Issue July 17, 2006

City Strobe

Eyesore: photo by Stephen George: Address: 1343 S. Brook St. Size: 2,798 sq. ft. Value: ,050. Built: 1900. Owner: C. Bold LLC. Status: Currently being rehabilitated; owner declined comment.
Eyesore: photo by Stephen George: Address: 1343 S. Brook St. Size: 2,798 sq. ft. Value: ,050. Built: 1900. Owner: C. Bold LLC. Status: Currently being rehabilitated; owner declined comment.

2010: A city odyssey?
According to the nonprofit Greater Louisville Project, making this city a better place to live for all of its citizens doesn’t rest on mounting huge pictures of prominent Louisvillians who don’t live here anymore or building an arena.

Last Wednesday, in the project’s “community conversation” with business, nonprofit and political leaders (including Mayor Jer), presenters explained there is no panacea for the city’s ills, which include: a shrinking middle class; a lack of high-skill, high-wage jobs, and urban sprawl that disperses jobs and homes outside the city core.

To counter these, GLP set out three goals for the city to reach by 2010: 1) bolster education and, specifically, add 10,000 people ages 25 to 34, with bachelor’s degrees; 2) add 15,000 professional and technical jobs, thereby increasing median family income; and 3) make Jefferson County a regional hub by being home to the majority of the region’s residents and jobs.

Inspiration sprung from a 2002 report, “Beyond Merger: A Competitive Vision for the Regional City of Louisville,” which GLP completed with the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit policy research group based in Washington, D.C.
Last week’s conversation was the first of many GLP plans with community groups and businesses. Mary Griffith, vice chairman of National City Bank of Kentucky and chairman of the Downtown Development Corp., offered a caveat: “The great enemy is complacency and self-congratulatory tendencies.”
For more information, visit www.greaterlouisvilleproject.com or www.brookings.edu. —Elizabeth Kramer

Rubbertown on need-to-know basis
with Stink, Danger

The sum total of hours I’ve spent in Rubbertown, Louisville’s most toxic neighborhood, is about minuscule — in total, about two, one of which was last Thursday, when REACT — Rubbertown Emergency ACTion — held a press conference to demand a better notification system for when incidents occur at chemical and industrial plants in the neighborhood.

By the time I returned to LEO, around 11 a.m., I had a headache and sore throat. The pungent combination of stenches is overwhelming, like sucking on the end of a freshly lit match. We were at Christine Jones’ house, at 41st and Algonquin, right around the corner from Zeon Chemicals, whose last spill was June 29.

REACT and neighborhood residents say the current system, which includes mass phone calls, sirens, and radio and TV warnings, is inadequate and enlisted too infrequently.

Cochran wants a community task force formed to develop a solution. She said REACT plans to start lobbying the Metro Council in August.

A short list of those not present at the press conference: any representative from the Air Pollution Control District, Metro Health Department, Metro Emergency Management Agency, any other Metro Government agency or any chemical company in the area. On Tuesday, Cochran said REACT has not heard from anyone in these offices. —Stephen George

Hippies, aliens penetrate
Hoosier defenses

When the Department of Homeland Security asked states to list potential terror targets for its anti-terrorism database, Indiana went hog wild. Also Amish wild, popcorn wild, coffin wild and Wal-Mart wild. Listing 8,591 potential terror targets, including a Pork Festival, a casket company, several Wal-Marts and a popcorn field on the outskirts of Bumphuck, those scaredy-cat Hoosiers came in with more targets than any other state, including such self-effacing places as New York, California and Florida. Kentucky listed 1,123 potential targets.

The anti-terrorism database is what famously helped Louisville land what some Yankees saw as a disproportionate increase in Homeland Security funding (LEO, June 7), making it easier to fight would-be popcorn-field bombers in this state. Asked if the database is, like, totally retarded, George Foresman — the department’s undersecretary for preparedness — told The New York Times that the database is just one of many sources used to determine grants.

Wondering what on earth Indiana isn’t trying to protect from terrorists — or, more likely, just doesn’t know about? Evidently this: Hundreds of social activists from around the country gathered near Paoli last week for a “Freedom From Oil Action Camp,” sponsored by the Ruckus Society (www.ruckus.org). The happy campers held five days of talks on how to wean America from its oil jones and, possibly, how to serpentine some blue into a really red state.

So, is all this silliness making Hoosier crop fields safe from invasion? It would appear not. A mysterious crop circle turned up in a wheat field in Huntingburg, Ind. Check out the story and photos at www.earthfiles.com. —Jim Welp

Don’t be afraid to find us here: citystrobe@leoweekly.com