Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Politics
10:35 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

Noise and Notes: Can Anyone Beat Mitch McConnell?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Respect him or not, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership role in Washington cannot be ignored.

For weeks speculation has been growing about who will take on the powerful GOP leader two years from now. One Democrat—Owensboro home builder Ed Marksberry—has stepped forward, but with little excitement.

The national media has focused much of its attention on actress Ashley Judd, who would bring Hollywood star power to the race.

But prominent state Democratic leaders have voiced skepticism if not outright opposition to her celebrity candidacy in the commonwealth.

Others point to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who many view as the most popular choice. And a recent survey showed Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is within striking distance.

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Politics
11:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer Mum on Re-Election

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer hasn’t made a decision on whether he’ll run for re-election in 2014.

Fischer is among the rumored Democrats to run for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. A survey by the North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling showed Fischer trailing McConnell by 5 points in a head-to-head contest.

Earlier this month, a mayoral spokesman told WFPL Fischer would announce his decision on re-election in January.

But when asked if he intends to run for a second term, Fischer says he will make an official decision next summer.

"I love this job. I'm inclined to do that, but I haven't made a decision yet," he says. "I’ve got a great job here. There’s a lot of work to do, and I plan to do this and hopefully more in future. We get great feedback from people and we got a lot of work to do, and we got a great team too."

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Politics
8:02 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer: Local Sales Tax Option Would Give Louisville 'Independence'

Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Addressing the Louisville Metro Council, Mayor Greg Fischer said the city needs additional revenue if it wants to remain competitive and that a local sales tax option would give the city more independence from state government.

The mayor has been pushing lawmakers in Frankfort to allow the city to put temporary sales tax increases up for a public vote. He outlined his plan—dubbed Local Investments For Transformation, or LIFT — for council members Thursday.

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Politics
5:31 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Fischer to Outline Local Sales Tax Option Plan for Council Members

Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will discuss his strategy to create a local sales tax option with members of the Metro Council this week.

Fischer has been lobbying state lawmakers and other leaders across Kentucky since July, saying the city needs the tool in the face of budget shortfalls.

The option would give Louisville voters the ability to vote for or against a sales tax increase to fund specific projects. Before that could happen, however, the measure needs a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the state legislature and a statewide referendum to amend the state constitution.

Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt says his members are eager to hear the mayor outline his plan, adding they have serious questions about the sales tax options before showing support.

"What are you going to do with the money if it is passed and how long would such a local option tax be in place? Are you going to use it for infrastructure projects or to supplement the budget? The caucus would like to hear directly from the mayor what he plans to do with the money if the effort is successful," he says.

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Politics
4:03 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Poll: McConnell Most Unpopular U.S. Senator

Credit File photo

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular Senator in the country, according to a new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling released Tuesday.

The poll shows that among Kentucky voters, McConnell has just a 37 percent approval rating along with a 55 percent disapproval and has only one-third of independents. But the GOP leaders is still ahead of all Democratic threats in 2014, including actress Ashley Judd, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Crimes and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

From PPP:

The reason McConnell does decently well in the head to head match ups despite his poor approval numbers is that even though a lot of Republicans dislike him, most of them would still vote for him in a general election before they would support a Democrat.

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Politics
1:30 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fischer, Tandy Lip-Sync in Trolley Hop Promo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer doesn't mind making silly online videos to promote local initiatives, as my colleague Erica Peterson highlighted earlier.

The folks at First Friday Trolley Hop got the mayor to make a cameo in their ad too, which also features Councilman David Tandy, D-4, and other notables lip syncing Tim McMorris's "Beautiful Day."

Watch:

Politics
12:03 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

New Louisville Public Works Director Emphasizes Employee Morale

Vanessa Burns, the newly appointed director of Louisville Metro Public Works & Assets
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Newly appointed Louisville Public Works Director Vanessa Burns says improving employee morale will be an important first step in the department, and that being an outsider will give her a better opportunity to implement changes.

In August former Public Works Director Ted Pullen resigned while facing a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit. Burns is coming to Louisville from Connecticut, and has served at public works departments in Washington, D.C. and Evanston, Illinois.

She says making the department more efficient is a top priority, but that relations between employees and managers is just as vital.

"We all have got to work on tweaking and trying to improve what we do and how we do it," Burns said. "And I think one of the good things about not being here is I can look at it with open eyes."

An audit conducted last summer found there was mistrust between public works employees and management. It emphasized that the city should begin shuffling managers to help improve efficiency and city services.

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Environment
11:11 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer Gives Wife Recycling Bin

Calling it "the gift that keeps on giving," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has given his wife Alexandra Gerassimides a new municipal wheeled recycling bin for Christmas.

In a video released by the Mayor's office, Fischer presents the gift to his wife an unorthodox three weeks before the Christmas holiday. The video shows the gift was a surprise, though Fischer dropped hints in the hours leading up to the gift's presentation.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

City Lawmakers Skeptical of Violence Task Force Position

Credit Creative Commons

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.

A 37-member task force group was formed after three people were fatally shot  in the Parkland neighborhood in May. Among the group’s dozens of recommendations was hiring a full-time coordinator to work on violence prevention and implement efforts in city government.

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.

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.

"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."

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Politics
8:00 am
Mon December 3, 2012

King Disagrees With Fischer's Higher Tax Suggestion for Housing Trust Fund

Metro Councilman Jim King
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Council President Jim King says it isn’t practical to raise taxes for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, despite Mayor Greg Fischer’s suggestion.

The council set up the trust fund to give grants and loans for affordable housing activities, such as new construction, home rehabilitation, payment assistance and emergency repair. But the fund has struggled to find an adequate revenue stream since it was first formed in 2008.

After months of saying that residents had no appetite for higher taxes, Fischer told The Courier-Journal his administration supports a one percent increase of the insurance premium tax to pay for the trust fund if council members agreed.

But King says raising taxes of any kind would be a burdensome to residents and small businesses in a tough economy.

"I would have to say that I didn’t expect (Fischer's) comment because I wasn’t aware he was interested in adding anything to that tax. But I don’t think that the council as a whole is in a position to support that right now," he says.

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