Thursday, June 26, 2008

WAYSIDE CHRISTIAN MISSION

Today it was announced that an agreement was reached with Wayside for the sale of roughly 10 buildings for a total of $5 million. As many of you are aware Wayside has been in the news of late due to their want and need of expansion and the unwillingness of the administration to allow them to do so.

Approximately 9 years ago Wayside came up with a plan to expand, one that was agreed upon by the East Downtown Business Association (EDBA). Wayside has been able to put together $4 million since that time and were prepared to expand on their east Market property. When the EDBA finally realized that Wayside could fulfill the agreed upon plan it became a problem.

The EDBA had some legitimate concerns.

Namely historical designation through the landmarks commission. While I generally applaud efforts for historical relevance to many Downtown buildings and areas I simply did not understand the fight for this one.

The dilapidated rundown facilities in question here need to be dealt with. Wayside had agreed to keep the facade of 2 of the buildings in question an option EDBA agreed to as well.

Of course considering that Wayside deals with the problems in our community most do not want to face, like aiding the homeless population that continue to grow in our City, it would appear that the "historical landmark issue" raised by the EDBA was not really the problem.

According to the CJ article http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880626011 the landmark commission was to meet briefly and postpone consideration of the landmarks status.

One question remains:

If it was so important to get the designation then why not go ahead and do it?

Apparently it was only important to get it to stop Wayside.

Either way Wayside will continue to aid the poorest of our community in their traditional way. I hope that someday they will be out of business due to lack of need.

I am sure they will understand that sentiment.

Your thoughts?

METRO POLICE RAISES

It is interesting to note that Mayor Abramson has once again decided he did not have to honor the contractual agreement with the FOP in a timely manner.

The new FOP contract was ratified in March by a slim margin of 74 votes. Part of that contractual agreement included a small raise and retroactive back pay from July of 2007. As of today there has been no back pay nor have the raises shown up on the officers checks.

There have been many excuses given over the last week such as a People soft problem, the automated software currently used by the administration, and one they spent much money on and touted how great the program is.

If the program is that great surely it would be an easy step to get this money to the officers in good faith? If he cannot fund it then why contractually agree to the retro pay and raises?

This issue was presented to the Metro Council during budget hearings on June 18, 2008 by FOP President John McGuire and it seemed the few Council members present were surprised by this info as well.

FOP President McGuire did a good job laying out the concerns of officers and I personally agree with their frustration. Contract negotiations are supposed to be in good faith and agreements are supposed to be adhered to as soon as possible and in good faith as well. In my experience in contract agreements never have I experienced such a waiting period for monies owed.

Chief White should have asked these questions long ago on behalf of the officers and Mayor Abramson should have done the right thing and honored the contract agreement expeditiously.

It did not take long after the contract agreement for the Mayor to institute a "gas tax" for officers that use their vehicles to get to off duty jobs at $60 a month. On top of that all officers will now be required to pay $30 a month for the privilege of having a take home car

Consider this the average "raise" equates to roughly $45 monthly. With the above fees noted the officers actually receive a negative raise in real wages.

Interesting to say the least how quickly the Mayor has found a way to pay for the raises by charging the officers with new added costs for being an officer.

Makes you wonder why anyone would want that job doesn't it?

Your thoughts?

Friday, June 20, 2008

THE REAL TOYOTA

For the record as an ex Ford employee I am a little biased when it comes to the auto industry in general. With that being said for years I have listened to people berate the employees at the Big 3 and the UAW in general.

Some comments consist of us being overpaid etc.

And those comments generally come from those who have no clue of the hardship in doing that kind of job.

Which brings me to this link: The National Labor Committee

I believe this report is very telling in many areas. For one thing it shows the wages are comparable at Toyota in regards to what US employees make in the Big 3. For another it shows the gross negligence of Toyota in human rights considerations and gives examples of this abuse.

Workers being fired for getting hurt, temp employees helping to drive down wages, fear of losing your job if you do not work the 15 hour days, and so on and so on.

I will let you read the report for yourselves. It is a prime example of why we still need unions in this Country.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

LOUISVILLE #1?

According to today's C-J Louisville has been named America's most liveable City according to the conference of Mayors.

Good job I guess. Of course with Jerry being basically a lifetime member of this organization and holding office longer than any other Mayor in the conference one wonders what seniority had to do with this.

In 2006 I launched a campaign against Mayor Abramson in part because of the negative trends we all see everyday and the report from the conference of Mayors then backed up the problems.

Here is a brief copy of that report:

Big US cities report steep rise in hunger and homelessness
Hunger and homelessness continued to rise in America’s big cities during 2005. Requests for emergency food assistance increased by 12 per cent, while demand for emergency shelter went up by six per cent.

However, the US cities report that evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had not been a significant strain on their resources, but they are concerned about a lack of federal commitment to the evacuees.

Furthermore, according to big city mayors, the outlook for 2006 is bleaker still, with 90 per cent believing hunger and homelessness will increase further.

On average, 18 per cent of the requests for emergency food assistance are estimated to have gone unmet during the last year.

For families alone, 18 per cent of the requests for assistance are estimated to have gone unmet. In 43 per cent of the cities, emergency food assistance facilities may have to turn away people in need due to lack of resources.

Fifty-four per cent of the people requesting emergency food assistance were members of families - children and their parents.

Forty per cent of the adults requesting food assistance were employed.


Twenty-one cities cited unemployment and other employment-related problems: Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Louisville, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Santa Monica, Seattle and Trenton.Nine cities identified medical or health costs: Boston, Cedar Rapids, Cleveland, Detroit, Louisville, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland and Salt Lake City.

Four cities cited transportation costs: Cedar Rapids, Detroit, Louisville and Salt Lake City. Los Angeles, Portland and San Antonio cited childcare costs; Nashville, San Antonio and Trenton identified lack of education; and Cedar Rapids, Denver and Louisville cited utility costs.

Lack of affordable housing was identified as a major cause of homelessness in 19 cities: Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Louisville, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, and Trenton.

Low-paying jobs were cited by 17 cities as a main cause of homelessness: Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Louisville, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Seattle.

Mental illness and the lack of needed services were identified by 16 cities as a primary cause of homelessness: Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Louisville, Los Angeles, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, St. Paul, San Antonio, Santa Monica, and Trenton.

Substance abuse and the lack of needed services were identified by 15 cities as a main cause of homelessness: Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Louisville, Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, St. Paul, San Antonio, Santa Monica, and Trenton.


Outlook
Officials in 90 per cent of the responding cities expect requests for emergency food assistance to increase during 2006.

Eighty-six per cent expect that requests for emergency food assistance by families with children will increase during 2006. Officials in 93 per cent of the cities expect that requests for emergency shelter will increase next year.

Ninety-five per cent expect that requests by homeless families will increase.

Survey participants
The mayors of the cities included in the 2005 survey are members of the Conference of Mayors Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness.


They are:Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle
Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley
Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley
Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson
Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz
Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell
Philadelphia Mayor John Street
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon
Portland Mayor Tom Potter
Providence Mayor David Cicilline
St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson
San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Santa Monica Mayor Pam O'Connor
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels
Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer

Have things gotten better or worse?

More good paying jobs hemorrhaging from the City being replaced by low paying jobs when replaced, a housng crisis, what has improved?

Seems we still have a way to go for this honor.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Abramson's Budget

Sifting through the budget of Mayor Abramson raises some serious questions. As many of you know I have been fighting IPL for a longtime now due to harrassment and using that office for revenue for Abramson and cronies to abuse. According to the latest information IPL will get an increase of over 5% in funding and the revenues generated by IPL have increased significantly. Mainly at the expense of small business owners and helpless homeowners outside of Downtown Louisville and the East end.

Here is just a tiny part of ABRAMSON's budget!

1 - CODES & REGULATIONS - 5.6% INCREASE in budget

Why?

Especially since most of the other departments have budget decreases ...

Well, therein lies the "rest of the story."

So look at what's below for just IPL :
Source:
http://www.louisvilleky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/94D23CC5-3C27-4579-9E0E-1C18C943CB63/0/RevenueEstimatesReceipts.pdf
LOOK at these lines:

IPL Civil Penalties - INCREASED from $690,862 in 2006-07 to $900,000 in 2007-08, a 30% INCREASE

Projected INCREASE to $940,000 in 2008-08, an additional INCREASE for 2-year TOTAL INCREASE of over 34%.

What's REALLY disturbing is that IPL will continue their harassment of citizens at these SAME LEVELS for the foreseeable future!!!

Citation Fee Revenues - INCREASED from $835,008 in 2006-07 to $1,820,000, a HUGE 118% INCREASE!!!

Projected to be $1,100,000 in 2008-09, which is still a HUGE INCREASEoverall of nearly 32% over the last 2 years. This HIGHER LEVEL of enforcement activity introduced in 2007 WILL CONTINUE thru 2009!!!

Remember the old line about COPS needing to make their "quota" by writing lots of tickets?

This budget clearly illustrates that line in ACTION courtesy of IPL!

The MetroCall 311 line is used for the express purpose of generating REVENUE by having one Neighbor turning in other Neighbors and then having IPL (& others) write "citations" that have hefty FINES and "Civil Penalties".

Divide and conquer? Neighbor against neighbor?

Recommendation: POST "NO TRESPASSING" SIGNS all around your property!

The US Courts have ruled that the ALL Government agencies MUST obtain a SEARCH WARRANT or (in the special case of Police officer activities) have "Probable Cause" to legally TRESPASS on properties that have NO TRESPASSING signs posted in clear view.

The absence of such signs indicate that the owner has implicitly approved such incursions by Government workers upon their land!

2 - ALSO, check this out:
Source: (Same as # 1 above)

Employee Withholdings - INCREASES from $207,290,000 in 2007-08 to $219,570,000 in 2008-09, a
nearly 6% INCREASE in ONE year and a nearly 11% INCREASE over the last 2 years!

Since Louisville is NOT experiencing any substantial job growth, this LOOKS LIKE a TAX INCREASE on the backs of ALL Louisville workers.

WHY? See Net Profits:

Net Profits - Net profits are the taxes generated by COMPANIES and business ventures that have a PROFIT.

Since 2006-07, the Net Profits taxes collected in 2007-08 WENT DOWN by nearly $6.5 million, a

DECREASE of nearly 13%!
WHY?

Small businesses in Louisville either aren't doing as well or have left Louisville for more "friendly" places like Southern Indiana, Bullitt Co., Oldham Co. ... the list goes on and on.

So, with LESS Net Profits taxes from Businesses, Abramson apparently wants to shift that burden onto the backs of those people who still have a job!

TARC is RECEIVING more than $52,000,000 in 2008-09 after receiving ZERO in 2007-08!

Source:
http://www.louisvilleky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/05FE3696-666E-43E8-AF95-6AAE9258EF3E/0/AllFundsSummary.pdf

Many questions need to be asked and answered it would appear.

Monday, June 16, 2008

IRS Private debt collections?

For some time now the IRS has been using private debt collectors to collect on outstanding taxes. For many of us we are concerned, and rightfully so, about the use of our private information by non government entities.

In addition, we also criticize how effective this service is.

According to a report on private debt collection from Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)

http://www.nteuirswatch.org/documents/FloorStatements.pdf

The use of private debt collectors has been ineffective to say the least.The House has tried to do something about this: WebCPA - House Repeals Private Debt Collection Program

I say it is about time we end this misuse of our tax dollars and protect our privacy at the same time.

As I understand it this issue is sitting in the Senate and has not been taken up. Our private information and our right to effective use of our tax dollars should not be ignored. Help gain accountability in this issue by getting involved.

Though I intend to focus on Louisville issues occassionally there is a need to fight for a larger goal.

This one affects each of us.

Comments?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Library Director Buthod under fire

This week has been a busy one to say the least. I was pleased to see the Metro Council, primarily Kelly Downard, Hal Heiner, and Jim King finally say enough is enough to the library debacle.

Here is a link to the story: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008806110899

It was interesting to note that Stuart Benson actually asked the question if Jerry was pressuring Buthod. It was about time someone publicly asked it and kudos to him for doing so.

Buthod has a history of failure in regards to library funding and is evidenced by his time in Seattle when they tried to force a library tax on the people there as well. The following links are for your review:
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941026&slug=1938104
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941109&slug=1940704

The Seattle issue was the blueprint for what we are going through now.

It is time for Buthod to go.

On a sidenote, if I may, many of you know there have been instances where I have been critical of Council President Jim King and I believe rightly so. With that being said I also believe in giving credit where credit is due.

Council President King should be given credit for his work with Hal Heiner and others for their efforts on funding libraries and his dedication to finding the money for the Newburg Library is commendable. Though Newburg is his area this is a greatly needed funding initiative that would certainly help the neighborhoods.

To quote Council President King from the C-J:

Paying for operations "is where the rubber meets the road,"

I could not agree more.

I hope these kind of efforts continue to be a sign of things to come. We must start working together on issues and this is a good start.

Thieneman lawsuit approaching, Dan Johnson, and more

Much is happening here are the updates. Metro Council to remove Dan Johnson.   An abuse of power in many opnions, including mine. ( WHAS 1...