Saturday, October 17, 2015

Is it possible to use Tax Increment Financing to finance mass transit?

Is it possible to use Tax Increment Financing to finance mass transit? I don't know but a local neighborhood leader who was active in the Stop Amp organization and has remained active in transit issues, reports that it may be.  She writes this on a local Google Group:

In my Transit Citizen Leadership class tonight, we had a transit engineer guest speaker from out of state, knowledgeable in FTA funding rules for transit. A rarity.

He mentioned one possible funding method for mass transit - use a TIF. He gave a brief overview of what that means, in layman's terms. He said a geographical boundary is drawn around the transit route. Usually a wide patch of land, but it follows the proposed transit line. The population votes whether to approve channeling calculated increases  in property values into a fund. This fund is reserved to pay the local match cost, and yearly operating costs, for operating the transit system. The transit system is the reason for the rise in land value.

Land values are calculated to rise, based on the things built and generating new tax revenue around the proposed transit stops.  If no transit comes to the route, then the land value won't rise as calculated (in the TIF).

My question to that info, tonight: since Nashville has a lot of downtown TIF Districts already in place -- can a transit TIF be created on top of an existing TIF? Basically, no. Its possible, but not likely. Voters would need to approve it and that's getting expensive. TIF diverts cash away from local services for decades. Voters usually want to see a benefit in their lifetime. He did say, though, theoretically a TIF on top of a TIF was possible. Just not very wise.

Now that I'm reading of the TIF meeting today (excellent work, council!), my next questions would be to that committee (or maybe to MDHA?), see if you can get these answers:

(1) If Nashville has TIF's already in existence downtown - what is the land value increase calculation? What portion of that calculation is dependent upon a transit system running through the TIF boundary?  Another way to put this: Are any of the existing TIFs downtown, already transit TIFs?

I fear the MDHA may need to give up their TIF proceeds for the transit dependency requirement in the TIF. I hope not - as there is no transit planned in most downtown TIF boundaries - that I am aware of.

(2) If the downtown TIFs do NOT have land increase calculations based upon a Transit system, WHAT is the reason the land values will "go up" in those TIFs? The trigger is...what? Cannot just be population increase it has to be some infrastructure or job/gold mine.
This in interesting news. Until reading this, I did not know TIF could even be used to fund mass transit but it makes a lot of sense. The AMP was the wrong corridor to build a transit route, in my view. Perhaps the people living in East Nashville would have ridden the AMP, but I do not believe those more affluent people living along West End Avenue were ever going to give up their cars to ride the bus. Also West End is so highly developed already and runs through some of the most expensive and stable neighborhoods in the city, that I do not think there was much opportunity for new development to occur along that route. 

I  think there are corridors such as Nolensville Road, Dickerson Pike, or Charlotte Avenue that could benefit from a mass transit development. I also think it would make a lot of sense to build a transit system in conjunction with planning that encourages development around major transit stops by offering density or height bonuses or relaxation of parking requirement and some TIF financing for the development around the major stops.

Downtown is certainly not "blighted" and I think TIF is being misused by continuing to be available downtown.  Some of our major corridors however are low income and underdeveloped and could more rationally be considered "blighted."  There ought to be a better use for the property along Nolensville Road than tote-the-note used car lots.  I hope the administration and the Council will explore the opportunity of using TIF to finance mass transit and see mass transit as a means of improving our major corridors. 

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Peter Westerholm to work for Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

Peter Westerholm
Peter Westerholm was a member of the previous Metro Council and one of the few incumbent council members who lost a reelection bid.  My understanding of why he lost is that he was not responsive to citizens regarding rezoning in his district. While I do not recall the details, I also recall he attempted to rezone some property without the consent of the property owners.  One thing that gets council members beat more than anything else is how they handle zoning issues.

Well, Westerholm lost his council seat but he will still be around. The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization announced yesterday that it had hired Westerholm to lead research and develop recommendations related to downtown Nashville parking and mobility issues.

