Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Metro Council races begin to take shape ahead of August election

by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean - District 31 Metro Councilman Fabian Bedne and District 18 Councilwoman Burkley Allen, long rumored as contenders, both confirmed their at-large candidacies. ... Council members Sheri Weiner, Steve Glover and Anthony Davis said they're also considering at-large runs... Also running in the race for at-large is Zulfat Suara, a Nigerian immigrant who chairs the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee. .. Current district council members Robert Swope, Freddie O'Connell, Ed Kindall, Kathleen Murphy, Antoinette Lee, Dave Rosenberg and At-large Councilman Bob Mendes have each appointed treasurers to run for re-election. ... Among candidates running for seats that will become open is Tim Garrett, a former at-large councilman and longtime Democratic state representative from Goodlettsville, who has filed a treasurer to run for District 10. Former Metro school board Chairwoman Cheryl Mayes has appointed a treasurer for a run for council District 32. (link)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

State legislature considering striping subpoena power from Nashville's police oversight board

The Tennessean - Tennessee Republican lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would let Nashville's new police oversight board remain but strip away its most significant power — the ability to compel witnesses during the review of complaints. (link)

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Monday, January 28, 2019

If you are thinking about running for the Metro Council you need to jump in now!

I received three different invitations to Council candidate race fund raisers or kick-off events in the last week. The Metro Council election season is taking off.  If you are someone who is thinking about running for  a seat on the Metro Council you must jump in now, especially if you are contemplating running against an incumbent.  If you are contemplating running for an open seat it would be wise to declare now.  You may have a little longer to make up your mind if seeking an open seat, but not much.

Open seats where the current council member is term-limited
It is always easier to win an election when running for an open seat than it is when challenging an incumbent.  Below are the districts in which the current office older is illegible to seek reelection due to term limits. These are "open" seats. I have put the name of the current council member  in parenthesis.

District 5  (Scott Davis)            District 7 (Anthony Davis)              District 9 (Bill Pridemore)
District 10 (Doug Pardue)         District 12 (Steve Glover)               District 18 (Burkely Allen)
District 22 (Sheri Weiner)         District 27 (Davette Blalock)           District 30 (Jason Potts)
District 31 (Fabian Bedne)        District 32 (Jacobia Dowell)

Open Seats in which the incumbent is not seeking reelection
There are two district in which there is an incumbent who is not term-limited who could seek reelection but who has announced they will not  There could be more. Those I know about so far are these:

 District 23 Mina Johnson.        District 13 Holly Huezo

There is one At-Large Council  seat vacant.  At-Large Councilman John Cooper is expected to run for mayor, which will mean he will not be seeking reelection to the Metro Council. Cooper has not yet announced he is running for mayor, however.  Also, Erica Gilmore is sometimes mentioned as a potential mayoral candidate in which case, she would not be seeking reelection.

Incumbents seeking reelection
The following districts are district with an incumbent who is not term limited and will most likely seek reelection.   I have listed the district and the name of the incumbent.

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman               At Large 1 John Cooper+         At-Large 2 Erica Gilmore+
At-Large 3 Bob Mendes                 At Large 4 Sharon Hunt           District 1  Johnathan Hall
District 2  Decosta Hastings           District 3 Brenda Haywood      District 4  Robert Swope
District 6  Bret Witheres                 District 8 Nancy VanReece      District 11 Larry Hagar
District 14 Keven Rhoten               District 15 Jeff Syracuse          District 16  Mike Freeman  
District 17 Colby Sledge                 District 19  Freddie O'Connell
District 20  Mary Carolyn Roberts  District 21 Ed Kendal              District 24  Kathleen Murphy
District 25  Russ Pulley                   District 26 Jeremy Elrod          District 28  Tanaka Vercher
District 29  (see note below)            District 33  Antoinette Lee
District 34  Angie Henderson          District 35  Dave Rosenberg

District 29 is vacant at the moment but it will have a newly elected Council member soon. I am hoping it is Nick LaMattina.  Whoever it is, he is likely to seek reelection.

Among the incumbents seeking reelection the only solid conservative and one who self identifies as a Republican is Robert Swope. Among the other incumbents some are bad and need to be defeated, some are not too bad and some of those are better than others.

How members of the Council voted on key issues.  I have listed below several key votes which I think are important. Since the purpose of this listing is to help provide insight to voters or potential candidates on the record of those who are seeking reelection, I have struct through the names of those who are term-limited or who have announced they would not be seeking reelection.

Please note that how members voted on these key votes is not the only measure of who is deserving of reelection. There are other issues such as leadership ability, how hard they work, how responsive they are to constituents desires, and how available they are to their constituents. This is simply a guide as to how members voted on a select number of key issues.

Who voted against raising taxes
In 2018, the administration do not propose a tax increase. The budget ordinance was sponsored by Council member Tanaka Vercher, who was Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.  Councilman Robert Mendes offered an amendment to the Vercher sponsored substitute budget bill. His proposal  would have hiked the tax rate by 5O cents or 16%. The vote was 19 to 19, resulting in a tie.  President por tem Sheri Weiner, who only votes in the event of a tie voted "no," killing the Mendes tax hike budget proposal making the final vote 19 in favor and 20 opposed.

