Saturday, August 24, 2019

Teachers union (MNEA) endorces John Copper in the runoff.

Press release - The Metropolitan Nashville Education Association's Political Action Committee for Education (MNEA-PACE) has voted to endorse John Cooper for the office of Mayor in the 2019 Run-Off Election. The endorsement is based on Council Member Cooper's willingness to fight private school vouchers and provide more oversight to charter schools, which target two of the biggest threats to funding for public education.

Cooper has promised to join a lawsuit challenging the state voucher program, which unfairly targets Nashville and Memphis schools. In a statement provided to MNEA, he stated, "As your mayor, I won’t stand on the sidelines while the General Assembly tries to privatize public education in Nashville. Instead, I will instruct my legal department to fight the voucher program and make sure it never takes effect. Then, we will actually engage the General Assembly to work in the interests of what will work best for Nashville students."

Cooper made an additional statement about charter schools, saying "Nashville has some high-performing charter schools, but accountability and oversight is needed. We will monitor charters as to make sure we only have the best public charters. If a school is doing well and educating our young people, we will support it. If it’s not, then we will move to close it. It’s about how we effectively educate our young people from every neighborhood."

Currently, charter schools account for more than $150 million of the MNPS budget. This is nearly twice the amount that the MNPS Board of Education asked for in the spring in order to fund 10% raises for all employees, step increases, social and emotional supports, and new textbooks for students. MNEA will continue to make the fight for fully funding MNPS a priority in the 2019-20 year.

Rod's Comment:  I am supporting John Cooper for mayor because I believe he will get the city's finances on track and I think that is the most important issue facing the city. I am a supporter of school choice, however, and am disappointing but not surprised by  Cooper's position on school choice issues. I am not alarmed by Cooper's  statement of charter school, however.  I also support good charter schools and think bad charter schools should have their charter revoked.  I disagree with Cooper on vouchers and I support them. If Cooper's opponent was a champion of school choice, then Cooper's lack of support for school choice would cause me to questions my support for Cooper, but there is not much difference between the two candidates on the question of school choice.

The way I see it, both Cooper and Briley are liberals.  There is much they both agree on and I disagree with both of them.  I do think however, that Briley would be much more of a social justice warrior than Cooper.  While both may be liberal, I perceive that Briley will spend more time on advocating for issues that he really can't have much influence over, such as gay rights, Black anti-police grievances, abortion rights, and open borders and anti-ICE rhetoric than would Cooper. Cooper will focus on real issues that he can impact.

Where the two candidates differ is on the fiscal matters and that is the area where Metro has serious problems and is facing a crisis.  Metro Nashville just passed a budget that the Comptroller says does not balance and the Comptroller has said Metro's budget does not adequately fund reserve funds.  That should disqualify Briley; that would not happen with Cooper as mayor. Nashville also has the highest Metro government debt per person of any city its size.  I believe Cooper will work to improve government efficiency, reduce waste and corruption, reduce corporate welfare, focus on adequately funding the basics, and reduce the taxpayer debt burden. With Briley, we will have more of the same.  While I perceive both candidates to be liberals, Cooper is fiscally conservative and Briley is not.

In the above press release, MNEA repeats the claim that money that goes to public charter schools somehow robs Metro schools of money they could use for other purposes.  This is obviously false.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Early voting starts today!

Early Voting Schedule for All Dates and Locations

Howard Office Building

Friday, August 23, 2019–Saturday, September 7, 2019
Date Time
Friday, August 23 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 24 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday, August 26 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 27 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Wednesday, August 28 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 29 8 a.m.–7 p.m.

All Early Voting Locations Open

Friday, August 30, 2019–Saturday, September 7, 2019
Date Time
Friday, August 30 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 31 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday, September 2 Closed for Labor Day Holiday
Tuesday, September 3 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Wednesday, September 4 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 5 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday, September 6 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 7 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Early Voting Locations

Belle Meade City Hall, 4705 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205

Bellevue Library, 720 Baugh Road, Nashville, TN 37221

Bordeaux Library, 4000 Clarksville Pike, Nashville, TN 37218

Casa Azafrán Community Center, 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211

Edmondson Pike Library, 5501 Edmondson Pike, Nashville, TN 37211

Goodlettsville Community Center, 200 Memorial Drive, Goodlettsville, TN 37072

Green Hills Library, 3701 Benham Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215

Hermitage Library, 3700 James Kay Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076

Howard Office Building, 700 2nd Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37210

Madison Library, 610 Gallatin Pike South, Madison, TN 37115

Southeast Library, 5260 Hickory Hollow Pkwy, Antioch, TN 37013

Visit the Election Commission Department web site for more information

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Steve Gill goes to jail for unpaid back child support

He was arrested for not paying $170,000 in back child support.

link, link, link

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Metro council voted down a bill that would ban scooters

by Rod Williams - Metro council voted down a bill that would ban scooters in Nashville at last

night's Council meeting. The bill, sponsored by Steve Glover, failed, with only seven council members voting in favor of the ban. While I am a supporter of Steve Glover's election campaign, I disagree with him on this issue and am pleased this bill was defeated.

In July, council approved a bill that kept scooters on Nashville streets, but it added new regulations. The bill implemented "slow zones" in areas of downtown Nashville and prohibited scooters from operating past 10:00 p.m during the week and 11:00 p.m. during the weekends. It also limited the number of scooters.

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. Recently, 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 scooters passed me coming up to me from behind and at the same time others scooters were coming down the sidewalk heading toward me. These two groups of scooters had to pass on the sidewalk and I had to get out of the way. 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 drivers, scooters are also used by a lot of locals. Recently, 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 to park on the sidewalks at all, but require the scooter companies to lease parking spaces for conversion to scooter corrals. I tend to think scooters 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. I approve of the new scooter "slow zones." 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.

Unfortunately, in my view, back in July when the Council passed the bill that imposed new scooter regulations, the bill also mandated a fifty percent reduction in the number of scooters allowed on the streets. I oppose that. Artificially capping the number 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. Most things work themselves out, if government will stay out of the way. Regulation for safety is a different kind of regulation than the kind of economic regulations that sets limits or prices. We should not be in the business of protecting people from competition.

I also do not want to require riders to wear helmets. So far we have not done so, but some advocate that.  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.

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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Study finds Tennessee ranks No. 2 friendliest state in the country

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - When it comes to friendly states, Tennessee ranks near the top of the list at number 2 according to a new study by Big 7 Travel.

Tennessee residents were noted as having "classic southern charm" with "an eagerness to show off their city to out-of-towners." The state was also noted for its "lively music scene."

Kentucky was ... number 19.  The most friendliest state? Minnesota. The least friendliest state? New York. ...California ranking 40th and Florida ranking 42nd. (link)

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Governor Lee Signs Pro-Life Legislation

Human Life Protection Act will ban abortion
 when Roe v. Wade is overtuned in whole or in part

From Tennessee Right to Life: Tennessee Right to Life thanks Governor Bill Lee for signing into law the Human Life Protection Act (SB 1257/HB 1029). The law will take effect upon the reversal of Roe v Wade, in whole or in part, by the U.S. Supreme Court. It will enact the full restoration of Tennessee's protective pre-Roe laws. The act also restores the right of Tennesseans to decide these public policies on abortion for ourselves.

"It has always been the priority of Tennessee's pro-life movement to restore the fullest possible protection to the largest number of unborn children and women in our state," said Stacy Dunn, vice-president of Tennessee Right to Life. "While states like New York are moving to strip any limits to abortion--even at the moments before birth---Tennessee wants to protect unborn children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion."

Prime sponsors of the measure were Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet.) It was passed overwhelmingly by both the Senate, 26-5, and the House, 69-24.
"This pro-life bill was passed in large part due to the vigilant care with which sponsors Gresham and Lynn shepherded the measure. Tennessee Right to Life expresses our appreciation for their work and wisdom," said Trecia Dillingham, board member for the organization. "We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to restore full protection to the vulnerable unborn in our state," said Dillingham.

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Metro Coucil candidates at-large forum, Thursday, Aug. 22.

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Firefighters union backs John Cooper for mayor

The Tennessean - The Nashville firefighters union on Wednesday announced its support for Metro Councilman John Cooper for mayor.

It's the second major union endorsement for Cooper since he finished first in the general election and qualified for the runoff against incumbent Mayor David Briley.

The Nashville laborers union, which represents construction workers and Vanderbilt University workers, also endorsed Cooper. (link)

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Business backers bail on Briley

Nashville Post- “Lot of rats leaving the ship,” one David Briley loyalist quipped, a dual indictment of both the rats and the ship, proverbially sinking.

In the days since Metro Councilmember John Cooper finished atop the mayoral field on Aug. 1, sending him to a runoff against Briley, the incumbent and second-place finisher, some of Briley’s most prominent financial supporters have been switching sides.

Next week, developer Bill Hostettler, sign magnate and airport authority member Bobby Joslin, Ryman Hospitality Properties CEO Colin Reed and historian David Ewing are throwing a fundraiser for Cooper, according to an invitation obtained by the Post. Each had previously given more than $1,000 to Briley. (link)

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