Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fiscal scare tactics re: charter schools - part 2

From TN Edu-Independent - In part 1, I shared some thoughts regarding the  scare tactics used in relation to charter schools in Nashville.

Part 2 will deal with some larger issues related to affording a mix of school types within the same district, and give a few more reasons as to why school closings are unnecessary and don't have to occur.

Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think!
If we had to start Nashville's public education system from scratch, how would we organize it so that it is the most efficiently organized system, economically speaking? A zero-based organizational structure to educate 83,000 kids for the 21st century - what would it look like?

One extreme would be to take us back to the old days - the one room school house approach. We could have something like 3,320 schools scattered throughout the district, with 25 kids in each school, with one teacher per school/class.

Another extreme would be to have all schools be district managed schools, where the school you attend is based on a zone that is assigned to you, and that all schools are controlled by one central office (no schools of choice, no magnet schools, etc).

Given this thought exploration, there was a really good report from the TN Comptroller's Office that looked at current and actual school district administrative spending throughout Tennessee, with all sorts of geographies (rural, town, urban) and different district sizes (by student enrollment).

The data seems to indicate that size of the district matters, for things like getting as many dollars as possible to the school and classroom level, where those dollars have the greatest impact for students.




With districts up to an enrollment of 6,000 students, per pupil spending on administrative costs declined as the district got larger, like we'd expect.


With districts greater than 6,000 students, per pupil spending on administrative costs actually increases as the enrollment size of the district increases. This is not good!

There are actually diseconomies of scale with having our public education systems organized into such large structures, like we find in Tennessee's large four urban centers:


Back to the thinking about "the ideal" school district structure to foster the best student outcomes, and some of this data on administrative spending, it would seem like we don't have the ideal structure now.

In fact, the size and structure of the district very well may be hurting us, both in terms of being economically inefficient, and much more importantly, serving as a barrier to having the most effective student academic outcomes. The ones who suffer most from this ineffective system structure are the students, who aren't likely getting the outcomes that are possible if they were educated within a more manageable system or a set of systems.

The thing with putting all your eggs into one basket - having all schools, or nearly all schools under one central umbrella - is that the risks for "unsuccess" as I'll call it, are greater. Take one piece of this that everyone is currently talking about. There is a lot riding on the current MNPS Superintendent decision. People have made it out to be a superhero search process and hire, "if we just hire THE right person for the job...then..." Well, actually, the average superintendent is only on the job 3.2 years, and the first 6-9 months the new hire is learning the city and school system, and some research on Supes questions how important the effect is as it relates to student achievement.

While I personally think the Superintendent decision is absolutely important to get right and hire a qualified leader, I'm also quite skeptical of the "silver bullet solution" aura that people are putting on the decision in Nashville.

So how do charters play into this?

In the larger story, charters are helping the large, ineffectively sized district become more manageable. I want to be clear that this critique is nothing against individuals in district leadership (well, maybe just one or two), but this is a big critique of the idea promulgated in the 1920s that said it was a good idea to organize public schools like factories and make them large bureaucratic systems.

Single site charters schools allow the adults who operate a charter to focus more on the 300 or 400 kids they serve at that school. The networks consisting of 3-4 charter schools that are growing in Nashville that will have 1,500 or 2,000 students, the same thing is at play. Contrast this to if you are 1 in 75,000 kids in a large central system, you can still have a lot of caring adults in the system that is meant to educate you (and there are), but the size of the system and how it is structured is still going to affect you.

Organizationally speaking, smaller sizes and structures greater personalization for students and follow through to ensure students achieve the outcomes they should be achieving. This isn't just an education thing. Do you like Comcast? How do you feel about their level of customer service?

When we try to organize a way to educate 83,000 students into a large urban system, that is centrally administered and operated, where the vast majority of kids are organized into a school by a school of zone is assigned to you by virtue of where you live, we're asking for all sorts of negative fiscal impact.

Does MNPS have to shut down district schools to accommodate more charter schools?

No.

One way to be more efficient with assets the district has is to develop smart strategies around building and campus co-locations. The district actually already practices co-location arrangements in a number of ways. Past thinking and planning has led the district to build large 800 student middle schools in an effort to be cost effective. Designing and structuring a school this way is not always ideal for student academic outcomes, and back to the above graph, is questionable if there are actually net economies of scale occurring when all costs are factored in.

One of the big pushes behind the “Academies of Nashville” was the idea to have a school within a school -- smaller learning environments that could help personalize student learning and where students would be better known by adults vs. being just some number lost number in a large comprehensive high school. In the district’s comprehensive high schools, the Academy model often yields 4-6 schools within one building. This is one example of co-location is already being done in the high schools with district schools.

Additionally, an elementary charter school run by the Martha O’Bryan Center shares a facility with a district school at the Dalewood building in East Nashville. The Cohn building in West Nashville has the adult education program, the Cohn Learning Center, a school for over age and under credited 9-12th graders, and some other programs that use the space. There are a number of other examples. One building can house multiple schools and/or programs. It is already happening.

MNPS also owns a great deal of acreage where there is open and undeveloped campus space that can be used or developed more effectively, where multiple schools can be sited on the same property and the schools can develop a co-campus agreement. There are all sorts of economic benefits to sharing a building or campus, as cafeterias, auditoriums, gyms or playing fields don’t need to be built twice. I mean, come on y'all, the sharing economy is in vogue these days, but it hasn't yet reached our public education system!

