It’s Primary Election Postmortem Time!


Let’s start where we ended the previous report. The three postscripts to the previous report read 1) Heiner – too much money to lose; 2) Comer – grassroots against last minute chaos; and 3) Bevin – could carve a victory a la Wallace Wilkinson in his Primary with John Y. Brown and Steve Beshear.  Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Matt Bevin appears to have won the Republican Primary for governor by the slimmest of margins, margins so slim that runner-up James Comer is asking for a recanvass.  While a recanvass may change a vote here and a vote there, the outcome will very likely remain the same – Bevin wins.  How?  We told you last week Bevin’s road to the Governor’s Mansion would be won by running against Louisville and Frankfort.  A look at the map of counties Bevin won shows he did just that.  In addition to a cluster of counties around Ashland, Bevin carried counties along the Ohio River from Bracken to Union, with the exception of Jefferson where he ran 2nd carrying one in three of the votes cast.  One-in-three is where Bevin started, claiming one-in-three votes last year in his Primary with Senator McConnell.  We suggested that was his best asset going into the race.  His voters from last year remained organized and both the Tea Party and the Republican-registered Libertarians claimed him as their own.

Beginning with his bevy of support from his 126,000 votes in 2014, then adding the combination of suburban libertarians with Tea Party rural voters gave Bevin the most comfortable of launching pads.  Bevin won suburbia and newer Republican voters.  Bevin also carried vote-rich northern Kentucky, which we expected Heiner to capture at least some of with his Right-To-Life endorsement, and moving those votes from the Heiner column to the Bevin column appears to have given him the boost he needed over the more traditional Republican voters captured by Comer and Jefferson’s allegiance to Heiner.  This combination made it hard for Bevin to lose, especially given the blood battle going on between his two main competitors.  This is exactly what happened in the 1987 Democratic Primary when then-Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear and former Gov. John Y. Brown engaged in a series of back-and-forth attacks, allowing the outsider, Wallace G. Wilksinson, running against both Frankfort and Louisville the opportunity to “sneak up the middle.” (Wilkinson also had the lottery issue in his arsenal)

But Bevin almost did lose – to James Comer.

Wanna read the rest? CLICK HERE.


An Unfortunate Moment For The Science Center

In this local newspaper story about the Kentucky Science Center’s fancy new dead body exhibit, something caught our attention:

Haas said the science center has been working on booking the exhibit for more than a year. She said the center has a policy of not disclosing the cost of traveling exhibits. The center in recent years has had several major touring exhibits, including one on the Titanic.

Last we checked, the Science Center receives a mountain of cash from taxpayers every single year it’s in operation.

The exhibit itself is sponsored by government agencies:

Just to stretch back a few years, the Science Center received $890,000 from Metro Government in 2008:

The past year, the Science Center received $811,301.15 from Metro Government:

Well more than half of the funds it received.

And the following government agencies contributed a pretty penny this year:

  • Louisville Water Company $5,000 – $9,999
  • Kentucky Department of Tourism $1,000 – $4,999
  • Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust $10,000 – $24,999

Maybe someone needs to have a talk with Haas, director of the joint.

When taxpayers fund you, taxpayers get to know what everything costs. Including specific prices paid to bring exhibits to town.

While we love the Science Center and have done quite a bit to promote it over the years, it’s important to point out when there’s a lack of transparency. Particularly when it comes to secrecy involving taxpayer dollars.

Hopefully Haas will remind herself to bite her tongue the next time she’s asked about how the Center is spending our cash during a time of economic hardship for the entire city.

Sorry! We Spoke Way Too Soon, Apparently!

Because NBC-Yum!-Kentucky Derby shenanigans are causing a bit of a laugh in the sports world:

Yum! Brands, the company that owns and operates KFC and Taco Bell, among other fast-food chains, has been the presenting sponsor of America’s premier horse race since 2006. Given that both the Derby and the restaurant behemoth are based in Louisville, it was a natural fit. Except for the whole horse thing, of course. Like Taco Bell needs to invite comparisons about the quality of its meat. (Disclaimer: Taco Bell is delicious.)

That’s a trivial point, though. As long as Yum! kept everybody’s mind off all those potential wisecracks by keeping signage tasteful and away from any logo or picture that could lead to the thought of consuming a horse, there’d be no problem.


CVB vs. Sports Commission in Big Rift

Diane McGraw may not be having the best of vacations, according to a memo she sent today to her board of directors on the Greater Louisville Sports Commission.

It was while on vacation that McGraw, executive director of the SC, learned that the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which provides financing for the Sports Commission, made a public announcement about a contract with a cycling championship that she was planning to make at a future date. But from reading McGraw’s letter (we have it below) there’s a lot more to her problems with the CVB and chief exec Jim Wood than jumping the gun on a media opp.

McGraw writes that there’s an ongoing rift in which she claims Jim Wood has exhibited “a lack of respect and consideration” for her group.

Oh yes, McGraw includes in her note the news that the PGA Championship is returning to Louisville. She’s upset that the CVB is apparently planning to announce this fact at the end of July at a luncheon that she’s had no involvement in. Yes, maybe I’m burying the news here, and we’ll get more info on that later.

Later in the lengthy piece, McGraw complains about her treatment at last year’s Ryder Cup, and explains that the situation is worse than anything she’s seen on other sports commissions in other cities. She concludes by promising that things are going to be different when she returns.

Larry Bisig, a founding vice president of the Sports Commission, said the tussle is a bad sign and could hurt the progress that’s been made in attracting millions of dollars to the city.  “The CVB and the Sports Commission need to be in lockstep,” Bisig said. “They need each other and somebody needs to get this fixed.”

The situation must be pretty bad for McGraw to send such a contentious letter to her board. It’s bound to get some reaction and the board is one of the largest and high-profile in the city. The Mayor was copied on it, too.

We called Wood to get a reaction just a few minutes ago, and will let you know when we get one. Meanwhile, here’s the juicy content from McGraw.

Read the Letter After the Jump…

Read more

Mid-way, Mid-week Rambling

Homeless Report: There’s a new report out from the state about homelessness in Kentucky, and the news is grim. Just in Louisville, 1,500 homeless. Many of them are children, or veterans, or simply out of luck. Wayside’s purchase of a downtown hotel will help bring more services, but affordable housing is a pressing need here. [Page One]

Why Wednesday?: Meet the guy behind the Waterfront Wednesday concert series, thanks to Leslie’s I Live In Louisville profile of Billy Hardison, WFPK’s promotions director. [ILIL]

True Colors: This is way over-dramatic, but this woman in Texas was told she couldn’t bring an American flag to work, because it offended a co-worker. The hospital making the decision — Louisville’s own Kindred. The local station couldn’t get a response from Kindred in Louisville.  [Dallas TV]

Billy’s Place on the Market: Will anyone pay $1.5 million for a Jessamine County mansion that Billy Gillispie just put on the market? Not likely.  The ex-coach is still living there, and doesn’t seem to have any plans. [H-L]

How Do You Say OOPS in Spanish?: Gov. Steve Beshear says drivers license tests will continue to be available in 22 languages, reversing a decision made by the Kentucky State Police designed to save money. Beshear seems to be worried about the feelings of foreigners. How can drivers who can’t read English read road signs and pass a drivers’ test?[Bluegrass Politics]

Attendance Issues at Meyzeek: They’re still having trouble getting panicked parents to get their kids to school at Meyzeek, after two more swine flu cases were discovered this weekend.  After 470 students skipped Friday, the number was down to 238 yesterday. [Courier]

Beatles Be Gone?: Organizers are touting the record attendance numbers from the Abbey Road on the River festival, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be back. Corporate sponsorship was down 90 percent in its fifth year here, and that’s not cutting it. Check out how many song references Bill Alexander squeezes into this report. [Fox41]

Y Not Ruling Out Otter Creek: The YMCA of Louisville, which operates its Camp Piomingo at Otter Creek Park, is among the 15 groups interested in operating the park after seeing the city’s RFP.  [Fox41]

Happy Halfway to Derby Day

Post Draw Today: Find out which horses get which numbers at today’s post position draw for the Derby. It takes place about Noon today at the track, NOT at Fourth Street Live as it has been for several years. ESPN decided it wasn’t good TV. You can watch in online or on local TV. I Want Revenge is the likely favorite.

