Louisville Metro Councilman David James

2:10 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Jefferson County Attorney’s Legal Opinion is Political Payback, Councilman David James Says

Councilman David James, D-6,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman David James claims a legal opinion saying he should not cast a vote until he quits his police job is political retribution.

The Democratic lawmaker also says he plans to vote at Thursday's meeting despite a suggestion he cannot.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell issued a memo to council members on Wednesday, citing a section of Kentucky Constitution that he says forbids James from sitting on the council while being a U of L police officer.

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5:29 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Jefferson County Attorney: Louisville Councilman David James's Jobs Conflict

Councilman David James, D-6, (center) with Metro Police officers
Credit louisvilleky.gov

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell says Metro Councilman David James, D-6, "should not be allowed to vote" on city matters until he relinquishes his job as a police officer at the University of Louisville.

In a Feb. 26 memorandum to city lawmakers, O'Connell says state law forbids James from holding two offices simultaneously.

The county attorney's office is arguing that as a campus officer and council member, James has taken conflicting oaths.

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3:50 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Louisville Council Democrats' Probe to Possibly Remove Member Involves District 1 Primary Race

Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, and Challenger Jessica Green

An internal probe on whether to remove a Louisville Metro Council Democrat from the majority caucus involves the District 1 primary race.

Earlier this month, Democratic Caucus Chair Vicki Aubrey Welch alleged that a legislative aide for one of the members had been working to defeat an incumbent, which Welch said was in violation of their rules.

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10:31 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Louisville Metro Council Democrats Consider Removing Member, But Won't Say Who or Why

Councilman David James, D-6, and Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, D-13,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The already divided Democratic majority in the Louisville Metro Council is investigating whether to kick a member out of the caucus, but the councilwoman leading the push won't say who the member is.

Caucus Chairwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, D-13, alleged Thursday that a staffer working for one of the Democrats has been working on an election to defeat a sitting member.

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1:03 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Barbara Shanklin Verdict Leads to Leadership Struggle Among Louisville Council Democrats

Councilman David James, D-6, and Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, D-13, are vying for caucus chair.
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The controversial ethics trial for Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has been over for months, but it's still causing infighting among council Democrats.

City lawmakers are meeting Monday afternoon to appoint leadership positions, including council president, party chair and vice-chair.

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10:41 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Eliminates 4 a.m. Alcohol Sales

Credit Creative Commons

After a long and emotional debate, the Louisville Metro Council moved to outlaw alcohol purchases at retail package stores after 2 a.m. by a 15-7 vote.

The ordinance effectively eliminates special licenses allowing sales up to 4 a.m. except for bars and restaurants in an effort aimed at curbing crime and attracting economic development.

Council members kicked the measure back to committee last month over objections to an exemption that would have still allowed beer to be sold up to 4 a.m.

During the council meeting Thursday evening, the debate centered on whether to exempt businesses such as Thortons gas stations, which sell alcoholic beverages but make most of their money on other items.

A committee amendment proposed allowing retailers where non-alcoholic beverages make up less than 50 percent of their revenue to avoid the ban. But supporters of the ordinance argued that would ultimately dilute the measure.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, who sponsored the measure, says the concentration of liquor and convenience stores in her west Louisville district are the source of blight, crime and deter development.

"I have to leave my neighborhood to get the amenities that you enjoy every day," said Hamilton. "We can't get the businesses to locate in our neighborhoods. So we've been trying to clean up our neighborhoods and revitalize our neighborhoods. We've been investing millions of dollars block-by-block, protest letters and I don't know how much else we have to do."

Opponents of the measure included local liquor store owners and convenience chain representatives who said it was unfair to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol after 2 a.m. They also say a liquor ban is a scapegoat and won't address the real problems in the West End or other areas.

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2:57 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Louisville Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton Proposes Ending Liquor Sales After 2 a.m.

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, is proposing an ordinance to end alcohol sales after 2 a.m. at retail package stores as a way to help reduce crime.

But some community activists argue council members are using liquor sales as a scapegoat.

Over two-dozen liquor stores carry special licenses that allow alcohol sales up to 4 a.m., and the vast majority are concentrated in west Louisville.

The bill would exempt businesses such as bars and restaurants, and is likely to affect 24-hour convenience stores.

Hamilton did not respond to our request for comment, but one of the bill's five co-sponsors, Councilman David James, D-6, says police statistics do show a heavy concentration of crime surrounding stores that sell alcohol for extended hours.

"Eighty-nine percent of the businesses that sell alcohol in retail package form after 2 a.m. are located in west Louisville. And around those areas we have a high number of alcohol related criminal offenses," he says.

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1:30 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Louisville Metro Councilman David James Defends Vote in Shanklin Removal Trial

David James talks to reporters on Tuesday.
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

Louisville Metro Councilman David James said he believes Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin "made many mistakes" in the events that led to her removal trial last month, but that she hadn't acted to profit herself or her family.

James spoke to reporters Tuesday to expand on why he voted against removing Shanklin from the Metro Council. 

James, a Democrat whose Sixth District stretches from Old Louisville to the California neighborhood, said he's still found himself discussing the Aug. 1 decision, and he's concerned that race has become an element of those conversations.

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Local News
2:43 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Watch | Neighborhood Leader Confronts LMPD, David James on Victory Park Crackdown

Metro Councilman David James and LMPD Maj. Bill Kristofeck listen to California neighborhood leader Mike Ballard.
Credit Phillip Bailey / WFPL News

Louisville Metro Councilman David James announced on Wednesday a crime crackdown in and around Victory Park in west Louisville. 

As WFPL's Phillip Bailey reported, Louisville Metro Police were using support from James to tackle issues including drugs, firearms and gambling. The councilman was providing $11,000 in neighborhood discretionary funds to pay the overtime costs for officers in the area.

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5:22 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Neighborhood Leader Troubled by Councilman David James' Crime Crackdown in Victory Park

LMPD Major Bill Kristofeck and California neighborhood leader Michael Ballard argue about policing in Victory Park
Credit Phillip M. Bailey/WFPL

Louisville Metro Councilman David James, D-6, joined police officers on a safety walk in the Victory Park area to alert residents about increased enforcement this summer, but neighborhood leaders worry the heavier presence will result in harassment and profiling.

Metro Police knocked on doors throughout the California neighborhood on Tuesday passing out fliers about cracking down on gambling, firearms and alcohol consumption in the park.  The officers will also put a particular focus on drug sales in Victory Park, which has synonymous with a well-known street gang over the years.

Since the late 1990s, members of a group dubbed the Victory Park Crips have been involved in several high-profiled shootings and homicides in the city (here, here, and here) and are known to operate in and around the area.

James says residents are committed to taking back the park from gang members, however.

"Families that live in this area want to be able to be in the park without bad things going on in the park," he says. "They want to be in the park without people drinking in the park; they want to be in the park without people shooting dice in the park; and they want to be in the park without people selling drugs in the park. They want to be able to live in their neighborhood and in safe environment just like everybody else in this community."

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