Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Send E-mail, E-mail, E-mail

Northup\Fletcher campaigns devour one another.

From Pol Watchers:

In the latest sign of growing contention in the GOP primary for governor, former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and Gov. Ernie Fletcher engaged in a little cyber saber rattling today. And the unlikely person in the center of all of it was Herald-Leader columnist Larry Dale Keeling.

From OSI Speaks:

Larry Dale Keeling, a Columnist with the Lexington Herald Leader, has set off a firestorm of sorts between Northup and Fletcher. Over the weekend, LDH published his take suggesting that Dan Druen's anticipated testimony during the impending trial of Sam Beverage for merit system will spell doom for the Gov.'s re-election efforts, prompting the Northup/Hoover campaign to send out this campaign email:

From On the Right:

Over the weekend, the Lexington Herald Leader ran a story outlining the problems confronting the Fletcher Administration. Governor Fletcher seems to be facing yet another crisis flash-point. Special prosecutor Larry Cleveland says he will bring a former Transportation Cabinet official to trial on perjury charges stemming from the Fletcher abuses of the state merit system.

From Northern Kentucky Politics:

Earlier I blogged an email from the Northup-Hoover campaign that used fodder from a Lexington Herald-Leader article to criticize Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Anne Northup is, of course, running against Fletcher in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Now, the Fletcher campaign has responded with its own email message to supporters. Welcome to campaigns in the 21st century - candidates trade shots via email.

From Northern Kentucky Politics:

The Northup-Hoover GOP gubernatorial campaign e-mailed this campaign alert to those who signed up to receive the alerts off the campaign's Web page.

Kenton GOP Frowns At Fletcher

From Pol Watchers:

A growing debate point for local party organizations -- both Democratic and Republican -- is the issue of whether or not to publicly back a candidate for governor during the primary.

After more than an hour and a half debate Monday night, the Kenton County Republican Party decided to stay mute during the spring's intra-party battle for the nomination. One of the county's GOP executive committee members offered a resolution to formally endorse Gov. Ernie Fletcher over fellow Republican contenders Anne Northup and Billy Harper, said Greg Shumate, chairman of that committee.

From Northern Kentucky Politics:

Word is floating among political circles that the Kenton County Republican Executive Committee held a vote Monday night to endorse Gov. Ernie Fletcher in the GOP gubernatorial primary - he faces former Louisville Congresswoman Anne Northup and Paducah buinessman Billy Harper - and that the governor lost 2-1. But two people at the meeting, including Chairman Greg Shumate, told me the vote was against the notion of endorsing incumbents and not a vote against Fletcher.

Against incumbents and not Fletcher? Hand him a campaign position.

Fletcher is vulnerable. This was my opinion. This vote confirms as much.

Governor, Help Feed Ford

Fletcher promises Ford aid? First, Merrill rips Ford’s guts out. Afterward, our Governor prances around their remains.

Fletcher should not offer new money. He should stop stealing from Ford. Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax… I mean Calculation. Governor, Ford knows how to fish. Stop stealing their food.

Merrill downgrades Ford to sell

Citing a nearly 30 percent climb in Ford Motor's shares since mid-December, Merrill Lynch this morning recommended investors sell the stock. Analyst John Murphy wrote to clients that the market appears to be taking into account a significant profit recovery in 2009 and 2010, but not considering the risks associated with the three years or more it will take to recover. "The real challenge will be turning around results in the midst of a product cycle slump, and ultimately fixing the reliance on one product, the F-Series," Murphy wrote.

Murphy cited three possible developments that could drive the stock higher in the short term: The potential announcement of a new restructuring plan by CEO Alan Mulally The potential for significant relief from the new UAW contract in September Asset sales beyond the sale of Aston Martin.

Ford shares were down 19 cents, or 2.2 percent, at $8.46. For the latest price click here

Fletcher to propose more aid for Ford

A bill to allow the state to offer additional incentives to keep Ford Motor Co.'s two plants operating in Jefferson County will be filed in the General Assembly later this week. "It’s just a tool we want to put in place that would help us, we think, keep Ford vibrant in Kentucky down the road," Gene Fuqua, interim state Economic Development secretary, said today.

"In general, it attempts to allow Ford to recover enough tax credits and enough wage assessments to maintain their operations in Kentucky if they choose to do certain things." Fuqua said, however, that the matter was "still under negotiations. No commitments from Ford to do anything. And there’s no commitments from us to do anything. It’s simply a tool that we’re working on to put out there and get into law so if we need it we can negotiate with it."

Fuqua and Gov. Ernie Fletcher were asked about the status of retaining about 8,000 Ford jobs in Jefferson County during a meeting today of the house budget committee. Ford, one of the county’s largest employers, recently announced that it lost $12.7 billion in 2006, in part because of lagging sales of sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The two Ford plants in Jefferson County make such vehicles, and concerns have been voiced about their futures.

Last week Fletcher proposed that $10 million of an anticipated $401 million state surplus be spent on training for Ford workers. Committee Chairman Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, asked how important it is that lawmakers approve that money. "We feel this is critical now because of what Ford is doing to reduce their workforce through … early retirements and bringing new people in to keep their plant running smoothly, and keep their people trained," Fuqua told the committee.

But he said that the $10 million is just a short-term solution, and that a bill to be filed as soon as tomorrow would help address keeping the Ford jobs in Jefferson County over the long haul. Ford and state officials have previously discussed the possibility of tax incentives for the company. Fuqua and Fletcher said during the meeting and in later interviews that the bill was not final and that they could not yet divulge its details. The governor said the proposal would "allow us to pick up more flexibility in offering them an economic incentive package that I think will be more appealing.

"Asked to elaborate, Fletcher said, "It would be tax incentives. We need some flexibility on how we can get that to address the plants. … There’s some flexibility that we need in looking at the two plants as one."

"The governor, accompanied by more than 20 top administration officials, appeared for nearly an hour before the committee, explaining his plan for the projected surplus which he outlined last week in his State of the Commonwealth address. While many key lawmakers oppose reopening the budget this year, key members of the committee endorsed efforts to retain the Ford jobs. It would be devastating to Jefferson County and all of Kentucky if they happen to close one of those Ford plants down there," Moberly said. House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Okolona, said, "It’s a full-court press to try to keep that plant here. I think we’re at the point where we can’t afford not to do something."

Herald-Leader’s Point?

From KY Progress:

The Lexington Herald Leader attacked Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform on today's editorial page and said gubernatorial candidate Billy Harper made a mistake by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Norquist sent me this response:

The Lexington Herald Leader’s editorial "Harper’s bad pledge," incorrectly likens Mr. Harper’s signing of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to surrendering accountability to an out-of-state group. However, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a commitment made to the taxpayers of a state, not to Americans for Tax Reform. This should be clear from the wording of the Pledge Mr. Harper signed:

"I, ____________, pledge to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and all the people of this Commonwealth, that I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes." The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a statement of principle that one believes the government should not place higher burdens on hardworking families and businesses in order to fund ever-increasing spending. Kentuckians should applaud Mr. Harper for putting taxpayers over big-spending interests and encourage all candidates running for office to make this important commitment.


From Conservative Edge:

Is Northup only state Republican leader who doesn't read the CE?

We are certain that Governor Fletcher and his team read the Conservative Edge. So too, does Harper campaign manager Stan Pulliam (If not Harper himself). House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover reads the site, as does Senate President David Williams. (His staff contacted us about pulling a reference we made to Williams). Add to that list, future stars like Trey Greyson, as well as stalwarts like Supreme Court Justice Lambert, and CE readers are a veritable who's who of Kentucky Republican state leaders.

But, apparently Anne Northup hasn't gotten the word. Had she, she might have read our analysis of Larry Dale Keelings' "vision of sugar plums" story, and avoided her embarasing use of Keeling's fantasy to attack a fellow Republican. Northup can't be considered a leader, when she is unaware of how her own state's information network has changed.

Northup/Hoover will have to do better.

Memo to Northup: using political enemies for campaign ammunition is a bad policy

I am still struggling with the enormity of the Northup's gaffe in relying on uber-liberal, and leading Fletcher hater, Larry Dale Keeling for campaign ammunition. More than any other organization in central Kentucky, conservatives cannot stand the Herald-Leader and it's editors. I have yet to talk to a central Kentucky conservative who has anything good to say about the paper. Even McConnell supporters were steamed at the paper for paying a reporter $35,000 to investigate McConnell.

Yet, Northup has turned to Keeling for campaign ammunition against Governor Fletcher. We've been trying to surmise Northup's policy positions ever since she entered the race. We have to surmise, because she has failed to provide anything of substance. Her apparent policy of using liberals to attack Governor Fletcher, is bad.

Northup/Hoover will have to do better.

CE calls on Hoover to renounce Northup's e-mail

The Conservative Edge has a lot of respect for House Minority Leader, and current Northup running mate, Jeff Hoover. Hoover has spent countless hours helping other conservatives and Republicans in local and regional Kentucky races. But that respect may be on the line, if he does not renounce Anne Northup for her grossly innappropriate e-mail where she joined with uber-liberal, and leader of the "We hate Governor Fletcher" cabal, Larry Dale Keeling.

Not only was it unseemly for Northup to use the words of someone who uses his power as editor of a newspaper unfairly, to advance a liberal political agenda, it was fool hardy Keeling's intellect is held in low esteem in conservative circles. Quite frankly, we've seen better arguments made by freshman high school debate teams.

And Northup relied on it for criticism. Hoover spent the weekend assuring conservatives that his running mate would have policy positions in the near future. Instead, Northup chose to use her time to attack Governor Fletcher, and side with the very factions that will attempt to destroy her and Hoover, if she were to win the primary. Those assurances now sound empty. It may be time for Hoover to abandon ship. It's certainly time for him to renounce his boss. Not only did Northup break Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment. She danced on it's shattered pieces.

Hoover will have to do better.

Biting Legislation

Bills would change constitutional rules for pardons, felon voting rights

The power of governors to issue pardons would be limited, and certain felons could have their voting rights restored, under constitutional amendments approved Tuesday by a legislative committee. The House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee voted 8-3 for a measure to prohibit Kentucky governors from pardoning themselves and pardoning others unless they had been formally charged or convicted of a crime.

House Bill 3, sponsored by Reps. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, and Rob Wilkey, D-Scottsville, would prohibit blanket pardons of people who had not been charged with crimes, and would require those seeking pardons to apply for the reprieves. Wilkey told the committee that the legislation is not a criticism of Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration.

In 2005, Fletcher issued pardons to all people, except himself, indicted in an investigation of state hiring practices, and he extended the pardon to everyone who might have been indicted under the investigation in the future. Three criminal misdemeanor charges against Fletcher were dismissed in a settlement with Attorney General Greg Stumbo. The committee also approved HB 70, which calls for a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore voting rights to felons after they complete their sentences. It would not apply to murderers or sex offenders.

Under Kentucky's constitution, felons must appeal to the governor to ask for the reinstatement of their rights to vote, hold office or bear arms. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Crenshaw, D-Lexington, would bypass the governor's office when it comes to restoring most felons' voting rights. If approved by the legislature, Kentucky voters would consider HB 3 and 70 in November 2008.

Felon voting? Sketchy subject, not a winning issue. Pardon reform? Thank you, Governor Fletcher.

Campaign finance reforms could be used to kill runoff

Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, introduced a campaign finance bill today addressing many key reforms that require candidates to disclose their donors quicker, more often and with some new guidelines.

But that bill, S.B. 159, also could become a vehicle to carry a provision that would eliminate the runoff provision that hangs over this spring's primary election for governor. Both Thayer and Rep. Mike Cherry, a Princeton Democrat who chairs the House state government committee, said they're hearing a growing call for the repeal of the provision, which requires a party's nominee for governor to garner at least 40 percent of the party's vote in order to proceed to the fall general election. If no candidate reaches that threshold in a party's May 22 primary, the top two finishers will face off in a June 26 runoff.

Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, introduced a bill to get rid of that provision. But Cherry said if that bill doesn't go anywhere, the General Assembly could try to ditch the runoff by amending Thayer's campaign finance bill.

The 74-page election campaign fund bill, based on recommendations from a 2005 Kentucky Registry of Election Finance report, contains several key reforms: Adding additional dates by which candidates must disclose their campaign fund-raising and spending. Statewide constitutional officers must turn in their reports 60 days before the primary and general elections in addition to 30 and 15 days, which they must do now. Legislative candidates and local officials only must turn in reports 60 days before their fall general elections -- not before the primaries. Requiring any candidates who spend more than $25,000 in an election to file their reports electronically, which helps registry auditors post the information online immediately.

Requiring committees that spend more than $500 to get involved in referendum or constitutional amendment issues to file reports with the registry. Barring candidates from actively soliciting donations from state employees, regardless of whether they are protected by the state merit system or not. The effective date of those suggested reforms would be Nov. 7, 2007 -- after the current election cycle. But if an amendment eliminates the runoff provision, that would affect this primary, Cherry said.

STOP ATTEMPTING RULES ALTERATIONS! Play your ball as constituted.

Sex offenders would need to provide Web IDs

The Kentucky Senate is expected to pass a bill today that would require convicted sex offenders to provide their Internet user names or other online identities to the state Justice Cabinet. Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, joined other senators today in announcing their support for Senate Bill 65, which they expect to approve later today. The intent of the bill is to protect children from online sexual predators, said Sen Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, its sponsor.

Jones said the measure — which would make it a felony for a convicted sex offender to fail to register Internet user information — has bipartisan support, and he thanked Senate leadership for "fast-tracking’’ the bill. Jones said SB 65 would apply to the state’s roughly 6,150 registered sex offenders.

Excellent proposal. Protect our children, pass bill quickly.

You Have the Money

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Franklin County Circuit Court Tuesday ruled in favor of the General Assembly, finding the level of education funding adequate and in compliance with Kentucky’s Constitution, according to a decision in a three-year old lawsuit.

The Council for Better Education filed a lawsuit in September 2003 against the General Assembly for not providing schools enough money to comply with the academic goals outlined in a 1989 court decision and subsequent 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs, a group of superintendents, claim that funding of Kentucky’s schools is "inadequate and arbitrarily determined by the legislature."

Defendants refuted theallegations and argued that the state’s Constitution "prohibits the judiciary from dictating to the legislature what levels of funding are appropriate and what process to use to determine how much funding education requires."

The suit does not specify how much money is needed to adequately fund Kentucky schools. But the group's consultant put the price tag at $1.2 billion annually.

This validates my opinion. Education has money. Government must make the dollars work.
KYConservativeBlogs Network
Another Opinion
Bluegrass Institute Blog
Blue Grass, Red State
Conservative Edge
Conservative Musings
Elendils Blog
Jefferson Review
Jim Clarks Muckraker
Kentucky Club for Growth
Kentucky Pachyderm 2
Kentucky Progress
On the Right!
Osi Speaks!
The Pure Investor
Right Foot Forward
Right in Kentucky
Steele's Kentucky
Tri-County Consulting
Vere Loqui