Saturday, May 31, 2008
Given Nashville's tear-down and pave-over culture, don't be surprised if the Geist property moves from being endangered to extinct. And it looks like there is nothing those of us with an appreciation of history, but without any power can do about it.
Friday, May 30, 2008
We need to keep an eye on Blue Dog Representative Jim Cooper as this thing unfolds. Blue Dogs would just as soon sell you out in the name of national security as they would represent you. And AT&T is one of Mr. Cooper's most powerful constituents.
The focus was on the impact of the re-districting proposal currently before Metro Nashville Public Schools. Here is the position of SNNA President, Freddie O'Connell on the re-districting proposal:
the best solution in the long run is to couple open enrollment (thereby dismantling the magnet schools but preserving specialized curricula) with community schools (thereby preserving a mechanism for strong neighborhoods to secure schools within walking/biking distance). People can then live wherever they like while having no shortage of choice. This would rely, of course, on a mayor who recognizes that "it's all connected" ensuring that transportation was available to support the choices of parents and students.If this is a NIMBY issue where West Nashville (which elected our sitting mayor) is flexing its muscle to get the poor black kids out of Hillsboro and Hillwood, I find it highly problematic. If, however, it's a community issue where a number of residents on the North End are clamoring for neighborhood schools, then I think there's room at the table for productive discussion, even if the outcome is cynically beneficial to West Nashvillians.Sounds like Salemtown was strongly represented. I happen to believe that Metro ought to earmark the most money for existing schools and new neighborhood schools (including greater teacher incentives) within those areas that are the most integrated economically and ethnically. So, I cannot find fault with much of what Freddie argues.
we now have several new local farmers selling in the farmsheds on Saturday mornings including Barbour and Jewell Farms from Kentucky and Rainbow Hill Farm who has made the leap to sell in both Nashville and Franklin on Saturdays ....
Barbour and Jewell farms will bring The NFM Valued customers the following quality products to the market location this weekend:
-Farm Fresh Asparagus
-Farm Fresh/Pastured Eggs (Partnered Farm)
-Farm Fresh Squash (Partnered Farm)
-Farm Fresh bunch onions
-Antibiotic-Free/Hormone-Free/Preservative-Free Pork Meats
I find myself being invited to meet with a developer. And when I walk into the room, it’s the developer, his assistants and his legal team and his [public relations] team and his architect and his engineer .... And I feel like I’m walking into the Treaty at Appomattox. I’m out there alone and I don’t have the slightest information to respond to their specific desires ....In the same article reporter Nate Rau fails to report that the developer at the center of this controversy is Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors' husband.
The best we can do is to ask one of your staff members to attend. And I will tell you in five years, the absolute … the best guy to have in the trenches there with you to debate, and yes, sometimes argue, is David [Kleinfelter].
He also quotes one of the more pro-development Council Members, Jim Gotto, as saying that raising these issues is inappropriate in a budget hearing. That's the same Jim Gotto who once shirked his obligations to the citizens of Nashville in order to try to influence, by his own admission, the state of Tennessee's immigration policy. The critic whom the City Paper picked has no latitude to lecture about the out-of-place or the misdirected.
Jameson then launched into an attack on the Dean administration, suggesting the new mayor is tilting unfairly toward developers. Dean has appointed a new planning commissioner who is seen by some as too cozy with developers.
To look at the “seas of asphalt and pavement” across Nashville, Jameson said, and “to suggest that the neighborhoods are somehow winning these wars” and then “to take from us one of the few advocates [Planning staffer David Kleinfelter] we have on the planning staff to help us win reasonable negotiated compromises is a real, real setback.”Go, Mike, go. All of our worrying may be wasted on Charlie Tygard if the real threat to neighborhoods is the Mayor's Office. My vote for Dean may not have mattered any more than a vote for Bob Clement would have in the end.
Oh, and by the way, Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors looks to be knee deep in this mess, too, given her position on Council and her marriage to one of the developers that Kleinfelter tangled with and lost to over providing a neighborhood with a sidewalk. Can we hope that she will be embody leadership for the Council that is fair and balanced with respect to neighborhoods when her family profits from pro-development, pro-growth initiatives?
Thursday, May 29, 2008
UPDATE: SNNA Prez says I would have lost that bet; the meeting is about school redistricting.
Harlem (NYC) had its own problems with Memorial Day gunplay. Was this an unusually violent weekend nationwide? Anyone else read any other stories from cities with shootings on or around Memorial Day?
Sounds like an exemplary partnership between an artist who volunteers her professional skills and local community-based organizations on behalf of the neighborhood.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The least inspiring comment on the fate of the fairgrounds came from former council member Ronnie Greer who told a TV reporter that the fair needs to stay so that kids who would otherwise never see a cow can see a cow.
The real question is whether any good can come from pro-growth former council member Buck Dozier being in charge of the stewards of this public property.
Lawrence Jackson to address the
Glencliff Neighborhood AssociationLawrence Jackson, the neighborhood liaison, with Metro Public Work’s Beautification and Environment Commission will be discussing neighborhood issues at the Glencliff Neighborhood Association meeting on Tuesday, June 10th at 7:00pm. The monthly meetings are held at Glencliff High School located on 160 Antioch Pike in the library.Mr. Jackson will outline ways to beautify our community, plan neighborhood cleanups, report and deal with illegal graffiti, dump sites, littering and neglected vacant lots.The Metro Beautification and Environment Commission works to make Nashville clean, safe, and attractive. The commission coordinates the efforts of volunteers, business and community groups, to provide beautification projects, as well as training and educational opportunities for the residents of Nashville.For addition information, please contact:Rhonda Fergus @459-2146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm all ready to go to Green Hills for some factory cheesecake now.
Of course, it is HGI's prerogative to hold their own parties and invite whomever they please, but they seem to have a long way to go to grasp the concept of unsnobbish support for sister organizations in the community. Fine. Don't party with us, but at least lift a finger to back us up when we are trying to leverage positive public safety changes from the state in the North End. Otherwise, the block party snub is just insult to injury.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
[M]ost neighborhoods want to partner with developers, whether of residential or commercial space. In many cases I’m personally familiar with, neighborhoods just want the opportunity to be treated as a stakeholder at the table in order to provide input about what works best for the neighborhood. Too often (again in my personal experience), the developer just wants the shortest, fastest path to buildout, ignoring context and concerns. There’s nothing about neighborhoods that is inherently anti-business, nor does there have to be about a neighborhood-friendly mayor.
- - Freddie O'Connell debunking the assumption that being pro-neighborhood is being anti-business
She relates a perspective of Police Chief Ronal Serpas that characterizes the lack of ambivalent feelings toward him in city neighborhoods:
Mike [Jameson] once declared that Serpas is so popular with the 6th District that the Chief could bite the head off a kitten and everyone would still think he was great.
- 1 Vine Hill
- 31X Harpeth Valley Express
- 13 Sylvan Park
- 37X Tusculum/McMurray Express
- 16 Madison/Old Hickory
- 45X Oak Hill Express 30 McFerrin
- Night Owl service
Monday, May 26, 2008
STATE / INJURED / KILLED / TOTAL CASUALTIES
ALABAMA / 514 / 67 / 581
ARKANSAS / 448 / 59 / 507
FLORIDA / 1384 / 177 / 1561
GEORGIA / 856 / 124 / 980
KENTUCKY / 464 / 63 / 527
LOUISIANA / 582 / 79 / 661
MISSISSIPPI / 276 / 49 / 325
NORTH CAROLINA / 819 / 97 / 916
SOUTH CAROLINA / 384 / 49 / 433
TENNESSEE / 574 / 84 / 658
TEXAS / 2891 / 386 / 3277
VIRGINIA / 706 / 117 / 823
WEST VIRGINIA / 214 / 22 / 236
One of our neighborhood teens (whom I've never had the slightest cross feeling toward) got into an argument last night with a passing ice cream truck driver. As the ugly white van with faded multi-colored decals drove off around a corner someone stuck a handgun out of the vehicle's window and fired shots into the air, sending kids running. As far as we know, no one was injured.
Don't patronize those ice cream vans, unless you want bullets over Breyers.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
They export toxic toys to the children of the world for profit. Why should we be surprised to find out that they largely fail to protect the least of their own against natural disasters?
The earthquake’s destruction of Xinjian Primary School was swift and complete. Hundreds of children were crushed as the floors collapsed in a deluge of falling bricks and concrete .... another local primary school, Beijie, catering to children of the elite, was in such good condition that local officials were using it as a refugee center.
"This is not a natural disaster," said Ren Yongchang, whose 9-year-old son died inside the destroyed school. His hands were covered in plaster dust as he stood beside the rubble, shouting and weeping as he grabbed the exposed steel rebar of a broken concrete column. "This is not good steel. It doesn’t meet standards. They stole our children."
Tragically, sometimes it takes a disaster to melt hard hearts and mobilize people to regulate business as usual. That doesn't justify the death of even one innocent child, but it is brutal reality.
And it sounds like China has its own version of the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind:
Xinjian was poorly built when it opened its doors in 1992 ... and never got its share of government funds for reconstruction because of its low ranking in the local education bureaucracy and the low social status of its students.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
According to the 12South list serv, one of the other teens attending the party told the Tennessean:
He called his wife [on his cell phone], and she pulled up in front of the house and gave him a big silver gun .... He just opened fire on all of us, and we scattered.Police ask anyone seeing Anton Rucker or knowing his whereabouts to contact them at 862-8600 or Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Now, the rest of ya'll go buy some dogs underneath the Summer Street Lofts! They have a mortgage to meet.
The following letter joins the half dozen I've already sent her in the past 9 months (click on image to enlarge):
Germantown officers have been told that changes are coming next fall, but I have not been able to get Senator Harper's office to confirm that, and I have not a clue as to why the G-town leadership should take that information on its face given that no commitment made so far has been honored by the state.
I've already dealt with the Mayor's tame, no-brainer defense that schools and crime are neighborhood issues. That's self-evident. I don't see any boldness in the Dean Administration for balancing development and community. For every action the Mayor's Office takes to make schools better and to prevent crime, untrammeled development growth threatens to undermine those priorities.
I do acknowledge that one of the brighter spots has been MOON Director Brady Banks, whom I've seen at a number of community meetings. We still need to see a more comprehensive policy on balancing growth and infrastructure rather than Karl Dean's practice of dealing with development on a case-by-case basis, which is exactly the way the developers whom I talk to want it.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Are we seeing TDOT's future in present Pennsylvania?
Meanwhile, Native Americans maintain that, by cutting across their sacred sites, the border wall is a violation of their rights under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
After backing his former rival for the Democratic nomination, by week's end Edwards was a dominant or significant figure in 10% of the campaign coverage, according to PEJ's Campaign Coverage Index for May 12-18. That is more coverage than the former senator managed to attract in three of the four weeks in January when he was still a candidate -- and more than he got the week he dropped out.
And in embracing Obama less than 24 hours after Clinton's big win in West Virginia, Edwards diverted media attention away from a discussion of renewed Clinton momentum and helped refocused the narrative on Obama's apparent inevitability.
In doing so, Edwards also helped Obama win the race for exposure last week. Overall, Obama was a significant or dominant newsmaker in 68% of the campaign coverage, well ahead of Clinton, who finished at 53%. And their coverage was very different. Despite her 41-point win in West Virginia, her narrative included considerable speculation about how long she would stay in the race and whether she might end up as Obama's vice president.
Police Chief Ronal Serpas will be the guest speaker at the NAACP General Membership meeting Thursday, May 22th, 6pm Hadley Park Community Center. He will discuss the war on crime in the Nashville Metropolitan Community. Seating is limited. RSVP 329-0999 or RSVP email@example.com. The NAACP along with Council member Erica Gilmore would like for you to join us this Thursday.
This morning NES crews dismantled the short-lived street light, and they told me that the developers had requested it.
What are we to make of this? Either that Taurus McCain and Steve Yokley are not developers of their word or that the party house at Schöne Ansicht needs more cover of darkness to piss and to brawl in. Schöne Ansicht residents are now stuck with a naked, lightless pole that sits in the middle of the culvert where stormwater run-off is supposed to flow.
UPDATE: Developer Steve Yokley says that I jumped to a premature conclusion in the comments below. I talked with Mr. Yokley in person this evening about the same issues, which confirms that the comment below is his.
“I’d have to know more details about the story,” Mr. Hobbs said of whether he would have used Mr. Pope in the video had he known of the connection.Translation: "I'd have to know more details about the story so that I can contain the damage I caused to TNGOP with more spin."
While overall crime in Nashville dropped for the fourth year in a row last year, statistics show robberies increased 3.3 percent. And in the Central Precinct, which encompasses most of the area within the Interstate 40 loop, street robbery has jumped 45.8 percent from last year. Aggravated assaults and burglaries are both down year-to-date.
Monday, May 19, 2008
But the high demand for mass transit also includes some of the haute couture crowd to the south:
Even the beautiful people of South Beach aren't immune: models Carmen Cordoba and Andree Baeza said they ride the bus about five times a day to reach shoots. An increase of $12.50 a week, they said, would hit them hard.
Baeza said transit riders were easy targets for politicians.
"The ones who vote," he said, "are the ones with cars."
She also replied at Progressive Nashville to their proposal for funding mass transit (for more context and PN perspective see Jim Grinstead's comment below), and she divulged a piece of information that I think is much more interesting in further demythologizing the "tax-free" nirvana that the anti-tax mob sees in Spring Hill, TN. She writes:
using water and sewer rates to pay for [general fund services] is a violation of state law and possibly the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Spring Hill TN has been directed by state auditors to return $3 million from the water and sewer fund to the general fund.We know all about those high-minded claims of "no property taxes in growing Spring Hill!" And it was plain to some that past the pep rally, Spring Hill was using fees and state grants to create the illusion that public services were free. Now it is clear that city fathers (and mothers if there are any) weren't above doing some illegal things in the name of avoiding raising property taxes.
I don't see how the Tennessee Tax Revolt can keep promoting this fallen suburban poster child in their war against urbanism and the delivery of public services. They're going to have to look somewhere else for heaven.
UPDATE: As if on cue, the Tuesday morning Tennessean has more on Spring Hill's imploding budget. Looks like no room to cut services:
Spring Hill officials will have to make a decision soon on the property tax. They have been putting together budgets that include and leave out that tax, said Mayor Danny Leverette.
"My personal take is that the with the economic situation the way it is, the sales tax is not going to be enough as far as everyday operating expenses," he said.
Leverette does not want to resort to layoffs, the avenue some governments have traveled. Metro Nashville, for instance, will lay off 200 city employees.
