Saturday, September 28, 2013

What's on the Council agenda for October 1st with commentary

The Metro Council agenda and staff analysis for October 1st is available at these links: Agenda, Analysis. If you know what the Council is voting on it is still boring but not quite as boring. This should be a really short meeting. All issues have already been resolved and there is not anything controversial on the agenda.

Elections and Confirmations: There are position to fill on the Industrial Development Board, the Charter Revision Commission and the Transportation Licensing Commission. I see no reason that any of these appointments should be controversial but even if there was a reason they would all be approved unanimously anyway. The council does not take its responsibility of filling positions on Boards and Commissions seriously and always approves the Mayor's appointees.

Bills on Public Hearing: There are seven bills on public hearing. All of them are zoning bills and should be of interest to only nearby neighbors except for BILL NO. BL2013-513 which is a massive rezoning effecting hundreds of properties that borders main street and Gallatin Rd all the way from downtown to Briley Parkway. The compromise bill seems to satisfy everyone and I do not expect opposition, but one never knows. This rezoning has been in the works a long time. For more information on this issue, follow this link.

There are eight resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. 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, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. 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. I see nothing on the consent agenda that concerns me.

Bills on First reading 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 nineteen bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are eight bills on second reading. I see nothing on second reading that is very controversial. The following items are interesting:

BILL NO. BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 establish a Metro Injury-on-duty clinic and approve an entity to operate it. It looks like it has been a deliberative process to reach this point and it appears this will save the city money. Apparently this mode of operation is successfully used by major corporations. These are good bills.

Bills on Third Reading: Third reading is the final reading and when a bill passes final reading it becomes law unless vetoed by the mayor and that almost never happens. Most of the bills on third reading this time are really boring things like abandoning easements and accepting easements. The bill below is the only bill on third reading I find of interest.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2013-543 would allow business sponsorship within Metro Parks. Current law prohibits advertising in Metro Parks and this has been interpreted to prohibit sponsorships. This is a good bill. As an example of how this bill would work, by letting companies but their logo on doggie poop bags, that could save the city $30,000 a year. That is only one example of how this bill will bring private money into the park system.

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Compromize massive Gallatin Rd rezoning on Council agenda Tuesday

A compromise has been reached over the controversial proposed mass rezoning along East Nashville’s Gallatin Pike. The current proposal which will be on the Council agenda on Tuesday would now allow property owners to “opt in” to the new urban-inspired guidelines during future development. This is a much more flexible Urban Design Overlay than was proposed in August which resulted in deferral of that bill.

The Planning Commission voted September 26, 2013, to approve rezoning of various properties along Gallatin Pike, Gallatin Avenue, and Main Street between South 5th Street and Briley Parkway from about a dozen different zoning classifications to the new Urban Design Overlay (UDO) over that same area.  That new zoning supports a more pedestrian- and transit-oriented corridor, as described in the East Nashville Community Plan. Under the new UDO if, when property is redeveloped, the developer decides not to build to the sidewalk property line they will not be required to do so but must meet alternative design criteria. At the September 26 planning commission meeting, no one spoke in opposition to the rezoning.

Based on what I know of the current plan, I think it is a good compromise. I support efforts to encourage smart growth and urban design but think the previous plan was too inflexible would have been excessively heavy-handed and would have actually discouraged development. Two years ago Publix was going to build a grocery store on Gallatin Rd but backed out due to the inflexibility of  the then in place overlay design guidelines (link). Since then the Overlay was ruled unconstitutional. To fix the legal issue, the city simply tweaked the law to make it legal but intended to essentially keep the same guidelines. Now they appear to have come up with a more reasonable approach.

Last council meeting, the council passed a zoning text change that described the new zoning, the bill on this agenda Tuesday night actually rezones the property. To read more on this controversy see this link

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More about that anti-Alexander protest that didn't happen last Sunday

The Tennessean, by Joey Garrison, September 23rd, 2013- It was supposed to be another public demonstration of disenchantment in what will surely be a long series of tea party protests targeting U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander before next year’s Republican primary.

Tea party and liberty advocates had a time and place: the home of Republican fundraiser Monty Lankford on Trinity Road in Franklin at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, when the state’s most powerful Republicans would be gathering to raise money for the incumbent senator.

