Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act: Attorney Jim Roberts Comes Up with More Petitions Than Legally Needed, Metro Legal Moves Goalpost

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act: Attorney Jim Roberts Comes Up with More Petitions Than Legally Needed, Metro Legal Moves Goalpost

 

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Nashville attorney Jim Roberts to the newsmakers line to discuss his receipt of more than enough signed petitions to put the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act on the ballot yet informs of Metro Legals attempts to change the rules.

Leahy: We are joined on our newspaper line by the triumphant Jim Roberts. Good morning, Jim.

Roberts: Good morning, sir. How are you doing today?

Leahy: So tell us what you did yesterday afternoon.

Roberts: Well, we were very excited. Yesterday we went down to the courthouse and handed over to the Metro Clerk more than sufficient signatures to place the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act on the ballot. And they were waiting for us, even though we didn’t tell them we were coming, they knew we were coming. And they already had the forms ready. And it was just a wonderful feeling to unload those thousands and thousands and thousands of petitions with the signatures on them.

Leahy: I saw the picture. You had a lot of them. Now the number that you submitted was a little over 14,000. Is that correct?

Roberts: That’s right. 14,000 valid signatures.

Leahy: Now, there’s a little dispute coming on what the right number is. Tell us what your interpretation of the Metro charter is as to what the number needs to be.

Roberts: Certainly. There was a little confusion first, because, quite honestly, the Election Commission was putting out some incorrect information. And it’s really all based on how many people voted in the last general election. And that term general election is defined as the last Metro election.

Leahy: And let me just pause here for a moment. When people use the term general election, the general election for state and federal offices was held in November 2020.

Roberts: That’s right.

Leahy: But the general election for Metro Nashville County government offices was at the August of 2019 election?

Roberts: No, it was the August of 2020 election.

Leahy: And the charter says you need 10 percent. And so what is 10 percent of the August 2020 general election?

Roberts: About 11,500 signatures.

Leahy: And you turned in 14,000.

Roberts: That’s right.

Leahy: So game over right? If they get approved by the Metro clerks, you should be on the ballot except your counterpart accept. And now we have the rest of the story. (Roberts chuckles) Jeff Roberts, no relation to you. Jim Roberts is the election administrator for Davidson County. He says no. He says when they say general election, they mean the November 2020 general election for federal and state offices. And 10 percent of that number is 32,000. He said in an article in The Tennesseean where he said he’s going to challenge you. What happens next?

Roberts: Well, what’s going to happen is that we’re actually going to fail a lawsuit Monday. I must admit I didn’t expect this sort of legal shenanigans that we had last time. The unbelievable dishonesty of the Metropolitan government in the department of law. I was caught off guard by that. We’re not really going to put up with that nonsense.

The law is very clear. In fact, Metro argued in a very similar situation that it would have been the August election, not just two years ago when the Community Oversight Board referendum was on the ballot it was Metro that argued that the prior August selection was the right election and that Metro argued that the intervening federal election didn’t count.

That was Metro’s argument. And I expected them to be hypocrites and to change their position. But the law is completely clear. This case is less than two years old, and it says very clearly that the November federal and state election isn’t the election you count from. So Jeff is just wrong. And either he doesn’t know he’s wrong or he doesn’t care he’s wrong.

Carmichael: Are you going to file for a declaratory judgment on Monday?

Roberts: That is probably what we’ll do. If you remember last time that the Election Commission stalled and delayed. We found out that Metro legal was meeting illegally and secretly with the Election Commission to conspire against the voters. We’re not going to put up with that nonsense this time. My goal is to file for a declarative action and an injunction prohibiting Metro legal from engaging in any more unethical behavior. We’re going to make it very clear that this is serious. This is what the people want, and we’re not going to have a lot of illegal and unethical behavior by the Metropolitan government to try to stop it.

Carmichael: When you say this is what people want what you’re really saying is people want to have a right to have a say on their own tax rates. Now whether or not they want to have them or not. If this vote goes against the way that you would like it to, you’re still satisfied with that as a result, because the people have spoken. Is that accurate?

Roberts: Absolutely. And obviously, I hope they look for these six good things because they’re all good government amendments but I want to put it in the people’s hands. They have a right. This is what’s so dishonest about what Metro legal is doing. It is that they’re not just trying to say it’s a bad idea they’re trying to prevent and have been trying to prevent the people from voting on it. And when your government is telling you, you don’t get to vote on something that should bother everybody. And it bothers me a lot.

Leahy: So, Jim, the precedent you’re talking about, tell me if I’ve got it right. So the controversial Community Oversight Board, which was placed on the ballot because community groups gathered signatures that were more than 10 percent

Carmichael: Of the previous August.

Leahy: Previous August general election back in 2018. And they got it on like 1,500 signatures or something at 10,000. And I think the number was 8,500 or something like that. And the fraternal order of police filed a lawsuit that went through many, many cases and many iterations. And they said, no, that’s not enough. It needs to be the general election in the November election. Metro legal argued, no no no it has to be August in that. Do I have that right?

Roberts: That’s exactly right. That’s what they ordered. The phrase in the charter says proceeding general election. So in a sort of legal way, there was a dispute. What does proceeding general election mean? Well, one of the bills is very clear. In an election just Metro offices are being decided, not just people in Davidson County are voting but a true Metro election. And that was August of 2016 in that particular case. And for us, it’s August 2020. Metro knows this, and they’re just purposely spreading false information.

Leahy: So it’s interesting. They argue that it should have been the August election back to get the Community Oversight Board referendum on the ballot. It got on the ballot and was passed by the voters. Now we have a community oversight board. Are they going to literally make exactly the opposite argument when you go to court to get this on the ballot?

Roberts: Not only do I expect them to do that, which is incredibly dishonest, but one of the things that they argued in the oversight board case was that the people should have a right to go ahead and vote on it. And if there’s a problem with it, that can be determined later in court. But they should let the people vote on it. They were all about letting the people vote on that referendum. I am pretty certain that they won’t be as happy about letting people vote on this one.

Carmichael: Well, you’re going to see. I think that the strategy of filing for a declaratory judgment to move the thing along quickly is probably the wise course of action because the last time you kind of you waited for them, and now they’ve already pretty much said they’re going to sue over this. So you’re going to sue first and bring it to a head quickly.

Roberts: That’s right.

Carmichael: It will be interesting to see how the judge rules given the other recent ruling.

Roberts: That’s right. That gives us more time. If you remember last time they said they were going to sue and they never did. I finally had to sue Metro to force them to put it on the ballot because they clearly had no intention of actually doing anything. They just wanted to sort of stall and delay. We’re going to go forward.

I’d like to do it today, but I just think I’ve got too much work to do to get it done today. But maybe Monday or Tuesday or at the latest next week. We’re going to force Metro to put this on the ballot. The people deserve the right to vote on it. And if they vote yes on some of these, and no on some of these, that’s fine. I’ve given the people the opportunity to vote. They’re all good and they all should be voted for. But people’s minds differ sometimes.

Leahy: When do you think that the chancery court, which is, I guess where this will go, when do you think they would rule on whether your numbers right or the other number is right?

Roberts: We’ll file everything on an expedited basis. We’ll be pushing this very quickly. Almost certainly when Metro loses, they’re going to want to go to the court of appeals to try to tie up our resources. And remember, they’re using your tax dollars to fight this. They have unlimited resources to spend. They probably spent two or 300,000 dollars last time trying to keep you off the vote. I don’t think they won’t spend that or more.

Leahy: Yes, probably. They want to just nip it in the bud, that’s for sure.

Carmichael: Do you know which judge you’ll get?

Roberts: No, it’s supposed to be random. I do tend to get Chancellor Lyle more often than not, but it’s supposed to be random.

Carmichael: How many chancellor court judges are there?

Roberts: There are four.

Leahy: Okay, so you got four chances. Jim Roberts come back next week at the same time. Tell us what’s happened. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for all your hard work to roll back the 34 percent property tax with the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Jim, thanks for joining us.

