Read the news and decide if Louisville needs a mayor ready to take seriously climate change.
Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall In Florida Panhandle, With 155-MPH Winds
Kentucky Unlikely To Meet New Climate Change Goal
Image: lower Frankfort Avenue – cement plant under floodwaters
Read the news and decide if Louisville needs a mayor ready to take seriously climate change.
Darcy Costello’s report in the Courier Journal (link below) states well the issue of censorship surrounding the League of Women Voters mayoral forum/s. That censorship must be addressed, but my focus is on Greg Fischer’s failures and the inconsistencies between his statements and his policies. Those failures and inconsistencies deserve a public forum. My vision of reshaping Louisville as the most sustainable city in North America also deserves a public discussion. Greg Fischer has a mantra, “jobs, jobs, jobs” (the Courier Journal has documented the weakness of his economic efforts). But he has no vision of how Louisville will face the challenges of climate change. As climate change alters the economies of the world, the nation, the state and of Louisville, Fischer’s “jobs, jobs, jobs” will evaporate. Greg Fischer is not preparing Louisville to face a low carbon economy. He hides behind his Office of Sustainability and his Chief Resilience Officer without equipping the city to reduce our contribution to climate change. His ‘climate change mitigation’ skirts the need to minimize climate change. Louisville must play a leadership role, leading other cities in slowing climate change. The LWV forum must not be allowed to censor this public discussion by giving Greg Fischer prime time audience as the voice that addresses our most critical issue, climate change, is swept off-line.
The League of Women Voters has un-invited the only mayoral candidate whose ‘sustainability’ voice speaks to the future of our children and grandchildren; the only voice committed to nurturing Earth, and all of us who live on her; the only voice reminding us that Mother Nature neither negotiates nor compromises; the only voice, adamant and confrontive when truth demands, full of feminine compassion. One would think that such voice would resonate with both, the League of Women Voters and with the Louisville Women’s Coalition (which also denied participation of independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green) * . Women, who for generations fought for the vote and a voice, are now denying the only voice in this mayoral race that speaks to the greater women’s issues. This should serve as a warning to any minority group trying to be heard.
Having invited Jackie Green to participate with Fischer and Leet at 7:00 pm on the 16th of October in the mayoral debate (carried by WAVE TV and WFPL), the League is now insisting that he show up at 8:15 pm for a lesser (untelevised, no live radio broadcast) debate.
Jackie Green remains adamantly opposed to the debate change. Segregating the candidates results in damage to open discussion. It assures important issues, such as sustainability, will be lost or green-washed. It bows to the domination of the public sphere by two polarized parties, guaranteeing future “Kavanaugh circuses”. It bows to the domination of the public sphere by two parties determined to jointly stay in control of that sphere.
This new debate format is an exercise in media censorship. Censorship OF the media, whether by government, by business interests, by influential individuals or by powerful groups, is universally condemned in open societies. Media agreeing to the debate format change is censorship BY the media. Too often media censors elections by treating the election as a horse race, calling from the sidelines, giving odds. Media often censors in failing to take an in depth examination of issues and nuances. Much of media, with business interests of its own, censors when candidate positions run counter to advertiser concerns. Media censors when candidate campaigns are unconventional. Media censors when it sensationalizes. Media censors when it does not like the message, bristling at the truth spoken. And media censors when it participates in shutting out important messages and voices.
When media censors elections, elections descend to popularity contests, to tribal expressions (Dems vs Reps), to fundraising contests, to a resignation to a two party system, to photo-op contests, to a poverty of ideas, to fashion contests, to a narrowing of options (current and future),and to a violation of democracy.
Louisville’s future, the world’s future, is at stake in local elections. Let us hope that local media will demand all candidates be allowed to fully participate.
* The Louisville Women’s Coalition (LWC) denied Jackie Green’s request to participate in the forum at the University Club in September. LWC then denied the request that some middle ground be found: a non-mic’ed chair in the corner of the podium, an invitation as special guest,…. Then, when Jackie Green showed up at the forum anyhow, he was told he could not enter beyond the foyer and informed that the doors would be locked as soon as the program began. He stepped outside and spoke there with Courier Journal and WAVE TV reporters.
UN scientists report: we have just 12 years to limit devastating global warming. …”every bit of warming matters, and we’re almost out of time to keep it in check.”
Fischer has Louisville sitting on the railroad tracks, drinking bourbon and ignoring a fast approaching train. Our children need a mayor who can transform Louisville into the most sustainable city in North America. In the transformation Louisville will lead other cities to a brighter future.
Like Norton Commons, Habitat for Humanity’s new housing on the former Lake Louisvilla site is a great idea in the wrong place. And once again, Fischer was there to celebrate the ribbon cutting of yet another mistake. Sure, many Louisville citizens need more affordable housing. But remote new subdivisions, affordable or pricey, are errors. The remote subdivision perpetuates a car dependency that sabotages any attempt to address climate change. That same car dependency is an expense which people with low incomes cannot afford. One unexpected car breakdown can isolate them in their remote subdivision, sending them in a spiral featuring the loss of job, home and even family.
The Habitat Lake Louisvilla subdivision is not serviced by TARC. Public transit is not an option for these low income residents. This is not an argument to extend TARC further, it is already spread too thin. TARC routes should service a smaller urban geography making it possible for urban citizens to live independent of cars.
The new Scholar House at Riverport made the same mistake. Both organizations stress the proximity to jobs. Interestingly, Riverport Scholar House is nowhere near UL, JCTC, Spalding, or Simmons. The job proximity seems to trump the proximity to school. And the jobs are low paying. I met with Habitat personnel in 2010 cautioning them against providing cheap labor to remote business. The seventeenth century Portuguese provided cheap labor to remote economies, slaves to the new world plantations. This is a role TARC should also be wary of. Those remote employers either need to pay their employees more, or provide transportation for their employees.
New remote subdivisions destroy farms, fields, forests and floodplains. They create more need for surface parking lots generating urban heat and flooding. They drain public resources (sewers, roads, and waterlines) and investment that are needed in other areas, the west end being one of those.
Artist Titus Kaphar’s work often confronts the history of slavery and racism in the United States. “If we are not honest about our past, then we cannot have a clear direction towards our future”. On confederate monuments:
“…we are continuing that binary conversation where we’re saying “either keep it up or take it down,”… The binary conversation doesn’t bring all of the issues into consideration. So there’s a third option. The third option is: We engage our contemporary artists of this time. In the same way that the WPA did, we bring in contemporary artists, we have them make sculptures that exist in the communities that they live in, we present those sculptures in the same community squares where these Robert E. Lee sculptures exist, we pull these Robert E. Lee sculptures down from the pedestal, bring them at the same level as these new contemporary works, and we force these works to engage one another. I think one of our challenges is that we sort of consistently try to make public sculpture in a way that it’s a sentence with a period at the end. And inevitably it’s not — it’s a comma, and there should be a clause after that.”
Fischer is stuck with his binary thinking. We need to acknowledge our shared history by putting the monuments in context, not by imposing them on other black communities (Brandenburg and the confederate soldier – to read previous blogs, key ‘monument’ in the search tile at https://www.jackiegreenformayor.org )
To the secretive SCALA group, the secretive Derby guest list and the LMPD Explorer sex secrets, Fischer adds another secret. Insider reports that “Mayor Greg Fischer intends to appeal a judge’s ruling last month that ordered the city to release the incentive proposal it submitted last year to Amazon, which attempted to convince the company to locate its new headquarters in Louisville.”
Will we find out that he offered too much to Amazon as he did in giving OMNI too much city land, city treasure and a free hand in destroying our architectural heritage? His ‘trade secret’ argument falls flat when other cities have released their incentive proposals. But Fischer is intent on spending more money in court to keep his secrets.
A Green administration would have proposed that Amazon come participate in the recreation of Louisville as a sustainable city. We would have invited them to help create Louisville as the most sustainable city in North America. Enough of ‘giving away the store’ to attract investment. Companies who want to play a part in a regenerative vision will invest in a sustainable Louisville. Those looking for a handout can go elsewhere. see (Economic Plan post)
Urban transportation, dominated by polluting, dangerous, oversized vehicles, needs a makeover. Bird scooters and erratic bicycle riders, as long as both stay off sidewalks, are much needed disruptors of the current model of urban transportation. They also make drivers more alert. Disrupting the model creates opportunity to improve the transportation model. Creative disruption is a component of the plan expressed in: Louisville police: It’s too unsafe to stop drivers who run red lights.
While the scooters are welcomed as traffic disruptors, it is unfortunate that those on the ‘wrong’ side of the digital and banking divide cannot use the scooters. It is also unfortunate that the scooters are powered by coal and fracked gas (electric).
The Courier Journal headline (Louisville police: It’s too unsafe to stop drivers who run red lights) brings to mind an element of the Green urban transportation plan.
.1. reduce the length of TARC bus routes to within a ring radiating six (+/-) miles from downtown Louisville
.2. establish dedicated lanes for buses and emergency vehicles within that six mile radius/ring
.3. give buses (and emergency vehicles) the right of way at urban intersections
.4. change one way streets to two way streets
.5. program urban traffic signals to blink yellow or red but never green, resulting in much more cautious drivers
.6. establish a downtown bus depot (one city block surrounded by bus stops of every route), creating easy transfer from any route to any other route in a central location (TARC’s Union Station is too far from the central business district)
If LMPD initiates a policy of not stopping drivers who run red lights, the result will be similar to the results of item .5. above – much greater caution by smart drivers. The unpredictability at intersections might even intimidate less-than-smart drivers to drive smart. Metro should embrace all six elements of the Green transportation plan. A side benefit would be a transformation of land use and a boom in urban neighborhood redevelopment.
David Wicks and I met with the Deputy Mayor, Chief of Staff, LMPD, department heads,… a total of twelve Metro employees in the conference room off the Mayor’s office in December of 2017 to discuss the impound lot. Fifty minutes into the meeting Mary Ellen Wiederwohl said, “Jackie we haven’t heard anything from you.”
The essence of my response:
1 – Do not move the impound lot to any neighborhood if the lot is not aesthetically and environmentally well managed.
2 – Build a tightly controlled, vertical, impound garage paid for by a number of car related measures.
3 – A large impound facility is unnecessary if traffic were reduced and calmed.
Neighborhoods and council members have legitimately taken my first statement farther. None of them understandably want the impound facility in their back yard. On the other hand, none of them have insisted their neighborhoods be car free.
And the city’s response to my second statement? It was rejected as politically unpalatable and requiring that Louisville’s challenge state law (as well as change metro law).
The third statement? Instead of reducing and calming urban traffic; instead of transforming our urban transportation model from car based to public transit based, Fischer is looking for a bigger impound lot.
The Green economic/transportation/land use/neighborhood revitalization plan will make a large impound lot unnecessary, will calm and reduce traffic, and protect neighborhoods and the environment.