Constipation City

A new study by Ohio State University found that using a simple stool in the bathroom can help with… well, your stool. Seventy-one percent of participants experienced “faster bowel movements,” while 90 percent “reported less straining.” (Google: Squatty Potty)

This could be welcome news to the one in six Americans who suffer from constipation.

Could it help Louisville with its governmental constipation?

The city talks a big game and aspires to greatness, only to find the heartbreak and frustration of inaction and backlogs on important issues.

Our leaders don’t show the, er… intestinal fortitude to be bold.

Our heads say we’re progressive, ambitious, bold and unique. Our guts, however, say, “Eh, let’s not do anything too crazy.”

This is why we’re back to another hearing about the Cherokee Triangle Castleman statue; why Topgolf is still wading through legal challenges; and why the city doesn’t have a meaningful tree ordinance.

It was August when Mayor Greg Fischer declared that the Castleman statue would be removed. His office said it would be done by the end of the year. Fischer’s announcement came after a year of public debate, three vandalisms of the statue, as well as the formation of and policy recommendations by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee.

Today, more than five months after Fischer’s announcement, the Castleman statue remains standing, splattered with orange paint and protest messages. And it has new life, after a neighborhood architectural committee blocked the city’s plan to remove it.

Topgolf faces similar unreasonable obstruction from residents of a neighborhood adjacent to the development site. The City of Hurstbourne is a quarter-mile away from where the entertainment complex intends to go. The median age of residents there is 10 years older than that of the rest of the city and has a median income of nearly three times the city as a whole.

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After dragging the city through several months of hearings in an attempt to obstruct the Topgolf development — ultimately losing overwhelmingly — those residents are using their abundant resources in an effort to kill the project in the courts.

The more outspoken anti-Topgolf residents have repeatedly stated that they are not against Topgolf. They don’t want it in Oxmoor Center. But this is how Louisville always gets in its own way when it comes to progress: “We’re not against progress… just not so close to my house.”

The Walmart project at 18th Street and Broadway, for better or worse, was doomed by the city dragging its feet — allowing community opposition to tangle the development up long enough for the company to reconsider the project entirely.

Then, there’s Louisville’s tree ordinance. The city passed a tree ordinance in 2017 after three years of studies, hearings and input. Unfortunately, it was input from wrong sources, such as Greater Louisville Inc., that won out, resulting in a toothless law that does little to protect trees.

It was such an abject failure that council members — including those behind the first ordinance — introduced a resolution asking the Louisville Metro Planning Commission to propose amendments that would preserve and restore our tree canopy. The Metro Council passed the resolution on Oct. 11, which led to a series of four public hearings in the following two months. The final proposed changes are due to the Metro Council by March 1.

This is all positive, but let’s get real: We knew at least five years ago that the evaporating tree canopy was a problem. Then, we waited a year after the first failed tree ordinance to begin the months-long process of hearings and proposals for a new ordinance.

This is no accident. This is the result of electing pragmatic, moderate Democrats to lead our city. We have confidence that our mayor won’t embarrass us like our loudmouth governor does, er… regularly. We know they will keep things moving forward — albeit moving at a speed slow enough to not threaten our laid-back lifestyle.

But, now, the Metro Council, with the largest class of new members ever, has a chance to be bolder than the generation before it. It can be the generation of Louisville leaders who finally get us moving.

Or, we’re going to have to find room in the budget for some Squatty Pottys.

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