Friday, March 30, 2018

State of Schools Address ignores declining enrollment, pretends there is not a problem.



If you want to skip the introductory speeches and the entertainment and the event and instead just read the text of Dr. Joseph's address you can find it at this link.

The annual State of Schools address follows some bad news and a week of discontent from School Board member, teachers, staff, and parents. The proposed budget for the coming years cuts 38 positions mostly in the area of social workers and truant officers. Some of the programs that attract parents of higher performing students are being cut, so-called "legacy" positions such as World language, Suzuki Strings, STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math), advanced academics, and International Baccalaureate. Some students who now get free lunch will have to start paying for lunch. MNPS will get $7 million less from the State this year because there were 1,500 fewer students enrolled in the district than last year. 

With Nashville's population growing and yet school attendance shrinking, I think a theme of the State of Schools address should be to ask, "Why are we failing to attract students?" It would be good to have some data in order to know how bad the problem really is. Is Metro school enrollment shrinking while surrounding counties school enrollments are growing?  Is Metro school enrollment shrinking while private school enrollment is growing?  Is enrollment shrinking because there are fewer school age children in the metro Nashville area or because parents avoid putting their children in Metro schools? What are the numbers? What is the plan to make Metro School attractive to parents or is Metro Schools to be a dumping ground for those with no other options. The State of School address pretends there is not a problem.

This years proposed budget of $942 million is actually a 5.1 percent increase over the current budget. With 5.1 percent more money and 1500 fewer students, one might think Metro Schools would be in a good position but that is not the way the school board and many others see it. Teachers were asking for a 5% wage increase instead of the 2% they are being given. More than half of the new money in the proposed budget will be spend on employees.

In his address,  Dr. Joseph praises achievements in the 2017-18 school year and says the math and reading scores show that Metro schools showed improvement across the board at a rate of improvement higher than the national average. He discusses the schools  support of literacy efforts, college readiness, social emotional learning, equity and diversity, and employee compensation.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Metro Schools to eliminate 38 positions

Metro Schools to eliminate 38 positions 

Positions being eliminated include 7 social workers, 12 family involvement specialists and 16 truancy specialists.

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David Fox says he won't run for mayor of Nashville in August election, Bill Freeman out, Erica Gilmore running

David Fox says he won't run for mayor of Nashville in August election

  

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Nashville Schools proposed budget of $924 million proposes teacher pay raises and layoffs

The proposed Metro Public Schools budget is for $924 million which is a 5.1% increase over last year, but since it is less than projected this is called a "cut."  Due to enrollment remaining relatively flat instead of growing as anticipated, Metro Schools will received $7.5 million less from the State than expected.

The budget calls for a 2% increase in teacher's salaries, a reorganization of student services department and a shifting of Title 1 monies to the worst performing schools. Title 1 money is money received from the Federal Government to support schools with large number of low income students. Cuts to student services cuts things like truancy officers and social workers.

Other cuts are to those services favored by middle class parents and parents of better than average students, such as cuts to the arts and advanced placement classes and International Baccalaureate.

Check back for more on the Metro School budget.

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School Board budget Public Hearing shows discontent




by Rod Williams - The School Board pubic hearing on the proposed budget is only 30 minutes long.  Those wishing to speak had to sign up in advance and were limited to two minutes. Speakers call for cuts at central office rather than in the classrooms, denounce Dr. Joseph for lack of transparency, denounce being put in a position of  "of fighting over crumbs," and ask the school board to propose a larger budget and to fight for it.  

Erick E. Huth, president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, the teacher's union, ​ says the school budget is full of false choices and that if Metro can afford a massive new expensive transit system that involves drilling through limestone then it can afford more for schools. He is especially disappointed that the proposed budget calls for seven fewer  social workers and says the system needs more social workers, not fewer. He calls for a "realistic" budget and says Metro cannot continue to balance its budget on the back of its kids.

The third speaker a parent of a metro school student, denounces Dr. Joseph, President Trump, pitting one school against the other, and white supremacy.

The proposed budget calls for a 2% salary increase for teachers, some says it is not enough and needs to be 5%. Several school social workers speak explaining what they do and the importance of their job.

I am surprised that no one calls for more school nurses. That was an issue last year when the approved School budget did not include all of the nurses the school board asked for. I can see a need and would have expected those who advocated for school nurses last year to resume their advocacy. Perhaps with the position of seven social workers being on the chopping block, those advocates for more school nurses concluded it would be a futile effort this year.

At almost any public hearing one hears from unhappy people, not happy people, so one should keep that in mind. Those who speak at public hearing are not representative of the public and are individual expressing their own point of view. Also, only about a dozen people spoke, so that is a small sample of those effected by the school budget. Nevertheless, from this public hearing and other sources I get the distinct impression that people are upset at school budget cuts and the way Dr. Joseph has handled the budget.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mayor Briley adds union operative to legislative team

The Tennessean: Mayor Briley adds union operative to legislative team

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The Federalist Society: The Electoral College: Outdated relic or vital institution?


Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:Wednesday, April 4, 2018 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (CDT)
Bass Berry & Sims PLC.  150 3rd Avenue South
28th Floor,  Nashville, TN 37201, View Map
Follow this link to purchase tickets.

Join the Nashville Federalist Society Chapter on Wednesday, April 4 at 12:00PM for a luncheon on the electoral college with lawyer and writer Tara Ross.

In the wake of the 2016 election, the Electoral College has again come under scrutiny. Why has the winner of the national popular vote been denied the White House twice in a 16-year period? Critics contend that the system is antiquated, an institution created to protect the institution of slavery.  Isn’t it time that we got rid of a system with such problematic roots? This session will explore the true history of the Electoral College.  What were the delegates to the Constitutional Convention trying to accomplish? Were they concerned about 18th-century travel and communication difficulties or did they have other considerations in mind? What other alternatives did they consider?  What (if anything) did they really say about the institution of slavery during their debates about presidential selection? Did the Founders expect electors to vote in accordance with the states’ popular votes? What surprising expectation did they have about the back-up presidential election procedure in the House of Representatives? Tara will address all these questions—and more.

The fee for the event is $15.00. You can pay online by credit card or bring cash or check (made out to The Federalist Society) to the event. If you would like to pay by check or cash, please send an email to grant@grantstarrett.com to RSVP. Lunch and refreshments are included. Paid parking is available in the building's lot for $8. CLE credit is available.

Space is limited so please RSVP by Monday, April 2.

Tara Ross is the author of The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders’ Plan Saves Our Tara RossCountry from Mob Rule (2017), We Elect A President: The Story of our Electoral College (2016), and Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College (2d ed. 2012). She is also a co-author of Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State (2008) (with Joseph C. Smith, Jr.).
As a lawyer and writer, Tara focuses on the intersection among law, public policy, and constitutional history. She often appears as a guest on a variety of talk shows nationwide to discuss these matters and regularly addresses civic, university, and legal audiences. Her work has been published in several law reviews and newspapers, including the National Law Journal, USA Today, the American Enterprise Online, National Review Online, WeeklyStandard.com, FoxNews.com, HumanEvents.com, The Washington Times, and the Texas Review of Law & Politics.