Here is who voted No, opposing a tax hike:  Weiner, Cooper, Shulman, Swope, Scott Davis, VanReece, Hagar, Glover, Huezo, Rhoten, Syracuse, Freeman, O'Connell, Roberts, Pulley, Elrod, Blalock, Vercher, Henderson, and Rosenberg.
Here is who voted "yes" in favor of a tax hike: Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Hastings, Haywood, Withers, Anthony Davis, Pridemore, Pardue, Sledge, Allen, Kindall, Mina Johnson, Murphy, Karen Johnson, Potts, Bedne, Dowell, and Lee.

Who voted for banning sanctuary cities
Last year the State legislature passed  a bill that  would prohibit sanctuary cities in Tennessee and require local law enforcement officials to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to hold immigrants for purposes of deportation.  Advocates of illegal immigration, such as Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, opposed the bill.
At the May 15th council meeting, the council passed Resolution RS2018-1222  requesting that Governor Bill Haslam veto that legislation. The vote was 21 in favor of the resolution, four opposed and four abstaining. A vote opposing Resolution RS2018-1222  was a vote against sanctuary cities.
Here is who voted against sanctuary cities:  Robert Swope, Steve Glover, Mike Freeman, and Russ Pulley.
Casting a vote to Abstain (4): Jeff Syracuse, Roberts, Elrod, and Davette Blalock.  

Voting for sanctuary cities: Sheri Weiner, Cooper, Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Shulman, Hastings, Haywood, Scott Davis, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Sledge, O'Connell, Mina Johnson, Vercher, Karen Johnson, Potts, Bedne, Dowell, and Lee.

Who voted to against continuing Auto Emission Testing
The state of Tennessee has determine that Nashville no longer had to continue auto emission testing, yet the council voted that Nashville would continue the program anyway.  Here are the council member who voted against continuing auto emission testing:  Cooper, Swope, Hagar, Glover, Rhoten, Roberts, and Rosenberg.

The Council is a non-partisan body and there is no such thing as a Republican or Democrat pot hole and most of what the council does does not have an ideological dimension.  However, our city faces some serious financial challenges and we need fiscally responsible people serving on the Metro Council. I also thing we need people serving on the Council who will hold the line on tax increases.  Also, the Council seems less protective of private property rights than in years past.   Also, over time, the Council has become much more progressive.  I am convinced that there are those who want to turn Nashville into the "San Francisco of the South."  It is important that we elect people to serve in the Council who are fiscally responsible, respect private property rights, and who are not committed to advancing a progressive agenda.

If you consider yourself a conservative or a fiscally responsible sensible moderate and are thinking about running for Metro Council, I would be glad to share a cup of coffee and get to know you.  I served twelve years in the Metro Council and continue to follow the Council closely and have some insights to share and have some contacts with like-minded people who are concerned about the direction of our city. Feel free to call me at 615-509-3900 to grab a cup of coffee.

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Nashville Metro Councilwoman Mina Johnson won't seek re-election

Mina Johnson
District 23 Metro Councilwoman Mina Johnson has announced she will not be seeking reelection. This is good news.  Like most Metro council members Mina Johnson is a liberal. She was one of the council members who voted for a tax increase last year. She also voted for the resolution which would continue the auto emissions testing program in Nashville even though the State says we may discontinue it. 

Mina Johnson is only serving her first term and is eligible for reelection.  It is difficult to unseat an incumbent and if Johnson sought reelection, she would likely  be reelected.  Most of the time, the only chance to replace a liberal council member with a less liberal member is when the incumbent is term-limited and not eligible to seek reelection. 

District 23 includes the city of Belle Meade. In the recent governor's election, Dean won the district by a vote of 2172 for Dean and 1672 for Bill Lee.  Considering former mayor Karl Dean had the hometown advantage, that is not a bad showing for Lee and indicates a Republican or someone who is perceived as less liberal could compete in this district. In the House District 56 race, two Council District 23 precincts were in House District 56. In those two precincts, Republican Brent Moody garnered 1,900 votes and Democrat Bob Freeman got 1,339 votes. A good Republican candidate could be competitive in this districts.  Council races are non-partisan, of course, and there are few issues which are obviously ideological.  However, in those few occasions on which there is an ideological divide it is important to have a council member who favors fiscal responsibility, government efficiency, holding the line on tax increases, and supports private property rights.  

The next election for Council is August 1, 2019.  The earliest one can pick up a qualifying petition is March 18, 2019.  That is not that far away.  A good candidate needs to step forward and seek this open seat.

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David Plazas, Opinion Editor of The Tennessean, continues to play the You're-a-Racist card over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meme.

David Plazas, Opinion Editor of The Tennessean continues to play the You're-a-Racist card to counter Republicans having fun at the expense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Williamson County Republican Party sent out the meme shown on this page in an email blast and Democrats have gone ballistic.  I found it humorous, so therefore I must be a racist.

I did not understand the charge of racism. I thought maybe it was racist to point out that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is embarrassingly dumber than a box of rocks and doesn't even realize it.  I thought liberals think it is racist to make fun of any minority. That is not why the meme is racist. 

According to David Plaza, it is racist because by saying that illegal aliens get to American by rowing or wading across the Rio Grand one is demeaning Hispanics because, "Mexicans — and Central Americans — who make the dangerous journey to the U.S. border and attempt to cross it do so because they are poor, struggling, jobless and yearning for opportunity for them and their families in this great nation, the United States of America." And more specifically, "the reason it is racist is that it demeans a specific group because of its culture and ethnicity." Now you know. 

Bull Shit! I seldom use vulgarity in this blog but that is just nonsense.  And, I am not going to be chastised or cowed or contrite by being lectured about a "teachable moment." Almost all humor is offensive if you are overly sensitive.  If you are wanting to be offended, watch any comic and you can find something to offend you.  Comics can call for beheading the president of the United States and that is supposed to be funny, but this harmless little meme is off limits? Give me a break!  David Plazas and the liberal establishment simply want to silence Republican. We should not back down, but double down. 

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Where Sens. Lamar Alexander, Marsha Blackburn stand on the deal to reopen the federal government

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Sen. Alexander: President Trump did the right thing by deal to reopen the government.

Sen. Lamar Alexander
by Senator Lamar Alexander - President Trump did the right thing Friday by announcing a deal to reopen the federal government. Thursday, I voted twice to reopen the government. And on Friday, the Senate voted to open the government unanimously.

It is now time for Congress to work together to produce a comprehensive bill to secure our border, including physical barriers where appropriate. That’s what we did for the last four presidents by approving in Congress, on a bipartisan basis, 654 miles of physical barrier on the 1,954 mile border. And that’s what we should do now working with President Trump. When a president, elected by the people of the United States, has a legitimate objective, we in Congress should bend over backwards to try to meet that objective if we want a result, regardless of whatever you may think of him or her.

Nobody wins in a shutdown. This shutdown over the past few weeks demonstrates why it is always wrong for either side to use shutting down the government as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations—it should be as off-limits as chemical weapons are to warfare. Boy Scouts shouldn't get a merit badge for telling the truth, and senators and presidents shouldn't get a merit badge for keeping the government open. That's what we are supposed to do.

We began to make progress this week when we did something we know how to do—vote. Then, the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, and the Democratic leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, walked back to Senator McConnell’s office and they began to talk. And here we are less than 24 hours later with a result.

I wrote an op-ed earlier this month for the Washington Post where I offered three specific solutions to help address the humanitarian crisis and secure our border:
Go small—Give the president the $1.6 billion he asked for in this year’s budget request, which the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee approved. Provide an additional $1 billion to improve border security at ports of entry, which everyone concedes is needed.
Go bigger—Pass the bill that 54 senators voted for last February, which combined a solution for children brought to the United States illegally and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years.

Or even better, go really big—Begin the new Congress by creating a legal immigration system that secures our borders and defines legal status for those already here. In 2013, 68 senators — including all 54 Democrats — voted for such a bill, but the House refused to take it up. That bill included more than $40 billion and many other provisions to secure our borders.
The American people elected us to make the government work better for taxpayers, not to shut it down. It is now up to Congress to work together to do our most basic job—fund the government—and to help President Trump achieve his reasonable goal of securing our southern border.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Republican Date Night

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Lamar Alexander one of six Republicans to vote for Democrat-backed stop-gap spending bill ...

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 - Lamar Alexander was one of six Republicans who today voted for a Democrat-backed stop-gap spending bill that would have funded the government through February 8 without allocating any additional funds for border security.

My view is that this was a good bill. Federal workers need to get paid.  Also, we are soon going to start feeling the effects of this shutdown in food inspections, home closings, and air port security and in numerous other ways if workers do not get paid.  Workers won't keep working without getting paid.

The government would only only have been open for two weeks, during which time negotiations could have continued.  If no deal was reached to pass a spending bill which included wall funding during this time, we would be no worse off and the government would have shut down again on February 9th. I see that there was little to lose in doing this.

Other Republicans voting for the bill, which was defeated 52–44, were Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah.

A competing Republican-backed bill would have ended the shutdown and allocated $5.7 billion for the wall and other border security needs advocated by Democrats and would have included a three year reprieve for DACA recipients. This bill was defeated 50–47.  Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas voted against the bill and Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted in favor.  I have not seen an explanation of why Lee and Cotton opposed the bill.  Either of the bills would have required 60 votes to overcome a filibusterer, so neither was even close to passing.

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'We know that walls work': Sen. Marsha Blackburn stands firm on border wall

'Weknow that walls work': Sen. Marsha Blackburn stands firm on borderwall

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Libs play their you'r-a-racist card to combat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez humor.

Liberals have played their yo'r-a-racist card to combat Republicans who are enjoying exposing and poking fun at the stupidity of newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Late night TV entertainment and award shows and stand-up comics routinely make fun of Donald Trump and Republicans and some of their comedy gets pretty raw, even attacking President Trump's family and they find humor in encouraging violence. However, they can't take a joke and they try to shut up conservative who poke fun at a Democrat. The biggest weapon in their tool box is the you'r-a-racist hammer.

Surely, one has to admit that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pretty funny.  She may be bright in some ways, but I haven't seen it yet.  She is attractive, in her own way.  She is cute.  She is charming. She is vivacious. I really like the bright red lipstick.  But face it, she is not very informed. She must have read few newspapers and not paid attention in class.  She knows very little about geopolitics or the Constitution or history or economics.  Every time she opens her mouth she says something really stupid.  I wonder if she has ever read a serious book.  She gets a lot of stuff  just wrong and her opinions are just liberal sound bites and bumper sticker slogans.  There is not a lot of depth there, to be generous. To be less generous, one could say she is dumb as a box of rock. 