Roberts: Thank you for having me. Have a good day.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

Attorney Jim Roberts Needs More Signatures for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act

Attorney Jim Roberts Needs More Signatures for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act

 

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Nashville attorney Jim Roberts to the newsmakers line to give updates on petitions received and still needed for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act to get on the ballot.

Leahy: And on our newsmaker line now our good friend Jim Roberts talking about the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. The petition to get it on the ballot to roll back the 34 to 37 percent property tax increase in Nashville. On the web, you can download the petition at 4goodgovernment.com. Good morning Jim. How are you this morning?

Roberts: Well good sir, on this beautiful day.

Leahy: It is. So I’m looking at your website 4goodgovernment.com. And there’s a note there that says new 2021 petitions are in the mail. The filing deadline is March the 25th, March the 25th. That’s a week from this Thursday. You need 32,000 signatures. How is the count going so far?

Roberts: It’s going pretty strong. We’re bringing about 1000 to 1500 signatures a day, but I’m not going to kid you we need more. You want to have a margin over that 32 to 33,000 a minimum requirement. Those are valid signatures and not everybody who signs always knows what county they live in or whether they’re a registered voter or not. So there’s going to be a few that get kicked out. and so we would like to be able to turn in, you know, 38 or 39,000 signatures and maybe 40,000 if we can get them. And we’re not there yet, but we are making really good progress. But really it is time for people to get motivated and get those petitions to us.

Leahy: So we’re on track I think now to get pretty close to where we want to be or where you want to be so that you’ve got that margin of error. That margin above that 30 or so minimum to get on the ballot. As of now, it’s Friday, March the 12th, you’ve got a week in six days until the deadline. Where about do we stand right now? I know you don’t count them every minute. But what would be your guess as to the number of signatures you have at the of this very moment?

Roberts: We’re probably a little over 21 to 22,000, which is about where we thought we would be. we obviously hope we’d have more by this point, but there they are rolling in. What we’re seeing is that people are getting more and more signatures. And I encourage that. When we first got the petitions back they had one or two signatures on them because people were sending them back quickly. But now people are starting to get their friends and neighbors to find them and that’s what we want. Please please download that petition and get 10 of your friends to sign it and mail it in. That just makes it a lot easier on us or we’re counting petitions.

Leahy: Good point. When you get to 4goodgovernment.com you can download the petition and not only can you sign it but also you can get another 10 friends right to sign it.

Roberts: That’s right. That helps us more counting and also just helps us get those numbers quickly. And this and I just can’t think that the people know at least nine other people who would like to roll back this massive property tax increase.

Leahy: If you’re listening right now and you live in Davidson County and you haven’t signed this and you’ve sent a lot of petitions out in the mail and you resent them after this big winter storm that kind of made it a little bit more difficult to get these signatures. But right now if you’re listening you can go to 4goodgovernment.com. You can download the petition print it out sign yourself and then think about five to ten friends that you can get them to sign it and then mail it in. You’ve got a place to mail it in right?

Roberts: On the petition itself, it has the address and we’ll have our office address on the website pretty soon in case people get too close to the mailing date want to bring it by. But right now we’re asking people to download it and mail it. And 1,000 petitions a day are coming in and make yours part of that.

Leahy: So if we have what 13 days until the time you turn it in. If you have 1000 a day if you’re at 22,000 right now, but if you were to count every day that be 13,000 you be about 35,000 right now. That’s a little close for comfort, isn’t it if we had 35,000 when you turn them in.

Roberts: It would make me nervous. I’ll tell you what, but I think people are going to wake up. I mean, I think people are starting to understand that the deadline is approaching and this is in the citizens’ hands. I can’t walk around in person and convince every single person. I asked people to read this petition. It’s got six different things on there that limits or eliminates lifetime benefits for council members and mayors. That’s just one of the six. And then rolling back the taxes is just one of the six. There are other good things on here that will make Nashville a better city and more financially stable.

Leahy: And when you turn it in you’ve structured this petition so that each one of these issues will be addressed separately. Is that correct?

Roberts: That’s right. On election day there will be six different things that you can vote yes or no on. And if one of these that you don’t like maybe you want your Metro councilman to have lifetime benefits, you can vote no on that one.

