Wednesday, November 13, 2019

How the Council voted on a resolution calling for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.

by Rod Williams - On November 5th, the Metro Council passed a resolution calling on the President of the United State and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform and "give Nashville’s qualified undocumented neighbors a path to citizenship and an opportunity to fully participate in the life of our community without fear." It should be pointed out that that is all it does. It changes no policy or spends any money. It is a statement of opinion of those members of the Council who voted for it.

It is a victory that this was not passed "on consent."  Resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass by a single vote.  Everyone present is assumed to have voted for the resolutions.  That is how so many ridiculous pandering progressive resolutions have passed the Council. Steve Glover is to be commended for moving to have this taken off of consent.


If I were serving in the Council, I would not have voted in favor.  I wold  have voted "no" or at a minimum I would have abstained. The resolutions calls for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens without calling for deterrence to further illegal immigration. I could support a balanced comprehensive immigration bill but not a one-sided solution.

I could support "comprehensive immigration reform" if it  called for tightening the asylum rules to deter purely economic immigrants, if it called for additional or improved physical barriers as needed along our southern border, and it if required a mandatory verification of legal status of new hires. This resolutions did not rule out those things but called for rewarding illegal aliens without doing anything to address future illegal immigration. 

Bob Nash was the primary sponsor of this resolution and I am disappointed that he did so.  Below is how members of the Council voted. I have underlined the "yes" voting members who disappointed me. These are people who I thought may not vote in favor of this and whose candidacy I supported when they ran for office.  The other "yes" votes do not disappoint because I did not expect much better.


Voting Yes (34): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Larry Hagar, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Murphy, Bob Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, and Angie Henderson;  

Voting No (0);  

Voting Abstain (3); Steve Glover, Johnathan Hall, and Dave Rosenberg.

Gone fishing:  The number of votes case comes to 37. Voting "abstain" is actually pushing the "abstain" button.  No one was absent for the full meeting, so three members either came in late, left early, took a bathroom break, set on their hands, or went fishing. The three Gone Fishing members are (3): Robert Swope, Russ Pulley, and Courtney Johnson.


I am pleased that Steve Glover kept the resolution from passing on "consent,' and pleased that he and two other members abstained. While I wish they would have voted "no" or at least pushed the "abstain" button, I am nevertheless pleased that three other members sat on their hands or had to go to the bathroom during the vote.

Below is the text of the resolution.

Resolution RS2019-86

A resolution requesting that the President of the United States and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that an estimated 31,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Davidson County, of which 5,000 have been in the United States from five to twenty plus years; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council further recognizes that the overwhelming majority of these immigrants are hard-working, family-oriented people who contribute to the fabric of our community. Given the opportunity to become documented, these neighbors would no longer have to fear such actions as family separation and could contribute even more to our city’s culture and future; and

WHEREAS, our undocumented neighbors contribute to Nashville’s tax revenues through sales taxes and property taxes by virtue of rent payments and direct home ownership (approximately thirty percent of undocumented immigrants own a home); and

WHEREAS, 7,000 of our undocumented neighbors are under the age of twenty-five. Many of these young people attend Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Due to lack of documentation, their parents often fear attending school events and providing the parental support that is so important in a student’s success; and

WHEREAS, many undocumented children were brought to the United States by their parents before they were of any age to make such a decision on their own. They have been raised here and know no other home; and

WHEREAS, 151,743 people in Tennessee, including 63,621 born in the United States, lived with at least one (1) undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014; and

WHEREAS, during that same period, one in 25 children in the state was a U.S. citizen child living with a least one undocumented family member (70,982 children in total); and

WHEREAS, our undocumented neighbors are often afraid to call the police to report crimes and are therefore at greater risk of being victims of crime. Our whole community is made less safe for our inability to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice; and

WHEREAS, Nashville’s undocumented workers are afraid to come forward and report violations of labor laws and are often the victims of crimes such as wage theft; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Government’s failure to provide a path to citizenship for our undocumented neighbors has caused conflicts of interest and strained relations between federal and local law enforcement agencies; and

WHEREAS, our Federal Government’s failure to address this issue has resulted in our nation’s immigration enforcement officers diverting resources that could be better used securing our borders and apprehending those undocumented persons who truly pose a danger to our community.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY THAT:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council requests that the President and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would:

1. Establish just and reasonable eligibility requirements that would enable those undocumented immigrants who meet said requirements, to apply for citizenship; and

2. Establish a just and fair path to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants who have qualified to apply.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk’s Office is directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Tennessee delegation to the United States Congress, and the Tennessee General Assembly.

Section 3. This resolution shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Bob Nash, Jeff Syracuse, Sharon Hurt, Nancy VanReece, John Rutherford, Tonya Hancock, Zulfat Suara, Burkley Allen, Delishia Porterfield

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

“Finding qualified labor” top business problem in booming small business sector

NASHVILLE (Nov. 12, 2019) — The small business half of the economy continued its remarkable economic streak, posting a 0.6 point gain in October’s Optimism Index. The 102.4 reading was buoyed by eight of the 10 Index components advancing, as talk of a recession waned in October. The Uncertainty Index declined 4 points but remains historically high heading into an election year.

“A continued focus on a recession by policymakers, talking heads, and the media clearly caused some consternation among small businesses in previous months, but after shifting their focus to other topics, it’s become clear that owners are not experiencing the predicted turmoil,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Small business owners are continuing to create jobs, raise wages, and grow their businesses, thanks to tax cuts and deregulation, and nothing is stopping them except for finding qualified workers.”

State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB State Director Jim Brown said small business owners across Tennessee remain upbeat about the direction of the economy. “Their biggest concern is finding good applicants,” Brown said. “Our members may be ready to extend their hours or expand their businesses, but they can’t do that without qualified workers.”

Key findings from October’s index included:
  • The October increase was led by GDP-producing plans for job creation, inventory investment, and capital spending.
  • Reports of actual capital spending increased and inventory investment improved from a modest negative level in September.
  • Reports of rising labor compensation increased and remained strong historically, and the frequency of plans to raise compensation also rose in October.
  • Reports of higher selling prices remained subdued, so rising labor costs are still not pushing up inflation on Main Street.
  • Actual job creation in October exceeded that in September, as small businesses continued to hire and create new jobs.
The reported increase in sales put pressure on inventory stocks, reducing them. Owners reporting inventory increases remained unchanged at a net 0 percent. The net percent of owners planning to expand inventory holdings increased 3 points to a net 5 percent, a solid number and one of the best in a year. Overall, owners feel that the prospects for growth justify adding to inventory stocks.

