Friday, August 31, 2018

Rezoning fairgrounds for mixed-use development nearly doubles land value to $20M, new report says

The Tennessean: Rezoning fairgrounds for mixed-use development nearly doubles land value to $20M, new report says.

Rod's Comment: That is a nice chunk of corporate welfare. In summary, the deal would work like this. The developer would lease the property on a 99 year lease and would pay $22.8 million over the term of the lease, paying the city a minimum of $200,000 a year. However, Parking revenue collected from non-soccer events at the new stadium, such as concerts or other events, would go toward the annual base rent and could offset the entire $200,000 a year. So, the developer is basicly getting the $20 million property for free.

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Reception in support of Dr. Brent Mood for State Representative, September 19th.

To Donate on line or for more information follow this link.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Nashville council advances fairgrounds rezoning for MLS stadium as big crowd debates project. Video of meeting.




The Tennessean: Nashville council advances fairgrounds rezoning for MLS stadium as big crowd debates project.

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Donald Trump is a real jerk.

Donald Trump is a real jerk. I am pleased with many of his policies and every once in a while I want to cheer him when he spits in the eye of the politically correct or says something so commonsense that you wonder why no one else dared say it before.  I like some of his plain talk but some of it makes me cringe.  At a minimum, he lacks class and is crude. Sometimes he comes across as a spoiled brat, a bully and a mean person.   Having said that however, policies are more important than personality.  I thought President Jimmy Carter was a moral man, a kind soul, and a gentleman. Jimmy Carter was a better man than Donald Trump, but I would prefer Donald Trump to be president than Jimmy Carter.

This week following the death of Senator John McCain, President Trump showed what a petty mean-spirited jerk he really is. It cost nothing to be nice to the dead. I understand Donald Trump and John McCain had their differences. However, when someone dies, it cost nothing to be gracious and kind.  I did not always agree with John McCain, however he spend a lifetime in service to his country.  He spend five years in a North Vietnamese prison and two years in solitary confinement and was tortured for his country. Donald Trump evaded the draft due to flatfeet. In my mind, Donald Trump is not worthy of tiring John McCain's shoes.

Trump did not issue a statement honoring McCain; he only tweeted an expression of sympathy for the family.  He lowered the White House flag to half-staff for the mandatory time but did not keep it lowered until McCain's burial which is customary for a deceased sitting senator. There are certain norms of behavior that we follow that make society function more smoothly.  One of them is shaking hands with people you don't even like and being polite. I don't think it shows commitment to principal to refuse to shake the hand of someone you disagree with, it simply shows what a jerk you are. Civility and politeness and conforming to common norms of behavior are not signs of weakness; they are a sign of dignity and manners. Being respectful of the deceased is minimally expected behavior for anyone who is not a jerk.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

(final update) What happened at the 8/21/18 Council meeting: MLS stadium/Fairground giveaway advances, Effort to trample property rights .....


...and kill affordable housing withdrawn, Bird regs pass, the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan voted down.



by Rod Williams - At over five hours long, this is another very long council meeting. I watched part of it in real time and parts of the video. I zipped through the video at double speed and totally skipped parts of it. I may have missed something of interest. If you intend to watch the video or want to seek out the more interesting parts, you may want an agenda of the meeting. To access the agenda, the agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.  If you want to know the outcome of a particular issue or see how people voted on an issue, you can find that information by reading the minutes of the meeting, available at this link. While I normally note the timestamp of the most important parts of the meeting, I am not providing that service in this meeting summary.  The meeting was just too long and I am limiting the time I spend on this summary. There were some good speeches and interesting arguments so if you are one who enjoys watching our Council in action I encourage you to seek them out on your own. Below is the summary of the most important issues.

The MLS stadium and Fairgrounds: 
The most important topic on this agenda was the approval of resolutions and bills to advance the Soccer stadium and giveaway ten acres of fairgrounds property to private developers. Those items advanced. However there is still a chance to stop this deal because one of the bills requires 27 positive votes to pass on third reading and did not garner 27 votes on second reading. For more on that development, see Council advances MLS stadium, but project still in doubt. Below is the actions taken on each of the resolutions or bill related to the fairgrounds issue:    

Resolution RS2018-1356  by Steve Glover expresses the intention of the Metropolitan Council to suspend action on any agreement related to any lease and redevelopment of the Nashville Fairgrounds until all necessary procedures have been completed was withdrawn by the sponsor.

Resolution RS2018-1372 which calls for a county-wide referendum election to ascertain the will of the people regarding the issuance of revenue bonds by Metro to fund the construction of the Major League Soccer Stadium at Fairgrounds was withdrawn by the sponsor.

Resolution RS2018-1373 calls for a county-wide referendum election to ascertain the will of the people regarding the issuance of general obligation bonds by Metro for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium at the Fairgrounds was deferred "by rule."  The sponsor attempted to suspend the rule to take up the measure but that effort failed.
 Bill BL2018-1205  on Second Reading would prohibit the city from approving or otherwise entering into the sale, lease, transfer or conveyance of property adjacent to the proposed Major League Soccer stadium to any third party for purposes of private development. This failed by a vote of 15 in favor, 18 opposed, and 6 abstentions. Below is how members voted:
Yes (15): Cooper, Hall, Hastings, Swope, Scott Davis, Pardue, Hagar, Glover, Huezo, Freeman, Roberts, Blalock, Vercher, Dowell, and Henderson; No (18): Weiner, Shulman, Haywood, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Pridemore, Rhoten, Syracuse, Sledge, Allen, O'Connell, Kindall, Murphy, Pulley, Elrod, Potts, and Bedne; Abstain (6): Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Mina Johnson, Lee, and Rosenberg.
Bill BL2018-1289 approves the demolition of certain buildings and structures necessary for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville, and amending Title 5 of the Metropolitan Code to impose a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer stadium. It passed on Second Reading by a vote of 24 to 7 with 8 abstentions and one not voting. To pass on third reading, the bill must get 27 votes. To see how individual council members voted, follow this link.

 Bill BL2018-1291 declares the ten acres to be given away as surplus property and approves a ground lease for the property. The fair board has already declared this surplus, now the Council must do so. This passed second reading by a vote of 24 in favor, 9 opposed and 6 abstentions.

Bill BL2018-1293 approves a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer stadium. This was deferred at the request of the sponsor.
Donelson Transit-oriented Development (Substitute BL2018-1139 (as amended))
Another important vote of the night was the defeat of the proposed Donelson Transit-oriented Development plan for the Donelson stop on the Music City Star.  This plan has been worked on for months.  It would have guided redevelopment around that transit stop and made tax increment financing available for new development.  The plan was defeated by a vote of 19 in favor  to 15 against. It required 21 votes to pass.

