Saturday, March 03, 2018

What's on the Council Agenda for 3-6-18: Approving the law firm to investigate the mayor, Exempting Churches from building sidewalks to nowhere, Judicial reform, new data collection requirements for Metro contractors.

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse.  If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis  or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links. There is no real "hot-button" issues or expected controversies on this agenda. The most important items is selecting the law firm to conduct the Council investigation of Mayor Barry, but that should be without controversy.

Boards and Commissions
The first order of business is the call to order, prayer and pledge followed by consideration of mayoral appointments to boards and commissions. There are nine mayoral appointments to boards and commissions on this agenda for Council confirmations. The council always approves these without discussion or dissent. 

Selecting a law firm to investigate Megan Barry
Not listed on the agenda, but probably right before the vote on confirmation of boards and commission members appointees, or perhaps as a late resolution, the Council will vote on accepting the Memphis law firm Burch Porter &Johnson as the firm to lead the special council committee charged with investigating Mayor Barry's misuse of pubic funds to facilitate her affairs with her subordinate. If would be difficult to find a quality law firm located in Nashville that is not in some way compromised in their ability to perform an objective investigations. Almost all local major law firms have law partners who donate to candidates, or do business with the city or are in some other way are compromised. I think it was wise to chose an out of city firm. The committee charged with investigation Mayor Barry recommended Burch Porter and Johnson by a vote of 5-0.  Nine law firms had applied for the position. Just from what I read from the news media, this appears to be a good selection.  There are some Black members of the Council who seem to have a single issue focus on assuring that any law firm the city does business with has a proportionate number Black lawyers. Don't be surprised if their is some questioning along those line. I expect the firm to be selected by the Council. To read more about this issue of selecting the law firm see the Tennessean' coverage of the issue.

Bills on Public Hearing
There  are 21  bills on Public hearing. Items on public hearings are all rezoning bills or related to planning and zoning policy.  Rezoning hearings bore me and I don't even try to form an opinion on the merits each rezoning bill before the Council.  Rezoning bills usually are of interest only to people who live near the proposed rezoning. People who don't care one way or the other do not show up, and with rare exceptions, the only people who speak in favor of rezoning bills are those who will benefit from the rezoning such as the property owner or the developer.  Opponents always make the same argument which boils down to one of these: 1) the change will result in stressing the infrastructure such as too much traffic on the roadway or overcrowd the schools, 2) will cause flooding, and 3) will change for the worse the character of the community. If you are interested in knowing what is permitted in different zoning districts, follow this link. I call attention to only those bills on public hearing that for some reason I expect to be controversial or to bills which have been disapproved by the Planning Commission. A bill disapproved by the Planning Commission requires 27 votes to be approved on third and final reading and sometimes that can be difficult to obtain.Below are the only bills on public hearing I find of interest. 

Bill BL2017-938  would exempt religious institutions from current sidewalk requirements, provided the religious institution is within the General Services District and does not abut an existing or planned sidewalk. This was on the agenda on Jan. 2nd and was deferred to this meeting. I like this bill and think it should pass. It applies only in the General Services District which is generally the suburban and rural areas of the county.  At the rate we are building sidewalls it will be about 600 years before we build sidewalks in some of these areas.  In the middle of nowhere, were there are no sidewalks, why should sidewalks be required in front of the church?  I think this policy should apply to all development meeting this same criteria.  It serves no purpose to have little isolated, random sidewalks to nowhere. This bill is disapproved by the Planning Commission but deserves to pass. 

Bill BL2018-1099   is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. It would change from RS5 to SP zoning on property located at 207 Myrtle Street,  to permit up to four multi-family residential units. I have no opinion on the merits of the rezoning.

Bill BL2018-1100   is another disapproved bill.  It would change from R15 to SP zoning for properties located at 401 Kinhawk Drive and Nolensville Pike to permit all uses permitted by MUL zoning except Alternative Financial Services, Bar or nightclub, flea market, hotel/motel, mobile storage units and automobile parking.
There are 27 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 was 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. None of the resolutions on this agenda are of much interest except for this one.
Resolution RS2018-1054  would reduce the jailers’ fees authorized under state law that are assessed against misdemeanant prisoners incarcerated in Davidson County jails. We charge people for staying in jail even if they are jailed for a minor traffic violation. Until this issue arose, I did not know one had to pay for staying in jail. Often the fee is waived but it does not have to be and often it is not. According to the resolution, "although jailers’ fees are only assessed against persons actually convicted of criminal offenses, such fees may be assessed not only against persons serving misdemeanor sentences in county jails, but also against persons being held prior to trial on misdemeanor charges." That is an outrage. This resolution would reduce the fee to $0. I support this resolution.
Bills on First reading: There are 10 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.  Normally bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote. It is rare that a bill on First Reading is voted on separately. I normally do not read bills until they get to second reading.

Bills on Second Reading: There are 10 of them and none of them are of much interest.

Bills on Third Reading:  There are 15 of them. These are the ones of interest.
Bill BL2017-1026 is a disapproved rezoning bill in Councilman Scott Davis district. I have no opinion on the merits of the bill but am pointing it out simply because it is disapproved and will require 27 votes to pass. This was on Third Reading last time and deferred to this meeting.

Bill BL2018-1054  says that when metro enters into a lease. leasing to another entity a piece of metro property, that that lease must go before the Metro Council for approval and if the lease is for more than fifty years, it must first be declared surplus.This is a good bill.  

Bill BL2018-1063 as amended,  is a bill to "require the Procurement Division to collect comprehensive data regarding the participation of subcontractors in the procurement process."  Currently, the Minority and Women Business Assistance Office (BAO) is authorized to collect information to monitor the Procurement Nondiscrimination Program. The information “may” include information regarding business ownership, supplier information, and subcontractor information. This changes the "may" to "shall."  In the past and probably still, I know this program was often abused. Sometimes a White contractor and a Black subcontractor may switch rolls to get an advantage as a minority-owned firm. The White guy may agree to be the subcontractor to the Black guy. Also, I have known of instances years ago, where a man would make his wife the owner of their family-owned construction company in order to gain an advantage as a women-owned business. I don't know if this would reveal those manipulations or not, but it may. I support this.
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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We need a system of "liberal offset credits"

by Rod Williams - We need a system of "liberal offset credits," that sort of act like carbon offset credits. Or, sort of like

the Catholic church of the late 15th Century selling indulgences.

With companies talking about dropping their NRA association,  a lot of people are talking about boycotting companies such as Delta Airlines or Enterprise car rental company.

Due to the flag controversy, when players were "taking a knee" and showing disrespect for the flag and the NFL allowed it to occur, many people talked about boycotting the NFL. Due to their bathroom policy some people refused to shop at Target and lots of people boycott Starbucks; I forget the reason why.

While I admire those who "put their money where their mouth is," if Delta is going where I want to go, at the time I want to go, and  for a good price, I am not going to chose a different airlines that leaves at an inconvenient time and cost more. I am a political person. I stay informed, I sign petitions, I will attend rallies, I share my opinion on social media, I blog, and I give money to candidates and causes. However, I am not going to drive an extra three miles to shop at Lowes when Home Depot is nearby (or maybe it is Home Depot I am supposed to shop at and boycott Lowes, I can't remember). Any way, life is complex enough without evaluating companies and products based on the causes they support, the political opinions of the company owners or to
whom they give discounts.  I will never join AARP, but I am not going to boycott companies that give AARP members a discount. Life it too short to complicate it like that.

However, if a system was in place to where I could buy a credit to support a conservative cause every time I did business with a company that supports a liberal cause, I would buy the offset. Say I fly Delta, maybe I buy a $1 in offsets. When I get to my destination and I buy a cup of Starbuck's overpriced coffee; maybe, 10 cents in offsets.  I then rent an Enterprise car and pay another $1 in offsets. So, $2.10 goes to The Beacon Center (or some other conservative cause) and I did business with liberal companies guilt-free.

What do you think? To eat Ben and Jerry's ice cream would require a $1 a scoop offset.

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Former Judge Casey Moreland arrested by FBI on obstruction of justice charges

by Adam Tamburin, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee - Former Nashville Judge Casey Moreland stole money from the Davidson County Drug Court Foundation and then tried to destroy the evidence after the FBI launched an investigation into his conduct, according to new federal charges filed this week. ... The FBI investigation into Moreland began in January 2017 after allegations surfaced that he helped people he knew in exchange for benefits including sexual favors, travel and lodging .... evidence that Moreland pocketed thousands of dollars and later told a woman who helped him to destroy financial records that could lead to his exposure. (link)

Rod's comment: This is a story of greed and corruption. The story explains how Moreland was able to steal money given to a non-profit foundation sit up to help people who needed substance abuse counseling services and could not afford it. Despicable!

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The irony of "Hollywood" deserves its own Oscar. Here we have a contingent of people who, because they sell tickets, truly believe they have something important to say to us "common-folk." So, let's make an important point with Reductio Ad Absurdum and show the foolishness of "actors" who demand non-actors to change their beliefs and practices while exempting themselves from their own moral standards.


As a Hollywood actor I’m a special person with unique insight into life because I get paid a lot of money to make believe I’m other people. Therefore, GUNS are bad and should be BANNED. I stand in solidarity with students across America to tell Trump to change the law and stop the killing.  We know he won’t because the NRA will not let him but this PLEDGE by all of us Hollywood Actors, Directors, Producers, and Investors will change the law, stop the killing and Make America Gun-Free Again!
I (insert real Hollywood name) Pledge to:
  • Never act, produce, direct or invest in any movie that includes a gun in any way in the script, even if it’s a water pistol or one of them guns with the orange thing in the hole in the front.
  • Never hire any bodyguards who carry guns, ever carried guns or thought about carrying guns.
  • Hand in all guns I own to a company that can melt them into plowshares or at least a giant peace symbol.
  • Calculate all the money I have made in movies, TV shows, videos, direct-to-DVD productions and give all that money to groups opposed to the NRA.

When we Hollywood Actors put our BIG money where our BIG mouths are then the world and America will know we are finally serious about solving the gun problem in America. History shows that we actors with our social activism have solved world hunger, world poverty, world water shortage, world land-mines, and some farming issues somewhere, so we together can do this and solve the world’s gun problem!

Finally, by our leadership we ask all the bad people in America to follow our example
and create your own pledge, The Bad People’s Gun Pledge,
and get rid of your guns too!

 Together we can #MeToo-MakeAmericaGun-FreeAgain!

Re-posted from an email from The United West.

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Bellevue Breakfast Club - March 3rd

Dear BRBC Friends,

Next Saturday, March 3 at 8 am will will have our monthly meeting at Chili's on Hwy 70. Our guest speakers will be Joseph Williams, attorney who is running to replace Beth Harwell and James Amundsen from Americans for Prosperity.

We'll have Q & A after each presentation. We'll have coffee and pastries. Hope to see you there!


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The Tennessean calls for Mayor Barry to resign

Mayor Megan Barry must resign for Nashville’s sake

The Tennessean, Editorial, by David Plazas - A leader must put the interests and the needs of the people she serves above her own.

We thought Nashville Mayor Megan Barry was doing just that. 

However, it has become abundantly clear in recent weeks that this is not the case.... The details that continue to emerge from the affair only enhance the perception that she willfully and continuously showed poor judgment during the two-year affair with Forrest. ... As a former ethics and compliance officer, Barry, a Democrat, knows better. (link)

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American Majority training for candidates and activists March 10

American Majority, the nation's premier conservative training organization for candidates and activists will be hosting a training in Nashville, March 10th.
Training is free, and lunch is provided to all attendees.

We'll be covering:
- Technology/targeting/voter data
- Messaging strategy
- Social media strategies
- Top electoral impact strategies

These trainings are ideal for campaign volunteers, campaign managers, candidates and conservative activists of any kind.

You can RSVP to the March 10th training here:

You can learn more about American Majority at 

Please share with any conservative friends. All are invited. Hope to see you there!

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Gun control, the 2nd Amendment and how to prevent the next mass shooting

by Rod Williams - After a former student went on a shooting rampage at a Parkland Florida high school leaving 17 dead, there has been a lot of attention brought to bear on how this could have happened and what to do to prevent it happening in the future. Students, politicians, pundits, celebrities and many everyday people are demanding the government “do something.” There have been renewed calls for gun control and attention given to the problem of mental illness. Unfortunately, “do something” leaves unanswered the question, “do what?” What should be done? There are things that may make people feel better, but will they really make any difference?

I would like to know what readers of this blog think about gun control and the second amendment and what if anything should be done to prevent the next mass shooting. I would welcome thoughtful comments, not just sloganeering. Please be respectful of opposing points of view.  Please leave your comment. If one would like to submit their comments for consideration as a stand alone essay, please email me the essay at along with a two-sentence bio and a head shot. I would especially welcome comments or essays that address the points I raise below.  Opposing view points are welcome.

Below are some questions I have and some thoughts.
(1) Almost everyone wants to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness. I do. A crazy person should not be allowed to have a gun but there are degrees of mentally ill. What is the standard now for being banned from getting a weapon due to being mentally ill? Does anyone know? I don’t. I am concerned about due process and stigmatizing people. If one once had a prescription for valium or xanax, should he be on the list of those prohibited from purchasing guns? Should one have to be informed he is on the do-not-sell list? Should one have the right to appeal being placed on the list? Should the list be subject to open-records? If once on the list and you get well, should you be able to get your name taken off the list. Should every ex-serviceman diagnosed with PTSD be prohibited from purchasing a weapon? Should the mentally ill be allowed to vote? Should the mentally ill be allowed to drive a car? What should be the level of being mentally ill before you lose the right to vote or the right to own a weapon?

(2) Some second amendment rights advocates take an absolutist position about any effort to control access to guns or where guns may be carried and point out the right to bear arms shall “not be infringed.” However, all rights must be interpreted and have common sense application. The first amendment is not absolute: prohibition against crying fire in a crowded theater, revealing classified information, slander laws, and copy write laws all are restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

We already have restrictions on the right to bear arms. You cannot buy a sawed off shotgun or possess a machine gun. Technically these weapons are not banned; they are taxed to the point that they are prohibitively expensive and the ownership of them must be registered. To me that appears to be a distinction without a difference. Armor piercing bullets are banned and one cannot own nuclear arms or conventional bombs or hand grenades. Since the purpose of the second amendment is to make it possible for people to stand up to a tyrannical government, should not the people have the same weapons as the government? I don’t think anyone makes that argument. I don’t see anyone trying to overturn the ban on armor piercing bullets or machine guns and I don’t see anyone advocating for the right to own nuclear weapons. If you have accepted the right of the government to effectively ban sawed off shot guns and machine guns, have you not already accepted “infringement?” Is banning bump stocks or high-capacity magazines any different from the types of bans already in place?

(3) Should you have to be age 21 to buy a weapon? Some are proposing this. You have to be age 21 to buy alcoholic beverages or cigarettes. However you can enter into a contract, such as that to take on debt and buy a car, at age 18. A college does not share an 18-year-old’s school records with the parent who is paying the bill. An 18-year-old can have an abortion or get married without their parents consent. At age 18 one can join the military. A 16-year-old can get a license to drive a car. The government allows some private sector age discrimination up until age 25. I would favor raising the voting age to 21, but the age at which one can have all of the privileges and responsibilities seems to be to be an open question open to debate. I do not see any principle involved, only a preference which society may decide.

(4) Why ban the AR-15? The AR-15 is the preferred weapon of choice of mass shooters. I am not an
expert on firearms, but as I understand it, there are other weapons even more lethal than or as lethal as the AR-15. Some use the same caliber bullet and they are also semi-automatic. Instead of the same bullet, some use a more powerful bullet. Instead of black and plastic, however. they are wood and metal-tone. Instead of looking like a military weapon, they look like hunting rifles. Does anyone really believe that banning one nomenclature of weapon will accomplish anything? If the AR-15 is banned, the AK-47 may become the mass killers weapon of choice, or the SIG 556R. Does anyone really think banning the AR-15 will accomplish anything?

(5) Many people want to not just ban the AR-15 but ban all "assault weapons."  What is an assault weapon? There is nothing that officially makes a weapon an “assault weapon.” “Assault weapon” generally defines some types of firearms that is a black plastic semi-automatic firearm with a detachable magazine and a pistol grip. It is only appearance that makes an assault weapon an assault weapon. If we made the AK-47 plastic Barbie Pink instead of black would it still be an assault weapon? If we remove the pistol grip is it still an assault weapon? What problem would banning “assault weapons” solve?

(6) Should we close the “gun-show-loop-hole?” The gun show loop hole means someone who is not a licensed gun dealers sells a gun to someone without doing a background check. To require every gun sell be accompanied by a background check would mean you could not sale a gun to your brother without doing so. Should all gun sales require a background check?

(7) Would even banning the manufacture and commercial sale of weapons make a difference? Probably some difference overtime, but I doubt it would make a lot. Three out of ten Americans own guns, but some people own a lot of guns. They have an arsenal or a gun collection depending on how
you look at it. There are more than 300 million guns in private hands in America. After each mass shooting, probably motivated by fear the government will ban guns, there has been a spike in gun sales. If new gun manufacture is banned, the guns in one’s collection will increase in value. Private gun sales will soar. Instead of walking into a gun store to buy a gun, guns will be purchased in parking lots out of a trunk. The only way that I believe a significant impact could be made on the availability of guns is to ban private ownership and confiscate weapons of those who will not voluntarily surrender them.

(8) Why not repeal the second amendment? While tweaking some of the rules about who may own a weapon and defining what weapons may be banned may withstand a constitutional challenge, to make any real impact on the deadly nature of American society would require a weapons ban. To be effective a weapons ban would not only require banning the manufacture and sale of future weapons but the confiscation of weapons currently in circulation. That can only be accomplished by amending the constitution. If you support a ban on weapons, why not work to amend the constitution?

I saw a meme posted on Facebook recently that was apparently meant to be a response to those who point out the right to bear arms is a constitutional right. The meme said, the right to own other people was once a constitutional right. First of all, that meme is incorrect. The constitution never made owning slaves a right but it did indirectly acknowledge the existence of slavery. Slavery was abolished however by the 13th amendment to the Constituting. The point is, the Constitution can be changed. Amending the Constitution is difficult but it can be done. If what you really want to do is confiscate and ban guns, then why not start the process of amending the constitution?

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mayor Megan Barry Statement on Affidavits Released to the Media

Press release, February 22, 2018- Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement regarding affidavits released to the media today in relation to the TBI investigation into the Mayor’s admitted affair.

“The allegations of photos taken of myself are very troubling and infuriating if true. While I have not seen the photos in question, if they were of me, they were taken without my knowledge or permission and a complete invasion of my privacy.

“Nothing in the affidavits released today, which should have been sealed until the conclusion of this investigation, indicates that I have committed any actions that violate the law. If any violations of the law occurred, they were in violating my personal rights.

“We will continue to cooperate with the ongoing TBI investigation, but the release of this affidavit to the media in an attempt to politically damage or embarrass me is an example of why I will continue to protect my personal rights in this process.”

On February 15, the TBI called Mayor Barry’s attorney Jerry Martin in the evening and asked if he and the Mayor would agree to a search of her personal cell phone. He asked if they would agree to limited parameters so that they would not invade attorney-client privilege. Additionally, because it was her personal phone, he asked that they agree to a protocol to limit the search so as not to encroach on items irrelevant to the investigation such as communications with personal friends and family. The agent relayed that they would look at their protocols and respond back to Mr. Martin.

On February 16, without notice to Mr. Martin, a warrant was served to retrieve Mayor Barry’s personal cell phone instead of agreeing to cooperate with Mayor Barry and Mr. Martin. It is unclear who made the decision to pursue this course of action, though General Funk is the person directing the investigation.

On February 20, the TBI called Mr. Martin and asked for Mayor Barry’s personal passcode to her personal phone. He requested to see the affidavit upon which the search warrant was based in order to better understand the basis for the search warrant. He was informed this wasn’t something they would usually do but the decision was up to Mr. Funk. On the advice of counsel, Mayor Barry declined to provide the code to the TBI.

On February 22, the affidavits were released to the media.

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