Louisville Metro Councilman Kelly Downard http://wfpl.org en Addressing Claims of Racial Bias in Shanklin Verdict, Councilwoman Mary Woolridge Says 'Get Over It' http://wfpl.org/post/addressing-claims-racial-bias-shanklin-verdict-councilwoman-mary-woolridge-says-get-over-it <p>Louisville Metro Councilwoman Mary Woolridge, D-3, is refusing to confirm or deny claims that she voted to retain fellow member Barbara Shanklin solely because she is an African-American woman.</p><p>But she says those who disagree with the outcome need to &quot;get over it.&quot;</p><p>Speaking at <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/aubrey-williams-david-tachau-talk-future-metro-government-ethics-louisville-forum">the Louisville Forum this week, Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, blew the whistle</a> on the nearly three and a half hour deliberations.</p><p>Downard said Woolridge told lawmakers she would not vote again to remove a black female from office.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;If I turned to you and I say &lsquo;I will never vote to expel a white man from the Metro Council&rsquo; what thoughts did you just have? Anger? Revulsion? That happened in the deliberation room,&quot; Downard said. &quot;One of the members of my Metro Council said I will never vote to remove an African-American woman from this council.&quot;</p><p>Downard later confirmed with WFPL that council member was Woolridge.</p><p>Some have pointed to a racial divide regarding the case both in in the community and on the council since the verdict.</p><p>It has been noted that all of the black council members voted to keep Shanklin in office despite some lawmakers such as Democrat David <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-metro-councilman-david-james-defends-vote-shanklin-removal-trial">James denying race had anything to do with the decision</a>.</p><p>Woolridge sidestepped questions about whether her vote was based on race and she refused to address the matter further.</p><p>&quot;Dr. Shanklin was exonerated and the council needs to move ahead. Everybody ought to get over it including Kelly Downard and anybody else that has a problem with it,&quot; she says. &quot;She got the amount of votes that she needed to remain on the council.&quot;</p><p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 18:50:29 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 7174 at http://wfpl.org Addressing Claims of Racial Bias in Shanklin Verdict, Councilwoman Mary Woolridge Says 'Get Over It' Louisville Metro Council Shrinks KFC Yum Center's Taxing District http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-metro-council-shrinks-kfc-yum-centers-taxing-district <p>In a unanimous vote, the Louisville Metro Council approved a measure reducing the size of the tax increment financing district surrounding the KFC Yum Center from six square miles to two square miles.</p><p>Council members hope this change will develop better revenue projections for the arena to help pay down its debt.</p><p></p><p>Since February, city officials have been discussing new ways to <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/amid-financial-woes-mayor-greg-fischer-appoints-city-cfo-arena-authority-board">deal with financial woes at the downtown arena</a>.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/1078_Tax-Increment-Financing">TIF district</a> is made up of property, occupational and sales tax revenue that goes towards the Louisville Arena Authority to help retire the $349 million in construction bonds.</p><p>But the taxing-district has fallen far below its expected projections putting a heavier burden on the city&mdash;and Louisville taxpayers&mdash;to cover more of the costs.</p><p>&quot;Reducing the&nbsp;TIF area allows&nbsp;the TIF revenues to directly reflect the success of the arena and eliminates changes in business activities unrelated to the arena,&quot; says Council President Jim King, D-10, who sponsored the bill. &quot;This approach is more realistic and gives the city a better monetary&nbsp;outcome in the&nbsp;future. It also taps into promised state tax revenues.&quot; Fri, 27 Sep 2013 00:45:20 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6993 at http://wfpl.org Louisville Metro Council Shrinks KFC Yum Center's Taxing District Council Democrats Propose Tax Increase to Pay for Housing Trust Fund http://wfpl.org/post/council-democrats-propose-tax-increase-pay-housing-trust-fund <p>A handful of Louisville Metro Council Democrats are proposing to raise the insurance premium tax by 1 percentage point to pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.</p><p>The ordinance would increase the premiums on policies such as life, casualty, home and automobile insurance from 5 percent to 6 percent.</p><p>It is estimated raising the tax will generate an additional $9.7 million in revenue towards the city's general fund. Supporters of the ordinance admit other council members may want to use new funds to fill the project $13 million budget shortfall or shore up the city's depleted road fund.</p><p>Besides housing issues, the legislation specifically speaks to the "acute need of road and sidewalk repair" and to improve transportation.</p><p>Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, is one of the seven sponsors of the bill. She says if the increase passes it will last only five years, and that she and others will work to make sure it is used for housing.</p><p>"The seven of us are going to do our best to convince a total of 14 of us on the Metro Council when we come to budget negotiations that this new $10 million revenue over the course of the next year should be dedicated specifically to affordable housing issues," she says.</p><p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 18:30:23 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 3950 at http://wfpl.org Council Democrats Propose Tax Increase to Pay for Housing Trust Fund City Lawmakers Skeptical of Violence Task Force Position http://wfpl.org/post/city-lawmakers-skeptical-violence-task-force-position <p>Louisville Metro Council members of both parties are questioning Mayor Greg Fischer for creating a new director for violence prevention in the wake of a West End shooting spree.</p><p>A 37-member task force group was formed after three people were fatally shot &nbsp;in the Parkland neighborhood in May. Among the<a href="http://www.wfpl.org/post/read-louisville-violence-prevention-work-group-report"> group’s dozens of recommendations</a> was hiring a full-time coordinator to work on violence prevention and implement efforts in city government.</p><p>But Democratic and Republican lawmakers are unsure about the cost and argue the position is redundant because Metro Government already has a chief of police and director of public safety.</p><p>Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, says Fischer was right to respond to the rash of homicides, but that his office hasn’t communicated what the new director is expected to do or what experience they should have.</p><p>"Is this the answer? Just to hire somebody? I mean throwing money to someone who has knowledge of the community and can mediate—I mean my gosh," he says. "The whole job description sounds like it was written by somebody who just wanted to use adjectives, but not any concrete experience."</p><p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 21:17:59 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 2779 at http://wfpl.org City Lawmakers Skeptical of Violence Task Force Position Council to Honor U of L Economist http://wfpl.org/post/council-honor-u-l-economist <p>The Metro Council will honor retired University of Louisville economist Paul Coomes at its meeting this Thursday.</p><p>Last week, the council’s Budget Committee passed a resolution to thank Coomes for his service over the years, which included several economic development studies and advising the council on economic forecasts to help draft city budgets since merger.</p><p>Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, is vice chairman of the budget committee. He says Coomes was an invaluable consultant who helped the city face the national recession.</p><p>"He was a reliable source. One that we trusted. And in government trust is very, very important. We trusted his input and he never let us down. He was very, very good," he says.</p><p> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 13:00:00 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1596 at http://wfpl.org Council to Honor U of L Economist Police Chief Tells Council Crime Up Eight Percent http://wfpl.org/post/police-chief-tells-council-crime-eight-percent <p>Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad testified before the Budget Committee on Wednesday that crime has increased by eight percent in the last year.</p><p>In recent weeks, the escalation of violence has concerned residents and gained the attention of community and city leaders. In May, a <a href="http://archives.wfpl.org/2012/05/17/fischer-condemns-shootings-will-meet-with-west-end-leaders/">shooting spree in the Parkland neighborhood left three dead and three others injured</a> including the brazen murder of Makeba Lee, 24, who was shot by Cheetara Goldsmith, 24, in front of officers.</p><p>Earlier this week, 15-year-old Tysha <a href="http://www.wave3.com/story/18766969/murdered-teen-identified-as-shawnee-high-school-student">Spearman, a junior at Shawnee High School, was shot and killed</a> and a <a href="http://www.wave3.com/story/18765861/4-year-old-shooting-victim-released-from-hospital">4-year-old was shot in the arm</a> nearby the Parkway Place housing projects.</p><p>Conrad says the department is planning to create a new mobile unit that will target high crime areas and repeat offenders.</p><p>&quot;For the coming year we are focusing on reducing violent crime. That should go without saying. We have pulled together a summer crime reduction task force, which involves identifying and arresting the worst of the worst, putting police officers in the most challenged areas, which we are referring to as hot spots,&quot; he says.</p><p> Wed, 13 Jun 2012 21:44:41 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 640 at http://wfpl.org