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Byline Politics

Analysis of Louisville’s Next Budget and Tuesday’s Election Results

On Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer unveiled his proposed city budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. The mayor had warned that it would be an austere spending plan; metro government has been faced with a multi-million dollar shortfall. Phillip M. Bailey covered the story for WFPL and joined us Friday on Byline to explain where the city’s money will go, and why.

Tuesday’s primary election set the stage for November’s general election here in Kentucky and nationally. WFPL’s Gabe Bullard and KPR’s Kenny Colston joined Phillip later in the segment to talk about election results—from undecided voters in the presidential election to who will serve on the Metro Council.

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Local News Politics

Fischer Forms Work Group to Address West End Issues

Mayor Greg Fischer has assembled a work group to address violence in west Louisville.

U of L Arts and Sciences Dean Blaine Hudson will chair the group, and the rest of the members will be chosen from civic organizations, government, churches and the business community. The group will first take count of all the youth services programs and charities in West Louisville. The next step is to create a crisis response team to help victims of violence.

The group is a response to two shootings last week that occurred minutes and blocks apart. In a statement, Police Chief Steve conrad said having a crisis response team on hand at the crime scene may have prevented the second shooting.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Visits White House With Local Business Owners

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is joining a group of small business owners at The White House to discuss policies affecting economic growth for local companies.

The White House Business Council has partnered with Business Forward, a non-profit dedicated to bringing business leaders into the policy-making process, are co-hosting the briefing on Friday.

“We are looking forward to an interactive dialogue about what’s working for our small businesses and how the private sector and government can collaborate more effectively to create greater opportunity, innovation and job creation,” Fischer said in a news release. “Participating side by side with dozens of local business leaders will ensure that Louisville is on the radar at the highest level, and that they get to be heard.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yates Praises Funding for Southwest Regional Library

Louisville Metro Councilman David Yates, D-25, is praising Mayor Greg Fischer for making the Southwest Regional Library a top priority in the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year spending plan.

City funding for the 40,000 square foot project is $9.5 million with another $3.5 million coming from the non-profit Louisville Library Foundation. Fischer is issuing a 20-year bond to pay for the new facility, which will be located in the Valley Station neighborhood.

From Yates’s office:

“This is a great day for the district and everyone in Southwest Jefferson County. We will long remember the day when the new branch opens its doors on Dixie Highway and changes the lives of children and adults in our area. I applaud the Mayor and the Board of the Library Foundation for raising the funds needed. The mayor has been a strong partner in helping get this done.

(SNIP)

I know since 2007, the Metro Council has made building new libraries a priority for our entire city. We have seen new branches at Newburg and Fairdale. There is a newly renovated Shawnee Library. As we move forward with the Southwest Regional Branch, I stand committed to ensure future library projects are built. It is an investment we cannot afford to miss out on.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Unveils Budget Plan With No Layoffs or Drastic Cuts

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has presented the Metro Council with his budget plan for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year.

The spending plan does not raise taxes and balances the budget without Metro employee layoffs or furloughs, and gives non-union city workers a 2 percent raise. Fischer was able to leverage private sectors dollars to help fund a $1 million summer jobs program for at-risk youth and $800,000 to purchase land connecting the Louisville Loop to Jefferson Memorial Forest.

Two-thirds of taxpayer dollars go to public safety departments and Fischer touts three police recruit classes in the budget. But one of those closes was held over from the current fiscal year.

The mayor also makes investments in key areas, such as a bond for the Southwest Regional Library, which the city will pay $9.5 million and the Library Foundation will raise $3.5 million.

“Some people don’t have access to online job listings that the rest of us simply take for granted. Some students don’t have the tools they need at home to complete their schoolwork,” Fischer told city lawmakers. “So the library is the great equalizer that makes sure everybody has a chance.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

McConnell Met With Romney

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Washington on Wednesday, but sources are keeping the discussion quiet.

From National Journal:

A Senate Republican leadership aide confirmed the meeting, the first announced meeting this year between the two leading Republicans, but declined to comment further. Romney’s camp also declined to comment beyond confirming the meeting.

Romney met in March with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is often at odds with McConnell, and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Publicly, Romney has mostly steered clear of top Hill Republicans including McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but GOP aides say GOP congressional leaders have coordinated with Romney’s campaign behind the scenes for months, and the public cooperation between the former Massachusetts governor and Hill Republicans has increased since Romney’s rivals for the GOP nomination exited the contest.

McConnell endorsed Romney in mid-April.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Council Members Defend, React to Parker’s Surprise Victory

Louisville Metro Council members are having mixed reactions to Tea Party candidate Marilyn Parker defeating Republican incumbent Jon Ackerson in the District 18 primary race.

Earlier this year, a majority of GOP council members backed Parker over Ackerson after claiming the one-term city lawmaker too often sided with Democrats in key debates. On the council, Ackerson was considered a bipartisan member willing to work with both parties and was favored to win the contests.

But Parker worked the neighborhoods diligently and was able to oust Ackerson from office by a razor-thin margin of 37 votes in the east Louisville district.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, says she doesn’t want to dismiss Parker and wants to welcome more women to the council, but that Parker’s controversial remarks over the years and Tea Party affiliation raise questions.

“Her cohorts around this town and around the country haven’t in my opinion shown their willingness to work across the aisle and not work in absolutism, in my way or no way,” she says. “So unfortunately she probably has that baggage coming in with her.”

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Local News Politics

Primary Election Wrap-Up

About 14 percent of registered voters in Kentucky cast ballots Tuesday in primary battles on the federal, state and city levels. Here’s a rundown of the results:

Federal

State

City

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Local News Politics

More than 40 Percent of Kentucky Democratic Voters Choose “Uncommitted” Over Obama

Despite having no official challenger in Kentucky’s Democratic primary, President Obama won less than 60 percent of the vote. The rest of the votes went to…no one.

With only about a 14 percent turnout statewide, about 42 percent of voters in the Democratic primary voted for “uncommitted” rather than choose President Obama. The president won many of the counties in the central and northern parts of the state, but voters in the far eastern and western regions overwhelming refused to support him.

Earlier this month, Mr. Obama won only 60 percent of the primary in West Virginia, where his opponent was a convicted felon. In Oklahoma, an anti-abortion activist won 20 percent of the vote against the president in that state’s primary.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Wine Wins Commonwealth’s Attorney Race

Former Judge Thomas Wine has won the four-way Democratic primary to be Jefferson County’s newest Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Wine beat out Carol Cobb, Steve Ryan and Tom Van De Rostyne by more than 2,000 votes. Because no Republican is vying for the seat, Wine is expected to be the first new attorney in the top prosecutor’s office in 15 years.

Wine says his experience as a circuit court judge and appeals court judge played a role in his victory. Current Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel is retiring.