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.

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." 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment