Saturday, September 19, 2020

Art Break: A new portrait mural being painted on the side of Zanies at Douglas and 8th Ave South.

September 2020


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Governor says "no" to Metro's request for additional COVID-19 relief funds. Politely blast Metro's strategy for economic recovery and the massive tax increase.


 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday he would not be giving additional COVID-19 recovery funds to Nashville after Mayor John Cooper's request last week. He says to give money to Nashville is to take away funding from 94 other counties. He says he disagrees with Metro's approach to the crisis, that he thinks we should be cutting budgets; not raising taxes. He says Metro Nashville is the least rapidly recovering Metro economy in the United States. In my view, says the Governor, Metro Nashville's strategy for dealing with the economic impact of Cova-19 is not an effective one.

I agree with the Governor. Metro has not been a good steward of the money it has received and does not deserve a bail out. 

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Certain virtues must prevail to avoid great and lasting damage to our republic.

by Richard Upchruch- I agree with many these days who are seriously worried about the unusually high levels of hostility and mutual recrimination that have become a part of the current contest for the presidency. 

A famous quotation from one of our country's founders, James Madison, reminds us that the written constitution we cherish is only a part----although a precious and essential part--- of what really constitutes us as a nation. I think he is telling us that we cannot survive as a free people unless we as individual citizens have attained certain attributes of maturity, and that these attributes have got to be somehow effectively passed from one generation to the next. These observations seem always relevant but especially so now. 

I believe that certain virtues enjoined by traditions both religious and secular, if better followed, might help us to a place where we might still have the necessary robust public discussion of policy issues these times call for, but with less chance that chaotic behavior might prevail and do great and lasting damage to our republic. I believe that chief among these virtues is a kind of civic humility, a tough belief that one's opponent may not be entirely evil or deranged, but rather that he may indeed be advocating for the good as he sees it.

Translated into terms more obviously relevant in this election cycle, perhaps this would mean that those on the Republican side need to admit that their candidate has chosen a rather extreme form of polarizing rhetoric to keep his supporters excited and committed, that his manner seems deliberately brusque and provocative; and, on the other hand, that the left has indeed rushed to adopt radical techniques of advocating change, redefinition of marriage, calling into question the most essential aspects of human personal identity, at the very foundation of human society, in addition to advocating for more mundane economic and social policy---changes that many consider deeply harmful and destructive to both society and government.

Each faction needs to listen and try to understand the point of view of the other. The question cannot be, "are these two sides irreconcilable?" It must be, rather, can these conflicting visions, and these contending energies, be contained and expressed within our constitution and used to guide us into a future that as always requires both preservation and adaptation. We all need to obtain news and comment from a variety of points of view. And also, very importantly, from friends and acquaintances of various beliefs and affiliations. 

Benjamin Franklin, another of our brilliant founders, famously answered an inquiry by saying that "we have a republic, sir, if we can keep it." Without more and better listening to one another than we have now, we just may not be able to keep it. 

Richard Upchurch is a scholar and philosopher who lives in Nashville.

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13 Titans players take a knee during national anthem ahead of opener vs. Broncos

The Tennesseean- ...Thirteen members of the Titans took a knee during the national anthem ahead of their season-opening game against the Broncos on Monday. ...Titans coach Mike Vrabel said ahead of his team's season opener that if his players wanted to protest peacefully, they would have the organization's full support. (link)

Rod's Comment: Disgusting! Shame, shame, shame. 

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Covid-19 cases inflated by 13,800 by State health officials. Cases listed as "active," even after patients recovered.

The Tennessean: Coronavirus: 13,800+ Tennessee infections left as 'active' long after they weren't.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Leaked email shows there was no justification for closing bars and restaurants in Nashville.

This is a big deal and making national news.  The number of cases of coronavirus transmitted through bars and restaurant contact was so low, the mayor and health officials tried to keep the numbers a secret.  This has been picked up by national media outlets and even Donald Trump Jr. has weighted in tweeting, "The Dem Mayor of Nashville KNOWINGLY LIED ABOUT COVID DATA to justify shutting down bars & restaurants, killing countless jobs & small businesses in the process. Everyone involved should face jail time."  

For more on this story see link, Link, link,

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I will not attend the "A Rally for American Patriots" event and here is why.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 AT 5 PM – 7 PM A RALLY FOR AMERICAN PATRIOTS: A call to preserve our Constitutional Republic! Franklin Tn Downtown Square.

by Rod Williams - This event was originally scheduled for September 17th and delayed until September 23 due to the threat of bad weather.  I will not be attending this event. While I would like to be part of such an event, I am not comfortable with the host.  If Ms Laurie Cordoza-Moore was just one member of a host committee putting on this event, I might attend.  But, I am not quit comfortable being part of a crowd that is her event.  

If you recall when a Muslim congregation was attempting and eventually was successfully in building a mosque in Murfreesboro, Laurie Cardoza-Moore was a leading opponent trying to stop that from happening.  The argument against it was that Islam is not really a religion and that Muslims were going to be building a terrorist training center in Murfreesboro.  While I hope the government is keeping close taps on what is going on in the Muslim community and while there have been radicalized American Muslims who have committed acts of terrorism, I am not comfortable with someone who claims the world's largest religion is not really a religion and who wants to deny First Amendment protection to other Americans. The First Amendment also applies to Muslims

The host of this event also once charged the Williamson County School Board with promoting anti-Semitism due to an objectionable portion of a text, taken out of context, in a social studies text book (link).  I doubt the Williamson County School Board is anti-Semitic.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Ms Cordoza-Moore's organization, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a hate group.  Now, I do not put much stock in what the SPLC says.  They have called a lot of good conservative groups, especially Christian groups, hate groups.  Any group that does not fall in line with the politically correct, woke, permissive, mainstream culture is considered a hate group.  If you are pro traditional marriage, believe boys should use the boys bathroom, or are pro life, you might be a hater. So while I don't put much stock in SPLC,  I do think it is worth noting.  Being listed by SPLC as a hate group may not make them what I think of when I think of a hate group, but it is an indication that they are outside the mainstream. It raises a red flag.  It tells me they deserve  a closer look before joining their cause.  

My concern in attended a rally for an event sponsored by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations is that I will become part of a cheering crowd that is a prop for some anti-Muslim rant or some weird conspiracy theory.  I don't really fault anyone else for attending.  It is not as if you are attending a Klan rally or anything, but for me, I am uncomfortable being part of a PJTN rally.  I am really not trying to convince anyone else not to attend, I am just explaining why I won't attend and hoping people will look closely at this event and the decide if it is for them. 

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Trump Administration Is Supporting the People of Tennessee

From Alexander Willette, Special Assistant to the President, Updated September 14, 2020:

Overview: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, State managed, and Federally supported. Successful emergency management requires nationwide cooperation and unity of effort, combining the strength and ingenuity of our citizens and private sector with a sweeping, all-inclusive, and whole-of-government response. The below is a partial overview of Federal assistance provided to the State of Tennessee and the people of Tennessee to combat the Coronavirus. The information is bolstered by hundreds of additional actions by the Federal government to help the people of Tennessee. President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have appreciated the strong State-Federal partnership with State and local leaders in Tennessee. 
  • The President quickly approved Tennessee’s major disaster declaration on April 2, 2020 and National Guard funding requests on and National Guard funding requests on April 2, 2020 providing additional Federal resources to supplement State response efforts. 
  • This year, over 5.7 M N-95 masks, 118 M surgical & procedural masks, 818 K eye and face shields, 7.8 M isolation & surgical gowns, and 592.5 M medical gloves have been shipped to Tennessee through private sector, State, and Federal collaboration. 
  • The Federal government has directly supported10 community based testing sites in Tennessee and will be providing 200,000 swabs and 200,000 media to support state testing needs in the month of September. To date, the federal government has provided over 1 M swabs and 100,000 media. 
  • The Federal government has and continues to coordinate the surge of resources to Tennessee Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes. And to supplement private sector supplies, the federal government is coordinating the provision of point-of-care COVID-19 testing to 267 of Tennessee’s Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes. 
  • Deployed a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to Tennessee that can decontaminate up to 80,000 N-95 masks daily. 
  • Coordinated donation of 205 cases (40 vials per case) of Remdesivir, and 630 cases of commercially available Remdesivir, to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Tennessee.  
  • Medical facilities and providers in the State of Tennessee have received over $3 B in COVID-19 related allocations from HHS. This includes more than $2.6 B from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and ensures uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19. 
  • The State of Tennessee and eligible local governments received over $2.6 B from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help address unforeseen financial needs and risks created by the COVID19 public health emergency. 
  • The Small Business Administration has issued over $8.9 B in loans to 99,579 Tennessee small businesses. 
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made 3.4 M Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $5.8 B to hardworking taxpayers of Tennessee. 
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made over $414.9 M in COVID-19 funding available to Tennessee grantees to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens via CARES Act authorizations. 
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided Tennessee agriculture producers with $124.2 M in financial assistance for price declines and additional marketing costs due toCOVID-19. 
  • The U.S. Department of Education provided $237.2 M to support postsecondary education students and institutions of higher education in Tennessee, authorized $63.6 M for the State from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, and $279.9 M to ensure learning continues for all elementary and secondary students. 
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation allocated more than $229.7 M to help the Tennessee public transportation systems and $124 M to help Tennessee airports.

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Council considered and then deferred on second reading, until March 2021, the bill to end life-time health care benefits for metro Council.

by Rod Williams, Sept 16, 2020 - On Tuesday night the council considered  and then deferred on second reading the bill to end life-time health care benefits for metro Council.  This was after earlier in the month getting the bill put back on the agenda after it was taken off of the agenda over the objection of the sponsor (link).  The bill was deferred until March 2021! I am usually OK with a deferral of one meeting or maybe two meetings of anything that is controversial.  People may need more information or they may just need to think about their vote before casting it.  However a six and a half month delay is an outrage.  The deferral vote passed 20-18. Check back. I will be posting the names of those who voted for this unheard of lengthy delay. 

The Council amended the bill so as to exempt from the impact of the bill anyone currently serving.  Those currently serving if reelected and serve a total of eight years would get the current deal.  That current deal is that when they leave office, former council members continue to get the Metro employee health insurance for themselves and family as if they were an employee.  That is, they pay a quarter of the premium and the city pays the rest.  This amendment probably enhances the chance that the bill will pass. 

An amendment by Freddie O'Conner is pending that would not end  the benefit for future Council members but would reduce the benefit to instead of the city paying 75% of the premium and the former Council member paying 25%, the former member would pay 75% of the premium and the city would pay 25%.  While I think the benefit should be abolished outright, if I were serving in the Council and thought that a straight repeal would fail, I would vote for this amendment.  A half loaf is better than none. 

See this link for more on this story, and this link, this link 

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Results of 2020 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of the Homeless

Press release, July 9, 2020 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities across the country to conduct an annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of persons experiencing homelessness who are unsheltered, sleeping in an emergency shelter or transitional housing. The PIT Count is conducted on a single night during the last ten days of January and is led by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) in collaboration with the Metropolitan Homeless Impact Division and the Homelessness Planning Council. 

The 2020 PIT Count for Nashville-Davidson County was conducted on the evening of Jan. 23 and in the early morning hours of Jan. 24. More than 100 volunteers from 27 different agencies and universities took part in this year’s Count. Room In The Inn and Nashville Rescue Mission operated their shelter programs and counted people staying with them during that night. No Metro overflow shelters were opened on the night of the count, and the community’s cold weather plan was not activated.

The 2020 PIT Count found a total of 2,016 individuals experiencing homelessness – 1,432 (71.0%) people living sheltered and 584 (28.9%) people living unsheltered – in Nashville-Davidson County. These results reflect a 15.0% total decrease in overall homelessness since 2016 and a 1.5% increase in the number of people experiencing literal homelessness since 2019 (30 people).

“Nashville’s Point-in-Time Count is a vital resource that helps Metro serve our unsheltered and unhoused neighbors,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Our office will continue to work closely with MDHA and our community partners to serve Nashvillians experiencing homelessness as part of Metro’s ongoing commitment to one of our most vulnerable communities and throughout our city’s coordinated COVID-19 response.” Additional key findings from the 2020 Homeless Count include: 
  • 73% of the adult population experiencing homelessness on the night of the Count were men, compared to 48% of Nashville’s population. 
  • 45% of the adult population experiencing homelessness on the night of the Count were Black or African American, compared to 28% of Nashville’s population. 
  • 82% of unsheltered individuals said that lack of income was their primary barrier to finding housing. Other reasons included health problems, past evictions and legal issues. There was no increase in Veterans identified from 2019 to 2020. 
  • There was a 14% increase in people experiencing chronic homelessness identified from 2019 to 2020.
  • There was a 7% decrease in families with minor children identified from 2019 to 2020. 
  • There was an 11% decrease in unaccompanied youth ages 18-24 identified from 2019-2020. 
  • 41% of unsheltered individuals and 31% of sheltered individuals reported problems with substance abuse. 
  • 38% of unsheltered individuals and 25% of sheltered individuals reported mental health problems. 
  • 22% of unsheltered individuals and 14% of sheltered individuals reported being survivors of domestic violence.
“The annual PIT Count is a reminder of why we do the work we do, and the information we are able to gather allows us to better direct our efforts to reduce homelessness in our city,” said MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison.

“I’m extremely grateful to MDHA staff for their continued work on these efforts, the Metropolitan Homeless Impact Division and the Homelessness Planning Council for their partnership and the volunteers who participate each year.” 

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Nashville gets $10 million in CARES dollars funding to address COVID-19, designated to address homelessness.

Metro press release - Nashville has received a total of $10 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding as part of its CARES dollars to address COVID-19. These funds are designated to addressing homelessness. They are one-time funds and are exponentially higher than the usual annual ESG allocations, which was $450,000 for 2020. 

In addition to the $10 million, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided Nashville with free technical assistance and has assigned Heather Dillashaw of ICF ( as our local consultant to use the COVID-19 allocations to improve our Housing Crisis Resolution System. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) is receiving and managing the grants. 

The first allocations totaling just under $1.5 million were awarded to 14 nonprofit organizations. During the first round of applications, agencies will receive funding for prevention, street outreach and Rapid-Re-Housing programs. The deadline to submit applications for the remaining grant dollars is Friday, September 18. 

The current Request for Applications (RFA) will focus on street outreach and Rapid Re-Housing services. Housing Surge In order to support the efforts to house approximately 400 individuals and families with the Emergency Solutions Grant funds, the community will work collaboratively to increase the available housing inventory through a housing surge. Under the leadership of the Mayor's Office, our community is currently looking for funding that would allow the Atlanta-based nonprofit Open Doors branch out into Nashville. Open Doors has created a centralized landlord engagement and recruitment model that will pair well with the great efforts already in the works in Nashville through countless efforts as well as our Coordinated Entry process. Local nonprofits have voiced their strong support in bringing Open Doors to Nashville to leverage their housing efforts.

Rod's Comment: After spending a career in the field of housing counseling and serving at one time in the Council as co-chair of a committee on homelessness, I continue to have an interest in this area.  I know that if one goes downtown and sees the number of homeless, one may think we have a terrible homeless problem.  Actually,  our problem is not nearly as bad as in many other cities. While homelessness in America has been increasing, homelessness in Nashville has remained flat or slightly decreased

Homelessness is a problem in all cities, but I commend Nashville for the way we have handled this difficult problem. I think we have struck the right balance between humanely caring for the homeless and discouraging homelessness camps and panhandling.  After Nashville elected the self-styled progressive Megan Barry, I feared our period of pragmatically addressing the issue would take a turn toward indulging and tolerating. I was pleasantly surprised when Mayor Barry cleared the homeless camp that had taken over Fort Negly. Mayor Cooper continues the same balanced approach, 

I also think we have struck the right balance between immediate help for the homeless and striving for longer term solutions to the problem of homelessness.  While we need to help people get the long-term care they need and get disability care to which they be entitled and find housing solutions for those who want it, we cannot do all of that at the expense of letting people freeze to death on a cold night. We have to look for long-term solutions and provide immediate help when needed. 

