Monday, May 4, 2015

The Daily Links: The Fight, Star Wars, and Ultron

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From Vulture: Dear Movie Supervillains: Quit Trying to Destroy the Whole Planet

From Gawker: The Triumph of the Hype

From Vanity Fair: Adam Driver’s and Lupita Nyong’o’s Characters Revealed in Exclusive Star Wars: The Force Awakens Photos

From Screen Rant: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma Revealed

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

#MayoralChatter: Rev. 'Tex' Thomas Backs Bone

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Rev. James “Tex” Thomas, pastor of the historic Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, has endorsed Charles Robert Bone for mayor.

The Bone campaign announced the endorsement Monday afternoon and released this statement from Thomas:

“When I looked across the field of candidates and pondered where we as a community have been and where I think we need to go, the choice was clear. The person we need to lead Nashville so that it can reach new heights is Charles Robert Bone.”

How important are endorsements, really? How many votes will come with Thomas' blessing? We'll see. But, as the Bone campaign was happy to note, Thomas has been at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist, one of Nashville's oldest African American churches, for more than 40 years, and has a way of picking winners. In that time he has only endorsed three candidates for mayor — Phil Bredesen, Bill Purcell and Karl Dean.

Bone makes the fourth, and although he received it he certainly wasn't the only candidate looking for the endorsement of, or at least the perception of proximity to, Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist. The church appears in one of Bill Freeman's television ads, and Freeman just tweeted out this photo from this past weekend's celebration of the church's 128th anniversary.

Tags: , ,

A Clear Look at Our Flooding Issues

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Tom Wilemon's piece in the Tennessean is really important and I think everyone should read it. Aside from making the points that I've made regularly — that it's alarming that people are still living in the flood plains and that we can't be acting like terms like "500 year flood" or "1,000 year flood" mean we have nothing to worry about for the rest of our lives — he also looks hard at the ways Nashville is still letting new development go on in flood plains.

Check this part out:

But three months after the May 2010 flood, Country Meadows MHC LLC asked Metro government for permission to place 2,184 cubic yards of fill within the 100-year floodplain of Mill Creek. This tributary is more prone to flooding than others in the city. It previously reached flood stage at Antioch in March 1955 and May 1979.

The application was tied to the reconstruction of 20 mobile homes. Residents there can buy the trailers but they lease the land.

Delgado, who still lives in the family home on Waikiki Boulevard, saw the dirt hauled in. Next came the new trailers, which sit on pads just large enough to accommodate them.

John Kennedy, deputy director of Metro Water Services, which oversees city flood control measures, said elevating the trailer lots gave the property owner the legal right to bring the trailers back in.

The story goes on and on with examples of people who've found loopholes that allow them to redevelop in our flood plains. And most of these projects required the approval of the city council. So, the people we rely on to oversee the growth of our city and to make sure that it's not rock-stupid are letting people move back into places we know flood.

I get why protecting downtown is the right thing to do. And I get why we might spend money on that and not on buying up the last 80 houses that flooded in 2010. I even get why we would not interfere with some stubborn jackass who might want to continue to live some place that floods, since that person knows the risks and is taking them for himself.

But why would we let someone put up buildings that other people who don't know the flooding risks or who might assume that a person wouldn't be allowed to put up homes if flooding were still a danger are going to rent? The city has failed at some basic level if we can't say "No, you can't gamble other people's lives and property that we're not going to flood again."

If there's one lesson we should all take from Wilemon's piece it's that we are not doing what needs to be done to prevent another tragedy like we saw in 2010, and, in fact, we're often allowing development that assures there will be more tragedy the next time it floods.

Tags: ,

Friday, May 1, 2015

#MayoralChatter: Fox Asks School Board to Halt Superintendent Search

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 3:44 PM

David Fox is asking the Metro school board to "hit the pause button" on its search for a new superintendent until a new mayor is elected.

The school board had set a goal of identifying top candidates to replace Dr. Jesse Register by June 2 and making a decision by July 1. More than 40 people have applied so far, according to the search firm assisting it.

In a letter to school board members, Fox says he hopes other mayoral candidates will join him in making the request.

"As a former school board member myself, I fully understand the impulse to retain full control over the hiring process," Fox writes. "I am not asking that the school board cede or compromise its control. The only chance any new director will have to be successful is to have the broad support of his or her board. I am asking that you wait until we have a new mayor who can assist the board and increase the odds that Nashville hires an A+ director of schools."

In all likelihood, that would mean hiring a new superintendent well after the beginning of the new school year.

Fox goes on to say that there are many reasons to pause the search, including that "at this late date, most attractive candidates considering new assignments already have made their choices" and that "most capable directors understand that their partnership with the mayor is a critical ingredient in their own success."

You can read the whole letter here.

Tags: , , ,

Five Things to Know About Mayor Dean's Last Budget

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Mayor Karl Dean delivered his eighth and final State of Metro speech Thursday morning in the Grand Reading Room of the downtown public library, the same room where he delivered his first address in 2008.

Dean took the opportunity to reflect some on seven-and-a-half years in office, citing what he sees as major accomplishments and seeming to defend some of his bigger projects and economic development strategies, particularly the Music City Center. He also worked through various items in his $1.96 billion budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

Here are five things to know:

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cooper Blasts Diane Black's D.C. 'Religious Liberty' Bill

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Betsy Phillips touched on this earlier this week, but Diane Black has been using the city of Washington, D.C., as a puppet in her and Ted Cruz's fight to make sure employers can fire women for their choice of birth control.

On a 228-192 vote last night, the House voted to pass House Joint Resolution 43, which would overturn the D.C. City Council's Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. Because the District is not a state, the federal government retains the right to slap down whatever laws they want — or, in this case, use the city as a symbol of broader culture-war items they often are unable to pass for the country.

From The Washington Post:

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act broadens the definition of discrimination in the District to include an employee’s reproductive health decisions. Under the law, employers will not be able to discriminate against employees who seek contraception or family planning services. Employers also cannot act against an employee when they know she has used medical treatments to initiate or terminate a pregnancy.

Some conservatives have interpreted the act to mean that employers in the District, including churches and antiabortion groups such as March for Life, could eventually be required to provide coverage for contraception and abortions. The D.C. Council passed a temporary fix to make it clear that religious organizations would not be responsible for such medical care, but Republicans said the fix was insufficient.

That's right: The city enacted a measure to keep a company from firing you for having an abortion, and Black said, nope, that's religious liberty.

Nashvillians, in particular, are familiar with being bigfooted on non-discrimination matters.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

School Board Touches on Ed Funding, Charter Accountability and Director's Search

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 7:56 AM

Metro School Board members attended a battery of meetings Thursday to clean up old business, make new rules and decide what direction they want the director’s search to go. Here’s what they got done:

Time to Call a Lawyer About Education Funding
After defeating a push to explore the district’s legal options in light of a brewing legal fight over education funding, the board decided to give it another try. This time, after much debate along many of the same lines, the board voted almost unanimously to seek legal counsel.

The move adds Metro Schools to the list of school districts across the state exploring the legal landscape as seven school districts await their day in court to defend their lawsuit challenging how the state funds K-12 education. However, instead of hiring a high-powered education attorney with a background in Tennessee education funding, as some wanted, the group agreed to hear first from its default lawyers at Metro’s legal department.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Daily Links: Rough Rides, Bernie Sanders, and the Hulk

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From The New York Times: American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says

From The New York Times: Freddie Gray’s Injury and the Police ‘Rough Ride’

From The Atlantic: The Bullish Charisma of John Kasich">The Bullish Charisma of John Kasich

From The Atlantic: The Baltimore Riot Didn't Have to Happen

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Rally on Jefferson Street Marks Opposition to Police Station Plan

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 10:33 AM

Aola Hart
  • Aola Hart
Little more than a week after Mayor Karl Dean announced his plan to relocate the Metro Nashville Police Department Headquarters from downtown to North Nashville, more than 100 people rallied Wednesday evening on the corner of 14th Avenue and Jefferson Street to denounce what they call an anti-democratic move that will add to the undue burdens already felt by the historically black community.

The rally was called by the Justice for Jefferson Street Coalition, a group made up of students from Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State University, members of the local Black Lives Matter movement, and other neighborhood members and activists. After around 20 minutes of call-and-response protest chants, recited as the crowd grew and attracted supportive honks from passing cars, several speakers addressed the crowd.

“This is a defining moment for North Nashville," said Dr. Sekou Franklin, a Tennessee State University professor and well-known community activist. "To my perspective it may be comparable to the I-40 decision, that split North Nashville up.”

Franklin called out the lack of studies on the environmental and traffic impacts of the project, as well as the need for historic preservation considerations "which is very important considering that this is ground zero for Nashville’s civil rights movement.”

“This is a midnight decision, made by a handful of people," Franklin said. "It’s anti-democratic and we are not an inferior people. We are not a second-class citizenship and community. If we allow this project to go through, especially without those good government, democratic processes, then we will embrace a badge of inferiority. And we’re not an inferior people and we’re not an inferior community.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

What's the Big Deal With This Annenberg Study?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Brace yourself: The school board plans to wade into the charter school waters again tonight.

The hot topic at this evening’s school board meeting is whether to adopt standards governing stronger oversight of charter schools, like requiring the privately-run public schools to tally disciplinary actions and produce a multitude of reports to keep the schools publicly accountable.

The 53-count list of recommendations comes from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, an education think tank which released its “Public Accountability for Charter Schools” report last fall. The local teacher’s union, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, and other groups have taken up the report in recent months and has laid it on thick to the board they believe unchecked charter school growth without proper accountability is hurting the school district.

“My hope is that the Annenberg standards will increase transparency and accountability for charter schools and create a clear set of rules by which all schools must operate,” said Frogge, who has accused charter schools of cherry-picking students, kicking out poor performing kids before test time and lacking adequate transparency into their operations.

But while fans of the new standards have urged the board to adopt the recommendations, charter school operators haven’t been invited to the table to offer their take, says Mary Pierce, a school board member and defender of charter schools who said she wants to avoid another clash of charter and traditional education that has largely defined the school board.

“My hope is we can come to a place where we’re agreeing everybody is supportive of accountability standards for all schools, not just charter schools,” she said.

The resolution, which was not posted on the MNPS website late Wednesday, will be sponsored by Anna Shepherd, school board members said. Calls to the school board administrator and Shepherd for a copy of the resolution were not returned Wednesday.

Recommendations range from requiring charter schools employ discipline policies that avoid discrimination based on race, and make its discipline policy available on the school’s website. Other provisions require the school district outline the impact opening a particular charter school would have in the surrounding community. “Public Accountability for Charter Schools">See the full list here.

Tags: , , , ,

Recent Comments

All contents © 1995-2015 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of City Press LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Powered by Foundation