Sunday, July 31, 2016

Will Pinkston is a bully!


by Jason Gonzales, The Tennessean, July 31, 2016 - Abrasive social media messages, email and in-person interactions with Metro Nashville Public Schools board member Will Pinkston created a hostile work environment that made employees fearful of losing their jobs, a number of former and current workers have alleged.

...  Alan Coverstone, said Pinkston “threatened me saying I had better watch myself, and eventually saying that I had better barricade myself in the office because he would come up there and get me.” ... former Metro Schools Superintendent Jesse Register, who retired in good standing in 2015: “If you disagree, you become (Pinkston's) adversary.” .....Register said district staff complained to him about emails and voicemails from Pinkston, as well as face-to-face confrontations....  “He called me other times when he was enraged about something and called me incompetent, manipulative, or a liar,” Coverstone said.

 Vesia Hawkins, a former district employee and board administrator, said she felt singled out by Pinkston after she began working for David Fox’s mayoral campaign in 2014. She said she asked to be re-assigned to another job because Pinkston frequently told others the administrators were “incompetent.” (link)

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Dr. Ming Wang honored as Nashvillian of the Year

Dr. Ming Wang
Today at the Kiwanis Club of Nashville luncheon at the Patron Club located in the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville, Dr. Ming Wang was honored as Nashvillian of the Year. This is the 35th year the Kiwanis Club of Nashville has presented the award. Previous recipients of this prestigious honor have included Martha Ingram, Roy Acuff, Jack Massey, Phil Bredesen, Vince Gill, Tim Corbin, Mike Curb, Frank Wycheck, Darrell Waltrip and Mayor Karl Dean.

 The selection committee was spearheaded by George H. Armistead, III, one of the three original architects of the award. Dr. Wang was presented with a commemorative plaque along with a commissioned caricature.

Dr Ming Wang is director of Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center, a world-renowned laser eye surgeon, author, and philanthropist. In a press release the Kiwanis Club said, "Dr. Wang receives the award by exemplifying the qualities of Outstanding Nashvillian of the Year and the Kiwanis International Vision. Dr. Wang worked diligently to make the world a better place, when he established the Wang Foundation, helping patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries, with sight restoration surgeries performed
free-of-charge."

“It is difficult to know anyone who works as hard giving back to the community and changing the lives of children as much as Dr. Ming Wang,” said Kenny Markanich, president, Kiwanis Club of Nashville. “He has helped countless children through the charitable outreach of his foundation, giving free surgeries to repair their vision.”

Dr. Wang actively contributes to the Nashville community as the founding president of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and as an honorary president of the Tennessee American-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The mission of these two chambers is to help educate Tennessee businesses about China, helping Tennessee to increase its export to China. He is also a co-founder of Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group, an organization that provides support to the diverse cultural and ethnic businesses in our community.

I know Dr. Wang due to his political activity. He is active in the Republican Minority Coalition, an organization dedicated to broadening the base of the Republican Party and attracting immigrants and minorities. With power point charts, Dr. Wang gives a powerful talk showing that by 2040 America will be a minority-majority country and if America is going to remain a free and prosperous nation, we must attract minorities to the Republican Party.

Rod Williams and Dr. Ming Wang
Dr. Wang has a compelling life story having lived though the Chinese Cultural Revolution. During that dark period of Chinese history millions of innocent youths were deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of poverty and hard labor. Through his own tenacity and his parents’ tireless efforts to provide a chance of freedom for their son, Ming eventually made his way to America with $50 in his pocket, where against all odds he succeed and earned a PhD in laser physics and graduated magna cum laude with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT. He embraced the Christian faith and tackled one of the most important questions of our time – Are faith and science friends or foes? – which led to his invention of a breakthrough biotechnology to restore sight.

At the luncheon today, Dr. Wang spoke of his Christian faith and the blessing of liberty and his love of this country. Congratulations to Dr. Ming Wang for a well-deserved recognition.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tennessee Right to Life endorsements


For more information, follow this link.

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Vote for Steve Dickerson Tennessee State Senate District 20


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My recommendations for School Board and who others are endorsing.

District 1, Sharon Gentry
On August 4th we will be filling the seats of five of the nine school board members. The school Board elections, in my view, are extremely important and many people do not give these elections the attention they deserve .  For one thing, the school board spends 41 percent of the Metro's budget which this year was in excess of $2 billion.  That is a lot of money.  For another thing it is embarrassing how poor Metro schools are performing and I believe we can do better. It is true we have some excellent schools in Nashville, but most of the really good Metro schools are magnet schools or charter schools.  In deciding where to live, middle class and upper middle class parents often see the choice between Williamson County and sending their child to a public school versus Davidson County and sending their child to a private school.

All taxpayers and voters, whether they have children in the school system or not, have a stake in the
quality of Nashville public education. The quality of education can impact the poverty rate, the crime rate, economic well being of our community but most importantly the lives of children.

A Disgruntled Republican's recommendations.
District 3, Jane Grimes Meneely
I have attended one candidate's  forum, have watched the Tennessean interviews with the candidates, studied the candidates web pages, read everything I could find in the local press about the races and have followed the candidates' campaigns fairly closely. I have met several of the candidates.  Also, while I do not watch every school board meeting, I watch a large number of them and have seen the school board in action.

In District 1, I am supporting Sharon Gentry for reelection. She has been a good chair of the School Board. With such a divided board and with some volatile personalities to content with she has managed to keep the board functioning under trying circumstances. With several new members and a new Director of Schools we need some continuity on the Board.

District 5: Miranda Christy
In District 3, 7 and 9 I am supporting the challengers because they are not Speering, Pinkson, or Frogge. Those three incumbents desperately need to be replaced.  I would support anyone who was their opponent. They seem to favor mediocrity in education and the teachers union over excellence in education.  They oppose innovation and reform. They have a knee-jerk reaction against charter schools. Charter schools have shown a remarkable ability to excel where traditional schools have failed.  In many Black communities, many Black young men are headed to college instead of prison due to a charter school education.  The act of chartering a charter schools, however, should  be a deliberative process and charters must be held accountable for their results and if they do not perform better than the traditional school was functioning, then they should lose their charter. We need people on the school board who are open to charters and recognized their potential for improving public education.  The three challengers to the aforementioned incumbents appear well qualified and committed to public education.

I live in District 7 so I have followed that race the closer than the others. I am really impressed with Jackson Miller and think he has the skills, heart, and background to make a great school board member.

Below are my recommendations. To view the candidate's website, click the link.

District 1: Sharron Gentry
District 7: Jackson Miller
District 3: Jane Grimes Meneely
District 5: Miranda Christy
District 7: Jackson Miller
District 9: Thom Druffel

The Tennessean Endorsement.
The Tennessean almost always endorses a Democrat instead of a Republican in partisan races except in those cases where the Democrat nominee is a screwball wingnut disavowed by the Democrat Party. One knows the Tennessean's point of view so should not be surprised when the Tennessean endorses the most liberal candidates. Still, I am somewhat  perplexed that The Tennessean would endorse Will Pinkston over Jackson Miller.  The Tennessean, I think, has been  fair in pointing out how divisive and dogmatic Will Pinkston has been on the school board. Also, many liberals now support charter schools and this issue is no longer a right-left divide and The Tennessean has generally supported education reform and excellence in education. Since the mayor is supporting Will Pinkson and The Tennessean blindly supports the mayor, this may have been a case of supporting the team and not wanting to see the mayor's stature diminished by supporting a losing candidate. To read The Tennessean's endorsements follow this link. Here are The Tennessean's endorsements:
District 1: Sharon Dixon Gentry (incumbent)
District 3: Jill Speering (incumbent)
District 5: Miranda Christy (open seat)
District 7: Will Pinkston (incumbent)
District 9: Thom Druffel (challenger)

District 9: Thom Druffel
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce endorsements.
The Chamber has been a strong advocate for education reform and excellence in education so I am somewhat perplexed that they failed endorse Jackson Miller over Will Pinkson, choosing not to make an endorsement in that race. Here is the link to The Tennessean story on the Camber's endorsements and hear is a link to the Nashville Scene's report on the Chamber endorsements.
District 1: Sharon Gentry
District 3: Jane Grimes Meneely
District 5: Christiane Buggs and Miranda Christy
District 7: No endorsement
District 9: Thom Druffel


SEIU endorsements.
SEIU has surprised no one by endorsing those candidates who support unions above students. An SEIU enforcement is valuable in telling me for whom I would not want to vote. For the SEIU narrative on the candidates they endorsed follow this link. Here are their List of endorsements:
District 1, no endorsement
District 3, incumbent Jill Speering.
District 5, SEIU endorsed Christiane Buggs
District 7, the union is supporting Will Pinkston
District 9, SEIU Local 205 endorsed incumbent Amy Frogge

Stand for Children.
Below is the statement of Stand with Children that accompanied their endorsements:
With a committed Mayor and the recent selection of Dr. Shawn Joseph as Director of Schools, there remains one major missing piece to improving our public education system: a better school board.

On the current Board's watch the achievement gap between low-income students and their more privileged peers grew by 11%; in Memphis that gap was closed by 19% during the same timeframe. On the current Board's watch the number of Nashville schools on the state’s Priority List of lowest-performing schools increased 250% (from six to fifteen).  Finally, only 14% of MNPS graduating seniors are considered “college ready” according to the ACT College Readiness benchmark.

There are great things happening in Metro schools, but clearly we have work to do. Instead of concentrating on how to close the achievement gap, improve chronically low performing schools, or better prepare graduates for life after graduation, several members of the current Board instead spend the overwhelming majority of their time attacking public charter schools, many of which are the district’s top-performing schools. This obsession with charter schools has crowded out discussion of tangible, scalable solutions.

The 86,000 MNPS students who have just one shot at a great education deserve better leadership than that.  Their families and our community do, too.

This election offers Nashville an exciting opportunity to turn the page on the dysfunction and stagnation that have plagued our school system the past several years. Imagine for a moment that we spent the next four years not rehashing the same old fights, but instead debating the best way to attract and support a great principal at every school; the best way to retain and develop our incredible educators; the most innovative ways to support our growing immigrant populations; and or the best way to ensure schools receive adequate and equitable funding and support. Think of the impact that might have on the 86,000 kids that walk into a Metro school every day.

District 1:  Sharon Gentry
District 3: Jane Meneely
District 5: Miranda Christy
District 7: Jackson Miller
District 9: Thom Druffel

MNEA
I cannot find the endorsements from the teachers union (MNEA), however I could guess who they will be supporting. If MNEA post endorsements, I will update this page. 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Republicans have a problem: Trump-Putin

By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, July 27 at 2:01 PM - ... Donald Trump in a news conference this morning gave the Hillary Clinton camp more ammunition than Democrats could possibly hope for in their effort to show Trump unfit for the presidency.

His invitation to Vladimir Putin to help him in the election was as jaw-dropping as anything he said in this election. He told reporters, “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by the press.”

....One can only imagine, if the roles were reversed, they’d be racing to the microphones to denounce Clinton as unfit to serve.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office mustered a simple, blunt statement: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.” Unfortunately, his party’s nominee — whom Ryan will continue to endorse — does not see things that way.(link)

My Comment: I wrote a post yesterday, Hillary Clinton may actually be the lesser of two evils, in which I argued that the primary reason Clinton may be the lesser of two evils is because I feared Trump's was weaker than Clinton of keeping America safe. I offered examples of Trump' weak position on NATO and his failure to mention the threat of Russian aggression in his speeches. I also referenced the mutual admiration between Trump and Russia's Putin. Now this.  It is unacceptable that a candidate for the president of the United States ask a foreign power to involve itself in an American election. I am still undecided on who is the lesser evil but went from thinking it was Trump to being undecided.  I look forward to a foreign policy debate between the two.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton may actually be the lesser of two evils.

Recently I explained why I would not be choosing the lesser of two evils and voting for Donald Trump. Due to the fact that we do not have national elections for president but instead have fifty state elections for president and Trump will carry Tennessee and Tennessee is a winner-take-all state, I can safely vote for a third party or skip voting for President and despite what people say, the effect of doings so is not a vote for Hillary. I have the luxury of not voting for the lesser of two evils.

I don't believe Donald Trump is really a conservative and gave examples of why I believe that. I said that if someone put a gun to my head, however, and I had to choose between Trump and Hillary and those were the only two choices then, I would chose Trump. My primary reason for choosing Trump as the lesser evil is that I think he would make better Supreme Court appointments.

