Wednesday, November 6, 2019

What happened at the Nov. 5, 2015 Council meeting? Council passes a request for immigration reform, a trans day of remembrance and raises parking fees. Defers aerial ad prohibition and new fee for fencing.

This meeting is 2 hours and 49 minutes 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. If you are going to watch it, you can probably watch in double time and not miss much context. To access the agenda, agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

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. I do not even attempt to form an opinion on each zoning bill and normally only report on those that are controversial or are bills disapproved by the Planning Commission. 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 8.55. Following the prayer, pledge and ceremonial presentation of a recognition of a member of the armed forces, the Council gets down to business with consideration of elections and confirmations at timestamp 23:08.

Elections and confirmations

Election of School Board members: There are four nominees. A nomination speech if offered by the nominating council member for each of the candidates and then each candidate addresses the Council.  Player-Peters was elected with the votes of 26 council member. The runner-up who got 14 votes was Kevin Stacy, a licensed teacher who has worked as a schools administrator for Metro, Clarksville and Williamson County. His area of specialty is administering English as a Second Language programs. There really does not seem to be an ideological consideration in this vote. Some of the conservatives voted for one but some conservatives voted for the other and the same among the more progressive council members.
There were several other position in other agencies filled but none are of very much interest to the general public. Seats were filled on the Industrial Development Board, which is of interest to a lot of people in segments of the business community, but I do not know enough about the candidates to have much interest who won the seats. Also seats were filled on the Community Education Commission.
Resolutions and Bills on Public Hearing.  The Council begins Public Hearing at timestamp 1:14:00.
The resolutions are exempting businesses from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. The bills are zoning bills. On bills, public hearing is occurring on Second Reading of the bill. None of the bills have been disapproved by the Planning Commission. Very few people speak on any of the items on Public Hearing. This is the only item on public hearing I find 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. This would give a property tax break to historic properties that are restored. I support this. I am a strong advocate of property rights and do not want to prohibit someone from tearing down a historic property but also want to see old significant buildings saved.  If we can incentivize people in preserving historic properties I favor it. This passes and is referred back to the Planning Committee for more work.
Resolutions. The consideration of resolutions begins at timestamp  1:43:19. Most resolutions are lumped together and passed on the "consent agenda."  If there is no dissension then the resolution is considered to have passed unanimously by all present.  Any member may have an item taken off of the consent agenda or have an abstention or "no" vote recorded. They may avoid voting in favor of a item on consent by being out of the room when the vote is taken. At the start of consideration of resolutions, Councilman Glover has Resolution RS2019-86 and Resolution RS2019-87 pulled off of consent.  I am so proud of him for this action. For way too long council members who don't agree with super liberal politically correct memorializing resolution have, nevertheless,  let them just slid on through without opposition.  It is time for that practice to end! These two resolutions are explained below.
Resolution RS2019-86  "request that the President of the United States and Congress of the United States 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." The resolution's sponsor, Councilman Robert Nash, speaks in favor of the resolution. At Large Council Member Zulfat Suara, Council Member Sandra Sepulveda, and Council Member Delishia Danielle Porterfield speak in favor and no one speaks in opposition. The vote is by machine and is 34 in favor, 3 abstentions, and 3 not voting.

While someone could have voted "no" or at least have explained why they were voting "abstain,"  I am not unhappy with this outcome.  The bill is so vaguely worded that one could reason that their understanding of what they want in comprehensive immigration reform is different than what someone else wants. I am sure President Trump's favors comprehensive immigration reform if it gave him adequate funding to build a wall and funded more immigration agents and courts and made some other changes to immigration policy.  Also, this really does nothing. It changes no policy and spends no money. It simply expresses the view of those who voted for it. If I had a vote, I would have voted "abstain."  See timestamp 2:03:07- 2:10:14 to see the deliberation. When the minutes are posted, I will report how each member of the Council voted.

Resolution RS2019-87 recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.The sponsor, Councilman Withers speaks in favor. No one speaks against it. I do not blame anyone for not speaking in opposition, but my objection is that we should not be pandering to the advocates of identity politics and that any loss of life is important and that 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 ....
This resolution 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. The vote is taken by machine and is 34 in favor, 2 abstentions and 4 not voting. Once the minutes are available, I will post the record of how members voted.
On the above two resolutions, I was unsure why there was a machine rather than voice vote. On the second one, the vote was taken by voice vote, and the Vice Mayor had moved to the next item of business and then came back to the resolution and had a machine vote.  He then explained this was because a Council rule requires a recorded vote on any resolution with a "no" vote or an abstention.
 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.  It is deferred one meeting..
Bill BL2019-31 would require a permit for all new fencing. This was deferred one meeting.  
Bills on Third Reading. This is the only one of interest.
Bill BL2019-1 raises the parking violation fee for most parking violations from $11 to $25. It passes. With the scarcity of parking places and the increase in the value of a parking space it seems reasonable to increase this fee. This will help fund parking meter modernization. 

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