Saturday, June 13, 2020

Duane Dominy: Say NO to a property tax increase in Nashville

To watch, click here.
Former Councilman Dwane Dominy explains his opposition to the proposed tax increase.  He says we hav out of control spending. He says the timing of the vote on the budget is critical.  Metro does not have to pass a final budget until June 30th. However, there is a plan to push it through and have the vote on June 16th.  This, he says, lessens the time for collaboration necessary to develop an alternative budget proposal. If an alternative budget proposal does not get 21 votes, the mayor's budget becomes the budet by default. He says the public needs to call their council person and ask to delay the budget vote till June 30th.

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Jim Roberts: Say NO to a property tax increase in Nashville

To watch, click here

Jim Roberts is a local attorney active in conservative causes and one of the leaders in the effort to save the Fairgrounds. Jim explains his opposition to the proposed tax increase saying there has been incompetency and inefficiency in our spending habits. He says the only way to stop the proposed tax increase is through a ballot initiative. He is leading an effort to make that happen. You can learn more about that effort at this link.

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Young Republicans In person meeting, June 18th, at Bold Patriot Brewing

To respond follow this Facebook link

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Amie Gibbons: Say NO to a property tax increase in Nashville

To watch, click here.

The cute, personable, charming, articulate and smart Amie Gibbons explains why she opposes a property tax increase.  She explains that we are not undertaxed. Proponents of higher taxes often point out that Nashville's tax rate is lower than the combined city and county tax rate of  several other cities in Tennessee.  Amie points out they while this is true, our appasials are much higger.  Because we have a lower tax rate, that does not mean we pay lower taxes.  She advocates spending cuts and says we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Amie is a local attourney, a prolific writer of urban fantasy fiction, and is co-chair of Davidson County Young Republicans.

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Bill Hagerty's latest commercial: Can-do business man supported by President Trump.

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Cracker Barrel feels racist. What???

Image result for cracker barrel storeby Rod Williams -  Just when you think things can't get any nuttier, they do.  Cracker Barrel, the Lebanon, Tennessee-based restaurant chain, has come under attack because it "feels" racist.  When I first heard of this, I thought it was satire based on the name "Cracker Barrel."  "Cracker," of course is a degragatory slur aimed at people of whiteness. "Craker Barrel" is a nostalgic reference to the barrels that soda crackers were delivered in to retail outlets once upon a time and people would purchase a desired amount sold by weight. Here is an except from a story on this development:

Cracker Barrel is under attack because it ‘feels’ like a racist place, with a racist name.
Business and Politics - First they came for “Cops” and “Gone With The Wind,” and now they appear to be gunning for Cracker Barrel. Sort of.
Amid the Maoist-like cultural revolution currently happening across the states, there seems to be an emerging movement to smear (and eventually possibly cancel) the iconic Southern restaurant chain Cracker Barrel.
It reportedly began with April Reign, the far-left activist reportedly responsible for launching the stunningly racist #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. Responding to a Twitter user who’d asked if people have “ever walk[ed] into a place that just FEELS racist,” Reign responded by citing Cracker Barrel. Look:
Reign, ... provided no tangible, rational, logical evidence as to why she smells Jim Crow when entering a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Nevertheless, her bizarre interpretation of reality spread like wildfire. (continue reading)
Here are some more tweets:

One tweeter wrote, "Why wait to open the door? Those plantation rocking chairs give off the vibe from the porch."

Plantation rocking chairs? I have one. I didn't buy mine at Cracker Barrel but it is the same type. I never referred to it as a "plantation rocking chair." I did not know it was a racist rocker. I don't guess I'm woke.

To be fair, there are a lot more people responding to this silliness saying they have eaten at Craker Barrel and never had a problm and people sayinig the whole thing is just silly, than their are people jumping on the band wagon. 

