Sunday, January 13, 2019

Final Update: Report on the Council meeting of 1/3/19: recommends Clemency for Cyntoia Brown, NES bill round-up deferred, ban on street vendors fails, Kid Rock sign approved. affirmative action plan passed.

Above is the video of the Jan. 3rd Council meeting. I usually watch each meeting and provide timestamp notations of the good parts.  I have not watched this meeting. Other political events and life intervened. This was probably a good meeting to watch since several controversial topics were on the agenda. For those who follow the Council closely, you may want to watch this meeting. The below summary is gleamed from news reports and reading of the minutes of the meeting.  To access the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

Council members absent from this meeting were Bill Pridemore and Jeff Syracuse.

The Vice Mayor called a special Council meeting to be held on January 22, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. to elect the inaugural members of the Community Oversight Board.

Bills on Public Hearing

Bill BL2018-1357 and Bill BL2018-1358.  Bill BL2018-1357 cancels a Planned Unit Development Overlay District on property located at 3419 Murphy Road and Bill BL2018-1358 changes from ORI-A to SP the zoning on that property to permit a mixed-use development. I happened to be visiting a relative on Richland Avenue back in November and in about a three block section, about half the houses had signs opposing this development. These bills were scheduled for public hearing on Dec. 4, 2018 and Council Member Kindall moved to defer both bills to this the January 3, 2019 public hearing. Bill 1357 is approved and Bill 1358 is deferred again, deferred to the Feb. 5th meeting.. To read The Tennessean's coverage of this issue follow this link.

Bill BL2018-1417  would extend Historic Landmark protection to public interior
Should the interior of  historical places be protected
  This is one of those issues about which I am conflicted. I am a strong advocate of private property rights but am also an advocate of historical preservation. I think a sense of place matters and historical places should not be bulldozed for parking lots. If not for the work of preservationist, Nashville would no longer have Union Station or the Ryman Auditorium. Having a designation of a Historic Landmark does not prohibit a property owner from tearing down a historic property but makes it more difficult to do so. I know some people have such strong opinions that they seldom, if ever, have a conflict. I do sometimes have competing values that come into play when evaluating a public policy matter.  Sometimes, public policy is about striking a balance between competing valid concerns.  I do not yet have an opinion on the merits of this bill, but it is not because I don't care enough to have an opinion but because I am conflicted. This bill is deferred to the Feb. 5, 2019 public hearing

Bill BL2018-1418  also concerns historic preservation. It would require Preservation Permits before any person undertaking any action for or with respect to any structure located within any of the historic overlay districts. This would apply to interior renovations, alterations, repairs, or demolition. If someone purchases a home in a historic neighborhood, they should not have to get permission before they can remodel their kitchen, in my view. This bill is deferred to the February 5, 2019 public hearing.

Bill BL2018-1438 changes from AR2a to RS10 and RM4 zoning for properties located at Bluff Road approximately 930 feet southwest of Nolensville Pike (60.19 acres). I have no opinion on the merits of the bill but am simply calling attention to it because it is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. Bills disapproved by the Planning Commission require 27 votes to pass on Third Reading. At the public hearing, people did speak for and against this bill. This passes second reading on a voice vote.
Resolution RS2018-1508 which would encourages a change in the NES policy of collecting contribution to its weatherization program for low income property owners from an opt-in policy to an opt-out policy is deferred again. Currently if your electric bill is so many dollars and so many cents, you may elect to have your bill rounded up to the next dollar and that odd cents amount goes to a fund to pay the cost of low income property owners to have work done on their home such as insulation to improve energy efficiency. This resolution would recommend to NES that they change that policy so that your bill was automatically be rounded up unless you opted out of that process. I adamantly oppose this. Charity should be with informed consent. This policy change would have made it more like robbery. This was deferred to the Feb. 5th meeting.

Resolution RS2019-1541 was a resolution to approve a sign overhanging the sidewalk. Normally these are routine and the council approves several every meeting. To me this seems like something that should administratively be approved rather than every sign that overhangs a sidewalk going before the Council.  The city's concern is that the sign owner have liability insurance for the sign.  Last night the Council did approve  Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk sign but there was some discussion. Some felt the language of the sign was inappropriate. If the language of a sign is not illegal, the council should not get into the business of legislating taste. The council voted 27-3 in favor of the sign. The three members who voted "no" were Cooper, Murphy, and Lee. Voting to Abstain was Mendes, Freeman, and Elrod.

Cyntoia Brown
 Resolution RS2019-1544 requesting that Governor Bill Haslam grant clemency to Cyntoia Brown was approved by a vote of 32 in favor and two abstentions.  The case of Cyntoria Brown has been widely covered by the Nashville and the national media. Brown, as a 16-year-old prostitute,  killed a john by shooting him in the back of the head as he slept. She has been portrayed as a victim of sex trafficking and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna have advocated for clemency on her behalf. Brown has proved a model prisoner and has earned a college degree while in prison. Since this vote Gov. Haslam has granted Brown clemenacy. I opposed this resolution. I don't think the right thing to do is so clear cut in this case, that the Council should be sharing their opinion with the governor. No members voted "no" and Freeman, and Pulley abstained.
Bill defeated on First Reading
Bill BL2019-1474 by Steve Glover which would prohibit vendors from selling anything in the public right of way was defeated.  This bill, if passed, would effectively kill the program where homeless people sell the newspaper, The Contributor. This was on first reading and normally everything passes on first reading and all bills are lumped together and are passed by a single vote.  It is unusual a bill is killed on first reading. These members voted "Yes," supporting Glover on First Reading:  Hall, Swope, Glover, Huezo, and Dowell.  Voting "No," were Cooper, Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Hastings, Haywood, Scott Davis, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Hagar, Sledge, Allen, O'Connell, Roberts, Mina Johnson, Murphy, Pulley, Elrod, Blalock, Vercher, Potts, Bedne, and Rosenberg. Voting to Abstain was Rhoten, Freeman, Kindall, Lee, and Henderson.
Bills on Second Reading 
Bill BL2018-1439  authorize the Metropolitan Housing Trust Fund Commission to rescind grant contracts and collect funds previously allocated to organizations that fail to execute contractual obligations in a timely manner.  I find this interesting. Apparently some non-profit that was awarded a grant failed to perform or there would be no need for this.  Having worked in the field of non-profit housing, I am curious what the story is behind this. The bill was deferred to the  February 5, 2019 meeting.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1441  After Bird scooters came to town, the Council then came up with some regulation to govern them as well as rental bicycles and other similar devices. At the time, what was passed by the Council said the number of providers of these "shared urban mobility devices, " could not be limited by Metro government. Since then Lime has come to town and a couple other companies have plans to come to Nashville. This bill would limit the number of operators of these devices to four and would require new providers to get a "certificate of necessity."  This bill needs to be defeated. It probably violates the State constitution and it is bad policy. Metro should not be in the business and curtailing technological advancement or protecting existing providers of a service from competition. Bill BL2018-1441 was substituted and several members abstained on voting to substitute and one member voted against substituting. The substitute was then deferred.  I will report on what the substitute does before it is again on the agenda.
Bills on Third Reading. 
Bill BL2018-1419 (as amended)  passed on third and final reading. There were no "no" votes or abstentions.  It passed unanimously. This bill would, in effect, cause Metro Government to give preferential treatment to minorities and women in the awarding of city contracts.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment