Friday, February 02, 2018

Mayor, bodyguard lingered on taxpayer-funded trips after public events

Romantic Greece- three nights with nothing to do.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - On more than one occasion, Mayor Megan Barry and her former
bodyguard stayed on taxpayer-funded trips for days after completing city business. (link)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Nashville council may seek special committee with subpoena power to investigate Mayor Barry's travel with bodyguard

Nashville council may seek special committee with subpoena power to investigate Mayor Barry's travel with bodyguard.

by  Joey Garrison, USA Today Network - Tennessee - ... Budget and Finance Committee chairwoman Tanaka Vercher said she plans to file a resolution that would appoint a committee of three to seven council members to oversee the investigation,... charter gives the council the power ... If two council members object, the resolution would not make it on Tuesday's agenda but be taken up Feb. 20 instead. ....three-fourths of the council, or 30 votes, is required to create the special committee. ... power to conduct investigations has never been invoked by the council....

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Was Mayor Barry having inappropriate sexual relationships with multiple Metro employees?

This is strange.  I would not expect that Mayor Barry was having a sexual relationship with more than one employee  but apparently from what attorney says such is being alleged.  She has hired the law firm Barrett Johnston Martin & Garrison LLC to represent her.  Here is the letter from her attorney in which he denies she was having inappropriate relationships with multiple Metro employees.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, February 01, 2018

D.A. asks TBI to investigate Mayor Barry’s spending

WSMV News 4

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -District Attorney General Glenn Funk has asked the TBI to investigate whether Nashville Mayor Megan Barry or others violated any criminal law, according to a statement from the D.A.’s office.

TBI investigates Mayor Megan Barry affair for possible criminal conduct upon Nashville DA's request 
by Dave Boucher, USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee - ... Records show the pair went on nine trips together between January and October 2017, including a trip to Athens, Greece for seven days.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

I-Team: Did taxpayer money fund any part of Mayor Barry's affair?

WSMV News 4

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Nashville councilwoman calls for inquiry into expenses after Mayor Megan Barry admits affair

by Nate Rau and Dave Boucher, The Tennessean - The chairwoman of the Metro budget and finance committee is inquiring what powers she has to investigate the travel expenses and overtime incurred when Mayor Megan Barry took trips with the head of her security detail, with whom she had an affair. ... A Tennessean analysis shows Forrest earned more than $4,121 in overtime working on trips where he provided security for Barry. Forrest earned an additional $3,278 in overtime working on trips attended by himself, Barry and other members of the mayor’s office. (link)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Mayor Barry's press conference about her sexual affair with an employee

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Having an affair on the tax-payers dime (update: documenting the expense)

Forrest, 58, was a regular presence with the mayor during public events, travel and even trips abroad. According to public records obtained by The Tennessean, thousands of taxpayer dollars covered Forrest's travel with the mayor on city business. (link)

The mayor’s office also released several documents along with her statement, including texts with security detail, travel expenses, her travel schedule as well as Sgt. Forrest’s schedule, and her calendar from January 2017 until present. Below are links to each document:

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Mayor Barry should resign!

Should Mayor Barry resign? Mayor Megan Barry has admitted to having an affair with the police officer in charge of her security detail. In today's climate of "me-too," if the genders were reversed it would be considered sexual harassment. It wouldn't matter if no pressure was exerted to coerce the other person to enter into the affair, the power imbalance alone would be sufficient to make the more powerful person guilty of sexual harassment. What is fair for the goose is fair for the gander.  Mayor Barry should resign!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry admits to extramarital relationship with top police security officer

 by Joey Garrison,Nate Rau and Dave Boucher, The Tennessean - Mayor Megan Barry said Wednesday she had an extramarital affair with the police officer in charge of her security detail, an extraordinary admission that rocks the popular Nashville mayor's first term.

Barry, in an interview with The Tennessean on Wednesday afternoon, apologized "for the harm I've done to the people I love and the people who counted on me."

She confirmed the affair with Metro police Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr. since the spring or summer of 2016, just months after she entered office the previous fall. Forrest submitted his retirement papers Jan. 17. His final day was Wednesday. (link)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Mayor Barry caught in extramarital affair

I have heard unconfirmed rumors since this morning.  I have not had confirmation prior but the news is just now breaking that Mayor Barry has been having an affair with someone who is an employee of Metro government. The rumors also say her affair involved misuse of public funds. More to follow.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

(update) Mae Beavers drops out of the governor's race

Below is Mae Beavers Facebook announcement:

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Haslam: Tennessee Will Lead the Nation in Jobs, Education and Government Efficiency

NASHVILLE, Press release – In his final State of the State address to the General Assembly, Gov. Bill Haslam this evening challenged all Tennesseans to lead the nation in creating high-quality jobs, improving the education of our students, and providing the most efficient and effective state government services.

“Seven years ago we raised our expectations. We became the kind of leaders who didn’t just talk about cutting taxes and enhancing services, we actually did lower taxes while growing our economy and providing access to high quality education. We cannot lose the momentum we have worked so hard to build,” Haslam said.

Haslam reflected on the past seven years, working with the General Assembly to create a strong commitment to jobs, education and conservative fiscal policy that has resulted in significant accomplishments:
  • Lowest unemployment rates in the state’s history and a job growth rate greater than 17 percent, with nearly 400,000 net new private sector jobs created;
  • The fastest-improving students in the nation, across math, reading and science, and the highest high school graduation rates the state has ever seen;
  • With the proposed Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget, nearly $1.5 billion invested into K-12 education, with $500 million going to teacher salaries;
  • More than $500 million in tax cuts to Tennesseans, including a 30 percent cut on groceries;
  • A cut in year-to-year spending by more than a half billion dollars; and
  • Tripling the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
All Tennesseans have access to college free of tuition and mandatory fees through Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, the landmark programs Haslam launched in 2014 and 2017, respectively. To help ensure those students complete college and enter the workforce with degrees or certificates, Haslam this evening announced the Complete to Compete initiative, which includes the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2018, restructuring financial aid requirements for Promise and HOPE scholarships to keep students on track for on-time completion, and requiring community colleges to implement structured, ready-made schedules for all incoming full-time students based on their academic program.

Haslam also announced plans to bring needed reforms to Tennessee’s juvenile justice system that will strengthen families and communities while promoting public safety and ensuring a responsible and effective use of limited resources. The governor’s legislation follows recommendations from a task force on juvenile justice led by House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

Last week, Haslam announced TN Together, a comprehensive plan to end the opioid crisis that focuses on prevention, treatment and law enforcement. The governor’s FY 2018-19 budget includes nearly $15 million in new state funds ($30 million total) for TN Together.
The governor’s proposed $37.5 billion budget continues his focus on jobs, education, and efficient and effective government.

Notable budget highlights investments include:
  • More than $200 million in new state funding for K-12 education, including additional funds for teacher compensation;
  • Nearly $100 million for higher education initiatives;
  • $128 million for job growth investments, including programs that target rural communities; and
  • Increases to bring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $850 million.
The governor’s budget proposal reduces state spending overall by more than $200 million, continuing Haslam’s focus on efficient and effective government. Over Haslam’s tenure, annual state budget growth is only 2 percent, by far the lowest growth rate of any administration over the past 40 years.

The governor’s address and budget documents are available at  

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Diane Black Statement on Mae Beavers Withdrawing from Governor’s Race

Gallatin, TN , Press release – Today, Diane Black released the following statement after Mae Beavers announced that she was withdrawing from the Governor’s race:

While Mae and I don’t always agree on tactics, we have always agreed on philosophy, and I’ve always known her to be a dedicated conservative who fights for what she believes in. From our time in the state legislature fighting to protect the unborn and to stop a state income tax, we know the conservative movement is stronger when we are fighting for the same cause together. I wish Mae the best and hope that she will continue to be active in the fight in Tennessee.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

1st Tuesday host "No Tax 4 Tracks" Wednesday January 31st.

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends 

I hope you know 1ST TUESDAY will have a ''1st-Time-Ever'' .... follow up meeting to our JAN 8th event when Ralph Schulz, from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce came to advocate Mayor Barry's MASS TRANSIT plan. 

On Wednesday, JAN 31st, those group leading the opposition to Mayor Barry's plan... ''NO TAX 4 TRACKS'' will be our special guest speaker(s).
No Tax 4 Tracks spokesmen
TODAY -- the ''NO TAX 4 TRACKS'' group sent to the following notice regarding tonight's Metro Council meeting where there will be a move to adjust the language heading for the MAY 1ST ballot. 

Please take a moment to read... respond ... and share as you are inclined.  IF ...your schedule allows, make plans to visit up for the JAN 31st version of 1ST TUESDAY when NO TAX 4 TRACKS will make their case. Pass the word. To secure your seats for lunch, visit at our website and click on '' Join Us'' 
[ GUESTS.... please use the ''DUES'' icon to secure seats ... should our $25 ''GUEST'' icon give you any trouble] 

Hope to see you on JAN 31 at WALLER LAW 
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, January 29, 2018

Comic relief break: the new game show for liberals.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Do not expect Federal $ for Mayor Barry's mass transit plan

President Trump has revealed some of what is in his $1 Trillion infrastructure plan and it does not look good for cities like Nashville that are expecting big bucks from the federal government to fund new mass transit systems.  According to Politico, "Instead of the grand, New Deal-style public works program that Trump's eye-popping price tag implies, Democratic lawmakers and mayors fear the plan would set up a vicious, zero-sum scramble for a relatively meager amount of federal cash — while forcing cities and states to scrounge up more of their own money, bringing a surge of privately financed toll roads, and shredding regulations in the name of building projects faster."

The federal share of the new infrastructure plan is only about $200 billion and that is expected to entice the private sector and state and local governments to invest. Also, Trump's budget proposals have called for cutting existing infrastructure programs at the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Mayor Barry's mass transit plan assumes $1.5 billion will come from the federal government. That seems highly unlikely. How will the city make up that gap in funding?

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club meets Sat. Feb. 3rd.

From Betty Hood:

Dear BRBC Friends,

The breakfast club will meet Saturday, February 3 at 8 am at the Chili's Restaurant on Hwy 70.  Our guest speakers will be Brent Moody, candidate for Speaker Harwell's seat.  As a bonus, Jim Plasko will give us a perspective on our new tax laws.  Hope you can be with us in our new home for this informative meeting.


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How members of the Council voted on the mayor's tax for tracks plan

On Tuesday night January 23rd the Council met and passed on Second Reading Bill BL2017-1031 adopting Mayor Barry's transit improvement program and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018 to approve the tax increases to support the program.  As expected the bill passed overwhelmingly.

The bill was amended to modify the wording of the referendum. The new language made the plan more attractive by distorting the facts. It required that the language of the referendum not say that the vote on the referendum is a vote increasing the sales tax to 10.25% but instead to say the vote is a vote to increase the local option sales tax to 3.25%.

Councilman Cooper proposed an amendment that would require that the public referendum language state that the project would cost $8.952 billion which is the cost of the project over 15 years. The referendum was to state that the project is a $5 billion project. The  $8.952 billion figure is a figure stated in the project plan and is the estimated cost of the plan over the 15-year construction period. The $5 billion dollar figure is only some of the cost expressed in current dollars.

His amendment would have also revealed the amount of the total sales tax if the referendum is approved instead of just the local share of the total which is 3.25%. His amendment would have had the referendum state the local option would increase to 3.2% for a total sales tax rate of 10.25%. Cooper's amendment was tabled by a vote of 21 in favor of tabling, 14 against, one abstention and three not voting.

A "yes" vote was a vote to kill Cooper's amendment.  A yes vote was a vote to not reveal the true cost or reveal the total new sales tax rate the public would be voting on. A vote for honesty and transparency was a "no" vote. Here is how the Council voted on the motion to table Cooper's amendment:

The vote on the amendment
Voting "Yes," to table Cooper's amendment.
Scott Davis, District 5                         Bret Withers, District  6           Anthony Davis, District 7
Nancy VanReece, District 8                Bill Pridemore, District 9        Doug Pardue, District 10    
Keven Rhoten, District 14                  Jeff Syracuse, District 15         Mike Freeman, District 16
Colby Sledge, District 17                   Burkeley Allen, District 18      Freddie O'Connell, District 19
Sheri Weiner, District  22                   Mina Johnson, District  23       Kathleen Murphy, District 24
Russ Pulley, District 25                     Jeremy Elrod, District 26          Davette Blalock, District 27   Jason Potts, District  30                     Fabian Bedne, District 31         Jacobia Dowell, District 32
Voting "No," not to table Cooper's amendment
John Cooper, At-large                   Erica Gilmore, At-large                Bob Mendes, At-large
Sharon Hurt, A-large                    Jim Shulman, At-large                   DeCosta Hastings, District 2
Robert Swope, District 4              Larry Hagar, District 11                 Steve Glover, District  12
Ed Kindall, District 21                 Tanaka Vercher, District 28            Karen Johnson, District  29 Antionette Lee, District  22          Angie Henderson, District 34                  
Voting to Abstain:  Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Not voting: 
Brenda Haywood, District 3      Holly Huezo, District 13               Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20

The vote on the Bill
Following the vote on the above amendment, action was taken on the bill.  A "yes" vote was a vote to approve the bill which means approving the mayor's transit plan and putting the issues on a public referendum and a "no" vote was a no vote. Here is how they voted:

Voting Yes on the Bill
Bob Mendes, At-large               Jim Shulman, At-large                     DeCosta Hastings, District 2 Brenda Haywood, District 3      Scott Davis, District 5                     Bret Withers, District 6
Anthony Davis, District 7         Nancy VanReece, District 8             Bill Pridemore, District 9
Doug Pardue, District 10           Larry Hagar, District 11                  Kevin Rhoten, District 14 Jeff Syracuse, District 15                 Mike Freeman, District 16              Colby Sledge, District 17
Burkley Allen, District 18        Freddie O'Connell, District 19         Sheri Weiner, District 22
Mina Johnson, District 23        Kathleen Murphy, District 24          Russ Pulley, District 25
Jeremy Elrod, District 26         Davette Blalock, District 27            Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District 29      Jason Potts, District 30                     Fabian Bedne, District 31
Jacobia Dowell, District 32     Antionette Lee, District 33               Dave Rosenberg District 35

Voting NO on the Bill
John Cooper, at-large              Sharon Hurt, at-large                        Robert Swope, District 4
Steve Glover, District 12         Ed Kindall, District 21                     Angie Henderson, District 34

The minutes of the meeting do not list those who abstained or were not voting.  Why, I do not know. Those unaccounted for in the above tally are Holly Huezo, District 13 and Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20 both of whom were absent.  District one is a vacant seat.

If you are unsure who your council member is, you can go to this page and use the look-up tool to find out. 

One observation about the result of this vote is that just because one is a Republican, you cannot always assume they will cast a vote that you agree with. I am disappointed in the vote cast by Davette Blalock and Sheri Weiner, both of whom identify as Republicans. Davette Blalock ran for a state legislative seat as a Republican.

Another observation is that African-American members of the Council, probably reflecting the views of their constituents, are not  sold on this project. In the final vote on the bill, two of the six "no" votes were Black council members and on the Cooper amendment of the 14 "no" votes six of them were by Black members of the Council and two of those six were the two at-large Black council members.  Blacks may realize that light rail will come at the expense of improved bus service and Black Nashvillians ride the bus at a greater rate than the average Nashvillian.  If mass transit ridership continues to decline, to cut operating cost bus service will be cut, not the fixed light rail service. Also, light rail will probably result in the spread of gentrification along the light rail route.

In addition to the merits of the issue, Black members of the community may be feeling that the mayor has betrayed them. She proposed closing General Hospital and she failed to support the effort to establish a civilian police oversight board, both issues the Black community care about. Opponents of the mayor's light rail proposal should take the message to the Black community and should court Black leaders.

While the vote last Tuesday when this bill was on second reading was almost a foregone conclusion, passage on third reading is less assured. I think the odds favor it passing but it is by no means a certainty.  On third reading this bill will require a two-thirds vote of the members of the body.  District one is an empty seat and if we assume again two members will be absent, then only four votes have to switch. And, they do not have two switch from "yes" to "no." All they have to do is abstain or sit on their hands or go to the bathroom. On third reading, an abstention or simply not voting is as good as a "no" vote. There were several of the 14 who voted against tabling the Cooper amendment who ended up voting for the bill.  They at least have reservation or disapprove of the way the referendum is worded to deceive.  There may be four votes that will switch from "yes" to some other status.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Mayor Barry ask $13.2 M more for General Hospital. Other programs must be cut to pay for it.

After proposing in November to do the fiscally responsible thing and close General Hospital and convert the facility into a out-patient clinic, Mayor Barry buckled to political pressure and reversed herself. She said she would keep its status unchanged for the remainder of this year and come up with a recommendation for the future of the hospital at the end of the year. 

Now, Mayor Barry is proposing an additional emergency appropriation of $13.2 million dollars for the facility.  This is not unexpected.  General asked for $19.7 million. The facility constantly needs an infusion of cash to operate.  If General does not get the money it cannot meet payroll.

General Hospital has long been a money pit. In the last two years the Hospital has received $26 million in emergency funding in addition to a $35 million annual subsidy from the Metro Council.  As reported in The Tennessean recently, a recent audit found that the hospital, "failed at basic bookkeeping, unable to keep track of patient payments and major expenses."

While poor management is obviously a problem, the real problem with Nashville General is that  no one wants to go there.  Metro jail inmates without insurance needing hospitalization have no choice and are sent to General and there is a financial incentive for Metro employees to use General but it still cannot fill its beds. The facility is  licensed for 150 beds, staffed for 114 and has an average of 44 beds filled a day. Metro General should have been closed fifty years ago.  Ever since the advent of Medicaid there has been no need for a city charity hospital and the reason it has been kept open is purely political. There is no federal or state law or metro charter provision requiring the city to operate a charity hospital.

Unlike past emergency appropriations to prop up General, this time the additional funding will hurt. Not much, but anytime a politician takes money away from a program it hurts.  In speaking of cuts, we are not speaking of a cut the way Washington speaks of a cut.  We are not simply talking about a reduction in the rate of growth but real cuts.

The reason other programs must be cut to fund General is because the city's saving account is running low; we are running out of money.  The city needs to maintain an amount equal to 5% of the budget in a reserve fund. That is simply sound financial management in case the city should face an emergency or in case revenue comes in at a rate less than expected.  Not only is keeping 5% in reserve a wise policy but if we do not, it will effect our bond rating and every dollar the city borrows will cost more. In the past when General needed more money we simply dipped into the reserve fund. This time, the city can dip into reserves for most of the money but must find $2.4 million elsewhere.

The city can find the $2.4 elsewhere without the public feeling the cut. No libraries or parks will close or police or fire protection will not be touched. Cuts will come from various incentive programs and other services and will hardly be noticed. Among the cuts will be $1.55 from the Housing Incentive Pilot Program and $350,000 from the storm water contingency fund and various other modest cuts.  So, we are cutting those programs no one cares about, such as affordable housing and flood control.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

(Update) What happened at the 1/ 23/18 council meeting: Tax for Tracks advances, Airbnb partial phase out, trampling property rights deferred again, Police Oversight Board bill killed..

by Rod Williams - This past council meeting had several very important issues on the agenda and I will summarize those first. If you are going to actually watch the meeting you need an agenda and the council staff analysis. Without a playbook you really will not know what is going on. To access the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

Mayor's tax for tracks mass transit plan approved.
Bill BL2017-1031 on Second Reading is the bill to adopt  the Mayor's transit improvement program and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018 to approve the tax increases to support the program.  As expected this passed overwhelmingly. The outcome of the vote on this was never in doubt. At a three-and-half-hour public hearing on January 9th the proponents vastly outweighed the opponents, supporters have been organizing for months, the proposal has the support of Chamber and other movers and shakers in town and the Council meeting as a special council committee composed of the entire body voted 29 to 1 to recommend it. A group called Transit for Nashville Coalition has gathered over 30,000 signatures in favor of a mass transit program for Nashville but the signatures were supporting mass transit not a specific amount of taxes to support mass transit. While this vote of the Council was never in doubt I would not bet on it passing the public referendum.  Experienced political opposition to the plan has now emerged and opponents are only now getting organized. I think when the public learns more about the plan and has to vote on it they will reject it.

The bill is amended to modify the language of the referendum. The new language will makes the plan more attractive by distorting the facts.It is amended to require that the language of the referendum not say that the vote is a vote  increasing the sales tax to 10.25% but instead to say the vote is a vote to increase the local option sales tax to 3.25%. While that is technically correct it is deceptive. The vote will be increasing only the local option, not the state sales tax. However, when the public votes on this, if they they vote for the referendum, they will be voting to raise the total sales tax to 10.25%,  making Nashville's sales tax the highest in the nation. I bet most people could not tell you which portion of the sales tax is state and which is local. The deceptive language was approved by a voice vote with some audible "no's."

Councilman Cooper proposed an amendment that would require that the public referendum language state that the project would cost $8.952 billion which is the cost of the project over 15 years. The referendum was to state that the project is a $5 billion project. The  $8.952 billion figure is a figure stated in the project plan and is the estimated cost of the plan over the 15-year construction period. The $5 billion dollar figure is some of the cost expressed in current dollars.  Cooper's amendment failed and the language of the referendum will use the deceptive lower figure of $5 billion.

His amendment would have also revealed the amount of the total sales tax if the referendum is approved instead of just the local share of the total which is 3.25%. His amendment would have had the referendum state the local option would increase to 3.2% for a total sales tax rate of 10.25%. Cooper's amendment was tabled by a vote of 21 in favor of tabling, 14 against, one abstention and three not voting. The bill is then voted on and passes by a vote of 30 to 5. Check back and I will post how members of the Council voted on this amendment and how they voted on the final bill.

To better understand the bill see page 6-14 of the staff analysis.  Also for more information see this link and this link.  To view the Council debate see the video at timestamp  43:28 to 1:10:47.

Phase-out of non-owner-occupied Short-term rentals approved.
Bill BL2017-608,  Substitute Bill BL2017-937Bill BL2017-981, and Bill BL2017-982   all on third reading all concern short term rentals. I was surprised by the outcome of Council action on this issue. The worst bill of the bills dealing with this was Bill BL2017-608. It phases out all non-owner-occupied short term rentals in areas with a residential zoning and it is the one that passed. The others failed. Bill 937 and 981 are deferred indefinitely and 982 is withdrawn. Passage of bill 608 may  result in action by the state legislature to preempt the ability of local governments to regulate short term rentals.

Substitute Bill BL2017-937 was the best of the bills, or the least bad bill, and the bill that a subcommittee of the council that had been studying the issue for over a year had produced. It is deferred indefinitely. Councilman Shulman was the sponsor of the bill and chaired the special committee that worked on the issue for over a year. He was treated very badly by some of the opponents of short term rentals. Several council members take to the floor to express the sentiment that he was treated unfairly and to thank him for his hard work on the issue.
What was passed means that if you have an accessory dwelling unit on your lot and have it permitted for short term rental, you can keep it. If you own the house next door and rent it for short term rental, you will no longer be able to do so.

An attempt was made to amend 608 to extend the phase out period from three years to eight years and that failed. It was tabled by a vote or 21 to 14 with 2 abstentions. The bill was approved by a vote of 25 to 6 with 7 abstentions. Check back and I will list the results of the roll call vote.
To understand what the various bills do and for a greater understanding of the issue, follow this link, this link, and see the staff analysis starting on page 16. To view the video discussion see timestamp 1:13:33.

Police Community Oversight Board bill defeated
Bill BL2017-951  on Second Reading which would establish a Community Oversight Board to conduct investigations and provide citizen oversight of officers of the Police Department is deferred indefinitely at the recommendation of the committee.  That means it cannot be placed back on the agenda by the sponsor. It really is dead.  To bring this issue back up someone would have to bring back a new bill.  The actual vote at this meeting was not a vote on the bill but whether of not to consider the bill. If the sponsor would have prevailed the bill would have been back on the agenda next council meeting. Only the sponsor and the chairman or a person designated by the chairman of the committees recommended deferral were allowed to speak on the bill. The sponsor, Scott Davis, spoke in support of his bill and Vice Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Bill Pridemore who is a retired policeman, spoke against the bill. The vote in favor of putting the bill back on the agenda was five in favor, 25 opposed, and seven abstentions. It is dead.

This proposal resulted from a February 2017 police shooting that occurred when Officer Josh Lippert, who was wearing a police uniform and driving an unmarked car, pulled over Jocques Scott Clemmons for running a stop sign in the Casey Homes area. Police say Clemmons who had a  loaded 357 Magnum gun in his hand refused to drop it when Lippert told him to do so and fled.  Officer Lippert said he believed he was in danger and opened fire and struck Clemmons twice in the lower back . Clemmons later died. Clemmons had a criminal record involving cocaine and at the time was on probation and was not supposed to be in procession of a firearm. The police officer was Caucasian and Clemmons was a Negro.  This became a cause for many Blacks and Black Livers Matter and other Black activist. Officer Lippert was exonerated of wrong doing but is still not back on the streets, awaiting some administrative determination of his future status.

There is a lot of energy and passion around this issue so I don't know if the sponsor or someone else will try with a separate bill or not. Given the lopsided vote against it by the Council, I thing bringing it back would be a futile effort.  To view the Council debate on this bill see time stamp 26:50- 43:22.

Bill Trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing is deferred, again. 
Bill BL2016-219  on Third reading is the bill that tramples a person's property rights, partially takes property without compensation, and kills an affordable housing development. It is deferred until July 2018. This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission which means when it is finally acted upon it will take 28 votes of the Council to pass.  This bill has been in the works for a very long time, having been introduced in April 2016.

Unlike most zone changes which allow someone to do something with their property they were previously not allowed to do; this bill is a "down zoning," taking away a right someone now enjoys.  The owner is already vested in the project having designed the development and arranged financing.  I am pleased this was deferred rather than passed but it is unfair to keep this hanging over the head of the owner.  Doing so should be illegal in my view.  While I do not know anything about the project other than what has been reported by other media and what is public record, I would assume that the fact that the down zoning is pending affects financing.  A delay is a also a major cost in a project like this.  

Despite the bill not passing, Councilman Karen Johnson has most likely been successful in stopping the project. Her delaying the project may result in the planned affordable housing never being built since by the time the bill is finally defeated, assuming it is, the market may have changed and affordable housing may no longer be the best use for this property. Instead of the affordable housing, which Karen Johnson opposes, gentrification may have reached Antioch and upscale condo's may be built instead.

For more on this issue, see Contact your Council member. Stop the trampling of property rights and the killing of an affordable housing development.

In Other Council Action
Following the prayer and pledge, the first order of business is two presentations, one is recognition of Wear Red Day which is a campaign to bring attention to heart health.  The presentation is used as an opportunity to educate people about what to do if you have chest pain and to educate people to stop smoking and otherwise live a healthy lifestyle. This presentations takes about six minutes. Following that presentation there is a presentation honoring the Ryman auditorium and that takes about six minutes.

There are seven mayoral appointments to boards and commission on the agenda but only one is acted upon.  There is no report on the others at all and no explanation has to why.  I don't assume there would be an issue with six nominees and if they would have withdrawn their nomination or the committee would have recommended a deferral, then that would have been reported. It was probably a scheduling conflict but that should have been explained. It should be.

There are 12 resolution on the agenda and they are all routine things such as accepting grants, paying settlements and approving of signs to overhang the right of way. None of the resolutions are of much interest.  In my view, the council should give some other body such as the Board of Zoning Appeals or maybe just some pubic servant such as the Director of Codes the authority to approve signs overhanging the sidewalk. This seems to be a mundane routine thing.  If the applicant has met the design and insurance guidelines then it seems some bureaucrat could sign the permit instead of requiring Council action on every sign that protrudes into the right of way. 

Bill BL2017-941  on Second Reading which would establish a Commercial Permit Parking Program.  is deferred one meeting.

Bill BL2017-1026  on Third Reading in councilman Scott Davis' district is deferred one meeting. This is a zoning bill disapproved by the planning commission. I have no opinion of the merits of the bill and am only calling attention to it because it is a disapprove bill. To pass a disapproved bill requires 27 votes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories