Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earth Day Art Break: A polar bear adjusts to global warming...

A polar bear adjust to global warming as a spotted owl and two mutated chickens look on - by Rod Williams

Artist Statement

My art is not so much a single act of purposeful creation as an evolution that emerges from subconscious unarticulated values, believes, desires, and life experiences. My medium is causally accumulated discardable household objects. That a piece has a theme often does not emerge until after layer upon layer there is a recognition that the various elements in the construction have a commonality or relatedness that creates the whole.

About A polar bear adjust to global warming as a spotted owl and two mutated chickens look on

My Earth Day art contributions, A polar bear adjust to global warming as a spotted owl and two mutated chickens look on, began as just an old painted clay pot in which I had put a cutting of Aloe Vera and placed in a kitchen window seal. I have always kept Aloe Vera in my kitchen. It is a miracle cure for burns. Just break a piece and rub the sap on a burn and it immediately stops the pain and prevents blisters. The pot sat on my window seal and the cutting grew for some years.

The next addition was the polar bear which I purchased at Dollar Tree to amuse a loved one who is mentally disabled and at the time found a child-like delight in the simplest of things.  After my loved one had enjoyed the polar bear, I simply placed it in the Aloe Vera pot without a motivation. However, I was struck by the combination and juxtaposition of the succulent plant species which  grows wild in tropical climates and the figurine of an arctic polar bear. Still, the piece was not recognized as a unitary composition. 

The next addition was the owl which came in a gift of arranged flowers. Being one who hates to throw out usable things even when I no longer need them, I simply causally stuck it in the Aloe Vera plant pot. It seemed to fit. It was then that I recalled the notoriety of the "spotted" owl popularized by former senator and environmentalist Al Gore. I then began thinking of the owl as a "spotted owl" and the piece as a unitary composition. The "mutated chickens" had been sitting on top of a kitchen cabinet. Originally purchased as a gift that was never given, some of the set had been broken. Rather than throw them out, I incorporated them into the piece. They seemed to fit.

A problem with creating art in this fashion is deciding when a piece is complete. Traditional artist using more conventional mediums however, and others engaged in creative arts such a literary writers sometimes have the same problem and will continue to cut and add and repaint or rewrite until at some point they must decide a work is complete. This piece also had another element which I have since deleted. Also, for a while, I thought the piece said more without the mutated chickens. I debated removing the chickens and simply calling the piece, A polar bear adjust to global warming as a spotted own looks on, but eventually decided to keep the chicken component.

While the piece is obviously a reflection on global warming, I leave it up to the viewer to interpret the message of the composition for himself.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Mayor David Briley wants to regulate gun ownwership

Last night at Maplewood High School at the first of Mayor David Briley's series of town hall meetings, he said if he had the power he would regulate gun ownership. He also said he will ask gun shop owners to stop selling "things we don't need in our town."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What happened at the 4/17/18 Council Meeting: nothing exciting, Committee investigating Mayor Barry dissolved, South Nashville Central Business Improvement District approved.




This meeting is only a little over an hour and half long. Nothing very important happens and their is little of controversy. At the start of the meeting, after the prayer and pledge, the Council takes a recess to have a group picture taken in Predator's jerseys. After that, there are a couple of presentations, one is honoring former vice mayor Jay West. Following that, then candidates for office are permitted to come to the lectern and introduce themselves. The Council does not start consideration of the agenda until 25 minutes into the meeting. To access the Council agenda, the Council staff analysis and my commentary on  the meeting, follow this link.

All appointees to Boards and Commission are confirmed by voice vote. At timestamp 32 the public hearings began. Below are highlights of the meeting.

Public Hearing. There are only two bills on public hearing.

Bill BL2018-1139  approving the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan is substituted and deferred until May 15th.

Bill BL2018-1140  on Third Reading creates a South Nashville Central Business Improvement District. A district such as this creates a governing body which may impose additional taxes on businesses within the district for project within the district. This is a big deal. No one speaks in opposition and only one in favor. Because no one speaks on a bill does not indicate lack of interest. Often council members hold numerous meeting on a bill in their district before it ever reaches the Council and resolve any issues at that level. 
Resolutions of interest:

Resolution RS2018-1138  approves an amendment to a grant from the State of Tennessee to work with Hispanic victims of crime and their families who find the criminal justice system disorienting due to language limitations and cultural understanding.  The State grant would be increased to $969,421.00 and Metro's match wold be $123,618.00. This passes on the consent agenda.
Resolution RS2018-1149 is a resolution approving an application for a grant from the Greater Nashville Regional Council to The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, "to design, construct, and evaluate a spine of three major separated bikeways and one minor separated bikeway in East Nashville to connect communities, encourage active transportation, and decrease automobile dependence." Apparently, there had been quite a bit of interest in this issue and council members had gotten letters in favor and in opposition. The grant request would be for $1.29 million and the local match would be $287,000. To see the discussion see timestamp 50:28- 54:15. It passes on a voice vote with no audible "no's."
Resolution RS2018-1154 dissolves the Special Committee set up to investigate the wrong doings of Mayor Barry. This passes on the consent agenda.
Bills on Second Reading: There are six. Here are the ones of interest:
Bill BL2018-1111 would put under the purview of the Board of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Conduct those who violate executive orders regarding rules of conduct. Currently this board only has authority to act on those who violate a section of the Metro code concerning standards of conduct. This passes on a voice vote.

Bill BL2018-1142  would require that 4% fund request resolutions affecting only a single Council district must be preceded by written notice to the Council member representing that district at least one week before the resolution is filed with the Metropolitan Clerk.This is deferred to the first meeting in August.
Bills on Third Reading
Bill BL2018-1122  reinstates a policy that requires the location of waste transfer stations be approved by the council by resolution prior to the applicant appealing the siting of the facility to the Board of Zoning appeal. This was the policy for twenty years, then in August 2017, Metro adopted a law that applied to how other certain sensitive uses are approved and inadvertently changed the policy for the approval of waste transfer station. This simply changes the law back to the way it was before and corrects a mistake. The bill has been misunderstood and created some confusion and concern. After some explanation, the bill passes on a voice vote.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Tennessean exhibits sexist and gender prejudice in news reporting.

by Rod Williams - In a story in today's Tennessean, it was reported, "Police look for thieves; vehicles had children inside." According to the report, a two year old girl was safe and sound after the incident. A "mother" went into a Citgo on Brick Church Pike to make a purchase and left the car running with her infant child in the car.  Suspects jumped in the car and drove off. By tracking the location of the vehicle, due to the mother also leaving  her cell phone in the car, the police were able to track the vehicle to a location in east Nashville, where the child was found crying standing on the front porch of a home. The thieves and vehicle were not located.

This is the second incident of this nature in a 48 hour period. The other happened at a Mapco on Stewards Ferry Pike the day before and three children were in the stolen car. The thieves later abandoned the car and the children were found unharmed. The thieves in the second vehicle were also identified as male.

The story did not mention the race of the thieves but in the first incident a picture captured from the stores video security camera shows the thieves to be African American.

The official city of Nashville press release did not identify the thieves as "men," but reported the story this way:

Suspect
Detectives are continuing in their efforts to identify the persons responsible for two apparently unrelated car thefts in which children who had been left in the vehicles were briefly taken.       
At 6:20 p.m. Sunday, thieves jumped into a white Hyundai Elantra that had been left running with a 2-year-old child inside while her mother went into Terry’s Quick Stop at 3050 Brick Church Pike.  The persons who stole the Elantra got out of a blue Nissan Versa that was stolen on April 10th from the driveway of a home on Elmore Avenue.  It had also been left unattended and running.  Both the Elantra and the Versa fled the parking lot.  Officers were able to track the victim’s cell phone to East Nashville and located the 2-year-old crying and standing on the front porch of a home in the 1000 block of Pennock Avenue.  She was unharmed.  Officers located the abandoned stolen Versa in an alley between Meridian Street and Pennock Avenue.  The Elantra has not yet been recovered.  
Why did The Tennessean identify the thieves as "males?"  Why, like the Metro press release, did they not call the thieves "persons?" By identifying the thieves as men, The Tennessean is guilty of furthering the stereotype and prejudice that males are more likely to be criminals than are females. Society disproportionately incarcerates many more men than women. Of the prison population 91.7% are male. It would seem that an enlightened policy would strive to have no more men incarcerated than women. Surely there is not a gender difference that would result in more male incarceration than female. Perhaps there should be a moratorium on incarcerating any more men until the ratios reflect the approximate 50% that men and women each represent of the population. As long as our media continues to perpetuate prejudice against men such justice will not be achieved.

Not only are more men incarcerated than women, but police routinely treat men and women differently.  In a routine traffic stop police use more caution and display a firmer attitude when approaching a car with a male driver than a female driver. Police do not treat the sexes equally. Movies and TV crime programs routinely show men more violent and prone to crime than women.

In addition to furthering the societal prejudice that leads to more men being incarcerated than women, The Tennessean report also calls into question the appropriateness of even using the term "male" and "female."  After all, is not sex and gender a societal construct? Even if the thieves appeared to be "male," how do we know they think of themselves as male. Obviously, the reporter did not interview the "men" to ask them their gender preference or gender identity. They could have been male, female, transgender or gender fluid.

In addition to the prejudiced against men, the story also furthered the stereotyping of some women as bad mothers.  Was it necessary to report that the "mother" went into the story to make a purchase and left the child in the car with the engine running?  Why did the story not report that "the parent" or "adult guardian" went into the store.

Many years ago, The Tennessee and other mainstream news outlets began concealing the race of those committing crime. How long must we wait before the same enlighten attitude applies to sex and gender and that prejudicial sexist distinction is also concealed?
Suspects

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Nashville council dissolves special committee investigating Megan Barry

Nashville council dissolves special committee investigating Megan Barry

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

What's on the Council Agenda for 4-17-2018: Public hearings on the Donelson Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan and the South Nashville Central Business Improvement District.

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, April 17, 2018 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 staff analysis  or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links.

Boards and Commissions
The first order of business is the call to order, prayer and pledge, followed by consideration of mayoral appointments to boards and commissions. There are eight mayoral appointments to boards and commissions on this agenda for Council confirmations. The council normally rubber stamps whomever the mayor nominates. 


I wish someone on the Council would exercise some legislative mussel when it comes to these appointments. Most of the time, I would not oppose an appointee and believe the mayor should generally have the prerogative to appoint whom he wishes to these position. However, there is one position being filled on this agenda and I think anyone appointed to this particular board needs close scrutiny.

If I served on the Council I would question the appointee to the Board of Fair Commissioners to ensure he is someone who supports continuation of the fairgrounds.  It appears the writing is on the wall, and Nashville will lose the State Fair.  We have done nothing to make it a great state fair.  Even if we lose the State Fair however, we should still maintain the fair grounds for its current uses.  The charter requires that, but if the city insiders were committed to supporting the fairgrounds they would never have placed the soccer stadium at that site. I have the feeling that the city elites are embarrassed by gun shows, stock car racing, fairs, and flea markets, the same way a previous generation of elites were embarrassed by country music. If I served in the Council I would want to know that appointees to the Fair Board were committed to keeping the State Fair at the fairgrounds, to keeping current uses, and was open to moving the soccer stadium to the propose Metro Center location.


Public Hearing: There are two bills on public hearing. 

Bill BL2018-1139  on Second Reading  approving the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan. There is a new authority given to cities to plan, facilitate and guide develop around transit stops to encourage a certain kind of development around those stops and to give cities the authority to issue Tax Increment Financing bonds for improvements in the designated area. This would be the first time this authority has been used. This designation would apply to the Donelson stop on The Nashville Star line. There is a lot of detail in the staff analysis for those who want to know more. I have no problem with this concept.  My primary concern is that this not confer the power of eminent domain to MDHA for use in this area.  I do not know if it does or not. I would only support this if eminent domain condemnation had to go back to the Council in each instance where it was used. If the public has concern with this it will probably be due to the affordable housing component. The TIF funding can finance affordable housing construction. Many people oppose the development of affordable housing in their community.

Bill BL2018-1140  on Third Reading will create a South Nashville Central Business Improvement District. A district such as this creates a governing body which may impose additional taxes on businesses within the district for project within the district.  Such project may include building parking facilities, promoting the district, beautification and improvement projects in the district and more. The initial additional tax levy will be 55 cents per $100 of assessed value of real property and estimated initial projects will cost approximately $10.948 million. This district would consist of approximately 266 acres, whose boundaries are approximately Cane Ridge Road to the West, I-24 to the East, Target Drive to the North, and Old Franklin Road to the South. There are other such districts like this, including the central business district. 
There are 19 resolution on the agenda and all are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which it is assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. 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. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Here are the ones of interest:
Resolution RS2018-1138  approves an amendment to a grant from the State of Tennessee to work with Hispanic victims of crime and their families who find the criminal justice system disorienting due to language limitations and cultural understanding.  This is no doubt needed if we are going to have large numbers of people in our midst who do not speak English. I do not oppose this, but don't let anyone tell you there is not a cost to having large numbers of people in our midst who do not speak the language. The State grant would be increased to $969,421.00 and Metro's match wold be $123,618.00.

Resolution RS2018-1154 dissolves the Special Committee set up to investigate the wrong doings of Mayor Barry. I approve. No use beating a dead horse and others entities are looking into this and I doubt there is not much more to learn. 
Bills on Second Reading: There are six. Here are the ones of interest:
Bill BL2018-1111 would put under the purview of the Board of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Conduct those who violate executive orders regarding rules of conduct. Currently this board only has authority to act on those who violate a section of the Metro code concerning standards of conduct. There is some concern that this would put too heavy of a burden on employees to defend themselves against complaints filed with the board. At the March 20th council meeting it was discussed and then deferred one meeting and then last meeting it was deferred again to this meeting. To understand the arguments on both sides of this issue you may want to watch the video of the March 20th meeting at timestamp 1:29:18-1:51:15.  

Bill BL2018-1142  would require that 4% fund request resolutions affecting only a single Council district must be preceded by written notice to the Council member representing that district at least one week before the resolution is filed with the Metropolitan Clerk.That sounds reasonable.
Bills on Third Reading: There are 27 and none of them are of much interest.

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. 




 

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But were they Black?

by Rod Williams - There was an article in today's Tennessean, Nashville police: 6 people shot in separate altercations Saturday. The article reports that a total of six people were shot, but none killed, Saturday night in three separate incidents. One of the incidents occured at a Wafffle House on Lebanon pike when people sitting in a black Mercedes van were fired upon by people in a black sedan. No other details are given. In the other two incidents a bag of marijuana was found at the site of one of the incidents and the other is described as "a botched marijuana deal."  The streets where the later two incidents occurred are Hermosa Street and Claiborn Street.

Nowhere in the news article is the race or ethnicity of the victims listed. The addresses of the later two incidents are in predominantly Black neighborhoods. I am going to assume all of the perpetrators and victims of the three incidents were Black. Is it racist to make such an assumption?  Or, based on known data is that a reasonable assumption? 

I think the term "fake news" is overused but I do think there is valid reason not to trust the mainstream press. One has to read between the lines and make assumptions when reading the newspaper. It seems the press is as interested in concealing facts as revealing facts. The press goes out of its way to hide facts if those facts do not fit a political correctness agenda.  In this story, the reporter told me the color of the vehicles but not the people. Why? 

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TRANSIT PLAN COSTS $568,000 PER CURRENT BUS RIDER

TRANSIT PLAN COSTS $568,000 PER CURRENT BUS RIDER IN 2035, 
LIGHT RAIL PLAN WILL COST $386,300 PER PUBLIC TRANSIT RIDER IN 2070, 
IF LIGHT RAIL STILL EXISTS, PLAN WILL COST $455,800 PER RIDER IN 2070

NEW: COST OF THE TRANSIT PLAN PER CURRENT NASHVILLE BUS RIDER: $568,000 per rider. The facts: all data is public information, easily found at the website apta.com. We welcome the pro side or anyone to refute these stats. apta.com. Current DAILY MTA TRIPS: 31,300 (2017). Total DAILY RIDERS: 15,650. Cost: $8.9B divided by 15,650 = $568,690 per rider.
At apta.com, the url sequence is: resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2017-q3-ridership-APTA.pdf

In 2035: total riders will be 23,038. Cost of $8.9 billion divided by 23,038 = $386,318 per rider in 2035. See charts below. 
In 2070, if light rail still exists, total riders will be 48,265. Total costs 52 years from now: $22 billion. Cost of $22B divided by 48,265 = $455,816 per rider in 2070. See charts below. 

Summary: 14 cities have light rail (LRT) which Nashville is voting on. The ridership data and numbers from LRT systems with decades of data, create realistic, accurate projections of ridership for Nashville in the future. If Nashville builds out the $8.9 billion plan, public transit ridership is projected to increase from current 15,650 riders to 23,038 riders in 2035. The total cost of $8.9 billion divided by 23,038 equals $386,000 per public transit rider in 2035, including the five light rail lines with 31.3 miles of LRT, the tunnel build out, and the bus system (actual total: $386,318). NOTE: we are only against light rail & the tunnel, which is 70% of the plan; we are FOR a strong bus system, BRT, technology & more. Because this plan is 70% LRT & tunnel, we are against it.
In 2070, 52 years from now, with LRT & Bus, projected riders will be a generous total of 48,265. Totals costs, see chart below: $22 billion. Therefore, $22 billion divided by 48,265 equals $455,816 per rider in 2070.
In 2070, Nashville’s CSA population will be 5.39 million people (2% growth rate, double the national average; current CSA pop.: 1.8 million). The riders figure of 48,265 is actually very generous. Remember, public transit is declining at 3.5% annually. In 52 years, as experts confirm, public transit as we know today will not exist. Tech and other factors are rapidly changing how we commute, travel, get goods & live. In 2070, transit riders will be about 2.5% of commuters/drivers (48,265 people). Megan Barry’s $8.9 billion transit plan combined with the extreme operating losses of the LRT-heavy transit system (losses from 2018-2070) will result in a costs of at least $22 billion, a low estimate. The majority of the losses will be due to having expensive, costly light rail and tunnel. Bus systems are more cost-effective and a more effective transit solution than light rail, with operating losses dramatically less than light rail operating losses.

Full analysis: Data and analysis is of light rail ridership in the eight (8) cities similar to, yet all larger (both in pop. and pop. density, PD), than Nashville’s pop & PD. Also , a comparison to the six (6) cities, much larger than Nashville, with LRT systems.
The eight (8) cities are listed below with:
CSA Population, Pop. Density, Light Rail Miles, & Avg Daily Ridership Per Mile.
The Per Mile stat is a key. Nashville is planning 31.3 miles, so we can multiply the average of these 8 cities’ average daily ridership per mile, to project what Nashville’s total light rail daily ridership will be for the entire 31.3 miles of light rail.
We are assuming that all other factors stay the way they are now – which is generous, considering that public transit ridership is declining at 3.5% nationally and locally, and tech is changing commuting dramatically. Light rail is becoming more & more obsolete annually. Local taxpayers continue to pay for the losses of the average city public transit system (Nashville’s MTA lost $77 million on a $93 million budget; most recent audit) running a bus system, though it is vital to public transit, etc, etc. But let’s assume all other factors stay the same.
Someone may say, “well, in 2035, Nashville’s population will be 2.67 million, so these bus ridership figures have to be increased.” In reality, even though population is increasing, bus ridership is declining at 3.5% annually, even though population is increasing. And this model and projection keeps bus ridership the same as it is today. Also, the total rail ridership of 1,443 riders per mile (avg of the 8 cities) is based on cities that have avg pop. of 2.86 million, more than Nashville’s projected 2035 pop. of 2.67 million.
NOTE: $6 billion of the $9 billion cost is for light rail and the tunnel. Breakdown:
Five LRT light rail lines: $3.4 billion
Tunnel: $940 million
Debt service on bonds for the light rail/tunnel: $1.16
Operating Costs for rail/tunnel: $400 million ($46m/year).
Total: $6 billion
Nashville in 2035:
Nashville, 2.67m, 1,862 PD, 31.3 miles
Avg daily ridership due to small PD (less than half of the other cities’ avg PD): 361;
361 x 31.3 miles of light rail = 11,300 daily riders on light rail
Cost Per Transit Rider in 2070, 52 Years from Now
In 2070, 52 Years from 2018, the cost of Megan Barry’s transit plan per public transit rider in 2070: $455,816.
The pro side says we need to plan for far into the future. Let’s look at realistic, generous projections of ridership in 2070.
In 2070, Nashville/Davidson Co.’s population will be 2.02 million, with population density (PD), a key determining factor regarding light rail ridership, at 4,008. Nashville’s CSA population (all 10 counties) will be 5.39 million.
In the chart below, realistic projections for Nashville’s light rail (LRT) ridership are based on the average ridership of six (6) large cities with decades of light rail results and figures. The six cities’ PD average is 5,266 people/square mile, 31% higher than Nashville’s of 4,008; PD for all cities is calculated using the city population (for us, Davidson Co.), not the CSA. A lower PD means people are spread out more, and farther away from light rail lines; another reason light rail will not work in Nashville.
Nashville’s CSA is also smaller than the six cities’ average CSA population. But we will still use the six cities’ average ridership per mile of 2,333 people.
Therefore, in 2070, Nashville’s 31.3 miles of LRT, with 1,167 riders per mile, will have a light rail average daily ridership of 36,527 commuters. Commuters: Of the 5.39 million population in 2070, approx. 69% are commuters/drivers, or 3.7 million commuters in the CSA. The total of 36,527 LRT + bus riders is about 1.3% of commuters, a figure similar to the current average percentage of transit ridership (LRT + bus) in the 14 cities with light rail.
Remember, public transit ridership is declining at 3.5% nationally & locally (MTA audits, 2016-2017), a decline that applies to both light rail and bus ridership. But we will assume, generously, that light rail ridership in 2070 is the same as it is today; though in reality, with tech changing our world, in 50 years, it is very likely that light rail will not even exist. The light rail systems are already obsolete, even more so in 50 years.
Let’s also assume that bus ridership of 11,650 stays the same for 50 years. In reality though, if the 3% declines continue, in 50 years, bus ridership likely will not exist.
Approximately 25% or more of current bus riders will switch over to light rail (probably more), so bus ridership in 2070 will actually be 23,475. Light rail lines replace bus route lines.
LRT of 36,527 plus bus riders of 11,738 (75% of 11,650) equals 48,265, or approximately 1.3% of commuters.
Therefore, 98.7% of commuters are primarily in cars, trucks, and other transport options. It seems surprising that a city government would spend $9 billion to focus on, at best, 1.3% of commuters. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend money and resources on both groups: the 98.7% of commuters and their roads, and the 1.3% of public transit riders?
Total losses from 2018-2070 are projected to be at least $22 billion, a low estimate. MTA is projected to lose $2.1 billion in the next 15 years, see chart below. Operating losses starting in 2035 will be at least $300 million, a figure used to calculate losses from 2035 to 2070, though losses will certainly be much, much greater. Light rail is exponentially more expensive than bus to build, operate, manage, maintain, repair, and more. MTA loss chart is below. MTA lost $70 million in 2017 and projected to lose $76 million in 2018. Chart below: three LRT cities’ public transit losses, on average $627 million a year.
Nashville taxpayers pay about 55% of MTA’s budget. MTA self-funds about 15%. Nashville taxpayers, the state, and the federal govt pay 85% of their budget.
Low projections are that a light rail and bus system will lose about $300 million a year starting in 2033, after the build out. If we just use the $300 million figure only for the 37 years from 2033 to 2070, though the losses will actually much, much higher, the total is $11 billion. The actual losses year-on-year would be $11.4 billion or more.
Add in MTA’s projected $2.1 billion in projected losses from 2018-2033, and the total is $13.1 billion.
$8.9 billion + $13.1 billion = $22 billion, for the 96,497 riders in 2070, or $227,986 per rider.
What are some of the operating losses of cities with large light rail systems? Three examples are: Denver, which Megan Barry’ and her team cites as a “model” for Nashville’s potential light rail, Houston, and Dallas. Their average operating loss, most recent year, was $627 million (chart below).
Why is this so high? Light rail is exponentially more expensive than bus system, and less effective as a public transit model than bus, to: build, operate, maintain, manage, repair, and more.

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Rev. Enoch Fuzz: Vote Against the Transit Tax Plan May 1

Rev. Enoch Fuzz
by Rev. Enoch Fuzz - As we try to inform voters about how wrong this transit tax plan is for Nashville, we encounter again and again how almost impossible it is to oppose Metro and whatever Metro does.

Many people I know, including those who volunteer with our group Better Transit for Nashville, cannot exercise their freedom of speech and have to remain private and behind the scenes because of fear that ... (link)

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Clearest Sign Yet We Need a Balanced Budget Amendment

Phil Roe
by Phil Roe - Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an alarming projection about future budget deficits over the next 10 years. While CBO doesn’t always get it right, this warning cry should hit home for every American; it certainly does for me. If out-of-control spending is left unchecked, CBO predicts America’s deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020. To me, this is the clearest sign yet that we have to pass a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment, which the House considered this week.

First, let me dispel one of the biggest myths there is: that somehow last year’s tax cuts are responsible for our nation’s budget deficits. Last year, the federal government took in $3.3 trillion in revenue. That is the most revenue that has been collected – ever. In fact, since 2010, federal revenue has increased $1.1 trillion – a 53 percent increase, or just less than 8 percent annually. And we should expect revenue growth to continue because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because as our economy grows and more jobs and prosperity are created, revenue to the federal government will grow, even at lower across-the-board tax rates.

