Saturday, April 02, 2016

National Popular Vote legislation withdrawn

From TN Eagle Forum Newsltter:
SB 1657 by *Tracy,(HB 1728) by *Sexton C
Election Laws - As introduced, adopts the interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.

FINALLY:  After months of hard work, continually 'counting votes', and the excellent testimony of our well spoken NPV experts, the Senate and House sponsors of the National Popular Vote legislation realized that they did not have the votes to get either bill out of the respective committees and both men pulled the legislation:
SB1657 Actions  March 30, 2016 - Assigned to General Subcommittee of Senate State and Local Government Committee
HB1728 Actions  March 29, 2016 - Taken off notice for calendar in Local Government Committee
NOW,  don't get too comfortable because I can almost assure you, with all the money behind this national endeavor
that we will have to fight this same battle in January 2017.  So in the meantime, please use the information found HERE to educate yourself, your friends and family, and ESPECIALLY any candidate for the General Assembly you speak with during this campaign season. 

My Comment: I am extremely pleased to see this defeated this session. Please drive a stake through its heart. If you have an opportunity to encounter your state legislator, please tell this is a very bad idea. For my previous post on this topic see National Popular Vote is a terrible idea. Please urge your legislators to vote "no.".

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TNGOP delegate selection meeting gets nasty.

 Since my previous post (TNGOP Confirms Final Slate of 2016 Convention Delegates. Here is the list)  I have talked to a several people who were at the meeting today and as I surmised, the discord resulting in a 40-25 vote to confirm the delegate list did in fact come down to the make up of the 14 at-large delegates appointed by the State Executive Committee. As was explained to me, for weeks and days leading up to the submission of the list to the SEC for their approval, people lobby the chairman asking that they be one of the 14.  Some of the 14 slots go to distinguished office holders who the party feels compelled to appoint; the others are pretty much open slots.  While the Chairman presents the list for an up or down vote, he does not want to have his list of delegates rejected so an effort is made to draw up a list than can win confirmation. 

The Trump supporters were not happy. The process got very contentious.  The news story from Politico reflects some of what I was told, so please read the story and I won't have to repeat the same information.  Some disgruntled Trump supporters distributed Chairman Ryan Haynes private cell phone number and he got dozens, maybe hundreds, of angry phone calls. (This is second hand information and I have not confirmed it with Haynes.) I was also told that there were threats on Haynes' life. (I have emailed Haynes for confirmation.) Some of the Trump supporters apparently did not understand the delegate selection process and thought that since Trump carried the state, he should get all of the delegates. About fifty Trump supporters attended the meeting today. Although all SEC meetings are open to the public, it is rare fore anyone other than members of the committee attend the SEC meetings.

On the floor at today's meeting, according to one person I talked to, among the ringleaders trying to defeat the presented slate was Mark Winslow.  You may know Mark Winslow as the member of the SEC who has a penchant for suing other Republicans and for working as a hired gun to elect Democrats to office and defeat Republicans.  You may notice, and I am pleased to point it out, that Mark Winslow who ran as a delegate was not elected or appointed.

During two hours of debate several parliamentary maneuvers were made to derail the confirmation of the list. One person told me the controversy boiled down to two member of the SEC who were appointed as Trump delegates.  Although they are require to vote for Trump on the first two ballots at the convention, after that they are free to vote their conscience and the Trump people said they were "too establishment." In the end the submitted delegate list was approved 40 to 25. Below is the Politico story.   

By Shane Goldmacher and Kyle Cheney, Politico,  04/02/18- Donald Trump’s campaign issued a late-night plea in Tennessee on Friday, telling supporters there that the state’s Republican Party was “trying to steal” his delegates and urging them to crash a party meeting on Saturday morning to stop them. .....“We won the votes. They are trying to steal them. I can’t believe I am writing this. But the Tennessee Republican Party wants to steal your vote TOMORROW,” Darren Morris, Trump’s Tennessee state director wrote in a missive late Friday. .... hired extra security for the event....At issue are the state’s 14 at-large delegates that were not assigned in the March 1 primary but are set to be selected by the party’s executive committee. Trump won the Tennessee primary and many of the delegates were directly elected at that time. Morris wrote that Trump’s campaign had struck a deal with party leaders on Wednesday to fill the remaining at-large slots with Trump’s share of the vote....."They informed us that they did not care about party procedures. They don't care about the Republican Party," Haynes said.....Scott Smith, rebutted the Trump campaign's allegations in an email, saying that the root of the conflict is the fact that some of Trump's Tennessee supporters "depend on threats, manipulation, outlandish accusations and behavior."......

