Friday, November 01, 2019

At Fairgrounds “Mistakes Were Made” and City Hall Made Them

by Peter White, Tennessee Tribune, Nov. 1, 2019- It’s only a matter of time before the MLS soccer stadium contracts will be voided and put out to bid again. Whether Metro or Nashville SC will suggest another site for soccer instead of the Fairgrounds is unclear.

In court documents, Metro lawyers admitted for the first time last week that the evaluation committees for the stadium contracts were stacked with people who had a vested interest in the outcome. That is a violation of state law and the city’s Procurement rules.

“Metro, to my surprise, actually responded and admitted the only person serving on each of the three evaluation committees who was a Metro employee was Laura Womack,” said Jim Roberts, attorney for Save Our Fairgrounds, a plaintiff in a second lawsuit filed against the city in September.
....also violates a state law, TCA 5-14-108, which prohibits a purchasing agent from delegating duties to a “private actor”....Mayor Megan Barry and her Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling were pulling the strings....Mayor Megan Barry and her Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling were pulling the strings

Rod's Comment: This is a good summary of the Soccer deal and the effort to destroy the Fairground. Read the full article at this link.

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As Bill Hagerty touts support from Trump in Tennessee Senate bid, GOP primary rival Manny Sethi says he can win

October 31st, 2019 | by Andy Sher, Chattanooga Times Free Press, NASHVILLE — When the Conservative Political Action Conference rolled into Memphis this week, Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate hopeful and former ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty nailed a prime speaking spot before about 200 GOP activists as he defended his former boss, President Donald Trump.

Accusing congressional Democrats of trying to "repeal the result of the 2016 election by taking this president down" through impeachment, Hagerty, a former investment firm manager and one-time Tennessee economic development commissioner, said efforts to combat "liberal socialists here in America are what called me back."

"We absolutely need to do better and we need strong leadership for that," added Hagerty, who has been endorsed by Trump, during his nearly 21-minute limelight appearance with American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp. (read more)

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Washington Post: Emails cast doubt on claim of immigration visit to school

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Text of the Transgender Day of remembrance resolution on the Nov. 5, 2019 Metro Council agenda and how to vote or not.

Resolution RS2019-87
A Resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of transgender people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in remembrance of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries; and

WHEREAS, the annual event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community; and

WHEREAS, many communities organize events and activities to create and promote visibility of anti-transgender violence to stakeholders such as police, the media, and elected officials; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that transgender members of our society are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence, and experience myriad challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, disproportionately high levels of unemployment, and limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, according to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the United States due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were black transgender women; and

WHEREAS, fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, who comprise 80% of all anti-transgender homicides; and

WHEREAS, at least 21 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019; and

WHEREAS, only four out of ten Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender, and at least 74% of the known victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017-2018 were misgendered in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths; and

WHEREAS, despite the challenges faced by the transgender community, by observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we recognize, admire, and celebrate the growing awareness and acceptance of transgender people in Nashville and across the nation. Local organizations committed to these efforts include the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Relations Commission; and

WHEREAS, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we honor and commemorate the strength, commitment, and remarkably immense efforts of those working to secure full and equal civil rights for all people, regardless of gender identity or expression.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Resources Commission.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Brett Withers, Zachary Young, Nancy VanReece, Russ Bradford, Emily Benedict, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Ginny Welsch, Dave Rosenberg, Jeff Syracuse, Bob Mendes, Sean Parker, Kyonzté Toombs
By Rod Williams - This resolution changes no policy nor spends any money. It simply puts the council on record as recognizing November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance. If a council member does not want to be on record as doing so, they have several options to avoid voting in favor of this. I will explain them.

The resolution will be on "consent" if it passed the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. It will be lumped with a lot of other resolutions and the group of resolutions will be presented as a group to be passed by a single vote.  The assumption is that everyone present votes for the resolution. If a council person does not want to stand out as voting against the resolution but does not want to be recorded as voting for it, they can leave the room while the vote is taken and make sure the clerk knows they were out of the room. The resolution will list those who voted in favor but names of those not present will not be listed.

Another option, a little more bold than leaving the room, is to ask for the resolution to be taken off of consent. Before the vote is taken, the vice mayor will ask if any resolution should be taken off of consent. One has to simply state they would like it taken off of consent, they do not have to say why.  After the resolutions on consent are voted upon, then all of the resolutions not on consent will be considered. Normally after a resolution caption is read and committee reports are rendered, unless someone ask to speak, the vice mayor calls for a vote. He will says something like, "All those in favor say 'aye;' those opposed 'no.' The ayes have it." That way, the resolution is reported as having passed on a voice vote and the way any one person voted is not known.

A bolder move is that when the vice mayor ask for all resolutions on consent, one get recognized and ask to be recorded as abstaining on this resolution, or bolder still to be recorded as voting "no." 

If not on 'consent' or taken off of consent, It may be that a sponsor or other member may want to force a recorded vote.  In that case instead of a voice vote, a member hollers out, "roll call."  If as many as five members want a roll call, the vice mayor will call for a machine roll call vote. With a machine roll call vote, a member may vote "yes," "no," or "abstain," or they may simply not push a button.  If they vote "yes," "no" or "abstain," the minuets will reflect that; if they simply set on their hands the minutes will not list their name as one who voted. It will be as if they were out of the room.

One could of course boldly vote "no" and explain why.

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Immigration policy task force begins work

Shortly after taking office, Mayor Cooper repealed an Executive Order that had been issue by former Mayor Briley that basically said Metro employees were prohibited from cooperating with immigration officials and had to report on contacts city employees had with immigration officials and called on the State to repeal a State law prohibiting sanctuary cities in Tennessee.

Mayor Cooper appointed a task force to look into setting rules for interactions between Metro employees and immigration officials. The task force is tasked with reviewing current Metro policies and comparing them to immigration-related protocols in other cities. The group will then make recommendation for a metro policy that promotes safety in the community while still adhering to state and federal laws. The group has just 60 days to complete its work and file a report. They had their meeting yesterday, Wednesday October 30th.

A look at the  list of appointees shows a list titled toward those inclined to favor a very tolerant policy toward illegal immigrants. These are the task force members:

  • Shanna Hughey,  ThinkTennessee President
  • Juliana Ospina Cano, Conexion Americas Executive Director 
  • Hank Clay, Metro Nashville Public Schools Chief of Staff
  • Ana Escobar, General Sessions Judge
  • Mike Hagar, Metro Nashville Police Department Deputy Chief
  • Daron Hall, Davidson County Sheriff
  • Mary Kathryn Harcombe, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Legal Director
  • Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, Former District Attorney General of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County
  • Sandra Sepulveda, Metro Councilwoman, District 30
  • Zulfat Suara, Metro Councilwoman At-Large
Source for this story is from WPLN, In Response To ICE Incidents And Confusion, Metro Begins Review Of Immigration Policies,

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The city must explain its intention to the Court as to the future MLS stadium. Court finds mixed messages confusing.

In a news story from WPLN today, MLS Stadium Lawsuit Exposes Gap Between Nashville Mayor And City Attorneys,  it is reported that Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle questions the intentions of Metro government in regards to the project to build a soccer stadium at the fairgrounds. She says there is a discrepancy between legal filings seeking to end the lawsuit and recent statements and actions by Mayor John Cooper. Examples are that the mayor had delayed the demolition of some fairground building to make way for the stadium and had appointed an internal working group to review the project.  Before ruling on a question before her, Lyle wants the city to clarify its intention.

Save Our Fairgrounds has filed a lawsuit that argues that the Metro Fair Board wrongly decided to allow a stadium at the fairgrounds.

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Mayor Cooper Announces Rapid Deployment Of $17.95m In Funding for Neighborhood Infrastructure Priorities

Press release - Mayor John Cooper today announced that $17.95M from the stalled SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge project, allocated by the Metro Council in the FY2014 Capital Spending Fund, will be immediately diverted towards neighborhood infrastructure projects throughout Nashville and Davidson County.

“The quality of our neighborhoods is measured, in large part, by the quality and safety of our roads and bridges,” said Mayor Cooper. “When $18 million for the SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge was allocated in 2013, that amount represented 100% of the funding for bridge repair and construction for the entire 2014 fiscal year. Currently, Public Works estimates that $131 million is needed to repair and replace our bridges and culverts. Now is the time for responsible spending to address our most critical infrastructure needs and focus on the safety and priorities that impact all of Nashville’s neighborhoods.”

Of the $18M allocation in the 2014 Capital Spending Plan, $17.95M remains unspent and will be diverted to the following projects accordingly:

  • $13.63 million of the $17.95 million will immediately go to shovel-ready bridge and culvert projects, ranked in order of urgency by Metro Public Works, in 24 different Council districts. 52 separate projects will receive funding;
  • $660,000 will go towards replacing the Shelby Bottoms Greenway Pedestrian Bridge, which has been closed due to structural damage;
  • $1,500,000 for traffic calming, which represents 100% of the traffic calming allocation in the 2018-19 Capital Spending Plan;
  • $750,000 for bikeways, which represents 50% of the bikeways allocation in the 2018-19 Capital Spending Plan;
  • $500,000 for new trash and recycling containers, an urgent need highlighted by Metro Public Works;
  • $410,000 for emergency roadway work, which will allow Metro Public Works to quickly address needs as they arise; and
  • $500,000 for street lighting maintenance, repair, and replacement
Community stakeholders impacted by the diversion of the pedestrian bridge funds have been notified, and both Metro Public Works and Metro Parks are aware that the funds will be made available for infrastructure projects to begin immediately.

“We need a long-term solution for connectivity in the Gulch and throughout our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Cooper. “Bikeways and walkways certainly help advance our connectivity goals, and there may be a time when we revisit the concept of a Gulch pedestrian bridge. But this reallocation of funds allows us to get to work on shovel-ready projects throughout our neighborhoods with residents’ safety and critical infrastructure priorities in mind.”

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Mayor John Cooper kills Gulch-SoBro pedestrian bridge

by Rod Williams -The pedestrian bridge to connect the Gulch to SoBro has been killed by Mayor Cooper. The $18 million project first proposed by Mayor Karl Dean has been in the planning since 2013.  Mayor Cooper said the money will be redirected to fund a variety of needed neighborhood projects.

The funding for the bridge was supposed to come from General Obligation Bonds, the debt paid off with Tax Increment Financing.  That was supposed to placate some people by making the argument that this meant it wasn't taking money from other projects to fund.  However, that was a shell game. It was like paying for it with money our of your right pocket rather than your left pocket. By financing with TIF what that amounted to was delaying money that would flow to the General Fund until after the Bridge was paid off.

I liked the concept of the bridge. I don't think that everything that makes the city more livable and attractive is a waste of money.  The bridge would have been a nice addition.  However, sometimes you just can't afford everything that would be nice to have.  The Gulch-Sobro bridge was like taking a trip to Disney World when the kid needs braces.

The money to be redirected will go to badly needed projects, such as $2.5 million will go toward replacing the deteriorating Charlotte Pike-Rosa Parks Boulevard bridge deck. Currently a temporary wood deck has been placed between the bridge beams to catch  falling concrete.

I am pleased with this action by Mayor Cooper.

For more see:
The Tennessean, Mayor John Cooper nixes Gulch-SoBro pedestrian bridge.
A Disgruntled Republican, Sept 11, 2014, Mayor Dean Proposes New Funding Strategy for Gulch - SoBro Pedestrian Bridge

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Davidson County will no longer house ICE detainees

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced Tuesday that as of December 1, the county will no longer honor a contract to house  Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees.

This move comes after a meeting with local advocacy groups, Mayor John Cooper, Metro Council members, and internal stakeholders.

“The continued confusion and hyper-political (continue reading)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — ... Hall said any future interaction with ICE will be limited to what is required by law.

Mayor Cooper said the sheriff's office made the right decision to cancel its inmate housing contract with ICE. .....  The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition applauded Hall's decision to end the contract. ...... Bob Mendes, Metro Councilmember At-Large. "While this is only a first step, today, we can celebrate our city’s commitment to focus first and foremost on the work of local government and making Nashville a safer place for all our neighbors." .... Metro Nashville government began receiving revenue to house various federal detainees, including ICE, in 1996. (read more)
To read The Tennessean report, follow this link.

Rod's Comment: Disappointing

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Marsha Blackburn: 'Mainstream media' does not report on issues affecting American 'heartland'

Marsha Blackburn: 'Mainstream media' does not report on issues affecting American 'heartland'

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New sheriff's headquarters $17M over budget,

by Rod Williams - This is not $17M more than the estimate, but $17M more than was appropriated. Why would a project began that did not have the needed amount appropriated?

Given all of the other financial stresses facing the city, now the city must come up with $17M to finish a started project.  Money can be borrowed for construction projects so this does not have to come out of current operating revenues.  However, the city already has excessive debt and needs to be reducing debt, not borrowing more. The project must be completed. The city cannot just stop a project that is under construction.  The project was approved with only partial funding in place under Mayor Megan Barry.  Read more about it at this link.

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Demolition delays for new MLS Stadium at Fairgrounds

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - News4 is learning more about what’s behind the delays for construction of the new professional soccer stadium and learning more about Mayor John Cooper’s plan to get some answers about what it will cost the taxpayers.

Construction on the new stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville was supposed to have started in June, but now there is no exact timetable. ...... one of the hold-ups is the lawsuit by the group Save Our Fairgrounds. The bonding companies won’t issue the revenue bonds to pay for the project. (read more)

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Mayor Cooper Announces Support of Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction To 25 MPH

Metro Press release, 10/29/2019 - Mayor John Cooper today announced his commitment to improving neighborhood quality of life by instructing Metro Public Works to begin the rollout of lowering speed limits on neighborhood streets.

The Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction initiative will impact neighborhood streets currently signed at 30 Miles Per Hour, reducing the posted speed limit to 25 Miles Per Hour. Metro Public Works, which released a Speed Reduction Feasibility Study earlier this year at Metro Council’s request, will work to implement the change over a one-year period, upon completion of a comprehensive signage inventory.

Street sign updates and community education on the speed limit change were previously funded in the 2018-2019 Capital Spending Plan with a $500,000 allocation, in addition to $1M for related engineering improvements from the Neighborhood Traffic Calming program.

Lower speed limits on Nashville’s local streets will improve safety and promote active living. Transportation research has shown that lowering speed limits to reflect an all-users approach to neighborhood streets results in decreased crash rates – in particular, dramatic improvement in crash-survival rates for vulnerable users, such as pedestrians and cyclists – as vehicular speeds decrease.

“With Nashville’s growth, more drivers have been prone to using our neighborhood streets as cut-through routes to avoid traffic on major corridors, impacting quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Slowing vehicular traffic in residential neighborhoods is a commonsense next step for public safety and health, and it’s important to many Nashvillians I’ve spoken with in recent years. I know Metro departments, the Metro Council, and our many community partners will help to make this effort a success.”
Mayor Cooper will ask Traffic and Parking Commissioners to consider the speed limit change at their November 18 meeting. He will then ask Metro Council to ensure the code reflects the change in speed on local neighborhood streets.

To help guide community engagement and public outreach around the rollout, the Mayor’s Office and Metro Public Works have assembled a team of stakeholders, Safe Speed Limit Outreach (SSLO), that will have its first meeting on Wednesday, November 6. Members include:

  • Burkley Allen, Metropolitan Council Member At-Large
  • Sgt. Michelle Coker, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department
  • Saralee Woods, Commissioner, Traffic and Parking Commission
  • Lindsey Ganson, Director of Advocacy and Communications, Walk Bike Nashville
  • John Gore, Chair, Metro Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
  • Ruby Baker, President, Bordeaux Hills Residential Association
  • Kara (KB) Holzer, Director of Marketing and Development, Conexión Américas
  • Kathy Buggs, Director, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods
“Speeding through neighborhoods is consistently one of the top issues precinct commanders are asked to address,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “Speeding motorists put families at risk and interfere with the quality of life on residential streets and in subdivisions. This focused initiative to lower speed limits in many of Nashville’s residential areas will make our city safer, and we look forward to working with neighborhood groups and other Metro departments to help bring about this new change.”

Multiple Metro transportation plans have recommended strategies to create better neighborhoods for walking through safer speed policy, safety education programs, traffic-law enforcement, and additional traffic-calming measures. The speed limit change builds upon recent improvements to Metro’s Traffic Calming Program in order to make streets safe for everyone, including but not limited to motorists. Metro Public Works will design future engineering improvements under the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program to 25 MPH, and Safe Speed Limit Outreach will spearhead a grassroots education strategy over the coming months. A full change-out for Metro’s street signs will take approximately one year to complete.

More information can be found in the Metro Public Works Speed Reduction Feasibility Study.

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

How the Council voted on a matter that undermined the Legal department and will politicize lawsuits against the city.

by Rod Williams - On October 15, the Council considered and passed a resolution "urging" the Metropolitan Department of Law to compromise and settle the claim of Shaundelle Brooks, as next of kin of Akilah DaSilva, against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and requesting that the Metro Legal Department resolve this action expediently."

This was an important vote and sits a bad precedent. Normally when a person sues the city, the legal department negotiates with the other party and if legal determines it is best to settle, they bring a resolution to the Council asking the Council to approve the settlement. That is not what this is. This bill "urged" legal to settle the lawsuit. In this case, the legal department has not yet reached a settlement with the plaintiffs. They are still in the discovery stages. That is a big difference. The resolution contains language that could be construed as an admission of guilt on the part of Metro government. The language of the resolution could help the family in a separate lawsuit they have against Vanderbilt Medical Center.

From time to time the Council does pass memorializing resolutions expressing their opinion on a matter.  When the Council is "urging" the Congress or an agency of the federal government to do something, it is somewhat meaningless.  Also, it is somewhat meaningless when the Metro Council opines on a state issue. When the Council opines on a local issue or urges a agency of the Metro government to do something, that is more like a directive to do so, since the Council has the power do something about it if the agency does not honor the Council's wishes.

Akilah DaSilva was shot in the shoulder during the Antioch Waffle House shooting of April 2018. 911 dispatchers sent emergency responders to the Waffle House in Hermitage, nearly 10 miles away. The family claims the delay caused a massive blood loss that resulted in DaSilva’s death. However, that fact is in dispute because there were at least two other ambulances dispatched to the correct address so this mistake apparently did not cause the death of DaSilva. 

 When this was before the Council, Councilman Russ Pulley did an admirable job explaining why passing this was inadvisable. Also, Glover and Hager drove home the point that passing this resolution could harm the interest of the city. Council member Vercher spoke at length in favor of the resolution. The minority caucus supported it. To view the Council discussion see timestamp 1:30:33- 2:29:45 in the video at this link.

With this resolution passing, it is likely that everyone with a lawsuit against the city will lobby the Council for a favorable settlement and lawsuits will become political matters rather than legal matters. A responsible vote was a "no" vote on this matter.

Here is how members voted:

Yes (25): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Hall, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Evans, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Taylor, Hausser, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, and Rosenberg;  

No (13): Glover, Hancock, Young, Hagar, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Roberts, Druffel, Murphy, Pulley, Johnston, and Nash;  

Abstain (1): Henderson.

Below is the text of the resolution:

Resolution RS2019-30

A resolution urging the Metropolitan Department of Law to compromise and settle the claim of Shaundelle Brooks, as next of kin of Akilah DaSilva, against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County; requesting that the Metro Legal Department resolve this action expediently; and requesting that the Emergency Communications Center adopt a policy for 911 call takers regarding GPS coordinates.

WHEREAS, on April 22, 2018, Akilah DaSilva was shot in the shoulder at the Antioch Waffle House located at 3571 Murfreesboro Pike; and

WHEREAS, 911 call takers incorrectly dispatched the emergency response to the Hermitage Waffle House at 816 Murfreesboro Pike instead, which was located approximately ten miles away and in a different police precinct, thereby delaying the emergency response; and

WHEREAS, GPS coordinates for multiple callers were available to dispatchers, but they failed to use available equipment to verify caller locations before dispatching the emergency response; and

WHEREAS, Akilah DaSilva died from blood loss after arriving at Vanderbilt University Medical Center shortly thereafter; and

WHEREAS, the compromise and settlement of this action is in the best interests of the Metropolitan Government, and any and all claims or causes of action brought, or that could have been brought, by Shaundelle Brooks, as next of kin of Akilah DaSilva, against the Metropolitan Government related to the events detailed above, should be compromised and settled expediently.


Section 1: The Metropolitan Department of Law is hereby urged to compromise and settle the claim of Shaundelle Brooks, as next of kin of Akilah DaSilva, against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, and to resolve this matter expediently.

Section 2: The Metropolitan Council further goes on record as requesting that the Emergency Communications Center adopt a policy that prevents 911 call takers from disregarding available GPS coordinates when responding to emergency calls.

Section 3: This resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Tanaka Vercher

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How did Council members vote in honoring gay "Coming Out Day?"

by Rod Williams - On October the 15th the Metro Council passed the resolution below recognizing October 2019 as LGBT History Month in Nashville and Davidson County and October 11, 2019 as National Coming Out Day. The resolution was not discussed.

Here is how the Council voted:  "Having been unanimously approved by all of the appropriate Committees, Council Member Rosenberg moved to adopt the Consent Agenda Resolutions, which motion was seconded and approved by the following vote: Yes (36): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Hall, Toombs, Gamble, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Larry Hagar, Evans, Bradford, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser,Thom Druffel, Murphy, Pulley, Courtney Johnston, Robert Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, Angie Henderson and Rosenberg; No (0); Abstain (0)."

You will note that no one voted "no" or "abstain" when voting on this measure and this was not a machine roll call vote. However only 36 members voted in favor. So who did not vote for it?  Of the 40 member Council, none were absent. So, four people did not vote. To not have themselves not recording as in favor, they may have been out of the room on a bathroom break or they may have been present for part of the meeting but not for this vote. Looking at who is not listed as voting "yes" and comparing it to the list of Council members, these are the ones who failed to vote:

  • Steve Glover, Councilman at-large
  • Robert Swope, District 4
  • Sean Parker, District 5
  • Keven Rhoten, District 14
I commend these four council members. I have highlighted in the above list some council member who disappointed me by their vote in favor of this resolution.  Below is the text of the resolution.

 Resolution RS2019-49
A resolution recognizing October 2019 as LGBT History Month in Nashville and Davidson County and October 11, 2019 as National Coming Out Day.

WHEREAS, the month of October is recognized as LGBT History Month in the United States; a month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, as well as the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements; and

WHEREAS, the Council also recognizes October 11, 2019 as National Coming Out Day. October 11 was selected as National Coming Out Day to mark the Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987; and

WHEREAS, Nashville has a special connection to national LGBT history through Penny Campbell. Penny Campbell was an LGBT activist who co-organized the Tennessee delegation to the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987 and Nashville's Pride Parade in 1988. Later, she made history as lead plaintiff in Campbell vs. Sundquist (1996), which overturned a Tennessee state law criminalizing private, consensual sexual acts between same-sex adults; and

WHEREAS, in 2017, the Metro Nashville Historical Commission placed a historical marker at Penny Campbell’s former home at 1615 McEwen Avenue in the Lockeland Springs neighborhood, and concurrently made history by being the first publicly sanctioned historical marker in the state of Tennessee to commemorate the LGBTQ rights movement; and

WHEREAS, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has worked tirelessly to originate the movement to designate October as LGBT History Month. GLSEN was founded in 1990 by a group of dedicated teachers who recognized that improvements could be made in the education system to help LGBTQ students who are often subject to bullying and discrimination. To help these students, GLSEN takes steps to advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to help all students better understand our world and our differences; and

WHEREAS, the first LGBT History Month was organized by GLSEN in October 1994 and this month will mark the 25th LGBT History Month. It is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council recognize October 2019 as LGBT History Month and October 11 as National Coming Out Day.

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby recognizes October 2019 as LGBT History Month in Nashville and Davidson County, and furthermore recognizes October 11, 2019 as National Coming Out Day.

Section 2. The Council Office is directed to prepare a signed copy of this Resolution to be delivered to the local chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s):  Brett Withers, Nancy VanReece, Emily Benedict, Zachary Young, Russ Bradford, Sharon Hurt, Freddie O'Connell, Joy Styles, Angie Henderson, Burkley Allen.

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Why is Metro School student enrollment dropping while population is rapidly growing?

Rod Williams - There are some things I am curious about that I am surprised politicians or the media are not curious about. Being an amateur blogger I would like to find the answers and report on them if I had the resources, which unfortunately I don't. One of those things that I would like to know is this: Why is Metro School student enrollment dropping while population is rapidly growing?

We all know about Nashville's rapid growth. When you look at the 14-county Metropolitan Statistical Area, it has grown anywhere from 71 to 100 people a day for about the last five or six years. A lot of that growth has been to surrounding counties, especially Wilson and Williamson. Davidson County itself  however, has gotten its share. When the city population grows, one would expect to see a growth in public school enrollment. We are seeing a decline. Why?

One reason could be that the population growth has occurred while the actual number of school age children have declined. It could be that the of the 100 people a day moving to the greater Nashville area, those with children are locating to Wilson and Williamson and other counties and Nashville is getting the bulk of the single people and young people without children.  It may be that as school age kids grow up and graduate, or leave the pipeline, they are not being replaced by young children entering the pipeline. If that is the case, why are families not choosing Nashville? I would speculate that if you  are parents with children moving to Nashville, then one of your concerns would be the qualify of education. A comparison of school quality would be a reason to look elsewhere rather than Davidson County.

Another explanation may be that more and more parents in Davidson County are choosing private schools for their children. The average private school tuition in Nashville is $10,455 for elementary schools and $16,023 for high schools. That is a lot of money.  However, many of the people moving to Nashville are earning salaries much higher than the area median income and can afford it. I am not aware, however, of any massive growth in the enrollment of private schools. Maybe some of both of these explanations above are happening.

I love Nashville and despite the worsening traffic and the growth in the number of deplorable progressives, I am living where I want to live. We have a lot going for us. Good quality education is not one of them however.  It is possible, nevertheless, to get a great education in Nashville. Parents have to apply to get their kids in a  good schools but since the parent has to provide the transportation, the parents who care more and have the advantages of a flexible schedule can often get their child into a good school.  If your child goes to Grandbery and then Hume Fogg, they will get an excellent education. If the parent just lets their child go to the zoned school, the chances are they will not.

Unfortunately, there are not enough Grandberys and Hume Foggs. In my view we should allow charter schools that serve people other than just those living in poverty and we should be developing more quality magnet schools. Unfortunately, it appears to me that Nashville is so concerned with "equity" that they sacrifice good education to the cause. If more schools are allowed to be great schools that creates a bigger gap between the great schools and the bad schools. The school system does not seem that interested in attracting parents who want a great education for their child.  Advance placement programs and programs like International Baccalaureate would attract more students whose parents want them to have a good education, but that does not seem to be a priority for Nashville.

Below is a partial list showing Davidson County population growth and student enrollment decline. I would like to know why?  If anyone knows of a study that has examined this issue or if one has particular insight, please share it.

2019 Population 698 494; student enrollment 85,163
2018 Population 692,587; students enrolled  85,287
2017 Population 665,396; students enrolled  85, 399
2016 Population 663,339, students enrolled 86,633
2015 Population 656,572, students enrolled 85, 797
2014 Population 645,820, students enrolled 84,353
2013 Population 636,267

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Mayor Cooper on signing an executive order on climate change: "That's just wasting a piece of paper."

by Rod Williams - Ever since he won the election a group of young climate change activist, the Nashville "hub" of the Sunrise Movement, have been pressuring Mayor John Cooper to sign an executive order declaring climate change an emergency. The group held a six-hour sit-in during the first days of Cooper's administration to persuade him to do so. Recently the mayor held a "listening session" at a coffee shop on Nolensville Pike to speak on issues important to residents.  Sunrise was there pushing their proposal for an executive order.

Cooper told the group that he agreed that climate change was an emergency but said, it is not anything he can do anything about. He has invited the group to meet with his top advisor to discuss their concerns but they have turned down the invitation. Cooper has said the subject area could not be
"more important," but has not called it a "crisis."

According to The Tennessean, Cooper said, "Youth violence is also a bit of a crisis. You want to be careful about which crisis is the most important crisis. I try to be careful not to overuse 'crisis...'
Calling something a crisis should be used where 'you can get the most done.'" "Everything they're talking about is, of course, quite worthy," he said. "But we're trying to get what we need to get accomplished for the city first."

I am pleased with Mayor Cooper's stance. To those who believe climate change is nothing but a hoax or believe that it is real but human activity has nothing to do with it, they will not be pleased.  They will oppose his recognition that it is a issue and will object to his calling it "an emergency." I am not one who thinks it is a hoax. I accept that humans can impact the environment.  I would have preferred, however, that he would have said it is an issue of concern and not have used the term "emergency," but I am not going to nitpick. 

I accept the reality of climate change but believe the solution lies with more capitalism, innovation,  technology and economic growth.  Most climate change activist seem to oppose steps that have actually reduced greenhouse emission such as fracking that has led to natural gas replacing a lot of coal. They oppose things like nuclear power and seem to favor policy that would turn the clock back to a era of pre industralization. I see them as more devoted to socialist policies rather than solving the issue they seem so passionate about. 

Cooper could have given the radicals what they wanted. It wouldn't have cost him anything to do so and he could have gotten them off his back. It showed fortitude to resist. I am sure John Ray Clemmons would have enthusiastically embraced the cause and, maybe not with as much enthusiasm, but have do doubt Briley would have given them their executive order also. I am pleased to see Cooper stay focused on the issues he ran on and not buckle to the newly energized extreme progressives.

Some would argue that issuing an executive order of this nature would do no harm. I disagree. To do so would contribute to the pressure that is building to adopt extreme measures such as those advocated in The Green New Deal.  There is a concerted effort to get city after city to adopt policies favoring radical climate change policies. When city after city does so, it tells Congress that the agenda of the radicals has the support of the country.  Since the first of the year New York City, Austin Texas, Kalamazoo MI, Bolder Co,  Miami Beach Fl, and hundreds of cities world-wide have joined in declaring a climate change emergency.

The young climate activist are now turning their attention to the Metro Council.  Even the conservatives on the Council often let liberal memorializing resolutions slip through. The thought is that since they spend no money and adopt no policies they are meaningless and it is better to let them slip on through than try to stop them. Also, some feel it is not wise to waste political capital on measures that don't really do anything and it is wise to pick your battles.  My view is that this is important and the Council should not go on record supporting a declaration that the Council recognizes a climate change emergency. I hope the conservatives and sensible liberals on the Council have as much fortitude as Mayor Cooper.

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