Saturday, May 09, 2015

Caffeinated Conservatives May Meeting - Mae Edition. Saturday May 16th from Noon - 2.

From Stephen Clements:

Hi everybody,

Saturday May 16th from Noon - 2 PM at Uncommon Grounds in Old Hickory Village (1053 Donelson Ave), join us as we host State Senator Mae Beavers! As one of the most consistently conservative public officials in Tennessee, Mae will share her thoughts on the last legislative session and the fights she sees coming down the road.

Bring your appetites for good food and good conversation!

Stephen Clements and Terry Torre
Caffeinated Conservatives

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What happened at the Council meeting of May 5th: New regs for sex clubs, OKs deal to sell old Convention Center, a vote for Insure Tennessee.

This is almost a four hour meeting. Most of the meeting is taken up by public hearings, which I superficially watched skipping over portions of the meeting. I do not even attempt to explain or keep up with all zoning matters on public hearing. 

It will help you follow what is happening if you have a council agenda. To see my commentary on the agenda and a link to get your own copy of the agenda and staff analysis follow this link.

If you are interested in the meeting but do not want to spend 4 hours watching it, you can watch it in double time.  In the bar at the bottom of the video screen, under "settings" see if you are given that option.  If not, go to this link and click HTLM5 player and then go back to the video and you should be given the option of watching the video at faster speeds. I can usually watch video of meeting or conversation at double speed and not miss much content.

The meeting is conducted by Lonnell Matthews Jr, who is President Pro Tem of the Council, whose job it is to conduct the council meeting in absence of the Vice Mayor.

All of the mayor's appointees to board and commission are approved without discussion.

Bills on Pubic Hearing:

BILL NO. BL2015-1083 at timestamp 0:30-1:38 is interesting. This is a controversial downzoning which would take a neighborhood of about 117 acres that is now zoned R15 and downzones it RS15, meaning now duplexes are permitted but this rezoning would restrict the neighborhood to single family homes only. To hear the proponents of the rezoning one would think that if not rezoned to single family, they are losing the right to keep their neighborhood single family. They distort the reality. The advocates of the rezoning are the ones changing the legal status quo- they are the ones taking away from someone the right to do something with their property that they are now permitted to do,  yet they argue as if they are the defenders of the status quo. Some of them also argue that no one should be permitted to opt-out of the rezoning. This is the type of argument that is taking place all across Nashville. More and more neighborhoods are rezoning to single family only. I understand people wanting to maintain the character of their neighborhood, but if we do not accept more density, then we restrict the tax base from growing, which we need if we are to pay the bills that are going to become due and we encourage urban sprawl by restricting greater density.  Also, downzoning is a "taking" of property, because it takes what you are permitted to now and takes that property right away from you. Several of the opponents of the downzoning make that point. Council member Evans moves to pass the bill and then defer it to the first meeting in July to give time to let those who want out of the downzoning an opportunity to "opt-out" of the downzoning. Several Council members comment on this bill. Council member Todd and Duvall speak in favor to the property rights of those who want to opt-out.

BILL NO. BL2015-1098 is deferred to the July public hearing. Currently the Metro code establishes a minimum acreage for different type schools and number of students. For example, a high school must have at least 15 acres and an additional acre for each 100 students. This bill applies some common sense adjustments to that formula and would allow schools to be located on less acreage. Some people, especially in the Green Hills area, oppose this change because they think that by making it difficult for Hillsboro high school to relocate, that the Hillsboro property will remain a school and that that prime property in Green Hills will remain unchanged. They do not want to see more commercial development in Green Hills so they want to make it difficult for Hillsboro High to relocate.

 BILL NO. BL2015-1099  passes. It defines what is a sex club, and says they can only locate in areas zoned industrial and not within 1000 feet of a church, home, school, park or daycare center and it imposes other requirements.  This looks like this is intended to make it impossible for a sex club to exist. I am surprised that there was no one speaking in favor of this change giving how much opposition there was to the Tennessee Social Club's attempt to locate in Madison, but no one spoke for it or against it.

BILL NO. BL2015-1100 changes the code to make it the applicant's responsibility rather than the city's for posting signs that say a property has a hearing before The Board of Zoning Appeal. Also it removes the requirement that such notices be published in a newspaper. Notices will be published online on an official website. This makes sense to me. Several council members have questions about this. It passes.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-1476, passes on the Consent agenda. It puts the Council on record as supporting the Insure Tennessee plan. There are two sides to this issue but apparently not in the Metro Council. The Council has not been lobbied by both sides, they have not set through the hearings. Personally, I ended up, after initially having reservations, supporting Insure Tennessee giving the assurances that we could get out of it if it did end up costing the state money. I like the way it was structured. However, I do not think the Council should weight in on State or Federal matters. There could be no end to memorialize resolutions.  We could memorialize Congress on the issue of the day every Council meeting. We could memorize the U.S. Congress on the Iran Arms deal, we could memorized the State on the gas tax. We could have competing memorializing resolutions and spend the Council's time debating State and National issues every meeting.  Despite actually favoring Insure Tennessee, if I were in the Council I would vote against this memorializing resolution. I am surprised that every single member of the Council supports Insure Tennessee but every one of them voted saying they do.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-1433  is not on the consent agenda and is considered seperately. It proposes to amendment the Metro Charter to extend term limits for the Vice Mayor and members of the Council from two to three terms. This is deferred one meeting.

Bills on Second Reading:

BILL NO. BL2015-1102  allows the Parks Department to permit the sale of beer in any Metro Parks.  Now the Parks Department can only allow beer sales at parks in the downtown area. This passes without discussion.

Bills on Third Reading:

BILL NO. BL2015-1067 is the agreement to sale the site of the old convention center. It passes unanimously without discussion.

Here is the Tennessean's report of the meeting. Please note that the Tennessee's now has their on-line content behind a pay wall so if you are not a Tennessean subscriber you can't read it. 

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Jeremy Kane is concered we don't all feel relevant

Vote for Jeremy Kane. He will make you feel
Relevant! He will make you feel welcome! Jeremy
Kane will make you feel valued!
Vote Kane - the "feel good" candidate.
Jeremy Kane press release - Mayoral Candidate Jeremy Kane yesterday hosted a group of local community leaders to identify and focus on resolving unique issues and challenges faced by Nashville’s seniors. The meeting was part of a series of working group meetings Kane has convened to foster collaborative thinking on issues of importance to our city.

Rebuilding Together Nashville Executive Director Becky Carter led those in attendance in a lively discussion about how Nashville’s youth and seniors can better collaborate to ensure that all feel relevant, have access to valuable city services and public transportation, and feel safe and welcome in their respective neighborhoods. Also attending were leaders from FiftyForward, the Council on Aging, and the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee as well as others who work among seniors.

“I’ve heard concerns raised at my town hall meetings and elsewhere that the contributions of our seniors to the community are not as valued as they should be, and that their rights to quality city services and affordable housing should be more recognized and honored,” said Kane. “These working group events are an effort to bring interested parties around a table to work through issues and share ideas that help us foster the notion that we can create a city where we all can contribute to and participate in our city's success. We will create a 'Nashville Together' when we bring diverse perspectives and people together to solve our common concerns."

