Saturday, June 08, 2019

Memphis Democrats look to push DeBerry out of shrinking tent

If there was any doubt left, the Democrat Party is not big enough for anyone who holds a pro-life position. Memphis Democrat John DeBerry voted for Tennessee's fetal heart beat bill and for that he is his being targeted for defeat.  Planned Parenthood is planning a billboard campaign against him. 
If he seeks reelection he will likely face a well-funded challenger. Read more at this link.

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Marsha Blackburn introduces bill to protect free speech on campus.

Press release, June 5, 2019 - Today, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke on the Senate floor about her newly introduced resolution to encourage free speech and inclusive debate on college campuses.

“On the eve of National Higher Education day, I am introducing the Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2019. It’s a first step in restoring sanity to free speech for American college students,” said Senator Blackburn. “It recognizes that universities should protect the free and open exchange of ideas and that freedom of speech is worth protecting in a world increasingly hostile to democracy.”
The Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2019 is cosponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

“Learning is nothing if not a pursuit of truth,” said Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. “As students pursue their education, they should never face limits on what, when, where, or how they learn. They should be empowered to pursue truth through the free exchange of all ideas, especially ideas with which they may not agree. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our democracy, and this administration will continue to vigilantly protect the First Amendment.”

“We applaud the Senate's resolution,” said Nicki Neily, President of Speech First. “College campuses are the place where ideas should be vigorously debated, but sadly, the window of acceptable political discourse on campus is so narrow that students who express views outside that orthodoxy can be punished and dragged through burdensome administrative proceedings. Across the country, far too many public universities have failed to uphold their obligations under the First Amendment. The Senate's resolution is a timely reminder of those obligations and the fundamental values they protect.”

"Misleadingly titled free speech zones don't promote free speech, rather they quarantine student expression to designated areas that are often tiny and far out of sight," said Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn. "FIRE is thankful to Senator Blackburn for using this resolution to apply additional pressure on institutions to open all common outdoor areas for student speech."

Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01) introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives in March.


In this video, Sen. Blackburn gives the history of the fight for the First Amendment rights of students on college campuses and gives examples of how colleges have been silencing conservative viewpoints.

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Joshua Parant, candidate for District 19 council seat, disqualified after residency challenge

Joshua Parant, candidate for District 19 council seat, disqualified after residency challenge. This means we are stuck with Freddie O'Connell for four more years.

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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Just who are all of these people running for mayor

When you go to vote in the August 1st election, you will see a lot of candidates name's on the ballot of whom you have never heard.  Why do people put their name on the ballot who have zero chance of winning? I don't know. Maybe they are delusional and think they can win. Maybe they know they can't win but have a point of view that they want to express and running for office gives them a platform to be heard, at least by a few people. Maybe they have a big ego and get satisfaction by seeing their name on the ballot.

You will see some names that you have heard of but of whom you know very little.  It is a shame that so many people are elected by voters who just pull the lever for a person because he had a lot of yard signs.  It is a shame so many people are elected because they got the most votes from uninformed people.  If you have a strong political philosophy, and know you want to only vote for a Democrat or a Republican and there are only two choices, then party label can be a good guide for whom to vote. In the race for mayor and council, people do not run on party labels so a voter cannot be guided by party identity of the candidate. I tend to think that is a good thing. There are very few votes a member of the council cast where political affiliation would be an indication of how the council member would vote. There are no Democrat or Republican pot holes.

I am posting below the list of candidates for mayor. Next to each list I will provide links to the candidates website, Facebook page or blog or news stories about the candidate. For some of the candidates I will tell you what I know about them, or if I know nothing. If I have a favorite, I will let you know.  I plan to do the same for council races, but this may prove to take more effort than I want to give it. We'll see.

Candidates for Mayor

Jody Ball: He is a Republican and good sensible candidate but doesn't have a chance. The Republican vote will be split between Carol Swain and John Cooper and even if all Republican voted for one candidate that candidate could not win. Republicans are outnumbered about two to one in Davidson County.  Ball ran for the 5th Congressional District as a Republican and lost that November 6, 2018 election to incumbent Jim Cooper. Cooper beat Ball 67.8 percent to 32.2 percent but some of  the areas where Ball did best lay outside Davidson County. I like Ball but won't vote for him. I appreciate him carrying the banner and providing a token alternative to Cooper in the congressional election but why he thinks he can be elected mayor, I don't know. For more information see this link, Twitter feed, Jody Ball for Mayor.

