Friday, June 12, 2015

This day in History: Ronald Reagan in a speech in Berlin says, "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall"!

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan made his famous speech saying, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  Liberals thought Reagan a dangerous man for such a provocative statement. We had lived with a policy of mutual assured destruction, containment, and coexistence for so long that to actually  advocate a victory over Communism was almost heresy. All of the academics and liberal politicians and most opinion makers thought we must do nothing to agitate the Soviets and to upset the balance of power.  They were comfortable with Communist tyranny ruling half the world. They did not want us giving hope and inspiration to those behind the iron curtain.

Reagan had had the goal of defeating Communism ever since entering public life. He made his "Evil Empire" speech in March 1983 in which he Communism is "the focus of evil in the modern world." He opposed a nuclear freeze and was determined to gain a military advantage over the Soviets. He stated his goal was not to live in peace with Communism but to defeat it. Along with Pope John Paul and Britain's Margaret Thatcher, the growing Democracy movement in Poland was encouraged and Communists rule throughout the world was condemned and a new atmosphere created in which Communist rule was viewed as the evil if was. There was no more moral equivalency arguments and fear of offending Communist sensibilities.

On November 9, 1989, recognizing the reality of what was happening in neighboring Poland, East Germany changed policy and allowed citizens of East Germany to visit West Germany and West Berlin for the first time since 1961. In celebration, crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the hated wall, joined by West Germans on the other side. Over the next few weeks, euphoric people and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall. Shortly thereafter the East German government began to remove most of what was left of the wall.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

How council members voted on the downtown flood wall, Jefferson St. police hdqrs, and Antioch jail relocation

On Tuesday night, the Metro Council voted to strip from the Capital Improvements Budget three controversial projects proposed by Mayor Karl Dean.  For once I was very proud of our Council. In my view, all three projects are misguided, rushed, and were pushed without vetting.  You can read more about this on blog posts that follow this post.

A vote to abstain is actually pushing a button to "abstain" from voting. Not voting could be that one was absent for the meeting, that part of the meeting, on a bathroom break, or simply did not push a button, however everyone in the room is instructed by the chair to vote, which may include a vote to abstain. 

Here is how the council members voted on each of the projects:

To remove the downtown flood wall from the Capital Improvements budget. It passed and was removed by a vote of 19 to 18 with 2 abstentions:

Voting "yes" to remove:  Tim Garrett, Charlie Tygard, Frank Harrison, Walter Hunt, Doug Pardue, Larry Hagar, Josh Stites, Bruce Stanley, Phil Claiborne, Tony Tenpenny, Jason Holleman, Davette Blalock, Duane Dominy, Karen Johnson, Jason Potts, Jacobia Dowell, Robert Duvall, Carter Todd, Bo Mitchell.
Voting "no," against the amendment to remove: Megan Barry, Ronnie Steine, Lonnell Matthews Jr., Brady Banks, Scott Davis, Peter Westerholm, Anthony Davis, Karen Bennett, Bill Pridemore, Steve Glover, Sandra Moore, Burkley Allen, Erica Gilmore, Buddy Baker, Edith Langster, Sheri Weiner, Emily Evans, Chris Harmon.
Abstained: Jerry Maynard, Fabian Bedne.  Not Voting (1): Sean McGuire
To remove the construction of a new consolidated jail in Antioch from the Capital Improvements Budget. It passed and was removed by a vote of 19 to 17 with 2 abstentions.
Voting "yes" to remove: Megan Barry, Tim Garrett, Lonnell Matthews Jr., Frank Harrison, Walter Hunt, Josh Stites, Tony Tenpenny, Erica Gilmore, Jason Holleman, Chris Harmon, Davette Blalock, Duane Dominy, Karen Johnson, Josh Potts, Fabian Bedne, Jacobia Dowell, Robert Duvall, Carter Todd, Bo Mitchell.
Voting "no" against the amendment to remove: Ronnie Steine, Charlie Tygard, Jerry Maynard, Brady Banks, Scott Davis, Peter Westerholm, Anthony Davis, Karen Bennett, Bill Pridmore, Doug Pardue, Larry Hagar, Steve Glover, Bruce Stanley, Buddy Baker, Edith Langster, Sheri Weiner, Emily Evans.
Abstained: Sandra Moore, Burkley Allen. Not Voting: Phil Claiborne, Sean McGuire
To remove the construction of a new police headquarters on Jefferson Street from the Capital Improvements Budget. It passed and was removed by a vote of 22 to 14 with 2 abstentions: 

Voting "yes" to remove: Megan Barry, Tim Garrett, Charlie Tygard, Lonnell Matthews Jr., Frank Harrison, Walter Hunt, Scott Davis, Doug Pardue, Josh Stites, Tony Tenpenny, Burkley Allen, Erica Gilmore, Sheri Weiner, Chris Harmon, Davette Blalock, Duane Dominy, Karen Johnson, Jason Potts, Fabian Bedne, Jacobia Dowell, Robert Duvall, Carter Todd
Voting "no" against the amendment to remove: Ronnie Steine, Jerry Maynard, Brady Banks, Peter Westerholm, Karen Bennett, Bill Pridmore, Larry Hagar, Steve Glover, Bruce Stanley, Sandra Moore, Buddy Baker, Edith Langster, Emily Evans, Bo Mitchell
Abstained (2): Anthony Davis, Jason Holleman. Not Voting (2): Phil Claiborne, Sean McGuire
I have highlighted a few names to call attention to how they voted. Most of those who voted for removal of these items from the Capital Improvements Budget are those that I think of as the "good" councilmen. There are no permanent coalitions in the council and no political parties, but there are about a dozen people who are either Republicans, conservatives, or common sense moderate Democrats who usually vote the right way, not as often as I would like but quite often. Whether it is a vote on the AMP, or the Fair Grounds, or some pocketbook issues people like Robert Duvall, Duane Dominy, Josh Stites, Tony Tenpenny, Davette Blalock, Tim Garrett, and Chalie Tygard can usually be counted on to be on the right side of the issue. The names I have highlighted in yellow are people who are often thought of as in that camp, as the fiscally conservative or "good" council members who have disappointing me by their vote on this issue.

Megan Barry is highlighted to call attention to her vote, not that I ever expect her to vote the right way on a controversial matter. As a candidate for mayor, I am sure she voted the way the Chamber of Commerce wanted her to vote, but this vote could be exploited by her opponents to her detriment.

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(Update) Council strips flood wall, Jail, and Police Hdqrs from budget! This is a council meeting worth watching.

In a major set back to Mayor Karl Dean his three big proposed projects, building a $100 million flood wall to protect the downtown from the next thousand-year flood, the $23 million relocation of the police headquarters to Jefferson Street and the $110 million relocation of the jail to Antioch, were all amended out of the Capital Improvements Budget which is BILL NO. BL2015-1142. Funding to renovate the existing downtown jail is put in the CIB.

The amount of authorized bond obligation remains at $520 million. Other projects possibly could be funded instead and those three big projects. The Capital Improvements spending plan,  RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-1500, is explained in this document.

To watch the discussion in the joint Budget and Finance and Planning and Zoning Committee where the real work of the council takes place see the video below.
While I am often disappointed in the council, in this case, the council did a great job. Duane Dominy makes an excellent presentation in opposing the jail relocation and makes several good points. One point is that the bus transportation from the proposed jail location to downtown is simply not adequate and given current bus routes it would be extremely difficult for released inmates to go from the jail to downtown. He also raises questions about the cost and difficulty of transporting prisoners while in custody from the new jail to downtown and back. He also questions what the city got for its $1.5 million jail master study.  Dominy is a termed-out councilman and could have just coasted out of office instead of taking a leadership roll in stopping this project. I commend his dedication and ability to articulate his argument and his passion in denouncing the spending of money without Council authorization.  To view his comments go to time stamp 6:34.

Several other council members do a good job asking probing questions and explaining their opposition on each of the projects, including Councilman Tim Garrett, Charlie Tygard and Jacobia Dowell.

Councilman Jerry Maynard does a good job of arguing to leave the relocation of he police department headquarters in the CIB. Frankly I do not understand the opposition from the community of this relocation of the jail. To me it seem like it would be an asset to a depressed part of town. It is a $24 million office building that will only employ 75 people, mostly civilians. Unlike the bad elements that will accompany the move of the jail, that would not be the case with the relocation of the police headquarters.While I think Maynard makes his case well, I oppose the project because this was a rushed proposal without proper community vetting, and I think all of these projects should be be on hold for the input of the next mayor and council. It may be that the best place for the jail and the police headquarters is downtown where they are now.  To see Councilman Maynard's comments go to time stamp 22:01.

It should be noted that as is explained in this meeting that if a project is taken out of the CIB, it can be put back in . To amend the CIB the mayor must recommend the project and it must be approved by 27 votes of the council.

Here is the Council meeting of last night:

Other than the Capital Improvements Budget, there is not much else of interest on this agenda with is an adjourned meeting from June 2. For your on copy of the agenda, follow this link.  This is an adjourned meeting from June 2nd meeting and staff analysis of bills on this agenda and related documents can be found at this link. The Council discussion of the Capital Improvements Budget starts at time stamp 7:06.

What follows is almost two hours of discussion of the three projects which Budget and Finance has already recommended be removed from the Capitol Improvements Budget and the outcome is already known. Still, it is good to see some of the council member vent their frustration. They vent that money was spend before being authorized both for the flood wall and for the jail in Antioch. Charlie Tygard does an especially good job at time stamp 21:07.

Council member and mayoral candidate Megan Barry argues against removing the flood wall from the Capital Improvements budget. Councilman Hager and Council member Karen Johnson vent their frustration that we are protecting downtown from a flood and not doing anything more for flood protection in the neighborhoods that were hit hard by the 2010 flood. Councilman Carter Todd, Councilman Duane Dominy and Council member Jacobia Dowell are other council members who make good speeches. Many of the council members seem genuinely angry at the way these projects were handled and especially angered that millions of dollars were spend on these projects before they were approved. Councilman Dominy makes one of the best speeches I have even seen given from the Council floor starting at time stamp 1:23:07 and again makes a great speech at time stamp 1:49:06.

Council members like Dominy and Tygard will be missed from the Council. I wish they were both serving another term or were running at-large. To read The Tennessean's take on the meeting follow this link: Nashville flood wall, jail plan, police HQ move rejected.

At the mayoral forum at First Tuesday yesterday featuring David Fox and Howard Gentry, both candidates said they would support taking the projects out of the capital improvements plan and were critical of the process that did not involve the community.  Howard Gentry who is the current Criminal Court Clerk, said the relocation of the jail would effect the logistics of his office and how they would serve the inmate population but said he was not consulting or informed of the project until the public announcement. Both pledged that if elected they would have a different approach to advancing projects of this nature and would seek support prior to proposing funding for the projects. Mayoral candidate Jeremy Kane issued a statement following last nights vote in which he condemned the way these projects were handled by the mayor.

Once the minutes of this meeting are available, I will post the votes showing who voted for and against the three projects. 

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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Ted Cruz appoints kooky Kevin Kookogey as Tenn. Chair of his campaign.

by Rod Williams, June 9, 2015- I really hate to see this. I have had mixed views of Ted Cruz.  I have heard some of his speeches and have been stirred. I want our country to change course and I believe Ted Cruz is one of the people who, if he were president, could make that happen. He would take us in the direction I want to go. He also has a compelling personal story.  I am convinced he is a principled conservative and he is very smart.

On the other hand, his 21-hour filibuster was a  kind of a phony self-aggrandizing political stunt. It served no purpose. It was not really a filibuster as it didn't block anything. Senate rules set a limit on how long he could delay a vote and the outcome of the vote to fund the government and avoid a government shut down was never in doubt. Cruz even voted to advance the bill he was "filibustering," joining a 100-to-0 vote to take up the spending bill.

Despite my view of his filibuster, Curz was still one of my favored top contenders for the Republican nomination, not on top but somewhere below Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal but ahead of Rand Paul and way ahead of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.  With his appointment of Keven Kookogey to be his Tennessee Chairman, he dropped a few points in my favorability rating.

