Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts Is Still Winning as Metro Continues Disinformation Campaign

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts Is Still Winning as Metro Continues Disinformation Campaign

 

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 discusses the continued winning as the tax referendum nears a vote on July 27 ballot.

Leahy: Joining us now on our newsmaker line by attorney Jim Roberts, the man who put the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act on the ballot. I think it’s gonna stay there. Where are we in terms of the legal fight, Jim?

Roberts: Well, good morning to you! We are still winning. We are on the ballot for July 27 on all six amendments. The litigation launched this Monday, with Metro going full force, trying to suppress the vote right to vote on this.

But it doesn’t look like they’re having much success. It’s been a very legally technical type lawsuit. It’s not very interesting to watch, but essentially, Metro is doing everything they can to try to keep people from even being allowed to vote on this.

Leahy: But they’re not succeeding.

Roberts: Not so far. And it’s taking longer than I thought it was going to be. I stopped by on Wednesday. It’s a very technical lawsuit. There’s not a lot of witnesses. I don’t think there’s going to be any witnesses.

It’s really just an argument of lawyers. But Metro still can’t really articulate why the people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. They just don’t want them to.

Carmichael: Jim, I mean, with all due respect, Mayor Cooper has made it clear that the reason that he doesn’t want people to vote is that they’re stupid. He got up in a church and said that the reason in California, in a church of all places, that’s the irony is dripping on that in that regard to that.

But he got in front of a group of people in church and said that the people in California, the fact that they have a referendum is the reason their state is such a mess. And that if they just left it up to government employees and government officials, that California would be just a lovely place with very low taxes and a very light touch from the government.

And it’s all the people who are the problems. I wish Cooper would get up and tell the judge that the judge is too stupid to have a right to vote on this.

Roberts: Well, that’s right. And I’m sure Mayor Cooper got all that information from all those Californians who fled that state because of their high taxes and irresponsible government. Having a referendum is not the problem. The problem is a decade of overspending and irresponsibility.

Leahy: Exactly.

Roberts: That’s the problem.

Carmichael: And if we can get this referendum passed, it will force the powers to be to sit down and hopefully make the best decisions they can make, even though they don’t want to. But these people need to be forced to think and to manage.

They need that. Now then if they choose to fire the best people just to stick their fingers in the eye, then that’s an irresponsible act. But anyway, go ahead. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

Roberts: No, you’re absolutely right. It’s really sort of sad to me that the only time that our police and firefighters come first and this Mayor lied, is when it’s time to start cutting the budget.

Leahy: (Laughs) That’s a great line, but true.

Roberts: And it’s really true. You’re right. What this will do is restrict the government, but force them to make hard choices. When the government has an unlimited checkbook, they don’t make a lot of hard decisions.

They just decide where to spend the money when it’s all free money. And this will force them to make some decisions. And I guess if Mayor Cooper wants to defund the police first, he’s got a right to do that.

I don’t think that’s what the people want. He has a staff of 30 people making over $100,000 a year. Maybe he could fire one or two of those people and get his own coffee.

Carmichael: The other thing he could do is he could sit down with the Board of Education and say, we have got to greatly cut back on the number of non-teachers that are in our government-run education system.

And he won’t do that. He made it clear when COVID hit that the one thing he would not do is lay off a government employee. Now here businesses are closing left and right, and revenues for the city are still strong and getting stronger, by the way.

And what the Mayor if this referendum passes, one of the things they’ll have to do is sit down with the Board of Education and say, all right, we’ve got thousands of bureaucrats in our school system. We need to cut that in half.

Roberts: Yeah, that’s exactly right.

Leahy: Jim, let me ask you this. There’s another lawsuit from a group called the Nashville Business Coalition, which looks like just a bunch of special interests. They are represented by a very able attorney, Jamie Hollins. Where is that lawsuit going?

Roberts: That lawsuit got put at the children’s table at Thanksgiving dinner. (Leahy laughs) That’s the only way to say it. That lawsuit is going to go to trial on July sixth. This will be over by then. He’ll be an afterthought.

The Nashville Business Coalition is really just a PAC. They are pro-business political candidates. They’re not representing voters. They’re not representing citizens. They’re absolutely representing businesses that want to elect pro-business candidates.

Carmichael: When you say want to elect pro business candidates, are you saying they want to elect candidates who help the businesses that do business with Metro?