Another myth that’s been put out there is that discretionary spending is responsible for our annual budget deficits. Discretionary spending is the funding Congress votes on every year, and funds our military, education, veterans programs, environmental programs, etc. This part of the budget – because Congress reviews it annually – has been well-controlled. Over the past 14 years, since 2004, our discretionary budget has only grown 34 percent, which is just over 2.4 percent growth annually. Even with the recently-passed Omnibus, discretionary spending is still growing at a manageable pace.
So what causes our budget deficits? Primarily, the deficits are driven by our mandatory programs that are on autopilot – programs like Medicaid, SNAP, Social Security and Medicare. Over the same 14 year time period, our mandatory program spending has doubled, growing at 7.5 percent per year. This is unsustainable. This will require hard choices, but Congress will only make those hard choices if it’s forced to.

That’s why, this week, I am proud to support H.J.Res. 2, a constitutional amendment that will require a balanced budget. If ratified, a balanced budget amendment would require the federal government to balance its budget annually, just like states and families do, unless the country is at war. I am a proud cosponsor of this legislation. A Balanced Budget Amendment is the only way we will ever tackle the growing threat caused by deficit spending. By passing this amendment, we can work together to repair the damage that’s been done over the years through out-of-control spending.
Forty-eight states, including Tennessee, have balanced-budget requirements. It’s time for Washington to live by the same rules and take this critical step to get our spending under control. Our children and grandchildren’s futures and the future of our democracy depends on it.

Phil Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is physician and co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus and a member of the Health Caucus. Prior to serving in Congress, he served as the Mayor of Johnson City, Tennessee.  

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Nashville has the lowest unemployment rate in the US

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nashville, Tennessee, had the lowest unemployment rate—2.7%—of any metropolitan area in the US with over one million people as of February 2018.

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House approves bill removing barriers to reentry for those convicted of a crime who have served their time

by Rod Williams - This week the Tennessee House of Representatives approved legislation that will remove barriers for Tennesseans who are seeking a fresh start in life.  House Bill 2248also known as the Fresh Start Act — is designed to further reduce Tennessee’s recidivism rates by providing a pathway to employment for citizens who are returning to their communities following incarceration.
 
Currently, Tennessee requires licenses for 110 different jobs; many impact those seeking manual labor or other industrial-related work. State licensing boards can deny a license for these professions to individuals with past criminal records, including lower-level forms of crime classified as misdemeanors.  It is bad enough that we license 110 occupations. While I am OK with surgeons and electricians being licensed, I would let hair braiders and those who massage horses and those engaged in many other occupations do it unlicensed. It is bad enough that so many people have to get a license to work in so many occupations, but it is unconscionable that people who have been convicted of a crime are prohibited from even getting the license. The crime maybe something as simple as a long ago DUI.

As passed, House Bill 2248 requires that denials and refusals for license renewals based on a prior criminal conviction are only allowable when the criminal offense directly relates to an individual’s ability to perform duties associated with the occupation or profession they are seeking a licensure for, excluding violent felonies.
 
Additional punishment for individuals who have paid their debt to society is wrong and this bill allows for a person to fix past mistakes and get on with their lives.  According to the Council of State Governments (CSG), nearly 10 million U.S. adults return to their communities following incarceration every year; upon their release, many face significant barriers to securing employment. CSG estimates that occupational restrictions can result in 2.85 million fewer people employed nationally and also raise consumer expenses by more than $200 billion.

Most people convicted of a crime, if sent to prison will get out. It is a fact.  It makes no sense to stack the deck against them so they cannot succeed once they have paid their debt to society. Nearly half of those leaving prison in Tennessee return within three years. This is making our communities less safe and costing taxpayers millions of dollars and it is ruining lives that could be salvaged.

Occupational licensure is only one of the barriers to success after incarceration. We should systematically be looking at those barriers to successful reentry and removing them. In today's hyper partisan environment, there are not many areas where conservatives and liberals can agree. This is one of those areas. Some of the most dedicated proponents of criminal justice reform are Republicans such as Governor Matt Bevins of Kentucky. Here in Tennessee, a group called "The Coalition for Sensible Justice" made up of The Beacon Center, the ACLU, Goodwill, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Tennessee County Services Association, is working together for criminal justice reform. It was this group which worked to pass House Bill 2248. 

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DCRP Reagan Day Dinner: Thursday, April 26th

Rand Paul

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!

The Davidson County Republican Party’s Annual Reagan Day Dinner is set for Thursday, April 26th at the Nashville City Club, 201 4th Avenue North.
Senator Rand Paul will be this year’s honored speaker.

To order tickets, follow this link. 

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Southeast Conservative Breakfast Club meets April 21st. Carol Swain speaker.

Southeast Conservative Breakfast Club will meet Saturday, April 21st at the Shoney's on Thompson Lane. Breakfast will begin at 8AM and the meeting will be called to order at 9AM. The guest speaker will be Dr. Carol Swain, former political science professor at Vanderbilt University, political commentator, and candidate for mayor.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

School Board exposed attempting to negotiate budget deal behind closed doors.

Back when I entered the Metro Council, every year the members of the Budget and Finance Committee would get together at an informal private meeting and develop the Council's alternative to the mayor's budget. These meetings were not advertised and no records were kept. Those not on the Budget and Finance Committee had no input as to the alternative budget and were presented with the choice of voting for the alternative budget or not. Not voting for the alternative would have had the effect of voting for the mayor's budget. This was exposed a couple times by the press and by the time I left the council the practice had stopped and budget deliberations were done in public. I still suspect that some side deals were made in the hall or by phone but I don't know that. I did not serve on the Budget and Finance Committee so was not a party the private negotiations.

Over the years, legislative bodies have been exposed making decisions in private and one would think most legislators would have gotten the message. It looks like the school board has not. The school board had a retreat planned for April 13 and 14 and the agenda sent to board members said the board planned to discuss the ongoing budget controversy. The meeting was not advertised and was at a location other than the normal location of school board meetings. News Channel Five learned of the planned meeting, reported on it and the meeting was canceled.

It looks like the board then tried to play games by rescheduling the meeting, again without proper notice. It clearly appears that the school board was trying to violate Tennessee's Open Meetings Act. I know that it is easier and less embarrassing to make deals in private. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. People can talk candidly when the press is not in the room and the cameras are not rolling. However, that is not an excuse for violating the law. In fact, the point of the law is that public business be conducted in public. Politics is bad enough when done in pubic; when conducted in secret it is dirtier. Sunshine is a good disinfectant.

Channel Five documents and explains what happened. To learn more follow this link. I commend Channel Five for exposing this attempt to violate the Sunshine law.

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Erica Gilmore switches sides, now opposes the transit plan.

by Rod Williams - Erica Gilmore, an at-large member of the Metro Council and candidate for mayor, who voted in the Council in favor of the $9billlion transit plan has switched sides and says she no longer supports the plan. She made the announcement on Monday April 9th, two days before early voting begins April 11. Brenda Gilmore had not only voted for the plan in the Metro Council, she sponsored the legislation that put the question on the May 1 ballot and had advocated for the plan's passage. She was the proponent of the plan in a WKRN News 2 debate that aired in February. As early as two weeks ago she was still advocating for the plan.

Erica Gilmore
Erica Gilmore is African-American and high profile. Her opposition could be a major blow to the transportation plan.  The Black vote is crucial to passage of the plan.  The election is May 1 and that is the Democrat primary, which in Davidson County is tantamount to the election. Courthouse officials, such as County Court Clerk, Juvenile Court Clerk, Sheriff  and some judges will be nominated in the Democrat primary to run in the August general election.  Since Republicans will not be fielding candidates, those who win the Democrat primary on May 1, will run unopposed in August. Traditionally, in the Democrat primary and off-elections in general in Nashville, Blacks turn out is higher than white turn out.

There has arisen serious opposition to the $9 billion transit plan in the Black community. Some  of the opposition is the same as in the larger community, that it is too costly and ignores modern technological changes that is changing the face of transportation. Of concern to many in the Black community is that a fixed rail system on major thoroughfares will not benefit them.  They see a greater need for a better bus system. There is also a concern that the transit plan will further the process of gentrification.

In the race for mayor, David Briley who was elevated to the office of mayor when Mayor Megan Barry plead guilty to a felony and resigned, is running for election to the office of mayor for a one year term to complete the unexpired term of Mayor Barry.  Ten other people are also seeking the office. Many will feel that Briley should be retained in the office for the remainder of Barry's term just so we do not have four different mayors in the span of a little over a year. With eleven candidates for mayor, I do not think Briley can win without a runoff. The way I see it, the person most likely to make the runoff is Erica Gilmore. While she is not my choice to oppose Briley, I think she is most likely to be the Briley alternative.

David Briley is an enthusiastic supporter of  the proposed transit plan. Weather Erica Gilmore has had her mind changed as the debate has brought new facts to light or if it is a calculated move to benefit her in her race against Briley, I don't know. Either way, it is welcome.

At yesterday's press conference Gilmore said the city's current plan is "unworkable." She also  said the plan before voters "distracts from the things that are most important," such as education funding, affordable-housing shortage and the city's increasing cost of living.

“I can no longer support this particular plan,"  she said. "As hopeful as I had been in the past to make this plan work, I recognize that it is too imperfect. I have concluded that salvaging this plan is currently unworkable. I was definitely trying to make this plan work. But as I talk to more and more citizens, they are not in favor of this plan."

For news coverage of this development see this link, this, and this. 

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55th Annual State of Metro Address May 4th.

Press release, April 13, 2018- The Mayor’s Office has filed a resolution with the Metro Council to hold the 55th Annual State of Metro Address in the Grand Reading Room of the Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St., on Friday, May 4, at 10:00 a.m. 

“State of Metro is about laying out priorities and plans for the future. I look forward to discussing my proposed budget and exciting updates on the work of Metro Government on May 4,” said Mayor Briley. “Everyone is invited to attend, and I hope you will join me, the Metro Council, and other Metro officials for this event.”

Members of the public are encouraged to attend. For counting purposes only, attendees can RSVP at 55som.eventbrite.com. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Anyone requesting accommodations due to disabilities should contact Jerry Hall, ADA Coordinator, at 615-862-8960 or Jerry.Hall@nashville.gov.

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Nashville Mayor's Election May 24th: Early Voting May 4-May 19th.

Nashville mayoral election will be Wednesday May 24th. Early voting will run May 4 through May 19 and the runoff election, if required, will be June 28.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Councilman Robert Swope introduces alternative transit plan: "Intelligent Transit for the It City Nashville."

Councilman unveils alternative plan for mass transit in Nashville 

Nashville Business Journal - Autonomous vehicles and double-decker highways: Those are the lynchpins of Metro Councilman Robert Swope's vision for mass transit in Nashville, which he unveiled Tuesday.

Dubbed "Intelligent Transit for the It City Nashville," Swope's plan — which was formed in coordination with Memphis-based The Digit Group — suggests implementing new technology to help alleviate the region's growing mobility problems. (read more)


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Tennessee Supreme Court moves up Nashville mayoral special election to May

Tennessee Supreme Court moves up Nashville mayoral special election to May

USA Today Network - Tennessee - ... In an unanimous 5-0 opinion written by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, the court agreed with the plaintiff, Ludye Wallace, on the central issue of the case — that there's a distinction between a "general election" and a "metropolitan general election."  It came one day after oral arguments on the case.

"The next 'general metropolitan election' is the August 2019 election," the opinion reads. "Because the date of that election is more than twelve months from the date of the mayoral vacancy, (the Metro Charter) requires that a special election be set."

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Is a Democratic “Blue Wave” set to sweep the Tennessee legislature?

by Rod Williams - Is a Democratic “Blue Wave” set to sweep the Tennessee legislature? The website Washington Press says so. They point out that in recent years Tennessee Democrats didn’t even bother mounting a challenge  in nearly half of the races for open seats. This year however Tennessee Democrats are running candidates in 112 out of the state’s 117 legislative districts. 

Following the April 5th filling deadline, Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini released the following statement:

We’re proud, motivated, and excited to have the largest class of Tennessee Democrats stepping up to run for office in recent memory. Tennesseans want a government that works for them, and with current leadership, that’s just not happening. These Democratic candidates are running to put our values into action. They want to stop more rural hospitals from closing, so parents are able to take their child to the hospital if they break an arm. They want everyone to be able to receive an education that fits their vision for the future; they want everyone to be able to find a good-paying job and retire in dignity and security. Now more than ever, we look forward to electing more Democrats who will work to make our state a place where all Tennesseans have the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families.

Not only are Democrats sounding confident, Republicans sound scared. Here is an excerpt from a recent Marsha Blackburn solicitation:
Rod,
A new poll has been released and it's not good news.
According to a survey of 600 registered voters, Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee is leading Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn by double digits in the race to replace Sen. Bob Corker, who is quitting the Senate later this year.
The poll found that 45% of voters surveyed favored Bredesen, while 35% said they would back Blackburn. Another 17% are undecided.
Even if you don't live in Tennessee, the outcome of this Senate race will impact you.
Arguably, this Senate race is the most critical in the nation.
Democrats are focusing their resources on this race because they know... this seat will determine whether or not they take back the Senate.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn has always been one of the strongest voices in support of President Trump.  She's a rock-solid conservative who supports the President AND knows how to get things done in Washington.
She'll make a great Senator, but she needs our help in a BIG WAY to win.
For the record, I have contributed to the Blackburn campaign and will be voting for her. I am not sure however, that my modest contribution will turn the tide. I don't think this race is about who has the biggest war chest or spends the most money.

Tennessee is not the only Republican state that may flip to the Democrat column this year. Democrats have been winning races they shouldn't. Alabama, in my view, was not a bellewether of the coming wave. Moore was a seriously flawed candidate but there are other races Republicans should have won, but lost, In Ohio and Wisconsin Republicans lost seats they should have won. That does not bode well.

When Donald Trump won the presidency I was shocked. I believed the polls.  Of course the polls were right in that Hillary did win the popular vote. Pundits and pollsters however not only predicted Clinton would win the popular vote but that she would be elected president. Could the polls be wrong again? It is possible but unlikely. The polls not only show a Democrat edge but a wave of between 7 and 15 point advantage for the Democrats. Of course, a lot could happen between now and November. Unfortunately, I do not expect things that could happen to actually improve Republican chances. I doubt Trump is going to stop tweeting and doing dumb stuff. I don't think Trump will change his temperament and character between now and then.

Also, between now and then there is the potential for more bad news. The Mueller investigation may drip more incriminating evidence or even reach a conclusion of wrong doing. Stormy Daniels will be in the news for more months.  By November we may be feeling the effects of the looming trade war with China and the economy may be worse than it is today. Tensions with Korea could be even worse. The DACA issue may not be resolved and stories of Americanized Mexican youth living in fear or being deported may be a regular news item. Also, I predict that either Kelly, Sessions, Kudlow, or John Bolton will be gone. It looks like Trump is prepared to pull out of Syria and hand it over to Russia and Iran. I am sure that is not Bolton's advice. I will be surprised if Bolton makes it six months. Trump's inability to settle on a cabinet may please some of his base who for some reason seem to like chaos but I think most of the public would like to see some stability and boring presidential normalcy. 

Mid-term elections are often a referendum on the president and Trump is just not popular. Trump's current approval rating is a dismal 39%. Since the public can't vote against the president in November, they will vote against Republicans. With the economy booming and unemployment at almost record lows Trump's poll numbers should be positive. Usually, "it's the economy stupid," but not this year. Except for the die-hard base, people do just not like Trump.  Continued economic growth may make Americans feel more confident and content by November, but I doubt it. Unemployment at 4% can't get much lower and if Trump gets his trade war, we may see those unemployment numbers going the other direction.

If the Blue wave is as big as expected, Democrats may not only take the House, but possibly the Senate. Unfortunately, a wave election may be felt all the way down to the level of governorships, state houses, and in city council and school board races across America.

I don't want it to happen. I am financially contributing to Republican candidates and I am, of course, going to vote Republican. However, in a certain sense, I feel we need to lose. By electing Donald Trump we abandoned conservatism and elected a showboating, unprincipled, crude, intemperate, populist. And, Republican can't govern. After talking about repealing Obamacare for years, Republicans couldn't do it. Under the Obama  administration the national debt rose from $10 trillion to $19 trillion. Republicans condemned reckless spending and raged. Now, after a little over a year of Trump the debt has hit $21 trillion and even without a trade war it is estimated to grow by $2.1 trillion a year. That is not good news. That is not sustainable. There will be a day of reckoning. I don't think Democrats would do much worse.

I do not think everything Trump has done is wrong. I am pleased with the Gorsuch pick and other judicial appointments. I am delighted at the massive cuts to regulation and I am pleased with the tax cuts. I am pleased that Trump is finally standing up to Korea although Trump's recklessness in calling the leader of North Korea "little rocket man," and bragging about who has the biggest nuclear button concern me.

If Republicans do lose in November, life will go on. For Republicans there will be a period of soul searching and recrimination and reorganizing. If Republican loses are big in November, I do not expect Trump to win renomination without a serious primary challenge in 2020. I actually think Trump will be a one-term president, but what do I know; I didn't think he would win in 2016.

I still think Republicans should be the party of conservatism. I think America would again vote for a Ronald Reagan.  We do have challenges, of course. Many young people have a favorable view of socialism and American demographics have changed. However, many people after the Nixon scandal and the left wing radicalism of the late 60's thought society and culture and politics had changed forever, yet a few short years later we had the Reagan revolution.  Following the blue wave of 2018, if it happens, Republicans need to return to Republican conservative values.

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Councilman Robert Swope to unveil alternative transit plan

Robert Swope
Metro Councilman Robert Swope plans to unveil his own transit plan on April 10 as an alternative to the proposed $9 billion mass-transit plan which will be on the ballot as a referendum question on May 1.  Early voting for the May 1 elections starts April 11.

Swope told The Tennessean, his plan was “intelligent transit for the ‘It City.’”  He did not reveal any  specifics about his plan but said, "China, Dubai, New Zealand and a lot of other countries are scheduling implementation of a number of these transit options right now. So if we look at technology to assist and aiding the transit problems in this city, this isn't something that we have to 'wait five years for technology to get there.' It exists today." "Every single part of this, we're doing somewhere in the world right now," he said of his transit plan. 

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Councilman John Cooper: Transit plan is not a flexible plan

From No Tax 4 Tracks: We pay a lot of attention to what Metro Council member at large

John Cooper
John Cooper says.

He’s thoughtful.  He does his homework.  And he’s committed to a better Nashville.

So, when we saw his comments on Facebook about the $9-billion light rail plan, we took notice.

Mayor Briley and pro-transit people consistently say the plan is flexible, it can adapt.

Cooper doesn’t see it that way.

