I would vote against her confirmation even if I was the lone vote.

There is one resolution on public hearing and it is to allow an establishment that already has a liquor-by-the-drink license to have a license to serve beer despite not meeting the distance requirements from a certain entity. Beer license are a Metro license and a liquor license is a State license. To serve beer you must be a certain distance from daycare centers, parks, homes, and churches. The same distance requirement do not exist for liquor, so some establishments end up without a beer license but they do have a liquor license. If those cases, the council after holding a public hearing can authorize them to get a beer license. I think this should be changed so it is automatic and does not require a public hearing or council action.

Also, this is not anything the Council can do, but I think State law should be changed so that wine is treated like beer rather than like liquor. In many states wine is in the same category as beer instead of liquor. 

There are 16 resolutions on the consent agenda at this time. Resolutions on "consent" are all lumped together and are passed by a single vote of  the Council.  A resolution is taken off of consent if it fails to gain unanimous approval from the committee to which it was assigned.  Also, any council member may, from the floor, object to a resolution being on consent or may ask to have his dissenting vote or abstention recorded.  None of the resolutions on this agenda appear controversial or are of much interest.

There are 10 bills on First Reading. I have not read them. First Reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are passed all lumped together by a single vote. Bills do not go to committee until after they pass First reading.

There are ten bills on Second Reading and these are the only ones I find of interest.

  • BILL NO. BL2016-99 would strengthen the Human Relations Commission by removing the term limits for members of the Commission. In my view this useless agency should be abolished instead of strengthened. They serve to indoctrinate people in  political correctness. Any thing of value they do could easily be done by other agencies.  One of the offensive things they do is sponsor the Youth Pavilion at the Gay Pride Festival. This bill should be defeated. It was on the agenda on Second Reading last meeting and was deferred one meeting. 
  • BILL NO. BL2016-123  would give the Council more information on the status of Tax Increment Financing of projects in the Rutledge Hill Redevelopment Plan district. For details, see the staff analysis. This appears to be positive development. I think the use of TIF has been abused and too little tax money on new developments in these redevelopment districts flows to the General Fund. This doesn't do much but is a small positive step. 
There are 22 bills on Third Reading and this is the only one of interest. 
  • BILL NO. BL2016-117 would impose a proximity distant requirement on alternative financial service establishments. This refers to those business such as pawn shops, title loan companies, payday lenders and check cashing places. It would require them to be 1320 feet apart. I am no fan of these business that are often referred to as "predatory lenders." If you don't know about them, this is how pay day lenders work.  Assume you get paid every two weeks and take home $300 a week and to avoid having your electricity cut off you go to a payday lender and borrow $250 with the understanding that on pay day you will pay back the $250 and $50 in fees. If a person paid it back on payday, then that would be less costly and less inconvenient than having ones electricity cut off.  However, many people do not pay it back and roll it over again and again. On an annual basis the interest rate comes to 500% or more for these type loans.  I think it is shameful that people are so stupid that they use these services and that these businesses thrive taking advantage of stupid people. I doubt that by imposing a distance requirement there will be fewer people using these services. The total number of such establishments may not increase with an increase in population but each such establishment will probably just serve more people and the people who use them will be inconvenienced but this will not lessen the demand for these services. The reason these places of business are in low income and minority neighborhoods is because that is where their customers are.  As far as being unattractive, often they more attractive than the other business that line the street on which they are located. I oppose this bill just as I would oppose a bill that tried to require fast food establishments be 1320 feet apart.

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Debate Watch Party Feb. 13th


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A Primer on the 2016 Tennessee Republican National Convention Delegate Selection process

If you are voting in the upcoming Republican primary, when you go to the polls you will not only see the names of the various candidates running for the Republican Party presidential nomination, but you will also see the names of dozens of people seeking to be selected as delegates in order to attend the Republican National  Convention.  Next to their name it will state to which candidate the person is committed.