I hope corporate Cracker Barrel does not come out and grovel to these nuts by apologizing if they have offended anyone by their decor or name and disavow that they are a racist company and pledge to be more sensitive to the sensibilities of their customers of color.

I also hope Freddie O'Connell doesn't hear about this. He will draw up a resolution condeming Cracker Barrel for emiting a vibe that causes people to feel racism.

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Conservative Caucus Statewide Meeting July 11, 2020

Great speakers, Great topics, Senate candidate, Legislators, Senate Candidate Straw Poll. Free Event, Lunch provided $10.00.

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Mayor John Cooper Issues Statement on Metro Nashville Police Department Performance, Leadership, and Accountability

 Metro press release 6/10/2020 - Mayor John Cooper today issued the following statement:

All Nashvillians deserve to be safe, including those who are making their voices heard in public spaces. I’m grateful to our public safety officers for their professionalism in facilitating peaceful demonstrations while avoiding both physical confrontation and injuries – demonstrations that have seen historic participation levels.
We will continue to hold our law enforcement leadership to our community’s highest standards for public safety while engaging in a 360-degree evaluation of policing and public safety policies and practices.
As previously announced, we will achieve greater accountability and transparency through a use-of-force review and the full deployment of body-worn camera while continuing to engage with our community partners and members of Nashville’s Black community.
Rod's Comment:  There is so much wrong with this.  This is a statement that doesn't say much. The May 30th riot was not "peaceful demonstration."  This does not tell us much as to whether Mayor Cooper is throwing Chief Anderson to the wolves  or not.  It looks like Cooper is trying to walk a fine line and make everyone happy. He must be waiting to see which way the wind blows on the effort to force Andersson out.  Cooper is not showing leadership. He is not joining the ranks of the woke progressive nut-jobs calling for dismantling the police, but neither is he standing for law and order.

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From "the buckle on the bible belt" to "Sodom on the Cumberland" to "San Fran of the South."

Best comment of the day:

Bill Bernstein: Proud to see Nashville has joined the ranks of woke cities. Next maybe eliminate bail, legalize homeless squatting, and have strict rent control. It'll go from "the buckle on the bible belt" to "Sodom on the Cumberland" to "San Fran of the South."
  Image may contain: screen

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Fifteen Council members now call for Chief Anderson's ouster.

by Rod Williams - A large number of members of the Metro Council have signed on as co-sponsors of a resolution calling for the scalp of Police Chief Steve Anderson.  Initially, I also opined that Chief Anderson should resign.  I was disappointed that he had, had police to just stand by and watch the destruction of police cars and downtown businesses and public property.  When rioters set the courthouse on fire, police were slow to act. I was afraid they were going to let it burn out of control. I thought police should have responded forcibly when the vandalism and destruction first started. Police let the destruction escalate and escalate before they took action.

Upon reflection, I thought I may have been hasty in calling for Anderson's resignation.  Perhaps, I reasoned, Chief Anderson was following a policy set by the mayor.  I would still like to know whose decision it was not to end the lawlessness.  Apparently, many member of the Council find no fault with the policy of "just let it burn."  I have heard of no council member criticizing that policy.

Instead of criticizing the police chief or the Mayor for allowing lawlessness to reign and spin out of control, the Chief of Police is being criticized because he issued an arrest warrants for two of the riot ringleaders.

Now, 15 Metro Council members have signed on to a resolution calling for Cooper to oust Anderson and pursue "meaningful policy and behavioral change in the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department."

The effort is being let by Councilman Freddie O'Connell. Others who have signed on include

  • Emily Benedict, 
  • Russ Bradford, 
  • Tom Cash, 
  • Bob Mendes, 
  • Kathleen Murphy, 
  • Sean Parker,
  • Delishia Porterfield, 
  • Dave Rosenberg, 
  • Sandra Sepulveda, 
  • Colby Sledge, 
  • Zulfat Suara, 
  • Kyonzt√® Toombs, 
  • Nancy VanReece, and 
  • Ginny Welsch.
If matters who gets elected, and we have elected a very progressive Metro Council.

