New Year’s Eve Late Morning Time Wasters

Don’t worry! There’s nothing to see here. No crime in Louisville, at all, ever. Move along. [C-J]

Fairdale Bigfoot has returned from his holiday break. He’s back with his advice column and it is good. [Consuming Louisville]

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Turncoat. [Hilarity]

Move from New York put lawyer in middle of Butchertown’s fight over the pig slaughtering factory. I love watching Glenn Price pretend he’s cool with working for Swift. [C-J]

Now for some major geeking out:

The chickens are just cold taking over Louisville. It’s time for some major chicken sacrificing, I believe. [Broken Sidewalk]

An ultimatum has finally been issued for the house the dude from Genny’s (allegedly) always tries to burn down to develop an unnecessary parking lot. Somebody should buy the property and give it to me. [More Broken Sidewalk]

If you’re keen on Kentucky politics or just need a good laugh, check out the 2009 Rooties. [Barefoot & Progressive]

Check out this hilarious MySpace pervert video from Jack Conway. [Page One]

Since everyone in Louisville has common sense – even Doug Hawkins, sometimes – watch these mountaintop removal videos. [More Page One]

Oh Snap: Repub Caucus Offers A Different List

From the Republican Minority Caucus of the Metro Council comes the “Summary of 2009 Council Accomplishments and Metro Missteps.”

Let’s just dig right in by starting with the bad stuff, because that’s obviously more fun:

Lawsuits and General Mismanagement

Firefighter Lawsuit
Instead of settling a lawsuit between the Firefighter’s Union and Metro that started many years a ago over less than $10 million in funds, Jerry Abramson and his administration decided to fight, appeal and delay. Now, some 5 years later, Metro Government will have to pay current and retired firefighters more than $45 million, with the Mayor proposing more than $30 million of this settlement coming from new debt.

Metro Animal Services
A wide variety of problems at Metro Animal Services (MAS) were brought to light due to investigations by members of the Metro Council and lawsuits filed by various persons and groups within Jefferson County. During 2009 the public was made aware of the fact that Metro Animal Services didn’t have an written emergency plan of action for the department, the Director of MAS has entered into an illegal contract to sell animals and that the MAS Director was accused by multiple MAS employees of sexual harassment.

Despite the above along with lawsuits claiming illegal search and seizure, Mayor Jerry Abramson refused to remove Dr. Meloche, instead waiting for the director of MAS to resign effective December 31, 2009. It is our hope that since Dr. Meloche resigned of his own free will to pursue other ventures, the taxpayers will not be asked to pay a claim of unemployment as former Housing Director Kimberly Bunton did following the Metro Housing Department scandal that was uncovered by the Courier-Journal and later the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s State Auditor, Crit Luallen.

Police Officers
During 2009, Metro lost an argument with the Department of Labor and the Courts concerning the legality of charging police officers for personal use of their vehicle. Not only did Metro lose the challenge, they had to repay the funds already withheld from the officers’ paychecks. It was found charging for personal use was a violation of the police union contract. The Mayor had implemented the new charge in an effort to generate revenue for Metro during a time of reduced revenues.

Broken Policies for Special Friends
The Metro Auditor noted and the Government Oversight Committee investigated special treatment given to two members of the Mayor’s administration. This finding was part of a regular Payroll Audit conducted by the Office of the Internal Audit and found that Ms. Jane Driskell, Mr. Rick Johnstone and one other employee were paid a total of $36,444 for either termination compensation and/or service time purchase. Ms. Driskell and Mr. Johnstone were given this special treatment when they retired from Metro Government at the end of 2008. The Mayor’s Office defended the actions but did later acknowledge that changes were needed to clarify the policy along with providing a policy change if any future actions are taken. Both Driskell and Johnstone were rehired by Metro Government in early 2009.

In addition, the audit disclosed payments made to Police Chief White to purchase retirement years in accordance with a letter dated December, 2002 from the Mayor Elect. The amounts were increased in 2007. Additionally, recently the audit disclosed the Police Chief was allowed to begin cashing out up to 20 leave days per year. None of these benefits are covered under present policies.

Kentucky League of Cities / Kentucky Association of Counties
The Metro Council called both the Kentucky league of Cities (KLC) and Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) to explain the scandals that had been brought to light by the Lexington Herald Leader. Council members Downard (District 16) and Hamilton (District 5) along with others pushed representatives for examples of how the two organizations were fixing reported problems and how they would avoid future scandals. Earlier this month, State Auditor Crit Luallen released her report on waste, fraud and abuse within KLC. In response to this report, Councilman Downard proposed a resolution calling for the reduction of dues by half and for Metro Government to seek approximately $40,000 in previous dues back from KLC. Metro Mayor Abramson sits on the board for KLC and has failed to call for such action, instead opting to keep the review in-house.

All the positive stuff or whatever is after the jump, in case you want to read about it…

Read more

Smartest Newspaper Typo In Several Weeks

At first I thought this Courier-Journal headline typo was funny. Then the realization hit me: it’s not a typo at all. Kentucky’s budget is so screwed (one hundred million trillion dollar shortfall) and we’re so broke that there’s no way we can afford the entire word:

“udget” indeed.

That’s all we’ve got. Cause we’re not going to be able to afford a “B” any time soon.

Oh, Hey, It’s Jerry Abramson’s Year-End Top 10

Mayor McCheese Jerry Abramson is trotting out this thing called “Top 10 Accomplishments of 2009” which his office embargoed until now because, you know, this information is so terribly time-sensitive.

They’ve even included a fancy graphic:

So let’s take a look at his, um, “accomplishments” – k? Here they are, straight from the press release:

  1. New jobs for Louisville – GE Appliance Park announced plans for 830 new jobs to build “green” appliances, Ford Motor Company will invest in new fuel-efficient vehicles at its Louisville plants and RecoverCare will move its corporate headquarters from Philadelphia to Louisville.
  2. Overcoming disasters – From the January ice storm to the August flash flood to the global economic recession that sapped city tax revenues, the city was battered and bruised. But with hard work and determination, Louisville quickly pulled itself back together.
  3. Decreasing crime rates – Louisville saw a 12 percent decrease in violent crime and an 8.5 percent decrease in property crime rates from the previous year, the largest declines in seven years based on preliminary numbers.
  4. MetroSafe opens – For the first time since merger, all of Louisville’s 911 dispatchers and emergency management staff are operating out of one location. The state-of-the-art MetroSafe facility, at 5th and Liberty, is considered one of the elite emergency communications systems in the United States.
  5. Two new firehouses and a new library open – Louisville opened the Butchertown/Clifton firehouse and the Portland firehouse, part of the Mayor’s 21st Century Fire Plan. The city plans to start construction of the Beechmont firehouse in 2010. The city also built the first new branch of the Louisville Free Public Library in decades. The Newburg Library is packed with cutting-edge technology, computers and environmentally-responsible building features.
  6. Delivering on the City of Parks vision – The city completed Phase III of Waterfront Park with the Lincoln statue, announced a major expansion of Riverview Park in Southwest Louisville and unveiled plans for the first new park in the Floyds Fork corridor, part of the 21st Century Parks project. The city also added 11 miles of bike lanes and walking paths; 27 acres to Jefferson Memorial Forest; 7 new and improved playgrounds; three new spray grounds and upgraded five swimming pools.
  7. Successful H1N1 clinics – Louisville became a national model for how to effectively and efficiently vaccinate the population from H1N1 flu. More than 200,000 people were vaccinated, including a two-day clinic at Papa John’s that inoculated 22,000 and 50,000 school children.
  8. Major stimulus funding – The “Louisville at Work” team secured more than $400 million in stimulus projects that created and saved jobs across the Louisville region. The money is repairing interstates, improving schools, weatherizing homes, improving sidewalks and replacing an aging pumping station to protect west Louisville from flooding.
  9. Ohio River Bridges Project moves forward – Leaders in Kentucky and Indiana broke through log-jams that have slowed progress on one of the nation’s largest transportation projects. A bi-state commission is expected to develop financing solutions in the coming year that will pave the way for construction.
  10. Using technology to improve service – We continued to make government more accessible for citizens through the city’s ever-expanding website, Citizens can now view all city government expenditures, look up salaries of city workers and access services ranging from animal licensing to police reports. Louisville’s website has been ranked among the top city websites in the nation, four years in a row.

It’s almost New Year’s Eve or whatever so I don’t want to sink my teeth into any of these fancy “accomplishments” – so I’ll let you do that. But here’s something rather interesting: Jer’s office is only allowing a few media outlets access to the Big Cheese for a mere 20 minutes to discuss an entire year. Check it:

  • 9 a.m.: WDRB
  • 9:20: WHAS-TV
  • 9:40: WAVE
  • 10: WLKY
  • 10:20: C-J
  • 10:40: LEO
  • 11: WHAS Radio
  • 11:20: WFPL Radio

There’s your inside look at yer favorite cheerleader’s thingy, at the end of the year, right here on the internet.

2009 Can Just Suck It, Right? Amiright?

Kinda puzzled that the Extreme Park warranted an entire editorial. But I guess defending Jerry Abramson one last time this year was a necessity. [C-J]

Here’s part two of the interview with Ambassador Matthew Barzun. [The Local]

The year is over. So what the heck happened with Metro Council? [Phillip Bailey]

Councilcritter Kelly Downard wants a refund from the Kentucky League of Cities. Naturally, Jerry Abramson nor David Tandy support the request for a refund. Jerry says it’s an “insignificant amount of money” ($40K) that it doesn’t matter. Kudos to Downard. Get our tax dollars back from Sylvia Lovely’s mess. [C-J]

An update on the tragic fire at the home of former Ambassador Cathy Bailey on Christmas. Aerial slideshow and such. [WHAS11]

The Sixth Annual Not Good For Nothing Quiz is upon us! [LEO Weekly]

Marty Meyer is officially filing to run for the 38th District State Senate seat against Dan Seum. Why do candidates try to make the act of filing for office a big deal when they’re already running? [Press Release]

In case you’ve got some time to waste – and you know you do today – check out these mountaintop removal documentaries. All the video is online and available for free. [Page One]

It’s Time to Support Jim Gray for Lexington

It’s a slow news day, so allow me to whore myself out for Lexington just a moment. I feel it’s important to share this with our local audience.

Lexington needs a fresh start.

The city needs a new mayor.

It’s time to send Jim Newberry (the current mayor – closely aligned with Jerry Abramson, share the same political staffers) packing. His lack of action during the Blue Grass Airport scandal, the library mess and as the Kentucky League of Cities fleeced the entire Commonwealth are reason enough to oust him as mayor. The CentrePointe scandal, which is a a whole different ballgame that’s got all of central Kentucky in an uproar, just adds to the pile. It’s just too much to tolerate.

I believe Jim Gray is the man to move the heart of our beloved Bluegrass forward.

That’s why I just became financially invested in his campaign.

Have you done the same?

Click here to make a contribution to Jim and to learn more about his plans for the future of Lexington.

I don’t like openly supporting candidates like this. I most certainly don’t like to give them my hard-earned money – especially when they’re well-off financially. But this is one of those rare times when it’s an absolute necessity. And it doesn’t hurt that Jim’s running in a non-partisan race with massive support from both Democrats and Republicans.