Monday, October 22, 2018

Vote "against ratification" on Amendment 1, Amendment 5. and Amendment 6.

When you go to the polls to vote you will see six proposed Charter amendments on the ballot. To view the complete language of the amendments, go to the Election Commissions website and go to page 3.

I am recommending that voters vote "against ratification" on amendment 1, Amendment 5, and Amendment 6. 

Two of the  other three amendments are harmless housekeeping amendments that do no harm and may even be beneficial. One of the other three, I think, is flawed but not a disaster and it doesn't much matter if it passes or not.  If you get into the polling booth and cannot remember which amendment does what and in doubt how to vote, just vote against them all.

Below is a summary of the six amendments.

Amendment one would establish a community oversight board that would have the power to investigate allegations of misconduct against the Metro Police Department. This is a terrible proposal.

There are currently at least eight different layers of accountability in place for our local law enforcement agencies, several made up of civilians. These include local agencies such as the Office of Professional Accountability as well as state and federal agencies such as the TBI and FBI.  Also, there is no requirement in the proposed amendment that would require the perspective of someone who is knowledgeable of law enforcement policy, procedure and training. Nor is there a requirement for anyone on the board to have a comprehensive understanding of local, state and federal law.  Also, this would add another $2 million annually to the Metro Budget. When the metro government cannot give employees a promised raise and is cutting tens of millions of dollars out of the budget to stay solvent, Nashville cannot afford this redundant, expensive layer of bureaucracy.

The amendment would also stack the deck to have the board dominated by liberal activist. Also, there is not even a requirement that board members be U. S. citizens.

Amendment two would set a procedure to follow if the mayor's seat is vacant and for some reason the vice mayor can't or won't fill the seat.

Amendment three clarifies and changes when special elections would be held for vacant mayor, vice mayor and council member seats. A special election would be held for mayor if there is more than 12 months left in the term. For vice mayor, that number is 24 months. District council members would have an election if more than eight months were left in the term and at-large council member seats would remain vacant and have no special election.

I think this is flawed and will vote against it also but don't care that much. I like the part about the call for election if the mayors seat would be vacant for 12 month and if the vice mayor's seat would remain vacant 24 months. I think a district seat should have more than 8 months left before calling a special election, however. By the time you could have the election, there would be less than 8 months remaining. By that time you could have the special election, people are already campaigning for the next regular election. So, whoever gets elected would not even have time to recover from the campaign before campaigning for reelection. A council member at large looks after the affairs of vacant council seat. I think there should only be a special election if at least 12 month are remaining so I will vote against this but don't care that much one way or the other.

Amendment four would require certain elected city officials to take an oath to uphold the Charter of Metropolitan Government of Nashville. Currently, those officials only take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State and the Constitution of the United States. A charter of a city does not protect basic rights the way a State or the U.S. constitution does, so I don't think this is terribly important, but it does no harm.

Amendment five would change the term limits for council members from two terms to three. I don't think there is inherently anything better about two terms than three terms and am not a big proponent of term limits. However, the people have spoken on this several times and I think the issue ought to stay settled for a while. I am tired of the opponents of term limits continuously bringing this back up.
Amendment six would change masculine pronouns in the Metro Charter to gender neutral pronouns. For example, references to "he" would be changed to "he/she." "Councilman" would be changed to "Council member." This is butchering the language and grammar for political correctness. The singular pronoun "he" or "his," includes people of either sex.  Consider the sentence, "Everyone brought his own lunch."  The "his" covers both males and females. That flows much better than this awkward sentence: "Everyone brought his/her own lunch."

To summarize, I am voting against amendments 1, 3, 5 and 6. Or, I might just vote against them all, just for the heck of it.

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