Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Nashville councilwoman calls for inquiry into expenses after Mayor Megan Barry admits affair

by Nate Rau and Dave Boucher, The Tennessean - The chairwoman of the Metro budget and finance committee is inquiring what powers she has to investigate the travel expenses and overtime incurred when Mayor Megan Barry took trips with the head of her security detail, with whom she had an affair. ... A Tennessean analysis shows Forrest earned more than $4,121 in overtime working on trips where he provided security for Barry. Forrest earned an additional $3,278 in overtime working on trips attended by himself, Barry and other members of the mayor’s office. (link)

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Mayor Barry's press conference about her sexual affair with an employee

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Having an affair on the tax-payers dime (update: documenting the expense)

Forrest, 58, was a regular presence with the mayor during public events, travel and even trips abroad. According to public records obtained by The Tennessean, thousands of taxpayer dollars covered Forrest's travel with the mayor on city business. (link)

 From WKRN.com
The mayor’s office also released several documents along with her statement, including texts with security detail, travel expenses, her travel schedule as well as Sgt. Forrest’s schedule, and her calendar from January 2017 until present. Below are links to each document:

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Mayor Barry should resign!

Should Mayor Barry resign? Mayor Megan Barry has admitted to having an affair with the police officer in charge of her security detail. In today's climate of "me-too," if the genders were reversed it would be considered sexual harassment. It wouldn't matter if no pressure was exerted to coerce the other person to enter into the affair, the power imbalance alone would be sufficient to make the more powerful person guilty of sexual harassment. What is fair for the goose is fair for the gander.  Mayor Barry should resign!

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry admits to extramarital relationship with top police security officer

 by Joey Garrison,Nate Rau and Dave Boucher, The Tennessean - Mayor Megan Barry said Wednesday she had an extramarital affair with the police officer in charge of her security detail, an extraordinary admission that rocks the popular Nashville mayor's first term.

Barry, in an interview with The Tennessean on Wednesday afternoon, apologized "for the harm I've done to the people I love and the people who counted on me."

She confirmed the affair with Metro police Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr. since the spring or summer of 2016, just months after she entered office the previous fall. Forrest submitted his retirement papers Jan. 17. His final day was Wednesday. (link)

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Mayor Barry caught in extramarital affair

I have heard unconfirmed rumors since this morning.  I have not had confirmation prior but the news is just now breaking that Mayor Barry has been having an affair with someone who is an employee of Metro government. The rumors also say her affair involved misuse of public funds. More to follow.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

(update) Mae Beavers drops out of the governor's race

Below is Mae Beavers Facebook announcement:


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Haslam: Tennessee Will Lead the Nation in Jobs, Education and Government Efficiency

NASHVILLE, Press release – In his final State of the State address to the General Assembly, Gov. Bill Haslam this evening challenged all Tennesseans to lead the nation in creating high-quality jobs, improving the education of our students, and providing the most efficient and effective state government services.

“Seven years ago we raised our expectations. We became the kind of leaders who didn’t just talk about cutting taxes and enhancing services, we actually did lower taxes while growing our economy and providing access to high quality education. We cannot lose the momentum we have worked so hard to build,” Haslam said.

Haslam reflected on the past seven years, working with the General Assembly to create a strong commitment to jobs, education and conservative fiscal policy that has resulted in significant accomplishments:
  • Lowest unemployment rates in the state’s history and a job growth rate greater than 17 percent, with nearly 400,000 net new private sector jobs created;
  • The fastest-improving students in the nation, across math, reading and science, and the highest high school graduation rates the state has ever seen;
  • With the proposed Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget, nearly $1.5 billion invested into K-12 education, with $500 million going to teacher salaries;
  • More than $500 million in tax cuts to Tennesseans, including a 30 percent cut on groceries;
  • A cut in year-to-year spending by more than a half billion dollars; and
  • Tripling the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
All Tennesseans have access to college free of tuition and mandatory fees through Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, the landmark programs Haslam launched in 2014 and 2017, respectively. To help ensure those students complete college and enter the workforce with degrees or certificates, Haslam this evening announced the Complete to Compete initiative, which includes the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2018, restructuring financial aid requirements for Promise and HOPE scholarships to keep students on track for on-time completion, and requiring community colleges to implement structured, ready-made schedules for all incoming full-time students based on their academic program.

Haslam also announced plans to bring needed reforms to Tennessee’s juvenile justice system that will strengthen families and communities while promoting public safety and ensuring a responsible and effective use of limited resources. The governor’s legislation follows recommendations from a task force on juvenile justice led by House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

Last week, Haslam announced TN Together, a comprehensive plan to end the opioid crisis that focuses on prevention, treatment and law enforcement. The governor’s FY 2018-19 budget includes nearly $15 million in new state funds ($30 million total) for TN Together.
The governor’s proposed $37.5 billion budget continues his focus on jobs, education, and efficient and effective government.

Notable budget highlights investments include:
  • More than $200 million in new state funding for K-12 education, including additional funds for teacher compensation;
  • Nearly $100 million for higher education initiatives;
  • $128 million for job growth investments, including programs that target rural communities; and
  • Increases to bring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $850 million.
The governor’s budget proposal reduces state spending overall by more than $200 million, continuing Haslam’s focus on efficient and effective government. Over Haslam’s tenure, annual state budget growth is only 2 percent, by far the lowest growth rate of any administration over the past 40 years.

The governor’s address and budget documents are available at tn.gov/governor.  

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Diane Black Statement on Mae Beavers Withdrawing from Governor’s Race

Gallatin, TN , Press release – Today, Diane Black released the following statement after Mae Beavers announced that she was withdrawing from the Governor’s race:

While Mae and I don’t always agree on tactics, we have always agreed on philosophy, and I’ve always known her to be a dedicated conservative who fights for what she believes in. From our time in the state legislature fighting to protect the unborn and to stop a state income tax, we know the conservative movement is stronger when we are fighting for the same cause together. I wish Mae the best and hope that she will continue to be active in the fight in Tennessee.

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1st Tuesday host "No Tax 4 Tracks" Wednesday January 31st.

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends 

I hope you know 1ST TUESDAY will have a ''1st-Time-Ever'' .... follow up meeting to our JAN 8th event when Ralph Schulz, from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce came to advocate Mayor Barry's MASS TRANSIT plan. 

