Saturday, May 26, 2012

Agenda 21 is like Hitler's Final Solution

by Rod Williams, May, 26, 2012 - "Agenda 21 is patterned after Hitler’s Final Solution, but on a Global scale. Once all people and properties are accounted for, the murder will begin."

The above quote is just a comment posted on an obscure blog, however, this kind of stuff is being spread widely over the internet. Apparently many, many people really believe this. Other than Glen Beck, not a single conservative of any stature has had much to say about Agenda 21.  Some talk show host and politicians have pandered to the paranoid and said anti-agenda 21 things as kind of throw away lines, but they have not said any thing substantive or in-depth on it. Not a single serious conservative commentator has editorialized on it.
No respectable publication or mainstream web site is writing about Agenda 21. No mainstream conservative organization is warning about it. Only the John Birch Society and a few other John Birch Society front groups and clones are reporting on it. The Hermitage Foundation warned about the danger of anti growth policies at the local level, but essentially said don't worry too much about Agenda 21.

If you google "agenda 21" you get thousands and thousands of hits from people warning of the dangers of Agenda 21 and people claiming everything from mixed used zoning, to community gardens, to wide sidewalks to conservation easements are part of Agenda 21 policies. In community after community, county commissions and city council are passing anti-Agenda 21 resolutions. Phrases like "sustainable growth" and "transportation planning" have become suspect phrases. Use some phrases like that, and some people think you are part of the anti-Agenda 21 plot. The thing is, many of the opponents of  community gardens or wide sidewalks, do not just, not like them, but they think these things are part of a diabolical plot "patterned after Hitler's Final Solution."

Maybe I am obsessed with this issue, but I think the world has gone nuts!  And, few in the conservative movement will stand up to these people.  These people are bat-shit crazy! It can't get weirder than this! Taking this stuff seriously is right up there with wanting to build a UFO landing pad in Nashville, as we once had a Councilman introduce legislation to do. This Agenda 21 stuff is making me embarrassed to be a Republican, a conservative or part of the tea party.

I am starting to think that in a plot to totally destroy and discredit the conservative movement, that maybe some alien force allied with George Soros has beamed lasers into the minds of tea party members and captured their brains, and are making them say stupid things like Agenda 21 is patterned after Hitler's Final Solution. Maybe this big space ship is circling the earth .............

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Tennessee is our Eden

This poetic and  poignant speech was given by Kathleen Williams, Executive Director of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation at the dedication of Cummins Falls State Park on Tuesday, May 22.

Tennessee is so green and lush.  Tennessee is our Eden. As we stand here together today by the banks of beautiful Blackburn Fork River, we are thankful.  Thankful to God.  Thankful for this community who came together to conserve this place of wonder and magic.  And thankful to you Governor Haslam.  You are here at a crucial time for Cummins Falls and for Tennessee and we are grateful. 

Tennessee’s garden is bountiful – we’re river rich.  We have seven of the top eight most biologically-diverse rivers in America.  (That means our rivers have a lot of critters in them.) Tennessee has more species of trees than throughout all of Europe.  Crossed with scenic back roads, blessed with abundant wildlife and dotted with more caves than any other state in North America.  Waterfalls and wildflowers, dragonflies and fireflies to give magic to the night. 

But we know that competing demands threaten our homeland.  So… we are thankful that you Governor Haslam know that what is good for the environment is also good for the economy.  We are thankful for your support of funds for a Forever Green Tennessee.

Conserving Tennessee provides raw materials for undiscovered medicines, for crops, timbers, fibers, soil-restoring vegetation, petroleum substitutes, and other products – and this gives our grandchildren the same economic opportunities that we’ve enjoyed. 

A healthy population needs outdoor recreation and the tonic that wilderness provides. 

People will visit and business will move to Tennessee of its quality of life … its parks, wildlife and greenways.

Tennessee’s economy depends on tourism.  Tourism is the second largest industry in Tennessee, employing 184,000 and generating $14 Billion in economic return. 

And Parks are our most visited attractions. For every $1 invested in state parks, Tennessee gets back $37!  That’s a great pay-off for doing something that is so beneficial in so many ways.  Brock Hill knows it and that is why he is working so hard and doing a great job to make our parks environmentally sensitive and attractive for visitors. 

And increased tourism will more than justify the additional rangers or wildlife officers that new destinations will need. 

Plus, our economy and environmental health both require sustainable, abundant natural resources for pollination, agriculture, cleaner drinking water, renewable resources and the very air we breathe.  Conserving corridors of forests along rivers and ridges is the best way to save the best Tennessee has to offer.

Tennesseans understand this across party lines – when asked 76% of republicans and 82% of democrats support conservation. So Governor Haslam, please know that Tennesseans will support you in every good thing you do to conserve our homeland.   

We have all we need in Tennessee to live  --  wild species and conserved land for our food, water and air.    And we need the sustenance provided by the beauty of a waterfall – Cummins Falls is the 8th largest waterfall in Tennessee and arguably the most beautiful.  People will come and will be blessed by these good tidings.  They’ll swim, paint, be baptised, have an adventure with their kids, fish, exercise their body and spirit.  We thank you Governor Haslam for this gift to Tennessee today and for our grandchildren.  We thank you all for making this possible.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Council Budget hearings: The Judicial Branch (part 1)

05/21/12 Circuit Court Clerk


05/21/12 Justice Integration Services

 05/21/12 Criminal Court Clerk


 05/21/12 District Attorney

 05/21/12 General Sessions Court

Above are five Council budget hearings.  Expect these to be real boring. I will try to get around to watching them and will summarize what I learn and then update this post, but do not expect any revelations of waste or corruption nor any tough questioning. If you have insomnia or you just can't wait to see the result of the council hearing for these departments, then watch them. If you have an insight or suggestion please leave a comment.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

John Stossel on Nashville's limo price-fixing

Nashville's limo price-fixing scheme keeps being used by free market advocates as one of the best examples of intrusive government, anti-competitive practices, and crony capitalism. This is from an opinion piece by John Stossel:

In Nashville, Tenn., regulators ruled it illegal for a limo to charge less than $45 a ride. One entrepreneur had won customers by charging half that, but the new regulations mean the established car service businesses no longer have to worry about him.
Perhaps Nashville's and Vegas' regulators really believe "this is an area where the free market doesn't work," as the manager of the Nevada Transportation Services Authority put it. But it's fishy that charging big fees for licenses just happens to be a very effective shakedown operation. Vegas cab and limousine businesses give "substantial" donations to Vegas-area political candidates, according to the Las Vegas Sun. (read more

Do you think our Council is proud of being the best bad example? Some are, I am sure. The council should go on record and vote to repeal limo price fixing. Win or lose, it would be nice to know who the supporters of free markets are and who are the supporters of price-fixing and crony capitalism.

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Cummins Falls, Tennessee's new state park, is safer venue for nature lovers

Woman who lost son glad state took over 

by Elizabeth Bonner, The Tennessean, May. 23, 2012

While others touted the beauty of Cummins Falls during its dedication Tuesday, Carol Hudelston saw a greater purpose in the new state park.

 The Cookeville woman lost her 18-year-old son, Bryan, in an accident at the falls in September 2009. Tears flowing, she joined the crowd Tuesday to show her support for the state takeover of the site and its provisions for visitor protection.(read more)
This is another good report on the dedication of Cummins Falls State Park yesterday. I like this excerpt:
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me, ‘I was baptized there.’ ‘I got engaged there.’ ‘I got my first kiss there,’ ” said Kathleen Williams, president and CEO of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. “It’s a magical, wonderful place.”

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Cummins Falls State Park dedicated. Wonderful event!

Today a crowd of dignitaries, nature lovers, and local people gathered in a forest clearing overlooking Cummins Falls to dedicate the opening of a new state park and to celebrate the 75th anniversary of  the Tennessee State Park system. 