Recent events however have made me start to  rethink my gun-to-the-head, lesser-of-two-evil  choice.  Maybe, Hillary is actually the lesser evil.  One of the most important duties of the president is to protect our country.  In my view, collective security though NATO is one of the things protecting our nation.  Since the demise of the old Soviet empire and the rise of Putin, it appears he has been trying to reestablish the old Soviet empire as a Russian empire. I believe a strong NATO is essential to the security of our nation.

During the RNC, I was pleased to see Trump criticize the Obama-Hillary foreign policy including the rise of ISIS and Iran's path to becoming a nuclear power. I was pleased to hear Trump say he would rebuild our depleted military. I was disappointed, however, that he did not warn of the danger of China annexing the South China Sea by building island military outpost throughout the region and I was especially disappointed that he did not mention Russian aggression in eastern Europe. While I am concerned about ISIS, I think Russian adventurism may be a greater threat to our security.  I would have liked to have heard him say that America would strengthen and stand with our NATO allies. Instead, in previous comments he had indicated a lack of commitment to NATO.

Trump had not only indicated he may not honor our NATO commitments but has had words of praise for Russian strongman Valdimir Putin.  Now, it appears that Russia has hacked DNC emails and released them in what appears to be an attempt to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy and help Trump. If more evidence emerges that Putin prefers the election of Trump to that of Hillary Clinton, then I must conclude that Putin thinks Trump would do less to frustrate Russian plans for counquest than would Hillary.  If that is true, if Hillary Clinton is a greater threat to Russian ambitions than Donald Trump, then Hillary may be the lesser of two evils.

Below are news reports that make me rethink who is really the lesser of two evils.


Remember when the Republican Party was a reliable foe of Russia's autocratic leaders? It actually wasn't that long ago. When President Barack Obama forged the New Start treaty with Moscow in 2010, Republican leaders opposed the treaty in part because Russia under Vladimir Putin could not be trusted with an arms control agreement.

Now Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president in 2016, is suggesting he may not honor U.S. commitments to NATO, which exists to counter Russian aggression. In an interview with The New York Times, he said he would come to the aid of Baltic states if they were attacked by Russia only if "they have fulfilled their obligations to us."

This is not a unique position. The view that America should not necessarily honor its mutual defense agreements in NATO is popular among many foreign policy academics, particularly those in the "realist" school. Many progressives too, like the editors of The Nation magazine, have mused that America's push to expand NATO is the root cause of Putin's aggression in Ukraine.
‘DNC Hacker’ Unmasked: He Really Works for Russia, Researchers Say
The hacker who claimed to compromise the DNC swore he was Romanian. But new research shows he worked directly for the Vladimir Putin government in Moscow.
The hacker who claimed to compromise the DNC swore he was Romanian. But new research shows he worked directly for the Vladimir Putin government in Moscow. The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded on Tuesday.

Thatfinding matches the political motive that U.S. officials told The Daily Beast they have seen in Russia’s hacking of the DNC. The FBI said on Monday that it was investigating the breach, which a growing number within the Obama administration believe was designed to embarrass Democrats, exacerbate tensions between Hillary Clinton and her former rival Bernie Sanders—as well as his voters—and ultimately to give a boost to Republican nominee Donald Trump.  - The Daily Beast

CREDIT FOR the internecine furor that disrupted the Democratic Party on the eve of its convention should go to Vladimir Putin. As The Post has reported, cybersecurity experts say Russian intelligence operatives were likely responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, as well as for leaking to the Moscow-friendly WikiLeaks website some 20,000 emails. - Washington Post
 Putin repeats praise of Trump: He's a 'bright' person ...
Russian President Vladimir Putin again complimented Donald Trump on Friday, calling him a “bright” person.

Putin, who was speaking at the Russian Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, said he would work with any of the presidential candidates, but specifically lauded Trump for his comments on improving relations between Russia and the United States, according to the Associated Press.

Trump has welcomed Putin's comments in the past, calling the Russian strongman's praise "a great honor" in December.

"It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond," Trump said. "I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect."
Asked what he thought of the high number of Russian journalists who have been murdered during Putin's tenure, Trump responded, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, you know unlike what we have in this country." Politico
I look forward to hearing a foreign policy debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As much as I detest Hillary Clinton and agree with those who chant, "lock her up," I want to know who is most likely to keep America safe. I want to know who will stand with NATO. I want to know who will keep North Korea from becoming a viable nuclear threat, who will at least attempt to keep China from annexing the South China Sea, who will vow to keep shipping lanes open, who will strengthen NATO and stand up to Russian aggression. Hillary Clinton may actually be the lesser of two evils.

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One would think the police would want to know about even minor crime.

Last night my car was broken into. I live in the Woodland in Waverly neighborhood and we have on-street parking. My car was not really "broken into;" I unintentionally left it unlocked. The thief did not do any damage to my car.  They dumped the content of my console and glove compartment onto the front passengers seat. The only thing taken was a GPS. I hardly ever used it anyway, most often using my phone if I need a map and driving instructions. That was no big loss.  I had a little metal container that I keep change in and they did not even open it.  It may have had three dollars in change in it.  I had an old brief case in the car with some old personal documents and junk paperwork. The brief case had been in my car for months and I had just never taken it in.  The thief rifled through it but took nothing. This was a minor annoyance but did not ruin my day.

When I got to work, I thought I should report it and I called the non-emergency police number.  The person on the phone took my name and make of my car and then said they would have to send a police out to take the report.  I said, it was really no big deal and I didn't need to see a policeman, I just wanted to report it.  I was told the police do not take crime reports over the phone. Why? It would seem like as waste of time to send out a policeman to report what I just wrote.

One would think the police would want to know about things like stolen bicycles and broken into cars.  You would think a data base would tell police where minor crimes are occurring and guide them in where extra patrols are assigned or where more education in needed telling people to lock their valuables.  This is not that big of a deal, but one would think the police would accept reports of minor crime by an Internet link or a phone call.  I wanted to report the break-in but did not care enough to wait for a policeman.

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Family Action Council of Tennessee provides an excellent voter guide. See Bill Bernstein's profile.

Family Action Council of Tennessee provides an excellent, easy to use, voter guide. All of the candidates running in contested races for Tennessee House or Senate in the August 4th primary are profiled and the data is searchable by candidate's name or by district. If you don't know your district, there is a handy "Find Your District" button. If you want to compare candidates in your district, you can click on the "Candidate Comparison" button.

While FACT is primarily concerned with social issues, candidates are asked their position on various other issues such as how they stand on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and their position on requiring Tennessee's electors to to cast their vote based on who wins the national popular vote. The profile of each candidate also includes a link to the candidates website. There are also some open-ended essay questions.  Unfortunately, some candidates failed to complete the survey.

Here is the link: Check out our Voter Guides

As an example of what you will find in the FACT voters guide, here is the profile of my friend Bill Bernstein who is running in the Republican primary in District 50. 

Candidate Directory

Bill Bernstein

House District50

Candidate Headshot

Incumbent or New

New

Party Affiliation

Republican

City

Nashville

Candidate Email Address

billbernstein@bellsouth.net

Campaign Website URL

electbillbernstein.com

Campaign Facebook Page

facebook.com

SURVEY QUESTIONS


SURVEY QUESTION 1:
Would you support or oppose legislation that would prohibit abortion except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 2:
Would you support or oppose legislation that would make sexual orientation a new protected class under Tennessee’s civil rights laws?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 3:
Would you support or oppose legislation that would make gender identity/expression a new protected class under Tennessee’s civil rights laws?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 4:
Would you support or oppose a bill to amend Tennessee’s marriage statute to expressly authorize the issuance of marriage licenses to two people of the same sex?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 5:
Would you support or oppose legislation that would establish a $15 per hour minimum wage in Tennessee?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 6:
Do you support or oppose the proposition that a person should be allowed by law to use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds to the gender they identify with?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 7:
Would you support or oppose a law creating the office of Solicitor General, a lawyer to serve as the state’s advocate in the court systems, to be appointed by the General Assembly?

Undecided

SURVEY QUESTION 8:
Do you support or oppose the U.S. Department of Justice redefining the word “sex” to also include gender identity for purposes of Title VII and Title IX?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 9:
Would you support or oppose legislation, like Insure Tennessee, that would expand Medicaid coverage in TN beyond the Medicaid eligible population?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 10:
Would you support or oppose legislation that would prohibit state courts or any local government from ordering a privately owned business to participate in activities associated with solemnization or celebration of a marriage through the provision of goods or services if participating would violate their beliefs regarding the nature of marriage?

Support

SURVEY QUESTION 11:
Do you support or oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 12:
Would you support or oppose legislation to award all of Tennessee’s Electors in a presidential election to the Party of the candidate who wins the national popular vote?

Oppose

SURVEY QUESTION 13:
Do you support or oppose the legalization of horse racing tracks in Tennessee at which bets can be placed on races?

Undecided

SURVEY QUESTION 14:
Would you support or oppose a nominee to the TN Supreme Court if there is credible evidence that the nominee believes the state or federal constitution should be viewed or interpreted as a “living” document?

Oppose

ESSAY QUESTIONS


ESSAY QUESTION 1:
Explain your view of state government’s role in relation to economic growth and/or job creation.

Government can do one of three things when it comes to job creation:
1) It can steal jobs. It does this by imposing taxes on productive companies and individuals and giving some of it to less productive companies. That effectively takes the potential job growth the productive company could have had and gives it to the less productive company.
2) It can kill jobs through high levels of taxation and regulation. Many businesses become non-viable in the face of mandates like healthcare, min wage laws and the like and shut down or never get started.
3) It can do neither of the first two and allow companies to form and expand naturally. I support the third alternative.

ESSAY QUESTION 2:
Explain your views regarding the roles state government and parents have in elementary and secondary education.

Parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children the way they see fit. The state can merely facilitate that through state-sponsored schools. I favor devolving power and responsibility to the lowest possible level.

ESSAY QUESTION 3:
What is one of the most satisfying things you have ever done or accomplished and what made it so satisfying to you?

While I could choose many answers--a stable 26yr first marriage, building financial security for myself and family, my transition from a secular alienated Jew to a religiously observant educated one--the thing that stands out most is homeschooling my older son. I began when Viktor was in 3rd grade and we continued through 6th grade. I taught him math, English, history and Hebrew texts. He came with me to meet with lawyers, real estate agents and bankers. We developed a close relationship that obtains to this day (he is a 21yr old junior at University of Illinois in their Computer Science department). My children are the only thing I really leave behind on this Earth and I am proud I have helped produce a mature adult with excellent judgment who will contribute much to those around him.

ESSAY QUESTION 4:
What personal qualities or experiences do you think will best serve you in your role as a state legislator?

I have had a variety of experiences including international travel and living abroad that bring with them broader perspectives. I have been an avid student of economics, history, and politics for probably 30 years and have developed a strong set of values based on both knowledge and rational argument. In school I was trained to examine evidence, weigh it, develop arguments for a thesis and then answer or develop counter-arguments. I believe I bring a clarity to any discussion of issues and views that are defensible based on facts and logic.

ESSAY QUESTION 5:
What bill passed in the last General Assembly that you would have voted against and why, or what bill did not pass in the last General Assembly that you wish had passed and why?

The session was rich in bad legislation so choices are hard to make. The $30M secret "appropriation to nowhere"--Gov Haslam's request for money with no accountability at all ranks high on what's wrong with our state government. But the standout here is the bill to name the Bible as official book. While I revere the Bible and study it weekly, and appreciate the role it has played in this country's development, the bill was grandstanding to an audience, created unnecessary controversy, and ultimately served to divide Tennesseans to no effect. It was probably unconstitutional as well. I oppose "feel-good" legislation that does not achieve goals but merely serves to "make a statement."

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Teacher's union mails deceitful campaign piece

Deceitful mailer from MNEA
The Metro Nashville Education Association has mailed a campaign piece endorsing Christiane Buggs with the message, "Let's keep progress going by re-electing Christiane Buggs."

The problems is that Christiane Buggs is not an incumbent.  Unfortunately, some low information voters will cast a vote for an incumbent, thinking that if they are already holding the office they are the most qualified to hold the office.  MNEA has issued an apology but is not going to mail a correction to all of those who got the deceitful mail piece. Maybe MNEA was not purposely deceitful, maybe they were just stupid. They said the mailer language was a mistake. If it was a mistake, then MNEA is too uninformed or stupid to have their endorsements taken seriously.

