Phillip M. Bailey

Political Editor

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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Politics
1:37 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

McConnell, Paul Want Holder to Appoint Special Prosecutor Regarding Leak Investigation

Joining a chorus of Republican lawmakers, Kentucky U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are requesting Attorney General Eric Holder immediately appoint a special prosecutor to investigate a series of national security leaks.

Last week, Holder announced two U.S. attorneys would lead the criminal investigation into possible leaks that some GOP lawmakers have alleged originated in the White House. But President Obama has vehemently denied his administration revealed information about the president's terrorist "kill lists" and cyber-attacks against Iran's nuclear program.

Over 30 GOP Senators have signed a letter asking the attorney general to assign a special counsel who would be "free from the appearance of politics or undue influence," to investigate. The circulated letter has the signature of many high-profiled lawmakers including Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

From the letter:

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The numerous national security leaks reportedly originating out of the Executive Branch in recent months have been stunning.  If true, they reveal details of some of our Nation’s most highly classified and sensitive military and intelligence matters, thereby risking our national security, as well as the lives of American citizens and our allies. If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it.

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Local News
12:57 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Clinics to Help Homeowners With Delinquent Property Taxes

The organization Local Options for Kentucky’s Liens is holding three clinics in Louisville to help homeowners address their delinquent property taxes.

The clinics will feature a wide range of resources for homeowners, including representatives from the Jefferson County Attorney’s office and information about Homestead and Disability Exemptions. Last year nearly 14,000 property owners in Jefferson County were delinquent in paying their taxes and over 3,000 of these delinquent bills were sold to third party investment companies.

Local Options spokeswoman Jane Walsh says unpaid tax liens exist across Louisville, but hit certain demographics disproportionately.

"There is a concentration of unpaid tax liens in areas where the population is poorer, in areas where the population is older and in areas where minority populations live. In neighborhoods in other words where the property value is declining anyway we see more unpaid tax liens," she says.

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Politics
10:33 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Colbert Mocks Mourdock for YouTube Fumble

Political satirist Stephen Colbert focused on Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's recent fumble on the campaign trail.

The Mourdock campaign accidentally released the GOP contender's various reactions to the Supreme Court's pending ruling the Affordable Care Act. Colbert mocked Mourdock by releasing his reactions to a number of faux-Supreme Court decisions including the re-appointment of George W. Bush as president.

Check it out:

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

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Politics
5:29 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Shanklin Launches Radio Show Amid Series of Scandals

Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is launching a radio show amid growing scandals over city spending in her office.

The embattled city lawmaker has faced mounting criticism for her actions, including hiring her felon grandson as her legislative aide at a $34,000 annual salary. Shanklin was also questioned about lobbying for a jobs program for ex-convicts that served no former inmates but that she and family members participated in.

Earlier this week, it was reported that $3,000 in taxpayer money has gone to her relatives through funding of a neighborhood association in checks that she personally signed since 2005.

Now Shanklin is teaming up with gospel station WLOU 1350 AM to create "Speakerphone," a weekly radio broadcast that will debut this Saturday at Noon.

Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt says Shanklin wants to discuss issues affecting teenagers and young adults in her district, and won’t address those controversies on her show.

"Speakerphone is primarily for young people to talk about what’s on their mind. I don’t see it as being an opportunity for the councilwoman to speak on any particular thing she’s being involved with over the last couple of weeks," he says.

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Politics
12:48 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Yarmuth, McConnell React to Supreme Court’s Montana Decision

The Supreme Court strengthened its Citizens United case Monday when it struck down a 100-year-old Montana ban on corporate spending in state and local elections.

In a summary reversal that had no oral arguments, justices ruled 5-to-4 against the state along the same lines it did for the controversial 2010 decision that allows for unlimited spending by companies and unions in federal campaigns.

Locally, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., have sat on opposite sides of this debate.

McConnell issued a statement praising the high court's ruling as a victory for the First Amendment and exaggerated claims of corporate control.

In another important victory for freedom of speech, the Supreme Court has reversed the Montana Supreme Court, upholding First Amendment free speech rights that were set out in Citizens United. As I pointed out in an amicus brief that I filed in the Montana case, a review of Federal Election Commission records of independent spending supporting the eight Republican presidential candidates earlier this year showed only minimal corporate involvement in the 2012 election cycle.

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Local News
12:24 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Dirt Bowl Basketball Tournament Returns to West Louisville

Joined by community leaders, lawmakers and local athletes, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the return of The Dirt Bowl basketball tournament to Shawnee Park this summer.

The competition has been a West End tradition for over four decades, but has been on hiatus due to a lack of funding and sponsorship. Organizers were able to briefly revive the Dirt Bowl in 2009 and city leaders have been working to resurrect the tournament permanently.

"It was a significant loss for Louisville and a specific loss for western Louisville," says Fischer said. "Generations of families came here to sit on bleachers, to share good times and to watch some serious hoops."

The Dirt Bowl was created by community activist Ben Watkins in 1969 as a way to bring basketball and family-style picnics together. Over the decades, the tournament has hosted local and national basketball stars such as Jim McDaniels, Dan Issel, Wes Unseld, Darryl Griffith and Derek Anderson.

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Politics
8:00 am
Sun June 24, 2012

City Grants Paid Shanklin's Relatives

Family members of Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, have received over $3,000 in taxpayer money from a city grant that the lawmaker has personally signed checks for since 2005.

For the past seven years, the Petersburg/Newburg Improvement Association has received $150,000 in city funding, of which Shanklin and several relatives belong to.

From The Courier-Journal:

Among those who benefited were the mother of Shanklin’s grandson, who received $1,700; her son-in-law, $1,325; and Walker, who got $650 for repairing the floor in a small house the city donated to the neighborhood group.

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Politics
9:06 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Noise and Notes: Shawn Gardner's Me v. Me

Whether as a hot headed teenager or responsible fatherhood advocate, Louisville author Shawn Gardner has had to struggle against the odds.

Growing up in west Louisville without a father inspired Gardner to found 2NOT1, a non-profit group dedicated to reconnecting men with their families. But that's not how life began for Gardner, who developed a reputation as "Majestyk", a tough street kid who had several run-ins with police over the years.

In his autobiography 'Me v. Me: The Struggle Within', Garnder writes about the personal duel between making the right choices while facing peer pressure and violent challenges.

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Politics
12:35 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Ackerson to Return Raise

Louisville Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26, will return his two percent cost-of-living pay increase to the city’s general fund in upcoming fiscal year.

Each council member is paid approximately $42,500 annually and lawmakers are set to receive a raise of about $850 in the next budget. It's the first cost-of-living increase for non-union Metro employees in two years.

Ackerson says many city workers need a raise as the economy begins to steadily improve, but other costs are still going up.

"I don’t think that I as a council person in my situation need this raise. However, I recognize that our employees do need this raise," he says. "The reality is their two percent raise likely won’t even cover the increase in their health care costs. At the end of the day our city employees will likely take home less dollars to their family than they did last year even with this raise."

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Politics
10:16 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Council Approves City Budget After Contentious Debate Over Whiskey Row Funding

The Louisville Metro Council passed a city budget for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday, but not before a contentious debate about the Whiskey Row development.

Mayor Greg Fischer submitted a spending plan that included a $500,000 allocation for private developers—among them philanthropist Christy Brown, the widow of former chairman of the Brown-Forman Corp, Owsley Brown II—to restore the historic string of buildings along West Main Street.

The mayor had proposed using the money to create a revolving fund to help restore historic properties beginning with Whiskey Row, but a bipartisan group of council members argued Metro Government had already provided investors with a $1.5 million forgivable loan for the project.

The budget committee approved language in the ordinance on Wednesday that required developers to reimburse the city $1 million if the Whiskey Row buildings were later sold. But Fischer's office argued it was an unprecedented step by the council that could jeopardize the original agreement.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, introduced an amendment to take that wording out of the final ordinance, but allow lawmakers to hold the money until Fischer renegotiates the deal.  She says lawmakers unfairly tied the mayor's hands to negotiate.

"I'm asking you to allow the mayor do his job and negotiate a deal, and when he brings it over if you don't like it then don't vote for it," she said. "Let's debate it at that time because we're not doing it tonight. This really isn't about debating the merits of rich folks spending money on preservation or not. If anything, this is a power and money grab by the Metro Council."

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