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State bill will strenthen sanctuary city prohibitions and stop Nashville from adopting sanctuary policies

Reposted from Tennessee Eagle Forum newsletter - Fifty-eight Tennessee House Republicans are named co-sponsors on the anti-sanctuary city bill HB2315.

Adding the bill's chief sponsor, State Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin), means that 80 percent of the House Republicans support strengthening and closing the loopholes in Tennessee's existing anti-sanctuary city statute. (Seventy-four of the 99 members of the Tennessee House of Representatives this session are Republicans, while 25 are Democrats.)

Tennessee's anti-sanctuary city law passed in 2009, only addresses written policies that prohibit local governments, officials and employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. This narrower definition of "sanctuary city" would likely not have applied to at least one of the sanctuary city ordinances proposed by the Metro Nashville Council last June.

The two ordinances proposed by the Metro Nashville Council would have made Nashville the most liberal sanctuary city in the country. One of the bills included a "don't ask so you don't have to know or tell" practice prohibiting Davidson County and Nashville employees, including law enforcement, from providing pertinent information to ICE regarding criminal aliens.

Reedy's bill expands the definition of sanctuary city to include practices that obstruct cooperation with federal immigration authorities and help shield illegal aliens who have also committed crimes. North Carolina and Georgia have included the expanded definition in their anti-sanctuary city laws.
The Metro ordinances, drafted with the assistance of the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, were withdrawn due to overwhelming grassroots opposition and pressure from state legislators.

State Sen. Mark Green's (R-Clarksville) Senate companion bill, HB2332, passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee last week on a 7 - 1 vote and is ready to be scheduled for a Senate floor vote.

Reedy's bill is scheduled to be heard in the House State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.  With 59 House members already co-sponsoring the bill, if it makes it to the House floor, it already has enough votes to pass.

In a February ad released by a PAC called Tennesseans for Good State Government, GOP gubernatorial candidate Speaker Beth Harwell takes credit for "outlaw[ing] sanctuary cities," most likely a reference to the narrow 2009 law which the Metro Nashville Council's ordinances would have bypassed and which Rep. Reedy's bill will fix.

Harwell is not yet listed as a co-sponsor of Reedy's bill.

Here is the list of 58 Republican co-sponsors of the bill, listed in alphabetical order:



Tennessee Eagle Forum is an organization I support. Their newsletter is a good source of information on what is happening at the state level. To join the TN Eagle Forum mailing list follow this link. Rod Williams

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Jeff Sessions needs to go!

by Rod Williams - I hate to come to this conclusion. I thought I liked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but I have come to the conclusion he needs to go. Jeff Sessions needs to resign or be fired.

He does not need to resign because he recused himself from the Russian probe; that was the right thing to do.  I think he should resign, if he has any self respect, because his boss Donald Trump routinely belittles and demeans him. He should resign out of his own sense of dignity. That is not the reason I want Jeff Sessions to resign however. I want him to resign because I fundamentally disagree with him on the right of citizens in a free society, more specifically on the issue of civil asset forfeiture.

His position of civil asset forfeiture is not the only disagreement I have with Jeff Session.  My first disappointment with Sessions was when he revealed himself to be an unreformed hardliner on the desire to keep marijuana illegal.  In January of this year he issued new guidance on marijuana which reversed Obama-era policies. His new directives gives prosecutors more leeway to enforce federal laws against the drug in states where it is legal. My view is that Congress should decriminalize marijuana and leave it up the states to determine it's status. Sessions is taking us backwards.

Marijuana is listed by the Federal government as a schedule 1 drug meaning the drug has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. This is nonsense.  Marijuana is classified as worse than cocaine which is a schedule 2 drug. This flies in the face of experience and science. It is also contrary to popular opinion.  Eight states have legalized marijuana use for recreational use and over half of the states have legalized marijuana for medical use and most Americans now favor legalization or decriminalization. Session is an embarrassment who still calls marijuana a "gateway drug."  With the Federal government still classifying marijuana as a dangerous illegal drug, people living in those states where it is legal are still guilty of a federal crime if using, producing or selling it. This needs to change.

Another issue I have with Jeff Sessions is his view on locking people up. He was in Nashville earlier this month and spoke to the conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. At that time he made the argument that putting  more people in prison would increase community safety. He bemoaned the fact that the federal prison population had dropped in recent years from about 220,000 to 180,000 and he pledged to pursue longer sentences moving forward and he advocated for mandatory minimum sentences. This is just wrong.  There is no evidence that longer sentences reduce crime. In my view, we should aggressively be exploring how to reduce recidivism and removing regulatory barriers to felons re-entering the workforce after prison.  With improved technology to monitor people who are not locked up, we should be pursuing using those technologies and increase the number of parole officers and reducing the number of people incarcerated. Prison is often a training ground for making really bad criminals out of minor criminals. We should not make it hard for people to go straight but should try to make it easier.

The straw that broke the camels back and made me reach the opinion that Jeff Sessions needs to go is his position of on civil asset forfeiture. Civil forfeiture is a process that allows the police to seize a person's property without the person having been convicted or even charged with a crime. To get the property back one must go to court and prove that he was not in procession of the property for the purpose of committing a crime.  Often it will come about that the police stop a car for a traffic violation and the owner gives the police permission to search the car or the police search the vehicle under probable cause. 

Upon searching the vehicle, the police discover the driver has $5,000 in cash.  They can confiscate the vehicle and the car.  It may be that the person was on his way to Florida to buy cocaine, but he may have been on his way to Florida to rent a truck and buy a truck load of landscape plants for a work project.  In any case, the person who had his property confiscated, in order to get it back must go to court and prove he was not in procession of the cash and the vehicle to commit a crime.  This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Often people do not have the means to wage the legal battle and just lose their property.

The confiscated money often flows to the police department rather than the treasury of the jurisdiction and this process has earned the name of  "policing for profit." Normal jurisprudence in America assumes one is innocent until proven guilty; this is the one circumstance where that does not apply.  Instead of the police proving one committed a crime, the person suspected of illegal activity has to prove he is innocent.  He may never even be charged with a crime and never regain ownership of his property. Both liberal and conservative civil liberty advocates including the ACLU and organization such as The Institute for Justice are fighting against civil forfeiture.

Recently, Sessions described civil forfeiture as a “key tool that helps law enforcement defund organized crime, take back ill-gotten gains, and prevent new crimes from being committed.” He is probably right about that to an extend. It does make police work easier. Police work would also be easier if the police could just lock you up until you could prove your innocence. I do not want to live in a police state.

During Obama's presidency some limited curbs were put on the practice of civil asset forfeiture but now Sessions has reversed those modest curbs.  The Obama era curbs were just policy and not law. We should be ending, by law, the practice that allows police to seize property without charging a person with a crime. We should be going way beyond were Obama went, not going backwards.  Jeff Session is out of step, wrong, and I think he has a dangerous authoritarian streak. He needs to resign.  He needs to go.  I have been hoping for some stability within the Trump administration and hoping Trump would not fire anymore of his management team but I would be pleased if he fires Jeff Sessions.   

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1st Tuesday is Mon. 3-25-18, Guest Speaker is KY Gov. Matt Bevin

From Tim Skow:
 
1ST TUESDAY Members and friends

1ST ....... Just a quick reminder for some who have not already secured seating for lunch on MONDAY ......seating is going briskly for lunch with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

IF....you...or someone you know would like to join us ... PLEASE ... secure seating while its still available! Visit our website at  http://www.1sttuesdaynashville.com and click on ''JOIN US''


Before....our 1ST TUESDAY event [ yes...on 4th Monday] with Kentucky Gov. MATT BEVIN there
Gov. Matt Bevin
will be a special ''pre-event'' starting at 10:30am. [ see attached invite for details ]

We are expecting a number of TN Legislators and other notables. But there is still room for a limited number more to join us for this gathering on the 8th floor at BAKER DONELSON.

If you too would like come early and spend some time speaking with Gov. Bevin [and/or those also coming] here's your opportunity. For $25 on a ''1st come ...1st confirmed basis'' .... those who visit our 1ST TUESDAY website can secure their participation that morning with Gov. Bevin and more! Just use the $25 ''Dues'' icon... and then hit me with an email response to this note that you're coming for the ''pre-event''

I look forward to seeing MANY of you on Monday .... and seeing some of you at both events. Thanks! AND...a very special thanks to our 1ST TUESDAY Co-Hosts who help make this happen

Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Democrat Party in Tennessee Just Named a Planned Parenthood President as Its Executive Director

Read more here and here.

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School Director Shawn Josepth under fire for budget shortfall and his handling of it.



Metro Schools is facing a $7.5 million shortfall due to getting less money from the State due to a decline in enrollment.  At a time when the greater Nashville area is growing by about 85 people a day the student population in Davidson County public schools is shrinking. I can only assume parents with school age children are choosing to locate somewhere else in the 14-county region rather than Davidson County or are putting their children in private schools. Who can blame them? Nashville is a great place to live. I love this city. However our schools suck! If someone was considering moving here I would have to tell them that we have terrible schools and they may want to live in an adjoining county or figure they will need to send their children to private schools.

It is possible but difficult to get a good education in Davidson County public schools but parents have to be diligent and proactive. The qualify of schools can vary greatly from one school to the other.  Marking sure you live in a neighborhood with good or "not terrible" schools is one way to do it. More important than the size and desirability of the house and the convenience and amenities of the neighborhood, the most important factor in selecting a home in Nashville may be the quality of the district school.  Seeking a good magnet school is another options.  There is no guarantee you can get in a good magnet school but those who do can get a good educations. Unfortunately, some of our best schools are charter schools but they are not widely available and charter schools are only allowed to exist when they can replace a failing school. For many parents who care about their children's education, living in an adjacent county or biting the bullet and sending their child to a private school is the best option.

Metro Nashville School Director Shawn Joseph has come under fire for not alerting the School Board to this expected cut in funding. Members of the School Board and members of the Metro Council are urging Joseph to cut travel and other overhead expenses and not cut funding directed to the classroom. School Board members have called for an audit of the school system funding since Joseph became director.

 When Joseph announced the funding cut, his first response was to announce a drastic shifting of what is called "Title 1" spending.  Title 1 funding is money received from the federal government meant to subsidize the teaching of low-income students. Initially Joseph announced that title 1 funding would only go to schools with 75 percent or more low-income students. That would take money away from some forty schools and funnel it to the poorer schools.  After getting push back, he announced the phase in of this policy would be gradual instead of all taking place this year (link)

Another change Joseph announced is an end to what is called "legacy positions."  This is funding given to some schools separate from money in the funding formula. Legacy positions include things such as  world language, Suzuki Strings, STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math), advanced academics, International Baccalaureate and overall enhanced staffing. These positions could still exist at schools, but principals would have to prioritize funding them without additional district funding. To me, this seems unwise. There must be some middle class parents sticking with Metro Schools because their child can get a good education because the school their child attends participates in the International Baccalaureate program or offers advanced academics. Ending these programs will drive away more middle class families, further leaving Metro Schools as schools only attended by immigrants, Blacks and the poor. With the exist of more middle class parents, lower enrollment will mean even less funding. 

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What happened at the Council meeting of 3/20/18: Move to rescind MLS deal fails, Burkley elected Pro Tem, vote not to hire outside firm to investigate Barry, vote to protect jobs of current bus drivers,




Move to rescind stadium deal fails
The most dramatic activity of the night occurs at the end of the meeting starting at timestamp 2:45:50. This is worth watching.

Councilman Steve Glover takes to the floor and expresses anger at the city for spending money on the stadium project when the money had not yet been appropriated. $135,000 has was spend out of the Bridgestone Arena account for design work on the MLS stadium. Glover announced that at the next council meeting it would invoke "rule 36" which allows a council to rescind an action taken by a previous council. Councilman Sledge, a proponent of the MLS deal, in what I think was a gutsy parliamentary move takes to the floor and says, "Let's do it now." He invokes rule 36 and forces a vote. Rule 36 rescinds a previous positive motion of the Council.  Apparently realizing that with several members absent, now was a better chance of defeating Glover's effort than waiting until April 3rd. A motion to rescind takes 27 votes.  Note however, that if a motion to rescind fails, it can be brought up again. So tonight's action would not stop Glover from invoking rule 36 on April 4th as he said he planned to do.

The Council approved the stadium deal in November but bonds have not yet been sold. The proposal to sale bond to fund the deal will have to come back to the Council and will require 27 votes, so the city is spending money not yet appropriated. It is possible that the city could build the stadium in a location other than the fairground. The November action conditionally stated the fairground would be the location. The city should not be spending money on a project until it has the money.  I share Councilman Glover's outrage. Several members take to the floor. Some argue that we need to resend as a way to send a message to the administration that it cannot spend money not appropriated. Others argue that Metro will be subject to liabilities if it rescinds the MLS deal. The MLS development team has already spend money relying on the Council's November vote. This is disputed saying it has always been clear that until the Council approves the bonds no deal is final.

A motion is made by Councilman Hagar to table the motion to rescind but that motion fails. Back on the motion to rescind after more discussion the motion to rescind fails by a vote of 8 in favor and 16 opposed.  Please watch this blog for a list of how members of the Council voted on this issue.

