Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Parthenon featured on premier episode of Travel Channel’s new series Park Secrets

Premier episode airs Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., CST
Nashville, TN ---The Parthenon is featured on the premiere episode of Park Secrets, the Travel Channels new six-episode, half-hour series featuring hidden  gems in America’s parks. “Bright Lights, Big City,” the premier episode, airs at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 18   in Nashville on cable channel 66. 
Here’s the channel’s description of the episode “Bright Lights, Big City” featuring the Parthenon.
“Centennial Park’s Parthenon might be well known to most Nashvillians, but we’ll let you in on a  little secret – there’s more here than meets the eye!
“Did you know that each column is a different diameter? That the doors are 24 feet tall, 6-and-a-half  feet wide, and one foot thick? That it took only 10 years to build this full-scale model (as compared to the 133 years ancient Greeks spent toiling on the original)? That the statue of Athena is coated in $200,000 worth of gold—and that though she looks as hard as a rock, she’s empty inside? That it was built to secure the Southern city’s reputation as “The Athens of the South?” Now you do.
“Park Secrets shares these details and more in our special episode about an inner city monument that deserves a fresh new look, and the park’s Executive Director Wesley Paine takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour to remember—one that’s guaranteed to give your audience fresh insights and appreciation for this modern rendition of an ancient marvel.”
The episode also features two other popular spots in Nashville – Hog Heaven and the Hermitage Hotel.

My Comment
I am bullish on Nashville. I love this city and am not embarrassed to say so.  I love our honky tonks and live music and the Grand ole Opry and our restaurants and our parks and our architectural gems and a lot of other stuff.  I feel fortunate to live here. I would not want to live anywhere else. I feel pride anytime Nashville gets recognized.

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Art Break: Portrait of Big Granny

Portrait of  Big Granny by Ouida Williams

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Are teachers underpaid?

Hourly Pay vs. Other Professions

It may surprise you that the average teacher's hourly wage is very competitive with many professions, including private sector jobs such as accounting. In many districts teachers are also paid for the extra hours they spend in professional development training. Besides the base hourly rate, there are many other ways teachers are able to supplement their income - tutoring, coaching, summer school, getting a higher degree and more. (link)

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Metro schools seek $50M more from city - WSMV Channel 4

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Posted: Apr 13, 2012 6:08 AM CDT, Reported by Cara Kumari 

Metro school administrators made a push Friday for a big budget increase in the upcoming school year. They met with Mayor Karl Dean for budget hearings this morning.
Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register has said he wants about $50 million more to run the school system.

That money will pay salaries for 100 new teachers and to cover the operating costs for the new Cane Ridge Elementary School.  The school system would also like to increase the pay of teachers' starting salary from $35,000 to $40,000. Register said the city is losing out on qualified teachers because of the low starting pay. link
We can "nickle-and-dime" the rest of the budget but unless people are willing to say no to greater funding for the schools, a tax increase is in our future.

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Dean noncommittal on funding Metro schools' budget request | Nashville City Paper

Dean noncommittal on funding Metro schools' budget request
Friday, April 13, 2012, By Joey Garrison, City Paper
After hearing Metro school officials discuss $723 million in education needs, Mayor Karl Dean was noncommittal Friday on whether his administration would be able to fully fund the district’s massive proposed increase in the upcoming budget.

“We have things we’re going to have to look at,” Dean said when asked whether the school board’s request for a $48.9 million budget increase is a realistic figure to fund. He added that public education remains a top focus. (link)
This is encouraging, but I am still expecting a proposal from the mayor for a big tax increase and unfortunately I don't think the council will reject it, unless there is a massive objection from the public.

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Nashville culinary ethnic diversity recognized and appreciated.

Featurette: Nolensville Road Tour

Alimentum's first Nashville Eat & Greet Tour left participants sated and smiling. We sampled a cross-cultural world of tasty morsels up and down Nashville's Nolensville Road. Here's a peek at our moveable feast! (link)

I love the ethnic restaurants up and down Nolensville Rd. I am glad to see the this diverse international strip get recognized. For Thai, I like Thai Star at 63 East Thompson Lane; for Kurdish, House of Kabob at 216 Thompson Ln right next to the railroad underpass; for real authentic Mexican it is La  Hacienda at 2615 Nolensville Rd, and for my Asian cooking shopping I shop at the Interasian Market 2160 Nolensville Rd. There are others I have sampled. I have yet to try to Ethiopian Restaurants. If you haven't visited any of these restaurants, skip the chains one night and be adventurous.

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Do not fund the Metro Human Relations Commission

Metropolitan Human Relations Commission


In 1970 Cloud assumed the post of executive director and remained in that position until 1990. In 1995 after a five-year hiatus in the life of the commission caused by a discontinuation of operating funds, the budget was reinstated under Mayor Philip Bredesen. Anthea Boarman became the new executive director. Throughout its existence, the staff of the Metropolitan Human Rights Commission has assumed leadership roles in both state and national human rights organizations. (link)
I knew that sometime during the time I served in the Metro Council that we had not funded the Human Relations Commission.  I worked hard to deny the agency funding. I could not recall for how long nor what year the agency was defunded. I left the Council in 1990. It must have been that 1990 was the year we defunded it and that the funding was not restored until 1995. 

I was unaware that we had no Commission form 1990-1995.  This is an agency that indoctrinates and organizes people for liberal causes. Not all of their causes are bad, however there are liberal advocacy groups to do the advocating for these causes. Taxpayers money should not be used to promote a liberal agenda.

Council: Please do not fund the Metro Human Relations Commission.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

What happened at the 4/10/2012 School Board meeting: Not much, and budget hearings.

Unless you are a political junkie like me, you really do not want to watch a meeting of the School Board. They are BORING! School Board meetings however are actually less boring than Council meetings. More opinions are expressed and the meetings are less tightly scripted and controlled. The School Board, unlike Metro Council allows for public participation at each meeting. You can get your School Board agenda here.

Below is a summary of the meeting.

Jim Buckley a spokesman for the steel Workers union addresses the Board (2:39)and thanks the board for the proposed 2% pay increase for transportation workers and asks that the pay increase be distributed on a "weighted average hourly basis."

Doug Collier of the SEIU local 205 addresses the board (4:40) and proposes dividing the amount of money available for pay increases equally between all employees as opposed to allocating the available money by giving percentage increases.

Representative Mike Turner expresses his concern (7:00) that the School Board has allied itself with the forces that are allied with "charter School people" and the "voucher school people" and the "virtual School people" rather than "traditional school people."  Turner gets a round of applause.

Representative Mike Stewart (9:17) criticizes the Board for the MNPS's failure to enter into a MOU with the unions and says nothing the State Legislature did had anything to do with the relationship between the School Board and the SEIU. He gets applause.

Lisa Johnson a parent of a student at John Early School takes the administration to task (12:58) for classifying the school as a "innovative zone" school. She ask the principal not be transferred saying the school has made a 40% improvement. "We have seen the progress," she says. She says the parents never did get answers to the question they asked.

Stephen Henry, (15:28) President of the MNEA expresses support for the $722.4 million budget and explains what is good about the proposed budget.

If you want to even see more about the school board budget then here is the meeting of 3/20/2012 which is a public hearing on the MNPS operating budget. It is less than 9 minutes long and only two people speak.

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The March 13 School Board Meeting: Thanks for support of the dream act, the SEIU is mad, CMT partners and more.

Below is the 3/12/2012 School Board meeting. You can view the agenda here.

Something humorous happens at the start of this meeting. Mr. Majors is asked to lead the pledge and he must have been confused. He starts the pledge with "Our Father ..," apparently thinking he was leading a prayer. There is laughter and he gets back on track and and leads the pledge.

Here are highlights of this meeting.

Arely Bravo (8:08), expresses gratitude to School Board for Supporting the Dream Act.

You really ought to watch this. I am of the opinion that we need to pass some version of the Dream Act.  

Student Arely Bravo says "Tennessee is the only home I have ever known." 

I think that we must address the situation of those Americanized immigrants who were brought to America as children. It would be wrong to send them "back" to a country they have never know. I support strong borders and oppose blanket amnesty, but we must have a heart as we seek a solution to this difficult complicated problem. Watch this presentation and then ask your self if you really think this young lady ought to be deported or denied the in-state tuition rates if she otherwise qualifies for college. 

Doug Collier of the SEIU speaks about a filed complaint. "We do have a class war going on," he says. He is followed by another angry SEIU member. Alma Sanford is another SEIU member who chastises the Board.

The Board approves a contract with Country Music Television,(22:17)  to partner with McGavock High School and is provided Exclusive Naming Rights to the Academy of Digital Design at McGavock. CMT becomes the fifth corporate entity to partner with a school. To me, this seems like a very positive and innovative practice.To give students a real world experience in an exciting career field is valuable and may motivate some students who would otherwise be tempted to drop out of school to stay in school. Some student's life may be changed due to what they experience in this environment. Some students may discover a rewarding vocation at an early age. 

A teacher, Donald Brian Wood, has charges for dismissal approved. Here is a link to a video posted on the Today Show that shows Woods swearing in front of his students then throwing a chair. (link) He apparently had some sort of nervous break down. He was an Algebra teacher at McGavock.

These schools have the word  “Comprehensive” removed from their name: Antioch, Cane Ridge, Glencliff, Hillsboro, Hillwood, Hunters Lane, Maplewood, McGavock, Overton, Pearl-Cohn, Stratford, and Whites Creek

There is a lengthy presentation on "Asset" which will interest few except for academics but addresses professional development and teacher evaluation and recruiting, retaining and rewarding good teachers.

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8:00 am - Breakfast & Social
8:30 am - Meeting
546 Donelson Pike 37214

Guest Speaker
 Councilman District 33
Candidate for State House District 59

Topic: What we can expect with Mayor Dean's budget and the idea of a property tax increase.

Please Welcome Alex and Kathyrn Stillwell 
Chairmen of the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory Conservative Group 
contact: or 773-2775

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Gill Recalls the 2001 Horn-honking income tax protest

This is great coverage of the "GOP Green Hill Breakfast Summit." This group meets the fourth Saturday of the month at Swett's Resturant in Green Hills at 2209 Abbott Martin Rd, in the building known as the retired teachers apartments.

Breakfast begins at 8:15 AM and meeting at 9 AM sharp. The cost of breakfast is $8.75 and must be paid in cash. Advance registration is required so Swett's will know how much food to prepare. To register, email GREENHILLSGOP@GMAIL.COM .

The event chairmen are Peter and Gail Voysey. They do a great job and always have interesting speakers.

The Greenhills Breakfast Group is one of four Republican Breakfast groups in the County.  There is one in the Southeast (Cain Ridge, Priest Lake) area, one in the Lebanon-Hermitage area and the long-standing grandaddy of Davidson County Republican breakfast clubs, the Bellevue Breakfast Club.  All of these are officially  sanctioned by the Davidson County Republican Party but are managed by the local group and event chairmen.

To connect with these groups follow this blog for announcements of meetings or check the Davidson County Republican Party website.

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An Evening with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jim Burns

Logan's Roadhouse, 3400 Elliston Place, Nashville, TN 37202
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 8:00 PM
Come out and meet Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jim Burns. In 1974 Jim Burns legally changed his middle name to "Libertarian." His name appeared on the ballot as "Burns, James Libertarian." Jim has had a number of years of experience in the...Learn more

Disclaimer: From time to time A Disgruntled Republican may post announcements of interest to the conservative, libertarian, or greater community. Such announcements are posted as a public service to spread awareness and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Metro Schools want super-big budget increase!

Metro school board approves $723M education budget
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 11:38pm, By Joey Garrison, City Paper 
Director of Schools Jesse Register’s proposed $722.9 million education budget received unanimous school board approval Tuesday night and is now set to go before Mayor Karl Dean’s administration.

As expected, the Metro school board voted 8-0 Tuesday night to approve a set of budget priorities for the 2012-13 fiscal year that amounts to a sizeable $48.9 million increase over the current fiscal year. Clearing Tuesday’s hurdle, the budget will next be the topic of discussion April 13 as part of the mayor’s budget hearings as Dean’s administration prepares an operating budget for Metro.(link)

 I don't think there can be any doubt that Mayor Dean is going to push for a tax increase.

