Saturday, November 30, 2013

What's on the Council Agenda for December 3rd with analysis and commentary

To follow along, you can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. To get your copy of the Council staff analysis download it at this link: Council Staff analysis. This Council Staff analysis contains a special analysis of the Sounds baseball deal.

Confirmation of Appointment 
There are four appointments to boards and commission on the agenda. The most important of these is the appointment of the Metropolitan Clerk. The Council will approve all appointments without discussion or descent. The Council does not take seriously its responsibility of confirming appointments and always approves unanimously all of the mayor's appointments. They give a very superficial interview and then approve unanimously. One of the appointments is to that of former Councilman Roy Dale to the Storm Water Management Board. This is a good appointment. I am simply pointing it out because some may know Roy Dale.

Also, former Councilman Melvin Black is being appointed to the board of the Metro Development and Housing Agency. If we had any aggressive council member who take their job seriously, they would question Mr. Black to assure that he respects private property rights and would not condone MDHA's abuse of imminent domain. I don't know his position on the this issue and I am sure we won't know because no one on the council will ask him.

Bill on public hearing:
There is one resolution and seven bills on public hearing. The resolution is a hearing to exempt an establishment that already has a liquor-by-the-drink permit and is seeking a beer permit, from the minimum distance requirements of the beer permit.

Most of the others are zone changes and would not interest anyone but the immediate neighbors. Here are the ones I am watching:

  • BILL NO. BL2013-588 charges from R6 to SP zoning for properties located within the Woodland-in-Waverly Historic Preservation District at 2107, 2111, and 2115 White Avenue. This is the neighborhood I live in and that is why I am watching this one . This rezoning would permit replacing of three duplexes with their six units, with eight units of single family cottage development. The duplexes are "non-contributing" to the historic character of our neighborhood and I support this development. I have not been involved in the neighborhood squabble but some people in this community feel strongly about the issue and oppose it. I support it.
  • BILL NO. BL2013-590 would prohibit LED message boards and digital display signs within the ORI-A zoning district. There are always some people who are concerned about changes to the sign ordinance. I don't really care about this slight change, but some may.
  • BILL NO. BL2013-595 is an amendment to the Phillips-Jackson Street Redevelopment plan and is part of the Sounds baseball park proposal.

Consent Agenda:
There are eight resolutions, all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. 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. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda but it doesn't happen often. This is one to watch:
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-920. This is part of the Sounds baseball park deal. It may be differed to track with the other pieces of legislation on the topic. This resolution will require 27 votes to pass. 
Bills on First reading:
They almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are twenty-six bills on first reading. While I would vote for almost anything on first reading, simply because that is the tradition of the council and does not imply support, there are some bills that need watching. Here are a couple:

  • BILL NO. BL2013-603 would make it more difficult to host small outdoor music concerts and would impose a new burden of regulations.
  • Bill NO. BL2013-605 concerns metro's minimum price fixing of economy limo services. I don't know if this raised the fee or lowers it but this bill is worth watching. Nashville is one of the most anti-competitive, protectionist cities in America when it comes to transportation services. Our record should make all Nashvillians ashamed. We have been featured in news specials by everyone from the Huffington Post, to George Will, to the Cato Institute, and to John Stossel for our police-state-like tactics in squashing and intimidating the competition and protecting the well-connected from competition.  Our policies also inhibit use of new technology and new innovations. To read of Nashville's disgraceful history of price fixing and related anti-market policies follow this link.

Bills on Second Reading:
It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are ten bills on second reading. Here are a couple of interest:

  • BILL NO. BL2013-593 is part of the Sounds ballpark deal. It authorizes Public Improvement Revenue Bonds by the Sports Authority. 
  •  BILL NO. BL2013-594 is also part of the Sounds ballpark deal. It approves an agreement for the acquisition of property.

Bills on Third Reading:
Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened. There are nine bills on third reading. None of them appear controversial. Here are some of interest:
  • ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-552 would place some restrictions on vehicles that are parked on commercial property with a sign stating the vehicle is for sale. 
  • SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2013-576 would permit agencies of Metro Government to submit applications for grants that do not require a local cash match, without Council consideration of the application. These seems like a move to increase efficiency and I understand the logic of this bill. However, I would like for the council to know what kind of grants agencies are applying for even if there is not an immediate financial impact. I would like for the Council to know if an agency is applying for a grant that could in the future lead to a demand for more funding and also if an agency is applying for a grant that violates our values. I hope this bill has been carefully considered by the appropriate Council Committees. 
  • BILL NO. BL2013-579 would eliminate the requirement for a separate metro a sticker. Since one cannot get a tag renewal sticker without paying the fee for the metro sticker, there is no need for an additional sticker. This will save about $23,000 a year and makes sense to me.

Memorializing Resolutions:
There are two memorizing resolutions on this agenda. Unless someone objects they will be added to the consent agenda and passed as group with other resolutions. Memorializing resolutions do not have the force of law and simply express the will of the council. Most often memorializing resolutions simply honor someone on their retirement or recognized a sports team for a victory but on occasion they are used to express the will of the Council advocating a policy position on a State or National issue. When that occurs it is most often an extremely left wing position and they always pass unanimously. Why the "conservative" members of the Council do not oppose them or at least ask to be recorded as voting "no," I do not know, but some really ratical memorizing resolutions have passed the Council unanimously. The two memorializing resolutions on this agenda are harmless and are of the "congratulation" variety.

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