Saturday, October 22, 2016

Metro's Airbnb law unconstitutional!

Metro's unconstitutional law regulating Short Term Rental Properties was struck down today. Circuit Judge Kelvin Jones ruled that because of the laws vagueness there is no way an ordinary person could understand the statute. The challenge to the law was filed by The Beacon Center of Tennessee, representing P.J. and Rachel Anderson who argued the law infringed on their rights as homeowners. The Anderson's own a home in Salemtown. 

Mr. Anderson is a traveling musician and Ms Anderson is a graphic artist. Both are often out of town at the same time so they started renting their home on AirBnB about ten nights a month. That was not problem.  Then, opportunities presented itself for the Anderson's to relocate to Chicago where they would live most of the time but be in Nashville about ten days a month.  They planned to simply expand the number of nights they rented their Nashville home on AirBnB to about twenty.  That was not permitted under the Metro AirBnB ordinance. Represented by The Beacon Center they filed a lawsuit and won.  The city is appealing. To read more about the issue, see this story in the Tennessean: Judge: Metro's Airbnb law unconstitutional.

The Beacon Center is one of the organizations I support with my charitable giving. I am very pleased with this victory. Here is The Beacon Center press release: 

 BREAKING: Beacon Wins Airbnb Lawsuit Against City of Nashville!

Just hours ago, the Beacon Center scored a huge victory when we won the very first lawsuit filed by our Legal Foundation. The judge ruled that the city of Nashville's Airbnb law is unconstitutional. This lawsuit, challenging Airbnb regulations, was the first of its kind anywhere in the nation.
We filed the suit last year on behalf of Nashville homeowners P.J. and Rachel Anderson
We are ecstatic about today's ruling by Judge Kelvin Jones. It was a huge victory for homeowners in Nashville and across the state. Not only does the ruling prove that the Nashville City Council completely disregarded the state Constitution when it passed this law, it also sends a loud and clear message to cities across the state when it comes to restricting homeowners' rights in the new economy.
This is an enormous first victory for the Beacon Legal Foundation. Today's ruling shows that we will be a force to be reckoned with as we continue to protect the rights of all Tennesseans against overreaching state and local governments.
Today was a great day for the Anderson family, the Beacon Legal Foundation, homeowners, and most importantly the Constitution.
You can read an article about the victory featured in the Tennessean here.

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What happened at the 10-18-16 Council meeting: standards of conduct for tenants of Barnes Fund Housing, the Gulch Bridge and bribing Bridgestone.

At just an hour and half long, including announcements, this is a relatively short council meeting. If you are going to watch it, 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 above to view the agenda.  Below is my commentary and summary of the meeting.

The opening prayer is a beautiful appellate rendition of Amazing Grace. Following the prayer and pledge there is a presentation recognizing Domestic Violence Month. Five people up for confirmation to Boards and Commissions are all approved as is always the case. There is one insignificant bill on Public Hearing, which is deferred for a minor reason.

There are 14 resolutions on the agenda. Most are on "consent."  Resolutions on "consent" are passed by a single vote of the council instead of being voted on individually. A couple unimportant resolutions are not on consent and are deferred due to procedural issues, not because they are controversial.  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 rewards Bridestone for moving some of its operations from other places to Nashville. It pays 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. It passes on the consent agenda.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-406 expands 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. It is deferred one meeting.
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. It passes on consent.
Bills on First Reading. There are 7 bills on First Reading and they all pass without discussion as is customary.

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 with a maximum of eight occupants. Those who already have permits would be grandfathered in under the current rule.The city has hired a consultant to review Metro's STRP policies and this bill is deferred indefinitely to await the report from the consultant.
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. This is deferred one meeting.
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 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.  It is substituted and passes. I do not know what is in the substitute. I wonder how often this occurs and if this is really a problem. It passes.
BILL NO. BL2016-433 is a telecommunications franchise requests from a company wanting to provide fiber optic cable. This is not Google.  Metro is getting a lot of request for these type franchises.  This is deferred one meeting.
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 that meeting. 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.

Councilman Hastings, an African-American member of the Council makes a spirited defense of the bill and moves to defer it one meeting. He explains this is not an attempt to deny low income people a place to live but an attempt to make sure landlords are managing their property correctly. From his comments, Hastings has apparently been called a racist for his sponsorship of this bill and some have questioned his authenticity as a member of the Black community. He defends the bill and says he grew up in public housing. He says we cannot sit around and pretend there are no issues. Apparently there has been a lot of lobbying against this bill. The Reverent Bill Barns, for whom the Barnes Fund is named, has written a letter opposing this bill. Councilman Sharon Hunt speaks against it saying it stigmatizes and marginalized people. To read The Tenenssean's coverage of this issue see, Should affordable housing have 'conduct' rules for tenants?  To views the discussion see timestamp 39:51-49:10.

BILL NO. BL2016-379  changes 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 changes 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 thinks it 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. It passes this meeting without discussion. 
BILL NO. BL2016-416  by Councilmen Mendes and Cooper requires 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. It passes on a voice vote without discussion.
BILL NO. BL2016-419  requires Council members to receive diversity training.  This is more useless unnecessary political correctness. it passes without discussion on a voice vote.
BILL NO. BL2016-421  is a part of the effort to build the pedestrian bridge across the
gulch. This bill  acquires the parcel of land known as the Clement Land Port and
sells it to Cummings Station and it  permits 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 $18 million dollars would build a lot of sidewalks. This development is being funded from General Obligation Bonds. Councilman Cooper and Glover argue against it. The arguments against it are not without merit, but I am not persuaded. This passes on a machine vote with 34 to 3, the three "no" votes being Cooper, Hager and Glover.  To see the discussion see timestamp 1:03:14-1:18:46.

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On Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton not shaking hands

I don’t know whether it was Donald that refused to shake hand with Hillary at the start of the second debate, or Hillary that refused to shake hands with Donald or if it was mutual, but I think it is wrong.

 Don’t get me wrong, I think Hillary is a totally despicable person and unfit to be president and I am embarrassed that she is even a candidate and, I don’t think much better of Donald, but if I were introduced to either one of them or if I was on a public stage at a forum with either of them, I would smile and shake their hand.

I have had to shake hands with people I do not like in the past.  In my last council race many years ago, my opponent ran a very dirty campaign and engaged in a campaign of smears and lies.  Nevertheless, when I encountered him at a later date, we shook hands.  I went through a very bitter divorce once upon a time, but when I met my wife's lawyer, I shook his hand. I don't understand not shaking hands.  I don't understand not being polite. It is just what civilized people do.

I have not fully developed it, but I have this thesis in mind called, The virtue of Hypocrisy. Good manners and civility toward someone you do not like is hypocritical, but I think it a virtue. Good manners keep us from hitting people we don’t like. Good manners mean less violence. It is not that I am always opposed to violence; violence often solves problems and violence has its place but good manners keeps us from engaging in unnecessary nonproductive violence. In addition to reducing violence, good manners just maked life more pleasant, if not for you then for those around you. In Congress people of opposing views often address each other as, “the distinguished gentleman from …” That is much better than saying, the SOB from ….”

Below are pictures of some famous people who probably don;t like each other, shaking hands.  Donald and Hillary need to grow up. 

Reagan and MIKHAIL GORBACHEV President Ronald Reagan shakes hands with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev

Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat

President Nixon and Chairman Mao
President Richard M Nixon shakes hand with Chairman Mao Zedong

 Neville Chamberlain shakes hands with Adolf Hitler

Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. GrantGeneral Robert E. Lee shakes hands with General Ulysses S. Grant

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Conservatives Slam Trump Refusal To Say He'll Accept Election Results

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, talk show host Laura Ingram,  Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro and National Review's Jonah Goldberg are among those criticizing Trump for refusing to say he will accept the election results. I agree with them. Here are tweets from Bill Kristol:

 For more on this story follow this link.

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Krauthammer: Trump's election charges a threat to tradition

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Caffinated Conservatives meets Saturday, Oct. 28th, Noon to 2PM

Hi All,

Hope this email finds you all well and enjoying this amazing fall weather. 

It's obviously been too long since we got together, and we apologize for that.  A couple of speakers fell through and there were some conflicts with the dates. 

We are hoping that you all missed getting together as much as we have.  We still don't have a speaker, but with everything that has been going on, there is much to talk about including how everyone would like to see Caffeinated Conservatives going forward.  We've spoken to a few of you who were hoping for a revival.  And Chuck is ready, willing and pleased to host us.

Hope to see you there. Saturday, October 28 from 12 noon to 2.  Uncommon Grounds, 1053 Donelson Ave, Old Hickory 37138
Kevin and Laura Baigert

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Tennessee Right to Life PAC 2016 Candidate Endorsements November 8, 2016 Election


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Black Alliance for Education Options blast NAACP for anti-charter school positiion

Press release, CINCINNATIBlack Alliance for Education President Jacqueline Cooper released the following statement on the NAACP Board of Directors decision to ratify a resolution in support of a moratorium on all new charter schools. The vote took place during the organization’s fall board meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio and comes after multiple attempts, including hosting a meet and greet at the location of the board meeting to discuss the impact of the resolution on the education of Black children, were repeatedly denied.
We are absolutely stunned that the NAACP voted to put distortions, lies and outdated ideologies about charter schools above what is in the best interest of our children. It is inexplicable to me that such a storied organization, responsible for leading a powerful civil rights movement to tear down barriers for generations of Black people, would erect new ones for our children.
Not all charter schools are perfect. Just like traditional district schools, some are working very well and some are not. High-quality schools should be supported and schools that are not educating our children should be improved or closed. But with more than 700,000 students enrolled on charter campuses, we must continue supporting them just like we must continue supporting traditional district schools to make them better for our children. Banning new charter schools will only widen the achievement gap for Black children by reducing the number of high-quality options available and increasing the number of names on existing waiting lists.  Low-income and working-class Black families deserve more choice, not less.

As tragic as this decision is by the NAACP's Board of Directors, we remain committed to working with the organization in areas where we mutually agree to increase access to high-quality educational options for low-income and working-class Black families.

It is time to break the cycle once and for all of generation after generation of Black children underprepared to go to, through and beyond college to become economically independent adults.
The NAACP’s decision comes after 160 Black education and faith leaders sent a letter to the NAACP urging the organization to reconsider a moratorium and learn more about the charter schools. Black charter school families from New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington state also penned a letter to the NAACP, expressing their stance on charter schools as a critical component to student success. Their ChartersWork petition attracted more than 3,000 signatures from parents from across the country concerned about the ban on charter schools.

About the Black Alliance for Educational Options:
The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is a national non-profit education advocacy organization founded in 2000 by prominent Black educators, elected officials and civil rights activists. BAEO's mission is to increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting transformational education reform initiatives and parental choice policies that empower low-income and working-class Black families. For more information on BAEO visit

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All Early Voting Locations Open

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Congress is the Key to Stopping Hillary

By David Thornton, The Resurgent,  October 18, 2016 - A major argument for Donald Trump has been that “He’s not a great candidate or a conservative, but we need him to prevent Hillary from picking Supreme Court justices who will gut the Second Amendment.” Now, as the “Trump train” goes off the rails three weeks before the election, it is becoming apparent that conservatives need to find an alternative strategy to save the Court and block Hillary. The key to stopping the liberal agenda for the next four years is Congress, specifically the Senate.

....Many Trump supporters will say that the Republicans in Congress didn’t do much to stop Obama for the past six years. They are wrong.  Republicans in Congress were remarkably successful at stopping President Obama’s legislative agenda....While it would be preferable to have a Republican president to help pass conservative reforms, Donald Trump is no conservative and has shown little inclination to work with his party. If Trump becomes president and Republicans lose Congress, he could not be trusted to nominate constructionist judges or veto gun control bills. ...Republican funds would be better spent on tossup congressional races to preserve the Republican majority than in attempting to shore up a candidate who is biting the hand that feeds him.

If the choice is between an unreliable President Trump and a Republican Senate that has shown its mettle, I’ll throw in my lot with the congressional Republicans.(link)

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

America prospers when we compete globally

From Evan McMullin - American businesses export more than $2.2 trillion per year of goods and services. The demand for American exports supported 11.5 million jobs, an increase of more than 50 percent over the past 20 years. On average, these jobs pay 18 percent more than jobs that are unrelated to exports. For all these reasons, Evan believes that trade is an engine of prosperity and that well-designed trade agreements can help our economy grow even more.

At the same time, we can do more to help American workers adjust and thrive in the 21st century. Since 2000, the U.S. economy has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs, although more than 12 million Americans still work at factories. The main driver of this trend is advanced technology, especially advances in robotics and computing. Today, U.S. automakers produce just as many cars as they did 20 years ago, yet the auto industry employs 300,000 fewer workers, a reduction of almost 25 percent.
Therefore, Evan believes that one of the most important ways to help American workers is to make education more affordable while supporting the growth of technical schools, online education, and work-based training programs. It is essential to support these alternatives to the typical full-time four-year degree program, which may not be a good fit for older students who need to work and support their families while studying. While U.S. factories have cut millions of jobs for those with a high school education or less, hiring of college graduates remains stable, while hiring of those with graduate degrees continues to demonstrate strong growth.

Around the globe—even in China—manufacturing employment is shrinking rapidly as factories rely more and more on advanced technology. Thus, using tariffs to raise the cost of Chinese imports won’t bring those jobs back to the United States. In fact, it will kill American jobs, because China and others will block U.S. exports, which now support more than 11 million jobs.

In addition, raising the cost of imports will force hard-pressed American families to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more each year for basic necessities, from clothing to pots and pans and diapers. The very same families who may be suffering because of lost manufacturing jobs will now be pushed closer to poverty if Donald Trump pushes through his agenda.

TPP and Other Trade Agreements

Evan supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement recently signed by 12 countries, including Japan, Australia, and Vietnam. The TPP will eliminate tariffs for all the countries that sign, but it will not go into effect until ratified by Congress, which must vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without making any changes to the agreement.

One of the biggest advantages of the TPP is that reducing tariffs to zero favors American companies. Right now, America has low tariffs, not far above zero. In contrast, other countries’ tariffs will plunge when the TPP goes into effect, opening up their markets to U.S. exports. TPP is still a good deal for those countries, because it gives them better access to the biggest market in the world (ours) and the third biggest (Japan).

TPP also helps create a level playing field between U.S. workers and their counterparts overseas. If foreign companies lower their costs by mistreating workers and polluting the environment, then its puts American companies at an unfair disadvantage. However, TPP has the strongest protections for labor and the environment of any major trade deal. That is one of the reasons that Hillary Clinton described it as the “gold standard” of trade agreements. Although nothing has changed about the deal since Clinton praised it so highly, she has turned against the deal for purely political reasons, again displaying a characteristic lack of integrity.

Donald Trump opposes TPP, yet he has made millions by selling suits made in Mexico and ties made in China. He is a candidate who puts his bank account ahead of his principles, something he also did when used illegal immigrants to build Trump Tower – and cheated them out of their salaries. He is too wealthy and self-interested to have any concern about how a trade war will destroy U.S. jobs or raise the cost of living.

Finally, TPP is important for national security reasons. Our allies in Asia are watching to see whether the U.S. still has the ability to set the rules of the road, or whether their security depends on submitting to China. That is why the secretary of defense has said, “TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier.” If the U.S. abandons TPP, China is likely to intensify its campaign of intimidation in the South China Sea. Thus, support for TPP is a win-win proposition; it enhances our security and reinforces the growth of job-creating American export industries.

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