LEO Cover: Will the voters take the bait?

LEO Cover StoryThis week Page One’s Rick Redding pens the LEO cover story with editor Cary Stemle to shed light on the library tax referendum saga. It’s an oddly complex story that any politico in Kentucky is sure to love. Filled with all kinds of drama, misconceptions and attitude. What could be better?

It’s our opinion that the referendum, calling for an occupational tax that will raise $40 million a year and create a separate library taxing district, will not pass when voters go to the polls on November 6.

Enjoy the story. It’s a balanced look at both sides of what has turned into a strange fight.

The library tax haggle gets weird


The woman, who looked for all the world like an erstwhile Highlands Volvo driver, just guessing, peered at Mark Hebert incredulously. He’s not very smart, is he? She referred to Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, whom she had just seen during a panel discussion at last Wednesday’s Louisville Forum. As Hebert and his cameraman walked out of Vincenzo’s toward their SUV on Market Street near Fifth, the woman could not resist insulting Heiner, the District 19 Republican who represents the far East End, impugning his motives in the process.

He’s pretty smart, Hebert rejoined.
Street smart or smart-smart?
Both, Hebert suggested.
The woman scoffed. She went on her way.

Things have become rather tense as Louisville Metro readies itself for a vote on increasing occupational taxes to pay for better libraries. The strangeness has particularly picked up in the past week or so, as the cheerleading daily newspaper has confused readers by actually running tough stories, the library director (and public face of the initiative) has gone underground and a Republican Metro Council member has stepped to the forefront of the pro-tax effort, shoulder-to-shoulder with the mayor.

Click here for the rest…

Cold Weekend Briefing Dept

Sliming Graeme Frost. Paul Krugman chimes in on Mitch McConnell’s role in trashing a 12-year-old boy as the downfall of health care. How is $45,000 in combined income a lot of money? McConnell’s wife and her tight family ties to Chinese shipping probably makes more than that each week. [NYT]

Too little too late? McConnell comes out of hiding to appear with Ernie. Everyone blinks. [H-L]

Seeking injunction. Greg Stumbo’s office seeks an injunction to block a Fletcher-appointed “ethics” panel from investigating the merit hiring scandal. Who in their right mind would let something like that go on, anyway? The “complaint” was filed by an anonymous “concerned citizen.” [PolWatchers]

Congressional Fashion Statement. Rep. John Yarmuth tries to get the Congress to, you know, understand who the heck they are and what they do. We’re shocked (shocked!) that several members of the House have no idea what Article 1 is. Not as shocked that Nancy Pelosi was afraid to wear a button. [NYT The Caucus]

New taxes. City employees campaigned on city time for the new Louisville library tax. Heads explode, library director Craig Buthod afraid to come out of hiding. Still, no one knows where their money will go. We just want to know where Beavis is. [C-J]

Need a paranormal break? The Applegate Landing bed & breakfast in West Point is apparently just the place to unwind. And it’s haunted. Should be an interesting place to check out in a neat little town. [News-Enterprise]

Summer is over! FINALLY! For real this time!

$$$$$. Ernie Fletcher has raised $3.46 million and has $1.24 million on-hand. Steve Beshear has raised $5.31 million and has $1.68 million on-hand. What’s that sound? Why, it’s the cha-ching you hear coming from a challenger who has far out-raised an incumbent governor. The AP has pushed the story around the state. [C-J, Ledger Independent]

Not til next year. Everyone is reporting what we reported weeks ago. Crit is considering the Senate. Worst kept secret yet. Miraculously, the story has reappeared and everyone is shocked by the news? [Hebert]

Oh snap! Proponents of Louisville’s library tax are displaying some pretty weird behavior. Canceling public appearances left and right, lying to library staff. And Mayor Jerry Abramson (D-only when convenient) puts his foot in his mouth once again by breaking a campaign promise. Promises, promises kids! Don’t make em if you’re gonna break em. Oh, library tax opponents have hit the airwaves. [The ‘Ville Voice, YouTube]

Racism hits UK. After a controversial cartoon appeared in the University of Kentucky’s student newspaper? A threatening racist epithet was scrawled on the door of a black student’s dorm room. My, what an adult state we live in. [C-J]

Still striking. ARH nurses are still on strike throughout Eastern Kentucky and parts of West Virginia. This time the nurses have taken things to the capitol steps in WV. Not surprisingly, ARH still refuses to negotiate. [H-L]

Sodrel’s Doing it AGAIN

Tying the congressional record for four back-to-back races, Mike Sodrel (R) is once again running against Baron Hill (Usually D) for Southern Indiana’s U.S. Congressional seat. For the past week Sodrell has made announcements about making announcements about making announcements. All right for free press.

Peep part of the press conference:

Taking up the failing flat tax? What is this “fur tax” he speaks of? Preventing the wealthy from paying their fair share? Yeah, sounds like the plan to draw out all the middle class voters currently screwed by the tax “cuts.” Keep it up.

We’re just guessing here, but… Baron Hill has this one in the bag. Wealthy Republicans just don’t fit the voters’ bill in Southern Indiana any longer.

Oh Snap Monday

Dept of Freaking Out Over Kentucky Central. Another news agency opens their coverage of the Kentucky Central non-scandal with an introductory paragraph that could be considered critical of Beshear. Everyone continues to freak out over the Herald-Leader. What is it with people who can’t handle critical stories? [C-J]

600lb gorilla in the room: Ernest Lee. Crowley says that if Trey goes down it’s Ernie Fletcher’s fault. [Enquirer]

There’s still a race going on. Day 4 of the CNHI Gubernatorial reader forum takes on transparency with taxpayers’ money. We’re disappointed that both candidates have to continually bring up wedge issues. [Daily Times]

The deciding vote. 100+ union members took over Northern Kentucky Saturday. They spent their time canvassing two counties in support of Democratic candidates. Fletcher continues to oppose organized labor. [Enquirer]

Religious wars. Roger Alford explores the gubernatorial battle on Christian radio. We’ll let you guess which candidate is using wedge issues to scare that crowd. Also will leave it up to you to guess which candidate doesn’t know how to stop referring to himself in the third-person. [H-L]

McConnell on Radio: Democrats are bad, MoveOn sucks, Yay Eye-Rack, we’re turning into France

Mitch McConnell appeared on a right-wing web radio show called Blog Talk/Heading Right yesterday with host Ed Morrissey. As Kentuckians, we thought you’d like to take a listen to McConnell’s segment of the show:



McConnell said Kentuckians would pay $600 million in new taxes for SCHIP but neglected to mention it would be in the form of a cigarette tax– something that is voluntary.

He said “anytime the Democrats talk about ‘the children’ you know they’re talking about some other cause” – then said they’re trying to take people off private insurance and put them on the government teat. First: What the heck do you mean the Democrats use “the children” as a front? Have you ever paid attention? It’s a two-way street, buddy, and the Republicans have always used “the children” to scare the bejeezus out of people. Second: Taking people off private insurance plans? Uh, I believe they were allowing people who, you know, don’t have insurance to benefit. Way to spin.

Interesting that McConnell used his constituents in Kentucky in defense of not supporting SCHIP but didn’t mention that his constituents want us out of Iraq when he discussed whether or not the Senate would vote for an exit. Does he actually know or care what his constituents desire?

MoveOn was brought up (someone must’ve struck a nerve) and McConnell went on to say Iraq was responsible for 9/11, the USS Cole, etc. WTF, indeed.

The best part is the end of the segment when the Senator says “this Congress” is only about rewarding its friends. (“Plaintiff Lawyers and Organized Labor Bosses”) Pot, meet Kettle. (Big Business, Mega Insurance, Big Oil, Big War Contractors, Halliburton, KBR, et al)

And apparently “they” (the Democrats) want to “turn us into France when even the French are having second thoughts.” HAHAHA. Oh man.

Jim Waters: Is this the best we can do?

Jim Waters’ column this week tackles the issue of failure in the Fletcher Administration. Something everyone can read without completely freaking out.

Is this the best we can do?

By Jim Waters

As this year’s gubernatorial campaign unfolds in all of its benign beauty, I keep coming back to the same question: “Is this the best Kentucky can do?”

One political hack – this one a Republican from Meade County – thinks so. She called me last week and sprung this gusher: The incumbent and former physician-pilot-preacher-turned-politician Ernie Fletcher is “the greatest governor we’ve ever had.”

I suspected she based her opinion on reasons beyond political success, leadership, competent advisers or charisma – all of which remain glaringly absent from the current administration.

Read moreJim Waters: Is this the best we can do?