Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Metro Council: The good, the bad and the term limited. Opportunities for new faces.

There is no such thing as a conservative or liberal pot hole and most of what the council deals with are things like pot holes. Nevertheless, the ideology of the Metro Council matters a great deal. The first way it matters is in insuring our city is financially well-managed.  The city has taken on a tremendous amount of debt and Nashville is the city with the most long-term financial debt in the nation. Not even counted in our debt obligations is health care obligations to Metro retirees. We have no trust fund for this obligation.

While we are not in a serious crisis yet we have laid the ground work to have a serious crisis should something happen, such as another 9-11, such as another great recession, another flood like that of 2010, or if we should lose a sports franchise. It may be that we could face a financial crisis even without something momentous casing it. If Nashville's growth just slows and we are no longer the hottest city in America and if property values began to moderate, we may be unable to pay our bills without massive tax increases. We are acting as if the good times will last forever.

Also, we have been irresponsible by letting our reserve fund balances drop below recommended levels. Should we have an economic downturn and need to dip into a rainy-day fund and not have the sufficient reserves, then bond rating agencies could lower our bond rating, causing borrowing to cost us much more. With an increase in the cost of borrowing, it would take a greater portion of Metro's tax receipts to pay debt service.

Also, we have handed out a lot of corporate welfare in the form of tax increment financing (TIF) or Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) or other enticements, so while we have had tremendous growth, we have not seen that growth swell the city coffers the way it should.

Also, in my view, our priorities are wrong. We fund a lot of frivolous, unnecessary stuff while skimping on police, fire, and schools. Our schools are next to the worst in the state and getting worse, not better. We need a council that will prioritize spending. We have to make choices.

Another way, that it matters who serves in the Metro Council is that our Council occasionally passes memorializing resolutions favoring illegal immigration, opining on the parts per million of acceptable CO2 in the air, urging an end to the mythical gender pay gap, and any number of other liberal feel-good measures. These do not have the force of law but I do not like the Council expressing itself on national policy best left to our elected US representatives.

Other ways in which the Council promotes a liberal agenda is by efforts to thwart the will of the people by destroying the fair grounds. In a public referendum the public voted to keep the fairground by a vote of about 70% yet the city still seems determined to chip away at it.

Below is a chart showing how members of the Council voted on two crucial issue and showing who is "term limited" and ineligible to run for reelection. The two issues in this chart shows how members of the Council voted on a proposal to raise property taxes and how they voted on  making the ballot language on the transit referendum reflect the true cost of the proposal. I view these two votes as the most important votes cast by members of this Council.                          

District Term
 Limited?
Current
Council member
voted for tax increase Voted for
 Transit 
Transparency *

1



Hall

not serving

not serving
2
Decosta Hastings  yes  yes
3
Brenda Haywood yesyes
4 Yes Robert Swope NOyes
5
Scott Davis NONO
6 Yes Bret Withers yesNO
7
Anthony Davis  yesNO
8 Yes Nancy Van Reese NONO
9 Yes Bill Pridemore yesNO
10
Doug Pardue yesyes
11 Yes Larry Hager NOyes
12 yes Steve Glover NOyes
13
Holly Huzzo NOyes
14
Kevin Rhoten NO yes
15
Jeff Syracuse NONO
16
Mike Freeman NONO
17
Colby Sledge yes NO
18 Yes Burkley Allen yesNO
19
Freddie O'Connell NOyes
20
Mary Corolyn Roberts NOyes
21
Ed Kendall yesxxx
22 Yes Sheri Weiner NOyes
23
Nina Johnson yesyes
24
Kathleen Murphy yesNO
25
Russ Pulley NO NO
26
Jeremy Elrod NONO
27 Yes Davette BlalockNO xx
28
Tanaka Vercher NOyes
29 Yes Karen Johnson yesNO
30 Yes Jason Pottsyes NO
31 Yes Fabian Bedneyes yes
32 Yes Jacobia Dowellyes yes
33
Antionette Lee yesNO
34
Angie Henderson NOyes
35
Dave Rosenberg NOyes




At Large
Jim Shulman NOyes
At Large
Erica Gilmore yesyes
At Large
Bob Mendes yesyes
At Large
Sharron Hurt yesyes
At Large
Jon Cooper NOyes




* On February 6, the Metro Council voted to approve Mayor Barry's transit improvement program (Bill BL2017-1031 (as amended) which would put the referendum question on the ballot. As presented the bill listed the price tag as  $5.3 billion. On the night of final passage, the bill was amended to reflect the true cost of $8.5 billion. This column is a list of how council member voted on that amendment. Those voting "yes" voted for the referendum to reflect the $8.5 billion cost.

The Fairgrounds
Other important votes that indicate who the "good" councilmen are is  RESOLUTION RS2017-910, the $225 million bond issue for the $275 million soccer deal. It passed by a vote of 31 to 6.  Those voting against the resolution were John Cooper, Steve Groper, Holly Houzo, Larry Hagar, Mina Johnson, and Dave Rosenberg

Auto Emission Testing
Resolution RS2018-1171  was a resolution which would continue the auto emissions testing program in Nashville even though the State says we may discontinue it, passes. Voting No (7): Cooper, Swope, Hagar, Glover, Rhoten, Roberts, and Rosenberg.

Civil Forfeiture
Another important vote concerned civil liberties. RESOLUTION RS2017-920 approved two agreements between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Metro Nashville Police Department. These agreements govern the participation of DEA Nashville District Office Task force participants in the United States Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program. In my view civil forfeiture is an evil practice in which metro should not participate. Both liberal and conservative civil liberty advocates included the ACLU and organization such as The Institute for Justice oppose civil forfeiture.  Dave Rosenberg sponsored the bill. Unfortunately it was approved by a vote of 16 to 15 with four abstentions.

Those voting against it were Cooper, Anthony Davis, Kindall, Blalock, Shulman, VanReece,Mina Johnson, Bedne, Scott Davis, Allen, Murphy, Rosenberg, Withers, O'Connell and Elrod.

The above is only a handful of votes the council has cast in the last three years out of hundreds, but I think these are some of the most important to distinguish who are the "good" council members who deserve to be reelected. Those who I think meet the criteria as a "good" councilman have their name and district highlighted in green in the above chart. Some of these I have highlighted have cast other votes I disagree with, but these I think are some of the most important votes.

The members highlighted in red in the above chart are the council members who I hope can be defeated if they chose to run for reelection. Those whose names are not highlighted, have a mixed record and I am undecided as to my opinion of them. Some of this categorizing of who the "good" councilmen are is subjective, of course.

In any event we have a very liberal council. We avoided a tax increase this year, but I suspect many who voted against raising taxes will be in favor of a tax increase next year. I am sure the reasoning of some of the council members in voting against a tax increase was that it would lessen the chances of the transit referendum passing and some simply followed the leadership of Mayor Briley.  The Council has never passed a tax increase not advocated by a mayor so voting against a tax increase was not a courageous act but a relatively easy vote.

Moving forward, I want to see more a more conservative council. We must get our financial house in order or we will face a crisis down the road. Also, if we do not economize and prioritize we will face a situation in which our essential pubic safety services are stressed and emergency response time will increase.

In saying I would like to see "conservatives" elected to the Metro Council, I am using the term very loosely.  Of course, I wish we had a council of all Republicans who were well-grounded in  conservative principles, but that is not going to happen. I would be pleased if we had people elected who were not likely to vote for a tax increase, who wanted to reduce corporate welfare, who respected private property rights, and who wanted to save the fairgrounds.  You will notice that I have colored John Cooper green in the above chart. He is a Democrat and the brother of Congressman Jim Cooper but he is a fiscally responsible member of the Council. He is a "good" councilman. When it comes to seats on the Council I really don't care what the person thinks about President Trump, or NATO or moving the embassy in Israel, or any other number of national or social issues. They can be liberal on the big issues if they are conservative on the local issues and I will be happy. They can be a Democrat but if they vote the right way on local issues, I don't care about their party label.

If you are reading this and ever thought about running for pubic office, I encourage you to think seriously about running for council. The best opportunity is to run for one of the seats where the  incumbent is term limited and ineligible to seek reelection. However, if you live in a district where the incumbent voted for a tax increase and voted against transparency on the transit ballot initiative and voted against the fairground and you believe those votes were contrary to the way the voters in his district feel about the issues, the incumbent may be vulnerable.

In addition to how an incumbent voted on crucial issue however are other factors that may make an incumbent vulnerable. The two that I think may be as important as how they vote on the weighty issues is their responsiveness and availability and how they handled zoning issues.  If people complain that the incumbent is arrogant, or they never see him or he doesn't return phone calls, he may be vulnerable.  Unfortunately, sometimes members of the council are blamed and often unfairly blamed for zoning that occurred in their district. If there is widespread dissatisfaction with an incumbent due to dissatisfaction with rezoning that has occurred in a community, the incumbent may be vulnerable.

The next election for Metro Council will be August 2019 and if there is a runoff in any district the runoff will be between the top two contenders the following month. Elections for Council  are non-partisan.  While August 2019 is a long way off, it is not too early to start laying the ground work now, especially if one is not well connected to donors or if one has weak credentials.  Please do not let lack of money or a weak resume deter you from considered a run for Council.  Fortunately, Council district are still small enough to where a person of modest means who is willing to work hard can still get elected.

If you are someone who is predisposed to oppose tax increases, who believes we must improve our cities financial management, who is concerned about corporate welfare, who believes in government transparency, and  has supported saving the fairgrounds, then you may be the type of person needed to run for the Metro Council. If you would like to discuss the potential for mounting a campaign, tips on how to raise campaign money, how to mount a winning campaign strategy and more, I would like to talk to you and introduce you to some people who might help you.  Please email me at Rodwilliams47@yahoo.com.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence endorses Diane Black for Governor

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Today, Vice President Mike Pence endorsed Diane Black for Governor shoring up support for the true conservative candidate in the race.

".@DianeBlackTN is running for Governor of TN & a strong supporter of #MAGA agenda of tax cuts, military $$ & a champion of right to life policies. There are great candidates running but Diane has been my friend for years, we served together in the House, & she has m
y support!" 
 

"I am honored that Vice President Pence would choose to support me in a state like Tennessee that overwhelmingly supported him and President Trump in 2016," Black said. "Even before he became Vice President, Pence was an exceptional leader for the state of Indiana, leading with his faith and values. I am proud to call him a friend and honored to have him behind me in my race for governor."

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

These are the candidates running for school board in district 6.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I don't live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them. This is different from the 2012 school board election in which there were forums and lots of money spend and lots of attention paid to the school board races. Why there is so little interest being paid to school board elections this election season I don't know since our schools are getting worse instead of better.

There are four candidates seeking the school board seat in district 6. All four candidates are African American and all have impressive credentials. District 6 is southern Antioch or Cain Ridge and straddles both side of  I-24 north of the county line. Tyese Hunter is the incumbent seeking reelection and she has three challengers.

Below is information about the candidates gleamed from a recent Tennessean article which you can find at this link and information from candidates website, Facebook posting and a few other sources.  

Tyese Hunter
Tyese Hunter is the incumbent. She is married, has three children, is the daughter of a retired police sergeant, is a licensed speech pathologist and has served in the US Navy reserved.  Her name was on the May ballot for Juvenile Clerk Court but she dropped out of the race after her daughter, who has a disability, became ill. She said she needed to make her daughter's health her priority.  

She serves as budget and finance chair of the school board. She is very supportive of Dr. Joseph.  She is supportive of charter schools.  In April 2016 she had guest editorial published in the Tennessean titled "Nashville School Board must regain focus, accept facts." In this article she addressed the generally poor quality of Metro Schools and how the gap between the bad schools and the good schools is widening. In this article she writes,
While most children in Nashville are falling behind, there are a handful of schools reversing this bleak trend. The report identified 10 “gap closing” schools – meaning schools that are actually reversing the achievement gap. Notably, 6 of the 10 gap closing schools are public charter schools.  These non-profit, open enrollment public schools serve about 10 percent of our students, but represent 60 percent of our best schools. ... Contrary to what some of my anti-charter colleagues on the school board claim, when you factor in these other measures, charter schools look even more promising.
I am an advocate of charter schools and Tyese Hunter's outspoken support of charter schools is a plus. She has the endorsement of  the Metro Nashville Education Association which is the teacher's union, the Service Employees International Union, and Nashvillians for an Effective School Board. While I do not view these endorsements as reasons I would support someone, I know that organizations such as unions often go with someone they think is likely to win because they do not want to make powerful enemies. So, while these endorsements are not a factor in her favor in my view, I would not vote against her because she got these endorsements.

For more information on Tyese Hunter you can visit her website at this link her twitter feed at this link and she has a Facebook page but you want gain much insight about her from visiting it. To see a Tennessee Tribune video interview with Ms.Hunter and candidate Earl Lattimore, follow this link.

Fran Bush
Fran Bush is a married mother of five children, three currently enrolled in Metro public schools and two who graduated Metro schools. She owns Model Kids Learning Academy, a childcare center. She said she is also a longtime board member of her homeowner's association. Bush said she isn't opposed to charter schools and that every family deserves a choice in where their kids get an education. But she said the district must do a better job of managing the cost of charter schools.  She has criticized Joseph for cutting Reading Recovery program out of the budget. My view on this issue is that this particular reading program was not cost effective. It was very expensive and did not show impressive results. You can read more about this program at this link. Bush has advocate adding metal detectors to schools. I don't know if this is practical or not and it would obviously be very expensive but given the tragedies of recent school shootings, I would not criticize a person for proposing it. 

Fran Bush has no endorsements.  You can visit her campaign Facebook page at this link, To see a Tennessee Tribune interview with the candidate, follow this link.

Earl Lattimore
Earl Lattimore has one daughter who attends LEAD Academy High School. He is supportive of Dr.Joseph's vision and says Joeph has not been on the job long enough to prove himself. He has worked with MNPS since 2012 and is currently a consultant for the state Department of Education. He says he takes middle ground approach to charter schools. "I am not going to say I am a proponent, but I do believe in choice," he said. You can visit his campaign Facebook page at this link. To see a Tennessee Tribune video interview with Ms.Hunter and candidate Earl Lattimore, follow this link.

Aaron McGee the executive director of Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee, which is a faith-based
Aaron McGee
nonprofit that provides tutoring services to kids. McGee received an endorsement from the Power of 10 Political Action Committee, which recruits, funds and supports African Americans and other ethnic minorities seeking local and state elections. The WPLN voters guide, attributes these positions to McGee:
  • Will focus on overcrowding and transportation. “We’ve got to have transportation that matches the growth we are experiencing in Antioch.”
  • Won’t abandon Joseph, wants to help him get results by creating a clear framework.
To view his campaign Facebook page follow this link.

The above is all I know about the candidates. If I lived in District 6, I would hope I would know more. It really does look like they are all good candidates. Some of them have advanced degrees and have relevant job experiences and appear to be accomplished people. If any reader of this blog or Facebook post has a candidate they are supporting in this race, please feel free to leave a comment and tell who you are supporting and why.  If you have a good reason for favoring one of the candidates over another, I would not want to influence you to change your mind. Given my limited knowledge of the candidates, if I were voting in this election I would probably vote for the incumbent Tyese Hunter.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

In school board district 8, Adam Barese appears to be the less bad candidate.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I do not live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them. This is different from the 2012 school board election in which there was forums and lots of money spend and lots of attention paid to the school board races. Why there is so little interest being paid to school board elections this election season I don't know; our schools are getting worse instead of better.
School board races are important. Some people take the attitude that the only people who should care about school board elections are people with children in public schools.  I strongly disagree. The quality of our schools and how much of our tax dollars they spend affects us all. It impacts home values, taxation, crime, incarceration rates and more. If I lived in a district with a school board race, I would educate myself on the candidates and vote in that election.  The School Board spends the bulk of Metro's tax money and most of our schools are low performing.  Nashville has a lot of good things going for it but the quality of our schools is not one of them. While the population of Davidson County is growing, school enrollment is shrinking. Apparently, parents are enrolling their children in private schools or the population moving to Nashville are skewed toward people people without children and those with children are moving to surrounding counties instead of Nashville.

In selecting who I would vote for there are certain factors I would consider. School board elections are non-partisan but if a candidate's political affiliation can be determined, I would vote for a Republican over a Democrat. If a candidates political ideology can be determined I would prefer a conservative over a liberal.  I would usually prefer an educated candidate over a less educated candidate. There are exceptionally capable people with only a high school education, of course, but in general, if I had limited knowledge of the candidates and other factors were equal, I would vote for the better educated person. I would tend to vote for someone who calls for increased efficiency and wise use of current resources over someone who calls for an increase in the school budget.  I would support someone who supports school choice over someone who opposes charter schools.

There are some factors that would not sway me to vote for a particular candidate and some that would be negative factors. Some candidates tout as a qualification that they have children in public schools. That does not carry weight with me.  School budgets and school quality affect us all.  If a person has a child in private school that is not a reason to vote against them, the way I see it.  Everyone has to do what is best for their family.  The person with a child in private schools may be better aware of just how bad our schools are and may be committed to making them better.  Also, being childless or single is not a negative in my view.  I want the kind of people who I would want to serve as Board of Directors  of a company.  Being wise decision makers may not be dependent on weather or not one is a parent.

Having been a teacher or married to a teacher or having teachers in one's family is not necessarily a factor that would make me vote for someone. The former teacher or person with teachers in their family may be biased in favor of more spending. They may be less objective than someone else.  Getting the endorsement of the MNEA which is the teachers union, or getting the endorsement of the SEIU would not be a disqualifying factor but would make me less likely to vote for someone; not more. If a candidate got a union endorsement then they are probably committed to higher taxes and more school funding.

There are two candidates running for school board in district 8. District 8 is the district that includes Hillsboro, Antioch, McGavock and Pearl Cohn. I know neither of the candidates. There was a debate between the two candidate on July 19th but I did not attend it and have no news from the debate. The incumbent, Mary Pierce is not seeking reelection. Today The Tennessean ran an article profiling the candidates. You can read the article at this link. Another website called Rover provided a little more information on the candidates. From information gleamed from the Tennessean article and the candidate's websites and a couple other sources, here is what I know about the candidates.

Adam Barese

Adam Barese is the owner of a medical distribution company and he has two children in Metro public schools. He serves as a PTO treasurer at Glendale Elementary. He is a critic of Dr. Shawn Joseph and says it is time for him to go. I like that. He advocates more autonomy for school principals, which is something I support. He has only raised $1350 while his opponent has raised $37,000. That is not a good sign. Knocking more doors can be more effective than raising lots of money, but I have no idea how hard either of the candidates have been working. He says he wants a budget for schools that will focus on proper pay for teachers and other underpaid school employees. On his Facebook page he says the failure of the Metro Council to pass a property tax increase was "disappointing." Prior to the Council action on the budget, he urged people to call their councilman and lobby for a tax increase. I cannot find where he has taken a position on school choice. To visit his campaign Facebook page follow this link. To view his campaign website, follow this link.

