Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Commentary and Video of the June 18th Council Meeting

If you want to follow along with the agenda, the council staff analysis, and my analysis follow this link. This is a very short and boring meeting at only 32 and a half minutes. There is no point in watching the video.

Confirmation of Mayor's appointees to Boards and Commissions: Hundreds of people serve our city by serving as members of boards and commissions. These citizens serve without pay and often without recognition, simply because they care about our city. In most cases the Mayor appoints the members and the Council confirms them. These commissions can be quite powerful. The Council really is a pretty weak body. One of the few powers they have is the power of the budget and another is the power to approve the Mayor's appointees to these unelected bodies. The Council almost never rejects a mayor's appointee. Our weak Council does not use the opportunities they are given to impact city policy, they just rubber stamp whatever the Mayor wants. I am coming to the conclusion that we only need one council member, since all forty almost always vote the same way.

Tonight they approved all appointments to Boards and Commissions. These nominees all got unanimous recommendations from the Rules and Confirmations committee and they were approved unanimously by the Council on voice votes. Nominees included a person to the scandal ridden NES, one to the troubled Farmers Market, and several appointees to the Human Relation Commission.

The HRC is the Metro agency dominated by homosexuals, leftist, and atheist and whose mission is to promote political correctness and liberal causes. The HCA sponsors the Youth Pavilion at the annual Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Festival. I was hoping a conservative member of the Council would have voted against those appointees who approve of the HRC's sponsorship of the Youth Pavilion at the GLBT Pride event. Also, until some balance comes to the HRC by appointing some normal people to the commission, I think all appointees should be rejected. To read more about this issue, follow this link.

Resolutions on the Consent agenda: All resolutions were on the consent agenda except for late resolutions. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters. Any member of the body however may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. I did not see any items on the consent agenda that I thought needed to be pulled but thought someone might take the opportunity to beat up on the election commission by pulling RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-725 which approved a sole source contract with a company for maintenance and support services for the election commission’s existing voter registration system. I did not think it should have been pulled but thought some liberal member of the Council might have taken the opportunity to beat up on the Election Commission.

Late Resolutions: RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-743 extended the free parking programs for environmentally friendly vehicles and for vehicle owners that purchase carbon offsets. I would have voted against it if I were in the Council. There are a lot of other people more deserving of free parking than someone with enough money to afford an environmentally-friendly vehicle. Any one of our thirty-nine council members could have stopped this bill by objecting to its consideration as a late resolution, but none did. It passed the committees to which it was assigned and passed the Council unanimously by voice vote. To learn more about this issue and read The Tennessean's coverage, follow this link. The other late resolutions were insignificant.

Bill on First Reading: There are only three and the sponsor defers indefinitely one of them. That bill is a bill that would have set new requirement for landlords in disposing of evicted tenants property.

Bills on Second Reading: The following is the only bill on second reading that I found of interest. ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-433 requires that all fees collected for having an extra garbage cart be used for recycling. Tim Garrett explains the logic of this bill, but I am still not convinced. I do not know why recycling should have a designated source of funding. In my view, funding for recycling should be subject to the Mayor's and Council's budgetary process just like everything else. It passes unanimously.

Bills on Third Reading: None were significant and they all pass.

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