The best candidate for School Board in District 5 is Miranda Christy.


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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trumps acceptance speech at the RNC shows he is not a conservative.

This is what I posted o Facebook immediately after Trump's speech on Thursday night:

I was ready to be persuaded to get on board for Trump tonight, but I was not persuaded. I think the Obama-Hillary foreign policy has been a disaster and liked that criticism, but much of the other left me unconvinced or even displeased. Much of it was out of the liberal play book.
I don't want the government in charge of insuring equal pay for equal work. I don't want universal government child care. While I am an enthusiastic supporter of parental choice in education, I don't want the Federal government mandating it. I want a smaller Federal role in education not a larger roll. Education is primarily a state and local issue.
While we have seen police assassinations in the last month, it is not a national crisis. Crime has been constantly declining for about 20 years. We do not have out of control crime in this country. We have seen a recent uptick but crime is primarily a local and state issue, not a federal issue. I am not persuaded we need a massive public works program to build airports, roads, bridges, and railroads. We had a massive failure of public works projects when Obama took office. I don't know that a Republican administration can do public works better than Dems. How are we going to cut the $20+ trillion national debt and have a massive project to rebuild American infrastructure?
I agree we need to punish and deport illegal immigrant criminals. Illegal immigrants committing crime should not be released but I think the problem of criminality among illegals was exaggerated. We need to secure our borders and get control of immigration but I am not convinced that building a massive wall the length of the Southern border is the best approach.
On trade, Republicans have been stronger advocates of reducing trade barriers than Dems. Advancing freer trade is one thing Dems got right. I am not convinced that we have gotten the short end of the stick in trade deals.
How does a free country prohibit American companies from relocating to foreign countries? I favor tax reform so American is more attractive to companies, but Trump said he would stop companies from relocating.
And I do not want the Federal government to assume student debt. Maybe we need student loan reform, so risk is evaluated before loans are made but I did not like his pandering to those with high student loans. Easy student loans is one thing that has made college more expensive.
While I cheered a few times, the overall tone of the speech left me cold. I would prefer Trump appointing Supreme Court judges rather than Hllary and think she is a despicable person, but Trump only looks good when compared to Hillary. I cannot get enthused.
As I reflect on what I wrote Thursday night, I double down.  What amazes me is that people who have been conservative all of their life, the grassroots activist of the party, can cheer such liberal rubbish. The build-the-wall and the tough-on-crime might be though of as conservative positions but but even those are populist-tinged pandering positions, not primary to a conservative ideology.

Trump made a strong case, with which I think few Republicans would disagree, that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and botched handling foreign affairs leaving the world worse than she found it. Other than those positions, he threw a bone to conservative by saying he would repeal and replace Obamacare and that he would appoint conservative judges but most of the speech called for more and more government interference in our lives, consolidation of power in Washington, and an imperial presidency. He did not advocate smaller government.  If you missed the speech, I encourage you to watch it in the video below and this ask yourself, "Does this guy sound like a Republican?'

Prior to Trump taking the stage he was introduced by his daughter Ivanka.  Her speech would have been more fitting introducing a Democrat candidate.


Here is what Ivanka had to say about what her father would do:
He will work for equal pay for equal work ...As president, my father will change the labor laws, ...
The equal pay for equal work argument is mostly bunk anyway.  When other variables are held constant, the difference is pay is negligible. She repeats the same old liberal argument that women only make x% of what men make ignoring career choices and other factors.  Even if the pay gap was real, do conservatives want federal bureaucrats dictating pay rates for individual employees? Do we want a massive bureaucracy that looks over an employer's shoulder to make sure he is paying his employees fairly?  Do we want that additional bureaucratic drag on the economy? This is anathema to what we believe.  This is not free enterprise and smaller, less intrusive government.
He will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all. 
I am not believing I am hearing this at a Republican convention. Are Republican ready to embrace a large new entitlement and government expansion? 

Here is Trump's speech:


The speech is long.  To better reflect on what Trump actually said, I would suggest reading the speech at this link.

Here are highlights that should cause any American pause and some that would have gotten boos if a Democrat would have said them.
I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.
"I alone can fix it." That sounds like the strong man on a white horse. His arrogance  and egotism should cause us concern.
when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order our country
Despite exaggeration and distorting the extend of crime and police assassinations, crime is a state and local issue primarily.  Most laws that criminals violate are state laws. The federal government could beef up the FBI to investigate organized crime and increase prosecution of federal crimes, but other than that there is not much the Federal government can do.  Congress can appropriated money to provide grants to local police forces, but that is something that when done under Clinton, Republicans opposed.  We do not want a national police force.  Do we really want a leader strong enough to "restore law and order?" I don't. I don't want one person to have that much power.
I’m going to make our country rich again. I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great ...
Too much of the "I."  The strong man stuff scares me. A little of "I will propose ...," or "with the help of Congress ..." would be reassuring. We have seen President Obama abuse the office of the president numerous times, from over twenty changes to Obamacare, to changing immigration policy, to making recess appointments when Congress was actually not in session.  I want someone who will be respectful of the constitutional limits on the presidency and the separations of powers.  I want less imperial presidency, not more.
 it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country.
Yes, it was Clinton who signed it but the NAFTA negotiations were going on before he ever took office. Clinton had to defy the more liberal elements of his own party to get NAFTA though. Most Republicans supported it and it has been a benefit to the U. S., Canada, and Mexico.
I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences.
In a free country, how do you stop a company from relocating? We can change tax policy so they do not want to leave, but are we to build walls to keep people in as well as walls to keep them out? Think about that statement. Is that not scary talk?
She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 The "she" is Hillary Clinton.  While there was some Repubican opposition to TPP also, it had more Republican support than Democrat support.  In the House, 190 Republicans supported fast track authority to advance TPP and only 28 Democrats (link). This trade deal was one of the rare cases in which Obama got more Republican support than Democrat support.
Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition, .... We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow.
He says he is going to do this with all of the wealth created by the better trade deals he will negotiate and the wealth created by cutting taxes.  I agree corporate taxes need to be cut. I believe cutting taxes and reducing regulatory reform will revitalized the American economy, but fear his trade policy may impoverish us. In any event, it is way to early to talk about massive new federal public works programs. First, we must bring down the $19 trillion dollar debt.

