Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Citizens at the Metro public hearing on the budget expess a desire for less funding for the police and more funding for everything else.

by Rod Williams, 6/2/2021- Well, surprise, surprise!  Most citizens who took part in the public hearing on the Metro budget, think Metro does not spend enough money.   I did not watch last nights' public hearing on the metro budget.  Metro has not posted the video of last night's meeting yet and when they do I may watch it but I have read various news reports and seen excerpts of the meeting and have a feel for how it went. Even without reading news reports of last night's meeting however, I could almost be safe in telling you what happened. I have watched Metro budget public hearings now for many years and by now I can tell you how it goes.  Conservatives are nowhere to be found.  No one, or almost no one, speaks out for the elimination of waste or advocates for greater government efficiency or privatization of government services.  Conservatives only show up in years in which there is likely to be a big tax increase.

By contrast, liberals advocate for more spending and bigger government constantly.  Advocates of higher taxes and bigger government turn out in droves.  Each government function has its own advocacy group.  Council members hear from Friends of the Library, Friends of the Parks, advocates for the homeless, advocates for public arts funding, advocates for sidewalks, advocates for affordable housing, and lots of advocates for more funding for public education.  

In recent years, and more so this year, liberal social justice warriors speak with a loud voice. This year a coalition of liberal organizations called "Nashville People's Budget Coalition" advocated for less police funding and different priorities.  They opposed a new police prescient for Antioch and any increase in police funding and instead wanted more funding for mental health programs, affordable housing, and other social programs. 

Jonathan Williamson told the Council, "As a proud Black man born and raised in Nashville I do not feel comfortable with increased policing tactics and surveillance. My concern is that increasing MNPD funding would only add to the strategic oppression and armed militarization of tactics that have already decimated countless family and friends in my community."

Reverend Vahisha Hasan told the Council, "to be the most clear, the safest communities are not the ones with the most police but the ones with the most resources.”

This year for the first time ever, or at the first time that I recall, the mayor is proposing to "fully fund" the school budget.  To "fully fund" the school budget means to give the School Board 100% of the funding they request. Many of the council members now serving ran on a platform to "fully fund" the school budget.  In essence, they promised to give the schools a blank check.

Despite the mayor's budget proposing to "fully fund" the schools and despite that a sizeable number of council members pledging to fully fund the schools, advocates of public schools want more. They want more than the school board asked for.  They want the budget to fund "social emotional learning" and other perceived needs.  

To view news reports on the budget, follow these links:

News 4: Nashvillians advocate for budget priorities at Tuesday's Metro Council meeting

News Channel 5: Public weighs in on the budget.

The Tennessean: Critics assail restructured Nashville budget ahead of final council vote.

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