The memo went out to the press to be there. ...... The lead organizer himself, Matt Collins of the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty, wasn’t even present. (link)

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Alexander's agenda to replace Obamacare

Lamar Alexander
DYERSBURG, TN – At the Dyer County Reagan Day Dinner in Dyersburg Friday evening, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said he voted Friday in the Senate to defund Obamacare and then voted against sending back to the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution that funds the government without defunding the new health care law. The senate Democratic majority nevertheless sent the resolution back for consideration by the House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority, he said.
Alexander said: “The bill is now back in the hands of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. I support the original House legislation that continues funding the government but defunds Obamacare. The health care law is an historic mistake that should be delayed, dismantled, repealed and replaced.” 
During the week, Alexander also voted for two procedural motions (called “cloture”) on whether to cut off debate about the health care law. The first cloture vote passed 100-0; the second passed 79-19. If either of these cloture votes had failed, the government would have shut down Monday at midnight, Alexander said.  
Alexander continued, “I’m not in the shut-down-the-government crowd, I’m in the take-over-the-government crowd. Take it over the way the Constitution says: Elect more conservative senators and a president and do all we can to delay, dismantle, repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Shutting the government down would delay paychecks to 3.4 million active-duty military men and women, delay processing permits for gun owners, delay Social Security payments and delay air travel for 2 million daily fliers — but Obamacare would just keep going because the president has the authority to do that under the law.
“In the mid-90s, the last time the government shut down, it lasted only a few days. The uproar was so great that congressmen couldn’t get back to Washington fast enough to start the government back up again. The shutdown cost taxpayers $1.4 billion. Republicans were blamed and President Clinton was re-elected.”
Alexander also told the story of “two Tennesseans who went to Texas, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett. Both were brave men who used different tactics to fight for the same goal: Texas independence. Crockett died at the Alamo. Houston withdrew to San Jacinto, where he won the war of Texas Independence.” 
“I’m in General Sam Houston’s camp on this one,” Alexander said. “We honor Davy Crocket for his bravery, and we remember the Alamo. But Sam Houston had two things Davy Crockett would have liked to have: he had more time and he had reinforcements. The moral of the story is we need time and we need reinforcements – we need to elect more Republican senators and a Republican president to delay, dismantle, repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Alexander said that in order to gain the trust of the American people, Republicans should continue to offer a step-by-step agenda to replace Obamacare with health care laws that offer more choices and competition and actually reduce premiums for most Americans.  
1.  Make Medicare solvent, so seniors can depend on it to be there for them and their grandchildren.
2.  Give governors more flexibility with their state Medicaid programs, so they can lower costs, improve health outcomes, and have more money for other programs like education and roads.
3.  Repeal the medical device tax that increases costs for patients.
4.  Change the definition of “work week” from 30 hours to 40 hours under Obamacare, or any new health care law, which would give employees the opportunity for a 33 percent pay increase and more options for health care coverage.
5.  Strengthen innovative workplace wellness programs that empower employees with more incentives to make healthy lifestyle choices.
6.  Let small businesses pool their resources and offer lower-cost insurance plans for their employees.
7.  Provide families the opportunity to purchase insurance across state lines, creating greater competition between insurance companies and lowering premiums for everyone. 
8.  Expand access to Health Savings Accounts and catastrophic health insurance plans, giving people more affordable insurance options that fit their lifestyles.
9.  Incentivize the growth of private health insurance exchanges to give consumers expanded health insurance choices and allow them to keep insurance between jobs.
10.  Make it easier for patients to compare prices and the quality of doctors and medical services. 
11.  Incentivize states to reform junk lawsuits that drive up health care costs for everyone and are driving medical professionals out of their profession.
The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher and Fleischmann.
The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.
Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

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Why we must defund ObamaCare

Phil Roe
by Phil Roe, M. D, U. S. Congressman, 1st District of Tennessee

Wednesday was Deficit Day—at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the federal government ran out of money. This means all government operations for the rest of the year, nearly $10 billion each day, will be funded by money the government has borrowed. It is no secret that the government spends too much and borrows too much, and under the president’s health care law our deficit will only grow.

Over the last three years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has revised its cost estimates for ObamaCare several times. In February of this year, the CBO released its latest estimate: ObamaCare is estimated to spend roughly $1.85 trillion from 2013 to 2023. But cost isn’t the only reason we need to repeal the president’s health care reform law.
Just this week the ObamaCare insurance premium information was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While HHS touted “lower-than-expected” premiums for those going into the exchange, they failed to mention how ObamaCare will impact the premiums for people who already have health care coverage. Before the president’s health care law, nearly 196 million Americans, or 64 percent, had some form of private health care coverage. Among the uninsured, nearly two-thirds are under the age of 40, which also happens to be the age of the people who will be hurt most under ObamaCare.
A recent column in Forbes examined the impact of the law on 27, 40 and 60 year olds, as well as the contrast between men and women. In the state of Tennessee, a 27-year-old woman will see her premiums rise 21 percent, while a 27-year-old man’s premiums will increase by a staggering 69 percent. This is just one more example in a long list of how ObamaCare will hurt the very people it was alleged to help. And it gets worse. This law will negatively impact jobs.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Education and the Workforce Committee that the stories regarding employees losing jobs, wages and hours at work because of the health care law were merely “speculation.” Unfortunately, the Secretary’s statement is being proven wrong in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. On October 1, Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap, VA will close, eliminating approximately 140 jobs. The hospital cited ObamaCare as one of the reasons they were forced to close their doors. A Burger King franchisee in my district, Mike Clayton, was forced to close a store in Johnson City. Mike put a thank you note in my hometown paper, The Johnson City Press, thanking the people of the Tri-Cities area for 39 years of loyal business. When explaining his difficult decision, Mike said that politicians had “passed a law so unfriendly to business and workers that it forces the business to limit hard-working Americans to less hours and lower pay at a time of high unemployment and less opportunity for people to prevail.” Mr. Clayton underscored there is no “give by government to correct these unintended consequences” so his decision to close his store was greatly impacted by the lack of flexibility.

