During the campaign, Mayor Greg Fischer used social networking to relay his message to voters. But the real Greg Fischer is not behind a satirical Twitter account in his name that’s taking humorous swipes at the mayor himself.
On Facebook, the mayor’s official page is updated regularly with pictures of meetings and information about city services. Like many politicians, Fischer uses the Internet to communicate with citizens while bypassing an increasingly critical local media.
“Greg does some of the updating, and the communications office does some,” mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter said in an interview last week. “We are not yet using Twitter. We find Facebook a better way to communicate because you can post pictures.”
While campaigning, Fischer used Twitter — which does allow users to post pictures along with instant messages — but he took a post-election hiatus from tweeting.
In response, an anonymous joker hijacked Fischer’s title to create a spoof Twitter account — @mayorfischer — lampooning the Louisville businessman-turned-mayor, taking jabs at his personality and wealthy background.
The page bio claims Fischer is “reinventing Louisville, one beverage dispenser at a time” and features a picture of former Mayor Jerry Abramson menacingly pointing his finger in his face.
“Since I’m not as well known as the last guy, I plan to use this page to display my personality,” one tweet reads. “Yes, I have one.”
The page gained around 60 followers after only a few days and quickly became a hit among observers, with a number of funny conversations between the faux mayor and local reporters, activists and citizens. With a public relations nuisance nabbing the best available name, the Fischer administration has since decided to jump on Twitter — @louisvillemayor — but the fake page remains more popular.
“Surprised my staff did not already reserve @mayorfischer for me,” the fake mayor tweeted on Jan. 26. “Glad I picked it up before some troublemaker did.”
In an effort to promote economic development, Councilman David James, D-6, introduced a resolution that would legalize live entertainment in the Old Louisville and Limerick neighborhoods.
Since 2002, the city has forbidden live music in the area due to its designation as a traditional neighborhood zoning district. The freshman councilman says the prohibition has forced some businesses out of the district and kept others away.
“I don’t know if it was an oversight or what, but since merger, people in the district have wanted to have it done,” James says. “I’ve been told it’s holding the neighborhood back, and I view it as a way to modernize the district by changing the zoning district law to legally allow the playing of piano at a nice restaurant, for example.”
The change would allow clubs, bars and other businesses to have live bands and entertainers perform. It specifically requests that the Metro Planning Commission review any changes, hold a public hearing regarding the amendment, and forward its findings to Metro Council for final approval. James hopes the ban will be lifted by summer.
For the past few years, various neighborhood associations have been trying to amend the regulation that many believe is outdated. There has been a question over whether live entertainment can peacefully co-exist with homeowners in Old Louisville, but no residents have voiced any concern thus far.
In addition to attempting to amend Metro regulations, James has reached out to LGBT students at University of Louisville, where he has offered to participate in the school’s annual charity drag show.
Following the November murder of Sullivan University student Andrew Compton, James, a U of L police officer, met with members the LGBT student group commonGround to talk about the dangers of online dating. When the presentation ended, the former Louisville Fraternal Order of Police president asked what more he could do to help.
The students suggested he join other university staff and faculty in participating in the “Making Change” fundraiser for Pink, their annual drag show scheduled for April 2.
“The idea is to pick people who the community would like to see and would think it was fun to see them do something they wouldn’t normally do,” says Brian Buford, director of the university’s Office for LGBT Services. “Luckily, they had a sense that David was somebody who’d get a kick out of it. I think he really cares about the students and just wants to help them, and doesn’t mind the possibility that he’ll have to make a fool out of himself for a greater good.”
Through Feb. 26, James and other participants are collecting donations, with dollar bills counting as negative points and coins as positive points. Donation buckets with the would-be drag queens names are located across the Belknap campus; the one with the most points will have to strut on stage in drag.
“I’ve always helped people in my law enforcement capacity, and now I get to help them in a different way. It’s pretty cool,” James says. “I’ve never done it before. I’m hoping I get lots of dollar bills. Just don’t show up with a dump truck full of coins.”