The Trump speech at the convention was what settled the issue for me. I cannot vote for Donald Trump.  Other statements of his had scared me. Statements he had made indicated he would betray or dismantle NATO and words of praise for Russia's Putin, and he had said time and time again things he would do as president apparently thinking he will have the powers of an emperor. I had also been put off by his remarks demeaning John McCain for being captured, making fun of a disabled person  and disparaging things he had said about certain women.

I was hoping I would be reassured that while he shoots off his mouth without thinking sometimes, he is a sane, reasonable person and basically a good person and a person of conservative views. I was hoping he would reassure me.  I was not reassured.  I now do not even believe he is a real Republican. It strikes me as a liberal statist populist nationalist running as a Republican. I do not think Trump is a conservative; if he is, then I am not that kind of a conservative.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

We need a "None of the above" option.


Now that it is clear that Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary will be the Democratic nominee, I wish more than ever that we had a "none of the above option." If we had such an option I believe none-of-the-above would win this election.  The way I envision it is that if none-of-the-above won, the parties would have one month to put forth a new nominee and one month after that we would have a new election.

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Not voting or voting for a third party is not a vote for Hillary.

When I tell my Republican friends or mention on Facebook that I may not cast a vote for president or may cast a protest vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the immediate response is "not voting or voting for a third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton."  That is not true.  Obviously it is not factually true. Not voting is not voting and a vote cast of Gary Johnson is a vote cast for Gary Johnson, but I know what they mean. They mean that by not voting, I am denying a vote to Donald Trump, but that assumes I would be voting for Trump if I were voting.  Saying a vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary, also essentially is making the same assumption. That is most likely a good assumption because if I had a gun put to my head and were forced to vote and forced to vote for one of those two bad choices, then as of today, I would reluctantly, while holding my nose, vote for Trump.

The not-voting-for-Trump-is-a-vote-for-Hillary argument assumes that my vote is important. It assumes that my vote affects the outcome.  It does not. I am not surprised that low-information voters don't understand this but even informed people will make this argument. For it to matter whether I vote for Trump versus not voting or casting a third party or write-in vote, assumes that whoever gets the most votes for president gets elected president.  That is not the way it works.  Our process of electing the President reflects the nature of our form of government. We are a democratic republic not a popular democracy. We do not have national elections for President; we have 50 state elections for president.

I am virtually certain that Trump will overwhelmingly carry Tennessee. In the Republican primary, he carried every county except one.  Something terribly dramatic would have to happen for Tennessee to vote for the Democrat nominee. Polls are pretty reliable and we can know Trump is going to carry Tennessee before the votes are ever cast.  Since I am certain Trump will carry Tennessee and since Tennessee's system of assigning electoral votes is "winner take all," I can safely vote third party, cast a write-in for Marco Rubio, myself, or whomever or just vote down ticket and skip voting for President. The national popular vote is irrelevant.  If Trump carries Tennessee, he gets all of Tennessee's 11 electoral votes. My not voting or voting for someone other than Trump does not change that outcome.

Having the luxury of not voting for Trump without it helping Hillary would not apply if I lived in some other states. If I lived in a swing state then the effect of not voting for Trump would be to help Hillary get elected.  Each state's law determines how that state's electors are selected, and which candidate they vote for. Most states are like Tennessee and "winner take all," but some are not. Some states require that all but two of their electors vote the way each separate congressional district votes. If your state had that district system and you live in a swing district then your vote would matter. If you live in a state that assigns votes by district and your district might vote for Hillary, then the effect of not voting for Trump is to help Hillary's election. Several states have adopted a system that requires the state's electoral votes to be cast for the person who gets the most popular votes nationwide regardless of who carries their state. In that case, your not voting for Trump has the effect of helping Hillary's election.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Nashville fire EMS chief under fire over politically incorrect Facebook post

The Tennessean - Tim Lankford, a nearly 30-year veteran with department, was placed on desk duty last month after department officials learned about several posts on his Facebook page perceived as racial, stereotypical and or threatening toward some members of the public, according to a two-page letter signed by Nashville Fire Department Deputy Director Steve Holt. (link)

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Join me in supporting Brian Kelsey for Congress

Brian Kelsey
In the U. S. 8th Congressional District of Tennessee I am supporting Brian Kelsey for Congress.  He is running for the seat being vacated by Representative Stephen Fincher who in February announced he would not be seeking re-election for a fourth term. Fincher who won the seat in 2010 did not give a  specific reason for not seeking reelections simply saying, "I never intended to become a career politician. .... I will be returning to Frog Jump and my family and business, but intend to stay involved to the extent I can." 

While I hate that that decision opens the seat up for possibly being retaken by a Democrat, it is refreshing that someone leaves the private sector to serve in Congress for a few years and then returns to the private sector. I think that is the way the founding father intended things to work.

I have not studied all of the candidates seeking this office but I am familiar with Brian Kelsey's record representing the Tennessee 31st Senatorial district. He has been a solid common sense conservative.  Last year while attending the American for Prosperity event in Cleveland, I traveled on the bus with Brian and also spend some time one evening talking politics and issues with him and a few other people. He is smart, thoughtful, well-grounded  and just a likeable nice guy.  

With 2016 shaping up to perhaps not being a good year for Republicans, there is some doubt that Republicans can hold all of the gains they made in 2010.  Someone who has already held public office and already has name recognition will more likely have a chance at holding that Congressional seat than a challenger who has never held public office. For a list off all of the candidates running for that seat in both parties and to learn more about the candidates and the district visit Ballopedia at this link

In addition to liking Brain Kelsey and thinking he has the best chance at keeping the seat in Republican hands, these are other reasons for supporting Brian Kelsey taken from his website:
Please join me in making a contribution to the Brian Kelsey campaign at this link.


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(udate) What happend at the July 19th Council meeting: Bill to take property rights and stop affordable housing development in Antioch deferred, Fontanel zoning vote delayed, ...

BILL NO. L2016-219 that would strip property rights from a property owner in Antioch in

proposed The Ridge at Antioch
order to stop the development of an affordable housing development which was back on the agenda July 19th, was deferred until the meeting of  November 1st. To see my previous commentary on this issue follow this link

Today I spoke to Council member Karen Johnson about this issue. She explained to me that the Planned Unit Development on the property was approved in 1985.  Inactive PUDs can go away if after a certain period of time no action is taken to develop the property. The lifting of the PUD is not automatic however and is subject to a review process. The PUD on this property was undergoing such a review and most likely would have been lifted.  Without anyone informing the Council member, the developer had an action placed on the Consent agenda of the Planning Commission which further vested the property owner in the property rights associated with the PUD.  

Council member Johnson says she does not oppose development of affordable housing but does not want several affordable housing developments clustered in close proximity.  While the mere act of having a pending bill to downzone the property and lift the PUD may not stop the owner from exercising his current property rights, legal action has been taken to challenge the process of the Planning Commission. Until that legal challenge is resolved the project is on hold, Council member Johnson told me.   Johnson also said that discussions with THDA had resulted in the tax credits remaining available. She says Bill 219 would not have been necessary if the developer would have worked with her.

While I understand the frustration of Council member Johnson, I remain steadfast in my condemnation of this proposed lifting of the PUD and down zoning.  Bill 219 would lift the PUD which permits the development of the proposed 96-unit apartment complex but would also downzone the property from R-10 to RS-10. R-10 permits duplexes and RS-10 is single family only. In my view, property rights are as important as any rights we have and an owner's property should never be downzoned without their consent. A downzoning is a taking of property rights. Property should only be taken for a public purpose and the owner should be compensated.

If something inappropriate happened at the Planning Commission then the legal challenge is the appropriate way to deal with that.  This is complex and I myself do not understand all of the nuances of the issues surrounding the vesting of  PUD development rights and do not have a clear understanding of what happened at the Planning Commission that may have vested the owners PUD development rights which apparently were set to expire.  It does seem logical that at some point an inactive PUD should expire.  For those wanting more knowledge about the vesting of property rights, I suggest reading this article in the Tennessee Bar Journal Stick to the Plan, about the Vested Property Rights ACT of 2014.  If Council member Johnson, the property owner, or any other person knowledgeable with this issue would like to offer insight, I would welcome posted an essay. 

BILL NO. BL2016-266  which would amend the Mansion at Fontanel Specific Plan District to let Fontanel Properties add 136 rooms to the six-room Inn at Fontanel bed and breakfast-style luxury boutique hotel.  This proposal has has created considerable community opposition. At the July 19th meeting the bill was on third reading and deferred one meeting.  Here is The Tennessean's report: Fontanel zoning vote delayed.

To access a copy of the agenda and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link. As of the last time I looked on the day prior to the meeting the agenda analysis was not available, but it now is and you can get it at this link.

Here is the video of the meeting:
With the Republican National Convention going on this week and some work obligations and other interference,  I have not yet watched the video.  There is not much else of interest on the agenda and I simply may skip watching this meeting.  If I do update however, it will be "update 2."

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STEVE GAWRYS CALLED OUT ON FALSE CLAIMS IN CAMPAIGN MATERIALS

District 61 Challenger is Intentionally Deceiving Voters, Sargent Says


Press release - With the support and endorsement of organizations as varied as the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Rifle Association, Tennessee Right to Life, the Tennessee Men’s Health Network, the state and local Firefighters associations – and perfect voting scorecards from policy groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Family Action Council of Tennessee and the American Conservative Union – Rep. Charles Sargent’s conservative credentials should be clear.

But District 61 challenger Steve Gawrys has taken a novel approach: lying to the voters in an attempt to gain their support.

“This man refuses to debate, won’t tell anyone what he stands for, is largely funded by a fringe group and has spent months openly lying about my legislative record,” said Charles Sargent, the Republican state representative from Williamson County who serves as chair of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee. “This is the disheartening side of modern politics, when people are willing to take whatever means to pursue their objective. Fortunately, the citizens of Williamson County are smarter than that.”

The examples are many: Gawrys says Sargent supports Planned Parenthood, yet Rep. Sargent has the endorsement of Tennessee Right to Life, and was a key leader in a move that resulted in Planned Parenthood losing the vast majority of their state funding.

Gawrys says Sargent supports ObamaCare, because as House Finance chair he sponsored legislation forced under the mandate of the federal government that would have had a major impact on the state budget; a week later the mandate was deemed legally unenforceable, and the bill was pulled. Sargent was a prime sponsor of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, written to combat the strong-arm tactics of the federal government and maintain state control, which was passed into law later in that session.

Gawrys says Sargent voted for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, when the bill actually strengthened penalties for illegal drivers. That bill passed 96-3 in the House.

Gawrys says Sargent is soft on guns, but Sargent has a perfect A rating from and the formal endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

Gawrys says Sargent tried to block the repeal of the Hall income tax, despite Sargent being chief sponsor of the bill that passed this year in a historic tax-cutting session. By 2022, Tennesseans will be paying $2 billion less in taxes, as Sargent also led the successful efforts to eliminate the death tax, to repeal the gift tax, and to cut sales tax on food.

“Legislative records are available online, including video from each and every committee hearing and floor session. It’s astounding that he thinks he can get away with just lying about all of these important issues,” Sargent said. “You have to question the motivations of a person like Steve Gawrys who is willing to say or do anything to try to get elected to public office. That’s a dangerous thing.”

Early voting in the Republican Primary is ongoing through July 30. Election Day is Thursday, August. 4.

For more on Rep. Charles Sargent, including endorsements, policy positions and voting history, please visit
www.sargentfortennessee.com.

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Congressman Trey Growdy Endorces Diane Black

Press release, July 19, 2016, GALLATIN, TN – Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC-04), known for his tough oversight work to hold Obama Administration officials accountable, traveled to Gallatin, Tennessee today to endorse Congressman Diane Black for reelection. 

Gowdy spoke to a crowd of over 125 people at the Epic Event Centre, including Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown, State Senator Ferrell Haile, and State Representative William Lamberth, to urge support for Congressman Black’s campaign. Gowdy hailed Black’s work as a “respected” conservative and a “leader” on the House Ways and Means Committee. 

“I can’t imagine serving without her . . . I do not want to imagine serving without her. I not only want her to win on August 4th, I want her to win in such a way that it sends a message that we like how she votes, we like how she acts, and we like how she represents the people of Tennessee,” said Congressman Trey Gowdy in his remarks.