Other Council Action
At three and a half hours long, this is a long meeting. If you are going to watch the meeting, you need an agenda and the staff analysis to know what is going on. You can get those at this link along with my commentary on the agenda. These are the meeting highlights.

The meeting is moderated by Sheri Weiner who as President Pro Tem of the Council was elevated to the roll of Vice Mayor replacing David Briley who was elevated to mayor upon the resignation of former Mayor Megan Barry.

The first order of business after the pledge and prayer is approving changes to the rules of procedure for the Metro Council. Once the new rules are posted you can find them at the highlighted link. The rule changes are explained from  2.54 to 20:12 in the video. This is of not much interest to the general public but for those who may follow the council closely or have business before the body, it is good to know where to find these rules to understand why some things happen the way they do.

Burkley Allen is elected Deputy President Pro Tempore to be next in line to serve as moderator of the Council in the absence of Sheri Weiner.  The nominees are Jacobia Dowell and Burkley Allen. On a machine vote Allen is elected receiving 18 votes to 15 for Dowell and six not voting. There are no speeches.

All appointments to boards and commission are deferred at the request of the mayor. The current nominations were made by former Mayor Barry and it is understandable that David Briley would want to pick his own appointees to the various boards and commissions. 

Resolutions:
There are 44 resolution on the agenda and most of them pass on the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are noncontroversial and passed the committee to which they were assigned unanimously. Resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass my a single vote. These are the resolutions I find of interest:

Resolution RS2018-1088  declares eleven parcels of metro owned property surplus and transfers them to selected non-profit organizations for the purpose of  developing affordable and "work force" housing. It also grants $10.7 million from the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to subsidize the housing development. Woodbine Community Organization, Our Place Nashville, and Living Development Concepts were selected as recipients of the grants and properties. In addition ten other organization get grants to promote the development of affordable housing. This resolution requires 21 affirmative votes to be approved. It passes on consent.
Resolution RS2018-1110 concerns the Council investigation of the Mayor Barry scandal. On February 6, 2018, the Metro Council adopted Resolution No. RS2018 calling for a Council investigation. Since then, as everyone knows, Mayor Barry plead guilty to a crime and some of what the Council was to determine has already been determined. So this resolution modifies the prior resolution to clarify that the Special Committee will prepare a Report and Recommendations to the Council about its findings to include any recommendations for further action, as well as recommendations for additions or revisions to the Metropolitan Government Code of Laws, policies, or regulations. In light of what has happened, this seems appropriate. It passes on the consent agenda.
Resolution RS2018-1111 authorizes the employment of Burch, Porter &; Johnson, PLLC as Special Counsel to the Metropolitan Council to investigate the Mayor Barry scandal. Since Mayor Barry has already plead guilty to a crime and the scope of the Council investigation will be limited as outlined in resolution 1110 above, my view is that this expenditure is no longer necessary. Councilman Steve Glover makes that point.  This resolution does limit the payment to the firm to only 15 hours of billable time at a rate of $395 per hour. After some discussion the resolution fails by a vote of 11 in favor and 22 against. To view the discussion see timestamp 54:34 -1:14:00 in the video.
Resolution RS2018-1113 request of the Metro Transit Authority that if the May 1 light rail referendum should be approved, that MTA continue to use the Davidson Transit Organization as its "sole management provider." Regardless of your opinion of the wisdom of Metro pursuing a $9 Billion light rail transit system, this is a dumb idea. Should the referendum pass, Metro should seek the best operator for the system. This resolution is designed to protect the jobs of current bus drivers. A government's job should not be to award patronage or to protect the current employment of current employees but to provide necessary services in the most cost-efficient means possible. This would be non-binding but express the will of the Council. Since MTA must come to the Council for budget approval a resolution like this sends a strong "mere request" to the MTA. Council members Swope and Glover speak against this resolution. It passes on a voice vote with some audible "no" votes. To see the discussion see the video at time stamp 1:14:05- 1:25:45.

Resolution RS2018-1120 is a meaningless memorializing  resolution expressing the support of the Metropolitan Council for the right of public employees to unionize and urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of public employees in a case before the Supreme Court. In my view the Council should not be passing resolutions of this nature. I suspect most do not know the complexity of the issue before the court. After all, it must be complex or it would have never have reached the Supreme Court. However, this has no legal impact and is probably not worth opposing. I don't think the Supreme Court is going to be persuaded by an opinion expressed by the Metro Council.  The resolutions contains some verbiage about income inequality and recalls the Memphis sanitation workers strike of the 1960's and references the "I am a man" speech.  It passes on  the consent agenda.
Bills on Second Reading: There are only six bills on second reading and this is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2018-1056 would regulate the on-line market for Short term rentals, that is it
would regulate websites such as Airbnb.   It would require these sites to  require a Metro permit number for each STRP application prior to placing the property on the online marketplace site. It would also require the sites to provide a detailed quarterly reports to Metro.  This is a bad bill and I question if Metro has the authority to compel organizations like Airbnb to do anything. This is deferred three meetings at the request of the sponsor.
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. This is discussed and then deferred one meeting. To understand the arguments on both sides of this issue you may want to watch the video at timestamp 1:29:18-1:51:15
Bill BL2018-1113  renames a portion of Charlotte Pike to "Dr M L King, Jr Boulevard." Council member Sharon Hunt speaks on the bill as do several other council members, but there was no opposition. Time spend speaking on this bill was unnecessary. It passes on a voice vote.
Bills on Third Reading:  There are 31 bills on third reading and most are approved zoning bill. These are two disapproved zoning bills, Bill BL2018-1099 and Bill BL2018-1100 which will take 27 votes in favor to be approved.  Sometimes because a member may be absent or distracted or take a position that they do not vote for bills disapproved by the Planning Commission or based on their perceived merits of the bill may vote "no" or abstain. In the case of a disapproved bill an abstention is the same as a "no" vote. Sometimes it can be hard to get 27 votes for a bill. I have no opinion on the merits of the bills. Bill 1099 is deferred indefinitely.

Bill 1100 by Robert Swope is amended and passes by a voice vote. I was surprised and thought I may have missed something. A disapproved bill requires a machine vote. After consideration of the next two bills, someone must have realized passage of 1100 required a machine vote and a machine vote was taken and the bill passed by a roll call machine vote of 27 in favor, 3 opposed and 9 not voting. So, it passed with no votes to spare.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Attempt to rescind stadium deal fails.

