Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lamar Alexander has put his legacy at risk | Opinion

by Rod Williams, Guest columnist, The Tennessean, Published  Aug. 30, 2019 -

Alexander needs to bring the Restore Our Parks Act to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and pass this legislation once and for all.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has long been known as an advocate for Tennesseans. He’s represented our state as governor, president of the University of Tennessee and as the state’s senior senator for more than four decades. He’s a man born in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains who never forgot where he came from, and he has built a legacy of improving health care, education and our national parks across the nation. But all good things must come to an end. Early this year, Alexander announced he will retire at the end of 2020.

Yet if he leaves office without one final detail, there will be a gaping hole in his legacy.

Our national parks face a $12 billion backlog in deferred maintenance projects, including $162 million in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone. The backlog represents thousands of roads, bridges, bathrooms and facilities, and emergency response systems that are in dire need of repair. And with 318 million visitors in 2018, our national parks are only getting more wear and tear.

 Smokies improve local economy 

Alexander understands the importance of our national parks. Not only are they vast oxygen tanks for our environment, national parks improve the local economy around them. In 2017, visitors spent more than $154 million along the Natchez Trace Parkway, ending in Nashville. In Rutherford County, Stones River National Battlefield saw its fourth-highest visitor attendance in 2018. That same year, the Smokies drove $953 million in visitor spending to the East Tennessee and western North Carolina region. That spending supports local restaurants and hotels, tourist attractions, tour guides, fly-fishing companies, sports outfitters and other businesses that rely on the millions of people who go to the Smokies each year. Yet if we let our national parks fall apart, the unreliable bathroom facilities, closed roads and precarious trails will only drive away visitors and the money they spend. East Tennesseans understand the importance of getting rid of the backlog. Just look at Ian and Charity Rutter, who took the time to make the case for our national parks to U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett this past spring. As business owners in the Townsend community whose customer base includes a healthy number of tourists, they know the longer we wait, the harder it’ll be to restore our parks. 

Restore Our Parks Act introduced 

I know Alexander understands the importance of our national parks. He introduced the Restore Our Parks Act in 2018 to cut the backlog in half by creating a dedicated revenue stream that can help fix our parks. He’s talked about getting rid of the backlog during his visits to the Smokies, during congressional hearings and even on social media. Several members of Congress, including Tennessee Reps. Phil Roe, Chuck Fleischmann, Burchett, Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper, have cosponsored a companion bill in the House.  Yet restoring our parks does not seem to be a priority to Alexander. Maybe it’s a sign Alexander has been in Washington too long. Maybe he hasn’t spent enough time in the Smokies over the last few years. Maybe he’s forgotten the region he came from. Maybe if he were running for re-election, he’d have gotten this legislation passed already.

Yet I don’t want to believe that.

I know Alexander cares about our community, and he wants to ensure our national parks remain a vital part of it for generations to come. That’s why, with just over a year left in the Senate, Alexander needs to bring this legislation to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and pass the Restore Our Parks Act once and for all. Anything less is a $12 billion broken promise.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

The cadre of new progressives elected to the Metro Council will have minimal impact on policy.

by Rod Williams - If the new cadre of progressives elected to the Metro Council could have their way, I would be concerned, but they can't.  Their impact on our city will be minimal. When the reality of what they can actually accomplish hits them, they will be frustrated.

We are not going to see Nashville become a sanctuary city. We are not going to see a $15 an hour minimum wage. We are not going to see illegal aliens vote in our elections. We are not going to see policies adopted that cause a proliferation of homelessness. In some progressive cities, homeless camps are not removed, laws against aggressive panhandling are not enforced and laws against minor infractions are not enforced.  The homeless are treated "humanely" and the number and visibility of the homeless increase. I don't see that happening in Nashville.

We are not going to see a total ban on short-term rentals.  We are not going to see a law that makes Uber and Lyft drivers and food delivery drivers employees, rather than independent contractors. We are not going to see inclusionary zoning or rent control. We could, but most likely will not, see higher taxes as a result of a more progressive council.

What we may see are symbolic things. We may see some outrageous things that will make you mad but they won't fundamentally change the city.  We may see an end to Council meetings opening with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I doubt it, but it could happen. We probably will see a proliferation of meaningless memorializing resolutions. We will probably see memorializing resolutions advocating medicare for all, condemning Donald Trump, advocating Green New Deal policies, celebrating homosexuality, advocating the right to abortions and condemning abortion restriction, condemning immigration enforcement, and a bunch of others.  Memorializing resolutions express the opinion of the Council. They are not even signed by the mayor.  No one pays any attention to them.

We may see a ban on plastic straws and single-use plastic bags.  We may see increased conflict between Police and the Community Oversight Board and the Council siding with the Board.  We may see an attempt to trample property rights by the occasional down zoning of property. It will probably be rare and rarely successful. We may see the process of rezoing property slowed. 

We already have a policy that treats homosexuals as a preferred class in awarding contracts to businesses seeking to do business with the city. We may see more of this type of special treatment for the LGBTQ community. We may see policies that promote quotas for members of this community for employment with the fire department, police department, schools, and maybe all of Metro. We may see more displays of the gay rainbow flag on public buildings and a greater city-sponsored celebration of  homosexuality. We may see a more robust government celebration of all types of "diversity."

There are several reasons why I do not think this new bunch of progressives will have much impact on our city. One, John Cooper was elected and not David Briley.  John Cooper is a Democrat and probably a liberal democrat, but he is not a progressive social warrior.  One did not see John Cooper looking goofy wearing a pussy hat. Cooper has an agenda of getting our financial house in order.  I do not believe he is going to let his agenda get derailed by policies that could hurt our city. I don't expect Cooper to pick a fight with progressives either, however.  He probably won't veto a ban on single-use plastic bags for instance, but he is not going to let them adopt policies that cause a proliferation of homelessness, for instance.

Another reason the progressives will be frustrated is because there are a handful of  conservatives and pragmatic mainstream liberals on the Council. Conservatives like Steve Glover, Robert Swope, Courtney Johnston, Thom Druffel, Larry Hager, probably Robert Nash, and sometimes Angie Henderson will lead the push-back against the more radical proposals.  And then there are a bunch of liberal but mainstream pragmatic council members who are not going to want to pick fights with the State or who will not support the more  radical proposals that would harm our city.

Another reason, is that some policies cannot be changes by a city alone.  To change the way Uber drivers are classified, for instance, would require a change in State law.  Another reason that progressives will be frustrated is that there are non-profit national and state legal firms such as the Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center that will be watching if Metro violates property rights or the right to earn a living.  Institute for Justice has been active in Nashville before when the city tried to trample property rights. If Metro adopts policies that go to far, the city will be challenged in court.

Another reason the progressives will be frustrated is that the structure of our city government provides for a weak council and a strong mayor. The mayor has veto power and it takes two-thirds vote to override a mayor's veto. Cooper won his election in a landslide.  It will be extremely rare that the Council could muster a two-thirds majority against a popular mayor. It won't come to that, because when this reality sinks in the more radical proposals will not even move forward. 

Also, it will prove difficult for the Council to impose a greater tax increase than what the mayor proposes.  The way budgeting works in Nashville is that the mayor's budget becomes the city budget unless the Council passes an alternative budget. To pass a different version of the budget other than the mayor's budget, takes the vote of two-thirds of the Council. We may have a tax increase and with the new progressives in power it will strengthen the mayor's hand if he proposes a tax increase, but the progressive will not be able to pass a greater tax increase than what the mayor proposes.

The greatest reason the new progressives will be frustrated is that the State legislature keeps Metro on a short leash. The State has already weighted in when Metro tried to ban short-term rentals, when Nashville moved toward becoming a sanctuary city, when we tried to impose additional restrictions on businesses, and when the city considered inclusionary zoning. If Metro gets too far out of line, the State will yank that leash.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Look to these Council members to lead the push to make Nashville a more "progressive" city.

Last night's saw the election of quite of a few council members of the stripe we have never seen before.  Several "progressives" were elected.  It is not that the city government has not been dominated by Democrats ever since the Civil War.  It has. However, when I served in the Council in the 80's, many of the Democrats would call themselves "conservative Democrats."  About the only thing that could get one labeled "conservative" or "liberal', was how one stood on raising taxes and spending money.

Over time, the Democrats serving in the Council became more liberal and I suspect their views became more closely aligned with the typical national Democrat. Still however, few were outspokenly ideological. The Metro Council is a non-partisan body and for the most part, party identity has not been a factor. The most recent Council did move further to the left as evidence by some memorializing resolutions that were passed and the position of the individual Council members on issues such as favoring illegal immigration and a few other issues. Still, there were few people that one would point to as radical or liberal firebrands. Actually, there are only a few votes that one could point to and say, that person took a conservative position or a liberal position. I think with the new Council that may have changed. Why did this happen?

For one thing, the typical Democrat is much further to the left than a Democrat of the past. Another thing that happened is that Nashville has changed.  There are now probably more Nashvillians from other places than there are native Nashvillians. Many of these transplants are from places like California and they bring with them their California values or the values of where ever place it is from which they came. Many want to turn Tennessee into a place like the failed places from which they fled.

Another thing is that there was an organized push to elect progressives to the Metro Council. A few years ago, I heard that there was a concerted effort on the part of progressive forces to make Nashville "the San Francisco of the South."  I don't know the source of this rumor or if is is true and who would specifically would be behind it, but it sounds almost believable. It almost looks like Nashville was targeted.  Outside groups and local groups with a progressive agenda endorsed and funded candidates like never before.

Our Revolution  endorsed six candidates and they every one won. Our Revolution's stated mission is to "reclaim democracy for the working people of our country by harnessing the transformative energy of the “political revolution.” Through supporting a new generation of progressive leaders, empowering millions to fight for progressive change and elevating the political consciousness, Our Revolution will transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families.  Our Revolution has three intertwined goals: to revitalize American democracy, empower progressive leaders and elevate the political consciousness."

These are the candidates supported by Our Revolution:

  • Zulfat Suara, Nashville Metro Council, At-large
  • Sharon Hurt, Nashville Metro Council, At-large
  • Ginny Welsch, Nashville Metro Council, District 16
  • Emily Benedict, Nashville Metro Council, District 7
  • Kyonzté Toombs, Nashville Metro Council, District 2
  • Brandon Taylor, Nashville Metro Council, District 
Another group that helped elect progressives is the Nashville Justice League.  It is a Political Action Committee composed of  several liberal organizations including the Equity Alliance Fund, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes, and the Central Labor Council. Their stated focus was on electing a more progressive Metro Council. A spokesman for the League said, "We’re going to fight for civil rights, immigrant rights and workers rights."  Below is a list of the people they endorsed.  They were not successful in getting Bedne or Lane elected but did elect the rest of their slate.
  • At-large: Bob Mendes, Sharon Hurt, Fabian Bedne, Burkley Allen, Zulfat Suara, and Gicola Lane. 
  • District 2: Kyonzte Toombs
  • District 13: Russ Bradford
  • District 16: Ginny Welsch
  • District 17: Colby Sledge
  • District 19: Freddie O’Connell
  • District 29: Delishia Porterfield
  • District 30: Sandra Sepulveda
  • District 31: John Rutherford
  • District 33: Antoinette Lee.

