What will/should happen 
in 2019?

Good, bad or embarrassing, much of the future is predictable.

Amazon and Walmart— the wealthiest companies in the world — still won’t pay employees livable wages. Elon Musk will be the first person to live on Mars, and Donald Trump will be the first president removed from the White House.

The crystal ball for Louisville and Kentucky is foggier. Here’s a look at what will happen and what should happen in 2019.

Public pensions:

What will happen?
In a move that surprised everyone (including lawmakers), Gov. Matt Bevin called a special session to fix the pension crisis. Some believe he couldn’t wait until January because of his humiliation from his defeat before the state Supreme Court on the issue. We know it was because he might not have had the votes when the new General Assembly gavels in next month. [Ed. note: This piece was written before the legislature rebuked the governor by adjourning the special session some 24 hours in, saying the issue was too complicated and would be reconsidered during the regular session.]

So, will he and the Republican legislature present a reform bill that follows the rules and laws of a democratic system? They will have to be transparent by holding hearings and considering amendments. And, they will have to endure the public protests and ridicule that they tried to evade last year by passing the bill without debate or enough time for anyone to read it.

Maybe the legislature will pass something that fixes a quarter of the problems, while the remaining three-quarters are kicked down the road, reneging on its promises to public employees to provide pensions. Bevin will complain and blame others. He may even stamp a symbolic veto on it, which will only be overridden by the legislature, which will be done with Bevin’s antics and his efforts to use Kentucky as a step stool to run for higher office.

What should happen?
The state should find ways to raise the revenue it needs. This means legalizing marijuana, casinos and sports betting. Economically these would help fix the pension, while, socially they already exist on the Ohio River or black market.

Metropolitan Sewer District:

What will happen?
Mayor Greg Fischer and the Metro Council will more or less fund the $4.2 billion, 20-year plan MSD to rebuild and modernize its aged system. And we will all pay more every time we turn on the faucet. This proposal got caught in the politics of an election year, but, now the mayor and council can get it done.

What should happen?
The plan should be funded, and the work should begin immediately — the longer we wait, the more it will cost. MSD needs to be held to an unprecedented, high accountability standard. The city cannot raise the price on a core public resource without ensuring that the project is necessary and no one is getting rich on our backs.

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Homeless:

What will happen?
The city is providing funding to help the homeless this winter. But no profound, permanent solution will come from the yearlong task force, so next November or December, more homeless people will die from exposure.

What should happen?
The city should open its properties and abandoned buildings and work with businesses, individuals and charities to provide housing year-round. Caring for the homeless, including housing, mental counseling and medical care, costs less than it does to leave them on the streets. That’s not alternative facts: That’s math.

Gun violence:

What will happen?
A lot of people are going to be shot, killed or wounded next year. Bevin and others will disrespect gun violence victims and their families by sending thoughts and prayers, while preventing any possible action to prevent future shootings.

What should happen?
A lot should happen. Republicans should stand up for what’s right and not the Russian-backed NRA. Stop hiding behind empty clichés and listen to reason. The state legislature should allow Louisville to enact its own gun regulations, after Mayor Fischer and the Louisville delegation press their case in Frankfort.

(P.S., None of that will happen, either.)

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth will drop the hammer on the federal budget:

What will happen?
Yarmuth (LEO’s founder and my dad) will become the chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee (…which comes with a hammer/gavel). He will hold committee hearings that we’re not used to seeing from the Budget Committee, including on Medicare for all, climate change, artificial intelligence and more.

Plus, he will call the committee to order with gavel made from a bourbon barrel by Brown-Forman.

What should happen?
That… that’s hard to top. •

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