This week, I managed to sneak into the Mayor’s office for 15 minutes with Greg Fischer. Here’s a link to our interview.
As you’ll hear, Fischer’s biggest obstacle is getting Frankfort to adopt a local option sales tax. This LIFT initiative he’s been pushing a long time, but the boneheads in Frankfort are still unlikely to pass it. Fischer explains it in a way that makes perfect sense, pointing to Oklahoma City as the type of conservative town that’s been using this form of fund-raising for pet projects for years. They have an NBA team there.
Fischer points out that it’s simply giving voters an option to vote for a tax for specific projects. And we know (remember the library tax vote?) that citizens are unlikely to vote to tax themselves. But opponents, especially Frankfort Republicans, see it as a TAX, something to be defeated at all costs. The misinformation is overwhelming, and as Fischer told me, “We need the media to get the facts out. We need to be like winners.”
On a lighter note, Fischer told me how much fun it is to talk about bourbon all the time as an economic development issue. Listen in.
MEDIA MOVES: As opposed to my days as a full-time media critic, these days I learn about personnel changes on social media. That’s where I found out that RS guest Adam Lefkoe is leaving WHAS-TV and Louisville for the bright lights of New York City, where he’s got a new post at Bleacher Report. We’ll miss those name-dropping sportscasts. Also there are some long-time staffers leaving Business First. John Karman, the last remaining reporter that was there when I left in 1999, got himself hired by RS guest Mark Hebert at the University of Louisville. And managing editor Carolyn Greer, who’s been there 22 years, has resigned there.
STRONG-WATCH: It’s Saturday afternoon, and the city seems to be holding its collective breath, and not just in anticipation of some weather. At this moment, it appears Charlie Strong has a job offer from Texas, but hasn’t yet accepted it, may be waiting to talk to Tom Jurich about it, but Jurich is stuck in Colorado due to weather, and the entire sports universe is on hold. Every other Twitter post on my feed seems to be about the Strong situation. I’ve seen a t-shirt designed with the words “StrongHorns” on it, so the marketing is there. And those looking ahead are already speculating on whether Jurich will tap Bobby Petrino to come back to the ‘ville. Wouldn’t that be cool?
I’D LOVE TO COVER THIS: Bill Nye is coming to Kentucky to debate the loony tune who founded the creation museum. Now, the debate won’t solve anything — everyone with an opinion on science vs. religion as it relates to the creation of the planet is all mind-made-up. I suspect Ken Ham will fill his facility with creationist believers, so Nye may be walking into a lion’s den. But I’ll take the Science Guy.
LITTLE GUY WINS LIQUOR BATTLE: I remember reporting on a Shelbyville Road battle between liquor stores in 2009. I remember Greg Anastas, owner of Beverage Warehouse, telling me the story of how the bad-ass Liquor Barn opening across the street was violating another of Kentucky’s archaic liquor laws, this one stipulating a specific distance one store must be from the other. Well, after four years, Anastas has won a key battle and the huge Liquor Barn may have to shut down.
SMOKE WARS: I’m not naive enough to think that Kentucky, which has the highest percentage of smokers (29%) of any state, will pass a statewide smoking ban. But a poll out this week showed that a higher-than-ever percentage of us (65%) support such a ban.