Working lunches, such as this, a previous lunch discussing equal pay for women, and upcoming lunches, along with Kane’s “Just Jeremy” town halls are all part of Kane’s efforts to inspire a more cohesive sense of community by highlighting what we can do as "Nashville Together."

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Thursday, May 07, 2015

Nashville to began work on Metro Parenting 5 Year Strategic Plan

The Metro Parenting Commission, a new twelve-person metro commission created by Mayor Karl Dean, which includes representatives of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Metro Social Service, the Human Relations Commission, the Department of Public Health, Juvenile Court and seven members of the public appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Council, will began work on the city's first Five Year Parenting Plan at their meeting on May 22.  The committee met last month for the first time and elected Ms N. Loco Parentis as Chair. "The children are our future," said Ms Parentis.....

Well, not really, but in case you missed it, here is the presentation of "Crafting a Creative City, Metro Arts' 5 Year Strategic Plan."

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Corker Iran deal bill passes Senate 98-1. Senate forces Obama to submit Iran nuclear deal for congressional approval.

By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, Thursday, May 7, 2015 - Senators voted overwhelmingly Thursday to force President Obama to submit to Congress any nuclear deal he reaches with Iran, giving lawmakers a final say before the administration cancels economic sanctions on the Islamic nation.
The 98-1 tally in favor of the bill was a rebuke to Mr. Obama, who had wanted to have a free hand to negotiate with Iran, but will now have to make sure whatever terms he strikes can gain approval of enough members of Congress to stick.
The House must still vote to approve the deal, but passage there is all but certain later this month. read more
The vote was 98-1 with only Tom Cotton of Arkansas voting "no." The objection of Cotton, as well as that of some conservative advocacy groups, is that Congress was giving up its powers by putting the burden on Congress to stop a deal, rather than on the White House to sell the deal. “A nuclear-arms agreement with any adversary — especially the terror-sponsoring, Islamist Iranian regime — should be submitted as a treaty and obtain a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate as required by the Constitution,” said Senator Cotton.

Of course, in theory, he and the conservative advocacy groups who argue that point of view are correct. An agreement to end sanctions and impose a nuclear arms agreement should be considered a treaty and should go to Congress.  But, as a practical matter, that was not going to happen. President Obama was going to approve a deal without Congressional review. He was not gong to call the deal a "treaty" and submit it to Congress and Congress was not going to make him. A President can rule by fiat if Congress allows it. The constitution does not enforce itself. Congress was not going to impeach President Obama for failure to submit an Iran agreement to Congress.  What we ended up with is a strong, almost unanimous vote to require the President to submit it to Congress.

When submitted to Congress, Congress will be given a month to pass a resolution of disapproval. If they do not pass a disapproval motion then the deal is approved. If they do, the President may veto it. If the President vetoes the disapproval resolution then it would take two-thirds vote in both houses to override the veto. So, a determined one-third could stop a veto override.

I would much prefer we follow the Constitution, but at least this will get a public airing of the deal. If will get the issue in the news.  There can be debate and hearings. If it is a bad deal, the public will learn of it.  If it passes by only the support of one-third of one house of Congress, the public will question the wisdom of the deal and also the world will know the President does not have the support of the country in approving the deal.  This is not a great way to pass a treaty, this is not the way it should be done, this is not the way the Constitutions lays it out; but, this is a heck of a lot better than no congressional input at all and that was what was going to happen.

Also, should the deal be approved with only one-third support of one house, Congress my impose new sanctions. The deal may not be a done deal even if President Obama can maintain a veto.

Congratulations to Bob Corker for pulling this off.  I know some fire-brand conservatives will think Bob Corker is a traitor for passing this piece of legislation. If they do, then they must think the same thing of everyone who voted for it. That is Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, and Mike Lee. Do they really think only Tom Cotton got it right?

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NashvilleNext and its impact on community/subarea plans - Subarea plans changed with no neighborhood input.

This was posted to the Nashvilleneighborhoods google group by Tish Bolian who is a neighborhood leader in the Hillwood community. I think her view represents the view of many who have been involved in the NashvilleNext process.

From Tish Bolian:

By now, I am sure that all of you are more than keenly aware of
NashvilleNext and many issues involving it and the extraordinary timeframe
for responding or seeing any changes. I have been to quite a number of the
NashvilleNext meetings, responded to surveys, gone to presentations, talked
to staff, etc. Even though I have done that, I learned quite by happenstance
through someone plodding through documents here in our neighborhood that the planning department has totally changed our Subarea Plans (now
"community Plans") and then we are to refer to 2 huge massive 4 in. binders
for answers to land use and other applicable issues regarding our
neighborhoods and areas of concern.  
If you recall, they promised us allthat when NashvilleNext was complete, they would get back to updating the remainder of all of the subarea plans. Now, they are updating them for us with no heads up and no neighborhood involvement into that process and basically making NashvilleNext (the vision of Nashville for the next 25 years) include NashvilleNow (our subarea plans they now call Community Plans).
I am more than a bit concerned about the impact to all of us and our
neighborhoods, hears at planning, BZA, the council, etc. I just wanted all
to be sure they were aware of this. Time for input was just at 1 month
though they will accept comment into this week. The community had 4 weeks to respond what they worked on for 3 years (with several deadline extensions for their process). I am so very concerned re this and just wanted to be sure all were aware.  
Trish (Hillwood)
We are having NashvilleNext crammed down out throats with no opportunity for input! And, without knowing what is in it. The planners will claim x thousand people participated in the process and it was three years in the making. The truth is, after the plan was written they gave people one month to understand the plan and how it effects their community and to comment.  One would have to read all 1,700 boring technical pages of it and be well-versed in the jargon to have a clean understanding of the plan. The plan will be approved by the Planning Commission; it does not have to go to the Council for approval.  The usual community organizers are not raising a stink about this process because they probably like what is in the plan. The professional or semi-professional community organizers do not necessarily have the same interest as regular neighborhood leaders despite the often times successful tactic of coopting neighborhood leaders.

I myself am primarily concerned about other metro issues and not planning and zoning, so I have not read the full 1,700 pages and studied it, but I hope neighborhood leaders rise up and call their councilmen and ask their councilman to stop the planning commission from adopting this NashvilleNext as the city's planning document until there has been a systematic opportunity for neighborhood input, very similar to the sub-area planning process. This does not pass the smell test.

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Fiscal scare tactics re: charter schools - part 1

by Rod Williams, May, 7, 2015 - TN Edu-Independent, by Hunter - In this 2-part post, I’ll hopefully clear up some of the information regarding the falsehoods and false choices presented with the growing charter school student population in Nashville.

The Tennessean ran an op-ed a few days back with the
above message, as seen on their twitter feed
The message, developed by school board member Will Pinkston, is propaganda that is only meant to generate fear in Nashville. Much of the Nashville voting public still is unclear about charter schools and how they function as part of the public education landscape.

Poll after poll indicates that school closings, of any type, are not popular. School Board member Will Pinkston is tapping into this displeasure for school closings and taking advantage of many people who may not be familiar with how charter schools work and are funded. Sadly, he has to resort to outright falsehoods and scare tactics as the only way to try and stop increasing parental demand for public charter schools.

In spite of the bogeyman tactics, charter school enrollment is increasing at a fast pace as more Nashville parents enroll their children in public charter schools, parents that are voluntarily and consciously choosing to enroll their child in a charter school:

Parental demand is increasing for charter schools because charter schools have created safe and strong academic learning environments for students.

Why take that away?

According to the district’s own performance management framework where each school in the district is assigned a score on a 100 point scale of school quality and performance, the vast majority of MNPS charter schools (in orange) are among the district’s highest performing middle schools (most charter schools in Nashville are middle schools).

The two lowest performing charter schools shown here, Drexel Prep and Boys Prep, were closed by the district at the end of the 2013-14 school year and are no longer in operation (schools that were actually closed in the best interest of students). The charter school framework enables an important accountability structure for school quality: if a charter school is not providing their students with clear learning gains, it no longer has the privilege to remain open.

Mr. Pinkston instills fear about closing district schools and attempts to blame charters, but he has boasted about closing district schools in the past, wearing it as a badge of honor. These tweets were from the summer of 2013 when Mr. Pinkston led the charge to close Ross and Bordeaux elementary schools, two under-performing district schools.

Are charter schools “draining resources from Nashville’s traditional schools”?


MNPS Board member Pinkston has claimed “every dime of new revenue growth is going to charters, leaving little or nothing for traditional schools.”

This is a completely false statement.

In the most recent MNPS approved budget for the 2015-16 year, MNPS teachers in traditional schools will get a 2% salary increase, support employees will get a 2% increase, MNPS is adopting a new literacy program called Reading Recovery, more staff is being hired for the district’s English Language Learners, more staff is being hired for the Community Achieves program, and the district is expanding their PreK program.

What Mr. Pinkston has a hard time explaining is why for MNPS district run schools, student enrollment in these traditional district schools is expected to fall this next fiscal year, but the district is adding a total of 104 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) positions. This is an odd budgeting practice – the district is adding 104 FTE positions for the benefit of district run schools but will be serving fewer students overall. So clearly, there IS new revenue going to district schools to pay for 104 new positions and new programs, but it’s still fitting to gin up controversy over charter schools.

Charter schools receive less funding than traditional district schools, but focus on spending their limited educational dollars at the school level, closest to the needs of each school’s specific student population. Charter schools have also continued to show very strong academic outcomes for their students. Taken together, charter schools in Nashville offer a strong example of resources that are being spent productively for student outcomes.

What’s the yearly cost to Metro Schools if no students enroll in charter schools?

Almost $0.

There’s a very small cost to authorizing charter schools and maintaining the regulatory oversight office within the district’s central office, but charter schools are funded and receive money only when they enroll public students and keep them throughout a school year.

Therefore, MNPS could authorize 100 or 500 charter schools to open if they wanted to, and if none of those schools actually enrolled students, it’s of no operational cost to the district, other than the one time cost borne for authorizing charter schools.

This system of funding charter schools is transparent and makes sense – the money to fund a school follows the child when that student enrolls in a charter school. Charter schools only get paid if parents enroll their children and keep them in a charter throughout the year.

Why are we only talking about charter school costs?

Charter schools cost money, as do magnet schools and district-operated schools. Every school type and program in the MNPS budget "has a fiscal impact."

To call for a “recommitment to public education” and message that recommitting to public education means eliminating charter schools is a false choice. Charter schools are public schools that are a part of MNPS, here to serve the students and families of Nashville, and trying to stop parental demand for these schools does not make much sense. Charter schools are neighborhood schools too, and many of them are deeply tied into the Nashville neighborhoods and communities in which they are located.

Many of the same fights and scare tactics being directed at charter schools were present in years past with magnet schools – the creation of such and such magnet school is going to drain money from other schools, etc. etc. – so we should not have them. Charter schools are some of the highest performing schools we have in the MNPS district, and charter school performance counts as part of the district’s performance.

Charter schools by nature have greater accountability and are under more intense pressure to yield strong student learning outcomes. If they don’t perform well, they get shut down. That’s a good accountability system to have in place for taxpayers. The same cannot be said about district operated schools that may exist for decades and cost money each year but continue to yield very poor student learning outcomes. Charter schools are a good use of taxpayer funds as they’re yielding strong student learning outcomes.

Why aren’t we looking at the entire $1 billion plus that MNPS spends each year?

It would be nice if there were less adult politics at play, and we simply committed to putting the large amount of money we spend annually on public education in Nashville towards the type of schools and programs that are yielding the best student outcomes.

History is clear that spending as we’ve always done across the district is not yielding the type of results that we know are possible for our students. A 21st century public school system can’t continue to allocate funds via an antiquated school district funding model where educational spending decisions for 200 schools and a large diverse student population all rest within the central office and education is expected to be carried out only in zoned neighborhood schools.

Why would MNPS authorize more charter schools?

The simple answer is to provide parents with better and more educational options. More and more parents are making the conscious decision to send their children to a charter school. The cost risk to taxpayers is virtually zero to MNPS if students don’t actually enroll in a charter school.

Parents ARE choosing public school charters and enrollment has grown noticeably in recent years:

Nashville charter
Nashville district
charter enrollment share
A more nuanced answer to why MNPS could authorize more charter schools is that charter schools can help MNPS with district enrollment growth pressures, and provide higher quality school educational options.

Building a new school building or replacing one is expensive, with costs of $20-$25 million to the Nashville taxpayer if it’s an elementary or middle school, and the process takes 3-4 years. A charter school can be authorized and start within a 2 year time frame, and the cost to MNPS for a facility to house a charter school is often $0, since the majority of charter schools are forced to go and find private facility space.

MNPS is a growing district. In the past couple of years, charter enrollment has absorbed a share of the district’s overall new enrollment. This helps the district by lessening overcrowding pressure at schools in parts of the city that have population growth explosions, and charters can help the district save millions of dollars by not having to build as many new schools to accommodate growing student populations in certain parts of the city.
new district enrollment

new charter enrollment

new charter enrollment as % of district enrollment


Of course, city leaders and MNPS management could make dollars go further by partnering with charters on facility costs and projects, and working to create a system of public schools, rather than relying on one public school system.

I'll discuss more in part 2, but the takeaway is Nashville can certainly afford a mix of charter, magnet, and traditionally run district schools. The option presented by some - the drastic close a district run school option - is a scare tactic and false choice, only serving as a distraction that takes away from the important work of improving our city's system of public education.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Iconic Nashville Buildings Pay Little For City Services. Only $155 of $2600 tax on glitzy 1-BR condo goes to pay city services.

By Ben Hall. May 4, 2015, News Channel 5NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Many of Nashville's most prominent buildings are essentially off the property tax rolls, a NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered.

Millions of dollars generated by those buildings in property taxes do not go toward city services and schools. Instead, their property taxes help pay for more development.
It's because of Nashville's use of tax incentives called tax-increment financing, also known as TIF.

