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Anti-River Fields Group Wants To Intervene In Suit

May 12th, 2011 by jake · 15 Comments

Kentuckians For Progress has filed a motion to intervene in River Fields’ lawsuit against the Federal Highway Administration.


Could be a big moment for folks paying close attention to the Ohio River Bridges Debacle.

“It will not be the Federal Highway Administration that waits in traffic, does not get a job, loses business, has lower property values, or endures a lower than necessary quality of life if the Project is delayed or stopped,” stated former Jefferson County Judge-Executive, Rebecca Jackson. “Few, if any, federal bureaucrats can represent the interests of local citizens and businesses on a matter of this magnitude as well as the local citizens and businesses can represent our own interests.”

If they’re allowed to intervene, KFP wants to argue in support of the existing Federal Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision – against everything River Fields’ has done.

On a related note, the organization has recently picked up support from large organizations. Both the United Auto Workers (Local 862, 10K active & retired members) and the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters (Local 64, 1K families).

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that one of KFP’s newest members is Don Scheer. Scheer, you may recall, was forced to close The Chick Inn on River Road after River Fields’ sued to close the Harrods Creek Bridge.

Remember when Bob Griffith was on Mandy Connell’s program saying closure of the bridge should have helped the restaurant because cars would be stopped in traffic?

That’s how out-of-touch River Fields is. And it’s nice to see folks from all wings of the political and business world coming together.

Tags: 8664 · Legal · Ohio River Bridges

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alice // May 12, 2011 at 9:28 am

    You tagged this as ’8664′ but “KFP wants to argue in support of the existing Federal Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision”. That doesn’t sound at all like progress being made toward removing a stretch of I-64 and not proceeding with a new downtown bridge. What is their relationship? In the past you have hinted that this group is sympathetic to 8664 but where is the evidence of that?

  • 2 jake // May 12, 2011 at 9:31 am

    We tagged it ’8664′ because it’s directly related to those issues.

    I haven’t hinted that the group is sympathetic. The group INCLUDES 8664 people like Joe Burgan.

  • 3 East Market Resident // May 12, 2011 at 10:23 am

    The goal should be to build the six lane East End Bridge, scrap the Downtown Bridge and stop all through truck traffic at I 265 and send it around the city like our progressive neighbors have already done, and then 8664.

  • 4 Steve Magruder // May 12, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I’m not sure if anyone signed up to this group can claim to be affiliated with 8664 any longer. While the ORBP has been modified recently to be somewhat more acceptable, it still stands to be further reduced insofar as the downtown portions and the east end tunnel are concerned. It’s not currently a project that 8664 supporters can embrace.

  • 5 Jeff Gillenwater // May 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

    True that, Steve. At this point, KFP is as out of touch as River Fields. If Joe Burgan, who I actually like a lot, really is advocating for the whole of ORBP, then he’s got some explaining to do. Likewise, if KFP is actually up to something else, they should say so.

    The last thing we need is another group engaging in disingenuous shenanigans. River Fields, the governors, the mayor, and the Bridges Coalition already have that covered.

  • 6 jake // May 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Why should they reveal everything they’ve got planned? So River Fields can hit back and put a stop to it?

    Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. And sometimes it happens in a way that you’re only 40-50% comfortable with.

  • 7 Jeff Gillenwater // May 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I can’t criticize River Fields or anyone on the previous list for non-transparency while purposefully overlooking or endorsing it from others.

    It’s a fairly straight forward question: Do they actually support the ORBP as currently proposed or not? If so, I don’t support their efforts and may actually root for RF for once to bust open the ROD.

    I’m uncomfortable with that as my desired result would involve them winning on the factual merits of their case but losing on their suggested remedy. But, it is what it is.

  • 8 jake // May 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Where’s the lack of hypocrisy/non-transparency?

    They’re not revealing what they plan to do – just as River Fields isn’t revealing what it plans to do.

    The world isn’t black and white and people need to get over their bitter partisanship of “it’s my way or the highway” mentality.

    Compromise is the only way to accomplish anything.

  • 9 Jeff Gillenwater // May 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    There are pretty obvious reasons for confusion, Jake, given that some folks involved seem to now be publicly advocating for positions that substantially differ from their previous ones. People who’ve battled for years are now suddenly on the same team. Did they change their minds? Is this some as yet unrevealed strategy? I don’t know.

    But, as I said, if I take them at their current word as a group, then I hope they lose. It’s not a “my way or the highway” scenario. It’s about making choices given the evidence at hand.

  • 10 jake // May 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    No, it’s about making assumptions when you don’t have enough information to make an educated guess.

    This is essentially a political campaign and they’re most certainly not going to reveal their cards.

    Sometimes it’s in your best interest(s) to work with your enemies, ya know? Common interests – in this case – could help stop the 64 project.

  • 11 Steve Magruder // May 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    If KFP won’t reveal its hand, it is acceptable to use that as a rationale for mistrusting them. And they seem to be an organization that is arguing for the entirety of the ORBP — that’s not exactly a compromise.

    This is a particular matter that should require openness and transparency from all parties. People like, um, me have been pushing for a compromise all along — a compromise that keeps the East End Bridge, allows for elaborate sound barriers (without using a tunnel), supports refurbishing the Kennedy Bridge, supports fixing problems in Spaghetti Junction (without relocating it), and supports new local access bridges downtown. This isn’t “my way or the highway” — it’s saying, “let’s reduce this monstrosity to something that we NEED and can AFFORD”.

  • 12 Joe Burgan // May 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    River Fields has managed to operate with impunity in this community for the simple fact that they represent the old money Louisville elite. KFP was formed because folks decided to take a stand, a stand against some very powerful interests. The last thing KFP intended to do was operate in secret. With that said, if anybody has issue / questions with KFP’s mission just give me a call. 298-5418. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have.

    -Joe B.

  • 13 Stunoland // May 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    according to Gabe Bullard, “Kentuckians for Progress support the construction of both bridges.” In my opinion KFP appears to be nothing more than a re-branded Build the Bridges Coalition with even the ethically challenged former president, David Nicklies, as one of its members.

    Many of us opposed to this project are more than willing to compromise. We will accept additional bridges downtown (interstate or local access). We are fine with elaborate aesthetic measures to protect the faux historical Drumanard estate, however a $1/4 billion tunnel is fiscally irresponsible. We can deal with the status quo of an elevated waterfront expressway for the next 25-30 years (captures the sunk costs of the recent rehab). We could even live with some tolls as long as they were collected in a practical manner and the funds went toward something that would make our region more economically competitive, like a future context sensitive at-grade riverfront I-64.

    What we cannot deal with is our city’s leadership attempting to toll our citizens to fund a project that is scorned by both a super-majority of citizens and the entire fields of urban planning and modern highway engineering. This poorly designed interchange and tolling scheme will lock Louisville’s image defining gateway into one of the world ugliest interchanges and the only expanded elevated waterfront expressway in the world…for the next 100 years. In an era when the most important economic driver is the attraction and retention of human capitol it does not take an advanced degree in marketing to realize that the design of a city’s image defining gateway matters, especially when that city calls itself the river city.

    In the 20th century it was practical to value the movement of goods and people over the aesthetic merits of a city’s waterfront and general quality of place. In the 21st century, when a central business district’s waterfront highway is redesigned there must be a reasonable balance between the utilitarian needs of transport, the cost of the project, and the overall quality of place and aesthetic experience. If built as currently conceived the downtown ORBP’s aesthetic considerations for the historical heart of our city consists of minimizing the piers that hold up the highway through waterfront park and girders that resist pigeon’s nests. Meanwhile in Prospect the most expensive bridge design will be built in addition to an unnecessary $1/4 billion dollar tunnel under a few politically connected families’ suburban estates. The social justice issues alone should disgust any objective observer. However, the most worrying aspect is the long term economic damage that will effect everything from non-profits, government revenues, educational institutions, and private businesses.

    I realize that those who seek to subvert democracy and push through this epic boondoggle will likely get their way. The general public is either complacent or has been conditioned by the self-interested obstructionist Prospect crowd to accept any progress on the much needed improvement in cross river mobility. However, if the anti-democratic pro-ORBP crowd thinks that those opposed to this epic boondoggle will lose interest they are mistaken. It is important that we send a signal to the world that although Louisville’s leadership is 50 years behind the rest of the world, the majority of its citizens are not.

  • 14 Stunoland // May 13, 2011 at 12:03 am

    It is important that we send a signal to the world that although Louisville’s leadership is 50 years behind the rest of the world on transportation policy, the majority of its citizens are not.

  • 15 Jeff Gillenwater // May 13, 2011 at 1:26 am

    A stand for what, Joe? I’ve stated my question here and would appreciate an answer in the same space without having to take the conversation private. You all are, after all, asking the public to take action in agreement with you. Does KFP support ORBP as currently proposed or do they support something else? If something else, what?

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