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:

– – –

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:

– – –

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 Attorney Jim Roberts Expects Metro Legal to Sue Election Commission and Petition Signers to Stop Referendum

 

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 update listeners on the current events surrounding the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act with expectations that Metro Legal will sue.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, our very good friend, Jim Roberts, the lawyer behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. He’s got the petition signed and waiting to see if it’s going to be put on the ballot. What, Jim, is the latest news to roll back the Nashville property tax 34 percent increase? Where does that amendment that charter amendment stand?

Roberts: Where we are today is that we believe that the Election Commission is going to meet next Tuesday or Wednesday, sometime early next week, and they will be voting to place it on the ballot. Because of the delays caused by the Metropolitan government stalling and delaying tactics, it’s not going to be on the June 14th date that we have selected.

But it’ll probably be mid-July. Metro is doing everything they can to stall this so they can get the budget process done and not have to be constrained by the petition itself. I don’t think that’s going to work, but that’s what they’re trying to do now.

Leahy: Why is it taking so long for the Election Commission? Five members, three Republicans, two Democrats. They have got to formally decide to accept the verification of your signatures. You had the 12,000 or so required. You had over 14,000. Have all of those 14,000 been verified as the Metro clerks office said? That they’re over the number needed? And when will this come on the agenda? And do you expect a three to two vote in your favor?

Roberts: The number they verify is really only the number they need. If you turned in a million signatures, they would still only verify 12,000 or something. Once they hit the number needed, they stop. The Election Commission has admitted that we have sufficient signatures. The next step is really just a vote to put it on the ballot. And we do expect that to happen early next week.

Metro has caused a lot of trouble here. They have threatened to sue the Election Commission and sue the citizens to try to stop this. They just absolutely don’t want it. They don’t want these citizens to have a right to vote on it. The Metro Department of Law has prepared a very dishonest legal memorandum and very self-serving. They are trying to explain why people shouldn’t get to vote on it.

Fortunately for all of us, the Election Commission hired its own independent council instead of hiring lackeys that Metro picked out, they hire their own counsel. And we were very confident that the counsel knows that this is right. The people should have a right to vote on it. And that’s just the way our society is. We don’t let the government tell us what we get to vote on in America.

Leahy: You say that what’s going on right now is that the Metro Legal Department is threatening to sue. Do you expect them to sue if next week the Davidson County Election Commission decides to put this on the ballot for the voters to decide probably in July?

Roberts: I think they will. I think they have no choice. They are truly so desperate to keep people from voting on this that they will sue the citizens. We made it harder for them, to be honest with you. We had originally followed a lawsuit because we thought they weren’t counting the votes. And we dismissed that lawsuit because they have verified the signatures. And so now it’s Metro again. Metro is going to have to file a lawsuit and they will have to Sue the election Commission and Sue the citizens if they want to stop this. And they probably will. They’re that dishonest.

Leahy: So next week, we think likely the Davis County Election Commission will approve the referendum and approve putting it on the ballot in July. You think that’s likely correct?

Roberts: That’s the first thing. There are certain things that have to be done, like military ballots and mail-out ballots. I mean, it’s just a timeline and because Metro stalled them so long, we could no longer have the June 14 date. When the citizens put forth a petition, we have to pick a date.

Leahy: Got it.

Roberts: The petition says on a space the date. But the Election Commission does have the authority to move that date around.

Leahy: Yeah, we got that. After they make that choice, you expect Metro Legal to file a lawsuit. Also, attorney Jamie Hollin who represents the Nashville Business Coalition has indicated he intends to file a lawsuit as well. Do you expect such a lawsuit to be filed after that likely decision?

Roberts: Attorney Holland is certainly a fine attorney, but I think he likes to be on TV more than he does in court. They don’t have a lawsuit. They don’t have any basis to stop the citizens from having a right to vote on this. I’d be very surprised that he would embarrass himself by filing a lawsuit. Metro doesn’t care. They’re desperate. The Nashville Business Coalition, there is no reason for them to embarrass themselves.

