Saturday, July 06, 2019

Should electric scooters be banned? Here is what the mayoral candidates think and here is what I think.

David Briley and Carol Swain say "yes;" Clemmons and Cooper say "No." Watch this Channel 4 report to see a slightly expanded explanation for the candidates' opinions.

In my view scooters should not be banned. That is not to say that I do not think we have scooter problem as it exist now.  Today, while walking from my home near Wedgewood and Eighth Ave toward downtown,  I had two scooters zoom by me on the sidewalk passing on my left.  I say "zoomed," but they probably were going no faster than a jogger who passes a person walking, but it seemed fast. If I would have inadvertently stepped to my left, I could have been run over by the scooter or the scooter to avoid hitting me could have careened off the sidewalk into the path of a car.  After that harrowing incident, later other scooter passed me coming up to me from behind and coming down the sidewalk were scooters heading toward me. These two groups of scooters had to pass on the sidewalk. That is dangerous.

I have also observed scooters switching from sidewalks to street and cut corners at intersection and driving between cars and doing other dangerous things. I am not for an outright ban on scooters however, because I thing we need to welcome innovation and market forces to solve our transportation problems.  We need a multimodal approach to transportation. We need options. They are not here yet, but on the way are electric bicycles which will add another transportation option that will probably be as popular, maybe more popular, than the scooters. If we have banned scooters, the electric bicycle will probably be reluctant to come to Nashville.

While a lot of young, often probably impaired, tourist zip around town on scooters enhancing their Nashville tourist experience and making life more stressful for pedestrians and drives, scooters are also used by a lot of locals.  In the last week, I talked to two locals who ride scooters.  One was a waiter at Southern Oyster and Steak on 3rd Ave. South.  Parking is outrageously expensive downtown, especially for a guy on a waiters salary.  This guy parks his car at the Nissan stadium across the river and scoots to work and back to his car every day.  The other person was an attorney who works at the Beacon Center and uses a scooter to get to and from a parking garage several blocks away.

I do think we need more regulations. We should tolerate them being parked on the sidewalk but require they be parked unobtrusively. Certain busy blocks should not allow scooters on the sidewalks but require the scooter companies to lease parking spaces for conversion to scooter corrals. I tend to think they should be banned from being ridden on the sidewalks. If allowed at all on the sidewalk however, they should be allowed to be driven at only a rate of speed equal to that of someone walking at a fast pace and be required to sound a warning when approaching a pedestrian from the rear. The rules should be posted around town and on the app when one rents the scooter. Enforcement could be paid for with a tax or fee charged to the scooter owners. 

I do not want a limit placed on the number of scooters.  Artificially capping the numbers makes those who have them on our streets, have a more valuable product and the ability to charge more.  We should not enrich those lucky enough to win the scooter lottery.  There will be a number at which it will not be profitable to add more scooters. We should let the market determine that number.  When electric bicycles come to Nashville, they will cut into the scooter market.

I also do not want to require riders to wear helmets.  I know helmets may save lives but people should be free to evaluate the risk for themselves after being made aware of the risk. While scooter owners could make helmets available at certain locations such as hotels, requiring every scooter user to wear a helmet is simply impractical.  Also, I don't like wearing a helmet myself. I don't want to stop other people from having fun. I occasionally bicycle. I enjoy biking much more without a helmet. I have visited my daughter who lives in New Orleans and biking is so much more fun in New Orleans.  New Orleans does not have a bicycle helmet law.  Of course New Orleans has no hills also and that is a factor in making bicycling more fun. Since the introduction of scooters to Nashville, I have taken to not wearing a helmet, figuring that with all of the helmetless scooter riders, the police are not going to choose to pick on me to enforce the helmet law.

Don't ban the scooters, impose reasonable regulations, learn to share the road, don't resent other people having fun, and let innovation and the market solve our transportation problems.

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Friday, July 05, 2019

Challenger Tori Goddaard uses Police Officer Anderson's death to criticize Council member Mary Carolyn Roberts.

As scooped from Scoop:

Rod's Comment: I don't have a favorite in this race and don't know Tori Goddard. I would not vote against Tori Goddard just because of this, but this is low blow in political campaigning. It makes me less inclined to favor her, even if she had other favorables. If I deemed the two candidates otherwise equally qualified, this would push me to vote for her opponent, incumbent Council member Mary Carolyn Roberts. 

Officer Anderson was killed when an unlicensed teen driver slammed into the officer's police car in an intersection. There is no indication the accident would have been prevented with more personnel and resources. 

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Thursday, July 04, 2019

Happy 4th of July

Ray Charles singing his version of "America the Beautiful."
This causes chills to run up and down my spin and a lump in my throat. 

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Out-of-State ultra liberal groups support progressives for Metro Council

A group called, "The Working Families Party" has endorsed a candidate for Council at-large in the upcoming Metro election.  This organization joins other ultra liberal groups like the  LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Women for Tennessee's Future  in attempting to influence Metro elections.  This is relatively new. In the past local elections were mostly local affairs.

Working Families Party uses the usual rhetoric of the left focusing on stroking class envy and claiming, "the very wealthiest just get richer and richer."  Their issues include affordable housing, climate change, debt-free higher education, LGBTQ issues, immigrant rights, paid family and medical leave and a $15 minimum wage.

In Nashville,  the WFP has endorsed Gicola Lane for Metro Council at Large.  This is the first time the organization has endorsed a candidate in Nashville and it looks like this is their first endorsement of a candidate in Tennessee. Lane led the successful Amendment 1 charter referendum campaign to create Nashville’s police Community Oversight Board.  In April, Lane attended a Working Families Party candidate training program.  It is not know how much money, WFP will funnel to Lane.

There are more progressive candidates running for Metro Council than ever before and they are being supported by outside forces.  If most of them are elected, we will have the most liberal council we have ever had.  While the state keeps Metro Nashville from going to far to the left by prohibiting sanctuary cities, prohibiting a city minimum wage,  and protecting some property rights, a far left Council could still wreck havoc and change the culture of the city.  It appears to me, that their is a national focus on Nashville to make it a beacon of progressive politics. I hope that citizens focus on this election and do not allow outside left-wing organization to pick our next Council.

While I wish local non-partisan elections could be decided by local people and focus on local issues, if the left is going to try to nationalize local elections, I wish there was a counterbalance from the right.  I know of no national conservative organizations supporting council candidates.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Who are all of these people running for the Council in District 7.

District 7 MapDistrict 7 is the Inglewood area and is currently represented by Anthony Davis who is term-limited.  Eight candidates are seeking to succeed him.  The Tennesseean published a piece today called, Meet the candidates in Nashville's District 7.  Each candidate is profiled with a picture and biographical information and statements about policy positions. Some useful information can be gleamed from articles such as this.  If the article does not give you enough information to make a selection, it helps narrow the field by telling you whom not to support.

I don't live in District 7, but if I did, two of the eight candidates would be eliminated immediately from consideration as a result of the Tennesseean article.  Randy Reed, the article states, did not respond to multiple interview request. If someone won't be interviewed by the press for a story about their campaign, they are not a serious candidate.  I would also eliminate from consideration Cole Rogers since he states he supported the 16% property tax hike increase proposed by councilman Mendes.  My view is that we are not undertaxed.

Most of the candidates list sidewalks as priority need for their district and several mention more affordable housing and traffic concerns.  Below is a list of the candidates and any quick takeaway gleamed from The Tennessean article or other sources.  I have provided links to campaign web sites or other news about the candidates when I could find it.

Emily Benedict. She says she will personally work to bring thousands of tech jobs to Nashville.  She has the endorsement of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and WTF (Women for Tennessee's Future.) Those two endorsements would be reasons I would not vote for her. (Webpage, Out an About)

Client Camp. I can't learn much about him but he has some good credentials and roots in the community. (Facebook, webpage)

Stephen Downs: He appears to mistakenly think that companies have to get permission before they move to Nashville and he proposes making companies commit to building a certain amount of sidewalks and other things before they are invited to move to Nashville. He proposes a plan for community policing and combating youth violence. (webpage)

Daniel Fitzpatrick: He says the city should work to recapture some of the excess funds held by the Music City Center. He is also critical of using one-time land sales of Metro property and depleting the rainy-day fund to balance the budget. I am impressed by this focus. (webpage)

Jacob Green: No additional information located. If a candidate does not have a webpage or campaign Facebook page, my view is that they are not trying very hard to reach the public and must not be very serious.

Stephanie Johnson: She does say, "it's important to support teachers unions," which I do not like. However she says, "Each council person should be responsible for figuring out what we can cut instead of asking residents to be responsible for paying off the debt that our leadership has gotten us into." I like that. She also say She also said that strengthening transparency must be a priority in the future. I like that. She also says, "fiscal responsibility," must be a priority. I like that. (Facebook page.

Cole Rogers: He supported the proposed 16% property tax increase. Enough said, I couldn't vote for him. (webpage, Facebook)

Randy Reed: He did not respond to The Tennesseans's request for an interview, which makes me think he is not a serious candidate. He is a former police officer, however, he may be a dirty cop. See Is a dirty cop the kind of person who should serve in the Metro Council.  He ran in 2015. I cannot find a web page or other information about him.

I do not have a recommendation for whom to vote in this race.  I would, however, narrow my choices to  Client Camp, Daniel Fitzpatrick, or maybe Stephanie Johnson. I have reasons not to support the other five candidates. I don't have any friends advocating for any of the candidates and don't know anymore about them than what I have posted above. If I had to make a choice today, knowing no more than I do, I would probably vote for Daniel Fitzpatrick. However, this is not an endorsement. I would seek more information.

I have made a genuine effort to locate information about the candidates. If any candidate reads this and has a website or Facebook page and I simply did not find it, please share it an I will update this page. If any candidate would like to elaborate as to why they are the best person for the job please leave a comment, or contact me to talk to me. Any supporter of a candidate is free to leave a comment advocating for their preferred candidate.

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John Cooper reception Thursday July 25 at Gruhn Guitars

or to Kaye Whitacre

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These members of the Council voted to raise your property taxes.

Fabian Bedne, voted to
raise taxes, Running at-large
Burkley Allen, voted to
raise taxes, Running at-large
On June 18th the Metro Council voted on a proposed substitute budget that would have raised property taxes by 15.8%.  That proposal came up one vote short of passing and as a result Mayor Briley's budget, which did not proposed a property tax hike, became the city's budget.

Here is who voted to raise taxes:

Erica Gilmore, Council member at-large, (not seeking office)
Bob Mendes, Council member at-large seeking reelection.
Sharon Hurt, Council member at-large seeking reelection.
Brenda Haywood, District 3, not on the ballot.
Brett Withers, District 6, unopposed, seeking reelection.
Anthony Davis,  District 7, not on the ballot.
Doug Pardue,  District 10, not on the ballot.
Mike Freeman, District 16, not on the ballot
Colby Sledge, District 17, seeking reelection unopposed.
Burkley Allen, Currently District 18, seeking an at-large seat.
Freddie O'Connell, District 19, running for reelection unopposed.
Ed Kindall, District 21, seeking reelection, has opposition.
Kathleen Murphy,  District 24, seeking reelection unopposed.
Tanaka Vercher, District 28, seeking reelection with an opponent.
Delisha Porterfield, District 29, seeking reelection with an opponent
Dave Rosenberg, voted to
raise taxes, Running for relectiion
Jason Potts, District 30, not on the ballot.
Fabian Bedne, Currently District 31 running for at-large. Jacobia Dowell, District 32,not on the ballot.
Antoinette Lee, District 33, running for reelection with opposition.
Dave Rosenberg, District 35, running for reelection with opposition.

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Monday, July 01, 2019

The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund endorsed John Cooper for mayor.

The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund endorsed Metro Councilman John Cooper in the race for mayor. Apparently, this organization only endorsed in the mayor's race and not in council races. There are a couple or maybe more organizations claiming to be the voice of neighborhoods but I think this is the most legitimate of them.  The Tennessean says, "The Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund is an advocacy group that registers as a political action committee, but doesn't raise funds to give to candidates. The organization is comprised of activists from more than 65 neighborhood groups."

I am glad to see Cooper got this endorsement. It is better to get it than not get it,  but I take all of the endorsements from neighbor groups or neighborhood associations or an organization representing neighborhood organizations with a grain of salt. Often neighborhood groups are mostly inactive and maybe once a year a half dozen people will get together to chose officers. Sometimes groups are dormant for years at a time. Sometimes there are more than one organization claiming to represent a neighborhood. A neighborhood organization may represent no one except the two or three activist who claim to represent the organization.

Neighborhood groups are most active when they have something to be mad about such as someone going to take their park or build a commercial development or some affordable housing in their neighborhood. When the issue that motivated them goes away, often the neighborhood group becomes inactive. There is another group called, Coalition For Nashville Neighborhoods headed by former Council member John Summers (at least I think it is another group).  I don't know much about that group either but I don't think it is much more than John Summers.

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Nashville Business Coalition endoreses Briley, and various candidates for council.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that being pro-business and conservative is the same thing. Often big business's biggest concern is that no one rock the boat and wreck their gravy train. Prudent financial management, cutting waste, and improving government efficiency are seldom priorities with big business. They want to elect people they can work with.

A big business group, the Nashville Business Coalition, made their endorsements last week and endorsed for reelection Mayor David Briley. They also made three endorsements for Council at-large but none of them were Steve Glover. I like a few of their endorsements for distract Council such as Robert Swope and Tim Garret.  In making their district endorsements, it looks like they were playing it safe and mostly betting on people with no opposition or minimal opposition. They endorse a lot of incumbents and skipped making endorsements in a lot of districts.

The Nashville Business Coalition's board of directors includes several business big wigs, such as Ralph Schulz, CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce; Lee Molette, owner, Molette Investment Services; Jim Schmitz, market leader of Elliot Davis; and James Weaver, a lobbyist with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP.

Besides Briley for mayor, here is who else the coalition endorsed: 

  • Vice Mayor: Jim Shulman (incumbent)
  • Metro Council At-large: Sharon Hurt (incumbent), Sheri Weiner, Burkley Allen
  • Metro Council District 3: Jennifer Gamble
  • District 4: Robert Swope (incumbent)
  • District 8: Nancy VanReece (incumbent)
  • District 9: David McMurry OR Tonya Hancock
  • District 10: Tim Garrett
  • District 12: Erin Evans
  • District 14: Kevin Rhoten (incumbent)
  • District 15: Jeff Syracuse (incumbent)
  • District 18: John Green
  • District 19: Freddie O'Connell (incumbent)
  • District 20: Mary Carolyn Roberts (incumbent)
  • District 23: Thom Druffel
  • District 25: Russ Pulley (incumbent)
  • District 26: Jeremy Elrod (incumbent)
  • District 27: Robert Nash
  • District 31: John Rutherford
  • District 34: Terry Jo Bichell
(The source of this information is The Nashville Business Journal. Link)

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These Council members voted AGAINST raising your property taxes.

John Cooper, at-large
 Council Member, 
Candidate for Mayor
The following voted against raising your taxes:

Robert Swope
running for 

Steve Glover
Running at-large
John Cooper, He is currently a Council member at-large seeking the office of mayor.
Johnathan Hall, District 1
Robert Swope, District 4
Scott Davis, District 5
Nancy VanReece, District 8
Bill Pridemore, District 9
Larry Hagar, District 11
Steve Glover, Currently District 12, running at-large
Holly Huezo, District 13
Keven Rhoten, District 14
Jeff Syracuse, District 15
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20
Sheri Weiner, currently District 22, running at-large.
Mina Johnson, District 23
Angie Henderson
running for 
Russ Pulley, District 25
Jeremy Elrod, District 26
DavetteBlalock, District 27
Angie Henderson, District 34

Abstaining was Councilman DeCasta Hastings of District 2. The effect of abstaining is the same as casting a "no" vote.

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Steve Glover Seeking Tennessee Attorney General Opinion Regarding Apparently Illegal Davidson County Budget

Tennessee Star - Despite the fact that both Tennessee State law and the Metro Davidson County Charter require a balanced budget, current Metro Council district member and At-Large candidate Steve Glover believes that the budget submitted by Mayor David Briley and recently passed by the Metro Council violates those provisions. As a result, Glover has asked State Senator Farrell Haile (R-Gallatin) to request an opinion from Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery concerning the legality of that budget.

The 2019 – 2020 Davidson County budget was presented by Mayor Briley to the Metro Nashville City Council and was adopted on 19 June, 2019. Glover points out that the budget relies upon revenue sources that have not yet been approved by the Metro Council.

“It is pretty obvious that you can’t ‘balance’ a budget with a revenue stream that doesn’t currently exist,” Councilman Glover said. “It’s like telling your bank they shouldn’t bounce your checks this week because you plan to deposit money into the account next week. That’s nonsense.” (link)

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Metro's reserve fund balances are being permitted to drop below recommended levels.

In the recently passed fiscal year 2020 budget, several of Metro's reserve fund balances are being permitted to drop below recommended levels.  The following is from the Metro Council staff analysis:

Metro’s established policy is to maintain a fund balance equal to or greater than 5% for each of the six primary budgetary funds, the GSD General Fund, USD General Fund, and General Purpose School Operations Fund, as well as the three related primary debt service funds. However, three of these six funds will not meet this target in FY20.The Mayor’s proposed budget is projected to result in the following fund balance percentages by June 30, 2020:
•General Services District General Fund 5.0%
•General Services District Debt Service Fund 2.3%
•General Services District Schools Operations Fund 3.5%
•Schools Debt Service Fund 9.3%
•Urban Services District General Fund 5.1%
•Urban Services District Debt Service Fund 1.8%

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We woke up freer to speak our mind today, than yesterday.

Daniel Horwitz
By Daniel Horwitz - If you woke up this morning feeling freer to speak your mind, there’s a reason: A little-noticed law with huge free speech benefits takes effect today. As of July 1, 2019, the “Tennessee Public Participation Act”—Tennessee’s first-ever meaningful Anti-SLAPP law—became effective and affords those who are sued for their speech a host of critical legal benefits.

Because litigation is often prohibitively expensive, bad actors can often intimidate critics into silence by threatening or filing baseless speech-based lawsuits asserting claims like defamation (libel or slander), false light invasion of privacy, business disparagement, or other questionable torts. When faced with the prospect of having to spend tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend one’s legal right, for instance, to leave an unfavorable review of a business, self-censorship can also become an extremely attractive proposition. The result of such self-censorship is to undermine both individuals’ right to free speech and the public’s right to hear and receive information. (Read more of this essay and the text of the law. See, The “Tennessee Public Participation Act”⁠—Tennessee’s First-Ever Meaningful Anti-SLAPP Law⁠—Takes Effect Today)

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Bellevue Breakfast Club - July

From Betty Hood:

Dear BRBC Friends,

Here's wishing you a Happy 4th of July on Thursday!!!

Saturday, July 6 at 8:15 am will be the monthly breakfast club meeting at the Corner Pub in the Woods on Hwy 100. Our guest speaker will be Bobbie Patray of Eagle Forum.  Bobbie has been and we hope she will continue to be a strong conservative advocate for us at the State Legislature. 

We encourage candidates for Metro Council to come and introduce yourselves to the group.

Happy birthday,  America!!!!


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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Congratulations Dr. Arthur Laffer on being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer was awarded the Presidential Metal of Freedom last week in ceremonies at the White House.  It is an honor well deserved.  

I have had the privilege of seeing Dr. Laffer speak on several occasions, once was a full lecture with slide shows and historical data to support his economic doctrine.  I have also had the opportunity to attend a reception in his honor.  He is charismatic, persuasive and charming.  His theory is so commonsensical and supported by experience that is hard for me to see how it still has detractors. 

Art Laffer was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of his two terms. He also advised Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on fiscal policy in the U.K. during the 1980s. He has been a faculty member at the University of Chicago, University of Southern California and Pepperdine University. Dr. Laffer received a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1963. He received a MBA and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1965 and 1972 respectively.

Dr. Laffer was the creator of “The Laffer Curve.” The Laffer Curve is one of the main theoretical constructs of supply-side economics, and is often used as a shorthand to sum up the entire pro-growth world view of supply-side economics.  However, the Laffer Curve itself simply illustrates the trade-off between tax rates and the total tax revenues actually collected by the government. Dr. Laffer is widely regarded as the father of Supply Side Economics. 

Laffer CurveSupply-side economics emphasizes economic growth achieved by tax and fiscal policy that creates incentives to produce goods and services.  In particular, supply-side economics has focused primarily on lowering marginal tax rates with the purpose of increasing the after-tax rate of return from work and investment, which result in increases in supply. The broader supply-side policy mix points to the importance of sound money; free trade; less regulation; low, flat-rate taxes; and spending restraint, as the keys to real economic growth. 

These ideas are grounded in a classical economic analysis that understands that people adjust their behavior when the incentives change.  Accordingly, the lower the regulatory and trade barriers, and the lower and flatter the tax rate, the greater the incentive to produce.

Dr. Laffer currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an institutional economic research and consulting firm, as well as Laffer Investments, an institutional investment management firm utilizing diverse investment strategies.  The firms provide research and investment management services to a diverse group of clients, which includes institutions, pension funds, corporations, endowments, foundations, individuals and others.

A few years ago when I heard him speak, he said that he left California because of he mismanagement and high taxes.  He says he selected to move to Tennessee in large part because of our state was so low-tax and financially well-managed. We are fortunate to have him as a citizen of our state and our city.

Congratulations Dr. Laffer! 

(Much of the above is copied from this website and was not composed by Rod Williams. )

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Tonight (6/30/2019) is the deadline to contribute to a candidate for 2nd quarter reporting.

From an Email:

Dear Rod,

The fundraising deadline ends tonight - Sunday, June 30 - at midnight and we are doing all that we can to finish the quarter as strong as possible. 

If you have already made a donation to my campaign this month - THANK YOU!

If not, I hope you will consider making a contribution before this very important fundraising period comes to a close tonight. It is our first deadline since getting in the race in April and I'd like to show my ciritics the depth of support we have from every area of Nashville
Your contribution of $5, $25, or $50 will help show that, community by community, friends are asking friends to support my campaign. Together, we can keep this strong momentum as we head towards Election Day. 

Thanks again, 
John Cooper

Rod's Comment: Tonight (6/30/2019) is the deadline to contribute for inclusion of the contribution in a candidate's 2nd quarter reporting. A report of substantial contributions and money on hand shows who can make a strong finish in the last days of the campaign.  A lot of modest contributions can show a candidate has deep and broad-based community support. I just made another contributions to John Cooper.  I encourage you to make a contribution to Cooper, today, and any other candidates you are supporting. This is an important campaign date.

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