Thursday, February 24, 2011

METRO ETHICS: WHAT ETHICS BUSINESS AS USUAL BY THESE CLOWNS

At 3:30 today the Metro Ethics Commission is supposed to meet to discuss the ethics charges by Ray "Sir Friendly C" Barker in regards to Councilwoman Judy Green and her self titled Green Team. In this case "Green team" could have lots of meanings such as "hey, I just loaded my family's pockets with your tax dollars." But I digress.

Throughout this site you will see stories of Judy Green and her husband and quite honestly how she is an elected official is beyond me. What makes it even more unbelievable is that Councilwoman Green will now have her case heard behind closed doors.

Check this out from the CJ today: Ethics panel to consider complaint against Judy Green in closed session The Courier-Journal courier-journal.com

I have many questions but agree with Jon Fleischaker. Kentucky's open meetings laws are not and cannot be superseded by local ordinance. Period.

Additionally, many red flags come to the forefront.

One right out of the gate. How in the hell is Jonathon Rickets in charge of anything involving ethics? Why do I ask this? Check out this previous story here at Louisville News: Louisville News and Politics: DEADBEAT DADS? Not always....

Remember this story? His wife had a child with another man and Jonathon, assumedly with the help of his well known and influential father attorney Charles Ricketts, played some legal games to keep the biological father away from his child. AFTER his wife Julia spent a lot of time with the biological dad AND his child.

Anything ethical about that mess? Not on the surface.

Second. Attorney Kent Wicker? Is he related to CPA and former House candidate Brooks Wicker? Many rumors abound about Brooks Wicker and his "accounting" practices including trying to rid himself of records by tossing them out his office window. Unverifiable of course but related to me by many sources.

His defense is that Barker lost to Judy Green in the Council race so this is basically sour grapes? Sorry folks the evidence is clear and I don't care who brought about the charges you cannot ignore the evidence. Kudos to Barker for standing up even knowing he would be chastised for it.

It is the right thing to do and here at Louisville News as you know I stand by that mantra as I have risked it all as well.

What happened to the great transparency we were promised? It just does not exist with elected officials is what.

At issue here is $35,000 of which Green's own family members collected roughly $3580 or 10%. Additionally, after an investigation was done by the Public Integrity Unit she couldn't account for $25,270 of the money.

Folks that means that Judy Green basically screwed up $30,000 of $35,000! AND SHE IS IN CHARGE OF OUR TAX MONEY!

No we have serious problems to deal with and the time for the good ole Democrat club in Louisville is over. Time to get serious about cleaning up government and Judy Green needs to go. By continuing down this path of closed door meetings we are telling everyone we simply don't care and that is wrong.

Jon Fleischaker good luck today getting a Judge to intervene. Seriously.

For Ricketts, Wicker, Judy Green, and others.

Stay tuned.

This story is just beginning...............

Sunday, February 20, 2011

SIMPLY PUT? WE DON'T NEED AN NBA TEAM

For awhile now we have been told of J. Bruce Miller's never ending battle to seek once again an NBA team to come to Louisville. The intent is for them to play at Freedom Hall according to Councilman Dan Johnson through facebook. Yet when pressed for specifics Councilman Johnson can provide none yet acknowledges it is HIS lifelong dream to have an NBA team.

Fair enough but has anyone done the due diligence to see if one would even be sustainable here? Chances are they cannot and will cost us the taxpayer money subsidizing them. Here is a sample of a facebook conversation I had with Councilman Johnson and just one more reason why he and others don't seem to get it.

It comes down to basic math and basic business.

Dan Johnson everywhere there is a professional team in America they are the most liked thing in that city.

Ed Springston The issue isn't whether they are liked the issue is whether they are affordable. I like lots of things but that doesn't mean I can pay for them all.

Dan Johnson well watch them on TV and buy a big mac when McDonalds advertises on the game and you will be helping. A pro teams market is a lot bigger than Louisville and it will be successful and not subsidized by tax dollars they pay tax dollars

Ed Springston ‎40% lose money now in better markets than Louisville. How do you say they pay tax dollars. 40% don't pay for sure the other 60% are subsidized
(Note this figure was a rough estimate before I did the research after this and found that the losing teams are greater than 56%)

Dan Johnson Who says well have one of the 40 percent and the market as it is drawn will be tenth in the nba,

Ed Springston there is no basis of truth to back that statement up

Dan Johnson just as there is no basis of truth to back you up

Ed Springston No basis of truth to back me up? Have you studied NBA teams and their financial's? The FACT is that 40% are losing money which means they pay no taxes. That sir is the truth. To deny that means you haven't done your homework.

Dan Johnson You are not an owner and the players will pay taxes on their labor in this town that will amount to over 6 million.

Ed Springston while we subsidize the team owner with $10 million or so? A net loss of $3 million. It really is basic math......

Dan Johnson you DO NOT KNOW UNTIL WE HAVE ONE AND IT HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS. I HAPPEN TO KNOW THIS ONE WILL BE WILDLY SUCCESSFUL FOR THE OWNERS BECAUSE THEY INTEND TO BROADCAST THIS TEAM TO THEIR COUNTRY WHICH IS BIGGER THAN OURS BY FAR. IT WILL MAKE MONEY.

Ed Springston You just stated the obvious Dan. YOU DO NOT KNOW. I love the caps as it says a lot about an open discussion and your ability to handle it. If one does not know should they not research all available information and make an educated calculated decision on whether it will work or not? You just stated you DO NOT KNOW UNTIL WE HAVE ONE AND IT HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS. That sir explains the whole situation. I don't want my tax dollars used for a pipedream based on that mentality. And neither do the majority.

Why would I say that? Because it is documented that most NBA teams lose money even after receiving tax incentives from the State. While many would contend that I am wrong here are some basic facts.

17 of 30 teams lost money in 2010 The Business Of Basketball, 2011. Or perhaps we can read this article. Forbes ranks NBA team's value, most lost money KING5.com Seattle Sports News and Information.

Anyone remember our quest to land the Charlotte Hornets? They ultimately went to New Orleans because they had an arena already available. Those who wanted the KFC Yum arena built even used this as a reason why we needed a new arena of our own. To get an NBA team.

Well the Hornets have already all but folded as the NBA bought the Hornets themselves last year at a cost of $310 million. Which was an immediate loss of $30 million as the Hornets only have an estimated value at $280 million.

This after the Hornets lost money yet again last year of $6 million.

Why did the Hornets move in the first place? Because the people of Charlotte denied a referendum to build a new arena for them. The owners said they needed to relocate to avoid millions of dollars in annual losses, in part from drastically declining attendance.

Notice the words "drastically declining attendance." If this was the excuse and they could not make money because people did not want to see the product they offered, how in the world would a multi million dollar new arena paid for with our tax dollars change that fact?

No the owners wanted public funds to subsidize them with a new arena for their private business. It would give them bragging rights but be a poor decision by our officials with our tax money. It is their inherent problem to provide a place for their teams to play and market. It is not the problem of us citizens to provide a building for each and every business that wants one. Hence a private business not a public one.

Ultimately the Hornets ended up in New Orleans even after we offered tax incentives only to become a burden there as well. They went there because Gov. Mike Foster promised and delivered legislative approval of millions of dollars in incentive expenditures for the team: $10 million to upgrade the state-owned New Orleans Arena, which was empty at the time thus not having to schedule against a team like U of L, plus several million more to be generated each year from the New Orleans area hotel tax.
USATODAY.com - Owners approve Hornets' move to New Orleans.

Yep public tax money went to subsidize the Hornets who ultimately never made a dime for the tax paying citizens and had to be taken over by the league itself. Ultimately many believe the league will now disband the Hornets and send the players to other teams.

So much for the New Orleans investment.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on this story folks. I can write and cite many other examples but you get the drift.

The NBA was not interested in Freedom Hall and wanted anew arena in the first place. Now what is the incentive for them to play at Freedom Hall with a new KFC Yum arena downtown? They want control over scheduling and they cannot obtain that at the new arena because U of L has that control right now.

Speaking of which has anyone ever noticed that even U of L in a college sports town cannot fill the seats at Football and basketball in most cases without free ticket giveaways?

That isn't conducive to a good business model and certainly is just one more example of why we cannot afford an NBA team. If we cannot afford a college game thanks to this low wage service economy Abramson built, then we most certainly cannot sustain an NBA team in a league where most lose money without tax dollars.

Sorry Councilman Johnson you can have your dream. We simply cannot afford to pay for your dream.

Some of us live in the real world......

Monday, February 14, 2011

WAYSIDE UNNECESSARILY COSTING US MILLIONS

As many know we have covered Wayside Christian Mission on many occasions. We have also questioned the real concerns of Tim and Nina Mosely who run the organization. It looks like there is even more to the story than we have outed previously thanks to Adam Walser over at WHAS 11 I-Team Investigation: Hundreds of Calls Reflect Need For Homeless Healthcare Solution WHAS11.com Louisville News, Breakin...

A study conducted in 2006 estimated those annual costs at $44 Million, with nearly a third of that total related to providing health care. This can often lead to a strain on emergency services, like police, fire and EMS.

At Wayside Christian Mission, the city's largest homeless facility, calls for help come often, despite the existence of programs meant to alleviate burdens on the emergency response system. Calls for police, fire and EMS come from Wayside nearly every day.

In fact, during the past two years, an average of nearly 16 calls a month have come from Wayside’s main facility at 432 East Jefferson Street. Metrosafe indicates there were 1,644 calls in all from Jan 2009- Jan 2011


And this is a serious problem. One that has serious repercussions for every taxpayer.

Many questions come to mind immediately. One, what happens when Metro is overused and someone else needs an ambulance or medical care? Two, should Wayside be tax exempt at our expense? There are many more but let's deal with these for a second.

Wayside Christian Mission does not pay any taxes in Louisville and never has. Nina and Tim Mosely do not pay taxes in Louisville preferring to pay their real estate taxes in Indiana. So what gives?

At a cost of $44 million to we the taxpayer in 2006, and that number has grown surely since then, we must begin anew to question the priorities. Many reports have been that Wayside uses ambulatory services for non life threatening needs just because they can and that saves them having to provide transportation. At their cost.

Millions have been wasted alone just on this scenario.

According to Walser, many calls are made each day from Wayside for emergency services and yet the staff does not appear trained to handle emergencies.

“There's no extension upstairs and I can't leave the desk,” said another caller. “I'm just the man that makes the calls. “

“The staff at shelters are not medically trained, per se. We can recognize when someone needs to be at the clinic,” said Moseley.

“They've resorted to calling us, because they don't know who else to call,” said Mindy Glenn, of Metrosafe. “They don't know what else to do and it's an emergency to them.”

Interesting statements.

If one employee cannot leave the desk should Wayside not hire another? Have they never heard of cordless phones in the 21st Century? Rest assured Nina and Tim Mosely have cell phones so surely they have heard of them.

Staff at medical shelters are not trained to handle emergencies? Should a shelter that handles those in the direst of straits not be prepared to handle emergencies? Especially non life threatening ones? Does this not alarm us as to the potential for even more problems?

Just what exactly have Tim and Nina Mosely been doing besides raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages to actually hire a staff, train them, and take responsibility. Therein is the rub.

No one is saying there is not a need for places such as Wayside, but to continue misusing the public trust and our tax dollars is a travesty that must be corrected. Especially in these trying times.

Many times, the callers are taken to University of Louisville Hospital’s Emergency Room. They have to treat everyone, because they are reimbursed for indigent care with millions of your tax dollars.

The average cost of an emergency room visit is now more than a thousand dollars. It goes up to $1,500 for patients over the age of 45. The ambulance ride costs around $500.

Wayside is located only about one mile from the hospital.

Looking at the average cost here around $1500 for a one mile trip? What about the return trip?

This is and should be unacceptable to all of us.

For each officer or ambulance that is tied up on non essential runs there are other emergencies they can or should be prepared to respond to. Thousands of hours are wasted when they could be used for other more essential functions.

All costing us millions. What do you tell a taxpaying citizen that calls because an armed robber is in their house and you cannot make the run because you are at Wayside transporting someone who has a sneeze to University Hospital. Is there any way to pull that one off?


Extreme example? Perhaps but one that is a real possibility accordingly.

There are many who call for police, fire, or ambulance services for non emergency situations and Wayside is not alone in this, however, when someone outside Wayside does this they are generally charged for reimbursement or for reporting false alarms. We have accountability in many cases because of such.


Wayside's Nina Moseley reminds us that at no time in the past 25 years has University Hospital or Metro Emergency Medical Services expressed concerns about Wayside overusing ambulance or emergency room services.


Why would they? That would be a publicity nightmare as it would be played out that Metro or University were evil by not helping homeless and others. Would anyone subject themselves to this type of ridicule, well with the exception of people like me who I am sure will be ridiculed because of this article.

No Nina Mosely we simply want you to do your job. Pay taxes like the rest of us do to use these services or pay for them yourself. You accept the responsibility for the care of your patrons by accepting the funding that pays you and your husband quite well accordingly. You are draining needed tax resources without paying even a share of the burden as the rest of us do.

That is not acceptable.

You accept responsibility purely by the nature of what you do.

All we are asking is that you be held accountable to the same standards we taxpayers are. After all $44 million of our money is at stake. We are the investors and we demand accountability.

It really is a simple thing.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

EGYPT PROVES GETTING INVOLVED WORKS

For the last few weeks the world has been watching the plight of Egyptians and their quest to better their Country. For many like me it was a beautiful sight seeing the people stand up to be recognized. The sad part was that they had to do this to effect change.

Even sadder still more than 300 people died and thousands more were injured. Howe many of you would put yoru life on the line for what you believe in? Interesting question I know.



(Pic courtesy of BBC)


Protesters were fed up with decades of poverty, repression, rigged elections, corruption, and high unemployment under Hosni Mubarek. And who can blame them?

What is fascinating is that after a couple of weeks President Mubarek had no choice but to cede power and give in to demands of the protesters.

Even after cutting off all internet and other communication to try and hide the protesters from the world and hide as well the brutal lengths that Mubarek would go to to protect himself.

According to Al-Jazeera news even Egyptian labour unions have gone on a nationwide strike, adding momentum to pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo and other cities. Al Jazeera correspondents, reporting from Egypt, said around 20,000 factory workers stayed away from work on Wednesday.

People rising up against tyranny should bring faith to each of us who demand better here at home.

Admittedly, no one wants to see a protest the likes of which Egyptians felt compelled to resort to in order to force changes, but one has to ask the question: What would be the cause of such demonstrations here at home?

Rising fuel costs? Rising taxes? Food prices?

Everyone has a breaking point as Egyptians have proven, but what is the breaking point here in America?

There are many similarities in our plight and the Egyptians in the opinions of many. Many feel we continually fight for freedoms abroad while stifling freedoms here at home. Many believe our electoral system is rigged and can be bought. Corruption? High unemployment?

Yep these factors exist here at home. We touched on this on Friday's MyViewMatters radio show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/myviewmatters/2011/02/11/myviewmatters-radio and now we bring those questions to you.

And yes we have had similar protests resulting in similar actions. Vietnam was not that long ago historically speaking. Remember Kent State?

So here we go. Is America on the decline? If so, what will it take to right the ship and force the needed changes to preserve our culture.

It is now up to you dear reader to fill in the blanks.

Your thoughts?

LOUISVILLE WATER COMPANY AND LOUISVILLE METRO: WHO ARE THEY REALLY SCAMMING?

This week has been a hectic one to say the least with the new version of MyViewMatters Radio launching and just getting back from out of town. With that said it has also been a busy one. Take the latest on the retired firefighters settlement with Louisville Metro for example.

The retirees deserved the settlement but many have problems with Metro's proposal on how to pay for it. Metro has made a deal to borrow $10 million from the Louisville Water Company to pay for part of the $14.2 million settlement agreement. Why is there a problem with this?

Read the CJ here for more:
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110203/NEWS01/302030072/1008/news/Louisville-borrow-10-million-from-water-company

While on the surface many think this was a great way to fund the settlement, even Greg Fischer had this to say:
“We had the resources ourselves; we just needed the creativity to unlock it,” Fischer said. “It took a bunch of people coming together to find a solution that is common sense.”

I say hogwash as do many who have been writing me. The problem?

We OWN the Louisville Water Company. To "borrow" $10 million and pay it back at 2% interest is a red herring. LWC's Greg Heitzman admits to having $64 million in the bank and makes this incredible statement:

“We're very stable right now, and that puts us in position to consider this,” Heitzman said. “The loan is an effective way to meet the city's needs and will not compromise us. We did not want to do anything to cause the rates to go up.”

According to Fischer the plan is a simple one. The city will pay 2 percent interest to the water company, and plans to repay the loan over five years by receiving only half of the growth in its annual dividend from the company. That repayment amount is expected to be $480,000 in 2012, but that amount is expected to increase year by year.

And there is the rub.

They expect their dividends to increase year after year without any rate increases? That defies logic as the LWC increases rates each and every year. Bait and switch on the terminology? You bet.

Additionally, the administration still insists we have $65.4 million in an unseen "rainy day fund." Can anyone prove this fund even exists? Has anyone seen the bank statements showing this money is there? Have we seen where the money is drawing interest and at what rate?

The answers to these questions is no. As a matter of fact insiders on the Council have even said that this money is not liquid and includes the value of real estate that the City owns. With that being said do we even have a rainy day fund?

These are serious questions. As we know the supposed rainy day fund has been a questionable thing for years but if the info is correct, and it includes real estate the city owns, then we have even more problems.

Real estate values have gone down everywhere across the Country including here at home. These declining values not only affect residential real estate but commercial and business use real estate as well. That means teh values they include in this supposed rainy day fund have gone down as well yet they have always used the numbers to be around $65 million.

Since we have been told over and over about this supposed rainy day fund for the last few years, predating the real estate decline and ironically is always around $65 million, we have to begin demanding the obvious.

Show us the money.

We own the LWC and they admit to having $64 million in the bank. The mysterious rainy day fund supposedly has $65 million. Folks that adds up to $129 million + taken from we the taxpayers apparently sitting in the bank for politicians to use at their will.

Time for tax rebates isn't it?

If they can let this money sit for years while apparently drawing no interest that we can ascertain then that money is rightfully ours. I can agree with the statement by Metro Council President Jim King on this one.

Metro Council President Jim King, a Democrat who came up with the idea of the loan, said there is a bit of symmetry to the deal –— the water company came from the old city of Louisville, as did the obligation to pay the retired firefighters.

“It's one hand washing the other,” King said.

The people of the County fund the LWC each billing as well and this money most certainly is not coming from the old City of Louisville accordingly though it does appear at this glance that it is business as usual.

Indeed it is "one hand washing the other" as we have come to expect in our Democratic elected leaders.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

MYVIEWMATTERS RADIO RETURNS MONDAY AT 9 AM

I am back from South Carolina and just in time. MyViewMatters Radio returns to the air Monday morning February 7 at 9 am. Click the link on the right and listen in. As always we want to hear from you so tune in and get the news like we used to before WHAS and others decided to end real local talk radio.

Hosted as always by Ed Springston and Ed Martin we will cover everything and anything from what's happening in Louisville to what the latest is from the feds.

Check it out weekdays Monday - Friday from 9-10 am at www.blogtalkradio.com/myviewmatters.

We will talk to you then.

JOHNSON TO REMAIN ON COUNCIL.....AS IT SHOULD BE

The Metro removal hearing case against Dan Johnson ended about the way it began. With many in disbelief. I could not understand how the &q...