Saturday, November 30, 2019

What is on the Dec. 2nd Council Agenda: Raising water rates, permits to build a fence, new transparencies and communication requirements, and recognizing World Aids Day.

by Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, Dec. 2nd at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis.

For those who want to watch the Council meeting and follow along, the meeting are more interesting if you have the agenda and agenda analysis.  It is still not very interesting but more interesting if you know what the heck is going on. You don't have to watch it and yet you can still be informed however, because  I will watch it for you and then a couple days later post a summary of the most important Council actions and I will post a video of the meeting and highlight the interesting parts. Below is a summary of the agenda, highlighting what I deem to be the most important items.

Elections and Confirmations. There are sixteen appointments or reappointments to  boards and commissions to be confirmed, including the appointment of former mayor Bill Purcell to the Metro Development and Housing Agency. I suspect all will be confirmed without controversy. There is also an election by the council of one person for a seat on the Industrial Development Board, from nominations made by council members.  Seats on the industrial board are important to some people and sometimes the Council gets lobbied heavily to favor one candidate over another but the general public pays little attention to this. The Industrial Development Board can help favored parties.


Public Hearing. There is one resolution and 18 bills on public hearing.  These are mostly rezoning bills.  I don't closely examine rezoning bills and don't try to form an opinion of their merits. Usually the only people who care about zoning bills are nearby neighbors.  If I anticipate a bill to be controversial I will call attention to it and will point out a bill that is disapproved by the Planning Commission.  Also, I will point out zoning bills that have wider import than just the subject property, but purely local zoning bills I ignore.  These are the bills on public hearing of interest.

Bill BL2019-67  is one of those bills that changes a community from a zoning that allows two housing units per lot to a zoning that allows only one unit per lot. I understand the concern of those who want to keep their neighborhood the way it is but I oppose all bills of this type.  This has the detrimental effect of decreasing future density which leads to more urban sprawl and less affordable housing.  If we have less density, the cost of available housing will increase at an accelerated rate. I wish the Planning Commission would recognize this and disapprove bills of this type.
Resolutions. Most are routine things like approving contracts, accepting grants, appropriating the money to settle law suits, and approving signs overhanging sidewalks. These are the ones of interest.
Resolution RS2019-100 and Resolution RS2019-116  both involve the reallocation of funds that were originally intended for the Gulch pedestrian bridge to other purposes. These should pass without opposition.

Resolution RS2019-128 recognizes December 1, 2019 as World AIDS Day in Nashville. Last month we had a recognition for a Transsexual Day of Remembrance and of course in the summer we have the gay pride event and a resolution so honoring gays and it wasn't long ago the city erected historical markers honoring two of the earliest gay bars in Nashville. We are giving a lot of attention to gays in Nashville.   Aids, of course is a terrible disease and there is nothing wrong with recognizing a World Aids Day, but if we are going to do so, I think we should have Alzheimer's Day or Remembrance, and a Heart Health Day of Remembrance, and a Cancer Day of Remembrance, and a Breast Cancer Day of Remembrance and Autism Day of Remembrance, and Death due to Drunk Drivers day of Remembrance, and Aborted Babies Day of Remembrance, and Americans killed by Illegal Aliens Day of Remembrance, etc, etc..  There are 365 days a year and there are plenty of illnesses and causes and events worthy of a day of remembrance. 
Bills on Second Reading. These are the ones that I find of interest.
Bill BL2019-46   requires the Department of Water and Sewerage Services to submit annual reports to the Metropolitan Council. The reports include: 1. The Audited Financial Statements, including net position, capital assets, outstanding bonds payable, and other financial information. 2. The Annual Budget Review, including the adequacy of budgeted revenues to cover projected expenses and debt requirements. 3. Any other information deemed relevant by the director or upon request of the Council public works or budget and finance committees.

This is good as far as it goes.  I just hope the Council will read the reports and act if they need to do so. If they do, this might stop a future occurrence of what we are experiencing now, where the water department is out of reserves, needs a lot of infrastructure work and the water rates are insufficient to keep the water system functioning.

The problem with Water and Sewer is that they operate off of their own revenues so when the Council is putting together a budget they pay little attention to waste and inefficiency in water and sewer because even if they can cut their budget that does not free up money to spend elsewhere so as a result they get less scrutiny than other departments. I wish the Council would even do more than this to insure sound financial management at Water and Sewer.

Bill BL2019-77 would require the disclosure of the full cost of a project prior to submission of capital expenditure authorization legislation to the Metropolitan Council. Currently the  New sheriff's headquarters $17M over budget.  This is not cost overrun. We simply started the project $17 million short of the cost to complete it. That should not happen. This bill should prevent it.
Bills on Third Reading. 
Bill BL2019-31 would require a permit for all new fencing.  We have never required this before. I would want to know what problem this is trying to address before voting for it. It seems like more unnecessary government bureaucracy and cost to homeowners. I oppose.

Bill BL2019-43 (as amended) requires than any adverse notification about Metro's finances from the State be delivered promptly to members of the Council. The prior administration did not do so. This is a good bill.
Bill BL2019-45  raises water and sewer rates. It raises several different fees, raising water fees about 63% and sewer by a lesser amount. The rates would raise each year for several years, not all at once.  Unfortunately, this has to be done. We have a consent degree agreement with the Federal government to improve the system and don't have the money to do it and the State Comptroller says we have to do it. Also, improvement need to be made. More than 65% of Metro’s water pipes and 58% of the sewer pipes are over 40 years old.  I hope the Council will pursue changes at water and sewer so this situation does not happen again. Water and Sewer operate off of their own revenues and as a result do not get close scrutiny.  Since efficiency and cost cutting at metro water cannot benefit the general fund, they do not get the same oversight as would a regular Metro department.  In my view, changes should be made such that Water and Sewer has a board they have to report to and a member of the Council should be a member of the board.  
To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. It is also available live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel.   If can stand the suspense and just wait I will post the video here and provide commentary.

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Bill Hagerty guess speaker at First Tuesday, Dec. 3rd.

From Tim Skow:

When we meet on Tuesday, December 3rd, Tennessee will be just 8 mere months from selecting our NEXT US Senator.
[yes, the winner of the August Republican primary will be Tennessee's next Senator ! ]

On Tuesday, DEC 3 we will hear from US Senate candidate BILL HAGERTY. 
Ambassador Hagerty is the former TN Commissioner of ECD and until this summer was the Ambassador to Japan. 
Bill Hagerty
Amb. Hagerty is a man with an incredible record in both the private sector and while in public service. And as many of you know, President Trump announced his support before Ambassador Hagerty had even left his role in the Orient. 
More about Amb. Hagerty is available at his website: www.Meet Bill - Bill Hagerty for U.S. Senate

Many Tennesseans have yet to spend much time getting to know Amb. Hagerty. December 3 at 1ST TUESDAY will be your up close opportunity to get to know him and ask him directly about what you care about the most !  Make your plans and pass the word !
We expect a BIG crowd for this lunch event at Waller Law. 

As usual, its still $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. 
Secure seating for you and your Guests ASAP via our website shopping cart !  www.firsttuesdaynashville.com

Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Thanksgiving Lesson

As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s not only remember the lessons of Plymouth — let’s commit to proclaiming the virtues of self-reliance, property rights and free markets more boldly than ever.  Otherwise we’ll have even less to be thankful about next year.

By Howard Rich — The Separatist Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in November 1620 began their new settlement utilizing overtly communist economic principles.  In addition to common ownership of the land, the Pilgrims farmed corn on a communal plot and divided their harvest evenly amongst themselves.

This is the theoretical Marxist utopia — minus indoor plumbing, NPR, MSNBC and portable electronic devices powered by Solyndra solar panels, naturally.  But did this early communist experiment work?  Did it succeed at putting food on the table?

Not according to William Bradford, an early Pilgrim governor of the colony best known today as the “Father of Thanksgiving.”

The communal arrangement initially employed by the Pilgrims was “found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort,” Bradford wrote in his journal, which was later compiled into Of Plymouth Plantation.

Why did this arrangement fail?  Because as has been the case from time immemorial, the equitable division of inequitably produced assets did not sit well with those whose labors yielded the harvest.
“For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,” Bradford wrote.

But enmity amongst settlers wasn’t the real problem encountered at Plymouth — it was a shortage of food.  In his book Mayflower: A Story of Courage Community and War historian Nathaniel Philbrick discusses how communal farming and common ownership produced a “disastrous harvest.”

Faced with the prospect of starvation, Bradford “decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew,” according to Philbrick.  Not surprisingly this approach replaced infighting and starvation with harmony and industry — not to mention an abundance of food.

“This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content,” Bradford wrote.

In other words where top-down planning based on communist ideology failed — the enforcement of private property rights based on free market ideology succeeded.

“The change in attitude was stunning,” Philbrick writes. “Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before.”

“The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism,” Philbrick added, noting that “although the fortunes of the colony still teetered precariously in the years ahead, the inhabitants never again starved.”

As the United States moves further away from its free market foundation this Thanksgiving, the example of Plymouth is worth considering.  It is a cautionary tale — a grim reminder of where the federal government’s present trajectory is going to take our nation.

Already the “fair share” policies of Barack Obama — who is making good on his stated desire to “spread the wealth” around — have failed to produce the promised economic recovery.  In fact America’s central bank is now printing money indefinitely as government’s debt and unfunded liabilities race past the threshold of sustainability.

The result of this “stimulus?”  Income levels are shrinking, joblessness remains chronically high and economic growth is anemic.  And lurking around the corner are massive tax hikes and the full implementation of Obama’s socialized medicine law — both of which will result in additional large-scale shifts from the “makers” to the “takers” in our society.

Incentivizing dependency has clearly failed to stimulate our economy.  From 2000-10, government’s cash assistance to the poor increased by 68 percent — after adjusting for inflation.  Health care assistance increased by 87 percent, housing assistance by 108 percent and food assistance by 139 percent — again, all after adjusting for inflation.  Still, poverty in America climbed from 11.3 to 15.1 percent during that time period.

Government efforts to combat poverty have produced more poverty, in other words — and based on the ongoing entitlement expansion, the worst is likely yet to come.

As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s not only remember the lessons of Plymouth — let’s commit to proclaiming the virtues of self-reliance, property rights and free markets more boldly than ever.  Otherwise we’ll have even less to be thankful about next year.

The mention of Barack Obama and the data brackets somewhat date this article, but the lesson is as true as ever.  The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

How does the academic performance of Davidson County Schools compare with the academic performance of all State Schools?

How does the academic performance of Davidson County Schools compare with the academic performance of all State Schools? Pretty pitiful.


State of Tennessee (all public schools) academic performance

Nashville Davidson County Public Schools academic performance


For more data, including seeing how your child's school performs, follow this link.

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How The Tennessean and liberals promote the idea that we are undertaxed.

An article in today's Tennessean, "Analysis: Amid debate over Nashville budget, no avoiding conversation of raising taxes," summarizes a lot of what has been widely reported.  Nashville is spending more than it is bringing in, the current budget relied on a $41 million plan to privatize public parking and that deal is now dead, and Cooper is tying to fix the mess without raising property taxes.

One thing Cooper has already accomplished is getting the Music City Center to kick in more revenue to the city.  The increased amount however only comes to $2.6 million more than the previous agreement. We are a long way from a balanced budget. Before becoming mayor, as a council member, Cooper initiated the creation of the Blue Ribbon Committee tasked with finding $20 million in savings in the city budget by identifying inefficiencies, subsidies and other costs that can be trimmed.  The Blue Ribbon Committee is making progress but we don't know if they can reach that goal. Even if they do we are still short.

The article does a good job explaining the history of property tax rates and the revenue that could be raised by a tax hike. The article like many others focus on our modest tax rate of $3.155. The article points out that the Shelby County tax rate, the highest in the state by comparison is $7.77.  I disagree with those who claim we are under taxed.

In these comparisons, one thing that is lacking is an acknowledgement that we have much higher property values. I don't know how much higher, but I know that a house in Nashville would cost considerably more than the same quality and type of house in Shelby County or Knox County.  I don't have the time or means to document this point with examples but the information is available if one did the research.  I would be willing to wager that a  house in Nashville may be appraised at more than twice the appraisal of a similar quality and type and size home in either of these other counties.  A low tax rate applied to a million dollar home may still result in a bigger tax bill than a higher tax rate applied to a $400,000 home.


Another thing this is lacking is an acknowledgement that our higher tax rate covers most of the county. Most of these examples used by the press compare the combined city and county rate of another city with Nashville's combined Urban Services District and General Services District. The difference between the Urban Services District and the General Services District is not that much. As an example, the General Services tax rate in Davidson County is $2.755. The Knox County tax rate is only $2.12,  so a lot of people in Davidson County have a higher property tax rate than people in Knox County.

If the press wanted to enlighten rather than propagandize for higher taxes, the line of reasoning I have been presented would be examined and reported.


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Nashville Republican Women Christmas luncheon





To RSVP and pay or for more info, click HERE

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Republican Christmas Party Dec. 17th

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Tn Dept of Ed Releases State Report Card for 2018-19

Press release, Monday, November 25, 2019, NASHVILLEToday, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn unveiled the state report card, an annual report designed to provide convenient access to the most important data and information about every school and district in Tennessee.
 
“Our goal is to provide Tennessee families, educators, community members, and public officials with information about the schools and districts they care about in a way that makes sense,” Schwinn said. “The report card is another opportunity for the department to continue seeking input, listening to feedback, and continuously improving as a result.”


The online dashboard for the report card features a variety of information about how schools are performing and addressing the needs of students – information that is critical to understand as the department seeks to set all students on a path to success under its new strategic plan, Best for All. Primarily, the information is broken down into six main categories, which are as follows:

  • Academic Achievement: Whether students are performing at or above grade level or whether the school improved from year to year;
  • Student Academic Growth: Whether students are making progress from year to year;
  • Chronically Out of School: Whether students are absent more than 10 percent of the year; 
  • Progress on English Language Proficiency: Whether students who are English learners are making progress;
  • Ready Graduate: Whether students are prepared for postsecondary education or career paths after they leave high school; and
  • Graduation Rate: Whether students are graduating from high school on time. 
While the information posted online will look similar to what has been released in the past, we have improved the display of information to make it easier to access and more user-friendly.

The rating system shown on the report card provides a score of 0.0 to 4.0 on each indicator, similar to a GPA, with 4.0 being the highest. Families can click through to see more information behind each rating.


To view the state report card, visit the State Report Card website.
 

For additional data on schools and districts, visit the Data Downloads page.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

What happened at the Nov. 19th Council meeting. Water rate hike advances, ban on aerial ads dead, requirement for new fences to have a permit advances, razor wire ban deferred, new transparency approved.




by Rod Williams - This meeting is just slightly over 2 hours long. If you are going to watch the meeting, you will get a lot more out of the meeting if you know what is under discussion. To access the agenda, agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.  Without an agenda the meeting is about as exciting as watching paint dry. With the agenda, it is as exciting as watching water boil. I watch it so you don't have to. If you are going to watch it, you can probably watch in double time and not miss much context.

I am providing my summary of the meeting below. However, be advised that I only hit the high points and report on what is important to me, so you may want to watch it for yourself.  Also, if you view the minutes of the meeting you can find out from the official record what happened without watching. Unfortunately, the minutes are often not posted until a week later. You can access the minutes at this link.

Followings Pat Nolan's introduction and summary of what is important that is on the agenda, the meeting is graveled to order at timestamp 8.24. Following the prayer, pledge, some announcements, birthday wishes, nomination to a seat on the industrial board are accepted.  Four people are nominated for a seat that will be filled next meeting.   Seats on the industrial board are important to some people but the general public pays little attention to this. The Industrial Development Board can help favored businesses.

Next the council confirms appointees to Boards and Commission. Dr. Paulette Coleman, an activist with the group NOAH, is confirmed to a seat on the board of MDHA. While I don't know Coleman, I know NOAH.  While I may surprise some people by saying so, I don't object to having a liberal activist on the board of MDHA. MDHA does, in my view, need to refocus on it core mission of housing the poor rather than development. I have the impression and MDHA has become too much of insider group promoting crony capitalism and corporate welfare and a shakeup at MDHA is warranted. I am also pleased that Mayor Cooper has appointed former mayor Bill Purcell to a position on the MDHA board.

Next on the agenda, the Chairman of the Rules Committee announces that the Rules Committee has approved the new rules for the current council and they will be considered at the next Council.  While this may seem mundane and usually is, it can have import. Probably nothing of major significance will change but if  there was a  move to do something drastic, like end starting the meeting with prayer or a pledge, this is where it would be attempted.  Also, some procedures could change, such as having consent agendas or not, or changing the time limit for debate, that could impact the way the Council functions. I don't really expect any radical change but with the new handful of radical-affiliated Council members now serving, they could take this opportunity to exert their influence.

Public Comment Period. This is a time set aside to hear from the public. People who want to speak have to register in advance and are given two minutes.  Four people speak. One speaks about the work of the blue ribbon commission for finding savings, one speaks about transportation needs, and one mother shares the story of the terrible education her child is receiving in a Metro school, and Pastor Enoch Fuzz speaks about education. When the Council started the Public Comment Period, I feared it would be used for bombastic grandstanding by activist. I am pleased that I was wrong. All of the comments were thoughtful and respectful and provide insight. To see the public comments see time stamp 25:30-35:05.

 Resolutions.  Most are routine things like approving contracts, accepting grants and approving signs overhanging sidewalks. Most pass on consent. Here are the only ones of interest.

Resolution RS2019-85 request the Planning Commission to amend the adopted Subdivision Regulations to prohibit the creation of new private streets and require all new streets created as a part of the subdivision platting process to be public rights-of-way. This is deferred a meeting. Since it only request, it wouldn't change sny policy but agencies of Metro government take request from the Council seriously.  I am unsure, but I think, streets in gated communities are privately owned by the community. If they become public, would that mean there could not be gated communities? I don't know, but until I do, I would oppose this.
Resolution RS2019-99  and Resolution RS2019-100  reallocates $1million in money that was to be spend on the Gulch pedestrian bridge and spends it on other things. The other $17 million approved for the bridge does not require Council action in order to be reallocated but the mayor intends to ask the Council to pass a resolution approving the reallocation anyway. That will be presented at the next meeting.   Resolution RS2019-99 passes. Resolution RS2019-100 is deferred one meeting so the Council can see how the full 18 million is to be spend rather than just approve this $1 million by itself. Makes sense. 
Bills on First Reading. There were a couple or three concerning more regulation of short term rentals that were considered separately, one withdrawn, one or two passed on first but then delayed to a public hearing. I will explain these bills when they get to Second reading.  All others are lumped together and pass by a single vote as is the norm,

Bills on Second Reading.
Bill BL2019-4 prohibits aerial advertising.  All committees that considered the bill recommended deferral indefinitely ant that is what happened. That means the bill is dead. It could be brought back up but it would have to go back before committees so you can consider it dead. I am pleased. I never saw any logic to this and to me it appears to be a First Amendment violation.
Bill BL2019-30 bans barbed wire and razor wire fencing in the Urban Zoning Overlay District along arterial and collector roadways. This is one of those bills about which I am conflicted.  I sympathize with those property owners who are trying to protect their property, but this type fencing creates a feeling of living in a war zone. It makes a street ugly and devalues enjoyment of public spaces. It is deferred two meetings.
Bill BL2019-31 would require a permit for all new fencing.  We have never had this requirement befoee and I unsure what problem calls for more burdensome regulation. I oppose it.  For the sponsor's explanation see time stamp 1:08:40.  It passes on a roll call vote of 27 to 9 and one abstention. I will post how individuals voted after the minutes are posted. 

 Bill BL2019-43 requires certain financial information received from the State be submitted to the Council. As the Staff analysis explains, "During the prior Council term, the previous administrations received correspondence from the state comptroller on several occasions concerning the finances of the Metropolitan Government and Metro water services. This ordinance would require that similar financial communications in the future be submitted to the Council within seven days of receipt. For purposes of this ordinance, “financial communications” means all written and electronic communications pertaining to the financial status, revenues, expenses, fees or service charges of the metropolitan government and any of its departments, boards, commissions, offices, and agencies. The department head for the applicable department, board, commission, office, or agency would be responsible for ensuring such communication is submitted to the Council as required by this ordinance."  This is a good bill. The Council deserves to be kept informed. It is shameful that the Council was not kept fully informed of Metro's financial crisis by the prior administration. This passes on a voice vote.

Bill BL2019-45  raises water and sewer rates. It raises several different fees, raising total water fees about 63% over a period of time, and sewer by a lesser amount.  Unfortunately, this has to be done. We have a consent degree agreement with the Federal government to improve the system and don't have the money to do it and the State Comptroller says we have to do it. Also, improvement need to be made. More than 65% of Metro’s water pipes and 58% of the sewer pipes are over 40 years old.  I hope the Council will pursue changes at water and sewer so this situation does not happen again. Water and Sewer operate off of their own revenues and as a result do not get close scrutiny.  Since efficiency and cost cutting at metro water cannot benefit the general fund, they do not get the same oversight as would a regular Metro department.  In my view, changes should be made such that Water and Sewer has a board they have to report to and a member of the Council should be a member of the board. This is adopted by a voice vote on Second Reading.
Bill BL2019-46   would require more oversight of the Water and Sewer Department. It would have to submit annual reports to the Council which would include: 1. The Audited Financial Statements, including net position, capital assets, outstanding bonds payable, and other financial information. 2. The Annual Budget Review, including the adequacy of budgeted revenues to cover projected expenses and debt requirements. 3. Any other information deemed relevant by the director or upon request of the Council public works or budget and finance committees. In my view this does not go far enough.It is deferred one meeting. 
Bills on Third Reading. This is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2019-3   authorizes Metro  to opt into the historic properties tax abatement program under state law and would establish a historic properties review board.  I support this. I don't want to require property owners to preserve historic properties but I support incentives that encourage historic preservation. This is deferred two meetings.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Mayor’s Office Convenes Discussions Between Community Oversight Board and Metro Police

Press release - Mayor John Cooper today announced that the Community Oversight Board (COB) and the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) are meeting this week to begin the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding that will specify how the two parties will share information and interact going forward.

“I’ve been a strong supporter of the COB,” said Mayor Cooper. “Nashvillians want and expect the COB and MNPD to work together to strengthen trust and provide accountability. I commend Chief Steve Anderson and the Community Oversight Board for coming together to develop an agreement that works for Nashville.”

Chief Anderson has designated Deputy Chief Mike Hagar to represent MNPD in this discussion process. COB Chair Ashlee Davis has designated Dr. Phyllis Hildreth as the board’s representative. Metro Legal Director Bob Cooper and the Mayor’s Office will convene and facilitate the discussion. Director Cooper will help address any legal issues that may arise.

Mayor Cooper has asked both parties to make a good faith effort to come to an agreement by the end of the year.

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Mayor Cooper To Nominate Former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell To MDHA Board Of Commissioners

Press release - Mayor John Cooper announced yesterday at a NOAH fall fundraiser that he will nominate former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell to the Metro Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) Board of Commissioners.

Purcell, who served as the fifth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County from 1999 to 2007, is a founding partner of Farmer Purcell White & Lassiter, PLLC and an adjunct professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University.

“Bill has long been a champion for real affordable housing solutions in Nashville. I’m confident in Bill’s leadership, and he has the experience to bring much-needed reforms to MDHA,” said Mayor Cooper. “In a time of urgent affordable housing needs in our city, MDHA needs to refocus on the housing part of its mission, rather than the development aspects of it. This appointment will be an important step toward ensuring that affordable housing is at the center of everything we do in Nashville.”

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What is the "matter styled James Smallwood v. Brenda Ross?"

I don't know.  There are times when something piques my interest and I think, if I headed a news organization and had reporters I would have this looked into, or if I had the time to investigate I would look into this myself

Today at 3PM at a meeting of the Metro Board of Ethical Conduct, item five on the agenda is, "Discussion of matter styled James Smallwood v. Brenda Ross."  A search engine search finds no news about an ethical issue involving these two people.  I don't recall hearing of any ethical issue involving the police and a COB board member.