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Mister Obama's Neighborhood

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Judge denies request for limo fare injunction

by Duane W. Gang, The Tennessean, 4/11/2012

A federal judge has denied a request from a group of budget limousine companies to temporarily block Metro government from enforcing a $45-per-trip minimum fare.

In an 18-page opinion issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp said the three budget limo and car-service companies did not prove a “substantial likelihood of success” that the minimum fare violated their constitutional rights. (link)
This is disappointing but this issue is not over. There is still a good chance that Metro's price-fixing of limousine services may be overturned. Back in January, the Court denied Metro's motion to have the lawsuit dismissed.  In that ruling, the opinion stated “Courts have repeatedly recognized that protecting a discrete interest group from economic competition is not a legitimate governmental purpose,” quoting Craigmiles v. Giles, a 2002 case that the Institute for Justice, the same public-interest law firm that is representing the victims of limo price-fixing,  won on behalf of casket retailers in Tennessee. The casket retailers in that case, like the affordable car services in this case, were being locked out of the marketplace by a cartel of well-connected individuals. The casket retailers won their case.

The problem with not granting the injunction against enforcing the $45-per-trip minimum fare however is that by the time the court rules on the merit of the case, the city, by forcing the economy limo companies to charge the minimum fare and by a use of police-state-like intimidation and harassment tactics may have driven the competition out of business. Justice delayed is often justice denied. We will have to wait and see.

For additional facts and commentary on this issue, follow this link

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Transportation Licensing Commission Budget Hearing (aka Dept of limo price fixing)

Watch video

Summary: The presentation is made by the agency's director, Brian McQuistion. Last year the agency processed a record 1650 applications for licenses and permits which was a 42% increase over the previous year. Last year the commission began licensing the non-taxi livery vehicles and have licensed 60 companies and over 400 drivers. We are ahead on revenue and on track on expenses. We can continue to operate as we are with a 2% budget reduction. He addresses the challenge of meeting the expected additional demand for transportation services expected to follow the opening of the new convention center and the challenge of improving the condition of vehicles on the street. To offset the new expected demand for more taxis would require about $39,000 additional revenue. He also says a comprehensive study is underway expected to be completed in May that will address the way transportation is regulated and will help establish how many taxis the city needs.

This is insightful as to how the city views the job of economic regulation and how they think bureaucrats are better at determining how many taxis and other for-hire vehicles are needed in Nashville than market forces. No mention is made of how the city most likely unconstitutionally fixes prices or how the Commission has been on a campaign of harassment and intimidation to protect the established limo companies from competition and how TLC inspectors have been impersonating police officers and pulling over members of the motoring public and issuing citations. No mention is made of the how the Commission denied a new start-up cap company the right to operate for no apparent reason or the bigoted comments made by the Director that if there were too many cap drivers for all to make a decent living the drivers would turn to promoting prostitution and other crime

For more information on the story of how the city fixes prices and curtails economic liberty follow this link.

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Author Trevor Loudon in Murfressboro Friday, April 13

An Extraordinary Talk by
Trevor Loudon 
author of 
“Barack Obama and the Enemies Within” 

When: Friday,  Apr 13 6:00PM
Where: Patterson Park Community Center (Dining Room)
521 Mercury Blvd Murfreesboro, TN 37130

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"Fighting Hunger Together" rally at Wallmart

Tonya Miller, Sandra Moore, and Tony Tenpenny
Yesterday's "Fighting Hunger Together" rally at the new Wallmart store on Powell Avenue, in the 100 Oaks area, was a great success. Nashville was the kick-off for the national Fighting Hunger Together spring campaign.
Nearly 4,000 Walmart stores nationwide will provide opportunities for meal donations through the purchase of participating supplier brands. A large crowd attended the day-time rally.

Gov. Haslam and Mayor Dean presented as well as the famous Band Perry.  Mayor Karl Dean in his remarks said that assisted school meals are many times the only meals available to a child.  The Band Perry played three songs, including their smash hit "If I Die Young."