“By state law, there are 250 words that are going to be on the ballot that describe this transit. And this is a proxy. The 250 words are a proxy for the 55-page document which is available online, which I do encourage people to read. And that document is very important. It’s very detailed, and it really has an effective…force…of law. And so, the four bus rapid transit lines and the five railroad lines, and the tunnel is all in this document. And for that document to be changed, it has to be declared impossible, financially unfeasible, then the council has to say that it was unfeasible and then there has to be another referendum. So, it’s not that flexible of a plan.”

Charlotte, North Carolina.  Lots of talk about their system.  So, Cooper went.

“I went to City Hall and showed myself around and learned what I could, and they were very nice. And every single person there said, “What are you telling people in Nashville about transit”? And I said, well, congestion. That’s a big problem in Nashville. And to a person, everyone in Charlotte said, “You cannot say that. Congestion will get worse with transit.” And then I said, “Well why’d you do it in Charlotte?” and they said, “Development, development.”

“Fundamentally, this transit bill is about adding a large number of people to downtown Nashville — on the order of 200,000 people to downtown Nashville. If your transit-oriented development districts run at the density they feel it needs to be run at — in Charlotte that’s 22 people an acre — we have over 9,000 acres that’s going to a transit-oriented development district, that is relocating a city the size of Chattanooga or Orlando, Florida to downtown Nashville. So, ultimately this plan probably does not address congestion at all; it probably creates congestion.”

Congestion. I-65, 24, 40 and 440 and this plan.  Cooper says:

“They’re two entirely separate systems. One will serve downtown Nashville, and the other will not — there’s no way that you can pull off the interstate and use the transit. Now the internal downtown Nashville transit system will serve the people, but those are people who are not yet here. They are not yet here. So, the federal projections for population growth in Davidson County between now and 2032 is only, we will go from 685,000 to 740,000 — that’s more people for sure. But most of those people are already moving into downtown Nashville and really don’t need a regional transit system. Where the great growth is coming from are in all the surrounding counties — the Sumner, the Wilson, the Rutherford, and Williamson; and fundamentally they don’t link into this transit system. Now they may one day, but it is like that baseball movie “Field of Dreams” — build it and they will come. You’re taking this speculative idea of development in the future.”

It’s not that flexible of a plan.

...this plan probably does not address congestion at all; it probably creates congestion.

It is like that baseball movie “Field of Dreams” — build it and they will come. You’re taking this speculative idea of development in the future.

We think Cooper makes a lot of sense.

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Vote Against the Transit Plan on May 1

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Twenty candidates want to be mayor

Twenty people have turned in qualifying petitions to run for mayor of Nashville. The deadline for submitting petitions was today. The Election Commission must verify petitions before releasing a list of the candidates. Those submitting petitions include Mayor David Briley, former conservative talk show host Ralph Bristol; former Vanderbilt University professor, author, and news commentator Carol Swain; real estate developer and former councilman Roy Dale, Nashville NAACP President and former Metro councilman Ludye Wallace; Nashville Metro Council Member At-Large Erica Gilmore; and a bunch of others that I do not know who they are. 

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What happened at the 4/3/18 Council meeting: Sidewalk bill deferred, lot of $ spend, not much else.





At just a little over an hour long this is a relatively short meeting especially considering it is a meeting with public hearings on zoning matters. There are no long speeches or contentious items on the agenda. To access the agenda, the staff agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link. Below are the items of interest.

Bills on Public Hearing:

Bill BL2017-1029 by Councilman  Steve Glover which would change the laws regarding "contributions" paid in lieu of the construction of sidewalks is deferred indefinitely. Also,
Bill BL2018-1130 by Councilman Glover which would  require an annual study of sidewalk costs is deferred indefinitely. The Councilman says there is more work to do on the bills.  Both of these are good bills and I hope they do come back, especially 1130. It should be criminal the amount of money wasted on sidewalk construction. Back in October, The Tennessean investigated Metro's sidewalk program and found that city allocated $30 million a year for each of the last two years for sidewalks and the city build only 3.5 miles of new sidewalks.
Resolutions of interest:

Resolution RS2018-1123  appropriates $19.759 million from the 4% fund to various departments. This is normal and is for purchasing of things that ware out or for unexpected repairs. $1.5 million is for library material, $1.5 is for maintenance material and supplies for the parks department and .5 million for Metro General Hospital. Due to our fund balance falling below an acceptable level, I would think it wise to defer some of these expenses, such as purchasing new books for the library, until the new fiscal year. Five hundred thousand dollars to fund the relocation of a salt bin is taken out, which is wise since we won't need to salt the roads in the summer. Unfortunately nothing else is deferred and the bill passes by a voice vote with no audible "no" votes.

Resolution RS2018-1124 is a supplemental appropriation of $2,516,400, largest amount going to the Sheriff's Department for salaries. This supplemental appropriation reduces to  3.18% for the GSD General Fund and 3.93% for the USD General Fund.  According to a policy approved by the Council in 1989 and by Office of Management and Budget in 2005, the minimum fund balance percentage should be no lower than 5% of the total operating budget. This is an indication of Metro's mismanagement. This passes on the consent agenda. That means it is lumped in with most other resolutions all of which are passed by a single vote of the Council.  

Resolution RS2018-1125 awards three economic development incentive grant agreements from money already appropriated for that purpose. The grants are $50,000- Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum (Rolling Stones exhibit), $325,000- The Country Music Film Project (Ken Burns documentary), and $625,000- Music City Productions ("Nashville"). This also passes on "consent." 
Bills on Second Reading.
Bill BL2018-1111 would put under the purview of the Board of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Conduct those who violate executive orders regarding rules of conduct. Currently this board only has authority to act on those who violate a section of the Metro code concerning standards of conduct. Concern is expressed that this would put too heavy of a burden on employees to defend themselves against complaints filed with the board. At last council meeting it was discussed and then deferred one meeting. To understand the arguments on both sides of this issue you may want to watch the video of the March 20th meeting at timestamp 1:29:18-1:51:15It is again deferred one meeting.


Bill BL2018-1140  will create a South Nashville Central Business Improvement District. A district such as this creates a governing body which may impose additional taxes on businesses within the district for project within the district.  Such project may include building parking facilities, promoting the district, beautification and improvement projects in the district and more. The initial additional tax levy will be 55 cents per $100 of assessed value of real property and estimated initial projects will cost approximately $10.948 million. This district would consist of approximately 266 acres, whose boundaries are approximately Cane Ridge Road to the West, I-24 to the East, Target Drive to the North, and Old Franklin Road to the South. There are other such districts like this, including the central business district. This passes on a voice vote with no discussion.

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