Excerpts and links to some recent TN political commentary

Nashville Should Secede from TN?
From a column by J.R. Lind:
After decades of benign neglect from state government, Davidson County has suddenly become the legislature’s petri dish, a regular experiment in how much onerous meddling a local government can take from the state.

…With an ever-redder legislature and a staunchly cerulean Metro Council, the two bodies are bound to butt heads again and again over the best way to operate the state’s capital city.

It will be frustrating for both and exhausting for the rest of us — so why not just cut the ties. This doesn’t have to be contentious or violent; it can be a velvet divorce.

Carving out an enclave of deeply Democratic Nashville will necessarily increase the power of the Republicans statewide. Nobody outside of Memphis will miss the Tennessee Democratic Party — not that the TNDP has been accomplishing much anyway — and all those Democrats can find new gigs in Nashville’s single-party state, giving them an opportunity to have a hand in governance, which they’ve (hopefully) not forgotten how to do.

There are some logistical concerns, of course. Tennessee would have to find a new capital. Hohenwald is lovely, and they are already used to having a bunch of old elephants stomping around. Gov. Haslam will be rid of the problem of what to do with all the state buildings; he can just quitclaim them to Nashville instead of to the real estate company he invests in. Nashville wouldn’t have to form its own legislature, though, because the city council is already bigger than the state senate.

The Profit Motive in Education Reform
Once upon a time, Frank Cagle opines, education was like the weather — everybody talked about it, but nobody could do anything about it…. but times have changed.

The thing that bothers me about the current education reform is some of the people lurking about waiting for legislation that will put them in business. The business community is predisposed to look to “the private sector” for solutions.

If we start diverting public-school resources to private schools, will we see companies spring up to take advantage of the windfall? It may start as a limited voucher program in schools with failing grades, but will legislators start expanding the program? You can bet an effort will be made to get vouchers for Shelby County parents to send their kids to private schools. The prospect of merging the suburban schools with Memphis schools has parents there terrified.

Will we reach a point where a voucher is a nice supplement for suburban families to send their kids to private school? We do have the example of the Tennessee Lottery, where poor people buy the lottery tickets and middle-class kids get the scholarships to college.

A Critique of Alexander’s campaign financing
A group supportive of the tea party movement has put together a collection of criticism from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s reelection campaign finance reports. The TNFullyExposed.com report says these are the highlights:

1 – Nearly 1/3rd of his donations are from special interest PACs
2 – Nearly 1/3rd of his donations are from outside of TN
3 – Almost 20% of his donations are from the Washington, DC area
4 – He has spent almost $2.5 million on his a race in which he has no serious opponent
5 – Averages for individual contribution size runs approximately $1500/person
6 – The Haslam family, along with other prominent families, contributed well in excess of $100,000

Clash over Same-Sex Marriage Maybe Coming to TN
David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, says a federal judge’s ruling in Ohio could lead to a judicial mandate that Tennessee recognize as valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, even though the state constitution rejects that possibility. The decision is expected to be appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Tennessee is part of the 6th Circuit jurisdiction.

If our Attorney General decides not to submit our state’s “two cents worth” in the Ohio case to be before the Sixth Circuit shortly, then we will know he supports same-sex marriage.  More importantly, we will know that he is willing to ignore the clearly expressed will of 80% of Tennessee’s voters.  Unfortunately, he can do that since he’s not in any way accountable to the voters.

However, if that happens, then we’ll find out where our Governor and state legislators stand on the issue of marriage. Under the law, the Speakers of the state House and Senate can agree to retain legal counsel to represent Tennessee. I think they would do so, but let’s hope they have plenty of encouragement in that regard from their legislative colleagues and the Governor.

Fowler’s full piece is HERE.