Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Their House, Mostly Incomplete

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

It's like a lot of home makeovers — taking longer to finish and proving harder to pay for than expected. But work now is well under way on renovating the Governor's Mansion — a project estimated to cost as much as $5 million. The goal is to complete work on the first floor by early summer.

When First Lady Glenna Fletcher announced the project in April 2005, she said she hoped the work could be done by the 2006 Kentucky Derby. The mansion's executive director, Kenny Bishop, said last week, however, that officials have come to understand how important it is "to move at a steady pace and be sure that it's done right instead of making sure it's done quickly so we can show it off — as much as we want to do that."

The project is aimed at dealing with problems that are far more than just cosmetic, including leaks in the roof and windows that have caused water damage. "This is the first time that we know of since the house has been built (in 1914) that we're taking it down to original wood or original plaster," Bishop said. "In several instances we were sadly surprised by the condition. We found termite damage, we found rotten wood that has to be replaced. A lot more plaster than we anticipated is having to be worked on and replaced."

During the first week of January, all furniture was removed from the mansion's first floor — the space used for receptions and other public events. While the Fletchers have not had to abandon their second-floor living quarters, the first floor is now a work zone, with chandeliers covered as work crews strip thick layers of paint and repair damaged plaster.

Glenna Fletcher said she found signs of damage soon after moving into the mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in December 2003. She decided an overhaul was necessary to protect the interior and artwork in the public spaces on the first floor from leaky windows, humidity and sunlight. The last major renovation had been done in the early 1980s, under Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. and his then-wife, Phyllis George Brown.

For the current project, Bishop and Glenna Fletcher have estimated it will take $5 million to fully renovate the 18,400-square-foot mansion. Available funds are more than $1.8 million short of that amount. So far, state government has provided $1,452,000. And the non-profit Governor's Mansion Preservation Foundation, created by Glenna Fletcher in 2005, has raised $1,739,000.

Governor Fletcher’s mansion makeover mirrors his administration. Costly, inept, and mismanaged.

Northup Can’t Win, Her Supporters Can Whine

This guest editorial is absurd. Obviously, Anne Northup and her supporters are desperate. They are not discussing policy. They are begging Billy Harper. Their request is pathetic.

Additionally, their assertions are hyperbolic. Fletcher cannot survive a two way primary? Harper would receive a prominent place in a Northup\Hoover administration? Anne and Jeff will save our party? Ridiculous. The truth is Fletcher will not survive any primary. Anne is not a savior. A Northup\Hoover administration will never exist.

Northup supporters, please stop crying.

From Christopher Thomason:

Billy Harper is a decent, honorable man who has been a loyal Republican for many years. His skills as a businessman are second to none and his principles and integrity make him an asset to our party. However, given the current situation in the Kentucky gubernatorial primary, Mr. Harper should do the right thing for the party and for the state and drop out of this race in favor of Northup/Hoover. There is clearly no way Ernie Fletcher can survive a two-way primary between himself and Anne Northup, but with Mr. Harper in the race, he may just squeak by.

I am certain that Mr. Harper would have a very prominent place in a Northup/Hoover administration, not to mention that he would be a hero within the party for making such selfless move and withdrawing from the race. We have the opportunity with Anne Northup and Jeff Hoover to save our party and right the wrongs of the Fletcher Administration, but that opportunity may not come to pass in this three-way primary. For the sake of the future of the Republican Party and our continued successes in Kentucky, please, Mr. Harper, do the right thing and bow out.
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