At Tuesday nights council meeting Councilman Steve Glover  attempted but failed to rescind the stadium deal. The Tennessean has the story at this link.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Metro's finances are really in bad shape.

by Rod Williams - Yesterday, March 19, marked the beginning of Metro "budget discussions." Mayor Barry changed the terminology to "discussions" rather than "hearings." Not that it is terribly important but I prefer the traditional term "hearings," but I guess "discussions" sounds more feminine and more collaborative and less hierarchical. It sounds more in tune to the new sensitive progressive touchy-feely Nashville. Anyway, the budget process is that first, the mayor has "discussion," in which all of the various department heads appear before the mayor and usually the finance director and maybe a couple of key advisers to the mayor and make their case for their budget request.

Before these "discussions" even began, however, the mayor's office has given the department heads directions such as telling the department heads to tell the mayor what they would fund if they had 5% more money or maybe what they would cut if they had to take a 5% cut. Of course, "cut" is not the way we would think of cut if in our family budget if we had to cut 5% of our budget. A government cut means the rate of growth is less than anticipated.

After the mayor hears from all of the department heads then the mayor develops and presents a budget to the Council  and then the Council has budget hearing. (As of now they are still called "hearings," not "discussions.") At the Council budget hearings most department heads say then can live with the amount of money the mayor's budget awards them but not always. Some department heads make the case for more spending. The Council then has a public hearing at which group after group ask for more money for their favorite cause; more for schools, more for parks, more for the arts, pay raises for Metro employees, etc.. The Council then develops its own budget which it then substitutes for the mayor's budget.  The Council always passes the substitute. The substitute may only make the smallest of tweaks to the mayor's budget or it may make substantial changes to the mayors budget.

One thing that  most people do not understand is that the effect of a council member's vote cannot be to vote against the budget. In years of a tax increase some council members who vote "no" on the budget will claim they voted against a tax increase. That is not truthful. A "no" vote on the Council vote is a vote for the mayor's budget. If the Council refuses to pass a budget then the mayor's budget goes into effect by default. If a mayor proposes a 75 cent tax rate increase and the council substitute calls for only a 60 cent increase, then a "no" vote on the council substitute has the effect of favoring the mayor higher tax increase over the Council's lower tax increase.

The mayors budget discussions and the council budget hearings can be informative. Sometimes new demands for services actually do mean a department actually needs more money than before.  One never hears, however, a department head say they have more money than they know what to do with and they could easily take a budget cut. They say houses will burn, people will die, kids will not get educated, pot holes will swallow cars,  and our quality of life will suffer if they do not get an increase.

Today,  it was revealed (surprise, surprise) that Metro was facing a budget shortfall. This is despite the fact that revenue to Metro has grown at a phenomenal rate. In 2014 Metro's revenue was $1.81 billion and in 2018 it is $2.2 billion. One of the reasons for this shortfall is that when Metro reappraised property last year, more people than ever before appealed their new appraisal and a greater number of appeals were granted than ever before. So, the shortfall is that Metro will not get as much of an increase in revenue this year as it thought it would.

Another reason for the shortfall is that the school system is going to get $7.5 million less from the State this year than last year. Despite the growth in Metro's population the number of children enrolled in Metro schools has dropped and the State has reduces the funds it pays to Metro to help educate school children.  Of course, it should cost less to educate fewer children but the school board and the city does not see it like that. They take the view that overhead cost are fixed. To be fair, there is some truth to that but not much. Schools can not be closed or bus routes redesigned immediately to correspond to fewer school children. In the short-term some cost are relatively fixed.

One indications of how bad the financial situation is for the city is the status of Metro's reserve fund balances. Look at the below chart presented to a recent special committee meeting of the Metro Council.


Notice the GSD General fund balance is now 3.4% of the budget. During the hearing at which this was presented to the Council a spokesman from the Finance Department said bonding agencies like to see these balances within a 5 to 10 percent range and they would like to see it "ten or more."

This is an indication that Metro is seriously mismanaging our money. This is at a time when the economy is booming and we are growing by leaps and bounds. Future looming problems facing the city that the city just ignores is future health care cost of retirees and pension obligations. If the citizens of Nashville should approve a $9 billion light rail system when such systems are already obsolete and ridership is declining, then it will prove much more difficult to manage the city's finances. Debt must be paid and pension obligations met and the taxpayers of Davidson County are ultimately responsible for the city's obligations.

What happens if Nashville's time in the sun comes to an end and we are not longer the "it" city?  What happens if we kill the goose that lays the golden egg by taxing away tourist and conventioneers? What happens if we have another major flood or other disaster? What happens if we lose one of our sports franchises? What happens if we have another "great recessions?"

Thankfully, Mayor Briley has said he will not propose a tax increase this year. If he plans to run for elections as mayor in August, raising taxes would not be a wise move. Unless we address the spending problem, a tax increase would only solve our problem for a short time. If bonding agencies raise the cost of borrowing, then more money will have to go to pay interest on the debt rather than fund needed service. I am sure there is sufficient fat in the current budget to cut the budget without causing severe hardship to residents of the city, but unless Nashville exercises prudence and caution and restraint, things will only get worse. This is serious.

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Surprise, surprise. Metro has a budget shortfall.

When you are drunk on being the "it" city and take no thought for tomorrow and spend money like a drunken sailor, you might have a budget shortfall.

When you have a mayor gallivanting all over the globe like royalty to conferences of questionable necessity in order to facilitate her affair, you might have a budget shortfall.

When you have the city throwing money at an unnecessary hospital that no one wants to  use and whose primary function to is boost the collective ego of the Black community, you might have a budget shortfall.

When you spend $60 million to build three miles of sidewalk, you might have a budget shortfall.

When your schools are so bad that as the population grows enrollment shrinks and as a result the state education appropriation to the schools shrink, you might have a budget shortfall.

When the revenue grows from $1.81 billion in 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2018 and yet you must dip into the rainy day fund to meet current obligations, you might have a budget shortfall.

Metro does not have a revenue problem, Metro has a spending problem.

For The Tennessean coverage of the issue, follow this link.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

What's on the Council agenda for 3/20/18: Protecting from competition the jobs of current bus drivers, regulating the Airbnb website, changing the scope of the Mayor Barry investigation and more.

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, March 20, 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. I know a lot, but I often don't know if a piece of legislation is good or bad but I know enough to know if it raises a red flag and I see some red flags on this agenda. I hope someone is paying attention.

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. The first item is the selection of a Deputy President Pro Tempore. With David Briley elevated to the position of Mayor, current President Pro tem Sheri Weiner will serve as moderator of the Council which necessitates the selection of another council member to be next in line should she be absent or need a break. I suspect there has been a lot of jockeying to fill this roll with a lot of vote solicitation. This is something that normally would only interest Council members but can be instructive as to the factions and relative power of those factions.

There are eight mayoral appointments to boards and commissions on this agenda for Council confirmations. The council normally rubber stamps whomever the mayor nominates, however last council meeting the Council, in an extremely rare move, rejected the appointment of  distinguished former Councilman Charlie Tygert to a position on the Sports Authority. I never did discover what was behind that unexpected development. I would not expect any of the nominees to be rejected, but then I would not have expected the nomination of Charlie Tygert to be rejected.