On Wednesday, JAN 31st, those group leading the opposition to Mayor Barry's plan... ''NO TAX 4 TRACKS'' will be our special guest speaker(s).
No Tax 4 Tracks spokesmen
TODAY -- the ''NO TAX 4 TRACKS'' group sent to the following notice regarding tonight's Metro Council meeting where there will be a move to adjust the language heading for the MAY 1ST ballot. 

Please take a moment to read... respond ... and share as you are inclined.  IF ...your schedule allows, make plans to visit up for the JAN 31st version of 1ST TUESDAY when NO TAX 4 TRACKS will make their case. Pass the word. To secure your seats for lunch, visit at our website  www.1sttuesdaynashville.com and click on '' Join Us'' 
[ GUESTS.... please use the ''DUES'' icon to secure seats ... should our $25 ''GUEST'' icon give you any trouble] 

Hope to see you on JAN 31 at WALLER LAW 
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY 

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Comic relief break: the new game show for liberals.


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Do not expect Federal $ for Mayor Barry's mass transit plan

President Trump has revealed some of what is in his $1 Trillion infrastructure plan and it does not look good for cities like Nashville that are expecting big bucks from the federal government to fund new mass transit systems.  According to Politico, "Instead of the grand, New Deal-style public works program that Trump's eye-popping price tag implies, Democratic lawmakers and mayors fear the plan would set up a vicious, zero-sum scramble for a relatively meager amount of federal cash — while forcing cities and states to scrounge up more of their own money, bringing a surge of privately financed toll roads, and shredding regulations in the name of building projects faster."

The federal share of the new infrastructure plan is only about $200 billion and that is expected to entice the private sector and state and local governments to invest. Also, Trump's budget proposals have called for cutting existing infrastructure programs at the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Mayor Barry's mass transit plan assumes $1.5 billion will come from the federal government. That seems highly unlikely. How will the city make up that gap in funding?

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Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club meets Sat. Feb. 3rd.

From Betty Hood:

Dear BRBC Friends,

The breakfast club will meet Saturday, February 3 at 8 am at the Chili's Restaurant on Hwy 70.  Our guest speakers will be Brent Moody, candidate for Speaker Harwell's seat.  As a bonus, Jim Plasko will give us a perspective on our new tax laws.  Hope you can be with us in our new home for this informative meeting.

Betty

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

How members of the Council voted on the mayor's tax for tracks plan

On Tuesday night January 23rd the Council met and passed on Second Reading Bill BL2017-1031 adopting Mayor Barry's transit improvement program and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018 to approve the tax increases to support the program.  As expected the bill passed overwhelmingly.

The bill was amended to modify the wording of the referendum. The new language made the plan more attractive by distorting the facts. It required that the language of the referendum not say that the vote on the referendum is a vote increasing the sales tax to 10.25% but instead to say the vote is a vote to increase the local option sales tax to 3.25%.

Councilman Cooper proposed an amendment that would require that the public referendum language state that the project would cost $8.952 billion which is the cost of the project over 15 years. The referendum was to state that the project is a $5 billion project. The  $8.952 billion figure is a figure stated in the project plan and is the estimated cost of the plan over the 15-year construction period. The $5 billion dollar figure is only some of the cost expressed in current dollars.

His amendment would have also revealed the amount of the total sales tax if the referendum is approved instead of just the local share of the total which is 3.25%. His amendment would have had the referendum state the local option would increase to 3.2% for a total sales tax rate of 10.25%. Cooper's amendment was tabled by a vote of 21 in favor of tabling, 14 against, one abstention and three not voting.

A "yes" vote was a vote to kill Cooper's amendment.  A yes vote was a vote to not reveal the true cost or reveal the total new sales tax rate the public would be voting on. A vote for honesty and transparency was a "no" vote. Here is how the Council voted on the motion to table Cooper's amendment:

The vote on the amendment
Voting "Yes," to table Cooper's amendment.
Scott Davis, District 5                         Bret Withers, District  6           Anthony Davis, District 7
Nancy VanReece, District 8                Bill Pridemore, District 9        Doug Pardue, District 10    
Keven Rhoten, District 14                  Jeff Syracuse, District 15         Mike Freeman, District 16
Colby Sledge, District 17                   Burkeley Allen, District 18      Freddie O'Connell, District 19
Sheri Weiner, District  22                   Mina Johnson, District  23       Kathleen Murphy, District 24
Russ Pulley, District 25                     Jeremy Elrod, District 26          Davette Blalock, District 27   Jason Potts, District  30                     Fabian Bedne, District 31         Jacobia Dowell, District 32
                                                                                          
Voting "No," not to table Cooper's amendment
John Cooper, At-large                   Erica Gilmore, At-large                Bob Mendes, At-large
Sharon Hurt, A-large                    Jim Shulman, At-large                   DeCosta Hastings, District 2
Robert Swope, District 4              Larry Hagar, District 11                 Steve Glover, District  12
Ed Kindall, District 21                 Tanaka Vercher, District 28            Karen Johnson, District  29 Antionette Lee, District  22          Angie Henderson, District 34                  
                            
Voting to Abstain:  Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Not voting: 
Brenda Haywood, District 3      Holly Huezo, District 13               Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20

The vote on the Bill
Following the vote on the above amendment, action was taken on the bill.  A "yes" vote was a vote to approve the bill which means approving the mayor's transit plan and putting the issues on a public referendum and a "no" vote was a no vote. Here is how they voted:

Voting Yes on the Bill
Bob Mendes, At-large               Jim Shulman, At-large                     DeCosta Hastings, District 2 Brenda Haywood, District 3      Scott Davis, District 5                     Bret Withers, District 6
Anthony Davis, District 7         Nancy VanReece, District 8             Bill Pridemore, District 9
Doug Pardue, District 10           Larry Hagar, District 11                  Kevin Rhoten, District 14 Jeff Syracuse, District 15                 Mike Freeman, District 16              Colby Sledge, District 17
Burkley Allen, District 18        Freddie O'Connell, District 19         Sheri Weiner, District 22
Mina Johnson, District 23        Kathleen Murphy, District 24          Russ Pulley, District 25
Jeremy Elrod, District 26         Davette Blalock, District 27            Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District 29      Jason Potts, District 30                     Fabian Bedne, District 31
Jacobia Dowell, District 32     Antionette Lee, District 33               Dave Rosenberg District 35

Voting NO on the Bill
John Cooper, at-large              Sharon Hurt, at-large                        Robert Swope, District 4
Steve Glover, District 12         Ed Kindall, District 21                     Angie Henderson, District 34

The minutes of the meeting do not list those who abstained or were not voting.  Why, I do not know. Those unaccounted for in the above tally are Holly Huezo, District 13 and Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20 both of whom were absent.  District one is a vacant seat.

If you are unsure who your council member is, you can go to this page and use the look-up tool to find out. 

One observation about the result of this vote is that just because one is a Republican, you cannot always assume they will cast a vote that you agree with. I am disappointed in the vote cast by Davette Blalock and Sheri Weiner, both of whom identify as Republicans. Davette Blalock ran for a state legislative seat as a Republican.

Another observation is that African-American members of the Council, probably reflecting the views of their constituents, are not  sold on this project. In the final vote on the bill, two of the six "no" votes were Black council members and on the Cooper amendment of the 14 "no" votes six of them were by Black members of the Council and two of those six were the two at-large Black council members.  Blacks may realize that light rail will come at the expense of improved bus service and Black Nashvillians ride the bus at a greater rate than the average Nashvillian.  If mass transit ridership continues to decline, to cut operating cost bus service will be cut, not the fixed light rail service. Also, light rail will probably result in the spread of gentrification along the light rail route.

In addition to the merits of the issue, Black members of the community may be feeling that the mayor has betrayed them. She proposed closing General Hospital and she failed to support the effort to establish a civilian police oversight board, both issues the Black community care about. Opponents of the mayor's light rail proposal should take the message to the Black community and should court Black leaders.

While the vote last Tuesday when this bill was on second reading was almost a foregone conclusion, passage on third reading is less assured. I think the odds favor it passing but it is by no means a certainty.  On third reading this bill will require a two-thirds vote of the members of the body.  District one is an empty seat and if we assume again two members will be absent, then only four votes have to switch. And, they do not have two switch from "yes" to "no." All they have to do is abstain or sit on their hands or go to the bathroom. On third reading, an abstention or simply not voting is as good as a "no" vote. There were several of the 14 who voted against tabling the Cooper amendment who ended up voting for the bill.  They at least have reservation or disapprove of the way the referendum is worded to deceive.  There may be four votes that will switch from "yes" to some other status.

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Mayor Barry ask $13.2 M more for General Hospital. Other programs must be cut to pay for it.

After proposing in November to do the fiscally responsible thing and close General Hospital and convert the facility into a out-patient clinic, Mayor Barry buckled to political pressure and reversed herself. She said she would keep its status unchanged for the remainder of this year and come up with a recommendation for the future of the hospital at the end of the year. 

Now, Mayor Barry is proposing an additional emergency appropriation of $13.2 million dollars for the facility.  This is not unexpected.  General asked for $19.7 million. The facility constantly needs an infusion of cash to operate.  If General does not get the money it cannot meet payroll.

General Hospital has long been a money pit. In the last two years the Hospital has received $26 million in emergency funding in addition to a $35 million annual subsidy from the Metro Council.  As reported in The Tennessean recently, a recent audit found that the hospital, "failed at basic bookkeeping, unable to keep track of patient payments and major expenses."

While poor management is obviously a problem, the real problem with Nashville General is that  no one wants to go there.  Metro jail inmates without insurance needing hospitalization have no choice and are sent to General and there is a financial incentive for Metro employees to use General but it still cannot fill its beds. The facility is  licensed for 150 beds, staffed for 114 and has an average of 44 beds filled a day. Metro General should have been closed fifty years ago.  Ever since the advent of Medicaid there has been no need for a city charity hospital and the reason it has been kept open is purely political. There is no federal or state law or metro charter provision requiring the city to operate a charity hospital.

Unlike past emergency appropriations to prop up General, this time the additional funding will hurt. Not much, but anytime a politician takes money away from a program it hurts.  In speaking of cuts, we are not speaking of a cut the way Washington speaks of a cut.  We are not simply talking about a reduction in the rate of growth but real cuts.

The reason other programs must be cut to fund General is because the city's saving account is running low; we are running out of money.  The city needs to maintain an amount equal to 5% of the budget in a reserve fund. That is simply sound financial management in case the city should face an emergency or in case revenue comes in at a rate less than expected.  Not only is keeping 5% in reserve a wise policy but if we do not, it will effect our bond rating and every dollar the city borrows will cost more. In the past when General needed more money we simply dipped into the reserve fund. This time, the city can dip into reserves for most of the money but must find $2.4 million elsewhere.

The city can find the $2.4 elsewhere without the public feeling the cut. No libraries or parks will close or police or fire protection will not be touched. Cuts will come from various incentive programs and other services and will hardly be noticed. Among the cuts will be $1.55 from the Housing Incentive Pilot Program and $350,000 from the storm water contingency fund and various other modest cuts.  So, we are cutting those programs no one cares about, such as affordable housing and flood control.

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(Update) What happened at the 1/ 23/18 council meeting: Tax for Tracks advances, Airbnb partial phase out, trampling property rights deferred again, Police Oversight Board bill killed..




by Rod Williams - This past council meeting had several very important issues on the agenda and I will summarize those first. If you are going to actually watch the meeting you need an agenda and the council staff analysis. Without a playbook you really will not know what is going on. To access the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

Mayor's tax for tracks mass transit plan approved.
Bill BL2017-1031 on Second Reading is the bill to adopt  the Mayor's transit improvement program and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018 to approve the tax increases to support the program.  As expected this passed overwhelmingly. The outcome of the vote on this was never in doubt. At a three-and-half-hour public hearing on January 9th the proponents vastly outweighed the opponents, supporters have been organizing for months, the proposal has the support of Chamber and other movers and shakers in town and the Council meeting as a special council committee composed of the entire body voted 29 to 1 to recommend it. A group called Transit for Nashville Coalition has gathered over 30,000 signatures in favor of a mass transit program for Nashville but the signatures were supporting mass transit not a specific amount of taxes to support mass transit. While this vote of the Council was never in doubt I would not bet on it passing the public referendum.  Experienced political opposition to the plan has now emerged and opponents are only now getting organized. I think when the public learns more about the plan and has to vote on it they will reject it.