Leahy: The Metro Legal Department is happy to embarrass itself and other potential plaintiffs, perhaps less so.

Roberts: That’s our expectation. As you know, there has been some sort of secret groups out there trying to gather withdrawals of signatures. All of that has been done illegally. I doubt those people stick their heads up because of all the federal laws they’re broken. But I expect they will try to get in the media and try to make some noise. The bottom line is we gathered enough signatures. We followed the law and the citizens deserve the right to vote on this. They can vote no. And I’m sure that’s what Metro Legal wants, but in the end, the people deserve to vote on it. This is democracy. We have a right to vote on it.

Leahy: What are the odds that the lawsuit that you anticipate from Metro Legal will stop the likely July vote of the citizens on this charter amendment to roll back property taxes by the 34 percent increase from 2019?

Roberts: We did everything that the Chancellor told us that we should have done. Whether the Chancellor was right or not, that we just let it go and we said, what did the Chancellor say we should have done and once we did that, Metro Legal doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They are simply nitpicking. And that’s really the word for it. Nitpicking.

Leahy: I guess you would say that you would think it’s likely then that this will be on the ballot in July?

Roberts: I say there is a 99 percent chance. They will vote next Tuesday or Wednesday. The Election Commission knows it’s not their job to stop people from voting  If you think about it the default is people get to vote. The default is people get to run for office. And the default in voter petitions is that people get to vote on them.

There’s no basis to say there’s some sort of incredibly strict rules, and we’ll do everything we can to prevent people from voting. That’s what Metro legal wants. But that’s not what the law is.

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 euthman. CC BY-SA 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 Talks Metro Legal’s Creation of Suppression and Fear as Referendum Seeks 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 the Nashville Taxpayer Protections Act Attorney Jim Roberts to the newsmakers line to discuss Metro Legals shenanigans and efforts to prevent the referendum on the ballot.

Leahy: In studio, Crom Carmichael. On the newsmaker line. A good friend, Jim Roberts, the attorney behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. Well, twists and turns. Jim, where are we now?

Roberts: We are we now? Oh, we’re having a good time. Good time. So the latest news, of course, is we did turn in sufficient signatures. The Election Commission should have received those signatures and should be counting them. But we’re getting rumors and whispers of Shenanigans being pulled by the Metro government, unfortunately.

Leahy: Yes, shenanigans, Metro government. These are two words that are synonymous these days.

Carmichael: Did you file your lawsuit?

Roberts: We are going to file this afternoon. It’s already drafted. I’m working on a motion. What they are going to do is that they’re going to try to do is just not count the votes. That’s what the rumor is. That is Metro Legal’s strategy is to just say we’re not going to count the votes because we’re not even going to try.

Leahy: They are bound by law to count the signatures, correct?

Roberts: Well, you would think that. And so what Metro Legal has done is, we think is told the Election Commission just told them, oh, that’s not enough signatures. And so they’re putting pressure on the Election Commission we hear to just refuse to even count them.

Leahy: They can’t do that. That’s illegal.

Carmichael: Here’s what I think I hear Jim saying. This is why his lawsuit is necessary. His lawsuit is necessary to establish what is the definition of the general election.

Roberts: That’s right.

Carmichael: And then once that’s defined, then Metro has to count it because then the number would be set according to the legal precedent of the courts. The precedent is that the general election is the Metro election, not the election for Congress.

Leahy: Yeah. Describe for our listing audience what the charter says about the number of petitions you have to turn in 10 percent of the previous general election. The August 2020 local county general election had 120,000 votes. 12,000 is 10 percent. The November state and national election had like 320,000 votes. 32,000 is 10 percent. You turned in 14,000. Tell our listeners about what the charter says about what the preceding general election means.

Roberts: Well, I can actually make it even easier. The law is actually already set. Metro Legal litigated this against the Community Oversight Board. Two years ago and Metro Legal took a very strong position and the Court of Appeals adopted the position that the intervening federal election doesn’t count. It’s not to be counted. Special elections aren’t to be counted.

The only thing that counts as a preceding general election is an election for a county-wide office like the Assessor of Property, which is what happened last August. There were actually four general elections on our ballot last August, but three of them were special elections because of people who had either died or retired from office.

There was only one office and that’s the Accessor of Property, and only 92,000 people voted. So we really don’t even have to have 12,000 signatures. We only have to have 9,238 signatures. Everything Metro Legal and unfortunately, the Election Commission is putting out about a number greater than that is intent at deception and an attempt at voter suppression. So it is to suppress the people’s vote.

Carmichael: So you are filing a lawsuit that is a declaratory judgment lawsuit to define the definition or not to define it, but to confirm that the definition of a “general election” in regard to what this is about has to do with the local county and the last general county election.

Roberts: That’s right. And the law is very clear. And in fact, we’re even going to attach a copy of Metro Legal’s appellate brief. That’s the brief they filed with the Court of Appeals, where they argued that very issue. They even built a little table where they showed all the different elections and why they didn’t count. But I have a feeling they’re going to reverse themselves and shamelessly, try to create confusion, and really try to suppress this.

They don’t want this on the ballot. Let’s just get it straight. This means a lessening of power for the Metropolitan Government. And governments don’t like losing power. They want to keep that tax increase. They want to bring another tax increase. It’s already being floated that the taxes are going to go up again this year. And they know that if they try to do that at the same time, people are voting on this, that it’s just going to help us get the vote out.

Leahy: But according to the charter, when you turn in signatures for a vote to be held on an amendment to the charter it has to be counted by the Metro clerk. Am I right or not?

Roberts: Well, it’s certainly is what the law says. But when has the law ever constrained the government when it could get away with it? I mean, the fact that you have to sue the government to force it to follow its own laws, that happens when the government won’t follow its own laws. Metro Legal doesn’t care what the law is.

They don’t care that they took a position two years ago that said one thing. They’ll come in and change their position without hesitation because they’ll be told to do that by the Director of Law, Bob Cooper, who doesn’t care what the law is. He only cares what the result is. He doesn’t want people to vote on this.

Carmichael: And then the judge will have to rule whether or not the precedent and the definition of what the general election is. And then, Michael, at that point, let’s assume for purposes of discussion that the judge rules that the definition of the general election is the last county-wide election. Let’s assume then Metro will have to count the votes because the number that was turned in was greater than what the minimum would then be. They then have to do that. Now, their argument is that he needed to turn in 32,000, and he didn’t, so there’s no reason to even count. So Jim is now filing a suit…

Roberts: That’s exactly right.

Carmichael: To have the last August election, which was the last county-wide election to be the one that determines the total number of which 10 percent will be multiplied against.

Leahy: Jim, the Davidson County Election Commission, I guess, is scheduled to meet on Tuesday of next week. What do you think will happen during that meeting?

Roberts: Well, we don’t know exactly because, unfortunately, this is usually a sign of something dishonest is about to happen. They’ve announced the meeting, but they have not released the agenda. They are apparently going to hold their cards close to their chest of what they’re actually planning on doing. And that’s really why we’re going to go ahead and follow this lawsuit.

We want to get the law in the record in front of it. There are attorneys on the Election Commission that are smart. Jim Bolinas is one of the commissioners, and he is going to be smart enough, I believe, to read not only what the Court of Appeals said, but Metro’s position and realize that Metro is full of hot air. And I don’t think he’s going to let the Commission do something that just sets it up to get sued foolishly. This involves the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Acts. I mean, this is an intentional suppression of people’s voting and that’s a violation of federal law. And we’re going to push this.

Carmichael: You probably should reach out to the CEO of Delta (Leahy chuckles) and about voter suppression. I’m sure he’ll just jump right in and help you. (Laughter)

Roberts: Well, this is what it is. They don’t want this on the ballot. They don’t care about the mayor. They don’t care if it’s a good idea. And this is how corrupt governments work. And they just don’t let you vote.

Leahy: That’s right.

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 euthman. CC BY-SA 2.0.