Thursday, March 05, 2020

Update: What's on the Council agenda for 3/5/2020: Legalizing some occupational uses of one's home, new rules for landlords, Banning vaping, changes in Short-term rental rules.

Update: I missed the vaping bill in my earlier post on the Council agenda. See the bottom of the page. This is a very bad bill that needs to be defeated.

The Metro Council will meet Thursday, March 5th at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. The Council normally meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month but the Council does not meet on election days and that is why this time the Council is meeting on a Thursday rather than Tuesday. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council agenda staff analysis. Below are the items of interest.

Bills on Public Hearing. Bill on public hearing are zoning or related bills.  I do not form an opinion on most zoning bill.  They usually are of concern only to the people in the vicinity of the proposed rezoning. These are the bills on public hearing of interest.

Bill BL2019-7 would liberalized the policy regarding Short-term rentals.  Currently if there are two family dwellings on a lot, only one STRP permit can be issued for the lot. This would allow two separate STRP permits to be issued for two-family dwellings when the units are owned by different persons and each unit is the primary residence of the corresponding owner. No more than two permits could be issued per lot, and only one permit could be issued per dwelling unit. That sounds reasonable to me but I would expect some opposition.
Bill BL2019-8 concerns the sidewalk fund. Currently, money collected from the payment in lieu of sidewalks is collected into a pedestrian benefit fund. The funds are required to stay in the pedestrian benefit zone from where the payment was made. This ordinance would remove the pedestrian benefit zones and instead require funds to stay within the Council district of the new development. I don't have a strong opinion about this and don't think it really matters and it is anticipated that the sponsor will defer this ordinance.
Substitute BL2019-48  would liberalized the policy regarding home occupation. Currently if no customers are served on the property and if no more than one employee  not living at the home is employed by the business, and a few other requirements are met, one may get a permit to have a home business.  This bill  would remove the prohibition on serving clients on the premises and would instead limit the number served and hours customers could be served.   Permits would not  be required for home occupations when no customers are served on the property. I strongly support this. There are lot of people writing songs and recording demos in their home now, but they are required to have a permit and do not.  There are one-chair beauty shops and piano teachers giving neighborhood kids piano lessons and accountants doing taxes. These activities should be legalized. 
Bill BL2019-78 (SLEDGE) – This ordinance requires a minimum distance for a new Short Term Rental Property - Not Owner-Occupied from churches, schools, daycares, and parks. No new STRP permit could be located less than 100 feet from a religious institution, a school or its playground, a park, or a licensed day care center or its playground, unless, after a public hearing, a resolution receiving 21 affirmative votes is adopted by the Council. In my view this is uncalled for. I oppose this bill. I live on a street with several short-term rentals and have never had a problem.  I have one diagonally across the street from me.  Maybe some people do have a problem but that indicates a need for more enforcement not making it more difficult to have short-term rental.  There is a greater likelihood of complaints against owner-occupied housing and long-term rental housing that there is from short-term rental.  
Resolution RS2020-202 is  "A resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement by and between the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation, and The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, acting by and through the Metropolitan Department of Public Works, for signal maintenance for I-440 Traffic Operational Deployment of Blue Toad Spectra Power over Ethernet (PoE) Data Collection Devices,.." This would normally pass without controversy and would not interest me, however there is an issue that may make this controversial.  Many neighbors of the expanded I--440 corridor have complained of lighting pollution.  Some have said that prior to the expansion that they were not bothered by the I-440 lighting but now it shines in their house like a spotlight. Normally the Council would have litter leverage to influence the State to address these concerns. This may be giving the Council some leverage, but I don't know if they are using it. If I were serving in the Council I would hold up passage of this resolution until the concerns of constituents were addressed.
Bills on Second Reading.
BILL NO. BL2020-149 would require landlords to provide at least 90 days’ written notice to tenants before increasing the tenant’s rent. This is likely to reduce the availability of affordable housing and raise rent prices. This type interference in the market hardly ever achieves the desired result. There is already the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) which requires a 30-day notice. Nashville should not have a more restrictive rule than other places in Tennessee. This needs to be defeated. If it does pass, I hope the State invalidates it. 
Bills on Third Reading. 
Bill BL2020-162 (as amended) would prohibit vaping on hospital grounds and within the public right-of-way in the vicinity of hospital entrances. It is amended to include animal control facilities.  I oppose this bill. Vaping when using the products it was intended for is healthier than cigarettes. There is not evidence that vaping endangers any one but the person vaping. Can you imagine the person with a nicotine habit visiting a sick or dying loved one in the hospital and they need a smoke.? We may think it better if they did not have that habit, but in a time of stress is not the time to punish them for a habit of which we may not approve. Have some compassion! The Council should eject the nanny state and vote "no."

