Many thanks to Justin Mog and Forward Radio for this interview.
The space enclosed behind this sign is a playground for students at Brown School on First Street. Beyond the far fence and visible on either side of the sign are two homeless shelters. Do we want our kids exposed to this? Can we establish an officially sanctioned homeless campground? Is it acceptable for our commons to be trashed?
Many of the homeless are not from Jefferson County. Can we accompany them to Frankfort to lobby for state funding of urban homeless shelters?
Fischer’s refusal to discuss violence de-escalation with the leadership of CLOUT is yet another reason he should not occupy the mayor’s office. Louisville needs a mayor who will lead in de-escalating violence. Louisville’s mayor should reject the presence of firearms in our public spaces and insist that LMPD officers leave their firearms in cruisers until needed. Officers can retreat when faced with potential danger, giving everyone time to defuse tension. (A recent study of the 25 most dangerous jobs in America, published in USA Today, rated police officers at #14, behind pilots, roofers, garbage and recycling collectors, iron workers, truck drivers, farmers and ranchers, loggers, construction workers, landscapers, and mechanics. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/careers/2018/01/09/workplace-fatalities-25-most-dangerous-jobs-america/1002500001/ ).
The day after I stood, then marched, then stood for four hours in rain at the recent gun control march, I watched two armed officers in the alley behind my house looking for someone who stole a couple bags of garden mulch. There is no justification in the pursuit of two bags of garden mulch by two armed officers. There is no justification for officers routinely showing up at neighborhood association meetings, in ours libraries, in our parks, etc. with lethal arms. It is not on relating to the NRA that black parents instruct their youth, but to police and armed security guards. Nearly every week we hear a variation on the shooting of a ‘young man holding a cell phone in his grandmother’s backyard’. The mayor’s office must lead in creating a peaceful Louisville.
Non-violence is central to a sustainable world – non-violence toward each other, toward property and toward the natural world.
Two perspectives on gangs, Greg Fischer’s and Jackie Green’s. But first, two perspectives on why youth join gangs, LA Police Department’s and gangfree.org’s.
LA Police Dept
. Identity or Recognition – Being part of a gang allows the gang member to achieve a level of status he/she feels impossible outside the gang culture.
. Protection – many members join because they live in the gang area and are, therefore, subject to violence by rival gangs. Joining guarantees support in case of attack and retaliation for transgressions.
. Fellowship and Brotherhood – To the majority of gang members, the gang functions as an extension of the family and may provide companionship lacking in the gang member’s home environment. Many older brothers and relatives belong, or have belonged to the gang.
. Intimidation – Some members are forced to join if their membership will contribute to the gang’s criminal activity. Some join to intimidate others in the community not involved in gang activity.
. Criminal Activity – Some join a gang to engage in narcotics activity and benefit from the group’s profits and protection.
. Lack of jobs for youth
. Poverty compounded by social isolation
. Domestic violence
. Negative peer networks
. Lack of parental supervision
. Early academic failure and lack of school attachment
The Fischer endorsed gang bill was characterized by one media outlet as the “Put More Black Kids in Jail Bill”. (LEO, Pip Pullen and Andrew Dewson) “Some allies of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and officials in his administration told Courier Journal they were blindsided when he threw his support behind a proposed crackdown on gang violence that they say will worsen racial disparities in the city’s criminal justice system.…” (Courier Journal, Phillip Bailey)
Fischer’s support of the gang bill is as bad as his failure to oppose the solar bill.
The Green perspective focuses not on punishment and imprisonment, but on redirection and redemption. The Green perspective asks more of Metro, of the community, of schools, churches, businesses, gangs, youth, adults and of our values. We can fulfill the identity, recognition, fellowship and brotherhood needs. We can break the social isolation of youth. We can create positive social influences. There is enough regenerative work to occupy youth creatively while teaching lessons and needed skills. Empty lots need gardened. Abandoned houses need remodeled. Trees need planted in the commons. Honeysuckle, multiflora rose, garlic mustard and other invasives in our parks need removed. Our streets and creeks are littered. The physical degradation of our city invites escape into narcotics, crime and violence. We need a ‘Louisville peace corps’ comprised of youth and adults – a Green Earth Gang – regenerating our city and ourselves. Funds spent on prosecuting and imprisoning need to be channelled into keeping youth out of gangs and in helping gang members embrace more productive lives.
City regeneration also requires a regeneration of our cultural values. Examination of media advertising makes obvious that we place inordinate value on power, money, cars, guns, alcohol, clothes, jewelry, vacations, material consumption, personal experiences, and so much more that is counter productive. Much of what is overvalued is beyond the reach of the poor. Conspicuous consumption, whether it is broadcasting personal trips or excessive spending, is socially (and environmentally) toxic. Those who cannot ‘accumulate’, ‘arrive’, or ‘achieve’ by legal means turn to illegal means. We need to de-escalate consumption, redefine our values. We need to value decent housing, a commons that is litter-free, education, skills, trades, labor, personal health, personal contribution to healthy neighborhoods, trees, parks, gardens, public transit, and the arts.
Join the Green Earth Gang. Take your green bandanas to the hood, along with friends and tools of your choice, and get to work regenerating Louisville and her people. If you do not have a green bandana, we have one for you.
Cities all over the US are moving quickly to 100% renewable energy and municipal power companies. But not Louisville under Fischer – not in our buildings or our transportation.
The electrical needs of Jackie Green’s home are supplied by solar panels. He also installed an 8.5 kW solar array on one of the 100 year old buildings he owns. He has applied for the Landmarks Certificate of Appropriateness & Overlay District Permit for Louisville’s first car-free / transit rich mixed use redevelopment on Frankfort Avenue ( https://frankfortcrossing.com/ ). He has been car-free since 1999, and owns Louisville’s only urban bicycle shop.
Unlike Fischer, Jackie Green is committed to green energy.
NPR program on topic found at: https://the1a.org/shows/2018-04-16/running-on-renewables
The portico of the red arched building adjacent to Brown-Forman’s new facility has been a squatter’s home for weeks.
When will Fischer establish an official campground for the homeless? Equip the campground with soup kitchen, medical, security, addiction, and social services, then move campers to the site. Put it in a metro owned parking garage, a metro surface parking lot, near Prospect or Norton Commons. We can accommodate human need without sacrificing the urban core.
Forward Radio’s Mayoral Forum asked what should be done to improve urban transportation. The answer to that great question requires more than the two minutes permitted. A more complete answer begins with identifying the objectives as follows:
. calm and reduce urban traffic
. reduce need for surface parking lots
. increase walking, cycling and the use of TARC
. accomplish above objective under current legal structure and at minimum expense
. attract corporate investment interested in creating a sustainable Louisville.
These objectives can be accomplished by:
. reducing the length of bus routes to within a ring radiating six (+/-) miles from First and Main
. establish dedicated bus lanes within that six mile radius/ring
. give buses the right of way at intersections
. turn urban one way streets to two way streets
. have urban signals blink yellow or red but never green (results in much more cautious drivers)
. establish a bus depot/station/square (one city block surrounded by bus stops of every route) in the central business district (creates easy central transfer from any route to any other route)
The overall result of this plan will be:
. the elimination of the long TARC trips to the exurbs
. much faster urban TARC service
. much greater TARC ridership, cycling and walking
. safer traffic
. a reduction of surface parking lots
. the redevelopment of surface parking lots to mixed use (residential and commercial use)
. an increase in urban population
. a shift of land use investment from exurbia to urban Louisville
. remote employers (who are over-stretching TARC service and over-taxing their low income employees who have to ride for hours daily on the bus) will have to provide better/quicker transportation for employees
. a stage setting for the successful expansion of TARC service into the next ring
. the attraction of corporate investment interested in creating a sustainable Louisville.
What does it take to accomplish this?
. no extra expenditures on TARC
. staff time resetting some manual traffic signals
. re-stripping of major streets within the six mile ring
. working closely with KY Transportation Cabinet to turn KY controlled one way streets to two way
Taking these steps we can transform land use and transportation quickly and inexpensively.
Great reporting by WFPL!!! The distance workers must travel by circuitous and slow TARC routes to employment centers in far flung corners is much too time consuming for the worker and stretches TARC beyond the breaking point. Public transit should be concentrated within a four or five mile radius from First and Main Streets, making it possible for urban residents to easily live car-free, and encouraging the redevelopment of surface parking lots into residential and commercial use. Only after creating an urban core that is transit strong, should TARC extend service another few miles.
If employers want cheap labor for their remote facilities, then remote employers should send vans to speedily pick up the workers.
Remote employers having TARC to bus in cheap labor from a distance reminds one of plantation owners having 16th century Portuguese ship cheap labor from Africa.
“Some allies of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and officials in his administration told Courier Journal they were blindsided when he threw his support behind a proposed crackdown on gang violence that they say will worsen racial disparities in the city’s criminal justice system.…”
Courier Journal, Phillip Bailey
The line ‘gun control rally pays for armed guards’ is worthy of Yogi Berra. But beyond the humor of it is an obvious irony, a weakening of the gun control argument, and an adult cowardice. Until we as adults stand up for our children they will continue to live in fear of assault. We see the same dynamic played out in the failure of adults to challenge the threat of motor vehicles in the urban commons (our streets, sidewalks, parks, alleys, schools and public spaces are all part of the commons). Just as adults are afraid to bicycle in the midst of other traffic, we are are afraid to rally for gun control without armed guards. It is time to challenge the violence of this culture.
In the past month I have attended docile public meetings where representatives from LMPD have also attended. To their sides were strapped firearms. LMPD can help send a message of peace to the community by not arming themselves in such venues. Leave the arms in the cruiser until approaching real danger.
In this next month we will experience Thunder Over Louisville – a noisy celebration of violent strength. Louisville should embrace peace. We should not let our festival be the recruitment tool of this violence. (Minimally we should demand that our veterans be restored to health before allowing our youth to be recruited.)