Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LifePoint sails through our tamed Metro Council

Ronnie Steine, who in the past has been the Mayor's own little straw boss on the Metro Council, is fond of repeating the mantra over and over that council should not debate bills on first reading, but let them get into the committee meeting process and then debate them on second. The problem with that option is that the hand-picked, loaded committees where the really important stuff gets decided tend to discourage disagreement and dissent. Like some out-of-sight-out-of-mind, coal-stoked furnace in the basement, they are engineered to burn off anything not beneficial to the Mayor's Office. By the time the important ordinances get to second reading, unless there is a well-organized popular front against them, opponents who are not silenced are pushed aside by the lotus eaters on the council.

The LifePoint legislation, up for second reading last night, is a case in point. It is a bill that affects all of us in that it hands land to a private company tax-free for a number of years on the illogical basis that it will increase our tax revenues. Questions that CMs raised earlier were put to bed last night:

The Metro Council, on a unanimous second of three votes, gave preliminary approval of millions in financial incentives to Brentwood-based LifePoint Hospitals as a way to lure the company’s headquarters and its 400 employees to Nashville ....

Leading up to Tuesday’s vote, some council members were skeptical whether the deal constituted true economic development worthy of a significant tax break.

No member even bothered to go through the motions of the challenge for the good of democratic process. They just rolled over for Karl Dean, perhaps the most undemocratic Nashville Mayor in memory. His little straw boss on council is wrong: the only process operating at the Courthouse is the figurative cinerator in the bowels of the Mayor's Office, fueled by outside lobbyists. The committee system is an extension of that, designed to kill resistance.


  1. It's worse than you imagine it to be. The Vice Mayor has and continues to let it be known that she does not like debate on the floor of the Council during a Council meeting. She wants ALL debate to occur in the committees. The only problem with that is that most committees are not televised.

  2. I'm going to Megan's Christmas party dressed as Mitt Romney. Will she even recognize me through my costume? I doubt it. Though if Ronnie happens to be there, I'm keeping my hand on my wallet and the deck of cards I plan on re-gifting.