Thursday, June 18, 2020

Radicals lose fight to defund police, instead Council increases police funding by $2.6 million.

Ginny Welch.
Attempt to slash police budget.
by 42% failed.
Russ Pulley.
Successfully added $2.6 million
 to fund additional police.
by Rod Williams- While I would have preferred a no-tax-increase budget, our pubic safety functions are in need of additional funding. If I were creating the budget I would have tried to modestly increase funding for these services. The police, the 911 call center, ETMs and fire fighters are all understaffed. I would have defunded, reduced or suspended funds for General Hospital, the Human Relations Commission, the Barnes Fund, non-profits, the arts, parks, MTA. the Chamber, the bike lane program, recycling, and the sidewalk program. I would have dropped the idea that no metro employee should ever lose their job. Byond these cuts, I would have cut library branches, hours or days until the budget balanced. Leadership could have sold such a budget to the public. People can understand that when you lose income, you have to cut expenses.

General Hospital can't fill its beds and poor people have other options ever since Medicaid. Not every city has a charity hospital; it is not required. Even our former progressive mayor Megan Barry proposed closing General. Most recyclables goes to the land fill anyway and the price tag of the program went up $1.5 million this year. It should be suspended until we determine the future of recycling. No one uses the bike lanes, or almost no one. We can halt expansion and no one would notice. We spend millions on sidewalks and don't get new ones. We mostly replace barely deteriorated sidewalks with new clean sidewalks. We should suspend the program until we find out why. In a time of crisis, until revenue returns we can temporarily reduce library service. We could have balanced the budget. If we had leadership who made the case, people would have accepted less services durning a time of crisis.

To his credit, Mayor Cooper in his budget at least recognized the importance of funding the police. His budget proposal included a $2.6 million increase for police. That increase in funding would fund 46 new position. As the budget process advanced, what emerged as the most likely budget to pass was the Mendes substitute budget. His budget proposal cut the $2.6 million for police and put that money into funding step increases for Metro employees. His proposal kept the police funding flat at $209 million.

Meanwhile the radial left composed of Black Lives Matter, Our Revolution, Gideon's Army and a bunch of other organizations united behind this idea of defunding the police. Now, defunding the police does not mean exactly the same thing everywhere it is proposed across the country. Some want to simply reduce police funding and put the money into social services while some want to completely abolish police departments. Nashville's radical community operating under an umbrella group called Nashville People's Budget Coalition proposed slashing the police budget by 42%. Ginny Welch carried the water for the radicals.

Ginny Welch is probably the most radical member of the Council. She is an activist who has supported all kinds of leftist causes over the years. Contributors to her Council campaign included LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) among other radical groups. She received the endorsement of The Nashville Justice League and Our Revolution. Welch was a founder of the low-power, left-wing radio station, Radio Free Nashville.

Tuesday night, Welch sponsored Amendment 26 to the Mendes budget. It cut the Police by $107,670,143 and the Sheriff by $3,473,855. It got only three votes in favor, a couple abstentions and everyone else voted in opposition. Nashville has a very progressive Council, but they are not totally, completely nuts. We are not yet Seattle or San Franciso. Thank God.

The council then came to Amendment D by Councilman Russ Pulley. Pulley is Chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee, has worked as a firefighter, paramedic, police officer and state trooper, as well as an FBI agent. He moved to amend the Mendes budget to add back the $2.6 million that had been in the mayor's budget. A lot of people abstained and the amendment got 21 votes, the minimum necessary to pass.

While I am disappointed the Council approved a huge tax increase, I am glad that we did not slash funding for public safety and that we recognized the need to increase funding for our undermanned police department. I commend Councilman Pulley for his leadership. Once the minutes of the meeting are posted, I will report on who voted to fund the police and who voted against public safety funding.

For more on this see this link and this link.

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1 comment:

  1. The council is not concerned with what the "public" thinks, as Nashvillians opposed the tax increase 2 to 1. The Council and Media only seem to be concerned with what East Nashville thinks.

    The effects will be deep, since most everything in Nashville is overpriced already. Restaurants, hotels, bars, etc will have no choice but to pass the costs on. Not to mention the upcoming evaluation.