QB Party: NFL quarterbacks must be becoming the gold standard for Derby party guests, and today we learn that the hated Tom Brady and others are signed on to the Barnstable Brown guest list, along with Paris Hilton. She’ll be at Fourth Street Live afterward for an official after-party. [Courier]

Big Drink: Brown-Forman is displaying a 6-foot Mint Julep glass over at the track. Why they’re doing press releases on this, we don’t know. [Brown-Forman]

Worker’s Complaint: WHAS-TV’s Joe Arnold found an arena worker willing to complain about the speed-em-up pace of construction, saying things aren’t safe on the site. He says Mortenson, the construction manager, is pushing too hard to stay on schedule. [WHAS-TV]

Sypher Can Speak: Yesterday a judge told Karen Sypher she can badmouth Rick Pitino all she wants and not get in trouble with the court. But her attorney says she’ll keep it zipped. We’ll see. [Fox41]

Bill vs. Blogger: The Fox41 G.M. thinks Perez Hilton’s a “blogging bully” for roughing it up with Miss California over same-sex marriage. [Fox41]

And His Name is Really Heil: Can you believe a PRP firefighter came to work in a Klan outfit? That’s the allegation that got Capt. Robert Heil suspended without pay. Can you say “R E D N E C K”? A resident interviewed by WLKY’s Mike Petchenik said she hopes it doesn’t hurt PRP’s reputation. [WLKY]

TARC vs. Miller: Officials with TARC are (wink, wink) quick to say that the free rides they’re offering Friday night aren’t meant to infringe on Miller Transportation’s exclusive agreement to shuttle patrons around the track. Nope, the fact that Miller raised prices and is using inferior buses (compared with service TARC had provided since 1947 before a federal ruling changed things) has nothing to do with the Miller/Coors promotion of free rides on Friday. [Courier]

Employees and E.ON

Was anyone raising eyebrows last week when the Derby Festival announced that its list of sponsors included E.ON U.S.?

Remember, this is the public company that just absorbed the costs of two of the most expensive storms in history and had its request for a rate increase basically denied by the state’s Public Service Commission. Ratepayers will end up paying for the storm repairs, of course, over a period of at least five years.

The company could use some P.R., I suppose, but even its employees are questioning the money going to the sponsorship. Some wonder why the company spends so much on sponsorships and advertising when it doesn’t have any competition.It’s hard to imagine rate-payers, absorbing the cost of storm clean-up, getting a warm feeling about LG&E because it’s spending six figures sponsoring a fireworks show.

Dollar figures weren’t announced, but the KDF says Thunder costs $1 million, and it has four major sponsors. So let’s just say it’s a six-figure sponsorship.

In defending the expense, spokesperson Chris Whelan talked about full hotels and restaurants and $31 million coming in to the local economy.

As part of its sponsorship, the company gets a big hunk of space at the Belvedere, which it uses to reward employees, provided they make a run through a qualifying gauntlet, according to a staffer who sent along this e-mail:

But, like all suits, they make stupid decisions that leave us scratching our heads sometimes. Take for instance our sponsorship of Thunder. Now I know it stimulates our local economy and is “free” to the public. But did you know that once again we’re having a “private” viewing party on the Belvedere? Sure, it’s being billed as the kick-off to our own charity giving campaign, but there are so many strings attached to getting tickets that as an employee, it’s too damn frustrating to want to take part.

Company staffers say that while there hasn’t been any official call for cutting expenses and there have been no cost-related layoffs, everyone’s being careful about what they spend at the utility company.  That is, except for the sponsorship department.