Saturday, January 04, 2020

Mayor Cooper made the right decision in not purchasing the Morris Memorial Building.

by Rod Williams - Mayor Cooper decided the city would not move forward with plans to purchase the historically significant Morris Memorial building. The previous administration had planned to purchase the property for $12 million. The Morris Memorial Building is a 65,200-square-foot, five-story building designed in the mid-1920’s by one of the nation's first African American architectural firms. It housed the National Baptist Convention, which published religious materials for African-American Baptist churches.  It is located at 330 Martin Luther King Blvd.

I am in favor of saving of old significant buildings. I am certainly pleased that the Ryman Auditorium and Union Station were not demolished as was once planned. There are lots of beautiful old buildings that were lost that were historically significant that I wish had been saved. While I support incentivizing the saving of old significant buildings, I don't think it is the roll of local government to buy them. Even if there were occasions when a building was so significant that the city government should step in and purchase it, now is not the time. The city is broke and we must prioritize. With a shortage of 911 dispatcher, policemen and firemen, purchasing an old building is a luxury we cannot afford.

Thank you Mayor Cooper for exercising financial discipline and good judgement.

(For more see link,.link.)

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The Refugee resetllement issue: Does the Governor have the authority to speak for the State?

Governor Bill Lee has chosen for Tennessee to accept refugees for resettlement in Tennessee. He has come under severe criticism from many Republican for this decision. I tend to support his decision simply because I think it the right thing to do. I know there is an issue of cost and I know that some refugees have been radicalized and become American terrorist. There is a security issue.  Nevertheless, with over 66 million people in the world displaced due to persecution, war and violence, the US should do its part to help resettle refugees.

Separate from  the merits of the decision itself  however, is the question of process. Does a governor have the authority to make this decision for the State?  David Fowler, chairman of FACT, in an article, "What to Make of Congressman Green’s Prescription for Saving America," argues that  the governor should not have that authority and that it is a violation of State sovereignty for the Federal government to assign such authority to the governor.  "The state’s constitution, not the federal government, decides who is to exercise certain powers belonging to the state", says Fowler. He goes on:

When the federal government creates a program and then designates who in state government can decide whether to participate in that program, who on behalf of state government can opt-out of a program already begun, or who or what agency in state government must carry out the federal program, an important aspect of state sovereignty is trampled on. Therein lies the problem with the federal refugee resettlement program, quite apart from the complained of fiscal issues.
…..The federal regulation allowing a governor to decide whether to opt in or out of a federal program is not within the federal government’s power. It is a violation of the state’s power to decide what branch of state government, state agency, or state official is authorized, under the state’s constitution, to make certain types of decisions for the state. The same can be said about the process that allows a governor to “consent” to the federal government’s use of private contractors as de facto resettlement agencies.
After the program was created and states opted in, the federal government adopted regulations that effectively allowed a governor or the governor’s designee to opt a state out of the federal refugee resettlement program. That regulation violates the sovereignty of the people of Tennessee, who alone get to decide who in state government should make policy decisions of this nature. 
While I support Governor Lee's decision, I agree with David Fowler that Lee he had no legitimate authority to make that decision. For a more detailed explanation of the issue of federalism and the principle of dual sovereign and background information on the refugee resetlement progarm follow this link and read the full article.

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Thursday, January 02, 2020

Latinos for Tennessee Welcome back reception

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Mayor’s Night Out on Thursday, January 9, 2020

Press release, 1/2/2020- Mayor John Cooper is thrilled to host another Mayor’s Night Out. These events are held on the second Thursday of each month and Nashville residents are invited to have one-on-one conversations with the Mayor and his department personnel.

Event Location: IT Creswell Middle School of the Arts, 3500 John Mallette Drive' Nashville, TN 37218.
Event Date: Thursday, January 9, 2020, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • Mayor John Cooper 
  • Councilmember Jonathan Hall (District 1) 
  • Councilmember Kyonzte Toombs (District 2) 
  • Councilmember Jennifer Gamble (District 3) 
  • Councilmember Freddie O’Connell (District 19) 
  • Councilmember Mary Carolyn Roberts (District 20) 
  • Councilmember Brandon Taylor (District 21) 
Note: There will be no availability for interviews or Q&A at this event.

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Mayor John Cooper Appoints long-time Republican operative Bill R. Phillips as Deputy Mayor, Chief of Staff

Press release, 1/2/2020 -  Mayor John Cooper today

Bill R. Phillips - Deputy Mayor, 
Chief of Staff
announced the appointment of Bill R. Phillips as Deputy Mayor, Chief of Staff effective Thursday, January 2, 2020. As a seasoned political operative with more than 40 years of public service and executive leadership experience, Phillips will manage the Mayor’s Office staff and serve as a senior adviser to Mayor Cooper.

“I look forward to once again serving the city I love so dearly,” said Phillips. “While I’m fond of the many experiences I’ve had in state and federal government, it’s the time I spent at City Hall that has been the most meaningful. Nashville is fortunate to have experienced such tremendous growth since my previous tenure as Deputy Mayor. We’re going to make sure that everyone in our city shares in its continued growth through hard work and the efficient use of our talent and resources.”

As founder of Bill Phillips Company, Phillips was a principal in Windrow Phillips Group before retiring in June 2019. He served for more than seven years as Deputy Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County under Mayor Bill Purcell. In 1994, Phillips became Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations at Vanderbilt University after concluding a yearlong fellowship at Vanderbilt’s First Amendment Center.

Previously, Phillips served as a Presidential appointee in various capacities during the executive administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, and as Deputy Governor to Nevada Governor Robert List. He served as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee and Manager of the 1988 Republican Convention, as well as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Education. Phillips has worked in three Presidential campaigns for Republican candidates, and in 1992, he was Assistant Campaign Manager for Operations of the Bush-Quayle Committee.

Phillips also worked as a newspaper journalist and editor for Gannett in California and Nevada. He is a Vietnam combat veteran

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