That is why we must repeal and replace the president’s health care law. I, like the majority of Americans, am adamantly opposed to this law and was proud to support the House continuing resolution, which fully funds the government but fully defunds ObamaCare. Unfortunately, that provision was stripped from the Senate bill. This weekend, the House and Senate are working to avoid a government shutdown. The people of the First District didn't send me to Washington to shut the government down; they sent me here to help run it, work to make it smaller, and cut spending. Rest assured I will continue to closely follow this issue and work to find a way to do this. 

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Buy Barillla, Italy's No. 1 Pasta

A salute to Barilla for refusing to participate in normalizing deviancy. Next time I buy pasta or pasta sauce, I am buying Barilla!


Dear MoveOn member,
My family, and especially my 12-year-old son, eats a lot of pasta—and my wife and I have often chosen Barilla Pasta because of the wide variety available at our local grocery store.
No more. Today Barilla Pasta President Guido Barilla made it clear how he felt about families like mine by saying that he'd never show gay families in advertisements for Barilla. He said that gays "can go eat someone else's pasta" if they didn't like his message.
I'm taking him up on that and so should you. Sign the petition to tell Guido Barilla that you stand with gay families and won't buy Barilla.
That's why I started a petition to the Barilla Pasta company, which says:
Barilla Pasta President Guido Barilla's statement that he'd never consider showing gay families in his advertisements is outrageous. I'm supporting gay families by boycotting Barilla Pasta.
Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.
–Beth Allen
This petition was created on MoveOn's online petition site, where anyone can start their own online petitions. Beth Allen didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.

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Common Core, Common Core and more Common Core: More than you ever wanted to know.

I don't know who wants to watch ten hours of the Senate Education Committee hearings on Common Core, but someone may.  Below are the Senate Education Committee hearings of September the 19th and 20th. I have not watched them myself. If you watch them, please feel free to comment and leave a notation telling me where to go in the video to see the best parts. If some enterprising person would like to cut it down to a condensed version with outtakes of the best parts, I will post it.

Senate-Education Committee - Sep 19th, 2013

Senate-Education Committee - Sep 20th, 2013

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Metro Council agenda and Council staff analysis for the October 1st council meeting are now available.

The Metro Council agenda and Council staff analysis for the October 1st council meeting are now available. If you will wait I will read them for you and tell you what is important, but if you just can't wait, here it is: Agenda, Agenda Analysis.

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Ramsey: Little Chance Of Carr Upsetting Alexander

Ramsey: Little Chance Of Carr Upsetting Alexander LINK

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No protest at the Lamar Alexander picnic Sunday

Sunday afternoon was a great day to get out of the city and attend a political picnic.  I attended the Lamar Alexander fundraiser picnic at Monty Langford’s farm off Highway 96 between Franklin and Murfreesboro. The afternoon temperatures were a comfortable low 80’s, the sky was a clear blue and the sitting was a large white tent in the front yard of Monty Langford’s house on the edge of acres of gassy pastureland surrounded by rolling hills.

We were served barbecue and listened to a light jazz music. I think the band’s name was “Free Enterprise” or something like that. They consisted of a guitarist and upright bass player and vocalist performing mellow jazz favorites such as the songs of Hoagy Carmichael. About 250 people attended the event. There were twenty tables of ten each and people were standing and coming and going, so it could have been that 300 people attended.

Race car driver Darrel Waltrip was present but did not speak. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell was in attendance. Monty Langford offered an opening prayer and welcoming remarks and Governor Bill Haslam spoke and introduced Senator Alexander. Senator Alexander spoke about what is going on in Washington and defended his record saying it is one thing to make speeches and another thing to govern and get things accomplished. To illustrate a division within the Republican Party, he told a history of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. He said both famous Tennesseans helped liberate Texas and shared the same goal and both should be honored and respected but he said, Crockett died at the Alamo and Houston won the war. He said winning is more important than standing firm and being defeated.

I was looking for protesters at the event. There were none. Matt Collins, ousted former First Vice Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, operating under the name Tennessee Sons of Liberty had called for protesters to be on hand to protest, but he, nor anyone else, was there protesting.

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I do not see how this current effort to defund Obamacare can work

As much as I admire Senator Ted Cruz’s tenacity and as much as I would like to see ObamaCare defunded, I am afraid the current effort to do so is a quixotic attempt that is doomed to failure.

The continuing resolution that passed the House stands zero chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. If a miracle did occur and somehow it passed the Senate, the President would veto it. Even firebrand Senator Rand Paul had conceded this tactic has little chance of stopping Obamacare. Worse than simply failing to stop Obamacare, the tactic may doom future chances of stopping Obamacare.

Assume the Senate version of the continuing resolution and the house version of the resolution goes to conference committee and something emerges that partially defunds Obamacare and that is what goes to the President. If a standoff occurs between the legislative and the administration and the only way a continuing resolution can pass is for President Obama to sign a bill that delays Obamacare or substantially defunds it, I suspect the President will refuse and then we will have a government shutdown.

We must accept the reality that Republicans would get the blame for the government shut down as they did in the 90’s when we had a shut down. One could argue that the shutdown would be the fault of the President because he refused to compromise and refused to approve the continuing resolution he was presented but that is now how it would be perceived. That is not how it would be reported. The media would blame the Republicans. Popular culture would blame the Republicans.

Then what happens in 2014? Instead of picking up seats in the Senate, Republicans loose seats. They may even loose seats in the House. At Senator Lamar Alexander’s picnic on Sunday, he told the story of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, both brave Tennesseans who shared the goal of liberating Texas from Mexico and both men who should be admired. Crockett died at the Alamo; Houston won the war.

Those leading this effort to defund Obamacare may cheer the hearts of the grassroots activist but I fear they are tilting at windmills. I admire the passion of those attempting to use the continuing resolution to defund Obama care, but I doubt their wisdom. I fully share their goal but question the tactic. If the firebrands succeed in causing a government shutdown, I fear they may have caused us to lose the war.

I would welcome a compelling argument that argues the other point of view. Please explain how we can win this battle. How is this a winning strategy?

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Video: New standards lead to lively MNPS Board discussion

New standards lead to lively MNPS Board discussion

Metro school board hears how new plan gets results

The Tennessean, Sept. 25, 2013- School officials gave high marks to a newly implemented grading system that prioritizes testing and eliminates zeroes from gradebooks at a Metro Nashville school board work session Tuesday evening.

The changes were put in place at the beginning of the school year as part of a push to evaluate students entirely on their comprehension of material outlined in state standards. The policies mandate that students are graded entirely on in-class work, offered the chance to retake an exam twice and are given scores no lower than 50 percent on assignments. (link)

Amy Frogge criticized newly-enacted policies reforming Metro Schools' grading systems.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Humor Break: A man died and went to heaven.

A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.
He asked, “What are all those clocks?”
St. Peter answered, “Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move.”
“Oh,” said the man, “whose clock is that?”
“That’s Mother Teresa’s. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.”
“Incredible,” said the man.
“That’s Abraham Lincoln’s clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life,” St. Peter informed him.
“Where’s Obama’s clock?”
“His clock is in Jesus’s office. He’s using it as a ceiling fan.”

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Congresswoman DIANE BLACK returns to 1ST TUESDAY .

From Tim Skow:

WOW !! 

Are you keeping up with the current high-stakes Budget fight going on this week in Washington DC ?
IF you too are intrigued by NOT ONLY IN WHAT IS GOING IN FRONT of the cameras.... BUT ALSO behind the scenes..
Then you will want to be at lunch MONDAY,  OCT 7th when Congresswoman DIANE BLACK returns to 1ST TUESDAY .
DETAILS follow... if you want to read more.. OR... visit our website at  and then click on Shopping Cart... to secure you seat.
Remember, Diane sits on both ... the House Budget Committee and ... the House Ways & Means Committee.
In short, if its about $$$$$$   ... and its going on in Washington DC ... [Budget, Debt Ceiling, Sequester cuts 2, and more] ... then Diane knows !  
Visit the 1ST TUESDAY site... and get your seats while they last.... and join us along with some VERY SPECIAL GUESTS !  Pass the word. Invite some friends. It will be a GREAT event!
See you on Monday, OCT 7th  ---   at 1ST TUESDAY
Tim Skow

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Senate Republicans actually do have the votes to stop Obamacare

Republicans have 46 members in the U.S. Senate, more than enough to defeat cloture on any continuing resolution that ultimately will fund Obamacare.

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Blackburn Discusses Fight To Defund & Delay Obamacare on Meet the Press

Beware of anchors bearing fact checks. To see how David Gregory distorted the "facts" follow this link.

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