The bill is amended to modify the language of the referendum. The new language will makes the plan more attractive by distorting the facts.It is amended to require that the language of the referendum not say that the vote is a vote  increasing the sales tax to 10.25% but instead to say the vote is a vote to increase the local option sales tax to 3.25%. While that is technically correct it is deceptive. The vote will be increasing only the local option, not the state sales tax. However, when the public votes on this, if they they vote for the referendum, they will be voting to raise the total sales tax to 10.25%,  making Nashville's sales tax the highest in the nation. I bet most people could not tell you which portion of the sales tax is state and which is local. The deceptive language was approved by a voice vote with some audible "no's."

Councilman Cooper proposed an amendment that would require that the public referendum language state that the project would cost $8.952 billion which is the cost of the project over 15 years. The referendum was to state that the project is a $5 billion project. The  $8.952 billion figure is a figure stated in the project plan and is the estimated cost of the plan over the 15-year construction period. The $5 billion dollar figure is some of the cost expressed in current dollars.  Cooper's amendment failed and the language of the referendum will use the deceptive lower figure of $5 billion.

His amendment would have also revealed the amount of the total sales tax if the referendum is approved instead of just the local share of the total which is 3.25%. His amendment would have had the referendum state the local option would increase to 3.2% for a total sales tax rate of 10.25%. Cooper's amendment was tabled by a vote of 21 in favor of tabling, 14 against, one abstention and three not voting. The bill is then voted on and passes by a vote of 30 to 5. Check back and I will post how members of the Council voted on this amendment and how they voted on the final bill.

To better understand the bill see page 6-14 of the staff analysis.  Also for more information see this link and this link.  To view the Council debate see the video at timestamp  43:28 to 1:10:47.


Phase-out of non-owner-occupied Short-term rentals approved.
Bill BL2017-608,  Substitute Bill BL2017-937Bill BL2017-981, and Bill BL2017-982   all on third reading all concern short term rentals. I was surprised by the outcome of Council action on this issue. The worst bill of the bills dealing with this was Bill BL2017-608. It phases out all non-owner-occupied short term rentals in areas with a residential zoning and it is the one that passed. The others failed. Bill 937 and 981 are deferred indefinitely and 982 is withdrawn. Passage of bill 608 may  result in action by the state legislature to preempt the ability of local governments to regulate short term rentals.

Substitute Bill BL2017-937 was the best of the bills, or the least bad bill, and the bill that a subcommittee of the council that had been studying the issue for over a year had produced. It is deferred indefinitely. Councilman Shulman was the sponsor of the bill and chaired the special committee that worked on the issue for over a year. He was treated very badly by some of the opponents of short term rentals. Several council members take to the floor to express the sentiment that he was treated unfairly and to thank him for his hard work on the issue.
 
What was passed means that if you have an accessory dwelling unit on your lot and have it permitted for short term rental, you can keep it. If you own the house next door and rent it for short term rental, you will no longer be able to do so.

An attempt was made to amend 608 to extend the phase out period from three years to eight years and that failed. It was tabled by a vote or 21 to 14 with 2 abstentions. The bill was approved by a vote of 25 to 6 with 7 abstentions. Check back and I will list the results of the roll call vote.
   
To understand what the various bills do and for a greater understanding of the issue, follow this link, this link, and see the staff analysis starting on page 16. To view the video discussion see timestamp 1:13:33.

Police Community Oversight Board bill defeated
Bill BL2017-951  on Second Reading which would establish a Community Oversight Board to conduct investigations and provide citizen oversight of officers of the Police Department is deferred indefinitely at the recommendation of the committee.  That means it cannot be placed back on the agenda by the sponsor. It really is dead.  To bring this issue back up someone would have to bring back a new bill.  The actual vote at this meeting was not a vote on the bill but whether of not to consider the bill. If the sponsor would have prevailed the bill would have been back on the agenda next council meeting. Only the sponsor and the chairman or a person designated by the chairman of the committees recommended deferral were allowed to speak on the bill. The sponsor, Scott Davis, spoke in support of his bill and Vice Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Bill Pridemore who is a retired policeman, spoke against the bill. The vote in favor of putting the bill back on the agenda was five in favor, 25 opposed, and seven abstentions. It is dead.

This proposal resulted from a February 2017 police shooting that occurred when Officer Josh Lippert, who was wearing a police uniform and driving an unmarked car, pulled over Jocques Scott Clemmons for running a stop sign in the Casey Homes area. Police say Clemmons who had a  loaded 357 Magnum gun in his hand refused to drop it when Lippert told him to do so and fled.  Officer Lippert said he believed he was in danger and opened fire and struck Clemmons twice in the lower back . Clemmons later died. Clemmons had a criminal record involving cocaine and at the time was on probation and was not supposed to be in procession of a firearm. The police officer was Caucasian and Clemmons was a Negro.  This became a cause for many Blacks and Black Livers Matter and other Black activist. Officer Lippert was exonerated of wrong doing but is still not back on the streets, awaiting some administrative determination of his future status.

There is a lot of energy and passion around this issue so I don't know if the sponsor or someone else will try with a separate bill or not. Given the lopsided vote against it by the Council, I thing bringing it back would be a futile effort.  To view the Council debate on this bill see time stamp 26:50- 43:22.

Bill Trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing is deferred, again. 
Bill BL2016-219  on Third reading is the bill that tramples a person's property rights, partially takes property without compensation, and kills an affordable housing development. It is deferred until July 2018. This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission which means when it is finally acted upon it will take 28 votes of the Council to pass.  This bill has been in the works for a very long time, having been introduced in April 2016.


   
Unlike most zone changes which allow someone to do something with their property they were previously not allowed to do; this bill is a "down zoning," taking away a right someone now enjoys.  The owner is already vested in the project having designed the development and arranged financing.  I am pleased this was deferred rather than passed but it is unfair to keep this hanging over the head of the owner.  Doing so should be illegal in my view.  While I do not know anything about the project other than what has been reported by other media and what is public record, I would assume that the fact that the down zoning is pending affects financing.  A delay is a also a major cost in a project like this.  

Despite the bill not passing, Councilman Karen Johnson has most likely been successful in stopping the project. Her delaying the project may result in the planned affordable housing never being built since by the time the bill is finally defeated, assuming it is, the market may have changed and affordable housing may no longer be the best use for this property. Instead of the affordable housing, which Karen Johnson opposes, gentrification may have reached Antioch and upscale condo's may be built instead.

For more on this issue, see Contact your Council member. Stop the trampling of property rights and the killing of an affordable housing development.


In Other Council Action
Following the prayer and pledge, the first order of business is two presentations, one is recognition of Wear Red Day which is a campaign to bring attention to heart health.  The presentation is used as an opportunity to educate people about what to do if you have chest pain and to educate people to stop smoking and otherwise live a healthy lifestyle. This presentations takes about six minutes. Following that presentation there is a presentation honoring the Ryman auditorium and that takes about six minutes.

There are seven mayoral appointments to boards and commission on the agenda but only one is acted upon.  There is no report on the others at all and no explanation has to why.  I don't assume there would be an issue with six nominees and if they would have withdrawn their nomination or the committee would have recommended a deferral, then that would have been reported. It was probably a scheduling conflict but that should have been explained. It should be.

There are 12 resolution on the agenda and they are all routine things such as accepting grants, paying settlements and approving of signs to overhang the right of way. None of the resolutions are of much interest.  In my view, the council should give some other body such as the Board of Zoning Appeals or maybe just some pubic servant such as the Director of Codes the authority to approve signs overhanging the sidewalk. This seems to be a mundane routine thing.  If the applicant has met the design and insurance guidelines then it seems some bureaucrat could sign the permit instead of requiring Council action on every sign that protrudes into the right of way. 

Bill BL2017-941  on Second Reading which would establish a Commercial Permit Parking Program.  is deferred one meeting.

Bill BL2017-1026  on Third Reading in councilman Scott Davis' district is deferred one meeting. This is a zoning bill disapproved by the planning commission. I have no opinion of the merits of the bill and am only calling attention to it because it is a disapprove bill. To pass a disapproved bill requires 27 votes.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Teacher vs. Unions: One Woman's Courageous Fight to Free Her Profession" with Rebecca Friedrichs

 
From Hannah Cox of the Bastiat Society:
 
Dear Rod,
We're kicking off the 2018 year with a Bastiat Society event featuring Rebecca Friedrichs. Friedrichs is a former teacher who took her battle against forced unionization all the way up to the supreme court. You won't want to miss our kick-off event!

Events are free and open to the public, but we do ask that you register so we can provide adequate food and beverages for all of our guests. 

6:00 pm Happy Hour
6:30 pm Speaker
7:00 pm Q&A

The Bastiat Society of Nashville is a project of the Beacon Center of Tennessee in association with the Bastiat Society and AIER.

Rebecca Friedrichs, a twenty-eight year veteran elementary school teacher, is the face of a national
Rebecca Friedrichs
movement by teachers and other public employees to end forced unionism.
The Friedrichs case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on January 11, 2016 and sought to bring "right to work" civil rights to all public employees in America.
The Court was poised to rule 5-4 for Rebecca and all public employees who want to be free from forced speech. But Justice Scalia died a month after oral arguments leaving our country stunned, and resulting in a 4-4 tied decision for the Friedrichs case.
Rebecca is currently building a national movement to restore proper authority to parents and teachers in our schools and to give voice to those abused by unions. Her network is supporting Mark Janus in his US Supreme Court case, Janus v AFSCME, which will be heard February 26, 2018, and also seeks to free workers from forced unionism.
Rebecca's editorials have been published around the country. She's the host of a successful Prager University video on the real reasons teachers unions attack school choice.
She's appeared on numerous radio, and television news outlets including CBS News, NBC, FOX News, FOX Business Network, and NPR.
Rebecca is happily married to Charles Friedrichs, Director of the School of Music and Dance at San Diego State University. She and Charles have two grown sons, Kyle and Ben.

When: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM CST
Where: ADS Security, 3001 Armory Dr #100, Nashville, TN 37204

Register Now!

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Keep up with what is happening in the Tennessee General Assembly

Tennessee General Assembly information, click HERE. For information on State Senators, including phone numbers and email addresses, click HERE; for House members, click HERE. For information on legislation, click HERE.
Don't forget that you can now watch the Senate committee meetings and floor sessions online by going HERE; House committee meetings and floor sessions online HERE.
Phone calls can go to the legislative Switchboard at 615-741-3011 or to the Toll Free number 1-800-449-8366+1 last four digits of office phone number (available online)
.

The above handy list was compiled by Tennessee Eagle Forum. Rod Williams

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bill to create a citizen's Police Oversight Commission withdrawn

Bill BL2017-951  on Second Reading Tuesday night would establish a Community Oversight Board is withdrawn.

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Bill trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing deferred to July

by Rod Williams - Bill BL2016-219  the bill that tramples a person's property rights, partially taking property without compensation, and kills an affordable housing development is deferred until July 2018. The bill was on third and final reading Tuesday night and is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission which means when it is finally acted upon it will take 28 votes of the Council to pass.  This bill has been in the works for a very long time, being introduced in April 2016.   
Unlike most zone changes which allow someone to do something with their property they were previously not allowed to do; this bill is a "down zoning," taking away a right someone now enjoys.  The owner is already vested in the project having designed the development and arranged financing.  I am pleased this was deferred but it is unfair to keep this hanging over the head of the owner.  Doing so should be illegal in my view.  While I do not know anything about the project other than what has been reported by other media and what is public record, I would assume that the fact that the down zoning is pending affects financing.  A delay is a also a major cost in a project like this.  

Despite the bill not passing, Councilman Karen Johnson has been successful in stopping the project. Her delaying the project may result in the planned affordable housing never being built since by the time the bill is finally defeated, assuming it is, the market may have changed and affordable housing may no longer be the best use for this property. Instead of the affordable housing, which Karen Johnson opposes, gentrification may have reached Antioch and upscale condo's may be built instead.

For more on this issue, see Contact your Council member. Stop the trampling of property rights and the killing of an affordable housing development.

When the video of the Council meeting is available I will post it and provide a summary and commentary. Please check back

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Council passes Mayor Barry's Tax for Tracks plan, keeps lower cost figure in referendum

Nashville council votes to keep lower cost-figure in transit referendum

The Tennessean - The Nashville Metro Council voted 30-6 Tuesday to advance Mayor Megan Barry's proposed transit referendum, bringing the measure just one more council reading away from getting cleared for the May 1 ballot.  In doing so, the council elected to keep the mayor's proposed $5.4 billion cost-figure in the referendum language, shooting down an amendment to rewrite it as $8.95 billion.

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The Council approves phase-out of non-owner occupied short term rental in residential neighborhoods

Nashville council approves Airbnb phase-out bill for residential neighborhoods

The Tennessean -... the council voted 25-5, with seven abstentions, to phase out short-term rentals that aren't occupied by their owners from residential-zoned neighborhoods.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What's on the 1-23-18 Council agenda: The mayor's $9 billion transit plan, trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing, new Airbnb rules, and creating a Police Community Oversight Board

Update: This meeting scheduled for Tuesday January 23rd is the meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday January January 16th and was rescheduled due to bad weather.

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. The hot topics are the mayor's transit program, a bill to create a police citizen's review committee, the bill that would trample a person's property rights and kill an affordable housing development, and bills that would change the rules on Short Term Rentals such as Airbnb. 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.

Mayor's mass transit plan.
Bill BL2017-1031  is the bill to adopt  the Mayor's transit improvement program and approving  the program, and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018 to approve the tax increases to support the program.  While this should be controversial, expect it to pass overwhelmingly. At a three and a half hour public hearing on January 9th the proponents vastly outweighed the opponents, supporters have been organizing for months, the proposal has the support of Chamber and other movers and shakers in town and the Council meeting as a special council committee composed of the entire body voted 29 to 1 to recommend it. A group called Transit for Nashville Coalition has gathered over 30,000 signatures in favor of a mass transit program for Nashville but the signatures were supporting mass transit not a specific amount of taxes to support mass transit.


Despite the vote in favor of approved this is already determined, I expect a few speeches in favor and look to Councilman Robert Swope and Councilman Jon Cooper to possibly speak against it.  While the bill says the price tag for the plan is $5.4 billion, when all cost are included the price tag is closer to $9 billion.  This assumes no cost overruns. With cost overruns typical of similar projects the real cost is more likely to be between $15 billion and $22 billion. While the vote on Tuesday night well be overwhelmingly in favor of the plan, I am not assuming it will be approved in a public referendum especially if organized resistance emerges.  Some Council members will justify their vote in favor by saying they are simply letting the public decide the issue. That is not what the bill does. It puts the Council on record endorsing the plan. To fully understand the issue see page 6-14 of the staff analysis.

Police Community Oversight Board
Bill BL2017-951  on Second Reading would establish a Community Oversight Board to conduct investigations and provide citizen oversight of officers of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  It would provide for an eleven member board, seven nominated by citizens groups or by petition confirmed by the Council, two appointed by the Council and two appointed by the mayor subject to Council confirmation. The Board would have the authority to investigate allegations that MNDP officers have committed misconduct in violation of policy or criminal misconduct.The Board would hold regular meetings and have a staff of researchers and lawyers. This would cost about $386,000 a year. A previous Council staff analysis said there are due process concerns with the way the board would operate. In my view this bill needs to be defeated. This bill will probably not be voted on due to procedural issues regarding council rules. More than likely the sponsor will have to start over with a new bill.  Nevertheless, depending on how lenient the vice mayor is, expect some passionate speeches in favor.

Trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing

The Ridge Apartments
Bill BL2016-219   is the bill that tramples a persons property rights, partially taking property without compensation, and kills an affordable housing development. This bill is on third and final reading and it is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission which means it will take 28 votes of the Council to pass.  This has been in the works for a very long time. Most zone changes allow people to do something with their property they were previously not allowed to do; this bill is a "down zoning," taking away a right someone now enjoys.  The developer is already vested in the project having designed the development and arranged financing.  If this passes it is an outrage. There will likely be lawsuit which Metro will most likely lose and the state has threatened to withhold low income housing tax credits, an essential financing tool for most affordable housing developments.  For more on this issue, see Contact your Council member. Stop the trampling of property rights and the killing of an affordable housing development.

Changing the rules regarding Short Term Rental (Airbnb" or home sharing). 
Bill BL2017-608,  Substitute Bill BL2017-937Bill BL2017-981, and Bill BL2017-982   all concern short term rentals. I am supporting 937, the least offensive of the bills. The worst of the bill, which would phase out non-owner-occupied short term rentals in areas zoned residential is bill 608. Bill 937 is being supported by the the citizens groups of home sharing advocates. It was worked on for a very long time by a special Council committee and was the subject of numerous meetings. It is called the "compromise" bill but many of the more vocal neighborhood activist are not happy and want to abolish home sharing all together and favor 608 which would abolish non-owner-occupied short term rental. For a more detailed explanation of these bills follow this link, this link, or see the staff analysis starting on page 16.

    


Other agenda items:
There are seven mayoral appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda for confirmation and as always they will be affirmed. There are no bills or resolutions on public hearing.  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.  Normally bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote. It is rare that a bill on First Reading is voted on separately. I normally do not read bills until they get to second reading.
 
There are 12 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 was 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. None of the resolutions on this agenda are of much interest.

There are only four  bills on Second Reading and one of them is the bill to create a Police Community Oversight Board discussed above and another is the mayor's transit plan above. The only other bill on second reading of interest is this one:

Bill BL2017-941  would establish a a Commercial Permit Parking Program. The council would have to approve the geographic areas in which this applied. In those areas commercial vehicles could only park on the street if they had a permit to do so.  As we grow, parking become more of a problem with people parking on streets taking parking places that deny those spaces to those who have businesses or residence on the street a place to park. These seems reasonable.
There are 32 bills on Third Reading. One of them is the bill to trample property rights discussed above.  Others are the bill concerning short term rental discussed above. Bill BL2017-1026 is the only other bill of interest and it is only of interest because it is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and will require 28 votes to pass.  It changes from RS5 to RM20-A zoning on property located at 1308 Montgomery Avenue.

To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person but I wouldn't recommend it. There will be a mob of people for this meeting. 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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(update) First televised statewide gubernatorial forum of the 2018 election is tonight 1/23/18 at Belmont U. Free tickets still available.

Tickets are still available for the first televised, statewide gubernatorial forum of the 2018 election, which will be held on Belmont University’s campus in the Curb Event Center on Jan. 23. Belmont , the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee and NewsChannel 5 are partnering to host the forum.

General admission tickets for the public to attend the forum are available here, and tickets for Belmont students, faculty and staff are available here.

The forum, which will air from 7-8 p.m. CT, will focus exclusively on education. All seven top-tier Republican and Democratic candidates are expected to attend.
#

For a better understanding of the education issues facing the next governor, you may want to read this article from The Tennessean: Money, testing and attracting teachers: 3 big questions for Tennessee's next governor. 

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Ten's of thousands march in Washington, Trump addresses the rally and declares Monday “National Sanctity of Life Day.”


Tens of thousands of people marched in Washington D.C. on Friday in favor of the right to life. If you only get your news from a mainstream news source you might have missed it.  One way the liberal media distorts the news is by deciding what is newsworthy.  Causes they support get headlines and front page treatment and causes they do not support go unreported or are reported but hidden.

Friday marked the 45th annual March For Life, which occurs each year on or near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that nationalized legal abortion making it legal in all fifty states.  This year President Donald Trump gave a history-making address by speaking to the crowd gathered on the National Mall by live video from the Rose Garden. In previous past years President Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush addressed the rally by phone call.

At the rally, Trump praised those attending and listed his accomplishments focusing on those that advance the cause of life, pledged to continue to advance the pro-life cause and declared Monday January 23rd as “National Sanctity of Life Day.” He pointed out that the United States was only one of seven countries in a group that includes China and North Korea that allows selective late term abortions. He endorsed the pending "pain-capable bill" which has passed the House but his held up in the Senate.  It would ban abortion for fetuses capable of feeling pain which is at about the twenty-first week of pregnancy. “Today, we focus our attention on the love and protection each person, born and unborn, deserves regardless of disability, gender, appearance, or ethnicity,” he said. 

Donald Trump has done more than any other president to advance the pro-life cause.  He put Neil Gorsuch who is a staunch conservative on the bench, he reinstated a policy called the Mexico City policy that prohibits foreign organizations that receive U.S. funds from providing or recommending abortions, he signed legislation allowing states to deny federal funds to organizations such as Planned Parenthood that provide abortions, and he has created a new office in the Department of Health and Human Services devoted to protecting health-care workers who object to participating in abortion procedures.

I have been very pleased with Trump's pro-life policies. I admit I was skeptical of  candidate Trump's pro-life stance. I thought Trump was an opportunist without values and whose pro-life conversion was politically motivated.  In 1999, he told Meet the Press he was “very pro-choice” and even supported partial-birth abortion. I am pleased to say I was wrong about Trump. His conversion appears genuine and is commitment is solid.

To see Vice President Spence's introduction of the president and President Trump's remarks watch the video; the mainstream press does not consider this newsworthy.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

What I learned about the Nashville Women's march as reported by the media.

If you want to know what happened at the Women's March in Nashville, you can read about it in the Tennessean here and here. Be aware however that the reporting is more like celebratory  cheer-leading than news reporting. For WKRN channel 2 news report, which is less propagandistic, click here.  For WSMV channel 4 coverage and video follow this link. For Fox 17 coverage follow this link. You really don't need to watch it or read the articles. Really, they don't tell you much.

All of the media estimate the crowd at 15,000 or more than 15,000. My rule of thumb is that when the press reports a liberal cause drew 15,000, I assume it was really closer to 12,000 or maybe as low as 10,000.  When the press says 15,000 attended a conservative rally, I assume the crowd size is really 18 to 20 thousand.  There may be some reporters with integrity who report accurately, but I don't know which ones they are so I just make my standard adjustment.  I am not sure the liberal estimations are even intentional but the reporters bias may subconsciously lead to over and under reporting.  I also think there is a herd mentality among the press and if one outlet says 15,000 people attended a rally, the next report will accept that and rereport it.  So, the mainstream media reports 15,000 people attended the rally.

Mayor Megan Barry spoke at the rally but the reporting does not say what she said.  The news reports showed normal looking people and smiling moms with pretty children on their shoulders. The people who were interviewed seemed fairly normal and rational, even if I did disagree with their political view.  If it would have been a tea party rally or other conservative gathering, the press would have interviewed an overweight, ill dressed, ignorant person who used poor grammar and said something that indicated they really did not understand the issues, or the media would have found an odd ball fringe extremist to interview. I still thing reading mainstream news is important, you just have to read it critically and read between the lines.  Often the mainstream media does not make up the news they are just selective about what they report in order to create a false impression.

From reading the news reports we learn that one of the reasons for the rally was to protect "reproductive rights," which is the right to kill an unborn child (what they call "the product of conception") right up until the moment of birth. The march was also a protest against sexual assault unless of course the assault is committed by credibly accused rapist Bill Clinton who supports reproductive rights. All of these women who are so outraged about inappropriate actions by men behaving badly seem to still love Bill Clinton. The outrage is very selective.

The march was also against deporting illegal aliens, and it was about  "Black Lives Matter," and about gay rights and civil rights and social justice,  but what I got out of it was that it was a march by people who are still suffering from TURD, Trump Unacceptance & Resistance Disorder. One participant is quoted in the Tennessean article as saying she suffered from  PTSD, President Trump Stress Disorder. I thing TURD and PTSD are the same thing or at least they are closely related. 

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tennessee's Haircut Cops Bust Barbers Who Lack High School Diplomas

by Eric Boehm, Reason - The Tennessee barber cops caught up with Elias Zarate on January 18,
2017.

Zarate was working upstairs at The Revolution Studio, a small barbershop on trendy Front Street in downtown Memphis. The job, which he had held for only a few weeks before getting busted, was like a dream come true for Zarate. He'd learned to cut hair while helping out in his uncle's barbershop as a kid, and he had honed his skills over the years by cutting his siblings' and friends' hair. At Revolution, Zarate had served clientele from ordinary working-class to members of the Memphis Grizzlies, the local NBA team.

But getting that job required a state-issued license. Zarate had bought one a few months earlier from a friend "who knew a guy." He wondered at the time if the license was legitimate, but the opportunity seemed too good—and why shouldn't it be that easy to get a barber license?(link)

My Comment: The requirement to have a high school diploma in order to cut hair should be rescinded.  I would like to see a top to bottom review of all license requirements. Those that have no rationale other than keeping competitors from entering the market should be removed.  Those that are irrational should be removed.  Those that require years of training when the skill could be learned in one day should be modified to reflect the amount of training reasonably required.  Those licensed in another state should have their certification honored in Tennessee.  I am not opposed to all licensing. I kind of like that doctors and electricians have to be licensed. For health and safety reason there are some license requirements that are rational. However, why should a shampoo girl require 300 hours of expensive training? Washing my own hair is something I have been doing almost my whole life. Washing hair is not rocket science. I think I could do it. Yet, if I wanted to wash hair and get paid for I could not do so in Tennessee. Tennessee is one of only five states that require a license to wash hair. That is only one of many jobs that require a  license in order to perform the work. If Tennessee should review their license policy, they should also examine those license that prohibit anyone from practicing the profession who has previously been convicted of a crime. It is difficult enough for an ex-con to reenter society without being excluded from many professions. Over time, the number of profession one can only practice if one has permission from the state has grown. It is time to examine all professional license laws and make them make sense.

