You may recall from my last edition that I reported on some of the various contenders for this Metro Council seat, which I expect will be one of the most contested of the upcoming races in Jefferson County. One of those was Mr. Ed Springston, a Democrat who formerly ran an Independent for Metro Mayor against Jerry Abramson. I asked Ed some questions as to why he was running. I published those questions and his answers unedited (something the Courier Journal should do). Well, I asked Michael Bowman, also a candidate, the same questions. Here’s what Mike had to say:
1> Why are you motivated to run for Metro Council?
The growth of the Southwest has become stagnant, businesses are closing and services are in decline. We need a Councilman that represents the citizens of the Southwest by bringing these issues to the forefront rather than as a side note to projects elsewhere in the city. I understand the importance of developing a strong city center, but when do we stop allowing that development to inhibit the growth of the suburban areas? There are many issues that have been recognized by our current leadership and still no plan to fix these problems has been presented. I plan to be the voice that changes that.
2> If elected, what is the single most important item you want to accomplish by the end of your term in 4 years?
As Councilman, I will be the voice that will finally push for the services and jobs that this community needs to grow. We need a plan to promote growth, stimulate our local economy, lure new businesses to locate in our area, and complete vital infrastructure needs that have been neglected to remain competitive. That plan can include any number of things ranging from reducing or eliminating tax advantages that big corporations receive on building stores and increasing tax breaks for independent local businesses to finally installing drainage in parts of the community.
3> What is the one thing you will not do under any circumstances as a member of Metro Council?
I will not ignore the people that I represent, it is an honor to serve the people of this community and they deserve to have a voice in every venture that this city undertakes.
4> Will you go to the mat in support of organized labor?
Organized labor is the backbone of our economy. They provide structure to fight for fair wages and benefits and that is something that is needed in a world where big businesses would otherwise abuse their workforce for gain. I support any legislation that protects labor rights and unions.
I hope that works for you. If you have any other questions or would like to comment, please feel free.
Mr. Bowman has included his webpage address at www.electbowman.com. I urge you to check it out.
Revolving Door Politics
Do you remember me mentioning that Chris Thieneman, the local builder, was running for the District 14 seat as a Republican? Wow, what a difference just a few weeks make! Well, Thieneman pulled out of the Metro Council race (another Republican, Pepper, stepped in). Chris filed for the 3rd District Congressional seat formerly held for ten years by Republican Anne Northup. John Yarmuth, owner of the offbeat and unabashed liberal LEO magazine, previously beat Anne and is now making his first defense of the seat. Chris made a big media production about his announcement, and even appeared on the conservative “Francene” radio show, which airs on WHAS 11 Radio to discuss the race, among other things.
Just a few days later, Thieneman again appeared on the “Francene Show", but this time he was there to complain about how he was being treated by the Republican Establishment. In the days after his announcement, Northup decided to enter the race and run for her old seat. Apparently this upset Chris. He claimed that he was being threatened by none other than Senator Mitch McConnell’s aide, Larry Cox (for those unfamiliar with Kentucky politics, the senior Senator is the local Liberal's personification of the “Anti-Christ” and Larry is his “Beelzebub”). Chris played for Francene and her listeners a recording left by Larry Cox on his answering machine. Larry simply said that there were rumors flying about concerning the race. He said he wanted to talk with Chris about it and asked that he return his call.
Folks, I’ve dealt with Larry Cox on several occasions. I’ve always found him to be very professional, highly knowledgeable, and ever so polite. There was nothing in the phone message even remotely threatening. Nevertheless, Chris was so ticked that not only did he withdrawn from the race, he’s switched parties back to Democrat and endorsed his former (albeit briefly) opponent, John Yarmuth!
If you’re a regular reader of AO, you know I’ve got some issues with this. First, let’s look at Chris Thieneman. Chris has money. Lots of it. His family is one of the most successful builders around. Several years ago, Chris ran as a Democrat for County Clerk. After losing in the Primary, he immediately switched parties and backed the Republican candidate, who eventually won. More recently Chris got behind a successful anti-Library tax campaign supported by his political nemesis, Mayor-for-life Jerry Abramson. Chris bloodied “King’ Jerry pretty good and announced his candidacy for the 14th Metro Council seat against incumbent Bob Henderson (D). After the field started getting crowded, Chris changed gears and filed for Congress (you know the rest of the story at this point).
First, once Chris announced he was going to run for Metro Council, he should have run. I don’t know if he would have won the seat, but he certainly had the money and name recognition too. Secondly, after making such a big production about running for Congress, he should have stuck with it. Politics is a full contact sport. It takes the skin of an armadillo and the tenacity of a chicken hawk to have a chance of success. If you can’t handle the bumps and bruises that come along with it, then perhaps it’s not for you. Lastly, never ever air your dirty laundry live on the air or to the media no matter what (what were you thinking Chris?). At this point, while Chris Theineman may have money, I think he’s burned the last of his political bridges.
As for Anne, I don’t know. She burned a lot of bridges herself by running against a sitting governor of her own party (the first Republican Governor since 1969), and losing in the Primary (some claim this hurt the Governor and contributed to his lost in the fall). Then she turned around and immediately lost her seat for Congress. Anne also made some enemies by walking lockstep with the less than popular George Bush and in doing so, losing much of her moderate/moderately conservative base. I don’t know if this is ego or she really has the “fire-in-the-belly” again. John Yarmuth, on the other hand, hasn’t really done anything wrong. I don’t know of anyone who’s unhappy with John. He was just elected President of the Congressional Freshman, which is a great start. Heck, he’s even donating all his salary as Congressman to charity! How many politicans do you know that would do that?
“Moderate Man” has sent us another terrific article. Check it out:
Do The Right Thing
“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do, But Ask What You Can Do for Your Country” Nobel words from another time and one of my heroes, President John F. Kennedy. He had the courage to reach for high goals that seemed impossible then, like civil rights and planetary travel. He also made mistakes and had faults. How human. But what I really liked, is that he urged all of the citizens around the world to do the right thing. Interactive citizenry. Vote, join the armed forces, donate blood, buy bonds, volunteer at a veterans hospital, join a block watch, join a neighborhood group, work for the government, volunteer with a non profit, and help with a community group were some of the many countless ways in which we as citizens could help our country. In fact, help ourselves to be a stronger country. Where have these ideas gone? Doing the right thing, should never go out of fashion. But lately, it sure doesn’t seem popular. Recruitment in the armed forces is down due to wars, blood donations are down even during non crisis summer times, saving bonds are not as popular as certificate of deposits, VA hospital volunteers are rare, and the elderly don’t want to get involved in neighborhood crime block watches.
Voting is at an all time low. In our town we have some primaries with only 9% turnout of registered voters. A disgrace, as the voters think their vote doesn’t matter anymore because the incumbent will win. Volunteers working for a non profit are fewer these days, unless it’s shown on television they are volunteering. When was the last time you saw a young person join a community group. The youth have so many activities that call for their attention, that it is almost a distraction to volunteer to help their community. Their heroes are sports individuals who make big money and name recognition. Where will our math and science teachers come from, if the youth don’t see that as a worthwhile profession? Working for the government is not the same anymore.
The bargain of accepting low wages in exchange for better benefits has been compromised. Now at all levels of government, the public wants civil servants to work for low wages and have minimal benefits. A recipe for a disaster, as no one will want to teach your grandchildren, police your streets or put out the fires. They will go to work in the private sector, where it’s all about making money. Taxpayers can’t afford to pay civil servants what they are worth compared in the private sector. It seems that in tough economic times the citizens only care about taking care of themselves. It’s understandable, when homeowners worry about foreclosures, seniors worry about paying for food or drugs, the youth who can’t find jobs, businesses who worry about increased energy costs and a smaller profit, young parents worried about health care costs, and housewives who worry about the higher price of groceries. But it should be just the opposite. In tough times we should all help each other to get thru them. Ask what you can do to help your country. The tough times might last a shorter period of time.