He will evaluate parking locations, availability and pricing trends with comparisons to peer cities. His research will be used to provide recommendations and funding assistance to local governmental agencies.

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I belong to so you don't have to.

I am not supporting Donald Trump for the Republican nominee for President and think he is somewhat of a carnival barker and a joke. However, I think he would make a great host for Saturday Night Live. He is entertaining.

I am posting this email solicitation from Move ON as an example of the bullying, anti free speech position of the left. The left loves to preach tolerance and acceptance. They are only tolerant and accepting however of those with whom they already agree. They like diversity- as long as it is diversity on the left end of the spectrum. They tout free speech as long as it is politically correct free speech.

I know this does not reflect the view of everyone left of center and I know there are those right of center who also would like to silence those with whom they disagree, but it is not conservatives who shout down speakers on college campuses and impose speech codes. 

Dear MoveOn member,

"Saturday Night Live" recently announced that Donald Trump would serve as host of the program on November 7, 2015, one year from the 2016 general election. The popular comedy show, which has been criticized for not adequately representing Latinos, is broadcast by NBC—the same network that terminated its relationship with Donald Trump over his derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants.  Now, just three months after cutting ties with Donald Trump, NBC is seeking to boost its ratings at the expense of Latinos and immigrants by allowing Trump to host one of its most popular shows.

Will you join me in calling on NBCUniversal Chairman of Content Matt Bond and "Saturday Night Live" Producer Lorne Michaels to dump Trump?

Mass deportation is not funny! By allowing Donald Trump to host "Saturday Night Live," NBC is excusing and even validating Trump's hateful comments about immigrants and Latinos. Tell NBC to dump Donald Trump as host of "Saturday Night Live!"

By inviting Donald Trump to host "Saturday Night Live," NBC is demonstrating that it doesn't care about its Latino and pro-immigrant viewers. It is providing a platform for Trump's insulting attacks on immigrants and calling it entertainment—something we do not find funny. It is shameful for NBC to allow Donald Trump to host "Saturday Night Live," a comedy show, when one of the main policies he has promised would rip apart millions of immigrant and Latino families. NBC cannot bill hateful rhetoric as comedy, much less entertainment. Tell NBC to drop Donald Trump as host of "Saturday Night Live!"

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Public forum about calling an Article V convention to amend the Constitution.

The Convention of States Project, organized in all 50 states, is advocating for the Tennessee General Assembly to pass a call for an Article V convention of states to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Our Article V application includes any proposed amendments within the following topics:

*impose fiscal restraints on the federal government (cut taxes, cut spending, balance the budget)
*limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government (cut out the many three-letter agencies)
*limit the terms of office for Members of Congress and for federal officials.  (including judges)

Join State Senators Bill Ketron and Mike Bell along with Representatives Sheila Butt and Jay Reedy on stage and other State Senators and State Representatives in the audience in a public forum about how the states have the power to rein in the runaway federal government using the Convention of States Project Article V application.

Monday, October 19, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (CDT), Nashville, TN.

*** Free event   *** Free parking   *** Open to the public  *** Eventbrite tickets required

To learn more prior to the event, please go to

While I agree with goals of this movement,  except I am not sold of term limits, I at this time am not in favor of an Article V convention. I fear such a convention could become a runaway convention and amend the Constitution in less favorable ways. I am not convinced the convention could only amend the constitution in the areas for which it was called. I am not an expert on this however. If my circumstances permitted me to do so, I would attend this event to learn more.  I am posting this because I think some of the readers of this blog would be interested, not because I support an Article V convention.  I may be persuadable, but am not there yet. 

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mayor Barry Announces New Hires to Administration

Former Councilman Lonnell Matthews, Jr. will lead the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement  

Lonnell Matthews
Lonnell Matthews

Press release -NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry is pleased to announce the addition of new team members to the administration.

Former Councilman Lonnell Matthews, Jr. will serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, focused on giving the residents of Nashville a stronger voice in their local communities and the government which serves them. The addition of “Community Engagement” to the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods reflects the mayor’s desire to ensure that traditionally underserved populations in Nashville have a more prominent role in the administration so that our government reflects the diversity of our great city.

“I worked with Lonnell for eight years on the Metro Council and found him to be smart, engaging and committed to public service,” said Mayor Barry. “I know that he is the right person to help strengthen the office of neighborhoods while also engaging more parts of the community in the governing process.”

Matthews was the youngest African-American ever elected to the Metro Council, serving District 1 for two terms from 2007 to 2015, where he led as President Pro Tempore (2014), Minority Caucus President (2009), and served as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee (2012), Parks Committee (2010), and Education Committee (2011). Prior to accepting his position in Mayor Barry's administration, Matthews served as District Executive Director of the YMCA Community Action Project and Urban Services Youth Development Center for the YMCA of Middle TN.

Ron Thompson
Ron Thompson
“After two terms on the Metro Council, I am honored that Mayor Barry has asked me to continue my public service to the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County,” said Matthews. “I look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure that our fellow Nashvillians have a prominent role in decisions about how we will grow and change while preserving our quality of life.”

Ron Thompson will serve as a community engagement assistant with the Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement to improve the public’s access to the Mayor’s Office. Thompson worked on the Charles Robert Bone for Mayor Campaign prior to joining the Barry Campaign as the mayor’s personal aide in August. He has an undergraduate degree from Tennessee State University and an MBA from Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee.

Erin Williams will continue to serve in the new Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement as neighborhood liaison.

Patrick Hamilton
Patrick Hamilton
Also joining the administration is Patrick Hamilton, who will be serving in the role of scheduler for the Mayor. Hamilton will be joining the administration after having served as Chief Development Officer for Nashville CARES, an organization focused on providing education, advocacy, and supportive services to people affected by HIV and AIDS. He formerly served as the Deputy Executive Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party, the Director of Scheduling & Operations with the Office of Al Gore, and as the Director of Scheduling & Advance with the Office of Governor Phil Bredesen.
“I’m excited to bring a talented and diverse group of Nashvillians into the Mayor’s Office to help improve the quality of services offered by our Metro government,” said Barry. “These new additions bring us ever closer to our goal of having a fully-staffed Mayor’s Office ready to move forward on the goals and priorities of my administration.”

Thompson started working with the administration on October 7, Hamilton will begin on October 26, and Matthews will assume his role on November 12.

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Pith in the Wind says Boston Globe got it wrong in blaming AMP failure on Koch Brothers.

Steve Hale, the Nashville Scene's  Pith in the Wind blogger, got it right in his commentary, The Second Draft of History: A Boston Globe Revision of the Amp Story." He writes:

Did the Koch-bros-funded AFP have an impact on the downfall of The Amp? Yes. But to hold up their involvement as the primary takeaway of the story is to do PR work for them and for Karl Dean, and to ignore many other important (and interesting!) parts of the tale.
I probably seldom see things the same as Hale, but he and I agree on The Boston Globe story that blames the defeat of the AMP on the Kock brothers. 

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tim Skow responds to The Boston Globe's report on Mayor Dean's failure to succeed with the AMP proposal.

A few days ago, The Boston Globe reported on former Mayor Karl Dean's failure to get the AMP approved and blamed it primarily on the influence of American's for Prosperity which is an organization funded by the Krock brothers. Frankly, I appreciate the Krock brothers, but I think their influence in stopping the AMP, while helpful, was overstated. To read the Boston Globe report follow this link. 

Tim Skow, who host the influential First Tuesday Group, submitted the following letter to the editor to The Globe. I think Tim gets it about right. 

