Friday, February 21, 2020

Mayor Cooper Submits Much Reduced First Capital Spending Plan

Metro Press release, 2/21/2020 -Today, Mayor John Cooper submitted his administration’s first Capital Spending Plan, and the first CSP since the newly-passed legislation that requires full itemization of funding for public projects before construction begins. The Capital Spending Plan contains the Mayor's recommendations of capital project requests from the capital improvements budget that the Administration would like to see approved and financed.

Because of the significant fiscal constraints facing Metro currently, the FY2020 Capital Spending Plan is much smaller than in previous years, focusing on emergency needs such as repairs, replacement and maintenance. The average Capital Spending Plan over the past four fiscal years was $441.8 million. This year’s CSP is $154 million, equally split between General Government and Metro Nashville Public Schools. The $72 million of Metro Schools projects (not including $10 million for contingencies) is a $12 million increase, or 20% over what MNPS received in last fiscal year’s Capital Spending Plan.

“As we navigate difficult financial times, the city faces urgent needs that must be met in order to maintain basic services and public safety,” said Mayor Cooper. “This is a fiscally responsible spending plan, and I’m proud we can make these much-needed investments, including half to our public schools.”

General Government project highlights include:

  • $4.6 million of matching funds to leverage Federal and State grant funding for Metro Transit Authority 
  • $12.2 million for paving, sidewalks, and roadways 
  • $17.2 million to complete the construction of the Sherriff’s headquarters. The FY2017 CSP appropriated $21 million, which was insufficient to complete construction. 
  • Funding for planning to replace two fire stations and the Health Department’s Woodbine Clinic; and funding to create a new mounted patrol barn facility. (Currently, these facilities are in a deteriorated and unsafe condition.) 
  • $12.0 million for two new police helicopters to phase out an aging fleet with safety concerns. Four of MNPD’s six helicopters are from 1970-1972.
Metro Schools’ project highlights include:
  • $22.9 million for Goodlettsville Elementary School replacement 
  • $4.8 million for bus and fleet vehicle replacements to meet state replacement schedules 
  • $1.0 million in roof repair 
  • $6.9 million in technology needs, comprised of student and staff computers and software 
  • $7.4 million in electrical upgrades across the district 
  • $20.7 million in HVAC upgrades across the district 
“It is wonderful to have a mayor who understands the importance of great facilities to providing a high-quality, equitable education to every child,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, interim director of schools. “The investments proposed by Mayor Cooper in the areas identified by our staff and School Board are critical to maintaining great educational and working environments for our students and staff.”

These projects represent the city’s most urgent needs. For FY2021, Mayor Cooper’s administration will be in communication with departments and plans to address additional needs later this calendar year.

Rod's Comment:  This plan is only about 35% of the amount budgeted in the past few Capital Spending Plans.  I commend Mayor Cooper for showing fiscal responsibility while addressing critical needs. He is governing as he said he would.

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Bridge at the fairgrounds takes council members by surprise

Members of the Metro Council were surprised to learn that the plans for fairground improvements to accommodate a new soccer stadium includes a bridge over Brown's Creek. Council members are learning about this for the first time and want to know who pays for it and how much will it cost. For more on this, follow this link.

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Gov. Lee's proposed generous paid family leave policy to be presented as a legislative proposal instead of an Executive Order.

by Rod Williams - A couple months ago Governor Bill Lee announced that he was issuing an executive order to grant 38,000 State employees with up to twelve weeks of paid family leave.  I may be mistaken but I believe the first public announcement of this was at a First Tuesday meeting where he spoke, where I was in attendance.  If that was not the first announcement of the policy it was news to those in attendance.  At that meeting, I recall him saying something to the effect that this would be accomplished by shifting money from various funds and would not require additional funding.

I remember thinking at the time, that it is not possible to institute such a generous employee  benefit without there being a fiscal impact.  Yes, it may be possible to trim a little here and there to get money to spend money elsewhere one time, but that is not therefore free money.  A benefit of this magnitude has a cost.

I remember after the First Tuesday meeting was over, standing near the elevator with other attendees discussing the announcement. The question everyone wondered about was how was he going to pay for this and some were perplexed that he could dismiss the cost of the policy as not an important factor. Well, legislators have had the same concerns.

Gov. Lee has now announced that he is reversing course and seeking legislation to implement the policy rather than doing so by executive order.  That is the right thing to do.  There will be a fiscal note. There will be a cost to the policy.

I am not necessarily opposed to the policy.  I am a new grandfather to a one-year old grandson and am pleased by daughter got to spend some weeks of paid leave with her new baby.  I think it is sad that a mother gives birth and has to immediately return to work.  I wish all mothers could stay home with their baby until the child started kindergarten but I do not expect the tax payers to fund such a policy.

It may be that when presented as a legislative proposal, the proposal may call for the employee benefit package to be adjusted to provide for this benefit and employee cost cut elsewhere.  Retirement dates could be extended or step increase periods be extended to pay for it or perhaps it can simply be budgeted as an additional expense. However it is proposed to be paid for, recognizing that it does cost something and is a decision for the legislature to make is the correct course of action.

For more on this, follow this link.




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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Nashville's population explosion has abruptly slowed, as newcomers settle elsewhere in the region

The growth in the 14-County Greater Nashville Metropolitan Area has slowed form 100 a day to 83 a day.  More of the growth within the greater metropolitan area is going to surrounding counties rather than to Davidson County.  Davidson County is growing at the rate of about 16 people a day,, down from about 25 a day.  Read more.

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Chairman Smithson Steps Down from DCRP

Press release - After over seven years of service to the Davidson County Republican Party, Chairman Melissa Smithson announced her resignation effective February 15, 2020.

"After considerable thought, it is with great sadness that I resign as Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party. Standing up for conservative causes in our city will always be my priority, but family circumstances at this time require my full attention," said Ms. Smithson. "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve and am proud of the work we have accomplished to grow the Nashville Republican Party. I know the members of the DCRP will continue to push the conservative agenda and vision forward. I hope in the future to be actively involved again and be an advocate for local issues."

Ms. Smithson has been a long-time activist in local Republican politics, including serving as the 2016 Trump Campaign County Co-Chair, and as a candidate for Council District 28. Ms. Smithson was part of the grassroots organization Save Our Fairgrounds and with StopAmp, serving as communication and social media director, and helped lead the NoTax4Tracks movement.

Rod's Comment: Melissa had done a great job leading the Davidson County Republican Party.  It has to be a frustrating job leading the Republican effort in a heavily Democratic county like this one. I wish Melissa well as she cares for her aging father and in all her endevors.

Melissa, Best wishes and may God bless you.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

What happened at the 2/18/20 Council meeting: I-440 held up, poor people's access to credit curtailed, new scooter regs deferred, ban on contracting for detention services deferred, vaping ban advances, Short-term rental restrictions pass.

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by Rod Williams - This meeting is two hours and 17 min. long. To access the agenda, agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link.

Following Pat Nolan's introductory comments, prayer, pledge, confirmation of appointments, and the comments from the public period in which two people spoke, the Council begins consideration of resolutions at timestamp 21:45.

Resolutions. Resolutions are passed by a single vote of the Council. Most are routine matters such as accepting grants and approving contracts and approving settling of law suits and approving signs overhanging sidewalks. Most are lumped together and passed as a group by the Council by a single vote.  These are the ones of interest.
Resolution RS2020-202 is "A resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement by and between the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation, and The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, acting by and through the Metropolitan Department of Public Works, for signal maintenance for I-440 Traffic Operational Deployment of Blue Toad Spectra Power over Ethernet (PoE) Data Collection Devices, State No. 99111-4604-04; PIN 125652.00 (Proposal No. 2020M-004AG-001)." This would normally pass without controversy, however there is an issue that I thought may make this controversial.  Many neighbors of the expanded I--440 corridor have complained of lighting pollution.  Some have said that prior to the expansion that they were not bothered by the I-440 lighting but now it shines in their house like a spotlight. Normally the Council would have little leverage to influence the State to address these concerns. If I were serving in the Council I would hold up passage of this resolution until the concerns of constituents were addressed. This is deferred one meeting but no explanation is offered.  I do not know if it was deferred for the reason I suggested or some other reason. 

Resolution RS2020-208 by Steve Glover. A resolution expressing the Metropolitan Council’s intention to support Mayor Cooper’s commitment to protect taxpayer dollars and focus the use of government resources on public safety and improvements to our school system. I supported this.  It is deferred indefinitely at the request of the sponsor. 

Resolution RS2020-209 is "A resolution requesting the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to support a change in state law to include stormwater utilities among the utilities covered under the Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority Act."  I do not know enough about this to have an opinion and since it is a memorializing resolution, the staff does not  explain this.  The sponsor speaks on the resolution but I am still not sure what this would accomplish.  I did not watch the committee meeting and this was probably explained at that meeting. In any event this is deferred two meetings
Resolution RS2020-211 ask the State to support legislation to limit the interest rate that can  be charged by title loan companies. I oppose this. I have no love for sleazy title loan companies. In my career, which has involved counseling low income people, I must have warned people a thousand times of the danger of using pay day lenders and title loan companies.  However, I don't want to protect people from making stupid decisions. Free people should be free to be stupid.  Also, there are times when a title loan may be the only loan a person can get and a bad loan in some cases may be better than no loan. Several people speak in favor of this. Robert Nash questions the wisdom of this action and says it is somewhat elitist to take away the only type of loan that some people can get. To see the discussion see timestamp 35:22 - 46:40. The resolution passes by a vote of 33 in favor, 6 abstaining and one voting "not voting." 
 Bills on Second Reading.

Bill BL2019-109 makes changes in the city policy toward scooter or what is termed "shared urban mobility devices.  This is deferred one meeting but since it had been previously deferred the effect is a indefinite deferral, "by rule." To be considered again, it would have to be reintroduced. The sponsor says this will be reconsidered after more work on the issue.  

Bill BL2020-115 (as amended) requires a security plan prior to obtaining a building permit for a parking structure constructed near a stadium, arena, or racetrack. Under this ordinance, no parking structure, as defined by the zoning administrator, could be constructed within 100 feet of a stadium, arena, or racetrack that accommodates or will accommodate 1,000 people or more unless a security plan prepared by a professional sports/entertainment facility security consultant is approved by the fire marshal and the department of codes administration. The security plan must, at a minimum, include mitigation mechanisms to protect spectators from attacks associated with explosives contained inside motor vehicles located on or within the parking structure. It is my understanding that this would be another obstacle in the way of the proposed MLS Fairground stadium. Also for security purposes, it does sound reasonable. I support this bill. To see the discussion see timestamp 50:00-  57:43. This fails by a vote of 16 in favor, 22 opposed, 1 voting to abstain and one voting "not voting."  

BILL NO. BL2020-148 (BENEDICT, WELSCH, & OTHERS) – This ordinance would prohibit Metro from entering into a new contract, or renewing an existing contract, with a private contractor to manage a Metro detention facility after June 30, 2022. The ordinance would also prohibit Metro from entering into or renewing a contract with the state for the detention of incarcerated persons if the contract permits a private contractor to manage the facility. "Profit" has become a dirty word for some people in recent years. For-profit prisons and schools have especially come under attack by progressives. I think government contracting for services is often, not always-but often, more cost-effective than government providing services directly, whether garbage collection, janitorial services, road construction or owning and managing prisons. I oppose this bill. Contracting for detention services should not be banned as an option. This is deferred to the first meeting in July. 

Bill BL2020-162 would prohibit vaping on hospital grounds and within the public right-of-way in the vicinity of hospital entrances. It is amended to include animal control facilities.  I oppose this bill. Vaping when using the products it was intended for is healthier than cigarettes. There is not evidence that vaping endangers any one but the person vaping. Can you imagine the person with a nicotine habit visiting a sick or dying loved one in the hospital and they need a smoke.? We may think it better if they did not have that habit, but in a time of stress is not the time to punish them for a habit of which we may not approve. Have some compassion! The Council should eject the nanny state and vote "no."  I commend Cortney Johnson and Robert Swope for speaking against the bill.  It passes by a voice vote on Second Reading.
Bills on Third Reading.
BILL NO. BL2019-111 (PARKER, TOOMBS, & SLEDGE) – This ordinance creates new “NS” (No STRP) districts for all zoning districts, except single and two family residential (R and RS), downtown code (DTC), and industrial districts (IWD, IR, and IG). These new NS zoning districts would be identical to all existing standards and all existing uses, except that owner occupied and not owner occupied uses would be prohibited in NS districts. This is another unnecessary attack on short term rentals and an attack on property rights. To see the discussion when on Second reading see timestamp 1:22:35- 2:07:22 at this link. There is no discussion on Third reading. On a roll call vote, the vote is 33 in favor, 2 "no", 4 "abstain," 1 "not voting." I could not see how everyone voted but two of my favorite councilmembers pleased me.  Steve Glover voted "no," and Courtney Johnson voted "abstain." 