Brenda Ross is a member of the Community Oversight Board and a retired East Nashville activist who has served on several mayoral-appointed commissions over the years. James Smallwood is president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.

Ever since the establishment of the Community Oversight Board their has been tension  between the Police Department and the Board. The Police have complained that the COP request massive amounts of documentation from the police, and the COP complain the police are not responsive to their request for information. You can read about the conflicts between the COP and the police at this link, this link,and this link and do a search for more. 

In all of the time I have wasted trying to find out more about the ethical issue between these two individuals, I have found nothing. Did Ross file the complaint or Smallwood?  If anyone has knowledge about what this is about, please share it. If one know what is going on but doesn't want to publicly state it, please contact me by phone, FB messenger or email.  My email address is Rodwilliams47@yahoo.com. Inquiring minds want to know.

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Budget crisis causes Metro Police to delay ordering body cameras

Budget crisis causes Metro Police to delay ordering body cameras

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Councilmember At-Large Steve Glover hosting a series of Community Meetings.

If this looks a little blurry it is not your eyes going bad. This is as clear as I could copy it and get it large enough to read. Rod

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Briley kept secret Metro's water financial mess. Now, not even enough reserves for emergency repairs.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Smoking Gun internal documents obtained by News4 investigates show the Briley administration withheld important information from council about how bad metro's water system financial crisis was. ... the  Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said Wednesday that the water department's financial crisis is so urgent and real  that it  wouldn't have  enough money to make emergency repairs..
....
Wednesday, Metro council members were dumbfounded to learn the water department’s finances are in such dire straights that the comptroller’s office threatened to take it over more than a year and a half ago....What’s worse, council members were never told,  though the state had been warning metro for  three years. (Read the rest of the story)

Rod's Comment:  This is an outrage. It was not simply an oversight. It was intentionally withholding vital information. There is no excuse for this.  If Briley did not violate a law and cannot be punished, the Council should at least pass a strongly worded resolution condemning his actions.  Reforms need to be instituted so this can never happen again.

For more on this see, Glover Reviews How Three Mayoral Generations of Neglect Could Affect Water Rates. This article post the transcript of a interview with Council member at-large Steve Glover on talk radio.  One interesting think in this report is that Glover informs people that some of the money paid by water customers for water does not go to support the water system but is diverted to pay for the Titans stadium. $4.5 million is paid from water rates to support the stadium.  I have told people this and they either act like they don't believe me or are shocked to discover it.  I remember when the stadium deal went to the people in a referendum and passed overwhelmingly. I opposed it for this one reason, that I did not think we should use water rates to fund it. To a certain extent, the mess in which Nashville finds itself is the fault of Nashvillians. They voted for the Nissan stadium deal and they elected the mayors who deceived us.

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Only 4% of millennial renters in Nashville metro expect to rent forever.

From Apartment List - Millennials have been blamed for destroying a wide array of industries, from tuna to doorbells, but what can we expect from millennials in the coming years of the Nashville real estate market?

Apartment List’s 2019 Millennials & Homeownership Report  analyzes the attitudes, expectations, and actions of over 10,000 millennial renters in the U.S. 

We find:
  • 4% of millennial renters in Nashville metro expect to rent forever. But of those who expect to purchase a home, 53% have not yet started saving towards a down payment.
  • At current savings rates, just 25% of America's millennial renters will be ready to put down 10% on a median-priced starter home in the next five years.
  • Forgiving student loan debt would be a major boon to millennial homeownership. If debt payments were instead put towards savings, we estimate the percentage of the nation's millennial renters ready to buy a home would rise from 25% to 39%.
  • To cope with high costs, some millennial renters look for down payment support from family. But millennials are expecting less support this year ($9,000) than last year ($10,000).


70% percent of renters say affordability is the reason they have not yet (or will never) purchase a home. Furthermore, student debt continues to be a barrier and millennials are expecting lower levels of financial assistance from parents than in prior years. 

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Amid budget shortfall, how much is Nashville spending on economic development incentives? Does it pay?

by Mike Reicher and Sandy Mazza, The Tennessean -  For the past 20 years Nashville's mayors have wooed companies here with promises of low taxes, a diverse economy, a creative culture — and more than $541 million of financial incentives.

Now Mayor John Cooper, who inherited a worsening budget deficit, has to decide how he will keep recruiting new jobs with tight finances. As he focuses on cost-cutting, one growing category is the annual impact of economic development incentives.

Metro has paid or lost out on an average of $31 million a year over three recent fiscal years, according to a Tennessean analysis of city records. That includes cash grants for jobs, property tax breaks, redevelopment loans, and entertainment subsidies for television shows such as "Nashville."

The annual impact climbed from $25.6 million in fiscal 2016 to $37.3 million in fiscal 2018, the most recent year of complete data available. (read more)

Rod's Comment: The measure of the economic impact of a policy or subsidy or development is hard to measure.  Having served in public office and having been a close observer of government for many years, I have come to the conclusion that the estimate of the benefit of a policy or expenditure is so much pie in the sky public relations.  It is about as reliable as picking a number out of a hat. 

Almost certainly, as an example, our funding of the TV soap opera Nashville, helped tourism. When people were thinking about where to go on a weekend vacation, some people might have thought about visiting Nashville, who would not have done so if not for Nashville being in their consciousness because of the TV show.  How much was it worth? I don't think anyone can say. The city provided $3 million in incentives and the State $5.5 million. The owners of the show estimated its first season impact at $75 million.  I think that is a SWAG- Scientific Wild Ass Guess.

What about the $17.5 million cash grant offer to Amazon?  They promise to create 5,000 jobs.  Is the grant worth it? I don't know but I doubt it. The number of jobs added is easier to measure than the economic value of favorable publicity, but the economic impact of those jobs is hard to measure.

How much do we benefit when we bring a company to town? We know they provide jobs but some of those jobs are people they transfer here. They are not hiring Nashvillians.  Of course, those jobs, even if they import the workers, causes economic activity. The new people buy homes and cars and groceries and everything else. Of course, that growth also comes with a cost; new congestion, and new demand for more police and firemen and all types of government services. They also increase the cost of housing and create a housing crisis and cause greater income inequality.   Growth does not always pay for itself. Growth does not come cheap. Nevertheless, it is better to grow than shrink.

When measuring the economic impact of a development or policy it reminds me of this story.  A growing company needed to hire someone in management to help with the companies finances. The CEO interviews three candidates, a mathematician, an accountant, and an economist. He interviewed them separately and asked each the same simple question. "What is two plus two?" he asked the mathematician. "That's easy," the mathematician replied. "It is four."

Next he interviewed the accountant and asked, "What is two plus two?"  The accountant said, "There is a 99 percent probability that it is four with a plus or minus factor of .2."

Then he interviewed the economist. "What is two plus two," the CEO asked.  The economist, glanced both directions, leaned forward, lowered his voice and said, "What do you want it to be?"

Take a companies estimate of their economic impact with a grain of salt. I would prefer that we had a free market and gave no incentives to businesses or sports teams. However, we can't unilaterally disarm.  As long as cities we compete with do it, we have to do it.  That is the way the game is played. But, we need to be judicious. I do not oppose all incentives and it is not easy to determine which ones are worth it and which ones are not. Without incentives we would not have a professional sports teams and I don't think there is little doubt that they have benefited the city.  We need to be careful though. With Tax Increment Financing and cash grants, and other incentives, we could be giving away the farm.


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Monday, November 18, 2019

Powers of comptroller broad by definition

This is an informative article from The Tennessean.



by Joel Ebert, The Tennessean - ...... "The comptroller of the treasury or the comptroller's designee shall have the power and authority to direct the governing body of the local government to adjust its estimates or to make additional tax levies sufficient to comply with this chapter."

While the provision in state law gives the comptroller broad authority to take over a municipality's finances, it can largely occur if a municipality fails to pass a budget on time, approves an unbalanced budget or if the local government were to default on its debt.
  .......
The decision on whether to take over a city's finances comes down to one person — the comptroller.
......
Wilson said he thinks Mayor John Cooper, Metro Finance Director Kevin Crumbo and At-large council member Bob Mendes, Metro's budget chair, understand the issue. But Wilson said he was not sure how the council would react to his assessment. 

"After (Wednesday), my perception is they understand that this needs to be done," he said. 
Overall, Wilson said he is hopeful Nashville can address the financial issues before a takeover becomes necessary. 

"We recognize that a good, healthy Nashville financially is really important for the health of Tennessee, and we want to do all we can to be sure that that happens," he said. 

In terms of timing, the comptroller said he would like to see city officials shore up their finances no later than the early months of 2020.




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Sunday, November 17, 2019

What's on the Council agenda for Nov. 19th? Raising water rates, banning aerial advertising, more financial transparency.

by Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, November 19th at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis.

For those who want to watch the Council meeting and follow along. If you are going to watch it, it is more interesting if you have the agenda and agenda analysis.  It is still not very interesting but more interesting if you know what the heck is going on. You don't have to watch it and yet you can still be informed however, because  I will watch it for you and then a couple days later post a summary of the most important Council actions and I will post a video of the meeting and highlight the interesting parts. Below is a summary of the agenda, highlighting what I deem to be the most important items.

Elections and Confirmations usually amount to the Council confirming whoever the mayor appoints.  There are five appointees up for confirmation. They will probably all be confirmed without controversy.

Public Comment period is time dedicated to allow members of the public who have registered in advance to speak upon matters related to the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County community. This was started about a year ago, I believe, and has gone much better than I expected. I thought social justice warriors would use it to advocate but people have not abused the privilege. Watch to see if the newly empowered progressives take advantage of this opportunity.

Resolutions.  Most are routine things like approving contracts, accepting grants and approving signs overhanging sidewalks. I see nothing that would generate controversy. Here are the only resolutions of interest.

Resolution RS2019-99  and Resolution RS2019-100  reallocates $1million in money that was to be spend on the Gulch pedestrian bridge and spends it on other things. The other $17million approved for the bridge does not require Council action in order to be reallocated but the mayor intends to ask the Council to pass a resolution approving the reallocation anyway. That will be presented in a future resolution.  This should not be contentious.

Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote. I don't read bills until they get to Second Reading.


Bills on Second Reading. These are the ones that I find of interest.

Bill BL2019-4 prohibits aerial advertising.  I see no logic for this bill and if I served in the council I would vote against it.  This was deferred from last meeting.
Bill BL2019-30 bans barbed wire and razor wire fencing in the Urban Zoning Overlay District along arterial and collector roadways. This is one of those bills about which I am conflicted.  I sympathize with those property owners who are trying to protect their property, but this type fencing creates a feeling of living in a war zone. It makes a street ugly and devalues enjoyment of public spaces. On balance, I think I would support this bill. I do not know if one may appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeal for an exemption from the provision. There should be a process to allow an exception in high crime areas or where one has been repeatedly had their property burglarized.
Bill BL2019-31 would require a permit for all new fencing. This was deferred from the last meeting. Unless their is a compelling reason why we need to start doing this, I would oppose it.
Bill BL2019-43 requires certain financial information received from the State be submitted to the Council. As the Staff analysis explains, "During the prior Council term, the previous administrations received correspondence from the state comptroller on several occasions concerning the finances of the Metropolitan Government and Metro water services. This ordinance would require that similar financial communications in the future be submitted to the Council within seven days of receipt. For purposes of this ordinance, “financial communications” means all written and electronic communications pertaining to the financial status, revenues, expenses, fees or service charges of the metropolitan government and any of its departments, boards, commissions, offices, and agencies. The department head for the applicable department, board, commission, office, or agency would be responsible for ensuring such communication is submitted to the Council as required by this ordinance."  This is a good bill. The Council deserves to be kept informed. It is shameful that the Council was not kept fully informed of Metro's financial crisis by the prior administration.
Bill BL2019-45  raises water and sewer rates. It raises several different fees, raising water fees about 63% and sewer by a lesser amount.  Unfortunately, this has to be done. We have a consent degree agreement with the Federal government to improve the system and don't have the money to do it and the State Comptroller says we have to do it. Also, improvement need to be made. More than 65% of Metro’s water pipes and 58% of the sewer pipes are over 40 years old.  I hope the Council will pursue changes at water and sewer so this situation does not happen again. Water and Sewer operate off of their own revenues and as a result do not get close scrutiny.  Since efficiency and cost cutting at metro water cannot benefit the general fund, they do not get the same oversight as would a regular Metro department.  In my view, changes should be made such that Water and Sewer has a board they have to report to and a member of the Council should be a member of the board.
Bill BL2019-46   would require more oversight of the Water and Sewer Department. It would have to submit annual reports to the Council which would include: 1. The Audited Financial Statements, including net position, capital assets, outstanding bonds payable, and other financial information. 2. The Annual Budget Review, including the adequacy of budgeted revenues to cover projected expenses and debt requirements. 3. Any other information deemed relevant by the director or upon request of the Council public works or budget and finance committees. In my view this does not go far enough. 
Bills on Third Reading. This is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2019-3   authorizes Metro  to opt into the historic properties tax abatement program under state law and would establish a historic properties review board.  I support this. I don't want to require property owners to preserve historic properties but I support incentives that encourage historic preservation.
To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. It is also available live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel.   If can stand the suspense and just wait I will post the video here and provide commentary.

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Video of State Comptroller Justin Wilson's presentation to the Council. Also, Water Services issue presentation.

 As anyone living in Nashville who is paying the least bit of  attention now knows, Nashville has a very serious financial problem. You could call it a "crisis."  There are two parts to this.  The first is that our budget does not balance and we have been selling off assets to fill the gaps.  The State has threatened to take over Metro government if Metro does not correct this. They have the power to do so. The State could cut all but non-essential services and could force a property tax hike.

The other issue is that our water system is crumbling, needs more investment and our rates are too low to meet the needs of the system. My view is that this did not happen overnight.  Years of mismanagement led to this. 

To learn more about these issues and to see what the State really told Nashville and to hear what the Council heard, watch the above video of the joint Budget and Finance Committee and Public Works Committee of the Council. See timestamp 0:00:00 to 1:01:23  for the Metro Water Services presentation.  See timestamp 1:01:43 to 2:10:25  for the Tennessee Comptroller presentation.


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Thursday, November 14, 2019

State Comptroller Justin Wilson told Metro Council, "you shouldn't be selling your furniture to make your house payments." Threatens State take over of Nashville.

On Wednesday, State Comptroller Justin Wilson told Metro Council, "you shouldn't be selling your furniture to make your house payments."  He threatened a State takeover of Metro Nashville if the city did not present a balanced budget. Below are news reports from various sources on the topic.



WTVF News Channel 5- .... Comptroller Justin P. Wilson made a presentation to the Metro Council's Budget and Finance Committee Wednesday evening. Wilson told members that the state will not approve the city's budget as it stands now.

"Despite all this wonderful growth and this booming economy that we have, metro government is cash poor," said Wilson.

Wilson says in the current budget there are non recurring expenses, meaning the city is hoping that selling one time assets can help plug in a more than $40 million budget hole year after year. He said in order to fix this, it comes down to to raising revenue, cutting expenses or a combination of the two.




The Tennessean - ...  "If action is not taken to come up with a budget that is approved within reasonable time, then you will have decided, members of the council, that the Comptroller takes the actions that the state requires," Wilson said.
 
Without an approved budget, the state can take control of the city's finances and decide what gets paid, cutting first what state law determines as "optional services." 

"Let me be clear. The comptroller's office does have the authority to step in and determine how you spend your money," Wilson said.
#
The ‘Mess’ Of Metro Finances Has Tennessee Comptroller Demanding Budget Fixes

WPLN, Nashville Public Radio -The city of Nashville is on a path to go broke next year. That’s the unmistakably dire message sent to the Metro Council and other city officials on Tuesday night by Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson.

And the comptroller demanded that Metro adjust its budget as soon as possible, warning that the state already could have snatched financial control if not for a grace period being given to the new mayor, new finance director and new Metro Council.

“It’s up to you, the Metro Council, to make the tough but necessary decisions to keep this city on track,” Wilson said, describing the city budget as “just about as tight as you can possibly get it.”

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How members of the Council voted on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

by Rod Williams - On November 5th the Metro Council passed a resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville. It honors those gender confused people who lost their lives to violence. While any unnecessary loss of life is unfortunate, only about 28 transgender people met an untimely death due to violence last year. It is unclear how many of those experiencing gender dysphoria who met a violent death were killed because someone hated them for their condition and how many may have died due to living a dangerous lifestyle that put them at risk or were killed by a jealous lover or were simply victims of crime unrelated to their perverse lifestyle. In any event the loss of life is unfortunate. However, if I had a vote I would  have voted against the resolution, or at a minimum I would abstained from voting on the resolution.

My objection is that we should not be pandering to the advocates of identity politics and that while any unnecessary loss of life is regrettable, there are many other groups of people at least, if not more, deserving of a day of remembrance. I express this view in this essay:How about a day of remembrance for American military killed in action? For policemen killed in action? For firemen? For babies killed by abortionist? For Americans killed by illegal aliens? For ....

It is a victory that this resolution was not passed "on consent."  Resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass by a single vote.  Everyone present is assumed to have voted for the resolutions.  That is how so many ridiculous pandering progressive resolutions have passed the Council. Steve Glover is to be commended for moving to have this taken off of consent.

It should be pointed out that the resolution really does nothing. It changes no policy nor spends any money and amounts to nothing more that those who voted in favor of it recognizing that date for that purpose. It does not make the day an official Metro holiday. Below is how members of the Council voted and following that is the text of the resolution.  I have underlined the names of those who voted "yes" in whom I am disappointing. These are people who I supported in the recent election. The other "yes" votes did not disappoint me, because I did not expect any better.

Voting  Yes (34): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Johnathan Hall, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Murphy, Robert Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Lee, Angie Henderson, and Rosenberg;  

Voting No (0);

Voting "Abstain" (2): Steve Glover, and Larry Hagar.

Gone Fishing:  The number of votes cast comes to 36. Voting "abstain" is actually pushing the "abstain" button.  No one was absent for the full meeting, so four members either came in late, left early, took a bathroom break, set on their hands, or went fishing. The four Gone Fishing members are (3): Robert Swope, Russ Pulley, Courtney Johnson and Joy Stles. 

Resolution RS2019-87 

A Resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of transgender people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in remembrance of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries; and

WHEREAS, the annual event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community; and

WHEREAS, many communities organize events and activities to create and promote visibility of anti-transgender violence to stakeholders such as police, the media, and elected officials; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that transgender members of our society are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence, and experience myriad challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, disproportionately high levels of unemployment, and limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, according to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the United States due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were black transgender women; and

WHEREAS, fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, who comprise 80% of all anti-transgender homicides; and

WHEREAS, at least 21 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019; and

WHEREAS, only four out of ten Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender, and at least 74% of the known victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017-2018 were misgendered in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths; and

WHEREAS, despite the challenges faced by the transgender community, by observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we recognize, admire, and celebrate the growing awareness and acceptance of transgender people in Nashville and across the nation. Local organizations committed to these efforts include the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Relations Commission; and

WHEREAS, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we honor and commemorate the strength, commitment, and remarkably immense efforts of those working to secure full and equal civil rights for all people, regardless of gender identity or expression.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Resources Commission.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Zachary Young, Nancy VanReece, Russ Bradford, Emily Benedict, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Dave Rosenberg, Jeff Syracuse, Bob Mendes, Sean Parker, Kyonzté Toombs, Delishia Porterfield, Freddie O'Connell

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

How the Council voted on a resolution calling for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.

by Rod Williams - On November 5th, the Metro Council passed a resolution calling on the President of the United State and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform and "give Nashville’s qualified undocumented neighbors a path to citizenship and an opportunity to fully participate in the life of our community without fear." It should be pointed out that that is all it does. It changes no policy or spends any money. It is a statement of opinion of those members of the Council who voted for it.

It is a victory that this was not passed "on consent."  Resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass by a single vote.  Everyone present is assumed to have voted for the resolutions.  That is how so many ridiculous pandering progressive resolutions have passed the Council. Steve Glover is to be commended for moving to have this taken off of consent.


If I were serving in the Council, I would not have voted in favor.  I wold  have voted "no" or at a minimum I would have abstained. The resolutions calls for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens without calling for deterrence to further illegal immigration. I could support a balanced comprehensive immigration bill but not a one-sided solution.

I could support "comprehensive immigration reform" if it  called for tightening the asylum rules to deter purely economic immigrants, if it called for additional or improved physical barriers as needed along our southern border, and it if required a mandatory verification of legal status of new hires. This resolutions did not rule out those things but called for rewarding illegal aliens without doing anything to address future illegal immigration.

Bob Nash was the primary sponsor of this resolution and I am disappointed that he did so.  Below is how members of the Council voted. I have underlined the "yes" voting members who disappointed me. These are people who I thought may not vote in favor of this and whose candidacy I supported when they ran for office.  The other "yes" votes do not disappoint because I did not expect much better.


Voting Yes (34): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Larry Hagar, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Murphy, Bob Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, and Angie Henderson;  

Voting No (0);  

Voting Abstain (3); Steve Glover, Johnathan Hall, and Dave Rosenberg.

Gone fishing:  The number of votes cast comes to 37. Voting "abstain" is actually pushing the "abstain" button.  No one was absent for the full meeting, so three members either came in late, left early, took a bathroom break, set on their hands, or went fishing. The three Gone Fishing members are (3): Robert Swope, Russ Pulley, and Courtney Johnson.


I am pleased that Steve Glover kept the resolution from passing on "consent,' and pleased that he and two other members abstained. While I wish they would have voted "no" or at least pushed the "abstain" button, I am nevertheless pleased that three other members sat on their hands or had to go to the bathroom during the vote.

Below is the text of the resolution.

Resolution RS2019-86

A resolution requesting that the President of the United States and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that an estimated 31,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Davidson County, of which 5,000 have been in the United States from five to twenty plus years; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council further recognizes that the overwhelming majority of these immigrants are hard-working, family-oriented people who contribute to the fabric of our community. Given the opportunity to become documented, these neighbors would no longer have to fear such actions as family separation and could contribute even more to our city’s culture and future; and

WHEREAS, our undocumented neighbors contribute to Nashville’s tax revenues through sales taxes and property taxes by virtue of rent payments and direct home ownership (approximately thirty percent of undocumented immigrants own a home); and

WHEREAS, 7,000 of our undocumented neighbors are under the age of twenty-five. Many of these young people attend Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Due to lack of documentation, their parents often fear attending school events and providing the parental support that is so important in a student’s success; and

WHEREAS, many undocumented children were brought to the United States by their parents before they were of any age to make such a decision on their own. They have been raised here and know no other home; and

WHEREAS, 151,743 people in Tennessee, including 63,621 born in the United States, lived with at least one (1) undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014; and

WHEREAS, during that same period, one in 25 children in the state was a U.S. citizen child living with a least one undocumented family member (70,982 children in total); and

WHEREAS, our undocumented neighbors are often afraid to call the police to report crimes and are therefore at greater risk of being victims of crime. Our whole community is made less safe for our inability to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice; and

WHEREAS, Nashville’s undocumented workers are afraid to come forward and report violations of labor laws and are often the victims of crimes such as wage theft; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Government’s failure to provide a path to citizenship for our undocumented neighbors has caused conflicts of interest and strained relations between federal and local law enforcement agencies; and

WHEREAS, our Federal Government’s failure to address this issue has resulted in our nation’s immigration enforcement officers diverting resources that could be better used securing our borders and apprehending those undocumented persons who truly pose a danger to our community.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY THAT:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council requests that the President and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would:

1. Establish just and reasonable eligibility requirements that would enable those undocumented immigrants who meet said requirements, to apply for citizenship; and

2. Establish a just and fair path to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants who have qualified to apply.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk’s Office is directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Tennessee delegation to the United States Congress, and the Tennessee General Assembly.

Section 3. This resolution shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Bob Nash, Jeff Syracuse, Sharon Hurt, Nancy VanReece, John Rutherford, Tonya Hancock, Zulfat Suara, Burkley Allen, Delishia Porterfield

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