Friday, August 30, 2019

Steve Gill is out of jail.

Steve Gill
Conservative radio pundit and part owner of  Tennessee Star Steve Gill was released from Williamson County jail on a reduced bond of $50,000.  He was arrested on August 20th for past due child support of $170,000. His bond was set for $170,000.  He was divorced from the wife to whom he owes child support in 2011.

That was a bad week for Steve Gill.  Gill's current wife filed for divorce and a temporary restraining order also last week.

I am posting this without judgement as to the guilt or innocence of Steve Gill.  I know nothing about his situation. I am posting it simply because Gill is a celebrity in conservative circles and readers of this blog may have missed this news elsewhere. 

I do think parents should support their children, divorced from the other parent or not.  If one is unable to pay, there are legal remedies to have child support reduced.  The purpose of bond is to assure someone shows up for a court date.  To set the bond the same amount as the amount of child support due seems like bond is being used for a collection devise rather than assurance that one shows up in court. Jails should not serve as debtors prisons.

I am not assuming that because a divorcing wife gets a restraining order against her spouse that the husband is a dangerous person and a restraining order is justified.  Often the lawyer of a divorcing wife will tell the wife to get a restraining order.  It is almost routine.  I went through a divorce in the mid 80's and my crazy wife at the time got a restraining order against me totally without any justification.

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Nashville Government Gone Wild

BY MARK CUNNINGHAM, The Beacon Center - When Beacon did exit polling in the Nashville mayoral race last month, taxes/fiscal responsibility was the number one issue for voters in the city, and for good reason. Our city is run with less restraint than drunken college girls in front of a Girls Gone Wild cameraman. A news report from News Channel 5 this week showed that the booming “It City” is somehow $4.5 billion in debt, which is more than double the debt of the entire state of Tennessee.

Instead of carefully and effectively cutting the incredible amounts of waste or the hundreds of millions of tax dollars given out to corporations each year, Mayor Briley has simply asked department heads to “find savings” in their budgets with no real direction. The city’s debt problem is so bad that the Tennessee comptroller—the state’s money cop—sent the mayor and city council a letter posing major concerns for the debt situation and lack of a plan to solve it.

This is why local politics and local government matters so much. While the state of Tennessee is very fiscally responsible compared to other states, the city of Nashville continues to spend money like a drunken sailor. Despite bringing in more tax revenue than ever before, the city somehow keeps overspending by absurd amounts.

As a Nashville resident and homeowner, the way the city has been mismanaged infuriates me. It’s not just one person or department either. The city continues to spend money it doesn’t have for programs it doesn’t need and the chickens are finally coming home to roost. Nashville will not always have this kind of growth, and if we cannot balance a budget now, how do we expect to do it when the growth slows down? We are in serious danger of becoming the next Chicago or San Francisco if our city leaders fail to show some type of fiscal restraint.

This type of is one of the reasons Beacon has made it a priority to focus on policies advanced by local governments across the state. We will continue to work effectively at the state level, but we have decided to also engage more on local matters in cities and counties in the years that come. Whether it’s a property tax hike in Murfreesboro, a proposed stadium deal in Chattanooga, or an unnecessary expansion of government-owned internet in Johnson City, we will have our ears to the ground and will fight beside you when these issues arise.

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Briley and Cooper debate the city's finances.

by Rod Williams - On Tuesday night, Mayor David Briley and Councilman at-large John Cooper faced off in a debate at Belmont University.  As it very well should, the debate centered on city finances.  To watch the debate follow this link.

In one exchange during the debate, David Briley said of Cooper, "If he is a Democrat, he ought to act like it."  I guess what Briley meant by that statement, is that Cooper should not be concerned that the budget doesn't balance and we are deeply in debt. Highlights of the debate are that John Cooper said he would not raise taxes and Briley said raising taxes were not off the table.  In fairness, Cooper also said one should not take any option off the table, but Cooper took a stronger stand against raising taxes than Briley.

Moderator Jessica Bliss asked a question about the debt of the city (see timestamp -53.49). She said the State had expressed concern about Metro's debt load.  Metro has debt of more than $4 and half  billion dollars and the State of Tennessee has, by comparison, only $2 billion. What, she asked, would you do to  address the State's concern.

Cooper points out that the letter also questions our low fund balances and the fact that Metro's budget does not balance.  Cooper says he would "rebalance" our priorities.  He also said lack of transparency has allowed much of the public to be confused about where our finances really are. He says the Comptroller's letter is "a big wake-up call."

Briley says the comptroller's letter is essentially "a political document."  He said we have a good bond rating and the letter was issued as a result of actions initiated by Cooper and his "conservative friends" on the Metro Council.  This is astonishing. The Comptroller has a serious responsibility and does not issue letters of this nature lightly.  That Briley does not take this issue serious should disqualify him. If the city does not address the issues raised by the city, there are serious consequences. Unless we address the serious issues raised by the Comptroller, Metro will not be permitted to sell Tax Anticipation Notes.  Since tax collection occurs in spurts and expenses are relatively constant, the city has to engage in short term borrowing in anticipation of the tax revenue that will be received. If prohibited from doing so, there would be serious disruption in metro paying its bills.  Metro employees may not get paid on time. For Bailey to so cavalierly dismiss the serious of the findings of the Comptroller's office should make one question his fitness for office.

Part of the debate boils down to who is the most "progressive."  I am wholeheartedly supporting Cooper in this race but I wish he did not take such delight in denouncing "privatization" and "trickle-down economics."  He is right on substance in the instances of which he speak, but I support, in general, both privatization and supply-side economics.  Another term for "privatizations" is "contracting out." I don't think many people think it was a mistake when we "privatized" our garbage collection. 

"Trickle-down" economics has become a liberal term for "supply-side" economics but it is also used to describe corporate welfare. What Cooper is denouncing is corporate welfare, not supply side economics.  I wish the same term was not used to define two different things but it is. When Cooper talks about "trickle-down" economics, he is speaking about corporate welfare or incentives we give to businesses to entice them to relocate to Nashville, expand in Nashville or to not leave Nashville.  Denouncing "trickle-down" economics appeals to progressives more than denouncing "welfare." Despite using the loaded term "trickle-down" economics, I agree with Cooper in that we too often offer companies incentives. Cooper would be much more judicious about offering incentives to businesses than has been Briley.

This is a serious debate where the candidates really disagree. In addition to the important issue of Metro's finances, the candidates discuss transportation, affordable housing, education and juvenile crime. At about timestamp -10:15, Briley makes the strong argument that he is the real progressive in the race on issues such as LBGT advocacy and advocacy of illegal immigration. He is hoping that people will vote for him because he is the most progressive while we sink in debt and his administration cannot balance a budget. Cooper makes the argument that he too is progressive. Maybe they are both equally progressive but Cooper sees our finances as a major issues facing the city, and Briley downplays the importance of our financial mess. Briley says vote for me because I am the true progressive. Cooper says vote for me because I will bring about sound fiscal responsibility to the management of Metro.  If you are not sure how the candidates differ, I encourage you to watch this debate. If you do, I think you will agree with me, that Cooper is by far the better candidate.

To view The Tennessean's report on the debate, follow this link

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

New teachers at some of Nashville's lowest-performing schools receive $5,000 bonus

New teachers at some of Nashville's lowest-performing schools received a $5,000 bonus in their paycheck on Friday. As reported in The Tennessean, "The one-time stipend is for newly recruited teachers in the city's 23 lowest-performing schools, or Priority Schools, to teach English, math or science classes and those who specialize in exceptional education and English-learning instruction.
In total, 49 teachers on Friday got the extra pay, according to Sharon Griffin, Nashville schools' newly hired chief of innovation."

This is wise policy. Nashville has a serious problem recruiting and retaining teachers. Nashville schools started this year with 100 teacher vacancies, concentrated in  the worst schools.

This policy makes sense. I would go a step further and give those who teach in the worst schools on-going "combat pay."  It would probably not be cool to call it "combat pay," but teachers teaching inner city children need to make more money than those teaching nice white kids in the suburbs. What happens is that teachers who get hired and teach in an inner city school try to get transferred to better schools as soon as they can.  

I think the pay for those teaching in the worst schools should increase till we reach the point at which the extra pay is  sufficient to make teachers want those jobs.  Until we reach that point, across the board pay increases should be off the table. 

