Saturday, May 30, 2015

Temper flare, Councilmembers fight back over relocation of jail

On Wednesday night Council members from southeast Davidson County showed some spunk. They put Sheriff Daron Hall on the hot seat about the proposed relocation of the county jail to a new $110 million facility to be build in southeast Davidson County.  This new facility would combine all of the jail facilities into one location on Harding Place. This was announced by the mayor recently, catching members of the council and the public by surprise. There had been no neighborhood meetings on the issue and council member had not been briefed prior to the public announcement.

Councilman Duane Dominy ask if all of the facilities are fully accredited and getting an answer in the affirmative he then ask if facilities were fully accredited last year, how did we get to the place that  we need new facilities now. He says last year the city paid $1.5 million for a study of the correction facility and a master plan and he probes as to what we got for our money. He can not get straight answers. Things get a little testy (see time stamp 19:25).

Council member Jacobia Dowell gets recognized and ask how the conclusion of the study that recommended relocating the jail to Harding Place was reached. Budget and Finance chair Pridemore tries to shut her up, saying she needs to restrict her questions to the 2015-2016 budget. She argues that it is relevant to the budget and ask what would be wrong with putting off the decision to build a new jail and letting the council evaluate the study. Sheriff Hall gets defensive and goes on the offence saying, "I think you are doing a disservice to this city."  In my view, he is insulting. He says the opposition is politically motivated due to pending elections.

Councilmember Karen Johnson then begins questioning, echoing the line of questioning of Councilmember Dowell. She says when the council funded the study we were told we would be involved and consulted along the way and that has not happened. Councilmember Johnson is very calm and polite and Hall goes into attack mode. When Johnson makes a comparison of putting the jail in Southeast Nashville to dumping all of the cities garbage in Boudreaux for many years, the B&F chairman says her remarks are inappropriate and ask her to restrict her remarks to something new concerning the budget. Things get real testy and Pridemore cuts her off her mic. Bedne comes to her defense and she is allowed to continue.  Tempers flare. (see time stamp 34:26 to end)

It is refreshing to see Councilmembers get riled. I commend Councilman Dominy, Johnson, Dowell and Bedne for showing some backbone and fighting back. Too often the council just rolls over and plays dead. Unfortunately we have a weak council. Part of that is because of the go-along, get-along hiding-in the herd mentality of the current council, but part of it is structural. One of the few powers the council has is to modify the budget presented by the mayor. The council can cut budgets and can shift money within the budget. That can get the attention of department heads.

The office of Sheriff is a little different than other departments, because the Sheriff is elected by the people and while his budget must be approved by the Council, he must stand for election and this gives him more power and prestige than other department heads such as the chief of police or fire chief. Duran Hall has been a popular sheriff but if he continues this heavy handed approach of forcing this jail relocation on Antioch then he may be open to a challenge next election.

I hope the members of the Council unite and vote to take the appropriation for the new jail out of the capital spending plan. I know the downtown property where the jail sits is valuable property, but I think the jail should stay right where it is. Also, I am very skeptical of the claim that it is cheaper to tear down the existing building and build a new building rather than perform maintenance on the current building. One thing I have learned, and maybe it sounds skeptical, but consultants are often paid to tell you what you want to here.

Antioch, about twenty years ago was the booming, thriving part of town but now it is becoming the poor part of town. With the once thriving Hickory Hollow mall mostly abandoned and low-income people forced out of downtown and relocating to Antioch and with the Antioch zip code being the fifth worst state zip code hit by the housing crisis and still not yet fully recovered, this part of town does not deserve to be the dumping ground for all of our county prisoners. This will lead to a proliferation of pawn shop, pay day lenders and bail bondsmen.  Also, when released from jail some inmates will remain in the area.  A new mayor may have an emphasis on spreading the wealth and lifting up all parts of the county and may have a different vision for Nashville. This decision should be put off until after the next election and the decision should not be rushed.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nashville’s Next Mayor Probably Won't Cut Your Taxes

Nashville’s Next Mayor Probably Won't Cut Your Taxes, reports Nashville Public Radio after interviewing each of the candidates and asking each if they would cut taxes. Am I really surprised?  No, but I wish we had a candidate who would at least consider it. I wish we had a candidate who make cutting taxes a goal. I wish we had a candidate for Mayor who would promise to take a hard top-to-bottom look at each department and one who would promise to hire an outside consultant to examine each department to find savings. I believe cutting taxes is possible without hurting our quality of life. The State of Tennessee has cut taxes and if the State can do I believe the City can do it. 

I believe there is sufficient waste to be eliminated in Metro Government that a tax cut may be possible without harming our quality of life. I am aware however that we have significantly increased our indebtedness and our unfunded pension liability continues to grow.  I fear that we may be in for a big tax increase if we do not cut spending. If there is a slow down in our rate of economic growth and we do not find significant expenditures to cut, a tax increase may be unavoidable. 

If we had a candidate who would promise to go eight years and not raise taxes, I would be pleased.  None of the candidates say they will raise taxes but I believe they will. it has almost become the norm that each new mayor gets at least one big tax increase. That should not be an expectation.

To hear how each of the candidates answer the question, follow this link.  

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Karen Bennett and the Swingers Club make Reason TV

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Fire Fighters announce Endorcements for Mayor and Council

The local Fire Fighters Union, IAFF Local 140, have released their endorsements.  Some of their endorsements are baffling.  I do not know the criteria they used in making endorsements. They endorsed both some of the most liberal members on the Council and some of the most conservative.

Their endorsement of ten candidates at large is especially baffling. One can only vote for five members and if one actually does vote for five, one dilutes the strength of one's vote. To increase the chances of getting the at-large candidates they want on the Council, it seems it would have been wiser to only endorse one or two candidates for the at-large position, certainly not ten.

They did not issue a statement to accompany their endorsements. The endorcements made by IAFF Local 140 are listed below.

Mayor:   Bill Freeman

Vice-Mayor:  David Briley

     Buddy Baker
     Karen Bennett
     John Cooper
     Adam Dread
     Robert Duvall
     Erica Gilmore
     Frank Harrison
    Jason Holleman
    Walter Hunt
    Kenneth Jakes
    Don Majors
    Lonnell Matthews
   Jim Shulman

District Council:
    D-1:   Ruby Baker
    D-2:   Robert Stockard
    D-3:  Terry Clayton
    D-4:   Robert Swope
    D-5:   Sarah Martin
    D-6:   Brett Withers
    D-7:   Randy Reed
    D-8:   Chris Swann
    D-9:   Bill Pridemore
    D-10: Douglas Pardue
    D-11: Larry Hager
    D-12: Steve Glover
    D-13: No Endorsement
    D-14: Kevin Rhoten
    D-15: Jeffery Syracuse
    D-16: Tony Tenpenny
    D-17 No Endorsement
    D-18:  Burkley Allen
    D-19 ;  Freddie O'Connell
    D-20:   Marisa Frank
    D-21:  Ed Kindall
   D-22:  Sheri Weiner
   D-23:  Jim Roberts
   D-24:  Kathleen Murphy
    D-25: Russ Pulley
   D-26:  Jeremy Elrod
   D-27: Davette Blaylock
   D-28: Melissa Smithson
    D-29: Karen Johnson
   D-30: Jason Potts
    D-31: Fabian Bedne
    D-32: Jacobia Dowell
    D-33: Jimmy Gafford
    D-34: Steve Butler
   D-35: Dave Rosenberg

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Rep. Harold Love Jr. endorses Jeremy Kane for mayor

Harold Love Jr. endorses Jeremy Kane for mayor

Unlike the Black leaders who endorsed Bill Freeman but were on the Freeman payroll, as far as I know, this was not a purchased endorsement. Harold Love is not on the payroll of the Kane for mayor campaign.

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1st Quarter Report on who is contributing to the Linda Rebrovick campaign

Overall, there is nothing of interest to report.
Linda Rebrovick
I have examined Ms Rebrovick's 1st quarter campaign financial disclosure report which is for the period that ended March 31st, 2015, which had a report due date of April 10th. Ms Rebrovick begins the period with $486,268, has receipts of $504,136 and ends the reporting period with a balance on hand of $776,345.  She has loaned her campaign an additional $300,000 for a total loans outstanding of $600,000. The $300,000 loan is included in the total receipts of $501,136. Unitemized contribution of $100 or less come to $12,047.

There is not much of interest in this report. Out of state contributors include Lemuel Lewis of Suffolk, Virginia who is retired and contributed $1,000; Kristin Sharp, of Cincinnati, Ohio, President and CEO of Van Dyk Health who contributed $1,500; Robert Van Dyk, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, contributed $1,000; Michael Sousa, of Bolder, Colorado, Executive with HeatlhSteam, $1,500; Michael Donahue of Haverford Pennsylvania, Director of Preferred LLC, $1,500; and James Powell, of Atlanta, Georgia, CPA with KPMG LLP, $1,000.

Other contributors of interest include Martha Ingram, Chairman Emeritus of Ingram industries and a major Nashville philanthropist who contributed $1,000. Ms Ingran also contributed to other candidates for Mayor, which I do not understand.

The most interesting thing about Ms Rebrovick's campaign financial report is that it is real boring and I don't know any of these people.  She has a few attorneys and a few people in the real estate business, but by no means do they dominate. When you look at Megan Barry's report you immediately notice the number of contributors tied to Vanderbilt University; with Bone's report you notice a prevalence of attorneys; with Freeman you notice that he has a lot of contributors who contribute the maximum of $1,500 and who are names you recognize. With some of the other campaigns you see the names of the court house crowd, lobbyist, advocacy groups, and payday lenders  and the Democrat Party machine and political establishment. Much like Fox's report, Rebrovick's report has nothing to distinguish it.  She has people from a broad cross section of occupations contributing to her campaign. Also, she has very few contributors who contributed the maximum allowable contribution of $1,500 but has a lot of $250 and $500 contributions. Overall, there is noting of interest to report.

Below is my report on Ms Rebrovick's initial campaign financial report.

Ms Rebrovick starts this reporting period with no cash on hand, receives $685,463, spends $172,195, and ends the reporting period with $486,257. $350,000 of funds received is a loan, from herself.

By no means do I claim to be the most knowledgeable political observer in Nashville, so there may be other donors to Ms Rebovick’s campaign that are as significant as those that I notices, so if you want to see for yourself who contributed to her campaign follow this link. If you notice anything of significance please feel free to leave a comment.

Governor Winfield Dunn contributed $500.

Coleen Conway-Welch, retired Dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing and widow of Ted Welch, one of the largest Republican fund raisers in the nation, contributed $500. She contributed to $3,000 to the Jeremy Kane campaign however.

Oliver C. Carmichael, III CEO of Carmichael & Carmichael contributed $1500. I am not absolutely certain but I believe this is “Crom” Carmichael who some may remember from years ago as the outspoken conservative on the old Teddy Bart Show.

Arthur Laffer, economist who developed the “Laffer Curve," author, and former advisor to President Ronald Reagan, donated $1,000.