The district zoned school in particular neighborhoods across the city could always remain. If demand for the “zoned” school in a particular neighborhood dropped, the staffing configuration in that particular zoned school could drop in proportion to the students that still attend that zoned school. Other teachers and leaders who were formerly at the zoned school could teach in the same building, as part of a different school. If parents are choosing a charter school in the same building vs. the zoned district school, as that charter school grows, 5 teachers can leave the zoned school to go teach in the charter school. The charter school gets more funding from the students that continue to enroll, being able to pay for those 5 new hires, while the district has room to "cut" 5 teachers from the district budget that have now gone to teach at the charter school.

Does MNPS close district schools to accommodate other programs?

Yes.

Recently in 2013, MNPS closed Ross and Bordeaux elementary schools to re-purpose them as Pre-K Centers. Low enrollment at these schools had more to do with the surrounding neighborhoods, and not to do with charter schools. It’s hard to argue with a straight face that charters will cause district schools to close when they have not caused any district school closures to date (there were hardly any charter elementary schools in existence at the time of the Bordeaux and Ross closings). Furthermore, the district has decided to voluntarily close these 2 district elementary schools in part to re-purpose them as Pre-K centers, and Pre-K has been a newly stated MNPS management priority.

The school closure fear that is being generated using a number of falsehoods in relation to charter schools is a red herring. Nashville parents desire a great education for their children, and less important to them is the governance type of the school their kid attends – charter, district or magnet.

The current fixed mindset of some MNPS board members is slowing down our ability as a city to develop a mix of public schools that serve all our learners well. We have a large system that is very diverse, given the diversity of our student body in Nashville. As we seek to improve our public system, we should be honest about the fact that we need to adjust what the system of public schools looks likes. There is way too much energy put into holding on to a system that was designed and built many moons ago, a system that is clearly not getting the outcomes it should for the kids it serves.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Maybe you should run for Council. It is not too late.

There is still time to run for Metro Council. If you have ever thought your councilman was an idiot and you could do a better job, consider running. If you have ever thought your councilman was an unresponsive jerk, consider running.

The qualifications for the office of council are pretty simple: Be at least 25 years of age; a resident of Davidson County Tennessee for at least one year; and a district resident for at least 6 months. That is it. I think it helps if you have some other qualifications, but they are not legally required.

Some people will get elected to Council simply because they had no opposition.  Others will get elected, not because they would make a good councilman, but because their opponent had even less qualifications or because the opponent did not work very hard.

It does help if you have had some community involvement and know where the Courthouse is, or if you keep up with local government issues but those type things are left up to the judgment of the electorate. If you have ever wanted to get into politics or serve your community, this is the time.

If you look at who is running, we are going to have the most "progressive" council ever unless some new people get in the race. If you are a conservative or a Republican and the only choice on the ballot is some politically correct liberal; throw your hat in the ring.  If the only choice is someone who advocates, spend, spend, spend; throw your hat in the ring. If you are an old school Democrat who does not want Nashville to become the "San Francisco of the South;" throw your hat in the ring. Even if you don't win, make the other person work for his or her victory. Even if you don't win, you may be the front runner with name recognition four years from now. But, you may win.

Do you know who is running in your district? You may already have a good candidate running in your district and choose instead of running yourself to help that person get elected.  On the other hand, there may be no one running who you would want to see elected. To see who is running and to see what I know about them follow this link: Who is runnng for Mayor, Vice Mayor, Councilman-at-large, and District Councilmen. (update #8)

Please note that the above is now about five weeks old, so for an update you may want to contact the election commission and see who has picked up qualifying petitions in your district since I compiled this list and do a little research yourself. Also, please be aware that a lot of people pick up qualifying petitions but never turn them in, so don't be dissuaded simply by who or number of people who have picked up qualifying petitions. Who has picked up qualifying petitins is not on-line but the people at the election commission are very helpful and will give you the information. Here is the link to the Election Commission website where you can find the contact information: http://www.nashville.gov/Election-Commission/About/General-DCEC-Information/Contact-Us.aspx

So, if you are thinking about running, what do you do? You must submit a qualifying petition but it only takes the names of 25 registered voters in your district to get your name on the ballot.

There is still time to pick up a qualifying petition, get your 25 names and submit it, but don't wait. The qualifying deadline is a week from tomorrow. The qualifying deadline is Thursday May 21st at noon.

What if you submit a qualifying petition and then change your mind? No problem. You can withdraw.  The withdrawal deadline is noon, Thursday May 28th.

How much money does it take to run? That depends. It depends on how much your opponent is going to spend, how densely populated is your district and, most importantly, how hard and how smart you are going to work. More money is being spend on this Council race than ever before, but I am still convinced that a candidate with $5,000 who will work his tail off can beat a candidate who spends $30,000 who does not want to knock doors. As you begin campaigning, if you are willing to put in a thousand dollars of your own money, you can raise most of the rest of what you need.

To see how much money candidates have already raised and where it came from, follow the links below.  This is as of the last campaign financial report for the period that ended March 31st.

How much work does the Council require and how much time does it take?  That depends. If you represent a lower income or lower middle income area there will be lots of demands for constituent service. You will deal with everything from the neighbors cats getting in a constituents flower bed to overgrown lots to traffic problems to pot holes. If you represent an area with a lot of request for rezoning, you will have numerous neighborhood meetings to attend and meetings with the planning commission staff and phone calls and emails to which to respond. Also, there is always some consultants report or studies that you should be reading. Serving in the Council is  more than just a part-time job; it can be a way of life. If you don't want someone stopping you while shopping at Kroger's to tell you what they think about some issue  or some problem that needs addressed, then you should not run. It can be demanding but I liked it and found it very rewarding.

I'll be glad to discuss it with you. If I have not already endorsed someone in your district, I will be glad to meet with you for a cup of coffee.  If I think you are better qualified than your opponents I will share what I know about winning an election and probably make a modest campaign contribution. To reach me, email me at Rodwilliams47@yahoo.com.

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Ron Ramsey says Vanderbilt is "notoriously wrong in their polling"

From Post Politics - Upon hearing hearing that two out of three Tennesseans favor the governor’s Insure Tennessee plan in a recent survey, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey turned to his spokesman and asked a question.

“Did you pull that out of the trash can yet?” he said, followed by a laugh.

Ramsey, arguably the most powerful Republican in state government, said he gives little credence to poll results released Wednesday by Vanderbilt University showing that people favor the governor’s embattled plan nearly by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, want an expansion of health care coverage and want the full legislature to vote on it. Vanderbilt is "notoriously wrong in their polling," Ramsey told reporters. (link)

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Bobbie Patray, President of Tennessee Eagle Fourm speaker at RWWC May lucheon, May 20

Bobbie Patray
Republican Women of Wilson County is honored to have Bobbie Patray as the speaker for our May Luncheon!!! Bobbie is President of the Tennessee Eagle Forum, which has been leading the fight for the pro-family movement since 1972.

 Mrs. Patray and her staff provide invaluable information and research to legislators at the State and National level. They have fought the good fight for many issues related to the welfare of families including protection for home-schoolers, legislation to define marriage, requirements for colleges to institute "hazing" policies and more recently the resettlement of refugees and" Vote Yes on One."

Please Join Us For Lunch!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015,  11:00-1:00pm.
Old Natchez Country Club,  115 Gardengate Dr., Franklin, TN 37069
Cost $23. For more information go to  RWWC.net .

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Heritage Foundation and the American Conservative Union rank Legislators. How do Tennessee's rank?

Two of the most influential conservative advocacy groups recently released their annual scoring of members of Congress. In both cases, the higher the score the more conservative the legislator. 

Here is the  ranking from the Heritage Foundation. 
 
DISTRICT     NAME                                 PARTY   SCORE
     4              Rep. Scott DesJarlais       R         100%
     6              Rep. Diane Black             R         93%
     7              Rep. Marsha Blackburn   R         92%
     1              Rep. Phil Roe                   R         90%
     3              Rep. Chuck Fleischmann R         87%
     2              Rep. Jimmy Duncan         R        79%
     8              Rep. Stephen Fincher       R        77%
                     Sen. Lamar Alexander      R        50%
                     Sen. Bob Corker               R        50%
     5              Rep. Jim Cooper               D        13%  
     9               Rep. Steve Cohen            D         0%

Below is the results of the American Conservative Union ranking.

ALEXANDER         76
BLACK Diane         84
BLACKBURN        96
Cohen                        8
Cooper                       8
CORKER                 76
DesJARLAIS         100
DUNCAN, Jr. John  76
FINCHER                 80
FLEISCHMANN      80
ROE                          76

Why are the scores different? The two organization chose different issue on which to score the candidates and use different criteria. The ACU scoring considered 25 votes and they list those issues and tell you how the legislator voted on each of the 25 recorded votes. One issue is given the same weight as another issue. The Heritage Action Scorecard measures votes, co-sponsorships, and other legislative activity to show how conservative Members of Congress are.  Their scoring mechanism is not as readily understandable as ACU's but the pieces of legislation that go into making up the score are listed and on each piece of legislation you can see how your legislator voted. 

How do our Legislators compare? Look at this chart from the ACU for members of the House:

You will see that our delegation is about in the middle for Republicans. Marsha Blackburn with a score of 96 is one of only about 55 Republicans who ranked higher than 90.

This is the chart for the Senate:
Alexander and Corker rank as less conservative than most Senators.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the average score for a house Republican is 76%. All of our Republican delegation rank above that, but some just barely. The average Democrat ranking is 2% and Cohen and Cooper garner an 8%.

One thing of interest in these ranking is that there are almost no conservative Democrats and almost no liberal Republicans. There was a time when there were some Democrats more conservative than some Republicans and some Republican who were more liberal than some Democrats, but not anymore.  A realignment has clearly occurred.

What about Blue Dog Jim Cooper? He is not a conservative. In the ACU poll he and Steve Cohen scored the same.

Is not Lamar Alexander one of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate? He is pretty close to the bottom. According to the ACU there are only six Senators more liberal than Lamar and they are Chamblis, Isakson, McCain, Kirk, Murkoski, and Collins. In the Heritage ranking, there are eight Senators more liberal than Alexander.

