FDR & Churchill

In the early months of World War II, both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill labored mightily to mobilize England and the United States to fight Hitler’s Nazis and the Axis powers. Both, Churchill and Roosevelt, led countries grateful to put behind them World War I, and slow to take up arms against another aggressive enemy.

Today, we face an aggressor, an enemy of our own making, global climate instability. Like post World War I England, like isolationist 1940 America, we have been slow to take up arms against this new aggressor.  Unlike Hitler’s Nazis and the Axis powers, our new enemy is proving capable of changing not only the contours of the political map, but also the contours of the very shores of every continent. Like England and the United States of the early 1940s, our success in fighting climate instability depends on the mobilization of business, of industry and of our people. Like the mobilization of World War II, today’s mobilization cannot be half hearted, cannot be just another agenda item. Today’s mobilization must command our entire attention. Like the mobilization of World War II, today’s mobilization will change the way we do business and the way we live. It will also create opportunities to confront and correct the long festering societal ills of racism, consumerism, sexism, economic injustice, and nationalism.

Unlike the mobilization of World War II, our task is not to manufacture bombs. It is not to build and fuel battleships, tanks and airplanes. Rather, our task is to build a new creation. Our task is to nurture creation, to rebuild our cities, to re-educate our people, to renovate housing, to re-imagine energy, to redesign transportation, to reform agriculture, to re-prioritize, to redefine success, to recommit to each other, to revive peace and to renew our spirits. Our task is to build a new creation.

Unlike the early 1940s, we have identified no Winston Churchill, no Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to rally the nations. It may be necessary to begin today’s mobilization at a more organic, grass roots level. Our city leadership, our educational leadership, local business leaders, faith leaders, families and individuals must take up the challenge.  

For the sake of our children, we must embrace mobilization as the only moral, ethical course of action.

FDR Churchill

“Louisville air quality blows”

Louisville makes “federal government’s dirty air list”.
Louisville area drives 33,000,000 miles daily.
Average miles driven per person per day in KY – 38.5.
When will we learn the basics of land use and transportation?


Salt/Surface Parking Lots/Poisoned Water

The water-poisoning salt on surface parking lots at First/Second and Main/Market says so much about land use, lack of respect for water, car dependency, sorry public transit, the lack of bold leadership, etc..  If we would reduce and calm urban traffic, and focus public transit in our urban and near-neighborhood core: 1) the owner of that lot would redevelop the lot vertically for residential and commercial use, 2) less salt (and automotive fluids) would go into the creeks, 3) the city would be cooler in the summer, 4) flooding problems would be fewer, 5) more people and businesses would move back to town, 6) we would be healthier, 7) we would experience fewer wrecks, 8) the city would need a much smaller impound lot, etc..

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Parklands Greenwashing


The preservation and conservation fig leaf hides a nude king.

The Courier Journal recently reported of the Parklands of Floyds Fork’s Oakland Hills project: “The 21st Century Parks Endowment Inc. wants to build more than 900 new homes adjacent to Broad Run Park, the 600-acre jewel at the southern end of the 4,000-acre Parklands of Floyds Park in eastern Louisville…. (The plan will) reduce tree canopy…from 78% to 31%….Metro Councilman Stuart Benson (would) like to see the project remade…for higher speed connecting roads….’Most people would like to get a 35-miles-per-hour road so they can get going.’…Other plans – like Covington by the Park – would require a new sewage pumping station, opening up development to a larger, rural region with smaller roads.”

There is so much wrong with this plan. The first rule of real estate is ‘Location, Location, Location’. If Norton Commons can be said to be a great idea in the wrong place, then Oakland Hills, like the other car dependent residential projects around the Parklands, is a bad idea in the wrong place. The realities of climate instability demand that our cities be more compact, more pedestrian and public transit friendly, less car dependent. Then there are the realities of wealth distribution in Louisville, the east end does not need additional investment. The cheerleaders  of the 4,000 acre park in extreme eastern Jefferson County have long claimed that the Parklands will do for the region what Cherokee Park did for the Highlands – that is, draw investment in expensive housing for the wealthy. Yet, there is outraged denial of the Parklands as a land speculation scheme.

The Parkland visionaries cloaked the project in preservation and conservation language: If conservation and preservation were the goals, then why is tree canopy falling from 78% to 31%?  If conservation and preservation were the goals, why were regulatory measures not put in place to protect the surrounding land from field and forest destroying residential projects? If conservation and preservation were the goals, then why were more plans made to extend road, sewer and water infrastructure that enables greater destruction?  If conservation and preservation are today’s goals, then why are more plans being made to extend road, sewer and water infrastructure that enables greater destruction?

The preservation and conservation fig leaf hides a nude king.


China says no to Louisville’s recycling

It is time to gather local retailers and restaurants for a serious conversation on trash. As of January 1, China is banning “foreign waste”. “It has no value…it is trash.” In a filing with the World Trade Organization the country listed 24 kinds of solid wastes it would ban “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.”
We have long ignored the problem of our consumption and convenience. We must face reality.  It is time to gather local retailers and restaurants for a serious conversation on trash.



Mayor waits on others to open the K&I bridge

K&IIn 2013 the mayor established his lack of commitment to opening the K&I bridge.  “On 13 February 2013 a meeting took place in the offices of the Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation (LWDC).  Participants included personnel from the cities of New Albany, Jeffersonville, Clarksville and Louisville, Congressman Young’s office, Jefferson County Attorney’s office, LWDC, Ohio River Greenway Commission, and others.  There was one agenda item – the K&I bridge.” “The committee’s plan was to produce a document addressing every possible concern that Norfolk Southern might have regarding opening the K&I bridge to human-powered transportation. The planned document was also to address the Kentuckiana River Trail, K&I bridge history, endorsements of opening the bridge, examples of other rail/trail bridges running parallel and harmoniously, the Big Four Bridge success, etc.” “Despite months of meetings, the committee produced nothing more than a one-sheet outline of the document. The committee met on Nov. 1 and established a self-imposed (but long-overdue) deadline of Dec. 2 for unveiling the presentation to the group. It also established a goal of Dec. 16 to present the document to the CEO of Norfolk Southern. The Dec. 2 meeting was cancelled. The 16th pasted.”

At the Nov. 1, 2013 meeting Jackie Green asked: “Is anyone beside me uncomfortable with the fact that we are headed to Norfolk within the next couple of weeks and yet, we don’t have a copy of any page of the proposed document we are taking with us?”  The question was meet with hostility and the group never meet again.  Had the mayor been committed to the project, he would have communicated that commitment and Metro employees would have produced their parts of the document.  https://insiderlouisville.com/metro/tale-two-bridges/  

The analysis is simple. The mayor’s lack of commitment to the west end of Waterfront Park speaks volumes to the railroad. Why should Norfolk Southern open the K&I bridge when Louisville will not invest in the the western reaches of the water front? Four years later, the mayor continues to wait on K&I to make the first move.  https://www.courier-journal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2017/12/25/ohio-river-greenway-transformation/816736001/

Environmental Justice and Solutions

It is great seeing Metro Council members addressing the environmental justice issues around moving the impound facility.  The issue in this instance is a question of NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard. No neighborhood will want a poorly managed eyesore. Two of the factors that come to play in this question include:
….. Metro must not discount retrofitting an existing parking garage as home for the new impound facility. Metro currently claims a garage would be too cramped for the conventional tow truck. A parking garage housed impound facility would use it’s own low profile tractor/skid, not conventional tow trucks. The conventional tow trucks might  deliver and drop off the towed vehicle, but facility’s low profile tractor/skid would move it within the facility.
…. The city must deal with reducing the size of an impound lot by reducing the need for impounding so many vehicles. This can be done by calming and reducing urban traffic. Jackie Green is meeting with Metro employees on 21 December exploring quick and inexpensive measures that will result in urban traffic reduction. The accompanying reduction in impound needs will make finding a new home for a smaller impound facility much easier.
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Allen Ryan, supervisor of the Metro Louisville Police impound lot, walks among the 2,100 cars currently at the site. The capacity of the lot is 1,800 cars. Dec. 11, 2017. (Photo: By Pat McDonogh, The CJ)

Industrial slurry and dust

Why permit the cement plants to needlessly deposit slurry on Frankfort Avenue and Campbell Street? The slurry flows into the sewer (MSD) and makes its way into Beargrass Creek. When the slurry dries it goes airborne as a fine dust (APCD). An on-site concrete truck-wash/material-capture system will keep the slurry on-site. Still, two larger questions loom. First, the cement plant location is in the hundred year floodplain. Secondly, the cement plants are becoming even more out-of-place in the midst of the Butchertown neighborhood, botanical gardens, Waterfront Park, RiverPark Place, the soccer stadium, etc.. A freedom of information act (FOIA) request to APCD (dust) and MSD (ream/pump/dig out the drains and pipes) might be helpful.

If we hope to attract sustainability minded businesses and people, we must prove we are committed.

Dick Tracy, Grand Theft Auto and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Thousand of years ago the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Fifty years ago Dick Tracy had a wristwatch that was also a telephone. Today Grand Theft Auto impounds vehicles in underground garages. Today also, Louisville is trying to move and reform our current impound facility.

Can Louisville calm and reduce urban traffic to reduce the need for impounding, thus reducing the size of the facility needed? Can we design and build or retrofit a parking garage to serve as our impound facility? Can we hang greenery, some of it edible, from the walls of parking garages?