Cummins Falls State Park was officially dedicated, becoming the 54th official state park and the first state park opened in 14 years.

Kathleen Williams reads the sign
Cummins Falls State Park is a 211 acre park located nine miles north of Cookeville on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River in the rolling hills where Putnam and Jackson Counties meet. The falls are dramatic and are the eighth largest waterfall in the state. The roaring stream gives way to a 75 foot drop into a pool at the bottom, which  Travel and Leisure magazine has listed as one of the top 10 best swimming holes in the United States. 

Last year I had the opportunity to hike down to the bottom of river gorge and swim in the cold waters at the foot of the falls. The hike was a challenge and only for the hearty. A new trail the state has built makes the trek less treacherous but still a strenuous hike.

About 500 people attend the dedication.
This beautiful natural treasure would have been lost without the vision and hard work of Kathleen Williams, President and Executive Director of the  Tennessee Parks and Greenway's foundation and supporters of that organization, various donors, and State agencies and elected officials.   

The York Institute Color Guard prepares
for presentation of the Colors.
Once before the land that adjoins the falls had already been sold to a developer but the developer went bankrupt and the property went back on the market. 

Governor Haslam views the falls
Two years ago the property was being sold at public action and TPGP purchased the property outbidding a Kentucky developer.  The Chairman of the Board of TPGF, Dr. Chuck Womack and members of the board of TPGF and other contributors put up the million and half dollars to purchase the land and then raised the money to repay themselves and eventually sold the land to the state at a discounted price. 

That is the process often used to save critical habitats and beautiful vista's and natural treasures such as cave access sites and waterfalls.  

authentic acoustic mountain music 
The state is less nimble and cannot move quickly when needing to do so, or the State can not do the kind of negotiating that a non-profit organization can do.

Governor Bill Haslam dedicates the new park

Today's ceremonies opened with the presentation of the Colors by the World War 1 York Institute Junior ROTC and a moving solo violin performance of the national anthem. 

Kathleen Williams speaks about the
importance of saving our Tennessee
natural treasures.
Various speakers at today's event spoke about the economic return on investment in Tennessee's natural beauty, about the importance of protecting the bio-diversity of our streams and woods and the importance of preserving natures wonders for future generations. Various people were recognized for their contribution is making the park a reality.  Kathleen Williams was praised for her role in saving the land and making the park happen and Governor Haslam was honored for the role his administration played in the decision of the State to purchase the property and turn it into a State park.  
I enjoyed getting to chat with
the Governor after the event.
 Prior to and after the ceremony an acoustic band played traditional music and a barbeque meal was provided courtesy of Wildwood Manor Bed and Breakfast.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Metro Budget Hearings: Trustee's Office. Charlie Caldwell

05/17/12 Trustee 

Charlie Caldwell, the Metro Trustee and one of the nicest men in Metro Government and a long-time public servant makes the presentation. This hearing is 30 minutes long. He explains the program that provides tax relief program for the elderly on a fixed income and makes a plea for expanding the program. He explains the difference between the tax relief program and the tax freeze program.

Councilman Charlie Tygard ask about cell phone use in the office and vehicle use. Only Mr Caldwell in his office gets reimbursed for a cell phone. Only one car, which is used strictly for business purposes, is used by this office. Part time employees get no overtime pay. Tygard asks about possible saving from cross training of employees and the possibility of sharing a pool of workers. Congratulations to Tygard for thinking about possible savings.

Council Member Karen Bennett ask a few good questions.

Council Member Dominy (21:22) ask a good question about a program that pays a third party for collecting delinquent taxes. The explanation sounds like this is a sound program but may need to be reevaluated to see if there are any possible savings.

No real opportunities for savings are recognized.

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Metro Council Budget Hearings: The Arts Commission


  05/17/12 Arts Commission

More to follow.

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Metro Council budget hearings: John Arriola's budget


05/17/12 Davidson County Clerk

I have not watched this yet, but I hope they rake Arriola over the coals. Arriola has got to go. Actually, as I understand it,  the Council has little control over this budget. This is one of those offices that is called a "constitutional office" established by state law and operates off of it's own revenues.

While I watched almost every one of the Mayor’s budget hearings, I have not yet watched many of the Council budget hearings. Sometimes things like work and family and life get in the way of my effort to stay informed. I intend to watch them and provide commentary as time allows. I want to see where savings are possible and I want to see if any council members are distinguishing themselves by asking the hard questions and making the department heads squirm or it the budget hearings are a sham and a love fest.

I am posting video of the various council budget hearings and will provide an update and commentary later.

If you watch the video and have an insight or observation, please share and leave a comment.

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Council Budget Hearings: Legal Department and Internal Audit

05/17/12 Legal

05/17/12 Internal Audit

While I watched almost every one of the Mayor’s budget hearings, I have not yet watched many of the Council budget hearings. Sometimes things like work and family and life get in the way of my effort to stay informed. I intend to watch them and provide commentary as time allows. I want to see where savings are possible and I want to see if any council members are distinguishing themselves by asking the hard questions and making the department heads squirm or it the budget hearings are a sham and a love fest.

I am posting video of the various council budget hearings and will provide an update and commentary later.

I may not get to watch them all. If you watch the video and have an insight or observation, please share and leave a comment.

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Update: Council budget hearings: Planning Department

05/17/12 Planning Department

Executive Director of the Metro Planning Department Rick Bernhardt makes the presentation. This hearing last only eleven minutes. Councilman Tygard ask a good question about vehicles and cell phones. Councilman Duvall (6:20) ask a good question about possible cost savings of moving the Historical Commission under the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission. Councilman Glover ask a specific question, asking for a comparison of proposed FTE's (full time equivalent employees) to existing FET's.

Thankfully no one embarrassed us by asking about Agenda 21.

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Update: Council budget hearings: Election Commission

05/17/12 Election Commission

Davidson County Election administrator Albert Tieche makes the presentation. This hearing is only 20 minutes long.

Charlie Tygard (starting at 4:21) ask a good question about reducing the number of elections by combining some elections dates and a possible charter amendment to cut out one or two elections a year, the number of voting sites and number of early voting days. Bo Mitchell (8:46) makes the case for an early voting site in the western part of the County.Walther Hunt ask a specific question about a particular voting site. A few other Councilmen ask questions, but nothing of significance and no savings are recognized. Albert Tieche says the new voter ID law will not cost the department any money.

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Homeowners Against a Property Tax Hike

From Ben Cunningham:
Here is a call sheet with phone numbers for all district and at-large council members. You can print and copy and give out to friends, family and at church and work.

If you need to find which district you live in, enter your address in upper right hand corner of this map:

If you are on Facebook go to
Homeowners Against a Property Tax Hike & join the conversation. To stop this Property Tax Hike it is going to take us all fighting the Mayor.

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Alternatives to the Tax Increase

Feature, Policy — By , The Beacon Center,  May 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee, the state’s free market think tank, today released a policy brief analyzing Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed 2012-2013 budget. The budget recommendation put forward by Dean contains a 13 percent property tax hike and a net spending increase of 7.85 percent.

The Beacon Center’s brief, titled Analyzing Nashville’s “Taxing” Budget, offers alternatives to the tax increase in a short, four-page summary. Based on the Center’s findings, the Metro City Council could balance the budget with no tax increase by making specific reductions and holding the line on excess spending.

Among the proposed changes include maintaining existing funding for public works, libraries, and parks; the elimination of subsidies to private entities; terminating the handout to the half-full Metro General Hospital; an end to wasteful mass transit spending; and the promotion of education reforms instead of mere increases in education spending.

The City Council could reduce Mayor Dean’s proposed budget by as much as $134.2 million with these changes, eliminating the need for a property tax increase. Further, Nashville’s budget could be balanced without pulling a single police officer off the streets, while still offering the proposed four percent pay raise to city employees and preserving existing levels of funding for essential city services.

“By adopting the measures outlined in our brief, Metro City Council members could protect taxpayers against a massive tax hike, all while maintaining existing funding for all essential services, including education and safety,” said Beacon’s president & CEO Justin Owen. “It doesn’t take much digging to find opportunities to present a fiscally-sound budget alternative to the one proposed by the mayor.”

The brief also calls for Metro leaders to seek additional changes, such as managed competition and pension reform, to make further spending reductions and promote the long-term fiscal stability of the city.

The policy brief can be found online at:

The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. The Center is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing policymakers and concerned citizens with timely solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee.

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It's the taxes, stupid/A free country does not charge it's citizens a fee to flee.

 It's the taxes, stupid

BY JUDSON PHILLIPS | MAY 21, 2012, Tea Party Nation

Facebook made its initial public offering this week. The IPO, which made Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire overnight, also created some other controversy.

Eduardo Saverin was one of the co-founders of Facebook. Saverin is originally from Brazil, but he became a naturalized American citizen. Saverin decided to give up his American citizenship a few months ago.

Why? Because of Facebook’s IPO. By giving up his U.S. citizenship, Saverin is saving over $100 million in taxes.

Politicians went nuts over this news. Let’s face it; politicians are not the sharpest knives in the drawer anyway.

 Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania immediately introduced a bill that would impose a 30 percent capital gains tax on anyone renouncing their citizenship to save taxes.

Who would determine whether someone was doing that or not?

The IRS.

House Speaker John Boehner immediately joined in on one of the weekend talk shows saying, “If it is necessary, I will support it.”


If taxes are so high that billionaires are fleeing the nation, that is a sign that taxes are too high. Ronald Reagan understood this. He wanted our taxes to be so low that we would attract capital. The not very bright people who are currently running our nation do not understand this.

If you penalize capital, it will flee. If you penalize wealth, the wealthy will flee.

If you make a nation attractive for capital, people will invest. That is what we want in America. We want people to invest in the next Facebook or Microsoft or Apple.

The only funny part of this disgraceful story is the reaction of liberals. Schumer and his buddies are shocked that people do not want to willingly pay excessively high taxes to a government that wastes insane amounts of money. That is pretty alarming.

My Comment 

A free country does not charge it's citizens a fee to flee. 

I agree 100%. I have reposted the above editorial from Judson Phillips in full and hope he does not mind. I was going to say essentially the same thing, so rather than write my own editorial on the topic, I am reposing his.

In addition to the tax policy that drives wealth from our country, there is something even more disturbing about this event.

Before the fall of the wall and the demise of the Soviet empire, the Soviets under pressure of world wide condemnation would allow a trickle of soviet citizens to depart, primarily Jews wanting to emigrate to Israel. However, the USSR imposed a so-called "diploma tax" on those leaving, sometimes as high as twenty times their annual salary.

In other times, in other places dictatorial regimes have charged people a fee to leave their country or demanded they leave all of their wealth and property behind.

A free country does not charge it's citizens a fee to flee. You should not have to buy your way out of the United States. This is a despicable concept.

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Renters likely to pay more too with proposed property tax hike

Sunday, May 20, 2012, City Paper, by Joey  Garrison

Since Dean’s May 1 announcement that he plans to pursue Davidson County’s first property tax hike since 2005, the focus has mostly been on how it will affect individual homeowners. The proposal, a 53-cent increase to the combined Urban and General Services rate, would on average increase individual property tax payments annually by $192, or $16 per month.

That also means a likely rent hike for the 44 percent of housing occupied by renters in Davidson County.
That higher taxes on landlords would trickle down as higher costs for renters sounds like standard economics. But the proposal comes at a time in Nashville when more than four in 10 renters are already spending 35 percent or more of their monthly income on rent, according to the census bureau. (read more)

Actually, a property tax increase may hit renters harder than the article states. Residential property and farms are assessed at 25% of their appraised value. Commercial and Industrial property is assessed at 40% of appraised value. Rental properties in residential neighborhoods are assessed at the 25% rate but apartment complexes are treated as commercial property and assessed at 40%.

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