The last time I remember a politician saying anything dumper than the things Alexandria-Ocasio says is when Representative Hank Johnson said he feared that stationing 8,000 Marines on Guam would cause the island to "become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize."  So, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not the dumbest Congressman to ever serve, just the next to the dumbest.  People knew Hank Johnson was dumb and they didn't keep asking him serious questions.  They let him maintain his dignity and just ignored him.

Ocasio-Cortez is invited to share her opinions everywhere.  And, every time she opens her mouth she shows she is shallow and uninformed.  I think what is going on is that we have a generation of people about the same age as the congressman who don't know more than she does, yet they think they are educated, so they think she is smart.  Sort of like the the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz who got his Certificate of Thinkology and then was convinced he had a brain, many people, because they have a degree, somehow think they are smart. In Ocasio-Cortez's defense, she is young and may become more informed as time goes on.  A lot of her ignorance my simple be due to her age and the times in which we live.

Recently the Williamson County Republican party sent out an email blast and included was the above cartoon.  I did not save the email so don't even remember what the text of the email was, but loved this cartoon. I got a chuckle. Now, the media is calling this "racist" and Democrats are demanding the Party denounce and apologize for the cartoon.  I say, if you can't take a joke, screw you!

For too long Republicans have allowed Democrats to set the standard of what is acceptable. There is nothing racist about this cartoon. To Democrats who are going ballistic over this: lighten up and get a grip.

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An Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Comic book


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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Metro council picks members of police oversight board

Metro council picks members of police oversight board 

  • Ashlee Davis specializes in inclusion and diversity at Cargill and previously worked in President Barack Obama's administration.
  • Jamel Campbell-Gooch is a grassroots organizer who is active in the nonprofit social activist organization Gideon's Army.
  • Andres Martinez works as a policy and communications director at the Latino nonprofit Conexión Américas.
  • Brenda Ross is a retired East Nashville activist who has served on several mayoral-appointed commissions over the years and was nominated for the board by Our Revolution Nashville and Middle Tennessee. 
  • Emmett Turner served as Nashville police chief from 1996 to 2003, and was the city's first and only African-American to hold the post. He left Metro to become the state of Tennessee’s assistant commissioner for fire prevention. He was nominated by the Fraternal Order of Police, which opposed the oversight board, but was also endorsed by Community Oversight Now. 
  • Adele Lewis is deputy chief medical examiner for the Tennessee Department of Health who specializes in pathology and forensics and has testified in court.
  • Danita Marsh is a former Nashville police officer who was shot eight times while on duty in 2006. She now works out of the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center and also for the 100 Club to provide support to first responders and their families after a critical injury or death.
  • Matthew Sweeney is an attorney at the firm Baker Donelson in Nashville who has a background in white-collar criminal defense and class-action and shareholder derivative litigation. He previously served as a Davidson County Circuit Court judge. He was nominated by four council members: Mina Johnson, Fabian Bedne, Anthony Davis and Bob Mendes. 
  • Walter Holloway is a retired former Nashville police officer of more than three decades. Walter was nominated by Councilwoman Brenda Haywood. 
  • Bob Cooper worked as legal counsel under former Gov. Phil Bredesen before serving as state attorney general from 2006 to 2014. He is currently a member of the compliance and government investigations practice group at Bass Berry & Sims. 
  • Phyllis Hildreth is vice president for institutional advancement and strategic partnerships at American Baptist College. She previously worked as chief counsel in the Office of the Public Defender for the state of Maryland and deputy secretary for the state of Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice.

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State Rep. John Clemmons announces run for mayor

Rep. John Clemmons
by Rod Williams - State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) last week announced he would run for mayor, becoming the first challenger to incumbent Mayor David Briley to announce.  Mayor David Briley is up for reelection seeking a full term in the August Metro elections.  Accidental Mayor Briley assumed office after Mayor Megan Barry resigned last year following exposure of  her tax-payer funded extramarital affair.  As Vice Mayor, Briley became acting Mayor, and then he was elected to complete her term of office in a special election in May.  The election for mayor is in August 2019.

Clemmons was first elected to the House in 2014. He recently was elected to his third term representing West Nashville’s House District 55. His district includes the Belmont area and parts of West Nashville. Clemmons is a former political director for the Tennessee Democratic Party.

Although Briley is a proud progressive, Clemmons is positioning himself to the left of Briley.  In the new Nashville that will probably help him. Clemmons has criticized Briley in three areas, transportation, affordable housing and public education. I think all agree these are three problem areas that people are concerned about but many will disagree about what to do about them.

Mayor David Briley
Briley supported the $9 Billion transit plan rejected by voters in a referendum in May of last year.  However, Briley did not propose a tax increase this year when many liberals advocated a tax increase.  Also, on this past November's referendum creating a community oversight board for police, Briley opposed it while Clemmons says he favored it. Clemmons has not said he would have proposed a tax increase this year but he has criticized Briley for failure to fund the promised cost-of-living pay raise for Metro workers. I join him in the criticism but think the pay raise could have been funded by austerity measures rather than raising taxes. I doubt that is how Clemmons would have funded he pay raise.

I have not seen Clemmons in person so I do not know how he projects or his personality but he is better looking than Briley. In a Tennessean article, the writer reported that Clemmons has more charisma and energy than Briley. That superficial stuff shouldn't matter but we know it does. If the election were held today, given what I know today, and if the only two candidates were Briley and Clemmons, I would stick with Briley, maybe.  Or, I might just write in my own name or not vote in that election.  Sometimes when the choice is between equally bad candidates I write in a name or do not vote in that election.

I strongly supported David Fox in the 2015 election and thought he had a chance of beating Megan Barry but it didn't happen. My perception is that Nashville is even more liberal now than then.  As the demographics shift to younger people and more Northeastern and California immigrants, the chance for a conservative candidate to be elected mayor dims.  Many of these newer immigrants to our city may not care a lot about the details of local governance and particular policy positions but they will vote for the candidate that they perceive as the most liberal. Issues like being pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, favoring removing confederate names and monument (not that we have many) and racial "social justice" are going to be more important than the city's debt, tax rates and an adequately funded pension plans. I hate to be so pessimistic but I do not see an opportunity for a path to victory for a conservative.  About the best we can hope for is a social liberal who is fiscally responsible. You rarely find that combination.

I wish we could elect a mayor for Nashville who would do what Bill Haslam has done for Tennessee.  I would like to see a mayor who would cut the number of metro employees, cut taxes, give employees their promised pay raise, put our pension plan on a sound sustainable footing and reform our failing school system.  Since the school system is governed by an elected school board, it is difficult for the mayor to make an immediate and huge impact but the mayor can use the bully pulpit and advocate and influence. If we had the right leader who would tackle the issue, I believe the right leader could make an impact on our education system but it would not be easy.  In addition to the objectives listed above modeled on Haslam's accomplishments at the state level, I would like to see a mayor who had a vision for improving public transportation that relied of new technologies and markets rather than the standard nineteenth century model of fixed rail. I don't expect to find the idea candidate.

While I do not expect to find the idea candidate, fortunately, other candidates will be announcing soon and we will have more choice than Clemmons and Briley. It is expected that Bill Freeman will again seek the office. Bill Freeman finished third in the 2015 race behind David Fox.  Since then he has bought The Scene and weekly writes a political opinion piece for the publication. That gives him a public platform and keeps his name before a slice of the public.  I don't know who it will be, but I would expect a Black candidate to run, maybe At-Large Metro Councilwomen Erica Gilmore. She would check the Black box and the female box and have some build in support based on those characteristics and she has ran and been elected county-wide.  Renata Soto, the founder of Connexion Americas, is another person mentioned as a potential candidate. She is personable and attractive. She would have a built in base of support among immigrants citizens and might to well just because a lot of people who are hostile to President Trump might want to support a person who advocates for illegal immigration.

Another potential candidate is At-Large Councilman John cooper. While he is a Democrat and the brother of our Congressman Jim Cooper he has been a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility in the Metro Council. As of today, he is my favorite Democrat politician. I watch the Council closely and he is knowledgeable and cares deeply about the city's finances.  I doubt he would do the things I want a mayor to do spelled out in a paragraph above but he would, I believe, work to restore financial stability to Nashville and keep our growing debt within bounds. He would be concerned about the nut and bolts of government and the status of reserve funds and pension plans and the line items in a budget.

If the election were held today and the candidates were Briley, Clemmons, Gilmore, Soto and Cooper, I would vote for Cooper.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

SEIU calls for Trump and Republicans to capitulate and reopen the government.

I thought readers may be interested in the kind of argument the largest government employees union is using to urge no compromise to resolve the government shut down.They call for Republicans and President Trump to simply capitulate.

Dear Rod,
Working families—Black, white and brown—deserve a government that is open and working to improve their lives.
As you may know, President Trump shut down critical parts of the federal government over funding for a harmful and divisive border wall. Now Republicans in the US Senate are refusing to vote on legislation that would reopen the government, holding the country hostage for a wasteful wall. Let’s be clear: any money Congress spends on building a wall comes directly out of our hard-earned paychecks through the taxes we pay. More importantly— despite what the Trump administration claims in its misinformation campaign — it wouldn’t actually strengthen border security.
Tell the Senate to focus on our nation's real priorities and reopen the government immediately!
President Trump and his Republican Congressional allies have time after time attempted to divide us by demanding billions for a border wall, while giving huge tax breaks to corporate CEOs and billionaires. It’s time for our elected leaders need to focus on our country’s real needs — like higher wages, the right to join a union no matter where you live, affordable healthcare and common-sense immigration reform.
Tell the Senate to respect the priorities of working people and reopen the government!
This means ending President Trump’s shutdown. We can’t allow him and Republicans in the Senate to continue to demand a ransom from working families for a border wall meant solely to divide us.

In Unity,
It is clear SEIU only wants the government reopened on their terms.  Unfortunately, many union members are going to take this at face value. Here is the letter again with my commentary:

Dear Rod,
Working families (and what families are not "working families". That is a loaded term.)—Black, white and brown—deserve a government that is open and working to improve their lives (I would quibble that government's purpose it to improve one's life.)
As you may know, President Trump shut down (Any time a government shuts down it is not due to the action of one party.  The government shuts down when the administration and the legislature do not agree on the budget that funds that part of government. I would say, "as you know, Speaker Pelosi shut down..) critical parts of the federal government over funding for a harmful and divisive border wall. (Are the 654 existing miles of border wall "harmful and division?" Why is not existing fencing harmful and divisive but new fencing is? )  Now Republicans in the US Senate are refusing to vote on legislation that would reopen the government, holding the country hostage for a wasteful wall (wasteful?). Let’s be clear: any money Congress spends on building a wall comes directly out of our hard-earned paychecks through the taxes we pay (Not really. As long as the country is borrowing money then any additional spending simply increases the nations debt, which is not a good thing, but it does not come out of your paycheck.) More importantly— despite what the Trump administration claims in its misinformation campaign — it wouldn’t actually strengthen border security (Yes it would. We are not talking about a border the full 2000 miles from sea to shining sea but only 215 miles and those border agents on the ground say there are places where we need additional fencing. It is not the only thing we need and it won't solve the problem of illegal immigration but it is simply not correct to say that it wouldn't strengthen border security.)
Tell the Senate (No, tell Democrats in the House) to focus on our nation's real priorities (resolving the problem of illegal immigration should be one of the real priorities) and reopen the government immediately!
President Trump and his Republican Congressional allies have time after time attempted to divide us (I would say the Democrats and their friends in the press have tried to divide us as much as Trump and the Republicans)  by demanding billions for a border wall, while giving huge tax breaks to corporate CEOs and billionaires (Those tax breaks is why we have low unemployment including the lowest ever recorded for Black Americans.) It’s time for our elected leaders need to focus on our country’s real needs — like higher wages, the right to join a union no matter where you live, affordable healthcare and common-sense immigration reform (mandated higher wages, ending right to work laws will increase unemployment slow economic growth).
Tell the Senate to respect the priorities of working people and reopen the government! (In other words, House Democrats do not need to give an inch, Trump and the Republicans need to capitulate.)
This means ending President Trump’s shutdown (Pelosi shutdown). We can’t allow him and Republicans in the Senate (she and Democrats in the House) to continue to demand a ransom from working families for a border wall meant solely to divide us (a border wall meant to contribute to nation security and help resolve a humanitarian crisis).

In Unity,

This kind of pressure coming from the Democrats base dims the prospects of  a quick resolution to the government shut down

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Mayor Briley Announces Education "Kitchen Cabinet" To Address MNPS Priority Schools

Press release- Mayor David Briley today announced that he is convening an education “Kitchen Cabinet” to help address the needs of MNPS’ 21 Priority schools.
The Kitchen Cabinet is made up of a diverse set of educators, parents, nonprofit leaders and community advocates from across the city. It will meet three times in early 2019 and make recommendations to Mayor Briley on how the city can better support our lowest-performing schools.
The Kitchen Cabinet’s goals are as follows:

  • Analyze data on Metro Nashville’s Priority schools, including academic performance and strategies to support these schools.
  • Identify promising best practices that support school improvement, including those from other urban districts
  • Gather community input on how to support the district’s Priority schools and how to best leverage the role of the Mayor’s Office
“As mayor, I have a responsibility to ensure our students receive the best possible education,” said Mayor Briley. “My education Kitchen Cabinet will take a collaborative approach to addressing the systemic challenges faced by our Priority schools. At my direction, the group will act with urgency, as we know many students in these schools need and deserve better educational outcomes immediately. I look forward to seeing the group’s recommendations.”
The members of the Kitchen Cabinet:
  • Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Superintendent
  • Dr. Sharon Gentry, MNPS School Board Chair
  • Harry Allen, Chief Relationship Officer, Studio Bank, MNPS graduate and 2018 NPEF Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
  • Dr. Jarred Amato, Teacher, Maplewood High School
  • Katie Cour, President and CEO, Nashville Public Education Foundation
  • Ericka Myles Dixie, Librarian, Alex Green Elementary School
  • Dr. Vince Durnan, Director, University School of Nashville
  • Chris Echegaray, Community Achieves Site Manager, Whitsitt Elementary School
  • Nancy Eisenbrandt, COO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Bob Kucher, VP of Programs & Partnerships, PENCIL
  • Dr. Watechia Lawless, Principal, Napier Enhanced Option Elementary School
  • Tameka Marshall, Teacher, Norman Binkley Elementary School
  • Erin O’Hara, Executive Director, Tennessee Education Research Alliance
  • Robert Taylor, Director- Men’s Initiative, Tennessee State University
  • Dwayne Tucker, CEO, LEAD Public Schools
  • Derrick Williams, COO, Communities in Schools
  • Tomás Yan, Teacher, Antioch Middle School
  • Maria Paula Zapata, Family Engagement Manager, Conexión Américas
The group’s three meetings will focus on the following: learning about state and district strategies to support Priority schools and identifying promising practices from other districts and across the country to support school improvement. The group will also be tasked with outside data review and reading to prep for each session. The work of the group will inform practices at all MNPS schools, where applicable.

