Saturday, December 30, 2017

Art Break: Discovering a hidden gem in a downtown alley

Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson
performed together as The Highwaymen

Boy Dylan, Dolly Parton and Leon Russell
Lorretta Lynn and Patsy Cline
Yesterday with the temperatures getting above freezing and the sun shinning, I decided to take a walk downtown from my home near 8th Ave and Wedgwood. When I reached Division I took the new extension which I had not been on before. From the elevated roadway, I spotted this mural. It is painted on the back of a building housing Ed's Supply which faces 6th Ave South and lies between Ewing Ave and 6h Ave South. Why it is in such on out of the way place and why it was painted, I have no idea. I don't know how old it is. I don't know who the artist is.  This was a big undertaking to be hidden away in an ugly alley. If not for the Division extension one would not even know it existed.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Tennessean reports on the evils of "gentrification."

Bill Hobbs's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person
Bill Hobbs
By Bill Hobbs - Today's Nashville newspaper has a big story with the following headline: "Black share of population plummets in some Nashville neighborhoods." The story then goes on the detail what it clearly considers the evils of "gentrification," which it defines as white people moving into neighborhoods that used to be mostly black, a trend it warns "upended the social and cultural landscape" of those neighborhoods. Those awful white people, according to the newspaper, brought "tiny fluffy white dogs" and "rode bikes" instead of cars.

The first victim in the story is an African American woman the newspaper tries to portray as having been "pressured" and pushed out of the neighborhood by those white people with their tiny white dogs.

Her story: She bought a house in Edgehill in 1992 for $48,000. She lived in it for a quarter century. Then, her health becoming an issue and construction all around, she sold that house for $640,000 to a developer who tore it down to build a new, larger house. With her equity and $592,000 profit she has been able to help her family and church.

She wasn't a victim, of course. She was a beneficiary. She made a $592,000 profit. How good is that?
If she'd put that $48,000 in some sort of financial investment in 1992 and never added another cent and that investment had earned 10 percent a year over 25 years, compounded daily, it would have grown to $584,559, or about $55,000 less than it did invested in real estate. (And she would still have had to spend other money on a place to live for 25 years.)

She's not a victim. She's a winner. And she didn't have to sell and leave Edgehill - she chose to.
The whole newspaper story is laughable.

There was a time when liberal newspapers like The Tennessean stood against those who wanted to keep neighborhoods segregated by race by keeping people of a certain skin color out of those neighborhoods. Now, though, when the skin colors are reversed, the newspaper portrays the increasing racial diversity of a neighborhood as a bad thing. In it's eyes, gentrification is bad and the white people are the perps and the minorities are the victims.

Gentrification isn't evil. Gentrification isn't racial. Gentrification is when people who own property in a run-down neighborhood either fix it up, or sell it to someone who fixes it up. That's it. If Hispanic and other minority buyers purchase property in a run-down majority-white neighborhood and proceed to renovate the properties, that, too, is gentrification. But instead of casting it as a bad thing, the newspaper would be celebrating it. You don't think so? Consider all the stories the paper has done in recent years about the resurgence of Nashville's Antioch area and how, along the way, it is becoming a much more "diverse" area. The paper doesn't write about how "gentrification" is destroying "the social and cultural landscape" of Antioch. It writes about how "diversity" is reviving Antioch. Well, the neighborhoods in today's articles are becoming more diverse, too. Nobody lives in a neighborhood forever because - it turns out - nobody lives forever. Ask anyone today buying a house if when it came time to sell it in 25 years or so would they be happy if they got a 1,333 percent return on their investment.

This was reposted from a pubic Facebook post by Bill Hobbs. Bill Hobbs is a  fine art photographer and photojournalist  living in Nashville. 

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Diane Black: “I'm stepping down as chairman of the House Budget Committee after a successful year with Trump”

Press release - This morning, Diane Black announced in a Fox News Op-Ed that she will officially step down as Chairman of the House Budget Committee to focus on her campaign for governor.

During Diane’s year as Budget Chairman, she has worked with President Trump on a series of strong, conservative reforms and will bring that same bold leadership to the state of Tennessee.  
I became chairman of the House Budget Committee one year ago and have been proud to serve in that role along with our new president. He has pushed an agenda of action – responsible budgeting, repealing ObamaCare’s worst mandates, and aggressive tax-cutting to get our economy going. This has been exactly the kind of work I came to Congress to do and we have done it. But my heart has always been at home. This why today I’m announcing that I will now step down as chairman of the House Budget Committee, while continuing to serve in Congress, to devote more attention to my next challenge: seeking the governorship of Tennessee.

  You can read the full op-ed here or below.

Rep. Diane Black: I'm stepping down as chairman of the House Budget Committee after a successful year with Trump

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, the country was ending one of the most fiscally irresponsible presidencies of the modern age. Now we’re wrapping up a year of bold fiscal leadership from President Trump and conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I became chairman of the House Budget Committee one year ago and have been proud to serve in that role along with our new president. He has pushed an agenda of action – responsible budgeting, repealing ObamaCare’s worst mandates, and aggressive tax-cutting to get our economy going. This has been exactly the kind of work I came to Congress to do and we have done it.

But my heart has always been at home. This why today I’m announcing that I will now step down as chairman of the House Budget Committee, while continuing to serve in Congress, to devote more attention to my next challenge: seeking the governorship of Tennessee.

When I was elected to Congress in 2010, I had three main goals: repeal ObamaCare, reform the tax code and start attacking the growing federal debt and deficits. In just one year, the Budget Committee has taken significant steps to achieve all of these goals.

Last spring, I sponsored the American Health Care Act (ACHA), to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Our bill would have brought down health-care costs by putting patients and doctors – not the federal government – in charge of health-care decisions.

While the House of Representatives passed the AHCA, the Senate let us all down.

Since the Senate’s initial failure, we successfully repealed ObamaCare’s individual mandate in our tax reform bill, to reduce this burden on middle-class Americans. This provision is the foundation of ObamaCare’s entire flawed scheme. With its repeal, the rest of the law will now be much simpler to dismantle. The House is ready to do just that, so let’s hope Republicans in the Senate muster the nerve to join us.

Following passage of the American Health Care Act, my committee went about doing the hard work of writing the 2018 federal budget. We recognized that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House and we were determined to use this trust from the voters to put our beliefs into law.

Some in my own party counseled that we skip the hard work of budgeting and merely pass a meaningless legislative placeholder, but I refused and insisted that our Budget Committee show real leadership.

Our budget was the most conservative budget in the last 20 years. Our resolution balanced the budget in 10 years, by cutting more than $6 trillion in federal spending. We committed to rebuilding our military, decimated under President Obama, by increasing defense spending by $70 billion to get our mission done and our military men and women back home safely.

We paved the way for historic tax cuts for the American people. And we led the House to endorse the largest cut to mandatory spending programs, which make up about two-thirds of all federal spending, in the last 20 years.

It is now up to the U.S. Senate and future Congresses to follow our lead on mandatory spending. If we don’t address mandatory spending programs, our country is headed for a sovereign debt crisis – and believe me, this crisis is closer than most will admit.

The budget produced by my committee launched us toward tax relief. When we began writing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we focused our attention on the middle class. This focus was particularly important to me – I was once a single mom with three children. I worked the night shift as a nurse so I could be home during the day and take care of my kids, and every dollar was important.

I always felt the pressure of stretching my paycheck to the end of the month. A little bit more money in my paycheck every month would have gone a long way. People whose lives are stretched like that drove my actions in this tax cut debate.

Our law cuts taxes for the middle class, giving an average family about $1,400 back. On top of that, we cut taxes for job creators, which will help them hire more workers, raise wages, and invest in research and technology. We’re already seeing results, with companies like AT&T, Boeing and Comcast announcing that they will raise wages, give employee bonuses and invest in job creation.

None of these achievements would have been possible this year without the hard work of the Budget Committee, particularly the 21 Republican members I have led.

Great challenges compel bold choices. I have pushed Congress to make those choices and now I hope to lead my state in the same manner. There is no time to waste.

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Sen. Jack Johnson Endorses Dr. Mark Green for Congress

Press release - Today, State Senator Jack Johnson announced his endorsement of Dr. Mark Green for Congress. The Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Johnson has represented Williamson County since 2007.

“Having worked side by side with Mark Green, I have witnessed his principled and effective conservative leadership firsthand,” noted Johnson. “With all the dysfunction going on in Congress today, we need to send someone to Washington who will represent us as well as Congressman Marsha Blackburn has. Mark is the perfect man for the job.”

Green has coalesced the support of Republicans across the spectrum. Nationally, he has received the endorsements of the Club for Growth, Family Research Council, and House Freedom Caucus, GOPAC, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rick Santorum, and Dr. Arthur B. Laffer. In Tennessee, Green recently announced the endorsements of 100 conservative leaders across Tennessee, and a 147-member finance committee, including 14 legislators who represent all 19 counties in the 7th district.
“I’ve been proud to serve alongside Jack Johnson in the State Senate. Jack is one of our finest leaders, and both Williamson County and Tennessee have benefited tremendously from his leadership,” remarked Green.

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Nashville Democratic state Sen. Thelma Harper rated more conservative than Republican Steve Dickerson

by Dave Boucher, USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee - A Nashville Democrat in the Tennessee state senate recently earned a higher rating from a national conservative organization than one of her Republican colleagues. 

Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville, earned a 79 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, a national advocacy organization that typically helps elect Republicans. The ACU gave state Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, a 78 percent rating. (link)

My Comment: Congratulations Thelma Harper for being a common sense Democrat, maybe the last of a breed, who puts her constituents and her country ahead of her party.  I have not looked at the details of the ACU scoring and don't know where Dickerson may have fallen short of the ACU's standards but I am not concerned.  I know Steve Dickerson to be a thoughtful conservative who reflects the views and values of his constituents. 

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

AirB&B says, "Stand up for home sharing in Nashville by attending the City Council meeting."

From AirBnB - On Tuesday, January 2 at 6pm, the Nashville Metro Council will be voting on Bill 937, which allows existing permitted hosts to continue sharing their homes, while supporting a fair number of non-owner occupied listings. 

Your attendance will show the Metro Council that Nashville residents want to protect their right to share their homes responsibly and make important extra income, while enabling guests from around the world to travel affordably and spread tourism dollars across the city. Please wear blue in support of home sharing. 

When: Tuesday, January 2
Time: 6pm
Where: Historic Courthouse One Public Square, Suite 204
Nashville, TN 37210

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Metro Nashville "Christmas Tree" recycling Available Again For 2017

Metro Nashville Press Release - No matter where you live in Davidson County, recycling your Christmas tree is easy. Last year, Nashvillians dropped off over 17,000 trees for recycling through Metro Nashville’s Christmas Tree Recycling Drop-off Program!

This year, Metro Public Works has teamed up with Metro Parks and Recreation as well as Metro contractor, Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee to offer Davidson County residents an environmentally friendly and convenient way to dispose of their Christmas Trees again this year.
The Christmas Tree Recycling Drop-off program will run from December 27, 2017 to February 16, 2018 at the following locations:

  • Cane Ridge Park
  • Una Recreation Center
  • Whitfield Park
  • Cedar Hill Park
  • Two Rivers Park
  • Joelton Community Center
  • Sevier Park, Richland Park
  • Elmington Park
  • Edwin Warner Park
  • Frederick Douglas Park
  • Both of Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee locations at 1511 Elm Hill Pike and 6401 Centennial Blvd.
    Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee’s operating hours are Monday thru Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m..
Trees must be cleaned of all ornaments, lights, wire, string and other decor before bringing them to be tree-cycled. No artificial trees can be accepted. Please do not dump any other items at these drop-off locations.

Public Works will take the trees to our contractor, Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee to be chipped and composted into mulch.

Recycling Christmas trees into mulch, rather than putting them in the trash, keeps them out of landfills and helps save Metro the cost of disposal fees.

My Comment: Even Metro government in this press release calls them "Christmas trees;" not "holiday trees!"  They didn't call them "family trees," but "Christmas trees!" I'm not sure what they call them at the University of Tennessee, but Nashville calls Christmas trees, "Christmas trees." Have we beat the evil forces of political correctness and those that make war on Christmas?  Are we seeing a glimmer of sanity?

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President Donald Trump Returning To Nashville In January

President Donald Trump Returning To Nashville In January. The president will visit Nashville once again to address the Farm Bureau convention in January. The Farm Bureau's 99th annual convention is scheduled for January 5 through 10 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center. Trump's appearance is planned for Monday, Jan. 8 during the late morning hours.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

How members of the Council voted on Civil Forfeiture (policing for profit)
Dave Rosenberg
Civil forfeiture is a process that allows the police to seize a person's property without the person having been convicted or even charged with a crime. To get the property back one must go to court and prove that they were not in procession of your property for the purpose of committing a crime.  Often it will come about that the police stop a car for a traffic violation and the owner gives the police permission to search the car or the police search the vehicle under probable cause. 

Upon searching the vehicle, the police discover the driver has $5,000 in cash.  They can confiscate the vehicle and the car.  It may be that the person was on his way to Florida to buy cocaine, but he may have been on his way to Florida to rent a truck and buy a truck load of landscape plants for a work project.  In any case, the person who had his property confiscated, in order to get it back must go to court and prove he was not in procession of the cash and the vehicle to commit a crime.  This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Often people do not have the means to wage the legal battle and just lose their property.

The confiscated money often flows to the police department rather than the treasury of the jurisdiction and this process has earned the name of  "policing for profit." Normal jurisprudence in America assumes one is innocent until proven guilty; this is the one circumstance where that does not apply.  Instead of the police proving one committed a crime, the person suspected of illegal activity has to prove he is innocent.  He may never even be charged with a crime and never regain ownership of his property. Both liberal and conservative civil liberty advocates included the ACLU and organization such as The Institute for Justice are fighting against civil forfeiture.

On November 7, 2017 the council had before it RESOLUTION RS2017-920  which would approve two agreements between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Metro Nashville Police Department. These agreements would govern the participation of DEA Nashville District Office Task force participants in the United States Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program. Councilman Dave Rosenberg spoke against the resolution and argued Metro should not participate in this program.  To view the discussion see timestamp 2:35:10 in the video at this link

Unfortunately the bill was approved by a vote of 16 to 15 with four abstentions.  Below is the result of the roll call vote.

Voting YES to approve Resolution RS2017-920. Voting in favor of Civil Forfeiture

Nick Leonardo, District 1                 Brenda Haywood, District 3         Bill Pridemore, District 9
Doug Pardue, District 10                  Larry Hagar, District 11                Steve Glover, District  12
Holly Huezo, District 13                  Jeff Syracuse, District 15              Mike Freeman, District 16
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20   Russ Pulley, District 25                Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District  29              Jason Potts, District  30                Jacobia Dowell, District 32
Antionette Lee, District  22

Voting NO, a vote against Resolution RS2017-920. Voting against Civil Forfeiture
John Cooper, At-large                     Jim Shulman, At-large                Scott Davis, District 5
Bret Withers, District 6                   Anthony Davis, District 7           Nancy VanReece, District 8
Burkeley Allen, District                  Freddie O'Connell, District 19    Ed Kindall, District 21
Mina Johnson, District  23              Kathleen Murphy, District 24      Jeremy Elrod, District 26
Davette Blalock, District  27           Fabian Bedne, District 31            Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Voting "ABSTAIN"  
Erica Gilmore, At-large                  Bob Mendes, At-large                  Sharon Hurt, A-large
Angie Henderson, District 34 
DeCosta Hastings, District 2        Robert Swope, District 4                 Keven Rhoten, District 14
Colby Sledge, District 17             Sheri Weiner, District  22                                      

Please note that Minutes show the only one absent from this meeting was Robert Swope. The others may have been there at one time and stepped out of the room, not paying attention, or simply chose not to vote.

If any member of the Council would like to explain their vote, they may leave a comment.
If you are unsure who your councilman is follow this link to find out and look for "Council District Look Up" at the top right hand side of the page.  You may also contact your council from this page. 

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How members of the Council voted on the 'Grinch kills Christmas bill' to ban Christmas lighting

On December 5th 2017 the council passed BILL BL2017-903 to ban  decorative "rope lighting" on any building, sign, or property with non-residential zoning located adjacent to an arterial or collector street except those in the downtown area. A previous version of this would have banned it everywhere on all property. Rope lighting is that lighting that you have probably seen that outlines a tree or structure. It is often used as Christmas decorations but sometimes is used year-round. Why one would want to ban this I have no idea.. The sponsor said it is for the safety of the motoring public and to protect people with epilepsy. I do not buy that explanation for a minute. This is an overreach of government. There was no discussion on third and final reading and it passed by a machine vote of YES:24. NO:12, ABSTAIN:1, and NOT VOTING:3.  Below is how the members of the Council voted.

                                   Voting "YES" to approve the ban
John Cooper, At-large                                                 Sharon Hurt, A-large
Jim Shulman, At-large                                                Nick Leonardo, District 1
DeCosta Hastings, District 2                                       Brenda Haywood, District 3
Robert Swope, District 4                                             Scott Davis, District 5
Bret Withers, District 6                                               Anthony Davis, District 7
Nancy VanReece, District 8                                        Bill Pridemore, District 9
Larry Hagar, District 11                                              Holly Huezo, District 13
Jeff Syracuse, District 15                                            Burkeley Allen, District 18
Ed Kindall, District 21                                                Russ Pulley, District 25
Davette Blalock, District  27                                      Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District  29                                        Jason Potts, District  30
Jacobia Dowell, District 32                                        Antionette Lee, District  22

                                   Voting "NO," opposing the ban
Keven Rhoten, District 14                                       Mike Freeman, District  16
Colby Sledge, District 17                                        Freddie O'Connell, District 19
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20                          Sheri Weiner, District  22
Mina Johnson, District  23                                       Kathleen Murphy, District 24 
Jeremy Elrod, District 26                                         Fabian Bedne, District 31
Angie Henderson, District  34                                 Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Voting "ABSTAIN:"  Bob Mendes, At-large

NOT VOTING:  Erica Gilmore, At-large    Doug Pardue, District 10     Steve Glover, District  12
Please note that those not voting may have been absent, out of the room, not paying attention or simply not voting.

If any member of the Council would like to explain their vote, they may leave a comment.
If you are unsure who your councilman is follow this link to find out and look for "Council District Look Up" at the top right hand side of the page.  You may also contact your council from this page.

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