Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Joint Statement From The Valley Report & LouHI

Dear friends and readers,

The following is a letter co-written with Steve Magruder at Louisville History & Issues with help from residents concerning the citizen's desire to have the city open the financial books for public scrutiny. It has been a work in progress and writing it has been fun. It will be sent to the editor of the Courier-Journal this evening. If you would like to sign your name to this letter, please let me know. Thank you!

While Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson is busy slashing salaries, enacting furloughs, cutting programs and ignoring calls from citizens for transparency in city finances, local bloggers are taking the word to the streets with a simple message: Open the Books.

People from all walks of life, from all neighborhoods, political stances and economic backgrounds are making plain their demands to us and, as citizen journalists, it is our responsibility to deliver this message. The citizens of Louisville want city government to make public the financial records that prove Louisville to be in such dire economic straits. The citizens demand that the Mayor and the council make transparent all records of revenue and expenditures so that we may assist in helping to determine what appropriate budgetary changes to make. Accordingly, the citizens also demand that local government freeze all decisions on personnel and service cuts for at least thirty (30) days, so that we may make sure our examinations of these records as well as the forthcoming annual report on city finances are thorough and complete.

We learned the hard way in these last eight years what to expect when a Mayor, Governor, Legislator or President says, “There is no time…we must act.” We are committed to not let this happen again. We need more than the opinion of a mayor with a history of exercising "carte blanche" accounting in a highly opaque manner. And we will not sit idly by while highly necessary services or personnel, particularly those related to public safety, are cut while there's a potential for extraneous high-level staff, bloated, unnecessary programs or any of the mayor's hidden expenditures escaping the budget cutting knife. For the sake of our beloved hometown Louisville Metro and its citizens, we demand action NOW. OPEN THE BOOKS. After all, it's OUR MONEY. And this mayor was elected to SERVE US.

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