Thursday, October 20, 2011

Highlight of the October 18th Metro Council meeting

A Muslim led prayer, Election of Speaker Pro Tem, Fairgrounds, and Storm water.

A cleric from the Islamic Center of Nashville offered the invocation as a guest of Councilman Ronnie Steine. I certainly don't have a problem with that but given the anti-Muslim sentiment in this community, I am sure some are upset. I am pleased but surprised I have heard no one sounding and alarm about "creeping Sharia."

Karen Bennett of District 8, a Republican member of the Metro Council, lost an election to the position of President Pro Tem of the Council to Erica Gilmore by one vote. The vote was Bennett 17 votes; Gilmore 18. Five members were present but did not vote. One of the members not voting who I would have assumed would have been a vote for Bennett had he voted, was Robert Duvall.  A non-voting member who I would have assumed would have been a vote for Gilmore was Bo Mitchell. Those voting for Bennett were Bennett: Garrett, Tygard, Harrison, Anthony Davis, Bennett, Pridemore, Pardue, Glover, Stites, Claiborne, Tenpenny, Baker, Langster, Weiner, Blalock, Dominy, and Todd. Those voting for Gilmore were Gilmore: Steine, Maynard, Matthews, Hunt, Banks, Westerholm, Stanley, Moore, Allen, Gilmore, Evans, Holleman, McGuire, Harmon, Johnson, Potts, Bedne, and Dowell.

President Pro Tem  is not a terrible important position but how members voted can give you some idea of who is aligned with who on the Metro Council. The position of Pro Tem is mainly symbolic. The Pro Tem conducts the council meeting in the absence of the Vice Mayor. To see the speeches view the above video starting at 2:28. If any councilmember who did not vote wants to explain their vote or why they did not vote, I welcome their explanation and will post it.

Steve Glover, nominated by Tim Garrett, was one of two members appointed to the audit committee. A good choice.

Mark Rogers, a well known Republican activist, was reappointed to the Historical Commission. I was unaware he served in that position. Congratulation Mark Rogers. Citizens who serve on the various boards and commissions do so without pay and little recognition. They are to be commended for their willingness to serve.

Robert Duvall spoke out on several issue clarifying metro's legal and financial obligations asking probing and clarifying questions. As an example, see 19:37 in the video. Even if a bill does pass unanimously in the Budget and Finance Committee, I am still glad that issues are raised and clarified on the Council floor. Robert Duvall is a real asset to the Council and one who takes his job very seriously.

A resolution which appropriated funds to buy a dishwasher and other equipment for Corinthian Baptist Church was recommended for a two meeting deferral 12-0 by Budget and Finance and by Health, Hospitals and Social Services. I think this resolution should be defeated. Public funds should not be used to remodel the kitchen of a church.

Fairgrounds. A bill on second reading that would have required the Board of Fair Commissioners to solicit proposals for the partial development of the fairgrounds as a theme park was withdrawn. To see the sponsors comments see 35:16.

Storm Water. Following Committee recommendations, Councilman Bruce Stanley moved to defer a bill on second reading that would require quarterly storm water reports to be submitted to the Metropolitan Council instead of big annual reports. He explains the logic behind this bill. He wants more transparency in Metro's storm water program and wants reporting that will be more helpful to Metro Council in providing oversight. His comments (starting at 42:30) are worth viewing. He convinced me that what he is attempted to do needs doing. I am glad to see someone has a passion for seeing that money being spend on storm water projects is being spent wisely.This is my first impression of Councilman Stanley and I am impressed.

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