Chancellor Carol McCoy gave $1,500. Daman Hininger the CEO of Correction Corporation of American contributed $1,000 and Louise Grant who is Vice President of Corrections Corporation of America gave $,1500. Shirley Zeitlin CEO of Zeitin & Co., $1,000. In addition to the loan to her campaign, Ms Rebrovick gave herself $1,500 and her husband Arthur Rebrovick, Jr contributed $1,500. She got several donations from people with the last name “Eskind.”  She only got a few out of state contribution.

This reporting period ended Jan. 14th and the next reporting period covers the period Jan. 15 through March 31st and is due April 10th. I will be updating my reporting on financial contributions to all the candidates when reports are filed with the election commission and become available.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mayor Dean appeals to the community to lobby their Councilman to approve the Police Dept relocation to Jefferson St.

Apparently the Council, the communities, and everyone else was blindsided when Mayor Dean announced plans to relocate the police headquarters to a new $23 million dollar facility on Jefferson Street and locate the jail to a new $149 million facility in Antioch. Both projects have ran into opposition.

While many Black ministers and other leaders and the Jefferson Street merchant group JUMP have endorsed the move of the police headquarters to Jefferson Street, others have expressed a concern. Some feel the police station will be a line of demarcation dividing the increasingly White and gentrified portion of North Nashville east of the new police headquarters from the remaining mostly Black and lower income part of north Nashville which will lie west of the new police headquarters. Others feel uncomfortable in the presence of police and see an increased police presence in their community as something that will lead to more of what they see as police harassment and arrest.

In the Southwest portion of the County many fear the relocation of the jail will lead to more pawn shops, bail bondsmen, crime and undesirable elements hanging out in their part of town. They fear it will hamper desirable development and will drive down property values.

I don't think the mayor did his homework on either of these projects. Communities and the councilmen representing the communities should not learn of developments such as these by reading about them in the newspaper. The district councilmen should have been consulted and informed throughout the process and there should have been community meetings early in the process.

In addition to thinking that these projects should be deferred until there is community buy-in, I am concerned about our cities indebtedness. I think these two projects and the flood wall should be deferred until a new council and a new mayor take office. These may not be the top priority for the new Council and new mayor, but if we have eaten up all of our debt service on these projects there will be nothing left to spend on what others may think are of a greater need. While our debt service as a share of the budget has not been increasing, our total debt has drastically been increasing.

We are in the situation of a family with two wage earners with a household income of $100,000 a year that has monthly mortgage, car payment and other debt equal to 40% of their income.  One of the wage earners starts working a lot of overtime and the other starts earning commission bonuses. The family income increases to $200,000 and they move to a bigger house and buy fancier cars and their debt is still equal to only 40% of their income.  But, then the overtime is cut and the bonuses are no longer earned. Then the family is in trouble.

Nashville may not always be the "it" city.  I am bullish on Nashville and think the future looks good, but I don't think we can continue indefinitely this winning streak. At some point there will be a slow down. Just because times are good now we should not go hog wild on a spending spree. Also, repairing failing sewers and putting in more sidewalks may have higher priority than a new jail and new police headquarters for the next mayor. Dean got his Music City Center, the Ball Park, the Riverfront Park and amphitheater and the gulch pedestrian bridge. It is time to stop and leave some decisions to the next mayor.

Also, I am not so sure we should not keep the jail and police headquarters right where they are. South east Nashville has already suffered the demise of what was once a thriving mall and Antioch was one of the five hardest hit zip codes in the state during the housing crisis and still has not fully recovered. We should not dump the jail on Antioch. Also, North Nashville should have time to argue the merits of a new police headquarters before it is imposed on them.

Below is Mayor Dean's effort to sell his proposal for the police headquarters relocating to Jefferson Street, and his urging people to lobby their councilman to support it. The Tennessee Tribune is a newspaper that primarily serves the Black community.

Dear Rod,
This past Friday, The Tennessee Tribune published an opinion column that I wrote explaining what the investment of a police office building will do for Jefferson Street. Building this new facility on what are now vacant lots – most of them very difficult to develop on their own – would be an economic boost for North Nashville.
Please take a minute to read the column below and then let your council member know that you support investments like these on Jefferson Street. Here is the contact information for Metro council members.
Karl F. Dean

Karl F. Dean

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1st Quarter report on who is contributing to Jeremy Kane

Jeremy Kane
Quite a few out of State contributions
I  have examined Mr. Kane's 1st quarter report which is for the period that ended March 31st, 2015, which had a report due date of April 10th. Mr. Kane began the quarter with a balance on hand of $271,084, had receipts of $127,714, and ended the period with a balance on hand of $352,177. The candidate has loaned his campaign no money. He had unitemized contributions of $5,000. Contributions of not over $100 do not have to be itemized. Below are the contributions of interest.

The Kane campaign received $1,000 from a Mr. Dave Alexander with DBI Beverage Inc. of Sacramento, CA. He receive $500 from Todd Anderson of Wilmington, DE employed by  Morgan Stanley and $1,000 from John Anderson of Los Angeles, CA employed by Topa Equities. John Anderson is the son of John Edward Anderson who was one of the 400 richest people in America.

Jim Ayers, CEO of First Bank contributed $1,500 and Janet Ayers president of Ayers Assets contributed $1,500. Linda Bond of St. Louis, MO contributed $1,500 and Christopher Bond, owner of Bond Strategies of the same address as Linda Bond, contributed $1,500. Christopher Bond is the former Governor of Missouri and Republican Senator who represented Missouri for four terms.

Frank Bumstead, Analyst with Flood Bunstead Mead contributed $1,500 and Ann Bumstead of the same address contributed $1,500. Real Estate developer Rick Carlton contributed $1,500 and Andrea Carlton of the same address contributed $1,500 this reporting period for a cumulative amount of $5,500 from this household.

Edward Dobbs, Executive with Dobbs Equity Partners of Memphis and Cynthia Dobbs of the same address in Memphis contributed $1,500. John Hull Dobbs, CEO of Cobbs Equity contributed $1,500 and Susan Dobbs of the same address contributed $1,500.

Tim Downey who is CEO of Southern Land Company and Denise Downey who is a homemaker at the same address, each contributed $1,500. Council member Emily Evans contributed an additional $1,000 for a cumulative contribution so $1,500.

A Memphis couple by the name of Glenn Floyd, who is a residential builder, and Kirby Dobbs Floyd contributed $1,500 each. Michael Gains of Clearwater Florida  who is President of GSL contributed $1,500. Real Estate developer Bill Hawkings gave $1500.

Four individuals with the last name of "Hodge," all employed by the pay day lender Advance Financial each  made additional contributions of $750 for a cumulative contribution of $1,500 each or $6,000 from the Hodges of Advance Financial.

Investor Oman Bond with Oman Gibson Associates and homemaker Amy Oman of the same address contributed $1,500 each. H. G. Hill PAC contributed and additional $500 for a cumulative contribution of $2,500. AGC PAC located at 6070 Popular St, suite 750 in Memphis, which is the same address as that of Mr. John Hull, contributed an additional $1,500 for a cumulative contribution of $7,500.

Three people employed by Thompson Machinery, President John Thomspon, CEO Dewitt Thompson , IV, and President Dewitt Thompson V, each contributed $1,500.

I don't know who most of these people are and listed only those that I found interesting because of their out-of-town address or because multiple contributions came from people associated with the same company.  There may be others contributors that would be of as much interest. I encourage those who may be curious to look at the online financial disclosure. If you find a contribution of interest or have an insight on who some of the people are who are contributing to Mr. Kane's campaign, please leave a comment.

Below is what I posed following the examination of Mr. Kane's initial financial disclosure.

A review of this report shows the following contributions of interest: For the report period ending January 15th, 2015, Jeremy Kane starts his campaign with no money on hand, shows receipts of $310,381, expenditures of $39,297 and a balance of hand at the end of the campaign report period of $271, 084. As of this report, his campaign does not show any campaign loans. He has not put any of his own money into the campaign.

Below are the contributions I found of interest in his report. By no means am I the most well-connected political person in town, so others may find significant contributors that I overlooked or did not know of their significance. If you are an important civic-minded person reading this or someone seeking to maximize your influence and I didn't mention your name, please don't be offended. If you are a reader who wants to see for yourself who contributed to the Kane campaign, follow this link.

Kane's contributors come from a broad category of occupations.  There is no one profession that dominates like the numerous Vanderbilt professors who contributed to Megan Barry campaign or the many attorneys who contributed to Charles Robert Bone.

Kane received $6,000 from AGC PAC located at 6070 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN. I do not know who AGC PAC is and a Google search shows only Dobbs Management Service at that address. I have contacted the Kane campaign asking for clarification.

There is no first name listed but the last name of a contributor is “36 Venture Capital” who gave $3,000, and also Mr. David Freeman CEO of 38 Venture Capital and his wife Melissa gave another $3000.

Other contributors on interest are Attorney Nicholas D. Bailey $300; attorney George Cate, one of the founding fathers of Metro Nashville Davidson County $250; super lawyer and Republican Lew Conner $3000; Colleen Welch, retired Dean at Vanderbilt School of Nursing and widow of the late Ted Welch, who was one of the largest Republican fund raisers in the nation, gave $3,000.

May Dean Eberling who was the first Executive Director of the Metropolitan Historical Commission and a former Director of the Nashville Arts Commission and on the board of numerous non-profits contributed $534.  I also think she had some other important position in the administration of Richard Fulton. Why such an odd dollar amount, I have no idea.

Fred Dettwiller, CEO of Det Distributing and his wife Kathryn gave a total of $6,000 to the Kane campaign. Dettwiller also contributed to $1,500 to the Fox campaign. I guess he is hedging his bet. Butch Eley is another contributor contributing to more than one candidate for mayor. He gave $1,000 to the Kane campaign and his wife gave $750, but he also gave $250 to the Megan Barry campaign. School Board member Mary Pierce contributed $500 to the Kane campaign but also contributed to $500 to the David Fox campaign.

Council member Emily Evans contributed $500. The Waller Lansden PAC gave $1,500 and the  H. G. Hill PAC gave $2,000. Show PAC located at 2033 Richard Jones Rd gave $7,400. I do not know who Show PAC is or their purpose but the treasurer is listed as Steve B. Smith and the address is that of home builder and realtors Haury and Smith.

Retried Senator Doug Henry gave $200. Martha Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Industries, gave $3,000. I don’t know if David and Sarah Ingram are related to Martha Ingram or not but they gave a combined total of $6,000.

Representative Harold Love gave $250. Adam Nickas, former Executive Director of the Tennessee Repubican Party and now a lobbyist with Captol Resources gave $500.

Kane got a few contributions from out of state but nothing of much significants.

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The 2015 Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen’s Dinner is this weekend. Why I am not attending.

The Tennessee GOP Statesmen's Dinner is this weekend and I am not attending. I am not exactly boycotting the State Republican Party but I am withholding by financial support until my mood changes. I am not trying to talk anyone else out of attending the Statesman's dinner but here is why I am not attending:

1.  Jeb Bush does not excite me.  If the speaker was Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz or maybe Rand Paul or maybe a couple others, I could overlook the other reasons I am not attending and go, but Jeb Bush just does not do it for me.
2.  Mark Winslow is still on the Executive Committee.  He is the member of the executive committee who works to elect Democrats and gets paid to do it and yet sits on the committee that determines if and how much the Republican Party will financially contribute to the Republican opponent of the Democrat he is trying to get elected. Am I the only one that things that is a conflict of interest?  I can not get excited about contributing to the State Party when they allow that situation to continue.
3. My limited resources are better spend supporting the campaign of conservatives running for Metro Council. $500 is kind of steep for a dinner and to hear a speech by someone you don't particularly like and, if I recall, the bar is a cash bar. So, I will be putting that $500 to better use.

If you go, I hope you enjoy it. Here are the details.

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Tonight. May 26th! Southeast Nashville and Antioch opposition to relocation of jail to that part of town- Meeting announced.

 Press Release, Nashville/Antioch, TN - Residents of Southeast Nashville and Antioch declare our opposition to the proposed relocation site and call on our Mayor, elected Metro City Council Representatives, and all related Metro Nashville government agencies to:

1.      Begin an ongoing dialogue with the residents of Southeast Nashville about the relocation; and,
2.      Explore other relocation sites and options; and,
3.      Keep the Criminal Justice Center at its current downtown location throughout this process.

Relocating the Criminal Justice Center to Southeast Nashville will:
1.      Permanently stigmatize the Antioch area as the area for incarceration; and,
2.      Establish the Antioch area as the only area of Nashville with the responsibility for housing prisoners; and,
3.      Hinder economic development of the area because desirable businesses will not want to locate in close proximity of the jail; and,
4.      Attract undesirable businesses, like bail bonding and cash advance businesses; and,
5.      Encourage the release of prisoners directly into our neighborhoods close to the Criminal Justice Center as a result of families of prisoners patronizing those bail bonding and cash advance businesses.


Invited:  Mayor Karl Dean, Sherriff Daron Hall, Metro Council Members, State Senators Yarbro, Harper and Dickerson, State Representatives Jones, Powell, Stewart, Capital Project Solutions President Jim Pustejovsky, Capital Project Solutions Principal Dick Darr, Mayoral Candidates Barry, Bone, Eskind-Rebrovick, Fox, Freeman, Gentry, Kane, Metro Govt Finance Department Representatives, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods Director Courtney Wheeler.
WHAT:  Community Meeting Regarding the Proposed Consolidation of All Nashville Jails to Southeast Nashville
DATE:  Tuesday, May 26, 2015
WHERE:  Global Mall at the Crossings Event Center, 5252 Hickory Hollow Parkway, Suite 292
TIME:  6:30 pm      

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(Do not park in the Garage, you may park in the spaces marked "BS," as the beauty shop is not open on Saturday

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Ronald Reagan's Memorial Day Speech

This is a moving speech and video. It gives me chills and puts a lump in my throat. Please listen.

Memorial Day is more than just the start of Summer. Please make sure your children know what is the significance of this holiday and please pause and remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

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What the Metro Council Isn't

With the deadline for filing a petition to run for council past but with time remaining for a candidate to choose to withdraw, now is a good time to post an essay by former Councilman Randy Foster. I agree with every thing he says in this well-written essay. Rod

What the Metro Council Isn't

By Randy Foster

Randy Foster
1. Congress -- The Metro Council is the legislative branch of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Federal issues often impact local government, but rarely does the Council need to opine on the federal affairs of the day. If you want to reform healthcare or balance the federal budget, you should set your aim higher and leave the Council to those who want to affect local land use or decide how local government spends money.

2. the Tennessee General Assembly -- See #1 above. If your political interests run to regulating guns or outlawing abortion, you may find the Metro Council to be a narrow playing field.

3. a partisan body -- In the Council chamber, there are no Democrats and no Republicans (although partisan politics sometimes intrudes). Some might argue that the Council is primarily populated by members of the “Know-Nothing” Party, but I would disagree! The Metro Charter is clear that candidates run in nonpartisan races. Pragmatic, nonpartisan politics means that a new coalition is formed for each vote, and you will be surprised who your allies may be. The old saw that “politics makes for strange bedfellows” could have been written with the Metro Council in mind.

4. the Executive Branch of Metro Government -- Councilmembers do not fill potholes, mow weeds, operate parks, fix stormwater problems, pick up the trash, teach our children, put out fires, patrol our streets, lend out books, represent the Metropolitan Government in court, or do the thousands of other things that are the responsibility of the Executive Branch, i.e., in most cases, the Mayor. If you want to be Mayor, file a qualifying petition, pull several hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your mattress, and go for it!

5. a springboard to higher office (for most people) -- Walk around the committee rooms and common areas of the Council office, and you will see framed Council District maps surrounded by the faces of Councilmembers you’ve never heard of, who came and went with hardly a peep. A relative few have gone to the General Assembly with a few more going to positions on the bench. But no Mayors…no Congressmen. A Councilmember is well served by remembering the humbling fact that, if someone shows him or her respect, it is likely he or she was likely mistaken for someone else far more important.

6. a place to become famous or popular -- People will curse you, revile you, mistrust you, and say upon first meeting you that you are “bought and paid for.” Neighbors will line up on both sides of an issue with you squarely between the rock and the hard place. You family will wonder who you’ve become and will make a life without you. And for all this, you’ll be paid a whopping $15,000 a year before taxes and spend your life at Council meetings, committee meetings, Planning Commission meetings, Traffic and Parking Commission meetings, Greenway Commission meetings, ribbon cuttings, office hours, constituent meetings, 9/11 observances, and Boy Scout and Girl Scout awards ceremonies. Also, you’ll think your phone has grown to your ear, and you’ll read thousands of emails. Oh, and don’t forget the time you’ll spend reading analyses of legislation and all the mail that Councilmembers are heir to. If elected, you’ll find that only 39 other people will really understand what you’re facing, i.e. the other members. Treasure them!

