Saturday, June 02, 2012

Taxi regulations negatively trickle down to public

Written by Daniel Horwitz, The Tennessean, Jun 2, 2012

Back in April 2011, the Transportation Licensing Commission first made national news when the Institute for Justice sued the TLC in Federal Court for imposing “a host of arbitrary and irrational regulations on limousine and sedan services in an unconstitutional effort to eliminate competition in the transportation market and benefit a small group of industry insiders.”

By May 2012, however, deciding which of the Commission’s myriad gaffes had been most damaging to the city’s reputation had become a topic of heated debate. Was it the time when TLC Director Brian McQuistion claimed that Nashville’s overwhelmingly African-American cab drivers would “resort to crime, prostitution and drug-dealing” if they were permitted to run their own competing taxi company? Or perhaps the time when every TLC employee was ordered to undergo “diversity” training after a taxi inspector remarked that most of the city’s cab drivers were Muslim and “a lot of them blow up places”?

Could it have been the report that the Commission wasted $172,810 on a study to determine whether or not they should hire an additional taxi inspector for $61,800? Or instead the recent story that Nashville’s Chief of Police.....(read more)
This is an excellent commentary on Nashville scandal ridden TLC and the city's anti-competitive policy of fixing prices to benefit the well-connected to the detriment of the public.  I am so disgusted with our previous Metro Council for unanimously passing our current transportation price fixing policy and disgusted with the current Council for not repealing it and cleaning up the mess at TLC.

To learn more about the law suit, the price fixing policy, and the various scandals at TLC mentioned in the above article follow this link.

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Can The Government Outlaw Groupon Discounts?

Can the government bar entrepreneurs from offering competitive prices, online discounts and prompt service merely to protect politically powerful insiders from competition? They do. They do in Portland Oregon and they do it in Nashville, but they are are being challenged.

For more information on how the Metro Council fixes limo prices here in Nashville, follow this link.

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Richard Garvin, Jr., Announces Bid for Tennessee’s New 37th House District

Smyrna, TN.   Local businessman and educator, Richard Garvin, Jr., of Smyrna, announces the launching of his campaign to become the representative in Tennessee’s state house from the newly created 37th district in Rutherford County. As an African-American Republican, Garvin seeks to represent the citizens of Rutherford County by bringing fresh ideas, common sense, and conservatism to Capitol Hill. He believes his story, perspective and vision are unique and will differentiate him in the hearts and minds of the electorate from his Republican and Democratic competition.

Richard Garvin has served on the Town of Smyrna’s Planning Commission, currently manages his father’s medical practice and teaches Psychology at Fisk University in Nashville.

“Public service has always been of great interest to me, which is why I currently serve on the Smyrna Historic Zoning Commission, CASA Board of Directors, Linebaugh Library Board of Directors, North Rutherford YMCA Board of Directors as well as being an active member of the Smyrna Noon Rotary Club. Being a Black Republican is not the norm, but it’s who I am and I trust that the common sense folks of Rutherford County will give me the opportunity to sit and talk with them about how we can work together to make our communities safer and more prosperous”,
stated Richard Garvin, Jr.

Richard and his wife Natara live in Smyrna and attend Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Natara is an administrator at Fisk University and is very close to achieving her doctorate degree. Richard holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas and his master’s degree from Fisk University in Clinical Psychology. Richard’s father is Richard Garvin, Sr., who has been a trusted physician in Smyrna for over 20 years and has been a lifelong Republican—even having worked for the Ronald Reagan Presidential campaign in the early 1980’s.

Richard Garvin, Jr., recently said, “I’ve seen what has happened to small businesses due to a struggling economy, over regulation and taxation. I believe our economy and culture have been damaged due to intrusive government and a lack of personal responsibility. I will encourage increased personal responsibility and advocate for pushing back on government intrusion. The people have the answers to get our economy going again and to make our communities safer.”
Garvin will focus on three primary areas of concern as the Representative from the
37th District:
  1. Limiting Government and Balancing Budgets
  2. Attracting Quality Jobs to Rutherford County
  3. Reducing Crime in Rutherford County Communities
For more info please visit,
or call Richard Garvin at (615) 625-3853.

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A split in conservative ranks: Why is Tim Rudd picking a fight with 9/12?

Tim Rudd has taken an action which I am sure is likely to anger a large and active faction of the Republican Party in middle Tennessee. Rudd is the Senate District 13 member of the State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party representing Lincoln, Marshall, Maury,and Rutherford counties. Today he sent an email to various elected officials and candidates for office urging them not to participate in a vetting questionnaire and debate sponsored by the local 9/12 group.

Nine-twelve is an organization started by TV and radio personality by Glenn Beck and there are about five hundred of these groups across the country, or at least there once were.  I don't know how many of these groups still exist and if many of them have faded away or not, nor how active they are.

In middle Tennessee the 9/12 group is very active.  They have monthly social gathering and training session and they volunteer in campaigns and have an active social media network. They are headed by J. Lee Douglas who is a likeable guy and a talented leader. There membership may number in the hundreds. With grass roots groups like this, it hard to say what is the membership number. I assume, I am a member. I joined the face book page and am on the mailing list. So, whether active members are as few as 20 or as many as 700, I don't know.

The group is committed to core conservative economic and social values and advocates limited government and low taxes but does wander off into the anti-freedom of religion for Muslims territory and anti-agenda 21 conspiracy territory from time to time.  I am in agreement with most of their views except for the these areas.  Sometimes the rhetoric of some of the 9-12 members can sound pretty harsh and radical, however. They are definitely not "big-tent" Republicans. Some of the 9/12 members are quick to denounce other Republicans as RINO (Republican in Name Only) unless they are 100% in agreement with their own opinion.  Denunciation of Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker and Bill Haslam as RINO's is common in the email exchanges of the local 9/12 group.

Despite my above difference with some of the group, I know a lot of nine-twelvers and know them to be the people who will man the phone lines and go door to door campaigning and who will contribute money to the cause. They are dedicated and hardworking and passionate. 

I don't know Tim Rudd, but I was surprised to see a Republican in his position pick a fight with nine-twelvers by urging Republican candidates not to answer their questionnaire nor participate in their debate. I don't know if the letter from Rudd represented only the opinion of Tim Rudd or if this was a move by the Republican Party establishment to retaliate against this 9-12 group for some of their attacks on Republican leaders.

Watch this development to see what, if anything, happens.  The radical faction of the John Birch Society and other fringe groups have been making inroads into the Republican Party and at some point, in my view, the party is going to have to take a stand against some of the more nutty fringe Republicans. However, I do not think picking this fight at this time with this group over this issue was the right time to start a party purge. I would like to know what is going on.

Below is the letter:

From: Tim Rudd

Sen. Jim Tracy
Rep. Joe Carr
Rep. Rick Womack
Rep. Mike Sparks
Richard Garvin
Dawn White
Ryan Harring

Dear Fellow Republicans and Candidates for Republican Nomination,

Recently a non-Republican organization (9/12) sent out a “vetting” questionnaire and requested that you attend a debate sponsored by them. I urge you not to participate in this unauthorized “vetting” process. No organization outside the Republican Party has the right or responsibility to vet, interview or determine who the Republican Party’s nominee should be.

I both encourage individuals and non-partisan organizations to be involved in the political process. But, no one outside of any political organization has the right to interfere with another organization’s process. What would be the response if the Republican Party Executive Committee ask members of the Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, John Birch Society, Campaign For Liberty, 9 /12, League of Women Voters, the Tea Party or the Chamber of Commerce to report to the next GOP meeting for us to vet who should either lead those organizations or be nominees for their political parties? The response would be outrage, power grab, unethical, etc.

Any individual from any outside organization that is a Republican should volunteer and participate in the Republican Primary in support of one of our candidates, but not on behalf of an outside organization. Organizations like 9/12, the Small Business Alliance or the Middle Tennessee Property Rights Coalition can and should get involved in the General election by supporting either the Democratic, Republican or Independent candidates. ---- But not in OUR GOP PRIMARY!

The only people that should “VET” our Republican candidates are Republican Caucus or Primary voters and the Republican Party leadership. We ask that you respectfully decline participating in their or any other outside “Vetting Process” and respect the Republican Party’s process.

Very Sincerely Yours,

Tim Rudd
Republican State Executive Committeeman

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Friday, June 01, 2012


By B. J Zeagler

My husband and I attended the Against Dean’s Property Tax Tea Party Rally last night. We did this because we are Davidson County Residents that are just plain mad that our elected officials are trying to force yet another tax down our throats so that they can spend our money they way they want. I hope you too are mad enough to join in this fight to stop Dean and the Council. We have some wonderful hard working people trying to help us stop Dean's property tax. Ben Cunningham, God bless him, helped us stop the Tennessee income tax and now he is fighting hard to stop the property tax. Ralph Bristol is an angel. He is using his microphone to educate the public about this unwanted and unnecessary tax.

Now comes your part. Anyone that doesn't want a property tax MUST go to the court house on June 5 and by your presence, let the Council members know you expect them to vote NO on this property tax. WE CAN STOP THIS TAX. We can show Mayor Dean that the citizens of this city will not be “snookered” by him. For those of you that may not know, next year our property will be reassessed & guess what, you will get even another tax on your property. It is our civic duty to step up and stop this kind of madness... 

Businesses are moving to the counties outside Davidson County because the taxes are less, residents are moving outside Davidson County because the taxes are forcing them out. We need to take our power back and stop letting elected servants take our money and use it to their benefits without asking us how we feel.

For those of you that think "we can't stop this" we heard enough last night to know we can. Many members of the council are re-evaluating their positions on this. You better believe if “thousands” show up at this meeting they wouldn't dare go against the power of the people. Emails & calls are being made, councilmen are aware that the majority of Nashvillians do not want this tax. Making your presence be seen at this next vote will provide more evidence that we don't want this tax. This is also the only time during this vote that “you” will be able to speak what's on your mind.

Please pass this on to your friends and  family. Write your own message. Post it where Davidson County Residents can read it. Send it to anyone you know. Our presence must be seen & heard. We may not be able to go to Washington to show our power, but we sure can let our local officials know we mean business. It is up to us, we can do nothing & let this property tax get passed or we can stop it in its tracks.

WE HAVE THE POWER. Let’s show the elected officials that we expect them to vote for us, not with the Mayor.

See you at the Courthouse on
Tuesday, June 5th.
There will be bright yellow t-shirts with the no tax logo so we will stand out. Mark your calendars now.

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School Board Candidates Forums

There are very few opportunities to become an informed voter when it come to school board races. I definitely of the opinion we need to clean house at the school board. If there are any conservative running, we need to elect them. We not only need advocates for children on the school board but also advocates for the tax payers. We need people who believe in competition, choice,and excellence. Please note below that this is a series of forums, not just one forum.
This August, Nashvillians will head to the polls to elect five of the nine Metro school board members. Friends of Metro Schools, with the support of the community partners listed below, will host a series of School Board Candidate Forums in June. This is your opportunity to learn about the candidates in your school board district before casting your vote. Nashville Education, Community and Arts Television (NECAT) will be videotaping portions of each forum for later broadcast on Comcast channel 10 in Davidson County.

District 1
Monday, June 11, 5-6:30 p.m. (program will begin at 5:30 p.m.)
Isaiah T. Creswell Arts Magnet Middle School; 3500 John Millette Drive; Nashville, TN 37218
Candidates: Sharon Gentry, Ed Kindall
Moderator: Ron Corbin, principal, RBBC Holdings; co-chair, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Education Report Card Committee

District 3
Thursday, June 7, 5-6:30 p.m. (program will begin at 5:30 p.m.)
Madison Middle School; 300 Old Hickory Blvd. West Madison; Nashville, TN 37115
Candidates: Jarod DeLozier, Fred Lee, Jill Speering
Moderator: Mark North, vice chair, Metropolitan Board of Public Education

District 5
Monday, June 25, 6:30-7:30 p.m. (please arrive at least 15 minutes early; program will begin at 6:30 p.m.)
Rosebank Elementary School; 1012 Preston Drive; Nashville, TN 37206
Candidates: John Haubenreich, Elissa Kim, Erica Lanier, Gracie Porter
Moderator: Councilman Anthony Davis, District 7

District 7
Wednesday, June 20, 5-6:30 p.m. (program will begin at 5:30 p.m.)
Croft Middle School; 482 Elysian Fields Road; Nashville, TN 37211
Candidates: Will Pinkston, Alan Sharp, Al Wilkins
Moderator: José González, co-founder and finance director, Conexión Américas

District 9
Thursday, June 21, 5-6:30 p.m. (program will begin at 5:30 p.m.)
Hillwood High School; 400 Davidson Road; Nashville, TN 37205
Candidates: Bob Bogen, Eric Crafton, Margaret Dolan, Amy Frogge, Ronnie Osborne
Moderator: Beth Baker, H.G. Hill Middle School math teacher; Tennessee Education Association Distinguished Educator of the Year

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce | 211 Commerce Street, Suite 100 | Nashville, TN 37201

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Brad Staats for Candidate for Congress Campaign Kickoff Event

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Brad Staats for Candidate for Congress Campaign Kickoff Event

Please join Brad, his wife Bethany, family, and friends of the Brad Staats for Congress Campaign to celebrate our official launch. Whether or not you know Brad personally, this will be a great chance to talk to him about your priorities for Nashville and to learn about Brad's ideas of making our country better for our children in the 5th Congressional District.

Where:  Ellendale's Restaurant, 2739 Old Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37214
When:   June 2nd from 3 PM to 5 PM

Ellendale’s is a family owned and operated restaurant serving Contemporary American Cuisine with Southern Charm in their own Historic Farmhouse and the Campaign will be providing complimentary appetizers. Please RSVP as soon as you can to and come help us celebrate 60 days until Election Day (August 2nd)!

Suggested minimum contribution is $100 to help us make it through the Primary.

If you are unable to attend and would like to show your support you can contribute via my website at

Like us on facebook at
 Like Brad on Facebook

Follow Brad on Twitter @Staats4CongressFollow Brad on Twitter

Let us know if you are coming and if you have guests.
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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What happened at the May 19th School Board Meeting: Charter schools are rejected.

05/29/12 School Board Meeting

This is the school board meeting at which the School Board rejects 8 of 10 charter school application.  Mr. Alan Coverstone, Director of Charter and Magnet Schools, makes the presentation. Coverstone is a former school board member who essentially created the position he then obtained. 

Starting at 30:28 there is a lot of empty rhetoric about a vision of an excellent education for each student before the voting takes place against innovation and excellence in education. There is a statement about the superior performance in Nashville of the charter school compared to other schools but apparently that was not considered a significant reason for approving more charter schools. The review and scoring process is explained. 

The discussion of Great Hearts Academy begin at 54:32. Coverstone says Great Hearts "is a school with a track record of success in academics but is not aligned with our mission and vision as articulated in our call for proposals." The application is rejected unanimously without discussion. Mark North, Vice Chair of the Board talks about how charter schools are performing compared to other schools and moves to deny a charter to Intrepid (1:04:17).  Intrepid is approved with only Mr. North voting "no." Kipps application for a second school is rejected with again North leading the opposition.

Yesterday, Kipp Nashville Executive Director Randy Dowell issued a statement saying, "We will appeal this decision, and not go quietly into the night. Last year, our KIPP Nashville middle school students had the largest growth in reading for any middle school in the state serving a similar population of students from low income families."

Those who had their applications rejected may submit appeals by June 13 to the school district. The school board will then consider those appeals at its June 26 meeting. Appealing to the same board that originally rejected your application does not seem like a very fair process, but that is the way it works.

In my view, we need a completely new school board composed of people with a different mission and vision.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thank God for Alabama ...

.. now Tennessee is not alone as the only state stupid enough to officially join the John Birch Society-Jesse Ventura tin foil hat brigade.  We have been joined by Alabama.

In Alabama, Senate Bill 477 was recently passed unanimously in both houses, barring the state from taking over private property without due process, thereby preventing Agenda 21 from infiltrating their state lines. It reads, “[t]he State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21,’”. It seems that Agenda 21 does actually bring people together in communities- just not in the way the U.N. had hoped for. (read more)
Look at this. Does anyone think that Alabama could take property without due process prior to this bill. Also, note language, "as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to 'Agenda 21.'"  Agenda 21 cannot "require" anything.  It has no force in law. It is not a treaty. See how the Anti-Agneda 21 build a straw man to knock him down? What can I say?

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Tonight! STOP the Nashville Property Tax Hike Rally

When: Thursday May 31 5-7PM, Doors open 4PM 
Where: Limelight Nashville, 201 Woodland Street Admission: 
Speakers include WTN Nashville's Morning News Host Ralph Bristol and Councilman Robert Duvall. Inline image 1
Please JOIN us THIS Thurs and PLEASE Email friends and family to let them know about the Rally. There will have lots of music and free snacks and speakers but most of all we must Stand Together to Stop this tax hike.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Smart Growth for Conservatives

Finally, I do not feel like the Lone Ranger. There is another conservative has not joined the John Birch Society and Jesse Ventura tin foil hat brigade. The below essay is from a blog called Bacon Rebellion.

Preface to “Smart Growth for Conservatives”

by James Bacon

Smart Growth, which I define as efficient human settlement patterns, is neither an inherently liberal nor an inherently conservative idea. Efficiency is efficiency. Cost effectiveness is cost effectiveness.

The problem is that liberals (progressives, whatever you want to call them) were primarily the first to recognize the obvious truth that the settlement patterns we commonly refer to as “suburban sprawl” are very inefficient indeed. Unfortunately, liberals being liberals, they sought top-down, government-directed solutions. Then, conservatives, being allergic to government-led social engineering, reacted by dismissing Smart Growth as the spawn of the devil.

The logical, if somewhat extreme, outcome of the conservative dismissal of Smart Growth is the anti-Agenda 21 movement, which connects non-existing dots between the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainability agenda, President Obama’s green policies and efforts in Virginia’s cities and counties to implement Smart Growth. Thus, in this conspiratorial mindset, anything resembling Smart Growth is seen as part of a larger movement to undermine American freedoms and liberties. Frighteningly, this movement has gained momentum in a number of Virginia counties and created a distraction from the real issues. (read more)

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Lou Ann Zelenik still opposes the First Admendment and Freedom of Religion

Mt. Juliet, TN—-Sixth District Congressional Candidate Lou Ann Zelenik praised the court ruling today that denied the approval of  “Islamic Center of Murfreesboro”, stating that adequate notice was not given to the public by the Planning Commission of the intentions of the  Islamic group.

“This is a victory for the citizens of  all Middle Tennessee who have been the victims of  ‘taqqiya’ (Islamic lying for the sake of advancing Islam) during this entire process,” said Zelenik,  a leading critic of the construction of the Islamic Center.  Zelenik, as a 6th district congressional candidate in 2010, openly challenged the project resulting in numerous death threats.  Since then, she has devoted countless hours as Executive Director of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition speaking out against radical Islam and its encroachment into American culture.

She is once again in the race for the Republican nomination for District 6.  “For over 2 years my opponent has been and still is on the sidelines of this issue.  This is not a partisan issue, but an American issue and her silence is deafening”, said Zelenik.

“This was not an issue of freedom of religion.  Islam does not claim to be a religion, but a social and political system that intends to dominate every facet of our lives and seeks to dominate it’s host culture by any means including force and violence.  This case was for equal treatment under the law.  No Christian church or Jewish synagogue would have received this type of treatment from the Planning Commission.”

“I was criticized for being opposed to freedom of religion,” Zelenik stated, “but the reality is that I was speaking for the citizens of Tennessee  who felt they had no voice.  As a political figure, I was proud to stand with other brave citizens who were outraged by the denial of their due process rights.  Those citizens and the attorneys deserve all the credit in the world.”

Anyone interested in her campaign can go by the headquarters at 1253 N. Mt. Juliet Road, Mt. Juliet  TN, or call (615) 483-3955. For more information on Lou Ann Zelenik please check out

Comment: Whether or not adequate notice was given in this matter is a technical legal issue that probably needed clarification. I do not fault the court for this very narrow ruling in this case. So, I may actually agree with Lou Ann Zelenik on this ruling. However, I am supporting Diane Black in the 6th District Congressional Republican primary because she is not Lou Ann Zelenik. Should Zelenik win the primary, I would have to carefully consider the candidacy of her Democrat opponent.  Anyone who thinks the world's second largest religion is not a religion is a nut. If you respect the constitution, you cannot ignore the First Amendment.

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Brad Staats enters race against Jim Cooper

Nashville, Tennessee - Nashville businessman Brad Staats will formally kick off his campaign for Congress in Tennessee's Fifth District on Saturday, June 2nd at Ellendales in Donelson from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The event will be attended by numerous friends and supporters of Staats.

"I am firmly committed to defeating Jim Cooper in November and serving the people of the Fifth District, giving the voters a true voice in the affairs of Washington. RIght now we have someone in office who complacently goes along with the anti-freedom, anti-business agenda of President Barack Obama. This is a challenge that I embrace, so that my children and the good people of Davidson, Cheatham and Dickson counties will have a voice that is committed to the core traditional American principles of freedom, equality of opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness."

Brad Staats is a married father of four who owns a commerical security business located in Hermitage. For additional information, please call John Shorter at 615-750-5975.

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Metro school board rejects new charter schools; rejects excellence in education

In a Tennessean article, Metro school board approves 2 new charter schools, by Matt Anderson, it is reported that the school board approved only two of 10 application for new charter schools.

The two approvals were for Intrepid Preparatory Charter School in Antioch and Nashville Classical Charter School in East Nashville.

The Board turned down a second KIPP Academy School and also denied an application for Great Hearts Academy. There had been some concern expressed by some parents and others that this school would target only white affluent families in West Nashville.

As reported in the Tennessean, "Great Hearts had proposed opening five schools to meet transportation requirements, but school officials said they were unwilling to commit to opening that many schools from one operator." The article does not name the other schools denied a charter.

Thanks to B. J. Zeagler, who regularly does email blast of opinion and news items of interest, for alerting me to this story. This was B. J.'s comment: "This is completely ridiculous. We need a new school board. I hear all the time that The School Board isn’t political, but it sounds to me like we have a bunch of liberals hanging out there. Elections are coming up, are you going to vote for a conservative thinker? If you vote the same ole way you will get the same ole results."

I could not agree more! Unfortunately, it seems most people who run for the school board are liberals with ties to education either as former teachers or some other tie to the establishment. It is a shame we cannot get good conservatives to run for the school board. If there are conservatives running, I don't know who they are.

The below comment by Tim Lee was so good that I am going to risk getting my hand slapped for violating fair use and post it in full. Often comments and news items only stay on the Tennessean website a short while, and I don't want this one lost so soon. (I don't know if that makes a difference, but I am quoting if from B. J.'s email not directly from the Tennessean.) Tim is a former member of the Davidson County Republican Party Executive Committee and a former Republican candidate for a State House seat.
Timothy Lee
The school board we elected has once again let our city and children down. 

They claim to push for education excellence; but, when a school such as Great Hearts comes to town that clearly demonstrates excellence and a history of success, they turn them away because they don’t fit into the current mold of our system. A mold which is clearly and definitively broken! 

Coverstone even admitted to the success of Great Hearts and then produced a recommendation of denial! 

The diversity argument is ridiculous, unless diversity only comes from low income neighborhoods. The media and critics of Great Hearts continually label West Nashville as an affluent white upper class neighborhood. Does this mean we should not be afforded the same opportunity to a quality publicly-funded education? 

To set the record straight everyone that lives in this area does not make enough money to send their children to private school. We actually pay more taxes in our area which are used to fund these public options and we should be afforded the same opportunity to take advantage of them as in any other part of town or income bracket. 

The diversity argument is ridiculous and seems to be a cover story for some political agenda. Great Hearts intended to open schools all over town giving every family the opportunity to lottery in. A lottery system does not give an advantage to one race or socio-economic status over another. 

Realistically, a west Nashville neighborhood association is responsible for recruiting Great Hearts in the first place. In all fairness, West Nashville should receive the first installation of this new education system. The entire reason this recruitment initiative was started in the first place is because our current options are so extremely limited.

I have twins starting school in the Fall of 2013 and I am currently faced with sending them to a sub-standard public school, moving to a different county (I have lived in this neighborhood my entire life and have no interest in moving), or paying 20-38k in tuition alone for my children to attend a private school. 
Is it really in Davidson County’s best interest to drive families with higher incomes and higher tax brackets to other counties? I think not. The root of the problem is the lack of performance in our public school system and the failure of the school board in implement the right kind of solutions to address and fix the problems
I agree! This is disgusting. The Mayor has asked for a 13% tax hike, 42% of which would go to education and at the same time the School Board shows their contempt for excellence in education. They are more concerned with some concept of equality, even if the equality is mediocrity, than with excellence. They are afraid of experimentation, competition and innovation. If I had children in Nashville public schools I would be facing the same dilemma as Tim Lee. The city seems determined to drive white people middle class people out of Davidson County.

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Update: Construction of Murfreesboro mosque must stop

Below are excerpts from a website called WND Faith, that provides a lot more information on the courts ruling and related activity:

“The court assumed there was no ill intention or willful deception on the part of the county,” the ruling continued.

“We do not attribute any sinister motives to the county, though we note the undercurrent of the argument presented by the plaintiffs. We simply find that the county failed to publish the meeting…”

The opinion noted that under the county regulations there is not an entitlement to a public hearing, but there is a requirement that the public be properly notified.

It further said that the denial of permission for a building to be used “as a religious meeting place” must be done in a non-discriminatory manner. (read more)

Original post:
According to a report from WSM news a judge has ruled that construction of a controversial Murfreesboro mosque must cease immediately. Judge Robert Corlew III ruled that construction must cease because not enough notice was given about a public meeting. What is adequate public notice is not defined in law, so this will most likely result in changes in the law that will define "public notice." 

It is highly unlikely that this will stop the Mosque from being constructed. The Planning Commission will have to give proper notice and meet again to consider the issue and again vote to authorize the construction. The fact that a vocal group of citizens do not think Muslims should have first amendment rights and who think that the second largest religion in the world is not really a religion can have no bearing on whether or not a permit should be issued.

Should for some reason, the Mosque be denied a permit, the city would most likely be sued and have to pay huge damages to the mosque enriching the congregation and the mosque would be built elsewhere in the County.  The city can not deny Muslims the right to build a Mosque no more than they can deny Catholics, Jehovah Witness or Mormons the right to build a house of worship. This win for the Mosque opponents does not stop the mosque, it only delays it for a short while. I would hold off on dancing in the streets and thanking God for this victory.

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United Way funded NRC to host meeting on community organizing

The below is a communications from the United Way funded Neighborhood Resource Center announcing a follow-up meeting, to a meeting back in February in which John McKnight was a guest speaker. John McKnight was a disciple of the late Marxist agitator Saul Alinksy and is one of the leading community organizers in the country and was referenced and praised, although not identified by name, in President Obama's biography.

I have watched a video of John McKnight on the topic of focusing on community assets rather than only on community problems and actually find that I agree with the premise. That is not a radical concept.  Maybe McKnight has mellowed in is old age, and maybe even some good could come out of a meeting discussing the concept of focusing on community strengths.

I would attend this meeting if I was not going to be attending the anti-tax rally on the same night.  I would like to know what is said at this meeting. If anyone attends, please drop me an email and let me know what you thought about the meeting.

I really am not bothered too much that a famous leftist community organizer was brought to town to speak and that there is to be a follow-up meeting. This would seem very appropriate if sponsored by Occupy Nashville or a union or any number of other liberal organizations. I just question if this is the best use of United Way money.  I would rather my charitable dollars fund charities rather than liberal political activity. I really think United Way does a lot of good in our community but I do not think United Way should be funding political activity.

Dear Friend,

Back in February, the Neighborhoods Resource Center sponsored a meeting with John McKnight, a national expert on community organizing.   

Over 65 people crammed into our building to hear McKnight talk about seeing the ASSETS in our neighborhoods – and not just the PROBLEMS.    Some neighborhoods seem defined by their NEEDS – crime problems, unemployment, run-down houses, and on and on.   But seeing ONLY the needs condemns us to failure.   People from all over the city were here -- from very different neighborhoods -- wanting to focus on the STRENGTHS of our neighborhoods!

We are having 
A Follow-up Conversation 
at 6:00 PM
here at the Neighborhoods Resource Center, 1312 – 3rd Ave North.   
Come at 5:30 PM for refreshments and mingling.

Space is limited!!  PLEASE R.S.V.P. to Melissa Gordon at or 615-782-8212 NOW!!!

You are invited!!   We have already contacted those who came in February, but we wanted to open it up to others who were not able to attend.  

There will be a very brief summary of some of McKnight’s ideas.   But most of the evening will be spent wrestling with some questions, including:
  1. How would you apply McKnight's ideas about neighborhood assets to YOUR neighborhood?
  2. Which of his ideas do you agree with?   Which ones do you disagree with?   What can we learn from these?
  3. How do we help people to really WANT to get use their "assets" and strengths in the neighborhood?
  4. Are there specific ways that youth can come together around their own strengths and assets?  Can other groups do this as well?
Come listen, tell your own stories and experiences and make this a rich discussion.  This is only the beginning.   Together we will explore the possibilities for making real changes in our communities.   We hope you will join us and share your thoughts on building stronger neighborhoods and a stronger Nashville.

Hope to see you Thursday!   Thanks!!

Mike Hodge
Programs Manager
Neighborhoods Resource Center
1312 - 3rd Ave North
Nashville, TN   37208

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tax hike proponents attack Beacon Center alternative

Ralph Bristol
May 28, 2012

In her Sunday column, The Tennessean’s Gail Kerr all but declares the Metro property tax fight over, saying opponents “failed to do their homework” on General Hospital, the recipient of the largest subsidy targeted for extinction in a proposal drafted by the Beacon Center.

It’s true that opponents of Mayor Dean’s tax cuts have not had the time to do all the homework necessary to make an airtight case against all of the mayor’s spending plans – and it may well be a mistake to shut down General Hospital. Certainly, Kerr and her sources make a passionate case for the hospital providing the double benefit as a place to treat the poor, and a training ground for doctors.

I doubt the same defense can be mounted for most of the other items the Beacon Center recommended cutting, but I welcome efforts to try. But also let’s remember, since Dean wants to take even more of the people’s money, and there are real consequences to the people when he does, the burden of proof should be on spending, not on spending cuts. (read more)


I agree! I agree in principle that "since Dean wants to take even more of the people’s money, and there are real consequences to the people when he does, the burden of proof should be on spending, not on spending cuts."  In practice however  that is not the way it works.  Maybe the burden of proof should be on spending but it is not. The Charter spells out how a budget is approved and passed.  

Things are not added to the budget to get to a budget that then requires a tax increase. To avoid a tax increase, things must be taken out of the budget. We do not start with last years budget and add or subtract things.  We do not have "zero-based budgeting."  The Mayor presents a budget to the Council. If the council does nothing or simply votes "no" the Mayor's budget and required tax rate to fund the budget become law. As a practical matter, the hard work must be done by the cutters not the spenders in developing a city budget.

Here is what the charter says: 

Sec. 6.04. - Review and revision of operating budget by mayor; submission to council; budget as public record; distribution of copies.

The mayor shall review the operating budget submitted to him by the director of finance, and may make any revisions in such budget as he may deem necessary or desirable, before it is submitted to the council for consideration.
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.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Council Hearings: Police Department

05/23/12 Police

Following behind Schools, which would get 42% of the mayor's 13% tax increase, police and fire and a 4% raise for metro employees are the next largest pieces of the tax increase pie. 

Let me be clear that I oppose a tax increase, however, if a council member just votes "no" on the Mayor's budget, that is really  a vote for the Mayor's budget.  Confused? Unless the Council passes an alternative budget, the Mayor's budget becomes law without any action by the council. The job of the Council, if they wish to defeat the Mayor's budget is to come up with an alternative budget. It is easy to say "I oppose a tax increase." It is more difficult to develop an alternative budget. 

If the police department does not get an increase as proposed by the Mayor, policemen will have to be laid off or a large amount of money will have to be shifted from the rest of Metro government to police. Why? Because a lot of policemen on the force are currently being paid with funds from a one-time stimulus grant from the Obama administration.  Also, if those policemen are not retained, the city may have to repay the grant. Also, without a tax increase or finding the money elsewhere, the new Madison police precinct can not be funded and the newly build crime lab will not be staffed.

Chief Steve Anderson makes the presentation and it is 50 minutes long. 

Chief Anderson starts his presentation by comparing Memphis to Nashville. Memphis with a population of about 60,000 more people has 2513 officers compared to 1373 Nashville officers, says chief Anderson. I know it is not polite to say such things, but Nashville is less Black than Memphis and less poor, so we have less propensity for crime. Nashville is only 27.6% Black and Memphis is 61.41% Black. I am discounting the comparison as irrelevant. 

Chief Anderson makes the case that the TBI cannot provide the level of DNA testing we need. Currently DNA  is only provided for personal crimes and with our own lab we can do DNA testing for property crimes and catch more people who commit burglaries. 

Council Tygerd ask about take-home vehicles. No one who lives out of county has take-home vehicles.With no increase in the budget, the police department would lose about 200 officers says Chief Anderson in response to a question by Council Member Megan Berry (18:24). When we have "special events" such as a visiting dignitary coming to town (VP Biden and First Lady Obama are recent examples not mentioned by name)  we bear  the full cost of the extra protection says Chief  Anderson in response to a question by Councilman Claiborn (31:30). Also, extra police necessary to provide services for events such as a Titans game are borne by the city not the Titans.

Councilman Bedne ask if the Police could take over the police function of the troubled Transportation Licensing Commission (34:58). Chief Anderson says the Police Department could do it but it would not result in any savings. Council Dominy (37:08) says he does not think anyone wants to cut the police staff. In response to a question by Dominy, Chief Anderson explains why police stops are part of the important process of policing.  Only 22% of the traffic stops result in a ticket. 

While I would not advocate massive cuts from the Mayor's proposal for the Police Department, I do not think the police should be exempt from some cuts. Who is to say that the proposed level of funding is the optimum funding level compatible with what we can afford?  Based on the type of questioning from this committee hearing, I do not think the Council has the appetite to take away any of the extra funding the Mayor has given the police. The Council should have asked tougher questions. They should not have let the Chief get off with his Memphis comparison without some counter arguments. This hearing was more of a love fest than an examination of a budget from people seeking cost savings.  If the Council is unwilling to cut Schools, police and fire, they cannot balance the budget with current revenues by nickle and diming the minor departments.

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Memorial Day: Some gave all.

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