“Today’s event highlighted the vast differences between Diane Black’s campaign and that of our opponent,” said Diane Black campaign spokesman Jonathan Frank. “While Joe Carr’s campaign coffers are running dry and he now relies on a dark money group to do his bidding, the momentum for our campaign is growing by the day. This endorsement from Trey Gowdy, a conservative powerhouse in his own right, follows endorsements from the NRA, NFIB, National Right to Life, and many other organizations that Tennesseans know and trust. With election day just over two weeks away, it is increasingly clear that Joe Carr is headed for his fourth failed campaign in a row.” 

Early voting runs now through July 30th and Election Day is Thursday, August 4th. 

To view a Dropbox folder of more pictures from today’s event, click HERE

#
 For the record, I am supporting Diane Black. Rod Williams

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Monday, July 18, 2016

(update) What's on the Council agenda July 19th. Bill to take property rights in Antioch and stop affordable housing development, back on the agenda.

BILL NO. L2016-219 that would strip property rights from a property owner in Antioch in order to stop the development of an affordable housing development is back on the agenda of the Tuesday July 19th Council meeting on Third Reading.

Two weeks ago at the July 5th meeting at the conclusion of the public hearing on the bill, Karen Johnson, the district council member, passing the bill on second reading and then moved to defer the bill indefinitely.  A bill deferred indefinitely can be brought back up but Council members have to be given a week's notice. I do not know that a bill deferred indefinitely cannot be placed on the very next agenda, but it is highly unusual. At the time of the July 5th meeting, she said she planed to bring it back and have it placed on the October 18th agenda.

In an article that appears in the Tennessean the next day following the July 5th meeting, Johnson said that while her proposed ordinance is considered still active, the indefinite deferral would prevent the developer from getting permits needed to begin construction on the project. I did not see the logic of her reasoning since the owner already has all of the rights he needed to proceed with his development.  Metro Planning Director Doug Sloan apparently also did not see Johnson's logic and told The Tennessean that because the owner's  rights are vested, the developer should be able to move forward with getting permits approved. I would have to assume Council member Johnson realized she was mistaken in thinking that by simply proposing to take away a person's property rights that that would in fact take away their property rights.  I would assume that is why the bill is back on the agenda at this time.  This is a bill that is disapproved by the Planning Commission bill and will take a 2/3rd positive vote of the Council to pass.

While we now have the most liberal council in Nashville's history, I suspect that even this liberal Council is not prepared to trample private property rights to this extend.  If not motivated by a respect for private property rights, they may be concerned by the threat of The Tennessee Development and Housing Agency (THDA) that if this passes, the agency will withhold future tax credits from Davidson County. Tax credits are one of the major means of financing affordable housing.  Tax credits have been awarded for this development and if Metro kills the project, it will be too late to award those credits to some other project. They will have been wasted. Tax credits are limited and not easy to come by.

If unconcerned about trampling of private property rights or loss of tax credits for affordable housing development in Davidson County, some council members may be concerned about sitting the city up to be sued in a law suit the city is bound to lose. To learn more about the issue and view the discussion of the bill at last council meeting follow this link. The discussion is at  timestamp 16:47- 1:00:45 in the video.


The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, July 19th at 6:30 PM.   Council meetings are really boring and I watch them so you don't have to. I will post a video of the council meeting and point out the interesting parts. If you are going to watch a council meeting, you really need the agenda and  the Council staff analysis or you won't even have a clue about what is going on.  Unfortunately the staff analysis is not yet posted so, I am providing my commentary without benefit of it. I will update when it is available. At 7PM on Monday July 18th the staff analysis is still not posted. If you want to check for yourself and see if the staff analysis is available follow this link. Most likely I will not have an opportunity to update this post again prior to the Council meeting.

Resolutions. There are 30 resolutions on the agenda, all on the Consent Agenda at this time. Most of them are routine things such as approving acceptance of grants or approving allowing signs to overhang the public sidewalk. If a resolution has any negative votes in committee it is taken off of consent.  Also any council member may ask to have an item taken off of consent or to have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded. All items on consent are passed by a single vote instead of being voted on individually. Below are the Resolutions of interest.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-307  appropriates $17.4 million from the General Fund Reserve Fund for the purchase of equipment and building repairs for various departments of The Metropolitan Government.  This is normal. That is how the city pays for building maintenance and purchasing equipment.  Some equipment that will last a long time may be funded through  the normal budgeting process but equipment that will wear out in a few years is normally paid for from this fund.  4% of the cities revenues are set aside for this reserve fund. This is where the Council needs to be vigilant and make sure that Departments are not abusing this fund.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-308   appropriates $2.15 million from four accounts of the General Fund  to various nonprofit organizations selected to receive community enhancement grant funds. This grants are for such things as after school programs, domestic violence programs and literacy programs. A whole bunch of local non-profits get a piece. To see a list of all of the agencies getting some of these funds and how much they are getting, follow the link above.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-317  request the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment to work with the Metropolitan Council’s Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to address the issue of housing affordability in Nashville and Davidson County. This is a harmless resolution.  Since this was placed on the agenda, the mayor has proposed a new plan for affordable housing that is based on grants and is not punitive nor does it place mandates on developers. There are also a couple other bills pending that also address affordable housing. One is similar in intent to what the mayor has proposed and one is a bill that is considerably worse.
Bills on First Reading. There are 14 bills on First Reading but I usually don't review bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. They are not evaluated by committee until they are on Second Reading. All bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. There are ll bills on Second Reading. None of them are of particular interest.

Bills on Third Reading. There are 39  bills on Third Reading. Most of them are boring zoning bills. In addition to BILL NO. L2016-219 discussed at the top of this post, these are the bills of interest:
BILL NO. BL2016-240 establishes new rules and fees for developers who close streets or sidewalks during construction. This is more complex than it sounds.This would attempt to fix what is a real problem.This was on Third reading last council meeting and deferred one meeting.
BILL NO. BL2016-297  is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. It is a downzoning, without the property owners consent of 19 acres, essentially a "taking" of property. It is opposed by the Chamber and various other pro private property rights groups. 
BILL NO. BL2016-298 in Scott Davis's district would rezone 46 acres consisting of a bunch of properties from various current zonings to RM40-A which is a high density residential zoning allowing 40 units per acre. I do not know if this has the support of the property owners or not. This bill needs scrutiny to make sure it is not a taking of property rights.

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