Noise & Notes

On air Saturdays at 10pm.

On Noise & Notes, WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey doesn't just discuss the issues, he dissects them. From city government to national politics, Phillip has covered it all. 

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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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Politics
5:42 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

D'oh: Mourdock Accidentally Releases Reaction to Every SCOTUS Health Care Law Ruling

The campaign for Republican Senate Richard Mourdock accidently released the Indiana state treasurer's various reactions to the Supreme Court's possible rulings on President Obama's health care law.

The videos were briefly posted to YouTube before the Mourdock campaign yanked them, but not before media outlets were able to repost his different versions to the high court upholding or striking down the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Grimes's Grandmother Dies at 92

The paternal grandmother of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who appeared in TV ads during her granddaughter's successful campaign last year has died.

Thelma Lundergan McHugh died at her home in Jessamine County, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and loved ones. She was 92.

"My grandmother instilled in me the confidence that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to and taught me by example the importance of being involved in my community," Grimes said in a news release.

Last fall, McHugh filmed a 30-second spot for Grimes during the 2011 general election along with the secretary of state's other maternal grandmother, Elsie Case. Political observers credited the commercial's creativity and positive pitch during an overall negative campaign season.

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Politics
7:58 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Budget Committee Approves City Spending Plan for Upcoming Fiscal Year

The Louisville Metro Council's Budget Committee passed a spending plan for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year by a unanimous vote.

Mayor Greg Fischer submitted his budget proposal to the council earlier this month, which had been criticized for its lack of funding to external agencies and hammered for cuts to indigent care at University Hospital.

Similar to last year, the council reallocated nearly $3 million in funds and added over $400,000 to non-profit groups for their programing.

City lawmakers were able to come up with those additional funds in part through an agreement with the Parking Authority of River City to make a payment of $300,000 in cash this year with additional payments of $150,000 over the next five fiscal years.

These additional funds were requested by council members who raised questions about a late transfer and payment for the two county parking garages that the city never received. 

The budget also includes money to focus on dealing with the problem of abandoned and vacant properties with close to $40,000 in funds being spent to mow grass at vacant lots throughout the city.

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Politics
5:27 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Waiting on Romney, McConnell Balks at Obama's Immigration Decision

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is waiting on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to take the lead on President Obama's decision to stop deporting the children of illegal immigrants.

McConnell is one of the president's strongest and quickest critics, but the GOP leader is being unusually quiet until Romney makes his position clear. He says members of his caucus are "withholding judgment" until the former Massachusetts governor takes the lead.

From The Washington Post:

“I think we’re going to wait and see what governor Romney has to say, and we’re going to be discussing his views on this,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “I think many of us may have similar views. Others may not.”

McConnell said he was deferring to Romney because the former Massachusetts governor is “the leader of our party from now until November — and, we hope, beyond.”

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Politics
4:01 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Yarmuth: McConnell is Endorsing Dishonest Campaigns

In a House floor speech Tuesday, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for opposing legislation that would require Super PACs to disclose the names of their contributors.

Last Friday, McConnell told a conservative think tank that keeping donors names a secret is a First Amendment right, but Yarmuth says anonymity allows individuals to distort the truth without being held accountable by the voters.

Check it out:

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Politics
2:00 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Noise & Notes to Make Radio Debut

For over a year, WFPL Political Editor Phillip M. Bailey has edited the Noise & Notes news blog on WFPL.org. Now he has something for your ears.

The Noise & Notes radio show is a relaxed conversation on issues of importance to Louisville, from the news of the day to broader discussions on policy, politics and politicians.

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Politics
10:59 am
Tue June 19, 2012

McConnell Being Scolded for Opposing Disclose Act

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is being scolded for flip-flopping on campaign disclosures after his denunciation of legislation requiring that Super PAC donors provide their names.

Speaking before the American Enterprise Institute last week, McConnell argued that contributors to third party organization have a right to remain secret and that the Disclose Act is threatening their free speech. But local and national critics point out that wasn't McConnell's position a few years ago when he was at the forefront of opposing campaign finance reform.

"Money is essential in politics, and not something that we should feel squeamish about, provided the donations are limited and disclosed, everyone knows who's supporting everyone else," McConnell told NPR's Talk of the Nation in 2003.

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Politics
5:06 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

City Pledges Support to Reopen Old Kentucky Kingdom

File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is pledging his support for Kentucky Kingdom days after Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. announced it was pulling out of the project to re-open the old amusement park.

Last Friday, the Koch walked away from its deal with the state fair board despite approval of hefty tax incentives. Bluegrass Boardwwalk CEO Natalie Koch told WFPL that the board voted against the deal because the group’s business model wouldn’t fit well with state regulations and oversight.

Councilman David Tandy, D-4, is chairman of the labor and economic development committee. He says council members were surprised to learn the project had failed, but city and state leaders need to move forward.

"There are a number of different amusement park operators out there that I’m sure are wanting to take a look at this opportunity now that it has re-presented itself," he says. "And we’ll go forward from there."

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