Friday, December 13, 2019

Metro school board passes anti-voucher resolution

The Tennessean - Nashville school board members passed a resolution Tuesday evening to oppose any effort to create a voucher program in the state, saying that doing so would divert money away from public education and into private schools. Vouchers are publicly funded scholarships for students to attend private school. Proponents say vouchers provide an extra layer of choice for students while opponents say they divert much needed funds away from public schools. (read more)

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The importance of a pro-life court ruling out of Kentucky

I was heartened by a pro-life victory out of Kentucky recently. The state passed a law requiring that prior to performing an abortion, the clinic would have to perform an ultrasound and show the ultrasound images to the mother and the doctor would have to explain what the image was showing. Pro-abortion forces challenged the law in court, the circuit court upheld the law and the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of that lower court decision. I am reposting below an article by David Fowler of Family Action Council of Tennessee who explains the implication of this development. David Flower is an attorney and served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. FACT is one of those organizations I support with my end-of-year giving. To contribute to FACT or learn more about the organization follow this link. Rod Williams 

How the 6th Circuit’s Pro-Life Decision Helps Tennessee Challenge Roe v. Wade

by David Fowler, Dec. 13, 2019 - When the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upholding an abortion-related law in Kentucky, it did not indicate a willingness by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. But the circuit’s opinion, which stands as good law relative to Tennessee, should cause three Tennessee state senators to think hard before voting against the new, soon-to-be filed Rule of Law Life Act.

Why the 6th Circuit Decision Matters to Tennessee 
It is rarely wise to predict what the U.S. Supreme Court is thinking when it refuses to hear an appeal from a circuit court. However, it is appropriate to consider what a circuit court said in upholding or enjoining enforcement of a law and how it reasoned to its judgment, particularly if your state is within that circuit court’s jurisdiction. That’s because any similar law or law on the same topic would have to be ruled on by the circuit court before any appeal could be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since Tennessee is in the 6th Circuit, it is appropriate for the senators on the state Senate Judiciary Committee that seem skeptical of any law that challenges Roe v. Wade to examine what the 6th Circuit said in relation to abortion. If that court should uphold the Rule of Law Life Act, I would bet the farm on the U.S. Supreme Court hearing an appeal. The Kentucky Law Was Challenged Under the First Amendment According to the circuit court, the Kentucky law in question, HB 2, “direct[ed] a doctor, prior to performing an abortion, to perform an ultrasound; display the ultrasound images for the patient; and explain, in the doctor’s own words, what is being depicted by the images—for example, pointing out organs and whether the patient is pregnant with twins.”

While the circuit court upheld the law, it was not challenged as an unconstitutional regulation of abortion, as putting an “undue burden” on a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy under the 14th Amendment. Rather, the abortionists challenged the law as constituting government-compelled speech, a law telling the abortionist what he or she must tell the expectant mother.

Why the 6th Circuit Ruling Is Still Relevant to Tennessee 
But the fact that the law was challenged under the First Amendment rather than under the 14th Amendment does not make the circuit court’s decision irrelevant for two reasons.

First, when it comes to how the 6th Circuit might rule on the Rule of Law Life Act, there are two questions legislators need to ask: What does the Constitution itself say about abortion, and how did the 6th Circuit’s judges understand abortion in deciding the free speech question?

The second reason the circuit court’s decision is relevant is in regard to how the court’s understanding of abortion and an informed consent type law relate to the free speech question. The court said it was constitutional to have the information at issue conveyed to the woman because it was truthful. That is why the law didn’t violate the First Amendment.

Now let’s consider the two questions above and what the circuit court said was true about abortion.

Does the Constitution Really Provide Any ‘Right’ to Abortion?

The Constitution itself says nothing about abortion. But legislators allow abortion policy for the state to be set and governed by what the U.S. Supreme Court says the Constitution says about abortion, not what the Constitution itself actually says on the subject.

I won’t say more about this line of opposition by those lawyers opposed to the Rule of Law Life Act other than this. In Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 499 (2000), the majority chastised the dissenting opinion of Justice Breyer, a current pro-abortion justice, with these words: JUSTICE BREYER proceeds on the erroneous and all-too common assumption that the Constitution means what we think it ought to mean. It does not; it means what it says.

However, for those who don’t care to remind the Supreme Court of this proposition, I turn to what the 6th Circuit said about abortion, which I would urge legislators to consider.

The Sixth Circuit’s View of Abortion 

Abortion Involves an ‘Unborn Child’
Thirty times in the first 17 pages of its opinion, the circuit court used the terms “unborn child” or “unborn life.” This is important because the U.S. Supreme Court used that same terminology in Gonzales v. Carhart in upholding the constitutionality of the federal partial birth abortion statute.

In fact, that kind of language by a majority of her colleagues threw Justice Ginsburg into an apoplectic fit. In her dissent, she said, The Court’s hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion . . . [a] fetus is described as an “unborn child,” and as a “baby,”

So, the 6th Circuit seems to be tracking in a positive way with what the U.S. Supreme Court said in regard to an abortion law it upheld. That should encourage the 6th Circuit in its thinking.

Abortion Involves a ‘Human Being’ 
The 6th Circuit’s opinion quotes with approval this language from an 8th Circuit decision upholding a South Dakota informed consent provision telling the woman “[t]hat the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

The law defined a “human being” as “an individual living member of the species of Homo sapiens, including the unborn human being during the entire embryonic and fetal ages from fertilization to full gestation.” (emphasis supplied)

Again, the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales used this same kind of language. It, too, threw Justice Ginsburg into a hissy fit. She wrote: In cases on a “woman’s liberty to determine whether to [continue] her pregnancy,” this Court has identified viability as a critical consideration. . . . Today, the Court blurs that line, maintaining that “[t]he Act [legitimately] appl[ies] both previability and postviability because . . . a fetus is a living organism while within the womb, whether or not it is viable outside the womb.” (emphasis supplied)

So far, we see that Tennessee is in a circuit in which the court knows we are speaking of a human being, a child, only one that has just not been born, but one whose life is scientifically, not just theologically or metaphysically, a “whole . . . human being” who is also a “separate . . . human being” from that of the child’s mother.

The good news here is that what the 6th Circuit knows to be true is consistent with what the U.S. Supreme Court knows is true.

The ‘Unborn Child’ Is a ‘Person’ 
This point, to me, is really big. The 6th Circuit did not call the unborn child a “person,” but it did the next best thing.

Specifically, the 6th Circuit opinion quoted the following language from the aforesaid decision of the 8th Circuit, which held constitutional the following language in the South Dakota informed consent law because it was truthful:

[t]hat the pregnant woman has an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and the laws of South Dakota, [and] [t]hat by having an abortion, her existing relationship and her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated. (emphasis supplied)

Think a moment about what a relationship is, because the court held that It was constitutional to have an abortion provider tell a pregnant woman what I just quoted because it was truthful.

Here’s the point: Relationships entail living beings. You don’t have a relationship with a thing; you own or possess things.

And what kind of relationship is this about which the circuit courts are speaking?

Because both the mother and the unborn child are said, truthfully, to be human beings, it must be a personal relationship. Only a person can have a personal relationship and only with another person.

If an abortion terminates a personal relationship between the mother and the “unborn child,” how, then, can the unborn child not be a person under the U.S. Constitution?

What Does This All Mean?
If the mother and the unborn child have a personal relationship that is constitutionally protected from coercion by a third party, how is it that the unborn child’s life and right to a relationship with the mother and with others have no protection under that same Constitution?

The Rule of Law Life Act effectively says this to the 6th Circuit:
The U.S. Supreme Court has screwed up what a “person” is under the 14th Amendment, but you have said enough for all of us to know that you know you will be telling yourself a lie if you say that the unborn child is not a person.

So, let the Supreme Court keep its 14th Amendment jurisprudence, because we are relying on and asking you to consider the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth Amendment says that judges cannot “construe” the words in the 14th Amendment “to deny or disparage other rights” the people of Tennessee retained to themselves.

One of those is the right to life, and Tennessee is hereby securing that right, even for the unborn persons among us.

The Rule of Law Life Act is your chance to get things you know to be true straightened out and make the Supreme Court rethink its abortion jurisprudence. Take it! Uphold the law.

While that’s what I think needs to be said for the Rule of Law Life Act to get a full debate in the Tennessee Legislature next year, one of these three senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee—Mike Bell, Todd Gardenhire, or John Stevens—needs to be willing to say that.

Right now, no one knows what they will say, but we are sure to find out next legislative session.

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Mayor’s Immigration Task Force Delivers Final Report, Recommendations for Future Policy Decisions

Metro Press release, 12-13-2019 - Today, the Mayor’s Office released the final report of the Mayor’s Immigration Task Force, which includes an analysis of current Metro department practices and procedures related to requests from federal immigration authorities and recommendations for policy decisions moving forward. The report was created with input from immigration advocacy organizations, local law enforcement officials, and members of Metro Council.
“The Immigration Task Force, especially Chairperson Shanna Hughey, have my sincere thanks for their hard work and dedication over these past several weeks,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I have said two things repeatedly about federal immigration enforcement in Nashville: Our city agencies cannot be expected to use its limited resources to do the work of the federal government, and it is my administration’s goal to help build a Nashville that works for everyone. This includes the valued members of our many immigrant communities. My administration will carefully review the task force’s report as we consider policy decisions related to federal immigration enforcement actions moving forward.”
The Mayor’s Immigration Task Force’s key findings are as follows: 
  • A limited number of Metro Departments/Offices have received requests from federal immigration authorities.
  • A limited number of Metro Departments/Offices have policies or practices governing their responses to requests from federal immigration authorities.
  • Metro Departments/Offices do not have policies related to reporting to the Mayor’s Office about communications with federal immigration authorities.
“This report is an important step to take as we address this critical issue for Nashville’s immigrant families,” said Fabian Bedne, the Mayor’s Office liaison to the Immigration Task Force. “Metro Government clearly has work to do in creating and implementing a uniform reporting and response policy around requests from federal immigration officials.”
On October 14, 2019, Mayor Cooper rescinded Mayor Briley’s Executive Order No. 11, due to a lack of sufficient clarity for either immigrant families or Metro Government employees as noted by many community stakeholders, including immigration advocacy groups. At the time, the State of Tennessee had also given the Mayor’s Office a deadline of October 18, 2019 to address issues created by Executive Order No. 11 or risk losing four grants totaling over $1.1 million.
The Mayor’s Immigration Task Force, chaired by Shanna Singh Hughey, President of ThinkTennessee, gathered in publicly noticed sessions four times beginning on October 30, 2019. The group’s final meeting took place on December 9, 2019.
A complete list of the Mayor’s Immigration Task Force follows:
  • Shanna Singh Hughey: President, ThinkTennessee (Chair)
  • Juliana Ospina Cano: Executive Director, Conexion Americas
  • Hank Clay: Chief of Staff, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Bob Cooper: Director, Metro Nashville Department of Law
  • Ana Escobar: Judge, Metro Nashville General Sessions Court
  • Mike Hagar: Deputy Chief, Metro Nashville Police Department
  • Daron Hall: Sheriff, Davidson County
  • Mary Kathryn Harcombe: Legal Director, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
  • Torry Johnson: Former Metro Nashville District Attorney General
  • Sandra Sepulveda: Metro Councilwoman, District 30
  • Zulfat Suara: Metro Councilwoman At-Large

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Nashville gets state approval for budget after officials outline financial fixes

The Tennessean-..... To fill the gap, the city will use:

  • $12.6 million from a PILOT with Music City Center; 
  • $10 million from a PILOT with Metro Water Services; 
  • $7.2 million from refinancing of Metro Development and Housing Agency payments; 
  • $3.6 million from debt reimbursement from the Convention & Visitors Corp;
  • and $500,000 from program reimbursement from the Davidson County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service. 
The remaining will be filled with an estimated $2.6 million in targeted savings and deferrals in spending from Metro departments and the $5 million cut to the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, which the administration announced last week.

"I have very good news to report," Crumbo said Wednesday, telling council members that state Comptroller Justin Wilson approved the plan he submitted earlier in the day. (Read More)

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Inside Politics: Metro's Budget Crisis

Last week on Inside Politics, Pat Nolan interviewed Council members Steve Glover and Bob Mendes on Metro's budget crisis. This interview gives a good overview of the money problems plaguing Nashville.

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What Mayor Cooper doesn't like about the Soccer deal

By Meg Garner, Nashville Business Journal -New details have emerged about what is stalling construction on Nashville's forthcoming Major League Soccer stadium, including how Mayor John Cooper might change the already approved deal. … will soon release its own proposal regarding the future of The Fairgrounds Nashville. "I was disappointed when I came into office how little the government knew about the obligations we made,". … The deal doesn't account for how to pay for cost overruns related to infrastructure at the fairgrounds and it doesn't consider the future of the Speedway. He said a successful plan going forward would address both things. (Follow this link to read more)

More on this topic from The Tennessean: With Nashville's MLS stadium progress stalled, Mayor Cooper and team owner meet to discuss hurdles.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

How the Council voted on A Resolution recognizing December 1, 2019 as World AIDS Day in Nashville.

At the December 3rd Council meeting the Council passed a resolution recognizing December 1, 2019 as World AIDS Day in Nashville. The month before we had recognized a Transsexual Day of Remembrance and of course in the summer we have the gay pride event and a resolution so honoring gays and it wasn't long ago the city erected historical markers honoring two of the earliest gay bars in Nashville. It seems to me are giving an awful lot of attention to gay issues in Nashville.

AIDS, of course, is a terrible disease and there is nothing wrong with recognizing a World Aids Day.  However, if we are going to do so, I think we should have an Alzheimer's Day of Remembrance, and a Heart Health Day of Remembrance, and a Cancer Day of Remembrance, and a Breast Cancer Day of Remembrance and Autism Day of Remembrance, and Death due to Drunk Drivers day of Remembrance, and Aborted Babies Day of Remembrance, and Americans killed by Illegal Aliens Day of Remembrance, etc, etc.. There are 365 days a year and there are plenty of illnesses and causes and events as worthy of a day of remembrance as is AIDS.  However, those other days were not on the agenda and AIDS Day was.  If the advocates of those other causes approach Council members to ask for a special day for their cause, the Council probably grant it.

The resolution passed on a roll call vote, with 34 in favor, no abstentions and no "no" votes. I am pleased that it did not pass "on consent." A resolution that no one has asked to be taken off of consent and that gets no negative votes in committee is lumped together with a bunch of other resolutions and they are all passed by a single vote and everyone present is assumed to have voted in favor. I do not know who gets the credit for getting this resolution bumped off of consent but someone had to ask for that to happen.

Here are the results of the roll call vote: Yes (34); Mendes, Allen, Steve Glover, Suara, Toombs, Gamble, Robert Swope, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Courtney Johnston, Robert Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, Henderson and Rosenberg.
No (0);
Abstain (0).

No one was absent for the full meeting, so six people did not vote. Not voting is different than voting "abstain."  One has to push the "abstain" button to be recorded as abstaining.  If someone left the room or arrived late or left early or simply sat on their hands they are not listed as having voted. I do not, of course, know why those who did not vote for this resolution did not do so.

I don't find fault with those who voted for this resolution. After all it seems cold hearted not to sympathize with those who suffer from this terrible illness. Also a memorializing resolution actually does nothing except express the opinion of those who voted for it.  If I were serving in the Council I would not have voted "no," but would most likely have simply not voted.  Not, that I do not think AIDS is a terrible illness and hope for a cure,  but following last months Transgender Day of Remembrance, it appears there is a concerted effort to promote a gay agenda.

The people who did not vote for this resolution are Sharon Hurt, Johnathan Hall, Zack Young, Larry Hager. Kathleen Murphy, and Russ Pulley. 

Hurt and Young were sponsors of the resolution so maybe they really did have to go the bathroom; maybe all six did.

This is the text of the resolution:

Resolution RS2019-128

A Resolution recognizing December 1, 2019 as World AIDS Day in Nashville.

WHEREAS, the global HIV/AIDS pandemic is recognized annually on December 1, and we take this day to reflect on the impact HIV has had on our friends and families, to remember those we have lost, and to acknowledge that with access to medication and stigma-free services the goal of eradicating HIV from our city is realistic; and

WHEREAS, the LGBTQ Caucus and the Minority Caucus of the Metro Council understands that even while those living with medically-managed HIV experience good health and a high-quality of life, stark inequities in outcomes remain and will require an intentional, community-driven approach to improve HIV outcomes for all, regardless of age, gender, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance; and

WHEREAS, there were 146 diagnoses of HIV in Davidson County in 2017, with more than 4,000 residents living with diagnosed HIV and an estimated 720 additional residents living with HIV but unaware of their status; and

WHEREAS, more than 120 stakeholders dedicated their time and energy to a year-long community planning process that culminated in the February 2019 release of the Nashville Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan with five-year goals to:

• Ensure that 90% of residents living with HIV know their serostatus

• Decrease by 2/3rds the number of residents with newly-acquired HIV

• Link 90% of those diagnosed with HIV to care within one month of diagnosis

• Engage 90% of people with HIV in care

• Ensure that 90% of those engaged in care will achieve viral suppression

• Eliminate disparities in HIV outcomes among all populations; and

WHEREAS, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication that prevents exposure to HIV, is now available at the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD), the first health department in the state to have a clinic dedicated to offering the antiretroviral medication; and

WHEREAS, the Nashville Board of Health and MPHD strongly support the Prevention Access Campaign’s national Undetectable = Untransmittable public information campaign to raise awareness and educate the public that a person living with HIV who is on treatment and has an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV through sex; and

WHEREAS, all Davidson County residents are urged to talk to their doctor about HIV, including unsafe sex and injection drug risks and, as appropriate, seek HIV testing services; and

WHEREAS, medical and other healthcare providers in Davidson County are encouraged to discuss HIV risk factors and protective interventions, testing information and treatment options with patients at a high risk of HIV exposure.


Section 1. That the Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as officially recognizing December 1, 2019 as World AIDS Day in Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.

Section 2. This resolution shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.


Nancy VanReece, Brett Withers, Zachary Young, Emily Benedict, Russ Bradford, Sharon Hurt, Bob Mendes, Freddie O'Connell, Erin Evans

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Rep. Mark Green Named Legislator of the Year for Work Empowering Veterans

WASHINGTON—Last week, Rep. Mark Green was selected as “Legislator of the Year” by the American Freedom Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering active duty, reserve, and separated service members.

The Legislator of the Year award recognizes elected officials for their work ensuring that veterans receive education, medical care, housing, and an overall feeling of security in their daily lives. Nominations for the award are submitted by the general public.

Green said, “I'm deeply honored to receive the Legislator of the Year award. We as a people should always fight for those who fight for us, and we should never take our veterans for granted. I will continue fighting in Congress for the care and well-being of our Nation’s veterans, and I will continue working to ensure that those serving in our Armed Forces have everything they need to fight and win.”

As a graduate of West Point and Army Special Operations Flight Surgeon, Green has introduced several bills to help veterans and their families during his first year in Congress, including the Protecting Gold Star Spouses Act and the Kids to College Act.

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Mayor’s Office Announces Plans to Deploy Police Video Cameras

Metro press release, 12/10/2019 - Today, Mayor John Cooper announced a plan to begin deploying body-worn cameras (BWCs) by Metro Nashville police officers. The announcement follows months of discussions between the Mayor’s Office, the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD), the District Attorney’s Office, and Metro Information Technology Services (ITS), as well as the Public Defender’s Office, other criminal justice agencies, and community stakeholders.

“Nashville’s residents and police officers have been anxiously waiting for body-worn cameras since the initial announcement three years ago,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I understand and share the community’s frustration over the wait. Basic questions about how video will be used and shared hadn’t been addressed. In my first two and a half months in office, I’ve made sure that we continue to move forward with body-worn cameras as quickly and responsibly as possible. Thanks to the hard work of personnel across Metro, we now have a roadmap for implementing cameras. I’m excited that we can now move from talking about cameras to deploying them.”

Several issues have slowed the deployment of body-worn cameras. Metro agencies have not yet finalized policies for determining how video captured by police cameras would be shared with the District Attorney, the Public Defender, private defense attorneys, the Courts, and the public. The potential cost of full deployment is also a challenge. A report commissioned by District Attorney Glenn Funk and released last week estimated that full deployment of BWCs would cost the city more than $36 million per year. Finally, Metro has not yet built out the infrastructure to support wireless uploads of video at the city’s eight police precincts. The Mayor’s body-worn camera roadmap addresses these concerns.

Later this week, the Mayor’s Office will meet with the Criminal Justice Advisory Board to begin the process of working through remaining policy issues. In January, the Mayor’s Office will host a one-day technical advisory workshop, staffed by national experts who have worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to develop and facilitate BWC implementation in other cities, to create an implementation plan for Nashville. The Mayor’s Office will also host a community workshop to educate Nashville residents about policy options and solicit public input.

During this policy-making process, MNPD and ITS will continue to build out the necessary infrastructure for police officers to wirelessly upload video at Nashville’s eight precincts. According to MNPD, the timetable for completing the work required to begin to upload BWC footage wirelessly will be completed at the Metro Southeast facility in March. As soon as that work is completed, MNPD will deploy approximately two dozen BWCs to officers in its DUI and Traffic Enforcement Units to test the new network. DUI and Traffic Enforcement Units will also upgrade their in-car camera systems as part of a department-wide upgrade of computer-assisted dispatch/record management software (CAD/RMS) systems.

MNPD and ITS expect to complete the work of equipping all eight precincts with the ability to upload video camera footage wirelessly by May. That month, MNPD will deploy an additional 20 BWCs in “beta” for three months. The purpose of the beta rollout is to determine all-in costs and fine-tune operational procedures. The pilot will last for 3-6 months, at which point the Mayor’s Office will evaluate the results with expert technical advisors. Running BWCs in ‘beta’ will help the public and policymakers determine the costs and complexities of a wider deployment. The Mayor’s Office and other criminal justice agencies will help inform the community about how BWCs work throughout the implementation, testing, and evaluation process. Metro will also seek community input about where and how this first set of cameras should be deployed. “It’s important that we get this done, and it’s important that we get it right,” says Mayor Cooper. “This plan puts cameras in the field as soon as the infrastructure is there to support them and allows us to learn what works in the process.” .

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Monday, December 09, 2019

While Nashville rents increase, Nashville rents are still more affordable than many comparable cities nationwide

Rent in Nashville continues to increase, increasing 2.9 % over the same time last year. Currently, median rents in Nashville stand at $945 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,161 for a two-bedroom. This is the second straight month that the city has seen rent increases after a decline in September. Nashville's year-over-year rent growth leads the state average of 1.9%, as well as the national average of 1.4%.

Nashville rents however are more affordable than many other large cities across the country. As rents have increased moderately in Nashville, a few similar cities nationwide have also seen rents grow modestly. Nashville's median two-bedroom rent of $1,161 is slightly below the national average of $1,191. Nationwide, rents have grown by 1.4% over the past year compared to the 2.9% increase in Nashville. While Nashville's rents rose moderately over the past year, many cities nationwide also saw increases, including Phoenix (+3.9%), Dallas (+2.2%), and Seattle (+1.6%). Renters will find more reasonable prices in Nashville than most similar cities. For example, San Francisco has a median 2BR rent of $3,101, which is more than two-and-a-half times the price in Nashville.

This information is from a report by Apartment List.

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Condé Nast names Nashville as one of the 20 best places to go in 2020!

Nashville makes list after list as a top place to visit, live or relocate a business.  Conde' Nast says we are one of the top 20 best places in the world to visit in 2020.  Wow!

Other places making the list is the country of Armenia; Bahia, Brazil; the Canadian Arctic; Canary Islands, Spain; Copenhagen; Dubai; the nation of Guyana; Metz, France; the country of Rwanda; Slovenia; and Tangier, Morocco.

In recommending Nashville, Conte' Nast has this to say:

Nashville may be nearly synonymous with country music, but it’s no one-note town. The long-awaited National Museum of African American Music will open this summer on Broadway, home of Honky Tonk Row, and will showcase the history and impact of black music from the slave era to the present.
 Inside the museum—the first of its kind—five interactive galleries are dedicated to 50 genres of African American tunes, including blues, jazz, hip-hop, and rap. Don a choir robe and virtually sing “Oh Happy Day” along with Grammy winner Bobby Jones and his 30-member Nashville Super Choir. A recording of your performance will be sent to the smart bracelet you receive at admission.
You can also step into the role of a record producer and arrange vocals and rhythms to create a personalized soul track that can be sent to your bracelet as well. Be sure to check out the 1963 poster for civil rights activist Sam Cooke’s legendary soul performance with Otis Redding at New York’s Paramount Theater, and don’t miss seeing Ella Fitzgerald’s leopard-print coat and a kimono from Alicia Keys’s personal wardrobe.
Nashville’s food scene is also breaking out of its stereotypes: Of its 2019 James Beard semifinalist chefs, none serves the city’s traditional hot chicken on their menu. Nowhere is the energy more palpable than in East Nashville, a diverse neighborhood where 17 buzzy restaurants (among them Folk and Lou) have opened in the past two years. Another big opening is on the way: James Beard winner Sean Brock’s two-story temple to Appalachian cuisine will arrive in early 2020. With an Appalachian restaurant called Audrey, a cocktail bar, folk-art displays, an heirloom-seed bank, and even a mental-wellness center for the staff, the project is Brock’s grandiose love letter to the oft-forgotten culture of his youth—and a beacon for the new American South.
For the complete article, follow this link.  For news coverage see this link, and this link.

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The Tennessean reports on Hagerty's First Tuesday appearance

Recently The Tennessean reported on the differences between senate candidates Bill Hagerty and Manny Sethi on the issue of abortion (link). The article quoted remarks Hagerty made at last Tuesday's First Tuesday.  While not mentioning First Tuesday by name, today's Tennessean quotes extensively from remarks Hagerty made at that meeting.

Hargerty is quoted stating his opposition to red flag laws, his criticism of Mitt Romney, explaining that if elected he will not move his family to Washington due to the climate of animosity toward Republicans, the blowback he received for working for the Trump campaign, and the factors driving divisiveness in America. One can view the article at this link.

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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Both oppose abortion, but differences emerge on the issue among GOP candidates in Tennessee's US Senate race

The Tennessean today reported the position differences between Bill Hagerty and Many Sethi on the question of abortion. The Tennessean referenced a statement Hagerty made last Tuesday at First Tuesday. I was at this luncheon and while the Tennessean did not name the group, the "Republican gathering" the Tennessee mentioned was First Tuesday. The Tennessean reports:

Addressing the crowd, Hagerty said, "I hate the thought of abortion in any case."
Noting that he and his wife, Chrissy, have four children, Hagerty added, "Situations like rape and incest and the life of the mother I think are ones that I would look at as possible exceptions."
Although Hagerty was not pressed further on the issue by the audience, he later elaborated on his position in an interview with The Tennessean and The Tennessee Journal.
"I think it's a very challenging situation — the situation of rape or incest," he said. "It's terrible. I think it's a very infrequent situation. And were it ever to come up, I hope to make sure that it's one of the least frequent thing that ever happens and that other alternatives are made available to people.
The Tennessean writes this about Sethi:
Asked Tuesday, Sethi said the only exception he would consider for abortion would be in cases in which the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
"I also believe that those are the rarest of cases and usually you can save both the mother and baby," he said.
In terms of exceptions for cases of rape and incest, Sethi said the issue was personal. "I've taken care of patients who were conceived (after) rape," he said, adding he is opposed to such exceptions.
To read the full Tennessean report follow this link.  

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Council to continue opening meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance.

In a recent post summarizing the Council meeting of December the 3rd, I reported that the Council had adopted new rules of procedure and had omitted in the order of business the Pledge of Allegiance. I posted this:

"Rules of the Council. The Council adopts new rules of procedure. I notice that the order of     business omits the Pledge of Allegiance. Here is first items listed under order of business:
1. Meeting called to order
2. Invocation
3. Roll Call
4. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
5. Communications from the Mayor

The pledge of allegiance normally occurs immediately following the invocation. Is the Council going to discontinue the pledge? I have written my Council member to ask why the Pledge of Allegiance was omitted from the order of business of the rules of the Council. I will share the response. During discussion of adoption of the rules, no one mentions this omission and I do not know if previous Rules included the pledge in the listing of order of business."

I received the following response from my council member: "Hi Rod – thank you for your email. The pledge was not in the previous council’s rules either, but I have confirmed with the vice mayor that we will continue to say the pledge."

I am pleased that there is no intent to discontinue opening meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, but would be more comfortable if the Pledge was included in the order of business.

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The Cost of Impeachment

Phil Roe
by Congressman Phil Roe - It’s been nearly three months since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats initiated their sham impeachment inquiry. The key fact remains that President Trump and President Zelensky agree there was no pressure to initiate investigations. The transcripts of their calls show no pressure and President Zelensky did not know that aid was under review when the call occurred. The aid was released without an investigation, and from what I can tell, many of these “witnesses” who testified simply disagree with the president’s foreign policy. Everyone is entitled to agree or disagree with the president but impeaching a duly-elected president over policy disagreements would be a profound mistake for our country. There is still no evidence President Trump committed a crime. The needle has not moved.

Nevertheless, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are continuing their partisan process, calling three constitutional attorneys who agree with their prejudgment that the president should be impeached. It’s worth noting that the one witness called by Republicans – the only witness that Democrats allowed from our list - is someone who voted against President Trump and opposes his policies. In his testimony, however, he notes, “[o]ne can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president.” This process is still a political, calculated sham, and yet they continue to waste our time and taxpayer money.

With House Democrats solely focused on impeachment, we are wasting valuable time that could be used to pass meaningful legislation to help the American people. There are seven legislative days left in 2019, and we have not funded the government past December 21; we have yet to vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA); and have yet to act on legislation dealing with surprise medical bills for patients. President Trump is working tirelessly to put America first, and last year he signed a renegotiated trade arrangement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The USMCA will benefit American manufacturers and farmers; better protect intellectual property; and help our automobile and auto parts industry, which is a critical employment backbone of our region. There are over one million American jobs that rely on this trade deal, and the longer we wait the more it hurts American workers. In 2018, there were $12.7 billion in Tennessee exports to Canada and Mexico and this continued delay hurts our state’s revenue, businesses and families’ income. Speaker Pelosi has refused to provide a timeline to pass this agreement, despite a clear bipartisan majority that supports it. It has become clear the Speaker is unable to pass this agreement while simultaneously focusing all of her party’s attention on impeaching the president.

Another pressing issue with bipartisan support that has yet to see Congressional consideration is solving the issue of surprise medical billing. Surprise medical billing can occur when patients receive emergency care or receive care from an out-of-network provider during treatment they believe is in-network, only to later receive a large medical bill. These bills can cause stress, anxiety, depression and financial ruin. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Protecting Patients from Surprise Billing Act with Rep. Raul Ruiz M.D. (D-CA) to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, though it has strong bipartisan support, our bill has yet to receive House consideration. It seems our efforts are going nowhere in favor of this sham inquiry. The longer we wait the more families could be at risk of financial ruin because of an emergency room visit.

Furthermore, our nation is facing another medical crisis: prescription drug prices are too high. No one should have to worry about being able to afford necessary treatment. What we need is a bipartisan bill that will lower costs, encourage innovation and make prescription drug pricing more transparent. There is bipartisan legislation that could easily be passed and signed into law that is key to lowering costs; however, once again it will not be accomplished if the Democrats do not make such legislation a priority over impeachment. The political agenda of House Democrats is dragging our country into gridlock, causing delays in solutions that will help the American people. As your member in Congress, I will continue to fight against this sham process and push for policies that improve the lives of East Tennesseans.

Phil Roe is the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 1st congressional district, serving since 2009.

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