Government should not be in the business to keep people from earning a living. 

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Senator Lamar Alexander: Shutting Down the Government Should Never Be a Bargaining Chip

From Senator Lamar Alexander - Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned.

More than 50 senators last night, including almost all Republicans and 5 Democrats, voted to keep the government open. The president has said he would sign the continuing resolution to keep the government open. The Democrats are closing down the government because they want a result on an important issue, and they want it now.

The American people sent us here to make the government work for them, not to shut it down. That should be unthinkable. That should be like chemical warfare. We should never even consider that. So I urge my friends on the other side, let Senator McConnell and Senator Schumer—who are veteran senators, they respect this institution, they're friends with all of us, they're able to make a decision—let them sit down themselves and find an agreement to get this government back open. Let's go to work on the two-year budget agreement, the children's health insurance program, on lowering the cost of health insurance for people buying insurance in the individual market, on the DACA bill and on disaster relief. Let's get that done in a very short period of time.
ww.facebook.com/senatorlamaralexander/videos/10155217822733837/
 Click on image to play the video.

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Democrats shut down the government. How is the fake media reporting it?

Democrats blocked a four-week budget extension Friday night resulting in a government shut down. The House passed the short-term funding bill on Thursday but the vote in the Senate was 50 to 49, but 60 votes were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. The stumbling block to reaching an agreement is that Democrats want permanent status for "dreamers," but no border wall, and Republicans and the President want a permanent status for dreamers and a border wall.  The vote Friday night was a vote to simply keep the government open for four more weeks while continuing to talk and trying to resolve differences. Democrats balked at the extension and filibustered. The Congress is meeting this weekend to continue trying to come to some agreement to pass the extension. If the government reopens by Monday, then most people will not even know it was closed, since most non-essential government services are usually closed on the weekend anyway.

It is going to be interesting to see how the media reports this.  Here is the report from AP.

Government shutdown begins and so does the finger-pointing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans awoke Saturday to learn that quarreling politicians in Washington had failed to keep their government in business, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.
The three previous times the government was shut down, it was because a Democrat president would not give in to Republican demands; this time, a Republican president will not give in to Democrat demands.  The situations are essentially the same. Look at the above headline and story. Instead of blaming the shut down on Democrats as they would have if the parties were reversed they say Democrats will blame Republicans and Republicans will blame Democrats and both sides are to blame.  That is probably accurate, but that is not how they reported it when it was Republicans voting against raising the debt ceiling or voting against a continuing resolution that resulted in a government shut down. I would not complain about the way this is reported if that was the same way the media had reported other government shutdowns.

Here is a MSNBC headline and link to a story in 2013 following a government shutdown: Why Republicans shut down the government.   This is similar to how most of the media reported past shutdowns.

I have been critical of some of Trumps comments about the media.  He once said he would have the FCC pull a cable new outlet's license when in reality the FCC only licenses local stations, not TV networks.  He has also said some things that were denounced as attacks on the First Amendments. Sometimes things he has said may legitimately be interpreted has attacks on a free press.  I know Trump can be bellicose and crude and inaccurate.  He apparently says whatever comes into his mind without having it researched to see if it is accurate or evaluated to see if it is a wise thing to say.  He is like a normal person. I wish he was more measured and diplomatic and thoughtful. Nevertheless, his sentiment is right.  It is way passed the time to stop pretending that there is any such thing as media objectivity or media impartiality or journalistic integrity. The mainstream media might as well be a branch of the Democratic Party.

If this government shutdown last past this weekend, I expect the "Democratic Party media," the "fake media," the "drive-by media," to stop saying both sides are to blame and begin an attack on Republicans for shutting down the government. Truth and accuracy takes a back seat to political ideology for the fake media.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

President Donald J. Trump: Year One

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How will the media respond if the Democrats shut down the government?

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, is prepared to lead a filibuster against a temporary spending measure to keep the federal government funded for four more weeks. During past years when a Democrat president could not agree with Republican spending priorities and the result was a government shut down, the mainstream press almost universally described it as "the Republicans shut down the government." Now that the exact same circumstances exist but the shoe is on the other foot, will the main stream press described a government shutdown as, "the Democrats shut down the government."  If so, then they have at least a little journalistic integrity. If not, then they can forever fairly be referred to as "the drive-by media," "fake news media," and "the liberal media."

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ex-mayoral candidate David Fox joins the fight to stop Mayor Barry's mass transit plan

Ex-mayoral candidate David Fox lends hand to PAC fighting Mayor Barry's transit referendum

by Joey Garrison, USA Today Network, Tennessee - Former Nashville mayoral candidate David Fox is lending his support to a new political action committee that has organized to defeat Mayor Megan Barry's transit referendum proposal. 

The new group, called the NoTax4Tracks PAC, was announced Tuesday to oppose over the coming months what its leaders call "an ill-conceived plan" that would make Nashville's sales tax the highest in the nation while not fixing the city's traffic congestion. Barry wants a referendum on her transit plan put on the May 1 ballot. 

....Fox, who has broken what had been more than two years of public silence on city matters... "It's just an enormous outlay of capital," Fox said. "If you look at just the capital costs, it's eight times the size of the Music City Center. And it's going to be more than that because this assumes federal grant money, which the feds have indicated is not going to happen."

Fox said other cities with similar densities have been unsuccessful in building riderships to justify light-rail projects like the one put forward by Barry. He also said the proposal to increase sales tax by a half cent, and later by 1 cent, would be "brutal to the middle class and brutal to the lower-income residents.

"I think the plan is like a tribute to urban transit plans of decades ago. It's like something out of the 1980s to me. It's like, well, we missed our turn 25 years ago when this was the vogue thing to be doing, and now we're adopting a plan that's I think a backward-looking, extraordinarily expensive change that's not going to materially improve transportation here," Fox said. (link)

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