Kentucky AARP Members Get Testy

Diane Brumback has a great story about 200 Kentucky AARP members standing up to the governor and his staff. The group claims Steve Beshear turned his back on them and their fire was fueled with high-level staff accusations of heckling.

Seems like there was a lot of confusion coupled with misunderstanding. For the most part tensions were cooled a bit when the governor appeared but tempers are still hot.

There’s a lot to be said for a sitting governor to invite an entire group of individuals to the governor’s mansion to heal potential wounds.

I was told that specifically Steve Nunn, Ellen Heser and Vince Gabbard of Beshear’s administration came to the group prior to the speech asking them, “Are you here to heckle or to support the Governor?”

According to the members, they responded that they were scheduled to meet with Beshear.

Read the full story– complete with photographs– at Kentucky Women.

Not the Bold Leadership We Ordered

Gov. Steve Beshear‘s budget address may have been a wake-up call for those who didn’t think things were as bad as they seemed. For others, it may have been a realization that the bold leadership Beshear campaigned on was nothing but campaign rhetoric.

There will be a $165 million cut in spending next year, and it will hit most areas of the state, save K-12 education and Medicaid. Higher education may have been the hardest hit.

U of L chief James Ramsey told the C-J: “. . . it’s going to be impossible for us to continue to move forward, and the question becomes will we be able to keep from backsliding.” UK’s Lee Todd said it will create a $50 million shortfall. Of note, this comes the day after Todd hired a VP of diversity for $210,000 a year.

But Beshear’s speech was full of those sorts of contradictions. Drastically cut spending here, but make up for it with a questionable expenditure there.

Beshear presented nothing bold last night. He preserved the funding for public schools, but said there would be no raises for teachers. And he authorized 2 percent raises (not much, but more than teachers are getting) for state employees, and said nothing about cuts to the state work force. He preserved $6 million for the Louisville Zoo and many other capital projects, and put money into the Bucks for Brains programs, but told University presidents to get by with less.

Read moreNot the Bold Leadership We Ordered

Stuff Over the Weekend: Short Update Dept

KCTCS tuition rates creeping out of reach for the everyday student in Kentucky? David Hawpe thinks so and states his case with a story of– get this– pickled walnuts and Henry Bains Sauce. Only David Hawpe could write about Henry Bains Sauce when discussing tuition hikes. [C-J]

Pat Crowley says Kathy Groob needs to toughen up if she hopes to get anywhere in her race. To quote him, “But she’ll have to toughen up; last time, her skin was as thin as the Morningview phone book.” Also says Jack Westwood will have to prove his accomplishments. [Enquirer]

John Yarmuth was elected president of the 43 Democratic freshman in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. Proving his ability to lead and be supported by people from both sides of the aisle. Anne Northup thinks she can beat him? This isn’t a Hill-Sodrel race a few years ago. It’s John Yarmuth in liberal Louisville in 2008. [C-J]

Patronage Alive and Well?

Look, we don’t often try to legitimize Brett Hall, but this is something worthy of discussion.

The man to see is Larry Hayes, the new secretary of the governor’s executive cabinet. That’s according to the executive order #2008-011 issued last Friday by Governor Steve Beshear.

Is it such a terrible thing that all personnel actions be approved by the Secretary of the Governor’s Executive Cabinet? Or is this budget “crisis” just a convenient tool for a newly reborn Democratic patronage system? No less than a dozen Democratic legislators have written us in outrage about the matter today.

Seriously, we want your opinion.

Saving Health Care? Not On Your Life.

While reading John Cheves’ legislative preview on Health & Welfare one has to wonder why Governor Steve Beshear and his physician/senator running mate Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo were never pressed to provide solid plans for the state. Solid plans beyond expanding gambling, that is. (Full disclosure: We support gambling/casinos/whatever but they’re not the pie in the sky.)

FRANKFORT– One or more unlikely things must happen before Gov. Steve Beshear can honor his campaign pledge to extend health insurance to tens of thousands of Kentuckians.

The national and state economies must improve so much that extra tax revenue gushes into Frankfort. Or Congress must overcome President Bush’s repeated vetoes of an expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Or Beshear must not only cover the state’s current Medicaid deficit — $389 million for the rest of this fiscal year — but he must find money on top of that so he can afford to add people to the program.

Small wonder that Beshear’s allies in the 2008 General Assembly are counting on the clang-clang-clang of casino gambling.

Seriously. Why didn’t the voters or the press ever push Beshear to tell us just how on earth he’ll pay for everything promised? Because it sure seems to us like he can’t deliver on any promises made at any point. Beyond pushing casinos, that is.

Just wondering. Because we’re getting absolutely tired of hearing from every friend we have in the education and university system that their jobs have been cut next year. We may be in a fiscal pickle but good god. Do we really have to rape the front lines with the remnants of a rusty GOP butcher knife?

CWA Takes Herald-Leader to Task

In the ongoing push to get the Herald-Leader and McClatchy Company to treat its employees fairly, the Communication Workers of America lay the facts out on the table in an editorial.

Publisher Tim Kelly’s “Letter to Our Readers” makes it clear that the Herald-Leader’s management either doesn’t understand the meaning of true collective bargaining or has a total disregard for it.

Kelly neglected to mention just how much money the newspaper and its corporate owner, The McClatchy Co., are making. I suspect he omitted this because it would undermine his argument. The Herald-Leader is one of the most profitable enterprises in this community.

The paper’s publisher claims newsroom workers want assurances that nothing will change. This is clearly false. Guild leaders have told local media (including the Herald-Leader) that they’re willing to consider changes to paid time off and health care if the company demonstrates a true need.

Scathing.

We hope the H-L gets its ducks in a row soon. It’s the only major paper in the state with its finger on the pulse of society. Kentucky can’t afford to suffer when it comes to news just because an out-of-state corporation wants to reap mega-profits.