Well, I was wrong about the chambers being full today. It was the opposite. Discouraging yes, the end? No. Before all is said and done, I am hoping to motivate at least 10% of you guys reading this post to start attending these meetings, even if only sporadically. If 10% show up, I know at least 3 councilman that probably wouldn't be re-elected come election time and that would be a good thing. On to greener pastures...both figuratively and relatively speaking.
Seismic Codes, green projects, & fees OH NO! What could be more exciting than that? Well, I could think of a whole bunch of things and I will right after I post this...
The fee on top of the fine issue passed on it's 2nd reading. So, for now, you can only eat your 100$ cake (ticket) but soon you get to eat your 5$ electronic icing too! Hang in there, it's money for the city so it most certainly will be approved, just give it some time. Interesting to note regarding electronic fees, there was one person speaking against this and he informed the council that state law had been rewritten regarding these red light cameras. He asked the question "Have the cameras been re-calibrated for the new law which started July31st?" Driving through the middle of the intersection, the light changes and people get popped with a ticket The new law says that as long as your front tires are over the stop line, while the light is still yellow, it is a legal crossing. If the lights haven't been recalibrated, he said, the city is going to have legal trouble. I would say that he is right and that the city probably hasn't recalibrated the lights. There have been issues with these electronic tickets in the past. Tens of thousands of them go unpaid and if you show up to fight them, a lot of the time you can win because they are unconstitutional. How do you face your accuser in court when it's a camera? You don't...not really. Interestingly enough, none of the council answered his question nor did they address it at all. They voted and they rubber stamped...that is all. So if you get a ticket while the red light changes and you are in the middle of the intersection...fight it because you will win.
Seismic codes...who doesn't get all excited about codes? I don't...but these issues can sure have an exciting time with your check book. Let me try to make this topic as brief as possible because I could probably write 10 pages about it. The Council passed the 2012 ICC International Codes relating to Seismic Design and construction elements. To make a long story short, it will cost you about 5,000 to 10,000 dollars more to build a new house because of these new codes. This ordinance would suspend those new rules because it is having and will continue to have a negative effect on new construction. Wow, who'da thunk it? A whole bunch of people but that's beside the point.
So have we been building houses that are unsafe to live in? No. Are there rules in place that deal with seismic issues now? Yes. Why would we want to add new onerous and expensive regulations to new construction? Well, how else are we going to make people buy very expensive earthquake sheer panels and then require people to hire an architectural engineer who will then charge about 1500.00 dollars to make sure that they are structurally sound? And guess who is on the code advisory board that came up with these cumbersome and expensive new rules? If you guessed engineers well then pat yourself on the back. You are catching on quick. Follow the money...it's always about the money.
This was an interesting discussion in spite of the highly technical jargon that can mostly bore you to tears when you are discussing codes. Allan Wade, the city's attorney, stated that this code advisory committee thinks they are the ones that drive this train and that there is nothing anyone can do about it. I think this is probably true but I think they found out to day they were wrong...well, at least on this issue.
Anyways, this ordnance would suspend those codes and put things back to where they were before the engineers got drunk with power. Chalk this up to lessons learned from the laws of unintended consequences. Fortunately for us, Councilmen Reid Hedgepeth is a builder and is in the process of building a house for one of the other commissioners and stumbled on to this problem by reality. Oh, you don't say. Hedgepeth took umbrage at one of the citizens, Cathie Auxier, commenting about these codes that never should have been passed and that the council should have known better. Hedgepeth replied that the engineers told them that the requirement about the sheer panels was not in there. I guess we the citizens can chalk this up to having to pass the bill to find out what's in it and thank goodness the council members found out what' in it personally ...otherwise, do you think they would be setting aside these rules?
Item #36 Resolution accepting and appropriating funds from private donors through the Center City
Development Corporation in the amount of $2,447,823 for the Main Street to Main Street Multimodal connector project. This project was expected to cost originally about 30 million dollars. See the link to an article about this project from 2013 below. It is now at 40 million, most of this is paid for with crack money(grants/taxpayer funds). If you have read my blog before , you know that I harp on these grants because they are nothing more than redistribution of wealth. The transportation budget supposedly doesn't have enough money to pay for road and bridges repairs which is why Bob Corker has proposed raising the gas tax to raise more revenue. This quote from this article explains exactly what I have been saying, these green projects like the Main Street to Main Street Multilmodal which is for bikes and pedestrians...gets their grant money from the Transportation Department... "The city and the Department of Transportation plan to sign grant agreements this June which will release $15 million in federal funding for the project"
No wonder they don't have money to repair roads and bridges...they are spending a lot of it on bike paths and other modes of transportation that may get you from Main Street to Main Street but not to work. Somethings not right in Memphis and it's called PRIORITIES...
Stay tuned until tomorrow to see if Darth Basar takes his revenge on the commission for not electing him chairman...