The opposition to the plan came down to the price tag of the Tax Increment Financing. When a project is financed by TIF, the logic is that the development would not have occurred except for the redevelopment and city investment, so the city advances money to loan to developers and the property tax that would have fed into the general fund instead is used to pay off the TIF money that was advanced. Under this plan, for the next thirty years the new property tax revenue generated in the area would have went to MDHA rather than the city coffers. This type of TIF redevelopment is blamed on Nashville's current budget woes.  Much of the downtown development one sees does not contribute to the Metro tax revenues because it is used instead to repay TIF advances.

There was also concern that this proposal had an affordable housing component and the property likely to be redeveloped was already mostly affordable housing. To see more on this topic, see this Tennessean article: $30M transit-oriented development in Donelson squashed in narrow Council vote.


Bird Scooter returns (Second Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 (as amended))
The Council voted  29-1 to approve a bill which will allow motorized scooters to operate in Nashville. This comes with hefty fees and lots of  lots of new rules.

Proposed Charter Amendments bill passes (Resolution RS2018-1314)
The bill to place proposed charter amendments on the November 6th ballot passed. There were 6 proposed amendments and five of the six were approved. Each of the proposed amendments had to approved, then the bill as a whole had to be approved.  The one that failed  was a proposal for an instant run-off process for special elections when there is an election to fill a council vacancy.  For the Tennessean's report on this see Nashville to vote on 5 charter amendments in November — including extending council term-limits.

Bill to trample property rights withdrawn
Bill BL2016-219  to trample private property rights and kill an affordable housing development in the process by cancel an approved Planned Unit Development and down zoning a persons property without their consent was withdrawn at the request of the sponsor.  The effort to pass this bill had been pending since June of 2016

In other Council action:
Burkley Allen was elected President Pro Tempore. Burkley Allen and Jacobia Dowell sought the position. Allen won by a vote of 23 to 15.

Elections and Confirmation: No surprises. Everyone nominated was confirmed unanimously. 

Other Bills on Second Reading:
Bill BL2018-1190  would provide free parking at public parking meters in Davidson County for environmentally friendly vehicles and for vehicle owners that purchase carbon offsets. It passes on a voice vote.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1203 (as amended)   is a bill to distinguish non-motorized scooters and things like in-line skates from motorized scooters. Last council meeting the Council passed a detailed bill on second reading to address motorized scooters such as Bird. This just makes it clear that what was passed to apply to Bird and similar scooters does not apply to manually operated scooters and other non-motorized devices. This passes on a voice vote.

Bill BL2018-1294  changes the construction noise ordinance and makes what has just applied to downtown, apply anywhere in the county. 
Other Bills on Third Reading:
Second Substitute Bill BL2016-414  is a disapproved zoning bill to change the zoning on 5.8 acres from R6 to SP for property in Scott Davis's district. Deferred.  

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Council meets Monday, August 27th for Fairgrounds rezoning public hearing.

The Metro Council will hold a special meeting Monday, August 27th at 6PM.  This is the meeting for the public hearing on the rezoning of the ten acres of fairground property to be given to the private developer of the MLS stadium. The Planning Commission voted to recommend the rezoning.   This item, Bill BL2018-1290 is the only item on the agenda.This is likely to pass.  However, this public hearing will be an opportunity for the public to show their disgust at the actions of the city in giving away fairground property contrary to the desire of the public which voted in 2016 in a public referendum to save the fairgrounds. 

The best opportunity to derail the MLS deal and save the fairgrounds will come on September 4th when bill authorizing the demolition of existing building at the fairgrounds will be on third reading. This bill will require 27 votes to pass.  When on second reading, the bill got 24 votes. You can be assured MLS stadium deal proponents are applying pressure and twisting arms to get the three more votes needed to pass this bill.

A big show of opposition to the MLS deal on Monday, may give some wavering council members backbone to side with the people and vote to save the fairgrounds. A massive turn out on Monday is important to saving the Fairgrounds.




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Planning for stadium at Fairgrounds began prior to public's knowledge

WSMV News Channel 4 has revealed that efforts to bring the MLS soccer stadium to the fairgrounds began long before it became public knowledge. The news investigators gained access to thousands of emails that discussed the effort.

One email said “we can hide” at a country club over drinks. Numerous meetings took place and details about how a soccer stadium could function as the fairgrounds along with other fair park events, accessing utilities to the site and parking issues  were discussed in secret and kept secret from the public and the Metro Council. To view the news video, follow this link.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Police sue to stop Civilian Review Board referendum

FOP press release, August 21, 2018, Nashville, TN — This afternoon, the Fraternal Order of Police filed a complaint with the Davidson County Circuit court seeking a review of the recently verified petition signatures to amend the metropolitan charter which would implement a Civilian Oversight Board if passed.

It is the opinion of the Fraternal Order of Police that the selected election used to measure the required number of signatures is incorrect. Therefore, we are submitting our case to a higher authority for review. 

To be clear, the Fraternal Order of Police is wholly opposed to the passage of the currently proposed legislation. While this specific lawsuit is based solely on the merits of the verification, our concern that the current proposed legislation lacks perspective from law enforcement, creates an environment lacking due process, and violates employee rights are the foundations of our position. 

It is important to note that our opposition, however, does not indicate our unwillingness to have the community participate in discussions regarding their involvement in policing strategies. In fact, before this bill was advanced, the Fraternal Order of Police had proactively participated in conversations with community organizations in an attempt to find some common ground and develop a solution that would be fair and equitable to all sides. Unfortunately, the advancement of this legislation occurred before those conversations could produce any workable solutions.

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Council advances MLS stadium, but project still in doubt

The Tennessean: Nashville Council advances MLS stadium, but project still in doubt....The council voted 24-7 to advance an ordinance that would demolish existing buildings at the fairgrounds to clear the way for a future 30,500-seat stadium for the city's MLS expansion club awarded last year. Eight council members abstained from voting. .... the council voted 24-9, with six abstentions, to advance an ordinance to declare 10 acres of fairgrounds land as surplus property.

Rod's Comment: This is not bad. Hope is not lost. The bill to demolish existing building will require 27 votes to pass on third and final reading.  If it does not pass, then the current deal is dead.  This is not over. One can assume the council will be lobbied heavily by soccer fans, the developer, Nashville's powerful elitist, Chamber of Commerce types, and the administration.  They only have to persuade three who abstained to vote in favor and they have the votes to pass this.  Those seeking to save the fairgrounds must keep the pressure up.  It also looks as if the proposed funding of the stadium will not go to the public for a referendum due to a technically concerning the time frame to get the question on the ballot, so this will be decided in the Council. It is going to be close, but this can be killed.

I will be providing a more detailed summary of last night's meeting soon. Please check back.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Small Business Optimism soars

NASHVILLE, Aug. 14, 2018—  The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index has marked its second highest level in the survey’s 45-year history at 107.9, rising to within 0.1
point of the July 1983 record-high of 108. 


