Mayor Greg Fischer

Strange Fruit
10:39 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Strange Fruit: Rob Portman for Marriage Equality; Trevor Hoppe on the Criminalization of HIV

It's been a week full of political news on the LGBTQ front, so we asked WFPL's political editor, Phillip M. Bailey, to join us for our Juicy Fruit segment this week and help us talk through some of the finer points of these issues. Here in Kentucky, we've been watching and waiting to see what Governor Beshear would do with House Bill 279, the so-called 'religious freedom' bill that would let people ignore civil rights laws that go against their religious beliefs. 

On Monday, we learned the city of Covington had joined the chorus of those opposing the bill and urging a veto. Covington Mayor Sherry Carran sent Beshear a letter warning the bill could "do harm and will present a poor image of our state to progressive professionals and companies who understand and appreciate the value of diversity and open-mindedness."

Naturally, opponents of the bill in Louisville then collectively turned their heads and raised an eyebrow at our own Mayor Greg Fischer, and on Tuesday he sent a letter of his own to the capitol, saying the law was unnecessary. "We don’t need this proposed law, full of ambiguity and question, to prove our religious freedom and protect our citizens from some perceived threat. We have plenty of laws and a Constitution adopted by our citizens that provide us ample protections—no matter our faith, our profession, or our other rights and traits as human beings."

Indeed, on Friday, Governor Beshear did veto the bill, and now it comes down to whether the General Assembly will override the gubernatorial veto—which it appears to have enough votes to do.

In national news, Senator Rob Portman became the first GOP senator to publicly support marriage equality for LGBTQ folks. He revealed this week that he changed his mind on the issue because his son is gay. Hillary Clinton also released a video statement this week voicing her unequivocal support of same gender marriage, saying "Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

But Phillip, who covers politics full time, didn't have the same warm fuzzy feelings as many did over these announcements. He pointed out that Senator Portman has known his son is gay for two years, and that Clinton is widely rumored to be planning a run for president in 2016. So the cynical observer could see these moves as exactly that: PR maneuvers, carefully timed for maximum political advantage.

Jaison, so often the voice of activism and idealism on our show, preferred the less cynical explanation. "Are there any politicians who do the right thing just for the sake of doing it?" We'll let you listen for the discussion that followed.

Earlier this month we mentioned in a Juicy Fruit segment that people in Michigan were suffering legal consequences for supposedly-confidential HIV tests. To learn more, we called Trevor Hoppe. He's a graduate student at the University of Michigan who's studying sexuality, medicine, and the law. Trevor told us there are indeed cases of no- or very-low-risk behavior on the part of HIV-positive folks being treated like deliberate endangerment in the eyes of the law.

He says the criminalization of these seemingly-innocuous acts is a method of social control that has little to do with actually protecting public health. "I think it's just another way that HIV-positive people face a particular kind of stigma, despite the fact that there's no risk in these cases. It's not about that. It's about punishing HIV-positive people as much as the law can facilitate."

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Local News
12:08 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Greg Fischer: Investment Needed to Boost U.S. Skilled Manufacturing Workforce

Manufacturing in GE's Appliance Park in Louisville.
Credit General Electric Pressroom

A rebound in U.S. manufacturing is being inhibited by a lack of skilled workers, Mayor Greg Fischer told a Brookings Institution forum on Tuesday.

Speaking in Washington, Fischer recommended investments in high schools, middle schools and technical colleges for training a new workforce. More investment was also needed to promote manufacturing as an attractive career path, he added.

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Local News
12:32 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Louisville Should Develop South Fourth Street Corridor, Urban Land Institute Fellows Say

Courtesy of the Urban Land Institute

Visiting fellows from the Urban Land Institute have laid out plans for improving Louisville’s Fourth Street corridor and say the city should focus efforts first on the area they call SoBro — between downtown and Old Louisville.

There are four main sections to the corridor: downtown Louisville, SoBro (south of Broadway), Old Louisville and University of Louisville/Churchill Downs. Louisville’s challenge: How can Louisville create an identity for, improve connections between, and foster desired development along the diverse districts of the Fourth Street corridor?

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Local News
9:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer 'Leaning Toward' Running for Second Term

Mayor Greg Fischer

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says he's leaning toward running for a second term — and he will not run for the U.S. Senate again.

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Local News
7:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Downtown Louisville a Good Spot for Casino, Mayor Greg Fischer Says

Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Downtown Louisville would benefit from casinos, Mayor Greg Fisher told WFPL on Thursday.

The market would determine where a casino would be built — but downtown Louisville seems like a logical spot, Fischer told WFPL's Gabe Bullard during an interview.

"That could change a whole lot of the dynamics downtown," Fischer said.

It's "premature" to discuss precisely where a casino may be built in downtown Louisville — or anywhere else — because they're not legal in Kentucky, said Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter, responding to a series of follow-up questions.

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Local News
11:30 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer Talks NBA, Violence Prevention, Charter Schools and More

Greg Fischer
Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

In an interview broadcast live Thursday on WFPL, Mayor Greg Fischer covered a broad array of topics —violence prevention, charter schools, the NBA and more.

You can listen to a podcast of the interview below, and we'll have more stories Wednesday morning on a couple of specific topics. Here are some of the other highlights.

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Local News
10:48 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Heitzman Named Permanent MSD Director

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has appointed Greg Heitzman to be the permanent executive director of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

Heitzman, who’s also president of Louisville Water, has been MSD’s interim executive director since a leadership shakeup at the agency over the past year.

Fischer says Heitzman will oversee the potential merger of MSD and Louisville Water.

This story will be updated.

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11:15 am
Tue October 16, 2012

New Ordinance Aims to Hold Banks Responsible for Vacant Properties

Foreclosed properties near the site of Tuesday's announcement of the new ordinance.

City leaders plan to create a new registry to help the city better track vacant properties and ensure they're maintained.

The city has over 16,000 abandoned properties. In some neighborhoods, up to a third of the houses are vacant. A proposed ordinance would create a city registry to track foreclosed properties and levy fines on banks that are not following regulations. Whenever banks foreclose on a home, they'll be required to give the city notice and information on who is responsible for maintaining the property. 

“Generally, once the banks acknowledge that they are responsible for the properties they do a pretty good job of maintaining the properties. The ones where we have a lot of issues are when it’s in this no man’s land where we’re still fining and still citing a property owner who has already walked away from the property,” says Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, who is sponsoring the ordinance. 

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Local News
4:04 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Fischer, Other Mayors Push Congress for Action on Fiscal Cliff

Spending Cuts
The Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is among several municipal leaders from across the country pushing Congress to act now to address the upcoming fiscal cliff.

Several measures will take effect or expire at the end of the year, and if Congress doesn't act, $100 billion in spending cuts and $380 billion in tax increases will hit simultaneously. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, of which Fischer is a member, has sent congressional leadership a letter urging them to act.

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Local News
10:05 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Mayor's Office To Relocate for Idea Festival

The Louisville mayor’s office will relocate to the Kentucky Center for the Arts this week in conjunction with the Idea Festival. Mayor Fischer’s staff will operate from an IdeaHub set up in the lobby of the Kentucky Center starting Wednesday. They’ll remain there throughout the festival, which continues through Saturday.

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