Saturday, February 02, 2019

Latinos for Tennessee reception honors State legislators

Gov. Bill Lee
Last night I enjoyed attending the annual Latinos for Tennessee reception honoring the Tennessee General Assembly members with special awards going to Lt. Governor Randy McNally, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Glen Casada and Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden. The lead off guest speaker was Governor Bill Lee. Lee has been a long time supporter of Latinos for Tennessee.  This is only the second time I have heard the new governor speak and I more and more impressed.  I think he will continue to lead the state in the right direction with an increased emphasis on school choice, economic opportunity, and criminal justice reform.

Raul Lopez, Chairman of Latinos for Tennessee and Governor Lee have know each other a long time and spoke of their close friendship over the years, long before Lee ever thought of running for governor.  They were both active in a program called Men of Valor, which helps incarcerated men prepare for reintegration into society.

Newly elected State Representative Tommy Vallejos who represents the Clarksville area and who is only the second Hispanic to ever serve in the State legislature gave an electrifying speech.  He is a retired career U.S. Army veteran and associate pastor at Faith Outreach Church in Clarksville. Prior to getting elected to the State legislature he served as a member of the  Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. He is also the founder of a homeless shelter in Clarksville.  His speaking style is like that of an evangelical Baptist or Pentecostal preacher. It is fast paced and full of energy.

Vallejos was originally from New Mexico and has an interesting history.  He was a former gang member in his youth and lost two brothers and his stepfather to gang violence, and his sister and two brothers were sent to prison for murder and he sold and used drugs. He spoke about his past and how he got his life on the right track and his religious faith and his values and his love for America. He also spoke about the importance of reaching Hispanics and letting them know that they belong in the Republican Party.  He said that most Hispanics are people of faith, with a strong belief in the importance of family and who want economic opportunity and support fiscal responsibility.  He said their natural political home should be the Republican Party.  Hispanics are now the largest minority in America and and their numbers are growing and it is important that the Republican Party attract Hispanics.

In addition to the good speeches and fellowship, there was good Mexican food and an open bar which always makes an event more fun.

L to R: Raul Lopez, Randy McNally, Glen Casada, Scott Golden, Tommy Vallejos

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1st Tuesday meets Feb. 14th. Special guest, ten top tier candidates for Council.

From Tim Skow: 
1ST TUESDAY Members and friends

After juggling MANY moving parts over the last 3 weeks, we are thrilled to announce we are bringing you another critical ''1ST TUESDAY 1ST'' 

For the 1ST time ever, 1ST TUESDAY will meet on VALENTINES DAY and we have a basket full of ''Sweethearts for Nashville'' to share with you !!! 

In a mere 6 months the future of Nashville is at stake !!! 

Just 6 months from now, the first week of August, Nashville will elect a Mayor, Vice-Mayor and 40 Members of Metro Council. That means Early Voting begins 5 months from when we meet.  THE RACES ARE ON! 

On FEB 14th you're invited to come hear from ....  and speak with ..... up to 10 TOP-TIER candidates that are stepping forward on a mission to save Nashville from being turned into ''The San Francisco of the South.''  

The GOOD NEWS is if elected, these people and a few more like them can halt Nashville's lurch to the LEFT 

A few of the candidates coming you will know. NO QUESTION, the others you will surely want to meet!! 

Mark you calendar, pass the word and invite those you know who care about Nashville, its financial future, care about critical issues including traffic, a police force that has concerns, pay concerns for City employees in a very competitive market for talent and MANY MANY MORE issues!!

Secure seating for you and your guests at our new website at 

More details soon!

See you on VALENTINES DAY with a lot of reasons and people who will bring a smile to your heart!
See you then!

Tim Skow

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First Nashville mayor campaign finance reports released

Briley  has raised nearly $367,000 and State Rep. John Ray Clemmons has raised just more than $136,000, with $100,000 of coming from himself. To read the Channel 5 report, follow this link.

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Next Steps for Border Security

Rep. Phil Row
by Rep. Phil Row - Last Friday, President Trump ended the partial government shutdown by agreeing to a short-term, three-week bill that allows federal workers to receive their paychecks while Congress debates a homeland and border security package. While I am pleased federal workers will receive their paychecks, nothing has changed with respect to our country’s border security needs. I hope since President Trump took a good-faith step to reopen the government and allow negotiations to take place, Democrats will seriously engage on the president’s idea to continue building a physical barrier along our southern border. This idea has routinely, until recently, received bipartisan support

Currently, a physical barrier exists along 654 miles of our 2,000-mile southern border. Between 2007 and 2015, Customs and Border Protection (CPB) spent approximately $2.5 billion for fencing, gates, roads, bridges, lighting and drainage along the southwest border. In Fiscal Year 2018 (FY), Congress appropriated $1.6 billion to construct new and improve infrastructure in Rio Grande Valley, Texas and San Diego, California. The fact is a physical barrier works. In El Paso, Texas, San Diego, California, Tucson and Yuma, Arizona – all locations with a physical barrier – illegal border crossings have dropped over 90 percent. President Trump’s border security funding request is entirely reasonable and includes money for construction of a physical barrier, construction of all-weather patrol roads and increased funding for technology, all of which Democrats have previously supported.

Unfortunately, this bipartisanship disappeared once President Trump was in the Oval Office.  
The Secure Fence Act of 2006 approved and partially funded construction of fencing and other barriers along 700 miles of our southwest border. The bill passed the Senate 80 to 19 and was supported by some of our country’s most prominent Democrats: then-Senator Barack Obama,  current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, then-Senator Joe Biden, and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, who all voted in favor of this bill before it was signed into law by President Bush. Now, Speaker Pelosi is calling a barrier “an immorality.” We must find common ground to keep the government funded, but it is hard to find common ground when the current Democrat leadership has taken a position that is at odds with the long-held position of most other prominent Democrats. I can only imagine the president’s frustration.

The president has shown a willingness to compromise in order to achieve his top priority. He has proposed a solution which included key Democrat priorities, including a potential solution for Dreamers. While Democrats have always stated they favor fixing the immigration problems, if they have a different approach they should put their ideas on the table for debate and discussion. Unfortunately, congressional Democrats have rejected all attempts to negotiate and it is well past time for them to do so.

President Trump has made clear he is going to do what is necessary to protect our country when previous presidents have come up short. Border security and immigration reform doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. The president has taken Democrats at their word and wants to negotiate in order to reform our immigration laws and secure our border.

Phil Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is physician and co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus and a member of the Health Caucus. Prior to serving in Congress, he served as the Mayor of Johnson City, Tennessee. 

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Friday, February 01, 2019

Contractors bill Metro for hours spend partying with city officials

Partying with Metro officials in order to win friends and influence people is hard work, but someone has to do it. According a report in The Tennessean, top executives of Collier Engineering billed Metro $5,000 for hours that they spend mingling with city officials at a Bridgestone Arena suite.  Collier Engineering has street paving contracts with Metro and the company submits monthly invoices to the city detailing how many hours the firm worked and list the dates the work was done. The city approved invoices including 33.5 hours of work done by four Collier Engineering executives on Friday, March 16, 2018, when they were actually socializing with Metro officials.

The next time you hit a big pothole, wonder if the money that would have went to fill that pothole was paid instead for a company engineer to share a beer with a Metro employee.

Read the story here: Nashville contractor billed Metro thousands on day spent entertaining in arena suite.

Collier has previously come under scrutiny for currying favor with Metro officials and allegedly getting preferential treatment. See this: Audit finds Metro employees sat in contractor's arena suite, didn't pay for tickets.

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Rents are on the rise in Nashville: median 2BR rent in Nashville is up 1.2% in the past year.

From Apartment list - We've just released our monthly rent report, where we track rent growth, median

prices, and market trends. To see this month's report, please click here

Here are some of this month's highlights:
  • Rents in Nashville have declined 0.4% over the past month, and are up 1.2% year-over-year.
  • Nashville's median two-bedroom rent of $1,130 is below the national average of $1,170.
  • Over the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of Nashville, but across the entire state - of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in Tennessee, 9 of them have seen prices rise.
Chris Salviati
Housing Economist, Apartment List

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Metro Council races begin to take shape ahead of August election

by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean - District 31 Metro Councilman Fabian Bedne and District 18 Councilwoman Burkley Allen, long rumored as contenders, both confirmed their at-large candidacies. ... Council members Sheri Weiner, Steve Glover and Anthony Davis said they're also considering at-large runs... Also running in the race for at-large is Zulfat Suara, a Nigerian immigrant who chairs the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee. .. Current district council members Robert Swope, Freddie O'Connell, Ed Kindall, Kathleen Murphy, Antoinette Lee, Dave Rosenberg and At-large Councilman Bob Mendes have each appointed treasurers to run for re-election. ... Among candidates running for seats that will become open is Tim Garrett, a former at-large councilman and longtime Democratic state representative from Goodlettsville, who has filed a treasurer to run for District 10. Former Metro school board Chairwoman Cheryl Mayes has appointed a treasurer for a run for council District 32. (link)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

State legislature considering striping subpoena power from Nashville's police oversight board

The Tennessean - Tennessee Republican lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would let Nashville's new police oversight board remain but strip away its most significant power — the ability to compel witnesses during the review of complaints. (link)

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Monday, January 28, 2019

If you are thinking about running for the Metro Council you need to jump in now!

I received three different invitations to Council candidate race fund raisers or kick-off events in the last week. The Metro Council election season is taking off.  If you are someone who is thinking about running for  a seat on the Metro Council you must jump in now, especially if you are contemplating running against an incumbent.  If you are contemplating running for an open seat it would be wise to declare now.  You may have a little longer to make up your mind if seeking an open seat, but not much.

Open seats where the current council member is term-limited
It is always easier to win an election when running for an open seat than it is when challenging an incumbent.  Below are the districts in which the current office older is illegible to seek reelection due to term limits. These are "open" seats. I have put the name of the current council member  in parenthesis.

District 5  (Scott Davis)            District 7 (Anthony Davis)              District 9 (Bill Pridemore)
District 10 (Doug Pardue)         District 12 (Steve Glover)               District 18 (Burkely Allen)
District 22 (Sheri Weiner)         District 27 (Davette Blalock)           District 30 (Jason Potts)
District 31 (Fabian Bedne)        District 32 (Jacobia Dowell)

Open Seats in which the incumbent is not seeking reelection
There are two district in which there is an incumbent who is not term-limited who could seek reelection but who has announced they will not  There could be more. Those I know about so far are these:

 District 23 Mina Johnson.        District 13 Holly Huezo

There is one At-Large Council  seat vacant.  At-Large Councilman John Cooper is expected to run for mayor, which will mean he will not be seeking reelection to the Metro Council. Cooper has not yet announced he is running for mayor, however.  Also, Erica Gilmore is sometimes mentioned as a potential mayoral candidate in which case, she would not be seeking reelection.

Incumbents seeking reelection
The following districts are district with an incumbent who is not term limited and will most likely seek reelection.   I have listed the district and the name of the incumbent.

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman               At Large 1 John Cooper+         At-Large 2 Erica Gilmore+
At-Large 3 Bob Mendes                 At Large 4 Sharon Hunt           District 1  Johnathan Hall
District 2  Decosta Hastings           District 3 Brenda Haywood      District 4  Robert Swope
District 6  Bret Witheres                 District 8 Nancy VanReece      District 11 Larry Hagar
District 14 Keven Rhoten               District 15 Jeff Syracuse          District 16  Mike Freeman  
District 17 Colby Sledge                 District 19  Freddie O'Connell
District 20  Mary Carolyn Roberts  District 21 Ed Kendal              District 24  Kathleen Murphy
District 25  Russ Pulley                   District 26 Jeremy Elrod          District 28  Tanaka Vercher
District 29  (see note below)            District 33  Antoinette Lee
District 34  Angie Henderson          District 35  Dave Rosenberg

District 29 is vacant at the moment but it will have a newly elected Council member soon. I am hoping it is Nick LaMattina.  Whoever it is, he is likely to seek reelection.

Among the incumbents seeking reelection the only solid conservative and one who self identifies as a Republican is Robert Swope. Among the other incumbents some are bad and need to be defeated, some are not too bad and some of those are better than others.

How members of the Council voted on key issues.  I have listed below several key votes which I think are important. Since the purpose of this listing is to help provide insight to voters or potential candidates on the record of those who are seeking reelection, I have struct through the names of those who are term-limited or who have announced they would not be seeking reelection.

Please note that how members voted on these key votes is not the only measure of who is deserving of reelection. There are other issues such as leadership ability, how hard they work, how responsive they are to constituents desires, and how available they are to their constituents. This is simply a guide as to how members voted on a select number of key issues.

Who voted against raising taxes
In 2018, the administration do not propose a tax increase. The budget ordinance was sponsored by Council member Tanaka Vercher, who was Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.  Councilman Robert Mendes offered an amendment to the Vercher sponsored substitute budget bill. His proposal  would have hiked the tax rate by 5O cents or 16%. The vote was 19 to 19, resulting in a tie.  President por tem Sheri Weiner, who only votes in the event of a tie voted "no," killing the Mendes tax hike budget proposal making the final vote 19 in favor and 20 opposed.

Here is who voted No, opposing a tax hike:  Weiner, Cooper, Shulman, Swope, Scott Davis, VanReece, Hagar, Glover, Huezo, Rhoten, Syracuse, Freeman, O'Connell, Roberts, Pulley, Elrod, Blalock, Vercher, Henderson, and Rosenberg.
Here is who voted "yes" in favor of a tax hike: Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Hastings, Haywood, Withers, Anthony Davis, Pridemore, Pardue, Sledge, Allen, Kindall, Mina Johnson, Murphy, Karen Johnson, Potts, Bedne, Dowell, and Lee.

Who voted for banning sanctuary cities
Last year the State legislature passed  a bill that  would prohibit sanctuary cities in Tennessee and require local law enforcement officials to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to hold immigrants for purposes of deportation.  Advocates of illegal immigration, such as Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, opposed the bill.
At the May 15th council meeting, the council passed Resolution RS2018-1222  requesting that Governor Bill Haslam veto that legislation. The vote was 21 in favor of the resolution, four opposed and four abstaining. A vote opposing Resolution RS2018-1222  was a vote against sanctuary cities.
Here is who voted against sanctuary cities:  Robert Swope, Steve Glover, Mike Freeman, and Russ Pulley.
Casting a vote to Abstain (4): Jeff Syracuse, Roberts, Elrod, and Davette Blalock.  

Voting for sanctuary cities: Sheri Weiner, Cooper, Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Shulman, Hastings, Haywood, Scott Davis, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Sledge, O'Connell, Mina Johnson, Vercher, Karen Johnson, Potts, Bedne, Dowell, and Lee.

Who voted to against continuing Auto Emission Testing
The state of Tennessee has determine that Nashville no longer had to continue auto emission testing, yet the council voted that Nashville would continue the program anyway.  Here are the council member who voted against continuing auto emission testing:  Cooper, Swope, Hagar, Glover, Rhoten, Roberts, and Rosenberg.

The Council is a non-partisan body and there is no such thing as a Republican or Democrat pot hole and most of what the council does does not have an ideological dimension.  However, our city faces some serious financial challenges and we need fiscally responsible people serving on the Metro Council. I also thing we need people serving on the Council who will hold the line on tax increases.  Also, the Council seems less protective of private property rights than in years past.   Also, over time, the Council has become much more progressive.  I am convinced that there are those who want to turn Nashville into the "San Francisco of the South."  It is important that we elect people to serve in the Council who are fiscally responsible, respect private property rights, and who are not committed to advancing a progressive agenda.

If you consider yourself a conservative or a fiscally responsible sensible moderate and are thinking about running for Metro Council, I would be glad to share a cup of coffee and get to know you.  I served twelve years in the Metro Council and continue to follow the Council closely and have some insights to share and have some contacts with like-minded people who are concerned about the direction of our city. Feel free to call me at 615-509-3900 to grab a cup of coffee.

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Nashville Metro Councilwoman Mina Johnson won't seek re-election

Mina Johnson
District 23 Metro Councilwoman Mina Johnson has announced she will not be seeking reelection. This is good news.  Like most Metro council members Mina Johnson is a liberal. She was one of the council members who voted for a tax increase last year. She also voted for the resolution which would continue the auto emissions testing program in Nashville even though the State says we may discontinue it. 

Mina Johnson is only serving her first term and is eligible for reelection.  It is difficult to unseat an incumbent and if Johnson sought reelection, she would likely  be reelected.  Most of the time, the only chance to replace a liberal council member with a less liberal member is when the incumbent is term-limited and not eligible to seek reelection. 

District 23 includes the city of Belle Meade. In the recent governor's election, Dean won the district by a vote of 2172 for Dean and 1672 for Bill Lee.  Considering former mayor Karl Dean had the hometown advantage, that is not a bad showing for Lee and indicates a Republican or someone who is perceived as less liberal could compete in this district. In the House District 56 race, two Council District 23 precincts were in House District 56. In those two precincts, Republican Brent Moody garnered 1,900 votes and Democrat Bob Freeman got 1,339 votes. A good Republican candidate could be competitive in this districts.  Council races are non-partisan, of course, and there are few issues which are obviously ideological.  However, in those few occasions on which there is an ideological divide it is important to have a council member who favors fiscal responsibility, government efficiency, holding the line on tax increases, and supports private property rights.  

The next election for Council is August 1, 2019.  The earliest one can pick up a qualifying petition is March 18, 2019.  That is not that far away.  A good candidate needs to step forward and seek this open seat.

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David Plazas, Opinion Editor of The Tennessean, continues to play the You're-a-Racist card over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meme.

David Plazas, Opinion Editor of The Tennessean continues to play the You're-a-Racist card to counter Republicans having fun at the expense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Williamson County Republican Party sent out the meme shown on this page in an email blast and Democrats have gone ballistic.  I found it humorous, so therefore I must be a racist.

I did not understand the charge of racism. I thought maybe it was racist to point out that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is embarrassingly dumber than a box of rocks and doesn't even realize it.  I thought liberals think it is racist to make fun of any minority. That is not why the meme is racist. 

According to David Plaza, it is racist because by saying that illegal aliens get to American by rowing or wading across the Rio Grand one is demeaning Hispanics because, "Mexicans — and Central Americans — who make the dangerous journey to the U.S. border and attempt to cross it do so because they are poor, struggling, jobless and yearning for opportunity for them and their families in this great nation, the United States of America." And more specifically, "the reason it is racist is that it demeans a specific group because of its culture and ethnicity." Now you know. 

Bull Shit! I seldom use vulgarity in this blog but that is just nonsense.  And, I am not going to be chastised or cowed or contrite by being lectured about a "teachable moment." Almost all humor is offensive if you are overly sensitive.  If you are wanting to be offended, watch any comic and you can find something to offend you.  Comics can call for beheading the president of the United States and that is supposed to be funny, but this harmless little meme is off limits? Give me a break!  David Plazas and the liberal establishment simply want to silence Republican. We should not back down, but double down. 

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Where Sens. Lamar Alexander, Marsha Blackburn stand on the deal to reopen the federal government

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Sen. Alexander: President Trump did the right thing by deal to reopen the government.

Sen. Lamar Alexander
by Senator Lamar Alexander - President Trump did the right thing Friday by announcing a deal to reopen the federal government. Thursday, I voted twice to reopen the government. And on Friday, the Senate voted to open the government unanimously.

It is now time for Congress to work together to produce a comprehensive bill to secure our border, including physical barriers where appropriate. That’s what we did for the last four presidents by approving in Congress, on a bipartisan basis, 654 miles of physical barrier on the 1,954 mile border. And that’s what we should do now working with President Trump. When a president, elected by the people of the United States, has a legitimate objective, we in Congress should bend over backwards to try to meet that objective if we want a result, regardless of whatever you may think of him or her.

Nobody wins in a shutdown. This shutdown over the past few weeks demonstrates why it is always wrong for either side to use shutting down the government as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations—it should be as off-limits as chemical weapons are to warfare. Boy Scouts shouldn't get a merit badge for telling the truth, and senators and presidents shouldn't get a merit badge for keeping the government open. That's what we are supposed to do.

We began to make progress this week when we did something we know how to do—vote. Then, the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, and the Democratic leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, walked back to Senator McConnell’s office and they began to talk. And here we are less than 24 hours later with a result.

I wrote an op-ed earlier this month for the Washington Post where I offered three specific solutions to help address the humanitarian crisis and secure our border:
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 and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years.

Or even better, 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.
The American people elected us to make the government work better for taxpayers, not to shut it down. It is now up to Congress to work together to do our most basic job—fund the government—and to help President Trump achieve his reasonable goal of securing our southern border.

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