- The resolution authorizing the $1.3 million federal "pass-through" grant to extend the Cumberland River Greenway from Metro Center through the North End passed easily. Looks like planned Riverfront Re-development begins with us. Now it's time for Metro Water to convert their front fence-line on 3rd Avenue to walled greenspace. That ought to be our next lobbying effort here.
- Almost all of the infrastructure funding of non-profits passed without any discussion whatsoever. A late addition was Charlie Tygard's Bellevue Exchange Club Foundation Funding that that the Finance Department held up after December passage because of Tygard's position as Treasurer of the club. Eric Crafton agreed to sponsor the bill on Mr. Tygard's behalf and shepherded it through tonight. The real fun started when Ludye Wallace rose after passage and commended Tygard (for basically doing the right thing, which should not be commended) and Crafton. Ludye also criticized some unnamed Metro employees whom he called "mean-spirited" in their attempts to stifle Mr. Tygard. While I assumed that he was referring to Finance Director David Manning (who also did the right thing and who should not be commended for doing what is right), I was struck by the fact that Ludye compared a mean-spirit to the "good intentions" of Tygard, who once referred to the new Public Square as a "monument to government," and to those of Crafton, who called all Metro attempts--including those involving health and safety--to help non-English speakers "a crutch." There's probably enough mean-spirit to go around.
- The BILL THAT WOULD NOT DIE OR PASS was deferred yet again. While the current form of the bill was introduced last May, I first blogged on an earlier form two years ago, at which time it was up for the second of three readings! One council member admitted that he had just got around to looking the planning map of affected streets in his district and had just decided to oppose it. Will this never end?
- Ludye Wallace tried to introduce a memorializing (non-binding) resolution supporting Governor Bredesen's proposal for raising cigarette taxes. Several of Ludye's fellows opposed it. Eric Crafton's opposition was perhaps the most salient: the cigarette tax would go for education, even though the state's public school funding formula short-changes Metro schools. The grandstanding opposition awards go to Jim Gotto and newly elected member, Robert Duvall. Mr. Gotto, who once signed the Tennessee Tax Revolt's no-new-tax pledge and later voted to increase Metro taxes, said that many of his constituents oppose any tax increases. I was thrown by why he felt the need to go on record against Ludye's memorializing resolution when he argued back on January 16 that memorializing resolutions don't do anything and "weren't worth the paper they are written on." So why waste time opposing that which is worthless? I do not know whether Mr. Duvall ever signed a TTR no-new-tax pledge, but he all but embraced one, by telling the Council in no uncertain terms that he would never, ever vote for any kind of tax increase. We'll see how that grandstand holds up come summer budget time. Ludye's motion died a quick death, garnering only 3 votes.
UPDATE: I did miss this thoroughly symbolic one, which the Tennessean caught (see? You cannot sneak immigrants past journalists). I guess it got by me when I was putting the little one to bed. I'll be interested to see what the roll call vote results are.