"We could have to cut back our services, which are bare-bones right now," he said. "We are also looking at increasing water and sewer rates, other permits and regulatory fees."
It seems to me that, by doing so, she would have would have accomplished two things: she would have jumped Obama's claim to be the party uniter and she would have endeared herself to voters for a 2012 run by choosing the nobler course. The media would have been flabbergasted and they would have talked about it for weeks. It also would have broken the conventional wisdom that Dems don't value loyalty.
It would have been the perfect climax to the campaign season. I don't think she can come out any better by continuing her campaign. She blew her golden opportunity.
Beside those reasons, Metro Water fees are already funding other people's priorities, like Phil Bredesen's commitment to service the debt of Bud Adams' pro football stadium. That's one league that Metro Transit does not need to join for the sake of their own reputation. Add to that the fact that Metro Council is probably going to pass a bill that spreads high business connection fees out over a 36-month interest free payment period (which decreases short-term revenue) to give small business owners relief, and there is not much room to help Metro Transit without extending the decade of Metro Water's hurt.
The reality of the situation is that Metro Water revenues have remained flat for years while they cut their budgets, and neighborhoods are seeing the results in MWS's inability to solve stormwater run-off problems quickly. And as water revenues continue to go elsewhere the backlog of crumbling infrastructure will mount as it gets older and buying power shrinks. So, Metro Transit should not look to MWS funds, and we should persuade Mayor Dean to take the 2006 property tax referendum to trial and get it overturned by a more enlightened court of law. We should be paying Metro Transit through higher taxes or bus fare increases (not excepting fare relief for poorer riders), rather than through Metro Water fees.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
This is akin to the time in construction when a Schöne Ansicht developer wrote me an e-mail assuring me that stormwater run-off on the development would be channeled to the storm sewer. Consequently, I spoke up for the developer in a Salemtown Neighbors meeting when the issue came up only to be rebuffed by neighbors who told me that the developer was lying. Later, of course, I found out that indeed what he wrote me was not true and that he was channelling water via the surface to a tank and to the alley. Is the place just cursed with people who make bad decisions and won't own up to them?
Well, I bought Mr. Ridley's apology without question only to find out that he was not being entirely above board on the issue of his late-night party habits. And I wrote a good will post only to have it come back up and bite me now. So, I'm back to a deeper shade of jade about Schöne Ansicht, and the latest word on the street is that the developers have shown no support for a community meeting with the other members of the Schöne Ansicht homeowners association on the subject of late-night parties. No surprise there. They've never bothered to listen to anyone remotely connected to an association.
So go to Texas for the wrong reasons or stay in Tennessee for the right ones. It's the practitioner's choice.
with providers choking on malpractice costs and consumers demanding action against medical errors, a handful of prominent academic medical centers, like Johns Hopkins and Stanford, are trying a disarming approach.
By promptly disclosing medical errors and offering earnest apologies and fair compensation, they hope to restore integrity to dealings with patients, make it easier to learn from mistakes and dilute anger that often fuels lawsuits.
Malpractice lawyers say that what often transforms a reasonable patient into an indignant plaintiff is less an error than its concealment, and the victim’s concern that it will happen again.
Despite some projections that disclosure would prompt a flood of lawsuits, hospitals are reporting decreases in their caseloads and savings in legal costs.
The membership of such task force should be representative of the community as a whole, including the following: Neighborhood representatives from various areas of Nashville and Davidson County, both urban and suburbanThat's the way it should have been from the beginning.
Council Member Reports Elimination of Program that Tied Department Budgets to their Customer Service
The more troubling news on Ms. Evans' blog is the elimination of a performance management program that tied department budget allocations to how well they served their customers. So, what exactly will budgets be tied to in the future? And how are department heads going to be held accountable? For instance, if the Parks Department fails to fulfill their promise to have Morgan Park's full playground installed by this summer, then how does the community hold them accountable without some customer service criteria? What may sound like a good idea from a bureaucratic perspective does not seem to bode well for neighborhoods.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I guess the city’s progressive bloggers are taking the afternoon off.
- - Nashville City Paper editor Clint Brewer speculating on why local bloggers ignored his publication's story on Metro Schools blending education and religion
Yes, I was taking the afternoon off WORKING MY FRACKIN' JOB (which has nothing to do with blogging) so that I could pay the bills.
This jab at bloggers looks like the flip side of the mainstream media's presumptive disdain for people whom they think sit around in their pajamas all day and try to copy what they do themselves. So, if they're not writing about the City Paper's stories, then bloggers must be taking the day off because God knows, we're not doing anything else. It's another example of how the press doesn't get it.
But it's really not that hard to comprehend: you, Mr. Editor, get paid to blog and to write and I don't. I fulfill the aphorism of someone who would write even if not paid for it because I enjoy it so much. It's cheap bombast when journalists say that they love their jobs so much they would report without pay because, well, they are getting paid when they say it. But I write literally without pay, and when Google Adsense does send me a check every 4 to 6 months, I turn around and give it away to local non-profits. Each workday morning I wake up early before my children rouse and I do some research and writing, and then I try to do some more writing in the interstices of my domesticated evening life while more than a few reporters are putting night caps on their happy hours du jour.
So, I'm sorry that I missed your story that was right up most progressive alleys, but I've been forced to live with the mainstream media's abject neglect of many newsworthy stories written by unpaid writers that I thought should have reached a wide audience. So, just suck it up and deal with the lack of attention (or better yet, work on having better relations with bloggers and a user-friendly website).
In the meantime, I'll tell you what: I'll trade your blending-school-and-religion story for my blending-Council-discretionary-funds-with-religion analysis (which you ignored at the time). My article on religion was just as significant as yours. What were you doing when it was published? Taking the afternoon off?
If Laura Bush were currently in Michelle Obama's place, I have no doubt that TNGOP would pull a press release out of its sphincter that accused the former librarian of giving kids pornography and of teaching domestic terrorists how to build bombs to blow those kids up. And Bill Hobbs would be encouraging Tennesseans to burn books to observe her visit.
That's TNGOP for you. They hate us for our freedom.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
It's further evidence that listening to right-wing radio only dumbs down your intelligence. The blowhard bases his history on "Pathway to 9/11," which producers conceded was a fictionalized account (you had to know that the vast right-wing media machine was going to spin it into truth).
Compare right-wing talk radio ignorance to a progressive grasp (in 2006) of Neville Chamberlain, who looks more like he would have been right at home in the Bush Administration:
Yep, Bush looks a lot like Chamberlain for demonizing Barack Obama in the same way that Chamberlain attacked Winston Churchill as an internal enemy for criticizing British foreign policy.
And yet, how much more audacious is it for George Bush to stand on foreign soil, link a loyal American and honorable Senator to Nazi appeasers, and then take cover behind the right-wing media machine which would not know the history of war from a hole in the head? Joe Biden had the spot-on analysis of the backstabbing tactic: "That is bullshit."
In this week's hard copy, Woods eloborates in exhaustive detail what Dean's only real options are (I'll take what's behind door #2, Monte, and let the Tennessee Tax Revolt go to hell both for the saddle they strapped on Nashville in 2006 and for their damned silence now on adequate solutions to our pending budget crisis). His conclusion is ominous:
Just about everyone familiar with the city's finances figures a tax hike will be needed next year to avoid some serious slashing of spending ....
Dean did say during last year's election campaign that he wouldn't raise taxes as mayor. But breaking that promise is inevitable. With the kinds of comments he's making, he'll eventually damage his credibility with voters, and he's going to need it. When the time for the tax increase arrives, he'll have to mount a big campaign to persuade the public that the city needs more money. Then, how's he going to explain away all those times he said the government could manage its way out of trouble?
Dean’s ﬁrst budget cuts haven’t caused much anguish. Likely few, if any, of the workers targeted for layoffs will wind up on the street; almost all of them will ﬁll vacant positions elsewhere in the government. The transit authority is probably going to cut bus routes and raise fares, and public works won’t make quite as many trips into your neighborhood to chop up your fallen tree limbs. Otherwise, the public won’t much notice.
But the mayor is fooling himself—and the public—if he thinks this budget year is as hard as it’s going to get. This is the easy part.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The same study found lower numbers on media favorability (40%) and on business corporation favorability (47%). Local government seems to be the most highly regarded hall of power around the country. Most everyone else is sucking in the approval department.
Now they owe John Edwards himself thanks for taking any populist steam left from yesterday's Clinton victory out of her wide West Virginia margin. Not only will Edwards' delegates now likely all vote for Obama, but the only true populist who ran for President this year endorses Barack Obama tonight. That's a timely boost.
What started in Indiana as a shift away from Clinton is now momentum chugging fully toward Obama, who will clearly be the next Democratic nominee for President, soon and well before the convention.
Okay, so Karl Dean never rendered a legal decision during the two-to-three month period that this bill was bouncing between Metro Council and the Planning Commission, but why not if it could have potentially lead to where we are now: a DOJ investigation? Buzzers and red lights didn't start going off in Metro Legal at November 2006 first reading? It is common knowledge that bills that get to third reading generally pass, so why would Metro lawyers wait until February 2007's third reading to speak up when they could have started in November 2006? Why was Karl Dean MIA on this bill?
Dean mayoral spokesperson Janel Lacy said Tuesday Dean never rendered a legal opinion on the rezoning measure during its first two readings while Dean was still law director ....
In addition, former Mayor Bill Purcell did not veto the bill, but he did return it to the Metro Clerk unsigned.
And why does Mr. Rau seem to suggest that returning the bill back to the Metro Clerk unsigned represented anything but abdication to flawed logic? Returning it unsigned does not let the Mayor's Office off the hook, because a refusal to sign insured that the bill would become law without Bill Purcell's signature. That is not absolution. You can bet that if Mayor Purcell had simply returned the Council's news rack regulation bill with no signature rather than vetoing it later in 2007, then the Nashville City Paper would have explicitly pointed out the Mayor's failure at the time.
If the City Paper wants credit for some amazing investigative journalism on the DOJ investigation (beyond the lame claim that they were the "first" to the story), they are going to have to do more than the Mayor's Office's bidding.
I mean, get serious. Watchdogging Metro Council is not that hard. Watchdogging a popular Mayor in a strong executive government is.
Wikileaks has received copyright infringement claims from organizations including the Church of Scientology's Religious Technology Center ... and the Chinese government attempts to censor every website with the word "wikileaks" in the web page address.The Mormons are free to keep all the secrets they want, but their lack of transparency about indoctrination makes them look cultish (in the bad sense) rather than mainstream.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
So, what? We wait for the winds to change rather than locating a star to steer by?
Dean congratulated Maplewood High, arguably Tennessee's worst school academically, for losing the state championship football game. (The Panthers "outplayed all but one other class 4A football team in the state last year," Dean gushed.) And he recognized a couple of cops for fixing a family's flat tire last Thanksgiving. We're not making this up.
There was nothing in the speech about the central issue confronting Dean's administration: how hard it will be for Metro to raise enough revenue to provide the same level of services in the future because of the 2006 charter amendment that requires public approval of property tax rate increases. In fact, Dean pretended it'll only take "smart fiscal management" to overcome these little pesky money problems we're facing now.
"Although times are tight," the mayor said, "we know that will not always be the case." That's reassuring.
UPDATE: Compare to the Nashville City Paper's pander piece on the speech. It reads like it was written by Janel Lacy.
I think that he's saying that God hates us for our freedom; or maybe that God just hates the illegal immigrants.
The religious imagery was much more rich than typically portrayed on TV. The mix of machine and living tissue on the ships of the Cylon battle fleet conveys incarnation in its most ambiguous sense. The scene where one of the dying Cylon
That BG writers called this episode "Faith" fits. Faith isn't an unadulterated certainty, but incarnated, which means that it is both the windshield and the bug: it is often crushed but unbowed, and it beyond on the petty, arbitrary fickleness of the everyday to matters of life and death. Faith, both the episode and the existence, is finally about life and death. And according to the hybrid, Starbuck is the "harbinger of death." When we find out what that means I doubt it will be either absolutely bad or absolutely good, because faith inevitably comes mingled in both.
Otherwise, it sounds like a good confab. Here's the schedule of events, and for now I'll just let go of a tempting jeremiad about inviting at-Large CM Jerry Maynard to speak on a panel entitled "Government As An Agent for the Common Good." It might be worth a look-see.
RESOLUTION NO. __________________
A resolution requesting the Vice Mayor to appoint a task force to study the Metropolitan Government’s existing sign ordinance and to make recommendations to the Council regarding appropriate modifications to the sign ordinance.
WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government sign ordinance, codified as Chapter 17.32 of the Metropolitan Code, has remained largely unchanged since its adoption in 1992; and
WHEREAS, technology in the sign industry has evolved in the last 15 years, specifically as it relates to electronic signs; and
WHEREAS, the existing sign ordinance contains ambiguity as to whether certain sign technology is permitted in Nashville and Davidson County; and
WHEREAS, the Council is cognizant of the fact that signs can have a serious impact on the use and enjoyment of residential property and the overall aesthetic appearance of the city; and
WHEREAS, the Council recognizes that certain modifications may need to be made to the Metro sign ordinance to reflect the technological advancements in the sign industry, but desires input from interested stakeholders as to what modifications are in the best interest of the city as a whole; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that a task force be appointed to make recommendations to the Council regarding appropriate amendments to the sign ordinance.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:
Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as requesting the Vice Mayor to appoint a task force to study the Metropolitan Government’s existing sign ordinance and to make recommendations to the Council regarding appropriate modifications to the sign ordinance. The membership of such task force should be representative of the community as a whole, including the following:
Neighborhood representatives from various areas of Nashville and Davidson County, both urban and suburban
Representative(s) from the business community
Representative(s) from the sign industry
Representative(s) from the Planning Department
Representative(s) from the Department of Codes Administration
The task force should make its recommendation back to the full Council upon the completion of its work.
Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors.
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.
Members of Council
In her latest installment of informative posts on the mysteries of the Metro budget, District 23 CM Emily Evans breaks down the Hospital Authority and Social Services. Given the latter's long term hiatus in Salemtown's Fehr School Building and the long lines we've seen of people waiting for utility bill assistance, CM Evan's criticism is noteworthy:
In 2004 an audit was conducted that said Social Services should become a planning and coordination organization and get out of the direct services business. [Director Gerri] Robinson was hired after that audit was done presumably to implement its recommendations. Social Services did much of what was recommended and then stopped. So, while the audit recommends a head count of 35, there are still 98 employees. The balance of employees are resisting efforts to further decrease the employee count. While they would likely find jobs with outside vendors charged with providing the same services, they may not have the same salary and benefits.It is hard enough scraping up enough money to fund public services, and to have the officials who are charged with oversight systematically undermine those services as Ms. Robinson has for her own personal agenda is wrong. Her actions only hurt the Nashvillians that the beleaguered program is designed to help. If her budget gets slashed in the future it won't be the fault of callous conservatives. It will be a self-inflicted wound.
