Friday, January 11, 2019

How much did it cost to "rebrand" the MTA as WeGo.

Sometimes I have questions that I don't have the answer to but wish an elected official or the news media would ask. This is one such questions: How much did it cost to "rebrand" the MTA as  WeGo. I have emailed MTA asking this question. If I get an answer, I will share the information.

I would doubt that it cost less than a million dollars. We probably paid a consultant half a million dollars to come up with the brilliant new name. An outside marketing firm probably spend months studying the issue and held focus groups.  MTA then had to repaint all of the buses and redo the signage and website and literature.  Nothing government does comes cheap. It seems like the money would have been better spend on improving service.

Changing the name will do nothing to improve transportation or to entice people who do not now ride a bus to ride a bus.  Instead of wasting time and money on "rebranding," the MTA should be embracing markets and new technology. The future of transportation is not antiquated rail or large empty buses riding fixed routes.

Despite the rebranding, many are still not happy with the MTA. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Group says Metro bus routes aren't making the grade.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Nashville honky-tonk owners move to flex political muscle

The Tennessean - In a local politics development that could only happen in Nashville, lower Broadway honky-tonk owners have created a political action committee with the goal of impacting this year’s Metro election. .... the massive growth has led to complications for honky-tonk owners, who have complained about policing, trash collection, historic zoning regulations and other issues. ...The Downtowners Committee for Action raised over $20,000 in 2018 and headed into the new year with $18,500. A new round of fundraising solicitations from former Metro Councilwoman Emily Evans, who is helping direct the PAC, went out in recent days. (link)

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Positive Sign for Educational Freedom in Tennessee

Press release, Tennessee Federation for Children - Today the Tennessee Legislature moved to fill several key leadership positions, including: 

  • Rep. Mark White (R-83) will be the Chairman of the House Education Committee. Rep. White has a proven record of supporting student-centered education reforms including public and private choice legislation. 
  • Rep. Debra Moody (R-81) will be the Chair of the Curriculum, Testing, and Innovation Subcommittee. Rep. Moody sponsored the pathbreaking legislation that created the Individualized Education Accounts program, Tennessee’s first education savings account designed specifically for students with exceptional needs. Joining her on the sub-committee is Rep. John DeBerry, Jr. (D-90) who has also been a consistent advocate for parents’ right to choose the best educational setting for their children.
  • Senator Dolores Gresham (R-26) will once again chair the Senate Education Committee. There is hardly a stronger champion of education in the state Senate. Her broad perspective as someone who represents voters from all walks of life is invaluable. She will be joined by a host educational choice champions including Vice Chair Kelsey and Sen. Bell, both of whom know the power of parents choosing the best fit for their children.
Along with positive movement in committee leadership, additional reason for optimism among supporters of school choice: Speaker of the House Glen Casada has been outspoken about the need for a floor vote on educational choice legislation this session. And, under the leadership of Lt. Gov. McNally, the Senate has consistently demonstrated support for school choice. 
Statement from Shaka Mitchell, Tennessee State Director for the American Federation for Children: 
As students across the state returned to school this month, the Tennessee Federation for Children is glad to welcome members of the 111th General Assembly of Tennessee. These members, in conjunction with recently elected Governor Bill Lee, have the chance to lead the nation in passing bold, comprehensive legislation that improves learning outcomes for all students. Today’s committee appointments show the Senate and House leaders’ commitment to utilizing parent choice as one of many tools to strengthen Tennessee communities.

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From Nashville Tea Party:

The ONLY way we get a wall
to secure our Southern Border is to pressure REPUBLICANS
to Stand with President Trump.

Here is the QUICK, Easy way we can help TODAY.

Call 202-224-3121

This is the US Capital Switchboard. You will be asked to press 1 for the Senate and then you will say the STATE name and be connected with one of your Senators. PLEASE call both if you have time.

When the staffer answers, simply tell them you want your Senator to support President Trump and BUILD THE WALL!


You can also EMAIL
Senator Alexander HERE.

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The New ‘American Gothic"

As soon as the President concluded his speech to the nation Tuesday night and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosie appeared on the screen to give their rebuttal, I thought of the iconic American painting American Gothic. I did not know that many others had the same immediate reaction but the comparison is widespread.  Chuck Schumer really looks the part.  See The New ‘American Gothic,’ in the New York Sun.

It is always difficult for the opposition party giving a rebuttal. When the President gives a State of the Union address or any address to the nation, the rebuttal never can match the gravitas of  the president, but the Schumner-Pelosie response to Trump's Tuesday night speech seems to me to be one of the most pathetic, in substance and optics, of any opposition rebuttal I can ever recall.  It there were any undecideds watching Tuesday night's speeches, I think they broke for the President.

Unfortunately,  I think we have reached a point to where there are few undecided Americans on any issue anymore.  Not that being undecided is the same as being informed, but I think we are so divided that few look at the merits of an issue and base their position on Trump's position.  For many Americans who hate Trump, if Trump is for something, they are going to be opposed to it and the facts are irrelevant.

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Sunday, January 06, 2019

1st Tuesday, TUESDAY, JAN 8th, special guest is Govenor Bill Haslam.

Gov. Bill Haslam
From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and frequent attendees

Just a quick reminder ... since I do not show an RSVP from you...   
Our next lunch event is TUESDAY, JAN 8th!
Our special guest will be TN Governor BILL HASLAM!
As you'd expect, there will be many topics to cover ...AND... what to expect in Tennessee politics going forward! 
[ can you say 2020? ]sa

Very LIMITED SEATING is still available!!! 
As of now, I DO NOT SHOW that you have already secured your seating via our new website 
NOW is the time to secure seating for you & your guests via our new website at

Rod's Comment: If anyone failed to register who plans to attend, you must do it NOW! This is one of those First Tuesday events that if you did not preregister, you will probably be turned away at the door. I registered late for this one, but as of now (1-6-17 2:30pm) the website is still accepting registration.  This ought to be a really good event. Haslam leaves office soon and will probably have a lot to say about his accomplishments and he has let it be known that he is interested in seeking Senator Lamar Alexander's senate seat in 2020.

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Community Police Oversight Board nominees turned in questionnaires last Friday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — By January 31st, Nashville will have its first-ever Community Oversight Board in place to investigate police misconduct allegations.
At last check, 140 candidates turned in their questionnaires before 3:00 p.m. The official deadline was 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

"The charter amendment says this board is suppose to be elected by January 31st and we're going to do it," vice mayor Jim Shulman said Friday.

Shulman said he is confident Metro's Rules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee can efficiently interview the 182 community oversight nomination pool before Metro Council elects and confirms an 11-member board during a special January 22 meeting. .... A special Metro Council meeting will take place on Jan 22nd to elect and confirm members to the city's first-ever Community Oversight board.(link)

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More testimony, closing arguments heard in officer-involved shooting pre-trial hearing/ Prosecutor compares defense of Officer Andrew Delke to argument used at Nuremberg

A ruling is expected to be made on Monday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The second day of a preliminary hearing for a decommissioned Metro Nashville police officer, who has been charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of Daniel Hambrick, concluded Saturday.

General Sessions Judge Melissa Blackburn will announce on Monday her decision regarding whether or not there is enough evidence to bound the case over to a grand jury. (link)

Prosecutor compares defense of Officer Andrew Delke to argument used at Nuremberg

The Tennessean - Officer Andrew Delke, 25, is the first Nashville officer to be charged with criminal homicide for an on-duty shooting. During a preliminary hearing held Friday and Saturday, his defense team said the officer was following his training when he saw Daniel Hambrick holding a gun and then shot him in the back during a foot chase.

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Senator Lamar Alexander on Suggesting ways to end this government shutdown

I spoke about ending the partial government shutdown on the Senate floor this week. You can watch here.

By Senator Lamar Alexander - Government shutdowns should be as off-limits to budget negotiations as chemical weapons are to warfare. Nevertheless, we are stuck in one.

In the summer of 2015, President Barack Obama invited me to meet with him at the White House. Our conversation that day in the Oval Office offers a lesson for resolving the current partial government shutdown. The president wanted to talk about our work in Congress to fix an education law called “No Child Left Behind.” If you think the current impasse on border security is complicated, try setting federal policy for 100,000 public schools. It’s like 100,000 spectators agreeing on which play to call at a University of Tennessee football game: Everyone is an expert. 

On that day, Obama told me there were three things that had to be in the legislation for him to sign it. I told the president that if he would not oppose the bill as it made its way through Congress, those three things would be in the final bill. On Dec. 10, 2015, Obama signed our legislation into law, calling it a “Christmas miracle” even though there were plenty of other provisions in it he didn’t like. “You kept your word,” he told me. “So did you,” I said.

Why, as a Republican, did I agree to a Democratic president’s requests with which I did not agree? Because I have read the Constitution and understand that if the president does not sign legislation, it does not become law.

Democrats should realize, as I did back then, that if an elected president has a legitimate objective, they should bend over backwards to accommodate it. Since President Trump made it clear he won’t sign any legislation to reopen the federal government without some increase in funding for border security, here are three options for where we could go from here:
  • Go small: Give the president the $1.6 billion he asked for in this year’s budget request, which the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee approved. Provide an additional $1 billion to improve border security at ports of entry, which everyone concedes is needed.
  • Go bigger: Pass the bill that 54 senators voted for last February, which combined a solution for children brought to the United States illegally (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA) and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years. The bill failed only because of last-minute White House opposition.
  • Go really big: Begin the new Congress by creating a legal immigration system that secures our borders and defines legal status for those already here. In 2013, 68 senators — including all 54 Democrats — voted for such a bill, but the House refused to take it up. That bill included more than $40 billion and many other provisions to secure our borders.
Resolving this partial government shutdown by going really big on immigration could be Trump’s Nixon-to-China, Reagan-to-the-Berlin-Wall moment in history. I hope Democrats will negotiate with the president and come to an agreement so we can do what we were elected to do: make the government work for taxpayers, not shut it down.

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