The Nashville Voter
 Volume 76, No 7-- July 2023
Welcome to this issue of the LWVN Voter. You'll notice that the Emma page design allows you to access the LWVN Calendar by pressing a button at the top of the page! 
Please note, you can increase your screen size within your personal information manager (i.e., Microsoft Outlook). In the Microsoft Outlook Message Bar at the top of the e-mail page, choose "Other Actions'' and then in the dropdown menu choose "Zoom." The Zoom window allows you to increase the file size; try 140% for easier onscreen reading.
Also, please note that if you want to share/forward this newsletter to others, you MUST click on the envelope icon at the upper right side of this emailed version.
Friday, August 4th, August Hot Topic: Your Finger on the Pulse: Annual Topic Planning Session - Who knows better than our own dedicated members about topics of interest or that need more visibility? Join Karen and Melissa to share your ideas for our future monthly Hot Topic sessions. Click here to register.
Saturday, August 26th, 2023 Annual Advocacy Conference: Paving the Road to Health Equity - The LWVTN will be sponsoring the Tennessee Health Care Campaign annual health policy conference on Saturday, August 26 in Knoxville as an in-person and virtual event. Leighton Ku, the keynote speaker, is the Director of the George Washington University Health Policy Center and will be sharing a decade of data analysis of the economic benefits of opening Medicaid coverage options to all low-income adults..  The closing plenary, chaired by Dr. Carole Myers, PhD, RN, Professor of Nursing and Public Health Policy at UTK,  will feature a panel of a Tennessee legislator, policy analyst, provider and faith leader,  discussing how advocates can change the conversation around Medicaid expansion in the coming years. Click here to register.
Metro Nashville Council Meetings:
President's Message
Voting is underway for the city election and some state house districts! The League of Women Voters Nashville was proud to work in partnership on the 3 mayoral forums with the Tennessean, NewsChannel 5, Belmont University, and American Baptist College. We also partnered with NOAH for their mayoral forum. There is a buzz all over Nashville as civic organizations work to help their members turn out to vote. I hope that your voting plan includes using Vote 411 and bringing some friends to the polls!  

The LWVN is excited to promote Vote 411. I would like to thank Susan Mattson for leading the efforts to get Vote 411 organized and promoting it! Keep reading to find out where you might see Vote 411 around town.

See you at the polls! 
Vote411 Online Guide Available for August 3 Metro Nashville Election to Share
By Susan Mattson
The LWVN VOTE411 on-line voting guide for the Metro Nashville August 2023 election is available at As of July 14, 95 of the 106 candidates (80%!) had posted their responses to the LWVN questionnaire.  An all-time high!

Be on the lookout for LWVN digital billboards (see above) around town encouraging Nashville to vote and get the election information they need from  There will be 1,250,000 showings across several boards in Davidson County, many on the interstates, now through election day.  Let me know if you see one!
Vote411 is a great resource with general Tennessee voting information on registration, voting requirements, election dates, and deadlines as well as your personal guide to races and candidates in your district.  All candidates were asked to participate by providing information about their campaign and answers in their own words about their vision and priority issues for Nashville.

What can you do?
  1. Go to , enter your address and view your ballot of candidates.
  2. Share with others for their education about the August 2023 candidates.  LWVN has developed some cards you can hand out to others about VOTE411. If you would like us to send you some cards to give to others, please send a request to with your address and how many cards you want. 
  3. Share LWVN social media posts on Vote411 and the August 3 election.
  4. Encourage others to vote!
August Hot Topic: Your Fingers on the Pulse: Annual Topic Planning Session
By Karen Wieckert and Melissa Hanson
Who knows better than our own dedicated members about topics of interest or that need more visibility? Join Karen and Melissa on Friday, August 4 Hot Topic to share your ideas for our future monthly sessions. Last year's planning session generated wonderful suggestions on medical recuperation shelter for the unhoused, the juvenile court system,  local policy-making under the preemptive TN legislature, reproductive justice and the post-Roe landscape, DACA and immigration policy, book bans, preservation and history at Ft. Negley, and the plethora of anti-LGBT legislation. 

Come prepared to share your interests and contact information for future speakers. As we have done in the past, all Hot Topic meetings will continue to be conducted via Zoom for audience and speaker accessibility. See you then!

Click here to register:
Environment Committee
By Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Jack McFadden
Food waste is a significant problem both in the United States and worldwide. Enormous resources - including energy - are consumed to produce and distribute food that is lost or wasted. The national chapter of the League of Women Voters has a Food Waste Toolkit that contains information and resources about the economic, environmental and climate impacts of food waste. All information provided in the toolkit is from reliable sources including the EPA, USDA, IPCC and others, and is properly cited.

Health Care/Public Health 
By Constance Caldwell and Claire Sullivan
At our most recent biweekly meeting our committee discussed several concerns: 
  1. The consequences of the state refusing federal funding for HIV prevention.  This year's state budget does include state dollars to make up for the full loss of federal funding, but the state is making changes to how those funds will be distributed to agencies working on prevention.  As we understand it the state will be targeting prevention efforts at first responders, victims of sex trafficking, and pregnant women, and not on members of the LGBTQ community.  The federal government is,however, contracting directly with agencies that previously received federal dollars to provide services to the LGBTQ community, at least for this fiscal year.
  2. The consequences of the federal government withholding family planning funding (TItle X) from the state because state law does not allow those funds to be used to counsel women about the option of an out-ot-state abortion.  Although the state budget for this year provides family planning funding equal to what the federal government would have given the Department of Health to distribute to county health departments, state law prohibits those funds from providing services to undocumented persons. 
  3. The upcoming special session on preventing further gun violence in Tennessee. As we understand it, it is not clear that this session will actually take place in August, but if it does our committee will work with other local partners to advocate for effective safety measures.  We invite other LWV members to share your thoughts with us on legislative approaches that could be most impactful.
Constance Caldwell represented our committee at the most recent Davidson County Board of Health meeting.  We were excited to learn that this Board has now provided for a public comment period at each of its monthly meetings and will make more detailed agendas public.  The Board meeting focused on how the Department of Health can better meet the diversity and inclusion goals of the Human Relations Commission.  Concerns were also raised about the loss of special pandemic funding for school nursing positions and how those positions would be replaced, as well as issues related to the HIV and family planning funding.   We will continue to follow up on those issues.

The LWVTN will be sponsoring the Tennessee Health Care Campaign annual health policy conference Paving the Road to Health Equity-- 2023 Annual Advocacy Conference – TN Health Care Campaign--on Saturday, August 26 in Knoxville as an in-person and virtual event.   Leighton Ku, the keynote speaker, is the Director of the George Washington University Health Policy Center and will be sharing a decade of data analysis of the economic benefits of opening Medicaid coverage options to all low-income adults..  The closing plenary, chaired by Dr. Carole Myers, PhD, RN, Professor of Nursing and Public Health Policy at UTK,  will feature a panel of a Tennessee legislator, policy analyst, provider and faith leader,  discussing how advocates can change the conversation around Medicaid expansion in the coming years.  Workshop topics are listed below.  CEUs for Social Workers are approved, and nursing CEUs are pending.

Adverse Childhood Events (ACES) from a Black Perspective, Presenter: Susan Turner, MA, LBSW Certified ACES Trainer

Saving Tennessee's Rural Hospitals: Strategies for Success, Presenters: Tracey Stansberry, PhD, APRN, AOCN, Amanda Letheren, DRPH, MPH

Barriers to Mental Health and Substance Misuse Treatment: Ethical Considerations, Panelists: Lesly-Marie Buer, PhD, MPH, Andrea Hancock, Tyler Bowman, Jaymes Gonzales, PhD

TennCare Eligibility, Enrollment and Renewal Update,  Panelists: Stephen Zickafoose, MD, Silvia Calzadilla, Kimberly Hagan, JD
Metro Council
By Pat McCauley and Jack McFadden
Here’s a recap of the Metro Council Meetings 06/06/23, 06/13/23, 06/20/23, & 07/06/23
Rep. Bill Beck died suddenly.  He was rep from House District 51. Primary will be 8/3.  Democratic candidates are Aftyn Behn, and Anthony Davis. Republican candidate is David Hooven. The election will be 9/14.

On 6/20, metro council assigned Anthony Davis as temporary replacement, so district 51 will have a representative at legislature special session in August. 

Rep. Justin Jones won his primary and is the democratic nominee for Aug. 3 election for House District 52.  Laura Nelson is the Republican nominee.  Rep. Justin Jones is currently the temporary replacement assigned by metro council after he was dismissed from his seat by the state legislature.

From May 2023 metro government report that was put in Voter last month, in case you missed it - A resolution passed increasing the maximum income limit for eligibility to $60,000 in the Property Tax Freeze Program that provides financial assistance to low-income 65 years old or more beginning in Tax Year 2024. This is a current state program whose income cap is currently $47,500.  Cap was increased with state bills HB0366 sponsored by Rep. Harold Love and SB0871 sponsored by Sen. Akbari.  Bill passed with bipartisan support.  In Nashville, it would be administered by the Metropolitan Trustee who is Erica Gilmore. Contact that department for questions.

Plans for at least 2,800 residential units passed for at least one reading during 7/6 meeting.  It was the longest agenda in council history.

2249 & 2250, 2251, & 2293 Resolutions declaring surplus and authorizing the conveyance of real property to certain nonprofit organizations, and authorizing grants from the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to certain nonprofit organizations selected for the express purpose of constructing affordable or workforce housing.  This is allocating previously accepted ARP  (American Rescue Plan) Funds.