I am kind of stingy with my praise, but I think government entities and non-profits like MDHA, Nashville Rescue Mission, Room in the Inn, Urban Housing Solutions and various others, have done a good job of serving the least among us.  I hope Nashville uses this $10 million dollars wisely, but we have done a lot with a little in the past and I suspect we will with this money also. 

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Monday, September 14, 2020

How Council members voted on life-time health care benefits. They cast a final vote Tuesday, September 15th.

by Rod Williams - Former members of the Metro Council get a benefit that would be the envy of almost every person in America. They get a benefit more lavish than that provided by the State, the Federal government or the largest corporations in America. After serving only eight years in the Council, they get for themselves and their family, Metro-provided health care as long as they live.  They pay the same premium as active employees which is about one-quarter of the premium.  This is "Cadillac" insurance which includes dental care. 

At one time, before term limits, there were not that many ex-council members and this was not that costly of a benefit.  Council members tended to be older when first elected, almost always were reelected and served a very long time.  Now, there is turn over of the full body every eight years. The cost of this benefit for current and former Council members comes to over $800,000 a year and will rise to $1.2 million by 2024.

On August 4th, a bill which would end life-time health care benefits for ex-council members passed first reading. On August 18th the bill was deferred indefinitely at the recommendation of the Personnel, Public Information, and Human Relations Committee over the objection of the sponsor. 

The rules of the Council provide that when this happens that  "the sponsor may submit a written request to the Clerk that the matter be reinstated onto the agenda for the next regular meeting for purposes of requesting override of the indefinite deferral. The matter shall appear on the agenda as the last item prior to adjournment." 

That is what happened. At the September 1st meeting, the Council voted on "Rule 8 Reinstatement Bill BL2020-3872."  It passed by a vote of 20 in favor and 18 opposed.  A vote in favor was a vote to put the bill back on the agenda.  A "no" vote was a vote to kill the bill and keep it off of the agenda.  In other words, those who want to keep this lavish benefit for ex-councilmembers voted "no."  Those who want to end this benefit voted "yes." I have highlighted the names of those in whom I am very disappointed. 

Voting "yes." This is a vote to put the bill back on the agenda, indicating support for ending this benefit. 

Bob Mendes, Burkley Allen, Steve Glover, Zulfat Suara, Kyonzte Tombs, Tonya Hancock, Zach Young, Erin Evans, Bradford, Jeff Syracuse, Jinny Welsch, Tom Cash, Freddie O'Connell, Brandon Taylor, Tom Druffel, Russ Pulley, Courtney Johnston, Robert Nash, John Rutherford, and Angie Henderson. 

Voting "No." This is a vote to keep it off of the agenda, the effect of which is that members votes to keep this benefit. 

Sharon Hurt, Johnathan Hall, Jennifer Gamble, Robert Swope, Shawn Parker, Bret Withers, Nancy VanReece, Larry Hagar, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Kathleen Murphy, Tanaka Vercher, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, Joy Styles, Antoienette Lee, and Dave Rosenberg; 

Abstain (0). To abstain is to push the "abstain" button.  
No one was absent this meeting, but these two members did not vote: Emily Benedict and Gloria Hausser. 

The bill is back on the agenda for the final vote tomorrow night, Tuesday September 15th.  If you wish to let you council member know how you feel about this matter, you can find your council members contract information at this link. 

Bill BL2020-387 
An ordinance amending Section 3.24.010 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws pertaining to health insurance benefits for Members of the Metropolitan Council after they leave office. 

WHEREAS, in 2019, Metro Council members received a $8,100 raise approved in the prior term which was recommended by the Department of Human Resources under the belief to properly compensate Metro Council would help to promote a more diverse and inclusive Council body; and 

WHEREAS, the citizens of Davidson County expect the Council to manage taxpayer money wisely, yet over $800,000 per year is spent on a benefit for Councilmembers that is not offered to other part-time Metro Government Employees; and 

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government spent $837,438 health insurance benefits for both current and former Metro Council Members in 2020. This cost is expected to increase to $1,208,134 by 2024; and 

WHEREAS, July 17, 2020 the Metropolitan Council passed a $1.066 property tax rate increase in the USD ($1.033 in the GSD), constituting the highest increase in the history of Metropolitan Nashville; and WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government is $4.5 billion in debt, with depleted reserves; and 

WHEREAS, in 2014, the Mayor’s Office contracted with an independent consulting company (Deloitte Consulting LLP) to provide data upon which Metro could make decisions about current pay levels. This study revealed that none of Metro Nashville’s peers offer retiree medical coverage to council members. To be consistent with common practice, the study recommended that Metro eliminate lifetime medical coverage for Council Members; and 

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council should remove the lifetime health insurance benefits for Council members after they leave office. 


Section 1. That Section 3.24.010 of the Metropolitan Code is hereby amended by deleting the provisions of subsection C. in their entirety and substituting with the following new provisions: 

“C. Council member participation in the comprehensive health care plan. 

1. Members of the metropolitan council, during their term of office, shall be authorized to participate in the health insurance program under the same terms and conditions as are available for regular Metropolitan Government employees. The benefits and contribution rates shall be equivalent to those benefits and rates paid by Metropolitan Government employees. Each member of council shall have the option of participating in the program by notifying the employee benefit board of their desire to participate in the program at any time during their term of office. 

2. Members of council holding office for less than eight (8) years prior to August 31, 2023 who were participants in the comprehensive health care plan during the time they held office may elect to continue the health care plan, provided they pay the full amount of the premium without any subsidy from the Metropolitan Government. 

3. Members of council satisfying one of the following criteria shall be eligible to continue participation in the comprehensive health care plan at the contribution rate equivalent to those rates paid by Metropolitan Government employees: 
a. Those members of council holding office for eight (8) years or more on or prior to August 31, 2023;
b. Those members of council serving prior to September 1, 2007, that served part of one term and a full consecutive term and were prohibited from serving a third consecutive term pursuant to Section 1.07 of the Metropolitan Charter. 

4. Those members of council serving at least eight (8) years who are not covered by subsection 3 above shall be eligible to continue participation in the comprehensive health care plan under the same terms and conditions as retired Metropolitan Government employees, and at the contribution rates based upon years of service as follows: 
a. The Metropolitan Government shall contribute twenty-five percent of the contribution rate established for medical care benefits for a former member of council that served at least eight (8) but less than fifteen (15) years; 
b. The contribution rate for members of council serving fifteen (15) or more years shall be based upon years of service as provided in Section 3.16.020c.3. of this chapter applicable to retired employees hired after January 1, 2013. 

5. Members of council serving at least (8) years who are otherwise covered by subsection 3 above shall have the option of participating in the comprehensive health care plan at the higher contribution rates set forth in subsection 4 above if they so choose. 

6. Except as provided above, no member of council serving after August 31, 2023, shall be eligible for the subsidized health care plan after leaving office.” 

Section 2. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsor(s) Tonya Hancock, Erin Evans, Freddie O'Connell, Russ Bradford, John Rutherford, Angie Henderson

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Council to vote to accommodate sidewalk café dining. Will Metro protect the dinners?

by Rod Williams - On September 1, the Metro Council passed by voice vote on second reading Substitute Bill BL2020-403 which modified the Metropolitan Code of Laws relative to sidewalk cafes. It allows them to expand into sidewalk right of ways, allows restaurants to convert a part of their parking lot to dining areas and allows the sale of alcoholic beverages at the outside dining areas including public sidewalks.  

I support this and think it needs to pass on third reading.  We need to make reasonable accommodations to allow people to safely carry on with their lives and the economy to function.  However, across the nation sidewalk cafes have become a target of BLM aggression.  Metro needs to commit to provide law and order so customers of sidewalk cafes are not subject the the violence and disruption, seen in these two videos. 

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Lamar Alexander: Likely to be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year


It was good to have Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, testify at the Senate health committee hearing I chaired this week on the importance of vaccines.

by Lamar Alexander - chaired a hearing in the Senate health committee on Tuesday to explore the remarkable progression science is making toward a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as to remind parents to have their children get their childhood vaccinations and encourage as many Americans as possible to get the flu vaccine this fall. I received an update on Operation Warp Speed, which is working around the clock to develop, manufacture, and distribute safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as rapidly as possible. Some people incorrectly believe “warp speed” means cutting corners, but it refers to the extraordinary investment in research, development, and manufacturing scale-up for a COVID-19 vaccine. Perhaps most significantly, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has taken the unprecedented step to help speed up manufacturing for hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines early in the process by buying these doses in advance so they can be ready to distribute as soon as the new vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite the speed with which scientists are developing a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Commissioner of the FDA, said the agency is not skimping on its review of safety and efficacy: “This is going to be a science, medicine, data decision. This is not going to be a political decision,” Dr. Hahn has said.

At the hearing I addressed three questions that Americans have about vaccines: 1. Are they safe; 2. Are they effective; and 3. Is the doctor’s office safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

1. Vaccines are reviewed and approved by the FDA. FDA can either license a vaccine or authorize a vaccine for use during a public health emergency – and the FDA’s stringent approval process is the gold standard for the rest of the world. The vaccines that are routinely given to children are specifically recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an outside group of experts that looks at all available scientific information about each vaccine. Medical associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians work with ACIP to develop these recommendations.

2. Polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. Following introduction of polio vaccines, the number of polio cases fell rapidly to less than 100 in the 1960s and fewer than 10 in the 1970s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thanks to a successful vaccination program, the United States has been polio-free since 1979.

3. The pandemic has made some parents leery of the doctors’ office. For parents who are worried about taking their children to the doctor during the pandemic, AAP says pediatricians are working to ensure their offices are as safe as possible for children to visit. According to the AAP’s Dr. Sean O’Leary, “Medical offices are among the safest places you can be right now given the really extensive measures they’ve taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 both to themselves and their patients. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to go to their doctor.”

Fortunately, thanks to an unprecedented effort by private sector and our government, as well as scientists around the world, there is likely to be a COVID-19 vaccine ready for the most vulnerable citizens by the end of the year and hundreds of millions of doses early in 2021. Some of the challenges apart from developing a vaccine are: how to distribute it, to whom it should go first and how to persuade Americans that it is safe to take.

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American Nativity Scene needs volunteers to put a nativity scene in the state capitol.

From The Thomas Moore Society: 

Can you honor our Lord in a special way this year by bringing the nativity scene to your state capitol? To get a nativity on the state capitol grounds, we need private citizens like you to team up with the American Nativity Scene and the Thomas More Society. 

If you are willing to volunteer this year and express your freedom of speech and freedom of religion we can help you do it right! 

In 2019 we were able to help bring the nativity to a record 27 state capitols, the largest number in our history.  This year there are a few states where we are still lacking volunteers, and your state is one of them. We need you, and folks like you, to help us get nativities in your home state's capitol. 

Our staff are available to offer free legal help for our volunteer applicants and the American Nativity Scene is available to supply a free nativity set to be displayed. All we need is an eager volunteer to help organize an event, build a creche for the Holy Family, and bring them into the public square. 

The American Nativity Scene has an ambitious goal to get a nativity in your state this year, will you help us?

If you'd like to volunteer, or are a part of a group that can volunteer, please contact us by email, to help walk you through the steps of applying for a permit to display a nativity scene on your state's capitol.

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Art Break: The Lions at 10th Avenue South and Bradford Avenue.


These two lions stand guard at the sidewalk entrance to a house on the corner of Bradford Avenue and 10th Avenue South.  Until recently they were white and then they received this wonderful treatment.  I don't know if it is a restoration or a modification.  When white, I thought they were kind of tacky.  Now, I am impressed.  I had never really thought much about them before the new paint job.  I just assumed they were concrete yard art.  They are cast iron.  The eyes seem to glow, but they are not glass.  That is paint. Beautifully done. 

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My Zimbio
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