Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Indefinitely Deferred: Brakes Put on Passage of Car Wash Exemption Bill

Car Wash Exemption co-sponsor, Charlie Tygard, moved for indefinite deferral tonight of the controversial resolution that would allow new car wash developers to build without consideration of neighborhoods or the council member representing the district. Mr. Tygard said that he wants more time before 3rd and final reading to meet with the Nashville Neighborhood Alliance and with neighborhood association leaders about their opposition to the bill.

Exemption opponent John Summers attempted to table the Car Wash Exemption Bill altogether after Mr. Tygard moved to defer it. "Tabling" or "laying on the table" allows members to stop consideration of a bill without debating it.* The Chair declared Summers out-of-order, because the motion was to defer, not to vote on the bill. In an unexpected twist, exemption proponent Harold White immediately moved to table Mr. Tygard's deferral of the resolution. Council members defeated Mr. White's motion to table, 15-20. Then they approved Mr. Tygard's deferral by voice vote.

It appears that all of the neighborhood organizing since the public hearing has made a difference in slowing down the movement of this bill. It is common knowledge in local politics that council resolutions that make it to 3rd reading are usually guaranteed passage without much resistance. Rather than stopping to rest on their progress, neighborhood leaders and exemption opponents should seize the opportunity and the time they now have to help other leaders make the case to the Metro Council that BL2006-1178 serves only a small special interest group and that it is definitely not in the larger community's best interests.

* My copy of Robert's Rules of Order says that "tabling" is one of the most misused motions in meetings as it is often used to kill a motion and because the motion would not appear again on a future meeting unless it is taken off the table during the meeting in which it was tabled. Tabling is one of the few instances where a majority, instead of 2/3's of the legislative body, can take away members rights, which in the case of tabling would be the right to debate the motion.

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