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TNGOP Confirms Final Slate of 2016 Convention Delegates. Here is the list

At a meeting of the State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party today, the Executive Committee approved the final slate of delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by a vote of 40-25. Based on the results of the March 1st presidential preference primary, the delegates were allocated as follows: 

  • Donald Trump - 33 delegates 
  • Ted Cruz - 16 delegates 
  • Marco Rubio - 9 delegates 
Under Tennessee state law, delegates are bound to their respective candidate for first two rounds of balloting at the convention.. For the vote confirming the delegate list to be 40 to 25 there must have been some discord at the meeting. Since most of the delegates are elected, about the only thing that could be cause for discord is the 14 at-large delegates appointed by the RNC. While they must vote as pledged for the first two rounds of voting, they may not necessarily be loyal to the candidate for whom they are pledged.  If I learn more about what when on at the meeting I will update. To learn more about the delegate selection process, see A Primer on the 2016 Tennessee Republican National Convention Delegate Selection process.  If any one was at the meeting and would like to enlighten me about what happened, please contact me at

Here is the approved list of delegates:

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Friday, April 01, 2016

Mayor Barry releases six-point plan to end youth violence

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Thursday, the co-chairs of the Youth Violence Summit, Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway and Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry, presented their findings from the five Summits to Mayor Megan Barry, along with recommended actions that the city can take to reduce youth violence.

“I appreciate the Summit Co-Chairs for helping to produce this report and putting together the recommended actions, which I will review with my team over the coming weeks,” said Mayor Barry. “We’re going to see how we can strengthen existing programs and create new ones where necessary to connect youth to hope and to opportunity.”

“I’m excited about the fact that today we are getting ready to save some lives, we are getting ready to change some lives,” said Criminal Court Clerk Gentry. “Over the past few months, we’ve had the important discussions that we needed to have; now it’s time for action, and I look forward to working with Mayor Barry to make it happen.”

“I’m committed to this cause for somewhat selfish reasons, I’m ready to retire early,” joked Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway. “I want to retire because we’ve put in place the programs and policies that are needed to put an end to youth crime and violence and make my job obsolete. We’re ready to stop talking the talk, and start walking the walk.”

The report includes a summary of the findings and lessons learned over the course of the five Summit meetings and lays out six goals, with accompanying signs of success and recommended actions, which were presented to the Mayor:

  • Training & Employment - All youth have the opportunity to participate in career training and job opportunities so they can become college- and career-ready
  • Meaningful Youth Engagement - All youth have opportunity to participate in quality after-school and out-of-school activities
  • Health Awareness and Access - Reduce the number of youth exposed to trauma
  • Restorative Justice and Diversion - Increase the number of youth allowed to remain safely in their communities while under court supervision
  • Safe Environment - Youth feel safe and are safer in their homes, on the street and in school
  • Education - Youth receive a high-quality education from pre-K through high school
The Summit report is available online.

Opportunity might be the solution to rising youth violence in Nashville, says Mayor Megan Barry.

"By 2017, I want 10,000 of our youth to have an engaged opportunity that includes a paid internship," Barry told a group at the Oasis Center on Thursday afternoon.

The internships are one of the action items outlined in a new summit report — the result of five community meetings that began last December. The report was prepared by co-chairs Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry and Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway.

 by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean, March 31, 2016 - ....... The numbers are jarring. Over the past five years, 16,955 violent incidents in Nashville involved youth.

Last year, among the country's 50 largest cities, Nashville ranked second in the highest percentage increase in homicides — from 41 in 2014 to 78 in 2015.

Of those, 55 percent of the perpetrators were 25 years old or younger, and half those killed were younger than 25.

African-American males are disproportionately involved in the crimes, according to the report, both in terms of victims and those arrested. .......The report refers to youth violence as an “epidemic” with a range of root causes: joblessness and poverty; poor educational opportunities; a lack of adult role models; barriers to re-entry for those who have been incarcerated; and a cycle of trauma and violence. (link)

I commend the Mayor 

My Comment:  I commend the mayor for recognizing and tacking this crisis. I think the report missed it in identifying root causes however. I am convinced the root causes are out of wedlock births and welfare dependency and those two causes are closely related. Welfare programs made fathers unnecessary which led to the break down of that most basic building block of society- the family. Generational welfare dependency and no fathers in the home let to a distortion of values and a decreased sense of self worth which led to hopelessness and joblessness and crime and more out of wedlock births and more hopelessness and poverty which continued the downward spiral.

We may not be able to correct the root causes and even if we as a society decided to undo the damage of the welfare state, it would take a generation to see the results. So, while we can't fix the root causes anytime soon, that does not mean we should not try to address the immediate problem.  A good mentor, be it a scout leader or coach or boss or teacher can tern lives around. A good education can get a child headed toward college rather than prison.  We have seen this numerous times in which charter schools have produced results that have had every single child in a class of Black disadvantaged kids beat the odds and get accepted to college.

Some years ago, I was working closely with very low income people at the time welfare reform was implemented.  I saw people get their first job and saw the change it made in their lives. They had to be pushed out of the welfare nest but once they discovered the rewards of earning a living their sense of self worth and well being improved. They gained pride in earning a paycheck.  It is too bad we abandoned welfare reform and backtracked.  I have also seen low income people turn their lives around and change their habits and ways of thinking in order to achieve the dream of home ownership.

I oppose programs that subsidize poverty and keep people trapped in despair and make govern dependency a way of life, but we should not just abandon the poor to hopelessness. We should just not accept that it is normal for young Black men to kill each other. I am not sure all of the six points of the mayors program will work to reduce youth crime, and I have not carefully studied the program. Even if a program sounds good on paper, if it is not implemented well, it will fail.  What is proposed may not succeed and have the desired effect, but I think it is right to try. The status quo is not acceptable.

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Tennessee House votes to Scrutinize police seizures of property

By Chas Sisk- Tennessee lawmakers are demanding more information from law enforcement about asset seizures. The House voted unanimously Thursday to receive regular reports on how often police are taking property from suspects before trial. ...Tennessee lets law enforcement seize cash, automobiles and other property they believe have been used to commit a crime. It's then up to the property owner to prove those seized assets weren't used illegally — even when courts determine no crime was committed. House Bill 2176 would require the Department of Safety to report to the legislature each year the number of seizure cases opened, the number that also involved arrests, any types of property seized and how much cash was confiscated. (link)

My Comment: Across the nation there have been instances of abuse of forfeiture of assets. In my view you should not have to prove your innocents in order to get back your confiscated cash or property; the state should have to prove you are guilty before they can take it. However, this is a step in the right direction. Knowing the state legislature is looking over their shoulder, police will most likely abuse this practice less often and  if a problem exist the state legislature will be aware.

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And you thought rents were high in Nashville.

From Rentlist: 
Hello Rod,
This week we published our National Rent Report for the month of April. Overall, rent prices are steadily increasing nationwide. Here are some other highlights from our report:

  • San Francisco and NYC are neck and neck for the highest rents in the country, with 2-bedrooms in SF averaging $4,780, and 2-beds in New York at $4,450
  • National rents have increased by 0.4% over the past month and 2.7% over the past year. 
  • Orlando has the second fastest-growing rates in the country, having experienced an 8.9% rent increase over the past year. 
You can also access the latest data for your city or county on our rental data page.
You can find more of our analysis of rental price data and trends on our Rentonomics blog.

Our data comes from the several hundred thousand listings we have on our site, and we are really excited to get it into the hands of respected journalists who can share it with America's 100+ million renters. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Andrew Woo
Data Scientist, Apartment List

The median rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Nashville is $1350 which is a year to year change of 6.2%.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

EPA charges against Rep. Holt dropped, complaint withdrawn. Media conviction was premature.

Rep. Andy Holt
The media had a field day painting Republican Representative Andy Hold of  Dresden Tennessee as a major evil polluter and left the impression that he had been found guilty of committing  some terrible offense and the only thing to be determined was his punishment. He was alleged to have dumped thousands of gallons of hog waste into a stream. 

I like clean water and don't know what the standard should be and would prefer that no waste of any kind ever flows into a waterway, but I also like bacon and ham do not want to make it impossible for people to raise hogs. What I don't like is for the media to convict someone of a something and then discover that the media conviction was premature.  Here is how the Nashville Scene reported the story: The Farmer from Hog Dump: EPA Fines Rep. Holt $177K for Unauthorized Dumping.  Other media was almost as bad. Well, what do you know; the charges have been dropped and the complaint has been withdrawn (link). Below is a press release from Rep. Holt's office.

NASHVILLE, March 30, 2016—The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ended their investigation into State Rep. Andy Holt’s family farm and subsequently dropped their complaint.

“This has been an interesting process,” said Holt. “I’m thankful for those that have stood by my family and me over the past several months.”

Last Summer, the EPA filed a complaint against Holt’s family farm for discharging lagoon waste after historic rainfall compromised the levies in previous years.  A timely answer was filed by Holt, and there were motions to amend both the complaint & the answer. The matter was subsequently referred to an administrative judge for an alternative dispute resolution process.

“We self-reported all of this to the State and were cleared to discharge,” said Holt. “Nothing was ever hidden or kept secret. I did exactly what the State told me to do.”

On March 24, 2016, the EPA filed a motion to withdraw their complaint against Holt. The motion was not opposed by Holt and on March 25, 2016, the administrative law judge granted the motion and dismissed the action.

“I suppose what I find most interesting about this whole situation is how the media took it upon themselves to play jury and executioner,” continued Holt. “Multiple outlets made claims that the EPA had fined me hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Obviously, none of that is true. I was never fined a single penny.”

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NashvilleNext Receives National Planning Award from the American Planning Association

Press Release, Washington, D.C. – NashvilleNext, a three-year regional planning effort providing a 25-year vision for Metro Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee, has been named recipient of the American Planning Association’s (APA) prestigious 2016 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan.

APA’s Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan is presented annually to a plan that advances planning—the work of building and enriching communities. The award is named for Daniel Burnham, one of the nation’s most renowned urban planners.

A combined effort by city planners, 17 metro departments, and over 18,500 community participants, NashvilleNext provides a plan of action to achieve the community’s long-term vision. It addresses seven distinct elements, updates all 14 of Nashville’s community plans, and refreshes the planning commission’s multimodal transportation and right-of-way plans.

“NashvilleNext is a true community-driven plan to guide and grow Nashville in a way that benefits everyone,” said Doug Sloan, Executive Director of Nashville’s Metropolitan Planning Department. “Receiving this award is an honor for Nashville itself, as so many community members were involved in the planning and continue to work toward implementing our vision to become an even greater city.”

The planning process was guided by four core values or goals for the city: opportunity and inclusion, economic prosperity, healthy environment, and efficient government. The planning staff focused on the contributing interests that most affect the daily lives of residents. From the extensive public engagement, two themes emerged as key issues: preserving rural and neighborhood character, culture, and diversity; and improving affordability, transit, and economic opportunity.

“The thorough approach NashvilleNext took to understanding the diverse concerns of the community in updating its general plan is a model for comprehensive city planning everywhere,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, 2016 APA Awards Jury chair.  “Community involvement is the foundation of sound planning and the surest indicator of its success.”

Read more about NashvilleNext.

The 2016 APA National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon on April 4, 2016, during the APA National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The award winners will also be featured in the April 2016 issue of Planning magazine. For a list of all of the APA 2016 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit www.

APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities.APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science, and profession of good planning–physical, economic and social–so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit .

My Comment: I guess we should feel honored and pleased, but somehow I don't.  What does it mean to say the plan had 18,500 participants.  That somehow is supposed to give the plan legitimacy. Some of the 18,500 participants are people who visited the website once or answered one survey.  Also, those at the meetings were not a representative cross section of Nashville; they were people who care a lot about planning issues or particular topics. If the session was on housing, there were not normal people at that session, there were advocates of affordable housing and the same for other session devoted to particular topics. 

I sort of feel like the process was a sham. I think the 18,500 participants were just props to justify a preconceived notion of what should be in the plan. I felt part of the plan was boilerplate text and they just changed the name of the city.  I don't really believe, "NashvilleNext is a true community-driven plan to guide and grow Nashville in a way that benefits everyone."

I did take part. I went to several of the public sessions.  I heard from some good speakers and enjoyed some thought provoking discussion. I put little sticky dots on various policy options. I played on the NashvilleNext website. I think all of this public participation however was designed to make it feel like like "a true community-driven plan."

I don't know how much this process cost. If you go to the NashvilleNext website you do not find that information. I think we would have been just as well served if the staff of the planning commission would have developed a plan, presented it to the Planning Commission, and after their approval it was sent to the Metro Council to be adopted after the Council had a public hearing. I would have felt like it was as much "my" plan as I feel the NashvilleNext is "my" plan. A mass of people cannot draw up a plan and 18,500 people can not develop a plan. Representative Democracy already has a mechanism for conducting the affairs of the public.

The plan is hundreds of pages long. I have not read it. I doubt many of the 18,500 participants have read it either, but it will give policy makers a justification for doing whatever they want to do, when they say, "It is in the NashvilleNext Plan. That is what the people of Nashville want."

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Mayor Barry to Deliver State of Metro Address at Ascend Amphitheater

Press Release, 3/30/2016, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Office of Mayor Megan Barry has filed a resolution with the Metro Council to announce that the 53rd Annual State of Metro Address will be held at Ascend Amphitheater on Friday, April 29 from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

“This is an exciting opportunity to highlight the priorities of my administration as expressed in my budget proposal and share my vision for the future of Metro Nashville,” said Mayor Barry. “I hope the public will come out and join me, along with the Metro Council and other Metro officials, in this momentous occasion that will help set the tone of our city for the year to come.”

The State of Metro Address will include important details about the Mayor’s budget proposal, which will be presented to the Metro Council following the event. In addition to remarks from Mayor Barry, the event will include performances by Metro high school marching bands, the city’s youth poet laureate, and a special musical guest.

WHO: Mayor Megan Barry, Vice Mayor David Briley, Metro Councilmembers and special invited guests
WHAT: 53rd Annual State of Metro Address
WHEN: Friday, April 29, 2016 at 11:30am
WHERE: Ascend Amphitheater

Members of the public are encouraged to attend. For counting purposes only, attendees can RSVP online. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis on the stage of Ascend Amphitheater, with overflow seating available in the seats just beyond the stage. Local food trucks will be on hand outside of Ascend for attendees wishing to purchase lunch.

My Comment: That is a good reasonable time and an accessible place. I could never get up early enough to go to one of those 7:30AM speeches.  I will try to go to this one.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

State Senate approves ban on mandatory inclusionary zoning

In a move to stop local governments from adopting mandatory so-called "inclusionary zoning" regulations, the State Senate voted 26-3 yesterday to approve Senate Bill 1636, which would prohibit such policies.  The bill would prohibit mandating that builders build a certain number of affordable units but would not prohibit cities from using incentives that reward builders who include affordable units.

Mandatory inclusionary zoning policies usually mandate that if a builder is approved to build new housing or convert a rental complex to a condo complex, that a certain percent of the units must be set aside as "affordable."  Affordable may mean different things to different people but it is generally agreed that housing is "affordable" if it does not exceed 31% of a persons gross monthly income. Most inclusionary zoning regulations attempt to set aside a certain number of units that will be affordable for a family making 80% of the area median income but some cities require it to be affordable at much lower levels of income.

As an example of what price point we are speaking of, in Nashville 80% of the area median income for a family for four is $53,500. Doing the math ($53,500/12 months x 31%) means this family could afford a house or rent payment of $1383 a month. Given the current prevailing interest rates of 4% on a 30-year fixed mortgage that would finance about a $220,000 house.  That payment would include principal, interest, taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance premium  and any mandatory condo or HOA fees. So if metro had a bill that said 14 percent of all units in a development had to be affordable, and the developers was building 100 units of housing that are priced at $400,000, to sell 14 of them at a price of $220,000 would mean the developer would have to increase the price on all of the other units by about $29,000 in order to generate the same revenue.  The effect of this is that some people who previously could have been able to afford a $400,000 house may not be able to afford a $420,000 house.

If the requirement is that 18% be priced affordable, the price for all other houses in the development would have to be even greater. If the requirement should be that the house be affordable for a family of four making 60% or the area median income, the price of the remaining houses would have to be even higher. If the requirement was that the set aside units be affordable for a family of three or two rather than a family or four, the price would have to be much lower still for the set aside units. An inclusionary zoning policy is essentially taking someones property by forcing them to sell it at a price lower than for what they want to sell it.

Some unanswered questions, or at least questions which I do not know the answer to, is do the "affordable" units have to be of the same size and quality of the affordable units?  Also, when speaking of upscale condo's in a downtown area, the amenities may include valet services, dog walking services, concierge services, swimming pool, gym and fresh cut flowers. Is the person who gets one of the set-aside affordable units entitled to all of the same amenities?  If all of the other units have granite counter tops does the set-aside units also get granite counter tops?

Rental price controls were already illegal in Tennessee, so when Nashville considered an inclusionary zoning proposal they were essentially talking about price control in the homes-for-sale market. In July 2015 the Metro Council passed an ordinance that directed the Planning Commission to develop an inclusionary zoning ordinance to present to the Council. That directives said such rules should establish that 14% of the units in any new development or renovation of existing developments or conversion of existing rental developments to for-purchase units, be set aside as "affordable."  It defined "affordable," as affordable to someone making between 60% and 120% of the area median area income.

Since that time, the Planning Commission hired a consultant and  held hearings and developed a proposal that while still bad, was not near as bad as it could be.  It depended more on incentives than mandates. It shifted some incentives that currently promote "green" and energy efficient development and some incentives that promote other desired objectives to incentives that reward developers for setting aside units that are priced to be affordable.

The result of what the Planning Commission has proposed it that no one is happy.  The Chamber of Commerce and several other pro-development organizations have taken a stand against it because it does too much and places too much of a burden on developers and the liberal groups that advocate for the poor and many in the affordable housing community do not like it because it does not go far enough.

I am pleased to see this bill advance in the Senate. On every occasion I have had to speak one-on-one with a State legislator I have urged them to pass such a prohibition.  Inclusionary zoning is simply wrong and it is also ineffective. To help some people, it prices other people out of the market and in practice where it is in place it has produced very few units of affordable housing. Some studies show that it actually can make housing less affordable. Nashville will still probably grapple with some sort of proposal that will be called "inclusionary zoning" but if what passed the senate passes the house, at least it will not be a mandatory program.

For more on this latest development see, Tennessee Lawmakers Move To Block Mandatory Affordable Housing Requirements.

For much more on Nashville's effort to impose inclusionary zoning, follow this link

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Monday, March 28, 2016

1st Tuesday meets April 5th. Guest speaker Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends:

A bit over 9 years ago I began seeking speakers for a group of sometimes 20 people named 1ST TUESDAY. A rare Republican leader who had never heard of 1st TUESDAY [ or Tim Skow as I recall ] … returned my call and said, "Why sure I will come and speak! Tell me about your group’’.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
Since then, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has been 1ST TUESDAY’s ‘’1st Friend’’ ... and our most frequent Speaker. On Tuesday, April 5th our ‘’1st Friend’’ will return for a final time as the notable Lt. Gov. of Tennessee!

Often I tout the laurels of our upcoming Speaker. In this case, our ‘’1st Friend of 1ST TUESDAY’’ needs no touting! No doubt, we will get an earful of what is happening in the TN Legislature and political insights at all levels.

With a room full of longtime friends, important guests and stories galore, this will be a memorable 1ST TUESDAY unlike ANY other! Doors open at 11am at Waller Law - 511 Union Street 27th floor. Lunch from Copper Kettle is $20 for Members - $25 for Guests.

Secure seating for you and your friends at and click on “Join Us’’. [visit our Sponsors websites. Including Danielle Spence at Servis 1st Bank ] Please pass on this invite to Republicans you know who also appreciate Lt. Gov. Ramsey for all he’s done for Tennessee! See you Tuesday, April 5th for a most memorable day at 1ST TUESDAY!

Tim Skow,  Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Stop making me like Trump!

This pretty much sums up my feeling too.  If you protest by blocking access to your opponents rally, then I am probably for whatever it is you are protesting.  The more that people like Bill Ayers, Michael Moore, Al Sharpton, and Rosie O'Donnell denounce Trump, the more I like him and I don't want to like him. He is scary, he a pompous narcissist, he is not a conservative, he has no core values; but, I so detest his outspoken enemies that they are making me warm to Trump.  Anyone so hated by the worst people in America, just can't be all that bad.  Please stop making me like Trump!

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mayor Barry wraps up most budget hearings. Everyone wants more money

Mayor Megan Barry wrapped up the Mayor's budget hearings  this past week for almost all departments, and it looks like everyone wants more money. The Mayor is yet to hear from the Schools and that is the department of local governments that gets the biggest share of metro dollars.

As reported in today's Tennessean here are the budget increase request from various departments:

  • Police, $12.1 million
  • Metro Hospital Authority, $7.5 million
  • Fire $7.1 million
  • Sheriff, no operating subsidy increase but $20 Million for capital request
  • Emergency Communications, $14.1 milliion
  • Parks, $2.9 million
  • Libraries, $1.9 million
  • Public Works, $3 million
  • Metro Arts Commission, $2.3 million
  • Metro Planning Department, $1 million
That is a lot of additional money being requested and schools will request a lot. After the Mayor hears from Schools and gets any follow up information she might have requested, then the finance department will estimate revenues for the coming year. The biggest source of revenue is the property tax, followed by the sales tax.  Some agencies such as Metro Water operate off of their own user fees. In the case of the water department they are funded by users when users pay their water bill. Some other departments get a significant portion of their budget from federal or state pass through dollars or from user fees.

Once the Finance Department has projected revenues, then the Mayor's office will draw up a proposed Metro Budget.  This budget is presented to the Council, then the council holds budget hearings and may reject the mayor's budget or substitute and pass their own budget. Usually the Council tweaks the mayor's budget and calld the tweaked version of the budget "the council's" budget and substitutes that budget for the mayor's budget.  This then is the "substitute budget" or also it may be called "the council's budget."

There is a lot of confusion about the budget process.  You have no doubt heard council members say they voted against the budget. They often leave the impression that they were voting against a budget that raised taxes. I hate to tell you this but you are being mislead if the councilman left the impression they he was voting against a budget because it raised taxes. When the Council rejects a substitute budget or simply votes "no" on the mayor's budget, the mayor's budget become the official city budget anyway.  That is the way the charter is written.  So, if the mayor's budget would have required a  50 cent tax rate increase and the substitute budget would have required a 42 cent tax rate increase, the effect of voting against the substitute budget requiring a 42 cent tax rate increase is to vote instead for a budget requiring a 50 cent tax rate increase. I don't like that that is the way the charter is written, but that is the way it is and the public ought to know when they are being misled. A "no" vote for the substitute budget before the council is in effect a vote for the mayor's budget.

So, once the mayor presents her budget, the council will tweak it, substitutes the tweaked version for the original mayors budget and pass it. The mayor has already said she will not propose a tax increase this year, but no doubt the council will move a few dollars around in the budget and substitute anyway. They always do.

The current metro budget is $1.96 billion. Without raising taxes, revenue growth will result in a budget that exceeds $2billion this year.  Metro has never said, "we are bring in more revenue than last year, so why don't we cut taxes."  It just doesn't happen.  There is no pressure to cut taxes and there is always pressure to grow government. The mayor has said she will not raise taxes this year, but I am prepared for the mother of all metro tax increases in 2017, unless their is massive outpouring of opposition, and I don't see that happening and really doubt it would change the outcome anyway.

To read the latest from The Tennessean about the budget see, Nashville mayor borrows from 'Shark Tank' during budget process.

To understand why we can expect a major tax increase in 2017 see,  No tax increase in 2016 but look for a whopper of an increase in 2017!

For a deeper understanding of the Metro Budget and the budgeting process  and to see where the money comes from and where it goes see, Citizens' Guide to the Metro Budget.

To watch the individual budget hearing conducted by the mayor and to watch the department heads justify their budget increase request see, MetroGovNashville-Youtube. From the list of videos, find the department of government that interest you or sample a few of the hearings.

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Simple math shows marriage is crucial to ending poverty

I am firmly convinced that the number one cause of poverty is children born out of wedlock. "Out of wedlock" is a quaint term now and is almost never used anymore, but it should be.  Instead of treating an unmarried women who has children as someone meriting of praise, in my view, when an unmarried  women gives birth it should still be shameful. Instead of celebrated an unmarried birth it should be shamed and pitied.

Study after study shows a correlation between marital status and family poverty.  That should not be a surprise. Correlation does not prove cause and effect of course but there are reason why a parents marital status correlates to poverty.  There is almost as much correlation to marital status of the parents and poverty as there is to education level of the parents and poverty. We cannot significantly reduce poverty until we again make it the norm that people marry before having children.

Brad Wilcox in a piece published in AEI says just because "putting a ring on it" won’t cure all poverty, that doesn't mean marriage is irrelevant. Below is a chart from the study that illustrates the correlation between the marital status of the parents and poverty. To read his article follow this link: The math favors married parents.

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National Popular Vote is a terrible idea. Please urge your legislators to vote "no."

The following is reposted from  the Tennessee Eagle Forum newsletter:

SB 1657 by *Tracy,(HB 1728) by *Sexton C
Election Laws - As introduced, adopts the interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.

You will not want to miss the brief excellent video:
The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College

STATUS:  I hardly know where to start.  The House Local Government Committee met on Tuesday.  They got to HB1728 about 9:25am with the State Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins, telling the committee that one thing wrong with this bill was that the caption didn't open the proper parts of the TN Code Annotated and that, should it pass, it would go to court. Strangely, Chairman Tim Wirgau called on the opponents of the bill testify first.  (Normally proponents of the legislation before the committee testify first.)  John Ryder, Legal Council for the Republican National Committee and TN National Committeeman; Linda Knight, a local attorney, Hans A. von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, and Sean Parnell, President, Impact Policy Management, LLC., Alexandria VA., did an excellent job of explaining why the NPV is a terrible idea. When their time was up, the proponents testified:  Sherry Phillips (Judson Phillips' wife), Michael Steel, former Republican National Committee Chair and former Lt. Governor Maryland, Rob Johnson, former State Senator in OK.  After their time was up  opponents were given another opportunity to speak, this time including a young man, Steven Puckett (a democrat) if I got his name right.. Then the proponents including Pat Rosensteel from the National Popular Vote, were given a few more minutes.  By then, the time in the committee had expired, so sponsor, Rep. Sexton made a few remarks and rolled the bill until next week, then the committee adjourned.
So.......HB1728 is back on the Local Government Committee on
Tuesday at 3:00pm
SB1657 is in the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday at 10:30am.

ACTION:  Please contact these legislators and URGE them to vote NO on this legislation:,,

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