Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rand Paul Diverges From His Party Over Voter ID

MEMPHIS — Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party.

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.” (link)
My Comment: I think Rand Paul is trying too hard to find his niche. I do think we should remove the prohibition against convicted felons being allowed to vote. Once you have paid your debt to society, I think your voting rights should be restored. I know that would benefit Democrats more than Republicans since there are more Democrats who are felons than Republicans but it is the right thing to do.  However, I am absolutely in favor or the requirement that you must show an ID in order to vote. I am soon going to be 67 years old and I still have to show an ID to buy beer! I have to show an ID to board a plane or cash a check. We should not back off on requirements that one show an ID to vote.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

Global warming true believers, global warming deniers and settled science

I have been a "believer" in global warming for most of the time since it has been an issue on the radar screen of the public. However if you were to measure my belief, it has wavered from strongly believing to just barely being over the fifty percent belief mark that would move me from being a "denier" to a "believer."  During the few periods when I have been a "denier," such as after climate gate and the "hide the decline" revelation, even then, my "denier" status was just barely below the fifty percent mark that made be a "denier" rather than a "believer." Often I think global warming is a complicated issue that I am uncertain about and my opinion can not be reduced to a bumper sticker slogan (link).

To some, belief in global warming is a measure of political ideology.  I have been assailed by fellow conservatives as not a very good conservative because I accept the preponderance of scientific opinion on global warming.  It is not so much that I am passionate in my believe about global warming as that I acquiesce in accepting the best available information on the topic. I know that the big bucks for scientific research is in proving global warming to be true, however I do not accept that the many scientist who have concluded that global warming is a reality have sold their soul and abandoned scientific objectivity just to make a buck. Call me naive, but I believe most scientist can not be bought. Despite what some popular conservative talk show host proclaim, I simply cannot believe that global warming is all a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore

I know the scientific opinion is not unanimous, but it is almost so.  Global warming skeptics like to trot out their scientist who dissent from the majority opinion, and there are a few skeptics who have good credentials. However, when opponents put out list of hundreds of "scientist" who dissent from global warming theory, often the list is full of TV weathermen "meteorologist" or scientist who are scientist is totally unrelated fields. A great chemical engineer or biologist may know no more than I do about climate change theory. Face it, the overwhelming opinion of scientist in the field is that global warming theory is valid.

While I have been disappointing in the number of conservatives who have dogmatic views on global warming, I have been dismayed at how those who are true believers offer no practical solutions for combating it.  They engage in symbolism and often treat it as a spiritual issue rather than a problem to be solved. They talk of properly inflating tires and changing light bulbs as if that will solve the problem.  They like to do things that make them feel virtuous. They support programs such as ethanol that are very costly and damaging to the environment. They support out and out scams such as carbon offsets.  Earth day and the annual one-hour black-out and other symbolic things seem to be designed to call attention to the issue and to show how cool the true believers are rather than do anything about it.

I am not sure we can do anything about it, but many of the true believers lack common sense when they favor carbon reducing activity without any cost-benefit analysis. They lack humanity when they would condemn Africa to remaining the third world tragedy that it is rather than supporting modernization. If they can't redistribute wealth to make the wealthy of the world less wealthy, they want to condemn the poor countries to perpetual poverty. Many true believers seem interested in redistributing wealth and growing government and see the global warming crisis as a vehicle for achieving that aim.  Few true believers endorse revenue-neutral carbon tax programs, which could actually reduce carbon output.  Revenue-neutral pricing of a negative externaility does not fit in with their political views. They may believe in global warming but they do not believe in economics. Also, there seems to be little support for technological solutions to offsetting the growth of carbon in the atmosphere. It often seems that the truest believers of the true believers do not want to find a solution that involves pricing and markets or technology.

Ever since climategate, my acceptance of climate change theory has never reached the high mark that it once did.  One thing, in addition to climategate, that has made me almost a global warming agnostic is that we have had no global warming in the past seventeen and half years (link).  This is not coming from some right-wing talk show host. It is a fact. Do the research.

Another things that makes me a less of an orthodox believer in global warming is that the north polar ice cap was to be melted by now and it is not. All of the polar bears were to be dead by now and they are thriving. While the Artic ice cap has shrank some, the Antarctic ice cap has grown to a 35 year record.  The dire things that were supposed to have already happened have just not happened. The global warming alarmist are like the Christians who predict the end of time and when it doesn't happen, they just predict it again for a latter date.

Since we are not seeing global warming occurring it has been renamed, first to "climate change" and now "climate disruption."  Now  it is fair to blame blizzards, floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes and volcanoes and all natural disasters on "climate disruption," formerly know as "global warming."  Maybe, global warming is occurring and is caused by human activity, but maybe global cooling from natural causes is occurring at the same time and the two are cancelling each other out. I don't know, but maybe. I would like to see the theory researched.

Please read the following by Charles Krauthamer. It comes close to representing my point of view.  

The myth of ‘settled science’

Charles Krauthammer, February 20 - I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.

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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Journalists Surveyed: Democrats Outnumber Republicans

A survey by the Indiana University School of Journalism found that self-described Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of four to one, 28 percent to 7 percent.

The survey (pdf), which has been conducted every 10-11 years since 1971, found that journalists have abandoned both parties. Compared to 2002, the last time it was taken, the percentage of Democrats dropped from 35 to 28. The percentage of Republicans dropped even more sharply over the same time period from 18 down to just seven percent today. (read more)

My Comment: I bet if you could determine how the 50% who are "independents" voted, I would be willing to bet that they overwhelming vote Democrat.  I suspect that knowing the mainstream print media has a reputation for being biased in favor of a liberal point of view, many journalist claim to be independent to lessen that perception of bias.  And, they may really consider themselves independent but still overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

I read the mainstream press but have almost no confidence in what I read. I read hoping some liberal journalist are able to occasionally be objective and let some unfiltered facts find there way into their reporting, but I doubt it. The way the press has show unwavering loyalty to President Obama has made me have less confidence in the mainstream press than at any point in my life. The way they have covered Obamacare, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, debt and budget issues and any number of things would almost make me think they get their daily marching orders from the White House. I know that is not the case, they simply share a world view and a political philosophy with those they cover. They are such true believers in the values of inclusiveness, non-judgmentalism, liberalism, and everything politically correct that they cannot see but one side of a story. They don't want to discover facts that would shine a bad light on America's first Black president. I also suspect that they are ignorant of economics, for the most part, and do not see a danger in massive deficits and their concept of social justice is such that they think there is nothing the nation cannot afford in pursuit of social justice. I don't really think there is a conspiracy to distort the news, it is just that the press is ruled by a heard mentality and almost all share the same point of view.

While talk radio is opinion and not news reporting and a lot of blogs are commentary on others reporting and not much original investigative reporting, at lease these sources bring some balance. Thank God for Fox news, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and few other papers, and those handful of blogs that do reporting.

I have thought the demise of the role of print journalism has been something to be regretted. One does not have an informed electorate when people get their news from the Colbert Report, John Stewart, and Saturday Night Life or their peers. For that matter, neither do you have an informed electorate if you get your news from Rush Limbaugh. To have a strong democracy you need informed voters and to have informed voters someone needs to do the in depth reporting of hard news and expose corruption and scandals and educate voters. On the other hand, I have such mistrust of the mainstream press that maybe the demise of the press is not such a bad thing. Maybe the "mainstream" press will become to be viewed as the minority politically correct press and other and better sources of news will emerge to fill the void. I hope that is what happens.

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Poll Worker Turned Whistleblower Raises Serious Questions After Election | Nashville News, Weather

Mickel said he observed a number of problems that were never corrected, including failure to accurately maintain voters' permanent records, failure to ensure all voters are citizens of the United States and failure to train and supervise temporary employees who did most of the data entry during elections.

He said other mistakes were made, from allowing people to vote more than once to allowing felons to vote.

"There have been a lot of internal problems there that have not been addressed," said Mickle.

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Joe Carr's media relations person, Hillary Pate, has “severed ties” with Carr’s campaign for the U.S. Senate

Hillary Pate has “severed ties” with state Rep. Joe Carr’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Council meeting of May 6th with commentary and time stamp notation

This is a pretty boring council meeting, so there is no need to watch it. If you want to watch it and to  follow along with the Council Agenda, Council staff analysis and see my commentary find it at this link.

All eleven appointees to Boards and Commission are approved unanimously including the appointee to the Human Relations Commission, the useless agency that promotes normalization of youth homosexual conduct. Maybe someday we will have some conservatives in the Council not afraid to take a stand.

There were several bill on public hearing that had people speak, but they were bills that would interest no one except people living near the proposed rezonings. This is one of some interest:

ORDINANCE NO. BL2014-74: this bill would allow the Board of Zoning Appeals considerable leeway in approving exemptions from the Floor Area Ratio limitations for properties within the Urban Zoning Overlay. Already they can approve height and set back exemptions. Now to exceed the floor area ratio, they have to seek a zoning change. I think this is a reasonable bill and I tend to support it but don't feel that strongly either way.  Former Councilman and neighborhood activist John Summer speaks against the bill and the sponsor defers the bill indefinitely (see time stamp 30:35)

All of the bills on the consent agenda stayed on the consent agenda and the one bill not on the consent agenda was deferred “by rule.” Rules were suspended to approve a late resolution to accept a grant to benefit the election commission.

All bills on First reading passed as is customary.

Bills on Second reading pass, one of which moved forward the prospect of Nashville getting Google high speed service and maybe universal Wi-Fi, but I am not sure about that.

Bills on third reading pass, except for this one:
BILL NO. BL2014-715 would amend the code to remove the requirement that the cost of advertising and posting of signs for a proposed rezoning of property be borne by the person requesting the rezoning when the person requesting the rezoning is the metro council member. There would be limits on this exemption. A situation where this would apply is when a neighborhood wants to change their zoning, for instance, from residential that allows duplex to single family residential. In a case like this the cost of advertising and posting could be thousands of dollars. Some neighborhoods have paid those fees. Lesser affluent neighborhoods cannot afford that. In my view, this is a good bill. There is a difference between a neighborhood seeking a zoning change or overlay and a developer seeking it in order to earn a profit by the rezoning. The cost difference is a huge difference. To advertise and post signs for a single lot can be done for dollars; for a neighborhood it can be thousands of dollars. The Director of Finance has not approved the bill for availability of funds. This bill would have required 27 votes to pass.

The bill is substituted to make filing fees per council member for down zones and overlays unlimited but limit the exemption for cost from advertising and posting of notices to one per council member per year. The bills is deferred 22 to 12 to the second meeting in June over the objection of the sponsor, to see if the cost of this proposed change can be provided for in the budget. The argument for deferral is that this change must be paid for. I support the intent of the bill but understand the need for deferral. To see the discussion see time stamp 53:00-1:05:33.

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Sacrificing Africa for Climate Change

Wall Street Journal, By, May 4, 2014 - Every year environmental groups celebrate a night when institutions in developed countries (including my own university) turn off their lights as a protest against fossil fuels. They say their goal is to get America and Europe to look from space like Africa: dark, because of minimal energy use. 
But that is the opposite of what's desired by Africans I know. They want Africa at night to look like the developed world, with lights in every little village and with healthy people, living longer lives, sitting by those lights. Real years added to real lives should trump the minimal impact that African carbon emissions could have on a theoretical catastrophe. (link)

My Comment: Please read this article. The left wants to stop industrialization of Africa without any rational cost-benefit analysis.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Stacey Campfield responds to his critics over the Holocaust -Obamacare comment.

From Stacey Campfield's Facebook page:

I regret that some people miss the point of my post. It was not to offend. It was to warn. To draw attention to Obamacare and the slippery slope that I see occurring in the lives of myself, my constituents, and the rest of the country with the continued taking of freedom by the federal government.

In no way was my post meant to diminish or detract from the pain, suffering and loss of human life that occurred during this dark time in human history. Instead the post was meant to draw attention to the loss of freedom that we are currently experiencing. I stand by my steadfast opposition to Obamacare.
My position and record on the sacredness of human life and protecting that life speaks for itself. 300 million Americans are at risk from government bureaucrats deciding who should be given life saving medications and who should be denied. Every citizen now faces the possibility of their tax dollars going to pay for a government funded abortion. At no point in our history have we ever faced a federal government and administration with a lower regard for human life, and that is something that I cannot and will not allow to go unchallenged.

I will continue to stand up against the government takeover of the nations healthcare. I will continue to support freedom and life.

Stacey Campfield
 My Comment: Stacy, I got the point. The point is that if people are going to be punished for not doing something, then it is not very praise worthy or much of an accomplishment when most people do it.  A better analogy would be comparing Obamacare sign ups to the 99% of the people who were supposed to file income taxes and actually filed income taxes. Your example of the holocaust and free train rides was insensitive and repugnant.  You should have said so succinctly with humility and let it go at that.

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Budget and Finance Committee meeting of May 5, 2014: Explaining Commercial paper.

