Gallatin City Council is Corrupt and Self Serving.
Councilman Steve Fann is trading his council seat for a liquor license, and Councilman Jimmy Overton is for sale. Overton loves his benefits too much to give up a seat at the table, and Fann wants a liquor license, so the flip flop on Tuesday was no surprise. I predicted it. It's not hard to predict what these people will do. I've been watching them every week for 4 1/2 years. I accurately predict their votes all the time. You just need to watch them, listen to them, see their reactions and emotions and their little secret sidebars as they whisper to each other during the meetings. Major flip flops from one week to the next on big, controversial votes make it clear and obvious that plenty of discussion goes on behind the scenes. Yes - they break the sunshine law ALL THE TIME.
So, here we are, another big controversial item. Liquor Licenses. Fann has been very vocal and clearly wants to open up the market for unlimited liquor licenses. He is usually silent at most meetings, rarely utters a peep, just votes yes on everything. But not this time. He has had PLENTY to say, and, clearly from my seat in the public gallery, he wants a liquor license. Last week when the city attorney read the state law that an elected official could not have a liquor license or be affiliated with one in any way, he looked shocked and dismayed and started frantically reading his packet of info - UH OH. I guess he didn't see that one coming. So, after they all had discussed at length for 45 minutes (after discussing for an hour at the previous meeting), they decided to keep the population based limits, and change the liquor license to be 1 per 7,000 population instead of the current 1 per 12,000. Then Fann said he wanted to defer the vote until Jimmy Overton was back, (it was May 3, and J.O. was absent, busy at the election polls, losing his race for county commission).
Ok! So that's it. Easy to predict. Fann wants a liquor license and the only way for him to get one is to open it up, No limit by population, no lottery to randomly choose license recipients. And Overton wants a seat at the table. But his plan to be on the County Commission didn't work; and "they" (the inner circle of good ole boys) already decided that Overton's district 3 council seat will be filled by Rick Murphy. What can Jimmy Overton do? He can sell his vote for a liquor license to Fann in exchange for Fann's At-Large Council seat. Overton can pretty much guarantee 4 votes because Councilman John D Alexander follows whatever Overton does, and Fann and Hayes have been clear about wanting to open it up for unlimited licenses. 4 votes, and Gallatin will have unlimited liquor licenses available.
Here's the funny part - my texts to Sandra before the council meeting this week. I predicted that they would change everything that they had agreed on the week before, they would do away with the population based limitations, and open it up. I predicted who would vote which way, and I was 100% correct. It's just that easy to see and know what they will do because they are corrupt and self serving.
Councilman Shawn Fennell said he has some sort of conflict of interest, and therefore abstained from voting last week and this week. What conflict? Is he affiliated somehow with a liquor license? Does he need to step down from his seat too?
And Mayor Paige Brown - she has been very vocal that she does not want unlimited licenses, but wants a population based limit. Will she finally use her veto power? She has not used it ever. Not once in 8 years. If they have less than 5 votes, she can veto. It really makes you wonder, there have been plenty of controversial things passed with only 4 votes. But she never vetoes. Why? What do they have on her? Who is pulling her strings?
I will make one more prediction - In June, Fann and Overton will both pull papers to run for the At-Large seat. Fann will then withdraw at the last minute, leaving Overton to run unopposed. Fann will then be free to apply for his liquor license, and King Jimmy will continue to sit on the council, voting yes to approve everything the special interests want, and continuing to collect his benefits.