Saturday, January 03, 2009

Southwest Dream Team January Meeting

As long as we are on the subject of community meetings, The Southwest Dream Team has another monthly get-together planned. Here's the info:

The next meeting of the SWDT will be held on Wednesday, January 7th at Valley High School, 10200 Dixie Hwy from 11:30-1:00. Lunch will be provided by Valley High School and Principal, Gary Hurt. Our featured speaker will be Marty Bell, Deputy Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools. We will also hear committee reports and the latest news on the new, "Welcome to Southwest Louisville" banner soon to be installed on Jim Vincent's Body Shop near the Watterson and Dixie Hwy interchange. Don't miss a minute of this meeting! Thanks, Robert Price.

You can reach the good people at the Southwest Dream Team by clicking HERE.

There are some good things happening in Southwest Louisville. Come to the meeting on Wednesday and see for yourself.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Louisville's Annual Financial Report Missing in Action

Today is January 2nd and many people are beginning to ask why the city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) has not yet been issued. The report is traditionally released in December. The much-anticipated report is central to the argument on transparency for Louisville government finances, with supporters of transparency stating that the CAFR would prove the mayor's accounting was way off in calculating the budget deficit. The fact that the report remains under wraps only fuels the fire. My friend Ed Springston has a blog entry on the subject today, and asks the pertinent question: Where is the CAFR?

See Ed's take HERE.

It has been long thought that the CAFR would dispel any and all rumors and innuendo about the financial condition of Louisville Metro Government. It was to be the final word on the situation, and would shed light on exactly how far "down in the hole" the city was. Is it $20 million? Is it less? Is it more? Who knows? Again, the citizens wait patiently for facts and information on the issue while government employees sit home on another furlough day.

"Friends of Otter Creek Park" to Meet Monday

I have just received some information regarding the next meeting of the Friends of Otter Creek Park. The meeting is being held Monday, January 5, 2009 at the Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway @ 7pm. Have a look:

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for not sending out this agenda sooner, but I've been more than a little busy during the holidays (as I am sure most of you have been as well). I'm attaching my draft form of the agenda with this email in Microsoft Word, and it is in the body of the email as well in case you have difficulty opening the Word document.

With the coming of the New Year, Otter Creek Park has closed (though by all reports the gate was actually erected before the official closing date) and we have a lot of work to do in order to convince Louisville Metro government as well as the general public within the region that Otter Creek Park should be open and available. As I'm sure most of you saw in Wednesday's Courier-Journal, Metro Parks is now discussing having a private enterprise of some sort run the park, though what form that would entail is vague (see the post about the story on the Save Otter Creek Park blog here: It's clear to me that what we need to do is organize as a group as soon as possible at the very least to be a citizens' advocacy for the park -- to make sure that all groups that use the park are represented, and, again, to find a way to re-open the park (whether with public or private funding) as soon as possible.

With that in mind I think the agenda draft I've written will be a good start for organizing the group. If you have any comments or suggestions or feel that I've left something out, please try and get in touch with me by 2 PM or so on Monday. We'll also have some ability to improvise during the meeting, and change the agenda as we see fit, but I feel that having a structure to our meeting will help us get organized and get on with our real purpose -- reopening Otter Creek Park!

Thanks and again please get in touch as soon as you can if you have any comments, suggestions, or concerns.


Joel Hunt

Here is the proposed agenda for Monday night:

I. Introduction and Welcome – Approximately 5 minutes
A. Short explanation of Committee Group – Joel Hunt
B. Ground rules for Meeting and explanation of Agenda – Joel Hunt
II. Introduction of Resolution to Officially Name Friends of Otter Creek Park – Approximately 10 minutes
A. Debate on Naming Resolution:
1. Speakers For (2 minutes each)
2. Speakers Against – if any (2 minutes each)
B. Voice Vote on Resolution
III. Introduction of Resolution to Legally Incorporate Friends of Otter Creek Park – Approximately 10 minutes
A. Debate on Incorporation Resolution:
1. Speakers For (up to 5 minutes each)
2. Speakers Against – if any (up to 5 minutes each)
B. Voice Vote on Resolution
IV. Election of Friends of Otter Creek Park Officers – Approximately 1 hour
A. Nomination of Chairperson(s)
1. Short Statements by Candidates (up to 5 minutes each)
2. Voice Vote on Chairperson(s)
B. Nomination of Secretary
1. Short Statements by Candidates (up to 5 minutes each)
2. Voice Vote on Secretary
C. Nomination of Treasurer
1. Short Statements by Candidates (up to 5 minutes each)
2. Voice Vote on Treasurer
V. Organization of Sub-Committees – Approximately 45 minutes

A. Proposal and Explanation of Sub-Committee Groups
1. Petitions and Volunteering
2. Public Relations and Media
3. Non-Profit and Charity Outreach
4. Government Liason
5. Any Additional Sub-Committee(s) to be Suggested at Meeting
i. Short Discussion of proposed Sub-Committee (5 minutes pro and against)
ii. Voice Vote on Sub-Committee Formation
B. Volunteering of Sub-Committee Chairs and Members
VI. Questions and Comments from the Public – Approximately 30 Minutes, up to 5 minutes per speaker

I look forward to seeing you all again.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year Madness

It didn't take long for 2009 to go sideways on us, as there is a massive corncob fire currently burning in the Indiana town of Delphi, a "Wigger" has qualified for the LPGA, and WAVE 3 is investigating the "brine scandal".

But have no fear. None of these things are happening in Southwest Louisville. It is relatively quiet now, but this too shall pass. In the coming days there will be a push for transparency in Metro Government finances, plans to save Otter Creek Park and countless other small things that drive people like us nuts with desire.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your New Year is a great one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

UPDATE - Sun Valley Dumping

I drove over to Sun Valley Park today to see if Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson & his Public Works Department kept their word on cleaning up the park. As you will remember, the park was used as a dumping ground for the debris left in the wake of the September windstorm, and was completely covered in limbs and garbage and suffered extensive turf damage from unattended piles of waste. The site was also confirmed to be harboring filthy, disease-carrying rodents that then plagued the neighborhoods surrounding the park. Take a look at the condition of Sun Valley below. Metro Parks said the park would be cleaned up by Christmas. The following photos were taken at 2pm today.

HERE is my original post on the subject.

As you can imagine, the place still remains an awful, outrageous, embarrassing mess. There is simply no excuse for this type of inaction. While I was there, I witnessed one (1) man operating a backhoe, loading debris into a large semi trailer. The same man then got in the truck and drove away. That's right. There is one man on this cleanup job. It is being handled by Chip Trucking, based in Louisville. HERE is the website for Chip Trucking.

I am waiting to hear back from Tom Yonders, an area property owner that confronted Mayor Abramson during the last Community Conversation over the rodent issue. I'll let you know what he says.

UPDATE 12/30/2008, 8:45pm: I just got off the phone with Tom, and he has been in constant contact with the proper city people concerning the cleanup process and is frustrated over the utter lack of progress. Tom has been given a few flimsy "estimated completion dates" by the city, yet the people he has spoken with refuse to guarantee a date on which the work will be completed. Mr. Yonders and I are urging everyone in the area to call Metro Call @ 311 and demand Sun Valley Park be cleaned up. Tom said he was told by a city official that Cox Park in Downtown Louisville was being cleaned up first, as it was a priority because of "Thunder Over Louisville". Disgusting.

This is yet another example of bad, lazy, ineffective and downright incompetent city management, especially when it comes to listening to the concerns of the citizens in Southwest Louisville. Please call 311 and voice your concern. In a few days, if there is no significant change in the pace of the clean up effort, we will go to the mainstream media outlets with these pictures and Tom's story. This issue will get the attention it deserves.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mayor's "Top 10" A New Low

Many bloggers in town have already opined on Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson's "Top Ten Accomplishments" of 2008, so my commentary here is a bit late. I have withheld comment because of the sheer stupidity of the idea, and frankly because it took me by surprise to hear a failed mayor with failed policies publicly patting himself on the back. It seems a huge display of arrogance for he and his massive, well-paid staff to compile and list these items, particularly when he had little or nothing to do with what went on in each instance. Bottom line, this is embarrassing as hell. Check it out:

1. New cars and trucks — Ford announced that it would invest at least $200 million to re-tool the Louisville Assembly Plant to build a new fuel-efficient car for the American market. Ford also announced it would move production of the Navigator and Expedition to the Kentucky Truck Plant.

2. Overcoming adversity — From natural disasters to the economic downturn, the city faced numerous challenges. The city hosted 1,200 evacuees from Hurricane Ike and, weeks later, a major windstorm knocked out power to more than 300,000 LG&E customers for days. A major economic downturn also required more than $30 million city budget cuts over two fiscal years – $13 million in early 2008 and $20 million in late 2008. The cuts were achieved without laying off city workers or major reductions in city services.

3. A sports city — Louisville’s reputation as a sports center continued to grow, after hosting the 2008 Ryder Cup, viewed by 600 million people worldwide. The city also hosted its second Ford Ironman Competition and landed the Breeders Cup for a return engagement at Churchill Downs in 2010.

4. Best in America — Louisville won numerous national accolades, including:
* America’s Most Livable Large City, U.S. Conference of Mayors
* One of America’s Most Improved Cities for Cycling, Bicycling Magazine
* One of America’s Best Towns, Outside Magazine
* America’s Best Tasting Water, American Water Works Association

5. Downtown growth — Construction began on the new $238 million downtown arena and the city completed the deal to expand Fourth Street Live with the Center City project, which will create 1,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs. Downtown’s newest high-rise, Zirmed Gateway Towers, started construction. West Main Street was named one of America’s 10 Greatest Streets by the American Planning Association.

6. Improving the environment — The city launched its Go Green Louisville initiative that includes the first green roof on a city-owned building, at the Metro Development Center, and the Kilowatt Crackdown to lower energy use in 230 buildings, including schools. Mayor Abramson fueled the movement by switching to a Ford Escape hybrid for his work vehicle. By the close of 2008, the number of ENERGY STAR buildings doubled, from 5 to 10.

7. Creating new parks – The City of Parks initiative reached another major milestone – the opening of the first 25 miles of the 100-mile Louisville Loop. The city also purchased land in the Floyds Fork area for the greenway parks project, including a 98-acre walnut farm.

8. Improving public safety – The city’s focus of safety continued with major investments in state-of-the-art equipment and buildings that improve public safety including:
* Twelve new communication towers were built or upgraded for the MetroSafe radio communications system, which will open in summer 2009.
* Two new firehouses, one in Butchertown/Clifton and one in Portland, are under construction as part of the city’s 21st Century Fire plan. They will open in early 2009.
* All of the city’s EMS vehicles have been equipped with handheld computers, called ePCRs, which record and disseminate patient information to hospitals in real time so doctors can begin treatment as soon as the patient arrives.

9. More visitors – The FFA Convention announced it would return to Louisville, starting in 2013. The convention, one of the largest in the nation, attracts 55,000 people and has an economic impact of $40 million. Tourism in Louisville had $1.4 billion in economic impact in 2008.

10. Better students — The city, in partnership with Greater Louisville Inc. and Jefferson County Public Schools, achieved its plan to raise $8 million to improve reading scores with the Every 1 Reads initiative. The city also reached its goal of 10,000 volunteers to read to students in their classrooms. When the initiative began, 18 percent of students – nearly one in five — were not reading at their grade level. That percent has been cut by more than half. The city and school system also hosted a Dropout Summit to lay plans for reducing the high school dropout rate in Louisville.

A rebuttal:

1. Mayor Abramson failed spectacularly on the Ford incentive.

2. The foreign-owned electric utility will continue to rape the citizens pocketbooks to recoup the windstorm damage repairs, and the Mayor will again give his tacit approval. His budget proposals have been a joke.

3. A sports city. Right.

4. A few obscure magazines felt compelled to mention Louisville as a nice place to live. We already know it is nice to live here, and it is in spite of having such a goofball as mayor.

5. Downtown projects, with the exception of the useless arena, have ground to a halt.

6. Improving the environment by running businesses out of town doesn't really count as improving the environment. They will just go to a country where there are no environmental standards, thereby worsening the global crisis.

7. Creating new parks? Didn't he just close the biggest and best one?

8. Improving public safety by jacking up fees for officers to take their police cars home and refusing to properly compensate fire fighters is not sound public safety policy. Neither is less EMS on the streets or closing firehouses.

9. More FFA visitors....starting in five (5) years. Then it goes back to Indianapolis.

10. Better students? Let's try better education.

As usual, I want to hear your thoughts. Have a good evening.