Leahy: Now here’s something important. We want everybody in our listening audience, we want to make Jim Roberts less nervous, right? (Roberts chuckles) This is the Jim Roberts peace of mind effort, right? Go to 4goodgovernment.com and download the petition. Sign it and get your friends to sign it and mail it in this week or the or early next week so that we can give Jim Roberts peace of mind. It’s very important. Don’t you think so Jim?

Roberts: Absolutely. And remember, this just puts it on the ballot. We still have an election will still have to have a campaign for this and been educate people further. But if you want the chance to vote on it, this is the time to get moving. And I know that there’s plenty of people from Metro out there working against this. I know there’s a lot of misinformation provided. And it’s unfortunate, but that’s politics. But if you want to roll back this property tax and put some restraints on the Metro Government now is your chance.

Leahy: It’s one step at a time. And none of this good stuff to rein in Metro Nashville government will happen until you get all of the petitions in. That’s between now and March 25. So for somebody who wants good government in Nashville needs to go to 4goodgovernment.com and download the petition, sign it, and mail it in so that by a week from Thursday when Jim rounds all these up and turns them in that we’ll have plenty of margin over the 32,000 requirement. Right now we are sort of on a path to go around 35,000, but we want to give Jim some peace of mind. (Roberts chuckles) Let’s try to get it up to 40,000. Don’t you think it’s a good idea?

Roberts: Absolutely, and that’s what we need. They will, unfortunately, be emboldened to try to suppress people’s signatures. We saw this last time. And they’ll do anything they can to stop this and to prevent people from voting on it. And I would not put it past the Metro Government to disqualify valid signatures on a mere technicality or even just dishonesty.

Leahy: Yeah, but I think it’s probably likely to happen. That’s why you got to get over and get as many as you possibly can. Now walk us through what’s going to happen on Thursday, March 25th. The deadline is what 5:00 p.m?

Roberts: 5:00 p.m. We won’t wait that late of course. We’ll go over in the afternoon early and will bring these to the Metro Clerk and we basically hand them off to them when we get a receipt. But the Metro Court sends it a little silly system, but they send it in to the election commission and they start counting, and once they count they’ll certify it and it’ll be brought up at the next meeting and hopefully put on the ballot.

Leahy: Do you have a big van that you’ve de transport these in?

Roberts: It will fill the back of my van up pretty full. When you only when you want 30,000 something signatures, you’re going to end up with 15 to 20,000 petitions because a lot of them come in with signatures on them.

Leahy: When you bring this to the county clerk, are you going to give them a little note? Attached, please find 36,000 signatures or 40,000. Do you give them the number or what do you you know because you’re counting them all along the way? What do you tell them exactly?

Roberts: They actually make you sign a form that says how many signatures you think you’re turning in which I think is sort of funny. And so there’s a little receipt that you get ironically. And there’s no place on it for your name or address or anything. I guess you just have to assume you’re famous enough when you turn a man that they know who you are. (Leahy chuckles) Which I thought was sort of funny. I don’t consider myself famous.

Leahy: But there will be a number that you attach to it on Thursday afternoon, March 25 when you get all these petitions in the back of your van and drive them in there, and are you gonna need somebody to help you unload them?

Roberts: We’ll have a group of people up there. We’ll bring in our volunteers and we hope to have a nice crowd out at the courthouse. Well, we’ll send photographers for that Jim. So the number right now, we’re around 22,000. Our guess is we’re on a track to get 35,000, but we’ve got to get 40,000. So go to 4goodgovernment.com.

Roberts: That’s what we really want.

Leahy: We want 40,000.

Roberts: And understand this is a remarkable number. This is a huge number of signatures. Unfortunately, our bar is very high.

Leahy: Very high. Jim Roberts 4goodgovernment.com. The man Behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Roberts: Thank you.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Davidson Courthouse” by Reading Tom. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

URGENT: 4goodgovernment.com Attorney Jim Roberts Updates the Tennessee Star Report on Taxpayer Protection Act Petitions

URGENT: 4goodgovernment.com Attorney Jim Roberts Updates the Tennessee Star Report on Taxpayer Protection Act Petitions

 

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Nashville attorney Jim Roberts to the newsmakers line to give updates to how many petitions he has received for the Nashville Tax Payer Protection Act and asked folks to please get theirs in as the deadline looms  March 26.

