Thursday, August 04, 2016

(final update) What happened at the 8-2-16 Council meeting? Rent control/Inclusionary zoning advances, Fontanel expansion approved. Free parking for old people dies.

The Rent Control/Inclusionary zoning bill, SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-133, was the hot topic of the evening. It passed second reading by voice vote and was then deferred one meeting. It will be debated on third reading. . The inclusionary zoning proposal was on public hearing and had more than 40 people speak on the bill, many more proponents than opponents. Proponents included those involved in affordable housing development and liberal advocacy groups and several members of the clergy.  Opponents included the Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Nashville Apartment Association and the Nashville Association of Realtors. To view the public hearing on the bill see timestamp 9:20 to 2:22:02.

The proposal would both mandate and incentivize Inclusionary Housing. It would require that any developer who builds more than five rental units and who seeks additional development entitlements beyond that permitted by the current base zoning  would have to set aside a certain percentage of the units as "work force housing" or "affordable housing."  I do not know  how many developers who develop more than five units must currently seek variances to current base zoning. The variances or entitlements beyond base zoning may be for things such as greater height or greater density.  I am trying to determine if most developers must now get variances beyond what is allowed by current base zoning in order to make development feasible.  I suspect they do. If it is such that a developer can not not make a development work without a variance, then this is a bill that really relies much more on  punitive measures than incentive measures

Under this proposal, to partially offset the loss of profit the developer would have made had he not been required to build "affordable" units,  the developer would be given a grant.  This bill applies only to rental units, not units for sale as was originally considered.  The set-aside units would have to be maintained as affordable rental units for 15 years.  This very likely violates a state law which prohibits rent control.  No doubt if this passes it will be challenged in court.

I oppose this bill. It will likely cause developers to develop outside Davidson County which will increase urban sprawl and contribute to our traffic woes. It will lessen financing for development. It will slow the development of new units of rental housing, which may push rental prices even higher. Where it has been enacted, inclsionary zoning has produced very few units of affordable housing. The mayor has a much more attractive proposal in the works that would  truly be voluntary in nature and would rely on providing grants to developers who develop affordable housing units. That is a much better approach.  For those who want a deeper understanding of this issue beyond what I have reported, I suggest you read the bill and the staff analysis. Here is the Tennessean's report on the issue: Affordable housing advocates pack council meeting to demand action.

To access the council agenda, council staff analysis and my agenda commentary follow this link. This is a long meeting at almost four hours. I am only hitting the high points of the meeting.

The prayer is a song by Danny Flowers an award winning song writer and artist. The song is Hush Hush Somebody is Calling my Name, an old slave song from the 1860's. He performs it acappella and it is powerful and chilling. Beautiful!

Below are other bills on Public Hearing of interest:

BILL NO. BL2016-265  which makes modest changes to the process for canceling a Planned Unit Development, making it easier to do so, is deferred one meeting.

BILL NO. BL2016-293 in Scott Davis's district which would rezone 54 acres, comprised of many parcels, from various current zonings to R6-A which is a medium density residential district is withdrawn. I oppose taking away a persons property rights and would not support this unless it had the approval of those whose properties are being rezoned. I was never sure if this had the approval of the property owners whose properties would have been rezoned. This bill was disapproved by the planning commission.

All Resolutions pass. None of them are of much interest.
All bills on First Reading pass without discussion as is customary.

Below are the Bills on Second Reading of interest:

BILL NO. BL2016-239 which would provide free parking for old people was back on the agenda after being deferred from the June 7th meeting. It is deferred indefinitely.  This was a bad bill and I hope it is dead for good. I never understood the logic of this. Why are rich elderly people more deserving of free parking than poor young people?

BILL NO. BL2016-334 is an expansion of the PILOT program (payment in lieu of taxes) for use as a tool to develop more affordable housing. It passes.

BILL NO. BL2016-329  makes 60 changes to the regs governing taxi cabs. The staff analysis calls these changes "housekeeping," but anytime you make that many changes there will be controversy.  Council member Gilmore voices concern about some of the changes in the bill. It passes.