Fifty-nine percent reported capital outlays, up 2 points from September’s reading. Of those making expenditures, 40 percent reported spending on new equipment (up 2 points), 24 percent acquired vehicles (up 1 point), and 18 percent improved or expanded facilities (up 4 points). Seven percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion (unchanged) and 14 percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture (unchanged).

Twenty-nine percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, up 2 points. Plans to invest were strong in agriculture and the wholesale trades (34 percent each), and manufacturing and transportation (33 percent each). Thirty percent of small firms reported negative effects from trade policy. Making major commitments about production and distribution will be more difficult until import and export prices are stabilized with trade agreements.

“Labor shortages are impacting investment adversely – a new truck, or tractor, or crane is of no value if operators cannot be hired to operate them,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “The economy will likely remain steady at its current level of activity for the next 12 months as Congress will be focused on other matters, and an election cycle will limit action. Any significant change in trade issues will impact financial markets more than the real economy during this period. Adjustments to a new set of ‘prices,’ such as tariffs, will take time.”

Twenty-five percent of the owners selected “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem, more than cited taxes or regulations. Reports of higher worker compensation rose 1 point to a net 30 percent of all firms – a historically high reading. Plans to raise compensation rose 4 points to a net 22 percent. Firms are likely to continue to offer improved compensation to attract and retain qualified workers because the only solution in the short term to an employee shortage is to raise compensation to attract new workers and to train less qualified employees. Owners are still not passing on higher compensation costs, with only 10 percent reporting higher selling prices.

“The economy is doing well given the labor constraints it faces. Unemployment is very low, incomes are rising, and inflation is low. That’s a good economy,” Dunkelberg concluded.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Nikki Haley in Nashville to launch her new book.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/author-event-with-ambassador-nikki-haley-tickets-71540580803

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Veterans Day, Honoring all who served. Thank you.

See the source image

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Reading list for Nov. 13 Comptroller presentation by Council member at-large Bob Mendes

by Rod Williams- Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Metro Nashville has a serious budget problem. One might even call it a "crisis."  I think that word is overused but when the Comptroller puts you on notice that you must balance your budget and you must raise water rates, then I think you are at least close to having a crisis.  The Comptroller has a lot of leverage over a local government and could take unpleasant actions if Metro does not get its financial house in order. The fact that the Comptroller had to exert pressure on Nashville to cause the city to address our financial problems is in itself embarrassing.

For anyone who wants a better understanding of Metro's finances, I suggest you read the following article.  While I often disagree with Bob Mendes' political stances and am certainly more conservative than he, he is one of the people I pay attention to when speaking about Metro finances.  I opposed his proposed tax increases the last two years and may not agree with his solutions, but he clearly explains the problems and understands them. Bob Mendes' blog is one of the things I routinely read to stay informed.

The underling in his post his mine. I wanted to call extra attention to these issues.  

Reading list for Nov. 13 Comptroller presentation


Bob Mendes
by Councilman at Large Bob Mendes reposted from this link- The Comptroller for the State of Tennessee will make a presentation to the Metro Council on November 13, 2019, about Metro’s finances. In advance of that, I went back and read some of my blog posts about the city’s finances:

Pre-Budget Process Thoughts (May 1, 2016): This was my first budget-related post. I questioned why the portion of the budget being spent on debt was increasing during boom times. I said, “You would like to think that if you absolutely kill it on the revenue side, the percentage of your budget that goes toward debt might go down?  If one were a cynic, one would observe that record-breaking revenue increases can’t go on forever, and ask whether we will be able to anticipate when our revenue increases inevitably recede well enough to also pull back on large increases in new long-term debt.”

Math is Hard (April 27, 2017): I noted that from year to year, Metro kept using different numbers to describe what portion of the budget was going to pay debt. I am still not sure why this was happening. But by 2017, there was no consistent way to measure how much of the budget was going toward paying long-term debt.

Unfunded OPEB liability to cross $3B mark this year (October 9, 2017): This is one of several posts over the year making the point that Metro’s completely unfunded obligation for retiree health benefits has consistently grown more rapidly than the city’s budget. That’s a problem.

Storm has been brewing for a while… (May 5, 2018): After the transition to Mayor Briley, the Council was presented with a bad budget. This was the budget that reneged on employee raises and was called “belt-tightening” by the Mayor. This post talks about how it took multiple years to build up to this bad budget.

um…about the budget… (May 11, 2018): I started this post by saying, “The proposed FY19 Metro budget has been out for ten days now…and it’s not good…and this is just the first year of a multi-year problem.” In response, the administration doubled down on its “there’s no problem” campaign. I and the other Council members who tried to address the problems were painted as alarmists.

No Free Lunch (August 19, 2018): After having lost the 2018 budget battle by one vote, this post tried to show the city’s increasing debt problem along side the city’s increasing unfunded retiree benefit obligations.

Metro Debt Dashboard (September 15, 2018): Like the last post, this one tried to collect data to show how out of bounds Metro’s finances had gotten. This post created some back-and-forth between the mayor and me. Briley told the Tennessean, “And I’m even more surprised that Bob Mendes would put out these numbers about our debt and debt service that are just so fundamentally wrong.” This exchange is relevant only to understand how powerful it is when the mayor’s office with its full-time professional finance and communications staff dismiss facts. In large measure, as recently as one year ago, everything that is now considered “fact” about Metro’s finances was dismissed by the Metropolitan Government as “fundamentally wrong.” That aggressive denial is part of why the city’s finances are where they are now.

Metro’s Audited Financials as of 6/30/2018 (December 15, 2018): This one is long…maybe skip it. But if you want to see the latest about the retiree benefit obligations, read it.

Maybe hold back on the high fives for now?? (March 19, 2019): I wrote this post after the administration announced pay raises for employees and was attempting to portray that like the budget was back on track.

The myth that “belt tightening” could fix the budget (May 4, 2019): The title is self-explanatory.

FAQs – FY20 Better Budget (June 6, 2019): This post collects all of my several posts about the budget Nashville is currently operating under.

Met with Comptroller and Mayor today… (October 3, 2019): This one is my last post related to the budget and what the I expect the Comptroller to discuss on November 13.

As a final note, I want to remind everyone that, while it is easy to focus on Metro’s budget problems, these issues are mostly about growing pains. Nashville has an awesome economy. To fix the city government’s budget, it will take discipline, honesty, and effort. We can do this.

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Beyond the Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 symbolized the end of the Cold War and spurred on the peaceful revolutions that caused Communism to crumble. Twenty years later, this extraordinary documentary examines the communist era and its legacy, illustrating the endurance of the human spirit in the face of political dogma.

Rod's Comment: I highly recommend this documentary, especially for anyone born after the fall of the wall or anyone who may not be aware of the importance of this momentous event in human history or anyone who may have forgotten how events unfolded and how freedom was won for those behind the iron curtain. It was not inevitable that the west won. It was not inevitable that freedom prevailed. Communism could have been the victor in the cold war or we could still be facing a divided world one blink away from destruction.

If you are an Amazon Prime customer, this is available for free on Amazon. For more information follow this link.

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Tennessee should Recognize Victims of Communism Memorial Day, Metro Council shoud memorialize the state to do so.



On Monday, October 29, Pennsylvania became the ninth state to condemn communist regimes by establishing November 7 as Victims of Communism Memorial Day. Alabama, Arkansas, Utah, and Virginia have passed legislation. Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas are in the process.

Yesterday, November 7, the White House commemorated the National Day for the Victims of Communism by releasing a Presidential Memo.

"This year’s National Day for the Victims of Communism coincides with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall," wrote President Trump. "As we commemorate this milestone for human rights, we resolve to continue working with our allies and partners to ensure that the flames of freedom keep burning as a beacon of hope and opportunity around the globe."

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) organized a delegation of victims of communism to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office, including Grace Jo, a North Korean defector and Vice President of North Korean Refugees in the USA; Sirley Ávila León, a Cuban activist who was viciously attacked for her criticism of the Castro regime; Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, also known as Mother Mushroom, a Vietnamese blogger who was imprisoned by the communist regime for her online activism; and Daniel Di Martino, a college student from Venezuela who has firsthand experience living under the Maduro regime.

In a statement, VOC Executive Director Marion Smith said, "At a time when ignorance of socialism is growing and communist countries like China, Cuba, and North Korea remain threats, we need to be reminded of the one hundred million victims of communism who perished in the past century and the threat to liberty that communism still poses."

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

November 9th marked the end of an era. It should be world-wide day of celebration.

by Rod Williams - Saturday will come and go with almost no mention that that day was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It is a shame. November 9th should be a National holiday. Or better yet, it should be a worldwide holiday. It should rival a combination of New Years’ Eve and the 4th of July. There should be concerts, parades, dancing in the street, Champagne toast, ringing of church bells, and fire works.

On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the world changed forever. As the world watched, we did not know if Russia would send in troops to put down the rebellion or not. We did not know if East German guards would fire on their fellow citizens. In 1958 an uprising in Hungary was crushed. In 1968 the Czech rebellion was likewise suppressed. As we watched in 1989 it was hard to believe that the East German rebellion would end differently, but there was reason to hope.

There was reason to believe that there were few true believers in Communism left behind the Iron curtain. Gorbachev, to save Communism, had launched Perestroika and Glasnost, which had not saved Communism but sealed its fate. The Soviets had been forced to realize that they could not outspend the west in the arms race. The Solidarity union movement had sprung up in Poland and not been crushed and Catholicism had a Polish pope who was encouraging the Catholics behind the Iron Curtain to keep the faith, and America had a president who said his goal was not to co-exist with Communism but to defeat it. The West was more confident and the East seemed exhausted.

With modern communications and contact between the captive peoples of the East and the free people of the West, Communist governments could no longer convince their people that Communism was a superior way to organize society. And, for the first time, attempts to spread Communism had failed. From the tiny island of Granada, to Nicaragua, to Afghanistan, attempts at expansion had met with failure. When the demonstrators in East Germany began chipping away at the wall, the guards did not fire, the Soviets did not send in tanks and the walls came tumbling down.

It would still be a couple more years before the other Communist dominoes fell, but one by one they did, except for the two dysfunctional states of North Korea and Cuba. China did not fall, but morphed into a state that Marx or Mao would not recognize. It is only nominally communist. China became a mixed economy with an repressive authoritarian one-party government and it is now flexing its muscle and threatening its neighbors, but it is not spreading an ideology to change the world.

From the time of the establishment of the first Communist state in Russia in 1917, Communism had steadily grown taking root in country after county until by the time of the fall of the Berlin wall 34% of the worlds populations lived under Communist domination. And by peaceful means, Communism was gaining ground in much of the west with “Euro-communism” gaining acceptance and becoming parties in coalition governments.

For more than seventy years, freedom had been on the defensive and Communism had been ascending. During that time, approximately 100 million people were killed with a brutal efficiency. Approximately 65 million were killed in China under Mao Zedong, 25 million in Leninist and Stalinist Russia, 2 million in Cambodia, and millions more in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America. This was accomplished by mass murders, planned famines, working people to death in labor camps, and other ruthless methods. From the thousands of Cossacks slaughtered on the orders of Lenin to the victims of Mao’s “land reform” the totals mounted. In addition to the millions of deaths, many more millions spend part of their lives in prison in the Gulag of Russia and the reeducation camps of Vietnam and China. Those who never spend part of their life in real prisons, lived in societies with secret police, enforced conformity, thought control, fear, scarcity, and everyone spying on everyone else.

While the world looked with horror on the approximate 11 million victims of Hitler’s Europe, for some reason less attentions has been paid to the 100 million victims of Communist tyranny. While the Nazi era lasted for only 11 years, the Communist terror began in 1917 and continues to this day. The story would be complete if the last Communist regime fell, but the fall of the Berlin Wall is a landmark event. By the fall of the wall, it was clear that Communism was not the wave of the future and that freedom would survive in the world.

Not only would freedom survive in the world, but the world itself would survive. It is easy to forget what a dangerous place the world was on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The world's nuclear stockpiles had grown to 70,000 warheads, with an average destructive power about 20 times that of the weapons that were dropped on Japan. One deranged colonel, one failure of a radar system, or one misreading of intentions could have led to events that destroyed the world. We were one blink away from destruction of life on earth. If there is any event in the history of world worthy of celebrating, it should be the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

What happened at the Nov. 5, 2015 Council meeting? Council passes a request for immigration reform, a trans day of remembrance and raises parking fees. Defers aerial ad prohibition and new fee for fencing.


This meeting is 2 hours and 49 minutes long.  If you are going to watch the meeting, you will get a lot more out of the meeting if you know what is under discussion. If you are going to watch it, you can probably watch in double time and not miss much context. To access the agenda, agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

I am providing my summary of the meeting below. However, be advised that I only hit the high points and report on what is important to me, so you may want to watch it for yourself. I do not even attempt to form an opinion on each zoning bill and normally only report on those that are controversial or are bills disapproved by the Planning Commission. Also, if you view the minutes of the meeting you can find out from the official record what happened without watching. Unfortunately, the minutes are often not posted until a week later. You can access the minutes at this link.

