Trouble at GLI?

Things may not be as rosy as they seem at Greater Louisville Inc these days. GLI recently endorsed the Libraries Yes tax increase as worthwhile and beneficial to the community. The group’s president and CEO Joe Reagan has said the 21-member GLI executive committee unanimously decided to make the endorsement. But the Courier-Journal proves not everyone is on-board with the decision.

Bill Stone, a prominent Louisville businessman on GLI’s legislative steering committee, says not everyone supports the endorsement and refers to GLI’s decision as “top-down.” Stone went on to say GLI broke from their policy of opposing new taxes, saying the group’s endorsement doesn’t represent the members of GLI.

As the C-J story loosely points out, many Louisville residents are incensed that the city’s largest corporations won’t be paying the library tax– the very corporations pushing for the increase. State law exempts companies like Churchill Downs, LG&E, Insight Communications and AT&T from local net-profits taxes because they pay “other kinds of state and federal taxes.”

Not exactly a great way to motivate voters if those pushing for the tax won’t have to pay it.

Deep Thoughts with Mike Duncan

From the McConnell Money Men Make it Big Dept

Kentucky Democrats could learn a lot from Republican National Committee Chairman (and Kentuckian) Mike Duncan. He appeared on KET’s One to One with Bill Goodman this week to discuss his role as the RNC’s operations big dog. He’s a man who is all business and no play. Got his start as a young man (something Democrats are only recently beginning to grasp) and was groomed into being a national leader. He’s continuing the process of recruiting and involving young people from across the country today. On that note: wouldn’t it be interesting if “young” in Kentucky’s Democratic politics didn’t mean mid-to-late 30s?

Duncan blamed Democrats for changing political rules and ruining the game. Not sure what world he’s living in, but, uh, ever heard of gerrymandering in Texas? Tom DeLay? Constantly changing polling locations in Louisville’s more diverse neighborhoods? Just wondering. Cause it hasn’t been the Democrats screwing things up the past eight years.

He also made it clear that the scary liberals are flip-flopping hypocrites who are inevitably taking over. Great to know.

On Ernie Fletcher: All puppies and rainbows. He saved billions of poor people from taxes, killed Kentucky’s deficit– which he said was either $300 million or $1 billion– he didn’t know (how could he not? He’s the flipping RNC Chairman), and killed all the gays because God told him to.

Toward the end of the show Goodman made a quip about having to provide equal time to DNC Chairman Howard Dean because Duncan went on too long babbling about the big, bad Democrats. Call us crazy but wouldn’t that be the just and legal thing to do, KET?

On a personal note: What is it with Republicans who can’t say Democratic when referring to candidates? This weird grammatical mistake isn’t demeaning to Democrats as some Republicans believe. It makes Republicans appear uneducated if not a bit ignorant. Same goes for Democrats. One Kentucky Democratic Party official referred to the KDP as the “Democrat Party” while in Louisville last week. Sum1 needs to learn these peeps some spellin. Especially if they’re appearing on television or speaking before a crowd.

Breaking: Campaign Finance Violations – Louisville Library

A complaint has been filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance against those responsible for the Libraries Yes! tax proposal in Louisville:

  • Craig Buthod, Director, Louisville Free Public Library
  • Mary Griffith, Chair, Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Inc.
  • Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Inc.
  • Libraries Yes!, PIC

The complaint, filed by general counsel of the anti-tax side, alleges four serious violations of Kentucky finance law/KRS 121 including:

  1. printing and distribution of yard signs without required disclaimers
  2. distribution of advocacy materials without proper disclaimers,
  3. use of government employees for campaign purposes on business time
  4. mailing materials which directly circumvent campaign finance reporting requirements as independent expenditures.

Click here for a copy of the complaint filed with KREF.

Sources tell us that Ernie Fletcher is expected to make a statement in opposition to the Library campaign. Sen. Dan Seum (R-Louisville) is also expected to introduce legislation further closing loopholes allowing government employees to work on campaigns during “company” time.

Developing. More to come.

Monday Morning Propaganda

Still on strike. Hundreds of nurses at Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospitals are still fighting for their voice. They’re heading for their third meeting with company officials in hopes of ending their strike. [H-L]

Using religion as a wedge issue. Ernie gets excited, freaks out over the Ten Commandments, tries to scare Henderson residents into believing Steve Beshear hates God, Jesus, babies. [Gleaner]

C-J calls spineless Democrats out for caving to Mitch McConnell and George W. Bush on health care for children. “If the House Democrats are who they claim to be, they won’t let George W. Bush push them, and needy children, around on this issue.” [C-J]

More gambling. Ernie just can’t get off his anti-gambling kick, runs through Ashland preaching the evils of casinos. And he’s still bitter over his merit hiring scandal– blaming Greg Stumbo every chance he gets. [Daily Independent]

Flip-flopping? Ernie changes his mind, now believes equine feed and supplies should be tax-free. Something Fletcher supporters used to attack Beshear. [WLEX18]

Mitch McConnell’s stance on SCHIP is pretty wide, isn’t it? He’s being criticized again. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. [PolWatchers]

Sen. Mongiardo is being praised for his experience in and passion for health care. The AP says he’s still engaged to Allison Patrick, though we hear that’s no longer the case. Speaking of Mongiardo: Where is he? Put him in a commercial or two! Bring him out of hiding. [AP via H-L]

Doing what’s right. John Yarmuth stands up for free speech and freedom of the press. Continuing to give us the right to protect your anonymity when you forward us private e-mails and dish the dirt about political happenings or office-paid vacations for an elected official’s mistress. [C-J]

Republicans for Beshear. Tons of Republicans showed up in Corbin this weekend to stand in support of Democrats Steve Beshear, Daniel Mongiardo and Bruce Hendrickson. Not good news for Fletcher in former Republican strong-holds. [H-L]

More endorsements. Kentucky Enquirer endorses Steve Beshear and pokes fun of his lack of a plan if gambling should fail. And the Kentucky Post endorses him. Doesn’t look like Northern Kentucky’s in the bag for Ernie anymore. [Enquirer, Post]

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

BY CARY STEMLE and RICK REDDING

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]