For more on this story see the following:
A Disgruntle Republican: Council members call for the resignation of Chief Anderson. Establishment protects rioters from arrest. 
The Nashville Scene: 13 Councilmembers Are Calling for the Removal of Police Chief Steve Anderson.
The Tennessean: Growing council coalition calls to oust MNPD Chief Steve Anderson

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Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Body-Worn Cameras Coming to Metro Nashville. Operating cost drops from $40 million to $2.1.

Metro press release - Metro Nashville is beginning full deployment of body-worn cameras.

 As part of its response to the revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro has renegotiated more favorable agreements with select vendors. As part of this process, Motorola, previously WatchGuard. Inc., the vendor selected by the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) in August 2019 to provide the department with in-car and body-worn cameras (BWCs), has agreed to delay payment for Nashville’s camera system for two years. That decision, along with creative problem-solving from local stakeholders, has allowed Metro to resume movement toward the full deployment of BWCs and in-car cameras.

“Body-worn cameras will promote trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they are sworn to serve,” said Mayor Cooper. “They will be an important tool in addressing racial injustice throughout Davidson County. Since campaigning for office, I have supported body-worn cameras in Nashville and the need to invest in this vital technology the right way. We are delivering on that commitment today, and we are doing it in a cost responsible way.”

Upon taking office last year, Mayor Cooper’s office found a body-worn camera initiative that had not yet addressed critical deployment issues. Protocols had for sharing video across the criminal justice system had not been developed. A report released in fall predicted that implementing BWCs would cost Nashville taxpayers approximately $40 million dollars a year and require the DA’s office and the Public Defender’s Office to hire more than 200 new full-time employees. The Mayor’s Office immediately engaged with the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to assemble a working group of national experts to help Nashville develop a cost-effective approach to BWC deployment that reflected national best practices.

Today’s announcement is made possible by cost reductions from working with our departments and our vendor, Motorola. Over the course of five months of discussions, stakeholders developed a streamlined workflow that reduced the estimated annual costs of BWCs from approximately $40 million to approximately $2.1 million in FY 2021. Staffing requirements were reduced from an estimated 200 new staff to approximately 16 additional staff. The operating expenses for this deployment will come from the Public Health & Safety contingency fund for MNPD in the Mayor’s proposed FY2021 budget. The negotiations with Motorola have resulted in an agreement that payments will commence in FY2023.

“Body cameras will promote trust and accountability for law-enforcement and the people of Nashville,” said District Attorney General Glenn Funk. “I thank Mayor Cooper for prioritizing this project. These efforts will lead to a safer Nashville.”

“An encounter with law enforcement is not something that any Nashvillian should worry about having to survive,” said Council Member At-Large Sharon Hurt. “It’s no secret that Metro’s financial constraints are great, but Mayor Cooper has demonstrated through this effort, with IT infrastructure upgrades starting immediately and deployment rolling out in July, as a first step, that his commitment to create tangible change for our Black community is genuine.”

BWC deployment will begin next month at West Precinct, with 86 BWCs and 65 patrol cars outfitted. West Precinct is currently the only precinct with the IT infrastructure in place to support BWC and camera deployment. As part of the deployment process, patrol cars will also be equipped with three in-car cameras, which will provide additional perspectives on police incident responses and arrests. Work on the IT infrastructure upgrades necessary to support BWC deployment at the seven additional precincts and at the Metro Southeast will resume immediately.

Mayor Cooper has directed MNPD to complete precinct IT infrastructure upgrades within six months. BWC deployment to other precincts will begin no later than February 2021.

MNPD will provide monthly updates on the state of the IT buildout and on BWC deployment. Deployment will be completed when approximately 1,325 MNPD officers and 30 Metro Park Police officers are equipped with BWCS. To further enhance accountability, MNPD is installing in-car cameras in the department’s 734 patrol cars.

“This deployment will provide unprecedented clarity into how the police and residents interact,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I want to thank General Funk, Public Defender Johnson, and all of our criminal justice stakeholders for coming together around a plan that will make bodycams a success in Nashville. The wait for bodycams is over. Let me be clear: We are moving forward with full deployment as quickly as possible.”

Rod's Comment:  The above highlighting is mine.  I am pleased to see that this can be implemented.  Body cameras for police is one of several law enforcement and judicial reforms I support.  It is amazing that cost of administering the program can drop from $40 million to $2.1 million, however. If one was cynical, they might conclude that cost is fluid and is overestimated or underestimated based on the desired outcome.  For that cost, assuming it is a realistic cost, I would support moving forward with the program, but instead of that being additional cost to the city, I would find the savings elsewhere.

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Rejecting tax increase, depleting savings could be 'catastrophic' for Nashville, comptroller says

The Tennessean- The state comptroller on Monday said Nashville Mayor John Cooper's budget, which includes a 32% property tax increase and a steep investment in savings, would pull the city back from the brink of a financial crisis.

Rejecting the mayor's proposal in favor of one that relies on borrowing and depletes Nashville's small funding reserves could be "catastrophic" and might result in a state takeover, State Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in a letter to council members. (Read more)

Rod's Comment:  I am disappointed that Comptroller Justin Wilson has essentially endorsed Mayor Coopers call for a 32% property tax increase.  I do agree we should not try to balance the budget by borrowing money and depleting out reserve funds.  However, there is the option of cutting spending. 

I would start by having no budget increase. The $2.45 billion FY 2021 budget for the Metropolitan Government’s represents a 4.97% increase from the FY 2020 budget. I would make the baseline the 2020 budget and save 4.97%.  I would suspend the recycling program. It cost us an additional $1.5 million a year over last year and once separated, most recyclables ends up in the landfill anyway.  It makes people feel virtuous but accomplishes little.

I would close General Hospital and save about $50 million a year.  We are not required to have a charity hospital, ever since Medicaid poor people have had other options, some cities do not have charity hospitals, and it can't fill its beds.  It is a waste of money and is simply maintained to boost the collective ego of the Black community. 

I would abolish the Human Relations Commission.  This would not save much but this is an example of an unneeded agency. The good things they do, such as sponsoring the Festival of Nations, could be done by a non-profit. Discrimination complaints could be received by any number of other agencies. They exist primarily to promote political correctness.  We do not need an agency to sponsor the twink booth at the Gay Pride Festival.  I would suspend funding for the arts and non-profits until the economy recovers.

 I would suspend the sidewalk program until we figure out why it spends millions and builds no new sidewalks. I would apply a modest across the board cut to all agencies except police and fire. Then, if this did not balance the budget I would close underused libraries or cut library hours or days to complete the task.  Once the economy is restored we can restore those cuts that deserve to be restored.

This is just my proposal off the top of my head.  I have not put a calculator to it, but I am certain the budget could be balanced without a tax increase.  These are hard times.  We do not want to destroy what little affordable housing still exist and add a burden to people already burdened.  When the economy recovers, the revenue will again flow into the coffers.  It won't hurt us to tighten our belt during these hard times.

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SURVEY: Small Business Optimism Rebounds, Earnings Trends Decline

The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased to 82 in May 

NFIB press release, NASHVILLE (June 9, 2020) – The Small Business Optimism Index increased 3.5 points in May to 94.4, a strong improvement from April’s 90.9 reading. Eight of the 10 Index components improved in May and two declined. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased seven points to 82. Reports of expected business conditions in the next six months increased 5 points to a net 34%, following a 24-point increase in April. Owners are optimistic about future business conditions and expect the recession to be short-lived.

“As states begin to reopen, small businesses continue to navigate the economic landscape rocked by COVID-19 and new government policies,” said NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “It’s still uncertain when consumers will feel comfortable returning to small businesses and begin spending again, but owners are taking the necessary precautions to reopen safely.”

NFIB State Director Jim Brown said, “One issue creating uncertainty for small businesses in Tennessee is the threat of frivolous lawsuits by some who will try to exploit the situation created by the coronavirus. NFIB is strongly encouraging the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 2381/House Bill 2623, which is being heard this week in committees, before adjournment later this month. To help our economy rebound, small businesses need safe harbor by discouraging unwarranted COVID-19 lawsuits and adopting clear standards for all concerned in this unprecedented time.”

Real sales expectations in the next three months increased 18 points to a net negative 24%. Expectations about future sales are beginning to rebound after April’s lowest reading in survey history of a net negative 42%.

Fifty-two percent reported capital outlays in the last six months. Of those making expenditures, 35% reported spending on new equipment (down one point), 20% acquired vehicles (down one point), and 15% improved or expanded facilities (up two points). Five percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 10% spent money for new fixtures and furniture.

Twenty percent of owners are planning capital outlays in the next few months. Any extensive damage from recent protests will produce significant expenditures that were unexpected for some small business owners. A net negative 19% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down eight points from April. Retail sales have declined significantly in the past three months. Consumer income was up significantly due to government programs assistance, but consumers, for the most part, could not get out to spend it unless they spent it online. The change in spending behavior produced a record-high savings rate of 33%. As the economy opens, this money will be spent.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Earnings trends declined six points to a net negative 26%. Among owners reporting weaker profits, 46% blamed weak sales, 12% blamed usual seasonal changes, 9% cited price changes, 4% cited labor costs, and 4% cited material costs. 
  • Five percent of owners reported thinking it’s a good time to expand, up two points from April. 
  • The net negative percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved 18 points to a net negative 24% of owners. 
  • A net 14% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation (down 2 points) and a net 10% plan to do so in the coming months (up 3 points).

As reported in last week’s monthly jobs report, the small business labor market weakened further in the February-April period, with May survey respondents reporting reducing employment by 0.17 workers per firm in the prior three months. Most of the workers that were displaced (about 80%) expect to be rehired according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, generous unemployment benefits are making it harder for some firms to re-call workers and fill open positions.

A seasonally-adjusted net eight percent plan to create new jobs in May. The creation is driven in part by the forgiveness portion requirements of the Paycheck Protection Program and owners planning to re-hire workers as the economy is reopened.

Click here to view the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey.

Rod's Comment:  This is good news and I am pleasantly surprised. I have not been feeling at all optimistic.  I was fearful that the Coronavirus lockdown would tank the economy and it might take a decade to recover. On a bad day, I thought we were entering the new dark ages.  I feared businesses would go under, not to resurrect. I am still not sure we are out of the woods.  A second wave of Coronavirus could cause economic doom. This report of small business optimism, the recent unemployment numbers and the uptick in the stock market are good indicators that this is not the economic apocalypse, however.  I am going to try to be less gloomy.

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Monday, June 08, 2020

Fifth person arrested related to courthouse arson and vandalism. Will charges be dropped?

items.[0].image.altTwenty-five year old Nicholas Barrett was arrested on charges of aggravated riot and vandalism on Saturday in connection with the courthouse damage during the riot of Saturday, May 30th.  He used a skateboard to break the windows of the courthouse. He also threw a skateboard at a marked police car.

I would hope he would spend some serious jail time, but unfortunately, I suspect that if this is a first offence, he will get off with some community service, or maybe the charges will be dismissed. Our soft-on-crime DA does not appear to have an appetite for prosecuting crime committed in the name of progressive activism. Two of the riot ringleaders, Jeneisha Harris and Justin Jones, were initially served warrants for their arrests, and then the warrants were recalled after Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said his office wouldn't pursue the charges.

For more see this link and this link.

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