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More Arena Puzzle Pieces
• The cost of moving the LG&E substation is $74 million — $63 million from taxpayers, $11 million from EON.
• There have been two prior rulings on utility rates of LG&E by the Kentucky Public Service Commission since 2000. The first was an adverse ruling against LG&E mandating that rates be reduced $63 million (there’s that pesky number again). This reduced the stock price 40 percent, which allowed it be taken over by EON (Google LG&E, $63 million and click on Lane Report, March 2000).
• Later, the second action by the Kentucky PSC was to allow LG&E a $43 million increase. LG&E had requested an increase of $63 million. (It seems someone at Third and Main has a fixation on the number $63 million — maybe someone who threw a huge hissy fit over the original $63 million reduction?)
• Though positioned as “a cost of doing business” for the LG&E arena site, moving a facility 30 yards at a cost of $63 million registers on the balance sheet of EON as a tremendous windfall. According to the reports in 2000, $63 million represented 40 percent of LG&E’s net revenues at the time. Imagine the effect of the $63 million on EON’s balance sheet.
• EON admits twice in the minutes of the Louisville Arena Task Force that their $11 million cost to move the substation will be paid by utility users through an increase in utility rates, and that they must go to the Kentucky PSC to get that increase. In one of those statements, EON says the $11 million increase will be part of a request to the PSC (the statements are made in the minutes of the Finance Committee before and Task Force meeting of Sept. 6, during questions from State Rep. Larry Clark).
• What do you think EON’s chances are for a rate increase if the arena is contingent upon it?
Mr. Reed, great job on reporting! You were right. This whole thing was concocted in Ed Glasscock’s office protected by attorney-client privilege.
Nailene Hines Lodder
Bingham and Ethics
When I think of Barry Bingham Jr., the first word that comes to mind is ethics. My hunch is that everyone else makes this association, too.
A few years ago, I read some back issues of Bingham’s old ethics newsletter “Fineline” and found them packed with fascinating case studies. The ethical dilemma that seemed to come up most often was about what to do when a victim’s right to privacy conflicts with the public’s right to know. What information should you hold back out of respect for a victim’s family, if any? How long should you hold onto it? When you absolutely must invade a family’s privacy, are you serving the greater public good or just selling newspapers?
It appeared to me that Bingham trusted his own judgment in these matters. But, he wasn’t so sure of the media conglomerates. When he criticized them, I had a feeling that fundamental ethical questions like these were not far from his mind.
Clearing Up Yarmuth
Please allow me to clarify a point made by C-J columnist David Hawpe in his March 19 piece “Whither congressional politics, here and elsewhere.” Hawpe mentions in passing that “someone called the paper to complain that Yarmuth made a campaign appearance at drug court graduation.” John Yarmuth was the keynote speaker at the Family Drug Court graduation on Thursday, March 16, as a noted author and public figure, not as a candidate. Yarmuth and I made this distinction. Indeed, in my introduction of Yarmuth, I stated that his appearance in no way represented an endorsement of his candidacy.
Numerous elected officials, including Congresswoman Anne Northup and other prominent members of the community, have been invited to be keynote speakers at past Family Drug Court graduations over the past three years, and several have accepted.
Eleanore Garber, Jefferson Family Court Judge
Bury the Swords
As long as “an eye for an eye” dominates Middle East thought and behavior, there is little hope of peaceable solutions to Iraq’s civil war. The eye-for-an-eye philosophy is devoid of love and is not a part of God’s plan for the human family worldwide. If the world hopes to thrive and survive, Holy War between Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists must be avoided. It is time to bury the sword and put on the mantle of transforming love that should be taught and preached in churches, synagogues and mosques everywhere.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
I see that 64,000 residents of Metro Louisville will receive a notice that our property tax assessments are going up, again. I may be getting senile, but it seems only yesterday I received the very same notice.
The article also noted that Jefferson Property Valuation Administrator John May will be reassessing close to 10,000 commercial properties that were last reassessed in the 1990s. May said he had “no idea” why it has taken so long to reassess these properties. I have an idea.
The bottom line is this. Our suburban tax rates are going up again. We in suburbia will still be stuck with substandard volunteer fire departments. We’ll still be paying for trash pick-ups. We’ll still have a police chief who seems to think his under-paid and over-worked officers should be shot first and ask questions later; and a mayor who thinks it’s perfectly all right for the urban firefighters to work out of dilapidated fire houses. This wasn’t the spiel we heard during the merger campaign.
Meanwhile, over at 700 Central Ave., beer is $6 a pop, $5 hotdogs are common, the stench from $50 cigars (Churchill Downs is also exempt from the smoking ban) permeates the air and locals need not apply for admittance on Derby Day, Churchill Downs sits on a property tax exemption that the former Board of Alderman so generously allowed them. That’s right, Churchill Downs does not pay a penny in property taxes.
Recently, Tom Meeker, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc. — in a dispute with state legislators over casino gambling — threatened to move Churchill’s corporate headquarters out of Louisville. Maybe it’s time for the Metro Council and mayor to take a closer look at Churchill’s tax exemption.