Resolutions on Public Hearing: There are two of them and both are exempting establishments for the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. I have no opinion on the merits of these applications.

There are 44 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. These are the ones of interest:

Resolution RS2018-1085  authorizes a short-term extension to the liquidity facility agreement related to the Metropolitan Government’s water and sewer commercial paper program. This is complex and I have no opinion of it but it will cost metro money. I hope the Budget and Finance Committee looks at this closely to determine of it is an appropriate, necessary and wise move.
Resolution RS2018-1088  declares eleven parcels of metro owned property surplus and transfers them to selected non-profit organizations for the purpose of  developing affordable and "work force" housing. It also grants $10.7 million from the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to subsidize the housing development. Woodbine Community Organization, Our Place Nashville, and Living Development Concepts were selected as recipients of the grants and properties. In addition ten other organization get grants to promote the development of affordable housing. This resolution requires 21 affirmative votes to be approved.

Resolution RS2018-1109 would set a public hearing for the creation of the Donelson Transit- Oriented Redevelopment Plan. This is development focused on development around the Donelson train station. To learn more about it follow this link.

Resolution RS2018-1110 concerns the Council investigation of the Mayor Barry scandal. On February 6, 2018, the Metro Council adopted Resolution No. RS2018 calling for a Council investigation. Since then, as everyone knows, Mayor Barry plead guilty to a crime and some of what the Council was to determine has already been determined. So this resolution modifies the prior resolution to clarify that the Special Committee will prepare a Report and Recommendations to the Council about its findings to include any recommendations for further action, as well as recommendations for additions or revisions to the Metropolitan Government Code of Laws, policies, or regulations. In light of what has happened, this seems appropriate.


Resolution RS2018-1111 authorizes the employment of Burch, Porter &; Johnson, PLLC as Special Counsel to the Metropolitan Council to investigate the Mayor Barry scandal. Since Mayor Barry has already plead guilty to a crime and the scope of the Council investigation will be limited as outlined in resolution 1110 above, I wonder if hiring an outside firm is even necessary at this point. This resolution does limit the payment to the firm to only 15 hours of billable time at a rate of $395 per hour. Unless they have already determined that the firm is racially diverse in addition to questioning if we even need an outside law firm at this point, expect some Black members of the Council to raise the issue of the firm's racial diversity.

Resolution RS2018-1112  adds a representative of Saint Thomas Health to the strategic planning committee established pursuant to study the future of Nashville General Hospital operations. While my preference would be that we would get totally out of the hospital business, if that is not going to happen then it is wise to bring in outside experts to advise the city how to better manage General Hospital. I support this.

Resolution RS2018-1113 request of the Metro Transit Authority that if the May 1 light rail referendum should be approved, that MTA continue to use the Davidson Transit Organization as its "sole management provider." Regardless of your opinion of the wisdom of Metro pursuing a $9 Billion light rail transit system, this is a dumb idea. Should the referendum pass, Metro should seek the best operator for the system. This resolution is designed to protect the jobs of current bus drivers. A government's job should not be to award patronage or to protect the current employment of current employees but to provide necessary services in the most cost-efficient means possible. This resolution needs to be defeated.

Resolution RS2018-1120 is a meaningless memorializing  resolution expressing the support of the Metropolitan Council for the right of public employees to unionize and urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of public employees in a case before the Supreme Court.  This is hardly worth opposing, but I think if I were serving in the Council I would ask to be listed as abstaining. I do not think the Council should be expressing itself about national issues or requesting the Supreme Court rule a certain way. The resolutions contains some verbiage about income inequality and recalls the Memphis sanitation workers strike of the 1960's and references the "I am a man" speech. Probably this will pass without discussion but someone may take an opportunity to grandstand.
Bills on First reading: There are 19 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. They are all lumped together and pass by a single vote except in rare circumstances. I do not read them until they get to second reading.

Bills on Second Reading: There are only six bills on second reading and this is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2018-1056 would regulate the on-line market for Short term rentals, that is it
would regulate websites such as Airbnb.   It would require these sites to  require a Metro permit number for each STRP application prior to placing the property on the online marketplace site. It would also require the sites to provide a detailed quarterly reports to Metro. I would oppose this if I served in the Council. The development of the quarterly report could require new computer programs or lots of man-hours for the sites. While the staff analysis does not address the issue, I would like to know by what authority Metro had to require this of a company that is not physically located in Nashville and is simply a go between facilitating the interaction of people who want to provide a place to stay and people seeking a place to stay.  What if Metro required Airbnb to have agents who were locally licensed real estate agent? Could Metro do that?  If Airbnb simply ignores this law, what can the city do about it. How would they enforce it. The Internet does not stop at the county line. 
Bills on Third Reading:  There are 31 bills on third reading and most are approved zoning bill. These are two disapproved zoning bills, Bill BL2018-1099 and Bill BL2018-1100 which will take 27 votes in favor to be approved.  Sometimes because a member may be absent or distracted or take a position that they do not vote for bills disapproved by the Planning Commission or based on their perceived merits of the bill may vote "no" or abstain. In the case of a disapproved bill an abstention is the same as a "no" vote. Sometimes it can be hard to get 27 votes for a bill. I have no opinion on the merits of the bills.

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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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jonah Goldberg predicts Trump presidency is in for more turmoil and "it won’t be pretty."

I love Jonah Goldberg's writing. Maybe it is because I almost always agree with him, but I think I would enjoy his writing if he were writing recipes or travelogues. He is my favorite political commentator of the time. He is insightful and humorous and has a way with words. Here is an example:

But you could exclude all the anonymous quotes and thinly sourced stories, and a reasonable person would still have to conclude that this White House is operating as if the dispensing nurse at the asylum accidentally grabbed the amphetamines instead of the Xanax. As the vet said when I brought my cat in for an appointment and pulled a tuxedo-wearing, rainbow-colored iguana with a monocle out of the carrier, “This is not normal.”
He is writing about the disarray in the White House. He says Trump supporters have two lines to repudiate those who point out the White House chaos.  On the one hand they say it is a brilliant strategy and is planned chaos but when that doesn't work they say it is fake news and made up.  About that he says, "(As Stormy Daniels never said to a director), you can’t have it both ways."

Jonah Goldberg lays out a possible, if not likely unpleasant future scenario, in which Democrats capture the Congress and with subpoena power they more aggressively pursue Trump scandals, more and more unpleasant stories emerge and a slew of tell-all books get published. Then, he suggest how Trump may respond and likely outcomes. He says, "one prediction I made two years ago, over and over again, was that “character is destiny.” And I’ve never been more confident that that destiny is coming, and it won’t be pretty."

I suggest reading the story for the insight but also for the joy of a master story teller laying it out for you.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Antioch students who rioted during walkout should be prosecuted

On Wednesday March 15th during the student walkout a handful of Antioch students, mostly Black students, went on a rampage and tore down an American flag and stomped on it, and jumped on a police car and damaged it and engaged in fights. Fortunately, no one was injured. This has made national news.

The walk-out was part of an event taking place all across the nation in which students walked out of their classrooms to call attention to problem of gun violence in the schools. Some of the walkouts were clearly a call for gun control, others called on adults to "do something," while others were somber remembrances of the 17 students killed in Parkland, Florida.

Whether or not school officials should have permitted and facilitated the walkouts is questionable.  My view is that school officials should have considered any walkout an unexcused absence no different than any other unexcused absence.  The school system should not be facilitating this protest no more than they should assist students who want to take time off from school to take part in a pro-life rally. In my view, schools should be neutral regarding student activism and not pick and choose which type protest will be granted favored status.

Prior to the walkout,  Metro schools had  clearly outlined the rules for students. One of the rules was that students must stay on campus. Students at Hume-Fogg violated this rule by marching from their school to the state capital to protest.  At many schools across Nashville, the school administrators helped students organize speakers and activities for the walk-outs.

To their credit, students at Antioch, the next day following the riot,  held a ceremony raising the flag, the band played the national anthem and students observed a moment of silence.  MNPS issued a statement saying "inappropriate behaviors that threaten school safety will be handled immediately and firmly in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and MNPD." I hope so. Some students have reportedly already been suspended. That is not good enough.

This type violence should not be tolerated. Cell phone evidence exist that can identify the students who engaged in violence.  I hope the police conducted investigations and gathered evidence the day this occurred and since.  While protesting is a right and burning your own American flag is protected speech, destruction of public property and assault should not be tolerated. Any student who can be identified as leading the mob action should be prosecuted to the full extend of the law and others who participated in the action should be expelled. Also, students such as those that broke the accommodating rules for the walkout and left campus should be treated as having an unexcused absence.

Unfortunately, this is not what I expect to happen. I expect only minor punishment will be handed out and the incident will be forgotten. Council members and school board members should ensure that this is not simply allowed to be ignored. The media should stay on this story and report what else, if anything, happens.

WSMV News 4
(link, link, link )

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

How will light rail work on Gallatin Road?



From Better Transit for Nashville - Watch a car go LIGHT RAIL SPEED OF 15 MPH & how other cars on Gallatin Rd. fly by; several drivers got angry. Imagine THREE LANES OF LIGHT RAIL PERMANENTLY DOWN THE MIDDLE OF GALLATIN RD FOR 6.4 MILES, for the next 50 yrs. Learn about the $9 billion Nashville transit plan & the five (5) light rail lines planned on five roadways.

This video is about the Gallatin Rd line, 6.4 miles at $789 million. See video of the street, photos, and watch a vehicle going light rail speed of 15 mph, with drivers upset, honking, flying by. Light rail is an obsolete, outdated transit model in a tech world. It is already obsolete, so why do Metro & corporate Nashville want it so badly? They get rich and benefit in 10 major ways, see them below. Light rail will at best serve 1% of commuters. The project will take 15 years and will totally alter nine (9) primary roadways: Gallatin Rd., Murf rd, Nol Rd, Charlotte Ave, NW Corridor, and four for Bus Rapid Transit: Dickerson Rd, West End Ave, 21st/Hillsboro Rd & Rosa Parks/Clarksville Highway.

Top Reasons we are against the plan:

  • The plan is not regional. 
  • Light rail is an obsolete transit model. 
  • Light rail ridership is 1% or less of commuters. 
  • Bus systems are more effective at increasing transit ridership. 
  • Light rail has failed in increasing transit ridership or reducing traffic in the cities that have it, even after 35 years, in cities with populations & pop. densities Nash will not reach for 75 years. 
  • At best, in 50 years, with light rail, Nash’s public transit ridership might go from 2% to 2.5%, likely will decrease. 
  • In 50 years, light rail will be completely obsolete. It’s obsolete now. 
  • The cost of the $9B plan per current MTA bus rider: $568,000 per rider. ($9B/15,650 riders=$568K)
  • The $9 billion cost could bankrupt Nashville. We will be financially threatened until at least 2060 with bonds, debt, four new taxes incl. highest sales tax in the nation. 
  • Light rail & BRT on nine (9) roadways will eliminate two & three lanes on already high traffic streets, a disaster. 
  • The plan includes NOTHING related to tech which is changing how we commute, travel & live. 
  • Light rail/tunnel is 70% of the costs.
  • Light rail is an outdated, 1800s transit model. 
Ten (10) ways the rich get richer through the $9B plan:
  1. They make $millions from the $9B build out. 
  2. The rail industry will make $millions from the build out. 
  3. Ongoing profits from the $300+M operations, maintenance. 
  4. Goldman Sachs & banks will make $50-100M from the bonds & financing, 
  5. Their corp./businesses will increase in value due to artificial govt. economic boost to “transit.” 
  6. Their land values near LRT/BRT will increase artificially. 
  7. They will continue to get business from Metro’s $2+ billion annual budgets. 
  8. They will continue to get tax breaks, tax incentives & sweetheart deals from Metro. 
  9. Developers will continue to get favoritism & codes changes that allow them to make more money; such as less parking requirements because “transit” is on the roadway. 
  10. Metro will get more tax revenue & have lower infrastructure costs, allowing bureaucrats to have job security for life.

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Diane Black: Legislature should say no to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

Press release, Nashville, Tenn. – Today, Diane Black released the following statement on the in-state tuition bill currently being debated by the state legislature, which would allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants:

"I have said many times that if the state legislature were to pass a bill providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, I would veto it. In-state tuition is a benefit provided to legal residents of our state, and it should stay that way.

“Too many times, so-called conservatives get elected promising to fight against liberal policies, only to embrace them once in office. It’s a shame to see our state legislature do just that, particularly without real debate or even a recorded vote in committee. It’s time for the true conservatives in the legislature to stand up and say no.”

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How much will the transit plan cost you? $1.71 a day, or $52 a month per household.

From a No tax 4 Tracks email:

The Morning Line - NoTax4Tracks

$5 a month or 17 cents a day?

They are wrong.  And, their own numbers show it.  Here’s how:

Beginning in 2018 with that first .5% increase, you will pay 76 cents a day, or $23 a month.

In 2023, with the 1% sales tax increase, the daily cost to everyone in the county will be $1.71, or $52 a month.
  1. Start with the 2023 sales tax collection from page 54 of the Let’s Move Nashville Report ($225,564,000).
  2. Take the tax revenue burden carried by Davidson County, at 80% according to the. U.S. Census American FactFinder[1] ($180,451,000).
  3. Divide by the number of County households expected in 2023 (assuming a 1.07% growth rate from six-year data), 289,830.