Gini Pupo-Walker
Gini Pupo-Walker is a former educator and works at Conexión Américas as the senior director of education policy. This organization provides a lot of worthwhile services that helps immigrants assimilate and improve their economic well being. Unfortunately, the agency also engages in advocacy on behalf of illegal immigrants. While I would not automatically vote against someone because they had made a contribution to this organization or because they worked for the organization, doing so does raise a red flag.  Her position on charter schools is nuanced. She says the district must better manage its charter schools and hold them accountable and she says,“I understand the impact they are having on neighborhood schools. They’re here to stay and we need to be a good actor." She seems supportive of Dr. Joseph. Like her opponent she advocated for a tax increase. She has the endorsement of the Metro Nashville Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, the Nashvillians for an Effective School Board, the Equity Alliance and the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund. To view her website, follow this link

I know no more about the candidates in this race than what I have reported above. The endorsements received by Pupo-Walker is a reason I could not support her candidacy. Adam Barese appears to be the less bad candidate.






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Should Bill Lee's contributions to Democras disqualify him.

Mark Rogers
by Mark Rogers, from a Facebook post, April 20, 2018 - If you sincerely believe that Bill Lee's contributions to a few Democrats are such a huge issue, please answer a couple of questions for me.

1) If donating to Democrats is unacceptable that it disqualifies a candidate and all such donations are public record and easily accessible on-line, why are two well-funded and heavily staffed opposing campaigns acting as if it took the Rogue 1 team, fighting Imperial storm troopers, Darth Vader and Voldemort {in a special crossover episode} to make this known? 

Early voting has started and Lee's opponents are blasting this 'news' as if they just got word. The truth is that they have known all along but didn't say anything because they didn't think it mattered to voters. And, as someone who believes in the People, I think they were correct. But now, with early voting going full stream and Lee surging in the polls, they are trying to convince voters that this is existential. Well, it isn't. If it were such a high crime, they would have made it an issue far earlier. There is a rule in campaigns that the later you raise something like this, the less voters think it matters and the more they feel you are trying to manipulate them.

2) If an occasional donation to a Democrat is such a moral sin, shouldn't that apply to everyone? I can think of a New York City developer and reality tv host who donated to Senator Clinton a few years ago. I imagine all sorts of Republicans have donated to Democrats for business reasons.
The only reason it matters here is that Bill Lee is a threat to upend the careful plans of two rivals. And they are turning a mole hill into a mountain in desperation.

Mark Rogers is a long-time Republican activist and commentator.  His experiences range from campaign strategy to policy development to speech writing.

Rod's Comment: I wholeheartedly agree with my friend Mark Rogers about this. Bill Lee gave $250  to Karl Dean's Nashville mayoral campaign and $500 to Megan Barry's mayoral campaign and $1,000 to Bredesen's reelection campaign for governor. Over the years, according to a Tennessean report, Lee has given over $160,000 in political contributions and the overwhelming bulk of it went to support Republicans and conservative causes.  Also, it should be noted that while Dean and Barry are Democrats, the office they were seeking was non-partisan. As governor, Bredesen governed more conservatively than the Republican he replaced.  I wish Lee had not given money to Democrats but this is insignificant and would not impact my vote one bit.

Diane Black is making a big deal out of this non-issue, yet she is working hard to align herself closely with Donald Trump who gave large amounts to lots of Democrats. When she attacks Trump for contributing to Democrats, then I will believe she really believes what she is saying about Lee.  The amounts Lee gave is paltry. It won't buy much influence. It won"t assure you get a government contract. I'm not even sure that for $250 you can get your phone calls returned.

The issue that concerns me in all of this is that people like Donald Trump and Bill Lee feel they have to make contributions for "business reasons."  In a more perfect democracy, government favors or access would not be for sale.

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The Tennessean has provided great coverage of each of the candidates for governor.

The Tennessean has a liberal editorial policy and sometimes conservatives disparage the newspaper as biased. I criticize the paper for what they don't report, but I think that may be a function of being understaffed rather than bias. I often think their news coverage is shallow and weak but occasionally they cover an issue in depth and do a good job. 

I am often surprised at the number of otherwise informed people who seem to care about local government and their community but who do not subscribe to The Tennessean. I know sometimes it seems like there is not much news in newspapers and they may not be worth reading but I think that may be more reflective of readers who do not care much for real news, rather than newspapers that do not want to report the news.  Unfortunately, as readership of  newspapers fall, newspapers have smaller staffs and can report less news. I honestly think Americans have shorter attention spans than in the past and they want large pictures and lots of graphics rather than in depth news coverage.

Despite the availability of lots of sources for news, I think we may be less informed, especially about local issues, than ever before. When I served in the Council in the decade of the 80's we had two vibrant newspapers competing for the story as well as the three local TV stations and WSM and WLAC radio with actual reporters digging for news. Now it seems the radio and TV news contains less real news. If you take away the sports, car wrecks, shootings and weather there is not a lot left.

With social media and bloggers you may get lots of opinions but not much news.  Facebook is no substitute for a daily newspaper. To have the dirt and corruption exposed and complex issues explained you need paid reporters whose job it is to report the news. I think the disappearance of newspapers and declining readership does not bode well for our democracy.

The Tennessean has provided great coverage on the race for governor. If you want to know the position of each of the candidates on medicaid expansion, or immigration or transportation policy or any number of other issues or you want to fact-check an attack ad, the Tennessean has provided good coverage.

I could not be more pleased with the Tennessean than I am with the profiles the paper has written on each of the major Republican candidates for governor. The profiles tell the life story of each of the candidates and something of their position on the issues.  They do not demean or mock or make snide remarks about any of them. They do address the negatives of each candidate but I think the reporting of each in these profiles has been insightful, balanced and fair. In fact, in each case it almost seems like the reporter actually likes the person they are covering.  If you want to know more about the candidates than just the info you get in a 30 second commercial, read these:

 Randy Boyd, a former economic development chief, hopes to 'come back and finish the job' as governor, by Tyler Whetstone.
 Diane Black says her aim is to 'protect our Tennessee values,' by Joel Ebert.

Beth Harwell says she is best positioned to 'hit the ground running' as next governor, by Joel Ebert.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Please vote for Dr. Brent Moody, Republican running in District 56

In District 56, I am supporting Dr. Brent Moody.


Dr. Brent Moody and his family live, work and love being a part of Nashville. Dr. Moody’s professional life is dedicated to treating and serving his cancer patients daily. Dr. Brent Moody and his family have made their home in Tennessee’s 56th district since 2003.

Brent was born in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Following graduation, he attended medical school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and completed a combined 7 years of post-graduate medical training in Saint Louis, Missouri at the Washington University School of Medicine and the Laser & Dermatologic Surgery Center.

Brent, his wife Shelby, and their two daughters moved to Nashville when he served as a staff surgeon at Vanderbilt Hospital. Later, Brent opened a private surgery practice with Shelby, an accountant, helping manage the practice. This was truly a small family run business. Brent and Shelby grew the practice from just three employees to nine full-time nurses and support staff. By prioritizing care for patients and staying on the cutting edge of medical research, Brent successfully treated thousands of patients, many with potentially fatal cancers.

After growing the practice, the Moodys merged with a larger medical group, allowing Brent the opportunity to collaborate with other physicians and caregivers. Brent has the all too rare background of experience in medicine and small business. Through it all, Brent understands first-hand the value of small businesses as well as the challenges they face.

Brent serves as an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, paints landscapes and seascapes and is a huge college basketball fan. His philosophy of life can be summed up as ‘Helping people in their time of need is an amazing responsibility and incredible privilege.’ Brent wants to bring his passion for finding solutions to difficult problems to Tennessee Government.

From Dr. Moody: “My political philosophy is straightforward. Government needs to be small, smart and serve the people and guided by conservative principles. We need serious minded problem solvers to make sure Tennessee continues to succeed. Tennessee needs conservative commonsense legislators who can analyze facts, understand the data and make good decisions while all the while remembering that people have the final say. This is the same approach that I have used to serve my cancer patients. Listen first, analyze second, act third and then assess the results.” 

For more information on Brent Moody, visit BRENT MOODY FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE.

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What happened at the July 17th Council meeting: Bill trampling property rights deferred again, call to divest investment in private prison firms passes, Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan delayed, ....


Above is the video of the Council meeting of July 17th.. To see my commentary on the agenda and a link to the agenda and the Council staff analysis follow this link.

Following the prayer and pledge there are a couple memorializing presentations and then candidates running for office get to introduce themselves, stating their name and office they are seeking. Following that, the Council takes up the confirmation of mayoral appointments to boards and commission and all are approved without discussion.

Public Comments begins at timestamp 20:30 in the video. This is new for the council. To speak one must sign up in advance and then may speak for two minuets on any topic. Five people take the opportunity to address the council. The first speaker slams Core Civic and denounces "systemic racism where incarceration has been aligned with profit." Following the first speaker there was a round of applause from the audience. I think the vice mayor should have banged the gavel and admonished the audience to refrain from applause, but she did not. The second speaker also spoke on the same topic urging the council to pass Resolution RS2018-1309. One speaker urges the council to not build the soccer stadium at the fairgrounds and gets emotional while speaking and says the plan for the stadium and ten acres mixed use development will kill the fairgrounds. Another speaker criticizes the MTA and says it is being mismanaged. The comment period is concluded at timestamp 32.

Resolutions: Only the resolution listed below is of much interest. Most are routine things and most pass on the consent agenda.

Resolution RS2018-1309 request that the investment committee of the Metropolitan Employee Benefit Board divest funds invested with entities engaged in the operation of private prisons. . Private prisons have become a liberal target but they save cities and states money and are usually safer and better managed than government prisons. CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, is a Nashville-based national private prison company. Memorializing resolutions express an opinion of the Council, are not signed by the mayor and have no force in law. However, since the Council is in a position to take stronger action if they wish, this resolution can have real impact. This carries more weight than when the Council opines on a national or state issue. Councilman Gilmore says private prisons violate human rights. Surprise, Surprise! It is revealed that Metro has no money invested in private prison companies and hasn't since 2016. The resolution is amended to say that in the future the city will not invest in companies that manage prisons. After some discussion, the resolution passes by a vote of 20 in favor, 3 against, 11 abstentions and 6 not voting. To see the discussion see timestamp 48:46 - 1:21:43.

Councilman Glover attempts to offer a resolution concerning the pending soccer related development at the fairgrounds.  I do not know the specific content of the resolution but Councilman Glover is a champion of the fairgrounds. To consider a late filed resolution requires unanimous approval to suspend the rules and there was objection, so his resolution was not considered.
Bills on Second Reading: The only bills of interest are three bills that were previously on Second Reading and deferred to this meeting.
Bill BL2018-1200 would require that if hotels or roominghouses accept cash payment, they must also accept at least one other form of payment such as check or credit cards. It passes on a voice vote.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 proposed new rules for scooter prompted by the

arrival of Bird Scooter here in Nashville. It would require new fees including a fee of $35 per scooter. This does a lot in addition to a money grab.. This is deferred one meeting at the request of the sponsor.

Bill BL2018-1203  which also deals with scooters, in-line skates, and roller skates is also deferred one meeting.

Bills on Third Reading:
The Ridge at Antioch
Bll BL2016-219 is the bill to trample private property rights and kill an affordable housing development. It is deferred one meeting. This bill would cancel an approved Planned Unit Development and down zone a persons property without their consent. This effort to pass this bill has been pending since June of 2016.

If this bill passes the State of Tennessee has threatened to withhold future tax credits used to help finance affordable housing developments. Should this bill pass and the owner wants to continue the fight, he probably has a winnable lawsuit to pursue.  This would most likely be considered a "taking" of property.  When government takes property the owner should be compensated and it should only be taken for a public purpose.  Government taking of property does not have to mean taking title.  To take away a right that one previously enjoyed may be a "taking" of property. It is shameful that this threat to take property continues to hang over the owner's head. This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and will require 27 votes to pass when it comes back up. For more on this story see this  link and this.
Bill BL2018-1099  is a disapproved zoning bill in Scot Davis' district. He substitutes the bill for a version approved by the Planning Commission and the bill passes.

Substitute BL2018-1139 (as amended) is the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan. It is deferred one meeting.  This has been worked on for a long time and is a complex bill.It would guide redevelopment around the Music City Star Donelson train stop and contains an affordable housing component. New authority from the state provides for this type of designation and this will be the first time that authority has been used.  This development hit a bureaucratic snag explained in this Tennessean article: $300M Donelson development stalled by oversight dispute.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1157  establishes a 50 foot floodway buffer along the Cumberland River and prohibits variances.  It passes. This is an attempt to address a real problem but this appears to me to be the wrong approach. If is not the nearness to the river bank that impacts flood potential but the elevation above the flood bank.

Bill BL2018-1182,  a disapproved zoning bill in Karen Johnson's district. It is deferred one meeting. 

Substitute Bill BL2018-1197 (as amended)
is withdrawn. This was for a food waste recycling facility that would "digest" food waste and turn it into mulch and compost. This would have been an innovative means of handling food waste and diverting it from landfills. There was community opposition to the location of the facility.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I am voting for Randy Boyd


by Rod Williams,  July 31, 2018 - A few days ago in a post titled,  Who I am voting for, for Governor in the Republican primary,  I said that I was still undecided for whom I would vote and was skipping early voting because I had not yet made up my mind.  I laid out some pros and cons of each of the candidates and expressed by disgust with candidates Black and Boyd for the tone of the campaign. I said that I would not vote for Lee because I did not think now was time for an outsider with no government experience. That left me contemplating a vote for Beth Harwell, who it appears is so far behind she is hardly in the running, or simply not voting.  A vote for Harwell would be a protest vote and I also defended the action of not voting.

Since that post, Diane Black has sunk to a new low in dirty campaigning by an unfair attack on Bill Lee. The ad exploits a legal dispute in 2009 with an Army National Guard member who claimed wrongful termination. A look at the facts looks like Lee company did nothing wrong. The Guard member was among several other employees laid off during the economic downturn in 2008 and Lee company worked to help him find the employee other work. You can read about it here.

With Diane hitting a new low in dirty campaigning, my thinking has changed and I actually want to vote against her.  I regret coming to this decision.  I always liked Black.  I was familiar with her service in the State legislature and the Congress. When the campaign for governor began, she was my preferred candidate. However, as she has engaged in gutter politics, my support for her has waned. I have come to the conclusion that she is not a very nice person.

It is not that Randy Boyd has clean hand either. He has attacked Black. Some of the ads are in the nature of the pot calling the kettle Black. Both Black and Boyd have a mixed record on immigration but have attacked each other over the topic, despite immigration not being an issue the governor can do much about. Boyd has engaged in criticism of Lee for having made a campaign contribution to Megan Barry despite Boyd himself having contributed money to the campaign of the mayor of Knoxville who is a Democrat.

I am not always opposed to negative ads if they are relevant and expose a candidates record or refute a candidate's policy positions, but many of the ads in this campaign have been irrelevant to the issues that matter and have been nit-picking and down right dishonest. I think Diane Black has crossed a line.

With the decision that I could not support Diane Black due to the type of campaign she has ran, my choice narrowed to Lee, Boyd, Harwell or not voting.  I had already eliminated Lee. Despite thinking he is a good moral man, I do not think we need someone with no government experience at this time. I do not think Harwell is competitive. For some reason her campaign just never gained traction, so a vote for her would simply be a protest vote. Having eliminated Black and Lee and seeing a vote for Harwell as a throw-away vote, I decided I had to support Boyd. It looks like the race is now a three-way race between Black, Boyd and Lee and I decided I would prefer Boyd to either of the others.

What I really want in the next governor is not a new direction.  The fact that a candidate is a disciple of Donald Trump does not impress me much. What I want is a "moderate," in the terminology of today's political spectrum. I want a capable administrator who will continue continue the progress we have been making. I want an improved standard of living for Tennesseans, new job opportunities and continued improvement in our state's education standing. I want a person who will stay focused on Tennessee issues and the fundamentals. I really want continuity.  I want a Haslam third term and I think Randy Boyd is the person to best deliver.

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Who I am voting for, for Governor in the Republican primary.

by Rod Williams, July 28, 2018- As a minor league blogger pundit, I have a few people who apparently value my opinion and they keep asking me who I'm supporting for governor.  I usually have strong opinions backed up by reasons I can articulate. If I were to tell someone who I was supporting for governor, I would want to be able to tell them why. Well, I am still undecided.

I am not undecided because I don't know enough about the candidates.  I am not undecided because I don't care.  I have seen all of the four major candidates speak several times, I have kept up with the news reports and I have read their press releases and visited their web pages and read their campaign literature. I am not undecided due to lack of knowledge of the candidates.

I am primarily undecided because I think we Republicans have four candidates with excellent credentials and I would be pleased with any one of them. Also, I am undecided because I have been so disgusted with the negative campaigning, that I find it hard to support someone who is willing to get in the gutter and fight dirty to get elected.

Luckily, since I "cut the cord" about a year ago and do not have over-the-air TV or cable TV, I have not been inundated with the commercials. I have had to click on them to watch them.  I have seen them. Listening to talk radio, I have heard the radio commercials.  The Tennessean has also done an excellent job fact-checking the commercials. For me, the negative campaigning has had the opposite effect of the intent.  It has not made me turn against the candidate being attacked,  but against the candidate making the attack.

When Diane Black was attached for being soft on immigration and weak on abortion, it did not make me want to vote against her, but made me more inclined to support her because I know those attacks are unfair. Years ago Diane voted with almost every other state legislator to allow illegal immigrants to have drivers license. At the time it seemed like a good idea to know who was driving cars. I agreed with the drivers license position at the time. This was before 9-11. After 9-11 we all became much more concerned about security and Diane supported the change in law that again denied drivers license to illegals.

Diane Black has also in the past expressed skepticism about building a wall the full length of the southern border. In my view, she was right to be skeptical and I remain skeptical.To shore up her anti-illegal alien bona fides, she has now proposed legislation to make illegally crossing the border a felony. I disapprove. I want to improve border security but felonies should be reserved for serious crimes. In any event, there is not much a governor can do about immigration and Diane Black, is sufficiently opposed to illegal immigration.

The charge that Diane Black is somehow insufficiently pro-life is ludicrous. She has been a consistent crusader against Planned Parenthood and she voted at least eight times to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood since coming to Congress in 2011 and she has been the lead sponsor of the legislation that sought to end Planned Parenthood funding. 

She did vote for federal spending bills which included funding for Planned Parenthood. Here is how anyone with a record is subject to having a record distorted. Say a spending bill includes funding for Planned Parenthood but it also contains funding to treat Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for war veterans. If a legislator votes for it, he is accused of supporting Planned Parenthood; if he votes against it he is accused of voting against health care for war veterans. Opponents have you no matter how you vote. National Right to Life has endorsed Diane Black for Governor and that should satisfy anybody. These unfair attacks against Diane Black have made me more inclined to support her.


When Randy Boyd was attacked for not overpaying his income tax, it made me want to rally around him.  My view is that if you pay more than you have to in income taxes you are an idiot. Any restructuring of your business or life you can do to avoid an income tax obligation or any legal deduction you can take is perfectly fine with me. The fault is not with those who legally reduce their tax liability but with a tax code that is too complex.

When Bill Lee was attacked for making a few paltry contributions to some Democrats, I was more disgusted by the hypocrisy of those making the attack than I was Bill Lee.  Those criticizing Lee gave Donald Trump a pass and Trump contributed mass amounts of money to Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, and other Democrats over the years.

From the very first I was inclined to support Diane Black.  I was most familiar with her. I had seen her speak at First Tuesday several times over the years and at other places.  I was familiar with her work in Congress and had seen her interviewed on TV.  To me, Diane always seemed solidly conservative, reasonable, and level-headed. She also had a compelling personal life story.

I was also very familiar with Beth Harwell. I had seen her speak at First Tuesday over the years and at other places.  I was familiar with her leadership of the house and how she steered the Haslam agenda to legislative victories. I like Beth and was impressed.

I did not know Randy Boyd or Bill Lee prior to the start of the campaign.  I gave Randy Boyd a chance to persuade me he was the person I should support, because I would have anyway, but because my brother is such a strong supporter of Boyd. My bother, Tim Williams, is a successful businessman in Knoxville and contributed somewhat heavily, I think, to the Boyd campaign and Tim appeared in a commercial on his behalf.  Tim is the sibling whose political values I share and whose political opinions I respect.

As I followed Boyd's campaign there were a couple things that concerned me. One was the contribution to Conexion Americas.  If his gift would have been more modest, I would have not been so bothered, but $250,000 is a lot of money.  I have seen Boyd explain this and he says he was giving money to support an entrepreneurship program. Conexion Americas does provide services to immigrants regardless of their immigration status and the leader of the organization does advocate for illegal immigrants.  However, the organization also does a lot of worthwhile work helping immigrants assimilate and succeed in America. They help them learn English and prepare for citizenship test and help them navigate the bureaucracy.  If an immigrant wants to operate a food truck or open a restaurant they can get the training to legally do so.  A long time ago I had an association with Conexion Americas myself and could see that I would be attacked for that if I was in Boyd's place and running for office.  So, while I wish he had not given $250,000 to Conexion Americas, I am not as bothered by that as some and can see how a man as wealthy and generous as Randy Boyd may have made that contribution.

Another negative against Boyd is that he supported a property tax increase in Knoxville. I generally think people are taxed enough and seldom see a reason to raise taxes.  However, I do not live in Knoxville and do not know the specifics of the financial situation of the city of Knoxville at the time and am going to hold that position against him.

Boyd has been attacked by Black as being a "moderate." She also attacked Bill Lee as a moderate. This is one of the things that made my support for Diane Black lessen. From the start my vote was Diane's to lose and this attack on Boyd and Lee chipped away at my support for her. What is a "moderate" Republican.  I have been called a moderate, a RINO and neocon by some fellow Republicans myself. Words and terms have lost all meaning. I think William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan would be denounced as RINOs or "moderates" if they were around today

Starting in about 2010 with the rise of the tea party movement there has been an element of fanaticism in the Republican Party. That year saw a rebirth of the radical conspiracy-touting John Birch Society. It also saw the rise of new, somewhat nutty conservative organizations such as the Glen Beck supported 9-12 organizations. It saw the rise of irrational conspiracy movements such as the hysteria surrounding something called Agenda 21. If you liked shady sidewalks or believed the first amendment also applied to Muslims, you were attacked as not a true believer in the conservative cause. Conservatism and the Republican Party, to a large extend, were hijacked by nut-jobs. Not that this faction ever gained dominance but by shear passion and bullying they made their presence known. I do not intend to demean the whole of the tea party movement; I felt a part of it, but there were irrational and extremist elements to the movement.

Following the waning of the tea party movement, we saw the rise of Trumpism. Donald Trump's appeal was not conservatism but populism. Prior to running for office as a Republican, Trump had supported liberal causes and politician. As a candidate he took some very unconservative positions like expanding entitlements, tariff trade wars, and massive spending on infrastructure. Trump was able to take a lot of Republicans and conservatives and turn them into his followers. Some of the people who had been most active tea party people then became the loudest supporters of Donald Trump. Despite Trump not being ideologically conservative, the most passionate of Trump supporters claim to be the real conservatives and anyone else who does not fall in line is a neocon, RINO, or "moderate."  Although I have always been a conservative with a well-founded basis for what I believe, I find myself thinking that if someone is attacked for being a "moderate,"  maybe that means that are someone who does has not joined the cult of Trump. Maybe a "moderate" is someone who is not a fanatic or a nut job. Maybe a "moderate" is what used to be called a conservative back when words had meaning.  Maybe I'm a moderate in today's political spectrum.

So, I am not rejecting Boyd because he is a "moderate" or because he doesn't overpay his taxes or because of a generous contribution he made to Conexion Americas.  The reason I look favorably on Randy Boyd is because he is the candidate that comes closest, I think to offering a Haslsm third term. I have been very pleased with the progress Bill Haslam has bought to Tennessee.  He reduced the number of state employees while bringing massive improvements to Tennessee especially in the fields of education and economic development. Randy Boyd had a major role in developing Haslam's education initiatives and served as Haslam's Commissioner of Community and Economic Development. I am inclined to want to have continuity and keep heading in the direction we are headed.

I have not been inclined to support Lee primarily because, I do not think we need someone as governor who has never had any government experience. There are times when government spending is out of control and when corruption is rampant, that I think we need an outsider to shake things up, but I don't see this as one of those times. The state of Tennessee is heading in the right direction. We do not need a shake-up. However, if Lee became the nominee I would enthusiastically support him. He strikes me a as a capable man and a very good person. He has a real heart for helping people. I am very impressed by his advocacy for criminal justice reform.

I commend Beth Harwell for not engaging in negative campaigning. She has not been attacked by her opponents and has not attacked them. Her campaign seems not to have gained traction however, and that is probably why very little of the negative attack ads have been directed her direction. I trust the polls enough to believe she cannot win, but I may just vote for her as a protest vote and she is the only one who has not gotten in the gutter and slung mud.

So, at this point I am still undecided. I had narrowed my choice between Black and Boyd. The tone of the campaign however has made me waiver and look favorably toward Harwell.  I may decide between now and August 2nd who I will support or I may simply not vote.  There has been a lot of hand wringing recently about Tennessee's lack of voter participation.  I have never been one to despair over low voter turn out.  I would like to have more people vote but I don't want undecided people to vote just so they can say they did their civic duty and voted.  I would rather have one hundred people who have carefully studied the issues vote than a thousand people who just go and pull a lever. In fact if one does not carefully study the issues and have a reason for casting the ballot they way they do, I would just as soon they not vote.

Not voting is not irresponsible or a shirking of civic duty. Not voting can be an indication that people are relatively content with the decisions informed people are making on their behalf. Or, not voting can be a vote of confidence that whichever candidate wins they will do a good job. Or, not voting can be a statement that all the candidates are flawed and you are just not going to give any of them your stamp of approval.  I will be voting in the General election and I will be voting for the Republican nominee for governor but as of today, I am undecided for whom I will vote in the Republican primary or if I will vote at all.

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These are the candidates running for the School Board in District 2.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I do not live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them.  School board races are important. Some people take the attitude that the only people who should care about school board elections are people with children in public schools.  I strongly disagree. The quality of our schools and how much of our tax dollars they spend affects us all. It impacts home values, taxation, crime, incarceration rates and more. If I lived in a district with a school board race, I would educate myself on the candidates and vote in that election.  The School Board spends the bulk of Metro's tax money and most of our schools are low performing.  Nashville has a lot of good things going for it but the quality of our schools is not one of them. While the population of Davidson County is growing, school enrollment is shrinking. Apparently, parents are enrolling their children in private schools or the population moving to Nashville are skewed toward people people without children and those with children are moving to surrounding counties instead of Nashville.

In selecting who I would vote for there are certain factors I would consider. School board elections are non-partisan but if a candidate's political affiliation can be determined, I would vote for a Republican over a Democrat. If a candidates political ideology can be determined I would prefer a conservative over a liberal.  I would usually prefer an educated candidate over a less educated candidate. There are exceptionally capable people with only a high school education, of course, but in general, if I had limited knowledge of the candidates and other factors were equal, I would vote for the better educated person. I would tend to vote for someone who calls for increased efficiency and wise use of current resources over someone who calls for an increase in the school budget.  I would support someone who supports school choice over someone who opposes charter schools.

There are some factors that would not sway me to vote for a particular candidate and some that would be negative factors. Some candidates tout as a qualification that they have children in public schools. That does not carry weight with me.  School budgets and school quality effect us all.  If a person has a child in private school that is not a reason to vote against them, the way I see it.  Everyone has to do what is best for their family.  The person with a child in private schools may be better aware of just how bad our schools are and may be committed to making them better.  Also, being childless or single is not a negative in my view.  I want the kind of people who I would want to serve as Board of Directors  of a company.  Being wise decision makers may not be dependent on weather or not one is a parent.

Having been a teacher or married to a teacher or having teachers in your family is not necessarily a factor that would make me vote for someone. The former teacher or person with teachers in their family may be biased in favor of more spending. They may be less objective than someone else.  Getting the endorsement of the MNEA which is the teachers union, or getting the endorsement of the SEIU would not be a disqualifying factor but would make me less likely to vote for someone; not more. If a candidate got a union endorsement then they are probably committed to higher taxes and more school funding.

There are five candidates running for school board in district 2. I know none of the candidates. Today The Tennessean ran an article profiling them. You can read the article at this link. From information gleamed from the Tennessean article and the candidate's websites, here is what I know about the candidates.

Edward Arnold
Edward Arnold: He ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 2014. He says he hopes to monitor and be a voice against what he sees as a ballooning Nashville public schools budget. He says charter schools have a place in Nashville but questions the number in some districts. Arnold has a specific proposal for improving our schools which he calls TIPS, Teacher Incentive for Public Schools. While I pause at the idea of creating a new paid board for studying our schools, as envisioned by Mr. Arnold, the proposed new study group would only exist for six months. That could be a better expenditure of money than all of the money we spend on outside consultants. This proposal shows that Mr. Arnold has thought deeply about our schools and has ideas for improving the schools. He also is critical of the School Board for doing away with two programs that improved the school offerings for better students. These are the AP classes and the Cambridge Program. I agree with him in this criticism. I am somewhat favorably impressed. For more information on the candidate follow this link and to visit his website, follow this link

Rachael Anne Elrod
Rachael Anne Elrod: She is the wife of Councilman Jeremy Elrod and a former teacher in another town.  She is critical of charter schools repeating the claim that charter schools drain money away from the school district. Charter school funding, of course, follows the student, so when a student is no longer educated in a regular school the school the child was attending no longer gets the funding to educate that student. Charter schools drain money away from the school district the same way magnet schools do.  She has the endorsement of Nashvillians for an Effective School Board and the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund. I would not vote for this candidate. To view her website follow this link

Jesse Gentry

Jesse Gentry: He is a former Tennessee Department of Children Services attorney. He tells The Tennessean he takes a middle of the road approach to charter schools. He is endorsed by the SEIU, which in my view is a negative.  Here is a link to his website and his school board campaign Facebook page.

TC Weber
Thomas 'TC' Weber: He is an education blogger and the name of his blog is Dad Gone Wild.  He is well-informed and opinionated. I was not aware of his blog until today, but have spend a couple hours reading it. He says he supports more funding for education but thinks it should come from the state.  A lot of people think the funding formula is unfair to Nashville and I don't know if that is true or not but I am pleased to see that he did not call for a property tax increase. I am impressed by anyone who is as informed as he and who puts as much work into advocating a position on the issues. He gets into the details of how much it cost to rent a bus for field trips, and when school employee training is cancelled and personnel vacancies and the process of evaluating the director. He is supportive of IB, Cambridge, and AP classes, as am I.  He is however an opponent of charter school growth and I am very much in favor of expanding charter schools. He also has the endorsement of MNEA but years ago when I ran for the Metro Council I received the same endorsement, so it is possible to get that endorsement without promising to always support tax increases.  While TC Weber's depth of knowledge is impressive, I would find it difficult to support anyone who opposes charter schools. He has some legal offenses in his background for such things as DUI, trespassing and assault but they were twenty years ago. He says he was an alcoholic but has been sober for years and is a changed man.  I would not hold his past against him. For a lot of information on his position on the issues see his blog. For his campaign Facebook page follow this link.

Radir Annoor, the fifth candidate did not submit information for The Tennessean's article on the District 2 school board race and I cannot find a campaign website or any information about him. Apparently he is not a serious candidate.

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