Judge Orders LMPD Interim Chief To Testify In Metro Council Investigation Tuesday, Sep 22 2020 

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A circuit court judge has ordered Louisville Metro Police Interim Chief Robert Schroeder to testify as part of a Metro Council investigation or be held in contempt of court.

Tuesdays order from Judge Audra Eckerle orders Schroeder to testify before the Government Oversight and Audit Committee on Sept. 28 or face contempt.

The meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m., according to Councilman Brent Ackerson. Schroeder will be the only person testifying at that meeting, and it will last as long as members of the committee have questions, Ackerson said.


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Metro Government reaches agreement for operation of public golf courses Friday, Feb 14 2020 

LOUISVILLE, KY (February 6, 2020) – After months of review and discussion designed to maintain municipal golf without negatively impacting the city budget, Louisville Metro Government has reached agreements with six local contractors to operate six of the city’s 10 courses.

  • Charlie Vettiner Golf Course, 10207 Mary Dell Lane, 18 holes: Patrick Vadden
  • Iroquois Golf Course, 1501 Rundill Road, 18 holes: Greg Basham LLC
  • Long Run Golf Course, 1605 Flat Rock Road, 18 holes: T Betz Golf LLC (Tommy Betz)
  • Seneca Golf Course, 2300 Pee Wee Reese Blvd, 18 holes: Kevin Greenwell, dba Seneca Golf Course
  • Shawnee Golf Course, 460 Northwestern Parkway, 18 holes: Youth Golf Coalition Inc., dba The First Tee of Louisville
  • Sun Valley Golf Course, 6505 Bethany Lane, 18 holes: Hummel Golf LLC

The existing contract for 27-hole Quail Chase, 7000 Cooper Chapel Lane, runs through 2024.

The new contracts, approved tonight by Metro Council, mark the close of a process that began last spring, when Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation, working to help address budget constraints caused by the increasing state pension obligation, issued requests for information (RFI) to gauge interest and gather ideas for the golf properties’ use.

In fiscal year 2019, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation golf operations lost approximately $1.2 million. This past September, the department issued a request for proposals (RFP) for management, operation, and maintenance of the courses with the goal of operational and financial sustainability.  This goal is expected to be achieved for the contracts approved today.

Previously, golf operating contracts were generally structured with 100 percent of greens fees and small percentages of cart fees, concessions, and merchandise going to Louisville Metro Government.  Through negotiations, the new contracts establish agreed-upon annual revenue projections for each course based upon all sources of potential revenue and provides a split of those revenues with 55 percent going to Metro and 45 percent to the contractor to cover expenses.

None of the contractors proposed to assume course maintenance responsibilities, so Louisville Parks and Recreation will continue those duties.  Metro’s share of projected revenue will cover all maintenance and other golf operational expenses, based on FY21 projections.

As an additional incentive designed to encourage more play and activity at Metro golf courses, the contractors’ share will increase to 50 percent of revenues that exceed their courses’ annual base revenue projection.  After expenses are covered, any additional revenue received by Metro will be used for capital investment throughout the system of public courses.

No contract award recommendations have been made for the operation of Bobby Nichols, Crescent Hill and Cherokee golf courses.

Mayor Greg Fischer praised the teams involved in evaluating the RFPs and negotiating contracts, noting they reached the goal to sustainably operate the courses while potentially saving taxpayers approximately $1 million, based on $1.2 million in golf losses in FY19.

“This is a win-win for our city, our employees, our golfers, our pros and the taxpayers,” Mayor Fischer said. “I’m excited about the ideas these pros have offered, and I’m eager to see new partnerships that allow us to drive this sport forward. I appreciate the Metro Council’s commitment and hard work to help see this through.”

The post Metro Government reaches agreement for operation of public golf courses appeared first on Louisville KY.

Planning Commission approves amendments affecting city’s tree canopy requirements Thursday, Jul 25 2019 

Planning Commission speaker

The Metro Planning Commission Wednesday voted unanimously to approve amendments to the Land Development Code designed to improve Louisville’s declining tree canopy. The recommendations now must be voted on by Metro Council to take effect. The amendments included a number of changes, such as mandating that sites to be developed that currently contain 50% to […]

Here’s the Details on the Metro Council’s Budget Approvals, and Cuts Thursday, Jun 27 2019 

Metro Council Approves the FY 2019-2020 Operating and Capital Budgets

Louisville – By a vote of 24 to 1, the Louisville Metro Council has approved the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Operating Budget for Metro Government. In a unanimous vote, the Council has approved the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year Capital Budget for Metro Government.

“Our task was to appropriate available funds in a way which would best serve the public, agree on a budget which would draw the most support on the Council and be signed by the Mayor. The job was much more difficult this year because of our dramatically higher pension costs, which are one part of the budget we cannot reduce. The result is a budget that makes cuts in nearly every department and many services provided to Louisville residents. We have tried to minimize those cuts as much as possible, but they remain very deep”, says Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9), Chair of the Budget Committee. “Unfortunately, the pension costs will rise again next year and for several years after that, so even deeper cuts will be coming unless we find new revenue.”

“I am pleased that despite increasing expenses, the Council was able to come together on a budget that moves the conversation from crisis to correction. In a budget year where our expenses grew more than our revenue, we were forced to look more closely at how we are spending taxpayer dollars. This process allowed us to ask some very difficult questions, examine how some programs were being run, and to prioritize which services and amenities the citizens expect,” said Councilman Kevin Kramer (R-11), Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. “I am proud of the fact that we moved the police recruit class forward and offered additional support to new recruits, we were able to restore funding for 2 pools, restore regular library hours and reopen a library. This budget maintains our plans for addressing the paving needs of our streets, the health needs of our citizens and the maintenance needs of our buildings.”

The recommended budget included a projection that LMPD will have 40 fewer officers at the end of the year than the beginning, due to bringing on fewer recruits to replace officers leaving the force. The Council approved an amendment to the Mayor’s proposed budget which moved one recruit class up one month and includes a new recruit allowance, but those changes will not completely reverse the projected loss of officers.

Louisville Fire Department will lose 15 positions through attrition. The department is still working on a plan to absorb that loss while minimizing the effect on response times for fire and medical calls.

The Louisville Free Public Library, which had the largest percentage cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget, will see money restored to preserve hours at branch libraries and to resume service in Middletown, provided a facility is made available at little or no cost to the library. LFPL will still see some cuts, including closure of the Fern Creek Library and some personnel reductions.

Weekly recycling and seasonal yard waste collection in the Urban Services District is funded in the budget but a wet-dry recycling program in the Central Business District will be eliminated, resulting in less recycling and more items sent to the landfill.

External Agencies are funded at $1.3 Million, a reduction of 28% from the previous year’s budget.

To address food insecurity issues, the budget includes a $200,000 appropriation to Dare to Care.

Youth Detention services is funded through December 31, 2019, when its programs will transition to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as is the case in all other Kentucky counties.

Funding for the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods is reduced by over $1 Million, eliminated three of four Cure Violence sites but retaining to hospital-based violence reduction programs. It provides $110,000 in funding for the Centerstone Crisis and Information Center.

The approved budget increases funding for paving, sidewalk repair and construction, and maintains other recommended funding for Parks, the Zoo, and other projects and services.

The following are statements from other Metro Council Members after the passage of the Budgets:

“I want to thank the members of our Budget Committee for reviewing and recommending one of the most challenging budgets we have approved. This time around I believe we engaged the people we serve to ask them their thoughts on moving forward. While we have a balanced budget, it came with a cost of cutting services while maintaining public safety. This is not a one-time thing. In the years ahead, we must give serious consideration to finding new revenues. We must also stress to the lawmakers in Frankfort that the current situation with the pension is not acceptable. If left unchanged there will tougher cuts ahead. It’s time to work together to bring a realistic approach to solving the pension crisis and not placed on the backs of local governments and employees.”

President David James, District 6

“We have gone through a thorough process which has culminated in us reaching this balanced budget, but it has not been without making difficult choices and painful cuts to our services that the residents of Louisville Metro have come to depend on and enjoy. Unfortunately, we will have to continue to cut services well beyond this year into the distant future unless new revenue is provided, or our pension obligations are lessened by Frankfort.”

Councilman Pat Mulvihill, President Pro Tem, Chair of the Majority Caucus, District 10

“This was a tough budget to vote for because of its impact on so many people. I am glad that we were able to find funding to continue to help Dare to Care because so many are in need. I also want everyone to know, I will be paying very close attention in advocating for the reopening of the Norton Camp Taylor pool next year. We need to get all our pools reopened as pools for the community not splash parks. It is what I will be advocating for because we need to make sure we keep the needs of our young people in mind.

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, District 2

“The Mayor presented his budget plan, the Community responded, and we rolled up our sleeves doing the work we were elected to do. No one got everything they wanted and not everything got funded. I voted for the budget because it maintained a focus on public safety by putting LMPD trained Officers on the street sooner than expected and we continued to fund affordable housing in addition to the $41 million provided during the past four years. We responded to the many concerns related to homelessness by providing $1 million for sheltering and services. This will help provide for pets, partners and possessions in homeless circumstances. Complex challenges require common sense solutions and it is our responsibility to provide safer neighborhoods and better services for all. This includes basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. And yes, we fought for swimming pools and libraries to make sure no one gets left behind. Not our children, not our seniors, not anyone. There’s room for everyone to help our community be as good as we say it is. We need businesses, healthcare, education, nonprofit and interfaith communities to reimagine their roles and create common sense solutions. Together – we hold the answer. We can do this, YES we can!”

Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, District 4

“Serving on the Budget Committee and working diligently with all of my colleagues to balance a budget with very limited resources proved to be an extraordinary lesson in fiscal reality and responsibility. In the end, we put dollars into the parts of our community where they will have the most impact, while minimizing draconian cuts to public safety and infrastructure. This budget is one for the history books.”

Councilwoman Paula McCraney, District 7

“Many of the decisions made within this budget were focused on right-sizing departments and cutting programs that failed to deliver results. This budget reflects the priorities of the full community and is not focused on punishing groups but instead supporting those most in need. I am particularly proud of our investment in the Centerstone Crisis Line, Dare to Care Food Bank as well as increased spending on paving, parks and libraries.”

Councilman Scott Reed, District 16

“The Metro Council was able to restore many of the services and projects that were cut in the Mayor’s original presentation. Rather than taking the easy way out, members of the Metro Council dug deep into the budget, listening to the testimony of department heads as well as ideas generated by residents, we were able to eliminate waste while also increasing investment in critical services such as police, paving and our libraries. This budget better serves the people of Louisville Metro and paves the way for even more savings in the next fiscal year.”

Councilwoman Marilyn Parker, District 18

“Two months ago, members of the Louisville Metro Council rejected the calls by Mayor Fischer and others to triple the insurance tax for residents of Louisville Metro. We promised that we could find efficiencies and cuts to offset increasing operational costs and I am proud to say that we achieved many of those goals. I am particularly proud of restoring library hours, saving the Middletown Library, funding Dare to Care as well as addressing our need for a new police headquarters and location for LMPD’s 8th Division.”

Councilman Anthony Piagentini, District 19

The post Here’s the Details on the Metro Council’s Budget Approvals, and Cuts appeared first on Louisville KY.

JOHNSON TO REMAIN ON COUNCIL…..AS IT SHOULD BE Thursday, Nov 2 2017 

The Metro removal hearing case against Dan Johnson ended about the way it began. With many in disbelief.

I could not understand how the "charging committee" council members even fathomed that somehow Johnson could be removed on hearsay and hearsay alone. At the end of the day that is exactly what this boiled down to.  Like it or not justice prevailed today with Johnson being allowed to keep his seat, at least until they can figure out some trumped up charge to remove him for later.


In the past few weeks I have been called everything you can imagine, I'm used to it, these days it amuses me, but now that the case is over let me explain a few things for the record.

First, I am no fan of Dan Johnson, never have been and cannot see a day when I would be. In fact, I am quite vocal about that and have chastised Dan on many occasions and will continue to do so if necessary.

Second, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or any abuse period is not acceptable to me no matter who is the aggressor or victim. It is never acceptable in a civilized society. Having very close female family members who have suffered from sexual abuse, and the trauma they endure today after many many years, is and always will make my blood boil. Trust me I had and will always have their back.

With all that in mind, it is important to remember we are a civilized society who operates under rule of law and evidentiary procedure.

Nothing Councilman Johnson was accused of rose to the merits of a removal hearing without being convicted or found guilty of any illegal behavior.

I have listened to the arguments, "if Judy Green and Barbara Shanklin had to go through that, then why doesn't Johnson?"

I was the one who made the charges against former Councilwoman, the late Judy Green, that resulted in an ethics hearing where she was found guilty of wrongdoing. The charges were made, the appropriate authority, ethics commission, heard evidence and made a decision that illegality had occurred and then recommended a removal hearing.

The same occurred with Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin.

I was the first to test the removal process of an elected councilperson in our history.

It was important then to show the proper way to remove someone from office and set a precedent for future office holders to follow if the issue arose again.

In the case of Dan Johnson this has been nothing more than a fairly obvious attempt at a coup against the voters of the 21st District.

Jessica Green is an attorney and she knows the rules of evidence. You can't put someone on trial just because you want to. There is a process for that.

I am not discounting the alleged GLI employee, but quite honestly there is no criminal wrongdoing, at least that we know of based on public reports. In this particular case it has been reported that Johnson got drunk and apparently said some vulgar things, or propositioned her in a vulgar way.

Disgusting? Sure. Illegal? Not based on what little we know. The reality is that people go to parties, or bars, every weekend and get drunk. They make lewd propositions to others. Is it disgusting? Yep. It isn't illegal.

Quite honestly, think of me what you will, but that is exactly what these junkets are and have been all about. I can't stand them but they have always existed and still do. GLI is no different than any other BS organization that plays the game for their benefit.

It is a sad pathetic reality that many orgs like GLI, and anyone else who lobbies politicians, indulge this behavior. They take you on an all expense paid trip, give you all the free booze you can drink, surround you with pretty young women who are instructed to smile and talk nice to you, then when they want something they remind you of all of that when it's time to vote. 

It's a pathetic game but GLI knew what they were doing, they knew there were people getting drunk off their dime, and they knew drunk people make bad choices, and drunks make passes at bars. Even lewd ones. GLI knew as do they all, that a situation like this with free flowing booze always creates this opportunity. Yet they choose to send young women on these junkets knowingly. They are just as guilty of anything that Johnson allegedly said or did. At least in my opinion. Yet somehow Kent Oyler and cronies are looked at as some sort of hero for "banning" Johnson from GLI events without having to show any proof of illicit behavior.

The self righteous hypocrites who attend these know this goes on but can't admit the truth or they lose the perks. Want it to stop? Force the Metro Council and others to avoid these junkets.

But, the alleged victim cannot be addressed. All there is the hearsay second hand reports from someone else. That isn't allowed in any legal proceeding. Attorney Kent knows that much or should.

Finally, Erin Hinson of Councilwoman Leet's office. This supposedly happened last summer. Why did over a year elapse before it was reported? Where was the outrage by Leet then?

Now everyone is scared Johnson will rape them in City Hall?

The claim of bringing "embarrassment" to the Council and the fear of everyone there is an insult to the intelligence of all of us. Is this really what you want to pursue. based on some sort of "embarrassment" factor?

Trust me I can embarrass the majority of Metro Council members everyday if I chose to. It really isn't hard but I have standards as apparently some do not. Why do I say that?

The reality is the "embarrassment" started because Jessica Green or someone else on the Metro Council assumedly leaked all this to Phillip Bailey or someone at the CJ.

For what gain?

The cry now is that people will be scared to come forward because the victims lost their voice. The council screwed up.

The alleged victims did not lose their voice. There were plenty of avenues, legal, legitimate avenues to make their voice heard.

Why did Jessica Green not file charges with the police? That would have been leading by example right? Why weren't charges filed with the ethics commission, let them do the job they are tasked to do, make a determination, and if found guilty then recommend removal. That is how we do it. Jessica knows this she saw her mom go through it.

Why didn't she use proper venues?

Clearly, she wasn't scared, or ashamed, or any of the other known normal reactions of those who have suffered from sexual abuse.

If the fear is so great, why was no EPO sought? If Johnson is a threat or a danger to you, would you not think that is appropriate?

No, instead it was decided to use hearsay for a reason. The reality is that all of the above legal remedies are known to lawyers, including Jessica Green.  You can't claim fear when you made sure the allegations went straight to the street.

It defies logic.

Finally, I look at the big picture.

This whole kangaroo court circus show in this instance was wrong for way too many reasons.

The biggest is what I mentioned already. It was being used as nothing more than a political coup.

In the absence of any real charges being brought, in the appropriate venue, then this whole thing relied on public perception and ridicule.

The whole case resided on someone making an alleged claim about someone else and that being automatic grounds for removal.

So think about this.

Councilman Kramer says he saw Councilman Ackerson with a known prostitute, or Councilman James says he saw Councilman Benson pay a male prostitute at Vapor Club. These are serious charges right? They leak it to the press, the press starts with the allegations and escalates these things in the public eye. Now the public is in an uproar!

Since this now is bringing embarrassment to the Council there must be a removal hearing!

And now we have two more removal hearings scheduled based on what? Now the removal process is used for anything based on a whim of a few who perhaps have a political agenda of their own, not based on rule of law.

Of course the examples I used in regards to Ackerson, James, Benson, and Kramer are fictitious. How many would believe it if the msm said so without any proof or charges?

I know it may surprise you, but I actually hold quite a bit back.  What if I unloaded everything I have on the majority of Council members that would paint them in a bad light and bring embarrassment to the Council?

Does each allegation I make give rise to an automatic removal hearing? the Council would never be anything more than a constant court. Or their version of it. That isn't their job.

The reality is that this whole fiasco was based on an allegation that had not been proven.

Make the ethics charges as proper, file the court complaint, file the EPO, anything tho allow the system to do what it was intended for.

After that, then have a removal hearing if proven. We have been down this road. I know I initiated the first one.

There is a proper way to handle it. Automatically "charging" someone through the Council and forcing a removal hearing without the process used properly only creates the drama and unfounded criticisms that were evident today.

We do not need to go down the slippery slope that everything is an automatic removal hearing. One that can be used based on personal or political will. Anyone can face a removal hearing for anything based on the way some wanted this situation handled. What happens when the next council person is put through this because a bloc of five of their colleagues started a cabal to remove them because they disagree with you.

We the people deserve better. I, for one, demand better.

Think what you will about me. It really doesn't matter.

What does matter is that we allow the justice system to prevail the way it was intended. Not one based on hearsay or political will.

Let the law be used the way it was intended.

It has worked pretty damn well for a long time now.

Listen to The Ed Springston Show  each Monday and Thursday live at 7 pm. 

Metro Council’s Democratic Caucus members encourage public to attend meeting concerning tolls for the Ohio River Bridges project Sunday, Jul 21 2013 


Members of the Democratic Caucus of the Louisville Metro Council are encouraging anyone who is concerned about tolls on the new Ohio River Bridges to voice their concerns or opinions at two open house meetings early next week.

“The project’s coordinators want to hear from any low income or minority groups that will feel the impact of tolls,” said Councilman David James (D-6), chairman of the Caucus. “It is important that all voices and all areas of Louisville and Southern Indiana be heard.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transpiration currently have a draft assessment of the impact of tolls for the project. The Open House meetings are being held to gauge more public input.

On Sunday, several members of the Democratic Caucus held a news conference encouraging public participation. “Right now all attention is focused on the beginning of construction but it is important to remember when these bridges are completed, tolls will become a reality,” said Councilman Rick Blackwell (D-12).

“Many people are still struggling in this economy and for some these proposed tolls are going to be a burden. That’s why now is the time to voice how you will be impacted if tolls are placed on these new bridges,” says Councilwoman Attica Scott (D-1).

Here is the information for both meetings from the Ohio River Bridges Project::
· Monday, July 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. EDT at the Holiday Inn Clarksville, 505 Marriott Dr., Clarksville, Ind.
· Tuesday, July 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. EDT at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville, Ky.

 For those using public transportation, the route information for Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is:
· July 22 meeting – Take TARC to the Spring Street stops at 14th or 15th streets in Jeffersonville, Ind. Shuttle to Holiday Inn Clarksville will be provided at that point.
· July 23 meeting – Take TARC to the Muhammad Ali & 17th Street stop.

Open door: Councilwoman Fowler takes reins in 14th District Tuesday, Jan 8 2013 

Council members Rick Blackwell, Vicki Welch, Cindi Fowler and David Yates
Residents of Metro Louisville's14th District finally have an available and capable representative as Councilwoman Cindi Fowler has officially been sworn into office.

Since the merger of city and county government in 2002, the 14th District office has been occupied by Bob Henderson - a polarizing figure who never seemed to resonate with citizens, despite his long tenure as councilman. Says a neighborhood activist, "There were so many people who would run against him, it constantly split the vote too many ways and he'd get back in. If you ever argued or disagreed with him, he took it personally, and you could never get anything done. Calls weren't returned and there was little or no communication between the office and the people, particularly toward the end of Bob's last term. He was just absent. We are thankful to be able to turn that page of history and look forward to the future with a team that seems ready to improve the southwest area. It's an exciting time."

In the past, I had my share of run-ins with the councilman. He never seemed to forgive me for my criticisms of his performance and always treated my questions as a nuisance to be endured rather than a chance to move forward.

But it is a new day in the 14th and we don't have to talk about that nonsense any longer. With the election of Cindi Fowler, the team is now complete. With all of Southwest Louisville's elected representatives working together for the common good, progress and opportunity should be much easier to obtain.

Councilwoman Fowler has already promised to begin the practice of constituent meetings and says she will treat communication with residents as her highest priority. I personally look forward to hearing from her office as the agenda is set for a new direction in Southwest Louisville.

A press release regarding Councilwoman Fowler's swearing-in ceremony follows:
On Monday, January 7th, Cindi Fowler joined 25 others as one of two new members of the Louisville Metro Council following the 2013 Organizational Session. Fowler won the seat in the November 6th election and is ready to begin her four year term as Councilwoman.
           
“I am ready to begin the work of serving the people of District 14,” said Fowler. “I want the people of the district to know I am ready to listen to them as I join others on the Metro Council. Together, we can make this a better city for everyone.”

Fowler says she plans to stay in regular contact with constituents in Valley Station, Pleasure Ridge Park, Kosmosdale and other areas of the district through email newsletters and community meetings.

Michael Bowman has been selected to be Fowler’s Legislative Assistant. He has served the last year as coordinator for the Southwest Regional Office for Councilmembers Rick Blackwell (D-12) and David Yates (D-25).
 
“I plan to follow through on what I heard from people during the campaign. I will be out in the district keeping everyone informed on issues and how I will address them.” 
            
For more information, contact Councilwoman Fowler’s office at 574-1114.