Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rob Mortensen Fund Raiser

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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. In this race I am supporting Dr. Steve Dickerson, however I will gladly support Rob Mortensen, should he be the Party's nominee.

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Tygard wants residency rule for new Metro employees. Why he is wrong.

The Tennessean, May. 17, 2012
A Metro councilman said he plans to introduce legislation requiring anyone hired by Metro government after a certain date to live inside Nashville and Davidson County.
Councilman Charlie Tygard said the idea, which has been debated before, is relevant again as Mayor Karl Dean and the council discuss a 53-cent property tax increase that would result in 4 percent pay increases for most city workers.

“If you’re asking for raises and you want support, we want you to be a resident of this county,” he said Wednesday.Tygard wants residency rule for new Metro employees | The Tennessean |
 No, No, No! Bad idea. At first glance it seems reasonable.  If you are going to work for Metro, then you should live here. 

However, in principle it is wrong if you believe in free trade and oppose protectionism. If products and capital can flow across National and State and County lines, then why not labor? I am not going to elaborate on theory however.

From a very pragmatic basis it is wrong. We should get the best employees not matter where they live. Nashville pays the second highest teacher starting salary of any district in Tennessee. We benefit when new teachers can get our higher starting salary from Metro but benefit from a neighboring county's lower cost of living. In a sense, these counties with a lower cost of living are subsidizing our teachers. Why shoot ourselves in the foot by restricting our starting teacher pool to those who are willing to pay the Nashville higher cost of living?

The real reason this this is wrong however is political. Unfortunately, with a mobile population and people without roots in the County, their are a lot of people who care deeply about national politics and care little about local politics.  A lot of people who would never miss a Presidential election could care less about voting in a local election.  Among those who do vote, many just vote based on name recognition and don't really know much about who they are voting for.

Metro employees do vote and they vote for their self interest. When I served in the Council in the 80's employees had to live in the county. I represented a district with lots of firemen whose fathers and in some cases their grandfathers had been firemen.  Firemen voted. All of them and their extended families voted. That is a lot of influence. In fact, most Metro employee's were registered to vote and voted heavily.  Teachers also, always voted. That is a voting block that almost always favors a tax increase and in partisan elections almost always vote Democrat. If half the firemen and half the teachers live out of county that is a voting block that is much weakened. I would prefer none of the city's employees lived in the County. Weaken that voting block favoring a tax increase all we can.

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The Heritage Foundation speaks out on Agenda 21

The Heritage Foundation has spoken out on Agenda 21.

If you pay attention to politics at all you have probably heard of the Heritage Foundation. If you are a conservative activist you know them well.  They are one of the most influential and respected conservative organization in existence. They are a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Their stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense".

The foundation was founded in 1973 and took a leading role in the conservative movement during the presidency of Ronald Reagan and they have since continued to have a significant influence in U.S. public policy making.

So, what does Heritage say about Agenda 21? While they are mildly critical, they are not hysterical.  Below are some excerpts:

 Abstract: Agenda 21, a voluntary plan adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, unabashedly calls on governments to intervene and regulate nearly every potential impact that human activity could have on the environment. However, Agenda 21 is non-binding; it depends on governments for implementation. If opponents focus excessively on Agenda 21, it is much more likely that homegrown smart-growth policies that undermine the quality of life, personal choice, and property rights in American communities will be implemented by local, state, and federal authorities at the behest of environmental groups and other vested interests. Preventing American implementation of Agenda 21 should therefore be viewed as only one part of a broader effort to convince U.S. government officials to repeal destructive smart-growth programs and prevent the enactment of new ones.
They should recognize that Agenda 21 is simply another facet of smart growth and not allow it to divert them from opposing the more ubiquitous, overarching agenda of homegrown environmental extremists.
However, Agenda 21 is non-binding; it depends entirely on national, state, and local governments for implementation and therefore poses little threat in and of itself. It is the policies endorsed by Agenda 21 that are of most concern, and these policies are not confined to Agenda 21.
Please read the complete Heritage analysis, here. While Heritage is critical of policies that restrict economic growth, they seem to be calling for a little sanity. Heritage says nothing about the danger of traffic calming, or greenways, or bikepaths, or traffic roundabouts, paved parking lots, or annexation, or free trade. They say nothing about a plan to murder 95% or the worlds population by poisoning people with aspartame and fluoride.

Of course, I expect that any day now, the John Birch Society will denounce the Heritage Foundation as being a willing tool of the Bilderbergs and the Trilateral Commission.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Blount County Commission opposes Agenda 21

Knox News, May 17, 2012
In other action, the commission passed a resolution condemning a U.N. proposal known as Agenda 21, which many see as an attempt to impose a new system of behavior on people worldwide. (read more)

This is meaningless of course, but interesting. This is happening all over the country. It is interesting that at the same commission meeting, the same commissioners voted to establish a centralized tourism authority, charged with planning to advance tourism and with the power to tax across jurisdictions, which sounds like the type of thing often denounced as an Agenda 21 policy. I have no way to know, but I would bet none of the Blount County Commissioners have read Agenda 21 and only know what a John Birch Society constituent told them.

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Tea Partiers yearn for a "truly red" Tennessee

NASHVILLE, May 17 - When conservative Tea Party activists helped Republicans extend their majority in Tennessee's legislature in 2010, they expected to get the legislation they wanted. (link)
Ken Marrero of Blue Collar Muse and Lee Douglas of the 9-12 group and other people you may know are quoted in this article. Ken Marrero calls for a more moderate approach to advancing the conservative agenda as opposed to the scorched earth policy of the more extreme tea party conservatives.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Update: What happended at the May 15 Council Meeting

Below is the video. commentary to follow. 

Original post
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Metro Council passed the first reading of Mayor Karl Dean's controversial proposed property tax increase at Tuesday's night's council meeting.

"I think people want to be educated, I think want to understand exactly what this means. If we pass it, if we don't pass it, I think they want to know what that means as well," said council member Steve Glover. (link)

 No-votes for the tax increase bill, approved 30-4, were: Tenpenny, Potts, Duvall and Mitchell.
Vote for property tax increase on 1st of 3 readings is 30-4, with 3 abstentions

Attorney Cooper notes that if council doesn't pass budget on first reading, it would become law anyway, per the Metro Charter

Rhonda Marko has been appointed to the Transportation Licensing Commission. I wonder if she knows what she's getting into.

 Budget Hearings at the Council begin on Thursday, May 17th:

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So far Tennessee is the only Anti-Agenda 21 state

While the wacky far right conspiracy theory group, the John Birch Society, has been pushing state legislatures and city council's across the country to adopt bills either outlawing implementation of Agenda 21 policies or condemning Agenda 21, they have met with only limited success.

Tennessee has the distinction as the only state to enact an anti-Agenda 21 bill.  The Tennessee State Legislature passed a John Birch Society piece of model legislation which was a Joint House Resolution condemning Agenda 21, but Governor Haslam refused to sign it and the memorializing resolution went into effect without the Governors signature.

Other states may be close to enacting anti-Agenda 21 legislation, but none have done so yet.  In New Hampshire the measure would prevent local and county governments, as well as the state government, from joining the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (IGLEI), an international sustainability planning group. The legislation passed the NH house and has been attached to a hiking trail bill in the Senate and that bill will be taken up next week.

In Arkansas, the Agenda 21 bill has been hard fought and has passed the House but not yet passed the Senate. 

In Arizona , the House of Representatives rejected a ban similar to the New Hampshire ban after that bill had passed the Arizona Senate.

Agenda 21 is a 20-year old document that recommends environmental sustainability goals and anti-poverty goals in developing countries. Critics claim it would take away property rights and national sovereignty. . It has no force in law and was never ratified by the Senate.  It was signed by Republican president George H. W. Bush.

The more extreme critics claim Agenda 21 is a plan to kill 95% of the worlds population by poisoning them with aspartame and fluoride.

