Monday, June 17, 2019

At-large candidate Matthew DelRossi arrested for violating an order of protection and vandalized his sister's home. Embarrassing video.

Below is a video of at-large candidate Matthew DelRossi ranting about a camera mounted on the house next door pointing into his yard. Be aware that this video is laced with profanity.

He was arrested on June 10th for violating an order of protection and vandalized his sister's home. He threw shovels, a fishing pole, a stick and a pickax at the security camera mounted on his sister's house.  This is not DelRossi's first brush with the law.

Last year, he ran for the office of Vice mayor and got 12.5 percent of the vote, which was enough to keep either of the two other candidates from winning a majority and forced a runoff. To see the Tennessean's report on this incident follow this link

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Two Candidate forums Tuesday, June 18th. District 7 and District 18.

There are a bunch of Candidates running in District 7. Below are their names and links to their webpage, Facebook page or any other information I could find and something about them, if I know anything.

Clint Camp: He supports the Robert Mendez's proposed 16% tax hike. link. link.
Stephen Downs:He has the screwy idea the companies have to get city permission before they are allowed to move here.  link,
Daniel Fitzpatrick: No info found.
Jacob Green: No info found.
Stephanie Johnson: No info found.

Randy Reed: He is a retired police officer. He unsuccessfully ran for this office in 2015. See Is a dirty cop the kind of person who should serve in the Metro Council.  
District 7 is the District in East Nashville currently represented by Anthony Davis.  For District information, follow this link.

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Two candidates running in the 18th District.
Tom Cash: Endorsed by the local chapter of SEIU.Endorsed by the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee   Facebook pageWeb page.
John Green: Facebook, web page.
District 18 is the district currently represented by Burkley Allen. It is in the Hillsboro Village, West End part of town.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

The 'it city' struggles to fund the basics

The Tennessean: The 'it city' struggles to fund the basics.

This article does a fairly good job of laying out the process by which this thriving, growing city finds itself broke.  The article does not, however, expose the effects of  our financial woes, such as teacher and police retention problems, understaffed fire services, traffic lights not synchronized, and sidewalks that are not build and roads not paved. The article does not expose the wasteful spending, the mismanagement, and corruption, and cronyism that contributes to Nashville's financial woes.

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Robert Swope's tribute to his father

My father believed that there are only three things a man needs to do in life to succeed: Don’t lie, don’t cheat and don’t steal. He instilled in me if I did my homework, worked harder than those around me, and believed in myself, anything in the world was possible. He also taught me how to build a car.

When my dad turned 60, my family decided that he deserved a present he would never forget. My mother’s eyes teared up talking about his first car, the 1950 Chevy Fleetline that he cherished. He bought it worn out, rebuilt it, painted it his high school colors, courted and married my mother in it.
I found an unrestored, low-mileage, rust-free ‘50 Chevy in New Mexico and drove it back to Nashville. After hundreds of long hours on my part, the car was now completely restored, identical to my father’s original love. When I pulled into my parents’ driveway that August afternoon, surrounded by 200 people there to celebrate my father, he stopped in his tracks and almost fell over.
When I handed him the keys, he cried, I cried, my mother cried, everybody cried! It was one of those moments in life when I could say a real, tangible thanks to the man who raised me to believe that anything in the world was possible.

Twenty years later, my mother and father still regularly drive the Chevy. I love them both. Happy Father’s Day, Pop!
This is part of a long article appearing in today's Tennessean in which sports figures, country music artist, business leaders and other celebrities pay tribute to their father on this Father's Day. Read the full article at this link.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Dem forum for the non-partisan mayoral race excludes the Black female candidate

Image may contain: 1 person, indoorby Rod Williams, 6/14/2019 - Three of the four leading candidates for the non-partisan office of mayor of  Nashville, took the stage at the Belcourt theater last night to participate in the Davidson County Democratic Party mayoral forum. The three participants allowed to participate were all white men; the other major candidate who is a Black Women was excluded.  I spoke to the person in charge of the event who clarified that Carol Swain did not simply not participate, but was excluded.

About 500 people attended the event. The Belcourt has a seating capacity of 700 and not all seats were taken.  The free event was listed as "sold out."  Apparently a lot of people signed up for the event but did not attend.  Often at events like this, those who attend are turned out and not people who just spontaneously attend.  Clemmons had the most visible and loudest supporters at the event.

As events like these go, it was good.  It was well-organized and there were no glitches. The format was that each candidate got three minutes to make opening statements and at the end, each candidate got three minutes to make a closing statement. A series of six questions were asked of the candidates and candidates were given three minutes to answer each questions.  Three minutes allowed the candidate to give more detailed answers.

The questions were selected by a process of the question being submitted by the participating public to the Davidson County Democratic Party Facebook page, then a poll was created and the participating public voted on the questions to ask.  The six questions getting the most votes was the questions included.  There was no off-the-wall questions about the Green New Deal, how are you going to resist Trump, or how will you turn Nashville into a sanctuary city. The first five questions were questions that would have likely been asked even if Republican would have participated in drafting the questions. Only, the last question, about how will you make Nashville a greener city was one that I would categorize as not a mainstream concern. The other questions were about affordable housing, traffic, Nashville's debt, and funding for public education.

The full video of the forum is available at this link, so I am not going to attempt to summarize who said what. I encourage readers to watch the video. Of the three participants, I was least impressed with Ray Clemmons.  He did not have detailed answers and seemed to display what I thought of as phony passion.  Maybe it is just me, but he seemed to be posturing and pontificating.  I also think he was trying to position himself to the left of David Briley, which is hard to do.

On the question of affordable housing, Clemmons was critical of the efforts being made and said it was not near enough and we need to put $50 million a year into the Barmes Fund and he said no neighborhood should be off limits to anyone. That may appeal to liberal sensibilities but it is illogical. If you build affordable housing in the most expensive parts of town, the cost of land is going to mean you don't build very many units.

David Briley scored a point with me when answering the affordable housing question.  Part of the question asked what you would do to keep the elderly from being forced out of their homes by rising housing cost.  Briley said that increased property tax was a factor in housing affordability and that was a reason to hold the line on taxes.  Often it seems politician ignore this fact. Briley scored another point responding to the traffic question when he pointed out that some of the bus riders are being subsidized up to $40 per trip.  He said having buses cover more territory with more bus routes was not a solution.  Of course, I wish candidates would embrace markets, technology and innovation but an admission that subsidizing bus rides up to $40 per trip is not wise policy is a start toward rethinking transportation.  For those who attended First Tuesday last week and saw Mayor Briley speak, he gave no different answers to a room full of Democrats than he did to a room full of Republicans.

On the environmental question about a greener Nashville, candidates covered a lot a ground. Candidates said due to global warming, we can expect more frequent flooding.  I found it interesting that not a one of the candidates mentioned building the flood wall that was once a city priority.  I guess that idea is finally dead. I am pleased it is but kind of surprised that it is not being advocated by a candidate trying to tap into environmental angst and passions.

John Cooper came across as informed and gave good answers. On the question of the city's debt, Cooper said that the city has a debt of $6,000 per man, women, and child in Davidson County. On this question, I think he showed the greater mastery of the issue.  If I knew nothing about the candidates other than what I observed at this forum, I would have to give Briley a slight edge and Cooper a close second and Clemmons a distant third.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Steve Glover proposes a 11.5 cent property tax hike.

Rod Williams, 6-12-19  - I have seldom seen a tax hike that I liked. I am predisposed to oppose a tax increase and I don't think Nashvillians are under-taxed. I don't think Nashville has a revenue problem but a spending and management problem.  However, I am ready to bite the bullet and support a modest tax increase. If we do not have a modest tax increase, then we might end up with a much larger increase. Also, I think that we have to face the facts that Nashville is in financial trouble. I talk to people who are informed and involved and they all say that things are really bad in Nashville. I know we have a problem with retention of teachers and policemen and we are understaffed in the fire department. Our public schools system keeps getting worse with an increasing number of failing schools.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a former police officer who still has a lot of friends on the force.  She said a lot of policemen are applying for and some getting hired by surrounding cities such as Clarksville where they make more money in a less stressful environment. This former officer said many policemen are simply getting out of law enforcement and others, when they near retirement eligibility, are taking their accumulated vacation and sick days and retiring at the earliest possible date. Normally policeman might work several years after the date at which they could retire.  We know morale is low among Metro employees who have not had a raise in several years.

Mayor Briley has not proposed a tax increase. He is a progressive and I assume he has no great desire to reform metro and cut nonessential services and institute fiscal reforms. He wants a more activist government, not a more restrained government. He wants to do more, to help the homeless, the housing cost-stressed, the LGBT community and immigrants. He is not called for cutting services.  I think he simply thinks it would be political suicide to raise taxes a month before the election.

Mayor Briley, however, is a weak mayor.  He became mayor by accident and he has not done much to inspire confidence.  He supported the proposed transit boondoggle which failed to pass public referendum and he opposed the referendum on the police oversight board, which did pass. He looks weak. He seems to flounder from one mishap to the next without a plan. The Cherry trees episode is an example  He does not appear in control and he does not appear to lead.

Much of the situation Briley faces is not his fault. Megan Barry left Nashville in this mess.  She did not raise taxes when she had a prime opportunity. The most opportune time to raise taxes is early in a term, so voters have time to get over it, and during a massive  reappraisal since most people will blame their tax increase on the reappraisal and not the mayor and council. I am pleased she did not raise taxes.  However, if you are not going to raise taxes, you need to cut non-essentials and increase efficiency.  Barry was not on a campaign to do that, but maybe she would have done some of that had she not gotten distracted. To her credit, she did propose closing Metro General Hospital which is not required, is wasteful, and is unnecessary. She proposed it but did not make the effort to make it happen. She didn't sell it. She did not expend political capital to make it happen.  So, Barry was not successful at cutting government and she did not raise taxes. At the time, Barry was pushing the transit referendum and maybe she thought raising property taxes would hurt the referendum. As it turns out, she was forced out of office before the transit campaign got underway and it failed.

While, I do not believe, the council has ever passed a tax increase not propose by a mayor, it could happen this year.  In fact I think it is likely to happen.  For the second year in a row, Councilman Robert Mendes has proposed to raise property taxes. This year he's submitted a substitute budget that would increase the  property tax rate 52.5 cents or 16.6%.  Under this proposal the Urban services tax rate would go from $3.155 per $100 of assessment to $3.68.

Councilman Steve Glover has proposed a budget that would raise the property tax rate by only 3.6%. It would increase the property tax rate by 11.5 cents.  The Urban Services District property tax rate would increase from $3.155 to $3.27 per $100 of assessed value and in the General Services District the rate would go from $2.755 to $2.87.  This would give would give all Metro employees, including teachers, a 6% raise. 

In putting forth his budget proposal, Glover is quoted as telling the Tennessean, "I'm not ready to gamble on a property tax increase for 16%."  While I would prefer cutting government to raising taxes, I think Glover is right. The choice before the Council is to follow Briley and not raise taxes, vote for Mendes's 16% increase or Glover's 3.6%.  I favor voting for Glover's 3.6%.

If I was convinced that the council would get serious about cutting unnecessary government and fiscal reform, then I would favor no tax increase, but I do not see that happening. It is ironic that Steve Glover who is one of the most conservative voices in the Council was one of the leading voices that helped kill Mayor Barry's plan to cut General Hospital. Glover's proposal will raise $35.65 million in revenue.  The Council subsidizes General Hospital $46 million.

I am only in favor of Glover's plan because I prefer a 3.6% increase rather than a 16% increase. It is a pragmatic consideration.  If the choice is only between the mayor's plan and the Medes plan, I fear the Mendes plan will pass.  Unfortunately, those calling for cutting waste and fiscal reform are a voice crying in the wilderness.

Rather than raise taxes, what I think should happen is we should take a top to bottom, line item by line item examination of the budget and cut out waste, corruption, mismanagement and unnecessary spending. I would close General Hospital which serves no purpose other than to boost the ego of the Black community.  I would ban police overtime except in a declared emergency and make sponsors of events pay for their own security, I would stop the outlandish over payment of fees to the managers of Metro's pension fund, I would tell the school board to slash overhead and to rapidly consolidate schools to reflect the reduced enrollment, and I would find out why it takes $6 million dollars to build 3 miles of sidewalk.  I would fire a bunch of department heads such as those who allow it to take $6 million to build three miles of sidewalks. I would discontinue corporate welfare. I would change Metro's pension system from a guaranteed benefit to a guaranteed contribution system.

Unfortunately, when even the conservatives on Council won't vote for smaller government and work to make it happen but instead work to stop cuts when they are proposed, then we are left with the choice of raising tax a little or raising taxes a lot.

References: here and here and here.

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John Cooper's TV ad, "For all of us."

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nashville mayoral candiates on immigrantion policy, sanctuary city status, and more.

Last night a candidates' forum sponsored by The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Muslim Advisory Council, Conexion Americas and sixteen other organizations was held at Plaza Mariachi. I did not get to attend the event but it was covered by local media. The program was interpreted live in Arabic, Kurdish, Somali, and Spanish.  Mayor David Briley, Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Councilman John Cooper, and Julia Clark-Johnson took part in the forum but Carol Swain did not. 

According to the media, all took a position opposing the government's immigration policy.  Briley went total partisan and said."the number one priority is to beat Donald Trump." 

Below is media coverage:

The Tennessean, by Yihyan Jeong - From deportation to police body cameras, four mayoral candidates discussed how they would lead Nashville on immigration issues Monday, at a time when the country remains divided.
It was standing room only at Plaza Mariachi where more than 700 people attended the evening forum

Metro Nashville Candidates Say ‘Yes’ to Sanctuary Cities and ‘No’ to ICE
The Tennessee Star, NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Metro Nashville Council At-Large candidate Gicola Lane told a crowd of more than 1,000 people Monday she wants city officials to stop working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Later in the evening, Nashville mayoral candidate Julia Clark-Johnson said she wants to turn Nashville into a sanctuary city. ...

Mayor’s Race 2019: Candidates, Some More Than Others, Talk Immigration 
Nashville Public Radio, By Meribah Knight- .... Mayor David Briley addressed the topic directly, advocating for a combination of change at the federal level and policies at the local level.

“We’re supposed to be non-partisan, but I am going to say, the No. 1 priority is to beat Donald Trump,” Briley said.

Priority No. 2 was directed at a specific Metro department.
“Our police are directed not to ask about immigration status,”

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Tennessee immigrant rights group to host mayoral, at-large council forum

The forum will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at Plaza Mariachi. I assume this is next Monday, June 17. The announcement is not clear. I will post an update when I have more information. See this link.

This occurred Monday 6-10-2019.

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Alveda King to visit Nashville to support Carol Swain for mayor.

Alveda King is a niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She is an author, and former state representative for the 28th District in the Georgia House of Representatives. If you would like to attend you may donate online at, or RSVP to

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Senator Marsha Blackburn: MY VISIT TO THE BORDER

The following is from Senator Marsha Blackburn:  

ImageOn Friday, I visited the El Paso Sector Customs and Border Patrol/Department of Homeland Security migrant processing center in West Texas, where overcrowded facilities can barely contain the illegal immigrants apprehended each day. My visit came just one week after 1,036 people - the largest group to cross the border from Mexico - arrived there on May 29th.

Within thirty minutes, I watched twelve people in three groups try to enter our country illegally. One man who was trying to enter illegally told me he had been following media reports and believed that he could stay once he had crossed. Based on media reports, migrants are aware that pregnant women and families are able to enter the United States more easily and they are using these loopholes to their advantage.  
On Friday alone, five kilograms of fentanyl was seized - that is enough to kill nearly 2 million Americans. Opioid addiction is ravaging the United States. We cannot address this public health crisis if we do not cut off the major influx of these deadly drugs at the southern border. 
The border patrol agents are crystal clear about the need for more resources, including and especially additional agents. While technology is helpful, it cannot replace the physical human ability to monitor, respond, and catch immigrants. Drug cartels use Facebook ads to smuggle migrants and bring drugs across ports of entry. CBP does not currently have enough agents to staff the various checkpoints and catch the criminal activity.
CBP also needs more equipment and transportation capabilities, as well as additional space to house illegal immigrants once they are in custody. This time last year, the El Paso Sector had 4,733 family units in custody. Now, they have a shocking 104,131 - up 2,100% in just one year. On top of that growth, the facility is only capable of housing 125 people but is forced to hold nearly 1,000 migrants in detention facilities. 
The system has cracked. We have a full-blown humanitarian crisis on our hands. Congress has to act, and we need to address all aspects of the crisis.
In the past couple of months, I have sponsored two pieces of legislation that I hope will target important aspects of the border problem. The Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act will ensure that sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl reflect the deadliness of the drug. It's time the punishment fit the crime for drug traffickers. 