Corporate representatives from Kellogs, General Mills, Kraft and the Food Bank committed to 1,000,000 more meals for Tennessee. Although 1 in 6 people in the United States supposedly face hunger daily, the ratio is said to be 1 in 4 Tennesseans. While I personally have my doubts that the number of people actually facing hunger is anywhere near that high, I do know that there are people needing help keeping their family fed in these difficult times.
On hand to lead their support to the effort to combat hunger was District 16 Councilman Tony Tenpenny, District 17 Councilwoman Sandra Moore and State Representative District 53 candidate Tonya Miller.

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Santorum exits presidential race

 It is over. Santorum throws in the towel. I guess I better learn to like Romney.  Unless, unless, Newt can get enough votes to deny Romney the nomination and we have a brokered convention. I am still grasping at straws.
  Santorum exits presidential race -

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Conservative Fusion Book Club: The Law, by Frederic Bastiat:

The book selection for this month's Conservative Fusion Book Club is The Law. The Law by Frederic Bastiat is a firm statement against the expropriative power and nature of government.  The Law is one of the classics. The text is fairly short and it is available for free at these sites:  

There is time to download it, read it and attend the meeting Wednesday night. The meeting is Wednesday April 11th, at 7PM at the home of Gene and Vicki Wisdom. For more information visit Conservative Fusion

You are invited to join other conservatives and libertarians is civil discussion of serious books and an occasional debate.   Conservative Fusion meets once a month, meeting  in the home of one of the group members. The organizer and leader of this group is Gene Wisdom. Previous books read and discussed by this book club have included The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 by George Nash, Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg,  In Defense of Freedom by Frank S. Meyer, The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek, and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. 

Future books include, Ideas Have Consequences (by Richard M. Weaver), The Conservative Mind (by Russell Kirk), and The Perfectibility of Man (by John Passmore).

Come share a glass of wine, a snack, a little socializing and and hour and a half of vigorous discussion. Visit the meetup site at Conservative Fusion.

While the Meetup site list 30 members, there are about five to seven  regulars and a couple more people who have attended a time or two.  Once we get a solid core of a dozen or so people who attend regularly, this group will be closed to new members. Read some great books and join the discussion.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Update: What happended at the April 3rd Council Meeting

 The Gaylord-Dollywood Snow-Splash Park tax giveaway and the HCA tax giveaway

Here is the video of the April 3rd Council meeting. See below for a summary of the meeting and the highlights.

The invocation is offered by Pastor Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church who is the guest of Council Member Karen Bennett. This is noteworthy because Maury Davis is an outspoken conservative minister who has his critics in the community.

Mr. Brock Parks is unanimously approved for an appointment to the Beer Permit Board. The only reason this is noteworthy is because Parks lost a close race for council District 26 last year to sitting Councilman Chris Harmon.

Several appointments to Boards and Commission where deferred and no explanation was offered. There may be a very good reason why these votes where deferred. Maybe the nominated appointees had a conflict and could not attend the meeting, but an explanation of why the nominations were deferred would seem appropriate. Also the reappointment of both Mr. Dwight Beard and Mr. Roy Black to the Vegetation Control Board were withdrawn. Why? I don't have a clue but it seem like if they simply did not want to serve they should have asked their name not be put in nomination. I think a simple explanation should be provided if a name is withdrawn. 

Resolution number 2012-203 appropriates a lot of money to various department of Metro Government including $405,000.00 to the Election Commission. Councilman Bo Mitchell takes to the floor (see 8:39) and complains that coming this August two of the early voting sites are closed which are the Belle Meade and Bellevue early voting sites. He says he hopes that the Election Commission will reconsider and open those two sites. CM Mitchell is one of the most liberals members of the Council but this issue has broad and passionate support across the political divide.

Many Republicans feel that failure to have a site in West Nashville will suppress Republican turnout and given that the Election Commission now has a Republican majority and a Republican Director, many Republicans are very disappointed in the decision to close the two westward most early voting sites, sites that tend to vote Republican. Many thought that a Republican majority Election Commission would be more sensitive to Republican interest in matters such as siting early voting locations. It seems no one in the west part of the County is happy with the Election Commission. Davidson County Republican Party Executive Committee Member Lonnie Spivak has been especially vocal in urging people to call and write the Election Commission and try to get a early voting site in the Belle Meade-Bellevue community.

I know that the other Council Members from the west part of the County are not happy with this decision to not have early voting in the western part of the County. I think this is an example of how weak our council really is. When an agency comes before the council seeking funding, that is the time to force the agency to yield to the will of the Council. I know when I served in the Council we often exerted the Council's power of the purse to force agencies to respond to Council concerns. Even if you yourself did not feel strongly about an issue, you may vote to support another Councilman in a matter such as this that was important to he and his constituents. The Council has power and the legislative branch of government in theory should be a co-equal branch of government. I don't know why we so seldom see the Council exert their authority. If may be that the Council is weaker than in the past due to term limits. With no council members serving for long periods of time, the body may simply never develop a sense of identity as a co-equal branch of government. It may be that this particular Council is just not cohesive enough to support each other in getting concessions from the administration and various agencies of government. This would have been a perfect opportunity for the Council to force an agency to do something that was important to a number of the Council Members and was the right thing to do. Unfortunately it didn't happen.

BILL NO. BL2012-118 is the Gaylord-Dollywood snow-splash park tax giveaway bill. (Discussion starts at 16:27.) CM Mitchell makes an argument that the bill needs to include some sort of amendment or accountability mechanism to insure that local workers get the jobs associated with the construction project.

Council Member Josh Stites (22:18) argues against the bill. "I want to make sure my appreciation and adoration of Dolly Parton is not called into question," he says. "I actually have her latest album, Back with Barbie, on my iPod, and I am proud of that. However, I am going to support her with my own money and not someone else's."

He questions the economic impact study data. He says he has a “problem with giving tax incentives to companies that move here.” He questions the promised construction job creation and says it is “disproportionate” with the project’s $50 million price tag. “I don’t think we should be charging other private investors that have large water parks 100 percent taxes, so we can then turn around and essentially subsidize a new water park,” an obvious reference to Nashville Shores.

Councilman Robert Duvall also takes to the floor in opposition (25:02). “The last thing we need to be doing is giving tax incentives to some individuals and then turn around and raise property taxes on people," he says. "What we are doing as a body when we pass this is, we are selectively choosing who will succeed and who won't and it is wrong; it is the wrong thing to do."

Councilman Tim Garrett and Councilman Charlie Tygert, Walter Hunt and others argue in favor of the bill.

After all the good debate, the bill passed by voice vote. Why did not someone demand a roll call? I want to know how they voted. Too often Councilmen hide behind voice votes. The opponents of this bill should have demanded a recorded vote. How do you know who the good councilmen are, if councilmen seldom go on the record? Knowing how their councilman voted on second reading might have given the public a chance to lobby their Council Member between now and third reading and convinced them to change their vote.

BL2012-115 which extends the smoking ban on public property from 50 feet from a hospital entrance to 200 feet from a hospital entrance appears to serve no purpose except to punish smokers for having a nasty habit. This bill passed by voice vote with no audible "no" votes. This was an opportunity for a conservative council member to make a principled argument against government expansion but no one did.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-116 on third reading was the HCA tax giveaway bill. This deal gave a 100% tax abatement for the first five years, and a 50% abatement for the next five years on a new regional data center being built in Antioch. Robert Duvall takes to the floor (57:34) and argues against it. He points out that there is no grantee that the 155 jobs supposed to be created by this bill will in fact be created by this development. The jobs may be existing jobs that are simply a transfer of people. All jobs created since Jan. 1 this year by HCA are credited toward the 155 total. Karen Johnson argues in favor of the bill. It passed by machine vote with only Tennpenny, Duvall and Stites voting against it. 

This was a pretty interesting council meeting. Thanks to Councilmen Stites and Councilman Duvall for taking principled stands and speaking out.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

An Art Break: A vase of dogwood

A vase of dogwood by Ouida Williams

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