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Joe Carr is not so good at all that paperwork stuff

Carr was nine months late filing his personal disclosure and he failed to include his 91-acre $418,900 cattle ranch. He says being nine months late in filing was just and oversight and he says forgetting about his farm was just an error and he will correct it.  I don't doubt it was just an error. He makes a lot of those. (read more) He describes himself on his campaign website as a farmer and small businessman, but his financial disclosure form shows most of his income last year came from his salary and per diem allowances as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

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Monday, May 05, 2014

First Tuesday guest will be TN Republican State Party Chairman Chris Devaney

From Tim Skow host of First Tuesday:

Mark your calendars... secure seating for you and those you know who care about politics, Nashville, Tennessee and many facets of our future.

 Many of you have heard that Nashville will be the focus of virtually all political activity in TN in 2014.... An OPEN and very competitive St. Senate seat, 4 St. House seats that are in play, a critical Metro office and 5 Judge races where Republicans will be on the ballot in August .... Nashville Republicans have NEVER had a sooooo much to do for sooooo many Nashville Republican candidates !

These races all have much to say about 2015 Metro races and if LIBs get their dream of turning Nashville into "The San Francisco of the South"

[ LIBs actually have such a plan ...some of you have heard about it ! ]

On TUESDAY, May 13th, our guest will be TN Republican State Party Chairman Chris Devaney...... You can expect to hear what the State Party is doing to focus their time, efforts, resources and more on Nashville in 2014... and what they can... [and CANNOT ] do in 2015. Given the nature and importance of this event... it will be closed only to those who are 1ST TUESDAY Members, friends and those known to be on our side. This will be a meeting of impact and meaning. Plan accordingly and expect a full and wide ranging discussion. The next 15 months are critical to Nashville's future !

We are meeting on the 2nd Tuesday this month for multiple good reasons. Many of you know we avoid meeting on any Election Day so some of our friends can work the polls. By meeting on May 13th, we also fall inside the time frame requested for announcing our MEGA-meeting on June 3rd. And you can expect to also hear who is making plans to visit 1ST TUESDAY in July and August... you can bet on this... THE JOINT WILL BE JUMPING !!!!

The room will sell out for each of the following 3 events... Those attending on May 13th will be able to secure seating for each.. or all .. that day.. So plan accordingly !!!

As usual, doors at WALLER Law [511 Union Street, 27th floor] will open at 11AM for Coffee and Social Time. We expect several of the 2014 candidates to join us at 11AM, so please do so as well if your schedule allows.

Lunch will be available at 11:30 and our program will start at Noon. Cost is $20 for 2014 Members and $25 for Guests.

Visit the 1STUESDAY website at and click on Shopping Cart ... to seating for you and your guests !!

Our Q&A session will run till 1:00PM, but plan to stay and chat with candidates and those from the State Party who be there if your schedule allows.

As mentioned... those Members attending will be allowed to secure seating for upcoming meetings while there before the room sells out in the few days that will follow !

In closing ... a few quick reminders and notices... Vote on Tuesday, May 6th. Join us for lunch on May 13th. May 29th will be the Latinos For Tennessee event at Dr. Mark Green's home, May 30th is the Statesmen's Dinner and June 3rd will be a MEGA-event day at 1ST TUESDAY !

look forward to seeing you on TUESDAY, MAY 13th for what will be a most meaningful, exciting and important meeting..

See you soon !
Tim Skow Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Benghazi coverup could lead to impeachment

The smoking gun of the withheld email concerning Benghazi talking points could be the piece of evidence that may lead to an impeachment of the president. In an article published in  American Thinker, we are reminded that this was article 1 of the Richard Nixon articles of impeachment: 
 withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States.
That is clearly what has happened with the Benghazi investigation. The emails were subpoenaed and withheld.  The Obamamedia has refused to engage in investigative journalism or even be curious and has constantly covered for the president. Scandals, abuse of executive authority, and failure to follow the law have been treated as right wing delusional conspiracy theories. As American Thinker suggest, " the competitive instincts of the journalism pack may be released, at least among some who have not completely signed on to the proposition that The First Black President must be protected at all costs." As least we can hope that there are limits to how far the President can go in abusing his authority before even the liberal press corp says that it is too much. We may have reached the tipping point. 

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Five Things To Know About The Mayor's New Budget

Nashville Scene,  by Steven Hale, May 1, 2014 - After Mayor Karl Dean announced various pieces of it in his State of Metro address yesterday, Finance Director Rich Riebeling briefed Metro Council members on the administration's budget proposal.

The $1.89 billion budget proposal is $79 million larger than the current fiscal year's, representing a 4.37 percent increase. It does not include a property tax increase.

