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Local News Next Louisville Noise & Notes Politics

Allen Discusses Fischer’s Success, Challenges

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer marked his 100th day in office last week. The mayor has faced several challenges in that time, including union disputes, industrial accidents and troubled Metro departments.

Facing a $22 million shortfall, Fischer will spend much of his next 100 days working on the city budget, which political observers say is the first true indicator of how his vision for the city compares to his campaign promises.

I spoke with former mayoral candidate Tyler Allen about Fischer’s time in office. Allen supported Fischer’s opponent in last year’s general election, but says he’s been relatively pleased with the mayor’s performance so far.

Audio MP3

WFPL will review the mayor’s brief tenure and look to the future at 1:00 pm Wednesday.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Fischer And Heiner Discuss Endorsements At Debate

by Sheila Ash

The two candidates for Louisville Metro Mayor met for another debate Thursday, this time at the Rotary Club’s weekly meeting. The candidates spent several minutes discussing the politics of independent candidate Jackie Green’s decision to endorse Democrat Greg Fischer.

Republican Hal Heiner says Fischer promised Green influence in Metro Government in exchange for his support.

In the debate, Fischer said Heiner has done the same thing.

“Hal you’re a hypocrite,” said Fischer. “Tom Owen released a press release at 11:30 today saying the day before Tyler Allen endorsed your campaign you met with him you promised him input into your administration, you’re now telling me that that’s bad to give people input into your administration.”

Heiner then insisted he did not promise to give Allen influence.

“Tom has shown time and time again that he’s a hard line partisan so you know it doesn’t surprise me at all that he would come out with the comments that he did today.”

The entire debate can be heard below. For more, visit The Edit.

Audio MP3
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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Moxley Endorses Heiner At Education Press Conference

Republican candidate for mayor Hal Heiner Thursday discussed his plans for improving Jefferson County Public Schools, and announced his latest endorsement.

Heiner recently called for an end to the current student assignment plan in a television ad. The spot drew criticism from Democratic candidate Greg Fischer, among others. Heiner says he still supports diversity, but the assignment plan has not improved schools. He said scrapping the plan is only part of his education platform, which calls for more magnet schools and incentives for teachers at underperforming schools.

“What we need is a comprehensive re-look at how we go about education in this community, determine what resources are necessary to get there, then get about the business of improving these schools. We really have no time to waste in that regard,” he said.

The mayor has no direct power over JCPS, but Heiner said he would convene civic and business leaders to help bring about the proposed changes.

“Ultimately, JCPS will write the plan, but from a leadership standpoint to get this process started and get the community behind it in a leadership mode, we know we can do better in Louisville, and the time to start it is now,” he said.

After announcing her endorsement, Moxley said she doesn’t think it’s out of line for candidates to discuss education.

“I think it’s absolutely appropriate for the mayor to take a leadership role for issues that impact the city and this is an issue that impacts the city,” she said. “It impacts the families and the communities and the people who live here.”

Fischer has proposed using public-private partnerships and after-school programs to improve education.

Moxley is the third former Democratic candidate to endorse Heiner, following Shannon White and Tyler Allen. Metro Councilmen and former candidates David Tandy and Jim King have endorsed Fischer.

For full audio and Fischer’s response, visit The Edit.

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Local News Next Louisville

Allen Endorses Heiner In Mayor's Race

Former Democratic mayoral candidate Tyler Allen has endorsed Republican Hal Heiner in the general election.

Allen won ten percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. His campaign was largely based on opposition to the Ohio River Bridges Project. Lately, Heiner has proposed building the project in phases, starting with the east end bridge. That would be followed by a downtown bridge and a reworked Spaghetti Junction. While Allen favors only an east end bridge, he says Heiner has been the most receptive to revising the project.

“He has demonstrated that he is willing to think through the issue himself. He is willing to open his ears and listen to other ways of doing things and particularly open his ears and listen to the will of the people of this community who seem to be shouting fairly clearly that they want something different.”

Heiner has recently said he wants to scale back the Spaghetti Junction renovations. Allen is the second Democratic candidate to endorse Heiner, following Shannon White. Two others, Councilmen Jim King and David Tandy, have endorsed Heiner’s opponent, Greg Fischer.

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Local News Next Louisville

Tyler Allen Says Bridges Could Still Be An Issue In The Mayor's Race

by Gabe Bullard

Former Democratic mayoral candidate Tyler Allen says he will continue to push his signature issue in the general election, even though he’s no longer in the running.

Allen finished fourth in last week’s Democratic primary. He ran a grassroots campaign focused on opposition to the Ohio River Bridges Project, and the possibility of tolls on new bridges.

Both major party candidates have expressed support for the bridges project, but Allen says growing public sentiment against tolls may force them to alter their positions.

“They’ll start to hear from voters and hopefully the press will keep that important issue out there,” he says. “If they never have to answer to it, maybe they won’t hear about it, but if they actually have to answer about the issue and how they think you can actually pay for a project on this scale.”

Democratic nominee Greg Fischer has said he will support tolls as necessary to pay for the bridges project. Republican nominee Hal Heiner says at least one bridge should be toll-free.

Among the independent candidates is transportation activist Jackie Green, who opposes the bridges project.

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Local News Next Louisville

Heiner's Lead Grows, Fischer And King Gain In Latest Poll

by Gabe Bullard

The two frontrunners in the primaries for Louisville mayor are holding on to their leads according to a new poll.

A Bluegrass Poll commissioned by the Courier-Journal and WHAS11 shows the number of undecided voters in the Republican and Democratic primaries shrinking by about half. Benefiting from the drop are Democrat Greg Fischer and Republican Hal Heiner. Fischer now holds 42 percent of the vote among Democrats, marking an 11 point increase from a similar poll released last month. Behind Fischer is Metro Councilman Jim King, who gained eight points and holds 21 percent of the vote. King has overtaken fellow Councilman David Tandy, who dropped to third with 13 percent of the vote. He previously polled at 16 percent.

In the Republican primary, Chris Thieneman remained in second place with 25 percent, but Councilman Hal Heiner strengthened his lead. He now polls at 63 percent, up from 42 percent last month.

In both races, 11 percent of likely voters were undecided.

The full results:

Democrats:

  • Greg Fischer – 42
  • Jim King – 21
  • David Tandy – 13
  • Tyler Allen – 7
  • Shannon White – 2
  • Connie Marshall -2
  • Burrell Farnsley – 2
  • Lisa Moxley – 1
  • Undecided – 11

Republicans:

  • Hal Heiner – 63
  • Chris Thieneman – 25
  • Jonathan Robertson – 1
  • Undecided – 11
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Local News Next Louisville WFPL News Department Podcast

Next Louisville: The Democratic Primary Part Two

by Gabe Bullard

The bi-state authority that will oversee the Ohio River Bridges Project met last week. Tyler Allen was in the audience. He usually is. In 2005, after years of involvement in community and government activities, Allen co-founded the group 8664 to oppose the plan to build two bridges over the Ohio River and rework Spaghetti Junction. He supports an East End Bridge, but wants to reconfigure Interstate 64, turning its waterfront lanes into a parkway.

In the primary, he’s sometimes criticized for being a single issue candidate. Allen rejects that claim, but says the bridges project is a critical issue that will affect the city for decades.

“I’m speaking in lost opportunity for this city,” says Allen. “I’m speaking of a backward vision that will impede development for years to come in our community. It is not a future-facing vision for the city at all.”

Allen recently unveiled his first television ad, which mentions the possibility of tolls on bridges and positions him to benefit from anti-toll sentiment. A recent Bluegrass Poll put Allen in 4th place in the primary, but he says he’d have stronger support if there was more focus on platforms instead of politics.

“I’m just simply saying as a citizen, we need a whole lot more coverage of the issues themselves—not the dynamics of the race,” he says. “We’re talking here about the dynamics of the race. That loses sight of the issues that are at stake.”

“I do think there is something to that,” says Lisa Moxley. “Part of that may be because there are so many people running. That is a story in and of itself….we need to be talking about Louisville.”

Moxley is an entertainment lawyer who has focused her campaign on rehabilitating neighborhoods, building new businesses and nurturing the arts. She says she isn’t discouraged by low polling numbers, and is planning a final push for votes this week. With about a fourth of voters undecided, Moxley says a strong enough public appeal could tilt support significantly away from the frontrunners.

“That’s what I’m hoping the news outlets will do to make sure people have access to all the candidates,” she says. “The public deserves that. We are at a critical time. Let the public decide who they want to lead them next.”

In St. Matthews, Shannon White sits surrounded by the yard signs she’s been distributing for the last few weeks. White, too, trails in the polls, which she attributes in part to her late entrance in the race.

“There is a concentrated group of people in the community that give money to political candidates and because I got in three or four months later than other ones, a lot of that money was already spoken for,” says White.

White has been critical of the more well-funded candidates. She’s sent e-mail blasts criticizing them as out of touch political insiders. She sees the high number of undecided voters as an encouraging sign that the frontrunners aren’t connecting with Louisvillians.

“What are people waiting for? What do they need to hear?” she says. “I didn’t enter this race just to be quiet and look nice. I entered the race to really take a hard look at who we’re going to elect as our next mayor and I am being critical because I think we need to ask hard questions about where we are headed as a community.”

There are two other Democrats on the ballot— activist Connie Marshall did not respond to an interview request. Burrell Farnsley has not run an active campaign.

Given the crowded field, it’s possible that a candidate could win the primary with 25 to 30 percent of the vote…and Moxley says the nominee will need to address the other candidates’ concerns before winning their endorsements.

“Those of us who have been outspoken about issues, we’re not going to stop speaking out about them because that’s what the people care about,” she says.

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Local News Next Louisville

King, Allen Discuss Tolls

by Gabe Bullard

Democratic mayoral candidates Jim King and Tyler Allen spoke out Tuesday about proposals to impose tolls to pay for new bridges over the Ohio River in Louisville.

As a bi-state authority moves forward on financing the construction of two new bridges and a reworking of Spaghetti Junction, the prospect of tolling the bridges has been raised. King says he does not support plans to impose tolls on existing bridges. He added that tolls on the new spans would be acceptable, though he doesn’t think they’re necessary.

“When you go back and look at what was given to these big banks around the country and the government giveaways that we have, the cost of these bridges is a rounding error,” says King. “So to say that we can’t get more government money to build them is shortsighted and unrealistic.”

After King’s announcement, Allen held a press conference to say he’s glad to see growing public sentiment against tolls.

“I am pleased when other candidates are paying attention to the issue that I have been stepping up and speaking about for years now,” he says.

Allen went on to say the 4.1 billion dollar bridges project is too expensive to not be financed in part with tolls. He favors a project that includes only one bridge and the elimination of Interstate 64 downtown.

King and Allen are among eight Democrats running for mayor. Three Republicans are also on the primary ballot.

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Local News Next Louisville

Candidates Meet At Manual High School

by Gabe Bullard

Transportation and education were among the main topics of discussion Thursday as nine candidates for Louisville mayor took part in a forum at DuPont Manual High School.

For about two hours, the candidates fielded questions from students on the bridges project, fairness law, the 2003 merger and the school district’s assignment plan.

Manual senior Carmen Mitchell says no single candidate came out ahead in the forum, but each excelled at different times. She says the responses that resonated most with the audience dealt with how the candidates would make the city better for today’s high school students.

“I think that is a number one concern for all of us, especially in the unstable economic times that we have right now, we want to know, Is this a place we can consider for our futures?” she says.

Democrats Lisa Moxley, Tyler Allen, Shannon White, Greg Fischer and David Tandy all participated in the forum. Republicans Hal Heiner, Chris Thieneman and Jonathan Robertson also took part, as did independent candidate Jackie Green.

Download mp3 audio of the forum. (Due to technical difficulties, there is a slight gap in between the end of Shannon White’s opening statement and the beginning of Tyler Allen’s opening statement)

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Local News Next Louisville

Allen Unveils Education Plan

by Gabe Bullard

Democratic candidate for Louisville mayor Tyler Allen introduced his plan today (Thursday) for improving Louisville’s workforce.

Allen says he wants the community to focus on preparing young children for elementary school and high school students for work or college. This, he says, will give Louisville a stronger and more competitive workforce.

Allen acknowledges that the mayor has limited power over schools, but he plans on working with public and private educators to help get his message across.

“Right now the system for early childhood is, like college, a diverse system of nonprofit private and public education places and we need to convene them and we need to share resources and make sure…because early childhood preparedness is a critical question for our community,” he says.

Allen is one of eight Democrats seeking the mayor’s office. Three Republicans and at least three independent candidates are also running.