Culture Maven: Now on to the real issues …

Mar 14, 2006 at 8:19 pm

Indy has the Final Four.

Louisville has the Fateful Four. Political issues, that is.

The former means little in this hoops post-season of our discontent. Because of that, many locals have been forced into actually thinking about governance. Tradition be damned. There is more on our minds than bracketology. The Final Four are yet to be determined.

The Fateful Four are clear and omnipresent: The arena. The mayor’s race. The congressional election. The bridges and 8664.

This arena debate seems to be on everybody’s mind. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to stay out of the fray. (That this paper has been all over the issue makes that decision a no-brainer.)

So I’m heeding the advice of my brethren. The other week in Freedom Hall’s media room, I started to needle a local sports columnist about his position on the location of the proposed facility. A chorus of the fourth estate immediately shouted me down. The room was declared an arena-free zone.

So, too, this column. Which is why, when an interested professional in town called the other day, claiming to be in possession of certain pertinent documents never shown to the committee, I referred him on to others here at LEO who have made the issue an obsession.

The only (and last) thing I’ll say is this. If they build it — if — they will come. Next. It is understandable, I suppose, that folks think my finger is on the pulse beat of the Yarmuth for Congress campaign. John did found this rag. I’ve been fortunate enough to grace these pages almost from the beginning. Plus, we both matriculated at Atherton at roughly the same time. We go back.

But … here’s what I’m trying to say. I wasn’t consulted before John made his reasoned decision to run. I did encourage him by e-mail to do so. I have not been involved with his campaign. Which decision has nothing to do with any reluctance to support him. I heartily do so.

John is bright, articulate and, most important, committed. Committed both to his humanitarian ideals and to this campaign. If allowed, he (and his primary opponent, Andrew Horne, for that matter) will raise the level of political discourse beyond the vituperative barbs that have become the norm in this DeLayan era.

My fear is that the incumbent’s monied media machinery will maliciously and dishonestly portray Yarmuth as some pornographic commie baby killer. How the elephants will choose to swift-boat Andrew Horne’s exemplary military background, should he best Yarmuth in the primary, will be a sorry sight to see.

No matter that neither will have immediate access to the McConnell pork giveaway, either of these fellows will be a vast improvement over the current office holder to represent the 3rd District.

As for the mayor thing, it seems obvious to most observers that Hizzoner For Life Abramson’s current term has been a weary one. Abramson is an intelligent, hard-working, honest fellow. He’s surrounded by good people.

Yet his present go-round has been devoid of innovation. It seems stale as day-old produce. Sure, there was lots of organizational stuff to deal with after the merger, but that’s not really a good excuse. These guys kind of put it on cruise control, gliding along on the goodwill of laurels from the past.

That said, another term is the only reasoned choice for Louisville.

Hopefully, Abramson will be invigorated by a spirited campaign and kick it up a notch. His opponent is a Mitch marionette.

Which brings us to this whole 8664 idea. I’d love to see the expressway dismantled between the Kennedy Bridge and Ninth Street. I don’t think it will happen, but let’s give it a run. When it comes to concreting downtown, more is certainly less.

Most heartening about this movement is the rise of a new class of dedicated young turks. (This includes a number of parties in the arena debate.) These guys and gals are the future of our city and our city government.

It’s the strongest showing of young whipper-snappers since Todd Hollenbach and J. Bruce Miller, while still wet behind the ears, hijacked county government from the old-timers at All Wool & A Yard Wide Democratic Club.

What this town hasn’t seen in a long time is an influx of new political ideas. The 8664 crowd is a harbinger of a changing of the guard. Despite Hizzoner For Life’s moniker, should Abramson win the election, this will be his last term of office. He and John Yarmuth are sixtysomethings.

It is comforting to know there is new blood a-boiling.