After ruminating over your actions these past few days I felt compelled to share with you the reaction of some of my constituents. I am still reeling from your total lack of consideration and arrogance.
In a 5-3 vote last Tuesday night my colleagues denied my vote in the appointment of an Interim Director for MNPS. In a 5-3 vote they denied my constituents their representation.
All nine of us have an equal say around the MNPS Board of Education table but my vote was denied last Tuesday night.
Last Friday when the board chair, Sharon Gentry, called an "emergency" meeting I immediately let her know that I would not be there as I had a surgical procedure scheduled for Tuesday morning. My doctor's orders precluded any driving, working, or making any legal decisions for 24 hours.
I sent her several emails requesting that she reschedule. She never replied. I asked for a phone call. She said she would call but never did. This "emergency" meeting was held anyway. I watched from home.
Jill Speering made the motion to delay this crucial vote until I could be there. Amy Frogge passionately made the same request and read a statement that I had written. There was much discussion. All fell on deaf ears.
It is difficult for me to believe that my colleagues thought that their votes were more important than mine. Their arrogance is astounding.
I have been ruminating over the actions of my colleagues for the days since this total lack of consideration. I am sharing these thoughts today after hearing from many of my constituents expressing anger and disbelief that my colleagues arrogantly, and wrongly, believed their vote was more important than mine.
Whether or not we agree with each other is immaterial. We all have an equal vote around that table. To undermine someone's ability to vote, and their actual vote, is criminal. Indeed. Their actions were criminal.
If the argument is that the outcome would not change since my vote would merely make it 5-4, then that begs the question, was this vote already discussed and agreed to prior to the “emergency meeting”? The point is that the views of the people who elected me to represent district 4 were not allowed to be heard. Their arguments for or against reconsideration of the previous decision were not allowed to be heard. Who knows if those arguments may have changed the outcome of the vote? The email and other feedback I received was not allowed to be heard by five of my colleagues who voted to deny me the opportunity to represent the views of my constituents.
Pour House owner Ted Shelton saw white smoke coming from the building at 700 Division St. just before its roof burst into flames.
"I called my friend Capt. Bubba Long and told him, 'Y'all need to get down here,' " he said. "Right about that time, flames came out the roof."
Shelton called around 8 p.m., and firefighters responded in about a minute and a half to the location, he said.
Long said it took longer to find the fire than to put it out.
"It was weird in there," Long said. "It was like eight-by-eight prison cells all through it."
Over at the Nashville Post, William Williams has a story about a new apartment complex going in on 31st. Somehow, he managed to get through the whole story without typing in 30-point letters, "Why, God, Why?!"
These things are butt ugly. They don't look like a place people in a city live. They look like all those apartment complex monstrosities that ring the city, which I can only hope crumble in an earthquake after everyone living there has a premonition that they should go outside right this second. Is it too much to ask that developers hire an architect who doesn't hate us to design the buildings we have to look at until they crumble?
31st Avenue between West End and Charlotte is rapidly becoming a showcase of the blandest, most boring buildings our city can throw together.
I say that buildings should not look like each floor was designed without consideration of the other floors. I say that you should not have two colors on the outside of your building that could accurately be called "sand," especially if one of the other colors on your building is "buff."And I especially say that you should not have two different colors of bricks that don't at least form some kind of interesting design.
Developers, build us some buildings that don't look like something you'd find hidden at the back end of an office park in Dallas!
Tuesday afternoon, leading state Republicans huddled together to try to find some way to thwart gay marriage. David Fowler and Bobbie Patray of the Tennessee Eagle Forum met with them to rile the troops.
According to an article in the Wilson Post, State Rep. Mark Pody is attempting to somehow nullify the decision:
"We are trying to say that because the federal government doesn't have jurisdiction in this matter, each state should be allowed to decide" if they are going to honor same-sex marriages.
"As it has been proven in many other situations, the federal government can not force the state to enforce federal law," he said. "They would have to enforce it themselves with their resources, and they couldn't use state resources."
In this case, Pody explained, if a state official refused to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony, the federal government could not force the State of Tennessee to enforce the federal law.
This is truly great and I hope it does come to pass, because I'd love to see every state official who discriminates against gay people as they're trying to get married hauled before a federal court. It'd be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars for state officials to have to defend themselves in federal court, cases they are surely going to lose, and I love how skipping the state courts basically assures the least sympathetic hearings ever.
According to the Tennessean, "Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden and Bryan Terry of Murfreesboro reject the court's ruling. It's still unclear what that means, but the pair recently announced they're working on legislation to 'protect' religious clergy from being forced to officiate same-sex marriages."
Of course ministers will be able to refuse to marry same sex couples, just as they can now refuse to marry interracial couples or couples of different faiths. But, sure, why not burn time on that?
On Twitter, Andy Sher writes, "Rep Lynn says public officials able to perform marriages but refuse SSM could get rough treatment from rascally news orgs." As well they should. I would hope they would also run into legal trouble, since they would be acting in their capacity as representatives of the state.
But boy howdy is David Fowler excited! Rick Locker reports that Fowler says , "If you decide to have a special session on this, it will be a war unlike any you have seen since perhaps the income tax fight."
Locker also reports Rep. Lynn's utter misunderstanding of marriage: "Rep Lynn says marriage was a construct of the church. The only reason governments started registering marriages was so they had a record..." This is not true. I mean, for starters, people have been getting married longer than there's been Christianity and people in the United States have been getting married since the founding of this country who weren't Christian.
I cannot believe that state legislators are taking time to figure out how to defy the federal government when it comes to gay marriage, but can't make the time to deal with our insurance crisis. It's hilarious.
I don't think this is going to be like the income tax fight, for one good reason. No politicians were secretly paying a Tennessee state income tax. If this gets as ugly as the income tax fight, not only will we lose, because, duh, states can't nullify federal law, a few people are playing chicken with a train.
That's not a threat. That's just a statistical fact.
It's obvious to anyone who pays even a little attention to Tennessee politics that Republicans have had a hard time adjusting to being the ruling party. They've thrived and gotten into power by throwing themselves repeatedly against a seemingly insurmountable foe—Tennessee Democrats—only to eventually and thoroughly surmount them. And they have floundered around, without a united front or coherent plan since they have no enemy to come together against.
So, I see the appeal of going on this Quixotic quest against the federal government. But, damn, if I were a Republican leader right now, I'd be concerned about who might have a skeleton or two "in the closet," so to speak.
Why would you, as a party, risk shooting yourself in the foot over a settled issue?
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