Page One & The ‘Ville Voice on TeeVee

The scary and literal poo flood that wreaked havoc all over Louisville, Jerry & Steve touring the city and smelling the poo, all the news that didn’t happen because of the poo flood, University of Louisville spending thousands upon thousands of dollars prosecuting nursing student Nina Yoder because she exercised her freedom of speech only to lose hard, and Metro Councilcritter President/Sometimes Mayoral Hopeful David Tandy’s little scandal. It’s all on the teevee this week.

Looks like David Tandy’s hot mess isn’t going away any time soon.

Hey Mayor, Don’t Blame the Weatherman

Now it’s time to start pointing fingers for what went wrong yesterday, and for what people said that they shouldn’t have said. Exhibit A is Mayor Jerry Abramson, who kind of sucker-punched local meteorologists in a press conference. “Between 8 and 9 a.m., when your weather people said there would be no problems…” he said.

There are bigger issues to come — and there will be criticisms about the situation over at Metro Animal Services, about MSD’s ability to get its job done, about U of L’s rescue efforts, the way the police handled arrests of people who stupidly drove around barricades.

But this little dust-up has got people talking, and moved WAVE’s Kevin Harned to write a letter to the Mayor. Here’s an excerpt:

I took your comments personal on the forecast of Tuesday’s historic rainfall. Other than periods of storms with heavy rain, large hail & gusty winds, which was my forecast… I’m not sure anyone could have forseen the extreme weather we endured. It was one of those once in a hundred year type scenarios that even the best would have missed… and we did! My day began with a severe weather threat at 3:30AM… and continued all day. I’m just now getting home (8:00 PM) and will be back in tomorrow at 3:30AM to go again. Our team works very hard to serve this community and this event was no exception.

And the public seems to be running to defend Harned and his brethren. You can’t deny that Harned, and the weather folks at the other stations, work a lot of hours and spend a lot of time on the air during events like this. At Fox41, the station stayed on the air for hours even though water was creeping into the newsroom.

It’s where they make, or break, their reputations. After all, it isn’t all that challenging to predict normal August weather, hot and sunny.

I’m sure Jay Cardosi of WLKY is regretting missing the whole mess.

Let’s see if the Mayor mans up and issues an apology to local forecasters.

Lost in the Flood

Everybody needs a do-over for yesterday. If you were scheduled in court, a press conference, your U of L class, orientation at a middle school (like me), you were more likely hoping your car was on high ground. Hit hardest were Churchill Downs, U of L and the downtown library.

The Day After: Here comes the bill. Convenient that Steve Beshear was around yesterday (in town for a press conference, later canceled, on the arena) to traipse around to Jerry Abramson’s press conferences. Who’s gonna pay for all those cars, for all those library books, for all those manhole covers? Beshear volnteered some state assistance. Looks like we’ll get to see the Steve and Jerry show in action.

Blown Call: Why did no local forecaster warn us that we were going to get 6.5 inches dumped on us Tuesday morning?  Kevin Harned said yesterday on WHAS Radio it was a unique weather phenomena that no one could have predicted. That’s his excuse. Sounds a lot like the windstorm excuse last year. Even the Mayor chided local weather geeks.

Bias? We Don’t Need No Stinking Bias: If you want to get a C-J reporter all hot and bothered, accuse one of being influenced in news stories by the left-leaning bias of the paper’s editorials. John David Dyche, responding to Arnold Garson’s Sunday essay, states the obvious — that it’s the placement, editing and choice of stories made by news editors that reveals the paper’s liberal bias in news. He suggests more transparency in political reporting, like telling readers of reporters’ party affiliation. [Courier]

Under the Radar, Next to Arena: In the absense of a planned announcement yesterday about the arena, the C-J picked up the story about Galt House’s announced plans to spend up to $16 million on the look of Third Street near the Arena, including building a new facade along the east side of the Waterfront Plaza on Third. The Galt House is also building an 860-space parking garage that will serve the new arena. I’m sure you’ll be able to afford to park in there. [Courier]

Top Guns: Say what you want about radio ratings, but these numbers show that WHAS and WAMZ still dominate local radio listening. There’s just not much competition for local news and talk on WHAS. And really, did anyone know that country music is still the dominant music format? [Ratings]

Review The Poo: And not the kind spewing out of the city’s streets yesterday. Only three days of Golden Poo categories are left. Go back and vote for your not-so-favorites. [Golden Poo]

Almost As Good As a Snow Day

It’s pouring down again, on top of the record rainfall we had earlier today. Great pictures abound online of water overflowing in places you don’t expect. 6.5 inches in an hour will do that.

The weather people are the stars of TV. Rain kept the satellite signal from coming through to deliver today’s 700 Club broadcast at 9, so the station stayed on the air past 11. TV stations have pretty much stayed on the air with newscasts all day.

And WHAS Radio, where a lot of people turn for up-to-date weather info, is airing Rush Limbaugh, though the station did cut in for the Mayor’s afternoon press conference.

Courts, classes, press conferences — whatever you have planned, you can’t get there and it’s not happening anyway.

Numerous idiots have been arrested, or rescued, after going around barricades and into deep waters. If your car was parked in the wrong place, it’s probably floating by now. Manhole covers are going to turn up in odd places.

The Mayor is holding press conferences, making bad jokes. The library director is talking about volumes of books ruined in the Main Library’s basement. Bud Schardein’s warning people not to do stupid stuff, like wade into your basement when there’s power on.

It’s almost over. Time to start assessing damages and costs.

Power was out to 20,000 LG&E customers. But at least the power is back on in J-town, for now.

Arena’s Big News Ahead

There’s big news coming from the Arena Authority next Tuesday. Already, we know that Gov. Beshear and Mayor Abramson will be there, together, to take credit for whatever it is.

GLI’s Joe Reagan has issued an invitation to the Tuesday press conference to his Board of Directors.

All we’re promised is that there will be two MAJOR announcements related to the arena. Here’s what it won’t be:

  • a source who should know says it’s not a major convention
  • another source says it has nothing to do with naming rights or an NBA Team
  • it’s not the final results from the concrete accident investigation

Arena chair Jim Host has been hinting about the August 4 announcement for more than a month, intimating during arena tours that it would be, well, BIG. He’s been courting NCAA events, so it could be something like that. Or maybe an arena football team? Indoor soccer?

It will be related to economic development, and we wrote in June that Host was happy about bringing something to the city that’s been gone for 30 years.

So anybody want to take a guess as to what it is?

They’re Not Rubber Stamps

Mention the phrase “rubber stamp” around certain Metro Council members, and you get a strong negative reaction.

That’s the charge being leveled by opponents of the bridges tolling authority, who saw the Metro Council’s approval of the authority as a formality pushed by the Mayor and economic development interests. To fight that perception, the Council bickered over terms of the agreement for three hours last night, injecting a bunch of provisions that the Council wants the Mayor to abide by.

So when Abramson picks his four appointees, the Council wants them to drop by for some questions. And the Council wants to hold some public meetings, though it’s unlikely anything that comes out of them would be considered by the authority.  And if there’s ever anything actually built, the Council wants the project to abide by its labor standards ordinance. Not that they would have to.

But at least the Council avoided the “rubber stamp” tag by taking a bunch of time to put in some new language.

Big Ship! Science News

The Louisville Science Center will be hosting one of the world’s most visited exhibits starting in October — the Titanic Artifact Exhibition.

From what we hear, it’s a major exhibition, with actual artifacts dug up from the bottom of the sea by divers. Many of the artifacts are in pristine condition. The exhibit has been viewed by more than 22 million people, mostly in larger cities than Louisville.

So it’s a big deal. The Mayor chimed in on the official release:

“This exhibition is a major coup for our city and will be a must-see experience for Louisvillians and for regional tourists. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition brings a wonderful teaching opportunity for adults and children alike, a historical experience brought to life through an engaging exhibition that is bringing more than 100 authentic Titanic artifacts right here to Louisville.”

It’s a major coup for the Science Center’s new executive director, Joanna Haas, who came to Louisville from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center.

The exhibit will be on display from Oct. 3 through Feb. 15, 2010.

