Wednesday, April 29, 2009

She needs to resign and stay in Detroit

I'm glad to see Phil Williams of WTVF shed some light on the fact that CM Pam Murray (District 5-East Nashville) is not really a resident of her district. You can view his video report here.

Metro Code Sec. 3.02. Terms; compensation; age and residence qualification.

Members of the council shall serve for a term of four (4) years and until their successors are elected and qualified; and shall be compensated at the rate of three hundred ($300) dollars per month. No person shall be eligible to serve as councilman-at-large or district councilman unless he shall have attained the age of twenty-five (25) at the beginning of his term and unless he shall have been a resident of the area of the metropolitan government for a period of one (1) year and shall continue to reside therein during his period of service. No person shall be eligible to serve as district councilman unless he shall have been a resident of the district for which elected for a period of six (6) months and shall continue to reside therein during his period of service. Members of the council shall hold no other elective or appointive office in the metropolitan government or employment by said government, except as expressly provided in this Charter.

Folks in that desperate corner of our city have been hampered in their efforts to improve for a long time. CM Murray has become an impediment to their efforts. She has a reputation for not being reachable and little wonder when she has a second job '539 miles away' in Detroit. She needs to resign from the Metro Council. It's obvious that her heart, as the Channel 5 anchor says, isn't in Nashville, let alone District 5.

Unfortunately for Murray who may have expected an easy second term paycheck, the neighborhood is changing. All those house flippers in East East Nashville have run out of homes to rehab and have moved across Gallatin Road to see if there is money to be made in Cleveland Park, Greenwood, and Maxwell Heights. Well, it turns out, there are still some urban pioneers left and they're buying up those homes and they are also expecting constituent services like Murray is unaccustomed to providing.

You'll remember my post two weeks ago where a newcomer to our city took the drastic measure of putting a sign-sheet on the roof to get Metro's attention. She tried contacting CM Murray but it didn't take long for Murray to figure out that the Gracia's weren't from around here and so could be blown off in a rather rude fashion.

Just half a block away from that home is what used to be a small old warehouse at 837 Cleveland Street. That warehouse was purchased about 9 years ago by Mr. Charles R. (Friday) Blackwood and his wife. Without pulling a permit or amending the zoning the new landlord chopped the place up and made four efficiency fire traps out of it.

What does CM Murray do to protect those citizens in her district? Well, she sponsors a zoning bill that would make those fire traps legal. Never mind the neighbors don't want it, that it doesn't fit the zoning and the landlord has confessed before the Planning Commission that he knew he had violated the law. Never mind that the Fire Department and Codes agree that the property is out of compliance and worse. The important point here is, apparently, that the landlord expects a return for his campaign contributions and CM Murray is bound and determined to accommodate him. Murray's financial disclosure for the quarter of her last election shows that the only people donating to her election were her boss Dr. Sai Wenton of Detroit, MI in the amount of $700

and Charles R. (Friday) Blackwood of Madison who gave $400. Mr. Blackwood owns more than a dozen pieces of property in this neighborhood to include 837 Cleveland Street. If he's getting the same special treatment from Zoning and Codes for all his properties he's paying bargain basement prices for constituent services and

gets Murray's daughter, Paige Merriweather, to testify for him to boot!

Frankly, considering his actions with this piece of property I think the city instead of accommodating his retroactive rezoning need should deny it out of hand until all 17 pieces of property owned by Mr. Blackwood are in compliance. Yes, I realize that means that the current residents may be evicted but I believe it's better than allowing them to remain in a dangerous place. Blackwood confessed to violating the law on this Cleveland Street piece of property. We're supposed to trust that he didn't do it elsewhere? How the Planning Commission can hear Blackwood's own confession of non-compliance and entertain this retroactive rezoning for a moment is beyond me. It should have been immediately thrown out into the street.

What's the city's liability since they know, have known for some time, that this property is hazardous? My biggest concern is for the folks actually living in those tiny efficiency fire traps. IF something happens and, truly and sincerely God forbid, someone dies---Metro cannot say they were not negligent. They had plenty of warning. And not only will a family suffer a tragic and avoidable death but taxpayers will also have a huge settlement to pay.

Murray was a no show at the neighborhood meeting on Monday night where it was clear no one was in favor of this zoning change, or the one to allow street vending. She did attend her own hearing last night (Tuesday, April 28) at the East Branch Library but was accompanied by some less than neighborly associates. Further, she prevented the small group from having a meaningful exchange when folks were required to submit their questions to her before hand. If Murray doesn't resign on her own and no one steps up to initiate a recall, it's going to be a long couple more years for the folks in District 5.

On Tuesday, May 5 at 5:30 p.m. the Metro Council will have its public hearing on this retroactive spot zoning bill of Murray's and also another that astonishingly enables 'mobile vending' on collector streets. As if we didn't have enough ad hoc peddlers littering the streets with dubious merchandise as it is. Obviously, if Murray is living in Detroit she won't be suffering the consequences of her bad legislation. If the Metro Council approves 2009-429 it will set a precedent that will enable every non-compliant property owner to demand that their property, that they've illegally modified, be retroactively zoned to fit whatever they've created. This should not happen. One of the government's main purposes is to ensure the safety of its citizens. Metro has so completely fallen down in this case it's hard to believe.

Here's the Council's feedback form. If you can't make it to the Council's public hearing next week on Tuesday, May 5, at least take a few minutes to contact the Council and let them know that what Murray's doing in District 5 is wrong and will negatively impact the entire city. They should extend no councilmatic courtesy to these outrageous pieces of legislation and should make it clear by a near unanimous no vote that this is enough. While she may not be living in Nashville, we are and do care about the welfare of our citizens and the future wellbeing of our city.

She needs to resign and stay in Chicago

Please see corrected post "She needs to resign and stay in Detroit" My apologies for getting the city name wrong.

Spell Check

Spell's a good thing.

This first one from Nashville's Metro 3 broadcast schedule for today.

And this one is from CM Pam Murray's (District 5-East Nashville) Detroit employer Sunshine Treatment Institute. They've spelled it correctly further down on that page, btw.

I can highly recommend a very popular homeschooling curriculum called "Spelling Power" if anyone absolutely doesn't want to enable spell check and wants to brush up on their skills.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recovery is just a step away

Cruising through Barnes & Noble the other day we noticed the interesting placement of these two book sections. We decided that since one frequently leads to the other...might as well save steps and put Wines & Spirits and Addiction and Recovery next to one another.

Chump change

Kudos to this guy for setting all this up. Perspective is a good thing. 1/4 of a penny out of about $90 worth of pennies is what Obama has asked his cabinet to cut from their budgets. What's on the left of the white line is Social Security and Medicare spending we're committed to until legislators find the backbone to rework those programs. And don't overlook that big section on the right of the blue line which is money we don't even have and our children haven't even earned yet.

.0028571% of the budget is all that Obama has asked his cabinet to cut. We have a new definition of 'chump change'.

H/T: Ben Cunningham

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu memories

Back during the 1976 Swine Flu scare I was stationed at Fort Campbell after being trained at Fort Dix. You have few rights as a member of the military. I certainly wasn't given the option of deciding for myself if I wanted to receive the Swine Flu vaccine. I don't recall anyone handing me a patient information pamphlet so that I could provide informed consent. As I recall we fell out for morning roll call and were marched over the the health clinic and each of us rolled up our sleeves and accepted yet another of the many shots we were given in our military career. While waiting in line it became obvious that few of us had even heard of the Swine Flu.

I also remember that it didn't take long for me to become very ill. So ill I was unable to perform my duties. So ill that I begged for medical attention and my sargent made sure I got to the clinic PDQ. I was so ill I was ordered to spend three days on bed rest--which was just never done. No one got bed rest. No one got three days of it.

It's been decades since that incident. I've birthed 4 children, dealt with a fussy gallbladder and experienced a number of bouts with various illnesses. THAT Swine Flu vaccine still stands out as one of the worst experiences of my life.

If this current situation warrants inoculations---I hope to God they've improved that vaccine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's not forget

Great overview of just last Wednesday in our neighboring city of Murfreesboro.

HT: AC Kleinheider (I wouldn't follow his link to Wonkette unless you just have to fill up on vile comments about hillbilly southerners.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm not shocked at all

Judson Phillips of and MC for Wednesday's Tea Party in Nashville writes:

"Word has leaked out today about the presence of the FBI at Tea Party rallies on April 15th. While I was helping put our rally on, someone came to me and gave me a heads up about the FBI observing our rally. I consider my source very credible."
We're exercising our First Amendment right to complain about the current administration in a very public place and we're supposed to be 'shocked' that anyone official was paying attention? Shoot, I'd have been shocked if no one had been doing some information gathering. Maybe I'm not all that concerned because I knew that getting that security clearance when I joined the Army meant an FBI check and I've had a file since then. Maybe because I knew who J. Edgar Hoover was I knew it was possible to misuse that information. Maybe it's because I've heard many first person stories of Christians in other nations suffering at the hands of their government merely for daring to share the Gospel. If I was really concerned about who was watching---would I be blogging about it all? Don't think so.

Law abiding citizens were most likely the bulk of the participants but whose to say that there weren't folks there for their own nefarious purposes ready to take advantage of the situation? Maybe the FBI was there watching them watch us. If so, they have my thanks.

Hat tip: AC Kleinheider

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009-04-18 Education Round up

Filed under 'DUH' is this report that the TBI will now check for warrants when doing background checks on MNPS teacher applicants.

Warrants were not included in background checks because state law requires a fingerprint-based check, according to TBI officials. To search for warrants, the applicant's name — not a fingerprint — must be searched in the National Crime Information Center database.
Wonder if the MNPS has found Google, Facebook and/or MySpace yet. MNPS' first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the children. No excuses.

I will never complain about that prohibition again. Some 25% of the time Metro Police pull someone over for a minor traffic violation there's an outstanding warrant or criminal activity. Petty people who think the police have better things to do with their time than hassle folks for trivial traffic crimes need to remember this instance. This time that annoying traffic law regarding the 4th Ave exit caught someone who definitely needed catching. This catch wasn't petty or trivial:
Instead, Ronald Boykin Jr.'s teaching career ended on March 22 when he disobeyed a traffic sign. Metro police caught Boykin, 40, trying to merge onto Interstate 24 from the Second Avenue ramp. Tennessean

And further, I'm glad to read there is some accountability coming down:

Metro schools asked three employees to resign for failing to properly vet Boykin's application — [Melissa] Mundy, who as senior account clerk had first approval; her supervisor, Darilyn Mason, a registrar who was responsible for reviewing Mundy's work; and Jo Patterson, who was the director of the department and responsible for making sure procedures were being followed. Mason and Anderson plan to appeal the decision. Mundy could not be reached for comment.

Another district employee, Gene Foster, director of 9-12 grade human resources, was suspended without pay for not catching the errors when Boykin made the transition into a certified teaching position. He also requested the district get Boykin a special permit, according to school officials. Tennessean

And on the heels of the arrest of MNPS substitute teacher Lewis Levine's arrest let's hope this gets the attention of paper pushers throughout the system. It's not just paper---it could have serious implications for children.

Let's just cut out the middle man, eh? MNPS BOE Chairman David Fox (District 8-Hillsboro-West End) wants to incorporate experts from various areas to consult with the BOE as they manage the Nashville public school system. Maybe, some serious recruiting of good candidates for school board might be a better plan. How about instead of making the first qualification likely endorsement by the Metro Nashville Education Association or the SEIU we examine and debate their expertise and abilities in those 'various areas'?

And from that same article the voice of experience: Considering that he reports he was unaware of his own daughter's actions managing his law firm's finances this quote from MNPS BOE member Ed Kindall (District 7-Downtown-Glencliff) is rich.

“The board of education has the responsibility by law to manage … the general welfare of the school system,” Kindall said. "My experience is that you have to be very careful with how you charge [others]." City Paper
No mercy for Arne: If you haven't been following the blog posts at spend some time there this weekend and catch up with the blistering they're giving Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan especially in regards to the new study showing charter schools work and DC's charters are going to be shut down. If you read nothing else read Jay's WSJ article: "The Union War on Charter Schools". Here's a snip:
When charter schools unionize, they become identical to traditional public schools in performance. Unions may say they support charter schools, but they only support charters after they have stripped them of everything that makes charters different from district schools.
Rezoning and digital TV. It appears that like the folks that still haven't figured out that television is going digital there are MNPS parents who have not figured out that their job is to pay attention and participate in the education of their child.
Metro parent Rasheedat Fetuga spoke at the board meeting and pleaded with the board to create a new plan with more community input and a marketing plan to help parents understand the changes. Tennessean
Both the rezoning and digital television have been marketed enough. We're down to an irreducible number of folks who just aren't paying attention or don't care. Let's move on.

From that same article we learn that 60% of parents chose the school closest to them. Neighborhood schools work for most families, it strengthens neighborhoods and saves transportation costs for the district and families. Can we now focus on ensuring all the schools are providing the children with a good solid education instead of what color they all are?

Don't spend it yet. The City Paper provides these inconvenient details about the windfall misnamed "stimulus package":
Metro officials have learned in the last two weeks that MNPS stands receive a total of $24.6 million in federal stimulus Title I dollars (snip)

MNPS will have a longer wait for Title I funds than most other Tennessee districts, due to years of being out of compliance with federal programs spending. Federal Title I dollars intended for Metro have been frozen since December due to non-compliant spending on the part of MNPS. Most money that will reach schools through the federal stimulus package will flow through Title I, and until Metro resolves its federal spending troubles, Title I stimulus money will be frozen along with the rest.
Anyone else tired of the ACLU 'demands'? Can anyone explain how any website addressing hetro, homo, bi, or trans issues can be 'non-sexual'??? I'm telling you it's stuff like this that drives families from public schools. How does access to these website ensure good reading, writing or math skills? Focus, folks. Let's focus on the essentials...mastery of skills necessary for life. Being polite and valuing all people is certainly one of them but it doesn't take Internet access to accomplish that. Wonder if the ACLU would complain if access to Focus on the Family was blocked?

They need to do more picking up after themselves anyway. The Tennessean tells us that some 66 custodians might lose their jobs. I feel for them--really I do. A big upside to this might mean that students will have to do a better job of keeping their own schools neater and cleaner. There's no good reason that they can't push a broom every now and then, or empty a trash can or refill the paper towel dispenser. Usually that results in children who respect their space and honor the folks who have had to clean up after them heretofore. Reminds me of the joke about the girls who thought it funny to kiss the mirror and leave lipstick prints for the janitor to clean until one day he demonstrated that he used toilet water to wash the mirror. It's trendy and hip to organize an event around 'saving the planet' and carefully using resources. Let's see them walk the talk in their schools.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stupid, stupid, stupid

Back before I had children I was a legal secretary. One of the lawyers had been an assistant DA and he would regularly say that the police may not catch them this time, or the next, but eventually they do something stupid. Today was that day for these guys.

De La Luz, 20, and a co-defendant, Senon Gines-Ramos, 19, were stopped by police Wednesday evening while en route to deliver the fake IDs, which the informant requested be in the name of “Ronal Cerpas.” De La Luz, Gines-Ramos, and a third defendant, Estela Gonzalez, 25, evidently keep up with current events, as they actually produced the fake IDs in the name of “Ronal Serpas,” Nashville’s police chief.
You can read the rest of the MNPD Press Release here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

TEA Party report

I hadn't seen a crowd this large at the plaza since the income tax fight in 2001/02 and before that since the Marches for Jesus that were an annual event in Nashville in the mid-90's before that. It was tremendously encouraging. These folks were standing shoulder to shoulder. They were polite and apologizing for bumping into each other--which just couldn't be helped considering the press of the crowd. Many were in costume. The creativity in the signage was great. I saw a lot of young families with strollers and babies. I saw lots of older folks who were raised in depression era families and were obviously determined not to allow that to happen again.

These folks probably had the best view of the crowd. The sidewalks between the plaza and the capitol were filled with people also. In fact the plaza was quite literally packed. The crowd spilled down the steps to the street, filled the sidewalks and cars and trucks were circling the block honking their horns in support. Low ball figures of just a couple of thousand are outrageously understated whether for their own agenda or lazy/lousy reporting I can't say. It had to be over 8,000 in attendance.

Instructions had been given just before the event started that if a counter protester started being disruptive that those near them should start chanting "USA, USA" and assigned people would come and show them the sidewalk. Their right to demonstrate their free speech was acknowledge, however, we had reserved the plaza and they had to use the public sidewalks. That only happened once that I saw. Someone near them placed an "ACORN" sign in front of their sign. Their sign was too wordy and illegible from where I was so I had no idea who they were or what their issue was.

I had been asked to round up some children to lead us in the pledge to the flag. That too oft use phrase "It's for the children" was certainly the sincere motivation for many attendees. No one wants to leave them a nation less free and shackled with debt than the one we'd had the benefit of living in.

In the crowd from left to right: Bobbie Patray of the Tennessee Eagle Forum, Drew Johnson of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, and Kathleen Starnes newly installed Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party. I glimpsed lots of conservatives in the crowd and it felt good to exchange hugs and words of solidarity with those I could actually get close to.

Here's the final crowd shot before we left. This is a full 15 minutes after the event ended. Folks hung around for along time after chatting, networking and encouraging one another to continue to hold Congress' feet to the fire.

My favorite sign.

Best visual goes to Ben Cunningham of the Tennessee Tax Revolt. He produced, from sources he swore to protect, Congress' credit card. He asked the crowd what Dave Ramsey would advise be done with it. The crowd chants "Cut it up! Cut it up!" and so with the help of two of the children Ben does just that. The scissors prove insufficient for the job so he pulls out his own pocket knife and finishes the job to the roar of the crowd.

And yes, you can't have a good political rally without speechifying. From left to right: acting as Master of Ceremonies was Judson Phillips of, radio talk show hosts Steve Gill, Phil Valentine, Michael DelGiorno and blogger+ Ken Marrero.

Here's US Rep. Marsha Blackburn keynote speaker with her grandson Jack. She pointed out that every child born now already owes the US Government $70,000. This is exactly why so many folks attended the TEA Party yesterday. We do not want to go further into debt. We do not want our children (or grandchildren) to suffer this outrageous expansion of government. She was clearly a crowd favorite. And they broke into chanting "Marsha, Marsha" several times

I don't recall the name of this singer who lead us in the national anthem and also concluded the event with his rendition of the current John Rich hit "They're Shutting Detroit Down". Ken Marrero commented on the shoe string budget that didn't allow for teleprompters (great laugh line, btw) and so the woman holding the lyrics at the singer's feet.

Oh, and there were politicians in attendance. Here's a shot of politician's row. Most of them didn't speak at all. Rep. Lynn mentioned that that very afternoon her sovereignty bill was going to be heard in committee and invited the crowd to attend. A partial list of the politicos in attendance:

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsay, Sen. Mae Beavers, Sen. Delores Gresham, Sen. Jack Johnson, Rep. Susan Lynn, Rep. Debra Maggart, Rep. Stacey Campfield, Metro. Councilman Dwayne Dominy.

My apologies to those I've omitted.

Attendees were charged with leaving this event and getting involved be it with their political party, some other organization or creating a new one---but don't let this momentum fizzle. I don't think it will.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party: High Noon



Legislative Plaza

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Political sewage

If you've gotten off of Ellington Parkway at Cleveland Street and headed toward Gallatin Road you've likely seen the desperate, and polite, plea for help from a couple who are new to our city. We've heard a lot of rhetoric about making our city a place of welcome for all. Usually the folks pushing for that don't have hardworking transplants from the north in mind when they ask us to extend every privilege to newbies to our city. Well, the Gracias aren't feeling the love.

Back in the summer of 2007 they decided to move here from Rhode Island. They bought a fixer-upper in a renewing neighborhood and as you can see from these photos they've done a stellar job of renovating and adding to the property values of the neighborhood. The before shot on the left is via Google streetview and the one on the right I took last week. Looks like they've done their part in being good neighbors.

Things were going along fairly well until the fall of 2007 when lightening hits a tree and it falls into their yard and reveals a hole. Well, it reveals a whole lot more than that.

  • It reveals a drainage pipe and easement not on the property maps.
  • It reveals Metro's unwillingness to maintain their property or even provide a viable solution when they deny a permit to fix the problem because it will infringe on the neighbors.
  • It reveals a councilwoman's absolute lack of concern for this neighbor in stark contrast to her willingness to bend over backwards to accommodate an illegal quadplex for a landlord half a block away.
  • It reveals that the neighbors have known for 30 years that the area floods and they have given up and just live with their flooding, sinkholes, mold and attendant health issues.
  • It reveals Metro legal's ability to CYA and demand the Gracias don't damage the already broken and failing pipe and further that they cover it up with dirt.
  • It reveals that the land isn't the only thing that stinks to high heaven after a heavy rain.

Here's the offending pipe. As you can easily see this pipe hasn't been a proper depth for some time, let alone in good working order.

Below is their new fence where the muddy high tide line is marked.

Further below shows the half a ton of sand the Gracias had to buy to keep their basement from flooding. They've already lost a great deal of personal property from previous flooding. They're doing all they can to protect their property. Metro has only given them excuses and lack of service.

One of the primary reasons we form governments is to ensure safety. Safety should trump water parks and riverfront development. Safety should trump convention centers and economic development.

What's exceptionally frustrating and shameful is that the Gracias' story is replicated all over this city. These folks feel alone and helpless. They do extraordinary things like climb out onto their eaves and affix homemade sheet-signs to their otherwise beautiful homes. They call local news outlets begging for some coverage hoping it'll get them the attention they need. And still our city leaders drag their feet and put off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday.

Flooding on Woodmont Boulevard
River of Sewage in Charlotte Park
Sewage Leaks no More (Waverly-Belmont)
Flooding Due to Aging System
Stormwater Stress
When it Rains It Pours: How Dean's Stormwater Bill Hoses Nashville

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Obama's Tax & Spend video

From the folks at the Don't Go Movement a completely unfair but still all too true video. For more information on the Tax Day Tea Parties, please go to Nashville's Tea Party is at Noon, Wednesday, Legislative Plaza downtown at the capitol.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No wonder he thinks this will work

After reading this American Thinker piece on the Obama finances it's abundantly clear why Obama thinks his financial shell game with our money and our children's earning power will work. He's lived on getting Peter to pay Paul and it worked for him so why not for the rest of us? He's got a bigger house. He's got a better job. He's set for life.

'But the public record of their [Obama family] spending shows that they had to regularly take out lines of credit to pay their bills. As reported during the campaign, Michelle Obama complained in hard hit Ohio:

I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth,”

The Obamas were living beyond their means for several years according to an examination of their tax records and their mortgage documents.'

I remember her astonishing figure for extracurricular activities. I had not noticed the 'for the first time' part. For the FIRST time?? Not only has the man never held a real job or run a successful business---they've apparently never actually created a family budget--and now he's in charge of all of our budgets.
It's just Monopoly money to him. He's taking payday loans to the extreme. America has rewarded his poor stewardship of family finances by giving him the biggest get out of jail free card ever. "He's to big to fail" now. And he's got enough power and influence to peddle that patrons will be ready and willing to continue to supply him with more Monopoly money for years to come.

Wednesday the National Taxday Tea Parties will be held. We have got to make enough noise to get Obama and his cohorts in Congress to realize we have had enough and they need to halt right where they are and stop spending OUR money, OUR futures and diminishing OUR rights.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tea shirts

From the same homeschool mom who gave us that great Palin "Brains. Strength. Beauty" image during the Republican Convention and featured on Fox News we have another winner in time for the Tea Parties. Tea shirts in white and black and some for the children too. Again, get 'em while they're still available at

Saturday, April 04, 2009

DCRP election

Kathleen Starnes is the new Davidson County Republican Party Chairman. Her  opponent, Matt Collins, lost by a solid 30 vote margin. We certainly didn't need a squeaker and it was interesting that after a tie the last go 'round the margin was so large. Collins did get the consolation prize of 1st Vice Chairman by a narrow margin in a contest with the former 2nd Vice Chair Jimmy Earle.  It was obviously a disappointment to many that Collins didn't win. He won't be alone on the executive committee though, as Daniel Day Davis, who nominated Collins for Chairman, won the 2nd Vice Chairman seat. 

I suggest everyone get a nap and commit to working together respectfully and graciously. The local Democrats would love for us to spend our time wrestling with each other instead of focusing on getting them out of power.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Matt Collins Part III

For the DCRP Chairman candidate Matt Collins, fundraising begins at home.

"Two billing cycles ago I went over on my cell phone bill because I spend a great deal away from my home/office. Almost all of the calls in coordinating the local members, meeting with local officials and GOP members, making calls for votes, all of the planning, etc was done on my cell phone. Because I'm always on the go I was not able to do the majority of this work from home. In fact the first bill was $210. Normally it's $89. When I realized that I immediately changed my plan to "unlimited". However the creeps at Sprint have a clause in their service that says that any plan changes won't take place until after the current billing cycle. So last billing cycle was $344.

If I take the overage on the first billing cycle and the overage on the second billing cycle I have gone $376 total over my normal phone budget and because I've spent so much time on this race and not as much time working, it is breaking me. My income from other streams are down, my pay has been cut at my usual gig, etc. I'm dedicated to the cause of liberty which is why I am pursuing the chairman of the Nashville Republican Party but I am by no means wealthy and my income is indeed suffering due to my dedication to bringing limited-government conservatism back to the country. If you support what I am doing and have some spare cash I humbly ask that you consider donating to my campaign specifically to help me survive my cell phone expenses which are a direct result of fighting for liberty." (

I feel for yah dude, but if you didn't anticipate this...what might happen with the DCRP budget?

Matt Collins Part II

DCRP chairman candidate Mike Collins responded to my open letter of three days ago. You can read his full comments here. My response follows.

Mr. Collins,

Let’s go over the ethical issue of appropriating the DCRP website for your own convenience first. I find your explanation to not make sense based on my own 10 years of experience running several websites. And the issue, while seemingly small, does reflect on your character.

You begin your explanation by writing:

"Regarding the WTN files hosted on the DCRP site, I am surprised anyone found those. I had not linked to those from anywhere on the website, and someone would have to really go searching hard to find them. It's quite interesting because I did my best to make them as obscure as possible; in other words it's highly doubtful that anyone from the general public would "stumble" across them; they would have to know where to look."

That whole trying to hide the files things is just not right. Regardless these files are not hard to find once you begin a Google search on your name. You've posted them in several places and made no attempt to hide their URL so the '' was in plain sight. In fact they weren't even hyperlinked which may make them stand out even more to anyone reading your posts which included mention of the files. If you did your best to make them as obscure as possible perhaps we should also be looking for a new webmaster.

You wrote: "...I had needed a quick, easy, and convenient place online to store a few interviews I wanted to keep; this seemed like the logical choice especially since they were not intended to be seen by anyone coming onto the DCRP website."

In my own on-line life I don't find it inconvenient to update my websites from anywhere I can get an Internet connection—the public library, Panera, and Starbucks all immediately come to mind. Lacking access you could have left the files on your laptop, burned a CD, used a flash drive--I don't see the urgent need to utilize someone else's resources for your personal files.
I can only assume, since you didn’t rebut with something like "[Name] specifically gave me permission to park those files", that this was something you did without permission or knowledge of the DCRP. In fact you intended to keep DCRP visitors from finding them. They were not merely parked they were advertised and presumably accessed. That was money out of pocket for the DCRP. While some might equate this with taking home a box of paper clips from the office the fact remains…they weren’t your “paper clips”. Donors must have full confidence that their money will not be misused. I would suggest you reimburse the DCRP for the server space and bandwidth you used for these personal files.

Regarding your own website it seems odd that the DCRP "Chief Informational Officer" would fail to turn his own unused website into a campaign tool. The placeholder web page doesn’t even contain basic contact info. It’s just a line saying “Site coming again soon.” So the delegates you sent your postcard to are stuck with minimalist details such as you were and Eagle Scout, have volunteered regularly since the age of 15 at an unnamed homeless shelter and 'understands the Internet and new technologies' (this last one I know could be done better.) Enough about websites.

Let's move on to your failure to assure me that under your leadership the DCRP would be a team player and endorse and work for the election of the Republican Party candidate for governor. You completely ignored that question. If that's by design, it's very troubling that you cannot state clearly "Yes, of course, the DCRP will work for the election of the Republican Candidate for governor".

You also ignored several other important issues I listed. So I'm left to conclude that if you can 'build the party' by bringing in the 'disenfranchised' we still don't know what specifics they'll work on once they're members since your statements of 'grow, support, increase, work, move and reach' are exceptionally vague.

You wrote: “I am NOT a political expert, and yes this is my first time involved in Party politics. But that is a clear advantage to the Party. I don't have any personal vendettas, back stories, or other personality differences that appears to have divided the DCRP for so long; this is obviously a good thing.”

A clean slate would be a good thing if that just meant no negative baggage but a clean slate is also inexperienced and lacks institutional knowledge and partnerships that are essential in strategizing and winning. If you believe that you don’t have any personality differences with current party members you haven’t been paying attention.

Again, thank you for your time. It's clear that we likely agree on several important issues and it may be that we'll partner on those someday but I'm still unconvinced that your plan is to revitalize instead of remake the Republican Party in Davidson County.