Below is primer on understanding the Tennessee Republican convention delegate selection process. State law, the national Republican Party rules, and the State Republican Party rules determine how delegates are selected and how they must vote once they are selected.  I used the term "selected" intentionally, because not all delegates are elected. Very few people, including some of the people running as delegates, really understand the process. Read the below primer and the process will make more sense. If you read it slowly and think about it, it is understandable, but it is not simple.

This primer was prepared by two knowledgeable local Republican activist who have both previously been to conventions and who are again running as delegates to attend this year's convention.  One is pledged to Trump and the other is pledged to Rubio and I will be voting for both of of these delegate candidates. The following is their work. Where I have interjected remarks, I have set those remarks in parenthesis in dark red typeface and italics.  At the end of this essay, I have placed a "#" mark to indicate the end of the essay. Following the "#" is a resumption of my remarks.
 Primer on 2016 Tennessee Republican National Convention Delegate Selection
(Note: Delegate allocation and selection varies considerably by state and territory.  The information below pertains only to Tennessee.)

Tennessee is allocated 58 delegates per the Republican National Committee rules
  • 3 are the State Party Chairman, National Committeeman and National Committeewoman,
  •  14 at large delegates elected on the primary ballot (These candidates will have beside their name, the name of candidate for president they are supporting.  When voting, you can select some delegates committed to candidate X and some committed to candidate Y and others committed to candidate Z, and mix them up any way you want.)
  •  3 (total 27) delegates elected on the primary ballot in each Congressional District (When you vote you will  only see candidates for you congressional district, so for most people who live in Nashville, you will see the names of delegates who are running as a delegate from the 5th Congressional District.)
  • 14 at large delegates appointed by the state party with the advice of Presidential candidates (These names are not on the ballot. These are usually high dignitaries. The Governor will go and maybe some super big contributors and some other elected officials and maybe former elected officials.)
At Large Delegate Allocation
  • A Presidential candidate must receive at least 20% of the vote to win any delegate (unless no candidates have 20%)
  • If no Presidential candidate receives 20%, the delegates are proportionally allocated among all Presidential candidates according to their vote
  •  If only one  Presidential candidate receives 20% of the vote, that Presidential candidate receives all 28 at large delegates
  • If a Presidential candidate receives 2/3 of the vote, that Presidential candidate receives all 28 at large delegates
  • If more than one Presidential candidate receives 20% of the vote, those Presidential candidates receive delegates proportionally distributed 
Congressional District Allocation
  • If 1 Presidential candidate receives 2/3 or only one Presidential candidate gets 20% of the District vote, that candidate gets all 3 delegates 
  •  If 2 or more Presidential candidates get 20%, the highest vote getter receives 2 delegates and the next highest gets 1
  •  Otherwise, the top 3 Presidential candidates get 1 delegate each
Names of Presidential Candidates are listed alphabetically followed by “Uncommitted” designation
Names of Presidential Candidates (alphabetical) with names of delegate candidates (alphabetical) are then listed. (To see a sample ballot follow this link)

Voters may vote for: 
  • 1 candidate for President
  • 14 at large delegate candidates mix or match anywhere on the 
  •  3 Congressional District delegate candidates
  • Delegate candidate votes do not have to correspond to the Presidential candidate vote cast
Republican National Committee (2012).  The Rules of the Republican Party as adopted by the 2012 Republican National Convention, Tampa, Fl.  August 27, 2012.  Amended by the Republican National Committee on April 12, 2013, January 24, 2014, May 9, 2014, and August 8, 2014.
Tennessee Republican Party Bylaws

Prepared by: Martha Ruth Brown, Trump Delegate Candidate at large
Beth Campbell, SEC District 20, Rubio Delegate Candidate at large
Note that those running at-large are running state-wide and those running as congressional delegates are not effected by the allocation of at-large delegates. So, if candidate X wins the state by over 2/3rds of the votes cast he gets all 14 delegates, but in the 5th Congressional District if candidate Y wins 2/3rds of the vote, he gets the 3 delegates running in the 5th Congressional District who were pledged to candidate Y.

In addition to everything said above, there are also alternates selected and allocated in the same manner. So, if one candidate gets all 14 at-large delegates, another 14 delegates get to go to the convention pledged to that candidate, but they do not get to cast a vote.  They only would get to vote if the elected delegate, for some reason, does not attend the convention or is disqualified. Alternates still go to the parties and cheer from the floor for the convention TV show, they just don't get to vote.

This is confusing, right? Don't worry too much about it. If you just want to vote for your candidate for president and skip voting for any delegates, then do that. Your vote will still count.

One might think that if you are supporting candidate X then you would want to vote only for delegates committed to candidate X, however that is not necessarily so. It is not quite that simple to wisely select who you want to send to the convention as a delegate.  Even if you are supporting candidate X, you may want to vote for some delegates pledged to candidate Y and Z.  Unless candidate X gets all of the delegates, then some who are pledged to other candidates are going to the convention anyway, so if you cast all of your votes for delegate candidates pledged to candidate  X, then you have wasted some of your votes. Even if a particular delegate pledged to X gets more votes than a delegate pledged to Y, that does not mean that that particular candidate pledged to X gets to go to the convention.  Think of it like this: delegates pledged to candidate X or running against other delegate candidates pledged to candidate X; they are not running against delegate candidates pledged to candidate Y and Z.

Also, delegates do more than just vote for the Presidential nominee.  They vote on the party platform and on rules that determine how the convention operates in the next election and they may vote on resolutions stating policy positions of the party.  Also, there might be some good Republicans who have worked long and hard to serve the Party and you may just feel they deserve the opportunity to attend a convention.

Also, If you are voting for candidate X, you may not know 14 of the delegates pledged to that candidate. If you are like me, you may only know a few of them.  However, you may know someone pledged to a different candidate and know the person to be competent and good Republicans.  So, if their candidate gets any delegates you might prefer that it be the person you know going to the convention rather than someone you do not know.

Just because you can vote for 14 at-large delegates, keep in mind that does not mean you have to do so and if you vote for fewer candidates then the votes you do cast have more weight. If candidate X wins 2/3 of he vote then he gets all 14 delegates. The first 14 who got the most votes would become candidate X's delegates.  So, as a voter, if instead of voting for 14, you only vote for one, your vote is worth 14 times the weight of someone who cast 14 votes. By voting for fewer people your vote is less deluded.

When delegates get to the convention, what happens?  For the first two ballots, Tennessee delegates are required to vote for the candidate for whom they are pledged. So what could happen between first and second ballot?  Tennessee requires delegates to vote for the candidate to which they are pledged for the first two ballots, most states however require a delegate to only vote the way he is pledged for only the first ballot only. So, the roll call of the delegates could be different in other states and that could produce a different outcome.  So what happens if we still have not selected our nominee after the second ballot? Then, Tennessee delegates may vote however they want. What would probably happens is that if candidate Z is still in the running but he knows he cannot win, he would withdraw and throw his support behind candidate X or Y.  Those delegates pledged to candidate Z are not required to vote for the candidate that Z endorses however, but most probably would do so.  There are even other things that could happen that could make it more murky but the above is the essentials of how delegates are selected and how they exercise their vote.

If a candidate does not win on the first ballot and certainly if he does not win on the second ballot, then that is where the deal making happens in the proverbial "smoke filled rooms," however  these days the rooms are not really "smoke filled."  If a candidate does not win on the first ballot then that is what is called a "brokered convention."  Such has not happened in a long time but it is a real possibility this year. Deals may be made and votes cast based on the selection of the Vice Presidential nominee or pledges of future support or helping pay off campaign debt of a candidate or appointing of ambassadorships or pledging to support certain policy positions or any number of other considerations.

Democracy can be a messy thing.

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