Here are five things to know: (link)
My Comment: This is a good article. The five things are these:
  • Reserves: we are dipping into them.
  • Debt Service: we will pay down some of the debt.
  • Schools: They get more; they get most of the money.
  • Employee salaries and benefits: More money including same-sex partner benefits.
  • Capital Spending: more spending including $15 million for sidewalks.

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Pollster: Common Core bashing not a winner

The Tennessean - With Common Core already emerging as a wedge issue in Republican primary races in Tennessee and elsewhere, a GOP pollster has a surprising message: supporting the education standards might not hurt Republican candidates.

In fact, exploiting the issue for political gain could actually backfire during midterm elections. (link)

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TNGOP Chairman Devaney Releases Statement on Stacey Campfield’s “Ignorant and Repugnant” Remarks

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement after reading a blog post from Stacey Campfield: "While Stacey Campfield routinely makes remarks that are over the top, today's comments are ignorant and repugnant. No political or policy disagreement should ever be compared to the suffering endured by an entire generation of people. Those comments have no place in our public discourse. He should offer an apology to members of the Jewish faith immediately."

Here is the Campfield offensive remark:  "Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for "train rides" for Jews in the 40s." (link)

My Comment: I agree with Devaney. Campfield's comment was in very poor taste. He should issue an apology.

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

What's on the Council Agenda for May 6 with analysis and summary

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. You can download the Council staff analysis at this link: Staff analysis. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just boring. This ought to be a short boring meeting.

Confirmation of Appointment
There are eleven appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda but the Council does not take seriously its responsibility to confirm the Mayor appointees so this function of confirming appointees will be dispatched with quickly.

One of the appointments is to the Human Relations Commission. This is the agency whose duty it is to advance political correctness. One of the things HRC does is sponsor the Youth Pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival. Here is what should happen if we had some conservative councilmen with backbone on the Council. They would ask the appointee Mr. Abdishakur Mohamed, “Sir, do you support the Human Relations Commission’s sponsorship of the Youth Pavilion at the Nashville Gay Pride Festival?” If he says" yes," and he most likely would or otherwise he would not have secured the appointment, the councilman should then say, "I cannot support anyone who support the policy of normalizing homosexuality among the young people of this city and I respectfully must vote against confirmation of this appointee."

I bet there are at least ten council members who think the city should not be sponsoring a youth pavilion at the Gay Pride Festival but they do not have the guts to speak out and go on record. If conservatives on the Council vote just like the progressives, why do we bother electing conservatives? 

There are twelve bills on public hearing that for the most part would concern no one but the immediate neighbors of the proposed rezoning. However, here are couples bills of interest.

  • BILL NO. BL2014-725 tweaks the setback requirements for homes build in established neighborhoods.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-736 by Council member Blalock, downzones from Residential which permits duplexes to single-family-only residential 175 acres.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-736 by Westerholm expands a Conservation overlay to about 26 acres.
There are eighteen 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. 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 but I don't expect that to happen.

I see nothing on this consent agenda that raises a red flag. There are a couple complex financial resolutions involving the sale of commercial paper. I saw them discusses in a hearing and am satisfied with the explanations offered but I hope someone with a better understanding of the complexity of the transactions carefully reviews them and I hope they are examined carefully in Budget and Finance Committee.

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 all the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are twenty-two 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 only five bills on second reading. None of them seem terribly important.

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 seven bills on third reading and I don't expect any of them to generate controversy. This is a bill to watch:
  • BILL NO. BL2014-715 would amend the code to remove the requirement that the cost of advertising and posting of signs for a proposed rezoning of property be borne by the person requesting the rezoning when the person requesting the rezoning is the metro councilmember. There would be limits on this exemption. A situation where this would apply is when a neighborhood wants to change their zoning, for instance, from residential that allows duplex to single family residential. In a case like this the cost of advertising and posting could be thousands of dollars. Some neighborhoods have paid those fees. Lesser affluent neighborhoods cannot afford that. In my view, this is a good bill. There is a difference between a neighborhood seeking a zoning change or overlay and a developer seeking it in order to earn a profit by the rezoning. The cost difference is a huge difference. To advertise and post signs for a single lot can be done for dollars; for a neighborhood it can be thousands of dollars. This is a good bill and deserves to pass. The Director of Finance has not approved the bill for availability of funds. This bill will require 27 votes to pass.
There are five memorializing resolutions. While memorializing resolutions are usually not controversial, sometimes some very bad memorializing resolutions pass, usually espousing extremely liberal positions. None of these five are of that type and they are not controversial. The memorializing resolutions will become part of the consent agenda.

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