Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Hillary and Donald comic book, Vol. 1

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State Rep. Jimmy Matlock explains why he is challenging Speaker Harwell

Matlock explains why he is challenging Speaker Harwell

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Council action of 10-18-2016: Gulch pedestrian bridge passes, monitoring police pot law enforcement, bribe for Bridestone

In Council action last night the Council approved the acquisition of land on the east bank of the railroad gulch necessary to build the already financed $18 million Gulch pedestrian bridge. The Council approved a bill to monitor police actions in regard to enforcement of marijuana prohibition. Police have the option of either charging an offender under the state law, which can carry heavy fines and imprisonment and a criminal record or they may issue a citation, similar to a speeding ticket. The bill that passes last night would require the police to report how police use their discretion. The council also passes a bill that would pay Bridgestone $500 per employee per year for every new employee they bring to Nashville for a period of seven years.  They are anticipating relocating 415 people to Nashville.

Check back to watch a video of the Council meeting, my play-by-play report and commentary and video notation so you may watch the exciting parts (exciting being a relative term). I will post the video as soon as it is available.

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Council passes bill to acquire land for Gulch pedestrian bridge

by Joey Garrison , The Tennessean, 10-19-2016- The Metro Council completed a deal Tuesday to acquire the final piece of land the city needs to build a long-discussed controversial pedestrian bridge connecting downtown Nashville’s Gulch and SoBro neighborhoods.

Now the main hurdle that remains to making the $18 million project a reality is settling on a design for the 700-foot-long bridge.

The council voted 34-3 to give final approval of a transaction with the owner of the office complex Cummins Station to acquire land on the SoBro side of the bridge needed for the project. (link)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tennessee Republican Party Asks Voters to "Vote Their Conscience"

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nearly three months after former presidential candidate Ted Cruz was booed off the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland after failing to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and instead telling voters to “vote their conscience,” the Tennessee Republican Party is telling voters in the Volunteer State to do the same thing.

“We’re encouraging people to vote their conscience,” Brent Leatherwood with the Tennessee Republican Party said in a statement to NewsChannel 5. “We view our job as one to continue the advance of the conservative cause by defeating Democrats. So we encourage Tennesseans to vote consistent with their conservative convictions.” (link)

My Comment: "Vote your conscience" means you are still a good Republican if you don't vote for Trump. I was not voting Trump anyway, but now I can do it know I won't be excommunicated.

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(still more) What local Republican leaders are saying about the 2005 Donald Trump lewd comment caught on hot mic.

Lamar Alexander, U.S. Senator,Tennessee
I am disgusted by Donald Trump's comments. I believe he is driving the presidential campaign to a new low and is running out of time to persuade the American people that he should lead our country and represent American values.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn
While I do not agree with everything that he says, I share the same concerns on major issues facing our nation. The issues of national security, economic security and religious liberty deserve our attention and best efforts,

Congressman Diane Black
I would've yanked my son by the ear if he had talked that way when he was a teenager much less an adult. Our country's problems are severe and I am frustrated that Donald Trump's immaturity keeps distracting us. I condemn his attitudes toward women displayed in that tape,

Governor Bill Haslam
I want to emphasize that character in our leaders does matter. None of us in elected office are perfect, but the decisions that are made in the Oval Office have too many consequences to ignore the behavior we have seen.

It is time for the good of the nation and the Republican Party for Donald Trump to step aside and let Gov. Mike Pence assume the role as the party’s nominee. If he does not step aside, I will write in a Republican for the office of President.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker,
These comments are obviously very inappropriate and offensive and his apology was absolutely necessary.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn
Mr. Trump's comments were disgusting and I condemn them. He has apologized and I'm glad he did because his comments about women are insulting and unacceptable.
Kathleen Starnes, former Chair of the Davidson County Republican Party from a Facebook post. 
     Tim Skow, Host of First Tuesday from a Facebook post.
Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House, Tennessee
The comments were offensive and demeaning to women. No woman should ever be the object of such remarks.
Brent Leatherwood, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party
Party chairman Ryan Haynes finds these comments to be absolutely repulsive. There is no excusing them.

Below is Trump's statement in response to the publication of the story.

I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am.
I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize.
I’ve travelled the country talking about change for America. But my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.

Displaying their double standard and selective outrage, Democrats who have consistently ignored Hillary Clinton's enabling and covering up of her husbands numerous incidents of infidelity, sexual harassment and alleged rape have been very vocal in condemning Trump's inappropriate remarks.

If by chance you have not  seen the video in question, here it is.

More remarks will be added as I come across them.

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The Council Agenda of 10/18/16: "Fixing" AirBnB, bribing Bridgestone, standards of conduct for tenants of Barns Funds housing, and the Gulch Pedestrian Bridge.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, October 18th  at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) 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 those segments. 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 have a clue about what is going on. Follow the highlighted link to view the agenda.  Here is my commentary and analysis of the agenda.

There are five people up for confirmation to Boards and Commissions. These are people appointed by the mayor subject to approval by the Council. They will be approved as always.

There is one insignificant bill and no resolutions on Public Hearing.

There are 14 resolutions on the consent agenda. Resolutions on "consent" are passed by a single vote of the council instead of being voted on individually. 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.  None of  the resolutions appear controversial or of much interest. These are the resolutions of interest. 

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-399 amends the economic and community development incentive grant made to the Industrial Development Board  for the benefit of Bridgestone.  It would reward Bridestone for moving some of its operations from other places to Nashville. It would pay Bridgestone $500 each year for seven years for each new position created in Nashville. Based on the new estimate of 1,015 new positions, this would result in annual payments to Bridgestone of $507,500 for this seven year period. While I do not like this form of corporate welfare, I would not vote against this if I had a vote.  Unfortunately, this is the way business is done, and if we don't reward Bridgestone for locating to Nashville, someone else will entice them to move to their city.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-406  would expand from one year old to three years old the vehicles that are exempt from being required to be tested for auto emissions. This makes sense. Vehicles not over three years old almost never fail the emissions test.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-408  request the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department to track misdemeanor citations and civil citations for marijuana possession by race, gender and age. When the Council passed a measure significantly decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. the law was amended to say the police "may" issue the less severe civil citation instead of charging the offender with the State crime of possession, leaving it up to the discretion of the arresting officer. I did not like that amendment. I fear that well-behaved respectful white kids will get the citation and Black kids hanging out on the street corner are most likely to get the criminal charge. Too much discretion is not "rule of law." While this does not do away with that discretion, how that discretion is applied will be monitored. This is a good bill.
Bills on First Reading. There are 7 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 usually pass by a single vote. Only rarely is a bill on First Reading considered separately.

Bills on Second Reading.
These are 12 bills on Second reading and these are the one's of interest.
BILL NO. BL2016-375 is one of the bills to curtail Short Term Rentals such as those rented on AirBnB.   Currently the maximum number of occupants permitted on a STRP property at any one time shall not exceed  twice the number of sleeping rooms plus four. This would restrict the number of occupants to no more than twice the number of sleeping rooms. I oppose this bill. Those who already have permits would be grandfathered in under the current rule.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-381 is another anti Short Term Rental Property bill. It would make it more cumbersome to get a STRP permit and further restrict the number of permits allowed in any census track. I oppose this bill. 
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-382  is still yet another anti Short Term Rental Property bill. This one would addresses some of what is addressed in the bill above restricting the number of permits that may be issued in any one census tract. This is to be deferred indefinitely.
BILL NO. BL2016-417  would prohibit one from putting a "for sale" on their vehicle parked on residential property. This was also on second reading last council meeting and deferred to this meeting.  I wonder how often this occurs and if this is really a problem.
BILL NO. BL2016-433 is a telecommunications franchise requests from a company wanting to provide fiber optic cable. This is not Google. I am not sure that this is important, but it is worth calling attention to.  Metro is getting a lot of request for these type franchises.  Several committees of the Council will hold a joint meeting on Monday for a comprehensive review of this ordinance, some other proposed bills similar in nature that are on the agenda and related issues.
Bills on Third Reading.  There are 30 bills on Third Reading. Most of them are zoning bills. These are the bills of interest.

BILL NO. BL2016-308  requires tenants of housing funded by the Barnes Trust Fund to comply with certain maintenance and standards of conduct and to refrain from any illegal activity on the premises of the dwelling being rented. This was on Second Reading last Council meeting. Surprising me, it proved controversial. At last Council meeting several council members spoke against it, mostly the African-American members of the Council.  It was amended to say landlords "may" instead of "shall" enforce standards of conduct. This still did not satisfy some members of the Council. It passes on a voice vote with some audible "no's." To see the second reading discussion follow this link and view the video and see timestamp 2:27:02- 2:43:11.
BILL NO. BL2016-379  would change the definition of a financial institution.  Currently a metro ordinance defines a financial institution and part of that definition is that it is open to the public within hours that do not exceed 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.  This bill change that definition by removing the restriction on operating hours and replaces it with a definition that says they must be “a state or federally chartered bank, savings and loan association, or credit union, a mortgage company, or other financial institution whose services are insured by an agency of the United States government.” That is an improvement.  Under the current law a bank could not stay open till 3PM on Saturday or till 7PM on a Friday. The reason the city has a need to define them is to differentiate between respectable establishments like banks and places such as pay day lenders and check cashing services, so the city may restrict the deplorables and not the respectables.   In my view the city should not try to distinguish and instead let the market decide the mix and what and how many are needed. Last meeting, this was on Public Hearing and no one on the bill and it passed so I expect it to pass without discussion.
BILL NO. BL2016-416  by Councilmen Mendes and Cooper would require that any Metro department or agency that must submit regular reports to the Metro Council should post those reports on their website and keep them posted for up to six months. There are 14 reports that must regularly be submitted to Council.  This should be easy and cost nothing to accomplish.  I support this move to make government more transparent and accessible to the public.
BILL NO. BL2016-419  would require Council members to receive diversity training.  This is more useless unnecessary political correctness.
BILL NO. BL2016-421  is a part of the effort to build the pedestrian bridge across the
gulch. This bill would acquire the parcel of land known as the Clement Land Port and
sell it to Cummings Station and it would permit metro to acquire a piece of land owned by Cummings Station. This parcel would be the eastern end of the bridge.  The gulch pedestrian bridge is already approved and funded.  A couple of years ago this project was stopped by Council when council refused to approve a land acquisition ordinance necessary to facilitate the construction of the bridge. At that time the Council rebelled against the deal in frustration that so much money was being spend downtown and neighborhoods were being ignored. The project was funded then and is still funded.
I support the pedestrian bridge.  Certainly we could build a more utilitarian bridge for less or not build the bridge at all, but I believe this will be an important connection to tie the gulch to downtown.  Also, I support the bridge as a beautification and an arts project.  It will be one more thing to make Nashville a place tourist want to visit and a city where people want to live. Cities should not be just utilitarian but pleasant places to live and visit.  
The argument against if is that neighborhood streets need sidewalks and $16 million dollars would build a lot of sidewalks. This development is being funded from General Obligation Bonds. This should pass without a problem.

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Womick files more ethics complaints against Beth Harwell

By SAM STOCKARD, Murfreesboro Post,   October 11, 2016 - Outgoing state Rep. Rick Womick filed two ethics complaints Thursday against House Speaker Beth Harwell, contending she "abused her position" for actions that "destroyed her independence of judgment."

Womick, a Rockvale Republican who is not seeking re-election, said in his first complaint that Harwell conducted an "unauthorized, unconstitutional investigation" of former Rep. Jeremy Durham. He also claims she involved Attorney General Herbert Slatery in the investigation even though he has opined that neither he nor Harwell had authority to investigate a General Assembly member without House approval.(link)

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Liberty on The Rocks, Thursday, October 20, 2016, 5:30 PM

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 5:30 PM
 Smokin Thighs, 611 Wedgewood Ave, Nashville, TN

 The purpose of Liberty on the Rocks is to gather liberty-loving individuals of all political parties in the pubs, bars and restaurants of America to keep the conversation going. Meetings are suitable for drinkers and non-drinkers alike. Come enjoy great discussion with others who endeavor to limit the reach of government into our personal lives and further the cause of liberty. To RSVP, follow this link.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Alexander: Congress should pass emergency, one-year legislation allowing states to offer more health insurance options.

From Lamar Alexander

September brought more evidence that Obamacare is falling apart. On September 26, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – the state’s largest insurer – announced it will no longer offer insurance in Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville either on the Tennessee Obamacare exchange or in the individual insurance markets, leaving Tennesseans in those areas scrambling to find a new health plan for next year.

You’ve probably read in the news that Tennessee Obamacare exchange health insurance rates may be 60 percent higher next year than they were this year for the same insurance policy. And come November, as Tennesseans go to purchase their plans for next year, with insurance companies like BlueCross BlueShield and United Health Group no longer offering insurance on some or all Obamacare exchanges in the state, people in 73 out of 95 Tennessee counties will have only one insurer to choose from when buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchange.

That is why I, along with seven other senators, introduced emergency, one-year legislation to give governors in states where Obamacare is failing the authority to give their citizens the option of using their Obamacare subsidy to buy health insurance wherever they can find it, whether on or off the Obamacare exchange, and waive any penalty if they are unable to find a plan that suits them or their families’ needs.

This one-year solution is not a substitute for the long-term need to repeal and replace Obamacare with step-by-step reforms that put patients in charge, giving them more choices and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it. A full repeal of Obamacare will require a Republican president next year. Even if we have a Democratic president next year, we cannot continue without making big, structural changes soon to avoid a collapse of our nation’s health insurance market.

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Sunday, October 09, 2016

Anyone who makes cruel and insulting comments about women should not be president

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Liberal logic, phony outrage, and the double standard

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