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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