Saturday, June 23, 2012

Charles Williamson Receives FOP Endorsement

Nashville, TN— The Fraternal Order of Police Andrew Jackson Lodge 5 today released its endorsement of candidates in the August 2 State Primary and County General Elections.

Among the candidates endorsed by the FOP is Charles Williamson who is running for Tennessee House of Representatives in the 50th District.

“We seek to find candidates who support law enforcement and work for the betterment of public safety for the entire community,” says Allen Herald, VP of the Nashville FOP. “Charles Williamson is that kind of guy.”

Williamson is a professional geologist and owner of both Geotechnical Environmental Services, Inc. and the Rockdale Bison Ranch.

“I am honored to receive this endorsement from the folks who are on the front lines of protecting and serving our communities,” Williamson says. “I look forward to the opportunity to represent my neighbors and I will seek to support legislation that will keep Tennessee a strong and safe place to live and do business.”

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Mortensen Campaign Announces Fundraising Event

Campaign for 20th District Senate Seat Moves Forward

Press release
The Friends of Rob Mortensen are announcing a fundraising event for Rob Mortensen, Republican candidate for State Senate in Tennessee's 20th District. The event will be hosted by Mark and Sissy Simmons at their home on Tuesday, June 26. Special guests for the evening include State Senator Bill Ketron (Chairman, State Senate Republican Caucus) and State Senator Randy McNally (Chairman, State Senate Finance Committee).
Co-Hosts for the event include Dr. Jim Loden (Mortensen's campaign treasurer), State Representative Mark White, Metro Councilman Josh Stites, Mayor Austin McMullen, Mayor Tommy Alsup and many more.
"I am deeply grateful that so many people are supporting this event," said Mortensen. "This seat is an excellent opportunity for Republicans to grow their majority in Tennessee's Legislature." Mortensen went on to say that he believed he will win the seat. "Tennessee can be an example to the rest of the country as a place where the economy and jobs are at the forefront of our legislation. I want to represent the people of the 20th District so we can continue to move Tennessee forward in the best direction."
The 20th District seat was held by State Senator Joe Haynes (D) who recently announced his retirement.  Mortensen is running with two other candidates in the Republican primary for this State Senate seat.  Early Voting begins Friday, July 13 at locations throughout Davidson County.

*** Contact - - 615.779.9950

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Bob Ries Fundraiser

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State Senate Candidate Dickerson Favors “Tim Tebow” Law

Are Tennesseans being denied “Tim Tebow”-like Opportunities 

NASHVILLE, TN. - Dr. Steve Dickerson, the Republican candidate for the State Senate in District 20, has announced that he is in favor of allowing home-school students to participate in extracurricular activities.

“Education will be one of my top priorities for the next legislative session; I believe home-schooling is one of several choices that will aide in improving our flawed education system.  Just as in business, choice and competition are the driving edge that will lead our education system into the future,”  said Dickerson.

In 2010, the TSSAA ruled that home-schooled students could play sports at public schools, but that the decision would be left up to each individual school district. The state law that would allow this across the field in Tennessee is commonly referred to as the “Tim Tebow Law”.

“Four areas in which I believe that we can better educate our children are school vouchers, charter schools, private schools and home-schooling,” commented Dickerson. “The “Tim Tebow Law” is a prime example of giving parents the choice to educate their children the way that they see fit without losing the chance to compete in extracurricular activities. Having this opportunity will allow more students access to college through avenues that otherwise may have been closed to them; such as athletic scholarships. In the current economic state, we must ensure that every student across Tennessee as the ability to receive an education beyond high school; so that we have a well-educated workforce that will drive our economy. ”

Steve Dickerson is a practicing physician and founding partner of Anesthesia Services Associates. Dickerson attended the University of the South in Sewanee graduating with a B.A. in History. He then received his medical degree at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University. Steve Dickerson has been married to his wife Katrina for 19 years and they have three sons, Reid, Evan, and Bennett.