The John Birch Society and their front groups have been the lead force behind the anti-Agenda 21 movement. They have been training hundreds of Agenda 21 "experts" who can then hold seminars and "educate" people on Agenda 21. For $195 one can order an Agenda 21 kit with pamphlets and power point presentations and script to teach anti-Agenda 21 seminars.

It is unfortunate that people all over the country are being “educated” and are trusting people who once labeled President Dwight D. Eisenhower a willing tool of the Communist conspiracy and who subscribe to a theory that ever since about 1776 all of the political movements, including Nazism and Communism, and all the wars and depression have been orchestrated by the Illuminati and today the Illuminati continue to pull the strings though sinister groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, The Tri-lateral Commission, the Club of Rome, and the Bilderbergs . 

The mid 60's were much like today for the conservative movement. Grassroots conservatives took the party away from establishment Republicans. Unfortunately, the John Birch Society gaining prominence during the populist conservative uprising.  The JBS society with their nutty, fringe conspiracy theory stuff threatened to discredit the whole conservative movement and finally conservative leaders had to denounce them and warn Republican activist to disassociate from the JBS. The JBS was denounced by conservative leader, author, and journalist William F. Buckley, Jr. and by former Republican presidential candidate and conservative icon Senator Barry Goldwater.

After years of being practically non existent, the John Birch Society has had a renascence and has again gaining influence, this time in the tea party movement. It is my fear, that unless the JBS is denounced and disassociated from the conservative movement, the whole tea party uprising will be discredited. So far, only in Tennessee, have they been able to get their anti-Agenda 21 model resolution passed but they are influential in the tea party movements across the country. 

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How conservative are our members of Congress?

Below is the scorecard from the Heritage Foundation. The House Republican average is 66% and the House Democrat average is 16%. 
TN 7 Rep. Marsha Blackburn R 82%
TN 3 Rep. Chuck Fleischmann R 77%
TN TN Sen. Bob Corker R 77%
TN 6 Rep. Diane Black R 74%
TN 8 Rep. Stephen Fincher R 72%
TN 4 Rep. Scott DesJarlais R 70%
TN 2 Rep. John Duncan Jr. R 67%
TN 1 Rep. Phil Roe R 63%
TN TN Sen. Lamar Alexander R 59%
TN 5 Rep. Jim Cooper D 27%
TN 9 Rep. Steve Cohen D 16%
To know more about the issues scored and an explanation of each Senator or Representative's record, visit Heritage Action.

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Steve Dickerson Event, June 18th



11:30AM- 1:00PM

$1,000 TO HOST



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Gov. Bill Haslam correct to ignore Agenda 21 resolution

By NEWS SENTINEL EDITORIAL BOARD, Posted May 17, 2012 at 4 a.m.

Of all the measures considered this year by the Tennessee General Assembly that drew ridicule from many quarters, perhaps none was as silly as the resolution condemning a United Nations program called Agenda 21. Gov. Bill Haslam prudently declined to sign the nonbinding resolution, a show of restraint that represents the triumph of common sense over the forces of paranoia. (read more)
I most emphatically agree!

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Why they voted "yes" on the Mayor's budget on First Reading.

And, why it is an up hill battle to stop a tax increase.

Several people who are adamantly against a property tax increase have expressed disappointment that so few Council Members voted "no" on first reading on the Mayor's budget ordinance.  A "yes" vote on first reading was not a vote for the budget. Let me explain:

All bills in the Council have to be voted on, on three separate "readings." One should realized that voting for a bill on first reading does not imply the council member casting the vote supports the bill. A vote on first reading is just a vote to allow the bill to be heard. Consideration of a bill in committee does not take place until after first reading, prior to second reading. If there is any Council discussion or amendments that takes place on the floor of the Council that takes place on  second readings.

Regarding the budget ordinance, the Charter is real specific about what must happen. Here are the relevant portions of the charter related to the budget:
Sec. 6.05. - Hearings by council.
After the council shall have passed the budget ordinance on first reading, it shall hold hearings on the proposed operating budget, as well as on the capital improvements budget as provided in section 6.13 hereof, but the hearing on the capital improvements budget shall be heard prior to those on the proposed operating budget, and the hearings on either budget may be adjourned from time to time. Budget hearings shall be advertised in a daily newspaper of general circulation published in the area of the metropolitan government at least seven days prior to the date or dates set for the beginning of such public hearings. 

Sec. 6.06. - Action by council on operating budget.
After the conclusion of the public hearings, the council may amend the operating budget proposed by the mayor; except, that the budget as finally amended and adopted must provide for all expenditures required by law or by other provisions of this Charter and for all debt service requirements for the ensuing fiscal year as certified by the director of finance. Neither shall the council alter the estimates of receipts or other fund availability included in the budget document except to correct errors and omissions, in which event a full explanation shall be spread on the minutes of the council. In no event shall the total appropriations from any fund exceed the estimated fund balance, reserves and revenues, constituting the fund availability of such fund.
The council shall finally adopt an operating budget for the ensuing fiscal year not later than the thirtieth day of June, and it shall be effective for the fiscal year beginning on the following July 1st. Such adoption shall take the form of an ordinance setting out the estimated revenues in detail by source and making appropriations according to fund and by organizational unit, purpose or activity as set out in the budget document. If the council shall fail to adopt a budget prior to the beginning of any fiscal year, it shall be conclusively presumed to have adopted the budget as submitted by the mayor.

If the Council would have had a majority of those present vote "no" on the budget on first reading, the Mayor's budget would have become law without even being voted on. The Council cannot even amend or substitute the Mayor's budget until after the public hearing.
 To move the process forward and have a chance of substituting the budget, it had to pass on first reading.

Unfortunately, I think it is going to be difficult to pass a no-tax increase budget. Here is why:

  1. The charter stacks the deck in favor of the Mayor as noted above. That is the main reason, however in my opinion, these are also other impediments to the council passing a no-tax budget, 
  2. Due to a strict adherence to the sunshine law, the council cannot meet in small groups to work out details of an alternative. No horse trading and deal making can occur.  It is difficult to negotiate an alternative budget in committee. 
  3. Due to term limits we have few council members who have ever gone through a budget process  with a proposed tax increase so we have few members who have the experience or power to develop an alternative budget. 
  4. The general will is hard to be heard over the will of employees, teachers, policemen, Chamber of Commerce, the media, the Realtors, etc. Those who have a vested interest in getting something from government or who are committed to a specific cause funded by government are often people who always vote in Council elections and make an effort to influence the Council, whereas those who are motivated to stop a tax increase may be calling a councilman for the first time or may have not even voted in Council elections before. Those who want something from government, may have contributed money, or worked the polls or had a yard sign for a candidate in their yard.  Also, policemen and firemen have big families and they all vote. The specific interest seem to be better connected and more knowledgeable about the Council than those with a general interest.

I think a No-tax increase budget is possible, but only if there is a massive, massive outpouring of opposition. 

I hate to be pessimistic, but I think a budget giving the mayor 1/3 to half of what he wants is about the best we can hope for. I am not giving up even before we start, but it is an up hill climb.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How many Assistant Directors of Parks do we need?

There are five – 5! – Assistant Directors in Nashville’s Parks and Recreation department making over $100,000. The Director himself hauls in $123,974. These salaries do not include the generous benefits that accompany government employment. (read more)

Wow! That is a lot of money. We do have a great park system here in Nashville, but do we need five Assistant Directors? Five Assistant Directors at over $100,000 each? I think I see a place to cut the budget.

Please, some council member: Ask about that during the budget hearings. How many Assistant Park Directors do they have in Lexington Ky; in Asheville, North Carolina; in Austin, Texas?  Have we ever considered reorganizing the department? What does an Assistant Director do? How long have we had five assistant directors?

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Councilman Josh Stites calls chamber 'political pawn' for supporting tax hike

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is nothing more than a “political pawn” a rookie Metro councilman tweeted Monday in response to the chamber’s endorsement of Mayor Karl Dean’s property tax increase proposal last week.

District 13 Councilman Josh Stites, elected last fall, has earned a reputation for turning to Twitter to express his political views. Following the chamber and the Great Nashville Association of Realtors’ decisions to support the mayor’s tax hike, Stites chimed in on one of his Twitter accounts.

“Groups like the @RealtorsGNAR and @nashchamber can’t be taken serious on the tax increase,” Stites tweeted. “They are nothing more than political pawns.” (read more)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Citizens Guide to the Metro Budget.

This is an excellent resource to learn all you possibly want to know about Metro's budget: A Citizens Guide to the Metro Budget

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we are not required to fund the policemen hired under the Obama stimulus grant.

Writing in the Facebook Group Homeowners Against a Property Tax Hike  today, former Metro Council Member candidate William Cyril Guthoerl explained that we are not required to fund the policemen hired under the Obama stimulus grant. Many people have argued that if we do not permanently fund the positions funded with the Obama grant money we would have to repay the grant. This is the explanation offered by William: 

For everyone that keeps hearing the threat on the loss of police officers, let me explain the COPS grant. The grant provides funding for 50 police officers for 36 months. At the end of the 36 month period the city is required to increase the police staffing levels to add those 50 positions. While a budget cut might not allow for that increased level, the COPS grant provides a clause that allows cities who have faced budget reductions OR a natural disaster to apply for a waiver from the requirement. That is an option for Metro. If granted, the department is continually hiring, meaning that there are openings for those 50 officers to be absorbed into the current staffing.

it is good to know that if we do not fund these 50 positions that we would not have to repay the grant. We had a natural disaster. We should apply for the waiver.  I am going to assume that this is correct unless someone provides evidence to the contrary.  In essence, no policeman would have to lose his job. There is enough turn over in the department that no one would have to be laid off. Without a tax increase it is true that we probably could not keep all of those positions funded under the Obama Cops grant. If however, it is determined that the optimum number of policemen includes some of those positions currently funded with the Cops grant, then the city could keep some of those positions by reallocating resources. Maybe the city could abolish the worthless and unnecessary Human Relations Commission and fund three of the police positions. I bet I could find some other money that could be reallocated, if I was convinced that losing those 50 positions would be detrimental to the city.

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May Liberty on the Rocks

Thursday, May 17, 2012
5:30 PM
2400 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN (map)
Ask the hostess or look for the LOTR sign at our tables

We are encouraging members to bring a friend this month. Last month we had about 30 people, but we need to boost attendance back up to 40 again like recent months.  So we're asking you to think of someone you know who is into good discussion, open minded and just plain fun to be around.

Drop in anytime after 5:30PM for a little while or hang out until 9 with your pals.

This is always a fun event. There is no program, just a chance to socialize, network, and relax with like-minded people.

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Courtney Rogers Reception

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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Monday, May 14, 2012

Governor Bill Haslam to Dedicate Cummins Falls State Park

Please Join Governor Bill Haslam
and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation for
The Announcement of Tennessee's 54th and Newest State Park
on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Arrive at 11:15 AM
Remarks by Governor Bill Haslam at Noon
Lunch 12:30 PM
Located on the beautiful Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, this idyllic 211-acre site in Jackson County will be the 54th state park in Tennessee. This is made possible through the leadership of Governor Bill Haslam, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and through the very generous support of members of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.
Lunch donated by Wildwood Manor Bed and Breakfast.
 Kelley Clemons at TDEC (615) 532-0111 or

Directions: 1225 Cummins Mill Road, Cookeville, TN 38501. From Interstate 40, take exit 280 to TN-56 north toward Gainesboro for 7.7 miles. Right on TN-290, go 0.9 miles. Left onto Cummins Mill Road for 2.1 miles. Left onto Blackburn Fork Road for 0.2 miles.

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