Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bush-League Buffoonery on Butchertown Blog

The Butchertown Neighborhood Association started a blog a few days ago, and I posted a link on the left sidebar under "Links" for your enjoyment. It is a nice site and should be useful to the residents there. I commented on their site and welcomed them to the blog world, wishing them success and praising them for their commitment to their neighborhood.

Today, four days later, there was a confused and out of place response by Diana Newton, staff assistant for Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins, posted on the Butchertown site. Besides being quite obnoxious to the folks in Butchertown by injecting her rancid brand of politics to an otherwise neutral organization, she was also very insulting to me personally.

To wit:
DianaNewtonSW14 said...I trust that you will INCLUDE those in the Butchertown community that have vigilantly fought FOR the area for years and have received nothing but scorn from the Abramson administration for doing so.

On a related note,
the posting above from Brian Tucker is a perfect example of someone who is carrying Abramson's water. And Tucker is a political hack! He is not anyone's role model.

Mrs. Newton, I know you have visited my site before, and I know you and others in your office have done so on the city's time. Perhaps someone should suggest cutting your position in city government if all you have to do during your day is to surf the web and leave nasty comments on blogs. It looks like the city could use the extra $9360.

Anyway, I hope the folks in Butchertown are not offended by this lack of decency, and I want them as well as everyone else to know that "Crazy Lady Newton" does not speak for Southwest Louisville residents in any way, shape or form. And we apologize for her buffoonery.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Southwest Beautification Project Wrap-Up

This is the last in the series of five places in Southwest Louisville that need beautification. They are in no particular order, and there are many more to come. The next series of five will begin in the coming weeks. Until then, take a look at the latest submission and browse through the set below:

This area is just south of Dixie Highway behind Walgreen's at Valley Station Road...the site of the old H&S Hardware Store. There is an empty parcel of land connected to the store that extends to Valley Station Road. You can see the old H&S sign in the vacant lot, and the run-down condition of the building, now occupied by a flea market/peddler's mall. The parking lot looks like it was 'carpet bombed'. We can do so much better then this.

Past Beautification Project Ideas:
Project #1
Project #3
Project #4

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Be Thankful

This year, I am thankful for many things. My wife, who puts up with me maintaining this blog, my kids for giving me "quiet time", my parents for believing in me and my many friends and associates who give me direction and ideas. But most of all, I am thankful for my health. Although I suffered a broken leg and a bad ankle sprain this fall which has rendered me unable to work, my spirit remains intact and my overall situation could be much worse. If you are facing a similar situation, remember, we should keep our heads held high and know things will get better. As my mother always says, everything seems to work out eventually.

I sincerely hope that you have a nice holiday, and please try to keep local merchants and locally owned restaurants in your plans if you decide to do any shopping this weekend. I'll be back here on Friday with more on the FOP/Mayor budget stalemate and other local issues affecting Southwest Louisville. Until then, be careful and be thankful.

The Auto Industry Ripple Effect

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Abramson Ultimatum Ignored by FOP

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson's demand that the FOP accept his ham-handed concessions was ignored by the members tonight in a show of solidarity that surprised me. This is truly a management problem, from the top down. It reminds me of the management at Ford Motor Company. Always willing to place the blame for mismanagement at the feet of their employees, and never willing to share in the sacrifices . The employees were given an unfair ultimatum and, thankfully, decided against it. Now the mayor and Chief White are promising to do whatever it takes to shove some type of concession down the throats of the police officers. Perhaps Chief White could take a pay cut as a show of good faith. Maybe the mayor could lower his salary to a dollar a year until this is over. The people running this city want it to be run as a business, so we had damn sure better start acting like the shareholders and make our demands clear.

FOP members, I applaud you for standing up to the bad management of the city and LMPD. As I have said many times before, the mayor simply MUST lead by example. Abramson has to eliminate or cut the number of deputy mayors, spokespersons, department heads and their staff and their take-home cars first.

Although I proposed eliminating the take-home cars for the police, it was just one part of the equation that must include deep cuts at the executive level. The chief and the mayor will impose new, higher fees for the take-home car program, and I'm guessing that few will pony up. So eliminate the program all together instead of placing the blame for the demise of the program on police that cannot afford an extra $200 a month. I am sure there is waste in the police department that needs to be dealt with. But I am an Ironworker, not a city manager. The mayor is now on notice that he cannot continue to rely only on concessions from union employees to fill the gap in the budget.

Thanks, FOP, and good luck.

UPDATE 11/25/2008, 10:50pm: Mark Hebert at WHAS-11 did a story today on the subject. View it HERE.

UPDATE 11/25/2008, 11:15pm: Watch the mayor threaten layoffs in this video from WAVE-3.

UPDATE 11/26/2008, 6:15pm: The Mayor stated in a phone interview with WHAS-11's Mark Hebert that he has done all he is going to do with regard to cuts at the top level of his administration, alluding to keeping jobs unfilled and the 10% pay cut, despite calls for substantial cuts comparable to what he is asking from other departments. Metro Council President Jim King is now involved in the fiasco. See the story HERE.

Fox 41's Bill Lamb Says "Loan Detroit the Money"

Update 11/25/2008, 11:05pm: Mitch Albom from the Detroit Free Press has an excellent article on the subject. Read it HERE.

Question: Metro Government Fuel Prices

Louisville Metro Government uses about 600,000 gallons of diesel fuel and about 210,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline a year. The city last month was paying $2.65 a gallon for unleaded gasoline and $3.02 a gallon for diesel fuel. Through a contract with Thornton Oil, the city gets a discounted rate per gallon and doesn’t have to pay gasoline tax.

Question: Does anyone know what the city is currently paying for gasoline and diesel, and how much money is being saved by the sharp drop in fuel prices? This equation must affect the city's budget, and since the savings is substantial, we need to know the cost.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free Flu Vaccination Tuesday 11/25/2008

The Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness is offering free flu mist vaccine Tuesday. It's an exercise for the department to test itself in administering a large amount of vaccine in a short time.

The free nasal spray flu vaccine will be offered starting at 3pm Tuesday at Walnut Street Baptist Church at 1143 S. Third Street. The vaccine will be administered to the first 850 people or until 7pm, whichever comes first.

The flu mist is only offered to healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 49. Pregnant women can not use the nasal spray. The flu mist vaccine would normally cost you $40.

LMPD Take Home Car Program Costs

WHAS-11 has a report on the demise of the low-cost "take-home" car program for the Louisville Metro Police Department. Since the mayor announced the city was experiencing budget woes, officials have been looking for ways to cut spending. There are four (4) plans now under consideration to address the rising cost of the take home car program that would increase the cost of participating anywhere from $160 to $210 a month.

It has been my opinion that the police department should double-up officers in some (not all) cars and review the possibility of returning a few cops to a smaller, specific beat on foot, thereby saving money and getting more involved in the community at the same time. My experience has been when you see someone pulled over, there are at least 3 cars on the scene, each with its own officer. There should be two officers in every car on traffic stops. Also, the "cops on horses" unit as well as the four-wheeler cops need to be cut out completely. Get those guys with high seniority some desk jobs.

Instead of cutting the budget for police protection the LMPD must find a way to cut costs and remain visible, while staying out of the pockets of the police officers. "Community policing" would be my solution. This way the department solves the problem of take-home cars by eliminating them for everyone and having more officers in the communities they serve. Whatever happens, I hope the officers are satisfied with the outcome.

Watch the WHAS-11 report HERE.

Update 11/24/08 11:35am: Fox 41 and others are repeating this story as "Less Police on the Streets". This is not true, and is an oversimplification of the issue. It means less CARS on the streets. The number of police officers will not change. Have no fear.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shively Center Renovation Going Forward

Norton Healthcare's plan to move into the Shively Center is going as planned, and the property has undergone major changes with more to come. To those familiar with the center, you will be pleased to know that the parking lot entrances and exits are being reconfigured. Still needed is a tenant for the old three-story Dillard's building. It could either be renovated or razed, according to future tenant needs.

This development, along with the new Valley Commons Kroger is bringing much-needed upgrades to Southwest Louisville properties, and renovation to dilapidated buildings. I've included a few pictures of the Shively Center below.