A group dedicated to electing progressive women, WTF (Women for Tennessee's Future), endorsed several candidates. All won except for Mina Johnson. Below is the list of people they endorsed:
Councilwoman Burkley Allen for Nashville Metro Council at-Large
Zulfat Suara for Nashville Metro Council at-Large
Kyonzte Toombs for Nashville Metro Council District 2
Emily Benedict for Nashville Metro Council District 7
Ginny Welsch for Nashville Metro Council District 16
Councilwoman Mina Johnson for Nashville Metro Council District 23
Sandra Sepulveda for Nashville Metro Council District 30
Councilwoman Nancy VanReece for Nashville Metro Council District 8
Erin Evans for Nashville Metro Council District 12
Councilwoman Mary Carolyn Roberts for Nashville Metro Council District 20
Gloria Hausser for Nashville Metro Council District 22
Councilwoman Delishia Porterfield for Nashville Metro Council District 29
Another progressive group supporting candidates was LGBTQ Victory Fund.  There mission is "to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ officials at all levels of government."  All of the candidates they endorsed won. Below is the list:
  • Emily Benedict, District 7
  • Russ Bradford, District 13
  • Nancy VanReece, District 8
  • Bret Whiters, District 6
  • Zach Young, District 10.

Other progressive organizations that supported successful candidates included  Code Blue PAC and LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America).

If you look at the above list you will notice that many of the candidates were endorsed by multiple progressive organizations.  Unfortunately, there was no organized effort to elect conservatives or mainstream candidates to the Council. I think it safe to say, that if a name appeared on more than one of these list, they are safely far-left or "progressive."  Look to these Council members to lead the push to make Nashville a more "progressive city."

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What the Metro Council Isn't

Randy Foster
By Randy Foster - 1. Congress -- The Metro Council is the legislative branch of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Federal issues often impact local government, but rarely does the Council need to opine on the federal affairs of the day. If you want to reform healthcare or balance the federal budget, you should set your aim higher and leave the Council to those who want to affect local land use or decide how local government spends money.

2. The Tennessee General Assembly -- See #1 above. If your political interests run to regulating guns or outlawing abortion, you may find the Metro Council to be a narrow playing field.

3. A partisan body -- In the Council chamber, there are no Democrats and no Republicans (although partisan politics sometimes intrudes). Some might argue that the Council is primarily populated by members of the “Know-Nothing” Party, but I would disagree! The Metro Charter is clear that candidates run in nonpartisan races. Pragmatic, nonpartisan politics means that a new coalition is formed for each vote, and you will be surprised who your allies may be. The old saw that “politics makes for strange bedfellows” could have been written with the Metro Council in mind.

4. The Executive Branch of Metro Government -- Councilmembers do not fill potholes, mow weeds, operate parks, fix stormwater problems, pick up the trash, teach our children, put out fires, patrol our streets, lend out books, represent the Metropolitan Government in court, or do the thousands of other things that are the responsibility of the Executive Branch, i.e., in most cases, the Mayor. If you want to be Mayor, file a qualifying petition, pull several hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your mattress, and go for it!

5.A springboard to higher office (for most people) -- Walk around the committee rooms and common areas of the Council office, and you will see framed Council District maps surrounded by the faces of Councilmembers you’ve never heard of, who came and went with hardly a peep. A relative few have gone to the General Assembly with a few more going to positions on the bench. But no Mayors…no Congressmen. A Councilmember is well served by remembering the humbling fact that, if someone shows him or her respect, it is likely he or she was likely mistaken for someone else far more important.

6. A place to become famous or popular -- People will curse you, revile you, mistrust you, and say upon first meeting you that you are “bought and paid for.” Neighbors will line up on both sides of an issue with you squarely between the rock and the hard place. You family will wonder who you’ve become and will make a life without you. And for all this, you’ll be paid a whopping $15,000 a year before taxes and spend your life at Council meetings, committee meetings, Planning Commission meetings, Traffic and Parking Commission meetings, Greenway Commission meetings, ribbon cuttings, office hours, constituent meetings, 9/11 observances, and Boy Scout and Girl Scout awards ceremonies. Also, you’ll think your phone has grown to your ear, and you’ll read thousands of emails. Oh, and don’t forget the time you’ll spend reading analyses of legislation and all the mail that Councilmembers are heir to. If elected, you’ll find that only 39 other people will really understand what you’re facing, i.e. the other members. Treasure them!

7. Your personal fiefdom -- I am not the Earl of Sevenmile Creek (although I think it would be a pretty title). You will not be royalty or nobility. You will, I hope, be a servant of the people you represent. A lack of humility and communication can lead to disastrous relationships with your constituents. It has been frequently been said that you can vote for just about anything and not irretrievably alienate your constituents if you will (a) return your calls, (b) return your emails, and (c) not get crosswise with your constituents over zoning issues.

Service on the Metro Council is a high calling and a heady experience, and I am deeply honored and humbled to have been elected twice to represent my neighbors. Having tread for a while the path that the 13th Metropolitan Council will continue, I recommend to those who will follow me the ancient words of Proverbs 16:18 which could have been written for all politicians everywhere: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

 Randy Foster is a former member of the Metro Council. This was written by Randy several years ago but is as true now as then. I also once served on the Metro Council and agree with everything he says.  I wish every council member would read this essay, especially those newly elected members, and take it to heart.

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Steve Glover wins at-large seat!

Steve Glover

Big Win!

The four candidates that will join Bob Mendes on Metro Council are Sharon W. Hurt (15.30 percent of the vote; 40,300 total votes), Burkley Allen (13.18 percent of the vote; 34,723 total votes), Steve Glover (13.06 percent of the vote; 34,397 total votes) and Zulfat Suara (13 percent of the vote; 34,237 total votes).

All four incumbents in the runoff election lost. (link)

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In other races, Ed Kindal and DeCosta Hastings lose to more liberal candidates. Sandra Sepulveda beats Sherry Jones,

Councilman Ed Kindall lost to a much more liberal candidate, Brandon Taylor.

Councilman DeCosta Hastings lost to a much more liberal candidate, Kyonzte Toombs.
Sandra Sepulveda beats former State Rep. and Metro Council member Sherry Jones. I am pleased with this result.

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Courtney Johnston wins!

Courtney Johnston


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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Thom Druffel wins!

Thom Druffel

Big win!

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Tony Tenpenny loses to radical Ginny Welsch

Tony Tenpenny loses to radical Ginny Welsch

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David Briley concedes election, John Cooper to be next mayor of Nashville

The final totals for Cooper were 69.12 percent of the vote with 62,404 total votes and the final totals for Briley were 30.19 percent of the vote and 27,255 total votes. (link)

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"Liberal education" has become in many instances funding for indoctrination.

by Richard Upchurch- Although put forth as humor or hyperbole, State Sen Kerry Roberts' suggestion that funding "liberal education" has become in many instances funding for indoctrination of college students in leftist ideas and values rings true, in that it confirms the impressions and observations of many conservative or moderate parents who fear that their children are being indoctrinated rather than educated. 

Obviously the radicalized youth of the '60's and 70's have taken their places in our society, including positions as faculty, administrators and board members of many of our colleges and universities.  I believe there is validity in these parents' concerns. 

As Bob Dylan's classic song said, the times they are a-changin', indeed. Just as the word "liberal"may carry the new meaning of freedom from anything that hurts or offend us rather than its old meaning of freedom to understand and to act, so there has emerged a sharp divide in ideas of what liberal education is. The newer idea of liberalism, and of liberal education, is that knowledge and skills are valuable primarily as helping us to change the world in ways thought to eliminate inequality and injustice. The older idea of liberalism, and also of liberal education, is that the young should be "led out" (this being the derivation of the word "education") from some of the limitations of their particular time and place by learning the variety and richness of human experience through all of history, by reading and learning to discuss the best of what has been thought, discovered, imagined and passed along to our own generation.

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Update: My endorsements in the September 12th election.

For Mayor
John Cooper
For at-large
Steve Glover
Mayor:  John Cooper

Council member at-large: Steve Glover (I am voting for only one candidate. Here is why.)

Council District 2: Decosta Hastings (A sensible Democrat is better than a radical progressive. His opponent has the support of Our Revolution.)

Council District 7:  Clint Camp (I don't know a lot about Mr Camp but the other candidate has the endorsement of various progressive organizations including Our Revolution.That is reason enough to vote for Client Camp. A diligent search could not locate a picture of Camp.)

Council District 13: Andrew Dixon.(He appears to be a well-qualified,
For District 13
Andrew Dixon
For District 2
Decosta Hastngs
community-minded, sensible  candidate. His opponent has the support of Code Blue PAC, reason enough to to vote for him.)

For District 16
Tony Tenpenny

For District 21
Ed Kindall
Council District 16: Tony Tenpenny (He is a conservative and has been a leader in the effort to save the fairgrounds. Welsch is extremely liberal and if elected will be the most liberal person to ever serve in the Metro Council. She was a founder of the low-power, left-wing radio station, Radio Free Nashville.  She is often seen at left wing protest gatherings advocating the liberal cause of the moment. She has advocated for singled-payer universal health care, a minimum "living wage," and various other liberal causes. Her contributors included LiUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) and WTF (Women for Tennessee's Future). She received the endorsement of The Nashville Justice League  and Our Revolution. Those endorsement are reasoon alone to vote against her and vote for Tony Tenpenny.)

Council District 21: Councilman Edward T. Kindall. (He is a known entity,

a reasonable liberal. His opponent has the support of Our Revolution.)
For District 23
Thom Druffel
For District 26
Courtney Johnson

Council District 23: Thom Druffel

Council District 26: Courtney Johnson

Council District 30: Sandra Sepulveda

For District 30
Sandra Sepulveda

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Anna Shepherd and Amy Frogge to lead Nashville schools board as chair and vice chair

Anna Shepherd and Amy Frogge to lead Nashville schools board as chair and vice chair

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Dr. Manny Sethi Campaign Releases Statement on Mitch McConnell Endorsement

Press release. – Republican Senate candidate and conservative outsider Manny Sethi’s campaign released the following statement on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s endorsement of Ambassador Bill Hagerty for Senate.
"Today, Mitch McConnell--the same guy who brought us runaway spending, failed to repeal ObamaCare and not building the Wall--joined Mitt Romney today, endorsing moderate Ambassador Bill Hagerty,” said Chris Devaney, Campaign Chairman and Senior Advisor.
“Tennesseans want a conservative outsider like Manny Sethi—and we don’t want Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, or any other member of the DC Establishment ‘Death Star’ telling us who to vote for.”

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House Speaker Sexton blast Briley over sanctuary city executive order, threatens funding.

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton has blasted Mayor Briley for his executive order discouraging Metro agencies from cooperating with immigration officials.  He warned Nashville that he might move to withhold State  funds over the issue.

He called the executive order "dangerous" and "a last minute political ploy and a slap in the face to all law abiding citizens and to our local law enforcement agencies."

"We are a representative republic of law and order, and no city or local mayor has the power to circumvent state or federal law", said Sexton. "The cities and the counties and the mayors don't have the ability to not follow the law,"

For more on this story see this link and this link.
Also see, Nashville warned to stop the obstruction of Federal immigration enforcement.
To read Briley's executive order see, Mayor Briley's Executive Order to fight sanctuary city status ban and to adopt sanctuary city policies.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Briley's suggested "pause" on construction of planned Bellevue High meets with major political push back.

The Metro School Board has already invested over $10 million on the project to replace the aging Hillwood High with  a new high school in Bellevue, including demolishing an old church on the Bellevue site. Construction is ready to begin soon on a project that has been years in the planning.  Briley's proposal to "pause" the project went over like a lead balloon in Bellevue.

Briley proposed the "pause" in a speech a campaign event hosted by  The Equity Alliance, Pumps & Politics and The Lab.  In his speech, Briley said he is committed to improving the quality of education in the northwest section of Davidson County, but also wants to address inequity in Nashville's southeast section. If I had to bet, I would wager that this was not a thought out policy position but something Briley said off the top of his head knowing it would please the audience to whom he was speaking.

“Now that may mean we have to wait for a new high school in Bellevue," Briley said.  "Because that is the fundamental choice the city is going to have to make in the next few years. Are we going to build a high school in Bellevue tomorrow? Are we going to focus on the needs of the other parts of the community? We don't have unlimited resources. We have to prioritize to make sure you're focusing on the issues of equity."

Briley's statement has met with opposition across the political spectrum including Metro Council members Dave Rosenberg, Sharon Hurt and Sheri Weiner, school board member Amy Frogge and state Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, and Metro Council member Dave Rosenberg. 

Rosenberg who was recently re-elected to a second term, said his main reason for running was to get the new school built. He had stayed out of the mayor's race up until this point but has now endorsed Cooper.  “I was content, out of respect for constituents who are supporting both candidates, to sit out and quietly cast my vote, but now this has become an issue where my constituents need to know that if the mayor is re-elected then something that's very important to the families out here is in jeopardy,” Rosenberg said.  

Briley has tried to walk back the statement. “Mayor Briley knows that our education spending needs to be carefully analyzed each year to ensure we are spreading equity throughout the district,” said  campaign spokesperson Morey Hill. “There are currently no plans to pause or stop the construction of the new Hillwood school.”

That walk back will probably not help him.

To see the source of the quotes and learn more about how it came to be that a new high school is planned for Bellevue, and more about the political fall out, follow these links:

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Williamson County GOP Republican Mix and Mingle at Mojo's Tocos

Tuesday,  September 17, 2019 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM 
Mojo's Tacos Franklin Factory 
(In the old Saffire location) 
230 Franklin Road, Franklin, Tennessee 37064 

Friends, it's almost fall....what a great time to get together once again with like-minded friends on the covered patio at Mojo's Tacos! Join us for a drink, appetizer, or even dinner and some great conversation with old and new Republican friends! We also invite you to..... 
*Choose your level of membership in the WCRP; 
*Let us know how you would like to be involved with the party; 
*Share your ideas for growing the party; 
*Share what issues matter most to you; 
*Discuss local and national issues; 
*Consider your involvement in leading Republicans to victory in 2020.

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Briley shoots himself in the foot with opposition to a high school relocation to Bellevue

by Rod Williams - I am going to go out on a limb and make a prediction, (well not much of a limb, after all Cooper beat Briley in the general election by a ten points). I predict that John Cooper will be our next mayor.

Cooper will win for several reasons, but one of them is the Briley keeps shooting himself in the foot.  It was really stupid to alienate the Bellevue community by taking away their promised high school.  It was also stupid to further alienate the school board by suggesting that his judgement trumps that of a decision that has been long in the making.  I don't know if Briley miscalculates the impact of his decisions or is just such a committed "woke" progressive that he cannot help himself.

I grant that the Nashville electorate is progressive.  With newer transplants, we have become more progressive by the day.  Equity is a progressive tenet. Progressive may even favor equity over property rights, or freedom of association, or merit-based college admissions, or merit-based anything.

However, I do not think even most progressives are going to jump to the conclusion that stopping the building of a long-planned Bellevue high School is a bold stoke for equity. Also, something I have observed; even very liberal parents are not willing to use there kids as cannon fodder in the fight for immigration or "equity."  Even liberal parents fight like hell to get their kids in a magnet school or relocate to be in a better school district or sacrifice to send their child to private school. While they may mouth liberal platitudes, they want what is best for their child.

Even people who don't live in the Bellevue area, if they observe at all, will sympathize with the Bellevue community.  People have conflicting values. While they may believe in equity, they also favor community and fairness and aspirations of fellow parents.  Briley not only created opponents with Bellevue residents and people who will sympathize with Bellevue residents and Bellevue parents, but he created more animosity with the school board.  School board members who had been keeping a low profile in the mayors race are now openly criticizing the mayor.
On this issue and the fight to make Nashville a sanctuary city and other issues, Briley has chased the progressive vote or taking positions that placed him solidly in the progressive camp.  If you look at the results of the general election, John Ray Clemmons ran to the left of Briley but he only garnered 15% of the vote. Carol Swain who ran as an avowed conservative captured 22% of the vote.  There are a lot more votes to the right of Briley than to the left. I doubt Briley picked up any votes due to the position he took on relocating the Hillwood school, but I bet he lost some votes.  This was unnecessary. He could have mouthed general platitudes about favoring equity without getting specific. I am glad he did, but wonder what he was thinking. Maybe, he wasn't thinking but is just so progressive, he can't moderate himself. 

If Cooper will not do anything dumb and not alienate any group of voters between now and the election, I think he has it in the bag.  We are watching Briely self destruct. 

For more on this issue see the  below articles:
Elected leaders push back after Mayor David Briley suggests pause on new Hillwood High in ...

But the district has many empty seats at schools in northwest and North ... Hurt and Sheri Weiner, school board member Amy Frogge and state Rep.

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Friday, September 6, 2019

These "Our Revolution" endorced candiates need to be defeated!

This election season we are seeing more money from outside liberal organizations flowing into Nashville than ever before. Among those organizations are  LGBTQ Victory Fund and WTF (Women for Tennessee's Future) and the Washington DC based organization  Our Revolution.  Unfortunately, the money and political help from the left is not matched by money and help from conservative organization.  I know of no conservative organization trying to influence our elections, but several national or state-wide progressive organizations are doing so.

Among the issues Our Revolutions focuses on is net neutrality, Medicare for All, LGBT Equality, Women's Rights, Racial Justice, Climate Change, A living wage, College Tuition, and Income Inequality. The organizations says of itself, "Our Revolution is built upon the success of Bernie Sanders’ historic presidential campaign, and will continue to thrive with the support of an unprecedented level of grassroots organizers."

 Below are the candidates endorsed by Our Revolution.  These people need to be defeated.  If they win, we can accept the slogan, "San Fransisco of the South."

  • Zulfat Suara, Nashville Metro Council, At-large (Please vote for Steve Glover)
  • Sharon Hurt, Nashville Metro Council, At-large (Please vote for Steve Glover)
  • Ginny Welsch, Nashville Metro Council, District 16  (Please vote for Tony Tenpenny)
  • Emily Benedict, Nashville Metro Council, District 7 (Please vote for Client Camp)
  • Kyonzté Toombs, Nashville Metro Council, District 2 (Please vote for  DeCosta Hastings)
  • Brandon Taylor, Nashville Metro Council, District 21 (Please vote for Councilman Edward T. Kindall)

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Confederate private monument to remain in Centennial Park for now.

The Confederate private monument in Centennial Park is to remain for now and interpretive text will be added. The Park Board had the removal of the monument on its September 3rd agenda in response to a petition to have the monument removed.

The monument is a statue of a young unknown Confederate private in a uniform with a rifle. The sculptor was George Julian Zolnay, a Hungarian immigrant who had a distinguished art career and who sculpted many Confederate monuments across the South as well as other works of art. The monument was commissioned by the Frank Cheatham Bivouac of the United Confederate Veterans in 1903, laid with Masonic honors in 1907, and dedicated in 1909 (link).
Back in June the monument was vandalized. It was splashed with red paint and someone spray painted, "there were racist" on the bronze plaque on the pedestal of the monument. That bronze plaque had the names of members of the Frank Cheatham Bivouac chapter of the United Confederate Veterans who commissioned the monuement.

In 2013, state lawmakers enacted the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which prohibits the removal, relocation or renaming of a memorial located on public property without state approval. If the Park board would have voted to remove the monument, it would have had to seek state approval. However, there are ways to work around the law as Memphis did with a Confederate monument removal.  Also, the Park Board could drape the statute from pubic view or choose not to protect it from vandalism or not repair vandalism when it occurs. 

For now, the Park Board has voted to keep the monument, but  I would not be very surprised if the monument's future protection is in doubt.   The new Council is going to be the most liberal council the city has ever had.  If the four or five sensible people in a runoff are not victorious, there will be few voices to counter the radicals who will be serving in Metro government.  If Briley should be reelected, he does not strike me as the type of person who would stand up to the progressive element that likes to topple monuments.

With so many people from other places moving into Nashville, I have the feeling they are not going to be too concerned with preserving our heritage and political correctness seems to be a motivating ideology for many new Nashvillians.

The Park Board is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Council.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

TNReady Data Analysis: Nashville’s historically underserved students thrive in public charter schools

2019 TNReady results show economically disadvantaged students, students of color in public charter schools far outpace their peers in district, state 

PRESS RELEASE-  Nashville students who are economically disadvantaged succeed at far higher rates when they attend a public charter school than they do in other public school settings, an analysis of the 2019 TNReady results show. The vast majority of Nashville’s public charter schools are classified as Title 1 schools, which means most of their students are considered economically disadvantaged.

Data from the 2019 TNReady state standardized testing shows that the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in Nashville public charter schools significantly outpaces their peers in all other Nashville public schools. The success rate of economically disadvantaged students in public charter schools is higher than district-managed schools by 50 percent in ELA, 83 percent in math, and 81 percent in social studies. The chart below shows the comparisons:

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Moms for Tennessee fundraiser Sept. 5th

Moms for Tennessee invites you to our Fundraiser! Thurs. Sept. 5th, 2019, 4:30-6pm. Host Dr. Susan Sharpe, 823 Tyne Valley Court, Nashville

About this Event

Meet and Greet 4:30-6pm
Program 5-6pm
Complimentary Wine and Hor D'oeurves
Speakers: Senator Marsha Blackburn
Pres. Moms for TN, Cecelia DeSonia
Counter Culture Mom, Tina Marie Griffin
Political Strategist, Nilsa Alvares Morales
Citizen Activist, Jackie Archer
Independent Research Consultant, Dr. Beth Meyers
94 FM The FISH, Media Stragegist, Sandra Lee
Warrior Brides, Dr. Teresa Dailey
Moms for TN is a PAC, donations are non-tax deductible.
RSVP here.     DONATE here.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Mayor Briley's Executive Order to fight sanctuary city status ban and to adopt sanctuary city policies

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Briley pushes for repeal of law banning sanctuary city status

NASHVILLE (WSMV) – Nashville Mayor David Briley signed an executive order on Tuesday to push for a repeal of a state house bill prohibiting state and local governments from adopting sanctuary policies in an effort to stop ICE interference on local government agencies.

In the executive order released to News4, Briley is calling for Davidson County’s delegation of the state General Assembly to fight for a repeal of House Bill 2315, and for an investigation into a violation of state and federal constitutions. (link)

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Belleview Republcan Breakfast Club meets September 7th 8:15AM

From: Betty Hood
Sep 3 at 1:00 PM
Dear BRBC Friends,

Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day!!!

Our monthly BRBC meeting will be Saturday, September 7 at 8:15 am at the Corner Pub in the Woods on Hwy 100. 

Steve Glover will join us to give us a campaign update. In addition, if you wonder what's happening in the public schools, like me, our guest speaker may be able to shed some light on the subject.  Ms T.J. Williams, a female auto mechanics teacher at Maplewood High School, will be with us. She is part of the public/private partnership with Firestone that prepares her students for jobs.  Ms Williams is a previous Titan Teacher of the Year.

Hope you come and hear Ms. Williams and have some questions for her.

See you there!


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Monday, September 2, 2019

Nashville rents more affordable than many similar cities nationwide

From Apartment List - As rents have increased moderately in Nashville, a few comparable cities nationwide have also seen rents grow modestly. Nashville is still more affordable than most other large cities across the country. Nashville's median two-bedroom rent of $1,159 is slightly below the national average of $1,191. Nationwide, rents have grown by 1.5% over the past year compared to the 2.8% rise in Nashville. While Nashville's rents rose moderately over the past year, many cities nationwide also saw increases, including Phoenix (+3.7%), Dallas (+2.0%), and New York (+1.7%).

Renters will find more reasonable prices in Nashville than most similar cities. For example, San Francisco has a median 2BR rent of $3,133, which is more than two-and-a-half times the price in Nashville.

 (For the full report, follow this link)

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The "industry" that lost most jobs in Tennessee is State Government! Happy Labor Day!

There are fewer people working for State government!

It matters who governs!
At a time when State population was growing, Governor Bill Haslam, with a Republican legislature, was able to cut a whopping 7800 government jobs.


Happy Labor Day!

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Nashville warned to stop the obstruction of Federal immigration enforcement

No photo description available.
No photo description available.

No photo description available.

I am pleased to see the State pushing back against Metro's policies that make Nashville a defacto Sanctuary City.  If you read the above letter, you will note that the Representatives who signed the letter threaten to withhold State money from Tennessee. Do it! Nashville may have voters who would like to make us San Francisco or Los Angeles or Portland; thankfully the voters of Tennessee do not want to make Tennessee like California.  On this issue and others such as a high minimum wage, inclusionary zoning, outlawing shot-term rentals, the State has had to keep Nashville on a short leash.

Liberals will claim a view such as mine is contrary to my principles. Not so.  The relationship of the Federal government to the State is not analogous to the relationship of the
State to the local government. States have sovereignty; cities do not. The Federal government is restricted by the constitution in what it may impose on states.  Cities are chartered entities subservient to the state.

Tennessee needs to yank Nashville's leash.

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Sunday, September 1, 2019

The list of council members who told General Session Judges to not assist ICE with the identification and apprehension of Nashvillians for civil immigration matters.

Colby Sledge, District 17 
CouncilmemberJim Shulman, Vice Mayor 
Bob Mendes, Councilmember-At-Large
Erica Gilmore, Councilmember-At-Large 
Sharon Hurt, Councilmember-At-Large 
John Cooper, Councilmember-At-Large
DeCosta Hastings, District 2  Councilmember 
Brett Withers, District 6 Councilmember 
Anthony Davis, District 7 Councilmember 
Nancy VanReece, District 8 Councilmember 
Bill Pridemore, District 9 Councilmember 
Jeff Syracuse, District 15 Councilmember
Burkley Allen, District 18 Councilmember 
Freddie O’Connell, District 19 Councilmember 
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20 Councilmember 
Ed Kindall, District 21 Councilmember  
Mina Johnson, District 23 Councilmember 
Kathleen Murphy, District 24 Councilmember 
Jeremy Elrod, District 26 Councilmember 
Delishia Porterfield, District 29 Councilmember  
Fabian Bedne, District 31 Councilmember 
Antoinette Lee, District 33 Councilmember 
Angie Henderson, District 34 Councilmember 
Sean Parker, District 5 Councilmember-elect  
Tonya Hancock, District 9 Councilmember-elect  
Tom Cash, District 18 Councilmember-elect 
Gloria Hausser, District 22 Councilmember-elect  
John Rutherford, District 31 Councilmember-elect 
Joy Styles, District 32 Councilmember-elect 

The above list of Council members signed the letter directed to  Mr. Warner Hassell, General Sessions Court Administrator, calling "upon you and the General Sessions Judges to ensure that the General Sessions Probation Department immediately ceases assisting ICE with the identification and apprehension of Nashvillians for civil immigration matters."

To read the letter follow this link. 

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Runoff election: Where At-large Metro Council candidates stand on the issues facing Nashville

The Tennessean:

Rod's Comment: This is somewhat informative but please do not read it and pick the best (or lease bad) four candidates.  Please vote for only one candidate and please vote for Steve Glover.  For a detailed explanation of why it is better to only vote for one candidate instead of four, see Vote. Vote Smart. Single-shot vote. Steve Glover wins!

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Mayor Briley and the Metro Council are determined to turn Nashville into a 'sanctuary city'

Reposted from an email from Bobbie Patray, Chairman of Tennessee Eagle Forum  - It appears that regardless what we do here in Tennessee, the Mayor and the Metro Council are determined to turn Nashville into a 'sanctuary city' DESPITE the fact that TN Eagle Forum worked VERY HARD to pass a bill to PROHIBIT Sanctuary Cities in 2018.  In addition, they seem to be giving no attention to the danger this could be creating in our county.

Mayor David Briley calls for sweeping investigation of Nashville's probation department following reports of ICE involvement

Scrutiny of the city's probation department intensified Thursday, with Mayor David Briley and a broad swath of the Metro Council demanding investigations into the department's cooperation with federal immigration agents seeking to deport immigrants in the country illegally.
Briley is calling for an investigation and performance audit of the General Sessions Probation Department following reports that the agency is sharing information on probationers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. 

In a letter sent Thursday morning to Interim Metropolitan Auditor Gina Pruitt, Briley said it was "absolutely unacceptable" that Probation Director Robert Green and probation officers have been cooperating with ICE agents since at least 2017. Briley said the behavior "does not reflect the character of our city."

"It also significantly undermines the public's trust in local government," Briley said in the letter obtained by The Tennessean. "Further, these interactions threaten to discourage justice-involved individuals from complying with the terms of their supervised release."

Metro Council members call for investigation into Nashville probation officers assisting ICE agents

Yihyun Jeong, Nashville TennesseanPublished 4:17 p.m. CT Aug. 28, 2019 | Updated 5:52 p.m. CT Aug. 28, 2019

Metro Council members are asking the General Session Court to investigate reports that Nashville's probation director and his staff are working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to arrest and detain individuals under probation supervision.

In a letter Wednesday, a group of council members called upon the General Sessions judges and court administrator Warner Hassell to ensure that the city's probation department immediately ceases assisting ICE on civil immigration matters.

Sanctuary County Ignores ICE Detainer Request, Releases Alleged Rapist Back Into the Public

August 21, 2019 Ohio Star Staff by Jason Hopkins

A Maryland detention center ignored a detainer request by ICE and released an alleged rapist from custody, the latest run-in between federal immigration authorities and the county since it enacted a "sanctuary city" executive order.

Rodrigo Castro-Montejo, a 25-year-old Salvadoran national, was arrested by local authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland on August 10 and charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a detainer request on him on August 12 because Castro-Montejo is living in the U.S. illegally, an agency spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

However, the Montgomery County Detention Center ignored the request and released him the following day. News of Castro-Montejo's release marks the latest national headline for the liberal enclave since County Executive Mark Elrich, a Democrat, signed an executive order that largely prohibits how local law enforcement from interacting with ICE.

The executive order forbids police from asking people about their immigration status, and it also prohibits them from cooperating with federal immigration authorities under most circumstances. The order, known formally as "The Promoting Community Trust Executive Order," builds on sanctuary policies already established in the county.

However, in just a month since the order was signed by Elrich, the Democrat-run county has attracted national attention for the arrests of illegal aliens accused of rape.

Montgomery County Police arrested Mauricio Barrera-Navidad, 29, and Carlos Palacios-Amaya, 28 - both of whom are residents of Montgomery County - for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl on multiple occasions. One of the suspects allegedly raped the middle school-aged girl orally, vaginally, and anally, according to authorities, all while he lived in the county that afforded him sanctuary protection.

Fugitive Cities Have Harbored 10,000 Criminal-Alien Recidivists

By DEROY MURDOCK March 9, 2018 3:58 PM

Let's stop calling them 'sanctuaries.'

The phrase "sanctuary cities" is warm and welcoming. Sanctuaries are safe, cozy, and sometimes therapeutic. This term is also a deceptive euphemism for something thoroughly unacceptable.

Conservatives redefined the debate on the "estate tax" when 60 Plus Association founder Jim Martin rechristened it the "Death Tax." Likewise, those who seek law, order, and sanity in immigration should refer to "sanctuary cities" as "fugitive cities."

Anyone who hides a wanted criminal from federal officials could be prosecuted for harboring a fugitive. According to 18 U.S. Code § 1071, it is "an offense to harbor or conceal any person for whose arrest a warrant or process has been issued, so as to prevent the fugitive's discovery and arrest." Also, 8 U.S. Code § 1324 prohibits sheltering illegal aliens from authorities. Breaking these laws can cost up to five years behind bars.

Believe me, we, and the members of the General Assembly, are paying close attention to the activities of the present mayor and Metro Council to see if they violate the law we worked to hard to passed and hold them accountable.

Bobbie Patray

P.S.  If you feel so inclined, you can contact the mayor HERE; the Metro Council members HERE.

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