Aug 22, 2006 at 8:44 pm

Tear Sheet Response
I read with interest the story “City Hall 2.0.” (Tear Sheet, LEO Aug. 2) and wondered why no one took the time to ask Metro Council Democrats why they were doing what was done with regard to the Arena project.
For some time now, it has been reported the Mayor saved the Arena deal. He was forced to veto a resolution and then put everything back on track with a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
Metro Council Democrats have been criticized for allegedly giving labor unions too much power and wanting to derail the Arena project.

The critics are an interesting bunch. Their plan seemed to rush the MOA through the Council. They had a “don’t worry, everything is fine” attitude. “We will ask questions later; don’t change anything because any change is a deal-breaker.”

If we had left the original agreement the way it was, then the city could have potentially paid $100 million more than was needed to pay off  the project’s bonds. If that had been the case, there may have been program funding cuts in future years. Then the Council might be blamed for not paying close enough attention to how money for the arena was being spent.

What if a few years down the road, someone noticed that most of the people building the project were from out of state? Or what if there were no minorities or women involved? The Rev. Coleman would be protesting an unfair disadvantage for minorities.

None of this was in the Mayor’s original agreement with the Arena Authority.
So if all of this work by the Council Democrats was so bad and we did not know what we were doing, why was it recycled? The new MOA sent back by the Mayor included nine of the 10 things passed by the Council on July 13. The only thing missing was the PLA and unions negotiating the working conditions for the job.
Someone needed to ask questions; we did. We were beaten up for it. It is better to be beaten up now because we saved money and secured local jobs than be chastised for just being a rubber stamp.
This not an “us” against “him” issue when it comes to the Mayor.
As for re-election, there are 15 people here at old City Hall more than willing to walk a neighborhood in support of this Mayor. Together, we can move this great city forward.
Tony Hyatt, Communications Director
Majority Caucus Louisville Metro Council

Note: Tony Hyatt’s title is correctly stated here; in a separate story last week, LEO incorrectly identified him as the Director of the Majority Caucus. That title actually applies to Kenya McGruder. LEO regrets the errors.

Swift is Needed
I want to set the record straight about the Swift Packing in Butchertown. A very few Butchertown residents are spreading lies about Swift and our members, and it has to stop. Most of our neighborhood is very supportive of keeping good jobs in Butchertown, but these few are trying to cause enough trouble to drive Swift out. If they succeed, they keep their “historic” (yuppified) butchers’ homes, but hundreds of working jobs right here and now will be gone. So this is to set the record straight.

1. Swift is not “expanding,” as one recently complained. Swift is landlocked; it is not building more hog-processing capacity.
2. Swift is not bringing more noisy trucks through a quiet neighborhood. The same number of trucks will continue to run. But now, with the city’s approval, the trucks will run a safer, quieter route and will be parked far away from residences.
3. These few complainers don’t care about our jobs. A recent complainer said candidly that Swift should relocate out of Butchertown away from his historic home. They know that if Swift leaves Butchertown, it may not stay near Louisville. It definitely won’t stay in town. But they don’t care.
4. Most Swift members live and work in town; some ride the bus to work. Most meatpacking in America is way out in the country in a new plant off an interstate exit. If the complainers succeed, Swift will leave its historic Butchertown home, and it won’t come back. They’ll leave behind hundreds of working people.
Swift members of our union are black, white, Latino, African, Bosnian and on and on. They speak more than a dozen languages. They do a tough job to put food on America’s tables. For that, they get union wages, health care and pension, the best in their industry.

Think about how much our city pays to create hundreds of good-paying jobs. The butchers aren’t asking the people of this city for even a dime in order to keep hundreds of jobs. We just want support. Tell the complainers to leave the butchers alone, so that the butchers can stay in Butchertown.
Gary K. Best, president, Local 227 UFCW

Bus Over Light-Rail
In response to Cary Stemle’s “Smart is as smart does” analytical news report (LEO, Aug. 9): Smart Growth advocates in Metro Louisville must abandon the fascination of some — such as Eighth District Councilman Tom Owen — for light-rail. Advocates of a Smart Growth development strategy in Metro Louisville need to adopt a BUS-ONLY strategy. Owen’s advocacy of a super costly Sellersburg, Ind., to Shepherdsville, Ky., light-rail project makes absolutely no sense.

It is fair to state that either adapting the Third Street bridge to accept light-rail, or to build a new light-rail bridge crossing the Ohio River would make this Tom Owen proposal far more costly than the ill-fated TARC light-rail scheme that was abandoned in May 2004. Given Metro Louisville’s scattered, sprawling and low-density development over the past 50 years, the smart transportation policy that needs to be accepted by Smart Growth advocates is that of vastly improving TARC’s bus service using 21st-century technology such as computer-generated routing and passenger call-ins, and a system of mini-buses or jitneys.

At a time when neo-conservative Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is advocating the “privatization” of just about everything government does — he has already leased Indiana’s state highways to a foreign consortium to run as a for-profit toll road system — the Tom Owen fascination with light-rail makes progressives and advocates of Smart Growth look dumb.

Advocates of Smart Growth cannot afford to appear dumb given the political clout of Gov. Daniels. We must accept a bus-only transportation strategy to go along with our Smart Growth urban development strategy.
David E. Blank

No Moss in This City

Great news for the City of Louisville! On Sept. 29, the Legendary Rolling Stones will be playing at the Legendary Churchill Downs. Only another Legendary event that Churchill will be hosting for our Legendary city. I’m sure that Churchill will see to it that the ticket process will be as smooth as it is for the Derby. By the way, I need tickets! Anybody know how I can get in touch with the Legendary Bruce Gumer?
J. Evans

Geezer Rock
As a fellow writer, I highly respect Billy Reed’s knowledge of sports, but if his recent column, “Where has the music gone?” (LEO, Aug. 9), is any indication, he knows absolutely nothing about today’s music scene.
During the 30-plus years I’ve been immersed in music, both as a performer and music critic, I have never witnessed such instant availability of music of all styles and time periods.

Retro is everywhere. I was in the mall the other day getting a haircut and the piped-in music was Oliver Nelson’s jazz classic “Stolen Moments.” On another day it was Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.” That kind of thing didn’t happen back in 1966. To hear that music then, I might have to go as far away as Chicago or New York or special order a disc at a local record store.

The Internet has totally changed the world we live in. Wake up, Billy. You don’t have to listen to Top 40 radio in 2006. Great music is only a mouse click away on Internet Radio. Ever listen to WWOZ Radio’s free streaming channel in New Orleans? It would do you good.

Right here in Derby City the Jazz Factory nightclub has featured recently some of the best singers in America today, such as Little Jimmy Scott, Kevin Mahogany and our very own Gail Wynters performing the songs of Cole Porter, Gershwin, Harold Arlen and the like. Music “that reminds you of what it’s like to be in love on a soft and starry summer night ...” to use Billy’s words. Where were you, Billy? I didn’t see you in the audience. But I did see a lot of young, sophisticated, hip people I hope never get as old as you.

And please don’t shortchange the new music that is coming out of the hearts and minds of today’s youth. Wake up, Billy, and give it a chance. It will keep you young.
Danny O’Bryan