Monday, January 09, 2023

State House Majority Leader files bill to cut the Metro Council size in half. This bill does not deserve to pass

by Rod Williams, Jan. 9, 2023- House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, and Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, filed a bill today (House bill 48) to cut the Metro Council size in half. Currently, the Council has 41 members composed of 35 district council members and five at-large members, and the Vice Mayor. 

Nashville has one of the largest city councils in the nation. Los Angeles has a city council of 15 members, Miami has a council of only 5 members, Detroit has 9, and Memphis has 13.  However, Chicago has a 50-member city council and New York City has 51 members. It should be kept in mind, however, that most cities have both a city council and a county council or county court.  Nashville's city council represents all of the county.  The reason that Nashville ended up with such a large council is that when the city and the county combined to form a metropolitan form of government, elected officials did not want to lose their seats and voters did not want to feel they were losing representation and both the city council and the county court were large bodies to begin with. 

Over the years there have been several efforts to cut the size of the Council and all have failed. The most recent attempt was in 2015 when Nashville voters rejected a proposal to reduce the size of the council from 40 members to 27.

While the bill to cut the size of the Council does not have the usual flowery "whereas" section explaining why the bill is needed, the sponsors of the bill are presenting this as an efficiency measure, saying a large legislative body can be unruly. I'm not buying it. 

What many suspect is really behind the bill is punishment for Nashville's failure to pursue hosting the Republican Convention for 2024.  Nashville was a finalist and could have probably hosted the convention if the city would have wanted to do so. While the governor was pushing the city to pursue hosting the convention and the Chamber of Commerce was advocating for hosting the convention and the Music City Center wanted the event, the city council voted down a draft agreement to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, taking Nashville out of the competition with Milwaukee, Wisconsin letting Milwaukee have it.

Reportedly, hosting the convention would have netted the city $200 million dollars. I favored Nashville hosting the event, but not without reservations.  I was a young man in 1968, but I remember the Democratic Convention in Chicago of that year. The 2024 RNC convention of 2024 could resemble the Democrat Party Convention of 1968. No one needs that.

With what happened on January 6, 2022, with the radicalization of elements of the Republican Party, with the presents of groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Q-Anon, if Donald Trump fails to win the nomination and claims it was stolen from him, we could see pitched battles in the street with protestors trying to "stop the steal."  On the other hand, if he is nominated we could see leftist "defenders of democracy,'' attacking delegates, rioting, looting, attacking police, fire-bombing; and acting like it is Chicago 1968.  That is probably not going to happen but it is not far-fetched. While, if I was serving on the Metro Council, I would have supported the bid to host the convention, I respect those who would have come to a different conclusion. 

If the bill to cut the size of the Council to 20 members should become law it would wreak havoc on Nashville. We would have our regular Council election in 2023, then another election in 2024. In between, new district lines would have to be drawn and approved. How many members would run in 2023, knowing their district would change and they would have to run again in 2024? Even if it is a good idea to cut the size of the Council, this is not the way to do it.  It needs to be done in an orderly fashion. 

I have often supported the State keeping Metro Nashville on a short leash and occasionally yanking the chain. When Metro Nashville attempts to make Nashville a sanctuary city or impose "inclusionary zoning" on developers or when our district attorney general says he will not enforce laws passed by the State, then I am for the State taking action to remind Nashville, that Nashville is not San Francisco or Portland and Tennessee is not California. This effort to punish Nashville for not voting to host the 2024 RNC convention, however, is just vindictive. This bill does not deserve to pass. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment