Saturday, May 05, 2018

Happy Cinco de Mayo from The Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving.

by Rod Williams - There are plenty of festivities around town tonight for Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for Fifth of May, is the date observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. It is not, as some think, Mexican Independence Day. That is in September. Actually, in Mexico Cinco de Mayo is minor holiday.  In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. The date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture, but mostly it is an excuse to get drunk.  If doesn't rank with New Year's eve as  a favorite day of the year to get drunk, but it ranks up there with St. Patrick's Day.

A lot of people who do not normally go to bars and drink will be out drinking. Margaritas is the favorite adult beverage of choice on Cinco de Mayo. The Tequila in a sweet sour salty Margarita can kind of slip up on you and you get drunk before you know it.  Unfortunately, a lot of  people who get drunk will be driving and a lot of them are amateurs at driving under the influence. This  guide from the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving is provided  to help you improve your drunk driving skills or think about alternatives to drinking and driving.

(1) Don't Drive drunk. That is the number one rule: don't do it. Getting arrested for drunk driving is only one reason not to drive drunk.  The most important reason is you could kill yourself or someone else.  If you are lucky and don't kill someone else or yourself, getting arrested for drunk driving could cost you your job, your election, your social standing, custody of your children or visitation rights, a lot of money, and maybe your marriage.

If you overindulge, there are alternatives to driving drunk. Take a taxi, get a hotel room, call a friend or family member and ask them to come get you. If at a friend's house and you have had too much to drink, stay the night.  Use the ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber. These services are cheep, fast, and convenient.  To use these services you page a ride using your phone. To do that you must first download an app. Don't wait until you're drunk to try to download the app. Here is a link to the Uber app.

(2) Pick the designated driver before you start drinking.  If you are not going to rely on a commercial service such as a cab or Uber, and you know you are going to be drinking and you are going with other people, then have a designated driver. I prefer being the designated drinker, but someone needs to be the designated driver.
Despite the above advice I know there will be times when a person will have had too much to drink and not think they are too drunk to drive but will have had a sufficient amount of adult beverage that they could register drunk even though they don’t think they are drunk. I myself have probably driven many times when I would have registered drunk had I been stopped. I am not by any means advocating driving drunk, but if you are possibly driving impaired I am providing these below tips to help you increase your chances of getting home safely without getting arrested.

(3) Know that you don’t have to be “drunk” to register DUI. You do not have to be sloppy, falling down drunk to register as DUI. If you think you should not drive then by all means don’t. See the above tips. Often you will not know if you are drunk or not, so unless you know exactly how much you have had to drink and whether or not that would constitute drunk driving, then assume you are technically drunk. You do not have to appear intoxicated or have any of the symptoms that we think of as “drunk” to have a Blood Alcohol Content that legally makes you guilty of Driving Under the Influence. If you drink and you drive you have probably driven “drunk.”

(4) Track your consumption and don’t have “one for the road.” That is what often happens. If during the evening you are having dinner with friends and you have a pre-dinner cocktail and wine with dinner and an after dinner liquore with coffee, and a champagne toast, you might register drunk. Try to keep your alcohol consumption to a level that falls below the BAC limit.

On occasion, but not as often as I would like, I like to go to Lower Broadway to listen to live music and party. If I have 8, 12-ounce beers in a four-hour period I should have a BAC of about .068, however if I have 9 beers in four hours that means I have a BAC of .085 and am legally drunk. “One for the road” could put me over the limit. Actually, I seldom have eight in a four hour period, but it has happened.

To reach the same level of intoxication, a female can drink less than a male and a slender person can drink less than a heavy person. For a 115 pound female, three glasses of wine in two hours is drunk. Don’t try to keep up with the other people in your party. Know your limit. Skip a round. Drink slower. Some people assume that wine is less inebriating than tequila shots. That is not so. A 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of 100 proof distilled spirits have the same impact on an individual's BAC level.

Here is a calculator that will give you guidance on how much alcohol you can consume and an estimate of BAC. Please be aware that this is only a guide. If you are drinking on an empty stomach, your BAC may be higher than indicated in the calculator.

(5)  Point your car in the direction of home.  Plan your trip. A good car should be able to find its way home, with a little help.  Avoid places where the police might see you. In the days before Uber and when you could still park on Broadway, I would visit the honkytonk strip of Lower Broad. I never would  park on Broadway, however. I live on the south side of town, so I would park a block or two south of Broadway on one of the one-way streets heading south. That meant I did not have to circle a block and be concerned about traffic lights and stop signs. The less exposed one is to the police the less chance one has of getting caught. It is worth parking four or five blocks away to reduce your exposure.

(6) Be aware that you are impaired. If you didn’t keep track of how much you drank then assume you are may have had enough to register drunk and use your best drunk-driving skills. "Thinking" skills, like perceiving and evaluating risks, or processing information are not easily visible to outside observers, but they are the first skills to be adversely affected by alcohol. Be aware of this.

(7) Stop the Party. You are having a good time. You are joking and singing and laughing. You hate to end the party, but if there is any chance that you are driving with an elevated BAC, then stop the party. Say, “OK folks, we need to straighten up. I need your help in getting us home.” Don’t sing or engage in distracting conversation. Turn off the radio. Don’t talk on the cell phone. Give driving your undivided attention. Don’t let anyone in the car have an open container. You may be perfectly capable of driving, but if a drunk passenger is yelling out the window, the police may stop the car and give you a drunk driving test. The moment you get in the car the party is over.

(8) Check the checklist. Have a mental checklist. You don’t want to get stopped because you failed to use your turn signal. I was once stopped by the police on lower Broadway and forced to take a Breathalyzer. I knew I had only had two beers in a two-hour period so I was not concerned. The reason they stopped me is that I had not tuned on my headlights as I pulled out into the street. This was in a previous car, years ago when headlights did not turn on automatically. The downtown area is well lit and this was just an oversight. The police are looking for excuses to stop you; don’t give them one. Seat belts? Check. Adjust the mirror? Check. Turn off the radio? Check. Turn on the headlights? Check.

(9) Do not commit other crimes while driving drunk. If stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, don't compound your problems by being arrested for drunk driving and somethings else.  Don't smoke dope while driving drunk. Don't get arrested for drunk driving and for speeding, or possession of a controlled substance, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or soliciting prostitution. One crime at a time!

(10) Concentrate; pay attention. Be aware of your driving. Don’t relax. Keep both hands on the wheel. Don’t be distracted. Don't answer the phone. If you feel you must answer the phone, safely pull off the road. Don't even engage in conversation.  Make sure you do not weave. Are you staying within the lines? Drive just below the speed limit. Don’t tailgate. Pay attention to the car in front of you. If they put on their brakes, notice it. If you are approaching an intersection with a traffic light, pay close attention. Plan that traffic light stop. Don’t run a yellow light.

(11) Use your co-pilot. Ask the person in the passengers seat to help you drive. Ask them to tell you if you weave or tailgate or go too fast. Make them pay attention to your driving.

(12) If you get stopped. Unless you are certain that you have had less than the number of drinks it would take to raise your BAC level to the .08 level, then common wisdom holds that it is a good idea to refuse the breathalyzer test. It generally is more difficult to convict a driver of drunk driving if no chemical tests are taken.

Rep. Bill Beck
(13) Use your influence to get the charge thrown out. Be a State Representative or other person (link) with important friends who can get a judge to throw out the charge based on lack of probable cause for making the stop. Despite the police seeing you drive with wheels over the lane line and observing the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, and inability to walk straight and a despite the arresting officer saying you were "absolutely hammered," the judge may rule the arresting officer did not have probable cause for making the stop.

This is an additional tip suggested by a student of the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving.

(14) If you are seeing double, close one eye. 

I have never been arrested for drunk driving but I admit I have been guilty of it. I guess I have been lucky. As a young adult I was more often guilty of it than I have been as an older adult. Nevertheless, from time to time, I still have probably technically met the blood alcohol level for being drunk.

Stay safe. Don't drive drunk. Drive careful. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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The Bastiat Society with Andy Puzder - The Capitalist Comeback. Thursday, May 10th

From The Bastiat Society:

We have an exciting event lined up for our May meeting of the Bastiat Society of Middle Tennessee! Former CEO of CKE Restaurants (think Hardee's and Carl's Jr.) and President Trump's nominee for Labor Secretary, Andy Puzder, will be joining us to launch his new book, "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It."

Andy Puzder
Puzder is a longtime and outspoken advocate of capitalism and even moved his company's business holdings to Tennessee when California's economic climate became too hostile. In his talk, Puzder will discuss his experience as a business leader as well as the topics in his book, which revolve around regulatory reform and economic growth.

The Bastiat Society of Middle Tennessee is a project of the Beacon Center that offers free, monthly events to the public. Our meetings include a networking time with light food and beverages, a speaker series, and a discussion. Join members of Tennessee's business community and further your understanding of intricate policy reforms that advance capitalism and free trade. Read more about our speaker here. 

For time location and registration information follow this link.

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Friday, May 04, 2018

In State of Metro address, Briley bemoans tight budget, extols education, pledges more work on transportation

In his first State of Metro address delivered on Monday May 4th, Mayor David Briley bemoans the tight budget he just presented and says he wishes he could have given the Schools more of what they wanted. He stresses a need for unity if the city is going to solve its transportation problems and other problems. He says he is not giving up on solving Nashville's transit problem and will continue working on it. Below is the video of the address. If you want to skip the ceremonial aspect and the entertainment, go to timestamp 17. 

Metro Press release, May 4, 2018 - In his first State of Metro Address, Mayor David Briley outlined priorities of his new administration, honored the remarkable heroics and successes of Nashville citizens, and highlighted the city’s historic spirit of collaboration to overcome differences and achieve greatness.

Like his grandfather, who was the first mayor of Metropolitan Government and known for building consensus in what was a defining moment for the reorganization of city government, Mayor Briley said: “The work of leading us to heal our divisions so that we can find a common way forward, the work of persuading Nashvillians to provide for today while also acting today for the sake of tomorrow, now falls to me.”

Highlighting priorities, Mayor Briley emphasized that while Metro Government faces short-term budgetary challenges, his administration will seek no additional tax increases and will advance a status quo budget with Metro departments fulfilling all services at consistently high levels. He pledged belt-tightening stewardship and continued innovation and thanked Metro Council members for their partnership in the work of leading the city.

Mayor Briley said that while voters this week rejected a multi-modal transit proposal, solving congestion with effective transit solutions remains a civic priority. He started meeting with transit proposal opponents the day after the vote and said he will continue pressing for a solution that gains broad community support.

Among the unusual and often challenging events of 2018, Mayor Briley acknowledged the Waffle House shooting on April 22 and thanked the people of Antioch for their strength. He recognized the exceptional work of all the police officers, firefighters and health care workers who responded to the crisis, as well as James Shaw Jr., who heroically disarmed the shooter. “Armed only with his quick wits, quick feet and quick, strong hands, he disarmed the man. Without his courage, the devastation at the Waffle House would have been far worse,” Mayor Briley said.

To exemplify the spirit of unity, Mayor Briley also shared the stories of three individuals who, with the help of city services, overcame adversity and achieved success. They included: Lateasha Davis, who used Metropolitan Transit Authority bus service to travel to a training program that helped her secure a new career in construction that doubled her pay; Loai Amanuel, who won more than one student Emmy Award for films he produced at Pearl Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, including a documentary about his journey as a 10-year-old refugee from Iraq to a 16-year-old U.S. citizen. Amanuel will attend Belmont University on a full academic scholarship this fall; and Adanna Brown, who overcame a traumatic adverse childhood experience and went on to become salutatorian of her graduating class at Hunters Lane High School. She will attend Vanderbilt University this fall to study cognitive behavioral therapy for children.

Education, through career advancement training and within Metro Nashville Public Schools, is a key feature in each of these stories, underscoring its central role in Nashville’s future, Mayor Briley said. “Education is the biggest key to Nashville’s success. The essential work of a city boils down to creating access to educational capital, access to financial capital, and a level playing field. The first of those, access to education, often leads to the other two,” he said.

Noting Nashville’s tremendous economic growth and prosperity, Mayor Briley spoke of his strong commitment that all Nashville residents are positioned to benefit from the city’s success regardless of finances or background.

Metro will turn the former Greer Stadium site at Fort Negley into a park and move forward on construction of a new Major League Soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville in 2018. But the city’s focus for most infrastructure projects will be neighborhood and quality of life priorities such as green space acquisition; tree planting to meet a goal of 500,000 new trees by the year 2050; and sidewalk and bikeway construction, he said. With many Nashvillians experiencing homelessness and addiction as well as limited access to affordable housing, Mayor Briley also announced the creation of the Metro Community Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council to address the devastating impact of substance abuse on the community.

The Mayor closed his speech with a tribute to his mother, Jeannine Briley, who served as director of Volunteer Services at General Hospital, where “she proved, like so many Nashvillians do every day, that sacrifice leads to success.”

The event featured performances by the Nashville School of the Arts Jazz Combo Group and Nashville’s 2018 Youth Poet Laureate, Haviland Whiting, who read her poem about the city and all the people who call Nashville home. Faith leaders Pastor John Faison of Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Rabbi Shana Mackler of The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom read blessings for the city.

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Coungressman Diane Black is 1st Tuesday guest on Monday May 7th.

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends,  Polling for the GOP primary for Governor shows a very competitive race is now in FULL swing ! And, the FINAL stretch is about to move into WARP DRIVE!!

Diane Black
Congresswoman Diane Black is able to join us for the May version of 1ST TUESDAY. May is a MONDAY, May 7th ! [yes, 1ST TUESDAY on 1st Monday ! ] Diane will have MUCH to about what has been going on in Washington DC: including but not limited to 1] Behind the scenes as Chairman of Budget Comm. while passing TRUMP Tax Reform plan. 2] Speaker Ryan retiring – What next? 3] House investigations – getting documents from the FBI?
VERY active month in Congress, but Diane has arranged to join us at on

 BUT …. her mission on Monday is to make her case of why she running for Governor of TN ... AND ..... to address our room full of questions! What she seeks to accomplish? What she expects to change? Expect topics to include more about Gas Taxes, Mass Transit, pots holes on I-440, Medical Marijuana, the future of educating TN children, Judicial Reform and soooo MUCH MORE ! [ oh .. ANYONE want to talk more about Mass Transit in Nashville ?? ] EXPECT...... a LIVELY Q&;A session.

Secure seating for you and any Guest(s) pronto! Our event is $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. Visit website at and click on ‘’JOIN US’’ [if the $25 Guest icon is troublesome, use the $25 ‘’Dues’’ icon. Website update coming SOON ]

Doors at WALLER Law [511 Union Street] open at 11:00AM. Lunch from Copper Kettle Catering at 11:30. Program at NOON sharp. Our LIVELY Q&;A session concludes at 1:00PM. [PARKING is – $7 for 2 hours under the building while space is available]

Look forward to seeing MANY you know at 1ST TUESDAY on Monday, May 7th. See you then!

Tim Skow

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Where and when to vote. Special Metropolitan General Election – Mayor and Council District 1 Early Voting

 Where and when to vote.

Howard Office Building

Friday, May 4, 2018–Saturday, May 19, 2018
Date Time
Friday, May 4 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 5 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 7 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 8 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 9 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 10 8 a.m.–7 p.m.

All Early Voting Locations Open

Friday, May 11, 2018–Saturday, May 19, 2018
Date Time
Friday, May 11 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 12 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 14 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 16 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 17 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday, May 18 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 19 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Early Voting Locations

Belle Meade City Hal, 4705 Harding Pike Nashville, TN 37205
Bellevue Library,  720 Baugh Road Nashville, TN 37221
Bordeaux Library, 4000 Clarksville Pike Nashville, TN 37218
Casa Azafrán Comm. Center,  2195 Nolensville Pike Nashville, TN 37211
Edmondson Pike Library, 5501 Edmondson Pike Nashville, TN 37211
Goodlettsville Comm. Center, 200 Memorial Dr, Goodlettsville, TN 37072
Green Hills Library, 3701 Benham Ave Nashville, TN 37215
Hermitage Library, 3700 James Kay Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076
Madison Station Fifty Forward, 301 Madison Street Madison, TN 37115
Howard Office Building, 700 2nd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37210
Southeast Library, 5260 Hickory Hollow Pkwy Antioch, TN 37013

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Early voting in the mayor's race starts today!

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

What happened at the 5/1/18 Council meeting: ban on pet store selling any dog but pound pups passes, all other controversial bills deferred.

To follow along with the video you really need a program. To access the agenda, staff analysis of the agenda and my agenda commentary follow this link.

Reappointment of Ms Cynthia Chappell to Board of Zoning Appeal approved.
Following the prayer and pledge and the deferral of an inconsequential rule change which did nothing more than change the name of a committee, the Council moved to confirmation of mayoral appointments to boards and commissions. Usually these are routine and the council rarely rejects a nominee. The Council took the rare action of a roll call vote to reappoint Ms. Cynthia Chappell to the Board of Zoning Appeal.  The vote was 21 in favor, 5 no's, 4 abstaining and 9 not voting. Initially it was stated that her reappointment failed and it was stated that a confirmation required 27 votes. That was then corrected and it was announced that confirmation simply requires a majority and she was in fact confirmed.

Ms Chappel is a five year veteran of the BZA. I watched the Rules Committee meeting to try determine why Ms Chappel's appointment was controversial. Apparently there was an email campaign to deny her reappointment due to the BZA voting too often in favor of Short-term rental appeals. Council member Jacobia Dowell also says that there is a feeling among some of her constituents that the Board lacks objectivity and that the Board favors the party that has attorneys to represent them, which is usually the developer as opposed to community members. It is also said that because Ms Cappel has a strong personality, she dominates the boards. The Committee recommended reappointment by a vote of 4 to 1.  To see the Rules Committee deliberations see timestamp  29:12 - 49:38 at this link.

There is one resolution and 14 Bills on Public Hearing. Here are the ones of interest:

Bill BL2018-1148 is a rezoning of 36 acres from various residential and industrial zonings to SP in the Baptist World Center Drive area. I am not going to try to understand the pros and cons of this issue so if you want to understand it you are on your on. It is a bill approved by the Planning Commission. There is considerable public comment and Council discussion. There is an attempt to defer the bill that fails. Even if deferred there would not have been a second public hearing. The bill passes on voice vote. To see the discussion see  timestamp 16:40 -53:21.
Bill BL2018-1157  which establishes a 50 foot floodway buffer along the Cumberland River and prohibits variances is deferred to the July public hearing. The sponsor also says their will be a substitute bill.

Resolutions. There are 26 resolution on the agenda. Most are lumped together and pass by a single vote on the "consent agenda."  There are several bill approving PILOT deals for affordable housing. They are not controversial and pass on voice votes. Here are the resolutions of interest:
Resolution RS2018-1158  is and 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.  If you want to know what they are click here. The owners of the soccer franchise say that building the stadium anywhere other than the fairgrounds would jeopardize the soccer deal. This resolution had a Budget and Finance committee recommendation at 7 opposed and 2 in favor. At the request of the sponsor it was deferred one meeting.
Resolution RS2018-1164 is a resolution approving $2 million  for the Election Commission to fund the special election of a mayor. Some Council members make the point that this was an avoidable expense if the Election Commission would have had the special election on May 1st which they could have done.  The Council is right; the Election Commission was wrong. Now, however the Council has no choice but to fund the special election.   The resolution passes on a voice vote.
Resolution RS2018-1165   is even more money for the Metro General Hospital money pit. It is half a million from the 4% fund for equipment and building repairs. It is deferred "by rule."

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. It is deferred one meeting.

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. This is deferred one meeting.
 Resolution RS2018-1182  honors "James Shaw, Jr. whose heroism, prompt action, and selfless disregard for his own safety spared numerous lives" in the Antioch Waffle House shooting. This passes on the consent agenda.
All bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote as is the norm including the bill to ban plastic bags. I had thought someone might take the unusual step of opposing this on first reading but no one did.

Bills on Second Reading: There are eleven. Here are the ones of interest: 
Bill BL2018-1056 would regulate the on-line market for Short term rentals, that is it
would regulate websites such as Airbnb.   It would require these sites to  require a Metro permit number for each STRP application prior to placing the property on the online marketplace site. It would also require the sites to provide a detailed quarterly reports to Metro. I would oppose this if I served in the Council. The development of the quarterly report could require new computer programs or lots of man-hours for the sites. While the staff analysis does not address the issue, I would like to know by what authority Metro has to require this of a company that is not physically located in Nashville and is simply a go between facilitating the interaction of people who want to provide a place to stay and people seeking a place to stay.  What if Metro required Airbnb to have agents who were locally licensed real estate agent? Could Metro do that?  What if Metro wanted to regulate online porn or wine sales or gambling, could Metro do that? If Airbnb simply ignores this law, what can the city do about it? How would they enforce it? The Internet does not stop at the county line. This is deferred one meeting.

Bill BL2018-1159 would prohibit pet stores form selling any cats or dogs except those obtained from the pound or other such animal rescue organizations. It would still allow Nashvillians to buy dogs from breeders but not pet stores, so if you want to buy any dog other than a pound pup, you will have to go to a pet store across the county line. This passes on a voice vote without discussion.
Bills on Third Reading:There are six. None of them are of much interest. Bill BL2018-1111 (as amended) would put under the purview of the Board of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Conduct those who violate executive orders regarding rules of conduct. This was controversial when introduced but as amended, according to the staff analysis, this really doesn't do much.

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Analysis | 6 reasons why the Nashville transit referendum lost big

The Tennessee offers insight with which I generally agree: Analysis | 6 reasons why the Nashville transit referendum lost big.

Not only did the plan lose big, but the proponents outspend the opponents by about two to one. 

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Three Big Wins from This Year’s Legislative Session

From an American for Prosperity email - Americans for Prosperity had a few major policy issues in Tennessee this year, including civil asset forfeiture reform, occupational licensing reform and entitlement reform. We saw significant progress in all three areas.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Two major bills passed that will reform civil asset forfeiture laws in Tennessee:
HB 2021 will limit the practice of “Policing for Profit.”
  • By itself, having cash is no longer grounds for seizure – law enforcement must prove you obtained the cash illegally. Previously, the burden of proof was on individuals to show their cash was legitimate.
  • If your property has been seized and you weren’t present, law enforcement must notify you via certified mail, giving you the opportunity to claim and speak on behalf of reclaiming your property. If the property was taken without merit, the seizing agency will have to pay your attorney fees up to $3,000.
  • Drug screen results must be submitted to the state within five days. If the substance was not an illegal drug, the civil asset forfeiture case must be dismissed and any property returned.
  • While this reform does not require a criminal charge or conviction for property seizure, it should drastically curtail civil asset forfeiture by placing a larger burden of proof on law enforcement to return property quicker and by requiring agencies to pay if they’re wrong about seizures.
Additionally, HB 2143 will require detailed reporting over civil asset forfeiture and how dollars are spent. Adding transparency to the process will help determine what additional reforms need to be taken.

Occupational Licensing Reforms

The Fresh Start Act, or HB 2248, gives those who have a previous criminal conviction the ability to attain a professional license (such as barbers, cosmologists, accountants or any of the 200+ professions requiring a license to work) if their previous crime does not affect their ability to do a job or is unrelated to their desired profession.  This is a great first step towards helping former offenders get their livelihoods back and contribute to society.

Entitlement Reforms

HB 1551 reinstates work requirements for entitlement programs such as food stamps. Work, school and volunteer requirements were placed on hold during the recession, but Tennessee’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low and this change will empower Tennesseans to lift themselves up from dependency. More success in entitlement reform included HB 1822/SB 2247 which will strengthen entitlement fraud detection, transitional assistance and support programs.

Bonus Victories We’re Excited About – and Think You Will Be, Too

 Taxes and Spending

  • We lobbied to defeat HB 2361/SB 2354. This bill would have circumvented future public referendum votes on transit plans and infringed on private property rights with eminent domain.
  • We supported HB 1462/SB 1589, which adds budget constraints to control spending and government growth

Licensing and Regulation

  • HB 1540/SB 2518 Consumers can now purchase alcohol seven days a week, and businesses have more freedom concerning their sales.
  • Cosmetologists will now be able to practice their trade outside of shops and salons, allowing them more earning flexibility thanks to the soon-to-be-signed HB 710/SB 797.
    The last six counties that required emissions testing will no longer do so. HB 1782/SB 2656 was passed overwhelmingly and awaits the governor’s signature.
  • Innovative rental programs like Airbnb won’t be subject to restrictive government regulations, allowing more freedom for entrepreneurs in the state (HB 1020/SB 1086).
  • We helped kill SB 444/HB 446, which would have increased fines and fees for violators of HOV lane rules. This law is enforced in only one county and wasn’t a good use of taxpayer money.
We did experience some setbacks regarding cronyism and the cozy relationship between government and the politically well-connected. HB 1914/SB 1894 was a disappointing set of bills passed by the legislature that allow city-owned gas utilities to use revenues to fund the Chamber of Commerce and other Economic and Community Development organizations. This a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Rod Williams comment:  These are notable reforms. I am pleased. Americans for Prosperity, the Beacon Center, individual legislators and independent citizen activist can share in the credit. I am proud of our State government and those who helped advance a freedom agenda.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Mayoral Forum May 10th, 2018

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Mayor Briley presents no-tax-increase, status quo budget

Mayor Briley has completed his "budget discussions" with department heads, crunched the numbers an released his budget.  The $2.23 billion budget does not call for a tax increase, represents a $22 million increase over last year's budget, increases school funding by $5 million and increases General Hospital funding by $11.1 million. The $5 million increase in school funding is $40 million short of the school's request.

What happens next is that the Council will hold budget hearings, most likely tweak the mayors budget which will find a little bit more for schools and make a very few other minor changes and then pass the "Council budget." I do not expect the Council to raise taxes.  My hope, but not an expectation, is that the Council would slash funding for General Hospital and tell General to develop a six-month plan to dissolve itself. I would also hope the Council would cut the $25,000 appropriation to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and cut some other wasteful spending.

For more on the budget see this link, and this link .

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For a few minutes of the day yesterday I was a Democrat and voted in the Democrat primary. There were no candidates running in the Republican primary so those who were nominated in the Democrat primary will be running unopposed in November making the primary tantamount to the election.  I think it is a shame that the Republican Party cannot find at least token opposition to challenge Democrats.  There should be Republican names on the ballot even if they don't campaign or expect to win. If I would have been asked, I would have allowed my name to be placed in nomination for something.  I am sure there are other Republicans who would have done the same. I hope in the future the Davidson County Republican Party will make candidate recruitment a priority.

Several good people like County Trustee Charlie Caldwell and Sheriff Daron Hall were running unopposed and I am pleased to see them reelected and  even if there was a Republican name on the ballot I would have voted for them.  In other races, Ana Escobar beat former Metro Councilman Nick Leonardo for General Sessions judge. Leonardo had been appointed to the seat in January by the Council, but Escobar had widespread community support and the support of the Nashville Bar Association. I have nothing against Nick Leonardo but I thought Escobar was the better candidate. I am pleased with the outcome.

In the race for Juvenile Court Clerk, Lonnell Matthews barely beat state Representative Sherry Jones. I am pleased with this outcome.  I knew I did not want Sherry Jones to win the seat. Matthews personally called me and asked for my vote, which I appreciate.  He has relevant experience and ideas for the office and I think he will make a good Juvenile Court Clerk.

Karen Johnson won the position of Register of Deeds.  I voted for Karen Johnson just because she is so darn pretty. Shallow I know, but it's the truth. Really, I don't think it matters who is the Register of Deeds. If I were redesigning local government from scratch, I would eliminate most of the courthouse offices and have people like the Register of  Deeds and Assessor of Property and County Clerk all be department heads appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council.

To see a complete list of election returns, follow this link.

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With the defeat of this most recent transit proposal, the city should now remove barriers to innovation and embrace technological changes and market forces.

In yesterday's voting the $9 billion light rail transit plan was soundly defeated by a vote of 78,000 opposed and only 44,000 in favor. That are percentages of 64 to 36. In the last few days I had been predicting an opposition win of 60 to 40 and the win was even larger.  I hope that this spells the end of such proposals of this nature for a long time. With the defeat of this most recent proposal, however, we should not do nothing about transit and congestion.  I wish the city would turn its attention to a transit reforms that removed barriers to innovation and embrace technological changes and market forces. For a more detailed look at my proposals for a modern transit system, see What to do about Mass Transit and traffic congestion.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Opinion | Not all Nashville transit plan opponents are from 'far right'

Mr. James H. Pratt who is a former reporter and editor for The Tennessean and served as press secretary to former U.S. Sen. Jim Sasser writes in a Tennessean opinion piece that Not all Nashville transit plan opponents are from 'far right.' He lays out his own liberal credentials and says he opposes the plan. He says proponents of the plan have largely taken the tactic of attacking the opponents as engaging in "Trump-style lies" and being funded by the Koch Brothers and attacking the credentials of highly respected and honored Vanderbilt economist Dr. Malcom Getz. I have noticed the same thing.  Instead of responding to the criticism of the opponents or making a good case for the plan, the proponents have engaged in attacks on the opponents.  I am pleased to see an honest liberal point that out.  Read the piece at this link.

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Vote Against the Transit Plan on May 1

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Tomorrow the transit referendum is on the ballot. Please vote NO!

Tomorrow the transit referendum is on the ballot.

 Please vote NO! 

We must vote AGAINST this boondoggle. If this plan passes, it will make Nashville one of the highest taxed cities in America and it does not solve congestion. By gobbling up roadway capacity it may make congestion worse. Fixed rail is an antiquated system and mass transit ridership is declining all over America. The cost of the system is $9billion assuming no cost overruns and most projects of this nature have huge cost overruns.

Click HERE to find your polling location.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Police union (FOP) not endorcing anyone for mayor

The Metro police union has made no endorsement in the Mayor's race which will be decided in a special election on May 24th.  In FOP balloting to select the union's choice for mayor, 425 votes were cast.  Mayor Briley got more votes than any other candidate but failed to garner 50% of the votes which is necessary to secure the FOP endorsement. No doubt, a large number of members voted for Briley simply because they want continuity in the office of mayor for a while. Continuity is office is the primary reason I hear people giving for supporting David Briley.

In the 2015 mayoral election, the FOP endorsed David Fox.  In this years balloting, former Vanderbilt University professor, author, and  conservative commentator Carol Swain came in second, gaining 23.3% of the vote.  That is significant. It raises her profile and may make her the leading alternative to Briley. Erica Gilmore, who is perceived as a leading candidate did not seek the FOP endorsement and got no votes. Here is how the FOP voted:

David Briley, Mayor: 41.7%
Carol Swain, former Vanderbilt political science professor, conservative commentator: 23.3%
Ralph Bristol, former radio conservative talk show host: 17%
Harold Love, State Rep. (D-Nashville): 3%
Jeff Napier: 1%
Julia Clark-Johnson: 14%.

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