Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yarmuth to GM: Put U.S. First

Congressman John Yarmuth called on the current and incoming CEOs of General Motors to immediately reconsider opening new facilities in Mexico while that company remains indebted to American taxpayers.

“While the leadership of GM may believe such a decision makes economic sense and helps boost profit margins, it ignores the fact that your company would not exist today were it not for the support of American taxpayers,” wrote Congressman Yarmuth in a letter to GM. “Along with these dollars, GM should also have accepted a responsibility to put America’s economic recovery first, and not that of any other nation.”

Earlier this month, GM announced it would begin production of a new line of vehicles and engines at a plant in Coahuila, Mexico, generating 390 jobs south of the border.

In December of 2008, President George W. Bush announced GM was one of several American automakers that accepted federal aid, ultimately receiving nearly $50 billion in financial assistance.

“The automotive workforce is critical to the manufacturing base of the American economy,” wrote Congressman Yarmuth. “It is both an economic and moral imperative to the American people that these jobs are kept in the United States.”

Full text of the Congressman’s Letter to GM is HERE (PDF).

Friday, August 20, 2010

$3 Spaghetti Special

There's literally no end to this "toll everything" dumbness.  The unelected, unaccountable board charged with finding ways to raise funding to pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project (ORBP) has come up with yet another way to dig into motorists' pockets: Toll Spaghetti Junction. Here's a press release from Say NO To Bridge Tolls:

During today's meeting of the Louisville Southern Indiana Bridges Authority in Prospect, Ky, Wilbur Smith and Associates presented detailed tolling scenarios including plans to toll Louisville's Spaghetti Junction with toll rates as high as $3. The plan Wilbur Smith presented would have local drivers paying a toll every time they drive through Spaghetti Junction. Say NO to Bridge Tolls co-founder Shawn Reilly said, "Tolling Spaghetti Junction would be just as epic a mistake as tolling existing Ohio River bridges. The benefits just don't outweigh the costs. Forcing the working people of our community to pay for this boondoggle is just insane."

When asked about the Wilbur Smith study as a reliable predictor of revenue, Reilly said "Tolling studies like this one are almost always wrong. The Denver Post has already uncovered that, yet here we are in Louisville being asked to rely on one and it just doesn't make any sense."

During a break in the meeting, Kerry Stemler, Co-Chairman of the Authority, told a journalist there's "no stone we shouldn't be looking under" to find funding options for the project. Yet when asked about opening up the record of decision, Stemler told reporters "We're focused strictly on the project at hand to finance the record of decision...the Authority is not looking at options." Curtis Morrison, with Say NO to Bridge Tolls said "It's inconceivable the Authority can claim to be looking at all options while insisting they aren't looking at all options." "Obviously, the project could be divided into affordable phases that don't require tolls, so they can't have it both ways." Morrison said.

Today, mayoral candidate Greg Fischer issued a statement on the idea of instituting tolls on Spaghetti Junction:

I’m all for creative funding ideas, but that’s the most outlandish thing I’ve ever heard,” Fischer said. “I won’t support that -- and the people of Louisville won’t support that.”

It should be noted that Fischer is a supporter of tolling existing and new bridges, but not the "Spaghetti Junction". While nice, that just isn't good enough.

What is also becoming clear is "the people of Louisville" do not support the project as a whole if tolling is included. Will they ever listen? Please leave your thoughts in the "comments" section.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back To School Weirdness Edition

- Is there any way outgoing mayor Jerry Abramson can take JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman with him? Scores of complaints follow students' first day of school this year. [CJ] Berman, however, says everything "going well". [WFPL]

- Two different wheelchair-bound individuals have been shot this week, and it is only Wednesday. [FOX41]

- In other JCPS idiocy, a new policy that prohibits engine idling has gone into effect at all public schools in Louisville. The policy has been described by some school officials as "unenforceable". [FOX41]

- Sustainable South Louisville, a Beechmont-based group focusing on ways to use fewer resources, will meet from 6:30pm until 7:30pm Aug. 25 at the Iroquois library, 601 W. Woodlawn Ave. [CJ]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Five Chances For You To Get Involved This Week

- Mayor’s Community Conversation, 6:30 p.m. Monday at Central High School, 1130 W. Chestnut St. In the small gym. Speak with Jerry Abramson, department directors, other government representatives and Metro Council members.

- Cane Run Road Improvement Club, 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Mill Creek/Bill Pieper Post, 7111 Lower Hunters Trace.

- District 12 Dialogue, 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Southwest Government Center, 7219 Dixie Highway. Speaker: a representative from U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth's office. Host: Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell of District 12. 574-1112.

- West Jefferson County Community Task Force. Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway, 6-8 p.m. Tuesday. In the Third Floor Conference Room.

- Veterans Administration Hospital public forum, 6 p.m. Wednesday at the American Legion Highland Post, 2919 Bardstown Road. Veterans and members of the public may share views on the proposal to move the hospital to downtown.