7. your personal fiefdom -- I am not the Earl of Sevenmile Creek (although I think it would be a pretty title). You will not be royalty or nobility. You will, I hope, be a servant of the people you represent. A lack of humility and communication can lead to disastrous relationships with your constituents. It has been frequently been said that you can vote for just about anything and not irretrievably alienate your constituents if you will (a) return your calls, (b) return your emails, and (c) not get crosswise with your constituents over zoning issues.

Service on the Metro Council is a high calling and a heady experience, and I am deeply honored and humbled to have been elected twice to represent my neighbors. Having tread for a while the path that the 13th Metropolitan Council will continue, I recommend to those who will follow me the ancient words of Proverbs 16:18 which could have been written for all politicians everywhere: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

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Seven candidates file qualifying petitions for mayor, 26 seek at large seats. many more for district seats

The filing deadline for submission of a petition to run for mayor, vice mayor, at-large or district council seat was noon last Thursday.  Several candidates who were not previously announced submitted petitions. There were no surprise petitions for those seeking the office of mayor but some previously undeclared candidates for at-large and district council seats submitted petitions.

I will be doing a detailed report on who is running and what I know about all of the candidates with links to their websites and other sources soon. Also I will be announcing more endorsements. 

Candidates who have filed petitions have until noon this coming Thursday to withdraw and not have their name appear on the ballot. Probably some will do that. The petitions must still be certified by the Election Commission.  

WMC Action News 5: Seven candidates file qualifying petitions for mayor, 26 seek at large seats

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Tennessean examines The Beacon Center

The Tennessean had almost a page and a half devoted to the work of the Beacon Center in today's paper. The story told the history of the organization, where their funding comes from, profiled Justin Owens, the CEO of Beacon and explained some of the organizations positions on issues, and their successes and why they succeed. It was not a hatchet job. I thought it was a very fair representation.

While I disagreed with Beacon on the issue of Insure Tennessee, concluding that with the safe guards in place, and the threat to rural hospitals if it did not pass, and some other factors, I, nevertheless, understand the arguments against it. While I disagreed with Beacon on this one issue, I am usually in agreement and think they have done a great job advancing a pro free market, less government, and greater personal freedom agenda.  They are one of the organizations I financially support.

With The Tennessean now protecting their content behind a paywall, you can not read the Tennessean online unless you subscribe. However, if you are not a Tennessean subscriber I think you  still can get a certain number of free articles.  Below is a video and some excerpts from the story and this is link to the news article. (Update: I found the video that starts automatically very annoying and after unsuccessfully trying to insert code to disable that feature, I just deleted the video.)

"Six full-time employees, a million dollars and an argument. The main ingredients in the recipe used by the Beacon Center of Tennessee to kill Insure Tennessee aren't complex."

"The Beacon Center's past Tennessee successes include tort reform, a cap on the amount of money that can be awarded for "pain and suffering" in lawsuits — although that was recently deemed unconstitutional by a Hamilton County judge — and repealing the state's tax on inheritance, or what the center and other critics call the "death tax."'

"Those successes, and advocacy on issues like school vouchers, helped the center gain attention and money from the general public, Owen said."

"Civil forfeiture — the practice of law enforcement confiscating property before a conviction — is a big issue for the center. But Democrats are more likely to champion removing that policing power than Republicans. So Owen and the center are working with the ACLU of Tennessee and its Executive Director Hedy Weinberg."

'"I think that piques the curiosity of legislators," Weinberg said, of the ACLU and Beacon Center working together."

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Conservative Groups to feature Kip Dodson of Fair Tax Tennessee, Dan Davis on our education ranking, and candidates for Metro Council.

From Tony Roberts, Organizer of Conservative Groups:

Our meeting has moved back to Logan’s steak house on Elliston place. The meeting will be held Thursday may 28, 2015 from 5:30 - 7:15.

Thursday, May 28 we will hear a viable plan on how we could live to see the IRS abolished in our life time. Kip Dodson of Fair Tax Tennessee will be showing us how this can happen. He is a man with proven business success and is applying his business talents to bring justice to taxpayers.

We will also hear from Dan Davis about the facts on our high rating schools in the Davidson County area in comparison with the state and the nation.

We will follow with candidates running for Metro office. Some leaders of groups who will be supporting council races will be in attendance. The City Council helps to set the pace of monetary expenditures for Davidson County. We are in a spending path similar to Washington, D.C. and if we do not pay attention to our council, we like many cities in California will go down the path of bankruptcy. Come and listen to our council candidates and help to vet the future of Davidson County.

Networking will start at 5:30 and the program starts at 6:00.

Kip Dodson bio:

Kip's main focus throughout his career has been strategic planning, ideal business operations, and solving business, sales, marketing and advertising problems. Based on a 22 year career at Rockwell automation where he out-performed his duties for multiple fortune 500 firms, he established himself as a unique leader.   He later became an entrepreneur building uniquely strong businesses. (, a management consulting firm, source local media (, an advertising, marketing and media solutions firms, and, an emerging digital and media firm that accelerates marketing results better than the rest. Together these firms accelerate assets to their "highest and best potential."

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Congratulations Sheri Weiner! With no opponent, Sherri Weiner to be reelected!

From Councilmember Sheri Weiner:

May 22, 2015

It is with a great amount of gratitude and pride in our community that I share I will be returning as your District 22 Metro Councilmember for the 2015-2019 term. I learned yesterday that I will be unopposed in the August election.

The strong support you, the neighbors in Bellevue, have given me over the last four years has been the best vote of confidence I could have ever received. The last four years have been a whirlwind of growth and development. As a result we will have new neighbors to meet and new businesses to frequent.

When I was elected in 2011, we needed a library, a high school, a redeveloped mall, and blighted areas to have new life breathed into them. Thanks to the Administration’s recognition of our community’s potential, we have seen our new state of the art library open, many blighted areas are springing back, One Bellevue Place is progressing, and planning toward Bellevue’s own high school continues.

We cannot sit back. Bellevue has always been the place we chose to raise our children, develop life-long friendships and create a strong community bond. It is also the home of the most engaged neighbors I’ve known. I will be working toward the following goals and encourage your continued involvement.

  1.  Infrastructure – we need sidewalks, streetlights and road improvements - Old Harding Road, Sawyer Brown Road, Hicks Road – to start with.
  2. Quiet enjoyment – we continue to work with CSX to implement Quiet Zones in and around the county.
  3.  Bellevue Beautification Steering Committee is made up of representatives from neighborhoods, businesses and civic groups.The goal is to put together a comprehensive streetscape and aesthetics plan to enhance the area  Just think – instead of concrete, we see landscaping, instead of barren light poles, we see banners, and so on.
  4. Community Center and Fire Hall – I presented an amendment to the Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) to include both. In order for any monies to be allocated to a project it must first appear in the CIB and then it may move to the Capital Spending Plan during the Budget cycle.  This is the first step in that process.
  5. The Governor’s Wellness Program is one that Bellevue may participate in. I do have a couple of folks who have stepped up to be involved on the implementation committee and I’d like to have a core group of about 10 people to move this ahead. We can start this as soon as you want to get together.  
Thank you, again, for your trust and confidence. I am thrilled to represent you in the next Metro Council for the 2015-2019 term.

Saturdays with Sheri will resume in June on the 4th Saturday of each month at 9am at the Bellevue Library - unless otherwise notified.
Sheri Weiner,
Metro Nashville Councilmember

My Comment: Congratulation Sheri Weiner!
Sheri is one of the "good" council members. I watch every meeting of the Metro Council and almost every meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee. We are fortunate to have someone of the caliber of Sheri Weiner in the Council. She is always prepared and in committee she ask the hard questions that I want asked and, by all accounts, she is available and responsive to her constituents and works hard for the interest of her district. I am pleased knowing she will be returning to the Council.

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Mayor Announces “Open Streets Nashville” to Take Place Saturday, June 27 in Gulch

First Ever Festival to Celebrate Walking, Biking to be Held in Partnership with Walk/Bike Nashville
Metro Government press release, 5-22-2015,  NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean invites Nashvillians to spend Saturday, June 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the
city’s first-ever Open Streets Nashville festival, set to take place in the Gulch neighborhood. Open Streets Nashville is hosted by the Mayor’s Office in partnership with Walk/Bike Nashville. Mayor Dean announced the new initiative today during his finale walk as part of 100 Miles with the Mayor.

Open Streets festivals open stretches of city streets to people and close them to cars, encouraging participation in physical activity and healthy recreation. Open Streets Nashville expects to bring the Open Streets festival to many more of the city’s neighborhoods to promote a healthier city that is friendlier to walkers and bikers.

“With Open Streets Nashville, we invite everyone to experience the Gulch without any car traffic and enjoy this city street in a whole new way,” Mayor Dean said. “Through this event, we hope to encourage physical activity, promote street life, feature local businesses and highlight the environmental features of removing car traffic from a neighborhood when more people walk or bike.”

Open Streets Nashville will be a free event that is open to the public. Walkers, cyclists, families, musicians, dancers and community members from around Nashville are invited to attend and bring their bikes, strollers, skateboards, non-motorized scooters, hula hoops and dogs on leashes. Businesses will be invited to open their doors and expand into the street and sidewalk. Mini-stages, booths and tents will be erected along the route featuring games, music, food and fun activities. Metro Transit Authority will offer free bus rides from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to anyone attending the festival.

The event will begin at 11 a.m. on 11th Avenue South under the Church Street Bridge with a ribbon-cutting celebration commemorating its transformation into a half-mile Complete Street. The 11th Avenue South Complete Street project added a short stretch of greenway and a mini-park under the Church Street viaduct. It features a multi-use path with dedicated bike lane and sidewalk, ample green space and six Cross Fit stations.

Following the ribbon cutting celebration, one mile of 11th Avenue South from Charlotte Avenue to Division Street and Division Street from 11th Avenue to Eighth Avenue will be closed to car traffic. It will only be open for attendees to walk, bike and enjoy event activities for the entirety of the festival.

For more information about the event as an attendee, sponsor or participating organization, visit

During today’s 100 Miles with the Mayor walk, Mayor Dean led participants over downtown bridges and through LP Field. The walk capped of his successful 100 Miles with the Mayor campaign that had him walk, bike and paddle 100 miles across Davidson County to promote healthy living and highlight infrastructure investments made throughout Nashville in terms of new sidewalks, greenways, bikeways, community centers and other investments to encourage active living. Today’s partners included the Tennessee Titans and Music City Sports Festival. Presenting sponsor of the 100 Miles campaign was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

“The 100 Miles with the Mayor campaign was about promoting healthy living by leading walks and bike rides on the sidewalks, greenways and bikeways we have invested in throughout Nashville,” Mayor Dean said. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, and all the neighborhood groups and other organizations that came out to walk, bike and paddle with us.”
Open Streets Nashville builds on the success of other community-wide health campaigns hosted by Mayor Dean, including the Mayor’s Challenge 5K Walk/Run, Mayor’s Field Day and Walk 100 Miles with the Mayor.