In September 2018, the Tennessee Department of Education released the State’s list of the bottom five percent of schools based on test scores or graduation rates, also known as Priority schools. The list is generated every three years. The following 21 MNPS schools were identified as Priority schools:
  • Alex Green Elementary
  • Amqui Elementary
  • Antioch Middle
  • Bellshire Elementary
  • Caldwell Elementary
  • Cumberland Elementary
  • Gra-Mar Middle
  • Haynes Middle
  • Jere Baxter Middle
  • Joelton Middle
  • Madison Middle
  • Maplewood High
  • McMurray Middle
  • Moses McKissack Middle
  • Robert E. Lilliard Elementary
  • Rosebank Elementary
  • The Cohn Learning Center
  • Tom Joy Elementary
  • Warner Elementary
  • Whites Creek High
  • Wright Middle

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Davidson County Republican Party Reorganization Dates Set!

From The Davidson County Republican Party:
Now that the 2018 elections are over, we must think about the direction of our Party and who will lead us during the next two years.

Pursuant to the Tennessee Republican Party by-laws, every odd numbered year each county party must hold a reorganization to elect its new leaders for the upcoming two year term.

In counties with a population of over 100,000, TNGOP by-laws state that the county must hold precinct caucuses to elect delegates and then hold a convention of those delegates. The delegates will then vote on the members of the County Executive Committee that will serve over the next two years.

Precinct Caucus
to elect District officers and convention delegates
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Nashville Tomorrow Building, 1230 West Trinity Lane, Nashville
Doors open at 9:00 AM and are closed at 10:30 AM

(no one will be allowed to enter building after 10:30 AM)
Caucus to end around 11:30 - 12:00 PM

To attend the CAUCUS, you MUST pre-register by February 2, 2019. Click HERE to register. When registering, you can note if you are interested in running for one of the DCRP executive committee positions, and we will send you additional information.  

To participate, you must meet the two following requirements: 1) Have a valid picture ID (Federal or state issue) with your current address; and 2) Have evidence of voting in two Republican primaries since May 2014. (If you have voted in Davidson County, we will have your data already. If you have not voted in Davidson County since May 2014, you can request your previous election commission to send to you your voting data. You must bring it with you and it must be certified from the County/State that you voted.)

to elect Davidson County Republican Party officers
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Nashville Tomorrow Building, 1230 West Trinity Lane, Nashville
Doors open at 9:00 AM and are closed at 10:30 AM

(no one will be allowed to enter building after 10:30 AM)
Convention to end around 11:30 - 12:00 PM

To attend the CONVENTION, you MUST pre-register by February 9, 2019.  Click HERE to register.  When registering, you can note if you are interested in running for one of the DCRP executive committee positions, and we will send you additional information.  

Only authorized Delegates (to be elected at the Caucus) will be allowed on the floor of the Convention.  

For more information about the County Party Reorganization, please visit our website

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Music City Repubican Women meet Tuesday Jan. 22.

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Despite the rain a bunch of people took part in the anti-Semitic affiliated liberal women's march yesterday here in Nashville

The Tennessean said nearly a thousand rallied in the anti-Semitic affiliated liberal women's march yesterday here in Nashville.  I don't know how many showed up. When a liberal news organ says a thousand attended a liberal cause I normally take 75% of that number as the number who really attended.  When a liberal news outlet says a thousand attended a conservative rally I normally take 125% as the number who really attended.  That is just my rule of thumb. 

Some reporters may be objective and give accurate estimates but I just assume they do not, not that I think they are necessarily intentionally misrepresenting the numbers but their basis cause them to see the crowds differently. I have been to gatherings where I did a systematic estimate and then read the newspapers estimates the next day and have seen they were way off. 

When the press says "nearly" a thousand attended the march,  I have to adjust my rule of thumb by taking about 90% or 75%.  Anyway, that is still a bunch of people for a rainy day.  It is far fewer than the thousands who flocked to march immediately following the President's election in 2016.  That first march was cathartic for those liberals who were in shock that Hillary didn't get elected.  I guess the shock has worn off and people feel less need to vent. Not that they have warmed to Trump but many have simply accepted the reality that his election really did happen.

Also, the failure to purge anti-Semites from the march has caused some to distance themselves from it.  Female liberal leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz has bolted the March over its ties to antisemitism. I assume her stance and the general distaste for antisemitism kept some people away from the march. Still, I assume the crowd would have been much larger if not for the rain.  At the same time as the liberal women's march was going on the inauguration of Bill Lee was occurring on the other end of Commerce Street. The ceremony was supposed to be outdoors on the Legislative Plaza but had to be moved indoors to the Memorial Auditorium. When I attended an afternoon reception for Governor Lee I talked to several people who planned to attend the inauguration but were unable to do so. The War memorial auditorium filled quickly and many who tried to attend could not. I hate that if rained on the inauguration but pleased in rained on the liberal women's march.  The Bible says it rains on the just and the unjust. 

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President Trump has offered a reasonable compromise to end this partial government shutdown

Sen. Lamar Alexander
by Lamar Alexander - A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. Members of Congress should first remember that when a president who has been duly elected by the people of the United States -- whatever you may think of him or her -- has a legitimate objective, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to accommodate that objective, if we want a result. 

This week, the President proposed a sensible compromise, including relief for “dreamers,” to end this inexcusable government shutdown. It is time for Democrats to respect the president’s reasonable requests for border security including 234 new miles of physical barrier. Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton and George H.W. Bush, with bi-partisan congressional support, built 654 miles of physical barriers along our 1,954 mile southern border. Why is President Trump the only president not allowed to build more wall?

I’m hopeful Congress will pass the President’s proposal and reopen the government. In the meantime, it’s wrong for federal employees to work and not get a paycheck. That’s why I cosponsored the Pay Excepted Personnel Act -- legislation to ensure the over 400,000 federal employees who are required to work during the shutdown can receive their paycheck.

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It was a pleasure to attend a reception for Governor Bill Lee

Governor Bill Lee and Rick Williams  Rick has been an active volunteer in Lee's
campaign and was one of the host of the event and introduced the Governor.
It was a pleasure to attend a reception for Governor Bill Lee this afternoon held at the home of Dr. Ron McDow. Ron McDow is the District 20 Republican State Executive Committeeman. District 20 is all in Davidson County.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the inauguration, the ball or other related events due to the difficulty in arranging a sitter for my wife Louella, but I did have a sitter for part of the day today.

It was nice to see so many friends and meet new people at the event. Some people I see quite often at Republican functions but I got to chat with some people I only occasionally get to see. It was nice to see our new governor speak in an intimate sitting and to meet him. 

Below is the Facebook posting of David Hairston on the event. David is active in conservative causes and is Chairman of Safe Access Tennessee which advocates for medical marijuana.

Thank you, Ron McDow, for opening your home to over 150 conservative Republicans from across Tennessee to celebrate the inauguration of our new Governor Bill Lee. We were blessed to have our new Governor stop by and visit. Great job Rick Williams and Melissa Lening Smithson for helping Ron organize the event. As usual, Joni Schmidt Hargrove and Joni Bryan were there in support and volunteering at the event. I was excited to visit with so many friends from across the State, including but not limited to Suzanne Schoolfield Sapp (Bledsoe County Chairman, Rod Williams (the Disgruntled Republican), Judd Cowan, Mark Pody, Grace King (Red Nation Rising Tennessee) , Aaron Shane, Scott Golden, Julie Hannah, Beth Campbell, Chris Chumley's sweet bride Rachel, Robert Duvall, Jim Jim Roberts, John Wang,  and Connie Allison.

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Farewell and Thank You from Govenor Bill Haslam

January 18, 2019

Dear Fellow Tennesseans,
This morning, I walked up the stairs to the State Capitol for the last time as governor, and I can honestly say I felt the same sense of excitement as I did on January 15, 2011.

Every time I climbed those stairs over the past eight years, I’ve looked forward to the work - doing what we could to help improve the lives of Tennesseans.

My hope is that we’ve made an impact.

By changing the culture of expectations around dinner tables, making college free to all Tennesseans and providing opportunities that will change the trajectory of their lives.

By strengthening the K-12 education we offer our children, watching Tennessee students become the fastest improving students in the country because of their hard work and the hard work of their teachers.

By fostering the best possible environment for job creation so businesses can thrive and grow, creating more than 450,000 jobs and maintaining a record low unemployment rate.

By coming out of years and years of federal oversight of the services we provide to children, families and the developmentally disabled.

By changing the way we hire and reward state employees. By being good stewards of taxpayers’ money, tripling the state’s rainy day fund, proposing and signing balanced budgets, including two that had no new debt, and earning the highest rating possible by all three bond agencies.

By putting money back into the pocketbooks of Tennesseans and the private sector, cutting $800 million in taxes.

We’ve faced challenges too, and I always came away newly reminded of and inspired by your resolve and how you come together, Tennesseans helping Tennesseans, to get through the toughest of times.

I leave the State Capitol today with a heart overflowing with gratitude, incredibly thankful for this opportunity that, for some reason, was bestowed upon me.

Lamar Alexander told me shortly after I was first elected, “Being governor of your state is a great job, unless your home state is Tennessee, and then it’s the best job in the whole world.” And he is absolutely right.

Crissy and I are grateful for you calling on us to serve, for giving us the greatest jobs we could ever imagine.


Rod's Comment:

I am immensely pleased with the record of Governor Bill Haslam. Before Bill Haslam's tenure as Governor, anytime there was a ranking of states on almost any metric about all one could say about Tennessee's ranking is, "Thank God for Mississippi." Tennessee usually ranked in the bottom two or three states. Governor Haslam has made me prouder to be from Tennessee than ever before.  We still have a ways to go in some areas but we have made tremendous progress.
I think Governor Haslam is too modest in touting his accomplishments. In some rankings, Tennessee ranks near the top. Tennessee is the state with the least public debt per person in the country. At the same time Governor Haslum cut taxes he reduced the number of state employees by hundreds and instituted reforms that reward employees for performance rather than simple longevity.  Our pension plan is recognized as one of the top 6 strongest pension funds in the United States. 

Governor Haslam may not be the ideologue that some conservative activist would like but he has shown that applying common sense conservative principles to government operations really works. We are fortunate to have had him as governor. I hope that Governor Bill Lee will continue the progress Tennessee has made. 

I thank Governor Haslam for his service to our state and wish him the best in his future endeavors.  and hope he does not retire from public service.

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