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

"Marijuana Law Reform: It's About Freedom, Not Drugs" with Paul Kuhn. Wed Feb 26th 6:00pm - 7:30pm.

Wed Feb 26th 6:00pm - 7:30pm (CST)
 ADS Security, Suite 100, 3001 Armory Dr #100, Nashville, TN 37204,

AIER's Bastiat Society of Nashville invites you to our next event on February 26, with Paul Kuhn, entitled "Marijuana Law Reform: It's About Freedom, Not Drugs".

Legalization of marijuana is sweeping across the country, regarding medical use and recreational use. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) reports that one in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized.

Support for marijuana policy reform is clearly building. What are the pros and cons of this issue? Please join us for this important discussion.

This event is co-sponsored by The Beacon Center of Tennessee & The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) (affiliated with Middle Tennessee State University).

Registration is required: Register Here.

Schedule:
6:00 - 6:30PM: Networking
6:30 - 7:15PM: Presentation
7:15 - 7:30PM: Q&A

Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

More about the speaker:

Paul Kuhn has had a lengthy career as a principal in multiple Investment firms, most recently as Co-Founder and Principal, Woodmont Investment Counsel, LLC. Paul has also served in the US Navy. He became involved in marijuana reform in the 1970s and has held multiple positions with NORML, including as a board member of the NORML Foundation, a position he still holds. Marijuana legalization became a personal issue for him when his late wife, battling cancer, found that legal drugs totally failed, and cannabis worked perfectly.

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Don't forget to vote! Early voting continues through Feb. 25.

To view the sample ballot, follow this link

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Not one more American life should be stolen by sanctuary cities

The White House- “My grandmother was very generous and educated,” Daria Ortiz said. “She’s a shining example of when people come legally to this country, work hard, and do the right thing and are law-abiding citizens.”

Maria Fuertes, Ortiz’s grandmother, was raped and murdered last month in Queens, New York. She was 92.

Police charged illegal immigrant and alleged repeat criminal offender Reeaz Khan with Maria’s murder. Khan, from Guyana, had been arrested previously for assault. New York City released him from jail despite a detainer request from U.S. immigration officials.

Across the country, left-wing politicians use these so-called “sanctuary” policies to put dangerous, often violent criminals back on our streets. After all, “sanctuary cities” have nothing to do with protecting law-abiding immigrants: Their purpose is to stop the United States from deporting illegal aliens with criminal charges and convictions.

“The man that is responsible for this should have never had the opportunity to do this, had his multiple offenses not been ignored,” Ortiz said of her grandmother’s killer. “The system not only failed our family, but it failed our city.”

Ortiz joined President Trump at a White House event Friday to honor heroes from the U.S. Border Patrol. She thanked the Administration for acknowledging her family’s tragedy while so many others ignore the human cost of sanctuary cities.

“Not one more American life should be stolen by sanctuary cities,” President Trump told her. “That’s why we’re calling on Congress to pass legislation giving American victims the right to sue sanctuary cities and hold them accountable for the suffering and the damages that they’ve caused.”

#
Rod's Comment:  The point of posting this is not to unfairly demonize illegal aliens.  Many of them are no doubt good people trying to flee desperate situations. If I were a citizen of Guyna or El Salvador or Guatemala or Honduras I would probably try to illegally slip into the United States too.  Understanding why one would illegally enter the United States and to sympathize with their plight does not excuse their illegal action.  We have to protect our borders and we can't just allow all of the desperate people from all of the crime-ridden, poverty-stricken,  and dysfunctional places of the world to move to America.

Posting this is not too suggest that illegal aliens commit more crime than legal Americans.  Some studies show they commit fewer.

My point is posting this is to say that politician in New York City have blood on their hands for allowing this murder to occur. This was a preventable murder. Multiple offences were ignored.  The man was in custody and U. S. immigration officials had issued a detainer request ignored by New York City.

Nashville is not a sanctuary city, but we came as close to the line as you could get without going over, and if not for the State of Tennessee, Nashville would be a sanctuary city.  Sanctuary cities should be punished and victims of crimes that occurred due to city being a sanctuary city should have the right to sue their city.

I agree with President Trump, “Not one more American life should be stolen by sanctuary cities.”

For more on the story see:
She Was 92 and Loved Cats. An Attack Left Her Dead on the Street.

Maria Fuertes' granddaughter explains why she blames New York's sanctuary policies for her grandmother's death.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

What is on the Council agenda for 2-18-2020: New rules for Scooters, banning vaping, banning contracting for detention services.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, February 18th at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council agenda staff analysis. Below are the  items of interest.

Public Comment Period. This time is 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. So far this opportunity has not been used for grandstanding by activist.

Resolutions. Resolutions are passed by a single vote of the Council. Most are routine matters such as accepting grants and approving contracts and approving settling of law suits and approving signs overhanging sidewalks. Most are lumped together and passed as a group by the Council by a single vote.  These are the ones of interest.

Resolution RS2020-202 is  "A resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement by and between the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation, and The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, acting by and through the Metropolitan Department of Public Works, for signal maintenance for I-440 Traffic Operational Deployment of Blue Toad Spectra Power over Ethernet (PoE) Data Collection Devices, State No. 99111-4604-04; PIN 125652.00 (Proposal No. 2020M-004AG-001)." This would normally pass without controversy, however there is an issue that may make this controversial.  Many neighbors of the expanded I--440 corridor have complained of lighting pollution.  Some have said that prior to the expansion that they were not bothered by the I-440 lighting but now is shines in their house like a spotlight. Normally the Council would have litter leverage to influence the State to address these concerns. If I were serving in the Council I would hold up passage of this resolution until the concerns of constituents were addressed.
Resolution RS2020-208 by Steve Glover. A resolution expressing the Metropolitan Council’s intention to support Mayor Cooper’s commitment to protect taxpayer dollars and focus the use of government resources on public safety and improvements to our school system. I support this.
Resolution RS2020-209 is "A resolution requesting the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to support a change in state law to include stormwater utilities among the utilities covered under the Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority Act."  I do not know enough about this to have an opinion and since it is a memorializing resolution, the staff does not  explain this.  This needs scrutiny.
Resolution RS2020-211 ask the State to support legislation to limit the interest rate that can  be charged by title loan companies. I oppose this. I have no love for sleazy title loan companies. In my career, which has involved counseling low income people, I must have warned people a thousand times of the danger of using pay day lenders and title loan companies.  However I don't want to protect people from making stupid decisions. Free people should be free to be stupid.  Also, there are tunes when a title loan may be the only loan a person can get and a bad loan may be better than no loan. 