BILL NO. BL2016-257 would allow Codes to issue stop-work orders against illegal, non-permitted short-term rentals and increase the ban on an STR permit at such a property to three years. Now if one is caught operating a short-term rental without a permit, the ban on getting a permit is one year. The Tennessean explains this at this link: Nashville may ramp up penalty for Airbnb permit violators. The bill is deferred indefinitely "by rule" but the sponsor announces he is putting it back on the agenda.

Bills on Third Reading: 

BILL NO. BL2016-282 is the bill to allow Fontanel to expand and build a 136- room hotel. This is of little interest to the general pubic but has been a hot issue is Whites Creek. It passes. Here is The Tennessean's report on the approval of the plan for Fontanel: Fontanel expansion clears Metro Council by two votes.   This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. Councilman Sledge makes a good argument that voting for this plan undermines the integrity of the General Plan which resulted from the NashvilleNext process. Councilman Scott Davis calls into question the importance that should be given to NashvilleNext. I don't have a very informed opinion on this zoning proposal and have not followed it closely, but tend to think that if I was in the Council I would vote for it.  I do think NashvilleNext was a sham and am not persuaded when one uses NashvilleNext as a justification for their position.  Being a disapproved bill it took 27 votes to pass; it got 28. To see the discussion see timestamp 3:19:20 - 3:53:45.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Jeremy Durham does not deserve ouster.

Jeremy Durham
The Tennessean reports today that as of Tuesday evening, 23 members of the state legislature had signed a petition calling for a special session to oust Jeremy Durham. That means that by the end of the day Friday, 43 more House members must sign the petition in order to have a special session to consider ousting Jeremy Durham. I hope they don't get the signatures.  If I were a member of the House, I would not sign.

It is not that I approve of the behavior of Jeremy Durham, but what he did is no worse than Bill Clinton and Clinton was not ousted as President. Clinton was impeached due to lying under oath, not for getting a blow job from an intern in the oval office.  Durham has not lied under oath. From all we know, Durham never raped anyone. There are no rape allegations against Jeremy Durham. There were rape allegations about Bill Clinton; never proved but alleged. Not that I think Clinton should be the standard of acceptable behavior, but I find it odd that these Democrats who continued to support Bill Clinton and support his primary enabler, Hillary Clinton, can be so outraged over Durham. I think the outrage is manufactured and pretend. 

I don't know how many of Durham's "victims" were victims. If he propositioned you, you accepted and then came back for seconds and thirds, I don't think you are a victim. The worst allegation is that he served an alcoholic beverage to a 20 year old intern and had sex with her three times in his office. A 20 year old is an adult and can have sex with whomever she wants.  The offense is that Durham served her alcohol.  I know the drinking age is 21 but a 20-year-old in all other respects is an adult. They can vote, drive a car, join the military, get married, work as a stripper, or have an abortion without their parents permission. I just don't think the offense of serving an alcoholic beverage to a 20-year-old is reason for ouster.

The Attorney General's report on Durham says his conduct revealed a "pattern of harassment."  It seems like if a man flirts with a women and it makes her uncomfortable then it is "harassment."   If it doesn't make her uncomfortable then it is not harassment. That is very subjective standard. It doesn't depend on what the man does, but how the women feels about it.  Also "unwanted sexual advances" is something we often hear men accused of. How do you know a sexual advance is "unwanted" until offered? 

From the Attorney General's report. It seems like Durham really is a pussy hound. From November 2012 to the end of June 2016 he had "interactions" with 22 women, says the report.  That is not to say he had sex with all of them but he had interactions which ranged from flirtation to sex. One says he kissed her, one says he pulled her close in a full frontal hug and said "mmhm", one says he tried to touch her thigh, and one says he made suggestive comments and told her, he was gong to be all alone and bored for the evening. 

It seems like other than giving an alcoholic beverage to a 20-year-old, the next worse thing he did is text some unwanted texts to women late at night. Why didn't they just ignore him and be done with it. Sure he "hit" on women and flirted but their is no allegation he ever swapped his vote for sex.  He "leered" at women, and "looked them up and down." He told women he kept a bottle in his office and mixers in the mini-fridge and they should come by for a  drink after hours. The Attorney General's reports says some of the women were seen holding hands with him and acting flirty in return. Not all of his flirting must have not been unwelcome. I can't help but wonder how many women enjoyed it and never complained.  Maybe only one out of three or one out of four considered the flirtation or sexual advances offensive and unwelcome. Maybe the others were flattered. Maybe they enjoyed it.  We will never know.

If you want to read more of the juicy details, but not really all that juicy, here is a link to the entire report.

Jeremy Durham has already been stripped of his leadership position, had his office relocated to an out of the way location, a memo went out warning women to avoid him, he become a pariah, had his misdeeds exposed in the press, and will most likely lose his election. I would vote against him if I was his constituent but I don't think he deserves to be ousted. The issue of whether or not any one should get lifetime health insurance for serving one term is a different issue than whether Durham needs to be ousted. He is a cad.  I would not trust him alone with my wife or my daughter. He is a jerk and a womanizer.  What happens to Durham should be between Durham and his conscience, his wife, and his constituents however. He does not deserve ouster.

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Donald Trump Kicks Baby ouf of Rally. Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?

Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?

Opinion writer, Washington Post, During the primary season, as Donald Trump’s bizarre outbursts helped him crush the competition, I thought he was being crazy like a fox. Now I am increasingly convinced that he’s just plain crazy.
I’m serious about that. Leave aside for the moment Trump’s policies, which in my opinion range from the unconstitutional to the un-American to the potentially catastrophic. At this point, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Trump’s grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best.
Begin with the fact that he lies the way other people breathe. Telling a self-serving lie — no matter how transparent, no matter how easily disproved — seems to be a reflex for him. Look at the things he has said in just the past week.

Trump Just Sent A WARNING To Paul Ryan: START PACKING!!
The Political Insider - The GOP establishment has jumped onto the Trump Train, but the Donald is showing that it isn’t enough to just endorse him – you have to endorse everything he does too!
And if you dare disobey the Donald like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has over many different issues, then Trump is showing that he’s not messing around:
If you don’t know what it means, Paul Nehlen is the primary challenger to House Speaker Ryan – for Trump to give a shout out to him is VERY bad news for the GOP establishment.
Trump has already said he’s going to support SuperPACs that target John Kasich and Ted Cruz for their disobedience. What is he going to do to help Nehlen take down Paul Ryan?  

Politico -  “Meg Whitman, a Hewlett Packard executive and Republican fund-raiser, said Tuesday that she would support Hillary Clinton for president and give a ‘substantial’ contribution to her campaign in order to stop Donald J. Trump, whom she berated as a threat to American democracy … She revealed that Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic nominee, had reached out to her in a phone call about a month ago ...Ms. Whitman, who said she would remain a Republican, brings with her a considerable network of contributors, some of whom she said were open to giving to Mrs. Clinton. She said she was willing to campaign for Mrs. Clinton, said she would do her best to gather checks for her campaign and indicated she would personally give to both Mrs. Clinton and her affiliated ‘super PACs.’ An aide to Ms. Whitman said she would personally give at least an amount in the ‘mid-six figures’ to the Clinton effort.” Other GOP defections: Retiring GOP Rep. Richard Hanna, former top Jeb Bush aide Sally Bradshaw, former Chris Christie spokesman Maria Comella.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

What's on the Council Agenda for Aug. 2? Housing price-fixing and free parking for old people,

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, August 2nd at 6:30 PM. To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, if you are so inclined, but unless you are trying to influence a Council member and think your presence in the audience will exert an influence, I don't know why you would want to.

Meetings are broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and are streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. You can catch them the next day on the Metro YouTube channel. If you will wait, I will watch it for you and post the video and point out the good parts so you can go to that point in the video and watch just that segment. Also, I will tell you what I think about what happened.  Council meetings are really boring and I watch them so you don't have to.

If you are going to watch a council meeting, you really need the agenda and  the Council staff analysis or you won't even have a clue about what is going on. 

Here is my commentary and analysis of the agenda.

Confirmation of appointments to Boards and Commissions: There are four positions on the agenda and none are to the controversial or troubled boards or agencies, not that it would matter; the council rubber stamps all of these appointments.

Bills on Public Hearing. These are sixteen bills on public hearing. These ones I am watching.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-133 is the new inclusionary zoning ordinance which will incentivize Inclusionary Housing with any residential development that seeks additional development entitlements beyond that permitted by the current base zoning district.  This is not as bad as an earlier version but is still price-fixing and still a bad bill and may violate state law. A better affordable housing bill is on First Reading. It is bill BILL NO. BL2016-342. I do not think the council should try to force developers to build affordable housing and any effort to encourage it should be a grant program.  To learn more, read the bill, the staff analysis and read the Tennessean's Competing affordable housing plans to face off before Metro Council. I oppose this bill.
BILL NO. BL2016-265  makes modest changes to the process for canceling a Planned Unit Development, making it easier to do so. I do think that there should be a means to council an inactive PUD but also protect the property rights of property owners, so I am not necessarily opposed to this bill but would withhold final judgment until after the public hearing. 

BILL NO. BL2016-293 in Scott Davis's district would rezone 54 acres, comprised of many parcels, from various current zonings to R6-A which is a medium density residential district.  I oppose taking away a persons property rights and would not support this unless it had the approval of those whose properties are being rezoned. This is disapproved by the planning commission. This was on public hearing last month also and was deferred to this meeting.
 Resolutions. There are 19 resolutions on the agenda, all on the Consent Agenda at this time. Most of them are routine things such as approving acceptance of grants. If a resolution has any negative votes in committee it is taken off of consent.  Also any council member may ask to have an item taken off of consent or to have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded. All items on consent are passed by a single vote instead of being voted on individually. I don't find any of the resolutions to be of much interest.
Bills on First Reading. There are 31 bills on First Reading but I usually don't review bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. They are not evaluated by committee until they are on Second Reading. All bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. There are sixteen bills on 2nd reading and these are the only ones of much interest.
 BILL NO. BL2016-239 is back on the agenda after being deferred from the June 7th meeting. it would provide for free parking for elderly individuals in parking meter zones and public parking facilities after they purchased a $50 sticker. I hate to say it, but I am now "elderly." I don't need charity. I have more disposable income than I have ever had in my life. This is insulting and condescending. If this passes however, I will probably purchase the sticker and enjoy it, but why would one assume "elderly" people need free parking worse than struggling young married people or single mothers?  Why not give active duty military free parking? Why not give veterans free parking? Why not give college students and pregnant women and members of the clergy and teachers policemen and firemen and songwriters free parking? Being elderly does not make you poor and it does not make you more deserving of free parking than a lot of other people. As George Jones said, I don't need your rocking chair, your Geritol or medicare.  This needs to fail. 
BILL NO. BL2016-257 would allow Codes to issue stop-work orders against illegal, non-permitted short-term rentals and increase the ban on an STR permit at such a property to three years. Now if one is caught operating a short-term rental without a permit, the ban on getting a permit is one year. The Tennessean explains this at this link: Nashville may ramp up penalty for Airbnb permit violators

Bills on Third Reading. There are 13 bills on Third Reading and most of them are zoning bills and of little interest.

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SBA List Endorses Unflinching Pro-Life Champion Diane Black

Musgrave: “Diane Black is the Abortion Lobby’s Worst Nightmare.”

Press release, Washington, D.C. – Today the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced its primary endorsement of Rep. Diane Black, who is running for re-election in Tennessee’s sixth Congressional district

“Diane Black is the abortion lobby’s worst nightmare, heroically leading the charge in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood of our hard-earned tax dollars,” said SBA List Vice President of Government Affairs Marilyn Musgrave. “She is an unflinching, unwavering voice for the innocent unborn who has been at the center of every single pro-life battle in Congress. We urge pro-life voters in Tennessee to vote for Diane Black so she can continue to lead the charge to protect the unborn and strip the scandal-ridden abortion industry of their tax dollars.”
Representative Diane Black welcomed the endorsement, saying: “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Susan B. Anthony List. Together, we are fighting the big abortion industry and championing laws that save lives. I will never stop representing the pro-life values of Tennessee citizens and will always be a voice for the voiceless unborn.”
Black is a former clinical care nurse currently serving Tennessee’s sixth congressional district in Congress.  She was elected to the U.S. House in 2010 and is a member of both the House Pro-life Caucus and the Pro-life Women’s Caucus. She is the chief sponsor of legislation passed by the U.S. House that defunds Planned Parenthood, and also authored the pro-life Conscience Protection Act which passed the U.S. House this month.  She also currently serves on Select Investigative Panel for Infant Lives, tasked with investigating the abortion industry and their participation in the selling of baby body parts.

The primary election will be held on Thursday, August 4, 2016.
Susan B. Anthony List and its Political Action Committees, the SBA List Candidate Fund and Women Speak Out PAC, spent $16.71 million in the 2014 election cycle to defeat pro-abortion incumbents and elect pro-life candidates to federal and statewide office. The SBA List is dedicated to pursuing policies and electing candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion. To that end, the SBA List emphasizes the education, promotion, mobilization, and election of pro-life women.  The SBA List is a network of more than 465,000 pro-life Americans nationwide.

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1st Tuesday meets August 8th. Guests will include the local winners of the Republican primaries for US Congress, State Senate and 3 State House races.

From Tim Skow:
1ST TUESDAY Members and friends !
Our ''summer schedule'' is running its course !  As mentioned previously, we are meeting AFTER the Republican primaries. In addition to our Speaker,  our invited guests will include the local winners of the Republican primaries for US Congress, State Senate and 3 State House races.

Please plan to come early and spend a little extra time with us on MONDAY, August 8th and get to know them all. 

Nashville really is '' 2016 ELECTION CENTRAL'' in TN politics ! 

More details soon.... but you can secure you seating now at 1st Tuesday Nashville and click on ''Join Us''.

In addition to our event August 8th... 
I am delighted get Marsha's annual MUSIC CITY Event on your radars !!!  
Invite attached... but as always... the MOST Musically Marvelous .... Family Friendly .... And Affordable political event to be found in TN !  

Please plan to bring your family, invite your friends and enjoy a GREAT night!

See you soon,
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY 

AS ALWAYS... thanks to Waller Law and our Sponsors !! Check out their links on the 1ST TUESDAY website !

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Bellevue Breakfast Club guest speaker is Martha Bronw with a look at the Republican Convention.

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Will Pinkston is a bully!

by Jason Gonzales, The Tennessean, July 31, 2016 - Abrasive social media messages, email and in-person interactions with Metro Nashville Public Schools board member Will Pinkston created a hostile work environment that made employees fearful of losing their jobs, a number of former and current workers have alleged.

...  Alan Coverstone, said Pinkston “threatened me saying I had better watch myself, and eventually saying that I had better barricade myself in the office because he would come up there and get me.” ... former Metro Schools Superintendent Jesse Register, who retired in good standing in 2015: “If you disagree, you become (Pinkston's) adversary.” .....Register said district staff complained to him about emails and voicemails from Pinkston, as well as face-to-face confrontations....  “He called me other times when he was enraged about something and called me incompetent, manipulative, or a liar,” Coverstone said.

 Vesia Hawkins, a former district employee and board administrator, said she felt singled out by Pinkston after she began working for David Fox’s mayoral campaign in 2014. She said she asked to be re-assigned to another job because Pinkston frequently told others the administrators were “incompetent.” (link)

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