Mr. Kranish:
Sadly, most who live in Nashville will find your Boston Globe article clearly reflective of a left-leaning political agenda rather than reflective of the reality of the situation in Nashville.
At no point did your article reflect that the plan for ”AMP” was solely that of Mayor Dean. Only after his announcement of AMP, with the intent to shove it down the throats of the public, did Nashville residents become aware of the details, route, costs and other controversial impacts. Worse, Mr. Dean refused to consider options to even the most controversial aspects of the AMP plan, including running AMP in the middle lanes of the most traveled streets in the city.
Only after Mr. Dean realized he was facing staggering opposition to his AMP plan did he start reaching out for support from community entities including the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.   Sadly, your article reflects little of why Mr. Dean’s efforts to govern similar to the “Obama-Executive-Order” method miserably failed him ..... and those of us who live in Nashville.
Nashville does need and deserve a well thought out mass transit plan that addresses the concerns and needs of the greater Nashville area. But in the opinions of the majority of those who live here, pay the taxes and deal with it traffic - it was clear - Mr. Dean’s vision of AMP simply sucked !
Unlike your article would lead readers to think,  Mr. Dean is no political saint. Republican legislators and Mr. Ogles are NOT the boogey men and women you tried to make them out to be. The truth is that bastions of opposition to Mr. Dean and AMP were wide spread, very bi-partisan, grass roots oriented and spread across the entire city.
In the future, please consider more depth and honesty and much less left-leaning politics.
I trust your coming efforts at journalism will be better than your latest effort regarding Nashville.
Tim Skow

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Former Council member Emily Evans comments on the Boston Globe AMP story

A few days ago, The Boston Globe reported on former Mayor Karl Dean's failure to get the AMP approved and blamed it primarily on the influence of American's for Prosperity which is an organization funded by the Koch brothers. Frankly, I appreciate the Koch brothers, but I think their influence in stopping the AMP, while helpful, was overstated. To read the Boston Globe report follow this link. 

This report in The Boston Globe has created considerable comment and discussion. Here are the comments of former Council member Emily Evans that were posted to  the Nashville Neighbors Google Group.

The reporter, bless his heart, was used by people that wish to exploit the narrative of dark money influence on local issues. That narrative gets Karl completely off the hook for bad planning, communication and, as Margo has pointed out, compliance with federal process. That I suspect is the point of the article.

Let us not fall for such deception. Mass transit is an important issue that deserves our time and attention. Excusing the failure of the AMP effort to Kochs or anyone else with a fat wallet means success becomes more elusive not less. 


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TIF Tax Breaks May Get More Oversight From New Council Members

WTVF Channel 5 News, Oct 14, 2015, NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Newly elected Metro Council members promised more oversight of the city's use tax-increment financing (TIF) after a meeting Tuesday at the Tennessee Comptroller's Office. (link)

My Comment: This is good news. Jeff Syracuse and Larry Hager, who are prominently featured in this video, may evolve as two of the "good councilmen" in the new Council. I supported both of them in the recent election. I do not know Jeremy Elrod or Mina Johnson but if their comments in this news report are indicative of how they will vote in the Council, then they may also evolve as "good councilmen."

This video reveals that even after their Tax Increment Financing loan are paid off, the tax revenue generated from properties financed by TIF continues to flow to MDHA rather than the city treasury. This means those downtown properties do not help fund our schools, or roads or police or fire or any of the other functions of Metro Government. I hope the new council will put a stop to this abuse of TIF.

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Fundraising Reception for Councilman Loniel Greene

Loniel Greene, I suspect, will prove to be one of the "good councilmen" in this new council.  He is one of the candidates I financially supported during his campaign.  Now that the election is over he needs help repaying his campaign debt. Unfortunately, my ability to attend events is limited so I won't be able to attend.  If you can attend please do so, help him pay off his campaign loan, congratulate him on his election, and urge him to keep the faith and stand bold in the Metro Council .

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Most Journalist do not stand for the National Anthem at the Democrat Party presidential debate.

This video was taken of the press corp covering the Democrat party presidential debate last night.
Notice how few members of the media stopped what they were doing to stand for the national anthem.

I have long felt that most liberals are not comfortable with patriotism and expressions of love of country. It is not so much that they actually hate America, but they view patriotism as somehow simple minded and unsophisticated. They feel they are smarter than those people who can get emotional at hearing the national anthem. They don't believe America is an exceptional country. They are quick to point out our nations failures and faults. Slavery and the treatment of native Americans and the history of Jim Crow are viewed as blots on our honor that make the nation unworthy of their affection. They also seem to feel more as if they are a citizen of the world and love of country is somehow archaic tribalism.

I know it was not always this way. Those of my parents generation, the World War II generation, may have advocated very liberal policies but they loved this country. They supported FDR, they wanted more government regulations, and they supported a whole host of big government policies but they loved America. I guess this contemptuous attitude toward America started with the anti establishment and anti war movement of the late sixties. When those sixties radical became teachers and professors and molders of opinion, their contempt for this nation was passed on to future generations.

Following the attack of 9-11-2001 we saw a burst of patriotism but I think many liberals were even embarrassed by that. I have a family member who told me the he did not like the Alan Jackson song Where Were You When the World Stopped Tuning, because it was jingoistic and it made him uncomfortable. Anyway, for many who felt patriotic immediately after 9-11, that patriotism did not last long.

It is no secret that most mainstream journalist are considerably to the left of the average American. Surveys and studies of to whom journalist make campaign contributions show that they are, for the most part, liberal. The mainstream media is not called the liberal media for no reason. This video reveals how they feel about America.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why am I not considered a "stakeholder" in the Inclusionary zoning discussion?

Yesterday evening I attended a 5:30 PM meeting at the Planning Commission on inclusionary zoning. Someone forwarded to me the announcement of the meeting and I did not learn of it until Monday morning. Due to my wife's ill health, I have limited flexibility in my ability to be away from home. Louella's caregiver agreed to work late but I had to be home by 7PM, so I could not stay for the whole meeting but I was able to attend part of it.

The meeting was a meeting of "stakeholders." At the start of the meeting everyone was allowed to introduce themselves and when I introduced myself I said that by virtue of being a citizen and a taxpayer, I was a stakeholder. After the presentation by the consultant, when it was Q and A time, I tried to ask a question but the Planning commission person conducting the meeting said this was not a public hearing and only invited stakeholders would be allowed to speak. I had a question in mind that was not at all confrontational, but a legitimate question  seeking clarrification of what was presented.

NOAH and VOICE were at the table and allowed to participate. Why are these liberal advocacy groups considered "stakeholders" but I am not?  For that matter, why are developers considered stakeholders but not me? I'm pissed.

The presentation was very factual and quantified with numbers and illustrated by charts and graphs what we all already know and that is that housing is becoming more expensive in Nashville and that a lot of people who work in Nashville live outside the county and housing prices are rising faster than area median income.

My impression is that the consultant is unbiased and at least at this first meeting is providing data and is not advocating an inclusionary zoning policy. In fact, David Swartz of Economic & Planning Systems stated his role was not that of an advocate but to present data. 

Inclusionary zoning is essentially housing price fixing. It very well may be ruled a "taking" by the Supreme Court when the Court considers the issue, as it appears it is likely to do. While dozens, it not hundreds of cities have adopted some form of inclusionary zoning, three states have outlawed it.

Under most inclusionary zoning laws, developers of over a certain number of housing units, often as few as ten units, must set aside a certain percentage as "affordable" for people making x percentage of the area median income. According to a bill pasted by the Metro Council a few months ago, the Planning Commission is charged with developing a set of rules for the Council to consider adopting than would implement a local inclusionary zoning ordidance.

There is "really bad" inclusionary zoning and then just "bad" inclusionary zoning. The really bad mandates; the simply bad bribes by offering incentives for developers to include x number of "affordable" housing units in their developments. While I dislike policies that bribe developers to do certain thinks, if we must have an inclusionary zoning policy I would prefer to have one that rewards developers rather than one that punishes.

What happens with this form of price control known as "inclusionary zoning?"  The market rate units must have their price increased to subsidize the below market rate units.  The result may be that fewer total units get built and total housing cost increases for everyone else except those fortunate enough to get one of the set-aside unites.. The unintended consequences of inclusionary zoing is that fewer units get built and housing prices increase more than they otherwise would have. Builders do not have to build in Nashville and if they can make more money building elsewhere they will.

With Megan Barry serving as our new mayor and a much more liberal Metro Council, I think it will be difficult to stop Nashville from passing some form of inclusionary zoning.  I hope the Supreme Court outlaws this form of "taking." I also hope the State legislature passes a law to prohibit it. If neither of these things occur, I hope we adopt a bad form of inclusionary zoning rather than a really bad form of inclusionary zoning.

To view the power point presentation at last nights meeting follow this link.

Below are excepts from The Tennessean's report on last nights meeting.

Stakeholders weigh affordable housing options

by Holly Meyers, The Tennessean, Oct.13,2015 - Should new residential developments in Nashville be required to have affordable housing units?  ....planning department brought together housing development stakeholders for the first time Monday night to hear a consultant's data-packed presentation on factors that contribute to the national and local housing climate. The 50-person stakeholder group, which includes developers, lenders, housing advocates and members of the Metro Council, will provide input as the planning department sorts through solutions. ... inclusionary zoning is a divisive issue, David Schwartz, the company's vice president, emphasized to stakeholders at Monday's meeting that his firm wants to find the common ground and build consensus.
For more information on the topic, follow this link

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Conservatives get even scarcer on Metro Council.

The Tennessean got it about right in Conservatives get even scarcer on Metro Council. In the previous Council, on a good day, there were about ten conservatives. Now, on a good day, there are only about five, and among the liberals there are a lot more flaming leftist.

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Inclusionary Zoning & Affordable housing stakeholder public input meeting TODAY at 5:30

 From the Metro Planning Department:

The Planning Department is currently working with Economic & Planning Systems, which will conduct a feasibility study to identify appropriate policy direction. The feasibility study will guide the Planning Department in creating regulations and tools. The Planning Commission will make recommendations to the Council on those regulations and tools Nashville's goal in commissioning this study is to understand the practical options for structuring a locally-relevant inclusionary housing policy based on a comprehensive and detailed economic and policy analysis of inclusionary housing policy options.
The Inclusionary Housing Feasibility and Policy Study will include public input, centered on a Stakeholders Group comprised of developers, lenders and housing advocates.
The first Stakeholders Group meeting will be held on Monday, October 12 at 5:30 pm in the Sonny West Conference Center of the Howard Office Building at 700 2nd Ave South.

More information will be posted here as the study progresses.

My Comment:  This is late notice but if anyone can attend and speak against inclusionary zoning please do so. As a citizens and taxpayers of Nashville we are all stakeholders.  You can be sure that groups like NOAH, The Neighborhood Resource Center, and liberal ministers and civil rights advocates will be speaking in favor of a strict inclusionary zoning policy.  Members of the Planning Commission need to hear both sides of the issue.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Planned Parenthood Comic Book (about as funny as truck load of dead babies)

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Taxpayers Deserve a Fair and Thoughtful Investigation of Planned Parenthood

Phil Roe
by Congressman Phil Row, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee - Last week, we saw history made in the House of Representatives twice – for very different reasons. On Thursday, the Pope addressed Congress for the first time in history. Then on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner announced he would resign at the end of October. The Speaker is a good man and, though I have not always agreed with him, has always tried to do the best he could to fight the President’s liberal policies. Now, House Republicans must choose a new Speaker who can communicate our shared conservative values and renew the fight against ever-expanding government.
Many of my colleagues are putting their names forward for leadership posts. Right now, I’m in the process of meeting with each leadership candidate who has asked for my vote. I will only support a candidate committed to promoting and acting on a positive conservative agenda for House Republicans. We’ve got a lot of work to do within the House Republican Conference, and I’m excited to move forward and continue to get things done for the American people.
As you may know, on Wednesday the House passed a Continuing Resolution that would fund the government through December 11. I voted against this legislation because I believe more needs to be done to investigate Planned Parenthood’s alleged practice of selling the body parts of aborted children. These acts are abhorrent and must be stopped. The House has passed several bills to help address this issue. First, we are in the process of establishing a special investigative committee that will be tasked with determining the extent to which Planned Parenthood violated the law. This week, we passed H.R. 3495, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act, which give states the authority to withhold Medicaid funding from providers who offer abortion services, a move that has recently been blocked by the Center for Medicaid and Medicaid Services. As I’ve previously mentioned, the House has also acted to defund Planned Parenthood for one year and to further protect newborn babies who survive abortions.
Democrats have called the push for answers an attack on women’s access to health care, and I take great offense to that talking point. As an OB-GYN who spent my entire career caring for women, I believe we should move the funds from Planned Parenthood to other community health centers while Congress completes a thorough investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices. The allegations against Planned Parenthood – an organization that receives around $500 million in government funding each year – are deeply troubling. It is absolutely shameful that House and Senate Democrats refuse to provide transparency for taxpayers and conduct a fair and thoughtful investigation into these horrific claims.
Over the next two months, we must work in a bipartisan and bicameral way to find an acceptable path forward to address the issues with Planned Parenthood. I’ve heard from many constituents who wished to share their concerns about Planned Parenthood, and I believe this is an issue worth fighting for. You can rest assured I will continue to stand up for the views of East Tennesseans.

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The Boston Globe explains how Dean's Amp project was defeated.

Nashville’s ambitious new bus line seemed to have a green light — until the GOP-led Legislature, with help from the Koch brothers, stepped in. 

By Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, October 10, 2015 NASHVILLE — Karl Dean, a Democrat
in his second term as this city’s mayor, had a few minutes to tell President Obama about his dream: building a “trackless trolley” line that would connect Nashville’s gentrifying east side with its ritzy west. He had spent years submitting applications for a $75 million grant, and he made sure the president knew about it.

Two months after that January 2014 meeting in Nashville, the dream seemed to be coming true. The White House announced that money for Dean’s project was in the president’s budget.

..... “I’m not used to having the state come in and try to crush us,” Dean said in an interview last month, on his last full day in office. .... It showed how national politics, and secretly financed outside groups, can influence even local battles. ..... A city ordinance designed to stop discrimination against gays and lesbians was undone by the state. An effort to ban guns in Nashville’s parks was overturned by the state. .... Then came the battle over the 7-mile high-speed bus line, lyrically dubbed the
Rick Williams was the leading opponent of the Amp in Nashville.
“Amp,” that was supposed bring together the disparate sides of Music City. Instead, it tore Nashville apart. ... this sort of local battle has become a key to success for groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-backed organization that counts its Tennessee chapter among its most effective. ....
Rick Williams, the owner of Nashville Limousine Service for 15 years, also was aghast. ...
Williams said. He became chairman of a group he called “Stop Amp,” but said he figured the project was a done deal. ... Lee Beaman ..... also believed there was no chance to kill the project at City Hall, given Dean’s support. But stopping it at the state level seemed doable. That is where the Koch-supported group came in.

My Comment:  This is a good article, is well written, and captures the flavor of Nashville in words and pictures.  The writer got a few things wrong however in explaining the AMP: it was a dumb idea, proposed for the wrong corridor, and almost no one wanted it.

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