$225,564,000 x .80 = $180,451,000 ÷ 289,830 = $623 per household in 2023

The cost per household = $1.71 a day, or $52 a month

We found it highly amusing that Mayor Briley said yesterday Nashville would “Fail” if the $9-billion light rail plan doesn’t pass.  He’s so serious.  But think about the absurdity of that statement.

Fail?  With everything Nashville has going for it, the magic that makes Nashville the “It” city, what will cause it to not move forward is the falling into the same backward-looking trap the previous administration bought into.

Pro-Tip to the new Mayor:  Be different.  Be distinct.  Find your own voice, don’t replay the broken record of the past.

PS:  Our team at the Nashville Business Journal’s forum yesterday at the Omni shamed the other side.  We had hard facts.  The other side’s lack of detail and overall arrogance showed the audience why a vote against this light rail plan is the right vote.  We think the audience agreed with us.
   

[1] https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml — Davidson County has 37 percent of the population of the MSA and 46 percent of the payroll in retailing. The ratio of 37/46 indicates that about 80 percent of the retail activity in Davidson originals with local residents and twenty percent comes from the rest of the MSA.

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Haslam: Trump Steel Tariff Would Be 'Very Harmful'

By J.R. Lind, Nashville Patch, NASHVILLE, TN -- Add Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to the list of leaders worried about the impact of President Donald Trump's proposal for a new steel tariff.

...  "The additional costs to a lot of the manufacturers we have, particularly the automobile industry, I think could be very harmful to us. Second, you worry about a lot of reciprocal-type tariffs coming back at us that would affect a lot of the different items that we export out of Tennessee," he said. (link)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

REPRESENTATIVES LYNN & BOYD SPONSOR LEGISLATION ENDING MANDATORY EMISSIONS TESTING IN TENNESSEE

House Bill 1782 designed to ease cost burdens on Wilson County residents
(NASHVILLE) – State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) and State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) are co-sponsoring legislation that would end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee.
House Bill 1782 — which is receiving unanimous support from members of the Wilson County Legislative Delegation, as well as Tennessee General Assembly members — would apply to the hardworking men, women, and families of Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties where vehicle emissions testing is still required prior to vehicle registration or renewal…click here to read more…

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Caffeinated Conservatives meet March 17th at noon. Guest speakers Americans for Prosperity spokesmaen Sam Nienow and James Amundsen

From Caffeinated Conservatives: The next meeting of Caffeinated Conservatives will be March 17th at noon. The location is at Common Grounds in Old Hickory, 1053 Donelson Ave.   Our speakers are members of Americans for Prosperity, both Sam Nienow  and  James Amundsen will be there!

As you know the Transit Tax is still being pushed by Mayor David Briley.  Our speaker will address this subject and give us insights into what other taxes are being pushed by anti-conservative forces.

Terry

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Victory! Citizens for the Future of Ft. Negley Park

From Citizens for the Future of Ft. Negley Park, Mar 14, 2018

Friends,

What a way to end the first week of the administration of Mayor David Briley! His first major policy act as our city's Mayor was to restore trust in our Metro Government by recognizing the decades of promises and community meetings which inspired the Plan to Play and which promised this land would be a protected, historic, city park of national & international consequence.

Today I delivered to him, at Ft. Negley Park, every name and every comment received in support of this petition. Every heartfelt word that, no matter how hard we tried before, had not been heard.

Today he promised that we, all of Nashville, are a part of the future of this parkland and that we dream a bigger dream. He invited us to give our ideas and contribute to the future of this space - and asked the Parks department to lead that process. For that, we declare victory!

Thank you for reading and re-posting and sharing this petition we started on July 15, 2017. Thank you for finding one more neighbor and one more friend to believe we could do better. Thank you, for keeping the light of hope alive, even in moments of complete darkness, for our Ft. Negley Park. This is Nashville's Statue of Liberty. This is a space that inspires activism, and change, and hope. This land asks us to look hard at our past, our present, and our future.

Thank you for walking with us.

In deepest gratitude,
Alice Ganier Rolli

Mayor Briley Announces Plan to Make Fort Negley Park Whole Again

Metro press release, March 13, 2018- 

Funds to demolish Greer Stadium will be allocated next month while Metro Parks undertakes update to Fort Negley Master Plan

Nashville Mayor David Briley announced today that he will seek funds to demolish the old Greer Stadium to start the process of restoring that land to a park as originally intended.

“Fort Negley Park is a historic treasure for the Nashville community that has the potential to be even better once we incorporate the Greer Stadium property back into the park,” said Mayor Briley. “We have a unique opportunity to bring the community together to design a park that will honor the sacrifice of the slaves who died building this fort while providing active park space in a growing neighborhood that will be enjoyed by residents for generations to come.”

The estimated $1 million needed to demolish Greer Stadium and start turning the land into a park would come from the city’s 4% reserve fund through a request to the Metro Council in April. Following the demolition, the property will be seeded with grass while the Metro Historical Commission produces a Cultural Landscape Report that will help inform decisions by the Metro Parks Board about how best to turn this space into an active park that honors the history of the site.

“We look forward to engaging in a productive dialogue to create a more dynamic park landscape for neighborhoods out the 8th Avenue South corridor,” said George Anderson, chair of the Metro Parks Board.

In 2007, an advisory committee assembled by the Metro Parks Department updated the 1996 Fort Negley Master Plan to propose demolishing the former Nashville Sounds stadium once it was no longer needed and restoring the land to a park, as it was before the stadium was built in the 1970s. Regular use of Greer Stadium ended after the Sounds moved to First Tennessee Park following the 2014 baseball season.

Mayor Briley has asked the Parks Department to update the Fort Negley Master Plan once again to reflect the recreational needs of our city in a way that honors the rich history of this site, which was the largest inland stone fortification built during the Civil War, constructed after Nashville surrendered to the Union Army.

“We greatly appreciate Mayor Briley’s commitment to a vibrant network of parks and greenways that will enrich and improve our quality of life in Nashville,” said Monique Odom, director of the Metro Parks Department.

In 2017, Mayor Megan Barry’s administration sought public-private partnership proposals to redevelop the stadium into a mixed-use property that was ultimately awarded to the Cloud Hill Partnership. Following months of procedural delays, the Barry administration ended plans for private development after an archaeological review found considerable undisturbed soils, which the historic record indicates could contain the remains of slaves and freed African-Americans who were impressed into building Fort Negley.

“While the Cloud Hill proposal could be a great idea on another property in Nashville, the highest and best use of this site is to restore it to a historical park that can be enjoyed by Nashvillians and visitors alike,” said Mayor Briley. “I am grateful for all of the Nashvillians who have expressed a passion for doing just that and who will lend their voices and support in the coming months to make this vision a reality.”

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