Sunday, October 6, 2019

Council passes progressive "Community Covenant" at the first council meeting of the new council (10/1/2019).

The program begins with an introduction by long time newscaster and pundit Pat Nolan. This is new. In the past there was no commentator. Pat opens the meeting by giving stats on the makeup of the Council and the new diversity. The Council has its first member of the Muslim faith, its first Hispanic women, 20% of the body is openly LBGT and half the members are female. Nolan gives historical data from a time when the Council was all male to the present. Nolan summarizes what is on the agenda and what future controversies are brewing.

At timestamp 6:11 the vice mayor gavels the meeting to order. The meeting opens with an invocation and the pledge of allegiance. I don't know that anyone is advocating to discontinue this practice but in some progressive communities they have done so. Charlotte, N.C, Cleveland, OH, Phoenix, AZ. and a lot of smaller communities have discontinued the prayer to open city council meetings and the ACLU and atheist groups have been pushing to ban prayer at the opening of town council meetings. A few cities have discontinued opening meetings with a Pledge of Allegiance. It there was a move to ban opening prayer or a pledge in Nashville, it would be accomplished by removing that requirement from the rules of the Council. This meeting operates under the old rules.  The Council will adopt new rules on Dec. 3rd.

At timestamp 11:25, Mayor Cooper addresses the Council. The speech is congratulatory and an expression of a desire to work together to solve problems.

There is some housekeeping measures. Vacancies on various boards that are to be filled by the Council are announced. There are then the presentation of some memorable recognitions. Consideration of legislative agenda begins at timestamp 59:45.  None of the legislation was very significant and nothing of much interest happened in this the first meeting of the new Council.

RS2019-31 adopts a "community covenant" which is described as goals by which the Council can measure itself.  It is, "A resolution expressing the support and commitment of the Metropolitan Council toward principles constituting a Community Covenant with the aim of increasing prosperity and reducing poverty in Nashville and Davidson County." It calls for "equitable growth," and "diversity." It commends "living wages and family-friendly benefit."  While this bills lays out a plan that progressives will look upon as a pledge for a progressive agenda, it really is not.  If lays out goals and commends good things. It does not say how these things would be achieved.  I also favor affordable housing and prosperity and ending poverty and think a living wage is a good thing. I think progressive efforts to make these things happen and mandate them is most often counter productive.

Several of the new progressive Council members speak on the bill. Councilman Glover speaks on the bill and moves to amends it. Since the minutes of the meeting are not posted I do not know the exact wording of Glover's amendment but I understand that it clarified that the implementation of these goals would have to follow normal procedures and come back before the Council. It is discussed. There are points of order and some confusion. There are suspension of rules and an amendment to the amendment. I commend Vice Mayor Jim Shulman for patiently explaining the process and indulging procedural errors on the part of new council members and providing gentle guidance.

Council member Ginny Welsch, probably the most radical of the new progressives, speaks against Glover's proposal. Glover's amendment passes. The resolution is adopted by a voice vote.  This discussion is worth watching and the resolution worth reading to understand the tenor of the new Council. To see the discussion see timestamp 1:19:26 - 1:51:25.

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