Monday, November 19, 2018

What's on the Council agenda for 11-20-2019: Civil Asset Forfeiture, increasing the ticket tax at Soccer games, prohibiting balancing the budget by selling surplus property.

by Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, November 20th 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. If you are going to watch it, it is somewhat less boring if you have the agenda and agenda analysis.  You  don't have to watch it and yet you can still me informed. I will watch it for you and then a couple days later post a summary of the most important Council actions and a video of the meeting. Below is a summary of the agenda, highlighting what I deem to be the most important items.

There are two mayoral appointments to boards and Commission on the agenda for Council confirmation but none are to  the troubled commissions. The Council rarely rejects a mayoral appointee.

Resolutions: There are 12 only twelve resolutions on the agenda. Only one is controversial.

Resolution RS2018-1486  approve Metro's participation in "Policing for Profit." It is
an agreement for Metro to participate with the State and Federal government in the civil asset forfeiture program.

What civil asset forfeiture does is allow the police to confiscate the cash one is carrying and ones vehicle and possession one may have in his vehicle without being proven guilty of a crime. The person may not even be charged with a crime. To get the cash and belongings returned the person who had their property taken must prove he did not possess them in order to engage in crime.

This is a shameful program and violates basic concepts of fairness, due process, and innocent until proven guilty. For more a more detailed explanation of the bill, follow this link.
Bills on Second Reading:  There are 17 of them. These are the only ones of interest.
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. 

Bill BL2018-1334  tweaks the ticket tax for the Major League Soccer Stadium. I don't expect this to generate controversy, but it might. This would raise the overall price of attending a game and may suppress attendance.
Bills on Third Reading:  There are 33 of them. Most are noncontroversial zoning bills or other mundane issues, like allowing underground encroachments into the right-of-way. Below is the only bill of interest.

Bill BL2018-1370  is a disapproved rezoning bill changing from R20 to SP zoning on property located at 1120 Glendale Lane. I have no insight as to the merits of this rezoning. I am simply calling attention to this bill because, being disapproved by the Planning Commission, it will take 27 positive votes to pass.

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