February 28, 2011

KWA showing 9 films Saturday- Don't be a river-hater!

The Kentucky Waterways Alliance will be hosting the groovy Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Clifton Center this Saturday, March 5, 2011.  Only $10 to see a a flick about something you care about. How could you pass that up? I'll be there.

7:00PM - Lobby open for the Opening Reception /8:00PM - Introductory Film and Welcome
Film order for first half:
Slow the Flow
Animals Save the Planet (Hippo Shower)
Big River
9:30 - Intermission
9:45 – Door Prize Giveaways!

Film order for second half:
Kayaking on the Russel Fork Gorge
Sacred Flurries
Animals Save the Planet (Energy Efficient Penguin)
Eastern Rises
11:30PM - Closing Remarks

My friend Kyle Meredith, with WFPL will be this year's emcee. Again, tickets are only $10. Don't be a river-hater, be there.

Where are the sirens?

February 25, 2011

Rand Paul on War / Gaddafi

I agree with Rand Paul in this sentiment. If we as a country go to war, it should mean we're so committed that we'd want to send our OWN children to fight that war. Well said.

Mayor Greg Fischer: The first 60 days

2 months to get 17 views!
Okay, so it hasn't been 60 days yet. Sue me.  Did you guys know the Voice Tribune did a fancy video interview with Mayor Greg Fischer right as his 60 days got started? I bet you didn't, because the video only had 17 views before I link to it below. I, for one,  had no idea Santa had deputized him. You all know what happens if you rearrange the letters in S-A-N-T-A, right? I like how he talks about how modest he is after the 6 minute mark:

I just LOVE that guy breathing over the camera. LOVE it! Here's part 2 when our mayor gets to talk about how excited he is about his "gala."

So, my good friend Jeff Noble has recently made an inference on his blog that he may soon be writing on the nuisance of those "who seem to find fault with every step our new mayor has taken..." I'm sure he doesn't mean, just me. Or maybe he does. Regardless, I've decided now would be a good time to break down the top 5 complaints I have with Mayor Fischer's performance to date:

#1 Iceberg-gate. His out the door, co-mingling of political campaign funds with city funds to produce an inauguration festival, the ostentation of which should embarrass any true Democrat. While the AG office won't be pursuing the inaugural financing issue, I haven't heard yet from the KY Board of Elections or the Registry of Election Finance.
#2 My specific emailed inquiry regarding the financing of said festival (see #1) was IGNORED by the mayor, after he introduced to us a Citizen's Bill of Rights that promised to respect inquiries of this nature. That's been 45 days now since I sent the email inquiry on January 12. link
#3 Having the audacity to negotiate privately with Beshear & Daniels to amend the ORBP's record of decision after running on a platform that the record of decision could not be amended. I guess what he meant was the ORBP couldn't be amended by "common people?" I touched on a a few things I don't like about the new plan for the ORBP here
#4 Surrendering to Todd Blue & putting Whiskey Row at risk of demolition, without even listening to what the preservationist-community had to say first. (I just remembered how outraged Fischer was when our poor community was "ambushed overnight" by Heiner's position on the assignment plan because we weren't "consulted first.") Then bragging to Metro Dems how preservationists were part of the "players" while negotiating with Blue.
(It's my fervent belief that our good mayor has a yet-to-be-disclosed conflict of interest in this transaction that could eventually lead to his demise.)
#5 Promising the LGBT-community he'd testify in Frankfort for Statewide Fairness, and now he's elected, he's not there for us...  (As verified last week on State of Affairs)

February 23, 2011

February 20, 2011

John Yarmuth, Superman

I'm embarrassed to have ever criticized this man.

Representative John Yarmuth's opposition to mountaintop removal is in stark contrast to the rest of Kentucky's congressional delegation. As is the eloquence and passion in which he speaks.

Also, Silas House had a compelling little piece in the New York Times yesterday>  LINK .

I'm excited to see Kentuckians stand up against the coal industry. Our people deserve better than what this industry hath brought us.

February 16, 2011

Bridges Authority Forum draws Spain and France back into Kentucky

Here's official coverage of today's Bridges Forum:

Now for the unofficial:
  • Martina Kunnecke had the pleasure of setting next to investors from France. Before they knew she spoke French, they were very confused and then critical of the stupid sports metaphor part of the presentation. A presentation clearly catered to make only good old boys comfortable. The French surrendered their holdings in America to Spain in 1760. At least the Bridges Authority didn't invite Spaniards, right?
  • Wrong. Tyler Allen got a chance to chat with some forum visitors that were investors from Spain. Yes, Spaniards. In 1898, the United States won victory in the Spanish-American War from Spain, ending their colonial era, or so we thought.
I'm a proponent of this project being done in Kentuckiana, by the good people of our region. We need to keep ownership of our roads, and we definitely don't need to toll roads just to sell them to nations we've run out before.

The "final four" team of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson (oops, that's only 3- not my metaphor though), plans to sell those bridges once they're tolled. The question is to who. I originally figured it would be JP Chase as that's who showed up at previous Bridges Authority meetings, but now it's looking European.  

Vote below on which country you want your tolls to go!

YMCA Safeplace

What happens to the children of those incarcerated within our prisons? Studies indicate 70% of them are likely to be someday incarcerated themselves. That's not cool.

Here's one great program in which you can volunteer your time and resources to change that statistic, one kid at a time:

Find out more at: Y-NOW Mentoring Services - Children of Prisoners

February 15, 2011

Update on Whiskey Row / and Mayor Fischer's on WHAS

This email, with it's attachment included, was submitted yesterday to the Louisville Metro Council. I think together both emails give you a good feel for why the Louisville Metro Council is going to need to stand up to Mayor Greg Fischer to preserve Whiskey Row:
"Dear Council members: 
I agree with the attached letter which you have already received . I sincerely hope that the important steps missing in this matter with Mr. Blue and Whiskey Row will be acknowledged and
corrected to restore confidence in our new Mayor's consideration of the city's responsibility to the public. His stress upon transparency was an important aspect of his campaign
for Mayor and he must not falter in the public's confidence...
Edith S. Bingham

On Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 11:06 AM, Neighborhood Planning & Preservation , Inc. wrote:
Dear Metro Council Members:

In a democracycitizens rely on their elected officials to exercise transparency and encourage public participation Moreover, the cornerstone of  democratic governance is its system of checks and balances.  As the legislative branch of Metro government, you represent our first line of protection, when the executive branch fails to meet its obligation to an open and inclusive process.

Conducted outside public scrutiny, Mayor Fisher's negotiations with developer Todd Blue and their ultimate deal  regarding Whiskey Row side-stepped the law and excluded the community.   We urge the Metro Council to pose the questions that many in our community---preservationists and non-preservationists--now ask:

  • On what authority did the mayor ignore the regulations and circumvent the process requiring public notification and input?
  • Why were the determinations of the Landmark's Committee ignored and essentially overturned?
  • Should $450,000 of public funds be awarded to Mr. Blue to "attempt" to fix the buildings in a manner both parties (and the preservation community) believe won't work?
  • By law, "demolition by neglect" has consequences.  Why hasn't Mr. Blue been held to the same standards as others who have been fined and/or incarcerated for similar offenses?
The iron-faced buildings on Whiskey Row were built to last. Horribly neglected, but still standing proud, they symbolize Louisville's singular distilling and architectural history . Demolition will not only result in yet another brutal assault on our urban landscape; It taxes the public coffers and diminishes the local and national collection of unique historic structures.

We urge you to publicly explore these and other related issues as a body.  Will a surface parking lot really provide significant economic stimulus--resulting in long-terms jobs and community wide benefits?   Why are structures that were declared salvageable a few months ago now declared dangerous and unsound? Just as the community has the right to transparency and inclusion, it deserves the truth. Please do your best to separate fact from show.

Finally, we suggest you revisit the wisdom of sharing attorneys with the executive branch.  Regardless of the outcome in this matter, the council must demonstrate its unique role as the legislative body.  Sharing counsel perpetuates the fear that Metro Council acts as an extension of the Mayor's office and primarily according to his will. 