Bills on Second Reading.
Bill BL2019-109 makes changes in the city policy toward scooter or what is termed "shared urban mobility devices.  Back in July 2019 the Council passed a bill cancelling all scooter permits and allowing existing scooter companies to operate with half the number of scooters they currently had on the streets while the Traffic and Parking came up with a RFP (request for proposal) system to replace the current system. This bill extends the time the Traffic and Parking Commission has to develop its RFP system and changes the guidelines for what would be in the RFP. Some of the guidelines are more specific and this also authorizes the Traffic and Parking Commission to set fees to charge to the scooter companies to carry out the enforcement of the agreements. The Commission would not have to come back before the Council to have their fee amount approved. This is better than the previous bill in my view in that it does not limit the number of providers of scooters to only three, however it restrict each provider to only 500 scooters. I don't support that restriction because there may be some economy of scale. This requires the RFP to have a commitment to safety including helmets. I don't like requiring helmets. There is a lot in this I don't like, but I fear if this does not pass a complete ban may pass and I do not want to see scooters banned. So if I had a vote, I would reluctantly voted for this bill.
Bill BL2020-115 (as amended) requires a security plan prior to obtaining a building permit for a parking structure constructed near a stadium, arena, or racetrack. Under this ordinance, no parking structure, as defined by the zoning administrator, could be constructed within 100 feet of a stadium, arena, or racetrack that accommodates or will accommodate 1,000 people or more unless a security plan prepared by a professional sports/entertainment facility security consultant is approved by the fire marshal and the department of codes administration. The security plan must, at a minimum, include mitigation mechanisms to protect spectators from attacks associated with explosives contained inside motor vehicles located on or within the parking structure. It is my understanding that this would be another obstacle in the way of the proposed MLS Fairground stadium. Also for security purposes, it does sound reasonable. I support this bill.
BILL NO. BL2020-148 (BENEDICT, WELSCH, & OTHERS) – This ordinance would prohibit Metro from entering into a new contract, or renewing an existing contract, with a private contractor to manage a Metro detention facility after June 30, 2022. The ordinance would also prohibit Metro from entering into or renewing a contract with the state for the detention of incarcerated persons if the contract permits a private contractor to manage the facility. "Profit" has become a dirty word for some people in recent years. For-profit prisons and schools have especially come under attack by progressives. I think government contracting for services is often, not always-but often, more cost-effective than government providing services directly, whether garbage collection, janitorial services, road construction or owning and managing prisons. I oppose this bill. Contracting for detention services should not be banned as an option.
Bill BL2020-162 would prohibit vaping on hospital grounds and within the public right-of-way in the vicinity of hospital entrances. I oppose this. Vaping when using the products it was intended for is healthier than cigarettes. Vaping endangers no one but the person vaping. Can you imagine the person with a nicotine habit visiting a sick or dying loved one in the hospital and they need a smoke.? We may think it better if they did not have that habit, but in a time of stress is not the time to punish them for a habit of which we may not approve. Have some compassion. Reject the nanny state and vote "no."   None of the bills on Third Reading are of interest.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Mayor John Cooper Issues Statement on Finalized Soccer Stadium Deal

Metro Press release, 2/13/2020 - Mayor John Cooper today issued the following statement on the finalized soccer stadium deal:

Today is an exciting step forward for sports in Nashville. We’ve reached an agreement and I expect work to start on the soccer stadium project in a matter of days.
When I came into office, I inherited an incomplete deal that was not fully funded and did not provide for the success of all the uses of our historic Fairgrounds. I could not, in good faith, obligate taxpayers to more money or uncertainty around potential litigation.
This deal lives up to our commitments to soccer, the Metro Charter, the other uses of the Fairgrounds, and my commitment to put taxpayers first in negotiations.
I’m grateful to Nashville Soccer Holdings and John Ingram for understanding our city’s financial realities and for partnering on a better solution for our city.
Major League Soccer will be a great entertainment and economic asset to our city. I believe this is the best available implementation of the commitment Metro Council made to professional soccer.
We accomplished three things by taking a closer look at the soccer deal.
      1. We eliminated financial risk to taxpayers by removing the rent guarantee on the stadium. That is a savings worth up to $35 million over the next decade. 
      2. The soccer ownership group agreed to pay for infrastructure work that would have cost taxpayers at least $19 million. 
      3. And finally, in addition to saving $54 million, the result is a more unified, successful Fairgrounds, by providing open space between the soccer stadium and the historic speedway. 
This agreement allows for a better site plan, providing great civic space that connects the stadium, historic speedway, state fair and exhibition halls, and it will bring up to $650 million of investment to the Fairgrounds.
I’m proud to say that the Community Benefits Agreement has been preserved and confirmed by language included in this new arrangement. I’m also excited by Speedway Motorsports’ desire to partner in bringing NASCAR back to Nashville, and I will work to try to make that happen.
I’m ready for the first Nashville SC game on February 29, and I am excited to move forward with the rest of my policy agenda to create a city that works for everyone.

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Save Our Fairgrounds to file injunction to stop MLS stadium deal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The city is facing another lawsuit from a local group after Mayor John Cooper and Nashville SC reached a deal to move forward with the construction of a Major League Soccer stadium. In order to build the stadium, facilities at the fairgrounds have to be demolished. The group Save our Fairgrounds say they plan to file an injunction Friday to stop the project.

Save our Fairgrounds say they need these buildings so they can host the state fair, and tearing them down violates the Metro Charter. (continue reading)

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Mayor John Cooper, Nashville SC reach new agreement on MLS stadium at Nashville fairgrounds

by Rod Williams - The mayor got a much improved deal for the city. However, I am disappointed. I wanted him to kill the deal.  This deal reduces the liability of the tax payers but it still gives away prime real estate to the soccer stadium investors and makes other uses of the fairground less viable.  Thankfully this is not over.  There is a lawsuit that may yet kill the deal. I am not against soccer but think it should be located somewhere other than the fairgrounds.

See The Tennessean: Mayor John Cooper, Nashville SC reach new agreement on MLS stadium at Nashville fairgrounds.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mayor John Cooper Announces Comprehensive Evaluation of Traffic Management Operations Throughout Metro Nashville. Maybe "smart traffic" is on the way.

Metro Press release, 2/12/2020 - Mayor John Cooper today announced the Mayor’s Office and Department of Public Works has kicked off a comprehensive evaluation of traffic management operations throughout Metro Nashville. An assessment of Metro’s traffic and signal management system, a modern traffic control center, and staffing required to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety for all traffic will be performed.

“Nashville’s traffic problems need smart, 21st century solutions, and smarter traffic management is low-hanging fruit to improve congestion on our roadways,” said Mayor John Cooper. “There’s no good reason that our drivers should be spending 20 percent more than the national average commuting. I’m confident that my transportation team, led by Faye DiMassimo, and Metro Public Works will determine a right-sized traffic management solution for Nashville.”

The evaluation will consider the capabilities and pain points of the existing Metro signal network, the benefits of an adaptive vs. responsive traffic signal control system, current IT infrastructure, and other existing signal equipment. Additionally, Metro’s traffic management operations will be evaluated against nine peer systems, including:

  • Georgia DOT, GA 
  • Cobb County, GA 
  • Los Angeles, CA 
  • Anaheim, CA 
  • Orlando, FL 
  • Utah DOT, UT 
  • Charlotte, NC 
  • Denver, CO 
  • DC DOT 
The goal of the traffic management operations evaluation is to provide the Mayor’s Office and Department of Public Works with both short-term solutions and a long-term roadmap to more efficiently control traffic flow, manage incidents, and provide traffic-related information to travelers. The evaluation will also be followed by a signal modernization/optimization demonstration project for a portion of the Downtown Nashville area.

Rod's Comment: I commend Mayor Cooper for taking this common sense step. Improving traffic flow is the low-hanging fruit of improving our traffic problem. From time to time Metro has, with some fanfair, announced the synchronization of traffic signals. That helps on major thoroughfares for a short while but only for a short while as traffic volumes and patterns change and soon the synchronized traffic lights need to be adjusted and are soon out of sync.

What is sometimes called "smart traffic" is much more sophisticated than just synchronizing traffic signals. With smart traffic, signals are adjusted in real time to most efficiently move traffic. Below are a couple article that explain the concept:
4 Ways Cities Are Using Smart Technology To Control Traffic Congestion
Smart traffic control: the Pittsburgh example
7 Smart city solutions to reduce traffic congestion

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Major League Soccer is squeezing out Nashville Fairgrounds events that voters supported

by Shane Smiley, Guest Columnist, The Tennessean, Feb.11, 2020 - ... Placing MLS at the Fairgrounds is attempting to stuff a large venue in a place that is utilized to build dreams for others. Many of our events utilize the entire property. MLS needs its own venue to grow and thrive. The Fairgrounds needs the same for our events to grow and thrive. Squeezing down the existing events to accommodate another large scale venue is counter productive to the potential and success of any of the entities.

Remember, The Fairgrounds was presented as the only option to the ownership group by past city leaders with a long term goal of doing away with the existing events and Fairgrounds needs the same for our events to grow and thrive. Squeezing down the existing events to accommodate another large scale venue is counter productive to the potential and success of any of the entities.

Remember, The Fairgrounds was presented as the only option to the ownership group by past city leaders with a long term goal of doing away with the existing events and redeveloping the property, in spite of the nearly 71% who voted against redevelopment in the 2011 referendum. The Fairgrounds proposal violates the charter in numerous ways. The new expo takes the Flea Market from 2,000 booths to 1,400: A 30% reduction with no room for growth.

Shane Smiley is a board member of The Nashville Flea Market Vendors Association. Read the full article at this link

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Dear Mayor Cooper, Walk away from the deal.


This campaign is an effort of Americans for Prosperity.

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Another win for quality education and school choice. State overturns MNPS decision, allows Nashville Classical Charter School to expand enrollment

The Tennessean - Nashville Classical Charter School will be allowed to expand its maximum enrollment by 77 students after the state's education board overturned a November local decision.

The decision by the Tennessee State Board of Education marks the third time in recent months that it has overturned a Nashville school board charter school decision. The state board unanimously voted on Friday to overturn the decision. (continue reading)

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Mayor's Op-Ed: A Stadium Deal That Works For Everyone

John Cooper
by Mayor John Cooper - Nashville is very much open for business, and we are in the business of stewarding taxpayer dollars and public assets. A mayor should negotiate for the whole city and be a voice for every resident.

Addressing the shortcomings of a financially unimplementable soccer stadium deal has taken longer than I would have liked, but a thoughtful process takes time. I’m committed to making soccer a success. I’m honoring Metro’s commitment to build a stadium. Now, we need a financially sustainable path forward for soccer that enhances and preserves the historical uses of the fairgrounds. I’d like to explain the process and my guiding principles as I serve as your mayor.

In my campaign’s policy platform book, I wrote: “Only a mayor can turn the page and usher in an era of good management. As mayor, I will put taxpayers first in negotiations.” I take that commitment to put taxpayers first very seriously. As a council member, I opposed the stadium deal because of cost concerns and the lack of any site selection process. As mayor, I’ve tried to put taxpayers first while being mindful of Metro’s prior commitments. Being a negotiator for the whole city doesn’t mean reflexively saying “yes” or “no”; rather, it means speaking up to say, “Not yet — let’s see if we can make this financially workable and beneficial to the county.”

I recognized the importance of keeping Metro’s commitment to soccer. Metro’s pledge of $225 million in revenue bonds for the stadium and $25 million for related infrastructure was never in question. But the previous arrangement included financial risk and cost overruns untenable for a budget-constrained city with urgent needs in education, transportation, affordable housing, public safety and neighborhood infrastructure. I could not, in good faith, commit to using additional taxpayer dollars on a private entertainment subsidy.

I’ve focused on controlling costs and creating a better site at our historic fairgrounds. I believe Nashvillians will be proud of the results. I’d like to unpack the $54 million in cost savings and explain my vision for the fairgrounds campus.

The historic fairgrounds campus deserves a master plan that works for all its uses and visitors. If we successfully integrate soccer and new development with enhanced historical uses, our fairgrounds will be one of Nashville’s signature public spaces. One historical use is auto racing, which is mandated by our Metro Charter. I’m working to find a path for racing’s success, and in these negotiations, I’ve secured additional space to allow for necessary speedway improvements. Higher-level auto racing will attract more visitors and ensure the long-term sustainability of the fairgrounds.

I’m hopeful that the 2.4 acres between the soccer stadium and the speedway (“Parcel 8c”) can be redesigned to create a public plaza worthy of the two great sports in neighboring 30,000-seat venues. A multi-functional plaza would address the operational needs of multiple fairgrounds uses, create open space on a campus home to Fair Park and Browns Creek Greenway, and shape a unified and beautiful fairgrounds for generations.

Negotiating for the whole city means making sure taxpayers are not responsible for covering private investors’ risk. The original financing arrangement for the stadium included a “Rent Reduction Guaranty” by Metro. That meant taxpayers would have paid up to $35 million in the event of soccer revenue shortfalls. As a result of our talks, this risk now falls on Nashville Soccer Holdings. That $35 million saved is $3 million more than the annual budget for all our public libraries. When reviewing updated cost estimates, I was concerned that stadium-related infrastructure would cost roughly $19 million more than expected. The private investors — not taxpayers — have agreed to pay this bill. That savings alone is enough to pay for two brand-new fire stations.

Throughout the process, I’ve remained fully supportive of the community benefits agreement between Stand Up Nashville and Nashville Soccer Holdings. Metro government was never party to that agreement, but I am working to support its enforcement by including reference to the CBA in the lease agreement.

We are an ambitious city that can welcome a new sport, save taxpayers millions and create welcoming public spaces. Nashville will keep growing, and I pledge to continue working to make sure our growth is people-centric, neighborhood-friendly and financially sustainable. And in so many ways — from our streets to our schools — Metro needs to catch up to the growth we have already experienced. I am excited to move forward with the rest of my policy agenda to create a city that works for everyone.

Rod's Comment: The above was an op-ed published in The Tennessean on Sunday, February 9, 2020. I commend Mayor Cooper for negotiating a better deal for the city.  However, it is my wish that none of the fairground land be given to private developers and that the city not participate in financing a soccer stadium at all.

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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Former Mayor Megan Barry preaches fidelity to commitments.

Umm, let me think about that.

Megan Marry wants us to honor the sweetheart deal that screwed the taxpayers by giving away some prime fairground real estate to some well-connected wealthy developers and violated the will of the people who went to the polls and voted to protect the fairgrounds.

First of all, I do not value advice from Megan Barry about fidelity to commitments.

See, Former mayor Megan Barry on MLS stadium: "They expect us to honor our commitments."

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What happened at the Feb.4 Council meeting: Most of the bad stuff deferred, including prohiting contracting for detention facilities. Anti short-term rental bill advances



by Rod Williams - This meeting is three and a half hours long. To access the agenda, agenda analysis and my partial commentary on the agenda follow this link. To see the meeting minutes follow this link. Below is my summary of the meeting listing what I deem the most important items on the agenda. This meeting includes public hearing on zone changes and related matters. If that concerns you, you are on your on.  Since all were approved by the Planning Commission and I am not very interested in rezoning bills, I skipped that part except for the bills regarding short-term rentals.

Following Pat Nolan's introduction, the call to order, the  prayer, pledge and some announcements the Council takes up elections and confirmations including appointments to the Community Oversite Board.  I do not know any of the candidates and the voting seems to show that there is no ideological division in the way council members voted. One of the candidates, Samuel X, is a student minister with The Nation of Islam and he got the votes of only two members that being Council Members Hurt and Suara. There were six candidates to fill three seats. If you care about who voted for which candidate, see the minutes at this link. Filling these seats is somewhat complicated. If you wants to watch the explanations and the process, see timestamp 15:53 - 37:35.

Special Committee Reports: At the start of this term of the Council, the Vice mayor appointed eight special committees to look at different issues facing the city.  The mayor has each chairman of one of these special committees to provide and up to a  three minute synopsis of the committee's findings. The chairmen of the various committees present some interesting findings and good suggestions. I recommend you watch this segment of the council meeting. To view these committee report presentations see timestamp 41:55- 1:13:13.  Also the Committee reports of each committee is posted online at this link. I plan to read these reports.

Public Hearing: 

BILL NO. BL2019-78 (SLEDGE) – This ordinance requires a minimum distance for a new Short Term Rental Property - Not Owner-Occupied from churches, schools, daycares, and parks. No new STRP permit could be located less than 100 feet from a religious institution, a school or its playground, a park, or a licensed day care center or its playground, unless, after a public hearing, a resolution receiving 21 affirmative votes is adopted by the Council. In my view this is uncalled for. I oppose this bill. I live on a street with several short-term rentals and have never had a problem.  I have one diagonally across the street from me.  Maybe some people do have a problem but that indicates a need for more enforcement not making it more difficult to have short-term rental.  There is a greater likelihood of complaints against owner-occupied housing and long-term rental housing that there is from short-term rental.  The bill is deferred  until March 5th.
BILL NO. BL2019-111 (PARKER, TOOMBS, & SLEDGE) – This ordinance creates new “NS” (No STRP) districts for all zoning districts, except single and two family residential (R and RS), downtown code (DTC), and industrial districts (IWD, IR, and IG). These new NS zoning districts would be identical to all existing standards and all existing uses, except that owner occupied and not owner occupied uses would be prohibited in NS districts. This is another unnecessary attack on short term rentals and an attack on property rights.  To see the discussion see timestamp 1:22:35- 2:07:22.  After some discussion it passes on a voice vote.
Resolutions: All were routine non-controversial resolutions.

Second Reading:
Bill BL2020-115 (as amended) requires a security plan prior to obtaining a building permit for a parking structure constructed near a stadium, arena, or racetrack. Under this ordinance, no parking structure, as defined by the zoning administrator, could be constructed within 100 feet of a stadium, arena, or racetrack that accommodates or will accommodate 1,000 people or more unless a security plan prepared by a professional sports/entertainment facility security consultant is approved by the fire marshal and the department of codes administration. The security plan must, at a minimum, include mitigation mechanisms to protect spectators from attacks associated with explosives contained inside motor vehicles located on or within the parking structure. It is my understanding that this would be another obstacle in the way of the proposed MLS Fairground stadium. Also for security purposes, it does sound reasonable. I support this bill. It is deferred one meeting.
BILL NO. BL2020-148 (BENEDICT, WELSCH, & OTHERS) – This ordinance would amend Section 4.12.240 of the Metro Code pertaining to future contracts with private operators of detention facilities. Ordinance No. BL2017-542 established Section 4.12.240 to require future contracts for correctional facility management services to be approved by the Metro Council, and to require reports to be submitted by the contractor to the Council regarding contractor performance for future contracts. This ordinance would delete those requirements from the 2017 ordinance and substitute with new provisions that would prohibit Metro from entering into a new contract, or renewing an existing contract, with a private contractor to manage a Metro detention facility after June 30, 2022. The ordinance would also prohibit Metro from entering into or renewing a contract with the state for the detention of incarcerated persons if the contract permits a private contractor to manage the facility. "Profit" has become a dirty word for some people in recent years. For-profit prisons and schools have especially come under attack by progressives. I think government contracting for services is often, not always-but often, more cost-effective than government providing services directly, whether garbage collection, janitorial services, road construction or owning and managing prisons. I oppose this bill. Contracting for detention services should not be banned as an option. This is deferred one meeting.
BILL NO. BL2020-149 would require landlords to provide at least 90 days’ written notice to tenants before increasing the tenant’s rent. This is likely to reduce the availability of affordable housing and raise rent prices. This type interference in the market hardly ever achieves the desired result. There is already the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) which requires a 30-day notice. Nashville should not have a more restrictive rule than other places in Tennessee. This needs to be defeated. If it does pass, I hope the State invalidates it. It is deferred two meetings
Bills on Third Reading 
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 concept. I don't want to require property owners to preserve historic properties but I support incentives that encourage historic preservation. Apparently, according to comments by the sponsor,  a study found there would be a significant loss of tax revenue if this bill was enacted. I am surprised that enough properties would qualify to make the tax loss significant.  The sponsor defers the bill indefinitely which means it is dead.  The sponsor says he plans to continue working on the issue and will bring something similar back before the Council. Bill BL2019-49 was related to 2019-3 and it is also deferred indefinitely. 

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Friday, February 7, 2020

NFIB, Beacon Center, Americans for Prosperity, others to rally for "no taxation on my occupation."

NFIB press release, NASHVILLE (Feb. 7, 2020) – NFIB, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, will partner with other business groups at the State Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 11, and urge lawmakers to repeal Tennessee’s onerous professional privilege tax. Other groups taking part in the “No Taxation on My Occupation” lobby day include the Beacon Center of Tennessee, Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tennessee Medical Association, Tennessee Bar Association, and NAIFA Tennessee.

The coalition’s lobby day will begin with a rally in the state Senate chamber at 8 a.m. Invited speakers include Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton. Following the rally, coalition members will meet with their legislators and urge them to vote “yes” on Governor Lee’s administration legislation, Senate Bill 2201/House Bill 2268.

Professionals from across Tennessee also will engage senators in Senate Hearing Room II at 11 a.m. Last year, the General Assembly eliminated the privilege tax on 15 professions but kept it in place for financial planners, doctors, and lawyers. The legislation would reduce the remaining $400 privilege tax to $200.

“Governor Lee’s proposed legislation is an excellent step in the right direction to full repeal of this unfair, arbitrary tax,” said Jim Brown, the National Federation of Independent Business' state director for Tennessee. “No professional should be taxed simply to go to work.”

To learn more about the “No Taxation on My Occupation” coalition, visit www.notaxtn.com. To learn more about NFIB in Tennessee, visit www.NFIB.com/TN and follow @NFIB_TN on Twitter.

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More on Lamar Alexander Got it Right.


The House managers had proved their case to his satisfaction even without new witnesses, Mr. Alexander added, but “they do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse told reporters “let me be clear: Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us.”

This isn’t an abdication. It’s a wise judgment based on what Mr. Trump did and the rushed, partisan nature of the House impeachment. Mr. Trump was wrong to ask Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, and wrong to use U.S. aid as leverage. His call with Ukraine’s President was far from “perfect.” It was reckless and self-destructive, as Mr. Trump often is.



In his statement, Alexander expressed the correct view on the underlying matter — one we have been urging Republicans to publicly adopt since impeachment first got off the ground.

The Tennessee Republican said that it has been amply established that Donald Trump used a hold on defense aid to pressure the Ukrainians to undertake the investigations that he wanted, and that this was, as he mildly put it, inappropriate. But this misconduct, he argued, doesn’t rise to the level of the high crimes and misdemeanors required to remove a president from office. If the Senate were to do so anyway, it would further envenom the nation’s partisan divide. Besides, there is a national election looming where the public itself can decide whether Trump should stay in office or not.



Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander’s words reminded me of the struggle my father, John Doar, had as he considered whether the conduct of President Richard Nixon was so serious that it should lead the House to impeach him and the Senate to remove him from office. Dad was in charge of the House Judiciary Committee staff, which took seven months (between December 1973 and July 1974) to examine the evidence and consider the question. What he concluded, and what the House Judiciary Committee by bipartisan majorities also found, was that Nixon deserved impeachment and removal for a pattern of conduct over a multi-year period that both obstructed justice and abused power.

President Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, though inappropriate, differs significantly from Nixon’s in one crucial respect. Where Nixon’s impeachable abuse of power occurred over a period of several years, the conduct challenged by the House’s impeachment of Trump was not nearly as prolonged. From July to September of last year, Trump attempted to cajole a foreign government to open an investigation into his political opponent. That conduct was wrong. But it’s not the same as what Nixon did over multiple years.



Alexander now finds himself being excoriated by both sides. The Trump supporters will never forget his failure to fall in line and salute. The anti-Trumpers are expressing their disappointment.

I’ve never been a Lamar fan. But I would like to make the case that he did exactly the right thing and he expressed the position of the majority of his Republican colleagues. He, and anyone who has been paying attention, says Trump did what he was accused of and what he did was wrong – inappropriate. But it did not rise to the level of removing him from office. There was no point in listening to additional witnesses and dragging things out. Everyone knew he was guilty. But if Trump is to be removed from office, let the voters do it.

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Nashville Mayor John Cooper Announces Filing of Metro Lawsuit Against State Of Tennessee Over School Voucher Law

Metro Press Release - Mayor John Cooper and Metro Law Director Bob Cooper have announced that the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, including the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education, today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the State of Tennessee’s controversial 2019 voucher law.

The 44-page suit, filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, names the Tennessee Department of Education, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, and Governor Bill Lee as defendants, and outlines multiple ways in which the voucher law, known as the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program, violates the state constitution. Shelby County also joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Mayor John Cooper described litigation as a “last-resort response” to state policies that strain the budget of Metro Nashville Public Schools and shift unfunded mandates to local taxpayers.

“We must do all we can to protect Metro’s resources, especially when it concerns our public-school students and educators,” Mayor Cooper said. “Ensuring a bright future for Nashville requires more, not less, investment in our public schools. It is both my job and the responsibility of this administration not only to protect Metro’s limited resources for public school funding but to seek more public education investment from the state.”

“The bottom line is, Tennessee’s voucher law was intentionally designed to impact just two counties based on politics, not policy,” said Bob Cooper, Director of the Metro Department of Law.

“We believe a complete vetting in chancery court will demonstrate that the law violates our state constitution and undermines our local government’s ability to deliver adequately funded public education.”

With 86,000 students, MNPS is the 42nd-largest school system in the U.S. and the second largest in Tennessee. In 2017, the Nashville school board voted to join Shelby County Schools in suing the state over inadequate funding of the Basic Education Program – and the board has, over several years, expressed fiscal and policy concerns about vouchers.

“As advocates for our city’s public-school students and stewards of finite taxpayer resources, we are resolved to stand up against vouchers,” said Anna Shepherd, chair of the nine-member school board. “When the Governor and state lawmakers ignore our concerns, the only remaining option is the judicial branch. We’re grateful for Mayor Cooper and the Metro Department of Law’s leadership in this litigation.”

“Vouchers have been a failed experiment wherever they are tried and seek to only undermine public schools,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, interim director of schools. “Instead of seeking ways to disinvest from our classrooms and teachers, I would welcome a collaborative relationship with state leaders on how we can work together to invest in proven strategies that result in the best outcomes for our students.”

According to Metro’s lawsuit, the voucher law — which targets only MNPS and Shelby County Schools — runs afoul of the state constitution in at least three areas. First, the law violates the constitution’s “home rule” provision limiting the Tennessee General Assembly’s ability to narrowly draw legislation to affect local communities without local consent. Second, the law violates the constitution’s equal protection clauses by diluting public school funding in Davidson and Shelby counties without doing the same in other counties. Third, the law violates the constitution’s mandate that the legislature “provide for the maintenance, support, and eligibility standards of a system of free public schools.”

As a remedy, the lawsuit is seeking a court order declaring the voucher law to be “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unenforceable” and injunctions preventing state officials from implementing the law. Mayor Cooper pledged to keep taxpayers updated as the litigation winds through the court system in the coming months.

Rod's Comment: I am disappointed that Mayor Cooper and our school board are opposing innovation, opportunity, and parental choice instead of embracing it.

Tennessee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program is planned to launch this school year in Davidson County, Shelby County, and the Achievement School District. Under the ESA program, eligible students can use state and local Basic Education Program (BEP) funds toward expenses, such as tuition or fees, at participating private schools. When a student leaves the district public school, it is true that the local school system loses the state funds they would have received for educating that student, but they also no longer have that student to educate.  This is no different than if a family moves from Davidson County to Wilson County; Davidson County loses that BEP funding but they no longer are educating that student.

In his first State of the State address last March, Governor Lee said, “Low income students deserve the same opportunity as every other kid in this state, and we will need a bold plan that will help level the playing field. We need to challenge the status quo, increase competition, and not slow down until every student in Tennessee has access to a great education. We’re not going to get big results from our struggling schools by nibbling around the edges. That is why we need education savings accounts in Tennessee this year.”

I agree with Governor Lee. 

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Mayor's Night Out

Metro Press release- Mayor's Night Out, 2/13/2020, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Mayor John Cooper is excited for the next Mayor’s Night Out event where Nashville residents are invited to voice their opinions, questions, and concerns in one-on-one conversations with the Mayor and Metro department leaders. At this event will be:

  • Mayor John Cooper 
  • Jill Speering (MNPS Board Member) 
  • Council Member Jennifer Gamble (District 3) 
  • Council Member Sean Parker (District 5) 
  • Council Member Emily Benedict (District 7) 
  • Council Member Nancy VanReece (District 8) 
  • Council Member Tonya Hancock (District 9) 
  • Council Member Zach Young (District 10) 
  • Metro department employees 
Note: There will be no availability for interviews or questions and answers at this event.

Location:  Madison Middle School, 300 Old Hickory Blvd. W.,  Madison, TN 37115

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Metro Nashville Budget Information Meetings

The following is from the email newsletter of Councilman Jeff Syracuse:

As part of the upcoming Metro budget season, CM Bob Mendes and CM Kyzonte Toombs (Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the Budget & Finance Committee) will host meetings across the county to get feedback about the challenges we face and options ahead of us. Thanks to CM Erin Evans for putting this graphic together. Here are all the meetings.

I suspect these meetings will focus on the need for new revenue and be short on calls for cutting waste and increasing efficiencies. At-large Councilmember Bob Mendes unsuccessfully sought to raise property taxes for each of the last two years.  In making committee assignments, Vice mayor Shulman passed over Budget and Finance Vice Chair Kevin Rhoten and instead gave the leadership position to Mendes. Rhoten had voted against the property tax increase proposals.  With Mendes in the driver's seat the chance to pass a tax hike is enhanced.

Despite anticipating that these meetings will be skewed to build a case for a tax hike, I encourage engaged citizens to attend in order to understand the budgetary issues facing our city and the arguments advocates of a tax increase will make.

There is a lot of information about the city budget on line and you can find it at this link.

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