Saturday, April 16, 2016

What's on the Council agenda for 4-19-16: $ for Farmers Market, reinning in MDHA.

The Metro Council meets Tuesday night April 19th at 6:30PM.  Council meetings are televised live on Comcast Channel 3 if one wants to watch it live.  The next day one can catch it on the Metro YouTube channel and I repost it  here. I watch it so you don't have to and summarize it and call attentions to any portions that may be worth watching.

Council meetings are not quite as boring if you know what the council is voting on. Here is a link to the agenda and the staff analysis.

I am only listing those items that I think are significant or are important to me and you may have an interest in some other item on the agenda, so it you really care, you may want to read the agenda for yourself.

There are ten appointments to Boards and Commissions on the agenda for Council confirmation.  Some of these positions are coveted and powerful.  If you follow local politics carefully, you may want to see who is getting appointments in the new administration. The council routinely rubber stamps whomever the mayor appoints. I suspect that even under the liberal Barry administration there is not a lot of diversity in appointments to boards and commissions, not that I think diversity for the sake of diversity is desirable goal.  I would be curious to know however, who is getting appointed.  I would like to see a breakdown by profession, race, gender, council district, and to whom the appointee to has made political contributions. If I had unlimted time, I would do such an analysis.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-172  appropriates $3,347,400 split between different departments to provide money to those departments that was not originally in their budget. This happens every year and some of this is understandable. When drawing up a budget the State Trail Courts, as an example, will not know how many trials they will have so they will not know how much to budget for jury pay so all they can do is estimate. At the end of the year, their expenditure and income must balance, so if they come up short this is where they get the money to make the accounts balance. On the other hand, some of this is just unjustified subsidy to a department. I like Farmers Market, but it has never been able to break even. When I say "break even," that does not include capital cost; they cannot cover their operating cost.  This resolution contains an additional $837,900 for Farmers Market. Maybe it is time to privatize Farmers Market or turn it over to the Parks Department or change their mission or change management.  Farmers Market is a money pit. I am not opposed to a modest subsidy, but they should not have an open unlimited line of credit.  I do not know the full financial picture of Farmers Market, but it seems they are always needing more money.  At the last Budget and Finance Committee meeting there were a lot of hard questions asked of Farmers Market and B&F recommended this be deferred one meeting, so at the last council meeting it was deferred "by rule."  It will be interesting to see what happens in B&F on Monday.

 RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-205   authorizes "the Metropolitan Department of Law to compromise and settle the two distinct wage and hour class action claims brought by Vonda Noel on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated Davidson County Sheriff's Office employees against the Metropolitan Government in the amount of $199,936.25 for the Fair Labor Standards Act class; and in the amount of $1,900,000.00 for the Rule 23 unpaid wages class; for a total of $2,099,936.25 to be paid out of the Judgment and Losses Fund." The staff analysis devotes five pages to explaining this. For more information see the analysis at this link, starting on page seven.

BILL NO. BL2016-123  on second reading would establish than any proceeds from the sale of land owned by MDHA in the Rutledge Hill redevelopment district will be re-invested in the Rutledge Hill redevelopment district or returned to the General Fund. It would also require MDHA to report to the council the status of  indebtedness obligations owed by MDHA related to the Rutledge Hill Redevelopment Plan. This is a positive development. MDHA has had too much authority and TIF has been abused. Too little money from downtown development flows into the General Fund. I am pleased to see the Council take this and similar steps. The staff analysis devotes two pages to explaining this bill. For more information see page 13 of the staff analysis and read the bill.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Governor Haslam vetoes the bill making the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

Today Governor Haslam vetoed the bill making the Bible the official book of Tennessee.  I support that decision and his reasoning for that decision. Below is his letter explaining his veto.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I just don't see the need for the 'bathroom bill.'

While I agree in the abstract that men should use men’s bathrooms and women should use women’s bathrooms, I cannot work up much passion for the pending bathroom bill. I just don’t see the need for it. It is not as if there are hordes of transsexuals, transgendered people and cross dressers trying to use the bathroom that corresponds to their outward appearance. I question if this is a response to a real problem or an attempt to make a statement.

I have never in my life encountered a transgender person using the restroom at the same time as I. Of course there are very few transgendered men and more transgendered women so it would not be surprising that I would never encounter a transgender man. There are very few transgender women either however but I bet most women have never encountered a transgendered women in their restroom. ( I am sure most know, but for clarification a transgender “man” is person who is biologically a women but acts like and dresses as a man such as Chaz Bono, and a transgender “women” is a person who is really a man but identifies and dresses as a women such as Caitlyn Jenner.)

If the bill should pass, it would have no impact in practise on anything. The rare transgendered person would most likely ignore it. The transgendered women would go to the women’s bathroom and go in a stall and do her business, maybe primp at the mirror a little and leave and no one would be the wiser. How would this law be enforced? How could it be enforced! Would we have to have a genital inspector at the door of each restroom comparing birth certificates to genitalia? What would be the procedure for enforcement?

Ignoring this “problem” would probably cause much less disruption than trying to fix it. If this proposed legislation was law and a chick-with-a-dick goes into the men’s room and does “her” business at the men’s urinal there would be more disruption than if she went into the women’s room undetected and did her business in the women’s restroom. One of the stupidest arguments I have heard about this bill is that parents want to protect their daughters from boys being in the girls restrooms. I think your daughters have much more to fear from aggressive lesbians in the girls restrooms, which is probably none at all, than they do from transgendered women. I don’t think transgendered women want to molest your daughters.

This bill would only apply to public schools and colleges. I think if there is a problem at any of those institutions, the local administrators should try to resolve it, and if that fails, the local policy making body should address it. If it then becomes a problem that can’t be solved at that level, then maybe it would be time for a law.  More than likely the way this would ever become an issue is if some junior high guy starts dressing as a girl. If this happens, maybe "she" can be escorted to the restroom by a teacher and other students can leave the restroom while he does "her" business or maybe "she" can use the faculty restroom until he or she sorts this out.  The rare occurrence of this ever happening hardly justifies a state law.

According to this proposed law, even if a person had had a complete sex change, they would still have to use the restroom that corresponded to the sex on their original birth certificate. I don’t know if there is really such a thing as a person born in the body of the wrong sex or if people who undergo a sex change are people with severe mental issues, but in any event, if they have had a sex change and now have all of the physical attributes of a women, in my view it would be wrong to force them to use the men’s bathroom.

There are issues about loss of Title X funds if this passes and there are threats of boycotts and loss of business. How much of that threat is real I don’t know. I hate to see the State be bullied and I don’t want to let Hollywood and rock star celebrities dictate our policy. It does appear PayPal pulled out of North Carolina due to passing a similar bill, so there could be some loss of business opportunity. The loss of business opportunity and federal funds are factors, but my main concern with the bill is that this is a solution in search of a problem, is another unnecessary law, and to a degree it is simply mean-spirited. I think the State legislature should send it to a summer study committee.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

FACT President Blasts Attorney General's 'Bathroom Bill' Opinion

Press release, FRANKLIN, Tenn. (April 11, 2016) – The following statement regarding Attorney General Slatery’s opinion of House Bill 2414, the “bathroom bill,” can be attributed to FACT President David Fowler:

Attorney General Slatery’s opinion regarding the risk to the state of losing Title IX funding if House Bill 2414 passes puts forth a carefully worded legal position that only the trained lawyer can decode to deconstruct the fear of the federal government it engenders.

It essentially regurgitates legal arguments made by the Obama administration that were flatly and unequivocally rejected by the only two courts to actually rule on them. A first-year law student would get in trouble for writing a brief that ignored relevant persuasive authority as if it did not exist!

The misleading nature of these omissions is compounded by the fact that the attorney general instead cites settlement agreements, not court decisions, entered into with the U.S. Department of Education. A settlement agreement only means that the school districts decided not to litigate the clear meaning of the word “sex” in Title IX and just go along with what the Obama administration wanted. Settlement agreements have no persuasive value as a matter of law, unlike the court decisions that have actually ruled in favor of sex-designated bathrooms.

Thankfully, the attorney general did mention that, by law, no money can be withheld from a state until the state loses its legal arguments, and then only if it doesn’t come into compliance with that ruling within 30 days. By law, no money can be withheld during this process, and no money can be withheld retroactively.

In other words, contrary to the general impression the opinion tends to create, legislators need to understand that there is little risk that the state will lose any Title IX money so long as it complies with whatever the U.S. Supreme Court might someday say the word “sex” means. No one needs to run around like their pants are on fire as if there is some immediate, real threat to Tennessee losing Title IX funds.

But the bottom line is that Tennessee cannot be held hostage by what the Supreme Court might possibly say at some point about the meaning of the word “sex” when the law, as it exists right now, is clearly in support of House Bill 2414.

The people of Tennessee are tired of having their public policies being dictated to them by the various branches of the federal government, and they sure don’t want the state surrendering without a fight to the Obama administration on whether boys can choose to use a girl’s bathroom or locker room.
The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), which Fowler heads, was formed in 2006 by a group of citizens concerned about the growing negative impact of public policies on marriage, families, life, and religious liberty. FACT’s mission is to equip Tennesseans and their elected officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values God’s design for the family, for the sake of the common good. For more information, visit

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tennessee Pastors Network Challenges Lawmakers on "Bathroom Bill."

Petition Effort Gaining Momentum

Press release, NASHVILLE, TN -The Tennessee Pastors Network today announced that it has made great strides in bringing the concerns of thousands of Tennessee voters to Legislative Plaza.  These actions stem from legislation being considered this week by several Committees on SB2387 by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and HB2414 by Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet).

The bill would require students in Tennessee schools to use bathrooms and lockers rooms that correspond to their determined sex noted on their birth certificates.  Opposition has arisen from LGBT groups demanding students be able to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the student’s “feelings” about which sex he/she is.

“People across Tennessee are enraged that our elected officials have to spend valuable time debating such a subject,” said Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker of Sparta.  “In addition, they cannot believe that any Tennessee lawmaker would consider placing the vast majority of students at risk.”

Pastor Walker has led a delegation of concerned ministers and concerned citizens to meet with lawmakers ever since this legislation was brought forward.  This issue is engaging the citizens to sign petitions in support of this bill in large numbers.

Pastor Walker continued, “Tennessee lawmakers may need to be reminded that it’s the citizens that go to the polls to vote their values and not corporations bullying our state. Our lawmakers need to know beyond a reasonable doubt that that Tennessee citizens will not tolerate this kind of dangerous situation for our children.”

He concluded, “Lawmakers are on the record as saying that they are not hearing anything from constituents. Tennesseans need to be reaching out by phone, email and text to their elected Representatives and Senators and letting them know their individual concerns about these dangerous encroachments into our state.”

For more information, visit

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tennessee Attorney General Warn Of Fallout From Transgender 'Bathroom Bill'. Barry, Obama, Hollywood, Music stars, business community speak out in opposition

Nashville Musicians, Tennessee Attorney General Warn Of Fallout From Transgender 'Bathroom Bill'

by Chas Sisk / WPLN, April 13 - The state's top lawyer is warning of potentially dire consequences to Tennessee and local school districts if lawmakers move forward with a plan to require transgender students to use the bathroom of their birth sex. .... Tennessee faces a national backlash....

The attorney general notes that the U.S. Department of Education has taken the position that ignoring gender identity violates Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in public education. That means districts could be stripped of federal funding if they try to enforce the law.

"In sum, if a transgender student is required by a school district in Tennessee to use a restroom or locker room that is consistent with his or her anatomical gender rather than his or her gender expression or gender identity, and if that student files a complaint, DOE, applying its current interpretation of Title IX, will almost certainly require the school district to permit the student access to the facility consistent with his or her gender expression," the attorney general writes. (link)

Fiscal concerns prompt delay of bathroom bill

by Joel Ebert, The Tennessean, April 13, 2016 -Citing a revised fiscal note — which said the state could see a potential loss of $300,000 in tax revenue with the legislation's passage — Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, who serves as vice chairman of the finance committee, asked Bell to delay action on the measure until after the panel addresses various budget bills, which were also scheduled to be taken up on Tuesday. .... The bill's fiscal note also pointed out that the state faces the prospect of losing federal Title IX funding, which is estimated in next year's budget to be as much as $1.2 billion for K-12 and higher education. .... , a White House spokesman criticized Tennessee's proposed law and similar ones in other states during a news briefing. (link)

 Barry Urges Lawmakers To Consider Economic Impact of Anti-LGBT Legislation

Metro Government press release, 4/7/2016 - 
Estimates show a potential loss of $58 million in direct visitor spending, costing our city and state over $10 million in revenue

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 7, 2016) – Mayor Megan Barry has released the following statement regarding HB2414/SB2387, legislation intended to discriminate against transgender students which passed the House Education Administration & Planning Committee on Wednesday after having initially been sent to a summer study committee, and HB1840/SB1556, legislation that allows denial of counseling and therapy services to LGBT citizens and casts additional discrimination on those seeking help:

“This legislation doesn’t reflect Nashville’s values and doesn’t do anything to improve the quality of life for citizens of our city or state. If some lawmakers don’t see the value in recognizing people’s dignity and privacy, I hope they can at least see the negative economic impact and potential loss of revenue to Nashville and the State of Tennessee. We’ve seen the negative effects that similar laws in North Carolina have had on their economy, and we’ve already received indications that conventions might pull out of Nashville or eliminate our city from consideration should HB2414/SB2387 become law – resulting in a potential loss of over $10 million in state and local tax revenue and nearly $58 million in direct visitor spending removed from our economy.

“That is the loss of economic activity in just one sector of our city’s economy. Our future ability to attract film and television production will also be impacted, and we could expect to see other industry sectors impacted, as well. That’s quite a price to pay for legislation that would seem to hurt people – including some of our youngest and our most vulnerable – without actually benefitting anyone in the process. Instead of creating complex and confusing regulations for restrooms, or becoming the only state in the nation to allow discrimination by counseling professionals, the state should work with local governments to continue our economic growth, address traffic problems, and give our schools the resources and support they need to be successful.”

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. has heard from convention planners who have booked in Nashville and been told that they will not come if HB2414/SB2387 becomes law. Additionally, there are indications that nine other groups are likely to abandon plans to meet in Nashville should the bill pass.

3 definite groups that will cancel meetings in Nashville:
  • $8,985,308 in direct spending
  • $703,540 in state taxes
  • $916,095 in local taxes
9 tentative groups that likely will not book in Tennessee:
  • $48,791,853 in direct spending
  • $3,746,217 in state taxes
  • $4,874,125 in local taxes
In total, risking 12 groups:
  • $57,777,161 in direct spending
  • $4,449,757 in state taxes
  • $5,790,220 in local taxes
The actual impact is anticipated to be far greater should this bill become law and bring greater national attention to anti-LGBT efforts within the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee tourism, TV leaders: Bathroom bill could cost jobs, revenue .......Nashville's top tourism executive said the bill, slated for consideration Wednesday by a legislative committee, could lead to lost conventions and the revenue they generate. .... The bill damages the image of Tennessee as a welcoming place, contended Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. President and CEO Butch Spyridon. He said two groups have said Nashville won’t be considered as an option for future conventions if the law passes. A CVC spokeswoman said those unspecified conventions would bring more than 10,800 combined hotel room nights. .... “Letting this be the reason we lose the ‘Nashville’ show would be a huge blow,”...

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

2nd Vote Identifies Alternative to PayPal

“When PayPal joined the misinformation campaign about North Carolina’s efforts to protect small business owners and people of faith, 2nd Vote wanted to make sure conservatives knew that this company did not align with their values on very important issues,”
Press release from 2nd Vote- In light of e-commerce giant PayPal’s (2nd Vote score: 2.4 - Lean Liberal) advocacy against common sense protections for small businesses and religious liberty in North Carolina, 2nd Vote has added a new company to its scoring database as an alternative option for payment processing.
ProPay, Inc. is a financial services company based in Lehi, Utah that specializes in payment processing and other payment-related products. In 2012, ProPay was acquired by Total System Services, Inc.
After assessing ProPay’s record of advocacy on the issues, 2nd Vote has given the company a score of 3.6 (Lean Conservative). Below is a breakdown of ProPay’s positions on the issues that 2nd Vote scores:
Life - Conservative (5): ProPay’s parent company, Total System Services, Inc., is a corporate partner of the Salvation Army, a Pro-Life organization.
Marriage - Conservative (5): ProPay’s parent company, Total System Services, Inc. is a corporate partner of the Salvation Army, an organization that affirms traditional marriage
2nd Amendment - Lean Liberal (2): While ProPay has not explicitly advocated on 2nd Amendment issues, the company does not allow payment processing for firearm purchases.
Education - Neutral (3): ProPay has remained neutral on the issues of Common Core and School Choice
Environment - Neutral (3): ProPay has remained neutral on Environmental issues.
“When PayPal joined the misinformation campaign about North Carolina’s efforts to protect small business owners and people of faith, 2nd Vote wanted to make sure conservatives knew that this company did not align with their values on very important issues,” said 2nd Vote Executive Director Lance Wray. “We’ve seen conservatives engage PayPal through social media platforms because they understand the need to hold corporations accountable for their advocacy.”
2nd Vote’s research team found no evidence of ProPay advocating for, or against, RFRA type legislation, SOGI laws or so-called “Bathroom Bills”.
“Many small businesses, as well as non-profits, use online payment processing services, and, from day one, what’s going on in North Carolina has been about small business,” added Wray. “We think that ProPay provides a service that small business owners should look at adopting because they can be comfortable that the costs to them and to their consumers won’t support anti-religious liberty advocacy.”
More information on the research behind the score or ProPay and PayPal can be found on the scorepage at
About 2nd Vote
2nd Vote is a resource for helping consumers make better-informed decisions about where to spend their money. 2nd Vote conducts extensive research on multiple issues to shed light on the various support that companies and non-profits give to specific issues that are important to those who follow public policy. The free app is available as an Apple, Android, Web and Kindle app. Follow 2nd Vote on Twitter @2ndvote and on Facebook at

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, April 11, 2016

Fraud and corruption and mismanagement at the Airport

by Anita Wadhwani and Nate Rau, The Tennessean, April ll, 2016 - Former Metro Nashville Airport Authority official John T. Howard was sentenced on Monday to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution stemming from charges of money laundering, wire fraud and accepting a bribe.

Howard’s sentencing comes one week after an airport contractor who allegedly joined in on the scheme was charged with conspiracy. .... contractors would return a portion of the payments from the airport to him. (link)

Ex-airport executive pleads guilty to $1.1 million fraud

Consultant's report slams Nashville Airport Authority, calls for culture change 

The Airport Authority has grown top heavy, according to the Greeley Pond report. About 10 percent of its 290-person workforce is senior-level managers.

The Airport Authority also has not been forward-thinking.

The airport has no formal plan for adding new air services, according to the report.

“It became clear that the organization and its interactions were the result of its past 28-year history which caused the organization to become stove-piped, uncooperative internally and operating one year at a time in reactive mode, that is, more like a government bureaucracy than a proactive business enterprise,” the report said.(link)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rick Santoram in Nashville Tuesday April 12th

For more information follow this link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories