Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What's on the 5-15-18 Council agenda: Keeping auto emission testing, banning plastic bags, banning pet store pet sales except pound pubs, and honoring the enormous contribution of homosexuals.

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, May15, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis for those who want to watch the Council meeting and follow along.  

Appointments to Human Relations Commission

The order of business is the call to order, prayer and pledge followed by approval of mayoral appointments to boards and commissions.  This is usually routine and the Council just rubber stamps whomever the mayor appoints but recently there has been some Council scrutiny of appointees.  Recently an appointment of a very qualified person the mayor had appointed to the Sports Authority was rejected and last meeting a reappointment of someone to the Board of Zoning Appeals just barely passed.  

On this agenda there are ten appointments to boards and commission, eight of them reappointments or new appointments to the Human Relations Commission.  If I were serving in the Council, I would vote against all of the Human Relations Commissions appointees or at least be recorded as abstaining. It is not that I have anything against the particular appointees but this is an agency that needs to be abolished.  The primary thing this board does is promote political correctness. I don't know if they still do it, but for years they engaged in normalizing homosexuality among children by sponsoring the twink booth (Youth Pavilion) at the Nashville Pride Festival which is Nashville's gay pride festival. 

Some of the things they sponsor I have no problem with, but do not think it is a proper government function.  As an example, is the sponsorship of the Celebrate Nashville festival.  This was formally the Celebration of Cultures. I really enjoy the festival and glad it occurs but it is the type of thing that there would be no shortage of private sponsors of it government was not involved. It would still occur. The legitimate things the agency does, such as taking discrimination complaints, could be done by any number of other agencies such as the Fair Housing, MDHA, the Attorney Generals office and others. This is an agency that simply does not need to exist. Back in the 80's when I served in the Council we were able to defund the agency and went several years without a Human Relations Agency.  Nashville is now a much more "progressive" city and I do not see the city defunding or abolishing this agency, but they should.

Public Hearing on the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan (Substitute BL2018-1139).

There is a new authority given to cities to plan, facilitate and guide develop around transit stops to encourage a certain kind of development around those stops and to give cities the authority to issue Tax Increment Financing bonds for improvements in the designated area. This would be the first time this authority has been used. This designation would apply to the Donelson stop on The Nashville Star line. There is a lot of detail in the staff analysis for those who want to know more. I have no problem with this concept.  If the public has concern with this it will probably be due to the affordable housing component. The TIF funding can sets aside $10 million in TIF financing for affordable housing. Many people oppose the development of affordable housing in their community.

My primary concern is that this appears to confer the power of eminent domain to MDHA for use in this area. I would only support this if eminent domain condemnation had to go back to the Council in each instance where it was used.

There are 38 resolution on the agenda and all are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which it is assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter-agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Here are the resolutions of interest: 

Resolution RS2018-1158  is an attempt to decouple the development of a soccer stadium from the location of the Fairgrounds. This resolution authorizes the city to issue bonds for construction of the major league soccer stadium but does not specify the location. There is an effort which I approve of to have the soccer stadium build in Metro Center instead of the Fairgrounds.  The staff analysis says there are several things wrong with this resolution. The owners of the soccer franchise say that building the stadium anywhere other than the fairgrounds would jeopardize the soccer franchise. This resolution was disapproved by the Budget and Finance Committee.
Resolution RS2018-1165   is even more money for the Metro General Hospital money pit. It is half a million dollars from the 4% fund for equipment and building repairs. A half million here and a half million there and pretty soon you are talking about real money. 
Resolution RS2018-1171  would continue the auto emissions testing program in Nashville even though the State says we may discontinue it. This needs to be defeated.
Resolution RS2018-1180  proposes three amendments to the Metro Charter, all related to the procedure for succession when a mayor leaves office prior to the end of his term. I think what occurred when Mayor Barry was forced to resign worked pretty smoothly and do not see the need for revising the charter, however it is no big deal. It will take 27 votes of the Council for this to pass and then the proposed changes would be decided in a referendum. If I had a vote I would vote "no" but might be persuadable.
Resolution RS2018-1216 is an attempt to combat the proliferation of campaign signs in the public right of way. It requires a report to the council from public works and codes on the number of signs removed and how many cases were prosecuted, and some other things.
Resolution RS2018-1220  recognizing June as  “'Nashville Pride Month', celebrating the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities and their enormous contributions to the quality of life in Nashville and Davidson County, and further recognizing the 30th anniversary of the first Nashville Pride event which took place in 1988."

Bills on First reading: There are 12 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. They are all lumped together and pass by a single vote except in rare circumstances. 

Bills on Second Reading. Thee are 13 of them. This is the only one of interest: 
BL2018-1173  by Councilman Davette Blalock which would prohibit retail establishments from providing to customers single-use plastic carryout bags. In addition to an assault on my liberty and convenience, some make the argument that plastic bags are environmentally superior to paper bags. This would not ban paper bags. There is a continent size mass of trash in the pacific ocean and plastic bags make up a large part of it and this has received publicity, but the origin of this trash is mostly from five poor Asian countries. Banning plastic bags in Nashville will not decrease the plastic bags in the oceans. This bill needs to be defeated. 
Bills on Third ReadingThree are 22 of them. Most are approved zoning bills. Here are the only ones of interest
Bill BL2018-1148 is a rezoing of properties on  Baptist World Center Drive and other nearby streets from various zoning classifications including industrial and residential to an SP zoning. This does not interest me and it is a bill approved by the Planning Commission but at the public hearing several neighbors spoke out against it.

Bill BL2018-1159   restrict the retail sale of dogs and cats at pet stores. Only rescue pets or "pound pubs" could be sold.
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 and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary.

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1 comment:

  1. Nashville just passed a ban to prohibit licensed and inspected USDA facilities that provide society with "humanely" cared for pets in favor of UNREGULATED "rescue" groups. This was an illegal act against our constitutional rights(14th amendment) to prohibit a legal business from selling legal products. They were involved in monopolizing an industry by prohibiting one source over another (Sherman Act). What is next? Law being passed that restaurants can only serve food that is "vegan"? While it may have sounded warm and fuzzy, who is responsible if these "rescue" pets get sick or hurt someone? USDA pets are guaranteed with a lemon law and are inspected annually. "Rescues" have NO type of inspections, NO guarantees for health or temperament, NO "humane" standards of care, NO vet protocol, and pay NO taxes. So we basically just traded our source of pets from a "humane" source for those coming from "puppy mill" type facilities, have NO recourse should something go wrong and they don't even contribute to your county with sales tax revenue. Wonderful.