Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Politics
7:26 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Council Overrides Fischer Landmarks Veto

In a historic vote, the Louisville Metro Council rejected Mayor Greg Fischer’s veto of the landmarks ordinance by an 18-to-7 vote.

The legislation was aimed at changing several provisions of the way the city designates historic sites and structures. Among the amendments was a change to allow a majority of council members to halt a decision made by the Landmarks Commission for further review.

The mayoral veto was the second in Fischer's administration, and was the first to be rejected by the council since city and county governments merged.

For months, council members held public forums and debated the measure until it passed last week. But Fischer vetoed the bill at the urging of preservationists, who argued the amendments favor developers and endanger the city's heritage. In a letter to city lawmakers, the mayor said council members were overstepping their bounds and politicizing the process.

Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, voted for the ordinance and stood against the veto. He says the mayor admitted there were problems in the landmarks process and the council needed to step in due to a lack of oversight.

"We’re being told that the fabric of our heritage will be permanently diminished by providing oversight by this council. However, a review of the facts makes this seem a bit of a contradiction," he says. "Even the mayor in his veto message admits the Bauer site might have been a mistake. Oversight was needed, but it wasn’t there."

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Politics
8:00 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Yates Confident Mayor Won’t Veto Landmarks Bill

The author of a controversial landmarks ordinance is optimistic that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will not veto the legislation.

After months of debate, the council voted to change the city’s longstanding process to declare historic sites. But a group of preservationists is urging the mayor to reject the ordinance, arguing that it violates the state constitution and encroaches upon the executive branch’s authority.

Councilman David Yates, D-25, who introduced the measure, says the mayor isn’t likely to veto the law.

"If you veto it then you lose the improved legislation. We hopefully don’t have to go that route and I don’t think that would be his intention. But I can’t speak for him," he says.

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Politics
12:46 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Mortgage Settlement Will Target Louisville Vacant and Abandoned Homes

Joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and other housing advocates, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced Monday that his office is allocating $3.2 million to the city to deal with vacant and abandoned properties.

The funding comes from a $19.2 million pot the state got from the National Mortgage Settlement, which was the result of a lawsuit filed by several states against five of the country’s top banks. Across the country, states are using the money to provide legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, redevelop foreclosed properties and reduce the blight created by vacant properties.

Conway says his office fought with state lawmakers during the legislative session to push that the settlement money be used for these sorts of programs and initiatives

"I am proud to say that the money I secured on behalf of Kentucky will be going to help people and communities who were harmed by the mortgage foreclosure crisis," says Conway.  "This settlement will provide second chances for people who’ve lost their homes, help revitalize properties that have been abandoned, and develop affordable housing in communities throughout our Commonwealth."

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Politics
4:27 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Shanklin Furious With Fischer Administration Over C-J Comments

Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, has spurned an invitation from Mayor Greg Fischer, citing his administration's comments regarding the use of city grants for an upholstery job training program.

Last Friday, a Fischer spokesman told The Courier-Journal  the program for ex-offenders should have ended on November 14 as ordered by the city and that it appears "city tax dollars are not spent as they’re intended to be." It was discovered that Shanklin continued to fund the program and personally signed an $836 check despite Metro Corrections ending it due to a lack of former inmate referrals.

"The published reports raise concerns with Dr. Shanklin over how the mayor's office has responded," says Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt, confirming that Shanklin called Fischer's office to reject an invitation to celebrate renovations at Petersburg Park in District 2 later this week.

According to Hyatt, Shanklin says corrections tried to kill the upholstery training while two people were still going through the course, and that the neighborhood association decided to finish out the last month of training.

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Local News
3:08 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Mayor Fischer on Crime, Development, Ethics in Metro Government, and More

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On a WFPL News Special Monday, Mayor Greg Fischer said urban crime is up across the country, but the city is reviewing national models to address the violence.

The chief of police told Metro Council members earlier this year that crime is up eight percent, and the crimes are more brazen—including a homicide in the Old Louisville neighborhood yesterday with an assault rifle. 

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Local News
12:59 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Monday News Special: Mayor Greg Fischer

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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will join us Monday at 1pm to discuss jobs, crime and the latest controversies in the Metro Council. We'll get his take on the status of the former Kentucky Kingdom site, and the latest ruling involving the firefighters settlement. 

Join us with your thoughts, Monday from 1-2pm, at 502-814-TALK (8255), news@wfpl.org, or leave us a comment on our Facebook or Twitter

Politics
6:30 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Fischer Names Chief of Strategic Initiatives

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer named Mary Ellen Wiederwohl as chief of strategic initiatives on Thursday.

The position will focus on integrating policy, improving local, state and federal governments relations and communicating them into the city’s long-term plan. Wiederwohl, 38, will be paid $113,000 annually and will also serve as Fischer's deputy to chief of staff.

"Mary Ellen has a deep knowledge of both government and the private sector," Fischer said in a news release. "Her expertise in education, health care, government relations, public policy and communications will help our team accelerate our goals for the city."

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Politics
6:17 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Fischer Backs Local Sales Tax Option

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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer supports a local option sales tax within the county limits to raise additional revenue for Metro Government.

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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
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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