Saturday, December 17, 2011

What to Watch for in the December 20th Council Meeting, updated

 Undoing Limo Price-fixing, Beer Permits, subsidizing LifePoints move
The Metro Council meeting agenda and analysis is now available. You can find the agenda and analysis here:  Metro Council Agenda, Council Analysis.   The council meetings are more interesting if you have both. However, I watch the council meetings so you don't have to so look for my highlights of the meeting, following the Council meeting. Below is what I see as issue worth watching.

This biggest issue of the night will be  ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-49 by Council Member Blalock, which is on second reading.  This ordinance amends the Metro Code to remove the price fixing that was imposed in June 2010 when the Council passed Ordinance No. BL2010-685.  That bill imposed a minimum $45 fee for livery services, a prohibition on the use of leased vehicles, and age and mileage restrictions on vehicles. The effect of that ordinance was to protect the luxury limousine companies from competition from those providing economy limousine  service. Blalock's bill will remove the more odious elements of the June 2010 price fixing bill.

While our local press has given this issue little attention this case has been reported on nationally in an in depth piece in the Huffington Post.  A nationally acclaimed libertarian, civil liberties, public interest law firm has sued the city claiming constitutional violations of the rights of the economy limousine service providers. The way I see this bill, this is a fight between those who believe in free enterprise and those who advocate crony capitalism and protecting your friends from competition. I will be especially disappointed if the members of the Council who call themselves Republicans, many of whom I endorsed,  contributed money to, and worked the phone banks and the polls for, don't support this bill.

I have blogged extensively on this issue. To see YouTube clips, the Huffington Post piece and more, follow this link and then scroll down to see all post on this topic. 

Other issues:

RESOLUTION NOS. RS2011-111, RS2011-112 & RS2011-113  These three resolutions exempt specific restaurants from the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. The Metro code prevents a beer permit from being issued to an establishment located within 100 feet of a church, school, park, daycare, or one or two family residence. However, the code was amended in September 2010 to exempt restaurants that already have a state on-premises liquor consumption license from Metro’s minimum distance requirements to obtain a beer permit upon the adoption of a resolution by the council. A public hearing must be held by the council prior to voting on these resolution. As nutty as it sounds, there are restaurants that can sell wine and hard alcohol but cannot sell beer. That is because Metro draws up the regulations for beer and the regulations governing the sale of liquor (which includes wine) is a state regulation. These hearing on this issue seem like a waste of time but they are required. I don't know what argument one would make that an establishment that can sell Jack Daniels should not be allowed to sale Bud Lite, but I bet someone will speak out against issuing beer permits to these establishments.

On the consent agenda is RESOLUTION NO. RS2011-59 which approves a contract between the Metropolitan board of health and Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church to upgrade the church’s kitchen facilities. The church is to receive $24,275 in federal stimulus pass-through funds under this contract. This use of public funds for improvements to a church's kitchen sounds like a misuse of funds to me, sort of like supporting the establishment of religion. By being on the consent agenda, someone has to ask for it to be removed and voted on separately or it gets lumped in with all the other non-controversial resolutions. Apparently there is no opposition to this bill, but if I was in the Council, I would have to vote against it. It will be interesting to see if there is not a single councilman who has a problem with this bill.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-58 on second reading exempts LifePoint Hospitals, Inc. from paying property taxes for moving from Brentwood to Nashville.  It is a lot more complicated than that however. See the analysis to know more. I certainly don't know enough about this to know if it is a good deal or not. Frankly, I wish cities were not able to offer these incentives. I hate it that we get in bidding wars to attract business, but we have to compete in the environment in which we are in. I hope the Budget and Finance Committee has a through exploration of this issue and it is given some serious debate. 

ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-60 on second reading is a routine ordinance that readopts the Metropolitan Code prepared by Municipal Code Corporation to include all ordinances enacted on or before August 16, 2011. This will be routine, but unfortunately this routine readopting of the code can be used to bury ordinances legally adopted by the Council and signed by the Mayor that someone wishes had never passed.  Ordinances can simply be left out of the code. I know this from experience. When I served in the Council, I got passed through the Council, after a long hard fight, a requirement that Metro Schools be periodically tested for radon and if radon in hazardous levels was discovered, for there to be radon abatement. Radon is a naturally occurring odorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is most damaging to developing children. Due to the nature of limestone shale in this part of the country in which we live, radon is prevalent.  When the code was readopted, this requirement for Metro School radon testing and abatement was left out of the code and the law was ignored for about the next 20 years.  There is not a mechanism to insure that everything adopted into law gets in the code. There needs to be a procedure to insure that all laws make it into the code. I wish some councilman would take on this project.  To read more about how the Radon testing program was sabotaged by, read here.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Power turned off to Occupy Nashville

As reported by Channel 5 news, last night the Fire Marshall turned off the power to Occupy Nashville. It is about damn time! Ever since October when Occupy first started camping out on Legislative Plaza they have been using free electricity provided by the state.  Why?

OK, I know a court ruled that the imposition of a curfew violated Occupy's right to protest and rather than the State aggressively fighting that, the State rolled over and played dead. So, we could blame the long occupy on the Courts. I can even understand the initial court ruling. However, it is ridiculous that Occupy can take over the Plaza permanently and camp out on public property.

The most ridiculous of the ridiculous however, is why the state gave them free electricity. There is no constitutional right to have the State provide protesters with free electrical hook-ups.

According to the Channel five report, "protesters were using a single outlet on Legislative Plaza to power their camp and state officials said it was a major safety hazard. Officials said the outlet was overload and melted. Fire officials were concerned about safety so they turned the outlet off."  They also padlocked the outlet. Good! (See the story,)

I think Governor Haslam has looked like a real wimp in the way he has handled this.  If he restores power to the protesters, I will have lost all respect for him. 

In celebration of this recent news, I am dedicating this song to Occupy Nashville.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Former Councilman Jamie Hollin Lobbies Council to Keep Limo Price-fixing.

Jamie R. Hollin
Who is the person lobbying the Metro Council to persuade them to maintain limousine price fixing?  Former Councilman Jamie Hollin. He has paid his $50 annual fee and is now a registered lobbyist for the Tennessee Livery Association registering November 11, 2011. You may remember Jamin Hollin for a profanity-laced rant in the parking garage after a Tuesday night’s council meeting a few months ago when a resolution he had sponsored  was killed by two of his peers using standard parliamentary procedures.

Now out of the Council, he is busy lobbying the Council. The luxury limousine people have hired Hollin to lobby to defeat BL2011-49, a bill sponsored by Council Member Davette Blalock. BL2011-49 which will be on Second reading on Tuesday December 20th would undo the price fixing bill passed by the Council in June 2010. The effect of the June 2010 bill was to require a $45 minimum fee to hire a Limo and to impose other restrictions designed to limit competition. To learn more, follow this link.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Pet Smart Almost Killed my Cat

To tell the truth, I never really wanted a cat. Growing up I had a dog which was my best friend and loyal companion, but as an adult having a pet just seemed like too much of a hassle.

A few months ago a cat started hanging out at our house and we sort of adopted her. She was well mannered and well cared for and we named her “Frisky.” Frisky was fickle however and our home must have been only one of her homes. She would show up for a day or two or three and then be gone for a day or two or three. Then one day, she did not return.

My sweet and lovely wife Louella really took a liking to Frisky and when Frisky would be gone Louella would mope around the house. Louella has Alzheimer’s and sometimes can’t find the words she wants to say but Louella is very expressive and I have become good at knowing what she is thinking. Louella would walk around the house looking for the cat with a disgusted look on her face and a look of sadness. I would ask her what was wrong and she would just sigh and shake her head and say, “the cat.” When Frisky did not return after her last disappearance we thought Louella would forget about her, but Louella would continue to be sad and look for the cat.

Sue Deuss is Louella’s care giver. We are so fortunate to have found Sue. She has now been caring for Louella for about ten months now. She is a Certified Nurse Technician who has lots of experience in both an institutional setting and in one-on-one caring for ill elderly people including those with Alzheimer’s. Sue does much more than just sit with Louella. They go shopping and go have lunch and Sue pampers Louella. Sue had become an indispensable part of our household and is like family. Sue is so sweet and affectionate to Louella and Louella is just crazy about her.

After Frisky disappeared, Sue asked me if I wanted her to find another cat for Louella and I agreed. Sue who is frugal and smart and innovative found a web site that matches people who can no longer keep their pet with people seeking a pet. The pets are not sold but given away. Sue found a couple in Hendersonville who were seeking a home for their cat. Sue made the arrangements and she and Louella went and got her.

The cat’s name is Sabrina. I don’t know the breed but she is calico. She came with a carrying case, a fancy litter box with a lid and swinging door, a self-dispensing food bowl and self-dispensing water bowl, a brush, shampoo, food, and toys. She was already neutered and declawed and had all her shots. To have an indoor cat, the declawed feature was a must as we have richly upholstered furniture that I did not want ripped to shreds.

Sabrina has become a wonderful pet and I think she is good for Louella. I don’t know that anything one does slows the progression of Alzheimer’s but I do think things you do keep the person happy, more alert and more engaged than they otherwise would be. The cat and I get along. The cat tolerates me; the cat loves Louella. On occasion the cat may get in my lap or a chair beside me for a short while; she will let Louella sit and stoke her for hours. If Louella is lying in bed or on the couch, the cat will get on top of her and spraddle out, as if her legs are embracing Louella and she will sleep like that.

If Louella and I go out, whether for the evening or just a ten minute walk, when we return Louella is so happy to see Sabrina. She excitedly hurries to her to pet and love on her. Louella just brightens when she sees the cat and Louella sort of purrs or hums with satisfaction as she stokes the cat. Sabrina is definitely Louella’s cat.

Unfortunately, shortly after getting Sabrina, we also got fleas. When first discovered, I went and got a flea collar and I bathed the cat. (Wow! What a job! I am glad she doesn’t have claws and I hope I never have to do that again.) I thought that would solve the problem. Wrong! The fleas got worse and worse. I discussed it with Sue and she said she would deal with it.

Sue went to Pet Smart at 100 Oaks and asked how to rid the house and the cat of fleas. They gave her a set of flea “bombs” to set off in the house and a product to apply to the cat called “Bio spot.” We did not apply the product immediately. We wanted to bomb the house first and then treat the cat. Several days past, waiting until the weekend when we would be out of the house a while and could coordinate the cat treatment and house treatment.

Before that day arrived, Sue thought she would just apply a little of the product to the cat and see if it worked and she did. I was not there to witness it, but Sue said she sprayed just a little of the product on the cat and the cat walked a few steps and almost immediately fell over, almost passed out gasping for breath and foaming at the mouth and twitching. Sue immediately gathered up Sabrina and headed toward the Pet Smart to take the cat to the Pet Smart vet. (Despite her panic, she took the time to download a free $20 off vet bill coupon.) When she got to Pet Smart she rushed the cat in and was directed to the vet. The manager at Pet Smart however seemed totally unconcerned that our cat had had a bad reaction to the product that he had sold Sue and asked for the return of the product and said he would refund her money. Sue was offended at his cavalier attitude.

The vet, who apparently is not a Pet Smart employee but just rents space from Pet Smart, said that that product can be deadly and is very dangerous. He said if it had been applied as directed it would have killed the cat. He treated Sabrina, giving her a shot and sending Sue home with the cat with instructions to bath her in a flea soap and give her an antibiotic liquid twice a day until the antibiotic was all gone, then when the cat recovered to treat her with a different product to keep the fleas away.

Sabrina had to be nursed back to health. When giving her the bath after returning her from the vet, Sabrina did not put up a fight at all. She was limp and lifeless. For days she could hardly raise her head. We had to bring the food and water to her. She did not eat anything for the first couple days and we had to give her water out of a syringe. For the first few days she did not move out of the chair we put her in and then when she did get well enough to get out of the chair, she would go to her litter box or feed and water bowl and get back in the same chair. It was a full three weeks before she fully recovered. We were afraid she would die. Louella would sit and gently stroke the cat with tears in her eyes.

In the meantime, Sue was really angered and indignant that Pet Smart would sell a product that almost killed the cat and that the Pet Smart manger was so unconcerned. Sue declared she would force Pet Smart to pay the vet bill. I shared Sue’s anger at Pet Smart and Bio Spot but had a lot of other things going on in my life and did not have time or energy to fight the battle. I left it up to Sue. To make a long story short, Sue got the refund of the vet bill which included the medicines and came to $120 even with the $20 off coupon. Sue ended up talking to the manger of the 100 Oaks Pet Smart several times, talking to the corporate office of Pet Smart, and the company that makes Bio-spot. They tried to blow her off. Sue was persistent and demanding and it took about a month, but Sue got our expenses reimbursed.

I am proud of Sue for fighting this fight and getting the refund. If there was justice, we would have got a major reimbursement for our anguish. In accepting the $120 check from Pet Smart I agreed not to sue them but I did not agree not to bad-mouth them and tell my story.

Since all of this has happened I did some Internet research and found that lots of people have had similar experiences with Bio Spot. Below is what some other people report:

Bio Spot may KILL more than the flees

My vet tells me that she has had several cats to come in with seizures after the use of Bio Spot. She explains to me how the product works. When Bio Spot is applied to the cat it enters the cats blood stream. The flee control comes when a flee "BITES" your cat, draws blood and dies from the poison in your cats blood. "THROW IT AWAY," she said.

Jun 12 '03 This product killed one of my cats within hours and almost killed the other one. It causes foaming at the mouth, excessive drooling and grand mal seizures. Both of my treated cats were affected and it happened quickly. I watched my cat convulse uncontrollably until her death and the other one for an hour. How she survived I don't know. I would do further research before you use this product. Don't let this happen to you. I thought cheaper would be better but it isn't and I am heartbroken and feel guilty because I did it to them. Unfortunately I did my research after the fact and now have one less cat and one that I am terrified to treat for fleas ever again.


Yesterday evening I treated my three cats with Bio Spot for Cats to control a flea problem. By early this morning I realized that something was very wrong. They were all shaking their hind legs and walking unevenly. Since it was Sunday, I called the emergency animal hospital and told them I'd used Bio Spot. The nurse said they'd had several problems with this drug and that I should bring the cats in immediately for treatment. Apparently, the drug is extremely dangerous and has caused neurological damage and death in some cats. Why it hasn't been removed from the market I can't say.

Bio Spot Acted as a Poison to my Cat
I applied the product and it acted as a poison to my cat. Contacted the vet and they stated this product SHOULD NOT be on the market. Animals have died from applications of BIOSPOT. My cat lost his balance and became very lethargic. The vet immediately washed my cat and gave him medicine.

Bio Spot Killed my Cat
After a few more days we noticed our 5 1/2 year old was withdrawn and losing weight. I scheduled an appointment at the vet. It was about 10 days since first application and you could still see the greasy spot, he recommended washing it off. After checking our cat over, he determined something was wrong with his kidneys. He put him on daily fluids and antibiotics. They made him feel better, but he kept losing weight. After about a month of treatment the poor little guy has withered away to just over 5 lbs. The vet said there wasn't anything else he could do for him an we had to put Rusty down on 3/14/11.

Recently I ran into a veterinarian at a social function and told her what had happened, and this vet said the same thing the vet at Pet Smart said.  She said the product was deadly and she had treated several cats that had almost died from using Bio Spot. She said it should be removed from the market.

OK, I know that not ever cat treated with the product has an adverse reaction but it seems enough do that the product should not be sold.

I don't know that there is much more that I can do, but please take my advice and if you have a cat please do not use Bio Spot to treat your cat. To know more about this product go to this website: Victims of Bio Spot.

I am not finished yet. I am going to tell my story on any Internet site that allows for consumer product review. I am also going to report this incident to the National Pesticide Information Center . I am going to make a contribution to Green Paws which is fighting to remove deadly pet products from the market.

Also, I will never shop at Pet Smart ever again not only because they almost killed my cat but because they didn't give a damn.

If you are also a victim of Bio Spot, this is what Victims of Bio Spot recommend you do: 

  • Seek reimbursement for veterinary expenses related to adverse incidents. (If enough people raise enough hell, and enough people get refunds, the pet stores will stop selling the product.) 

I am adding this one:
  • Spread the word, advise others not to purchase the product and post your story all over the Internet.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Davison County Republican Party Christmas Open House

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