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Monday, March 02, 2020

Please encourage your illegal alien neighbor and your ex-con neighbor on parole to register for the census. Everyone needs to be counted.

Everyone needs to be counted in the census.  One important reason is that if we grow less than other states we may lose U.S House of Representatives representation. Also, for every person counted in the 2020 Census, Nashville gets about $1000 per person.  2020 census data determines the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funding! 

Getting everyone counted is a big deal. 

Some people, for some reason think that only U. S. citizens should be counted. Not so.  It has never been that way. The census was always a count of all people residing in the country, except for American Indians and they were considered residents of sovereign tribal nations.  

Children who can't vote are counted. Prisoners locked in prison are counted. Before women had the right to vote, they were nevertheless counted in the census. During the era of slavery, slaves were counted, howbeit, they were only counted as 3/5ths a person. It irks me the way people misinterpret this fact as an example of bigotry to say the country considered the Negro less than fully human. It was the slave-owning South who wanted them counted as full people; the anti slavery North did not want them counted at all.  It had nothing to do with who valued them as human beings but had to do with allotting representation.  The North did not think people who were property and had no rights should be counted as people, which would give the Southern states more representatives.  Anyway, I digress. 

Please make sure you register and encourage everyone you know to register for the census.  Some libertarians and anti-government conspiracy-type conservatives think it is none of the governments' business that they exist and pride themselves on avoiding the census.  If you don't get counted you are giving more representation to California.

This is the first time that people can fill out their census forms online, as well as on paper and over the phone.  The census website will go live on March 12.  Libraries will offer public computers and free internet access to help make participation easier. 
Please plan on participating, and please encourage your family and friends and even people you don't like and don't think should even be in this country to do likewise.

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Consider attending a Community Budget Meeting!

The idea behind these meetings is to give the public an opportunity to see and hear the budget information that the Council has seen and heard over the last 90 days. During that time, the Council heard from the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee and Metro Finance Director Kevin Crumbo about the size and scope of the city’s budget problems and the types of solutions that are available.

City officials to make sure the public has this same information and an opportunity to talk about it before Mayor Cooper presents his budget on March 31, 2020. Meetings will be facilitated by Councilmember At-Large Bob Mendes and District 2 Councilmember Kyonzté Toombs.


  • February 25, 6:00 to 7:30 PM: Northwest Family YMCA 3700 Ashland City Highway, Nashville, TN 37218 
  • February 26, 6:30 to 8:00 PM: Smith Springs Community Center 2801 Smith Springs Road, Nashville, TN 37217 
  • March 4, 6:00 to 7:30 PM: Studio 615 272 Broadmoor Drive, Nashville, TN 37207 
  • March 9, 6:00 to 7:30 PM: Church of Christ in Green Hills 3805 Granny White Pike, Nashville, TN 37204 
  • March 10, 6:00 to 7:30 PM: Nashville Public Library Bellevue Branch 720 Baugh Road, Nashville, TN 37221 
  • March 12, 6:00 to 7:30 PM: Nashville Public Library Hermitage Branch 3700 James Kay Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076
One can be sure that the advocates of higher taxes will be attending these meetings.  For those who oppose higher taxes, to be effective they need to be informed.   I have observed over the years that conservatives only show up at the last minuet to oppose a tax increase while liberals fight day in and day out for bigger government. Advocates of bigger government are generally better informed and better equipped to argue their case. The new energized progressive are organizing for a tax increase and they are tuning out people to attend these meetings.

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The fight to stop the fairgrounds soccer stadium is not over!

Save Our Fairgrounds to file injunction to stop MLS stadium deal

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Sunday, March 01, 2020

Not a single member of the Councl votes for religious liberty over gay rights.

by Rod Williams - At the Council meeting of January 21st  there was a late resolution entered and passed that urged Governor Lee to veto a bill passed by the State legislature that would protect the religious liberty of private child placement agencies.

A late resolution is one that is entered from the floor of the Council and has not been filled in a timely manner to be on the agenda. It requires suspension of the rules to be considered. The objection of any two members of the body can block suspension of the rules.

The bill the Council urged the governor to veto said that "no private licensed child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies."  Fortunately, the governor signed the bill. 

The Council resolution urging Gov. Lee to veto this religious liberty bill argued that this was discrimination against LGBTQ prospective parents.

Not a single member of the Council voted for religious liberty. All who voted, voted for gay rights to trump religious liberty. Here is how members voted:

Yes (35): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Larry Hagar, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Murphy, Russ Pulley, Robert Nash, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, Henderson and Rosenberg; No (0); Abstain (0).

Absent from that meeting were Council members Hall and Vercher. That means there were three members who did not vote for it.  They may have not been paying attention and accidentally failed to push a button, they may have been on a bathroom break or they may have just sat on their hands. If they opposed this resolution, they should have had to courage to have their vote recorded.

The three members who did not vote but were present for the meeting are Steve Glover, Robert Swope and Courtney Johnson. I am pleased these three did not vote for it, but wish they would have stopped its passage by objecting to the consideration of the resolution or would have voted "no." I have underlined above the names of those who voted for it who disappoint me. I did not expect better from the other council members.

Below is the text of the Council resolution:

Resolution RS2020-176

A Resolution requesting Governor Bill Lee to veto HB836/SB1304 pertaining to the discrimination of adoption agencies against LGBTQ prospective parents.

WHEREAS, on January 14, 2020, the Tennessee Senate approved SB1304 by a 20-6 vote to allow adoption agencies to refuse to work with families if they claim that working with those families would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies”; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the Senate’s action, Tennessee would join a list of nine other states that specifically allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ prospective parents; and

WHEREAS, when public funds are involved, all people should have a reasonable expectation that they will be served and treated equally; and

WHEREAS, HB836/SB1304 may result in a boycott of Tennessee by businesses, sports leagues, and other event organizers, which would have a tremendous negative effect on the finances of Nashville and the State of Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, Nashville is a welcoming place, and same-sex parents can and should reach out to the many adoption agencies that are happy to help same-sex couples adopt and start a loving family; and

WHEREAS, signing HB836/SB1304 would send a message to residents and prospective businesses that Tennessee is not a welcoming place, which would be detrimental to the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as requesting Governor Bill Lee to veto HB836/SB1304 pertaining to the discrimination of adoption agencies against LGBTQ prospective parents.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to Governor Bill Lee.

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) Nancy VanReece, Zachary Young, Brett Withers, Russ Bradford, Emily Benedict, Bob Mendes, Burkley Allen

Below is the text of the Bill the Council asked to governor to veto:


By Rudd

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36, Chapter 1, Part 1, relative to child placement.


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36, Chapter 1, Part 1,is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

(a) To the extent allowed by federal law, no private licensed child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies.

(b) The department of children's services shall not deny an application for an initial license or renewal of a license or revoke the license of a private child-placing agency because of the agency's objection to performing, assisting, counseling, recommending, consenting to, referring, or participating in a placement that violates the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies.

(c) A state or local government entity shall not deny to a private licensed child-placing agency any grant, contract, or participation in a government program because of the agency's objection to performing, assisting, counseling, recommending, consenting to, referring, or participating in a placement that violates the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies.

(d) Refusal of a private licensed child-placing agency to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in a placement that violates the agency's written religious ormoral convictions or policies shall not form the basis of a civil action for either damages or injunctive relief.

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Reagan Day Dinner, March 6th. Last day to purchase tickets Monday, March 2nd.

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Due to Shawn Joseph's mistakes, new settlements put MNPS sexual harassment bills near $2 million.

by Phil Williams, NewsChannel 5 - Almost a year after Dr. Shawn Joseph resigned as Nashville's director of schools, taxpayers are still paying for his administration's mishandling of sexual harassment allegations. NewsChannel 5 Investigates has discovered that, in the last month, the Metro School Board has quietly approved settlements of nearly a million dollars in just two lawsuits. The total bill for the district's sexual harassment scandal, first exposed by NewsChannel 5, is now approaching $2 million. (read more)

Rod's Comment: Please read the story. Joseph ignored complaint and did not follow accepted practices for dealing with complaints and now we are paying the price.  Money that could be going to fund teacher raises and provide funding for teachers so they would not have to pay out of their pocket for classroom needs, is instead going to settle lawsuits.

Joseph was a disaster.  He engaged in insider deals to benefit his friends, the quality of education suffered, he was autocratic and arrogant and he mismanaged resources.  The only reason that I can see that he was retained as long as he was is that he was Black. We are plagued by so much political correctness and white guilt that Blacks are not held to the same level of accountability as they would be if they were White.

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Gov. Bill Lee's paid family leave plan would cost $15 million a year to put in place, fiscal analysis shows

The Tennessean: Gov. Bill Lee's paid family leave plan would cost $15 million a year to put in place, fiscal analysis shows

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