Thursday, December 21, 2017

What happened at the 12-19-2017 Council meeting: Bill to trample property rights and kill an affordable housing project deferred, more transparency for corporate welfare approved, $2.9 million in incentives to Philips company approved.

The most important news of the December 19the Council meeting is that BILL NO. BL2016-219  which would trample a persons property rights and kill an affordable housing project was deferred "by rule."   It will be back on the Council agenda next meeting.

Another important action was the approval of  RESOLUTION RS2017-986 which awarded $2.9 million in incentives to Philips company. The company plans to hire 815 employees over the next two years and the company will receive a grant of $500 per employee.  The average wage of the employees will be $60,000.  The incentive package was approved by a vote of 28 to 1 with three abstentions.  The "no" vote was by Councilman John Cooper and the three abstentions were Kathleen Murphy, Dave Rosenberg and Jacobia Dowell. There was no floor discussion.

BILL BL2017-983 which would bring greater transparency to corporate welfare packages was approved on second reading. This bill would require companies getting an incentive to provide such information as to the type and number of jobs that will be created,  both during and after construction, and whether those jobs will be temporary or permanent, and the number of jobs that will be filled by Davidson County residents. This bill was opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and supported by a liberal organization by the name of NOAH and supported by the Central Labor Council. Some of the most liberal members of the Council supported it and some of the more conservative council members opposed it. While on most issues I would find myself not on the same side of an issue as organized labor and liberal activist, and I would find myself on the same side of an issue as council members like Robert Swope and Stenve Glover, I support this bill.  I support greater transparency in the awarding of corporate welfare. This bill established no policy guidelines, it simply required companies seeking incentive grants to provide more information. To see the discussion see timestamp 31:35 - 51:03 in the video.

On a Motion to Reconsider  RESOLUTION RS2017-966, the motion failed by a vote on only one in favor, 33 opposed, and one abstention The motion was not debatable. Having failed, the action taken at the last council meeting to approve RS2017-966 was unchanged. That resolution was the resolution to approved the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, as special counsel to pursue claims against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids that have "wrongfully caused drug addiction in Davidson County." The opposition to selection of this law firm came mostly from Black members of the Council, concerned that the firm did not have a sufficient number of Black attorneys working for the firm. 

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. To access the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

In other council action, Roy Dale and Anna Maddox were reappointed to the Stormwarter Management Board after previously having had their confirmation delayed.  There was no discussion and no negative votes.

The Nashville Songwriters Association was honored with the presentation of a resolution. (see video timestamp 8:30- 13:24,)

RESOLUTION RS2017-779 , RESOLUTION RS2017-780, and RESOLUTION RS2017-781 all of which deal with right-of-way closures are deferred indefinitely.

All bills on Introduction and First Reading are considered together and pass by a single vote, as is the norm, including BILL BL2017-1031 which is the bill "adopting a transit improvement program for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, approving a surcharge for the program, and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018." 

BILL BL2017-865  on Second Reading which creates new public works reporting requirements is deferred to the second meeting in March.

BILL BL2017-941 on Second Reading which would establish a a Commercial Permit Parking Program is deferred two meetings.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-953 as amended imposes various regulations regarding commercial solicitation  including restricting door-to-door commercial solicitation to daylight hours or no later than 7PM whichever is later.  It passes on Second Reading.

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