Saturday, March 31, 2007

Harper Campaign Manager Resigns

Republican gubernatorial candidate Billy Harper has lost his campaign manager. Stan Pulliam has gone back to his home in Oregon, accordiing to Harper's spokesman. Sam Edelen says Alois Moore, who's been serving as the campaign political director, will take over management of Harper's campaign.

Edelen says Pulliam resigned and was not asked to leave. He says it was a personal decision. Moore is a former county PVA from Hazard. Edelen says she's a personal friend of Harper's. Harper has spent more than $3 million of his own money in a campaign against Ernie Fletcher and Anne Northup. The Paducah businessman has failed, so far, to break 15% in the polls, though he was a virtual unknown when he began running campaign commercials in October 2006.

How to Vote For Anne

Question: Do you believe Fletcher cannot win and are you uninterested in policy?

If you answer YES to this, then Anne Northup is your candidate on May 22nd.

Another week and Kentucky Republicans are opening their mail box to find another glossy mail piece from the Ernie Fletcher campaign.

This time the topic is Health Care.

Ernie Fletcher actually wants you to believe that he has lowered the cost of Health Care!

Take the Kentucky Health Care Challenge!

Question: Do you think Ernie Fletcher has fixed the problems with Health Care and lowered the cost for Kentuckians?

If you answer YES to this, then Ernie Fletcher is your candidate on May 22nd.

If you answer NO to this, then Anne Northup is your candidate on May 22nd.

Question: Have your Health Care insurance premiums skyrocketed while Ernie Fletcher has sat back and done nothing?

If you answer YES to this, then Anne Northup is your candidate on May 22nd.

If you answer NO to this, then Ernie Fletcher is your candidate on May 22nd.

So make sure when you open your mail box and see Ernie Fletcher’s next glossy mailer that you check for the facts…you’ll have to look past the mailer because they won’t be on there.

Anne Northup has a better plan! Click here to read her position on Health Care or watch her discuss the issue by clicking here.

Next time you see Ernie Fletcher make sure you ask him what is his plan is for Health Care! He has lots of glossy mailers but not a lot of plans.

Fordfare: Fletcher’s Vanity

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

The odds that Ford Motor Co.'s Louisville Assembly Plant will survive the next round of plant closures improved this week after union workers approved a set of cost-cutting moves, analysts said yesterday. But it's too soon to predict whether the plant and its more than 3,000 jobs are safe - even with the added promise of $200 million in state incentives available if Ford invests in its two Jefferson County factories.

Winning the United Auto Workers concessions, which had already been approved at 35 of Ford's 42 plants in North America, "improves the chances of the plant's staying open," said Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. The agreement at least lets Louisville Assembly "stay in the game" as it competes against other plants for survival. Having the cost-cutting agreement is better than not having it, said Catherine Madden, an analyst with market-research firm Global Insight in suburban Boston. "Unfortunately, I don't believe it guarantees a facility will stay open. … Nothing can change the fact that Ford is not selling enough vehicles to fill the capacity that they have," Madden said.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker wants to reduce North American employment by 29 percent, to about 92,000 by the end of next year, from about 130,000. Ford has said it will close seven assembly plants across the country by 2009, but hasn't identified two of them. "I would think that Louisville would be one of the last on the list to go," Spinella said, calling it a historic linchpin for Ford. But that's no guarantee of security, he said.

"You hate to give up on something that has such longstanding history with the company - but they've done it before," he said. "Ford has a long history of closing down plants that they've had for a long time." The Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road opened in 1955. Ford lists the Edsel, LTD and Ranger among the products in its history. "The auto industry has just changed so dramatically in the U.S.," and Ford "has gotten the brunt of that change," Spinella said. "That being the case, they have to make some decisions as to what they can and can't afford." Madden said she thinks a more car-like version of the Explorer will be made at the Chicago Assembly Plant, but Louisville Assembly could be assigned production of a different vehicle.

The 2007 Kentucky General Assembly approved an incentives package that would cover much of the cost of retooling the Explorer plant for a new vehicle even if employment doesn't increase. The measure, signed into law last week by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, provides tax incentives for investments in both Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant operations and retraining local employees to work there. The Kentucky Truck Plant, Ford's largest factory, builds the F-Series Super Duty trucks.

While F-Series sales have suffered from high fuel prices and a downturn in home construction, analysts believe the Chamberlain Lane plant is safe. Louisville Assembly is considered vulnerable because of the weak sales of the Explorer, Madden said. Unless the plant gains a new product line, it could face a shutdown, she said. "Overall, the state incentives are all well and good, and obviously they have a place in the decision-making," Spinella said. "But the reality is that Ford has too many plants. And all the concessions in the universe won't keep that plant running if they don't have the sales to back it up."

Despite Fordfare’s passage, employment remains unstable. The aforesaid codifies the incentives’ absurdity. No workers were saved. No employment was assured. The plant was not guaranteed. Fletcher merely passed legislation for legislation. Ultimately, his egotism will devastate Kentucky and Ford.

Solve the Problem!

The state care population is nineteen percent. The African-American population is seven percent. The problem is obvious. Why is a study necessary?

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Concerned about the disproportionate number of black children in state care, Kentucky officials are launching a project to determine why so many are being removed from homes and what can be done about it. About 19 percent of the 7,000 children in state care are black, yet African Americans make up only 7.3 percent of Kentucky’s population.

"This is an opportunity to make a difference and do what’s right,"" said Tom Emberton Jr., who oversees the state social-service system for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. African-American lawmakers from Jefferson County — which has the highest rate of black children removed from homes because of alleged abuse and neglect — welcome the initiative.

More than half the Jefferson County children in state care are black, although African Americans make up only 19 percent of the population. "The numbers are disturbing,"" said state Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville. "We must find out exactly what’s going on and how to correct it. Neal said he believes there is "clearly a racial component" but said the issue probably is more complex — involving poverty, housing, services for families such as counseling or drug treatment and other issues.

State Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, said he is concerned about the problem, particularly in Jefferson County. "The numbers are staggering," he said. "This is a very serious problem, and we have to find out the reason for it."

Emberton said that’s what the state intends to do in coming months. It has identified 11 counties with the highest rates of black children in state care and will spend about $500,000 over the next year to try to find out why. At the same time, the state is launching more training and education on possible biases by those involved in child welfare and how to overcome them.
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