That revelation came as a surprise to Diane Jarrell, who has watched Nashville grow from the balcony of her condo. She's a retired teacher who loves living downtown.

"Everybody's like you live in the ritzy part of town," Jarrell said.

She's reminded of the cost every time she pays property taxes. Her last bill was more than $2,600 for her one-bedroom condo.

"I know it's a high price, but it's the lifestyle I wanted," Jarrell said.

She doesn't complain about the taxes because her itemized bill shows much of it going to schools and public safety.

But she was shocked when we told her almost all of her property taxes actually go to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA).

Last year, only $115 of her property taxes went to city services.

My Comment:  The next time you pay your  property taxes on your modest home in Madison or Woodbine or Antioch, to make the process even more painful, stop and realize you are subsidizing the city services enjoyed by some of Nashville's weathyist who live in the glitzy new high rises downtown.

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Do you think of downtown Nashville as "blighted?" Well, the Council says it is and downtown will need special help at least through 2040.

Is downtown Nashville blighted?  Of course it is not.That is an absurd question.  It is booming and expensive, yet the Council has declared it to be so and has said downtown Nashville is "detrimental to the safety, health, morals and welfare of the people of Nashville." In order to cure this blight, the council extended the downtown development district through the year 2040.

By declaring Nashville "blighted" the city can encourage downtown development by making Tax Increment Financing available when developers want to build downtown. When these new developments pay taxes, the tax does not go to finance schools and pay for police and fire protection and roads and parks and libraries or subsidize Farmers market or pay for all other services provided by the city; it goes instead to the Metro Development and Housing Agency to finance more downtown development. Now, the State is questioning if Nashville is using this development tool for the purpose it was intended.

To learn more about this issue, follow this link and read about it and watch the News Channel 5 news report.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

What is on the Council Agenda for May 5th: Sex Club regs, amending term limits, supporting Insure Tennessee, selling the old Convenstion Center site.

Council meeting can be really, really boring if you don't know what the council is voting on. With a copy of the agenda and agenda staff analysis, they are still boring but not really, really boring. Follow the highlighted links to get your own copy.

There are three appointments to boards and commission on the agenda for confirmation but none are to the controversial or troubled agencies.

Public Hearings: Thee are 31 bills on public hearing and most of them are rezoning bill that would concern no one except nearby neighbors. I do not even attempt to keep up with rezoning issues. Here are the ones of a more general interest.

  • BILL NO. BL2015-1064 would allow detached accessory dwellings as a permitted use in the Commercial Limited (CL) zoning district. This is already allowed in residential zoned areas that have a historical overlay or an Urban Design overlay (UDO). The same conditions would apply. This expands it to CL. I support this. 
  • BILL NO. BL2015-1098. Currently the Metro code establishes a minimum acreage for different type schools and number of students. For example, a high school must have at least 15 acres and an additional acre for each 100 students. This bill applies some common sense adjustments to that formula and would allow schools to be located on less acreage. Some people in the Green Hills area oppose this change, because they think that by making it difficult for Hillsboro high school to relocate, that the Hillsboro property will remain a school and that that prime property in Green Hills will remain unchanged. They do not want to see more commercial development in Green Hills.
  •  BILL NO. BL2015-1099  defines what is a sex club, and says they can only locate in areas zoned industrial and not within 1000 feet of a church, home, school, park or daycare center. A proposed substitute for the bill would even impose more stringent requirements. This looks like this is intended to make it impossible for a sex club to exist. I know no councilman wants to be labeled as voting for a sex club, but this is pretty heavy handed. The one existing sex club in Nashville has existed for over forty years and is not associated with crime or disturbances.  If it was not pointed out to someone, no one would know it was a sex club.  it has the letters "TCS" on the door.  It does not have flashing neon signs saying, "Naked Girls," "Sex, Sex, Sex." I think people ought to mind their own business and let consenting adult perverts have a place to play. 
  • BILL NO. BL2015-1100 changes the code to make it the applicant's responsibility rather than the city's for posting signs that say a property has a hearing before The Board of Zoning Appeal. Also it removes the requirement that such notices be published in a newspaper. Notices will be published online on an official website. This makes sense to me.
Resolutions on Consent Agenda: 
There are 13 resolutions on the consent agenda, which is all of them at this time. A resolution stays on consent if it passes the committee to which it was assigned unanimously, however any Councilman may ask for a bill to be taken off of consent or have his vote recorded. All bills on consent are considered as a group and pass with one vote. Here are the resolutions of interest:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-1433  proposes amendments to the Metro Charter. There are two ways, proposed amendments to the charter can get put to a vote of the people. One, is the petition route and  the other is by resolution of the Council.  This resolution proposes an amendment to the Charter that would extend term limits for the Vice Mayor and members of the Council from two to three terms. It will take 27 votes to pass.  If it passes it will be on the August ballot. However, it take two votes of the Council for that to happen; one to approve the proposed amendment and another to submit it to the ballot. I think term limits are a mistake and they transfer power from the Council to the Mayor.
Even without term limits we have a weak council-strong mayor structure. Term limits makes the unelected bureaucrats stronger and they serve the mayor.  It takes a while for a new councilman to learn out how things operate and it takes an informed and powerful councilman not to be snowed by a long-term bureaucrat. While expanding the number of terms from two to three may help some, I think this is pretty insignificant. One problem with term limits is that almost the whole council terms over ever eight years.  A more meaningful measure would be to stagger terms so that not all experienced councilmen leave office at the same time.  This proposed amendment does not do that. This resolution does nothing to reduce the size of the Council. I have slowly reached the point to where I think the size of the council should be reduced. The proposal that and also changes term limits is proceeding via the petition route. It is also worth noting that efforts to amend the charter to increase term limits has already been tried several times. While I think the public is wrong in supporting term limits, I think they have clearly spoken, and I see nothing that would change their mind and at this time make them changing  term limits. I would probably vote against this.

There are eight bills on First reading, but I don't read them until second reading. First reading is a formality and all are considered at one time and all pass except in very rare instances.

Bills on Second Reading: 
There are 14 bills on 2nd reading. This is the only one of interest to me. 
BILL NO. BL2015-1102  would allow the Parks Department to permit the sale of beer in any Metro Parks, Now the Parks Department can only allow beer sales at parks in the downtown area.  I approve.
Bills on Third Reading:
There are ten bills on 3rd reading and this is the only one of significance.
BILL NO. BL2015-1067 is the agreement to sale the site of the old convention center. I am bother by the giving away of space valued at $10 million to build a museum of  African American music. I also think lower Broadway is the wrong place for the museum. Located on Jefferson Street the museum could spur development in a part of town that needs it. I am also concerned that $5 million dollars is going to the Barnes Fund from this sale.  I would prefer the money go to the General Fund and then be appropriated to Barnes during the regular budgetary process, letting Barnes compete with schools and transit needs and police and fire, like everything else. It does not seem like a wise way to fund an entity.  Beyond that concern, I don't have any specific concerns about this deal. It is a complicated bill however and I hope the Budget and Finance Committee has carefully studied it. Often, I feel our Council just rubber stamps what ever the mayor sends them. I had a little more confidence in the Council when Charlie Tygard was on the B & F committee. To learn more about this complex issue see the staff analysis.
There are six memorializing resolutions and if they meet the same criteria for inclusion they will be included in the consent agenda. Memorializing resolutions do not have the force of law and simply express the will of the council and are often used to honor a sports team on a victory or honor a long-time employee on his retirement. Of the six memorializing resolutions, five are harmless of the kind that honors a person or institution, one states a council position on a complex State issue.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-1476, puts the Council on record as supporting the Insure Tennessee plan. There are two sides to that issue. The Council has not been lobbied by both sides, they have not set through the hearings. Personally, I ended up after initially having reservations, supporting Insure Tennessee giving the assurances that we could get out of it if it did end up costing the state money. I like the way it was structured. However, I do not think the Council should weight in on State or Federal matters. There could be no end to memorialize resolutions.  We could memorialize Congress on the issue of the day every Council meeting. We could memorize the U.S. Congress on the Iran Arms deal, we could memorized the State on the gas tax. We could have competing memorializing resolutions and spend the Council's time debating State and National issues every meeting.  Despite actually favoring Insure Tennessee, if I were in the Council I would vote against this memorializing resolution.

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Office holders who endorce Bill Freeman are on his campaign payroll: Maynard, Gillmore and Sherry Jones.

It is illegal to buy votes, but not illegal to put people on your payroll who will endorse you. While it may not be illegal, it is unseemly to buy endorsements.  I am talking about Bill Freeman and the number of prominent people who have endorsed him and are on his campaign payroll. At-large Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard and state Rep. Brenda Gilmore are among those who "endorse" Freeman but are also paid "consultants" to his campaign. Another person paid by the campaign who has endorsed Freeman is Democratic Rep. Sherry Jones. Maynard got paid $18,090 for three months work on the campaign.

To read The Tennessean article that exposed this, follow this link; however, unless you are a subscriber to the Tennessean you may not be able to access it. It looks like the Tennessean is finally putting up their pay wall.

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Is TN’s civil seizure process state sanctioned thievery? - Seizures of cash from motorists by police under the guise of “suspected drug money” are all the rage in the media – from an award-winning series by a Nashville television station to the Washington Post. But the use and abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws are nothing new. The Institute for Justice sounded the alarm in 2010. Heck, that Nashville TV station even stole the report’s title for its 2014 series.

Not surprisingly to those in the legal community, Tennessee rated a D in the report. Here’s why: Our civil asset forfeiture laws presume you guilty, not innocent. That’s right. Cops take your cash  or property because they think, sans any actual proof, you acquired it via crime, and the Tennessee Department of Safety then grabs hold of it. It doesn’t matter if you are actually charged with a crime, much less convicted.

And not only are you presumed guilty but the burden now is on you to prove you are not. Civil asset forfeiture laws in Tennessee take all those guarantees under the state and U.S. Constitutions – presumed innocence, a trial by a jury of your peers at which the state, not you, has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt – and shred them. LINK

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Monday, May 04, 2015

What I would ask Charles Robert Bone and Jeremy Kane if I could be at 1st Tuesday.

I know this is late notice to be urging someone to attend 1st Tuesday, but time just got away from me. So now, I am not only asking people who don't normally go, to attend; but, asking those of you who do go to ask the question I would ask if I could go.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend.  My sweet wife Louella who is in the later stages of her Alzheimer's illness had her three front teeth fall out last week and the first dental appointment we could get was this Tuesday. Her front upper three teeth are a permanent partial which she has now had about six years. So, instead of enjoying First Tuesday, I will be trying to get Louella, who is way past reasoning with, to be still and let Dr. Pace try to reimplant her front teeth.  So, I will have to miss First Tuesday  again.

When I attend 1st Tuesday, Tim Skow. the host of First Tuesday, is kind enough to usually recognize me if I have a question.  This Tuesday, tomorrow, the guest are going to be candidates for mayor, Charles Robert Bone and Jeremy Kane. If I could attend this is what I would ask:

Your desire to perform same-sex marriages.
From the dawn of time until very, very recently marriage was between a man and a women. Until a few short years ago the idea that marriage could be a union of two people of the same sex was considered absurd. Recently in an interview on Nashville Public Radio it was pointed out that as Mayor you are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies. You were asked, if marriage became legal in Tennessee would you officiate a same-sex ceremony.

You could have said, that while a mayor may perform a marriage it is not a regular part of the mayor's job and you doubt you will be performing any weddings as mayor. Instead you said you would perform such a wedding. Why would you be glad to perform a same-sex ceremony? When did you have an epiphany that a union of two gay people should be given the same honor and status as traditional marriage?

Funding for Meharry-Metro General Hospital.
You each recently attended a meeting called “pancakes and politics,” at Meharry Medical College sponsored by The Tennessee Tribune. One of the questions asked at that meeting was, “if General Hospital, located at Meharry, would continue to serve the safety net needs of patients who have the highest needs, would Meharry and Metro General be supported in the Mayor’s budget and to what extend”? You both indicated you would continue to support funding for Meharry.

There is no requirement that Metro maintain a charity hospital and some would contend that a Metro General hospital is a service that has outlived its usefulness and should be discontinued. Many cities do not have a city financed charity hospital. Ever since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid people who used to rely on charity hospitals have been able to choose the hospital of their choice. Other changes have also enhanced consumer choice. With choice, people are not choosing Meharry. Meharry-General is subsidized to the tune of about $34 million a year. While Metro employees get an incentive for using Meharry and all Metro prisoners who need hospitalization are taken to Meharry, Meharry can still not fill its beds. Last year Metro finally got out of the nursing home business by privatizing the Bourdeau and Knowles nursing homes, saving the city $10.5 million a year. Why should metro not also get out of the hospital business? What is the justification for spending $34 million to subsidize a hospital that is not needed and cannot attract patients?

Metro's Pension liability and retiree health insurance obligation
Employee benefits are taking a greater and greater share of metro’s budget. Also, more importantly, we have a current $396 million unfunded pension liability. Also, Metro provides employees with health insurance in their retirement and this is a large liability that is growing. Currently, we have a defined benefit plan, as do most cities but not very many private companies. A defined benefit plan says something to the effect that after x number of years being an employee, the employer will pay the employee x% of the salary he was making at his time retirement for the rest of his life.

A defined contribution plan says something like, the employer will contribute an amount equal to x% of the employee's salary every year into a retirement fund somewhat like a 401k or IRA. Often the investment options are limited to a few options with varying degrees of risk and return. Some employees will do better under a defined contribution plan than a defined benefit plan, but others will not do as well.

For the city, a defined contribution plan removes future liability. Transitioning to a defined contribution plan would not address our current $396 million unfunded pension liability but it would stop it from growing. Would you support a transition to a defined contribution plan? How would you deal with the unfunded pension liability? What would you do about the liability of providing health insurance to future retirees.

Use of incentives to businesses
What is your view of Metro’s use of incentives to get businesses to relocate to Nashville or stay in Nashville and is this use of incentive not costing Nashville more than we are gaining?

"Inclusionary zoning"
At a forum sponsored by the group NOAH you both stated you would support inclusionary zoning. Please elaborate. Inclusionary zoning is just another term for home price-fixing, it is not?

What would your inclusionary zoning regulation look like? What percentage of units in a complex or high-rise would have to be sit aside as "affordable." How long would you require home prices be kept affordable? What would be the income level at which they must be "affordable?" Affordable for people making 30% of area medium income? 50%?, 80% or affordable for those earning the medium income? In addition to price fixing for real estate, do you support any other forms of price-fixing? If a luxury downtown high-rise condo included valet service, an on-site gymnasium and fresh-cut flowers every morning, would those amenities also  apply to the "affordable" set-aside units?

Please, someone ask these questions for me.

Thank you, Rod

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1ST TUESDAY welcomes 2 more 1ST-TIER candidates for MAYOR -- bring your questions for Charles Robert Bone and Jeremy Kane

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY members, friends and guests... WHAT AN EXCITING TIME IN POLITICS IN NASHVILLE !!! Hope you're ready... cause an avalanche of political ads are about to appear on your TV, blast out from your radio and invade your mail box & computer screens !! [ some will make you wonder if they're talking about us ! ]

BUT..... nothing coming to you via the airwaves can possibly approach meeting top-tier candidates for Mayor in person, sizing them up and asking the questions that REALLY matter to you !!!

On Tuesday, May 5th we welcome Mr. Bone and Mr. Kane to 1ST TUESDAY. Both

Charles Robert Bone
men had compelling personal stories when I met with each of them last week. Both men have supporters who are 1ST TUESDAY members and friends. They see unique futures for our city... different problems...and certainly have different plans to for spending the Nashville's roughly $1,900,000,000 budget !!

Here's what could be your last chance to get up close and to size these 2 candidates up in what will be an interesting and complex environment ! SO...what do want to ask them?

Jeremy Kane
AS "usual"... we will meet at WALLER Law [511 Union St - where parking under the building is just $5 if you let them know you've been at our event]. Doors OPEN at 11AM. Lunch at 11:30 an is still $20 for Members/ $25 for Guests who secure their seats via the 1ST TUESDAY website [ and click on"Join Us" ] Program starts at Noon sharp and our noted Q&A session will end at

Both candidates plan to remain awhile for those of you who wish to talk to them. Hope to see you on Tuesday !
Tim Skow
PLEASE.... if you're coming...register for lunch as soon as possible. It certainly helps with ordering the correct quantities for lunch.

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The Metro Council agenda and staff analysis is now available for the May 5th council meeting.

The Metro Council agenda and staff analysis is now available for the May 5th council meeting. Follow the highlighted links for your own copy. I normally do my own analysis of the agenda but it does not look like I am going to have time to do that this time, so if you are really interested you may be on your own, but check back; if I can find the time, I will do my normal analysis and commentary.

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Which candidates for Metro Council have the $ and Who is contributing to the Council District races (District 24-35)

I have reviewed the campaign financial disclosure reports of candidates for Metro Council for districts one through 35. I previously reported on what I found of interest in districts 1-12 and districts 13-23 and you can find those report at this link and this link.

One thing I found that is very interesting in reviewing reports is that there are a lot of progressives are running for Metro Council.  Nashville has always been a Democrat town.  Years ago, when I served on the Council, I had to keep my Republican identity a secret. So, on the one hand, things are better than then; a few Republicans can get elected.  On the other hand, some of the Democrat's of that day were conservative Democrats. Most people may have been Democrats but they were not very ideological. The Council is a non-partisan body and  although almost all members of the Council may have identified themselves as Democrats, they were not very partisan. Now, I see lots of people running for office who are being supported, not by friends and neighbors, but by individuals and organizations with a very progressive agenda.  Several of the candidates are supported by the GLBT (gay) movement.  Several of the candidates are having lots of money funneled into their campaign by state-wide Democrat PAC's.  Apparently the State Democrat establishment is determined to keep their stronghold of Nashville. 

We are on the verge of having the most progressive, ideologically liberal council in our city's history. It is not too late for people to still get in the race. In fact, the race has hardly begun. There are lots of State Republican senators and State Representatives with their own PAC's. Republican activist and the Party needs to quickly recruit some good candidates and those with money, need to fund those candidates. I feel that Nashville is destined to become the "San Francisco of the South" unless Republicans get in the game.

Another interesting thing is that there are lots of real estate agents, developers, lobbyist and attorney's contributing to candidates.  I don't know that that is new, but it is very obvious.  What are the contributors expecting to get for their money?

I am also amazed how much money is being raised. This is still relatively early in the campaign and some candidates have already raised almost $50,000.  I am not sure however that more money will necessarily give a candidate a much greater advantage.  You must have some money, maybe $5,000 but not more than $10,000, to run a good campaign. Hard work, working smart and knocking a lot of doors can overcome a lot of money. Coucilmanic districts are small enough so that one can knock every door with a registered voter and knock some of them more than once. Actually looking people in the eye and asking for their vote, I think, is more important that billboards or cable TV advertising or multiple mailings. Spending $3,600 for a website seems like a waste of money when one can create a website for almost nothing using off the shelf free templates. Also, spending $900 for photography seems wasteful.  One can get a friend to make photos that will be good enough. 

What I found that is of interest to me in districts 24-35 is reported below. Please know that I do not know everyone who is significant and do not know all of the political connections. I encourage you to review the reports for yourself if you are interested. You can find the reports at this link. If you find a connection that you think is noteworthy, please leave a comment.

Also, some people share the same name. If I listed a John Doe as contributing to a candidate and assumed it was a particular John Doe but got it wrong, please correct me.

The "initial" report is for the period prior to January 16 and that report was to be filed by February 10.  If a candidate had raised any money prior to January 16th they were supposed to file an initial report. No candidate was permitted to raise money prior to the appointment of a campaign treasurer. The "First quarter" is the period January 16th through March 31st and that report was to be filed by April 10th.

Please check back. I previously reported on the money raised at the end of the initial period for candidates for Mayor, Vice Mayor and candidates at-large. I will be updating those reports including 1st quarter fund raising shortly.

District 24

  • Allen Grant: His initial report shows receipts of $25,052 and his 1st quarter report shows receipts of $15,8378 ending the period with a balance on hand of $31,191! He loaned his own campaign $3,000. He paid people with SBA Strategies over $6,000 for campaign management and campaign operations services. Mary Thorsberg, Assistant District Attorney with the Shelby Count District Attorney’s Office contributed $1500 and Bill Thorsberg of the same address contributed $1500. Mary Thorsberg is the candidates mother and Bill Thorsberg is his step father. Sean McGuire, Vice President of Investment with Freeman-Webb Investments, Inc, contributed $250; Mary Dean Eberlling, $100; Nicholas Balley, attourney, $500; William Harrison Frist (son of former Senator Bill Frist), $750; H. G. Hill Realty PAC, $500; Jenni Smith, Assistant District Attorney, Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, $1,000; Carolyn Akins, real estate agent with Neal Clayton Realtors, $$1,500; Christie Bradley, real estate agent with The Wilson Group Real Estate Service, $500; Katie Dean, owner of McCabe Pub donated $500 and Josephine Dean of the same address also listed as an owner of McCabe Pub donated $1,000 and Stephanie Dean Brown of the same address and also an owner of McCabe Pub donated $500. Jeff Estepp listed as owner/builder with Jeff Estepp, LLC, who has also contributed to other campaigns, donated $1,000. In addition, there were a whole bunch of attorneys, people in the health care industry and people in the real estate industry, who I do not know who contributed to his campaign.
  • Nicholas McGregor: He had no initial report. The 1st quarter report showed receipts of $2,374 ending the period with a balance on hand of $605. Several attorneys contributed to his campaign but they are not names I recognize.
  • Kathleen Murphy: In the initial period she had receipts of $10,975 and in the 1st quarter period she had receipts of $4,585. She contributed $1,000 to her own campaign. Bob Tuke, an attorney with Trauger and Tuke, who has contributed to several campaigns, contributed $150. Waller Lansden PAC contributed $150; Dana Moor, Director of Community Relations with Education Network of America contributed $150. Anne Carr, an attorney who has contributed to other campaigns and who I assume is the same as the lobbyist Anne Carr with Smith Harris & Carr, contributed $250. Prominent Nashville Attorney Dewey Branstetter contributed $250, Lobbyist Katy Varney with McNeely Pigott & Fox, who has contributed to other campaigns contributed $200; Nashville Fire Fighters (IAFFI #40), $500; Suanne Bone, Executive Director of the Tennessee Criminal Defense Lawyers, contributed $200.
District 25
  • Russ Pulley: In the initial period he showed receipts of $24,473 including a loan from himself of $20,000. In the 1st quarter he showed receipts of $11,540, ending the period with a balance on hand of $28,352. His expenditures included $3,960 to Cronin Creative for a website and logo design. Reece Smith, whose profession is real estate, contributed $1,500 and Stephen Smith, of the same address contributed $1500; Glenn Farmer, Labour Rep with Southeast Labor District Council gave $150; Richard Rooker, Circuit Court Clerk, $100. Stephen Horrel whose occupation is commercial real estate contributed $1,500; Ethan Link, organizer with Southeast Laborers, $100; Ragan Smith & Associates PAC, $250, and TN Labourers PAC, $500. There were also several attorneys, unemployed housewives, and people in the real estate profession who contributed to his campaign whose names I do not recognize.
  • Jeremy Elrod: He had no initial report. In the 1st quarter he showed receipts of $2,100 with $1,100 being a loan to the campaign from himself and a single contribution of $1,000 from Friends of Bill Harmon. Bill Harmon is a former Democrat State Representative from Dunlap, TN who served ten years in the State House of Representatives.
District 27
  • Davette Blalock (incumbent): Her initial report shows $2.21 on hand at the beginning of the period and no funds raised or expended. In the 1st quarter she raised $1,850 for an ending balance of hand of $563. Wash N Roll Car Wash donated $1500. Rod Williams (that’s me) donated $100 to her campaign but since only contributions of more than $100 have to be itemized, my name does not appear on her disclosure.
  • Gary Clement Ledbetter, Jr: His initial reports shows no receipts or expenditures. The 1st quarter report shows receipts of $13,100 with an ending balance on hand of $12,752. Mayor of Chattanooga Andrew Berke contributed $250; Kim Adkins, an attorney who is a founding principal of The Capitol Strategy Group lobbying firm, $200; Randall Burton of The Capitol Strategy Group, $250; Lincoln Davis, a Democrat who was the former U. S. Representative representing Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district who is now a lobbyist, $250; Joyce McDaniel a lobbyist with Ferrel McDaniel, $250; Former State Representative, Democrat Janis Sontany who now works in the County Clerk’s office, $125. “Best Effort” is what one put on the campaign disclosure when one cannot determine the employer of the contributor. Larry Williams, contributed $250, Abigail Spencer contributed $500, and Kristine Mains contributed $500 and the employer of all is listed as “Best Effort.” The Bart Gordon Committee contributed $250; The Committee to re-Elect Craig Fitzhugh,$500; Democrat Representative Jason Powell’s “Powell for Tennessee,” $500; Roger Bedford Senate Campaign of Russellville, AL, $500; lobbying firm The windrow Group, $250; and a whole lot of people who live in Columbia, Tennessee donated to the campaign.
District 28
  • Melissa Smithson: She had receipts of $8,300 in the initial reporting period which included a loan of $8,000 from herself to the campaign and a contribution from herself to her campaign of $300. In the 1st quarter she had receipts of $5,190 with an ending balance on hand of $11,372. Edward Smith a retired consultant contributed $1,500. Her unitemized contributions, meaning they were contribution that did not exceed $100 from any one donor totalled $1,790.
  • Tanaka Vercher: Her initial report shows receipts of $5,295.08, all $5,295.08 being a contribution, not a loan- a contribution, from herself. Win or lose a candidate can raise money to repay a loan, but not a contribution. Why such an odd amount, I have no idea. In the first quarter she had contributions of $5,230, for an ending balance on hand of $8,849. Attorney Robert Tuke who has contributed to other campaigns contributed $250; Stephen and Smith of Haury and Smith Contractors contributed $300; Harmony Construction contributed $250; Kenyatta Lovett with the TN Board of Regents, $250; Mark Deutschman, CEO of Village Real Estate, who has contributed to numerous campaigns, $250; John Beasley, Director of Correction Corp. Of American, $250; and Waller Lansden PAC, $150.

District 29
  • Karen Johnson (incumbent): She filed no initial report. The 1st quarter report shows receipts of $6,130 for an ending balance on hand of $5,420. Mark Deutshman of Village Real Estate contributed $250; David Cooley, with no employer listed but who I assume is Dave Cooley of the lobbying firm Cooley Public Strategies who was the Chief of Staff of Mayor Phil Bredesen and Depty Govenor under Governor Phil Bredesen, contributed $250; Amanda McClendon with no occupation listed but who I assume is former Metro Councilman and Judge Amanda McClendon, $100; Bob Mendes who has no occupation or employer listed but who I assume is attorney Bob Mendes who is running for Metro Council at-large, $250; Harold Love, who has no employer or occupation listed but who I assume is Representative Harold Love, $125; Megan Barry, again no occupation or employer listed by whom I assume is Council member and mayoral candidate Megan Barry, $150; Charlie Cardwell with no occupation or employer listed but who I assume is Metro Trustee Charlie Cardwell, $100; Robert Tuke, who I assume is attorney Robert Tuke who contributes to many campaigns, $100; Howard Gentry, with no occupation or employer listed who I assume is Metro Appraiser of Property who is a candidate for Mayor, $100; William Pinkston who I assume is school board member Will Pinkson, $350; Charles Robert Bone, who I assume is the candidate for mayor with that name, $250; David Briley, who I assume is the candidate for Vice Mayor, $250; Tim Garret who I assume is the Tim Garrett who is Council Member at-large and who is the other candidate for Vice Mayor ,$100; Scott Davis who has no occupation or employer listed but who I assume is district councilman Scott Davis, $100; Carter Todd who has no occupation or employer listed but who I assume is Councilman Carter Todd, $100; Richard Rooker, who I assume is Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker, $100; and Greg Ramos, who I assume is Greg Ramos who is the attorney and advocate of the interest of undocumented immigrants, $100.
District 31
  • Bedne Fabian (incumbent): His initial disclosure shows receipts of $2,699 and his 1st quarter report shows receipts of $11,825 for an ending balance on hand of $11,825. Councilman Bedne’s political treasure is Robert Turk. His contributors include Rajesh Aggarwal, (link) a business owner who owns The Global Mall and who is an MTSU professor contributed $1,000; George Rooker, Davidson County Assessor of Property, $700; State Senator Jeff Yarbro, $500; David Esquivel, an attorney with Bass, Berry & Simms, $500; and William T. Cheek III, $250. David Smith, Juvenile Court Clerk contributed $250; Mayoral candidate Bill Freeman, $250; The SEIU labor union, $500; Waller Lansden PAC, $200; Robert Tuke, $500; Janus Sontany, former State Representatvie and current employee of the County Clerk’s office, $250; Brenda Wynn for County Clerk, $100; Judge Daniel Eisenstein, $100; Gregory Rama, immigration attorney, $100; Venick for Council Campaign, $250; attorney Bob Mendes, $500; Campaign Committee for Charlie Cardwell, $250; Metro Council member and candidate for Mayor Megan Barry, $250; Jose Conzales with Conxion Americas, $250; Tennessee Laboraerls PAC of 401 Commerce St, which I assume is the same Laborers International Union Of North America, Southeast District Council $500; School board member Will Pinkston, $250; Mark Deutschmann of Village Real Estate, who has contributed to a lot of campaigns, $250; Friends of Daron Hall, $250; Candidate for Mayor Charles Robert Bone, $500; State Representative Darren Jernigan, $250; and Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker, $150.
District 32
  • Jacobia Dowell (incumbent): she filed no initial report. The 1st quarter report shows receipts of $4,656 with an ending balance on hand of $3,656. Contributors include John E. Dowell, $1,500; Rickie Barlow an elected official with the City of Las Vegas; $1,500; Good Health Associates, $1,000; David Cooley, a lobbyist with Cooley Public Strategies, $250.
  • William Kizzie: His initial disclosure shows no receipts or expenditures. The 1st quarter report shows receipts of $2,640 with a loan of $719.50 from himself and a balance on hand of $2,640. He has no contributions of over $270 and none of the contributors are the usual suspects or are names I recognize or people of interest.
  • Troy Moody: There is no initial report, the form is incorrectly completed and the ending balance on hand is $25.56.

District 33
  • Sam Coleman: He filed no initial report. The 1st quarter report shows total receipts of $10000 which is a single contribution of $1,000 from John Floyd of Murfreesboro who is the owner of Ole South Properties. The candidate ends the quarter with a balance on hand of $548.
  • Jimmy Gafford: He filed no initial report. The 1st quarter report shows receipts of $8,500, the source of which is a loan from the candidate to his campaign of $8,500, with an ending balance on hand of $5,174. His expenditures include $2,500 to Kathy Chamers of Antioch for Consulting. I attempted an internet search but did not find a Kathy “Chamers.” That should be Kathy J “Chambers.” The address matches the address listed on his report. She is associated with the TN Democratic Party but could find no website but her twitter page is here.
District 34
  • Steve Butler: His initial report shows he raised $500 and his 1st quarter shows receipts of $48,538! Of that amount, $35,000 was a contribution from the candidate to his campaign. He ends the 1st quarter with a balance on hand of $38.833. Contributors include Dewberry Ventures, LLC, $750; Janie Dewberry, President of ASAC, Inc, $1.500; Bill Dewberry, Partner with ASAC, Inc, $1,500; ASAC. Inc, $250; Harwell PAC, which is the PAC of Republican Speaker Beth Harwell, $250; Bob Freeman, principal with Freeman Applegate and son of mayoral candidate Bill Freeman, $150; Beth Chase with C3 Consulting, $500; Waller Landsen PAC, $250; ICT PAC, the political action committee of I. C. Thomasson Associates, Inc., $500; Jennifer Baker, with the National Rifle Association, $1,000; Ward Baker, Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $500. Several other prominent business men in a variety of fields and several attorneys made contributions.
  • Angie Henderson: Her initial report shows receipts of $17,633, including $5,000 she loaned her campaign. The 1st quarter report shows receipts of $22,009 and ending balance on hand of $31,618. Expenditures include $3,668 to the Horton Group for marketing and website and logo design and $1,404 for photography. Contributors include William Henderson who donated $1,500. Stephen Horrell, managing broker with the Horrell Company, $1,500; Sandra Tyrrel listed as a “community Volunteer” donated $1,500 and Jack Tyrrell of the same address, President of Richland Ventrues, donated $1500. John Tyrrell, CEO of donated $1,500 and homemaker Marnee Tyrrell of the same address donated $1,500. William Firzgibbon, and investment banker with Silvermark Partners donated $1,000. Community Volunteer Mary Helfrich, $500; and community volunteers Jessica Viner, $500; Louise Bryan, $500; Nancy Cheadle, $500; Kate Grayken, $400, Katherine Satz, $350; Kate McKee, $250. She received several $500 contributions from people with Healthcare Realty Trust, Inc. Homemaker Glenda Emery donated $1,500; John Noel, Executive Vice President of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, $200; Jane Ferrell, Founding Partner of The Ferrell McDaniel company, $500. Several people with Emdeon, Inc made contributions
District 35
  • Vic Lineweaver: He filed no initial report. His 1st quarter report shows receipts of $4,412, including loans from the candidate of $2,277 and an ending balance on hand of $1,884. None of his contributor are the heavy hitters or people I recognize.
  • Dave Rosenberg: His initial report shows a starting balance on hand of $6,472 which indicates there was a previous report. I do not have copies of reports prior to the “initial” report. The initial report shows contributions of $2,590. The 1st quarter shows receipts of $2,590, however it appears this is an error and the same contributions that were reported in the initial report are listed again in the 1st quarter report. The ending balance on hand is $6,315. Contributors include School Board Member Amy Frogge who contributed $250 and a contribution from attorney Patrick Frogge of the same address who contributed $250; Councilman Bo Mitchell, $250  and The Ragan Smith PAC, $250.
  • Lonnie Spivak: His initial report shows a starting balance on hand of $138.43 and no recipients. His 1st quarter report shows receipts of $6,506, which included a $600 loan from the candidate to his campaign. Contributors include Lea Beaman, CEO of Beaman Automotive, $1500 and from Kelley Beaman of the same address, $700. Rod Williams, that;s me, contributed $500. Bob Ries, former Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District and current Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, $100; Stacy Snyder, daughter of Bob Ries and member of the Davidson County Republican Party Executive Committee, $100; Helen (Tootie) Haskins, $100; Troy Brewer, former Republican candidate for House of Representatives District 50; $110; Margo Chambers, a neighbourhood leader who worked to oppose the AMP, $200; and Kathleen Starnes, former chair of the Davidson County Republican Party, $100.

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