Infamous state logo finally gets its trademark

The oft-mocked, much-derided $46,000 state logo finally received its trademark.

Oct 14, 2015 2:04 PM

Today in 'Didn't See That Coming...Ever:' Cooper heading up Clinton's Tennessee leadership council

Apparently, a decade-old rivalry between Rep. Jim Cooper and the Clintons has thawed, as the congressman is heading up the former Secretary of State's Tennessee Leadership Council.

Full release and full list of the 50-odd elected officials on the council, after the jump:

The Clinton Campaign announced the launch of its “Hillary for Tennessee Leadership Council” (HFTN LC) – a group of nearly 50 elected officials, community, coalition and grassroots leaders who will help build a grassroots-driven volunteer team that will help Hillary to win the Tennessee Primary on March 1.

These Leadership Councils will serve as the in-state leadership for the campaign, amplifying the campaign’s national voice to Tennessee families aiding the campaign with rapid response, organization building, grassroots organizing events, recruiting volunteer leaders, and identifying leaders for Get Out The Vote activities.

Many of the Leadership Council members share Clinton’s commitment to raising wages for the middle class, her plan to reform health care to reduce prescription drug costs, her passion for reforming the criminal justice system and her belief that debt should never be a barrier for students going to college and much more.

“In our next President, we need a leader who is willing to continue tackling the issues of our generation and beyond head on: college affordability, access to quality and affordable health care, and reforming our criminal justice system and I believe wholeheartedly that leader is Hillary Clinton,” said London Lamar, President of Tennessee Young Democrats. “I’m excited to join the Hillary for Tennessee Leadership Council, and work to share Hillary Clinton’s vision to help Tennesseans get ahead, and stay ahead.”

“Hillary Clinton may be the best prepared candidate for President we've ever had,” said Congressmen Cooper and Cohen. “From her commitment to the middle class, to her vast experience with domestic issues and foreign policy, she has the vision for a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive America.  We’re ready to help lead her team in Tennessee."

Over the course of the campaign, the HFTN LC will continue to expand.

Members of the public can sign up at to get involved and receive more information about campaign events happening in Tennessee

Joining the Hillary for Tennessee Leadership Council today:

·                U.S. Representative Jim Cooper
·                U.S. Representative Steve Cohen
·                State Senator Sara Kyle
·                State Senator Thelma Harper
·                House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh
·                State Representative G.A. Hardaway
·                State Representative John Ray Clemmons
·                State Representative Bo Mitchell
·                State Representative Harold Love, Jr.
·                State Representative Raumesh Akbari
·                State Representative Joe Towns, Jr.
·                State Representative Sherry Jones
·                State Representative Bill Beck
·                State Representative Larry Miller
·                State Representative Antonio Parkinson
·                State Representative Johnny Shaw
·                State Representative Johnnie Turner
·                State Representative JoAnne Favors
·                Vice Mayor of Nashville David Briley
·                Former U.S. Representative Barton “Bart” Gordon
·                Former U.S. Representative Lincoln Davis
·                Former U.S. Representative John Tanner
·                Former Mayor of the City of Memphis A C Wharton, Jr.
·                Community Leader Ruby Wharton
·                Chairman of Davidson County Gary Bynum
·                DNC Member Gale Jones Carson
·                DNC Member John Litz
·                DNC Member William Owen
·                Former TNDP Chair Chip Forrester
·                Business Leader Bill Freeman
·                Business Leader John Vergos
·                Community Leader Ellen Vergos
·                Business Leader Henry Turley
·                Community Leader Lynne Turley
·                Community Leader Jim Gilliland
·                Community Leader Lucia Gilliland
·                Community Leader Herman Morris
·                Business Leader Michael McWherter
·                Community Leader Brenda Morris
·                Community Leader Lisa Quigley
·                Community Leader Dale Tuttle
·                Community Leader Byron Trauger
·                Business Leader Andrew Byrd
·                LGBT Leader Chris Sanders
·                Tennessee Young Democrats President London Lamar
·                Grassroots Volunteer Lead Lenda Sherrell

Oct 14, 2015 10:17 AM

Vanderbilt poll finds a city largely satisfied, but with splits on income lines

The latest Vanderbilt poll finds that 72 percent of Nashvillians believe the city is headed in the right direction, with majorities across race, income and age.

Karl Dean left office with a 66 percent approval rating, against just 18 percent disapproval, while Megan Barry comes into office with a 41 percent approval against 12 percent disapproval. The Metro Council has a 58 percent approval rating.

The school board didn't match its courthouse counterparts with a 43 percent approval and 37 percent disapproval.

Professor John Geer, who heads up the poll, said the analysts were surprised that so many answers split along income, rather than racial, lines.

For instance, 88 percent of those making $100,000 or more per year believe the building of a more than $6 million [sic], 350,000-foot convention center downtown was a good move. That number drops more than half to 42 percent for households with incomes from $75,000 to $100,000, and a majority of those who make less than $45,000 a year think the money should have been put toward improving other parts of the city.

Asked about the availability of healthy, affordable food close to their neighborhoods, 75 percent of those who make more than $100,000 per year said it wasn’t a problem. At the under $30,000 and $15,000 per year levels, that number shrank to the high 40s.

Sixty-five percent of households thought finding housing in Nashville when making less than $30,000 a year was very difficult, and 28 percent said it was somewhat difficult. When asked about the availability of housing for those making between $40,000 to $60,000 a year, 40 percent said finding affordable housing was very difficult and 43 percent said it was somewhat difficult.

Seventy-one percent of public-school parents supported the opening of more charters, while schools in general were rated 3.8 out of 5 from parents with kids in pre-K, kindergarten and elementary schools. That number sagged to 3.3 out of 5 for parents with junior high and high school age children.

The most important priority of the city should be improving public education, according to 84 percent of those polled. Whites, blacks and Hispanics all agreed that it should be the No. 1 priority, with blacks designating it the most urgent at 91 percent.

Reducing crime was the second-highest priority at 76 percent, followed by ensuring the city’s long-term financial health (71 percent), helping the poor (69 percent) and easing traffic congestion (65 percent).

A higher percentage of Nashvillians supported tax breaks for the arts, such as the Nashville Symphony (73 percent), than for manufacturers (65 percent). Only 51 percent of the city supported incentives for sports teams, while 47 percent opposed.

A thousand Nashville residents, contacted by both landlines and cell phones, participated. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. The full poll, conducted between Sept. 15 and 27, is available here.

Oct 14, 2015 8:47 AM

Metro mulls whether to sanction homeless encampments

The Metro Homeless Commission is still figuring out what to do about the city's homeless camps, but it's hard to handle with a four-person staff.

Oct 14, 2015 6:55 AM

Haslam administration defends privatization, clamps down on leaks

Haslam Administration officials defended the early returns on privatization of state buildings, but didn't commit to stopping or expanding a privatization push. After leaks of some plans made it to Phil Williams, the administration also admitted it had begun discouraging employees from putting too much in writing or emails:

As they tried to put forward a "simple and positive message" to state lawmakers, one official acknowledged Tuesday that staff members have been discouraged from using email or putting other deliberations in writing.

Those restrictions were adopted to avoid any more leaks of documents like those obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

"We were a little concerned about some of the information that got out prematurely associated with the project," said Terry Cowles, director of the Haslam's customer-focused government program.

"We're trying to manage that in a way that we can execute on this project in a deliberative manner and get to the end result associated with that. So we put that kind of control in place, if you will, to address that."

Oct 14, 2015 6:47 AM

Barry names Lomax-O'dneal as finance director

Finance department vet was interim after Riebeling promotion
Oct 13, 2015 12:18 PM

Butt responds to CAIR

Rep. Sheila Butt fires back at CAIR:

Last Friday, State Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) introduced a bill that seeks to revise the current standards and format of how religion is taught in Tennessee’s public school system.

“Tennessee HB1418 is neutral on its face as to the specific subject matter it addresses,” said Butt. The bill is intended to prompt an open and rational discussion about the appropriate timing and weight of teaching religion in a student’s education. No one specific religion is mentioned in the bill.”

On Monday, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy organization, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), called Butt an Islamaphobe and said her bill was full of bigotry and fear.

“Predictably, groups whose only objective is to prevent full and open discussion of these issues has begun its campaign of using the same old
tired canards and accusations. Quite frankly, name calling adds no intelligence and has no relevance to this discussion. Furthermore, it does nothing to ‘improve relations’,” said Butt. “I believe that Tennessee citizens are smarter than that and welcome the opportunity to participate in a reasoned and objective debate on these issues as we try to determine what is in the best interest of Tennessee students.”

Oct 13, 2015 12:00 PM

Barry doubled Fox in spending in run-up to the runoff

Amanda Haggard and Andrea Zelinski break down the stretch-run spending in the mayoral race:

While Fox spent more overall in the race than Barry (who, side note, got a $500 contribution from the senior vice president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Janet Marie Smith), her third quarter disclosures show she out-spent Fox by more than $416,000 in the month of September alone.

Oct 13, 2015 8:51 AM

CAIR calls Butt an Islamophobe as tension over doctrine bill rises

The Council on Islamic-American Relations said Rep. Sheila Butt is an "Islamophobe" after she introduced a bill banning the teaching of "religious doctrine" (that term is not defined in the bill or elsewhere in state law) before 10th grade, largely seen as a response to the inclusion of information about the basics of Islam in some middle school social studies classes.

Oct 13, 2015 6:59 AM