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Monday, August 26, 2019


Thom Druffel
by  Thom Druffel -

We have all heard about the booming business coming to Nashville. Cranes and construction fill our downtown streets. How is it then that our city debt has grown from approximately $400 million to $4.5 billion dollars in just over 15 years? Our city debt is more than twice the debt of the State of Tennessee. 
According to the proposed 2020 budget we are projected to bring in more than 4.7% in revenue growth from last year which accounts for over $100M. Despite that, we struggle to balance the budget or to provide fair wages to our teachers, police and firefighters. While our debt has grown, those who provide essential services are overlooked. This is especially unfair when we look at the rising cost of living in Nashville. 
Mayor Briley and the current council have tried to plug the holes by selling off county owned assets: Real estate, power supply, parking. This is bad policy and is not a sustainable way to pay the bills. A new law will prohibit some of that in the future but much has already been lost. 
Metro budget practices have now caught the attention of the Comptroller of the State of Tennessee. The state is about to scrutinize the way metro is managing its finances, with particular attention to the plans to sell city assets to balance the budget. The budget hole was supposed to be filled by the higher than expected city fund, yet the budget still included $2.33 billion in the budget for the sale of parking and energy. The state, rightly, wants answers, and they are due by September 20.
The state has also taken the unusual action of demanding that the Metro Council pass a cash management policy by November 20. 
We have been reactive in our current government, rather than proactive with strategic planning. There has been no long term vision where we, as a city, prioritize our needs and balance those against our income. Selling off an asset, that cannot be replaced, is like selling Grand- ma’s silver to pay the electric bill. You can do it once, maybe, but what happens next month when the bills come due again? 
The solutions around financial responsibility and transparency must start with you and regaining your trust. We must have robust and direct conversations on our vision for our neighborhoods and city. We then need to determine the strategies and costs to accomplishing our joint vision.
My pledge to you as your council member is to hold regular coffees/meetings where we discuss issues that are important to you. Too many times in recent years we hear about important issues only a day or so before the council votes. Other times we read about decisions after the fact, in the newspaper. We are all stakeholders in our city, and we all deserve a voice and an opportunity to learn what the issues are and what will be discussed by the council. I can only represent you effectively when I know how you feel about the issues. 
We also need council members who understand finance and budgeting. I have managed hotel and investment portfolios for over 40 years with budgets over $150M in regions all over the country. I have had to manage budgets in diverse economic climates, in good times and in re- cessions. In the private sector, if you fail to make your budget, you lose your job. More borrowing is simply not an option. We need to run our city government in the same way. Rather than borrowing and going further into debt as an easy option to pay the bills, we need to look at where our money is going, where cuts can be made and where we want to prioritize our spending. 
Our current leadership has been inconsistent on budget issues, at one time voting for a proper- ty tax increase, later against and then claimed more time was needed to understand the issues.
Here is where I believe we can begin to find answers:
  • Ensure that our money is being spent efficiently and wisely, with input from the community about priorities.
  • We need to understand the expenses and determine if the increased revenue from our growth can fill the gap against the needs of our operating budget.  To date, we have seen very little of the revenue from our growth come back to neighborhoods or to wages for police and teachers.
  • We should look at changing the process for capital budgeting from yearly to 3 to 4 year timelines.  This would allow the city to make purchases in bulk at substantial savings.
  • Growth is only good when it adds value to our quality of life. We have seen almost no in- vestment in our district in infrastructure or capital improvements. While adjoining districts see new libraries, ice rinks, fire stations, playgrounds, sidewalks and schools, District 23 has been largely overlooked. A good council person will fight for funds to come back to our District.
I have the financial experience to work on the council and help steer our city back in the right direction. This is a pivotal time in the history of Nashville, and we need members on our coun- cil who understand finance and can collaborate to make sure that our growth benefits all of our citizens.
Margie and I have three children who are starting their careers and who want to live in Nash- ville. We want Nashville to provide them with a future of potential rather than debt. Let’s get to work!

Thom Druffel is a candidate for Metro Council in District 23. For more information follow this link. 

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SouthEast Nashville United 2019 Mayoral Forum Tuesday, August 27

Please join SouthEast Nashville United on Tuesday, August 27th for our 2019 Mayoral Forum.

Candidates David Briley and John Cooper will be in attendance to answer questions proposed by the Community.

News Channel 5's Political Analyst Pat Nolan will be our Moderator.

We have also invited Council-At-Large Candidates to be in attendance.

The Doors will be open at 6:00 P.M., and the Forum will begin at 7:00 P.M, and the Forum will run till approximately 9:00 P.M. We have also invited Council-At-Large Candidates to be in attendance, so arrive early if you want to mingle.

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

My endorsements for the September 12, 2019 Metro general runoff election

For Mayor
John Cooper
For at-large
Steve Glover
Mayor:  John Cooper

Council member at-large: Steve Glover (I am voting for only one candidate. Here is why.)

Council District 2: Decosta Hastings

Council District 7:  No recommendation at this time.

Council District 13: No recommendation at this time.

For District 16
Tony Tenpenny

Council District 16: Tony Tenpenny

Council District 21:  No recommendation at this time.
For District 23
Thom Druffel
For District 26
Courtney Johnson

Council District 23: Thom Druffel

Council District 26: Courtney Johnson

Council District 30: Sandra Sepulveda

 I may be making other recommendations. Check back.

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Vote. Vote Smart. Single-shot vote. Steve Glover wins!

When voters go to the polls to vote in the September 12th runoff election, they will be electing four Council members at-large out of a field of eight candidates.  One may, but does not have to vote for four people to fill the four seats.

I will be voting for Steve Glover for at-large and only Glover.  Why? I want to see Glover elected. While I have some preferences for who I would like to win the other three seats, I will not be voting for them.  To vote for four candidates would weaken the strength of the vote I am casting for Glover.
Glover is by far the most conservative of the eight candidates running. I want at least one of the at-large seats to be held by a conservative. Glover is knowledgeable, smart, works hard, sensible, pragmatic, fiscally responsible and a conservative.

If people who are going to vote for Glover, would vote only for Glover, he will be assured of winning an at-large seat.  Voting for only one when you may vote for more than one is sometime referred to as "single-shot" voting.

Let me illustrate how this works.  For sake of simplicity, let us assume there are only 25 voters. If all twenty-five voters cast four votes that would be a total of 100 voters cast. [25x4= 100]. The four candidates winning the most votes, are elected. Assume this is the result of all 25 voters casting four votes:

Candidate one -   17
Candidate two -   16
Candidate three - 15
Candidate four -   14
Candidate five  (Steve Glover) - 13
Candidate six  -    10
Candidate seven -  8
Candidate eight  -  7  
Total votes Cast    100

Under this scenario, Glover loses. He comes in fifth.  Now let us assume that the thirteen people who voted for Steve Glover, only vote for Steve Glover. If that is the case then 13 people will cast only one vote and twelve will cast four votes, so a total of 61 votes would be cast. [(13x1= 13) + (12x4= 48) = 61 votes cast.] That is 39 fewer total votes cast. We could take them from whom ever we like. Let us assume the votes are cast like this:

Candidate one-   11
Candidate two-  10
Candidate three-  9
Candidate four-   8
Candidate five (Steve Glover)- 13
Candidate six-     5
Candidate seven- 3
Candidate eight-  2
Total Votes Cast  61

Steve Glover wins big! He is the top vote getter.

There are several ways we can play with this.  Let us assume that of the 13 votes Steve Glover gets, that only about five of his voters are informed conservative voters and the others are casual, low-information voters. They are voting based on names they recognize or who they think is a nice guy or they just do not understand the power of single-shot voting.  So let us assume that only five of Steve's 13 voters are going to single-shot vote and that twenty people will vote for four candidates. That would give a vote total of 85 votes cast, [(5x1= 5 + (20x4= 80) = 85]. The vote totals may look like this:

Candidate one-  15
Candidate two-  14
Candidate three-13
Candidate four-  12
Candidate five (Steve Glover)- 13
Candidate six-     8
Candidate seven- 6
Candidate eight-  4
Total Votes Cast- 85

Steve Gover wins Council at-large seat! Just barely, but he wins.

Be aware that when you go to vote, if you only vote for one candidate for at-large, the voting machine will tell you, you failed to make a selection in all races. You do not have to vote for any. You do not have to vote for four. You may vote for only one. Don't be intimidated by a voting machine.

If enough people who are going to vote for Steve Glover, would vote only for Steve Glover, he can be assured a victory.

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How to Impact Nashville’s Future: It starts with a Vote

From Carol Swain:

Dear Friends and Supporters:

There’s a change in the air. School has started, fall is near, and early voting in the mayoral runoff starts on August 23rd and ends on September 6th with the runoff on September 12th. The runoff will decide the next mayor and the makeup of city council.  

Your fellow citizens need you to vote in the runoff election. A lot is at stake for our city and nation.   

Steve Glover, the only experienced conservative running for a seat on city council, needs your vote. Steve is running for one of the five open at-large seats. His best shot at winning depends on you going to the polls and voting for only one at-large candidate. Courtney Johnston (District 26) is also a runoff against Jeremy Elrod. Both candidates could use your votes and any financial assistance you can provide. 
We can change Nashville. Currently, I am meeting with concerned citizens to explore the formation of an advocacy group to monitor the inner workings of Metro government.  The organization we envision would hold the mayor and the city council accountable to work on behalf of the public welfare. As conceived, it would be a 501 c (3) nonprofit that would use research, investigations, forensic audits, public outreach, interviews and litigation to ensure the following:
A) financial transparency
B) accountability 
C) integrity 
D) protection and advocacy for first responders (police, firefighters, and dispatchers)
E) Improvements in public education and protection of parental choice
The organization can also serve as a voice and protection for business owners who live outside of Davidson County. We will need experienced council members like Glover to help keep us informed.
I deeply appreciate your support of me, and the work God has called me to do. We must stand up, and Be the People who will work to change Nashville into the kind of city we can all be proud of.
Yours Truly,

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