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Johnson to Amend ‘War on Workers’ Resolution

Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson is working with his colleagues to change a resolution supporting the rights of all union employees.

The south Louisville lawmaker originally drafted the non-binding measure. It calls for an end to the “war on workers” across the country. The resolution was a response to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who proposed a budget bill that significantly curtailed union rights by eliminated collective bargaining rights for unions.

Johnson says a new version will be introduced next month and will have softer language. He says it will still send a message that Metro Government supports union employees.

“I believe everybody who has looked at it wants to change it, one way or another,” Johnson says. “And that’s what we’ve been going through with some changes on it and trying to get it done. I think it’s crazy that people have tried to do that and I believe that in the future it’ll pay on those politicians that did do it,” he says.

Teamsters Local 783 encouraged Johnson to introduce the measure, which criticized what it calls a “coordinated attack on middle-class” rights. The amended version is being drafted by Councilman David James, who is a former president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

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Local News Politics

Council To Vote On NBA Search Funds This Week

The Louisville Metro Council this week will vote on whether to spend an additional 22 thousand dollars to try to bring a professional basketball team to the city.

Sixty thousand dollars from the current budget has gone to an attorney who has worked for the Kentucky Fair Board to research NBA prospects. The council will review how the money was spent this week, and on Thursday they will decide whether to allocate more money to the effort.

Budget committee vice-chair Kelly Downard says unlike the initial investment, the 22 thousand would not come from the city budget. Rather, it will come from individual council members’ discretionary funds.

“Those people may all drop out—I’m not one of them—if they see something that’s unusual or they don’t want to be part of. I’m going to guess that we’ll get a report that says things are pretty good,” he says.

Downard says he expects to have a report from the Fair Board this week that details how the money was spent. Councilman Dan Johnson put the original 60 thousand dollars in the budget. He was unavailable for comment.

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Resolution Takes Step Toward Merged Fire Districts

Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson has authored a resolution that would take the first steps toward a unified fire department in Louisville.

Johnson’s resolution asks the state legislature to commission a study on the feasibility and cost of merging the 18 suburban fire districts into the Louisville Fire Department.

“We’d have better management with one person in charge and some other people across the whole county,” he says. “Like we do with the police department, it’d make more sense and probably be cheaper.”

The Democratic councilman’s resolution comes amidst talk of tax increases to fund suburban fire districts, and management controversies in two districts. Republican Councilman Kelly Downard opposes the measure.

“Logic says that that’s a wonderful idea,” he says. “I say no. There are willfully different methods of operation and I think that’s left best to the people who do it, rather than the people who observe it, to make those decisions.”

The resolution will be introduced at Thursday’s council meeting.

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Metro Council Forms Flood Committee

The Louisville Metro Council has established an ad hoc committee to review this month’s flash flood and the subsequent property loss.

Councilman Dan Johnson is co-chair of the committee. He says the group will look at possible sewer system improvements and try to help residents whose homes took on water.

“There’s a lot of constituents right around the Southwest that I follow who have been greatly affected—losing cars and everything in their basements,” he says. “We’re really wanting to try and help those people in the future.”

Johnson says helping flood victims could mean organizing a cleanup effort or asking FEMA to grant low-interest loans. He expects the committee to conclude its work in about six months.

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Councilman Says Debris Clean-Up Taking Too Long

Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson says it’s taking too long for Public Works crews to clean up debris from the September windstorm. The councilman wants the city to hire contractors to speed up the process, despite a tight city budget.

Once all the trees that were blocking roads were cleaned up, the Public Works Department set-up a city-wide grid for debris clean-up. Mayor’s Office spokesperson Kerri Richardson says officials were clear that it wouldn’t be done quickly.

“We’ve said since we started that storm debris collection, it’s going to take some time,” says Richardson.

The Mayor actually said the cleanup would take several months.

“I know that!” says Johnson, “and I don’t care! It’s taking entirely too long, this stuff here is turning brown, it’s probably starting to draw rats and things like that. I would like to have it picked up now.”

Johnson plans to introduce an emergency ordinance to Metro Council at its October 23rd meeting to make funds available to hire contractors to help city workers with the clean-up. Richardson says the mayor doesn’t consider that an option, given the tight city budget.