Leahy: Now Jim Roberts with 4goodgovernment.com with an update on the Nashville taxpayer protection act petition. Good morning, Jim.

Roberts: Good morning, sir. How are you doing on this beautiful day?

Leahy: It’s a great day. How are we doing with signature collection on the petition to get this Nashville taxpayer protection act that will roll back the 34 percent property tax increase? How are we doing on that petition?

Roberts: Petitions are coming in 1,500 to 2,000 a day. we still have a way to go. I would encourage your listeners to please download that petition, get their friends and neighbors to sign it, and get it back to us because we want to have a comfortable margin when we turn them in.

Leahy: So go to the number 4goodgovernment.com. That’s for good government.com. You got to get to 32,000 signatures by what March 26? Is at it that’s three weeks from today. Is that right?

Roberts: Basically, yeah, we want to try to turn them in that Wednesday, I believe. And we need 33,000 valid signatures, which means you want to collect more than that because some of them might not be good. But we’re getting closer to the wire.

Leahy: So here’s the big question for you Jim. Here’s the big question. How many signatures do you have as of Friday, March 5? How close are you to 33,000?

Roberts: Well, we’re halfway there and they are and they’re coming in stronger. I mean they’ve been out for a while in the mail but was slowed by the snow but they’re coming in about 2000 a day. And my worries were a little closer than I’d like to be. So, please everyone gets get those petitions to get them back to us.

Carmichael: Can you send out another mailing Jim?

Roberts: We’re thinking about that. We’re thinking about that very strongly and maybe sending out another mailer on Monday just in case people didn’t realize what they were getting when they got it. You know, we know that Sabathia we’re getting notes on about every fifth edition seems like have a nice note on it too. It’s almost thank you for doing this. We just got to get this on the ballot or taxes are going to go up again this year.

Leahy:  So you say you’re a little over halfway if you need to be 33,000. I’m going to say that you’re at least 17,000. Would that be right now? That’s probably a little under. We only count them about every two or three days. I’ll be honest.

Leahy: Because it’s a big process to count them.

Roberts: It is because you have to cut them open just people tape on clothes and cut them open. So they’re coming in droves. It very warms my heart how many people are turning these in but time’s running out. A sense of urgency needs to be on everybody’s minds.

Leahy: So am I right that March 26, three weeks from today is the deadline?

Roberts: It’s Thursday that we want to turn them in. I guess that’s the 25th.

Leahy: The 25th. So we’ve got two weeks and six days and to get them in. If you’ve got 1,500 a day, you’ve got, you know, probably about ten days 15,000 you’re going to be pushing it. You’re going to be pushing it to get to that 33,000. You got to accelerate it.

Roberts: That’s right. And that’s why we’re pushing harder and harder with more media and social media. And I think people are just sort of asleep at the wheel a little bit not realizing this is out there and we want to get it in. We want this on the ballot. We want people to have a chance to vote on not just the roll back of the property tax, but the other five things on the list that ending lifetime benefits for elected officials and protecting our parks, greenways and public lands. I mean this thing does a lot more than just roll back the tax. I know that’s the most important to a lot of people. But these really are good government elements.

Leahy: On the web at 4goodgovernment.com. You can download the petition you can get not only your own signature but up to ten total people on it.Crom wants to weigh in on it.

Carmichael: If you do another mailing, I’d try to get get the word urgent on the on the on the on the front.

Leahy: Urgent! Urgent!

Carmichael: Words like that matter. They get people’s attention.

Roberts: Our response was so overwhelming the first time that I think some people just sort of sitting back thinking, well other people will do it. It’s time for people to get real serious.

Leahy: Jim Roberts with the Nashville taxpayer protection act doing you’re doing great work out there where you appreciate it go to  4GoodGovernment.com. Download the petition sign it and mail it into Jim. Thanks so much for joining us today.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio