Predictable: AT&T Sues Nashville

AT&T made good on its promise to sue Nashville, and with haste, too.  The suit is a response to Metro’s new ordinance known as One Touch Make Ready (OTMR); it is disputing the government’s authority to regulate attachments to utility poles.  AT&T claims that only the Federal Communications Commission can do that.

Earlier: One Touch Make Ready approved by council, probably faces lawsuit

The OTMR ordinance was passed by the Metro Council on Tuesday.  Twelve councilmembers voted to defer the bill because they were fearful of the threatened lawsuit, but the bill proceeded anyways.  On Wednesday, the Mayor, who had previously been neutral on the bill, signed it into law.

The lawsuit does not seek a preliminary injunction, in which the judge would put the ordinance on hold pending the outcome of the lawsuit.


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Three big bills advance tonight in Metro Council meeting

One Touch Make Ready passed the second reading tonight on a 32-7 voice vote.  It’s still up for a third (and final) reading before it heads to the the Mayor’s desk.  The bill, pushed by Google Fiber, would allow new companies move other companies’ data lines out of the way on telephone poles.

The marijuana decriminalization bill also passed its second reading tonight.  The bill would reduce the penalty (at the discretion of the police officer) for getting caught with up to a half ounce of pot (which the police chief said is still a lot of joints for one person) to $50 or 10 hours of community service, down from a misdemeanor.

And finally, the inclusionary zoning bill passed its final vote tonight.  The proposed law would require developers requesting special entitlements to also include a certain number of affordable housing units in their developments.

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Vote tallies are rolling in, and…

It’s a whooping for charter school advocates vying for spots on Nashville’s school board.

Well, except District 7, where the anti-charter candidate (Will Pinkston) just barely eked out a win with 50.12% of the vote.  That’s compared to his closest challenger and charter school advocate, Jackson Miller, who got 49.14% of votes cast.

In other words, Pinkston beat Miller by just 36 votes.  And that, I tell you, is why your vote matters.

In District 1, Sharon Dixon Gentry won with 55.66% of the vote; District 3’s Jill Speering got 58.14%; District 5’s Christianne Buggs beat her three challengers with 58.25% of votes cast; and Amy Frogge got 63.94% of the vote in District 9.  All of those candidates were against expanding the footprint of charter schools in Davidson County, and each had at least one charter school advocate competing against them.

As of this story, all precincts had reported.  There were more races, of course, including District 1 on the Metro Council.  Nick Leonardo won that race with 57.37% of the vote.  And there were some primaries for state and national offices.  You can find all the results from Nashville on the Metro government’s webpage for election results.

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#DontBlockMyWalk Bill Passes

An ordinance to make sidewalks and bikeways near construction safer for pedestrians and cyclists passed in the Metro Council tonight.  The bill, Ordinance No. BL2016-240, will require contractors to provide appropriate accommodations when their construction blocks a public right-of-way normally used by pedestrians or cyclists.

Earlier: Don’t Block My Walk, Say Councilmembers

Councilmembers Allen and Elrod, who led the charge on the bill, were looking to address such dangerous and inconvenient situations as this:

And this:

This doesn’t mean that all those sidewalks will be immediately unblocked, though.  The ordinance still has to be signed by Mayor Barry (or, at least, not vetoed).  And then, it is the responsibility of Public Works to “adopt rules and standards” to carry out the legislation.  It’s not clear what, if any, enforcement capability Metro will have against non-compliant contractors.

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Who gives a f*** about the Oxford comma? Metro Council, that’s who.

File this one under ICYMI: The Metro Council has gotten down to the nitty gritty of making Nashville a better place to live — by adding the Oxford comma to all council committee names.


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Nashville, the TV show, has been resurrected

The fifth season of Nashville (the TV show) will move from ABC to cable channel CMT, it was announced last night:

Earlier: Nashville, the TV show, is no more

While The Tennessean is reporting that the full cast will return for this next season, Nashville Business Journal says that there were rumors flying around that some of the lead actors would be absent in a fifth season of Nashville.

The deal was helped along by incentives given to the producers by the local and state governments.  Metro will fork over $1 million, if the Metro Council approves it, while the state has promised $8.5 million.  They justify these expenditures by citing the jobs and other economic boost given by keeping the show filmed in Nashville.

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Don’t Block My Walk, Say Councilmembers

Tonight, the Metro council will consider a bill that will require accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists when construction blocks a sidewalk or bike lane.

For months, Nashville pedestrians and cyclists have been tweeting #dontblockmywalk, begging the mayor and Public Works to not allow sidewalks and bike lanes to be indiscriminately blocked:

The bill states that

it is in the best interest of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County to authorize the Director of the Department of Public Works (the Director) to adopt rules and standards addressing the care to be taken by such permit applicants with regard to bicycle and pedestrian safety and accessibility in the public right of way and to require that a temporary traffic control plan be submitted by such permit applicants when the duration of such permits will exceed twenty (20) days.

Walk Bike Nashville, an advocacy organization, sent out an email to supporters asking them to “contact your council person to let them know that you strongly support ORDINANCE NO. BL2016-240 and the accompanying Public Works Regulations.”

The legislation, sponsored by Councilmembers Burkley Allen and Jeremy Elrod, will go through its second reading at this evening’s council meeting.

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Metro celebrates a birthday

The alliance of Nashville and Davidson County governments is celebrating its 53rd birthday today (you do the math).  Even though it’s April 1st, this governmental union is no joke.  David Ewing shared a seat placard and invitation with us:

The bottom part of the image reads:

Knowing of your interest in Metropolitan Government and of your activities and support in its behalf, we wish you to be a part of the historic occasion which heralds the beginning of this new government.  You are cordially invited to attend the inaugural ceremonies for the installation of the elective officers of the new Metropolitan Government.  The inauguration of Mayor Beverly Briley, Vice Mayor George Cate, Jr., and members of the Metropolitan Council will be held at Municipal Auditorium begining at 11:30 a. m., April First, 1963.

Metropolitan Government Inaugural Committee

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Kudzu Could Reign Supreme in Nashville Once More

The Metro Council is looking to eradicate the Vegetation Control Board.  In fairness, the board’s cases are now heard by another body that was formed later: the “Environmental Court was established in part for the purpose of addressing violations of the Metropolitan Code of Laws pertaining to vegetation control, and it maintains exclusive jurisdiction thereof.”

The ordinance to uproot and throw the Vegetation Control Board upon the compost heap passed the first reading on February 2 and is now being mulled over by the Codes, Fair, and Farmer’s Market Committee.

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