The Accountability of Care of Unaccompanied Alien Children Act will protect children from trafficking and further exploitation of the horrific situation at the southern border.
I will continue supporting legislation that addresses all aspects of this complex immigration crisis. We cannot have national security without border security. Until our border is secure, every state is a border state and every town is a border town. 

As a reminder, you can reach any of my six offices in Tennessee to share a concern or request assistance with a federal agency.  The phone number for my Washington D.C. office is 202-224-3344 , the same number previously used by Senators Bob Corker and Bill Frist. 

Be sure to follow my work on behalf of Tennesseans on social media: 

Twitter: @MarshaBlackburn
Instagram: @MarshaBlackburn

My Best, 

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

District 18 Candidates' Forum

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1ST TUESDAYguest is Mayor Briley

From Tim Skow: 

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends 

Image result for Mayor David Briley
Mayor David Briley
It's been the mission and tradition of 1ST TUESDAY to bring our Members and friends face-to-face with those in public life who impact your lives the most

Over the past decade, many of you have asked insightful, direct and important questions to a slew of Federal, State and Local office holders, leading candidates, movement leaders and more. The next opportunity for such an important dialogue comes on Tuesday, June 11th when Nashville Mayor David Briley makes his way to the podium at 1ST TUESDAY.   

Mayor Briley has proposed a budget for next year exceeding $2,200,000,000
Critical concerns for Nashville's future include, but are not limited to:
** Transit 
** Taxes
** Development not only in the downtown sector, but across the 35 Districts.
** Sectors of Nashville that are clearly in need of attention from City Hall.
** Crime, safety concerns and the continuing struggle to staff and build Nashville's Police Department
** What important topics will be the Mayor focus on most should he win this fall. 

Mayor Briley is certainly a leading contender in the election August 1st.  
And NO DOUBT .... a lock to be in a September runoff should one be necessary. 

Needless to say, this will be a 1ST TUESDAY full of meaning. are a stake holder in Nashville's will want to be there on June 11th at 1ST TUESDAY.

As usual, our event is $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. Secure seating at our website and click on EVENTS.

Remind your guests that doors at Waller Law open at 11:00. Lunch starts at 11:25 with program at Noon. 
Expect a very zesty Q&A session that will conclude at 1:00pm shape!

Please pass the word and invite those you know who care about Nashville. 
The next couple of months promise to dramatically impact the city and its future !

Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY  

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Could smart technology solve city's parking problems?

by Rod Williams - I was not as opposed to the proposal to privatize metro's parking as many other people I ran into who had an opinion on the topic.  I did, however, conclude that the proposal in front of us was rushed and lacked transparency.  I am pleased that it has been deferred.  That is not to conclude, however, that we do not need to do something about parking and that the stutus quo is simply  good enough.

Writing in today's Tennessean, technology writer J. J. Rosen says that with the parking privatization plan  sidelined, that what is being considered now is a public-private partnership where Metro would still be in charge but we would get the benefits of smart meters.  Metro would still determine where meters would go and still set the rates.  A company would pay the upfront cost of smart meters and get a share of the revenue. Parking rates would only go up by about 25¢ an hour, but revenue would increase by 7 and half times.

The reason we need to partner with a private company to do this instead of doing it on our on is that the city is broke. We do not have the debt capacity to sell the bonds to make the upfront investment. I am still not sure that it would not be wise to do a more far-reaching proposal and fully privatize parking, but at a minimum, it seems doing a limited public-private partnership as described above makes sense.

One of the advantages of smart meters is that they can be fed by a phone app or credit card.  Just like you use Uber or Grubhub, the meter cost could be charged to your selected payment method.  I never carry change.  A lot of people don't.  For those who are not comfortable with technology and do carry change, they could still plug the meters with quarters.

Perhaps the main advantage is that smart meters can tell you where an available parking spot is located. Rather than circling block after block looking, you can be directed to a parking space that is open.  Another advantage is that you can re-feed your meter without going to the car.  While, parking tickets would go up under this proposal, fewer parking tickets would be issued because the ease of adding time to the meter would be mean fewer people would overstay the time on the meter.

I know that there is a knee-jerk reaction opposing doing things differently. We must do things differently, however, to improve.  I am convinced that to solve Nashville's traffic and parking issues, we need to embrace technology, innovation and market forces.  Nashville is now a big city and we are continuing to grow.  We could be the model city that does it right.  Instead of being mired in old way of thinking such as fixed routes and mostly empty big buses we could embrace paratransit and technology.  Instead of wanting everything to fit neatly in a box so it can be regulated, we could think outside the box. I know some people know of a cheep or free parking space and they don't won't the world to know about it. That is not reason enough to not try to solve Nashville's parking problems.

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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Memphis Democrats look to push DeBerry out of shrinking tent

If there was any doubt left, the Democrat Party is not big enough for anyone who holds a pro-life position. Memphis Democrat John DeBerry voted for Tennessee's fetal heart beat bill and for that he is his being targeted for defeat.  Planned Parenthood is planning a billboard campaign against him. 
If he seeks reelection he will likely face a well-funded challenger. Read more at this link.

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Marsha Blackburn introduces bill to protect free speech on campus.

Press release, June 5, 2019 - Today, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke on the Senate floor about her newly introduced resolution to encourage free speech and inclusive debate on college campuses.

“On the eve of National Higher Education day, I am introducing the Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2019. It’s a first step in restoring sanity to free speech for American college students,” said Senator Blackburn. “It recognizes that universities should protect the free and open exchange of ideas and that freedom of speech is worth protecting in a world increasingly hostile to democracy.”
The Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2019 is cosponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

“Learning is nothing if not a pursuit of truth,” said Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. “As students pursue their education, they should never face limits on what, when, where, or how they learn. They should be empowered to pursue truth through the free exchange of all ideas, especially ideas with which they may not agree. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our democracy, and this administration will continue to vigilantly protect the First Amendment.”

“We applaud the Senate's resolution,” said Nicki Neily, President of Speech First. “College campuses are the place where ideas should be vigorously debated, but sadly, the window of acceptable political discourse on campus is so narrow that students who express views outside that orthodoxy can be punished and dragged through burdensome administrative proceedings. Across the country, far too many public universities have failed to uphold their obligations under the First Amendment. The Senate's resolution is a timely reminder of those obligations and the fundamental values they protect.”

"Misleadingly titled free speech zones don't promote free speech, rather they quarantine student expression to designated areas that are often tiny and far out of sight," said Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn. "FIRE is thankful to Senator Blackburn for using this resolution to apply additional pressure on institutions to open all common outdoor areas for student speech."

Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01) introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives in March.


In this video, Sen. Blackburn gives the history of the fight for the First Amendment rights of students on college campuses and gives examples of how colleges have been silencing conservative viewpoints.

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Joshua Parant, candidate for District 19 council seat, disqualified after residency challenge

Joshua Parant, candidate for District 19 council seat, disqualified after residency challenge. This means we are stuck with Freddie O'Connell for four more years.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Just who are all of these people running for mayor

When you go to vote in the August 1st election, you will see a lot of candidates name's on the ballot of whom you have never heard.  Why do people put their name on the ballot who have zero chance of winning? I don't know. Maybe they are delusional and think they can win. Maybe they know they can't win but have a point of view that they want to express and running for office gives them a platform to be heard, at least by a few people. Maybe they have a big ego and get satisfaction by seeing their name on the ballot.

You will see some names that you have heard of but of whom you know very little.  It is a shame that so many people are elected by voters who just pull the lever for a person because he had a lot of yard signs.  It is a shame so many people are elected because they got the most votes from uninformed people.  If you have a strong political philosophy, and know you want to only vote for a Democrat or a Republican and there are only two choices, then party label can be a good guide for whom to vote. In the race for mayor and council, people do not run on party labels so a voter cannot be guided by party identity of the candidate. I tend to think that is a good thing. There are very few votes a member of the council cast where political affiliation would be an indication of how the council member would vote. There are no Democrat or Republican pot holes.

I am posting below the list of candidates for mayor. Next to each list I will provide links to the candidates website, Facebook page or blog or news stories about the candidate. For some of the candidates I will tell you what I know about them, or if I know nothing. If I have a favorite, I will let you know.  I plan to do the same for council races, but this may prove to take more effort than I want to give it. We'll see.

Candidates for Mayor

Jody Ball: He is a Republican and good sensible candidate but doesn't have a chance. The Republican vote will be split between Carol Swain and John Cooper and even if all Republican voted for one candidate that candidate could not win. Republicans are outnumbered about two to one in Davidson County.  Ball ran for the 5th Congressional District as a Republican and lost that November 6, 2018 election to incumbent Jim Cooper. Cooper beat Ball 67.8 percent to 32.2 percent but some of  the areas where Ball did best lay outside Davidson County. I like Ball but won't vote for him. I appreciate him carrying the banner and providing a token alternative to Cooper in the congressional election but why he thinks he can be elected mayor, I don't know. For more information see this link, Twitter feed, Jody Ball for Mayor.

See the source image
Mayor David Briley

David Briley: He needs no introduction. As everyone knows he is the incumbent and is running for reelection. I am going to skip posting any links. You will hear his name a lot between now and the election and can learn more than you want to know about him without even trying. Just be aware that Nashville is a financial disaster and Briley has no plan to fix it. Metro is a mess and Briley needs to go.

Julia Marguerite Clark-Johnson: I never heard of her until now.  Here is the Tennessean profile piece from when she ran for mayor in 2018. In that election she got a total of only 168 votes.

John Ray Clemmons: He is a major candidate so I don't need to say much. He is currently a Democrat State Representative representing District 55.  There has been some speculation that he is not running to win but to increase name recognition in order to later challenge Steve Dickerson for his state senate seat. For more see, John Ray Clemmons for Mayor.

Image of John Cooper
John Cooper
John Cooper:  I am supporting John Cooper.  He is a Democrat and the brother of Jim Cooper but in this case I am not going to hold that against him.  John Cooper may be the last sane Democrat left.  I watch almost every Council meeting and study the issues. I have been impressed with John Cooper ever since he began serving.  He has become an expert on Metro's finances. He knows Metro government like the back of his hand.  I don't know his views on building the wall or abortions or medicare for all or Agenda 21, and I don't much care.  Those are national issues. The most important issue facing us as voters for mayor is that we need to get our financial house in order and we need to select the person most qualified and committed to doing that. That is John Cooper.  Metro is the city in the nation with the highest debt per capita of any city.  Our police and fire are understaffed and Metro Schools are underfunded but we are not under taxed. Our local media would be focused on these issues if we had a mayor advocating a tax increase. There could be hysteria created if it served to advance an agenda. John Cooper knows what is wrong and has pledged to fix it. For more see John Cooper for Mayor.

Bernie Cox: He is a person with successes and recognition, apparently in the construction business and the entertainment business. He describes himself as conservative. This is apparently his first time running for office. Link.

Jimmy Lawrence: I can't find anything about him.

Jon Sewell: I can't find anything.

Nolan O.Starnes: He is African-American, has a criminal record but says he has turned his life around. He is a Hemp farmer. He is concerned about gentrification and says he will keep Nashville's New Transit Plan as a priority. His focus seems to be on the plight of low-income Nashvillians. For more see Nolan Starnes for Mayor.

Image result for carol swain for mayor Carol Swain: I like Carol Swain. I feel I know her. She has a compelling life story.  She courageously stood up to liberal intimidation as a professor at Vanderbuilt University.  However, I won't be voting for her. I did in 2018 when she was the only reasonable alternative to David Briley.  Before John Cooper got in the race, I thought she again was going to be the only real alternative. I contributed to her campaign.

She is a devout Christian, a scholar, an author, and a pundit advocating conservative policies. However, I think John Cooper is a better candidate. He has been in the trenches fighting for fiscal sanity in Nashville.  Despite Swain's conservatism, I am don't think she is the person we need for mayor at this time. Also, I just don't see how she can win. There is no path to victory.  As conservatives we must face the fact that Nashville is a very liberal city and more liberal by the day. Swain's position on issues such as homosexuality, immigration, the nature of Islam and her critique of the damaging effects of our welfare state, would make her unelectable by Nashville's progressives. There are, however, liberals who would vote for fiscal responsibility. To decide to support John Cooper over Carol Swain was not an easy decision, but I am firmly convince that it is the right decision.  See Carol Swain for Mayor and do a search engine search and you can find her commentaries and YouTube videos and much more.

Image result for erica gilmore
Erica Gilmore
Candidates for Vice mayor
The vice mayor conducts council meeting and makes committee appointments and if the mayors office become vacant, the vice mayor become mayor. There are three candidates for vice mayor.

Erica Gilmore: She is an at-large member of the Metro Council.. She was elected to that seat in 2015. She previously represented District 19 from 2007 to 2015. Gilmore was a candidate for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. Gilmore was defeated in the special election on May 24, 2018. See link.

Jim Shulman
Jim Shulman
Robert Sawyers, Sr.: I can't find anything about him. Sawyers was an independent candidate for Governor of Tennessee in 2018. He was a  candidate for State House, 54th District, in 2016. 
Jim Shulman: Shulman is the current Vice mayor. Prior to that he served as an at-large council member and prior to that he was a district council members. He conducts meetings fairly and has a long list of civic engagements. I will be voting for Jim Shulman.

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Metro General Election candidates list with contact information.

Back on May the 18th I posted the list of all of those who had qualified to run for mayor, vice mayor, or council seat.  Candidates had up until noon May 23rd to withdraw their name. I have not compared the two list, but if want the most accurate information, you need to see the official candidates list. Also, if you would like to contact one of the candidates, this list contains email addresses and phone numbers.

I encourage voters to call or email the candidates and ask them questions and get a feel for their knowledge and intelligence and qualifications.  Please don't just base your vote on just who has the most yard signs. It the candidate wants your vote, they should be glad to talk to you.  Maybe for mayor, one will have enough information to make an informed decision but for many of the district council races, talking to the candidate may be the best way to get sufficient information to make an informed decision.

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Tennessee leads nation in small business job creation

Tennessee lead nation in small business job creation

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Candidates make their case at Bellevue Candidate's Forum.

Michelle Foreman
Rod Williams, 6-4-2019 - Six candidates addressed about one hundred people packed into two joined rooms at Corner Pub in the Woods in Bellevue last night for a candidates forum, hosted by The Bellevue Exchange Club. Candidates included Art Allen, Gloria Hausser,  and Todd Sneed running in District 22; Mina Johnson running reelection in District 23; and incumbent Councilman Dave Rosenberg and challenger Michelle Foreman running in District 35.

The event was well organized and ably led by David Hairston. The event started and ended on time and moved at an orderly steady clip. Events like this can get boring. It is a challenge to give everyone an opportunity to say what they want to say and yet keep them from rambling and saying nothing.

Dave Rosenberg
At the start of the meeting each candidate was given three minutes (I believe three)  to introduced themselves and share their credentials and reasons they are seeking the office for which they were running. I am not going to try to remember who had done what, but I was impressed with almost all of them. Candidates own and run their on businesses, have excelled in careers, overcome obstacles, organized boat rescue in the 2010 flood, and served in service organizations and served as volunteers in their children's schools.  While I do not think having a list of civic involvements or personal success is the deciding factor in selecting who I would vote for, it is a factor.  Before entrusting someone with the office of council member, I want them to have already been active in their community and already done something that indicates they have intelligence, tenacity, civic concern and a good work ethic.
Gloria Hausser

One take-away from the meeting is that everyone wants orderly growth and seems concerned with the rapid growth we have experienced and is concerned about traffic. In a discussion about what we should do about traffic, one got the normal answers of study the issue and the need for a regional plan. Todd Sneed said we need more buses and better bus routes. Dave Rosenburg said we need to study the problem and we need more circulatory bus routes. Michelle Foreman said the instead of big buses we need vans. She said buses often run empty. I thing we have all seen big buses with only two or three people on them. This makes so much sense. I think she gave the best answer of any of the candidates but none of them really impressed me in answering this question.

One thing that struck me in the discussion of traffic is that some candidates do not know the difference between "smart" traffic lights and synchronized traffic lights. They seemed to talk as if it was the same thing. If they did know the difference they didn't make that clear. I was disappointing that none of the candidates advocated a bold transformation of mass transit that relied on market forces and new technology.  No one was thinking outside the box. To see what I advocate, follow this link. I would have like to heard something like this from the candidates. Some people in metro, such as Councilman Robert Swope are thinking bold. I hope to call attention to his traffic plan at some point.

Todd Sneed
Another take-away from this forum is that incumbents know more details about issues than challenges. Mina Johnson in discussing traffic and development threw in reverences to NashvilleNext and subarea plans. Dave Rosenburg knew tax rates and details of financial arrangements with the convention center. This is to be expected but, in my view, is not reason to necessarily give the person my vote.  If someone is intelligent they can get up to speed on the details and the jargon pretty quickly.  At one time the incumbents did not know that stuff either. The way I see it, political values compatible with my own combined with talent, intelligence and work ethic or more important than having mastered some details.

On a question about using one-time money, as in the upfront money from the parking meter privatization plan, to fund on-going expenses, all thought that was a bad idea. On the question of whether or not they would support a tax increase, all were opposed although Dave Rosenburg came closest to saying he thinks we need a tax increase but will follow the will of his constituents and oppose one if that is what they want. 

While I am not persuaded we have to have a tax increase, I do think it is wise to realized that Metro is
Art Allen
in dire financial shape.  Fire services and police services are understaffed, employees deserve a pay raise and teachers are underpaid. In addressing the issue of raising taxes, Rosenburg pointed out that much of the revenue generated by downtown tourism goes to the convention center and that the convention center has a $100 million surplus. He said that Metro can't access that money. This is where I think Rosenburg and many other simply lack vision. He identified the problem but did not propose fixing it.  It took Metro requesting the state to make that the policy for it to become law.  If Metro tried to get the State to amend that law, no doubt they could. I have heard Councilman John Cooper address this same issue, but he says we do not need a tax increase; instead we need to fix the problem.

In making the case for a tax increase, which he said he will oppose if that is the will of his district, Rosenburg made the case that we are under taxed. He stated our property tax rate and gave the tax rates for several other Tennessee cities. While I accept the tax rates stated are accurate, I don't think that we have a lower tax rate is an indication that we are under taxed. If you take a three bedroom, bath and a half house in a subdivision in Bellevue and compare it to a very similar home in a similar part of town in Knoxville, the Bellevue home may be appraised for $375,000 and the similar Knoxville home maybe appraised at $175,000. The Nashville homeowner will be paying much higher taxes. Don't be persuaded that you are under taxed by a simple comparison of tax rates. 

Of the all the candidates speaking last night, I was most impressed by Michelle Foreman.  The moderator asked a question about what we should do about General Hospital. All of the other candidates gave ho-hum answers about the need for a charity hospital and they supported General. Foreman was armed with facts. She said last year the hospital's subsidy was increased from $11 million to $46 million. She said the board that manages General is dysfunctional and was critical of the board for giving the hospital director a contract extension and a raise without even doing an evaluation. She pointed out that General can not fill its beds because no one wants to go there and that there is no need for a charity hospital since hospitals cannot deny services to indigents. She said if Nashville needs to subsidize the hospital needs of low-income people that there are lower cost ways to do it than continuing to fund general.

This event was a good candidate's forum.  It is a shame that there are not similar candidate forums across all of Davidson County. Often, people give little thought to who they vote for, for Council and just vote for the name they recognize and usually that name recognition is based on  who has the most yard signs. That is a poor way to make a decision. It is also disappointing that the press did not cover this event. Back in the early 80's when I ran for Council I once took part in a forum and it was covered in a community press, the two dailies and television. I think the demise of the local press is a danger to our democracy. Amateur bloggers with low readership, like myself, cannot take the place of a professional press, but that is commentary for another day. I am an amateur and have a point of view, but try to  be accurate and fair. If any candidate or other interested person thinks that I failed to accurately report on the forum or misrepresented a candidates point of view, please feel free to leave a comment and set the record straight.

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Parking meter privatization plan not dead! Not withdrawn- just "deferred."

Image result for Parking meters by Rod Williams, 6/4/19 - Last night at a candidate's forum in Bellevue, Councilman Steve Glover said that the plan to privatize parking meters is not dead. He said he had just come from a council committee meeting at which that was clarified.  He said at the meeting, the administration said they were asking that the bill be deferred indefinitely instead of withdrawn. Glover said he asked why and was told that they wanted to keep their options open.

What this means is that this bill could still be passed.  A deferred bill can be brought back up at any time. If it has passed first reading as this bill has, then the sponsor could ask for it to be put back on the agenda and it would be put back on the agenda on second reading.

New elections for mayor and council are held August 1. There will be two more meetings between the election date and when the new Council takes office.  The outgoing council could pass the parking privatization measure on second reading on the meeting before their last meeting, and pass it on third reading at the very last meeting.

Why would they do this?  This is going to be a tight budget and not approving the parking privatization plan will make the budget even tighter. The budget must be finalized by June 30th or the Mayor's budget becomes law without council action.  That has never happened. The Council will pass a budget by June 30th.  Since the upfront $34 million from the parking privatization deal was used to make up the revenue side of the current proposed budget, and since the mayor has stated he will not seek a tax increase, $34 million must be found somewhere or that much expenditure must be cut. An effort, probably led by Councilman Medes, will be made to raise taxes.  It will fail.  Not wanting to anger metro employees, especially teachers, more than they are already angered, the Council will try to fill the $34 million whole in the budget by judiciously cutting expenditures a little here and there.  No one will be happy.  In last minuet effort to restore some of the cuts in the budget the Council may pass the parking privatization plan.

I am not opposed to the concept of parking meter privatization as I have explained here. I am opposed, however, to this plan being passed at this time however.  Many cites that have tried privatization of parking meters have made a mess of it. We need to make sure we do it right. Also, the public needs to have input and understand the plan before it is passed. This plan has not been sold. I also strongly object to using one-time monies to fund continuing needs.  One-time monies should be used to pay down the debt not fund daily operating expenses.

The Council needs to not allow the bill to be deferred indefinitely.  The parking privatization plan needs to be killed.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Dr. Manny Sethi Announces Campaign for United States Senate

Conservative Outsider makes support for President Trump, stopping illegal immigration, ObamaCare repeal centerpieces of Senate campaign

From Dr. Sethi, Nashville, June 3rd, 2019 - Today, Dr. Manny Sethi, a Nashville trauma surgeon, launched his campaign for United States Senate.
“Tennesseans want a conservative outsider who will take on the Establishment, support President Trump, fight illegal immigration and work to repeal ObamaCare,” said Sethi. “That’s why I’m running for Senate.”
Dr. Sethi, 41, is the first candidate to enter the race.  A first generation son of Indian immigrants, Sethi released a video this morning telling the story of his family coming to America.
"My parents taught me to be grateful I was born in America because everything our family has was given to us by this country. I am a product of the American dream. I want to make sure that dream is available to our children and grandchildren,” said Sethi.
Sethi, and his wife, Maya, have been together since they were 16. They were married in 2005 and have two young children.

The Republican Primary is August.

Paid for by Dr. Manny for US Senate
CONTACT: Olivia Knoll, 865-394-0995,
Dr. Manny Sethi is an orthopedic trauma surgeon and Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the director of Vanderbilt Orthopedic Center for Health Policy. He is the founder and President of Healthy Tennessee, a nonprofit organization designed to promote preventative health care across the state. His organization has cared for thousands of patients in almost every county in Tennessee. Raised in Hillsboro, TN, Dr. Manny received his undergraduate degree from Brown University. After college, as a Fulbright Scholar he worked in Tunisia with children suffering from muscular dystrophy. He then went on to receive his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he also completed his orthopedic residency. Dr. Manny returned home to Tennessee to impact change in healthcare and education.
In 2016, he was invited to meet President Trump to discuss Healthy Tennessee’s community engagement and impact across Tennessee. In 2017, Dr. Manny testified on challenges Tennesseans face obtaining and maintaining health insurance before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
He is the author of “The American Dream in Tennessee: Stories of Faith, Struggle, and Survival,” a book about the power of faith, family, and community in the treatment of near-life-ending trauma.

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Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi launches 2020 U.S. Senate bid

The Tennessean: Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi launches 2020 U.S. Senate bid

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Metro introduces new short-term rental restriction

Metro introduces new short-term rental restriction

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Briley pulls the plug on parking privatization plan.

By Rod Williams - Mayor Briley has  put the plan to privatize parking meters on hold. The plan would have added up to two thousand additional metered parking spots, increased rates and increased parking fines. The expansion of additional metered parking would have included residential streets near commercial hot spots such as 12th Ave South, Five Points, and Green Hills.

I am pleased to see the plan delayed.  To me, the plan seems like a desperate attempt to close a hole in the budget in an election year. The plan would have paid $34 million up front which would have filled a big budget hole.  I also had concerns about the way the contract was awarded. Metro announced that it intended to award the 30-year contract to LAZ Parking Georgia, LLC and had deemed the proposal of the other bidder as  non-responsive.  Metro says the other bidder omitted a  key financial spreadsheet to their proposal. NTN, the other bidder, says that was an inadvertent error and they would provide the missing document. NTN offered a better deal for the city.

The plan seemed desperate and rushed.  Anytime a city proposes major changes, the knee jerk reaction of people is going to be opposition.  I served in the Council during the time the city changed the way we pick up garbage.  At one time the city operated all of the trash pickup.  Garbage was picked up by metro employees from the back door of homes twice a week. Residents provided their own garbage cans.  When the plan to contract with private haulers and go to once-a-week alley or curbside rather than back door twice-a-week was announced, one would have thought the sky was falling.  The proposal met with widespread opposition. There was concern that metro employers would lose their job and people did not want to have to haul their own trash to the street. The plan eventually did pass and was the right thing to do and saved the city a mass amount of money over the years.  Reform cannot be rushed. The concept has to be sold and objections overcome.

An election year is the wrong time to do this.  I just assume the public's initial reaction is going to be opposition to change.  People seeking office will take a position favored by the public in order to gain an election advantage even when the public is uninformed and having a knee jerk reaction. Politicians play politics.  Many candidates for council have come out against the plan and mayoral candidates Cooper and Swain have both came out against it.  In a year without an election, people can more rationally and dispassionately evaluate a proposal.

Despite being pleased that the plan is being withdrawn and despite concern with the contract bid controversy and despite concern with the lack of transparency and detail and despite thinking the proposal seemed like a rushed attempt to plug a hole in the budget, I am in favor of the concept. Here is why:

  • The private sector can almost always do things better than government. 
  • Our parking meters are antiquated and I never carry pocket change
  • Modern meters can accept phone payment, credit card payments, and additional funds remotely rather than getting up and running out of a meeting to plug the meter.
  • New meters can alert those seeking a parking space to where parking spaces are available cutting down on aimless wandering hoping to find an empty space. This cuts down on street congestion.
  • Meter rates can be adjusted to allow peak pricing. When there is more demand for something prices should rise. 
  • Metro could modernize meters without privatizing them but the cost of the modernization, the capital cost, would be high and Nashville already has excessive debt. We don't have the money to do it on our own.
  • One of our highest cost of government is employee retirement and retiree health care cost. We should strive to reduce the size of the work force and avoid growing the size of the workforce whenever possible.
  • We should seek alternatives to raising taxes and privatizing parking meters would bring in a lot of money. The proposed deal would have brought in about $325 million by the time the deal expired in 2049.
While I am pleased that this deal is dead for now, I hope the next mayor and council will take it up again and this time, take time to explain the concept and make sure we get it right.  It is too important to be rushed.

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