For more information about the Steve Dickerson campaign or to schedule an interview with Dr. Dickerson contact: 615-519-1896 or visit

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Update: Council passes the McGuire 53-cent tax increase budget

Below is the video of the June 19th Council meeting at which the budget was adopted. This is worth watching. There are some very good speeches and some good points made. Below are the highlights:

  •  Charlie Tygerd moves his bill to require all new employees of Metro Nashville to be residents of Davidson County. (Starts at 19:58.) In my view this not a wise move and I hope it will be defeated. I would prefer no Metro employees live in Davidson County. They represent a voting block that can be depended upon to always favor a tax increase. Councilman Maynard argues in favor of the bill.Councilman Tim Garrett argues against and says, "I don't want to be like Memphis" which is the only other city in Tennessee with such a requirement. He explains this bill will make the unions more powerful (35.33). The bill is deferred one meeting.
  •  The budget debate starts at 47:01. Council Jon Cooper explains the process of gives an over view. Councilman McGuire, Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee explains the alternative budget. McGuire does a good job. I disagree with him, but do think he does a good job a explaining the logic for the alternative budget which shifts some funds but raised the tax rate the full 55 cents.
  • Robert Duvall's no-tax increase budget is taken up at 1:01:42. The Duvall amendment gets the support of seven Council members: Tygert, Bennett, Stites, Standley, Tenpenny, Dominy and Duvall. The final vote on the budget is meaningless. When the final vote on the budget is cast, the effect of the "no" vote was a vote for the Mayors budget as opposed to the McGuire budget. Only the people who voted for the Duvall amendment my honestly say they voted against a tax increase.
  • Councilman Tygert's amendment which would increase the tax rate by 41 cents instead of 53 cents is taken up at 1:13:04. Please watch his presentation. He explaing the two "elephants in the room": the raising cost of employee benefits and the increasing cost of servicing Metro's debt. This amendment gets the support of eleven council members: Tygert, Bennett, Stites, Standley, Dominy, Glover, Weiner, Evans, Blalock, Todd and Mitchell.
  • Other amendments follow and all fail and the debate ends and the final vote is cast at 2:23:20.

Below posted on 6/20/2012
No-Tax advocates retreat in the face of defeat. Pictured exiting the stairwell left to
Right: Louella Ballenger (my lovely wife), Rod Williams (that’s me), and Ed Zeagler

 Metro Council votes to raise taxes, put money in rainy day fund
Written by Michael Cass, The Tennessean, June 20, 2012
The Metro Council voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to raise property taxes for the first time in seven years to fund a $1.71 billion operating budget, despite significant opposition from Nashville residents.
The council voted 32-8 for a substitute budget that largely mirrored the plan Mayor Karl Dean first presented during his State of Metro address on May 1.(read more)

Posted 6/19/2012
I was one of small group of tax opponents who showed up at the Council tonight wearing my "no- tax" tee shirt. There was probably only about 30 of us there; certainly not more than 50. I was disappointed but not really surprised. While polls show a majority of the people of Davidson County oppose the tax increase, I have not observed a lot of intensity around the issue.(read more)

As expected the McGuire budget passed. The Robert Duvall no-tax-increase-budget got only five votes and the Charlie Tygerd 41-cent-increase budget got only eleven votes.

I thought Charlie Tygerd did a great job of explaining the coming crisis in Metro employee benefit cost to the city and of warning of the growing requirements for debt service.  Unless the city gets serious about addressing these two issue, our city's future does not look bright. While I certainly disagree with the McGuire budget, I thought he did a good job of explain the budget.

Robert Duvall, Dwuane Dominy, Karen Bennett, Councilman Todd, and Emily Evans also made good comments.

Video to follow soon.

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Update: Arrest near in Murfeesboro Mosque arson case?


 Federal authorities have charged a Texas man with threatening to bomb the Murfressboro Mosque on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Two indictments were filed Thursday in Nashville against 24-year-old Javier Alan Correa of Corpus Christi. Authorities said he is accused of calling the mosque in Murfreesboro last September and leaving an expletive-riddled message that said there would be a bomb in the building on 9/11. Authorities have not made an arrest in the arson at the Mosque that occurred last year when construction equipment was set afire.

original post
The Associated Press reports today that the FBI, the US Attorney and representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are scheduled to make an announcement at a news conference today at 1pm at the new Islamic Center under construction in Murfreesboro. Does this mean an arrest is near in last year's arson at the Mosque?

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Campaign Kickoff for Rep. Jim Gotto

TN State Rep. Jim Gotto

Gotto in Suit
You are invited to the Campaign Kickoff for Representative Jim Gotto. We are asking for volunteers to come out to enjoy some snacks and help us door knock. We will be having coffee and donuts at the campaign headquarters in the morning and pizza at Fletchers in the afternoon. Volunteers are needed to door knock in both the morning and the afternoon.
Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Headquarters: 2711 Lebanon Pike. Nashville, TN 37214
Fletcher's Pizza: 2715 Old Lebanon Road Nashville, TN 37214
Shift One: 9:00 am -12:00 pm
Shift Two: 12:30 pm-3:30 pm

Please contact Kara Gallagher at 901-848-6906 or with any questions.

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Green Hills Breakfast Candidates Forum

Rise & Shine, Join Your Fellow GOP'ers


Saturday, June 23, 2012
Swett's - Green Hills - 2209 Abbott Martin Rd
Breakfast begins at 8:15am--Meeting at 9am (sharp)
Bring $8.75 Cash To Cover Everything

 Event Chairmen - Peter and Gail Voysey
Kathleen Starnes, DCRP Chairman

This event sponsored
by GOPNashville
Davidson County
Republican Party

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Michael Cass of The Tennessean confirms Josh Stites is right.

Tennessean reporter Michael Cass blogged this afternoon that Councilman Josh Stites was right; a no vote on final reading was a vote for the Mayor's budget. He confirmed the facts with the Council's attorney Jon Cooper. Below is an excerpt:

At first I thought this explanation was just spin. I figured surely the council could have spent the next 11 days coming up with an alternate budget if it had rejected McGuire’s plan.
But council attorney Jon Cooper confirmed the scenario Stites laid out.

“Once the chair’s substitute was ‘accepted’ by the council (the first vote on the budget last night), it became the only budget pending before the council,” Cooper wrote in an email today. “If it had failed, the mayor’s budget would have gone into effect automatically July 1.”

So everyone who voted against McGuire’s plan was essentially voting for the mayor’s, no matter how much they might have disliked it.

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Michael Craddock goes after Steve Glover and Josh Stites

The following was posted on the Homeowners Against a Property Tax Hike facebook page today. Michael Craddock is a former member of the Metro Council and former candidate for Mayor. Shame on Michael Craddock for not understanding the Charter or distorting the facts. Josh Sites took made every effort possible to defeat or reduce the tax hike. By the time it came to a final vote, a "no" vote or an abstention was a vote for the Mayor's budget as opposed to the McGuire budget. That was the only two choices. Josh Stites did not "justify" his vote, he explained it. 

It is my view that we should not waste time and energy on a recall effort, but work to amend the charter so a "no" vote really is a "no" vote.

Michael Craddock posted in Homeowners Against a Property Tax Hike 

Michael Craddock
From my point of view. The time has come where people like you and I simply must demand that the candidates that we help get elected and those that tell us that they believe like we do, tow the line. One must be held accountable for one's actions. Case in point: Steve Glover espouses the conservative point of view but when it comes right down to it, he walks away from those views and votes for the tax increase. I believe the meetings he organized were no more than a smoke screen. I had been told early on by more than one councilmember that he was lobbying other council members for a yes vote.

The other case in point is Josh Stites. I have come to know Josh. I frankly think Josh has a promising political future. That said I am truly disappointed in Josh for voting for the tax increase. I attended one of his fund raisers during his campaign and the overwhelming majority of the folks present were of the conservative bent. As a matter of fact many were heavy hitters in the Republican Party and many of you that will read this were there in support of Josh. Josh even attended the anti tax rally that was held in the Opry Mills area.

I can only be somewhat disappointed in some of the others for their yes vote because having been a member of the Council for eight years, I expected them to vote yes. I believe some are just to weak to stand up and vote no. Pitiful!

If we continue to ignore these character flaws in these individuals who promise us one thing and do the opposite, (especially on an issue as major as a 13% tax increase in these economic times), shame on us. We will not make progress until we begin holding their feet to the fire.

Josh has done his best to justify his vote to the Tennessean by saying that a vote against McGuire's budget was a vote for Dean's budget. From my perspective that is an extremely weak excuse. The fact is and always will be that in the minutes of the Council meeting there is a yes by Josh Stites name.

Josh Stites: shame on you!

Steve Glover: I expected it from you!

P.S. I would be in favor of a recall effort. But I would single out certain ones and concentrate on them to make an example of them to the others.

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District 7 School Board Candidates forum tonight

Croft Middle School,  482 Elysian Fields Rd, 5:00- 6:30PM.

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Josh Stites explains his vote on the Budget.

I received the following email from Josh Sites this morning in which he explains his vote on the budget last night and he says it may be time to amend the charter as to how a budget is adopted. Josh is correct, I think, in concluding the McGuire budget was the better of the choices between that budget or the Mayor's budget. He is accurate in saying that, by the time that bill was up for adoption, that was the only choice. A "no" vote or an abstention would have, in effect, been a vote for the Mayor's budget. And, yes, it is time to change the charter.

Josh Stites
I want to explain my vote last night as I have gotten an email this morning. It's being reported this morning in the Tennessean and some other outlets that the deciding tax vote was the final vote on the tax bill. Unfortunately, that is an inaccurate reporting of the vote. The final vote was for the substitute (McGuire's) budget. McGuire's budget was essentially just as bad as the mayor's proposed budget but since it saved $8 M for next year's debt service, in my estimation it was barely better than the mayor's. So, given the two options between the mayor's budget and the substitute budget, I was more supportive of the substitute. However, unlike the song the Lt. Gov. recently quoted, last night at closing time, they all still looked ugly.

I voted for every amendment possible to lower the tax increase, including Duvall's to zero out the tax increase. Lowering taxes is what I preferred and still prefer to do, unfortunately, all of the amendments that I and the other conservative members voted for were defeated, the closest one only garnering 11 votes. By the time we got to the final vote, all tax reduction options were off the table and we were left to vote up or down on the substitute (McGuire's) budget. Had everyone voted against it and defeated it, if effect, the mayor's budget would have taken effect on July 1. So, as a result of Nashville's charter, voting against the substitute amendment would have essentially been a vote for the mayor's budget. That's no way to run a railroad, but unfortunately that is the rules we had to play by.

It may benefit us to strike while the iron is hot and seek to get a charter amendment in regards to how the budget is passed. Carl Burch and I were discussing this this past week. Currently the mayor has the ability to raise taxes by way of introducing his budget and the Council is in a race against the clock to come up with an alternative or the mayor wins come July 1. I don't know if it happens this way every year, but this year we had already passed the mayor's budget on the first two readings before we had even finished the budget hearings.

 I talked to Cass after the vote last night and explained the final vote that he is reporting as the vote that raised taxes. While I generally respect his efforts to be an accurate reporter, I think his reporting is misleading and inaccurate. I hope this clears up any questions that some of you may have had, I know I heard from one of you about the vote and just wanted to clarify. Don't worry, I'm not getting weak kneed on you, I'm down for the fight as much now as I have ever been. I appreciate the leadership and experience that CM Duvall has offered through the fight. I look forward to having him in the House and also as an at-large CM in 2015. Thank you to everyone who led the fight either on the ground or over the airwaves. Every one's contributions were not in vain. I think the people are starting to pay attention and know who is working to represent their wishes and those who continue to fight for the growth of government.


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Council's Budget and Finance approves the McGuire Budget ....

.....which does not reduce the Mayor's proposed tax increase. The committee voted unanimously for the McGuire substitute budget.

Duvall's no tax increase budget fails 2 for-13 against. Councilman Stein argues against the Duvall budget saying, "This essentially guts Metro government as we know it." Charlie Tygerd and Karren Bennett voted for the Duvall budget.

Tygerd's lesser tax increase budget fails. Other amendments that would shift money around all fail. 

Councilman Dominy spoke out in favor of the Tygerd budget saying it was "reasonable" compromise between Dean's 53-cent tax hike and Duvall's no tax increase budget. Tygard's proposed budget would eliminate the pay plan increase for Metro employees and reduce Metro schools' budget by $7.5 million.

Councilman Steve Glover had an amendment that would $8.6M from reserves, shaving 4.5 cents off the tax increase. "We can't mange the people's money better than they can," said Glover. This amendment faile3d 2-12-2.

Councilman Tgerd had an Amendment that would take a million dollars from the Hospital Authority and $85,400 away from the Human Relations Commission to keep the libraries open on Friday. It failed 1-12-3. I would like to see the Human Relations Commission completely abolished. Too bad this failed.

Councilman Mitchell's had an amendment that would take $28K from Partnership 2020 and give it to the election commission to open more early voting sites. It failed 3-12-1.

It is over folks. I expect the Duvall alternative to fail  and to get about seven votes and then for the council to overwhelming pass the McGuire budget. 

Usually, it would be pointless to vote against the McGuire budget, because if a majority abstain or vote no, the mayors budget automatically passes. However, due to the fact that the Mayors budget as originally proposed included a General Services District tax increase which would also be 53 cents, if the Mayors budget passes, that would trigger a referendum. The Council should vote "no" on the McGuire budget and let the Mayor's budget go to a referendum.  

I don't think that will happen, but while their is usually no logic for voting "no," this time there is. A "no" vote is a vote for a public referendum.  

In other B & F action,  the committee voted against Councilman Todd's bill to eliminate the council lifetime health insurance benefit.

I attended the Budget and Finance Committee meeting but got there late. Some of the above information was gathered from tweets from

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Update: What's on the Council Agenda June 19th? The budget - Metropolitan Clerk - Agenda
From the agenda, there is a link to the analysis. 

Most council meetings are really boring; this one will be an exception. The Council will vote on a budget and the tax levy. The McGuire budget which substitutes the Mayors budget and which does not cut the mayor proposed 53 cent tax increase but would move some money from schools to the debt service fund has been approved by the Budget and Finance Committee. There will be a motion to substitute the McGuire budget for the Mayor's budget.

In addition to the McGuire budget, there are three other competing budgets: The Duvall budget which is a no tax increase budget, the Tygerd budget which cuts $28 Million and cuts the proposed 53 cent rate increase by 12 cents, and the Bedne budget which cuts $2.9 million from the Mayor's budget. The McGuire budget is the one likely to pass.

I suspect the Duvall budget will get five to seven votes and the Tygerd budget may get ten to twelve votes. However, I have nothing to base this on but a feeling. If thousands of citizens showed up at the council meeting however, the Council could have a change of heart and defer all budgets and then come back with a no-tax or much lower-tax budget. I don't think a couple hundred people will have that effect, but I think 5000 would.  The Council could meet again between now and July 1st. They do not have to pass the budget on Tuesday night. 

Normally, if the Council votes down all budgets, then the Mayor's budget become law even if it gets no 'yes' votes. However, this year we have a very unusual situation  due to the fact that the Mayor's budget as originally proposed included a General Services District tax increase which would also be 53 cents.  If the Mayors budget passes, that would trigger a referendum. The Council should vote "no" on the McGuire budget and let the Mayor's budget go to a referendum.

For more discussion of what is in the various budgets and to see what happened in the Budget and Finance Committee follow this link.

Other than the budget, this is what else of interest is on the agenda:

Twenty bills are on the consent agenda. None of them are controversial and should be passed. Last month someone sounded an alarm about some of these bills, but it was a false alarm. All of the bills on the consent agenda need to pass.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-161 (TYGARD, MAYNARD & WEINER) on second reading amends the Metropolitan Code to require all new employees of the Metropolitan Government to be residents of Davidson County. This is a very, very bad idea. Metro employees are a build in constituency for higher taxes, they vote heavily and they campaign. I would prefer no metro employees lived in the county.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-162 (TODD, DUVALL & CLAIBORNE)  on second reading amends the health insurance benefits portion of the Metro code relating to former members of the Metro council. Currently if a Metro Council has served eight years, he may continue to participate in the plan by paying the same rate paid by Metro employees, which is 25% of the premium. This ordinance would eliminate the subsidized health insurance benefit for members of council after they leave office. Since term-limits, there are a lot more former Council Members than in the past. Also, while Council Member are not getting rich, the rate of pay for Council Members is much greater than it was when this benefit was first approved. This benefit now cost the city about $300,000 a year. I think this bill needs to pass.  It was defeated in the Budget and Finance Committee.

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Council Meeting Tomorrow Tues evening June 19.

We will see you at the Council Meeting...

Ben Cunningham 8:00am Jun 18
We will see you at the Council Meeting Tomorrow Tues evening June 19. The meeting starts at 6:30PM, we will be there at 5:30PM in front of the Courthouse. Please wear your T-shirts. We will have more if you need one.

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