About Open Streets Nashville
Open Streets Nashville encourages participation in physical activity and healthy recreation by opening streets to pedestrians and cyclists while closing them off to cars. Other Open Street festivals have taken place around the country with Los Angeles and New York implementing the first ongoing festivals. The first-ever Open Streets Nashville will be presented by Mayor Karl Dean and Walk/Bike Nashville in the Gulch on Saturday, June 27 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information about Open Streets Nashville, visit

My Comment: Oh crap, some more of that Agenda 21 stuff - Just kidding. By the way, what happened to all the people warning us that everything from shady sidewalks to traffic calming and traffic roundabouts where part of the Agenda 21 conspiracy to kill 96% of the world's population by poisoning  us with aspartame and fluoride? Agenda 21 fear mongering was all the rage among my wingnut friends and made inroads among reasonable mainstream Republicans, even earning an anti-Agenda 21 plank in the national GOP platform and an anti-Agenda 21 resolution passed by the State legislature.  Then, about as suddenly as it appeared, it all but disappeared. I wish some of them were still around to read NashvilleNext.

I like the logo. I bet it did not cost $47,000 and it is a lot better than the new State of Tennessee logo. I wonder who designed it and how much it cost. I hope it was designed in-house and did not cost anything additional.

I have not taken part in the mayor's 100 mile program but starting April 1, I started my own self-improvement campaign which includes losing weight, drinking less, and getting in shape. One reason, I am putting this in my blog, is that if I have publicly announced it, I am more likely to have the will power to keep it up. 

We Tennesseans are generally unhealthy and overweight.  While it may not be the mayor's primary job to be our motivation coach and get us healthy, I think it a commendable thing he has done.

About sidewalks, I want more sidewalks.  I wish however, that instead of ripping up perfectly good sidewalks and putting in news sidewalks, like the city recently did on 10th Avenue South, I wish the city would build new sidewalks where we currently do not have sidewalks.  We probably spend enough money on our sidewalk program; we just waste most of it.

I am pleased with the growth of greenways. At one time communities opposed greenways when proposed along a stream or other pubic property adjoining private property in their neighborhoods.  Attitudes have changed and now most people seem to welcome them. I hope the next mayor and council will continue the greenway program. Among the new councilmen who will be elected, I hope there is a strong sidewalk advocate who will become a sidewalk expert and crusader and will consistently challenge our currently wasteful sidewalk program and force public works to aggressively expand sidewalks to streets that do not now have them.

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Corn Poll & Kickoff Event at The Fairgrounds Nashville

A announcement-
5/29/2015, 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM

A FAIRGROUNDS version of a straw poll will pick the winner of the 2015 mayoral election! Meet mayoral and city council candidates. Play a game of corn poll to cast your vote. Celebrate the launch of our brand new name and logo. Together at one event, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Tennessee State Fair, Nashville Flea Market, and The Fairgrounds Nashville More fun includes Dunk Tank, Speedway Rides, Inflatables and Picture Booth. Show Arena, Arcade and Wilson Hall. LIVE MUSIC BY "CISNEROS". Come rain or shine. FREE PARKING - FREE EVENT!!
Location: The Fairgrounds Nashville, 625 Smith Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

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Sign the petition to the Boy Scouts: Don't lift the ban on gay leaders!

Dear Rodney,

As an Eagle Scout, this hits close to home.  Boy Scouts of America President Robert

The Boy Scouts considers lifting a ban on homosexual scout leaders
Gates recently called the organization's centuries-old ban on homosexual scout leaders "unsustainable."

Despite the BSA's founding principles -- which call upon members be "morally straight" in the Scout Oath and "clean" in thought, word, and action -- the BSA is considering allowing homosexual leaders to go on overnight camping trips with boys. Sign our petition to the BSA:

Allowing openly homosexual scout leaders sets a bad moral example for impressionable youth and puts young scouts at risk. Boy Scouting is already in membership decline since the BSA's last policy change allowing openly gay boy scouts two years ago. Millions more faith-affiliated Scouting families will leave if this policy is changed too. According to many leaders, if this policy change is made, the Boy Scouts of America will cease to be a positive moral force in the United States.

Sign here: In order to protect Boy Scouts from unwholesome moral examples and uphold Scouting's founding principles, we must urge BSA President Robert Gates to use his influence to maintain the existing proscription. Send a message to the BSA now, before they take this tragic step!

Sign here:

Thanks for being a part of this movement, and for protecting the moral values that Scouting was based upon.

Josh Craddock and the entire CitizenGO team

P.S. Would you like to start your own petition? Watch this video about Teresa's story, and use CitizenGO to start changing the world!

My Comment: I signed the petition. Please sign. We should not offer an example to impressionable youth that homosexual activity is an acceptable behavior. The Boy Scouts should stand for traditional values and a firm moral code and not succumb to a contemporary politically correct moral relativism. The Scouts should not engage in normalizing deviant behavior.

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What Bill Freeman is saying to the African-American community. And just which canidadate is the Tea Party candidate?

From Tim Skow, Host of First Tuesday - By now you have seen a flood of Bill Freeman TV ads for Mayor.....touting "cotton candy platitudes" and how he wants to be good for all of Nashville. Yet, on radio stations known for their African-American audiences, Bill Freeman is playing ads [including the following] that are some of the most divisive ever heard in TN. Bill Freeman has hired the Campaign Manager used last year by ultra-Liberal New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. His ad says:

  "...and Bill Freeman was one of the first and and biggest supporters of Pres. Barack Obama and he's worked to stop the Tea Party's agenda."

Please... take a minute, click on the link above and listen to this ad. Realize, there isn't a single Tea Party candidate in the race ! Mr. Freeman is simply "baiting" this targeted minority audience !

When Bill Freeman spoke at 1ST TUESDAY, he said he believes Mr. Obama is the best President in recent history ! [ its on video! ]

I'd appreciate you taking a moment to forward this to those you know who care about Nashville's future.

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