The July 2018 report also set new records in terms of owners reporting job creation plans and those with job openings. A seasonally-adjusted net 23 percent are planning to create new jobs, up three points from June. Thirty-seven percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, a one-point increase from June. 
“Small business owners are leading this economy and expressing optimism rivaling the highest levels in history,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions.”
State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Jim Brown said, “I think the numbers show that our members are feeling good about the direction of the country, so they're more comfortable when it comes to staffing up and buying new equipment and growing their businesses.”
A net eight percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months. July is the eighth consecutive strong month of reported sales gains after years of low or negative numbers.  A net 35 percent of owners expect better business conditions, ticking up two points from June.
Additional July highlights include:
  • The percent of owners citing the availability of qualified workers as their number one business problem landed one point below the record high.
  • Reports of compensation increases remained strong. 
  • Capital spending maintained a respectable pace but did not display the exuberance of its fellow indicators, although spending plans did post a gain
  • Plans to add to inventory holdings were strong as strong sales continue to deplete stocks. 
  • Profits continued to perform, and more firms raised prices, something that is easier when demand is strong. 
“Small business owners have never been so optimistic for so long, helping to power the second longest expansion in history,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Despite challenges in finding qualified workers to fill a record number of job openings, they’re taking advantage of this economy and pursuing growth.”
Fifty-nine percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down four points), but 52 percent (88 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.  Twenty-three percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their single most important business problem (up two points), one point below the 45-year record high.


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It is an outrage that the city of Nashville will not engage Speedway Motorsports Inc.

by Rod Williams - A few days ago, Councilman Robert Swope appeared on radio station WTN 99.7 and discussed the situation with the MLS stadium, the fairground land giveaway, and other related topics. To hear that interview follow this link.

In that interview Swope revealed is that Speedway Motorsports, Inc had been reaching out to the city to explore making massive improvements to the speedway and taking it into the major league.  Speedway Motorsports is the top dog in managing racing speedways. They run the most profitable and prestigious speedways in the country.  Also, they are not seeking a corporate welfare handout from Nashville, but want to invest in Nashville.

Swope said metro would not give them "the time of day."  Why?  Why is Nashville turning down an opportunity to enhance and raise the profile of the Nashville Speedway?   My own view, is that the elitist who run this city do not think stock car racing, flea markets, gun and knife shows and fairs fit the image they want to project. Those things are low-class and kind of an embarrassment to the movers and shakers who make things happen.

It is an outrage that the city of Nashville will not engage Speedway Motorsports Inc. Below is a copy of the letter, Speedway Motorsports wrote to the city.


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Technicality could derail push for referendum on Nashville MLS stadium

Technicality could derail push for referendum on Nashville MLS stadium

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Monday, August 20, 2018

What else is on the Council agenda of 8/21/18: Effort to trample property rights and kill affordable housing continues, regulatng Bird, the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the staff analysis for those who want to watch the Council meeting and follow along.

The most important issue before this council is the MLS stadium and the future of the fairgrounds. There are two resolutions and two bill regarding these issues on the agenda. I have explained those in a separate post at this link.

Bill BL2016-219  is on Third Reading, again. It was on third reading last meeting and deferred.

The Ridge at Antioch
This  is the bill to trample private property rights and kill an affordable housing development in the process.  This bill would cancel an approved Planned Unit Development and down zoning a persons property without their consent. This effort to pass this bill has been pending since June of 2016  If was first pushed by Karen Johnson and is now being taken up by Councilman Bedne.

If this bill passes the State of Tennessee has threatened to withhold future tax credits used to help finance affordable housing developments. I don't know why this development has not already occurred.  I can guess that with the threat of this hanging over the head of the developer, that it impacted the financing. 

Should this bill pass and the owner want 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. If this passes and a public interest law firm wants to sue the city on behalf of the owner, I will contribute to the cause. 

This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and will require 27 votes to pass. For more on this story see this  link and this.

Below is a summary of what else is on the agenda.


Elections and Confirmation: 
The Council will be electing a President Pro Tempore for a one-year term ending August 31, 2019.  This person conducts the council meeting in the absence of the Vice Mayor. Sometimes this is a coveted position and council members campaign for the seat.  

There are nine mayoral appointments to Boards and Commission before the Council for confirmation. Usually, these are confirmed without controversy, discussion or dissension. One is to the Human Relations Commission. This is an agency that serves little purpose other than to promote political correctness and should be terminated. Any legitimate functions this agency performs could be performed by other agencies and their advocacy for diversity, tolerance, and normalization of deviancy would more appropriately be preformed by private advocacy groups.  I wish a council member would take to the floor and vote against the nominee and make the point I just made, but I don't expect it to happen.

Public Comment Period:  This is new for Nashville and is only the second meeting which has had a public comment period. Time  is dedicated to allow members of the public who have registered in advance to speak upon matters related to the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County community. The only public comments we have had heretofore have been on zoning matters and, once a year, on the budget.  We have never had an open comment policy. This is common in smaller cities and I don't know how common it is in other cities the size of Nashville.  I expect to hear several people speak in favor of the proposed police citizen review board at this meeting. I hope proponents of saving the fairground have registered to speak and take advantage of this opportunity.


Resolutions: There are 18 resolution on the agenda including the two resolutions concerning the MLS stadium.  Initially all resolutions are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which it is assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter-agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Here are the resolution of interest:
Resolution RS2018-1314 proposes six charter amendments to be submitted to the voters for ratification. This will take 27 votes to be approved. Each amendment has to be voted on individually and then the resolution has to be voted on.  This was on the Council meeting last time but was deferred.  Unless this passes tonight, there will not be enough time to pass this bill in time for the referendum to be placed on the November ballot. Here is what is in the resolution:
  •  Three of the proposed charter amendments are related the line of succession for the office of mayor and how a vacancy is filled.
  •  The fourth proposed amendment would require oaths of office for mayor, vice mayor, and members of council to include an oath to uphold the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville. Currently, such oaths reference only support of the Tennessee Constitution and the Constitution of the United States.
  • The fifth proposed amendment would change the term limits for the offices of councilman and councilman at-large from two (2) terms to three (3) terms. It would also change “councilman” to “councilmember.” The attempt to expand term limits has been tried before and rejected by the voters. 
  • The sixth proposed amendment would update the Metropolitan Charter with general neutral references in place of masculine-only pronouns. References to “he” would be changed to “he or she,” “his” would be changed to “his or her,” “him” would be changed to “him or her,” “councilman” would be changed to “councilmember,” and “policemen”would be changed to “police officers.” I oppose this. amendment. A "councilman" can be a female and a policeman can be a female policeman. I see no need to make this change. Also, I understand that the masculine singular pronoun may include females. If someone says, "Everyone brought his own lunch," I do not assume that the group only included males. I see no need to change the language to the awkwardly worded "he or she." 
Bills on First reading: There are six 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 normally don't read them until they get to second reading.
 
Bills on Second Reading: There are eight. None are terribly important. Here are the ones of some interest.

Bill BL2018-1190  would provide free parking at public parking meters in Davidson County for environmentally friendly vehicles and for vehicle owners that purchase carbon offsets. This modifies what is already a law. I don't oppose this modification but in my view we should not have such a program. If you can afford an environmentally friendly vehicle you don't need free parking and a lot of carbon off sets are nothing but a scam. However in 2017 only 140 vehicles applied for this program.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1203 (as amended)   is a bill to distinguish non-motorized scooters and things like in-line skates from motorized scooters. Last council meeting the Council passed a detailed bill on second reading to address motorized scooters such as Bird. This just makes it clear that what was passed to apply to Bird and similar scooters does not apply to manually operated scooters and other non-motorized devices.

Bill BL2018-1294  changes the construction noise ordinance and makes what has just applied to downtown, apply anywhere in the county. 
Bills on Third Reading: There are 26. Most are approved zoning bills. 
Second Substitute Bill BL2016-414  is a disapproved zoning bill to change the zoning on 5.8 acres from R6 to SP for property in Scott Davis's district. I have no opinion on the merits of the bill and am simply calling attention to it because it is a disapproved bill and will take 27 positive votes to pass.

Substitute BL2018-1139 (as amended) is the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan.   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. It provides for TIF financing and contains a lot of land use regulations that go beyond normal zoning. 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. I assume that has now been resolved.  or this would not be back on the agenda. This bill is to be amended on third reading. For more on this complex bill, see the lengthy staff analysis. At the last meeting, this bill was  amended on third reading to change the composition of the advisory board. This bill was deferred by a roll call vote over the objection of the sponsor.

Second Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 (as amended)  would regulate "shared urban mobility devices," such as bicycles and scooters, and if establish a permitting system for them. This was prompted by the arrival of Bird Scooter in Nashville. This would establish a one-year pilot program for the scooter, impose a lot of cost, including a $35 per scooter and a whole lot of regulation. My view is that this is overkill.

Bill BL2018-1280 would regulate "shared urban mobility devices," such as bicycles and scooters, and if establish a permitting system for them. This was prompted by the arrival of Bird Scooter in Nashville. This would establish a one-year pilot program for the scooter, impose a lot of cost, including a $35 per scooter and a whole lot of regulation. I initial reaction is that this is overkill. When on second reading there was a lot of discussion and it passed on a voice vote.
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, August 19, 2018

Metro Council meeting of Aug. 21st to be dominated by the issue of the MLS stadium and the future of the fargournds.

by Rod Williams, Aug. 19, 2019 - The Council will meet Tuesday August 21st at 6:30 PM in the

Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. By far the most important agenda items concern the MLS stadium and the future of the fairgrounds.  There are three resolutions on the agenda and three bills on second reading regarding this issue.  A resolution is passed by a single vote of the Council and a bill must be passed at three different council meetings. This is an opportunity to kill the MLS deal or at least reopen negotiations for a better deal and kill the proposal to give the developer ten acres of fairground property. The best chance to kill the deal is by having enough council member to vote "no," vote "abstain," or not vote on Bill BL2018-1289.  To pass, this bill requires 27 positive votes on third reading. 

Below is a description of  each of the pieces of legislation on the agenda concerning the MLS stadium.
Resolution RS2018-1356  by Steve Glover expresses the intention of the Metropolitan Council to suspend action on any agreement related to any lease and redevelopment of the Nashville Fairgrounds until all necessary procedures have been completed. This would simply say that Metro would not make any decisions regarding the stadium and would not incur additional expenses regarding the stadium until the hurdles that stand in the way of the deal being approved are resolved. This is an attempt to not put the cart before the horse. This sounds like common sense, however, it has been dispproved by the Budget and Finance Committee.
Resolution RS2018-1372 calls for a county-wide referendum election to ascertain the will of the people regarding the issuance of revenue bonds by Metro to fund the construction of the Major League Soccer Stadium at Fairgrounds.
Notice that this resolution applies to the portion of the financing of soccer stadium to be financed by revenue bonds.  That is, the bonds would be repaid by the revenue generated by the facility. These are bonds issued by the Sports Authority.  In any case in which something is financed by revenue bonds, such as a parking garage or a sewer line or a sports stadium, if the revenue is insufficient to pay the debt, the debt becomes a general liability of the government.  However, it is assumed the revenue will repay the debt. Parking garages and sewer expansions are pretty safe bets.  As long as there is not an oversupply of parking spaces downtown, parking revenue can pay the bonds to cover the cost of parking garage construction. Also, people have no choice in paying their water and sewer bill, so those are pretty safe investments. If, however, a city loses a sports franchise, the revenue would not be there to pay off the debt and the debt would have to be paid by tax payers.
The staff analysis says that the Charter authorizes the Council to call a referendum on a bond issue financed by avalorem taxes or other taxes, or any other revenues, or a combination thereof. So, this is probably not a legal call for a referendum but the one below would be.
Resolution RS2018-1373 calls for a county-wide referendum election to ascertain the will of the people regarding the issuance of general obligation bonds by Metro for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium at the Fairgrounds.
Bill BL2018-1289 approves the demolition of certain buildings and structures necessary for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville, and amending Title 5 of the Metropolitan Code to impose a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer stadium. This is probably the best chance to still kill the stadium and land giveaway. It takes 27 votes to demolish buildings at the fairgrounds.

Bill BL2018-1291 declares the ten acres to be given away as surplus property and approves a ground lease for the property. The fair board has already declared this surplus, now the Council must do so.

Bill BL2018-1293 approves a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer stadium. 
There is one other bill pending which is not on this agenda but which was on first reading last council meeting and will be on public hearing and Second Reading next meeting and that is  Bill BL2018-1290.  It is the bill to rezone the 10 acres at the fairground that is to be given to the stadium developer. This has been approved by the Planning Commission. Member of the Public will be permitted to speak on this bill. It will only take a simple majority of those voting to pass this bill.

To access the Council agenda, follow this link. To view the Council staff analysis follow this link.  

I will be providing a summary of the balance of agenda in a separate post. Please check back.

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Mayor Briley Announces $1 Million in Community Partnership Fund Grants

Metro Press release - More than two dozen nonprofit organizations will receive a total of $1 million in Metro Community Partnership Fund grants initiated by Mayor David Briley and approved by the Metro Council.

The Mayor's budget for the current fiscal year, which started July 1, included $200,000 each for five Metro departments – Davidson County Juvenile Court, the Office of Family Safety, Nashville Public Library, the Public Health Department and Social Services – to grant to qualified nonprofits. Council members overwhelmingly approved each department's recommendations at their August 7 meeting.
"Our city can make a profound difference in more people's lives when we partner with nonprofit experts who know how to make an impact through targeted funding," Mayor Briley said. "These grants will increase literacy and health, reduce youth violence, help victims of domestic violence and child abuse, and promote financial security."

Each of the five Metro departments will give grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 per organization. The departments developed goals, evaluation criteria and expected outcomes that nonprofits had to meet to qualify for funding. Metro will enter contracts with each organization spelling out the conditions under which the funds must be spent.
The grant recipients follow:

  • Davidson County Juvenile Court will award $50,000 each to Oasis Center, Stars Nashville, Meharry Medical College's RWJF Center for Health Policy and Meharry's Division of Public Health Practice. These organizations offer restorative, trauma-informed programs centered on positive youth development practices. Creative programming will mitigate the exploitation and victimization of youth while improving academic outcomes and school attendance and reducing substance use, toxic stress, delinquency and gang affiliation.
  • The Metro Office of Family Safety will grant $50,000 each to Morning Star Sanctuary, Mary Parish Center, the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee. These funds will make domestic violence victims safer by supporting crisis services, including shelter, transitional housing and order-of-protection assistance. The grants also will be used to increase awareness of community resources that support domestic violence victims, including the confidential advocacy and counseling services that will be provided at Metro's new Family Safety Center, which is expected to open in early 2019.
  • Nashville Public Library will appropriate $20,000 apiece to 10 organizations to advance their literacy efforts: Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Nations Ministry Center, Book'em, McNeilly Center for Children, St. Luke's Community House, Nashville Public Library Foundation, Project Transformation TN, East Nashville Hope Exchange, Nashville Adult Literacy Council, and Moves and Grooves.
  • The Metro Public Health Department will grant $50,000 each to Trevecca Nazarene University, Conexion Americas, Walk Bike Nashville and The Family Center.
  • And Metro Social Services will award $40,000 each to Safe Haven Family Shelter, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, NeedLink Nashville, The Arc of Davidson County & Greater Nashville, and Operation Stand Down Tennessee.
Rod's Comment: This million dollars is totally discretionary spending. It is not money metro has to spend.  If the mayor's office and the Council have not noticed, Metro is going broke.  At a time when Metro can not pay employees the cost of living increase they were promised, it does not seem appropriate to be giving money to non-profit organizations.  I am not certain it is ever appropriate, actually. 

I believe that generally non-profits deliver more "bang for the buck" than government programs. I believe non-profits are generally more efficient than government.  I contribute to several non-profit organizations myself. I spent the bulk of my working years, working for a non-profit organization.  However, I do not think tax money should be taken from citizens and given to favored non-profits.  Non-profits should have to convince givers that they are engaged in a worthwhile activity. Also, one of the non-profits receiving part of this million advocates for illegal immigration. Those of us who believe in enforcing immigration laws and who do not support open borders may not want our money going to this organization.

Metro is spending money as if there is no limit and as if we were fat with cash. A million dollars here and a million dollars there and pretty soon you are talking about real money.

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U.S Chamber of Commerce endorses Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee U.S. Senate race

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Nashville police oversight board referendum cleared for November ballot; legal challenge by FOP awaits

On Wednesday of last week, the Election Commission  voted that the petition seeking to have a referendum on the ballot to create a civilian review board for the police department had sufficient signatures to be added to the November 6th ballot. The Fraternal Order of Police  is challenging that determination. The basis of the challenge is that group Community Oversight Now, the group behind the petition effort,  did not meet the signature threshold.

The Metro Charter says a proposed charter amendment may be placed on the ballot if a petition is filed that is signed by 10 percent of the number of voters who voted in the "preceding general election."  Community Oversight Now based their petition on the August 2016 election, which featured state primaries and local school board races, in which 47,074 people voted. That meant 4,708 signatures were required to meet the threshold.

The FOP says the last general election occurred on May 24 when the city held a special mayoral election and 82,368 people voted, meaning the petition to place the question on the ballot would require 8,237 valid signatures. So, the questions is, what is meant by "the preceding general election." This will be decided by Davidson County Chancery Court.

To read the Tennessean's account of this which I summarized above, follow this link.

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EARLY VOTING SCHEDULE VICE MAYOR RUN OFF ELECTION

Metro Office Building (Howard School, 800 2nd Ave. S)

Friday, August 17, 2018–Saturday, September 1, 2018
Date Time
Friday, August 17 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 18 8 a.m.–12 noon
Monday, August 20 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 21 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 22 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 23 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Friday, August 24 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 25 8 a.m.–12 noon

All Early Voting Locations Open

Monday, August 27, 2018–Saturday, September 1, 2018
Date Time
Monday, August 27 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 28 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 29 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 30 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Friday, August 31 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 1 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Visit the Election Commission Department web site for early voting locations and more information

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Southern Poverty Law Center listed as a hate group.

Today the Southern Poverty Law Center was listed as a hate group by the prestigious Institute for the Study of Republican Disgruntlement. The listing was based on SPLC's cavalier labeling of various conservative, religious and pro-life groups as "hate groups."  The most recent hateful activity of the SPLC was in the slanderous labeling of Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group. 

Alliance Defending Freedom is a public interest law firm and advocacy organization defending religious liberty and traditional values and institutions. The respected legal-advocacy organization has won nine cases at the U.S. Supreme Court in the past seven years. They were litigants in defense of the baker in the MasterpieceCakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case in which a baker was charged with discrimination because he refused to design a cake for a gay wedding.


The SPLC labels any group that disagrees with their liberal agenda as a "hate group."  The SPLC attempts to silence anyone who disagrees with them on a variety of subjects, such as same-sex marriage,  promotion of homosexuality, abortion, or respect for the constitution. The mainstream press, which has become almost indistinguishable from a PR firm for the Democratic Party, assist SPLC in their slander by acting as if a group is really a "hate group" if they are so labeled by SPLC. The mainstream press gives SPLC respect and prestige. The SPLC list violent and racist groups as hate groups and sprinkles in the listing groups that advocate for traditional values or conservative principles thus equating the groups.

In addition to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), other groups unfairly smeared as "hate groups" by the SPLC include  Liberty Counsel, the Family Research Council (FRC), D. James Kennedy Ministries,  American Family Association, Eagle Forum, The Ruth Institute, The John Birch Society, and The American College of Pediatricians.

"Due to the smear tactic of SPLC of lumping together mainstream Christian advocacy groups with groups such as the Nazi Party and the KKK, I think it appropriate to list SPLC as a hate group," said Rod Williams, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Republican Disgruntlement. "Hate can  flow many directions and have many targets. It is pretty obvious that the Southern Poverty Law Center hates conservatives and Christians. In fact," continued Williams, "SPLC may be the most dangerous hate group in America. No one takes seriously a ragtag group of angry skin heads or ignorant racist, but because SPLC is taken serious and treated with legitimacy, that makes them dangerous."

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Dear Senator Pat Toomey, I am going to keep your 51¢ and not send any money.

While writing this blog post to express my frustration with political fund raising, I got two phone

calls asking me for money. The first was someone telling me he was on a recorded line and he was calling on behalf of President Donald Trump. I cut him off and told him I was just now looking at a pile of mail solicitations and was in no mood to even listen to his pitch.

The other call was from Senator Ted Cruz.  I know it was from Senator Cruz because the little window on my phone told me that was who the call was from. I just picked up the receiver and set it back down. If it really was Senator Cruz, I'm sorry I missed his call. He probably wanted my opinion on some really important issue.

I am so sick of being solicited for political contributions. Look at the pile of solicitations in today's mail.  I say "today's" mail but this is probably about a weeks worth, because I only retrieve my mail from the mail box about once a week. I never get anything important in the mail. All of my important stuff is sent by email or FedEX. So while what you are looking at in the picture is mail from more than one day, that is not all of the solicitation; some are not pictured.

I do open the letters. I open them because a lot of them contain self-addressed stamped envelopes with real stamps.  I am kind of cheap. A stamp cost 47¢, or at lease I think that is the current cost of a first class stamp.  I take out the envelope and save it to reuse. I but a blank label over the address and use it for the rare occasions I do need to send something U.S. mail. I like the letters where the stamp is not affixed to an envelop but is papercliped to the letter inside and visible through the envelop window.  I always save those stamps. The solicitation from Senator Toomey I opened because I am not just going to throw 51¢ in the trash. I did not read the letter however.

In additions to enticing me to open the letter by putting coin in the window, they try to entice me to open the letter by making me feel really important. One of the letters says, "DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT," and "FINAL NOTICE."  And, it is to be delivered "exclusively" to Rod Williams. It is a 2018 Congressional District Census with a document tracking code. It is from the Republican National Committee and they want my opinion on several issue AND they want me to send them some money.

Judicial Watch sent me the "2015 Illegal Alien Election Impact Survey of Judicial Watch Members;" and, a solicitation for money.

A letter from Steve Forbes was an "EXPEDITED DELIVERY GRAM," complete with a little "SPECIAL NOTES ON ENCLOSURE," section telling me how much the letter weighed and the declared value and telling me it was time sensitive.  I didn't read it but opened it, but unfortunately there was no envelope in it with a real stamp. Cheapskate!

Some of the charitable solicitations are as about as bad as the political ones.  Doctors Without Borders sent me a nice tote bag.  If Doctors Without Borders can send me a tote bag unsolicited, I will use it anyway but I am not going to sent them any money until I get in the mood.

I know direct mail solicitation work are they wouldn't keep doing it.  However, if whatever cause Senator Toomey was raising money for can sent me 51¢, they don't need my money. 

I do support causes and candidates from time to time, but once you give to one cause, they must sell your name to a dozen other groups. I don't know if liberal causes and Democrats are as bad as conservative causes and Republicans, but I bet they are. I am thinking about sending a Democrat $5.  I am sure in the next year they would spend a couple hundred dollars soliciting me for money. The solicitation they send me that contain envelopes with stamps, I could get the stamps. For those solicitations they send me with self addressed envelopes with a permit instead of a stamp, I could return and they would have to pay the return postage. If Dems are as bad as Repubs, a $5 contribution could cost them hundreds if I worked it right.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Nashville does not have enough money to pay its bills.




2016 Financial State of Nashville (Released 1/24/2018)
Nashville's Taxpayer Burden™ is -$15,600, and it received a "D" from TIA.
Nashville is a Sinkhole City without enough assets to cover its debt.
Decisions by elected officials have led to a Taxpayer Burden™, which is each taxpayer's share of city bills after its available assets have been tapped.
TIA's Taxpayer Burden™ measurement accounts for all assets and liabilities, including pension and retiree healthcare debt.
Nashville only has $3.2 billion of assets available to pay bills totaling $6.3 billion.
Because Nashville doesn't have enough money to pay its bills, it has a $3.1 billion financial hole. To erase this shortfall, each Nashville taxpayer would have to send $15,600 to the city.
Thanks to an accounting rule implemented in the 2015 fiscal year, Nashville must report its pension debt on its balance sheet. However, the city still excludes $1.7 billion of retirement obligations, which consist mostly of retiree healthcare liabilities. A new accounting standard will be implemented in the 2018 fiscal year that will require governments to report these liabilities on the balance sheet as well.
The city's financial report was released 123 days after its fiscal year end, which is considered timely according to the 180 day standard.

For information on the organization Truth in Accounting, follow this link. This information is irrefutable. It is not just an opinion. Nashville is just one bit of bad news away from a serious financial crisis. A national crisis that meant people traveled less, the loss of one of our sports franchises, a 2010 flood, or simply Nashville's time in the sun coming to and end and we could not pay our debts. For more information on the dire financial situation of Nashville, follow this link.

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Councilman Robert Swope explain the latest developments at the Fairgrounds in radio interveiw.

Robert Swope
by Rod Williams, August 15, 2018 - Councilman Robert Swope was interviewed  on WTN 99.7 radio yesterday. He explained what is going on at the fairgrounds. This is insightful and informative. If you care about the future of he fairgrounds, you really need to hear this interview. Follow this link.

The interviewer ask Robert about a proposal to place a classic car action and a racing museum at the fairgrounds. There has been some concern expressed about these proposals.  Swope explains this is just talk at this point but if it comes to fruition It could be a good thing.

My view is that a proposed classic car auction operation at the fairgrounds would not be a detrimental development but a positive development and compatible with other uses at the fairgrounds. A race track hall of fame or museum could be a great addition. This is the first I had heard about a proposal for a classic car auction. Apparently, they bring in people from all over the country and are a really big deal.

I have heard this idea of a racing museum floated for a long time and think it would be a great addition.  It would be compatible with other Fairground uses and could make money for the Fairgrounds, and enhance its recognition. Nashville has a rich racing history and a museum to display that history and memorabilia would give tourist one more thing to see in Nashville. I think it would be a big hit, if done right, and am supportive. Swope points out that no one has proposed the city fund such a museum or a classic car auction and that these uses would not cost the taxpayers but make money for the city.

Swope reveals that  Speedway Motorsports, Inc  which owns Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol, Vegas, and other major speedways, has made a proposal to the city to invest millions in upgrading the speedway and leasing it from the city. Swope says the city will not give them "time of day."  This is a big deal. Speedway Motorsport is the largest player in the racetrack industry, yet the city is not even interested in talking to them. This is an outrage.

I am convinced the city insiders are determined to eventually get rid of the race track, the fair, and the flea market. I simply think they are embarrassed by those aspects of Nashville that reflect working-class or middle-class values or "old" Nashville. While in the last twenty years, Nashville movers and shakers have embraced Nashville as "Music City," for a very long time the same class of people who are embarrassed by flea markets and race tracks were embarrassed by country music. Flea markets and race tracks are not compatible with the hip vibe they want the "it" city to project.

Thanks to Robert Swope and others like Steve Glover, and before them, councilmen like Duane Dominy and Robert Duvall, the fairgrounds is still here. I think if the  ten acre giveaway occurs the days of the fairgrounds are numbered.

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Nashville abortion clinic closing its doors! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Nashville abortion clinic closing its doors, leaving only one remaining in Nashville and only five in the state. Hallelujah!

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Please donate and volunteer to stop Democrats from taking Tennesee.

From The Tennessee Republican Party:

Rod --
Tennessee’s Democratic Socialists Party has found a home in Tennessee. The party, whose members are referred to as "converts" who say they've been "radicalized" into socialism, have been welcomed into the Tennessee Democrat Party. That’s right, TNDP Chairwoman Mary Mancini recently announced that there is a place for Socialists in the Tennessee Democrat Party.

"We've got a big tent, and we are open to working with people that share our values," Mary Mancini, Tennessee Democratic Party chair, said. "We may not agree on everything 100 percent, but that's okay." 
Democrats Karl Dean and Phil Bredesen are running around Tennessee claiming to be moderate, but their own donors, supporters and state party are committed to the far left and liberal agenda of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. 
This is what we’re up against, wolves in sheep's clothing, and we NEED YOU to help us stop it. Will you donate or volunteer so that we make sure to elect our conservative Republicans up and down the ballot in November? We cannot do it without you. Support our fight to stop the efforts of Democrats to bring Socialism to America.
Donate_(1).png Volunteer_(1).pngTennessee Republican Party
http://www.tngop.org/

Rod's Comment: I have made a contribution and urge readers of this blog to do so also.  I don't think it will happen but as of now Phil Bredesen leads Marsha Blackburn and in the race for govenor, Lee has only a 5 point lead over Karl Dean.  

While I have been critical from time to time of President Trump, I am pleased with most of his policies, with the exception of his start of a trade war, and I am not so certain that, that may not in fact turn out well. Bredesen was not a bad governor. However, if he is elected he will be voting to give the Democrats control of the Senate. It really doesn't matter how Bredesen votes on any one issue, Democrat control of the Senate means a reversal of the curtailment of Obamacare and most likely an advance toward single-payer health care, loss of future conservative Supreme Court appointees and a reversal of the tax cuts which has resulted in economic growth. The policies advanced under President Trump will be reversed. Much is at stake.

Also, at the State level, should Dean win, we can expect a reversal of the advances made under Governor Haslam and a Democrat win would give Democrats control of redistricting. We cannot afford to lose these elections and they are close.

If you can contribute, please do. Also, volunteer activity can be as important than money. The candidates need people door knocking and phone banking and many other task. Please, if you do not want Tennessee to turn "blue," please put your money and effort into stopping it from happening. Democrats are motivated. We must work hard to keep them from flipping Tennessee.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

What happened at the Council meeting of Aug 7: Bird regs pass on 2nd, Donelson Transit deferred on 3rd, Proposed charter amendments deferred, Edge Hill overlay advances.



Above is the video of the Council meeting of August 8th.. To see my commentary on the agenda and a link to the agenda and the Council staff analysis follow this link.

At seven and half hours long, this is a long council meeting. The public hearing on zoning matters takes up the bulk of the meeting and the council does not get to the point of considering resolution until 5 hours into the meeting. I did not watch all of this meeting. I watched at double speed and skipped forward looking for the parts of interest. If you care that much and think I may have missed something important, then you may want to watch the meeting for yourself.

I am posting this report later than normally due to the video being posted later than normal and because I could not find the time to tackle watching this long meeting. By the time I got around to watching this meeting the minutes of the meeting were posted, so I consulted the meeting minutes to find out the outcome of some to the bills that interested me. To see the meeting minutes, follow this link.


Elections and Confirmation: There are 4 mayoral appointments to Boards and Commission before the Council for confirmation. They are all approved.

Resolutions and bills on public hearing: There are four resolution and seventeen bills on pubic hearing. The resolutions are requesting  exemptions from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. The bills are rezoning request or related zoning bills. I do not even attempt to understand the pros and cons of every zoning bill and they generally bore me and are of interest to only the people in the immediate vicinity of the rezoning.  I only call attention to bills that I think will have an impact beyond the immediate neighborhood or are bills that have already been to the Planning Commission and have been disapproved by the Planning Commission, or  for some other reason are of interest These are the ones of interest:

Bill BL2018-1245 which would apply a conservation overlay to 43 acres in the Edge Hill community is approved by a vote of 28 in favor, 5 opposed and 2 abstentions.  This is an attempt to slow the gentrification of this historically Black community near downtown west of 8th Ave., east of music row.  With this overlay in place most existing housing could not be torn down and where new construction was permitted, the new construction would have to comparable in style to the existing homes in the community. The community is deeply divided on this issue. The Planning Commission only approved this by a vote of 4 to 3 after two hours of heated public hearing. For more on the issue, read the Tennessean coverage, South Nashville community bitterly split over plan to restrict development and Metro Council back controversial plan.
To view the council deliberation and public hearing go to timestamp 12:37 in the video.  The first speaker in favor of this overlay is Walter Searcy, a prominent Black attorney with a checkered past. At timestamp 1:06:46 Carlos Deford Baily, grandson of iconic early Black county music artist Deford Bailey speaks in favor. One speaker admits and addresses that this community divide is a racial and socioeconomic divide to the dispute. She speaks with passion. At 1:10:34 those opposed to the overlay have their turn.While there may be a racial divide to this issue there were both Whites and Blacks speaking on both sides of the issue. A theme of those opposed is that the proponents distorted the degree of support and manipulated the appearance that the overlay is widely supported. One of the points that opponents make is that there are less restrictive overlay options to preserve the character of the community. The opponent end their time at the microphone at timestamp 2:36:18. A Planning Commission staff member then explains what is prohibited under the provisions of the overlay. After both sponsors Sledge and O'Connel offer there comments there is some limited Council discussion and then the vote is  taken.
Those voting in favor are Cooper, Mendes, Shulman, Hastings, Swope, Scott Davis, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Pridemore, Hagar, Glover, Huezo, Syracuse, Sledge, O'Connell, Roberts, Kindall, Mina Johnson, Murphy, Pulley, Elrod, Karen Johnson, Bedne, Dowell, Lee, Henderson, and Rosenberg; Voting "NO" are Hall, Haywood, Pardue, Freeman, and Blalock and voting to Abstain are Gilmore, and Hurt. The action on this bill ends at timestamp 2:49:43.
Bill BL2018-1275 and  Bill BL2018-1276 (as amended)  are related and are bills applying a Neighborhood Landmark Overlay District on property located at 1431 Shelton Avenue and rezoning the property from  R6 to MUN-A. This would allow a recording studio to operate in what is a residential community. This is a tool used to save old large homes that are too big for normal residential use and the economic activity is of a type that is low impact but many neighbors oppose this type arrangement. Neighborhood activist and former Metro Councilman John Summers speaks against the bill. To see the public hearing look at about timestamp 3:14. It passed by a vote of 25 to 5 to 4. To read The Tennessean's report on this issue see, Obscure zoning tool could legalize home studio in historic East Nashville home.
Bill BL2018-1280 approves the plans for a non-hazardous liquid waste processing facility to be located at 2832 Whites Creek Pike. This proves controversial. I did not delve into the issue deep enough to have an opinion. To see the public hearing and council deliberation see timestamp 3:50:18 - 5:06:08 It was approved by a vote of 21 to 12 to 3.
Resolutions: There are 45 resolution on the agenda in addition to the resolutions on public hearing. Initially all resolutions except  resolutions on public hearing are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which it is assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter-agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Here are the resolution of interest:
Resolution RS2018-1314 proposes six charter amendments to be submitted to the voters for ratification. This will take 27 votes to be approved.
  • Three of them are related the line of succession for the office of mayor and how a vacancy is filled. It also addresses how a district council vacancy would be filled and would shorten the time a district would go without having a council member. Some problems are pointed out with what is proposed related to the timing of elections. It is pointed out that the proposed amendment could mean someone is elected with only three months to serve and other people are pulling papers to run in the next general election.  Some change needs to be made to avoid an expensive runoff to fill the office of vice mayor as we are now experiencing.
  • The fourth proposed amendment would require oaths of office for mayor, vice mayor, and members of council to include an oath to uphold the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville. Currently, such oaths reference only support of the Tennessee Constitution and the Constitution of the United States.
  • The fifth proposed amendment would change the term limits for the offices of councilman and councilman at-large from two (2) terms to three (3) terms. It would also change “councilman” to “councilmember.” The attempt to expand term limits has been tried before and rejected by the voters.
  • The sixth proposed amendment would update the Metropolitan Charter with general neutral references in place of masculine-only pronouns. References to “he” would be changed to “he or she,” “his” would be changed to “his or her,” “him” would be changed to “him or her,” “councilman” would be changed to “councilmember,” and “policemen”would be changed to “police officers.” 
Each of the proposed charter amendments must be considered individually, and each must garner 27 votes, then the total bill is moved as amended and must get 27 votes. A lot of work has gone into the proposals before it reaches the Council floor.  There is a Charter Revision Committee that considers the proposals before they reach the Council. The Council discussion never gets past the proposed second amendment concerning the filling of a vacancy of a district council seat. After discussion, Council Member Pridemore moved to defer the resolution, and the motion was seconded and approved by a  roll call vote. Due to the time frame by which a proposal to amend the charter must be passed in order for the election commission to be able to place the proposed charter amendments on the ballot, when this comes up next council meeting, it must pass or no charter amendments can be considered this year. To see the council deliberations see timestamp 5:22:11 to 5:23:24.
Resolution RS2018-1319  appropriates $551,051.45 in Community Development Block Grant funds for sidewalk improvements in North Nashville. This is money that could instead be used to leverage the building of units of affordable housing. This passed on the consent agenda.
Resolution RS2018-1328  would issue General Obligation bonds in the amount of $50 million, $25 million of which would be for demolition of existing fairgrounds buildings and $25 million would provide infrastructure for the proposed MLS stadium. There are also three bills pending also related to the fairgrounds land giveaway soccer deal and this was deferred to track with those bills.
Resolution RS2018-1329Resolution RS2018-1330, Resolution RS2018-1331, Resolution RS2018-1332, and Resolution RS2018-1333  each appropriates $200,000 from various departments of Metro Government to various selected non-profits. Some of these, such as the Oasis Center and St. Lukes and Nashville Adult Literacy Council, I am familiar with. Others such as Nations Ministry Center and Moves and Grooves, I have never heard of.  I do not approve of giving Metro Tax dollars to non-profits. If it s contract for a non-profit to provide a service that is one thing, but to just give various agencies money, I do not think is appropriate.
Conexion Americas is slated to get $50,000. While Conexion Americas does some worthwhile things, they also provide services to illegal aliens and advocate on behave of illegal aliens.
All of these pass.  The "no"votes are  Swope, Glover, Huezo, Freeman, and Roberts. To see the discussions see timestamp 5:55:12
Resolution RS2018-1356  by Steve Glover expresses the intention of the Metropolitan Council to suspend action on any agreement related to any lease and redevelopment of the Nashville Fairgrounds until all necessary procedures have been completed. This was deferred "by rule."
Bills on First reading: There are 24 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 normally don't read them until they get to second reading. On this agenda there are several bills on First Reading related to the fairground. As is the norm all bills on first reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading: There are eight. Here are the ones of interest.
Bill BL2018-1142  says that if a request for funds from the 4% fund is going to be spend in  single council district that that district councilman will be given advance notice. This sounds reasonable to me. It is approved by a voice vote.

Second Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 would regulate "shared urban mobility devices," such as bicycles and scooters, and if establish a permitting system for them. This was prompted by the arrival of Bird Scooter in Nashville. This would establish a one-year pilot program for the scooter, impose a lot of cost, including a $35 per scooter and a whole lot of regulation. My view is that this is overkill. There is a lot of discussion and then it is approved by a voice vote. To view the discussion see timestamp 6:15:35 to 6:56:30.

Bill BL2018-1281 would require sexual harassment awareness training of Metro employees and contractors. The staff analysis says we do not know how much this would cost and that HR does not have the resources to track compliance. It is deferred to the October 2nd meeting.

Bill BL2018-1283 essentially says that Metro cannot use the proceeds from sale of surplus property to balance the budget.  While it seems to make sense that one should not use one-time money to fund on-going cost, as we did this year, I am not sure that this flexibility should be taken away. There may be times when the city needs to do that. This was deferred at the request of the sponsor to the September 18th meeting.
Bills on Third Reading: There are 20. Most are approved zoning bills.
Bill 2016-219 to trample property rights and kill an affordable housing project deferred again.  I have posted separately on this issue. To learn more follow this link.
Substitute BL2018-1139 (as amended) is the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan.   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 For more on this complex bill, see the lengthy staff analysis. This bill is  amended on third reading to change the composition of the advisory board. This bill was deferred by a roll call vote over the objection of the sponsor. To see the discussion see timestamp 7:07:55- 7:19:34
Bill BL2018-1182 is a disapproved rezoning bill in Councilman Karen Johnson's district.  I am only calling attention to the bill because it is disapproved and will require 27 votes to pass. It passes.

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