To balance her budget Ms Robinson decided not to cut any positions even though she has more employees than she should and instead decided to eliminate a summer camp voucher program for needy kids. Yes, that is what I said. I thought it was a poor decision and reflected a certain like of sensitivity to other Metro employees who are experiencing demotions, lay-offs and transfers.
Monday, May 12, 2008
In related news, it looks like the Schöne Ansicht homeowners association is planning a meeting to come to some understanding on party rules and on the misuse of common areas and other people's property. That's good news considering last weekend's party seemed more like a Vanderbilt frat house bender than a party for grown-ups.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Metro Police were called and they showed up on two occasions and basically did not seem motivated to some to discourage the extracurricular activities that basically constituted violations like trespassing and indecent exposure. Neighbors told me that one police officer excused the late night capers as a Meharry Medical graduation party, which required no police action. Sounds like those old tapes are playing again.
UPDATE: 510 Hume St. owner strives to make amends.
Today I went out to MetroCenter to check out progress on Metro's project to connect Downtown and the Cumberland River Levee greenway. I was surprised to find that I could walk a good distance from the I-65 bridge to a point between Nashville Island and the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant on new asphalt. It's exciting to think that one day soon Nashvillians will be able to start at Downtown and walk, jog, or bike all the way to Clarksville Highway on a picturesque riverside greenway.
As they lose their homes, people are turning to these humble cinderblock and sheet-metal boxes to store their stuff. But some people cannot keep up with their storage bills any better than they could handle their mortgage payments, and storage companies are auctioning off their property for a pittance.It's almost as if the good Samaritan found someone along the road and--instead of dressing his wounds and finding a place for him to stay--dressed his wounds and sold him into slavery while charging him interest for dressing his wounds.
A cottage industry has developed to profit from these lost and abandoned items.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Metro Planning official David Kleinfelter was at the SNNA meeting, and he later wrote Salemtown leaders the following answer to the building height question:
The issue came up at the community meeting about whether the changes to the Germantown DNDP were going to allow 6-story buildings along Hume Street. As best I can tell, that is NOT happening. Here is a link to the amendment to the DNDP, which was adopted by the Commission at its last meeting: Germantown_DNDP_Amendment_03_23_08.pdfI'm sure that a number of Salemtown residents are relieved by this news. It would not have helped relations between the two associations if the height restrictions between the two neighborhoods had been relaxed, especially since Historic Germantown, Inc. leaders had assured SNNA leaders some time ago that there were no such plans in the overlay proposal.
The end of Amendment 5, which is at the top of page 4, seems to indicate that within the "Neighborhood Urban" policy areas that aren't otherwise identified, new buildings are to be from 1-3 stories tall.
I can't even imagine New York without groceries in walkable neighborhoods.
A continuing decline in the number of neighborhood supermarkets has made it harder for millions of New Yorkers to find fresh and affordable food within walking distance of their homes, according to a recent city study. The dearth of nearby supermarkets is most severe in minority and poor neighborhoods already beset by obesity, diabetes and heart disease ....
In some cases, the old storefronts have been converted to drug stores that stand to make money coming and going — first selling processed foods and sodas, then selling medicines for illnesses that could have been prevented by a better diet.
The rumor I've heard is that the "street party" [on 6th Avenue, North] last weekend was a makeshift memorial for the guy who was shot and killed at that "Firm" night club [near the Gulch] (they say he had shot someone but that person didn't die, so him being shot was a retaliation). Allegedly he was a blood and lived on 6th. His funeral was earlier today at the funeral home at Monroe and 8th [Germantown] where it was reported that everyone there was also in red. I've heard that the police were at the funeral and I've already noticed increased patrols, myself. Sounds like they have a handle on this.
Last year organizers saw a 50% increase in people attending Oktoberfest from the previous year (20,000 to 30,000). So, why fix a brand that ain't broken? Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?
UPDATE: I received the following e-mail from G-town's John Horton:
Please verify your information before publishing. For example, Church of the Assumption and Monroe Street United Methodist are preparing for Oktoberfest 2008 just as they did every year before HGN joined their partnership. Your statement as to why HGN withdrew from the partnership is incorrect and inflammatory. Please be more diligent and publish accurate information or clearly state the information is your opinion based upon rumor.In my opinion, blogging is a way to verify information by publishing. If I say something at a community meeting that is not exactly correct, someone else can stand up and say, "That's not exactly correct. I have first hand information to the contrary." Writing information that I hear coming from Germantown is not that much different than speaking it. I'm communicating a perception of what is going on that exists. I'm not a journalist nor do I publish this blog under the auspices of professional (a.k.a., "salaried") news reporting. So, in essence most of what I write is interpretative and editorial (except for that publicity in the past that Oktoberfest leaders wrote and asked me to post on the blog, which I did with no fees and with no material gain for myself).
But by allowing comments and adapting my posts based on comments, Enclave is an expression of open social fact-checking, which is more than you'll get from the paid press. Writing here is not static but communicative, and hence, it is everchanging as various perceptions of the truth come in. It is intersubjective.
I was communicating my disappointment based on what I recently heard (which pretty much concedes subjectivity, which may or may not be the same as "rumor," depending on what is meant by "rumor"), open to the possibility that maybe there is a misperception out there. But now I throw it back to Germantown neighborhood and church leaders working on Oktoberfest and the Germantown Street Fest: if there are misperceptions of what is going on out there, then have you adequately communicated your products to the neighborhood?
So, now a Germantown leader gets his view published here because it serves communication. However, it is still clear to me that Oktoberfest looks divided and like a shadow of the strong thing that it was (or maybe I should write "that it seemed," since the perception of strength may have only been a rumor that I should have checked rather than communicated).
Friday, May 09, 2008
Might Metro Nashville have a case against the U.S. Government for coercing special rights for religious organizations that secular organizations do not enjoy?
Section (a) of RLUIPA provides:
(1) No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government can demonstrate that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly or institution
((A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
((B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
((2) Scope of Application. This subsection applies in any case in which--
((A) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
((B) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
((C) the substantial burden is imposed in the implementation of a land use regulation or system of land use regulations, under which a government makes, or has in place formal or informal procedures or practices that permit the government to make, individualized assessments of the proposed uses for the property involved.
Currently being litigated is the conflict RLUIPA presents relating to municipalities' zoning and regulating rights. Through RLUIPA, Congress has expanded religious accommodations to a point where it appears to restrict municipalities' zoning power. Arguably, RLUIPA gives religious landowners a special right to challenge land use laws which their secular neighbors do not have. Even if a zoning law is void of discrimination Congress would have strict scrutiny apply to the city's regulation.
For starters, here is the time line of Rip Ryman's original ordinance:
- The offending bill was introduced and it passed first reading in November 2006.
- It went to Metro Planning for conideration, and the Planning Commission disapproved it in December 2006.
- It passed second reading in January 2007, which meant it had been through some committees.
- Karl Dean resigned as Metro Legal Director in January 2007 and started running for Mayor.
- In Feburary 2007, the bill was approved by Metro Council on final reading, but the Mayor returned it unsigned, which meant that it would become law a few days after it crossed his desk.
Whipping up on the cat herd is easy, because they practically hand you the proverbial sticks with which to flog them. But I believe that the media should be asking harder questions of our strong executives. Questions like: in the two month period between CM Ryman's introduction and Mr. Dean's resignation, what did Metro Legal do to try and stop the bill? Why did Mayor Purcell fail to veto the bill (he vetoed English Only during the same month and newsrack regulation later in 2007) if there was the slightest chance that Metro would be accused of violating federal law? What's the justification for returning unsigned? Does Mr. Dean share any responsibility for having failed to detect and to advise on the possibility that a Justice Department investigation could have resulted? Did Mr. Dean advise Mayor Purcell to veto before he left?
Thursday, May 08, 2008
On the one hand, with recovery facilities, homeless shelters, and social services packed into urban neighborhoods where I have lived, it is hard for me to have sympathy for burden-free rural residents who are NIMBY about bearing some of the load for rehabilitation services. On the other hand, since when does the Bush Justice Department have any credibility on enforcing the law of the land, given that they are selective enforcers? On still another hand, a law suit involving fair housing could cost Metro a bundle and Nashville has no bundles. On the other of another hand, it was embarrassing to listen to CM Jerry Maynard on Tuesday night give a sermonette on his parochial Bible from what is supposed to be his neutral and broadly representative position on the council in order to defend Metro Legal's attempts to placate the Bush Justice Department.
Geez. I don't know which way to fall on this one. There is no good position.
At-large Council members Megan Barry and Charlie Tygard will propose a resolution for the May 20 Council meeting asking Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors to appoint a task force to study and modify Metro’s 16-year-old sign ordinance ....
Tygard has vowed to modify the bill to limit its scope and to work with Barry on a compromise as to when and where LED signs should be allowed. It’s all but certain LED signs won’t come into residential areas once Tygard’s bill is amended.
NPP has a page for calculating costs to towns and cities:
Taxpayers in Nashville, Tennessee will pay $838.9 million for total Iraq war spending approved to date. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:
- 175,099 People with Health Care for One Year OR
- 621,137 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
- 23,303 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
- 15,699 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
- 149,218 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
- 65 New Elementary Schools OR
- 8,724 Affordable Housing Units OR
- 293,209 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
- 116,531 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
- 16,837 Elementary School Teachers for One Year