Local News Noise & Notes Politics

King Proposes Ordinance to Regulate Concrete Ad Benches

Louisville Metro Council President Jim King, D-10, has sponsored an ordinance to regulate concrete ad benches that have sprouted up on major thoroughfares across the city.

The advertisements are often placed on a corner or near the sidewalk without approval from Metro Government. Several city lawmakers have complained the benches are placed with no regard for public safety and intrude into public right-of-ways.

Councilman Robin Engel, R-22, is a co-sponsor of the measure. He says the ads are a nuisance paid for by mostly out of town companies.

“If you do take a moment and really focus in your particular area where you live and where you drive, these benches are popping up everywhere. And they’re really a pollution quite honestly,” he says.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Council Members, ORBP Supporters Rally for Infrastructure Resolution

Joined by high-profiled supporters of the Ohio River Bridges Projects, members of the Louisville Metro Council pointed the finger at the conservation group River Fields for blocking the city’s infrastructure needs.

City lawmakers are rallying support for a resolution drafted Monday in reaction to the closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge, which was shut down September 9 after cracks were discovered in some load-bearing supports.

The non-binding measure calls for an expedited construction schedule of the $3.6 billion public works project and underscores the Sherman Minton closure as a reason to get it moving forward at a quicker pace. It criticizes River Fields, which has opposed an East End Bridge mainly for environmental reasons, asking the organization to cease all legal actions that it alleges are delaying the project.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, says constituents in her district have been affected by the Sherman Minton being shut down and there is an urgent need for funding the area’s current and future infrastructure projects.

“The time for talk, delay and lawsuits is over, this debate over the years has lacked something that we now have, a serious, immediate and pressing need to move forward. That serious reason has now been presented to this community in dramatic fashion with the unexpected closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge for over a week now,” she says.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Resolution Urges Expedited Ohio River Bridges Project

Citing the closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge, leaders of the Louisville Metro Council Transportation and Public Works Committee have drafted a resolution calling for an expedited construction schedule for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Councilman Robin Engel, R-22, and Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, who head the transportation committee, drafted the non-binding measure to encourage local, state and federal officials to become more involved with the behemoth public works project.

City lawmakers will be joined by some of the bridges projects big name supporters, including former Jefferson County Judge Executive Rebecca Jackson, Humana, Inc. founder David Jones and David Nicklies, former chairman of the Bridges Coalition.

Engel and Hamilton say other elected officials and community leaders must step up to push the $3.6 billion project forward.

“The Ohio River Bridges Project is essential to interstate commerce and will create thousands of desperately needed jobs, open up significant economic development opportunities and save motorists over $1.6 Billion in fuel and maintenance costs over a 20 year period,” the resolution says.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Green Faces Second Ethics Hearing Today

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission will hold another hearing on charges against Metro Councilwoman Judy Green Monday. It is the second ethics hearing she has faced in less than a month.

Green is accused of breaking council rules by instructing a non-profit group to reroute $5,600 in city funds to other agencies at her discretion.

In 2009, Green allegedly told officers with 100 Black Men to ask for more money than the organization needed in order to give out the additional funds to groups not listed on the original application at her discretion, including the purchase of tickets for a Kentucky Derby fundraiser that she attended.

During an interview with the Courier-Journal, Green blamed her former legislative aide for the mistake, saying she took training on Neighborhood Discretionary Fund expenditures and told the councilwoman that the arrangement was proper. In a Metro Police report, however, that aide told investigators she only picked up the paperwork for the grant applications.

Also, Green served two years  on the council’s Appropriations Committee, which have those rules provided to city lawmakers at each meeting. It has been confirmed that Councilman Robin Engel, R-22, vice-chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has been asked to testify about those rules and policies at Monday’s hearing.

Community activist Ed Springston, who filed the second complaint, says Green has clearly violated council rules by making a side agreement with the organization and needs to be held accountable.

“When you intentionally over inflate a grant and then you do that so you can redirect money to places that are going to benefit you personally as an elected official that’s a problem,” he says.