Buthod a No-Show

On Tuesday, there was a meeting of the Louisville Coalition of Neighborhoods at the United Way. The topic was the proposed library tax, and Library director Craig Buthod and Metro Council member Hal Heiner were the featured speakers. The event was listed in the Courier-Journal.

But Buthod was a no-show, and Buthod has canceled a second public appearance scheduled for Wednesday at the Louisville Forum.

I spoke with Heiner on Tuesday, who said he was perturbed that Buthod had canceled the Louisville Forum appearance without good reason. At the time, he apparently wasn’t aware that Buthod would also skip the Tuesday event. He said Buthod, along with Louisville Metro finance director Jane Driskell, had both confirmed an appearance at the Forum, but had called to cancel less than 48 hours before the event.

The Louisville Forum’s monthly meetings address local issues. The independent organization is non-partisan and doesn’t take stands on issues.

So why would Buthod cancel commitments to appear at two public events?

Chris Thieneman, an organizer of the library tax opposition, has a theory. “They’re banking on no information being available to the public. If you’re pro-something, you should be getting out and supporting it. They must assume less information is better,” he said after last night’s meeting, in which Heiner spoke.

Thieneman was also bothered by reports that he learned last night of Buthod’s conduct at a library staff meeting, in which he reportedly told library staffers their jobs would be in jeopardy if the referendum failed.

Earlier, Heiner told me another issue related to the library that concerns him. Seems that if the referendum passes, the “$16 or $17 million” currently going toward financing the library would be freed up from the budget, and Heiner said some parties were targeting that money for other spending.

Both sides have taken the battle online. The Libraries Yes campaign has set up a Web site that is actually a WordPress Blog.

Thieneman, owner of the URL (www.louisvilleky.com), has set up an informational site that includes a 30-second video spot that features Mayor Jerry Abramson. Seems that in Abramson’s last campaign, he touted his ability to “build new libraries, all without raising taxes.”

4 thoughts on “Buthod a No-Show

  1. It would be terribly awkward for a city employee to debate a member of Metro Council, don’t you think? Better for two council members to debate each other, especially since the issue doesn’t seem to be whether we need improved libraries but whether the Council has the will and money to fund them. I think people should stop trying to read political gamesmanship into an important debate about how we obtain the library system this city needs to compete for new businesses, tourists and a talented workforce.

  2. I don’t think that denigrating the uber-popular Mayor for Life is a good way for Thieneman to get people to vote no on the referendum. Good. Our libraries are woefully underfunded and, with passage, can finally begin the long process of catching up with those of our peer cities.

  3. I’m sure the director of the library has a life outside work. Maybe he had to attend a funeral or was himself ill. Instead of using innuendo and rumor-mongering, why not contribute something to the debate by calling his office and asking them why he canceled? The library district plan will provide a permanent funding source for our libraries that will secure their future and relieve them of exactly the sort of politicized special-interests that are tring to prevent this referendum from passing. The anti-tax lobby is not the group we need managing our public library. Libraries are too important to democracy to have them in the hands of elected officials. An independent citizen board will do a better job of overseeing the spending of the library district revenue. Vote yes on the referendum, and tell Hal Heiner to stop trying to obstruct progress for our libraries just to please the anti-tax lobby.

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