1968 & 1969 There was much community outrage against a proposed development in Bellevue.  They had yellow T-shirts made.  It’s a rezone from agricultural to “special plan” along Morton Mill Road that is heavily forested along the Harpeth River.  It is partially located in a Floodplain Overlay.  Developers say this is the best plan ever and will connect with greenway, prevent all flooding, and will raise Coley Davis Road which was a sight of much flooding in 2010, and have 417 multi-family residential units.  It passed on second reading.

2187 A resolution passed requesting that representatives from the Mayor’s Office, and other Metro Departments to evaluate the housing pods purchased with COVID-19 grant funds and create an action plan to activate the housing pods for sheltering the homeless population. Pods cost $1.2 million.  Some were given to Nashville Rescue Mission and the rest were put in storage.  Tennessee Fire Marshal has determined that there needs to be a licensed engineer to certify that the pods meet current code standards before use of these pods for temporary housing.

2308 A resolution passed saying the Metropolitan Council is requesting that Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools use funds recently appropriated as follows: $5M to be used to purchase shatter resistant protection for glass in school buildings and $1.5M to be used for building upgrades to ensure communication with the Police Department’s radio system. The school board does their own budget, so money allocations are suggestions.

The Metro Nashville Airport Authority officially seated its newly appointed state board members at a meeting on 7/6, despite protests from the Metro Nashville government and concerns over recognition by the federal government.  “We now have two boards,” said Wally Dietz, the Metro Nashville Legal Director.  The new state law went into effect on July 1, with Nashville city suing to block it.  Federal Aviation Administration told airport officials they would only recognize the previous city board until the suit ended.

Further complicating the matter, H.G. Hill Realty CEO Jimmy Granbery and businessman Bobby Joslin are members of both boards.  Dietz, metro legal, said because those members accepted the new appointments, they more than likely resigned their seats on the Nashville board.  If the court rules in Nashville’s favor, Dietz expects the council to replace the two men.

1990 This ordinance passed on first reading establishes a police advisory and review committee, to be called the Metropolitan Community Review Board.  A new state law preempts any existing community oversight board as of January 1, 2023. This ends the Nashville’s Community Oversight Board, which was approved by voters at referendum on in 2018.

At public hearing on 6/6/23, there were many comments supporting the Highland Rim Forest Preservation Alliance. They want it preserved and made part of master plan.  “For more than a decade, conservation organizations have worked to secure conservation easements and new public land additions to link existing parks at: Radnor Lake State Park (1400 acres), Warner Parks (3100 acres), West Meade Hills with a publicly accessible cave and waterfall and private conservation easements, Bell’s Bend (800 acres) and Beaman Park (2,300 acres) totaling 7,500 acres in this 50,000 acre, “green infrastructure” Corridor as identified in NashvilleNext, making Nashville’s Highland Rim Forest one of the largest urban forests in the world.”

1993 Passed on second reading is a bill to require that construction and demolition materials be diverted from landfills.  It’s a very long, complicated bill.  Dates of compliance start July 1, 2024 through 2029.

2287 a resolution passed requesting that the Department of Water and Sewerage Services study creation of a new department dedicated to solid waste reduction, diversion, and disposal responsibilities and to develop a strategy and organizational framework that manages solid waste, recyclables, organics, and other materials to fulfill the Zero Waste Master Plan.

$3.2 billion budget was passed. Gave 6% COLA (cost of living adjustment) to metro employees, and police and fire, and board of health, and 3% step increase.  MNPS employees get 4% COLA and 3% step increases, but school board determines its budget and can choose how to allocate funds and can allocate more raises.  A one time allocation of $1.8M was given toward substitute teacher pay.  Substitute teachers have not been getting raises and can make as little as $11 an hour.

Nascar Speedway development at Fairgrounds has been controversial.  Quite a bit of discussion about it was at 6/13 meeting, which passed on second reading. CP Sledge, whose district has speedway, and he is term limited, tried to take the revenue bonds for it out of budget to stop the speedway development.  His plan failed, but started much discussion.  Sledge stated that his district doesn’t want it.  Council is pretty divided, especially as to what it means for relationship with state.  State already changed rules for speedway vote as number of votes needed to pass to 21, simple majority, instead of usual 27, 2/3rds.  Which is one of several lawsuits charging the state of singling Nashville out.  State is proposing to add $17 million of state funds, but that begs the question if state would use that as a reason for state to take over board, as it has for the stadium and airport.  $100 million needed for racetrack. $50 million coming from Bristol, $17 million from state.  Remainder $33 million would be revenue bonds backed by Nashville taxpayers, structured to be paid back by users.  If there are low number of users, Nashville taxpayers will pay.  At 7/6 meeting, speedway bills were deferred automatically to first meeting in August.  Going to have public hearing on 7/25.  If doesn’t pass on Aug. 1 on third reading, it will have to start over with new council and new mayor, next October.