Rumors: A Redhead in the Race

Another Mayoral Rumor: We hear there’s a female, South End Democrat taking a look at the Mayor’s Race, and wouldn’t that be exciting? We’d love that. If she runs, Joni Jenkins might do well in certain parts of town and with her buds in labor. But the Shively state rep, who’s been in office since 1995, is still a long shot. [Rumors]

Watching Spokespeople Squirm: What’s the worst-kept secret in town? The PGA story. Oh, to be a spokesperson and have to avoid spilling the details the PGA is trying in vain to keep secret, so their big press conference tomorrow will actually include something new. Biz First got someone at the PGA to confirm tomorrow’s announcement, and obtained a quote from Chris Poynter. Can’t wait to see the squirming on TV newscasts tonight. [Biz First]

On the JCPS lawsuit bus: A third parent has come forward to join Teddy Gordon’s lawsuit against JCPS. The suit claims kindergartners shouldn’t have to ride the bus across town, especially if race colors their assignment decision. Plenty of business for JCPS lawyers. [Courier]

Irony?: LEO’s cover story on buying local was written by an out-of-town writer. It makes the point that giant corporations are trying to market themselves as local to help people feel good about going to Wal-mart. Our Keep Louisville Weird campaign is mentioned, too. [LEO]

Not A Done Deal: Tomorrow the Metro Council is voting on whether to allow that bridge authority proposal sponsored by David Tandy and Kevin Kramer. 8664 is urging you to call your Councilman and support the alternative offered by Tom Owen and Tina Ward-Pugh, who says she thinks she’s got as many as 8 votes. hmmm. [Broken Sidewalk]

Healthy Critique: Stephen George is right to bitch about coverage of health care in the media. [LEO]

Bills Get Wood: Congrats to former U of L center Eric Wood, who signed a $12 million deal to play right guard for the Buffalo Bills. [Buffalo News]

This is Golden: Billy Reed is coming up on 50 years of writing about sports. You can read about it. [BRS]

Vote on Poo: Another great category today in the great Golden Poo Awards — the most constipated politician. [Page One]

Wait a Minute, Let’s Check the Facts

A lot of buzz has been generated since last night’s WAVE story on police chief Robert White’s compensation. In the story, Metro Council member Kelly Downard claimed the deal to reward Chief White the pension money he forfeited in North Carolina when he came to Louisville was done in secret, that “no one knew this was going on.”

It turns out, though, that details of White’s package were reported in local media. The deal is spelled out in a Dec. 19, 2002 C-J article by Joe Gerth. I spoke to a former local TV reporter, who did a story on White’s hiring, who told me “Everybody knew it back then, there was no secret whatsoever.”

He called the report on WAVE an example of “sensationalism” and called the story “unconscionable.”

Downard, in fact, was quoted in that 2002 C-J story, saying that White was “a great choice.” I spoke to him by phone today, and he maintains he didn’t know about White’s compensation package, though he did say that the type of deal White got was “not unusual.”

The issue will be front and center at today’s Government Accountability Committee meeting, which Downard chairs. But it’s sure hard to find evidence that anything secret was going on.  The deal is detailed in several letters from Abramson to White, all of which seem to be standard stuff. The Administration seems to be simply following through with a deal it made in 2002.

Maybe Downard simply forgot, and saw an opportunity to criticize the Mayor for something that came up in the audit. Maybe he was focused on announcing he was out of the Mayor’s race. Still, Downard should have checked his facts before going on camera, and so should someone at WAVE.

WAVE’s presentation of the story, leading with the statement that the audit “raised a red flag” — was misleading at best. And its implication that the Administration was hiding something, at least in this instance, was wrong.

Page One & The ‘Ville Voice on TeeVee

Covered all kinds of stuff on the teevee this morning. Jim Bunning, Jerry Abramson at Fancy Farm, the awesome Golden B.S. Awards (love love LOVED watching Candyce Clifft as she was forced to speak of golden excrement – oh, how Rick wishes this were his idea) and how to get involved, something boring about Valhalla and golf or whatever

We were wrong. WDRB didn’t learn during the intro that Rick is not just representing The ‘Ville Voice. But it’s a work in progress! Disappointing that Barry wasn’t forced to discuss poo.