Saturday, September 30, 2017

What's on the Council Agenda for Oct. 3rd, 2017: Banning Short-term rentals for all but owner-occupied

The big item on this agenda is the bill to ban short-term rentals for all but owner-occupied homes. The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links. I am providing this agenda summary and commentary a little early this time as I may not be available to do it later so I am dong this without benefit of the staff analysis. I will try to update prior to the meeting, but if I do not then be aware that this was done without benefit of the staff analysis so I may have missed something important or not fully understood some issue. If you are one who has more than a casual interest in what is on the Council agenda and I do not update, you may want to look at the staff analysis yourself.

Boards and Commission and elections to fill positions. 
There are two mayoral appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda for confirmation and as always they will be affirmed.  There are four positions on Boards the council must fill. One is  the election of committee chair of the Planning Commission for a two-year term expiring August 31, 2019 and another is chairman of the Parking and Traffic Commission for a two year term. The council will also fill two seats on the Audit Committee.  Without the staff analysis, I am unsure of the qualifications or requirements of these positions. I think the Planning Commission and the Traffic and Parking commission seats usually are selected from members of the Council but am unsure. There is often a lot of lobbing to fill these positions, especially the Planning Commission and the Traffic and Parking Commission.

Public Hearings
There are 21 bills on public hearing. The bills on public hearings are all rezoning bills or related to planning and zoning policy.  While some cities, mostly smaller cities, have a kind of an open mic public hearing policy, where anyone may address their council on any topic, Nashville does not have such a policy.  Only zoning and zoning related bills are on public hearing and once a year the operating budget and the capital improvements budgets.

Rezoning hearings bore me and I don't even try to form an opinion on the merits each rezoning bill before the Council.  Rezoning bills usually are of interest only to people who live near the proposed rezoning. People who don't care one way or the other do not show up and with rare exceptions the only people who speak in favor of rezoning bills are those who will benefit from the rezoning such as the property owner or the developer.  Opponents always make the same argument which boils down to one of these: 1) the change will result in stressing the infrastructure such as too much traffic on the roadway or overcrowd the schools, 2) will cause flooding, and 3) will change for the worse the character of the community. If you are interested in knowing what is permitted in different zoning districts, follow this link.

There is only one bill that I find of much interest on this public hearing:

BILL BL2017-852 in Councilman Mary Carolyn Roberts district would expand an Urban Zoning Overlay District by 1591 acres.  This is a huge expansion. This was previously on the agenda but deferred to this meeting. 
There are 30 resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes  unanimously the committees to which it was assigned. Since the committees have not met yet, some resolutions which are listed as on the consent agenda may not be on the consent agenda when the council meets. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Resolutions on the consent agenda are lumped together and passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. Any member of the body may have a resolution pulled off of the consent agenda or have their "no" vote or abstention recorded. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Below is the resolutions of and significant interest. 
RESOLUTION RS2017-902  authorizes the sale of up to $300 million of water and sewer revenue bonds. This is most likely routine, but $300,000,000 is a lot of money. In reading the resolution one thing that caught my attention was that the city is authorized to take all steps necessary to make the bonds marketable as "Green Bonds." If I were serving on the Council, I would want to know that this is a benefit to the city and not a cost. I also would like to know who, if anyone in the city, gets a free trip to New York City to be wined and dined as a result of the sale. It may be no one, but I would want to determine if that is the case.
 Bills on First reading: There are 27 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. I do not read them until they get to second reading. Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. There are 10 bills on Second Reading. None are very important and likely to generate controversy. These are the ones of a little interest:
BILL BL2017-905 and BILL BL2017-906 would establish a a merit-based grant program for non-profits. Currently Metro gives lots of money to worthy non-profits but it seems there is no logic to who gets the money and who does not. Some agencies that get metro funds have had council members as their board members. This would establish a criteria for which organizations get grants. I tend to support this but frankly, I think Metro should not give any money to non-profit organizations. United Way has a bureaucratic mechanism for determining community need and deciding which non-profits gets United Way dollars. I think support for non-profits should be left to the charitable impulse of the people. There are circumstances however, where I think Metro should contract with non-profits to provide specific services that the non-profit can provide better than the city.


BILL BL2017-907  would exempt from the minimum distance requirements for off-sale beer permits those establishments that had on on-sale beer permit following approval of a council resolution. This seems reasonable.
Bills on Third Reading:
BILL NO. BL2017-608 is the bill that would phase out Short Term Rental for all but  owner-occupied properties. This bill also does a lot else. Please see the staff analysis.  The city has been meeting on this issue for months and this bill was first introduced in February of this year. I am surprised to see this on the agenda. I thought the city would propose something different. I would not be surprised to see this substituted with whatever the ad hoc committee that has been studying the issue came up with although I expect it to will phase out non-occupied short-term rental. I oppose this bill. Property owners should have the same right to rent their property short term as they do month to month or long term.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-801 would require a report from the Department of Public Works regarding obstructions or excavations which close or occupy any portion of the public right of way for a period in excess of six (6) months. This substitute makes the bill less strong or imposes less red tape than did the version before substituted. Not a bad bill as it now stands.

BILL BL2017-867 would strengthen the hand of the government in punishing those with overgrown lots  and BILL BL2017-868  would strengthen the hand of government in punishing those who repeatedly violate property standards laws.
To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary.


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Friday, September 29, 2017

Former NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning will not run for U.S. Senate

I have heard the rumors and thetr has been much speculation that former UT quarterback Peyton Manning may seek Bob Corker's senate seat. It appears he will not. This is from a Tennessee Republican Party communication:

With a now open Senate seat, there is a lot of buzz around who will run to replace Senator Corker. A name in the mix was former NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning who recently spoke at the Senate Republican retreat and was seen playing golf with President Trump and Senator Corker earlier this year. Unfortunately for those hoping Peyton would run, in an interview with Nashville radio station 104.5 The Zone he said, "I certainly have an interest in politics and in our country. I just have zero interest in being a politician."

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Gov. Bill Haslam May Seek Bob Corker's Senate Seat

Gov. Bill Haslam May Seek Bob Corker's Senate Seat

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Congress should fund Community Health Centers

Funding is running out for community health centers and without action by Saturday about 2800 community health centers would close across the country and eliminate access to about 9 million patients. Altogether, community health centers serve about 27 million people and about 70% of the funding comes from Congress. (link) It is anticipated that the funding will pass and it should.  Bitterness over other health care policy and partisanship should not endanger this safety net.

Unless one works in the non-profit sector or has been without insurance themselves, they may not know about community health centers.  For the homeless, the poor ineligible of medicaid (or prior to the Affordable Care Act for those who were denied insurance due to preexisting conditions), the safety net was community health centers. In the debate over health care, emergency rooms were often mentioned as the health care safety net for those without insurance and having worked with low-income people most of my life, I know that that is true. That is often true however because of poor decision making on the part of the poor rather than that being the only choice. Even when Tennessee had the generous Tenncare program that was bankrupting the State, many poor still went to emergency rooms instead of making doctors appointments.

In Nashville there are a variety of these free clinics. Some of them specialize in specific types of services and limited service such as clinics serving people with HIV or clinics serving children in a school setting, but some are like the Vine Hill Clinic that provides a full range of services. The clinic accepts Medicare, Medicaid (TennCare) and most private insurance is accepted but those without insurance are  charged under a sliding scale model based on what they can afford. It is not free for everyone and clients are required to prove financial need in order to receive free services or services at a reduced cost. No one is denied service because they cannot afford it or do not have insurance.  This center covers services such as checkups, treatment, pregnancy care, immunizations, child care, prescription medicine, and mental and substance abuse treatment.

My view of health care is that we should institute reforms that provide a free market solution for most people, a subsidized high-risk pool for those with preexisting conditions but income to otherwise afford insurance, and community health clinics for everyone else.  Unless we have a complete federal government take over of health care and end up with some sort of National Health Service, we will still need clinics like Vine Hill for those in need.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

CALL TO ACTION - FRIENDS OF THE FAIRGROUNDS!

There will be a public meeting on Thursday, October 5th at 6:00 pm at the Fairgrounds in the Creative Arts Building that will be VERY important to attend with your RED SHIRTS.  

The proposed 'Fair Park' and MLS Stadium - using approximately 45 acres of the fairgrounds to provide seven (7) soccer fields, as well as a professional soccer stadium which will use 10 acres - will change the course of the fairgrounds and may possibly violate the Metro Charter and impede the existing uses of the facility and ultimately result in the demise of the existing uses: Flea Market, race track and State Fair. 

Attending this meeting is imperative to listen to the proposal and voice your concerns about the park & stadium.  


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tax Reform: Framework is Pro-America

More jobs, bigger paychecks, fairer taxes

Diane Black
Diane Black
Washington, D.C. , Congressman Diane Black Press Release- Today, the Trump Administration, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance released the unified framework for fixing the tax code, last updated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. The framework will deliver a modern code built for growth, supporting middle-class families, protecting jobs and delivering fiscally responsible tax reform to spur the economy. Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the following statement:
This is a truly historic opportunity for our country. The current tax system – last updated 30 years ago – forces taxpayers to pay astronomical rates and fill out complicated, unnecessary forms. Americans deserve better. Our goal from the beginning was to create a simpler, fairer and flatter system, and I believe we have done just that. This framework lowers taxes so Americans can keep more of their paychecks and families can spend less time filing papers. It will allow our own families in Tennessee to plan for the future with certainty that their hard-earned money will stay in their pockets.

As a unified government, we worked with President Trump and the Senate to craft a framework benefitting every income level, especially the middle class. Our reform also delivers the lowest tax rates in modern history for businesses so job creators can provide bigger paychecks to their employees and incentivize hard work. By simplifying the system and getting the government out of the way of our free-market economy, America is made more competitive on an international scale and the potential for unprecedented job creation is unleashed. We believe this will be a catalyst for more jobs, bigger paychecks and fairer taxes – this framework is pro-America. Plain and simple.
The full framework can be found HERE, and a one page overview can be found HERE.
Visit www.fairandsimple.gop for more information.

Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. A nurse for more than 40 years, she serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Who will replace Senator Bob Corker

While Andy Ogle was already an announced candidate for the U. S. Senate, now that Senator Corker has decided not to seek reelection we can expect other contenders to jump in the race. Speculation abounds about who may enter the race. Today's Tennessean gives a run down of the status of several being mentioned as candidates (link).

According to The Tennessean these are potential candidates and this is the status of their position on running for the office.

  • Gov. Bill Haslam, Unclear.
  • U.S. Rep. Diane Black,  Out. She is running for governor.
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Undecided.
  • Andy Ogles, In.  
  • State Sen. Mark Green,  Undecided.
  • Joe Carr,  Undecided.
  • Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, Unclear.
  • Former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Out.
  • Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Out.
  • Dr. Manny Sethi, Undecided. Unknown to many, he is an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
These potential candidates are running for governor and have said they are not candidates for the Senate seat: Beth Harwell, Randy Boyd, Bill Lee and former state Sen. Mae Beavers. 

These are a list of potential Democrats and their Status:
  • Karl Dean, Out. He is running for Governor.
  • Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, Out.
  • James Mackler, In.
  • Bill Freeman, Undecided.
  • U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, Out. 
  • Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, Unclear 
  • Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Out  
For the Nashville Post analysis of who may run and a little about who some of them are follow this link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Senator Corker to not seek reelection

Senator Bob Corker
Statement from Senator Bob Corker - After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018.

When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms. Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult. But I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me. I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months, and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career. 

Serving the people of Tennessee in this capacity has been the greatest privilege of my life. And as I spent the month of August traveling across our great state, I was reminded that we live in a unique place full of people who care deeply about the direction of our country. I am grateful to the people of Tennessee for the opportunity to serve my state and country. I have been fortunate to do so with an extraordinary staff, and I want to thank them for their incredible dedication. I know that we will continue to have an impact for the remainder of our term, and I look forward to finding other ways to make a difference in the future. Finally, I want to thank my wife, Elizabeth, and our family, who have made many sacrifices in allowing me to serve. Nothing I have done would have been possible without their love and support.

My Comment: I am disappointing to see Senator Corker reach this decision but I respect it. In my view, Senator Corker is one of the best men to ever have served in the U. S. Senate. He is smart and thoughtful and always has a mastery of the facts and is always well prepared. He is one who does his homework. I have watched him in committee meetings televised on CSPAN and he always makes the comments or ask the questions that I wish someone would say or ask. 

Senator Corker was widely and unjustly criticized by some conservatives for his role in the Iran deal. Some have accused him of collaborating with President Obama in bringing about the Iran deal. That is simply not accurate. Since Iran sanctions were imposed by the UN and administrative action, the Obama administration could undo those sanctions by UN action and administrative action. The Iran deal did not have to be submitted to Congress as a treaty. Corker worked to at least give the Senate a chance to stop the deal. He tried with all his might to stop the Iran deal but could not get the votes to make that happen. Bombastic talk show host smeared and attacked Corker for his role in the Iran deal when he should have been honored as a hero for at least trying to stop it. 


Senator Corker, thank you for your service and may God bless you.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

GOP Chairwoman McDaniel Stands Behind President Trump's Remarks On Standing During The National Anthem

GOP Press Release, Statement of CHAIRWOMAN MCDANIEL: I think the President of the United States, the commander in chief, the person who has to make the decisions as to whether we send our men and women in harm's way, the person who sees the flag draped caskets when they come back to this country has every right to say we should stand for our flag and our national anthem. I can't think of any person who takes that more seriously than the President of the United States and he's done exactly the right thing and I think he speaks for a lot of people across this country. He's not shutting down free speech, of course not. There is free speech. People have the right to do whatever they want from a free speech capacity. But I have the right and the president has to right to say, I disagree with how you’re doing it. This isn’t the right venue.

My Comment:  I totally agree. I am 100% with President Trump in calling out those who dishonor our flag.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Please stand for our national anthem



Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sign petition to let Vanco and other companies know not to trust SPLC’s list of “hate groups.”

From: petitions@citizengo.org

Dear Rodney,

Recently, Vanco Payment Solutions—an online donation site by which many different organizations use to accept donations—cut off services from a Louisiana-based Christian group called the Ruth Institute. It did so because the Ruth Institute was supposedly “flagged” for “being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.” The sole evidence for the Ruth Institute’s connection to hate? It appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of “hate groups.”
As we recently  reported however, the SPLC is a hyper partisan organization which unfairly smears mainstream conservative Christian groups. Sign here to let Vanco and other companies know not to trust SPLC’s list of “hate groups.”

More and more organizations are waking up to SPLC’s libelous attacks on Christians, but there is still so much work to be done! Large corporations like Apple and J.P. Morgan still donate to SPLC and media like CNN are still citing SPLC as an authoritative source on hate groups.
It is true that SPLC lists some bona fide evil organizations like the KKK and neo-nazis on its list. But, and this is a big “but,” the SPLC also claims that many Christian groups are also so-called “hate groups” for nothing other than their belief in the Bible!  Take the Ruth Institute for example. It is a Catholic non-profit whose main goal is to protect children from broken and dysfunctional families! This group represents the opposite of hate:  genuine love for kids stuck in the negative side effects of the sexual revolution. But, because the Catholic theology of the group does not approve of the new liberal sexual orthodoxy, SPLC has listed it as “hateful.”
Of course, that’s bunk. But listing it as such has caused Vanco to stop processing donations and will cause others to discount the Ruth Institute before ever hearing its persuasive arguments about what is best for children—never mind the mountains of scientific evidence saying that children need both mothers and fathers to strive.
Indeed, the SPLC has demonstrated over the course of its existence that it uses its platforms to bash and unfairly malign mainstream Christians and conservatives alongside disreputable extremists. As we recently reported, SPLC included many Christian groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council on their list of “hate groups” for nothing other than their biblical view of marriage and sexuality.

Is this really the type of close-minded bigotry against Christianity that Vanco and other companies want to promote? Sign this petition now to demand Vanco reinstate the Ruth Institute and stop using it to discriminate against Christians.
Sincerely,

Gregory Mertz and the entire CitizenGO team 
P.S. The SPLC is the self-styled “premier U.S.  non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists.” What they fail to mention is that they lump anyone who disagrees with them politically into that list. Even the FBI and the U.S. Army have “deleted the [SPLC] from the[ir] lists of legitimate ‘hate crime’ resources” because it is so politically motivated.

CitizenGO is a community of active citizens that seeks to defend life, the family and fundamental rights worldwide. To find out more about CitizenGO click here or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. This message is addressed to rodwilliams47@yahoo.com. If you do not wish to receive emails from CitizenGO, click on this link.
To contact CitizenGO, do not respond to this email, reply at this link: http://www.citizengo.org/en/contact.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, September 25, 2017

Money list Franklin, Tennessee as the fourth best place to live in America.

Money list good schools, low taxes, employment opportunities, good shopping, the music scene, and southern charm and hospitality as attributes. To read the full story and a list of the 100 best places to live in America, follow this link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Metro Council Ad Hoc Committee Meeting on Regulation of STRP's (Airbnb, homesharing)

Metro government is on the verge of rolling back the rights of people who want to engage in home sharing.  While we do not yet know for certain what is in the final bill, it is apparently going to phase out all short term rental of  property except for the type where the space for rent is in one's own home. For those who have an interest in this issue, you may want to attend this committee meeting.

Metro Council Ad Hoc Committee Meeting on Regulation of STRP's

9/27/2017,  5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Historic Metro Courthouse. 1 Public Square, Jury Assembly Room, Nashville, TN 37201
For more information please contact council-at-large Jim Shulman.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, September 24, 2017

State Senator Mark Green To Speak Tuesday At First Tuesday

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends,

Senator Corker's announcement has stirred a myriad of political conversations, speculations, moved and for some ..... certainly turned over their apple carts!!

Image result for senator mark green
Senator Mark Green

IN THE MIDDLE of our state's ''Political Deck Being Shuffled'' is our featured speaker on Tuesday... State Senator Mark Green.

Tuesday's 1ST TUESDAY will be immensely insightful featuring on of the key players who knows 1ST-HAND what is really going on !!

Buckle your seat belts folks!!! Its going to be an amazing 10+ months till all August 2018 primaries!!

Make your plans, pass the word and secure your seats as 1st Tuesday Nashville! Hope to see you on Tuesday...

Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY
Remember -- 1] parking under the building is $7
2] [as of now] our DEC meeting is Monday, DEC 4th w/ Marsha Blackburn

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Friday, September 22, 2017

Eat, Drink and Be Republican Thursday, September 28th 5pm - 7pm


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger endorses governor hopeful Randy Boyd

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Nashville transit future better off without trains

Malcolm Getz
Malcolm Getz who is an associate professor of economics at Vanderbilt University, specializing in urban economics and public finance writes in today's Tennessean that Nashville' transit future would be better off without trains. Please read the piece. Below are the main points made by Mr. Getz.
  • An increase in transit travel will not reduce congestion.
  • Express lanes reduce congestion and support transit.
  • Street railways add to congestion at choke points with restricted lanes.
  • Street railways are expensive to build. With limited routes, many travelers face transfers between buses and trains. 
  • A train costs twice as much per hour to operate as a bus. Spending more for trains means Metro will have to reduce bus service.
  • Use of transit is falling where on-demand car services are growing.
  • With falling prices in car services, fewer travelers will choose transit.
In my view the mayor is proposing building a system from the past when we should be embracing innovation, market-driven solutions and technology. For more on my thoughts on transit follow this link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

While Tennessee Schools show impressive academic improvement, Nashville Schools continue to fail.

While the State of Tennessee showed impressive improvement in academics, the city of Nashville's improvement was dismal. Based on standardized test scores, school systems are rated on "value-added,"  that is a measurement of a students improvement.  The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) measures student growth year over year, regardless of whether the student is proficient on the state assessment. In calculating a TVAAS score, a student’s performance is compared to the performance of other students who have performed similarly on past assessments. Students are rated on a score of 1 to 5 and a school score and district score is  composite of that. 

The Nashville school system scored a "1," the lowest possible score. Firty-five school districts, more than a third of Tennessee’s districts, earned overall TVAAS composites of Level 5, the highest level of growth. Shelby County school district and Hamilton County also scored a 1; Knox County scored a 5.  Neighboring Williamson and Rutherford County each scored a 5.

There are some schools within Davidson County that scored very well.  East Nashville Magnet School, Meigs Middle Magnet School, Hume-Fogg High Academic Magnet, Lead Academy, New Vision Academy, Liberty Collegiate Academy, and several others earned the highest score of 5.

In my view, it is almost child abuse to leave your child in a failing school.  Nashville is a great place to live if you are childless but not so great for families. If you have children you are much better off living in Williamson County or Rutherford County rather than Davidson.  If you are a parent in Davidson County, to ensure your child does not grow up dumb, you must move to a neighborhood that has a good school, fight to get your child in a magnet school or send your child to private schools.  Unfortunately, many parents do not have the means to relocate or send they child to a private school.  In choosing hospitals or grocery stores we have choice. We are not assigned to a hospital (at least not yet) or a grocery store.  Most often parents have very little choice in which public school to send their child and are required to send them to the school in their neighborhood  even if it is a dangerous and failing school. Rather than working to improve our public schools about half of our school board seems more concerned with combating school choice and defending the status quo.

To access state, school district, and school data follow this link.


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What happened at the Council meeting of 9/19/2017? Nothing of any significance.




There is not much of importance on the agenda. There were no contentious bills and everything passes or is deterred. To access a copy of the Council agenda the Council staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link. Below is a summary of the meeting.

At the start of the meeting their is presentation honoring Metro Libraries. The Metro Li bray was awarded an honor by some organization as library of the year. Following that, there was a presentation honoring the Metro Police school guard crossing division.  Consideration of the agenda does not start until timestamp 18:40 in the video.

Changes to the rules of the Council were adopted on a voice vote with little discussion. The changes gives the Council more time to consider the Capital Improvements budget and to submit request.

Three people are elected by the Council to serve on the Industrial Development Board. There were four nomination. Elected were Ginger Hauser, Lindsey Cox, and Cristina Allen.

This is the meeting at which the Council nominates from among their own people who will serve on various boards and commission.  Some Boards and Commission require a council member to serve on the Board.  The Council also appoints some members to other Boards.  Nominations were made at this meeting and the positions will be filled next meeting. The actual consideration of legislation does not begin until timestamp 39:27 in the video.

RESOLUTION RS2017-779, RESOLUTION RS2017-780 and  RESOLUTION RS2017-781 all of which deal with the temporary closing of right of ways and the fees charged for getting a permit to close a right-of-way are deferred to the second meeting in December.

RESOLUTION RS2017-882 is a memorialize resolution, which simply expresses an opinion of the Metro Council, asking the news media to show greater sensitivity and decorum regarding reports of juvenile deaths. This passed on the consent agenda.

BILL NO. BL2017-801  on Second Reading, which  imposes additional requirements for any public right of way closure permit exceeding a six month period and requiring a quarterly report be provided to members of the Council regarding all right-of-way closures passes.

BILL NO. BL2017-802, on Second Reading, which increases the penalties for an improper right-of-way closures is deferred to the second meeting in October.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tennessee to reinstate work requirements for able-bodied food stamp recipients

by Anita Wadhwani, USA TODAY NETWORK, Tennessee - Tennessee will reinstate work requirements for food stamp recipients a decade after they were eased during the height of the economic recession, Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday.

In most Tennessee counties, able-bodied adults without dependents will have to put in at least 20 hours per week on a job, an approved volunteer program or a qualified education or training program to get benefits. The measure goes into effect Feb. 1, but recipients will have 90 days from that date to comply with the new rules.

The requirements are expected to impact 58,000 of the approximately 1 million Tennesseans getting the grocery buying assistance, according to a news release. About 36,000 people who are able bodied and without dependents are already meeting the work requirements while getting food stamps. (read more)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Scottie Nell Hughes accuses Fox News host of rape in new federal lawsuit

Trump surrogate and Tennessee conservative Scottie...
Trump surrogate and Tennessee conservative Scottie Nell Hughes says she was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted by Fox News host Charles Payne, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday in New York. Read more.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Lots of help needed in the Keys but we got turned away.

The below was posted by Albert Tieche on Facebook. With his permission I am reposting here. This is not only a well-written story of one's frustrating experience while trying to do good, but explores how modern government discourages risk taking, thwarts efforts of people to be self sufficient and take initiative, even in times of crisis. It ask, what is the proper roll of government? Rod

Lots of help needed in the Keys but we got turned away. Here is what happened:

Albert U. Tieche
by Albert U Tieche - Don and I were turned back at the roadblock going into the Keys on Thursday afternoon, Sept 14. It was very disappointing because we were well prepared. We had 150 gallons of gas in the boat tanks with a transfer pump built in, 60 gallons of water, 250 lbs of ice in a giant cooler, enough food for several weeks, 2 gas-powered generators, a chain saw, tow chains, lots of tools, tubeless tire patching kit, portable air compressor, personal protective equipment and a SatPhone. We had a portable toilet with chemicals plus sleeping quarters in the boat we were towing. We were also prepared to legally protect ourselves and our property if that situation arose.

We had acquired detailed satellite photos of the conditions at Don's house on Cudjoe Key and his immediate neighbors' houses. Don's place is on stilts as are his neighbors. That helped. His place had some damage but it was minimal due to his good prep work last week. Nothing structural, so the house was livable. Some of his neighbors had more serious damage. All of them had 4' of seawater in their ground level areas. That water damage would have to be remediated. All had damaged or downed trees.

We knew from the good sat photos that one of Don's neighbors, who had been camped at the roadblock for a while, had driven a sedan the 100 miles from the roadblock all the way to Cudjoe Key. We could see his car in his driveway in Wednesday's sat photos. It was not there on Tuesday. So we knew US 1 was passable, just as the news reports said it was.

However, it turned out that the neighbor had actually defeated the police roadblock in a way we could not replicate. We learned that piece of info right AFTER we were turned away. (ATT restored cell service to their customers on Cudjoe Key on Thursday afternoon. The neighbors began to get word out to us because one of them had an ATT cell phone.)

It is an unfortunate situation. We could have helped the people who rode the storm out in that neighborhood and others, too. We were very well prepared and well provisioned. We stayed overnight in Ft. Lauderdale with friends who also have a house on Cudjoe Key.

This morning, Friday, the emergency management people told us by phone that they will not allow
any Lower Keys homeowners to return until the 911 system is restored and the medical facilities are functional. They said they cannot guarantee everyone's safety until that happens. Only First Responders are currently allowed in. (And God bless the First Responders!)

It appears the Emergency Management people are moving the roadblock further into the Keys every few days as electric service is restored to the Keys piece by piece from the mainland. But, from Big Pine Key to Key West is where the worst damage was done. And Cudjoe is in the middle of that. News reports say it could be as much as a month before electricity is restored to Cudjoe. I don't see how EMS can plausibly keep homeowners out that long. Mold growth will get started within a week in flooded houses that have not been quickly "torn out" and sprayed with the proper chemicals. That's the voice of experience.

Did I mention that Don and I both have personal experience at flood remediation? And that we have both been safety trainers and project planners in our professional lives? Did I mention that I have done Disaster Preparedness and Recovery training for companies and local governments? But, I digress.

Of course, we were not asking for anyone to guarantee our safety. We were prepared. I do understand that if authorities had allowed just anyone to go in, there might have been people who went in totally unprepared, got in some sort of physical distress, and then needed help. Non-resident gawkers might have gone in to "see the damage" and created problems. If that did happen, the press, that has been allowed in all along, and are reporting non-stop, would have immediately blamed "officials" for any hardships that befell any unprepared person who went in. That's what the press tends to do. They usually blame the government, not the individual. Officials know that and fear that criticism. Rightfully so.

It is unfortunate that officials are not willing to make any distinctions between fully prepared, able bodied people who can help the situation and unprepared individuals who may well cause more problems than they solve. I understand that it would be difficult for officials to make such judgements for each case. But, just because it's difficult doesn't mean you can't do it. In our case, our provisions and equipment were easily viewed at the roadblock, But the cop was not the least bit interested in our level of preparation and provision.

Having been denied access by road, we have developed a workable plan to make the run to Cudjoe by boat from the area of the roadblock-maybe 50 miles by water. Every house in Don's neighborhood is on a canal with access to both the Atlantic and the Gulf. All have small private docks. Many of the homeowners have boats that can make that run. I don't see how the Coast Guard could stop a homeowner from boating in and docking at their own docks. If the roadblock goes on for weeks, that may be the only way to get in and start repairs and clean up.

UPDATE SATURDAY MORNING: Homeowners will be allowed back in to Cudjoe Key on Sunday morning, Sept. 17.

It comes down to a difference in how one sees the role of government: 

I believe in freedom of the individual and that government should not prohibit property owners from taking care of their property in a situation like this, even though there are risks to the individuals. Local governments properly are charged with building and maintaining infrastructure and keeping the peace. And our local governments do that pretty darn well, even in major disasters.

But, modern government officials seem to now behave as if their job is to guarantee the safety and well being of all individuals at all times, even if that means denying property owners the right to protect and repair their property for an extended period of time. That is beyond what government should be allowed to do.

I cannot imagine government officials in the 1800's standing at the gateway to the west and telling people in wagon trains that they are prohibited from going further west because the government "cannot insure their safety" on the trip. The thought is comical.

With this particular disaster, there is room to improve. Keeping homeowners from doing repairs to mitigate damage for extended periods of time is not a proper role of government. Well prepared homeowners should have already been allowed back in. As someone volunteering to assist a homeowner, I would have been willing to provide ID and sign a liability waiver on the way in.
These two competing views of the proper role of government undergird much of the division in our modern culture. Some think governmental power is basically unlimited if they have good intentions. Others think governments must be limited and that they overstepped their bounds in this situation. Governments often seem to regard citizens as helpless creatures. The citizen response to Hurricane Harvey in Houston demonstrated the good things that citizens can do very quickly. They came from all over and saved people and property. The citizens did very well. But, I think common sense got cast aside by authorities in the aftermath of Irma in the Keys. It was easy to "close the Keys" because there is only one road in or out for over 100 miles. So they did. And they kept well prepared homeowners out because it was easier than making judgement calls on who was prepared to go in and who was not.

The decisions made by Emergency Management about homeowner access to the Keys in the aftermath of Irma need to be reviewed and critiqued in the interest of continuous improvement. They have done a lot of things right. But they made some bad decisions, too.

Albert Tieche is a Project Manager at Tieche Training and Development and a former Administrator of Elections for Davidson County, Tennessee. He lives in Nashville. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Williamson County Republican Party Mix & Mingle

https://www.meetup.com/preview/Williamson-County-Republican-Party/events/242842186?_cookie-check=wCdUIiZ_UoR_dmCL

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Update: Can You Pass A U.S. Citizenship Test?

Can You Pass A U.S. Citizenship Test?

Update:  The citizenship test is so simply one would think any American should be able to pass it.  However, I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of  people.  Back when Jay Leno was on TV, he would do a segment called "Jay Walking," where he would go out on the street and ask people the simplest American history questions or current events question or geography question or ask then to identify by name a picture of the Vice President or some other well-know public figure. It is amazing how many people could not answer the question.  When O'Riley was on Fox, he had a similar segment called "Watters' World," in which the reporter would ask people on the street very basic questions that one would think everyone would know the answer to, but most did not. 

These segments of Watters' World and Jay Walking were funny.  However, I always suspected that these were not representative.  I suspected that these segments edited out the knowledgeable people, because if people knew the answers it would not be entertaining.  

Today I got a fund raising letter from Intercollegiate Studies Institute which argued that liberal college professors prevent our founding principles from being passed to the next generation. It referenced an ISI survey of 2,500 undergraduate students and said, "incredibly, 51 percent could not name the three branches of government."  That is astounding! Think about it.  These are college students who probably think they are smart and who probably vote, and yet they can not name the three branches of government. 

With this kind of ignorance, I fear for our country.  We must work to turn this around. Citizens should demand that civics be taught in schools and that students have a certain basic level of civic literacy before they graduate. Parents who can afford it need to send their children to good private schools. Even if one can send their own child to a private school or even if one has no children, we all have a interest in having an educated citizenry.  People need to get involved. Education is too important to be left up to educators. Conservatives and even good liberals who believe people should have a basic level of civic literacy should run for school boards. The field of education, like the field of journalism, has been dominated by liberals for a very long time. More conservatives need to be encouraged to become teachers. We should support with our charitable giving those organizations like Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the 917 Society and others that are trying to change things.  If we cannot turn this around, we may be part of the last free generation.
 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Read the Constitution

If you have not read the Constitution in a long time, please read it. Here is a link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Happy Constitution Day



I fear for the future of our Republic. So many people have no concept of our structure of government. They do not understand limited power and checks and balances. They seem oblivious to basic concepts.  It is mostly on the left but also some on the right.  You see this in the opposition to the Electoral College.  People who oppose it do not even know why we have it.  You see this in support for executive orders from a president. Many people both left and right, want policies adopted they support.  They are much more concerned about the policy than that it be adopted by constitutional means.  They think a president should have the power to rule by royal decree. I don't know if ignorance of the constitution and basic civics is worst than in the past, but it certainly seems like it.

The 917 Society has a goal of giving every 8th grader in Tennessee a pocket copy of the Constitution. Please support there effort by making a contribution. Follow this link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What's on the Council Agenda of 9/19/2017: Not much really. This should be a meeting that is more boring than most.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. There is nothing on the agenda that is likely to cause controversy or debate.  This is a pretty boring agenda.

If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links.

Proposed Rule Change There are several Council rule changes proposed all of which deal with the time frame or some other aspect of consideration of the Capital Improvements Budget. Most likely the Council will follow the recommendation of the Rules Committee and I would not expect this to be a matter of controversy.


There is an election to fill three vacancies on the Industrial Development Board. While this is not of interest to the average citizen sometimes there is stiff competition for a seat on the Board and council members may get lobbied to vote for one candidate over another.  This board controls a lot of money and members of this board are in a position to help those they favor. The candidates for the three seats are Ms. Cristina Allen, Ms. Lindsey Cox, Mr. Eddie Gray, Ms. Ginger Hausser and Ms. Saletta Holloway.

There are nine appointments to Boards and Commissions on the agenda.  The appointments are made by the mayor and must be confirmed by the Council. The Council always confirms. To my knowledge, this Council has never turned down a Mayor's appointee.  They will all be approved without discussion.

There is only one resolution on Public Hearing
and it is to exempt an establishments from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit.

There are 24 resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes  unanimously the committees to which it was assigned. Since the committees have not met yet, some resolutions which are listed as on the consent agenda may not be on the consent agenda when the council meets. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. Any member of the body may have a resolution pulled off of the consent agenda or have their "no" vote or abstention recorded. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Below are the resolutions of interest. 

RESOLUTION RS2017-779, RESOLUTION RS2017-780 and  RESOLUTION RS2017-781 all deal with the temporary closing of right of ways and the fees charged for getting a permit to close a right-of-way. It is likely that all will be deferred a meeting. 

RESOLUTION RS2017-882 is a memorialize resolution, which simply expresses an opinion of the Metro Council, asking the news media to show greater sensitivity and decorum regarding reports of juvenile deaths. I don't know which incident of reporting prompted this and which media outlet is the target of this and the resolution does not say.  
Bills on First reading: There are 10 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. I do not read them until they get to second reading. Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. There are 21 bills on Second Reading. None are very important and likely to generate controversy. These are the ones of a little interest:
BILL NO. BL2017-801  and BILL NO. BL2017-802, both deal with obstruction or closure of public right of ways. These were on the Council agenda on July 18th and deferred to this meeting. Bill 801 would impose additional requirements for any permit exceeding a six month period and it would require a quarterly report be provided to members of the Council regarding all right-of-way closures. Bill 802 would increase the penalties for an improper right-of-way closures.
Bills on Third Reading: Most are rezoning bills approved by the Planning Commission. There is really very little of interest among the bills on Third Reading. BL2017-849  is a bill in Councilman Scott Davis' district that was  disapproved as submitted but approved with a substitute proposed by the Planning Commission. The sponsor did not substitute at Second Reading but he indicated he would at third.  I assume he will, in which case this is of no interest. A disapproved bill requires 27 votes of the Council to pass, which can sometimes be difficult to get. 

To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Andy Ogles to challenge Bob Corker

by Cari Wade Gervin, Nashville Post - Andy Ogles, the former head of the Tennessee chapter of

Andy Ogles
Americans for Prosperity, announced Thursday he will run in the Republican primary for Senate in 2018. .... Ogles, a Williamson County native, is the first high profile Republican to announce a challenge to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker — although Corker still won't confirm that he's running for a third term. Corker has hired Ward Baker to run a possible campaign and has been fundraising; in recent days Corker's campaign Twitter account has become more active and his campaign website has been rebooted. However, Corker told CNN a few days ago that he was contemplating retiring from public office, and a source close to the senator confirmed to the Post that Corker still remains genuinely conflicted as to his decision. .... If Corker does run, he has plenty of money with which to do so — over $6.5 million on hand in his campaign account at the end of June. But Ogles, who worked as a national deputy director for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in 2012, will likely utilize his AFP ties for fundraising. .... Rep. Joe Carr, who ran a close challenge to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in 2014 and lost a lopsided challenge to U.S. Rep. Diane Black in 2016, is seriously considering a run for Corker's seat. (link)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tennessee High School Graduation Rate Hits All-Time High

Tennessee education officials announced more than 89 percent of the high school Class of 2017 graduated, the highest rate on record. 

 By , Nashville Patch - Tennessee education officials gleefully announced that the state's graduation rate of 89.1 percent for the 2016-17 academic year is the highest on record, but Davidson County's dropped.

The statewide graduation rate is up more than half a percentage point since last year, and overall has increased 3.6 percent since the 2010-11 school year. This year, graduation rates increased in nearly 56 percent of districts with high schools.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Friday, September 15, 2017

Conservative economic icon Arthur Laffer endorses Diane Black for Governor

Architect of Reagan fiscal policy to serve as Economic Advisor to Diane Black for Governor 

Image result for Diane Black
Diane Black
Press release - Conservative economist and close Reagan advisor Arthur Laffer today endorsed Diane Black for Governor and will serve as Economic Advisor to Diane Black for Governor.  Dr. Laffer was a personal economic advisor to both President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, serving on the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of President Reagan’s two terms in office.

“Diane Black knows exactly how to keep Tennessee’s economy growing rapidly by ensuring that Tennessee keeps tax rates low while paying its bills and protecting its taxpayers,” said Dr. Laffer.  “I moved from California to Tennessee eleven years ago for these very reasons, and I couldn’t be happier with my adopted home state.  There’s no one more qualified and prepared to lead Tennessee into a new era of prosperity than Diane Black.”

Dr. Laffer’s economic acumen and influence in triggering a world-wide tax-cutting movement in the 1980’s earned him the distinction in many publications as "The Father of Supply-Side Economics." The New York Times wrote, “we do know from official economic statistics that the seven-year period from 1982 to 1989 was the greatest, consistent burst of economic activity ever seen in the U.S. In fact, it was the greatest economic expansion the world has ever seen - in any country, at any time.”

“Art Laffer has the greatest fiscal policy track record of the last 40 years,” said Black.  “I am honored
Art Laffer
to have his endorsement and look forward to working with him to put conservative economic principles to work in Tennessee.  My team will focus on bringing jobs, low taxes and prosperity to every corner of Tennessee.”

Laffer is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an institutional economic research and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1965 and 1972, respectively.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, University of Southern California and Pepperdine University.consulting firm in Nashville.  One of his earliest successes in shaping public policy was his involvement in California’s Proposition 13, the groundbreaking initiative that drastically cut property taxes in California in 1978.

Dr. Laffer received a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1963.  He received a MBA and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1965 and 1972, respectively.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, University of Southern California and Pepperdine University.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Caffeinated Conservatives to meet 9/23/2017. Speaker is Sharon Ford of Tennesee Republican Assembly

From Caffeinated Conservatives:

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The future is here for cities that choose it. A better way to provide mass transit.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories