Saturday, July 20, 2019

Adam Dread, Burkley Allen, Sheri Weiner, Suara Sultat, and Bob Mendes lead in $ raised in Q2. They also have most "on-hand."

by Rod Williams - A look at the campaign financial reports for the second quarter for candidates running at-large in the August 1st election shows Alan Dread as having raised the most money, almost all of which was a loan from himself to his campaign. Following Dread is Burkley Allen, Sheri Weiner, Suara Sulfat, Bob Mendes. The second quarter covers the period April 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019. The same group lead in money on-hand as they enter the final stretch of the campaign.

I am very disappointing that Steve Glover has not had more success raising money. He is by far the most conservative of the candidates running, is not a flame-thrower or radical, and has good credentials, having served in the Council eight years and prior to that having served on the school board. I am disappointed that some of Nashville's rich Republicans will not turn lose of their money and ensure that at least one of the five at-large candidates is a conservative. I made a modest contribution to him in the first quarter and today am making an additional contribution. To contribute to his campaign follow this link.

While money does not necessarily win a race, it is a big factor. I think we can count out of the running, Matt DelRossi, Michael Craddock, Jim Dillard, Rueben Dockery, and Howard Jones. If we can count these out, then that leaves ten serious candidates to fill five seats. While one may vote for five candidates one does not have to. To do so weakens the power of your vote. Thank of it like this: You only have one vote and you can split it between five candidates. I am not going to split my vote; it is going to Steve Glover.

Below, I have summarized the candidates report. I have listed a few of the contributors whose names I recognized or whose names jumped out at me. You will note that former candidate for mayor and big time Democrat fundraiser Bill Freeman has contributed to several campaigns. Also, the Amazon PAC is a big contributor. SEIU, the police union and the firefighters union are all big contributors. Noticeable by the absence is the teachers union. This is a very cursory examination of the contributors list. To see the list of contributors for yourself, follow this link.

Burkley Allen

Burkley Allen
Balance on hand last report: $87,655
Total receipts this period: $66,473
Total Dismemberment this period: $36,624
Balance on hand: $115,503.83

No loans. Contributors include Nashville Fire Fighters PAC, $2000;
John Ingram of Ingram Industries, $1000;
Bill Freeman, $1000;
SEIU, $1000;
Women for TN Future PAC, $500;
Amazon PAC, $2000

Fabian Bedne
Balance on hand last report: $31,313
Fabian Bedne
Total receipts this period: $47,621
Total Dismemberment this period: $34,385
Balance on hand: $44,550

No loans. Contributors include the developer Tony Giarratana, $1600;
Dr. Ming Wang, $500, (Yes it is that Dr.Wang. This is a real surprise!);
Bill Freeman, $1500;
Roy Dale, $500 (former councilman engineer who often has rezoning request before the Metro Council)
Rich Riebeling, $250
Nashville Pedal Tavern, LLC, $1600
SEIU, $1000; 
Michael Craddock
Balance on hand last report: $0
Total receipts this period: $5,250
Total Dismemberment this period: $573
Balance on hand: $4,676

No loans,  Major contributor is Fraternal Order of Police, $2500;

Jim Dillard. He has only raised $2000, it is on-hand, and it came from the Nashville Fire Fighters.

Rueben Dockery only raised $150,

Adam Dread
Balance on hand last report: $0
Total receipts this period: $104,500
Total Dismemberment this period: $16,377
Balance on hand: $88,123

Loans outstanding, $100,000,  Major contributor is Fraternal Order of Police, $2500; Firefighters Union $2000.

Steve Glover
Steve Glover
Balance on hand last report: $9,015
Total receipts this period: $20,924
Total Dismemberment this period: $16,487
Balance on hand: $13,452

No loans,  Contributors include Carol Swain, $250;
Bill Freeman, $1600;
Nashville Firefighter Union, $5000
Freeman Webb Company, $1600
Friends of Police, $2500

Howard Jones
Balance on hand last report: $0
Total receipts this period: $11,429
Total Dismemberment this period: $10,652
Balance on hand: $777

Loans outstanding, $9651

Gigola Lane
Balance on hand last report: $0
Total receipts this period: $30,967
Total Dismemberment this period: $5,816
Balance on hand: $25,151

No loans. The candidate contributed $1000 to her own campaign.
Contributors include attorney Daniel Horwitz,$150;
Councilman Scott Davis, $200;
Jamie Hollin, $1,000;
SEIU, $1000;
Women for Tennessee's Future, $1.000;
Tennessee Laborers PAC, $500
Communication Workers of America $200

Bob Mendes
Balance on hand last report: $36115
Bob Mendes
Total receipts this period: $46,227
Total Dismemberment this period: $19,721
Balance on hand: $61,620

Loans outstanding $153,500. This is a load from the candidate to the campaign made in 6/15/2015.
Contributors of note include SEIU, $1000;
Tony Giarratana (major downtown developer), $500;
Amazon, $1,000
Firefighters union, $2,000
SEIU, $2,000
Jamie Holin, $1,000

Gary Moore
Balance on hand last report: $16307
Total receipts this period: $24,764
Total Dismemberment this period: $11,559
Balance on hand: $29,513

No loans, 
SEIU $1000
Bob Clement former Congressman, $200.
Firefighters union, $2500
Friends of the Police, $2500

Suara Sulfat
Balance on hand last report: $41703
Suara Sultat
Total receipts this period: $51,503
Total Dismemberment this period: $45,285
Balance on hand: $47,920

Outstanding loan of $10,000. Below are contributors of note:
Robert Matthews of the Matthews company, $500
Jay Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, $1,600
SEIU, $1,000
Bill Freeman, $1,000
Women for Tennessee's Future PAC, $500
Charles Robert Bone, $500

Sheri Weiner
Balance on hand last report: $0 
Sheri Weiner

Total receipts this period: $50,845
Total Dismemberment this period: $6241 
Balance on hand: $44,605
no loans,
H. G. Hill Realty PAC, $1,000
John Ingram of Ingram Industries, $1,000
Ryman Hospitality PAC, $1,000
Charlie Tygard, former councilman, $200
Bill Freeman, $1600
Tom White, developer, $250
Charles Robert Bone, $500
Ragan Smith PAC, $1,500
Fire Fighters Union, $2,000
Amazon, $1,000
Fraternal Order of Police,  $2,500

Sharon Hunt failed to file a report.

Matt DelRossi failed to file a report.

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The Nashville Scene Election Issue: Sizing Up the At-Large Race

The Nashville Scene Election Issue: Sizing Up the At-Large Race

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"Save Our Fairgrounds" wins appeal, MLS stadium construction delayed.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An appellate court judge has overturned a previous court ruling on issues surrounding the construction of a stadium for Nashville's MLS soccer team at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

According to the ruling filed late Thursday, Judge J. Steven Stafford has sent the case back to the lower court, saying that the judge in the lower court didn’t address one of the key issues: whether the city is ignoring the Metro charter, which Save our Fairgrounds says protects what’s at the fairgrounds now – the state fair, the flea market, and the racetrack. (see Channel 4 video)

Jim Roberts, attorney for Save Our Fairgrounds,  post this on Facebook:
TOTAL VICTORY against Metro today when the Court of Appeals ruled the trial court’s order ruling against Save Our Fairgrounds was Not a final order. As we requested, the Court of Appeals dismiss the appeal and remanded the case. This means months or possibly years of delays for Metro and it’s scheme to destroy the Fairgrounds and the State Fair. This is a VICTORY for ALL of Nashville. MLS conspired with billionaires to steal millions of dollars in Fairground property and we stopped them!

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Reuters features Nashville in report on, "As U.S. 'superstar' cities thrive, weaker ones get left behind."

by Rod Williams - A report by the Reuters News service out today focuses on the uneven growth in cities as they recovered from the recession of 2007-2009. Nashville is held up as a "superstar city."  The article points out our spending of $600 million on a convention center and how that led to our success. Below is an excerpt from the article.

In a ranking of 378 metropolitan areas by how their share of national employment changed from 2010 to 2017, 40% of the new jobs generated during that time went to the top 20 places, along with a similar share of the additional wages.

Those cities represent only about a quarter of the country’s population and are concentrated in the fast-growing southern and coastal states. None were in the northeast, and only two were in the “rust belt” interior - Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a rebounding Detroit. keeping company with other southern towns like Charlotte and Atlanta, and the usual fast-growth suspects like Seattle and San Francisco.

The drop from there is steep. The next set of 20 cities captured about 10% of the jobs created from 2010 through 2017, close to their roughly 7.5% share of the population.

At the bottom, 251 cities, many spread across the heartland and in the industrial northeast, lost job share.
I am pleased with this reporting and glad that I have always been on what I view as the right side of the debate about supporting the convention center. While serving in the Metro Council in the mid-80's I voted for the building of the first convention center  and as a citizen, I supported the building of the current convention center.  For those who do not pay close attention, they may not know how controversial these decision were at the time.  The debate and study of the first convention center lasted months.

Most of my friends are conservatives and many were opposed in the original convention center and the new Music City Center. I had some people who fell out with me and were disappointed that I supported and voted for the original convention center.  I understand the principled opposition.  In an idea world, I would prefer cities to not own and operate convention centers or sports facilities or offer incentives to businesses, but we have to operate in the world in which we live.  One city cannot unilaterally disarm without paying the price.  It is already a fact that cities do operate and own convention centers and sports facilities and offer incentives to businesses and for Nashville to not do it means we would be left behind. When it comes to these type things,  I do not think having a blanket principled position that that is not the proper role of government and therefore we should not do it is the right approach. I think you must be pragmatic and each proposal must stand on its own.  We must ask, "Is this strategically a good move?"  We have to ask, "Is it a smart thing to do?"

I think building the original conventions center and the decision to build the Music City Center were the smart thing to do.  I am bullish on Nashville and believed and still believe in this city. I do not think building a massive convention center would work for Memphis or Knoxville, but I believed it could work for Nashville. It was a gamble but it paid off.

The Reuters article looks at the factors that made the gamble pay off for Nashville. Among those factors is, "the city’s celebrated country music roots and seven-night-a-week year-round party scene as the draw for major conferences and trade shows, something that can’t simply be reproduced by other municipalities."  Other factors cited is building the new convention center at the right time when interest rates were low. The factors contributing to the growth in Nashville following the success of the convention center is the relaxation of our strict downtown building codes in the 90's and the fact that Tennessee has no income tax. The article quotes an expert to explain why some cities succeed and others don't and he basically says, "I don't know."

"Every city has its unique narrative as to why it got to where it got,” says Atlanta Federal Reserve bank president Raphael Bostic. “I don’t think there is a general formula that if you hit each point at a certain level you guarantee an outcome.”

The article does not point out that this growth has left us with the most massive debt of any city in the country, the inability to adequately retain teachers, understaffed police and fire departments, crumbling infrastructure and failing schools. While these are serious problems, in my view, with the right leadership these problems can be corrected.  Despite the problems we are experiencing at this time, I still am still pleased we rank in the top 11 of 378 cities for share of national employment positive growth rather than near the bottom of the list.  We have problems, but we have done something right.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

John Cooper raised the most money in the Second Quarter. Briley has the most "on-hand" for the final stretch.

By Rod Williams - John Cooper raised the most money in the Second Quarter, which covers the period of April 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019, having total receipts of  $850,137, of which, $555,000 was a loan from himself to his campaign.

David Briley raised $443,116, but started the second quarter with over $400,000 on hand. Cooper had no money on hand at the start of the second quarter, entering the race late. Clemmons follows with less raised and less on hand and Carol Swain brings up the rear.

Entering the finale stretch of the campaign, Briley leads with $440,194 on hand, followed by Cooper with $142,312, Clemmons with $120,006, and Swain with only $49,669.  While candidates my continue to raise money, the "on-hand" amount is important because it tells you who can buy TV and radio ads, billboards, and print media advertising. Of course, a candidate may also contribute to his own campaign or make a loan to his own campaign.

To see who the contributors were to the candidates, you can follow this link and find the full copies of the candidates campaign financial disclosures.  Below is a summary of their reports. I have not bothered to review the campaign reports of the other candidates for mayor, but if interested you can find their financial reports at the same link.

David Briley

Balance on hand last report: $416,209
Total receipts this period: $443,116
Total Dismemberment this period: $419,113
Balance on hand: $440,194
No outstanding loans
John Ray Clemmons
Balance on hand last report: 109,227
Total receipts this period: $168,445
Total Dismemberment this period: $157,666
Balance on hand: $120,006

Outstanding loans:$150,000

John Cooper
Balance on hand last report: $0
Total receipts this period: $820,137
Total Dismemberment this period: $677,824
Balance on hand: $142,312

Outstanding loans: $555,000. 

Carol Swain
Balance on hand last report: $116,198
Total receipts this period: $111,779
Total Dismemberment this period: $178,309
Balance on hand: $49,669

No outstanding loans

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FOP accuses Briley of ‘financial shell game’ by cutting Metro Police budget

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police has accused Mayor David Briley of running a “financial shell game” and not funding his promised 6.4% increase for new hires.(link)

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Twelve candidates for Metro Council haven't filed campaign finance disclosures

The Tennessean reports that twelve candidates on the ballot for the August 1 election failed to file their second quarter financial disclosure. The most prominent of those is at-large Council member Sharon Hunt who is runing for reelection.

Here is the complete list of those who failed to timely file a report:

  • At-large candidate Sharon Hunt
  • At-large candidate Matt DelRossi
  • District 1 candidate Finis Luther Dailey III
  • District 3 candidate Barry Barlow
  • District 5 candidate Pam Murray
  • District 7 candidates Stephen Downs
  • District 7 candidate Jacob Green
  • District 8 candidate Danny Williams
  • District 9 candidate David McMurry
  • District 23 candidate Rob McKinney
  • District 30 candidates Reuben Ford
  • District 30 candidate Sandra Sepulveda 
Candidates will be fined $25 a day for every day the report is late.  My view is that if a candidate fails to file a financial report on time, he wants to hide who is funding his campaign, or he is terribly unorganized and irresponsible, or had some legitimate reason, such as a death in the family or a natural disaster, that kept him from filing. Failing to file a financial report on time would not be the deciding factor in for whom I would vote, but it would be a factor.

Note that in District 7, two of the eight running for that seat did not file. Jacob Green failed to file. He also has no campaign Facebook page or website. I don't know if he has been actively campaigning, but this is a sign he is not a serious candidate.

In District 5, Pam Murray failed to file. She is a former council member trying to get back in the Council. She was controversial when she served before and was what I would consider a bad councilperson. I don't know her two opponents, but I would not want to see her reelected so this is a good sign. If she is so unorganized that she can not file an important report on time, maybe her campaign tactics have also been unorganized.

In District 1, one of Johnathan Hall's opponents did not file. I am supporting Hall. In District 23, one of the challengers to the incumbent failed to file. In that race, I am supporting challenger Thom  Druffel.

In District 30, two of the four candidates in that race failed to file. If this is any indication of how they are running their campaign, then this is a good sign for my preferred candidate Lydia Hubbell

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Meet and Greet for Michelle Foreman, Candidate for Metro Council 35th District

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text 

Monday, July 22, 2019 at 6 PM – 8 PM
7517 Wood Stream Dr, Nashville, TN 37221-6566

If you would like to help host the event to cover the costs of beverages and light hor d'oeuvres, please let either John Patrick Shorter or Tonya Shorter know.

We look forward to seeing you all on Monday.

Tonya and John Shorter

Please RSVP by Friday, July 19th.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mayoral Candidates stake out positions on affordable housing

Last night candidates for mayor took part in a forum sponsored by NOAH, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope. This is a  progressive coalition of interfaith and labor groups. About 500 people attended the event but unfortunately I was not able to attend. One of the topics of this forum was  affordable housing. In addition to this event, the mayoral candidates shared their views on affordable housing at a televized event on June 25th and each talked about affordable housing when interviewd by the Tennessean editorial board. Below in a nutshell is the opinion of the candidates on affordable housing:

David Briley
David Briley says affordable housing  is a "human right."  I am bothered by categorizing the things to which society may determine people are entitled as "rights."  Liberals do not know the difference or do not recognize a difference between liberties and entitlements. Categorically, freedom of speech and a right to paid maternity leave are different things. Right off the bat, Briley is losing me by calling affordable housing a "human right."

Briley has outlined an affordable housing initiative called Under One Roof 2029, which would spend $750 million over 10 years, primarily towards the redevelopment of aging public housing into mixed-income communities. This plan has come under a lot of criticism. Critics says it takes pieces of what is on the drawing board anyway and puts it in a new package. Also it calls for increasing funding to the Barnes Fund, the money to come from the operating budgets.  Budgets are approved each year and there are competing needs. This intent to fund the Barnes Fund at a higher level is no more than a good intention. One mayor or council cannot obligate the next.

$350 million of the money Briley proposed would come from issuing new general obligation bonds. This is at a time when Nashville has the highest debt obligation per person of any city in America. We need to be lowering our debt, not adding to it.

$250 million would come from voluntary investments in affordable housing by the private sector.  This is pulling money out of thin air. He could have made his plan a billion dollar plan by saying the private sector would make $500 in voluntary investments.

Briley's plan is smoke and mirrors based on wishful thinking.

John Cooper
At the NOHA event, Cooper pandered and said he advocates putting a NOHA representative on MDHA's board. While I generally have a negative view of NOHA, and while I would not want to specify than any one political group be entitled to a representative on the MDHA board, I would not oppose that their be a low-income person  from a "pocket of poverty" or low-income census track be on the board.  In my view, MDHA is too focused on building luxury condo's and one advocate for poor people on the board, would not hurt. That is not much of a solution to the problem of the declining availability of affordable housing however.

Cooper has a modest, practical affordable housing plan on his website. He advocates small changes that can make a difference. It is not a bold creative vision; he is not reinventing the wheel, but I like that.  It includes better management of what resources we already have, a new revolving fund for affordable housing, and greater leverage of federal and state housing funds for affordable housing.  

Carol Swain
Carol Swain has a plan she says is based on parcels of land owned by the city. She would make those excess parcels available for development of homes costing about $200,000. While I like this, those parcels are already being made available for development under an existing program. I am not sure, this is anything new. One thing she does advocate is to "use modular technology, new creative ideas to get the price down even further."  It is a shame Nashville stands in the way of the development of affordable housing by the private sector by effectively prohibiting the use of factory build housing in Nashville. I am pleased to see the advocacy of modular construction.

John Ray Clemmons
He says affordable housing is a "real crisis."  He would commit at least $50 million a year to the Barnes Fund using a dedicated revenue stream, but he does not identify that revenue stream. There is nothing magic about a dedicated revenue stream.  If the city, for instance, should take $50 million that now is paid in codes fees and direct that money to the Barnes Fund, that is $50 million that now goes into the city coffers to pay for education, police protection and everything else the city does.  That is not free money. That means the city would have to make $50 million in cuts to other services or raise taxes.

He would also create "income-source protection" for people with Section 8 housing vouchers, and a land bank for surplus public property. I am not sure how "income-source protection" works. So, I would have to know more to know what he is talking about.  For a primer on Land Banks, follow this link.  I tend to favor letting property be developed to its highest and best use but am not opposed to land banks playing a limited role in helping low income people become homeowners but it is no magic bullet that will solve the housing "crisis."

Rod's thoughts
First of all I do not think we have a housing "crisis." We have an "issue" or "problem."  For the person making the median income in Nashville, the median priced house is still affordable. We are in much better shape than many other cities in America where the median income person cannot afford the median priced house.

In one sense, this is what we asked for. When you attract people to move from elsewhere to Nashville and those people make a much higher income than most Nashvillians, they are going to drive up housing prices. A lot of what we are experiencing is simply supply and demand. That is not to say that for lower income people that they are not priced out of the market. What we are experiencing is an issue to be addressed but not a crisis.

I am disappointed that none of the candidates took the position that Nashville should stop taking actions that make the problem worse. Much of the fault for loss of affordable housing, is directly due to government policy. As an example of this, there is a new plan to redevelop Dickerson Pike. The Dickerson Road area has long been one of the cheapest parts of the city to live.  In addition to affordable apartment buildings along Dickerson, the neighborhoods adjacent to the thoroughfare have lots of modest affordable homes.  On Dickerson Road there are several old-fashion junky trailer parks.  On Dickerson Road itself there are businesses that serve the people who live in the vicinity. There are businesses such as laundromats, payday lenders, convenience stores, and discount tobacco stores, and used car lots.  Dickerson Road has always had a problem with hookers walking the street and the area has a lot of drug dealers.

Metro has a plan to improve this bad part of town. The plan envisions a dense collection of modern offices, shops and multifamily housing, widened streets and added transit hubs, greenways, crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes.  The city is going to beautify and upgrade one of the worst parts of the city.  The Tennessean says, "But the increased investment is expected to send property values soaring in one of the few areas where relatively affordable housing can still be found near downtown."  I am pleased to see this recognition of the effect of improving parts of the city.

We are talking about hundreds of units of housing are going to be lost.  Thousands of people will no longer be able to afford to live there.  Some of the people living in trailer parks rent by the week. Where are they going to go?   No one likes to have a seedy part of town, but when you beautify and upgrade a seedy part of town you are destroying the only place poor people can afford to live.  Every community can't look like Brentwood and still have affordable housing.

Less ambitious than a master plan such as is planned for Dickerson Road are city policies that little by little destroy affordable communities and thereby affordable housing.  These are policies that make busy corridors look nice. These are rules which say used car lots must have an attractive decorative fence in front of them, that say one can not have in close proximity businesses of the same or similar type such as used tire stores and auto repair businesses, and rules that say all dumpsters must be placed on a reinforced concrete pad behind the building, and rules that require a certain distance between pay day lenders.  These rules drive out the kind of business that serve low-income people.  They make unattractive parts of town more attractive and change the character of the community and make it attractive for people who make more money.  They turn low-income parts of town into middle-income parts of town.

Another way in which Nashville destroys affordable housing is by the policy of making large parts of the county single-family only.  Almost every Council meeting, there is a bill to down-zone a neighborhood from a zoning which allows duplexes to a zoning which does not.  Such legislation may change a zoning from R20 to RS20. I understand people wanting to preserve the character of their neighborhood.  I understand people wanting things to stay the same. However, this has an impact on future home prices.  This makes future affordable housing less likely and it encourages urban sprawl.  With higher density, there are fewer places to build houses and this causes the available places to be more expensive.  Also, with less available building spaces close in, it causes people to move further out.

Another way the city causes a loss of affordable housing is by driving up the cost of development and stifling the development of more affordable housing. Take the policy that requires a sidewalk in front of every house.  Sidewalks can add thousands of dollars to a the price of a house. This means developers will build more expensive homes rather than less expensive homes to absorb in the home price the cost of the sidewalks.  Also, I have talked to developers who say they have tried to build communities of affordable housing and instead of getting assistance from planning, they got obstacle after obstacle thrown in their way.  It is simply easier to build pricey homes rather than affordable homes.

Another way government destroys affordable housing, is my stringent codes enforcement.  I own a little rental house in Woodbine.  I only own one rental property.  It is the house I lived in  myself until I moved to my current home.  It is a two-bedroom one-bath house.  A few months ago I got a codes complaint and I had to deal with it. It is not the first time.  It was a headache and an annoyance.  I have a tenant who has different taste than I do and likes "yard art."  He also keeps a lot of stuff that he might can sell to make a little money.  The stuff was stored neatly in covered storage.  He also was parking a car on an unpaved or graveled area.

I only charge the tenant a modest price for rent.  I could put central heat and air in the house and dress it up just a little and rent it for about half again what I am getting, or I could sell the house.  I get about two postcards a week from someone wanting to buy that house. If I sold it they would tear it down, and build an expensive house on the lot. There would go a unit of affordable housing.

Quite frankly, I don't need the money I could get from selling the house or from upgrading and raising the rent.  My tenant is a Cuban refugee who really did come to America by a raft made of intertubes.  He has been here about twenty years or so but has a heavy accent and little education. He makes a living by selling scrap metal.  He would have a difficult time paying more rent.  I rent to him at a modest rent more out of a sense of doing a good deed than anything else.  When I get a codes letter, however, I am tempted by the postcard offers to buy my house.  I have talked to other landlords who get harassed by codes.  I know we have to have codes enforcement, but there is an effect.  When codes officials harass property owners they destroy affordable housing.

The other way Metro government contributes to the loss of affordable housing is by refusing to zone property for greater density if what is planned to be build on the property is affordable housing.  Worse yet, is the taking away of ones property rights in order to stop them from building affordable housing. This was attempted in Antioch. Ultimately, the person's property rights were not taken but the threat hung over the owners head for two years and the affordable property was never build.

Nashville could have more affordable housing if would embrace manufactured housing. There is a certain snobbish elitism that doesn't want "trailer trash" in Nashville and Nashville has had a long-standing attitude that we would keep "mobile homes" or "trailers" out of Nashville. A lot of the prejudice against manufactured housing is irrational. Manufactured housing could play a major role in insuring there was housing available at various price points.

The best way to make housing affordable is to increase incomes for those at the bottom of the income scale.  Rather than subsidizing poverty, in my view, we should strive to lift people out of poverty. You can't lift all people out of poverty, but we should have as a goal to have fewer poor people.

The loss and increasing lack of affordable housing is of concern, but much of the blame can be laid at the doorstep of the same people who bemoan the fact that we are losing affordable housing.  You can't have affordable housing if you don't want affordable neighborhoods.  You can't have affordable housing and have every neighborhood look like Brentwood. You can't have affordable housing, if you are going to ban greater density or fight having affordable housing in your neighborhood.

For source material and more information, follow these links: link, link, link, link, link.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

For voters in Metro Council District 30, Please vote for Lydia Hubbell

by Rod Williams- If I lived in District 30, I would be voting for Lydia Hubbell for Metro Council. She is fiscally conservative, pragmatic, and a good person.  I am posting this special endorsement blog post because Lydia has ran into an unexpected obstacle to her campaign and I want to help her out. She has been placed in Facebook timeout.  While nothing still beats door-to-door campaigning and yard signs, social media has become an important campaign tool.  It is a shame that one's opponents can report you to Facebook and have you banned during a crucial period of the campaign.  It may be after the election before her Facebook privileges are restored. Please repost and defeat her opponents underhanded attempt to silence her voice.  

Time is short but a campaign contribution would help her in these final days of the campaign. Visit her campaign website at

From Lydia Hubbell:
Lydia Hubbell

--If you want someone on the council who is honest, transparent, and responsive.
--If you want someone on the council whose "agenda" is to be the voice of the constituents and promote their best interests.
--If you want someone on the council who is fiscally conservative and hates wasting other people's money even worse than they hate wasting their own, and will vote to raise taxes only when absolutely necessary. 
--If you want someone who is open minded, humble, and looks at issues from all sides before making important decisions. I am NOT a "know it all" and I will change my position when new information is presented that supports a change. And I will share that information freely with my constituents.
--If you want someone who will put the needs of others ahead of their own desires.
--If you want someone who is an outsider, not a "politician". I am probably one of the most "reluctant politicians" EVER. But I stepped up when no other conservative would. We need options, and "conservatives" and "moderates" need to know that I am on the ballot because I wanted them to be able to vote for someone like them. 
--If you want someone who is solution-focused, who looks for common ground and who will compromise when appropriate, and who will communicate with and solicit feedback and ideas from the constituents so that I can involve them in the decision process and keep them informed.
--If you are a Constitution-lover and want someone in office who promotes liberty and justice and the common good.
--If you think it doesn't matter who you vote for. If you think "all politicians are the same"...let me show you how different I am and what a difference I can make that will affect you in a positive way. I am the underdog in this race. I need as many votes I can get to win, and the ambivalent or uninformed voter's vote counts as much as anyone else's. I may not be any better than the other candidates, but I am not any worse.
Why not cast your vote for me?

--If you want to maintain the status quo. I have shown myself to be a warrior for truth, liberty, and justice (not to be confused with "Social Justice Warrior"). I know what we have in place and the way things have been done is hurting a lot of people. It is my intention to promote positive changes and I know it will be an uphill battle, but I don't think anyone will fight harder to right wrongs and find creative and practical solutions to thorny problems than I will.  
--If you think certain individuals or groups need special treatment. I believe we all have the same rights and I support and defend the Constitution. I'm a mother and I know you can't make everybody happy all the time, but I know you can always be fair. We ALL needed to be treated fairly and that is a goal of mine as Councilman. It is a way of life for me as an American.
--If you think "endorsements" of groups and organizations that lobby legislators to promote their interests make a candidate better qualified. I didn't even bother responding to most invitations for "endorsements" after learning that some of these groups pay money after questioning candidates to see which one is most likely to promote their agenda. I would not even want to give the impression that I would pander or curry favor. I promote liberty and justice for all, and don't feel beholden to people who help me get elected, though I am appreciative. 
--If you think Nashville should be a "sanctuary city." I believe "cutting line" is unfair, but I also believe not helping people who are in need is wrong. We live on a very rich earth and there is enough to meet all our needs. We need to do things "decently and in order" because it is the best way to promote the rights and interests of the greatest number of people. I have a heart of compassion. I have suffered hardships and have sought out the help of others. We all need somebody to help us in some way or at some time. I do not think making Nashville a "sanctuary city" is the best way to solve anyone's problems.
--If you want the government taking a bigger role in controlling the way we live our lives.  I like to be free to make my own decisions in my private life. I will defend other people's rights long as they are not exercising them in a way that infringes upon other people's rights.
--If you think "years of experience" in politics and "name recognition" are the most important reasons to vote for someone. I have 53 years of experience in LIFE and decades of preparation to serve others, including serving in public office. I have done my work mostly "behind the scenes" for years. 
--If you think you need a college degree in order to qualify to be a "citizen legislator" or a voice for the people. I value education and I am a "lifelong learner" and I am not ashamed, and I do not feel inferior in any way, because I do not have a college degree. I think “on the job training” is often the most beneficial.
--If you think we need to tear down the "old" to make way for the "new," or that growing "bigger" equals growing "better." I want to find the healthy balance that I know this city needs and can have if the Nashville residents are made the priority they deserve to be.
I appreciate your support and your vote July 12-27, 2019 or on August 1, 2019! Together we can make our great city even greater! 


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The at-large candidates share their, "Big Ideas For Improving Nashville."

WPLN, Nashville's public radio station, asked the candidates running at-large, "What’s your big idea for improving life in Nashville?"

Steve Glover, the only candidate I am voting for gave this answer: "To honor our commitment to all Metro employees and work to find a real solution to fix education and pay down the debt in Nashville."

That is a pretty good answer. If I was answering this question, I would say, "recapture some of the money that now is used exclusively to fund tourism promotion and downtown development, cut wasteful spending, improve government efficiency and management practises, close General Hospital, reduce the debt, cut corporate incentives for companies to locate to Nashville, and change metro's pension system from a defined benefit system to a defined contributions system."

Or, maybe I wouldn't. My answer would require answering "why," when it came to General Hospital, and few people would  have a clue what I was talking about when I advocated for a "defined contribution plan" as opposed to a "defined benefit plan." I guess, if running for office,  the best answers are short and simply.  People have short attention spans and like answers that make good Facebook memes or fit on a bumper sticker.  Glover's answer is better than mine.

There are 15 candidates running for five at-large seats.  These includes six current council members, a former council member, a past state lawmaker and some political activist and public figures with name recognition and some people of whom I have never heard.  While one may vote for five, to do so weakens the power of ones vote. Rather than divide my vote five ways I am going to vote for only Steve Glover. I want to lessen the chances that one of the radicals will win and I want one of the five at-large candidates to be a conservative so I am voting for only one person for at-large and that is Steve Glover.

To read the answer of all of the at-large candidates who answered the question, follow this link.

WPLN also asked the candidates two other questions. Follow the below links to see those answered.

Meet The At-Large Council Candidates: How Will They Lead Countywide?

Meet The At-Large Council Candidates: How They’ve Navigated Thorny Projects.

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Join John Cooper for an evening at Gruhn Guitars

or to Kaye Whitacre

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Should the director of Nashville schools report directly to the mayor?

When the candidates were asked if the Director of Schools should report directly to the mayor, only Carol Swain said "yes;" the others said "no." I agree with the others.

“Each member of the school board represents 9,500 children and their parents and those children and those school board members deserve a voice in who is the superintendent of schools,” is what John Cooper said.  While I am disappointed with the functioning of our school board and the last director, I do not want to concentrate all power in the hand of the mayor. I wish the public elected better people to the school board but don't want to take away the power of the people to have a say in public education. I agree with John Cooper.  To see more on this follow this link.

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

John Cooper's video interview with the Tennessean

This is an insightful video. Given this format, Cooper has time to explain the shortcoming of Metro's budgetary process and management and why Metro is short of money at a time of economic boom and what needs to be fixed to address this problem. He points out that much of the money generated from tourism, stays in tourism and development and says there needs to be a balancing so that is not the case. He points out that the Music City Centre has wildly surpassing the income it was projected to generated but that  that excess revenue is not available to the city and that the cost associated with our massive downtown growth has exceeded projections, which is a cost that must be absorbed by the city.

He believes Nashville and the surrounding counties can work together to get the state's assistance in addressing our transportation needs as a regional problem and to get State assistance with other issues. Regarding the animosity between "blue" Nashville and "red" Tennessee, he says the mayor needs to "get beyond that" and work to solve problems.

He explains some of the really bad development deals the city has gotten into such as selling the site of the old convention center for only a fraction of what it is worth and the deal that results in the city paying the Ohmi Hotel more money that it collects in taxes from the hotel. He is critical of  MDHA's role in funding luxury condo development. He says some city involvement in downtown has been "strategic" and smart but others have been deals for the sake of doing deals. See the video at about timestamp 16 where he explains some of the really dumb deals the city has entered into. He criticizes deals with companies that bring their workforce with them instead of deals that offer an opportunity for Nashvillians.

See timestamp 19 where Cooper discusses the city's debt. I don't think the general public is aware how drastically in debt we are as a city. He points out that some manipulation has occurred to keep from being reported as "debt" what really is "debt." He points out that Nashville's debt is far greater than that of the whole state of Tennessee. He points out that we have very few audits of the capital spending. He says our spending is out of line with similar spending anywhere else, as an example in square food expenditures for school construction.

This is very informative. I am supporting Cooper for mayor and it is because of his focus on these problems and my belief that is the person who can fix these problems that I am doing so.

To see thee interviews with other mayoral candidates, follow these links:

Mayoral candidate Carol Swain speaks with the Tennessean editorial board

Mayoral candidate John Ray Clemmons speaks with the Tennessean editorial board

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