Followings Pat Nolan's introduction and summary of what is important that is on the agenda, the meeting is graveled to order at timestamp 8.55. Following the prayer, pledge and ceremonial presentation of a recognition of a member of the armed forces, the Council gets down to business with consideration of elections and confirmations at timestamp 23:08.

Elections and confirmations

Election of School Board members: There are four nominees. A nomination speech if offered by the nominating council member for each of the candidates and then each candidate addresses the Council.  Player-Peters was elected with the votes of 26 council member. The runner-up who got 14 votes was Kevin Stacy, a licensed teacher who has worked as a schools administrator for Metro, Clarksville and Williamson County. His area of specialty is administering English as a Second Language programs. There really does not seem to be an ideological consideration in this vote. Some of the conservatives voted for one but some conservatives voted for the other and the same among the more progressive council members.
There were several other position in other agencies filled but none are of very much interest to the general public. Seats were filled on the Industrial Development Board, which is of interest to a lot of people in segments of the business community, but I do not know enough about the candidates to have much interest who won the seats. Also seats were filled on the Community Education Commission.
Resolutions and Bills on Public Hearing.  The Council begins Public Hearing at timestamp 1:14:00.
The resolutions are exempting businesses from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. The bills are zoning bills. On bills, public hearing is occurring on Second Reading of the bill. None of the bills have been disapproved by the Planning Commission. Very few people speak on any of the items on Public Hearing. This is the only item on public hearing I find of interest: 
Bill BL2019-3   authorizes Metro to opt into the historic properties tax abatement program under state law and would establish a historic properties review board. This would give a property tax break to historic properties that are restored. I support this. I am a strong advocate of property rights and do not want to prohibit someone from tearing down a historic property but also want to see old significant buildings saved.  If we can incentivize people in preserving historic properties I favor it. This passes and is referred back to the Planning Committee for more work.
Resolutions. The consideration of resolutions begins at timestamp  1:43:19. Most resolutions are lumped together and passed on the "consent agenda."  If there is no dissension then the resolution is considered to have passed unanimously by all present.  Any member may have an item taken off of the consent agenda or have an abstention or "no" vote recorded. They may avoid voting in favor of a item on consent by being out of the room when the vote is taken. At the start of consideration of resolutions, Councilman Glover has Resolution RS2019-86 and Resolution RS2019-87 pulled off of consent.  I am so proud of him for this action. For way too long council members who don't agree with super liberal politically correct memorializing resolution have, nevertheless,  let them just slid on through without opposition.  It is time for that practice to end! These two resolutions are explained below.
Resolution RS2019-86  "request that the President of the United States and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform and give Nashville’s qualified undocumented neighbors a path to citizenship and an opportunity to fully participate in the life of our community without fear." The resolution's sponsor, Councilman Robert Nash, speaks in favor of the resolution. At Large Council Member Zulfat Suara, Council Member Sandra Sepulveda, and Council Member Delishia Danielle Porterfield speak in favor and no one speaks in opposition. The vote is by machine and is 34 in favor, 3 abstentions, and 3 not voting.

While someone could have voted "no" or at least have explained why they were voting "abstain,"  I am not unhappy with this outcome.  The bill is so vaguely worded that one could reason that their understanding of what they want in comprehensive immigration reform is different than what someone else wants. I am sure President Trump's favors comprehensive immigration reform if it gave him adequate funding to build a wall and funded more immigration agents and courts and made some other changes to immigration policy.  Also, this really does nothing. It changes no policy and spends no money. It simply expresses the view of those who voted for it. If I had a vote, I would have voted "abstain."  See timestamp 2:03:07- 2:10:14 to see the deliberation. When the minutes are posted, I will report how each member of the Council voted.

Resolution RS2019-87 recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.The sponsor, Councilman Withers speaks in favor. No one speaks against it. I do not blame anyone for not speaking in opposition, but my objection is that we should not be pandering to the advocates of identity politics and that any loss of life is important and that there are many other groups of people at least, if not more, deserving of a day of remembrance. I express this view in this essay:How about a day of remembrance for American military killed in action? For policemen killed in action? For firemen? For babies killed by abortionist? For Americans killed by illegal aliens? For ....
This resolution changes no policy nor spends any money and amounts to nothing more that those who voted in favor of it recognizing that date for that purpose. The vote is taken by machine and is 34 in favor, 2 abstentions and 4 not voting. Once the minutes are available, I will post the record of how members voted.
On the above two resolutions, I was unsure why there was a machine rather than voice vote. On the second one, the vote was taken by voice vote, and the Vice Mayor had moved to the next item of business and then came back to the resolution and had a machine vote.  He then explained this was because a Council rule requires a recorded vote on any resolution with a "no" vote or an abstention.
 Bills on Second Reading. These are the ones that I find of interest.

Bill BL2019-4 prohibits aerial advertising.  I see no logic for this bill and if I served in the council I would vote against it.  It is deferred one meeting..
Bill BL2019-31 would require a permit for all new fencing. This was deferred one meeting.  
Bills on Third Reading. This is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2019-1 raises the parking violation fee for most parking violations from $11 to $25. It passes. With the scarcity of parking places and the increase in the value of a parking space it seems reasonable to increase this fee. This will help fund parking meter modernization. 









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Jim Cooper joins Congressional Dems in push to revive Equal Rights Amendment

From Congressman Jim Cooper - Following the Democratic sweep in Virginia’s state house, Congressional Democrats are reviving their push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, known as the E.R.A. The E.R.A. was one state short of the 38 needed for ratification when the deadline passed in 1982. But House Democrats plan to mark up a bill that would eliminate the deadline for states to adopt the amendment, clearing the way for Virginia to become that final state.

The E.R.A. would amend the U.S. Constitution to bar discrimination on the basis of sex.  It would bolster pay equity, domestic violence protections and pregnancy discrimination protections for women. It could also affect men by guaranteeing paid paternity leave equal to maternity leave. But there is a question of whether Congress, with the Republican-led Senate, will actually void the ratification deadline or whether the date was ever enforceable to begin with. Another potential problem is that legislators in five states, including Tennessee, have voted to rescind their ratifications in the past.

+Jim is a cosponsor of H.J. Res. 38, which would strike the arbitrary deadline in the original constitutional amendment.

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Here is another reason to dislike Amy Frogge

 Here is another reason to dislike School Board member Amy Frogge. This is a Facebook post from her posted today.

Amy Frogge

This is big news. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin lost last night.
Bevin spent his time in office attacking teachers. He called them “ignorant,” “selfish,” and “thugs.” The media called this race teachers’ “biggest electoral test.” Teachers defeated him.
What if teachers in Tennessee banded together to elect education-friendly candidates?
I really didn't need another reason. She is one of the most vocal opponents of school choice on the school board, almost as bad as former school board member Will Pinkston.  She did somewhat redeem herself by breaking with Pinkston and being a critic of former MNPS superintendent Shawn Joseph, however.

I was disappointed to see Governor Bevin lose last night.  I thought he was one of the rising stars in national politics.  I saw him speak at a First Tuesday event some time ago and was very impressed. He had a passion and a serenity and bold ideas.  I was especially pleased by his passion for prison and sentencing reform.

Blevin attempted to put Kentucky's house in order.  When he took office the State faced a $500 million shortfall (link) and Standard and Poor had downgraded Kentucky's credit rating due to underfunded pension liabilities. Part of Bevin's plan to resolve the Kentucky budget crisis was to reduce the annual cost-of-living increase in benefits of retired teachers from 1.5 percent to 1.0 percent. 

Teachers rebelled and protested. "It's about just straight up wanting more than your fair share," Bevin said of the teacher opposition. "This is a group of people just throwing a temper tantrum." The governor said on a radio program that Kentucky teachers are paid much higher than neighboring states. He also criticized teachers for getting pay raises during retirement saying that state Troopers "who get shot at" don't get raises.  (link) Thousands of teachers protested Bevin and a war of words escalated. He did not call teachers "thugs" but denounced their "thug mentality."

The teacher's union beat Bleven and Kentuckians will face raising taxes and continued debt and cuts to other budget needs to fund teacher pensions. Amy Frogge wants teachers to band together to do the same thing in Tennessee that the teacher's union did in Kentucky.

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Metro Council elects Freda Player-Peters to fill School Board vacancy

At the Tuesday Nov.5th Metro Council meeting the Council elected Freda Player-Peters, a former local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leader and a former Briley staffer who worked as the liaison between the mayor's office and the Metro Council, to the School Board representing District 7.  She replaces Will Pinkton who reesinged his position. In her nomination letter she said she wanted to address inequities in education.  She had the support of the most progressive members of the Council.

Player-Peters was elected with the votes of 26 council member. The runner-up who got 14 votes was Kevin Stacy, a licensed teacher who has worked as a schools administrator for Metro, Clarksville and Williamson County.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

What's on the Council agenda for 11/5/2019 (update): A transgender day of remembrance, comprehensive immigration reform, raising parking fees,banning aerial advertising, requiring a permit for a fence.

by Rod Williams - This is an updated version of my report on the council agenda.  The previous version was composed without benefit of the Council staff analysis.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, November 5th at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis.

For those who want to watch the Council meeting and follow along. If you are going to watch it, it is more interesting if you have the agenda and agenda analysis.  It is still not very interesting but more interesting if you know what the heck is going on. You don't have to watch it and yet you can still be informed however, because  I will watch it for you and then a couple days later post a summary of the most important Council actions and I will post a video of the meeting and highlight the interesting parts. Below is a summary of the agenda, highlighting what I deem to be the most important items.

Elections and Confirmations
The council will elect a new school board member to fill the vacancy resulting from the resignation of Will Pinkston.  These are the candidates:

  • Freda Player-Peters - a former local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leader and Briley staffer
  • Elizabeth Hines - a parent who works as an adjunct professor at Nashville State Community College,
  • Allison Simpson - a parent who was head of the defunct Nashville Rise nonprofit parent group.
  • Kevin Stacy - a former Metro Nashville Public Schools administrator who led the system's department that supported students learning English. 
I don't know who is the best candidates. Freda Player-Peters is the candidate that has the support of the most progressive members of the Council. Also, as a Briley staffer she got to know some of the council members. I would think she is the leading candidate but not the best candidate. Kevin Stacey has the endorsement the teachers union (MNEA) and the school board’s Chair, Anna Shepherd, and its vice-chair, Amy Frogge.  This is an important election. Our schools are failing and the school board is laying the ground work to ask for a massive budget increase and quite of few of the new council members have pledged to give the school board whatever amount they ask for. We need someone who is a realist and has common sense serving on the school board. For more on this see link, link, link, link.

Three vacancies will be filled on the Industrial Development Board These positions are publicly low-profile, but sometimes the council is lobbied hard to get one faction or another's favorite candidate on the board. Lawyers, developers and financiers take an interest in who gets appointed to these positions. This board's function is, "to acquire, own, lease, and dispose of properties to the end that corporations may be able to promote industry and develop trade by inducing manufacturing, industrial, and commercial enterprises to locate in Nashville."

Public Hearing
There are five resolutions on public hearing exempting businesses from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. Seldom does anyone speak on these and they are usually not controversial. There are twelve rezoning bills on public hearing. I normally don't examine them or form an opinion on their merits and don't report on them unless they amount to something more than just a neighborhood issue or unless they have proven very controversial.  All of the ones on this agenda  are approved by the Planning Commission.

Resolutions.
Most of the resolutions on this agenda are routine things, such as accepting grants, allowing some signs to overhang sidewalks and approving the settling of some lawsuits recommended by Metro legal. We do not know which resolutions are on "consent."  If a resolution passes the committees to which it is assigned with a unanimous vote, then it is placed on "consent."

Sometimes resolutions pass on consent that express the council's opinion favoring very politically correct progressive positions. These type "memorializing" resolutions, spend no money and change no policy, so some of the more conservative or sensible liberals on the Council let them slip through unopposed.  I don't think that should happen. If a bad resolution is before the Council, I think a council member should, have it taken off of consent, which they may do, in which case it would be presented to the Council for a voice vote instead of passing unanimous. Also, a council member could ask to be recorded as abstaining or voting "no."  Council members do not have to waste time arguing against a meaningless resolution that does nothing, but they should not vote for a bad resolution that does not reflect their views.  Below are the resolutions of interest:
Bill BL2019-3   authorizes Metro to opt into the historic properties tax abatement program under state law and would establish a historic properties review board. This would give a property tax break to historic properties that are restored. I support this. I am a strong advocate of property rights and do not want to prohibit someone from tearing down a historic property but also want to see old significant buildings saved.  If we can incentivize people in preserving historic properties I favor it.
Resolution RS2019-86 request that the President of the United States and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform and give Nashville’s qualified undocumented neighbors a path to citizenship and an opportunity to fully participate in the life of our community without fear. While some may view this as a pro-illegal immigration bill, I don't really find it offensive. I favor "comprehensive immigration reform."  And, I favor, "just and reasonable eligibility requirements that would enable those undocumented immigrants who meet said requirements, to apply for citizenship." And, I favor, "a just and fair path to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants who have qualified to apply." There are enough vague terms and weasel words in the resolution that I find no reason to oppose it.

Resolution RS2019-87 recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. If I served in the Council I would not argue against this but I would not vote for it. I would ask it be taken off of consent and let it pass by an unrecorded voice vote.  If five councilperson asked for a recorded vote, there would be a machine roll call vote and  then I would simply not vote or vote "abstain."  You may want to contact your council person and ask them to not vote for this. There is no excuse for voting in favor. For more on the options members have for not voting in favor see this link. Text of the Transgender Day of remembrance resolution on the Nov. 5, 2019 Metro Council agenda and how to vote or not. My view is that any loss of live is important, there are many other groups of people at least, if not more, deserving of a day of remembrance.  See this link: How about a day of remembrance for American military killed in action? For policemen killed in action? For firemen? For babies killed by abortionist? For Americans killed by illegal aliens? For ....
 Bills on First Reading. There are 21. All bills on First are lumped together and pass by a single vote. I don't examine them until they get to Second Reading.

Bills on Second Reading. Of the 13, these are the ones that I find of interest.
Bill BL2019-4 prohibits aerial advertising.  I always like seeing aerial advertising. I see no logic for this bill and if I served in the council I would vote against it.  The sponsor explains the reason is noise. I'm not buying it. A similar bill like this in Hawaii was challenged in court as a violation of the First Amendment and withstood a challenge.
Bill BL2019-31 would require a permit for all new fencing. I do not necessarily oppose this, but since we have never required this before, I would want to know what problem this is trying to address before voting for it.   
Bills on Third Reading. There are 14 and this is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2019-1 raises the parking violation fee for most parking violations from $11 to $25. This seems reasonable to me.  With the scarcity of parking places and the increase in the value of a parking space it seems reasonable to increase this fee. Councilman Sledge explains that this is the first step in a process to modernize our parking system. We need to modernize our parking meter system.
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. It is also available 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 here and provide commentary. 

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1ST TUESDAY on Nov 7 with Congressman Ron Estes

From Tim Skow:
NOV 7th
1ST TUESDAY hosts ''Tennessee's 10th Congressman'' 
longtime Nashville resident, Congressman Ron Estes[R-Kansas] joins us on Nov 7th

After leaving Nashville, Ron ended up in Kansas. Ron was elected statewide twice as STATE TREASURER. 
When President TRUMP brought in  Congressman MIKE POMPEO to run the CIA, Ron won the special election to fill the seat of his friend, now the current Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO

Ron is the ....''ONLY TN REPUBLICAN '' who now sits on the Ultra-Powerful,  HOUSE WAYS & MEANS Committee. 
Plan to join us at WALLER LAW for lunch with '' Tennessee's 10th Congressman'' on Thursday, Nov 7th.
Door Open at 11am. Lunch at 11:25 with Program at Noon sharp !!



NOV 7th - evening 
Special evening reception for ''Tennessee's 10th Congressman''

If you miss the 1ST TUESDAY lunch ... OR ....  would enjoy getting to spend some time getting to know our friend, Congressman RON ESTES you are in luck !! 

Dr. Susan Sharpe and her husband Ken Lock are hosting an reception for Congressman Ron Estes at their home from 6-8pm.
Please plan to join us their home beautiful home on 623 Tyne Valley Court. Marvelous eats, wine & beer are provided. 

A number of notable special guests are expected [including a colleague of Ron]...  
Needless to say, RON will have a lot to share given his role on WAYS & MEANS and his friendship with Secretary POMPEO.  A $50 contribution is suggested.

As you'd expect, this is a more-the-merrier event.
Please RSVP ....  Susan Sharpe at 858-997-3881 or via email at sksharpe@kenlock.net .. Or me at 615-429-7569

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

How about a day of remembrance for American military killed in action? For policemen killed in action? For firemen? For babies killed by abortionist? For Americans killed by illegal aliens? For ....

On Tuesday November 5th the Council will be voting on and will almost certainly pass a resolution designating November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance. It changes no policy nor spends any money. It simply puts the council on record as recognizing  Transgender Day of Remembrance. Among the reasons for this day being recognized is that reportedly in 2018, twenty-six transgender or "gender non-conforming people" in the United States lost their lived  to violence. We don't know how many of the 26 were killed by jealous lovers or crime-related violence unrelated to their gender non-conforming or how many were killed just because they were hated because they were gender non-conforming.  In any event, it is regrettable.

If the Council is going to go on record declaring a day of remembrance for regrettable loss of lives of different groups, then I have some suggestions for other days of remembrance.

In 2017, 33 military personnel were killed in war zones overseas and in 2016, 26 were killed.  I do not have the figures for the number killed in 2018 but we know some did.  These men and women fight and die, giving their life so we can be live free.  How about a day of remembrance for US military personnel killed in war zones?

Not all servicemen who give their life for their country are active duty. Some die later from PDTS or agent orange or breathing air from contaminated burn pits or from lingering wounds. How about a day of remembrance for veterans who lose their lives due to service-connected a injury or disability?

The only thing standing between us and chaos is that then blue line.  In 2018, 144 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. How about a day of remembrance for policemen who died in the line of duty?

In 2018, 83 firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty.  These brave men rush into burning buildings and give their lives to save another. How about a day of remembrance for fallen firefighters?

Parenthood killed 321,384 babies last year bringing total killed to over 7.6 Million. How about a day of remembrance for aborted babies? In 2018 there were 36,750 deaths due to motor vehicle accidents. How about a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in traffic accidents?


In 2018 there were 15 fatal airliner accidents leading to 556 deaths. How about a day or remembrance for people who lost their lives in airliner accidents?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  On average, there are 129 suicides per day. I had an uncle who took his own life. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide. How about a day of remembrance for those who took their own life?

Using the more conservative definitions of mass shootings, in 2018 mass shootings took the lives of 80 people. How about a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in mass shootings?

While there isn't a national database tracking how many people are killed by illegal immigrants and while illegal immigrant may have a lower crime rate than that of Americans, every American murdered by an illegal immigrant is a murder that would not have occurred if we prevented illegal immigration. While the estimate of Americans killed by illegal immigrants vary widely, it is in the hundreds or thousands over a several year period. How about a day of remembrance for Americans killed by illegal aliens?

I don't know how many, but a lot of people lose their life due to domestic violence. How about a day of remembrance for them?

I don't know how many but a lot of homeless people die on the streets due to violence or exposure. How about a day of remembrance for them?

Sixteen hundred Americans have just vanished, never to be found, while hiking in parks or national forest. How about a day or remembrance for them?

How about teachers who lost their lives while teaching? I am sure it happened somewhere. How about a day or remembrance for them? 

How about a day of remembrance for drowning victims?

How about a day or remembrance for flagmen working interstate road construction who get killed?

What would we do without truckers who keep America moving and deliver our Amazon purchases? Some truckers die while performing their duties. How about a day of remembrance for truckers who die while working?

How about a day of remembrance for those who die mountain climbing, or  playing sports, or serving as rodeo clowns?

What about all of those who die from various illnesses?  Should we have a day of remembrance for those who die as a result of complications from diabetes? Heart attacks? Cancer? Alzheimer's?

If we are going to have a day or remembrance for transgender people who lost their lives to violence, that leaves 364 days that could be set aside for a day or remembrance for other regrettable deaths, each every bid as deserving as a day of remembrance for the 26 transgender people who lost their lives last year.


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Friday, November 1, 2019

At Fairgrounds “Mistakes Were Made” and City Hall Made Them

by Peter White, Tennessee Tribune, Nov. 1, 2019- It’s only a matter of time before the MLS soccer stadium contracts will be voided and put out to bid again. Whether Metro or Nashville SC will suggest another site for soccer instead of the Fairgrounds is unclear.

In court documents, Metro lawyers admitted for the first time last week that the evaluation committees for the stadium contracts were stacked with people who had a vested interest in the outcome. That is a violation of state law and the city’s Procurement rules.

“Metro, to my surprise, actually responded and admitted the only person serving on each of the three evaluation committees who was a Metro employee was Laura Womack,” said Jim Roberts, attorney for Save Our Fairgrounds, a plaintiff in a second lawsuit filed against the city in September.
.....
....also violates a state law, TCA 5-14-108, which prohibits a purchasing agent from delegating duties to a “private actor”....Mayor Megan Barry and her Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling were pulling the strings....Mayor Megan Barry and her Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling were pulling the strings

Rod's Comment: This is a good summary of the Soccer deal and the effort to destroy the Fairground. Read the full article at this link.
 

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As Bill Hagerty touts support from Trump in Tennessee Senate bid, GOP primary rival Manny Sethi says he can win

October 31st, 2019 | by Andy Sher, Chattanooga Times Free Press, NASHVILLE — When the Conservative Political Action Conference rolled into Memphis this week, Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate hopeful and former ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty nailed a prime speaking spot before about 200 GOP activists as he defended his former boss, President Donald Trump.

Accusing congressional Democrats of trying to "repeal the result of the 2016 election by taking this president down" through impeachment, Hagerty, a former investment firm manager and one-time Tennessee economic development commissioner, said efforts to combat "liberal socialists here in America are what called me back."

"We absolutely need to do better and we need strong leadership for that," added Hagerty, who has been endorsed by Trump, during his nearly 21-minute limelight appearance with American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp. (read more)

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Washington Post: Emails cast doubt on claim of immigration visit to school

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Text of the Transgender Day of remembrance resolution on the Nov. 5, 2019 Metro Council agenda and how to vote or not.

Resolution RS2019-87
A Resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of transgender people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in remembrance of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries; and

WHEREAS, the annual event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community; and

WHEREAS, many communities organize events and activities to create and promote visibility of anti-transgender violence to stakeholders such as police, the media, and elected officials; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that transgender members of our society are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence, and experience myriad challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, disproportionately high levels of unemployment, and limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, according to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the United States due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were black transgender women; and

WHEREAS, fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, who comprise 80% of all anti-transgender homicides; and

WHEREAS, at least 21 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019; and

WHEREAS, only four out of ten Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender, and at least 74% of the known victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017-2018 were misgendered in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths; and

WHEREAS, despite the challenges faced by the transgender community, by observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we recognize, admire, and celebrate the growing awareness and acceptance of transgender people in Nashville and across the nation. Local organizations committed to these efforts include the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Relations Commission; and

WHEREAS, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we honor and commemorate the strength, commitment, and remarkably immense efforts of those working to secure full and equal civil rights for all people, regardless of gender identity or expression.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Resources Commission.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Brett Withers, Zachary Young, Nancy VanReece, Russ Bradford, Emily Benedict, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Ginny Welsch, Dave Rosenberg, Jeff Syracuse, Bob Mendes, Sean Parker, Kyonzté Toombs
By Rod Williams - This resolution changes no policy nor spends any money. It simply puts the council on record as recognizing November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance. If a council member does not want to be on record as doing so, they have several options to avoid voting in favor of this. I will explain them.

The resolution will be on "consent" if it passed the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. It will be lumped with a lot of other resolutions and the group of resolutions will be presented as a group to be passed by a single vote.  The assumption is that everyone present votes for the resolution. If a council person does not want to stand out as voting against the resolution but does not want to be recorded as voting for it, they can leave the room while the vote is taken and make sure the clerk knows they were out of the room. The resolution will list those who voted in favor but names of those not present will not be listed.

Another option, a little more bold than leaving the room, is to ask for the resolution to be taken off of consent. Before the vote is taken, the vice mayor will ask if any resolution should be taken off of consent. One has to simply state they would like it taken off of consent, they do not have to say why.  After the resolutions on consent are voted upon, then all of the resolutions not on consent will be considered. Normally after a resolution caption is read and committee reports are rendered, unless someone ask to speak, the vice mayor calls for a vote. He will says something like, "All those in favor say 'aye;' those opposed 'no.' The ayes have it." That way, the resolution is reported as having passed on a voice vote and the way any one person voted is not known.

A bolder move is that when the vice mayor ask for all resolutions on consent, one get recognized and ask to be recorded as abstaining on this resolution, or bolder still to be recorded as voting "no." 