Council chose not to purchase historic Morris Memorial building. This is site where slaves were sold.  Building could be bought for bargain price of $6 million, but many thought renovation costs were high and metro has already bought several buildings at discount prices that it is not using. Before the Morris Memorial Building existed, that spot was the site of the Commercial Hotel, which was the home, in the 1850s, of Nashville’s largest slave-trading firm, Dabbs & Porter. The Morris building was designed by famous black architecture firm McKissick.

Public Comment Period is now at every council meeting now due to new state law. Used to be just the second meeting of month.  Must still sign up.  You have two minutes to speak and must give your name and address.

2310 A resolution passed approving a Sister City relationship with Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and authorizing the Mayor to execute a Sister City Agreement.  This began during Mayor Purcell administration.  Erbil is one of the most ancient cities in the world, dating back at least to 2300 BCE.

Tennesseans are encouraged to submit their thoughts on the legislation they would like to see passed by completing this form. It’s short and only takes a few minutes to complete. Please share it widely. It’s important that the Governor, his administration, and the supermajority hear from voters.  Click the link here:
By Reba Holmes
Annual Membership Drive
Reminder… Our annual membership drive began on June 1, 2023.
Membership allows you to share a year's worth of experiences promoting democracy, educating others in the community, participating in political discourse, and registering new voters, to name a few. Plus, the annual membership includes membership to the national, state, and local LWV organizations. Details regarding the various support levels may be found on our website <
We sincerely appreciate all our members who support the League's activities, programs, and underwriting. Join us today!
We Are Stronger Because of You
Our League Administrator, Tracy Depp, reviews our membership roster every month. As of June, we have 288 members in our League.
We hope to keep growing our membership and encourage more people to become advocates for democracy and its essential cornerstones. By becoming a member, you can participate in various activities, such as promoting democracy, educating others in the community, engaging in political discussions and forums, and registering new voters. 
Your annual membership will also grant you access to the national, state, and local LWV organizations. You can find more information about the different support levels on our secure website
We Are Looking for Volunteers
We are excited to announce the formation of a Membership Committee. This committee will assist with the annual membership campaign and work on other critical membership-related initiatives. We would like to invite you to join the committee and take on tasks such as aiding with membership communication and recruitment.
Committee Job Description: 
  • The committee will provide a strategic vision to increase membership, focusing on effective, comprehensive growth, new member integration, and membership retention  
  • Develop a program designed to mentor new members, specifically young adult members
  • Increase awareness regarding the League throughout our community by working with other portfolio managers to develop a communication and outreach program  
  • Develop annual renewal implementation procedures, timeline, communication, and follow-up
  • Develop a strategy to recruit potential members across various demographics
  • Work in partnership with other portfolio managers, e.g., Voter Services, Education, Metro Council, etc. 
If you are interested in serving on the committee please send an email expressing your interest to

Member Comments
We want to hear from you.  Please share your comments regarding why your joined the League of Women Voters?  Email your comments to
Stay Informed about Upcoming Calendar Events!
If you get the electronic version of the Voter, we want you to know that the upcoming calendar events are available on our wonderful, new website –  On The calendar scrolls on the events of the current and upcoming events thanks to Tracy Depp, who keeps the calendar current.  If you haven’t taken a look, do so to make sure you mark your calendar so you won’t miss a thing!
ATTENTION: The Nashville Voter is a digital publication. If you have received this copy of the Voter in the mail, it means the League of Women Voters of Nashville does not have an e-mail address for you. Please help us by sending your e-mail address to Being on the LWVN e-mail database ensures your receipt of all LWVN newsletters, event invitations, meeting announcements, and Call to Action alerts. 
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2022-2023 LWVN Board of Directors
Co-Presidents: Lara Webb
Immediate Past President: Madeline Garr
1st Vice Presidents: Melissa Hanson and Karen Weickert
Secretary: Elise Lamar
Treasurer Susan Mattson

Portfolio Chairs
Communications: Ophelia Doe
Community Connections: Sabina Mohyuddin and Katelyn Benhoff
Education: Harper-Grace Niedermeyer and Patricia Brock
Environment: Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Jack McFadden
Health Care/Public Health:  Constance Caldwell and Clare Sullivan 
Membership: Reba Holmes 
Metro Government:  Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan
Voter Services: Kathryn Anderson and Kalen Russell
Williamson County Representative:  June Bond
Nominating Committee Chair: Senator Brenda Gilmore

Nominating Committee Members: Betsy Walkup, Constance Caldwell, Hasina Mohyuddin, June Bond, and Brenda Wynn

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