Kookogey is the former one-term chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party. While I do not have first-hand knowledge of what he did as Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, I have heard that he greatly damaged the party, that contributors withheld funds and that many Republicans were embarrassed by him.   As County Party chairman he advanced an anti-Muslim and anti-Agenda 21 agenda and he advocated purging the party of insufficiently conservative members and was critical of Gov. Haslam and other elected Republicans.

The anti-agenda 21 movement which has now pretty much disappeared was based on a weird theory that the United Nations planned to kill 96% of the world's population by poisoning them with aspartame and fluoride, although to be fair, most opponents of Agenda 21 probably were never aware of that part of the theory.  In its milder form, the anti-Agenda 21 movement believed that Agenda 21 was a United Nations plan to take away American sovereignty, redistribute wealth and take away property rights in the name of environmentalism.

Across the nation anti-Agenda 21 activists opposed everything from traffic calming, to reintroducing wolves into the wild, to sidewalks, smart meters, and almost all forms of planning and mass transit as being part of agenda 21. This anti-agenda 21 movement originated with the John Birch Society and was spread by people like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. Anti-agenda hysteria worked its way into the Republican Party with the National GOP adopting an Anti-Agenda 21 party platform plank. The national GOP party platform plank however was short and vague. The Williamson County Republican Party under Kookogey adopted a strongly worded Anti-Agenda 21 resolution that you can still find at this link.  When Kookogey was County Party chairman, the party's webpage had a tab devoted to Agenda 21. After he was no longer chair, the website was redesigned, and no longer featured an Agenda 21 tab.

Kookogy's anti-Islam activism included being part of the group taking out a full page ad against Gov. Haslam over his administration's hiring of a qualified Muslim, Samar Ali,  to work in the Department of Economic and Community Development.   The Williamson County party under Kookogey also hosted an event for controversial Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders.  I am not naive and think we must be diligent in protecting ourselves from terrorism. I even hope Arabic speaking FBI agents are attended mosques and I am not opposed to a little profiling,  but by the same token I do not want to let a legitimate concern over terrorism and a clash of cultures lead to bigotry and betraying our constitutional rights.  It was irrational to oppose a person with Ms Ali's talent and experience just because she is a Muslim. Also, against all logic, the $5,000 full-page ad condemned Haslam by saying he was seeking to impose Sharia Law in Tennessee.  Now that is just kooky!

Kevin Kookogey is a part of that embarrassing, and maybe even dangerous, fringe of the Republican Party. Ted Cruz should not have burdened himself with the baggage of Kevin Kookogey as his Tennessee state campaign chairman. The campaign for the GOP nomination will most likely be wrapped up by the time of the Tennessee presidential preference primary anyway, but if Ted Cruz is appointing people like Kevin Kookogey to be his campaign chairmen in other states, then his campaign is doomed. If this is the kind of people he is comfortable with, I would not want him to be president.

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Support Councilman Carter Todd's Amendment to stop $350M in Metro Spending!

From Rick Williams, Chairman of Save Our Fairgrounds:

Good Morning To All:

Thank You for your continued support of Save Our Fairgrounds!

We are now and always have been a group of concerned citizens who pointed out to our neighbors and friends why Mayor Karl Dean should not close the Historic Tennessee State Fairgrounds and what a very, very important part of Nashville's history the Fairgrounds happens to be.     We also pointed out how much positive economic impact the Fairgrounds contributed to the Nashville Economy.
We come to you today to point out in the final days of Karl Dean's term as Mayor he is busy trying to spend every available cent of Metro dollars and push us further into debt.  The proposed $100 million flood wall along the West Bank of the Cumberland River is again another huge waste of taxpayer money.  Adding to that project are two more last-minute and very rushed projects which total over $250 million.  This is a typical Karl Dean move - plan something without community input, announce it and push it through.  We cannot stand around and let this happen.   As the Fairgrounds and race track community was under the threat of attack to the Fairgrounds being permanently closed and redeveloped,  we had to step up and help stop that from happening.

Now Southeast Nashville and North Nashville are under threat of projects being rushed at the last minute into their communities.  The Mayor is proposing to move the Police Headquarters to Historic Jefferson Street and relocate the Metro Jail to Southeast Nashville on Harding Place near the Airport.  We believe it is time for the Metro Council to stand up again and say NO to all three of these projects until these issues are debated in public and community input received.  THIS MONEY KARL DEAN IS SPENDING JUST ON THE FLOOD WALL COULD BE SPENT ON THE FAIRGROUNDS PROPERTY TO UPGRADE THE BUILDING AND RACE TRACK AND HELP RESTORE THE FAIRGROUNDS.  SO I THINK WE SHOULD HELP STOP THESE PROJECTS HE IS PROPOSING IN THE LAST 120 DAYS IN OFFICE.

All of these projects should be the priority of the next Mayor and Metro Council and not rushed thru this Council in the last 120 days in office.  Councilman Carter Todd has put forth an amendment to the Metro Budget which will be considered tonight at the Metro Council meeting at 6:00 PM.  We are asking you to contact your Metro Council Member and ask them to SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR Councilman Carter Todd's amendment to the Budget at tonight's Metro Council meeting.

Again we just want these communities to have a chance to be involved in the planning of these major projects just like we started work to build up the Fairgrounds and get support from each major Mayoral candidate after Mayor Karl Dean almost had the property bulldozed.

Thank you again for your support!

Rick Williams
Chairman, Save Our Fairgrounds 

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Councilman Josh Stites explains Election Commission decision to reduce early voting. This is the other side of the story.

Josh Stites

I think the flap over early voting has shown a complete dereliction on the part of the press to report accurately and fairly the necessary facts relevant to the citizens of Davidson County regarding early voting. Instead of finding out the truth the Tennessean rushed to write an editorial that was entirely one-sided and misguided. While that's unsurprising, I think it's still worth pointing out. Today the League of Women Voters sent a letter to all CM's essentially defending the action of the DCEC. Below is the email I sent to Tennessean Editor David Plazas. He has as of yet chosen to not correct his errant editorial.


From: Stites, Josh (Council Member)
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 12:22 PM
Subject: Mayor’s Budget Carves Out DCEC Staffing

In case you have not seen this I am forwarding you an email that the Council received this morning from the League of Women Voters.

Satellite early voting (I would guess) is overwhelmingly used by the more "suburban" areas where the satellite locations are found like in District 13. So, this is an issue that is very important to me and the people of District 13. But, I have been skeptical of the way this story has been presented. The editorial condemning the DCEC as disenfranchising voters erroneously claimed that the DCEC budget was for 12 new employees and that essentially the DCEC was choosing to make new hires over funding early voting. These are 12 employees currently employed. What the DCEC has stated is the choice under the current budget will be that either the current staff be reduced from 33 employees down to 21 - a 36% reduction - or early voting be reduced.

The budget increase is necessary because in FY16 there is an additional election - the March Presidential Primary - over the two that were held in FY15.

The irritation for me is that the same people who derided the DCEC under the last administrator for operational deficiencies are now claiming the DCEC is trying to disenfranchise voters by making tough choices with a limited budget. It seems some want to have it both ways. I understand the politics of the office. This is the only office in Metro that is under "Republican control" and in Democratic Nashville it will forever be the whipping boy. But, it's disheartening when the media seemingly jumps on the bandwagon with the editorial.

I may have my facts wrong and I stand to be corrected if I do. But, I think the email below reiterates my understanding of the DCEC budget position. And if it does and I am correct, it seems that in the interest of fairness and accuracy the editorial should be significantly and immediately corrected.

Josh Stites

From: []
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2015 8:58 AM
To: Council Members
Subject: Mayor’s Budget Carves Out DCEC Staffing

Council Member:

Mayor’s Budget Carves Out DCEC Staffing

The League of Women Voters of Nashville (LWVN) advocates for fair, free, and accessible voting procedures that make it easy for citizens to vote. Last Tuesday, we observed the frustration of the Davidson County Election Commissioners (DCEC) in achieving these same goals.

Members of LWVN regularly attend DCEC meetings and post reports on our website. To our surprise, these meetings are rarely observed by reporters from Nashville media.

A successful election requires paid and trained poll workers, effective technology, and excellent coordination of resources. This is possible only if DCEC staff have completed the necessary preparations in the months preceding an election. While the Metro budget proposed by the Mayor’s office for 2015-16 will provide full funding for elections days during the year, it cuts the 12 existing DCEC positions needed to make election days run smoothly. That represents 38% of the DCEC staff.

These 12 positions had erroneously been listed as non-recurring expenditures instead of ongoing operating expenses in the proposed Metro budget from the Mayor’s office.  DCEC Chairman Buchanan reported that Metro Finance Director Reibling concurred that in future budget years these 12 existing positions should be re-classified as ongoing expenses.  However, additional funds for salary were not added in the Mayor’s budget that was presented to Metro Council this month.

The only way that the DCEC can offset such a deep operational budget cut is to eliminate all optional early voting sites (the Howard School site would be the only early voting site available) in the August election and September runoff. DCEC hopes that the threat of such change in early voting opportunities and sites will be sufficient to convince Metro Council members to approve supplemental funds needed to support staffing.

The League of Women Voters of Nashville encourages an agreement among the Election Commission, Metro Council, and Mayor’s office that will result in both adequate DCEC staffing AND full usage of all possible early voting sites in the upcoming Metro election.

Debby Gould, President
League of Women Voters of Nashville

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Flood Wall, the Antioch Jail, and Jefferson St. Police Hdqrs on tonight's Council agenda.

Legislation has been introduced to remove all three controversial projects  from the Capital Improvement Budget 2014-2015 spending plan. Those projects are included in RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-1500 which authorized $520 million of General Obligation bonds to be issued. To read the Tennessean's coverage follow this link.

For your copy of the Council agenda follow this link, and for a copy of the agenda analysis, follow this link. This is a adjourned meeting from the June 2nd meeting and there are no new bills or resolutions on the agenda.

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Monday, June 08, 2015

Megan Barry charges that Bill Freeman can't be trusted to stand up for abortion rights.

There is not a whole lot the mayor can do about abortion.  Regulation of abortion is a function of the state government within the limits of Roe vs Wade which says a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion. A mayor could ensure the city has no contracts with Planned Parenthood and do a few minor things, but not much.  That has not kept the issue from entering into the mayor's race. If you are a subscriber to The Tennessean, you can read about it at this link.

In summary, this is what happened according to the Tennessean article. Bill Freeman was somewhere where some pro-life activist were demonstrating. The asked Freeman what he thinks about abortion and he said, "I think it's a horrible choice for a method of birth control, OK?" After further pressure to state a position, Freeman said, "I appreciate what you're doing, and get out there and fight the fight."

Well, his comments were caught on camera and mayoral candidate and at-large Council member Megan Barry say's that Freeman can't be trusted to stand up for women's reproductive rights. She also called it "demeaning to all women" to say that women terminate pregnancies as a form of birth control. I don't quite get how that is demeaning to women. If women are careless or if other forms of birth control fail, or a women changes her mind about becoming a mother, is not an abortion to control a birth? Control it, as in abort it?

In response to the controversy, Freeman said he supports a women's right to to make her own health care decisions and that the issue has no place in the mayor's race. "I am pro choice," he says. "Those decisions are between a woman, her doctor and her God."

I think Freeman's position is like that of a lot of liberals in that they support the right to abortion but do not think an abortion is something to celebrate. I wonder if Megan Barry is elected if she will issue a proclamation declaring a "Celebrate Abortions Day?"  It wouldn't surprise me. Of course liberals do not like to call an abortion, an abortion, so she would call it "Reproduction Rights Day" or "A Women's Right to to Make Her own Health Care Decisions Day."

Below is the video of Freeman's exchange with the pro-life demonstrators that started this controversy.

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Mayor Dean is backing off on locating the police headquarters on Jefferson St.

In case you missed it, Mayor Dean is backing off on locating the police headquarters on Jefferson St. He now says he will hold community meetings before deciding where to locate the police headquarters. He is still asking for the $23 million for the project to be kept in the capital improvements budget however.

No such willingness to meet and discuss relocating the jail has been offered the citizens of Antioch. What looks like what has happened is a strategic decision has been made to placate the opponents of the police headquarters being relocated, leaving the opponents of the jail a smaller minority.

Also, what I think is going on, opponents of the police headquarters could play the victim race card and they did.  It is hard for a good liberal like Dean to hold 'em, when someone plays the race card. Quite frankly, I do not understand the community objection to the police headquarters locating on Jefferson Street and I do understand the objection of the Antioch community's objection to the jail. The police headquarters will be an office building where administrative work is done, mostly manned by civilians and will have little impact.  Unlike the jail, it will not draw undesirable people, pawn shops and bails bondsmen.

In my view, the police headquarters relocation, the jail relocation and the flood wall should be taken out of the budget and be given more consideration. Maybe the best location of the jail and the police headquarters in where they are and maybe the flood wall is a waste of money. I think those decisions should be deferred until the next mayor takes office.

If you are a subscriber to the the Tennessean, you can read of the mayor's new position of the locating of the police headquarters to Jefferson, at this link: Dean to reconsider Jefferson Street police HQ move.

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"Head-to-head" meetings of candidates for Mayor at First Tuesday June 9th

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY members and friends

David Fox
Howard Gentry
 After 2 major television debates, and the Tennessean profiles of each candidate coming out, 1ST TUESDAY's CANDIDATES for MAYOR -- the PRIMARY concludes Tuesday, June 9th. [ profiles follow ]

Joining us will be The Honorable Howard Gentry, Nashville's former Vice-Mayor.

 David Fox whose major ad campaign started this week has kindly agreed to return to share the stage with Mr. Gentry in our "head-to-head" meetings of candidates!

1ST TUESDAY members attending the prior 2 head-to-head candidate-contenders lunches know they have been "news-worthy" to say the least!

Respected political prognosticators now expect at least 1 of these men to be in September's run-off!

In short....with the direction of city at stake....and the impact Nashville has on the surrounding counties in play... this lunch on June 9th is 1ST TUESDAY lunch you simply DO NOT WANT to miss!

As usual, we will meet at Waller Law - 511 Union 27th floor. Doors open at 11am and both candidates are slated to be there shortly after that. Lunch starts at 11:30 and is $20 for Members &$25 for Guests. Secure seating for you and your guests at

Remember - parking under the building at Waller is $5 if you tell them you've been to lunch at 1ST TUESDAY ! Get you seats, invite friends and spread the word ! See you when Mr. Gentry and Mr. Fox join us June 9th! Look forward to seeing you then!

Tim Skow, Host of 1ST TUESDAY PS -- link to Tennessean candidates profile

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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Sumner County waste $94K needlessly resisting an Open Records request from Ken Jakes

by Justin Owens, The Beacon Center - Recently, Joelton resident Ken Jakes sought information from the Sumner County school system. Like many residents seeking public records here in the 21st Century, Jakes submitted his request to the school district via email.

The district’s response: “Not so fast, techie.” His request was denied because the school district apparently does not accept public records requests via this new-age email wizardry. (Speak up, Sumner County. We can’t hear you way back there in 1952.)

This would be knee-slapping hilarious if such stubbornness didn’t cost Sumner County taxpayers $94,000 in legal bills defending the district’s policy. Maybe state law does not mandate that local governments accept open records requests via email, but common sense sure does. Taxpayers should be outraged that the school district had the audacity to spend their hard-earned money defending such stupidity in court.

Sadly, this is just chump change for the school district. Late last year, district officials pleaded with the Sumner County Commission to raise property taxes. The commission eventually raised taxes by more than 10% in part to send more money to the school system. As one observer noted, the district’s legal bills are enough money to pay the salaries of two new teachers. I bet those teachers could even spend a little time after school bringing their bosses into the modern era. I would email Sumner County Director of Schools Del Phillips this blog post, but somehow I doubt he’d receive it. And I seem to have misplaced my telegraph machine.
In an email from Ken Jakes to me, Ken wrote:
Ken Jakes
Rod, Below is an article about the law suit I have filed with Sumner County Board of Education. The outcome of this suit creates legal precedence which protects every citizen in Tennessee. I made a public record request to SCBE to inspect and review the public record policy of SCBE. I also stated if the record policy was on line they could simply provide the link. I asked them to contact me when ready for review and I will make a physical in person review of the records.
They denied my request. I then made the request by phone. They again denied the request. 
I was forced to defend my rights and freedoms by filing a law suit. My court date is not until July 29 and they have already ran the bill up to 94,000.00 dollars. What will the bill be after it goes to trial? How many school books could have been purchased by the time this is over? What are they paying the Director of Schools to make such a stupid decision? I fully informed them where this would go if they denied my request. Some people just don't have common sense.
Here is a link to the story published in The Standard of Hendersonville: Taxpayers footing $94,000 for school lawsuit fees. In the article Deborah Fisher, executive director of Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, said the district could have saved taxpayers a lot of money, by just complying with Jake's request. "Even though the case hasn't gone to court," said Ms Fisher, "in one of the preliminary hearings, the judge pointed out if the school (system) had just emailed back to let Ken Jakes know there was a public records policy online, they wouldn't have had to spend that money. Fisher said. "He was just seeking to see what the public records policy was. Not only did they not give it to him, they didn't acknowledge he made a request - if they had, they wouldn't be spending all this money. That $94,000 could have gone a long way in paying for two teacher salaries - to me it seems like a waste of taxpayer money."
I could not agree more. Unbelievable arrogance and stupidity!
Ken Jakes is to be commended for standing up for the rights of citizens to know what their government is doing. Ken has on many occasions exposed government corruption and mismanagement. You may recall a couple years ago when it was revealed that Nashville Electric Service was giving free services to Opryland Hotel and executives of NES were getting free tickets to performances, free golf games, rooms and other freebies.  That discovery led to more discovery of widespread mismanagement and corruption at NES. That situation was brought to light due to the work of Ken Jakes and information he gleamed from a Freedom of Information request. That is only one of several times that Ken has exposed corruption and government waste.
Ken Jakes is a candidate for a Metro Council at-large seat in Davidson County.  If elected, Ken Jakes will not march in lockstep as one of forty hiding in the herd. I am convinced that if something is wrong, he will vote against it even if he is the only one. Who knows, if he cast a view "no" votes, that may give some backbone to some of the other members of the Council.  I am convinced he will expose waste and corruption and mismanagement in Metro Government and be a advocate for fiscally responsible government. He won't be cowered and won't go along to get along. As a citizen activist, he has already done more for the cause of good government than most of the Council have done in eight years. If he has accomplished what he has as a citizen, I suspect he will do much more as an elected member of the Metro Council. He is the kind of maverick we need in Metro Government.

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Former Police Chief Emmett Turner Endorses Bill Freeman for Mayor

Former Police Chief Emmett Turner Endorses Bill Freeman for Mayor and as far as I know, he is not on the Freeman for Mayor campaign payroll nor an employee of Freeman-Webb.

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Alexander Cosponsors Legislation to Delay Ozone Regulations that Jeopardize Economic Growth in Tennessee

Says legislation would delay EPA from implementing a new ozone standard until counties can comply with the current ozone standard

Press Release, Lamar Alexander, WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development, today cosponsored legislation that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing a new standard for ozone until at least 85 percent of the counties that have been designated as nonattainment achieve full compliance with the current ozone standard.

“The air is demonstrably cleaner in Tennessee, and we need to give the regulations we have already put in place time to work before we interrupt efforts to improve air quality. This legislation would delay the EPA from implementing a new ozone standard that would increase more burdensome regulations and push several Tennessee counties out of attainment, which would have an impact on economic development,” Alexander said.

“If counties in Tennessee want to encourage job growth, they’ve got to have clean air so companies can easily get permits to build new plants.” Under the federal Clean Air Act, counties must show they’ve met the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to receive what is known as “attainment status.” Counties that have not attained clean air under federal guidelines must comply with tougher air emission standards, which mean companies looking to build new manufacturing plants must use more pollution control equipment. That makes it more expensive for companies to locate within nonattainment counties and create jobs, Alexander said.

Today, four counties in Tennessee do not meet the EPA’s current ozone standard. However, EPA is proposing to further lower the ozone standard which will mean that up to 15 Tennessee counties could fail to meet the new standard and not be in “attainment.” This means counties across Tennessee will have a harder time recruiting new jobs or convincing existing businesses to expand.

The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act would stem the economic harm that could be caused by further lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone across the country. Counties with poor air quality need to have time to comply with the current ozone standard before EPA implements a new ozone standard, Alexander said.

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