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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Friday, November 29, 2013

How Obama is trying to ruin your Thanksgiving

It is unfortunate but my family has had many holiday get togethers ruined due to political arguments. My mother and three of my siblings and their spouses are liberal and one of my brothers and I are conservative. We have had holidays end in anger ever since we fought over Vietnam in the seventies. I guess the last time we had a nasty holiday argument was at Christmas about three years ago. Since then I think we have all tried to be on our best behavior.

We avoid serious topics that could lead to conflict. I let a lot of incendiary things slide because I would rather let them slide by rather than ruin a family get together.  There are landmines everywhere however.  Even an innocent remark about the weather may lead to a discussion about global warming which may lead to a discussion of how to combat it or how much of the bad weather is attributable to GW and that may lead to spirited disagreement and someone calling someone else ignorant or otherwise getting personal. When people share what they are thankful for and someone says they are thankful Obama is our President, I have a hard time not saying I'm thankful we have a Republican House of Representatives and Obama only has three years to go and maybe if we are lucky we can undo the damage.  Watching TV can be very dangerous. I can't restrain myself from uttering derogatory comments if MSMBC's left wing propagandist or that smart-ass insulting Bill Maher is on and I they say something that really makes me boil but everyone else finds it is oh so very clever.  And, they will not restrain themselves if I turn the TV to Fox News.

I love my family, but we see the world so very differently.  Patriotic songs or a commercial which may cause me to get a lump in my throat, they see as jingoistic and maudlin. We don't admire the same people or see events in the same light nor are we outraged over the same things. I really do enjoy being with them for short periods of time. We joke, have sing alongs, and tell funny stories. Spending more than one day however, can be stressful. It is hard to be on guard all the time not to say something that sets someone else off or to stifle myself when someones else says something with which I disagree.

I know my family is not unique in that political discussion can lead to conflict and I am sure that like my family, many families make a conscious decision to avoid conflict. Unfortunately the Obama administration is sowing the seeds of family discord this year. The Obama administration is encouraging families to talk about Obamacare at the Thanksgiving dinner table, a sure fire way to set off an argument.

This video is produced by Organizing for Action, the perpetual Obama campaign organization.

In an email to the faithful, Obama even encourages people to talk about Obmacare at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

The OFA has launched a website to guide people in making their pro-Obamacare arguments. You can visit the website  Heathcare for the Holidays. It tells you how to "Plan your talk," how to "start the conversation," and ask you to "pledge to have the talk."

This campaign to ruin Thanksgiving has been picked up by MSMBC and tonight I saw a panel sitting around a dinner table talking about the same things covered on the website.  They were giving tips on how to argue with those who might give the standard criticisms of Obamacare such as the website doesn't work, it will cause employers to hire fewer full time employees, and premiums are increasing. 

Just when it seems my family was learning out to avoid family conflict during the holidays, Obama is throwing fuel on the fire and encouraging us to talk about a controversial topic. We have had enough ruined family holidays without his help. Unfortunately, I will not get to be with my extended family this Thanksgiving and probably not for Christmas either due to my wife's health. With Obama encouraging his followers to make his arguments at the dinner table and coaching them on what to say, maybe it is a good thing I will not be home for the holidays.

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The Metro Nashville Council agenda and the staff analysis for the December 3rd Council meeting are now available.

The Metro Nashville Council agenda and the staff analysis for the December 3rd Council meeting are now available.  I have not yet read them and will post an update when I have. If you just can't wait however, have at it.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Happy Thanksgiving Comic Book


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jason Holleman withdraws from District 21 race

Here is his email announcement: 

Dear Friends,
All across our city, preparations have begun for this week’s festivities. Thanksgiving is a time not only to demonstrate our gratitude, but also to take stock of the abundance so many of us enjoy.
Since I began my campaign for State Senate earlier this year, I have met and talked with hundreds of voters, eager for progress in the legislature and new opportunities for Democratic leadership across the state. As I walked the 70 miles of this district in August, I was struck by the diverse neighborhoods and demographics that our next Senator will be charged to represent. It is truly is a vibrant and changing district, ripe with promise to lead the rest of Tennessee in economic development, educational advocacy and civil rights protections. These experiences have left me inspired, not only by the potential inherent in the next legislative term, but, more importantly, by the hard-working people across this community who are committed to bringing it to fruition. For that, I am very thankful.
The campaign has also given me the opportunity to take stock, to understand the demands that would be placed on me as Senator and to recognize that those demands, while necessary for the progress of the state, would be shared by my children and family. The campaign has shown me, too, that in order to lead the rest of Tennessee, Nashville must first model the kind of collaboration and results-driven leadership that would necessarily be undermined by a contentious, contested primary. The conclusion is clear: my best contribution, right now, is to serve at the local level, focusing on my important work as a Metro Councilman and my essential work as Cecilia and Walter’s Dad.
Therefore, today, I am announcing that I am withdrawing from the race for State Senate for District 21.
As a student of history and an admirer of President Theodore Roosevelt, I was pleased to realize this week that one of my favorite TR quotes comes from his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1901, and it seemed appropriate to share with you here:
Much has been given to me, and much expected, and I plan to honor that by helping to make Nashville the strongest community in the nation: a city that reflects in its legislative policy the welcoming, creative, sustainable vision of this city that is so abundant in the individual neighborhoods that comprise it.
I cannot express sufficiently the appreciation that I have for each of you, my friends and supporters, as you’ve helped and encouraged me in this race. I am truly grateful.
Now, we have work to do here locally, and I hope you’ll join me in getting it done.
Jason Holleman

This leaves Jeff Yarbro and Mary Mancini in the race. I suspect that Holleman's withdrawal will benefit Yarbro the most. For low information voters they will now have a simpler choice between "the women" or "the man." Before there was two men and both about the same age and both attorney's so I thought that may have given Mancini a small advantage.

While I don't doubt that all three candidates are probably equally liberal and would vote almost identical, Mancini has been a political activist and more closely associated with left-wing causes. I suspect that voters of the 21th district will be more comfortable with Jeff Yarbro.

While by no means was Holleman a conservative, he did have an independence streak and he would have been my preferred candidate in that race. He opposed the mayor on the plan to sell off the fairgrounds and opposed the Mayor on the financing arrangements for the convention center. Holleman's won reelection to his council seat defeating an opponent that has the support of Mayor Karl Dean, Governor Phil Bredesen, and a slew of other members of the court house crowd and machine politicians.

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A message from Caffeinated Conservatives

From Caffeinated Conservatives:

Hi everybody,

I've collected some news and announcements that I think you'd like to know about. Enjoy!

TN voters being denied our right to elect judges, and the man who's fighting for it At the last meeting, John Jay Hooker told us about the next meeting he will attend to protest the unconstitutional method of selecting judges in TN. On December 6th at 1 PM, you can join John Jay and show your support of our right under the TN Constitution to elect the judges that can throw us in jail, seize our property, and abuse their power without fear of the people. For the address and all the details of where you need to be to see him spit fire, click the link below.

Tour a Metro police Crime Lab
On a less infuriating topic, something neat to check out is the Madison Police Precinct Open House happening December 15th from 2-4 PM. Why is this cool? Because if you go to the precinct at 400 Myatt Drive in Madison, you will be able to tour a real crime lab before it gets made off limits to the public! Forget that CSI Hollywood stuff, come see where real crime fighting happens.

Vote No on the AMP
The Tennessean has a poll up for readers to register their support or opposition to a $120 million project to destroy West End and ensure downtown traffic is such a hassle, you'll never go there again. In other AMP news, the Governor's proposed budget includes not one red cent for this Mayor Dean boondoggle. Show him that you agree with his decision by voting No on the AMP anytime you have a chance. Heck, send him an email to let him know you approve at

You're invited to the Davidson County GOP Christmas Party
On Thursday December 12th from 6-8 PM, come join us for holiday cheer with your fellow politicos at the Hampton In & Suites in Green Hills! I've enjoyed every Davidson County GOP event I've made it to, and I'm sure this will be fun, too. Plus, we might get to see Chairman Robert Duvall with reindeer antlers on! I'm not promising it'll happen, but it will be a good time. The link below is the fancy invitation with the address, and remember to sign up on the mailing list while you're there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stephen Clements Caffeinated Conservatives

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alexander, let the market decide if phones can be used on airplanes

Senator Lamar Alexander said today that he would introduce legislation, if necessary, to prohibit the Federal Communication Commission from allowing the use of cell phones on air planes.  I do not support him on this and think he should butt out.

Up until recently cell phone use and other electronic devices were prohibited on air planes because there was concern that they could interfere with communications and present a safety risk. That has now been determined not to be the case. The FCC is considering lifting the ban.

There are a lot of things I don't like, but I don't necessarily think there ought to necessarily be a law against it. I don't like saggy baggy pants. I think they look ridiculous. I have seen young men, most often Black boys, have to hold their pants up with one hand. I understand this fashion originated as an imitation of prison clothing where men are not permitted to wear belts. The fashion is a sad commentary on the state of the Black community, but I wouldn't outlaw saggy pants.

I don't like facial piercing of the eyebrow or lips. It looks like it would hurt. It is disgusting. It makes me cringe,  but I don't want to make it against the law.

I hate rap music, but I don't think it ought to be a crime if someone plays it and I happen to overhear it.

I really don't like crying babies on airplanes or in restaurants or at concerts or movies or almost anywhere. Parents with crying babies should remove then from public spaces. On an air plane you can't, of course. Still, I would not want it to be a fifty dollar fine if your baby cries in public.

I really hate the peace sign and I hate the image of Che Guevara. They offend me. I don't, however, think they should be against the law. Neither do I think the hammer and sickle, the swastika or the confederate flag should be outlawed nor the Malcolm X baseball cap.

I never did think we should have outlawed smoking in public places. Ok, maybe on planes. I do remember when one could smoke on planes. As soon as the "no smoking" sign went off, half the plane lit up. It must have been hell for non-smokers. I remember when people used to smoke in elevators and almost everywhere. Long after smoking in public has become taboo in America, when I would vacation in foreign countries I was amazed at how smoking in public was still acceptable. So, while I would not want to return to smoking everywhere, I would permit smoking in bars. Actually I think if we removed all legal bans on smoking in places like airplanes, the airplanes themselves would prohibit it, so I don't think the ban needs to be a law. Anyway, I kind of like smoke-filled bars. In New Orleans you can still smoke in bars. I think it should be up to the establishment to establish their own smoking policy.

In Tennessee we have left it up to the restaurants to determine the policy on guns. Maybe that is some of that Tennessee conservative common sense Alexander talks about. A restaurant may ban guns in their establishment but it is not illegal for those with a carry permit who are packing to enter an establishment that sells alcohol.

I am often offended by others' cell phone use. Some people are downright rude talking in a loud voice while next to you in a restaurant for instance. I would hate to be on an air plane with the person sitting next to me talking non-stop on the phone for hours on end. However, I think if the government stays out of it, reasonable policies will develop. Some air lines may establish no cell phone policies and other air lines may ban them. If it is an important concern, that can be one more factor in choosing your airline. Some airlines may establish cell phone sections and non-cell phone sections. Some airlines may permit phone calls but restrict the duration of calls. Airlines will try to accommodate their passengers and this thing will work itself out. And, if government stays out of it some people may learn some manners and ask, "would it bother you, if I made a short phone call?"

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Memphis Voters Reject Pre-K Sales-Tax Increase

Memphis Voters Reject Pre-K Sales-Tax Increase of a half-cent by a 60 to 40 margin.

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No AMP funding in the Govenor's budget

From Rick Williams:

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Do you support the AMP? Vote in The Tennessean poll.

At this point, the "yes" votes are winning 20 thousand to16 thousand. Follow this link to cast your vote.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools is a finalist for the Beacon Center's 2013 Lump of Coal Award.

Below is the nomination announcement:

Metro Nashville Public Schools

A recent Beacon report found that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) spends just 44 percent of total funding on instructional expenditures. Instead of directing funding into the classroom, the district is pumping more and more money into its central office, doubling per-pupil administrative spending over the past decade. When it was called on the carpet for these misplaced spending habits, district leaders and school board members threw up a red herring, blaming local charter schools for their fiscal woes. Those public charter schools receive just a portion of overall per-pupil funding, having to raise much of their financial support from private donations. Yet charter schools consistently score high marks for educating students. More recently, MNPS has threatened legal action against the state, a move that could mean thousands of Nashville’s children will be prevented from attending a quality charter school of their choice. This appalling “look over there” diversion tactic may have worked with some in the local media, but it doesn’t distract us from naming MNPS as a finalists for the 2013 Lump of Coal Award.
To learn who the competition is and cast your vote, visit this site.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Corker: Skepticism on Iran deal

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