If not on 'consent' or taken off of consent, It may be that a sponsor or other member may want to force a recorded vote.  In that case instead of a voice vote, a member hollers out, "roll call."  If as many as five members want a roll call, the vice mayor will call for a machine roll call vote. With a machine roll call vote, a member may vote "yes," "no," or "abstain," or they may simply not push a button.  If they vote "yes," "no" or "abstain," the minuets will reflect that; if they simply set on their hands the minutes will not list their name as one who voted. It will be as if they were out of the room.

One could of course boldly vote "no" and explain why.


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Immigration policy task force begins work

Shortly after taking office, Mayor Cooper repealed an Executive Order that had been issue by former Mayor Briley that basically said Metro employees were prohibited from cooperating with immigration officials and had to report on contacts city employees had with immigration officials and called on the State to repeal a State law prohibiting sanctuary cities in Tennessee.

Mayor Cooper appointed a task force to look into setting rules for interactions between Metro employees and immigration officials. The task force is tasked with reviewing current Metro policies and comparing them to immigration-related protocols in other cities. The group will then make recommendation for a metro policy that promotes safety in the community while still adhering to state and federal laws. The group has just 60 days to complete its work and file a report. They had their meeting yesterday, Wednesday October 30th.

A look at the  list of appointees shows a list titled toward those inclined to favor a very tolerant policy toward illegal immigrants. These are the task force members:

  • Shanna Hughey,  ThinkTennessee President
  • Juliana Ospina Cano, Conexion Americas Executive Director 
  • Hank Clay, Metro Nashville Public Schools Chief of Staff
  • Ana Escobar, General Sessions Judge
  • Mike Hagar, Metro Nashville Police Department Deputy Chief
  • Daron Hall, Davidson County Sheriff
  • Mary Kathryn Harcombe, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Legal Director
  • Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, Former District Attorney General of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County
  • Sandra Sepulveda, Metro Councilwoman, District 30
  • Zulfat Suara, Metro Councilwoman At-Large
Source for this story is from WPLN, In Response To ICE Incidents And Confusion, Metro Begins Review Of Immigration Policies,

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The city must explain its intention to the Court as to the future MLS stadium. Court finds mixed messages confusing.

In a news story from WPLN today, MLS Stadium Lawsuit Exposes Gap Between Nashville Mayor And City Attorneys,  it is reported that Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle questions the intentions of Metro government in regards to the project to build a soccer stadium at the fairgrounds. She says there is a discrepancy between legal filings seeking to end the lawsuit and recent statements and actions by Mayor John Cooper. Examples are that the mayor had delayed the demolition of some fairground building to make way for the stadium and had appointed an internal working group to review the project.  Before ruling on a question before her, Lyle wants the city to clarify its intention.

Save Our Fairgrounds has filed a lawsuit that argues that the Metro Fair Board wrongly decided to allow a stadium at the fairgrounds.


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Mayor Cooper Announces Rapid Deployment Of $17.95m In Funding for Neighborhood Infrastructure Priorities

Press release - Mayor John Cooper today announced that $17.95M from the stalled SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge project, allocated by the Metro Council in the FY2014 Capital Spending Fund, will be immediately diverted towards neighborhood infrastructure projects throughout Nashville and Davidson County.

“The quality of our neighborhoods is measured, in large part, by the quality and safety of our roads and bridges,” said Mayor Cooper. “When $18 million for the SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge was allocated in 2013, that amount represented 100% of the funding for bridge repair and construction for the entire 2014 fiscal year. Currently, Public Works estimates that $131 million is needed to repair and replace our bridges and culverts. Now is the time for responsible spending to address our most critical infrastructure needs and focus on the safety and priorities that impact all of Nashville’s neighborhoods.”

Of the $18M allocation in the 2014 Capital Spending Plan, $17.95M remains unspent and will be diverted to the following projects accordingly:

  • $13.63 million of the $17.95 million will immediately go to shovel-ready bridge and culvert projects, ranked in order of urgency by Metro Public Works, in 24 different Council districts. 52 separate projects will receive funding;
  • $660,000 will go towards replacing the Shelby Bottoms Greenway Pedestrian Bridge, which has been closed due to structural damage;
  • $1,500,000 for traffic calming, which represents 100% of the traffic calming allocation in the 2018-19 Capital Spending Plan;
  • $750,000 for bikeways, which represents 50% of the bikeways allocation in the 2018-19 Capital Spending Plan;
  • $500,000 for new trash and recycling containers, an urgent need highlighted by Metro Public Works;
  • $410,000 for emergency roadway work, which will allow Metro Public Works to quickly address needs as they arise; and
  • $500,000 for street lighting maintenance, repair, and replacement
Community stakeholders impacted by the diversion of the pedestrian bridge funds have been notified, and both Metro Public Works and Metro Parks are aware that the funds will be made available for infrastructure projects to begin immediately.

“We need a long-term solution for connectivity in the Gulch and throughout our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Cooper. “Bikeways and walkways certainly help advance our connectivity goals, and there may be a time when we revisit the concept of a Gulch pedestrian bridge. But this reallocation of funds allows us to get to work on shovel-ready projects throughout our neighborhoods with residents’ safety and critical infrastructure priorities in mind.”

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Mayor John Cooper kills Gulch-SoBro pedestrian bridge

by Rod Williams -The pedestrian bridge to connect the Gulch to SoBro has been killed by Mayor Cooper. The $18 million project first proposed by Mayor Karl Dean has been in the planning since 2013.  Mayor Cooper said the money will be redirected to fund a variety of needed neighborhood projects.

The funding for the bridge was supposed to come from General Obligation Bonds, the debt paid off with Tax Increment Financing.  That was supposed to placate some people by making the argument that this meant it wasn't taking money from other projects to fund.  However, that was a shell game. It was like paying for it with money our of your right pocket rather than your left pocket. By financing with TIF what that amounted to was delaying money that would flow to the General Fund until after the Bridge was paid off.

I liked the concept of the bridge. I don't think that everything that makes the city more livable and attractive is a waste of money.  The bridge would have been a nice addition.  However, sometimes you just can't afford everything that would be nice to have.  The Gulch-Sobro bridge was like taking a trip to Disney World when the kid needs braces.

The money to be redirected will go to badly needed projects, such as $2.5 million will go toward replacing the deteriorating Charlotte Pike-Rosa Parks Boulevard bridge deck. Currently a temporary wood deck has been placed between the bridge beams to catch  falling concrete.

I am pleased with this action by Mayor Cooper.

For more see:
The Tennessean, Mayor John Cooper nixes Gulch-SoBro pedestrian bridge.
A Disgruntled Republican, Sept 11, 2014, Mayor Dean Proposes New Funding Strategy for Gulch - SoBro Pedestrian Bridge

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