Thursday, September 13, 2018

How they voted on the Fairground giveaway and who switched sides.

As everyone who cares knows already, at the last council meeting legislation was passed that approved the building of the MLS stadium and the giveaway of ten acres of fairground property to the developer. This action required the passage of several pieces of legislation.  The most crucial of the votes was the vote on  Substitute Bill BL2018-1289 which approved the demolition of certain buildings and structures necessary for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium and the imposing of a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer Stadium.

The reason this was the most crucial vote is because the vote on this bill was the best chance opponents of the fairground giveaway had to stop it from happening. Both provisions in this bill, the demolition and the privilege tax, required 27 positive votes to be approved.  All of the other pieces of legislation only required a simple majority.  On second reading the bill failed to get 27 votes. On second reading only 24 voted in favor, seven voted against, eight abstained, and one member did not vote.  Since the bill required 27 votes to pass on final reading an abstention or not voting was as good as a "no" vote.

Unfortunately, between second reading and final reading some council members had their arms twisted, were somehow bought off, or were persuaded in their own mind by the preponderance of the arguments that the MLS stadium and fairground giveaway was a good deal.  The final vote was 31 in favor and eight "no" votes and no abstaining votes and no one not voting.

Below is a list of those who voted "yes" in favor of the bill and third and final reading.  I have highlighted in red those who were "No" votes, "abstain" votes or not voting when the bill was on second reading. In other words, these are the people who switched sides.

 Yes (31): Allen, Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Shulman, Hastings, Robert Swope, Scott Davis, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Pridemore, Rhoten, Syracuse, Freeman, Sledge, O'Connell, Roberts, Kindall, Weiner, Mina Johnson, Murphy, Pulley, Elrod, Blalock, Vercher, Potts, Bedne, Dowell, Lee, and Rosenberg.

Hall and Haywood were "yes" votes on second reading who switched to  "No." They switch from being in favor of the fairground giveaway to opposing it. Robert Swope is the most surprising of all of those who switched side from a vote against the giveaway by voting "abstain" on second reading to a "yes"  on third reading. I have asked him to explain his vote. When I get a reply, I will post it.

Here is who voted "no" on third reading, the vote that really mattered on the only bill that had a chance of stopping the fairground giveaway.  No (8): John Cooper, Johnathan Hall, Brenda Haywood, Doug Pardue, Larry Hagar, Steve Glover,Holly  Huezo, and Angie Henderson. These brave soles who voted "no" need a thank you.  For their contact information, click on their name below the picture. For contact information of other council members, follow this link. Also, if you are unsure of which district you live in, follow this link and look to the top right of the page for the "Council District Lookup" tool.

John Cooper
Brenda Haywood
District 3
Jonathan Hall
District 1

Doug Pardue
District 10

Larry Hagar
District 11
Steve Glover
District 12

Holly Huezo
District 13

Angie Henderson
District 34

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