See the source image
Mayor David Briley

David Briley: He needs no introduction. As everyone knows he is the incumbent and is running for reelection. I am going to skip posting any links. You will hear his name a lot between now and the election and can learn more than you want to know about him without even trying. Just be aware that Nashville is a financial disaster and Briley has no plan to fix it. Metro is a mess and Briley needs to go.

Julia Marguerite Clark-Johnson: I never heard of her until now.  Here is the Tennessean profile piece from when she ran for mayor in 2018. In that election she got a total of only 168 votes.

John Ray Clemmons: He is a major candidate so I don't need to say much. He is currently a Democrat State Representative representing District 55.  There has been some speculation that he is not running to win but to increase name recognition in order to later challenge Steve Dickerson for his state senate seat. For more see, John Ray Clemmons for Mayor.

Image of John Cooper
John Cooper
John Cooper:  I am supporting John Cooper.  He is a Democrat and the brother of Jim Cooper but in this case I am not going to hold that against him.  John Cooper may be the last sane Democrat left.  I watch almost every Council meeting and study the issues. I have been impressed with John Cooper ever since he began serving.  He has become an expert on Metro's finances. He knows Metro government like the back of his hand.  I don't know his views on building the wall or abortions or medicare for all or Agenda 21, and I don't much care.  Those are national issues. The most important issue facing us as voters for mayor is that we need to get our financial house in order and we need to select the person most qualified and committed to doing that. That is John Cooper.  Metro is the city in the nation with the highest debt per capita of any city.  Our police and fire are understaffed and Metro Schools are underfunded but we are not under taxed. Our local media would be focused on these issues if we had a mayor advocating a tax increase. There could be hysteria created if it served to advance an agenda. John Cooper knows what is wrong and has pledged to fix it. For more see John Cooper for Mayor.

Bernie Cox: He is a person with successes and recognition, apparently in the construction business and the entertainment business. He describes himself as conservative. This is apparently his first time running for office. Link.

Jimmy Lawrence: I can't find anything about him.

Jon Sewell: I can't find anything.

Nolan O.Starnes: He is African-American, has a criminal record but says he has turned his life around. He is a Hemp farmer. He is concerned about gentrification and says he will keep Nashville's New Transit Plan as a priority. His focus seems to be on the plight of low-income Nashvillians. For more see Nolan Starnes for Mayor.

Image result for carol swain for mayor Carol Swain: I like Carol Swain. I feel I know her. She has a compelling life story.  She courageously stood up to liberal intimidation as a professor at Vanderbuilt University.  However, I won't be voting for her. I did in 2018 when she was the only reasonable alternative to David Briley.  Before John Cooper got in the race, I thought she again was going to be the only real alternative. I contributed to her campaign.

She is a devout Christian, a scholar, an author, and a pundit advocating conservative policies. However, I think John Cooper is a better candidate. He has been in the trenches fighting for fiscal sanity in Nashville.  Despite Swain's conservatism, I am don't think she is the person we need for mayor at this time. Also, I just don't see how she can win. There is no path to victory.  As conservatives we must face the fact that Nashville is a very liberal city and more liberal by the day. Swain's position on issues such as homosexuality, immigration, the nature of Islam and her critique of the damaging effects of our welfare state, would make her unelectable by Nashville's progressives. There are, however, liberals who would vote for fiscal responsibility. To decide to support John Cooper over Carol Swain was not an easy decision, but I am firmly convince that it is the right decision.  See Carol Swain for Mayor and do a search engine search and you can find her commentaries and YouTube videos and much more.

Image result for erica gilmore
Erica Gilmore
Candidates for Vice mayor
The vice mayor conducts council meeting and makes committee appointments and if the mayors office become vacant, the vice mayor become mayor. There are three candidates for vice mayor.

Erica Gilmore: She is an at-large member of the Metro Council.. She was elected to that seat in 2015. She previously represented District 19 from 2007 to 2015. Gilmore was a candidate for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. Gilmore was defeated in the special election on May 24, 2018. See link.

Jim Shulman
Jim Shulman
Robert Sawyers, Sr.: I can't find anything about him. Sawyers was an independent candidate for Governor of Tennessee in 2018. He was a  candidate for State House, 54th District, in 2016. 
Jim Shulman: Shulman is the current Vice mayor. Prior to that he served as an at-large council member and prior to that he was a district council members. He conducts meetings fairly and has a long list of civic engagements. I will be voting for Jim Shulman.

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Metro General Election candidates list with contact information.

Back on May the 18th I posted the list of all of those who had qualified to run for mayor, vice mayor, or council seat.  Candidates had up until noon May 23rd to withdraw their name. I have not compared the two list, but if want the most accurate information, you need to see the official candidates list. Also, if you would like to contact one of the candidates, this list contains email addresses and phone numbers.

I encourage voters to call or email the candidates and ask them questions and get a feel for their knowledge and intelligence and qualifications.  Please don't just base your vote on just who has the most yard signs. It the candidate wants your vote, they should be glad to talk to you.  Maybe for mayor, one will have enough information to make an informed decision but for many of the district council races, talking to the candidate may be the best way to get sufficient information to make an informed decision.

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Tennessee leads nation in small business job creation

Tennessee lead nation in small business job creation

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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Candidates make their case at Bellevue Candidate's Forum.

Michelle Foreman
Rod Williams, 6-4-2019 - Six candidates addressed about one hundred people packed into two joined rooms at Corner Pub in the Woods in Bellevue last night for a candidates forum, hosted by The Bellevue Exchange Club. Candidates included Art Allen, Gloria Hausser,  and Todd Sneed running in District 22; Mina Johnson running reelection in District 23; and incumbent Councilman Dave Rosenberg and challenger Michelle Foreman running in District 35.

The event was well organized and ably led by David Hairston. The event started and ended on time and moved at an orderly steady clip. Events like this can get boring. It is a challenge to give everyone an opportunity to say what they want to say and yet keep them from rambling and saying nothing.

Dave Rosenberg
At the start of the meeting each candidate was given three minutes (I believe three)  to introduced themselves and share their credentials and reasons they are seeking the office for which they were running. I am not going to try to remember who had done what, but I was impressed with almost all of them. Candidates own and run their on businesses, have excelled in careers, overcome obstacles, organized boat rescue in the 2010 flood, and served in service organizations and served as volunteers in their children's schools.  While I do not think having a list of civic involvements or personal success is the deciding factor in selecting who I would vote for, it is a factor.  Before entrusting someone with the office of council member, I want them to have already been active in their community and already done something that indicates they have intelligence, tenacity, civic concern and a good work ethic.
Gloria Hausser

One take-away from the meeting is that everyone wants orderly growth and seems concerned with the rapid growth we have experienced and is concerned about traffic. In a discussion about what we should do about traffic, one got the normal answers of study the issue and the need for a regional plan. Todd Sneed said we need more buses and better bus routes. Dave Rosenburg said we need to study the problem and we need more circulatory bus routes. Michelle Foreman said the instead of big buses we need vans. She said buses often run empty. I thing we have all seen big buses with only two or three people on them. This makes so much sense. I think she gave the best answer of any of the candidates but none of them really impressed me in answering this question.

One thing that struck me in the discussion of traffic is that some candidates do not know the difference between "smart" traffic lights and synchronized traffic lights. They seemed to talk as if it was the same thing. If they did know the difference they didn't make that clear. I was disappointing that none of the candidates advocated a bold transformation of mass transit that relied on market forces and new technology.  No one was thinking outside the box. To see what I advocate, follow this link. I would have like to heard something like this from the candidates. Some people in metro, such as Councilman Robert Swope are thinking bold. I hope to call attention to his traffic plan at some point.

Todd Sneed
Another take-away from this forum is that incumbents know more details about issues than challenges. Mina Johnson in discussing traffic and development threw in reverences to NashvilleNext and subarea plans. Dave Rosenburg knew tax rates and details of financial arrangements with the convention center. This is to be expected but, in my view, is not reason to necessarily give the person my vote.  If someone is intelligent they can get up to speed on the details and the jargon pretty quickly.  At one time the incumbents did not know that stuff either. The way I see it, political values compatible with my own combined with talent, intelligence and work ethic or more important than having mastered some details.

On a question about using one-time money, as in the upfront money from the parking meter privatization plan, to fund on-going expenses, all thought that was a bad idea. On the question of whether or not they would support a tax increase, all were opposed although Dave Rosenburg came closest to saying he thinks we need a tax increase but will follow the will of his constituents and oppose one if that is what they want. 

While I am not persuaded we have to have a tax increase, I do think it is wise to realized that Metro is
Art Allen
in dire financial shape.  Fire services and police services are understaffed, employees deserve a pay raise and teachers are underpaid. In addressing the issue of raising taxes, Rosenburg pointed out that much of the revenue generated by downtown tourism goes to the convention center and that the convention center has a $100 million surplus. He said that Metro can't access that money. This is where I think Rosenburg and many other simply lack vision. He identified the problem but did not propose fixing it.  It took Metro requesting the state to make that the policy for it to become law.  If Metro tried to get the State to amend that law, no doubt they could. I have heard Councilman John Cooper address this same issue, but he says we do not need a tax increase; instead we need to fix the problem.

In making the case for a tax increase, which he said he will oppose if that is the will of his district, Rosenburg made the case that we are under taxed. He stated our property tax rate and gave the tax rates for several other Tennessee cities. While I accept the tax rates stated are accurate, I don't think that we have a lower tax rate is an indication that we are under taxed. If you take a three bedroom, bath and a half house in a subdivision in Bellevue and compare it to a very similar home in a similar part of town in Knoxville, the Bellevue home may be appraised for $375,000 and the similar Knoxville home maybe appraised at $175,000. The Nashville homeowner will be paying much higher taxes. Don't be persuaded that you are under taxed by a simple comparison of tax rates. 

Of the all the candidates speaking last night, I was most impressed by Michelle Foreman.  The moderator asked a question about what we should do about General Hospital. All of the other candidates gave ho-hum answers about the need for a charity hospital and they supported General. Foreman was armed with facts. She said last year the hospital's subsidy was increased from $11 million to $46 million. She said the board that manages General is dysfunctional and was critical of the board for giving the hospital director a contract extension and a raise without even doing an evaluation. She pointed out that General can not fill its beds because no one wants to go there and that there is no need for a charity hospital since hospitals cannot deny services to indigents. She said if Nashville needs to subsidize the hospital needs of low-income people that there are lower cost ways to do it than continuing to fund general.

This event was a good candidate's forum.  It is a shame that there are not similar candidate forums across all of Davidson County. Often, people give little thought to who they vote for, for Council and just vote for the name they recognize and usually that name recognition is based on  who has the most yard signs. That is a poor way to make a decision. It is also disappointing that the press did not cover this event. Back in the early 80's when I ran for Council I once took part in a forum and it was covered in a community press, the two dailies and television. I think the demise of the local press is a danger to our democracy. Amateur bloggers with low readership, like myself, cannot take the place of a professional press, but that is commentary for another day. I am an amateur and have a point of view, but try to  be accurate and fair. If any candidate or other interested person thinks that I failed to accurately report on the forum or misrepresented a candidates point of view, please feel free to leave a comment and set the record straight.

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Parking meter privatization plan not dead! Not withdrawn- just "deferred."

Image result for Parking meters by Rod Williams, 6/4/19 - Last night at a candidate's forum in Bellevue, Councilman Steve Glover said that the plan to privatize parking meters is not dead. He said he had just come from a council committee meeting at which that was clarified.  He said at the meeting, the administration said they were asking that the bill be deferred indefinitely instead of withdrawn. Glover said he asked why and was told that they wanted to keep their options open.

What this means is that this bill could still be passed.  A deferred bill can be brought back up at any time. If it has passed first reading as this bill has, then the sponsor could ask for it to be put back on the agenda and it would be put back on the agenda on second reading.

New elections for mayor and council are held August 1. There will be two more meetings between the election date and when the new Council takes office.  The outgoing council could pass the parking privatization measure on second reading on the meeting before their last meeting, and pass it on third reading at the very last meeting.

Why would they do this?  This is going to be a tight budget and not approving the parking privatization plan will make the budget even tighter. The budget must be finalized by June 30th or the Mayor's budget becomes law without council action.  That has never happened. The Council will pass a budget by June 30th.  Since the upfront $34 million from the parking privatization deal was used to make up the revenue side of the current proposed budget, and since the mayor has stated he will not seek a tax increase, $34 million must be found somewhere or that much expenditure must be cut. An effort, probably led by Councilman Medes, will be made to raise taxes.  It will fail.  Not wanting to anger metro employees, especially teachers, more than they are already angered, the Council will try to fill the $34 million whole in the budget by judiciously cutting expenditures a little here and there.  No one will be happy.  In last minuet effort to restore some of the cuts in the budget the Council may pass the parking privatization plan.

I am not opposed to the concept of parking meter privatization as I have explained here. I am opposed, however, to this plan being passed at this time however.  Many cites that have tried privatization of parking meters have made a mess of it. We need to make sure we do it right. Also, the public needs to have input and understand the plan before it is passed. This plan has not been sold. I also strongly object to using one-time monies to fund continuing needs.  One-time monies should be used to pay down the debt not fund daily operating expenses.

The Council needs to not allow the bill to be deferred indefinitely.  The parking privatization plan needs to be killed.

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Monday, June 03, 2019

Dr. Manny Sethi Announces Campaign for United States Senate

Conservative Outsider makes support for President Trump, stopping illegal immigration, ObamaCare repeal centerpieces of Senate campaign

From Dr. Sethi, Nashville, June 3rd, 2019 - Today, Dr. Manny Sethi, a Nashville trauma surgeon, launched his campaign for United States Senate.
“Tennesseans want a conservative outsider who will take on the Establishment, support President Trump, fight illegal immigration and work to repeal ObamaCare,” said Sethi. “That’s why I’m running for Senate.”
Dr. Sethi, 41, is the first candidate to enter the race.  A first generation son of Indian immigrants, Sethi released a video this morning telling the story of his family coming to America.
"My parents taught me to be grateful I was born in America because everything our family has was given to us by this country. I am a product of the American dream. I want to make sure that dream is available to our children and grandchildren,” said Sethi.
Sethi, and his wife, Maya, have been together since they were 16. They were married in 2005 and have two young children.

The Republican Primary is August.

Paid for by Dr. Manny for US Senate
CONTACT: Olivia Knoll, 865-394-0995,
Dr. Manny Sethi is an orthopedic trauma surgeon and Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the director of Vanderbilt Orthopedic Center for Health Policy. He is the founder and President of Healthy Tennessee, a nonprofit organization designed to promote preventative health care across the state. His organization has cared for thousands of patients in almost every county in Tennessee. Raised in Hillsboro, TN, Dr. Manny received his undergraduate degree from Brown University. After college, as a Fulbright Scholar he worked in Tunisia with children suffering from muscular dystrophy. He then went on to receive his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he also completed his orthopedic residency. Dr. Manny returned home to Tennessee to impact change in healthcare and education.
In 2016, he was invited to meet President Trump to discuss Healthy Tennessee’s community engagement and impact across Tennessee. In 2017, Dr. Manny testified on challenges Tennesseans face obtaining and maintaining health insurance before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
He is the author of “The American Dream in Tennessee: Stories of Faith, Struggle, and Survival,” a book about the power of faith, family, and community in the treatment of near-life-ending trauma.

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Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi launches 2020 U.S. Senate bid

The Tennessean: Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi launches 2020 U.S. Senate bid

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Sunday, June 02, 2019

Metro introduces new short-term rental restriction

Metro introduces new short-term rental restriction

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