Who are the most conservative Senators? According to the Heritage Foundation these are the Senators who scored a perfect 100%: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott, Jeff Sessions, and Richard Shelby.  According to the American Conservative Union, only Coburn, Curz, and Lee scored a perfect 100.

To learn more, follow the links: Heritage Foundation. American Conservative Union.


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Vanderbilt Poll on Insure Tennessee Seriously Flawed

Beacon Center Press Release - In what can only be considered an affront to legitimate pollsters everywhere, Vanderbilt University released its latest poll showing that 64% of Tennesseans support Insure Tennessee, Gov. Haslam’s proposal to extend Medicaid benefits to upwards of 450,000 people. The poll is seriously flawed for a number of reasons, including the fact that Vanderbilt refused to release the topline results publicly, contrary to the practices of reputable polling outlets across the country. 
A look at the National Council of Public Polls shows that the Vanderbilt poll doesn’t even meet some of its level one disclosure principles, including complete wording and ordering of questions mentioned in the release. Only due to reporting by the Tennessean can the public even know what question was asked relative to support for Medicaid expansion.
Beacon Communications Director Mark Cunningham noted, "This is one of the most poorly worded questions I have ever seen in my years of analyzing polls. It is no surprise that they got the result they did." The actual question posed was: "Do you strongly support, somewhat support, neither support nor oppose, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose expanding health care coverage for low-income people in the state?"
"Everyone at the Beacon Center would have answered 'support' to that question," Cunningham said, pointing to a quote from Beacon CEO Justin Owen echoing this sentiment when Insure Tennessee was defeated. Cunningham concluded that, "It seems that Vanderbilt is more interested in shaping public opinion than gauging it." 

My Comment: This is unbelievable that Vanderbilt University would ask such a question and then reach the conclusion that 64% of Tennesseans support Insure Tennessee. A majority of Tennesseans may support the Insure Tennessee plan of Medicaid expansion, but that is not what was asked. 
How about this: "Do you strongly support, somewhat support, neither support nor oppose, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose low-income people in the state having adequate food to eat?" After you compile the poll results then you could say, "Tennesseans support expanding Food Stamps in Tennessee." 
Or, how about this: Do you strongly support, somewhat support, neither support nor oppose, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose low-income people in the state having adequate shelter?" Then you could conclude the the poll result show, "Tennesseans support expanding public housing in Tennessee." 
Vanderbilt University should be ashamed. Based on who you ask, how you ask, and what you infer from the results, one can get a poll to produce almost any answer one wants. Advocacy groups do this all the time. I expected a little bit more from Vanderbilt.

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How does Megan Barry hold on to front runner status?

In a nutshell, this article that appeared in the Nashville Scene says other candidates for Mayor have more money than Megan Barry but she has more name recognition and that makes her the front runner, but she is concerned the others may spend a lot on TV advertising and  she may lose her name recognition advantage. Megan Barry says she expected to be outspent by her mayoral rivals — but can she afford to let them catch up in name recognition? Cash Challenged

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kenneth Eaton drops out of Nashville's mayoral race

Kenneth Eaton has dropped out of the mayor's race. He has raised no money and his campaign has not gained traction.  He also ran for mayor in 2007 but garnered only 351 votes. I think this is welcome news.  I like Eaton, but he was not a serious candidate and he could have pulled just enough votes to keep someone else from making the run off.  As a result of his being in the race we could have ended up with a choice between two really bad candidates, which we may anyway, but his dropping out of the race lessens the likelihood that will happen.

I would like to encourage Kenneth Eaton to run for a district council seat if that is at all a possibility. If his district does not have a strong common-sense conservative in the race or an incumbent that is absolutely unbeatable, then he should jump in! There is still time. Kenneth Eaton would be a great addition to the metro council.

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Nashforward, a Mayoral Debate Series, begins Thursday May 21st.

Belmont University and The Tennessean, along with broadcast partner WSMV-TV, have come together to present Nashforward, the premier Nashville Mayoral Debate Series in 2015. As the leading media company and a top-ranked University, The Tennessean and Belmont University want to ensure that voters are well-informed on the issues facing Nashville and the positions of each candidate as they head to the polls in August.

Nashforward Debate 1
Thursday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University
Tickets for this debate are sold out.
The debate will be broadcast on WSMV-TV from 6:30-8:00 and web cast at Tenessean.com.


Nashforward Debate 2
Town Hall format focused on millennials
Thursday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m.
McAfee Concert Hall at Belmont University
Tickets for this debate can be reserved online here or by calling the Belmont Box Office.

TICKETS: Each debate will be free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Seating is limited.
CANDIDATES: Seven candidates have agreed to participate in the debates: Megan Barry, Charles Robert Bone, Linda Eskind Rebrovick, David Fox, Bill Freeman, Howard Gentry and Jeremy Kane.
LOCATION: The Massey Performing Arts Center is building No. 16 on the campus map, and parking is available in the Curb Event Center Garage (No. 27). McAfee Concert Hall is No. 36 with parking available in a lot behind the building.
For more information, click here.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1st Quarter update on Who is contributing to the David Fox campaign

David Fox
Mainly self funded, no lobbyist, nor the Court House Crowd, are financing this campaign.

I have examined Mr. Fox's 1st quarter report which is for the period that ended March 31st, 2015, which had a report due date of April 10th.

Mr. Fox began the quarter with a balance on hand of $1,046,361, had receipts of $437,569, and ended the period with a balance on hand of $1,136,158. The candidate loaned his campaign an additional $350,000 for a total loans outstanding of $1,400,000.

A review of this report shows the following contributions of interest: He got several contributions from people with the last name "Fox," which I assume is supportive family. Gilbert Fox contributed $1,500;  Robert Frist, grandson of HCA Holdings founder Thomas Frist Sr. and nephew of former United States Senator Bill Frist contributed $1,000; Vera Gardner, "book seller" with Parnassus books contributed an additional $750 for an aggregate contribution of $1,000; Ken Grant of New York City contributed $1,500; Stan Hardaway of Hardaway Construction, $1,000;  Orrin Ingram, President of Ingram Industries, $1,500; Renata Soto, Executive Director of Conexion Americas, $100; and Dr. Ming Wang of Wang Vision Institute, $500.

What is listed above is all of the people who contributed who I knew who they are, or who struck me as interesting in any way. This financial report is the most boring of any of the candidates.  It shows a couple other contribution from people from out of town, but a Google search did not find any interesting connections. This report shows no contributions from the regular movers and shakers, none from the court house crowd, no lobbyist contributors, no contributions from members of the Metro Council, no contributions from Political Action Committees, and no labor union contributions.

He has contributions form a lot of retired people, some educators, some lawyers, a few people in real estate, a few people associated with Vanderbilt University and a few from people associated with Lipscomb University,  some investment bankers, a distiller, a foot ware salesman, a few people in the health care industry and some people in the construction industry. Also, he had very few contributions of more than $500; he had a lot of $100 contributions.

Below is what I previously wrote when I reviews his initial report:

I have reviewed the campaign financial disclosure report of mayoral candidate David Fox and recognized very few of his contributors. There are not many contributors from the same profession, unlike the many Vanderbilt professors who have contributed to Megan Barry or the many attorneys who have contributed to Charles Bone. Fox's contributors seem to come from a broad variety of professions.

Most of Fox's campaign money comes from a loan he made his campaign of $1,050,000. He started the campaign report period with no money on hand, raised 1,303,030, spend 256,666, leaving a balance on hand of 1,046,363.

Out of state contributors include Patrick Colman of Old Greenwich CT $1,500; Benjamin Fox of Greenwich, CT $1,500; George Fox of Samfort, CT $1.500; Matthew Fox of Greenwich, CT $1,500; Pamela Fox of Greenwich, CT $1,500; Barbara Jonas of New York City $1,500; Henry Klein of Rye Brook, New York and March Klein of Rye Brook, New York $1,500; Laurel Miller of Greenwich, CT $1,500; Ellen Wolfson of Lawrence, NY $1,500; Donald Jonas of New York City $1,500; Kyle Miller of Greenwich, CT $1,500; and maybe six other contributors of $1,500 each from Greenwich CT. He must have a supportive family in Greenwich Connecticut.

Contributors of interest include Fred Dettwiller of Det Distributing $1,500, Walter Knestrick $1,500 and Sarah Knestrick $1,500, Mary Pierce of the Metro School Board $500 and Ryman Hospitality Properties PAC $1,000.

There are lots of important civic minded people in the city I don't know and you may recognize the names of some of his contributors that I do not. To view his campaign disclosure report follow this link.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Quarter 1 update on Who is contributing to the Kenneth Eaton campaign.

The candidate with no money.

I have examined Mr. Eaton's 1st quarter report which is for the period that ended March 31st, 2015, which had a report due date of April 10th.

Mr. Eaton began the quarter with a balance on hand of $0, had receipts of $0, and ended the period with a balance on hand of $0.

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that Kenneth Eaton will not be our next mayor.

Below is my report on Mr. Eaton's initial campaign financial disclosure for the period that ended January 14th.

His financial disclosure for 1/15/2015 shows no money raised, no money spent and no money on hand.

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Tim Garrett for Vice Mayor!



When I served on the Council in the 80's I served with Tim Garrett. I consider him my friend. He is a reasonable, fair, honorable, and  knowledgeable person. He will listen to everyone. He will assist new council members in being the best council member they can be. His history of having served for a long time in the council will be of tremendous value with a council that will have a majority of new members.

The Vice Mayor conducts the council meetings and has to strike a balance between keeping council meetings moving and insuring that adequate debate occurs and that all voices are heard. I think Tim Garrett will strike the right balance.

Another major duty of the Vice Mayor is appointing council members  to committees and appointing chairmen of those committees. With a large council body, the council must rely upon the recommendations of the committees of the council. I believe Tim Garrett will make good committee appointments and will choose good committee chairmen. He will appoint members to committees based on their interests, experience, and ability. With Tim Garrett making the appointments to committees, I will have more confidence in the recommendations of those committees.

Should we be fortunate enough to elect some Republicans and conservatives to the Council, I do not believe Tim Garrett would attempt to marginalize those members. Tim Garrett would be fair in making committee assignments and in conducting meetings.

Tim Garrett is an old school Democrat and not an ideologue. By the standards of today, he is a conservative Democrat. He has concern for the fiscal health of our city and he has respect for tradition.  For the most part, political party affiliation has very little to do with the day to day work of the council. Conservatives and Republicans will be treated fairly by Tim Garrett.

I am enthusiasticly supporting Tim Garrett for Vice Mayor.

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Quarter 1 update on Who is contributing to the Charles Robert Bone campaign.

Charles Robert Bone
A boring campaign report.

I have examined Mr. Bone's 1st quarter report which is for the period that ended March 31st, 2015, which had a report due date of April 10th.

Mr. Bone began the quarter with a balance on hand of $491,557, had receipts of $259,769, and ended the period with a balance on hand of $268,457. The candidate has loaned his campaign $275,000.

A review of this report shows the following contributions of interest: Michael McWherter contributed $1,000. Mike McWherter is the son of former Governor Ned McWherter and 2010 Democrat nominee for Governor.  Note that Mike McWherter also gave $1,000 to Megan Barry. I do not understand why a contributor gives money to multiple candidates seeking the same office. I guess if you contribute a thousand dollars to a candidate you get access no matter who wins.

Craig Johnson, President of R. G. Anderson Company donated $1,000 and Gail Johnson of the same address, $1,000; Michael Hodges, President of Advance Financial the payday loan company, $1,500; Rakesh Aggarwal, $500; Bone for State Representative, $2,534; Jonathan Wing with the District Public Defenders Office, $500; Moore Entertainment PAC, $7,500; Peter Heidenreich, former Director of Nashville's Public Works Department, now a lobbyist with Hall Strategies, who has also contributed to other campaigns, $250 additional for an aggregate contribution of $500;  Elizabeth Biven a lobbyist with Clark Bivens Government Relations, $450; Metro Council member Ronnie Steine, an additional $250 for an aggregate of $500; CORPAC whose chairman is Brackney Reed, who is also the COO of Gresham, Smith and Partner, $500; H. Hill Realty PAC gave an additional $500 for an aggregate donation of $2,000; Garry McNabb owner of Cash Express, a payday loan company, $1,500; Fred Detwiller owner of DET Distributing, who has also contributed to the campaigns of other candidates for mayor, $1,500; James Hodges, President of Hodges Group of Portland, Tn, "a certiļ¬ed Women-Owned Small Business," $1,500 and Nancy Hodges listed as "Executive" with the Hodges Group with the same address, $700; AGC PAC of Memphis, $3,000;

The above is the only contributions of interest. He is not getting many single contributions of large amounts, not much out-of-state money, not a lot of money from lobbyist, not any money from the Court House crowd and no money from progressive activist or the Democrat establishment. He gets a lot of money from attorneys, but being an attorney I assume that is the people he knows and attorneys tend to contribute to political campaigns.  His contributors include independent insurance agents, owners of big construction companies, business consultants, people employed by investment companies, people who work for banks, people in the real estate profession, owners of engineering firms, architects, people in advertising, a few people in the music business or entertainment business, some CPA's, a few people in the medical field, a dentist, people with business interest as diverse as boats, tobacco, men's clothing, an electric company and a liquor store owner and people as wholesome as the Executive Director of the TN Future Farmers of America Foundation. Overall it is a pretty boring campaign financial report and that is a good thing. 

Below is my review of Mr. Bones initial financial report.

A review of Charles Robert Bone's financial disclosure report for the period ending 1/15/2015 does not show much of interest. He started the report period with $509,742 on hand, raised $250,224, spent $268,410, leaving $491,556 on hand.

He raised a lot of money from attorneys but being an attorney himself, that is not surprising. Attorney Dewey Brandstetter gave him $250. A lot of attorneys from the firm of Bone McAllester Norton contributed and several from the firm of Butler Snow, LLP.

One of his biggest contributors is Plumbers and Pipefitters which gave him $7,500.

He got money from a handful of contributions from out of state including $1,500 from Sarah Lowery of New York City, $700 from James Fox of Richardson Texas, $1,500 from Webb Sowden of Dallas Texas and $1,000 from Dustin Huffine of San Pedro CA.

Other interesting contributions are these: Ryman Hospitality PAC $1000, H.G. Hill Realty PAC $1,500, and Ron Gobble, President of Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc. $1,500.

I do not know many of the people contributing to his campaign, but others may. To view his campaign disclosure report, follow this link.

One thing interesting about the Bone disclosure is that all of his contributions were marked as contributions for the "primary election." There is no primary election. The August 7th election is a general election.

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Beware who you give money to: Nashville's "For Our Country" veterans charity shuts down amid questions.

News Channel 5 reports that the Nashville based charity For Our County, which was supposed to be raising money to help wounded veterans has shut down amid questions about its finances. Apparently it was a sham charity and did not have the connections it claimed to have and was helping no one except the people who started the charity.  You can read about it and see the newscast at this link.

I don't give a lot of money to charities. From time to time, I may give to the Red Cross when there is an emergency somewhere in the world and I always buy a paper from the homeless guy on the corner of my street and I help individuals in need from time to time that I encounter  through my job. I am not affiliated with a church so I don't regularly support a church.  I do give quite a bid of money to political causes, however.  In my view, our country is at a cross roads and about to be destroyed by liberal policies. I fear this once great county is on the path of destruction. Our nation which has been the exceptional nation in the world, the nation that gave mankind the concept that our rights come from God not from government, is going to become just another neosocialist country. Our liberties and our prosperity will become things of the past if we do not change course. Our children will not know the same America we knew.

I rank giving money to support conservative causes and to saving our country as equally noble as any charitable activity. Since the advent of the tea party movement, dozens if not hundreds of conservative organization have sprung up, all asking for money. Unfortunately, many of them are shams and do nothing to advance the cause.  They are preying off of people's patriotism and political passion and spend almost nothing on electing conservatives or advancing the conservative cause. They line the pockets of the person leading the organization. I get email solicitation from them almost daily.

Last year I got a solicitation from a group called Patriots for Economic Freedom asking for a contribution to help Tim Scott's reelection.  Tim Scott is one of my favorite Senators. He is both fiscally and socially conservative and has charisma and is a potential future leader of the party.  I looked into his campaign and found out he was assured to win. He had an unknown weak Republican challenger in the primary and a weak unknown Democrat challenger in the general election. His campaign did not need my help. I get solicitation all of the time, hitting the political passion hot button of the moment. I just have a feeling that most of them are just fronts to enrich the organization and will have little impact on the cause they are promoting.

Almost everyone knows of the scandals that have plagued the world of televangelism.  Remember Jim and Tammy Baker, and Jimmy Swaggert?  The sex scandals my have revealed personal failings of the ministers involved but the financial scandals revealed the phony nature of the enterprises. Paul and Jan Coach launched the Trinity Broadcasting Network in the 70's and it grew into a world wide enterprise. It was exposed that the non-profit spent millions for a lavish lifestyle of the Crouch's that included a $50 million luxury jet and 13 mansions and $300,000 to $500,000 in annual meal expenses for the directors of the organization and a $100,000 mobile home for Jan Coach's two poodles (link). The Trinity Broadcasting Network held regular money raising marathons, saying that stations would go off the air if viewers did not give and preaching a prosperity gospel that said if you contributed, the Lord would financially bless you.  I can imagine that much of the lifestyle of the Coach's was paid for by little old widow ladies who struggled to keep their heat on in the winter and ate cat food but sent money to the Coach's who enjoyed the finest of food and wine prepared by the best chefs in one of their 13 mansions.

I would not want to discourage the generosity of spirit that causes one to contribute money to help wounded veterans, or hungry children, or foreign missions, or save our county from destruction that will result from liberal policies, yet everyone needs to be cautious before they click that "contribute" button or write that check. It almost seems like there are as many charlatans trying to get your money as there are honest people with good motives doing good deeds.


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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quarter 1 update on Who is contributing to the Megan Barry campaign.


Megan Barry
 Progressives and the Democrat Establishment open their wallet. 

I have examined Ms Barry's 1st Quarter campaign disclosure report which is for the period that ended March 31st, 2015, which had a report due date of April 10th.

Ms Barry began the quarter with a balance on hand of $450,452, had receipts of $220,728, and ended the period with a balance on hand of $532.094. The candidate has loaned her campaign $200,000.

Contributors this period include several people associated with Vanderbilt University including Senta Greene, $1,200; Ann Stern, $1000; Richard Willis, $500; Bill Wiggins, $300; Tracy George, $350; Dewey Daane, $600; David Shaffer, $1,000; Charles Pinson, $500; Mark Cannon, $300; Tony Stewart, $1,500; Cecelia Tchi, $600; Mark Schoenfield, $300; Tiffiny Tung, $600; Richard Lloyd, $1,250, Charles Rush, $500; Gay Welch, $1,300, and a several others who contributed smaller amounts.

Mike McWherter, son of former Govenor Ned McWherter and 2010 Democrat nominee for Governor contributed $1,000; Joel Lee, President of Lee Strategies and also an Adjuct Professor at Vandy, $500; Elizabeth Spencer, Senior Aide, employed by the Office of Al & Tipper Gore, $500; Beth Greer, Chief of Staff to Al Gore, $300; Victor Goetz, Legislative Assistant to U. S. Congressman Jim Cooper, $250; Robert "Bob" Tuke, an attorney who is a partner with Trauger & Tuke who is also an Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Law who was the 2008 Democrat nominee for U. S. Senate and who contributes to lots of campaigns, $1,500; Attorney George Cate, $500; attorney  Dana Moore, Director of Education Networks of America, $1,500; Robert Collie, Sr. VP with Education Network of America, $1,300; Ashford Hughes of the Southeast Laborers District Council, $200; Rep. Darren Jernigan, $250; Jenny Ford, owner of the lobbying firm Jenny Ford Government Strategies, $250; County singer Emmylou Harris, $1,500; Gayle Ray, who I assume is the former Sheriff, $600; Joe Hall of Hall Strategies, $850; Abby Trotter with Hall Strategies, $500; Jane Alvis, owner of the lobbying firm Alvis Company, $1,000; several people associated with Nashville Cares; Chancellor Carol McCoy, $250; Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman, $250; a bunch of attorneys with various firms; Celest Reed, an RN with Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, $750; former State Representative Janis Sontany who is now an employee of the Davidson County Clerk's office in charge of "Special Projects", $1,000; Lavoe Mulgrew, a School Director of LEAD Academy, $500 (I find this interesting since Jeremy Kane, founder and CEO of LEAD Academy is also a candidate for mayor); Robert Cooper, an attorney who I assume is the former State Attorney General, $250; Alice Chapman a partner in the McNeely Pigott & Fox public Relations firm, $600; Ruth Katz with the Aspen Institute of Washington D. C., $250; Ruth Ann Harnisch of Hampton Bays, NY, with the Harnisch Foundation, $1,500; Gordon Ball, the 2014 Democrat nominee for U. S. Senate $1,500; Howard Eley, CEO of Infrastructure Corporation of America, $1,250; Lee Dietz, homemaker, $1,500; Jim Free a Washington lobbyist, owner of The Jim Free Group, $250; School Board Member Will Pinkston, $1,500; Peter Heidenreich, former Metro Director of Public Works, now a lobbyist, $500; Lisa Howe, Executive Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Chamber of Commerce, $200; another $500 from Country music artist Buddy Miller; James Smith of Austin, TX, President of Red River Services a Hazardous Waste Disposal company, $1,000; another $1000 from actress Ashley Judd; Jim Schorr, CEO of Social Enterprise Alliance, $500; and H. G. Hill Realty PAC, $2,000.

Below is a previous report I did on Barry's financial report covering the period prior to the 1st Quarter. This was the initial report and covered the period that ended January 14, 2015 and had a due date of February 10th.

Below is what I found of interest in Ms Barry’s report. I am sure others would find other things of interest. Some of the people you know may not be the same people I know, so you might find it interesting that certain people contributed to her campaign that I overlooked. If you want to know more about who is supporting Megan Barry’s candidacy follow this link to view her report.

One of the most interesting things I found from reviewing her report is how much money she got from professors and others associated with Vanderbilt University.

Lydia Howarth wife of  Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos gave $3000. Other contributions from Vanderbilt, most of them from Vanderbilt professors, include the following: Larry Churchill $500, Gay Welsh $1000, Richard Lloyd $1000, Bill Ivey $600, Vareen Bell $500, Bonnie Dow $1800, Pearl Sims $250, Beth Conklin $250, Dan Cornfield $3000, Ruth Brown $1000, Vicki Green $1000, Jaky Akbari $175, John McCammon $2000, Tae Park $500, Virginia Scott $1000, Ranga Ramanujam $1500, Ray Fiedman $1500, Ellen Clayton $1500, Lou Outlaw $500, Ginny Shepherd $1000, and Ted Fischer $1500.

Out of town contributors include Arthur and Joyce Skodney of New York City who gave a combined total of $6,000 to the campaign. I don’t know who they are and a Goggle search did not turn up anything of interest, but I just found it interesting that a New York couple put $6000 into her campaign. Other out of town contributors are Janet Meuller of Overland Park, Kansas who gave $3,000 and $1,500 from Lanfred Claus of Viena VA and $1,500 from Neta Moye of Viena Va.

Other contributions of interest are these: former council member Anna Page $1,535, Renato Soto of Conexion America $250, former state Rep. Janis Sontany an employee of the Davidson County Clerk's office gave $900, the manager of the Global Mall Ravishanker Shetkar $1,500, School Board Member Will Pinkston $500, famed divorce lawyer Rose Palermo $1,000, and former council member Betty Nixon $500.

The Venick for Council Campaign gave her $1,500. Butch Eley, CEO of Infrastructure Corporation of America and former Chief of Staff  for Nashville Mayor Bill Bonner gave her $250 and philanthropist Martha Ingram gave her $3,000. Actress Ashley Judd gave $500, attorney Bob Tuke $1,000, attorney Elliot Ozment $500, and former councilman and member of the Planning Commission Stewart Clifton $250.

Community activist Gene Tesselle and his wife gave a combined total of $1,100. Rusty Lawrence, Executive Director of Urban Housing Solutions, gave $500. Liza Quigley, chief of staff for Congressman Jim Cooper gave $1,600. Women for Tennessee’s Future donated $7,900, Gaylord Entertainment Co. PAC $1,000, Americana artist Buddy Miller  $1,000 and Thomas Wills, Director of Vending for the homeless newspaper, The Contributor, gave $1,500.

This one surprised me. Roy Dale, who is a former Metro Councilman, a developer, and someone who I assume is a Republican gave her $1,500 and his wife Lisa Dale who is an outspoken conservative and prolific poster on Facebook also gave $1,500. Why these two people who I perceive to be conservative are contributing to the most progressive candidate for Mayor in the race, I don't know.

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Two forums with the mayoral candidates

Two forums with the mayoral candidates are being organized for the Antioch area.

The Crossings Nashville Action Partnership will be holding a forum at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 31 at the Ford Ice Center. According to a Facebook Post by CNAP President Alma Sanford, questions will focus on the mission of CNAP, including "the creation of a business friendly environment and enhancement of the quality of life in Southeast Nashville."

More details to come.

A second forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, June 6 at Lakeshore Christian Church, 5434 Bell Forge Lane East.

According to organizer Cheryl Mayes, this forum will focus on the re-growth of Southeast Nashville and topics of education, housing, transportation, and business.

This event will be moderated by Vicki Yates, a news anchor with News Channel 5.

It is free, but
registration is required.

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