Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 grassroots activist and Vice Chair of the south central region of Davidson County Republican chapter Raphaela Keohane in the studio to talk about how bad the Amendment 1 initiative is for registered voters in the county.
Leahy: In-studio right now, we are delighted to welcome to our studios here our good friend Rae Keohane. And Rae and I have known each other for many years, and you are now the vice chair of, what, the southern Republican chapter …
Keohane: The southern central region of Davidson County.
Leahy: And so you’ve been very active as a grassroots activist for some time and very well known for doing a great job in a lot of areas of grassroots. So thank you for all that great work that you’ve done.
Keohane: Thank you.
Leahy: Like me, however, you’re a refugee from a northern state, aren’t you?
Keohane: Yes, I am.
Leahy: Which northern state?
Keohane: New York.
Leahy: New York! Yes! All the smart people from New York have left, as I have.
Keohane: That’s right.
Leahy: But you are not from upstate New York, right?
Keohane: No, I’m from downstate. I was born and raised in Brooklyn.
Leahy: Born and raised in Brooklyn.
Keohane: Brooklyn, New York. And then when I got married, we moved to Long Island. We lived in Levittown and moved here.
Leahy: How long ago did you move to?
Leahy: And you love Tennessee, don’t you?
Keohane: I do love Tennessee.
Leahy: Did you see that CNBC ranking that said it was the ninth-worst state to live in? We’ve got to bring those guys down here. We’re going to kind of smack them around a little bit, right?
Keohane: Yeah, come on down and give them a good beating from New York. (Laughter)
Leahy: None of them have lived here. I mean, look, Tennessee is the best state in the union by far.
Keohane: I agree.
Leahy: The people are nice. It’s beautiful. No state income taxes. It’s the best place in the union. So those CNBC guys, we’re going to give them a hard time. Now, speaking of hard times, what is going on with this charter Amendment 1?
This looks to me like it’s an effort by the powers that be to not allow the people to get ballot initiatives on the ballot here in Davidson County. Tell us about Amendment 1.
Keohane: That’s exactly what this is doing. The fear here is that this is going to just limit the petition of the people, which is a constitutional right. United States Constitution.
Leahy: The people have the right to petition the government. It’s right there in the Constitution.
Leahy: And now the process has been – and we have a long tradition in Davidson County since we went to the combined form of government back in 1965. There are numerous opportunities to get ballot initiatives on there to change the charter.
And the question is the number of signatures you need to get on the ballot right now, it’s reasonable. But this Amendment 1, which I think any sane person would vote “no” on, would change it to 48,000 signatures or something like that.
Keohane: You would need to get 10 percent of the registered voters in Davidson County to sign the petition. So, yes, you would need about 48,308 signatures, to be exact.
Leahy: We’ve gone through this process in a number of charter amendments recently. There was a recent effort to stop the 37 percent property tax increase, which for any number of reasons, got thrown out and never made it to the ballot.
Keohane: That’s right because the city fought the ballot initiative with the election commission and they’re the ones who cost the city and the taxpayers millions of dollars because they hired outside lawyers.
Leahy: Yes. And basically, they used the court systems to keep this initiative off the ballot. And they succeeded.
Leahy: But Amendment 1 is an effort to codify that going forward. I would think.
Keohane: This is very, very bad.
Leahy: When we come back we’ll talk about how bad is it?
Keohane: It’s bad. (Laughter)
Listen to the interview:
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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.