Roberts: Absolutely.

Carmichael: So it’s not pro-business candidates. It’s pro-handout.

Leahy: Pro-handout.

Carmichael: Pro I’ve got my handout and I want to get money from the government.

Roberts: Absolutely. And the more you can they werThey supported a lot of the candidates to get them to do the amp to support the business community at the expensive neighborhoods.

And they really have no interest in the citizens of Davison County. If it was up to the Nashville Business Coalition, taxes would be even higher, and there’d be more subsidies to the downtown businesses.

Which is great. I love Nashville being a strong powerhouse, but we focus all of our time and energy on the downtown and not our neighborhoods. And that comes at a cost.

Leahy: Jim, a lot of these special interests who oppose the referendum to roll back the taxes have raised a lot of money. They’re already on the air with television ads painting false pictures of the sky is falling.

What’s your reaction to those ads? And are you going to have enough money to push back against those ads?

Roberts: We certainly need all the donations that we can get. All of our money is coming from Davidson County residents. We’re up against business coalitions that are subsidized by the city.

They’re using our tax dollars to run a campaign to raise our taxes. And that’s a reality. That just happens in governmental fights. All of our money is coming from citizens and groups that are interested in saving the parks and rolling back this tax.

We won’t go on television. That’s an extravagant expenditure, but we’ll spend money on radio and on social media. It’s really about informing people and educating people. One of the most disappointing things I see of the opposition’s campaign is how inherently dishonest it is.

They just can’t even tell the truth to help themselves. A lot of this, as you see, they’re talking about how the city’s going to lose revenue, but they won’t even admit that if we end lifetime benefits for council members and the mayor, we’ll save money.

It’ll be more money for schools. If we quit giving away our parks and public lands for free to out-of-state developers we’ll have more money for our schools and firefighters. They won’t even admit that I’m trying to save money for the city.

They just wanted to the doom and gloom hysteria. That’s all they have and that’s all they’re ever going to have.

Carmichael: That’s what McWherter did. That’s what Sundquist did. And history shows that they were both very, very wrong. McWherter didn’t try nearly as hard to be as wrong as Sundquist did and he can’t get a speaking engagement in front of his family because his policies were so bad.

A bigger government is not good for any community. And Nashville’s government is already too big. Are the government employee unions pitching into the special interest for this dark money?

Roberts: I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure they will. Anyone who’s beholden to the government is going to be against this. Let’s just be honest. It doesn’t surprise me at all because the teachers union thinks that they can get more money for teachers if there’s just a blank checkbook.

And in some ways they’re right. If we have unlimited spending then everyone gets more money. What bothers me the most about the unions is that they’re important. The police officers and the firefighters, the teachers are the most important things we do.

They should be the ones saying, hey, why don’t you cut these other wasteful things and focus on what’s important? I want them to focus on what’s important.

Leahy: Jim Cooper is and John Cooper are the Cooper tandem that wants to be the elite to tell everybody what to do.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts Is Still Winning as Metro Continues Disinformation Campaign

As the Election Process Moves Forward, Jim Roberts Confident Referendum on July 27 Ballot

 

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

Leahy: On the newsmaker line our good friend Jim Roberts the attorney and the man behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Well, Jim, what are the twists and turns? Will this be on the ballot as a charter amendment on July 26th? What have the opponents of this done in court?

Roberts: Well, let me tell you, we are still on the ballot for the 27th, not the 26th.

Leahy: The 27th. I stand corrected.

Roberts: That’s right. Metro is still legal for the Metro government is still trying to throw up all the roadblocks they can. They’re still making the terrible, dishonest arguments that they’ve been making all along.

The best thing we’ve seen in the last week is that the other side is starting to show its colors. We’re starting to see the dishonesty of their arguments, and they’re having to come up with something.

I think what’s most amazing Michael is that they don’t really attack the ballot initiatives for what they say. It’s just doom and gloom. Chicken Little and the sky is falling. It’s really just hysteria. I think they think that hysteria is just going to carry them to victory or something.

Leahy: It sounds like they’re not making a lot of progress in litigation in the Chancery Court here in Davidson County. Is that right?

Roberts: That’s right. It doesn’t look like they’ve gotten anywhere. They’re trying. They’re making a lot of noise. I think they know they’re going to lose and they just want to look like they were going down swinging.

But the arguments they seem to be making are nonsensical and just dishonest. This is about voter suppression. What the Metropolitan government wants is to deny the citizens the right to vote.

Carmichael: What is the date right now, Jim of the election?

Roberts: July 27.

Carmichael: Has Metro filed a court suit in court to try to stop it?

Roberts: They did. They filed right after the Election Commission voted to put it on the ballot. That case goes to trial and about 10 days roughly. June seventh. But I think the court has telegraphed at least a little bit that they’re not going to win. There’s a second lawsuit that was filed by a downtown business group that’s pretty much on the dole for Metro.

Their trial got set in July. This will all be over in July. Obviously, the court is not taking their lawsuit very seriously.  So in 10 days or within two weeks, if you’re back on in two weeks, you believe that the Chancerrory Court…

Roberts: Yes. The Chancery Court here in Davidson County.

Carmichael: You believe within two weeks the Chancery Court will have made a decision? The indications that you’re getting, of course, judges have to hear all the arguments before they make a decision.

Roberts: That’s right. I know that they’re expecting when I say they, the Election Commission, which again voted to let the citizens vote. The Election Commission is assuming that Metro will try to appeal to the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeals.

Metro will spend as much of our tax dollars as it can to try to stop this. They will spend more than it costs to have the election.

Carmichael: Will people from the Election Commission do they testify as to why they believe that the that’s the referendum met all of the criteria?

Roberts: Certainly not in the loop of the trial strategy, but I certainly think someone on the Election Commission will. But the fact that they voted on it, the fact that they looked at it and made a decision, the court has to give a great deal of discretion to a governmental body like this. This is their job and they made a decision, and it’s really Metro attacking their decision.

Leahy: Jim, let me get your reaction to this. There’s a group funded by a bunch of left-wing organizations called Save Nashville Now. We had a story last week. Metro Nashville Public School Board Chair Joins Campaign to Stop the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. We think that’s a violation of the ethics rules of Metro Nashville Public Schools. Do you have any more information on that for us?

Roberts: I looked into that last week when it first came out and yes, it is it’s absolutely a violation of the ethical rules. And I think it shows how desperate and how willing the other side is to be dishonest in this campaign.

I mean, they’ll do anything. You should also know that throughout this, the opposition to this has actually taken several different names. And Save Nashville Now is just another phony organization.

There’s no organization recognized in Tennessee with that name. This is the fourth organization that’s come forward in opposition. And what you’re going to see is about every two weeks, they’re going to change the name of the organization, and that way they can hide the funding.

They can hide who’s behind it. They can do things that are illegal like they did earlier and then cover it up. So they’ll be gone in a week.

Carmichael: Jim, let me ask you a question. You can call when this goes to trial, Metro is suing the Election Commission correct?

Roberts: That’s right.

Carmichael: Are you planning on calling members of the Election Commission who voted in favor of the referendum? Are you planning on calling them as witnesses? What are you doing to be sure that when you have a chance to make your case, you’re making the strongest possible case and not just relying on precedent? That you are going to make a case well.

Roberts: It’s a little complicated Crom in the sense that we’re not actually active in this litigation for some complicated reasons. The Election Commission has shown its commitment to protecting the people’s right to vote. And in some ways, having us involved in this particular case would be very much a distraction.

Leahy: Very interesting.

Carmichael: Oh. So who is representing the Election Commission?

Roberts: That’s James Blumstein, who is the esteemed Vanderbilt constitutional law professor and pretty much nationally known, if not internationally known constitutional scholar.

He has a wonderful legal team with him, and they are basically making the same argument that I would make and doing a better job of it because they have sort of unlimited resources. They understand the issue here, and the issue is very simple.

The Election Commission is a government entity that has a job and it did its job. And now Metro is trying to come in and nit-pick it and overturn it, not for any good purpose, but really just for its own selfish interests.

There’s a great deal of discretion that’s given to an entity like the Election Commission. And you’ve got to always Crom fall back on the fact that there are six separate good government amendments.

If one goes to election, we have to have an election. If you’re going to have an election, you might as well go ahead and vote on all six just to save money. It’s very telling that Metro doesn’t care how much money it costs. They don’t care if we have six separate elections, as long as they can just throw as many monkey wrenches into the process as possible.

Carmichael: Now July 27 is the election. So it’s a one-day election. No early voting. There’s no absentee voting. If you want to vote, you go vote on that day. Is that right?

Roberts: First of all, there will be early voting and absentee voting. Some of those things are required by law. How much early voting there will be, I think the Election Commission has some level of discretion.

They have not announced the schedule yet although they’re going to have to very soon, which is why this litigation has been expedited. They have some flexibility, but things like early votes and military votes, have to be done pursuant to law. Those have to go out, probably in the next week or so. The election process is moving forward.

Leahy: Last question for you, Jim Roberts about the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act going to be on the ballot July 27. How much are the opponents going to spend to try and stop this in advertising between now and the 27 of July? And how much will you have available?

Roberts: They said they’re going to spend a million to a million, half, which sounds like an awful lot of money. I suspect a lot of that’s going to be taxpayer dollars from groups to get funded by Metro.

And they’re going to just put money in. We’re hoping to raise $200, $250,000. We think that’s plenty to counter their dishonest message. Remember, Michael, they’re not actually attacking the substantive aspects of this.

When you look at the anti-groups advertisements they have always mentioned my name. I’m just a simple country lawyer. The fact that they feel they have to attack me, I think, is very telling. They won’t get into a serious discussion about these issues.

To find out more visit 4goodgovernment.com

Listen to the full show 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act: Attorney Jim Roberts Continues to Win the Fight Against Metro Legal and Faux Citizen Action Groups

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act: Attorney Jim Roberts Continues to Win the Fight Against Metro Legal and Faux Citizen Action Groups

 

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 who discussed where he was at in the process of putting the referendum on the July 27 ballot and fake grassroots citizen action group opposition.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by our good friend Jim Roberts, the man behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Jim, bring us up to speed on the twists and turns of the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act referendum.

Roberts: Every week brings a new story, I have to admit. I appreciate you letting me come on this morning. The status now is the lawsuits have been filed by Metro trying to derail and stop the people from voting on this. The Nashville Business Coalition is a political action group that promotes pro-business candidates.

They’re not even representing the voters or the citizens. They’re just really out for their businesses. They’ve filed a frivolous lawsuit. The first one with Metro set for trial in June, and the other is set for trial in July, which I think shows the weakness of their case because, by that time, it will pretty much be over for them.

Leahy: I guess you feel that those lawsuits are not going to stop the referendum from going to the ballot. Is it scheduled for the ballot? And if so, what date is it scheduled for?

Roberts: They have voted to place it on the July 27 ballot. And then it will be there. All six amendments will be there for people to vote on. We’re moving forward. We’re raising my neighbor at radio and print ads and things like that, trying to get our message out and educate people. Although most people are pretty well educated on the issue.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. There is this group, “grassroots” group called Save Nashville Now. It’s your usual lefties at Stand Up Nashville. They are working in alignment with the Chamber of Commerce. They’re raising money. They’re going to put a campaign against this thing. What can you tell us about this group?

Roberts: Well, pretty much if you go down the list of their members, it’s all people getting government money, all people on the dole all people who basically operate as a slush fund for the Metropolitan government. There is no citizen group.

There are no people out there representing the voters or the citizens. It’s all people with their hands out. And we knew this was coming. If you have a vested interest, if you’re on the dole with Metro, it’s pretty easy for the Metro government to call you up and say, get in line.

Leahy: Yeah. Get in line. These are all the usual suspects. There is a new development about this group, and it’s our lead story at The Tennessee Star. I’ll just read this to you and get your reaction. The headline: Metro Nashville Public Schools Board Chair Joins Campaign to Stop Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. This is by our own Corrine Murdoch.

Metro Nashville Public School Board Chair Christiane Buggs announced her alliance with Save Nashville Now to defeat the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. It is unclear whether this alliance poses a breach of Metro Nashville’s public school ethics policy.

So here’s what the policy says. According to the Boardmanship Code of Ethics, board members should not represent special interests or partisan politics. ‘Board members will represent at all times the entire school community and refuse to represent special interests or partisan politics.’

That’s what the policy says. We The Tennessee Star asked Metro legal counsel to comment on this policy and whether Bugg’s action violates that policy. What are your thoughts on this? They didn’t call us back, by the way.

Roberts: Of course they didn’t. And of course, it violates the policy. And what it really shows, more than anything, is how high the level of desperation is. Before this is over, they’re going to have starving children and schools with no books.

It’s going to be every sad lie that you can think of will be perpetrated out as some sort of example. The school board, all this stuff is to roll the tax back to 2019. The schools had books in 2,019, they had custodians in 2009 and they had teachers.

This will have almost no effect whatsoever on the school system. But because it fits an agenda and it’s what Metro wants, they’re going to come out and be against it even though it’s probably going to benefit the school system in end.

Leahy: The kind of ads that I’m envisioning from this group, the Save Nashville Now Group, are going to be like those old ads from the Democrats that pictured former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan with grandma and wheelchair pushing her off a cliff.

Roberts: That’s exactly right. Think about it. Who got hurt when they raised taxes 34 percent, minorities, and poor people. The very people they claim to represent are the people that are being harmed by this tax increase.

But you’re not seeing those people brought out, though. Those people are hidden. And unfortunately, the political people, people with lots of money and lots of connections they’re against it because it represents the taking away of power. And the government never likes to have power taken away. We all know that. History tells us that.

Leahy: Metro Chair Christiane Buggs, her full-time job, Metro Nashville Public School Chair Christian Bugs, the one who is, apparently, in my view, violating the ethics policy there by jumping into this election. Her full-time gig is she’s the literacy project director for wait for it…the United Way.

Roberts: So there you go. People with their hands out are going to be against this. There’s no doubt about that.

Leahy: If a complaint were to be filed against Christiana Bugs on this, what would the outcome of that be? It does appear to be a clear violation of their ethics policy.

Roberts: Unfortunately, I have never filed an ethics violation with the Metro government, but I have known people that did, and they tend to get swept under the rug. They tend to get covered up. There are many and this may be something that needs to be addressed on a future ballot initiative.

There are many conflicts that allowed people who are in the government to serve on certain boards that they shouldn’t be and people with financial interests. The Fairgrounds is a classic example. The people that were involved in that all had financial ties to the outcome. And Metro turned a blind eye to that.

Leahy: In the ad campaign coming up for this referendum in July, I guess, what was the date again? July 27th?

Roberts: July 27.

Leahy: How much money are the opponents going to be able to spend on this? And how much will they outspend you and your team by?

Roberts: They said they’re going to raise a million to a million five, probably from taxpayers and squander that. We’ll probably raise about 10 percent of that, and we’ll still win. They’re trying to convince people to do something that’s not in their best interest and that will harm Nashville.

And then people don’t want to do I think everyone in this town knows the tax increase with a bad idea. And it’s the first of many. They would be raising taxes right now if this ballot initiative wasn’t on the ballot. And I can promise if it doesn’t pass next year they’re going to raise the taxes again.

Leahy: Absolutely. Metro Nashville and Mayor Cooper spend money like drunken sailors. And I have to apologize to drunken sailors for that because I think they’re more fiscally responsible.

Roberts: And they eventually run out of money. The Metropolitan government has the ability to issue bonds, and so they pretty much have an unlimited credit card. Most of your listeners probably know the city of Nashville has more debt than the entire state of Tennessee.

That’s the result of irresponsibility. That’s a result of a lack of stewardship and a lack of leadership. And they’re just making it worse. And we’ve got to bring this to a halt.

Leahy: Isn’t Metro Nashville is in one of the five worst financial situations for any city in the country?

Roberts: That’s right. And this is not just bad, but bad after 10 years of unprecedented growth. What we’ve seen is our city that just squandered this wonderful windfall that we had. So who knows what made Nashville suddenly popular?

But it’s undeniable that it is or has been. And they squandered that. They sold us out to out of state interest. They sold us out to developers, and now they’re sending the taxpayers and the citizens the bill for it. And that’s just wrong.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. Well, we’ll see how all this plays out. If people want to help with your effort, what should they do Jim?

Roberts: Go to our website 4goodgovernment.com which is leading and organizing the charge.  We’ve had meetings this week with organizers and volunteers. Please go to that website and donate. We do need money. We don’t have the faucet like the Metro government and some of these other groups.

We have to go out and earn it from the citizens. I’m very happy to say that almost 99.9 percent of all money raised comes from Davidson County despite the very terrible lie to the contrary these are citizens that are supporting this.

The problem is that most people don’t know what to do individually, and that’s like any sort of campaign. But please donate and please tell people these are good amendments. All six of these amendments will make Nashville a better place for good government.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts Is Still Winning as Metro Continues Disinformation Campaign

Attorney Jim Roberts Explains Metro Legal and Nashville Business Coalition’s Continued Efforts of Voter Suppression

 

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 outline the nature of lawsuits filed by Metro legal and the Nashville Business Coalition to suppress Davidson County voters after Election Commission votes yes on taxpayer referendum.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line right now by our good friend Jim Roberts, attorney for 4goodgovernment.com, and the folks had brought you the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Here’s the first line from a story by Chris Butler yesterday.

“Less than 24 hours after the Davidson County Election Commission voted to place the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Acts referendum to roll back property taxes on the ballot both Metro Nashville Legal and the Nashville Business Coalition filed lawsuits to thwart the effort.” Jim, what’s going on?

Roberts: As expected, the attempts of voter suppression have just begun. We had no big surprise that the Metropolitan government would use our tax dollars to sue the Election Commission to try to keep the voters from voting on a tax referendum.

Really, no big surprise there. Their dishonesty is pretty well established. The Nashville Business Coalition is just a PAC. It’s a political organization that actually funds pro-business candidates. So they don’t really even have standing. It is a little odd that they are funding candidates for the purpose of trying to stop the voters from voting.

Leahy: So what happens with these lawsuits now? I don’t even understand the argument. At least in the Nashville Business Coalition, they’re arguing that the elements of the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act are unconstitutional.

I think precedent in Tennessee is in a case of a referendum, the constitutionality question is not addressed by the courts until after the referendum. But tell me if I’ve got that wrong.

Roberts: No, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. And that was what was so surprising about the courts’ actions last year is that was pretty much the law in Tennessee and we relied upon that. But we made the changes. The reason they’re making these arguments is they have nothing else.

When we did the Taxpayer Protection Act the second time we made some changes that the court had said we needed to make. We did it. We followed it. We did everything, of course, said. And so they were just throwing something against the wall to see if it’ll stick. It is pure desperation. They’re trying to derail this by tying it up with litigation and they’re losing.

And they’re very frustrated about that. But their attempts are very dishonest. When you read their pleadings, they just make statements and they say, oh, it’s unconstitutional. They don’t explain why it’s unconstitutional or how it’s unconstitutional. They just say it. That’s all they can do is talk.

Leahy: Now, where does the litigation go? It goes into Chancery record here in Davidson County?

Roberts: It does. The two lawsuits were filed on Tuesday. We are going to intervene. We will file to join these lawsuits. We held off because there was an Election Commission meeting last night, which also went favorably for us.

And so we just held off. We wanted to see what happened last night before we did anything. So we’ll be intervening either today or first thing Monday morning depending on how my schedule goes.

Leahy: Tell us what happened last night at the Davidson County Election Commission meeting.

Roberts: You have to understand that the day after we turned in these signatures councilman Bob Mendes ran down to the council’s charter review committee and got them to rush through their own charter amendment.

It’s called a resolution. But their own charter amendment would absolutely undo everything that we were trying to accomplish. It was designed to confuse the voters. It was written in a way that didn’t make any sense. It was just a very dishonest attempt.

We thought what they were going to do is go in and argue that tell people to vote on all seven and get people to vote yes on all seven and then come in and create litigation over the conflicting provisions. The Election Commission very wisely and correctly said you can’t do things to confuse the voters.

And in fact, this resolution suffered for some of the flaws. They said that the original Taxpayer Protection Act, that’s all one big element. It doesn’t explain itself.

It’s clearly an attempt to confuse people and confuse the voters. And it was fun last night watching council Mendes almost break down in tears when he realized that he wasn’t going to get a chance to deceive and confuse the voters.

Leahy: What was the vote on that?

Roberts: It was three to two. Unfortunately, this did fall along party lines. It shouldn’t. This is not a Republican ballot initiative or a Democrat. If anything it’s libertarian. It’s good government. Many, many Democrats support restraining the Metro property taxability.

And many Republicans do. This is not partisan any way. They’re making it that way because that’s what the Metro government is doing.

Leahy: Why have so many Democrats, particularly Democrat attorneys decided that really what their job is is to subvert the rule of law by manipulating law? That’s what I see. One of the Democrats here is an attorney. I forget her name, but she’s been there for some time.

And then Bob Mendes has a very good background as an attorney. University of Chicago Law School. A clever attorney. And Jamie Hollins also who is representing Nashville Business Coalition and a very intelligent guy. But what happened? Why is it that they’re all trying to subvert the rule of law?

Roberts: It’s because they worship power a lot more than they worship truth. They know their arguments are dishonest. They know that they’re suppressing the voters’ rights. Imagine you get up in the morning and you think I’m going to go out today and suppress the citizens’ rights to vote.

And they rationalize it. It’s because their thirst for power exceeds their belief in the Constitution. Bob Mendes is fighting to protect his lifetime benefits and he’ll step all over the Constitution to get free lifetime benefits from the Metro government.

He’ll do the same to keep his power to raise taxes. Remember, when we had that tax increase, Bob Mendes was saying we should have, like, a 40 or 45 percent tax increase. He loves taxes. He’s protecting Metro Council’s ability to tax us all into poverty. (Inaudible talk)

Leahy: The ballot initiative is scheduled to roll back the 34 percent property tax increase and is scheduled between 60 and 75 days from the decision on Monday? Is that right?

Roberts: That’s right. They have to have 75 days to sort of get their ducks in a row to hold an election. And so they voted on Tuesday and set the election for July 27. We’re going to have an election.

Leahy: July 27. What could possibly go wrong with this in terms of the Chancery court? Do we know which judge is going to take on these challenges from Metro Legal and the Nashville Business Coalition?

Roberts: We know that at least one of the cases that I was sent was assigned to Chancellor Perkins. My gut feeling is it’ll all be transferred to Chancellor Lyle before it’s all over. She is a fabulously intelligent judge, and I don’t always agree with her but I certainly think that she is thoughtful.

And I personally think she should be the judge because she’s going to see all the things that she was critical of us for, she’s going to see Metro doing the same thing, and she’s going to have to say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Or she’ll be a hypocrite. And I don’t think she’ll do that. We may ask to move this out of the county. This may be too much pressure on a local judge, put an unfair position, even though Chancellor Lyle works for the state, her staff works for Metro. So they have a lot of pressure on her.

Leahy: That’s interesting. What do you think the odds would be of moving it out of Davison County?

Roberts: That’s a little bit in the courts’ preview. That’s always a question. When you raise the issue, the court system is not only supposed to be fair, it’s supposed to look fair. The appearance of fairness as well as actual fairness. Admittedly, it might look bad in this situation.

Metro’s arguments are so incredibly dishonest that it may just put the court in a very awkward position. Remember, Metro Legal has engaged in some very illegal and unethical behavior related to, I believe, to the first Taxpayer Protection Act. And we may ask the court to remove them from this case because of their prior unethical conduct.

Leahy: That’s interesting. The Nashville Business Coalition may not have standing is part one. And then you may ask the court to remove Metro legal because of their prior bad acts.

Roberts: Correct.

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 “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts Is Still Winning as Metro Continues Disinformation Campaign

Attorney Jim Roberts Talks Davidson County Election Commission Upcoming Vote and Metro Legal Impending Infinite Litigation

 

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 the Davidson County Election’s vote to put the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act on the ballot and the possibility of endless litigation from Metro legal.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line, our good friend attorney Jim Roberts, the man behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Jim, the big question, has the Davidson County Election Commission put your proposal of the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act to roll back the 34 percent property tax increase on the ballot for the voters in Davidson County to go to the polls and decide on?

Roberts: They haven’t done it yet, but they are meeting on Monday, and we believe that they will vote at that time. They have been recommended by their legal counsel that I met all the requirements and that they are going to vote, hopefully unanimously to put this on the ballot. And we can end all this sort of preliminary dancing that Metro is doing to us. And we’ll move forward towards a campaign.

Leahy: Jim, it seems like this thing is just taking longer and longer than we thought to get it on the ballot. They were going to, I thought decide it last week. What has happened in the interim?

Roberts: I’m not in control of the Election Commission. I thought based on all the information I had, that they would meet either Wednesday or Thursday of this week and vote. For whatever reason, they waited until next Monday. I do know that they were waiting for an independent legal counsel’s opinion on the issue.

One of the complaints the Election Commission has had, they didn’t feel like the lawyer that Metro had recommended last year really had the people or the Election Commission’s interest at heart. That was one of our complaints is that the law firm they hired really was carrying water for Metro the whole time.

They wanted an independent opinion. And I think that opinion is going to be very clear and forceful. I think they know they’re going to get sued. If they vote to put this on the ballot, the Metropolitan government is going to sue the citizens and the election Commission to try to stop it. They’re just that desperate.

Carmichael: There was not an Election Commission meeting last evening, is that right?

Roberts: No, there was not. I had thought and I believe there was going to be one, but it never got noticed. The notice went out, I think, late last night that they’re having a meeting on Monday. They have to give notice under state law.

Carmichael: It has been resolved that the election that matters was the last Metro election, which was in August, not a general election, which is in November. And so that threshold has been passed, is that correct?

Roberts: That’s right. Even though there were four different general elections in August, we had enough signatures for all of them. So it didn’t matter which one they used. (Inaudible talk)

Leahy: Walk us through the timeline here. We think it’s likely that the Davidson County Election Commission will vote on Monday to place the initiative to roll back the 2019 property tax increase next time around and all the other elements on it. What then happens? Does Metro legal immediately sue the citizens again to keep this off the ballot?

Roberts: I certainly know they want to, but of course, the optics on that are going to be pretty bad. The mayor’s budget, which I haven’t had a chance to look at, was due to be given to the Metro Council this week. And so there’s a lot of focus on the Metropolitan government and the Metro Council. I think it’s going to look bad if they turn around and try to raise our taxes for next year while fighting a referendum to lower taxes. I think they’re a little nervous about that.

Leahy: They may be nervous but they looked bad last time they sued and the judge had a ruling in their favor. You didn’t appeal that and you probably could have, but you chose tactically which I think was the right choice to go with a new one that complied with the Chancery court judge’s ruling. If they sue, what will happen?

Roberts: Most likely we would intervene, which means we would ask to join the lawsuit. We would be backing the Election Commission’s decision. And I think the Election Commission knew it was going to get sued and it wanted to be on some firm ground to push back against Metro. I think they know what Metro is trying to do here.

They’ve heard those dishonest arguments being advanced by Metro illegal, and they’re going to fight back, which is what they’re supposed to do. The Election Commission doesn’t exist to represent Metro. It’s supposed to represent the voters, people who want to vote, people who want to run for office, people who want to have a ballot initiative.

That’s who their constituents are.  Metro has thrown up the same terrible arguments. No matter what we do they’re never going to say it’s good. They’re going to nit-pick it to death, and that’s just their job. They are still arguing that people were confused and didn’t know what they signed. Try that when you rent a car, saying, I was confused.

I didn’t know what the rental contract was. Anywhere in society when you sign a contract. But they’re just acting like people don’t have any sense at all. They just can’t get over the fact that people want to restrain the government from a decade-long series of bad decisions.

Carmichael: How does somebody argue that the voters are unable to read a ballot initiative? How do you argue that?

Roberts: Well, you can’t do it honestly. We know that there are certain groups probably funded by Metro and we’re not sure who has been sending out letters to people that that basically say very clearly that you didn’t know what you signed. You didn’t realize that there were six amendments, even though the petition has on it in at least two places.

There are six amendments everywhere on there that say six amendments and each one separate. We made that very clear because of what happened last time. And yet people are out there saying trying to confuse people to fearmonger, that they didn’t know what they signed. The real problem, Crom is real simple.

By doing it as six amendments, there’s almost no possible way that, or at least the majority of the six amendments complied with what the judge said. No matter what Metro argues we’re going to have an election. And the real question is are we going to go ahead and vote on all six or are we just going to have endless litigation and possibly have to have a second election?

Leahy: So back to endless litigation. If they choose to sue the citizens and the Davidson County Election Commission to stop this from getting on the ballot and this proposal to roll back the property tax increase, how long will that process take?

Carmichael: And which judge gets it? Do you know?

Roberts: We don’t know but it’s likely to be Chancellor Lyle, because that seems to be the only judge that will take these cases. The real timeline is once they vote to put it on the ballot, things start to happen. I have to pick a date. It’ll probably be mid-July, which is later than we wanted. It might even be towards the end of July, but they have to pick the date because they have to work backward for absentee ballots and military ballots and all those kinds of things.

I expect Metro to file suit almost immediately. They’re trying to derail this. And part of that is because in their Community Oversight Board case two years ago, the oversight board for the police, it was Metro’s argument that once the process started, you might as well go ahead and have the election. We’re going to bring that up this time if that was their argument last time. And so they don’t want the election process to start. So they probably already got their pleadings ready to go.

Leahy: Well, here’s the good news. You’re making progress one small step at a time.

Listen to the 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.