Please ask these difficult questions and reaffirm the community's belief that you remain good stewards of the public trust.


Martina N. Kunnecke
President, Board of Directors
Neighborhood Planning & Preservation, Inc.  (NPP)
Today, Mayor Fischer appeared on WHAS and answered some viewer questions:

My take aways:
On LMAS: I appreciate that he's leading this search for a good director, but I understand they aren't willing to pay very much. Like $85,000/ year? So maybe they should look at increasing that number?

On Whiskey Row: Can he explain why his expert witness changed his mind. Don't tell me not to vent at you. (Followers, please vent at him here.) Besides, here's my positive solution which I believe aired on the station you are being interviewed by Thursday, you boob. (Correction- 2.15.2011 2:43 pm: Don't believe that part was aired. Sry.) Borrow another $4 Million from the LWC and buy the buildings for the city's respectful expansion of event and meeting space. If Blue rejected your offer, let him sue. As the city could proceed with imminent domain procedures to acquire the property at market value, which is significantly less than the $3.7 million Blue purchased the buildings for in 2007. After the city owned the buildings, we could then start a search for people like Bill Weyland and Gil Holland, that have a track record of being responsible stewards of the property they own.

February 12, 2011

old money- not all bad

For all my critical comments in the past of our city's old money elitist power structure, I have failed in giving many of them credit for their recent interest and activities in preserving Whiskey Row.

And upon reflection, these fortunate folks do all kinds of things about town, our Commonwealth, and even the country that I do support.  Moving forward, I'm going to work on giving them credit.

And since we're on the powerful rich people, I ran across a little fact about Owsley Brown II today that really surprised me. Maybe you guys already know about it but I didn't. Brown is on the Defense Business Board of the Department of Defense. Here's their bio of him: Linky. He also worked in the Pentagon in the late 1960's, which I didn't know.

Per the Defense Board's charter, this organization was set up to "provide the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense independent advice and recommendations on effective strategies for the implementation of best business practices on matters of interest to the Department of Defense."

Odd how that Charter sounds like it was written by Greg Fischer himself, but I digress. Basically they meet four times a year at the Pentagon and tell the Defense Department how to adopt fancy "best practices" that are used in business. I'm not sure I approve of this, but I do approve of Brown's civic involvement, nonetheless.

Back to my point, thanks powerful rich Louisvillians for all your good deeds. Past, present and future. You're not all bad.

February 11, 2011

Whiskey Row "drama" / Louisville Mystery Fail #2

"Drama rekindled over demolition of historic Whiskey Row " is the WHAS headline to this story. I LOVE WHAS for being the only station with the courage to be outside waiting for our protest at 7 AM. I'm not sure if the other stations were hesitant to cover opponents to the mayor's position, or they just didn't want to be outside when it was 10 degrees.

It's regrettable they didn't use footage they took of Louisville author and preservation icon Edie Bingham, who you can get a glimpse of in the background in a couple of those shots. It was a pleasure for me to meet her for the first time. She's so inspiring.

I do have some thoughts for Gene Kang. When passionate people, some of which are elderly, show up at 7:30 AM for a protest when it's 10 degrees outside, "drama" IS NOT the right word. But I still LOVE YOU GUYS for covering the issue when others chose not to.
Update: 1.12.2011 Other media from Rally:
Wave 3: Rally opposing demolition of Whiskey Row  

**********Louisville Mystery Fail #2*****************
Now for fun! The winner of Mystery Fail #1 was Jeff Noble for identifying the location. I asked for the "what, where, when, why and how" and in doing so set you all up to fail, but not to identify the fail. The true fail was the who- the identity of the owner of the vehicle, but maybe it was for the best you all bit your tongues. I bet he pays those tickets now, eh.

For Louisville Mystery Fail #2, we have three photos of fails, A, B, and C. So there's lots of ways to win. It's almost like one of those confusing Kentucky Lottery bad-at-math-tax-tickets.

Louisville Mystery Fail 2A

Louisville Mystery Fail 2B
Louisville Mystery Fail 2C
Good Luck!!!

February 9, 2011

Louisville Metro Council: Hire an attorney

If you can't make tomorrow morning's rally to SAVE WHISKEY ROW then at least join me in writing the entire Metro Council to take extraordinary action to prevent the deal from moving forward. Here's the link:
Be clear and brief, and try not to rant.

Here's my letter if you want to draw from it:
"This is not the Mayor-Metro Council relationship we were promised, and it's time to take a stand.

The clandestine, non-transparent nature of Mayor Fischer's latest settlement with Todd Blue mirrors the deal he made with Gov. Beshear and Gov. Daniels last month over the Bridges Project.  One can only speculate who is advising our new CEO, but it's not the people of Louisville, and it's not their Metro Council. Mayor Fischer apparently holds less respect for the Council than even his predecessor, and that says a lot.

I am asking the Council to take the courageous step of employing their own attorney to legally challenge the Mayor when he's out of step with what's best for our city. This request is about creating some checks and balances to prevent corruption. Now more than ever, we need them.

Also, in case the Mayor still hasn't provided the latest Whiskey Row agreement to you, here's a download-able draft:

Also, I'm for saving Whiskey Row. But until you guys get your own attorney, I just don't see you being an arm of government equipped to do something that ambitious. Let's change that."

If you didn't catch it in the email above, I've uploaded the settlement for the world to see. It's download-able at this link:

February 8, 2011

Save Whiskey Row Rally Thursday Morning!

Thursday, February 10 · 7:30am - 9:00am

LocationCorner of W. Main & S. 1st Streets
101 W. Main Street

Mayor Greg Fischer and downtown developer Todd Blue have recently made a backroom deal where Fischer has illegally authorized the demolition of Whiskey Row, as long as the facades are saved. The good citizens of our community, lead by the preservation community, did the groundwork last year to get the buildings listed as historic landmarks. The backroom agreement also gives Blue $450,000 for his troubles, and permission to use ...the property for a surface level parking lot for long period of time.

Besides being illegal, this plan is just plain wrong. The Whiskey Row is more than 160 years old and probably the most-historic assets left downtown. To build a bright future, we need to embrace our heritage and our history, not make it go away.

So, let's protest Thursday morning. Conveniently, there's a covered sidewalk to protect us from the elements, and ensure we have maximum exposure to the morning rush hour traffic.

If you can, home make your own signs, and bring your friends. Heck, bring your kids. I'll make up about 10 signs myself that will have simple "SAVE WHISKEY ROW" on them.

Understand, I'm not trying to steal anyone's thunder here. I support and respect the efforts on all fronts and from all entities (political, legal and social) to prevent this demolition, but I'm off work Thursday, and this is what I can do personally. I hope to see you there! 


Whiskey Row recent history/ crowd-sourcing question

Original image is copyrighted by my sister Lizzie!
First, here's the best blog entry I've read in ages, and it's about Whiskey Run. It's written by my friend Brian Tucker, with Valley Report.

Frank Faris versus Todd Blue: Louisville’s two-tier system of preservation justice

Whiskey Row has sold twice in the last 12 years. Once in 1999, and again to Todd Blue, in 2007. You'll notice the most recent sale was for $3.705 million, despite Blue saying he'd sell the properties now a deal at $1.5 million/ piece (over $10 million). So Blue wants to make about $7 million off the deal where he bought buildings in a down market, and the market got worse. What's he smoking?
The last sale, in 2007
The sale before last, in 1999
Here's my crowd sourcing question:
Common wisdom is that Blue bought the buildings from Jim Walter, but that's not completely accurate. Blue bought the buildings from Waterfront Investments, LLC, a Kentucky limited liability corporation which Walter was President. Who else had stock in Waterfront Investments, LLC?

If you have knowledge, or a way for me to get this kind of knowledge, please post a comment here, anonymously if you choose.  Or make up an email address & email me, Or trust me, I won't rat you out. Maybe you're a disgruntled accountant. Or an ex-lover. I don't care. I hope to find out this information eventually anyway by digging and digging, but it would be SWEET if it came in before the proposed demolition.

GoProud = Sexist

This year's lapel stickers.
If you're hoping GoProud, the gay arm of the Republican party, will be recruiting more members in the coming days, don't expect them to be women, or people that care about women. The implication that they're "gays are more macho" than our straights really is offensive not so much because it's not true, but because it's irrelevant how "macho" we are to begin with. GoProud's director, my acquaintance, and one-time Louisville resident defends the message in a facebook thread with the following words:
"It's an Ann Coulter quote from a few years ago."
Well, there you go. If Coulter said it, then it must be valid. I suddenly feel ill.

12:35 PM Update:  LaSalvia, true to Republican form, has removed my comment from his facebook thread.

Derby Festival Marathon to showcase Whiskey Row

The new routes for both the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Mini-Marathon will be taking runners by more historic landmarks, indeed. Specifically, runners will be running by Whiskey Row, aka Iron Quarter, Louisville's most historic row of iron front buildings on E. Main Street. That is...if they're still standing on race day. Greg Fischer has illegally authorized Todd Blue to tear them down. I'm not a lawyer, but thanks to the efforts of preservationists coming together last year, these buildings are under the Landmark's authority, which is why the deal is illegal. Fischer and Blue are spinning some tale about the buildings being unsafe, but there was a study done last year that says otherwise.

Derby Festival Director Mike Berry said of the course on the festival website:
"The start line on Main Street will showcase one of the city’s more historic and scenic corridors..."
As the races begin at Slugger Field at Preston and Main Streets, runners will go straight by the historic site from the get-go. And Mini-Marathon runners will be running past the site again, just as they finish.

I'm hoping that's the day Greg & Todd schedule the demolition, because it will make for quite a humiliating site for the expected 15,000 visitors to see us preservationist chained to bulldozers. My hunch though, is that the bastards will try to do it at night without notice, any day now. Before the wheels of law can stop them. Because that's how they roll. Stay tuned for upcoming information on how, together, the citizens of Louisville are going to come together and save Whiskey Row.

Lobby Days are here again!

If you care about social justice in Kentucky, and have some free time, here's some upcoming lobby days in Frankfort. (Information compliments of Fairness Campaign)
Join the Fairness Campaign and our allies in Frankfort to rally for your rights!

Important rally days:

Tuesday, February 8th - Immigration Rights Rally: Carpool from Americana (4801 Southside Dr) at 8:30 a.m.

Monday, February 14th - I Love Mountains Rally: Carpool from KFTC (901 Franklin St) at 9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, February 15th - Youth Rally Day: Carpool from Planned Parenthood (1025 S. 2nd St) at 7:45 a.m.

Wednesday, February 23rd - Statewide Fairness Rally Day Wednesday: Carpool from the Fairness office (2263 Frankfort Ave) at 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, February 24th - Voting Rights Restoration Day: Carpool from KFTC (901 Franklin St) at 8:00 a.m.

Want to carpool with us for Statewide Fairness Rally Day on February 23rd? Contact our office at (502) 893-0788 or!

February 7, 2011

Sobering truths for Kentucky, New York, Mississippi and Florida from Google auto-search

I hate think this is the question people ask Google the most about Kentucky, and I won't ask it here because I'm not encouraging their search engine anymore. So SHHHH and lookie: 

Ugh. Other states suffer even harsher search queries. I don't have a problem listing a few here since I'm not invested in those states. "How many people in New York are unemployed":

 "How many people in Mississippi are obese /have diabetes": 

and "How many people in Florida have aids/ are unemployed": (Yikes! )

83% - want statewide fairness in Kentucky

We begin the week with news from Kentucky's Fairness Coalition that they have a poll indicating that 83% of Kentuckians want statewide fairness. (Download Results HERE)

Unfortunately, the release itself contains some hurriedly put together language that's more propaganda than actual truth. I copy paste:
"...83% of registered Kentucky voters agree that gay and transgender(ed) people should be protected from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in restaurants or other forms of public accommodations."
Well, that's sloppy. I believe they meant 83% of the poll's sample. They're going to need to polish this presentation a bit before they take it to legislators. The Schapiro Group  polled 600 Kentuckians to reveal their results. Only 33% of respondents were Republicans. This is curious as I believed there were slightly larger Republican representation in Kentucky than that. (I expect Jeff Noble will correct me the next time we chat.) I like how about 1/3 of the respondents were under 40. I believe that's refreshing for a poll in Kentucky.

Also in the release, only 70% believe that gay people should have the same protections as straight people. (scratches head). The Coalition indicates this is increase over a poll indicating 65% of voters supported these same non-discrimination protections in 2004. I thought the previous poll was done in 2001-ish, but maybe I'm wrong on that. 
The Fairness Coalition is kicking off what they call a "public education advertising campaign" which I personally advocate very strongly. We bring awareness to ourselves, and our plight, first. Then we have much better chance of getting equal treatment and rights, etc. Chris Hartman, the Fairness Campaign Director said:
“The vast majority of Kentuckians across all demographics express support for fairness and we want them to realize they aren’t alone – (many of) their friends and families are right there with them, but perhaps they just haven’t vocalized that yet.“ 
Yes, the (many of) was mine. Telling kids they are safe when they may not necessarily be is hazardous. Hoping this hiccup is ironed out before the "public education advertising campaign" rolls out of the station.

But yes,  you aren't alone kids. It's just that there's no guarantee any specific person is going to accept you, and that might mean your mom or dad. Don't let that get you down though, they're doing the best they can with what they're equipped, and there are many, many people out there ready to accept you. Think of it as a scavenger hunt, be careful, and everything will be alright.

February 5, 2011

Hello, Tea Party? Um, words matter...

How long after Representative Gabrielle Gilford is released from the hospital will it take for Tea Partiers to go back to careless rhetoric?

Well, this is awkward. She's still in the hospital. But here we have a thread on Facebook this evening where David Adams is irrelevantly ranting about a 2010 Jack Conway for Senate sign, when along comes Michele Hudson Janssen who writes she "Can't wait for Todd to eliminate him completely from Kentucky."

After I called her out on it, Ms. Janssen went on to apologize, citing she forgot about "political correctness."  Newsflash: This is about more than political correctness. It's about responsible communication. And besides, Todd P'Pool isn't going to be eliminating Conway from Kentucky in any context anyway.

It's still not spring yet? FML

I've been delivering pizzas lately. I really should have created a fancy blog with sponsors but hey we already have a couple of those so it is what it is.
Just have a few things I want to cover quickly, I'll do an outline, kind of:

1) Mayor Greg Fischer firing Zalinksky- A good thing. Good for you.

Friday's line at Louisville Water Company
2) Mayor Greg Fischer fighting Todd Blue tooth and nail to preserve Louisville's history...See, you don't even believe that and you probably work for him. I don't even need to write on this. The story tells you what a douche Fischer can be without me getting involved.

3) Heads up, Todd Blue:
a) I'll probably be chained to a bulldozer in the near future.
b) Also, whenever I see someone driving a 4-door Porsche, I'm going to flip them off. The only thing is, that's kind of cliche to flip off someone driving a 4-door Porsche. I'll use both hands.

4) I tried to avoid having a late fee on my water bill by stopping in person at the Louisville Water Company today. What a mess. If the LWC has 10 million dollars to loan the city for Abramson's screw-ups, why can't they hire another teller? The line was at least an hour long today. Errr.

5)  LG&E- You still haven't replaced the street bulb out on Bardstown Road at Maplewood Drive. I don't know how many times you want me to call it in?

6) The Courier Journal: Although, oddly, I don't believe anyone from your paper reads my blog, I want to commend your editorial staff for holding Fischer to the fire on the deal to destruct Whiskey Row. Good for you. I was so impressed, I just deleted the Facebook page "Dear Gannett, Please fire the Courier-Journal Editorial Board. Thank you." I would have notified the page's 70 fans, but many of them have been burning up my cellphone about this Whiskey Row- Greg Fischer mess anyway, so I'm sure they feel the same way. Keep up the good work. Oh, and I like the new blue layout, but the site still seems buggish.

That's all. Have a good weekend.