Council passes budget, has group hug
In an act of inspired bipartisan love, the Louisville Metro Council passed a budget last Thursday that’s reasonably close to the one Mayor Jerry Abramson proposed roughly a month ago, adding $3.5 million in spending to make a $735 million budget. The vote was 25-1, with Republican Doug Hawkins, who regularly traffics in not-entirely-unfounded-but-sometimes-a-bit-excessive gloom and doubt, casting the lone “nay.”
The Council’s additions include 44 mostly district-based projects, including $75,000 for the Louisville Orchestra, $500,000 to improve entrances at the Zoo and Joe Creason Park, and $450,000 for general road and intersection improvements.
The vote is in stark contrast to last year’s six-hour battle royale, which ended in a vote along party lines. It also suggests the effect that president Kevin Kramer has had on Council politics since he was elected in January. He lauded Rick Blackwell (D-12) and Hal Heiner (R-19), who he appointed chair and vice chair of the budget committee, for this year’s negotiations.
A quieter APCD board?
Mayor Abramson declined last week to reappoint nine-year veteran Carolyn Embry to the Air Pollution Control District Board. Embry, a vocal proponent of the STAR program and director of environmental affairs for the American Lung Association of Kentucky, said Tuesday that she had hoped to be reappointed, but she’d been told not to expect it.
“I think this whole issue should send up a red flag to the public of the
that the business community has on our political process and in particular on our air resources and our control on air pollution in this community,” she said Tuesday.
Chad Carlton, Abramson’s spokesman, said the mayor wants better balance on the board. It’s likewise an attempt to mitigate pressures from the General Assembly, which this year considered a bill to eliminate STAR. “The decision the mayor made was based on what he thought was best to allow us to continue to have local control and move forward with our exceptional efforts to improve air quality in this community,” Carlton said.
Where, oh where, is Gallery 8664?
In advance of its grand opening, Gallery 8664 — 327 E. Market St., which opened at this month’s First Friday Gallery Hop and displays, as artworks, the maps showing Tyler Allen’s and J.C. Stites’s plan for riverfront redevelopment — was featured on www.galleryhop.org. That space is typically reserved for a few galleries at a time, according to Joanne Gonzalez, vice president of creative services for Louisville Central Area, the non-profit organization that oversees the Hop.
LCA asked that Gallery 8664 be removed from the site’s pole position soon thereafter. Gonzalez explained that the placement was the Webmaster’s decision, and the judgment to remove it was procedural, not political.
“We asked that it not be one of the featured galleries on the Web site because we’re really trying to keep the focus on art,” she said via phone on Monday.
LCA is not a government agency, although it works closely with the Abramson administration on matters of downtown development. Abramson is an ex-officio member of LCA’s board of directors.
Stites said in response: “Who’s to decide what is art?
been called ‘more art than science,’ so to have a gallery focused on this issue, and to create a dialogue — that’s the purpose of art, to create a dialogue. It’s frustrating that people would decide that this is not appropriate for that type of dialogue or discussion.”
Keep it weird
Since the first Keep Louisville Weird billboard appeared in November 2003, hundreds of businesses have joined the campaign to promote and retain local, independent commerce in the River City. And while the Weird campaign is merely that, there’s now a Louisville Independent Business Alliance, a more official organization that will, as Weird spokeswoman Leslie Stewart said via e-mail, likely involve some official lobbying component. That may be good news for folks tired of hearing about new chain stores in Louisville’s historic neighborhoods, for example.
Saturday kicks off “Independents Week,” a coordinated national effort through the American Independent Business Alliance, of which LIBA is a member. In honor, ear X-tacy and a boatload of other Weird businesses are throwing a party, more accurately an “Indie Day” celebration that’ll include food, music, sales in all sorts of uniquely Louisville establishments, and, of course, information on how to keep it Weird. It starts at noon. Do yourself a favor and get to know your city a little better. More info at www.earx-tacy.com or 452-1799. —Stephen George
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