Monday, November 23, 2009


As some of you are aware current Mayoral candidate Hal Heiner had an op ed printed in the CJ on Friday. An opportunity for cooperation The Courier-Journal . It now seems as though the CJ is once again proving bias.

Mayoral candidate Chris Thieneman, Hal's opponent, sent in a response to the CJ they refused to print. Any reason why they would not print opposing viewpoints between candidates in an election. Especially the Mayoral one? No bias there huh?

But I digress.

Here is the copy of Thieneman's response for your review:

An Opportunity Missed

First I want to applaud Councilman Heiner for the good words written in the CJ concerning Wayside Christian Mission. Wayside, and organizations like them who provide shelter and opportunity to our community’s high-risk women and children, should not be victims to the bureaucratic process of our Metro Government. This is an issue that could have been resolved months ago, and the inaction of our elected officials have led us to this moment, most notably you Mr. Heiner.

Councilman Heiner sits on the powerful Planning and Zoning committee. He is the Vice-Chairman.

He has the authority to place planning and zoning issues on the agenda for the committee, which then could push the issue before the full Metro Council. The issues faced by Wayside Christian Mission could be resolved in this committee. This issue could have been resolved, before the holiday season, before the cold set in, and before Mr. Heiner announced his candidacy for Mayor.

Having courage means taking difficult stances on issues and seeing the plan through. It does not mean taking a politically calculated step in the right direction only when political gain is on the line. Courage is a word not to be thrown around as political rhetoric. Courage is getting the job done for the right reasons at the right time; not months down the road while running for public office.

Mr. Heiner, you have had every opportunity in the past 6 months to attempt to rezone the old Louisville Hotel for Wayside, and you have done nothing. There have been zero, 0, attempts by the committee since June to rezone this property. Not one agenda proves a proactive approach to solve the problems facing our at-risk and homeless families.

I congratulate and whole heartily support the actions of Wayside Christian Mission in providing a much-needed avenue to care for the homeless in our city. But in them having to find an alternative means to provide this care proves Metro leadership has failed.

In the letter, there was mention that “We should invite…” a host of community organizations to the table to help the individuals once they are at Wayside. No, they should have already been invited and working to a solution. This does not rest on the shoulders of Wayside; it rests on us as human beings and as members of this community. The city has failed its people if these services are only provided when there is no other option and the family is homeless. This idea addresses a symptom. To change this environment and to show the true compassion of our city, we must treat and cure the cause.

I do not believe in reactionary leadership. I believe in tackling problems when they arise; not sitting around and letting the scene play out and hope it goes away or solves itself. I believe when a man uses the word courage to describe himself he steps up when the pressure is on, not when it makes for a good photo opportunity.

The Metro Council and Metro government have had their opportunity to solve this problem.

They have failed. Wayside has been hindered and terrorized by the bureaucratic red tape of city hall. Wayside is caring for the city’s homeless and at-risk women and children, and Mr. Heiner and his committee cannot even make an attempt to rezone the Wayside Hotel.

Our great city must provide these families with opportunities and jobs before Wayside becomes their only option. We have to attract jobs and corporations to our community who will provide our citizens with an opportunity at a better standard of living. Private citizens and community organizations should be involved in the process and leading the way. I am not saying that Metro Government should not have a seat at the table, but I believe community interests would best serve such an effort.

Mr. Heiner’s campaign is doing a penny drive and mine will be doing a clothing drive for Wayside. Both are righteous outreaches to help and support such a pillar of our community.

However, Mr. Heiner has been in a position of power to solve this problem, and now a solution comes only after he announces he wants to be Mayor. I question the sincerity and courage behind such an action. The solutions to the problems facing our community should not only come about when political gain is on the line. For Wayside, I am glad action is finally being taken. For Metro Government, I believe the time has passed to be called a leader on the issue.


Chris Thieneman

1 comment:

  1. The CJ was right not to run this response. This is an attack, not an opposing view. If he had an alternate proposal then it should have been run, but an attack on the other candidate did not need to be run.

    Futhermore, he's a little off base when blaming Metro Government for this problem. Metro Government did not stop Wayside from moving in. Let us not forget the history of Wayside. They worked for years raising money to upgrade their East Main property. Then were run off by the Johnny come latelys that want to develop East Main now that it is a viable neighborhood. (These are the same types that want to run out Swift.) It is also the neighborhood group that is saying a homeless shelter doesn't belong in the C-2 zoning district. What is a homeless shelter? A place people come to sleep and eat. What is a Hotel? A place people come to sleep and eat. What is the difference between the two? Money. If the neighborhood group had not filed appeals against Wayside moving in to Hotel Louisville, Metro would not have stopped them. Do NOt Blame Metro. They are required by law to review the situation.


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Yours truly,
Ed Springston


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