Ed. Commissioner Jon Draud & His Fancy New Car

Education Commissioner Jon Draud. Remember him? Well, you better, because this is about to tick you completely off.

At a time when Kentucky faces serious budget problems and even more serious cuts and restrictions in the realm of education– we’re spending THOUSANDS of dollars for Jon Draud to drive a fancy new 2008 Chrysler 300. A Chrysler 300 with more than $13,000 in options added to its base price.

All while teachers from Georgetown to Glasgow are forced to forfeit classroom funds that were raised by students just to pay utility bills. That odor is one of hypocrisy and waste, boys and girls.

Take a look at the Courier-Journal’s story for details:

Jon Draud said the lease had expired on the previous car he had been driving, and the state came to him and asked what kind of car he wanted to drive.

He settled on a 2008 Chrysler 300, which has a base price of $18,101 with standard equipment. With the add-ons requested by Draud, the state ended up paying $30,697 for the car.

-SNIP-

Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the state education department, said it has been cutting back on travel expenses in an effort to trim its operations budget by about 7 percent.

“We’ve encouraged our employees to try and use alternate ways, whether it be e-mail or setting up a video conference via the Internet … ,” she said. “We’ve also cut back on the number of people who travel, especially if it’s traveling out of state.”

Yeah, our sentiments exactly. Who in their right mind believes a V8 engine is required for a $150 navigation system? And who in their right mind believes we need to provide luxury automobiles for state employees? And that whole “large cars are safer” bit? Please.

Somebody has some explaining to do to the citizens of this Commonwealth and that explaining needs to happen RIGHT NOW!

Most Awful and Hilarious Thing Ever

LEO’s Jim Welp penned quite possibly the most awful and hilarious thing ever this week about Harry Moberly. We absolutely love it.

See for yourself:

Fallout from the new state budget began settling on the Kentucky dystopia last week like a Harry Moberly White-Castle fart in a crowded movie theater

OMG. Someone get the smelling salts!

State Prosecutors Anticipate Layoffs. Woops.

Due to budget cuts, state prosecutors anticipate major layoffs. According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General, the layoff plan is being formulated now. Thanks to underfunding in the fancy budget we just botched together to jack our state up, approximately 100 people from prosecutors’ offices across Kentucky will be given the weighty, broken, backwater axe. That’s ten percent of the prosecutorial workforce in the commonwealth.

“We simply do not have the money to keep our existing staff on board,” said Ray Larson, Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney and member of the Prosecutors Advisory Council. “Now that the budget has been finalized, we will begin to formulate how the layoff plan will be implemented so that to the extent possible, public safety will not be compromised,” said Larson.

Excited yet? It gets better.

Every criminal case filed in the Commonwealth must be prosecuted by a County or Commonwealth’s Attorney. Caseloads for prosecutors have increased dramatically in the last ten years. In 2007 County Attorneys were handling caseloads in excess of 3,000 cases per prosecutor. Since the addition of Family Courts in 2002, County Attorneys are now handling at least 40,000 more cases each year. County Attorneys are responsible for prosecution of all District Court cases – including misdemeanor, juvenile and domestic crimes.

Since 2002 Commonwealth’s Attorneys, responsible for prosecution of all felony cases, have seen a 21% increase in their caseload. In 2002, approximately 27,000 felony cases were filed. Last year, nearly 32,000 felony cases such as murder, rape and child sexual abuse were filed. This is a 7,000 case increase from just five years ago.

The layoffs are freaking both the presidents of the County and Commonwealth’s Attorneys Associations out.

“The budgets of the Unified Prosecutorial System are personnel driven,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron. “We do not have state cars or other expenses that can be cut when we are not funded sufficiently. In our case, personnel accounts for more than 90% of our budget.”

Brucie Moore, President of the County Attorneys’ Association, notes that the budget for the County Attorneys is over 98% personnel. “The County Attorneys of this state are already overburdened and stretched to the limit. Losing people from these offices is going to be devastating to the criminal justice system.”

Just more evidence that your governor and legislature are working hard for you, Kentucky. They tried really hard to hammer out that budget in the five seconds remaining in the session. Hope you all don’t starve to death as a result.

Read the six million billion page press release after the jump…

Read moreState Prosecutors Anticipate Layoffs. Woops.

Thunder Blunder in the River City

If you’re really planning to brave the chills downtown Louisville for Thunder, you’ll be pleased to know that the same state government officials who are slashing budgets in education and social services will be warm and cozy inside the Ali Center, noshing on top-of-the-line food and drink bought and paid for by lobbyists. You know, the folks who pressure politicians to make unpopular moves, like blocking cigarette taxes and a gaming proposal, despite overwhelming public support.

Members of the State Senate, led by President David Williams, are all lining up to get in for the expensive party as guests of lobbying firms, who will bend their ears over shrimp and martinis, peering out the Ali Center’s giant windows at the poor suckers fighting for a patch of damp grass on the Great Lawn, all the while watching the action on big-screen TVs.

It’s hard to find anything in local (Louisville) media not related to the big Thunder show Saturday — TV news this week has become little more than A) speculation about the weather on Saturday, B) advice on how to have a good time, given the expected bad weather, and C) interviews with Wayne Hettinger about the effect of the weather on the fireworks.

But through all the Thunder news, we caught a significant political story by WLKY’s Andy Alcock, in which he questioned the idea of lawmakers, fresh on the heels of a dismal performance in Frankfort, hobnobbing with lobbyists in the posh indoor climate of the Ali Center.

Bunches more after the jump…

Read moreThunder Blunder in the River City

Legislative Update, Rep. Joni Jenkins, Sen. Perry Clark

Last evening Louisville’s Metro Democratic Club hosted Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-We Heart Her) and Sen. Perry Clark (D-Beshear Apologist) for its annual legislative update. So let’s cut right to the chase: Joni is still a woman of the people and Perry seems to be toeing the Democratic Party line.

We won’t bore you by rehashing the legislative session, but Joni made good with those in attendance by delivering facts and openly discussing the legislature’s downfalls while Perry served as a Steve Beshear apologist through and through. Did you know that nothing is Beshear’s fault because he only had 30 days or whatever to craft a budget? Not a good way to curry favor with a bunch of progressives.

Word of advice, ladies: know your audience. It’ll pay off. That said, Perry faces toolbag Doug Hawkins in a re-election battle for state senate. Thank goodness Perry will handily win.

Look how hot Joni is:


Check out her make-a-huge-homo-question-his-sexual-orientation pumps:


Doesn’t Perry look like he’s made of wax?


Loads more after the jump…

Read moreLegislative Update, Rep. Joni Jenkins, Sen. Perry Clark

Late Rainy Wednesday Update Dept.

The news sucks when we don’t have the legislature to complain about.

Greg Fischer’s campaign sent an email blast today once again proclaiming his desire to get us out of Iraq. At the same time, he passively attempted to attack Bruce Lunsford (we’re not sure how or why) proving once again his campaign has no direction and zero balls. From the email:

Bruce Lunsford says: “I pray for the safe return home of our troops.”

I too pray for our troops’ safety but I also offer a real plan to safely and responsibly end America’s participation in this war and bring our troops home swiftly, safely and responsibly.

Jim Bunning blames former fed chair Alan Greenspan for the lovely situation the U.S. economy is currently in. Makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it? Because, we all know Greenspan is the only person to blame. From the article: Mr. Bunning admits he didn’t tell Mr. Greenspan at the time it was holding rates too low. “I probably should have. I didn’t realize the magnitude of the bubble and what that easy money and those sophisticated mortgages were doing to the market.” [WSJ Economics Blog]

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY03) will deliver the Democratic response to President Dubya this Saturday. It’s Yarmuth’s first national bit of playtime since appearing on The Colbert Report. [The Arena]

Our beloved governor who got casino gambling and all that amazing economy-saving goodness passed into law (heh) told the press today that he’s still looking at the budget, trying to decide if he’ll veto everything or almost everything. [PolWatchers]