Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ky Progress Poses Intriguing Question

The Harper campaign has been saying for months that Northup and Fletcher would eventually tear each other apart giving Billy Harper an opportunity to slip through the middle. Now that the slugfest has started -- and given Harper's ability to write his own check to take advantage -- some people might be willing to give Billy Harper a chance.

His leadership against the Alternative Minimum Calculation and his well-known position against new taxes combined with his strong stances for school choice and Right to Work and against Certificate of Need laws could make things interesting.

Club For Growth Blisters Northup

The Kentucky Club for Growth, headed by Lakeside Park resident Brian Richmond, is taking GOP gubernatorial candidate Anne Northup to task over her voting record on tax and spending issues.

We continue to hear candidate Northup state the position that she is a fiscal conservative and that things would change if she is elected. That is candidate Northup. But Rep. Northup was anything but a fiscal conservative during her stint in Washington: Like Nancy Pelosi, Northup voted "no" on all the Flake amendments that would have seriously reduced wasteful "earmarks."

Rep. Northup voted against the line-item veto (RC 317 in 2006).

Rep. Northup voted against cutting sugar subsidies (RC 234 in 2005).

Rep. Northup never supported the fiscally conservative RSC alternative budget.

National Club for Growth political director Andy Roth made a great point to me last week regarding the RSC alternative budget. He said, "A person may say they are a fiscal conservative, but if they don’t vote for the RSC budget, then their rhetoric is empty."

Do Kentucky Club for Growth members need to know anything else?

Obvious Proof: Northup Has No Policy

From Conservative Musings:

This morning the Courier-Journal published a page of candidate positions on the issue of education from all of the candidates for Kentucky governor -- except Anne Northup. Seems Anne did not respond to the questionnaire. The article does not say why she did not respond.

This bothers me. I have been leaning towards Northup. Harper is more conservative, but a vote for him is basically a vote for Fletcher, which means the next governor will be a Democrat. (I think Fletcher has done some good things for the state, but his ethical baggage makes him unelectable.) So, Anne, why did you not respond? We here in Louisville know about a lot of your positions, but the rest of the state needs to know.

Northup Ridicules… Running Mate

From Conservative Edge:

As the Northup campaign and her supporters continue to carp about state tax funds being distributed to the counties by Governor Fletcher, they should realize that they are setting an impossibly high bar for Ms. Northup were she able to beat the long odds and become Governor this November. That's because the state has to distribute gasoline taxes back to the counties for road work. That is the whole point of the gasoline taxes.

If Northup is truly serious about stopping this practice, she is going to have to change the law. I'd bet that were she to campaign on a platform of doing away with tax money for road improvements in the counties, her approval ratings would drop to the single digits. That's because one of the basic functions of government is to provide adequate roadways for the citizens. Jeff Hoover knows this.

We'd suggest that if Ms. Northup is truly serious about stopping the practice, she should just come out and say so. A little criticism for her running mate, House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover would also be in order, since he is a member of the body that passes the budget that contains this tax money.

Then we would recommed that Jeff Hoover announce that he will prefile a bill ending the use of gasoline taxes for road improvements in the counties. We'd also expect Hoover to introduce reform legislation, and apolgize for allowing the practice, that his running mate complains of, to be put into law on his watch.

In the meantime, calling Governor Fletcher unethical for following the law is tiresome. Unfortunately for Governor Fletcher, the state's liberal media has no desire to call out Northup on her stance.

A Throwing Up Result

From Pol Watchers:

The Rothenberg Political Report has expounded on its recent "toss-up" designation for the Kentucky governor's race. Here's what political editor Nathan Gonzalez had to say:

In Kentucky, embattled Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) is looking stronger than previously thought, making it at least a possibility that Republicans could hold there and gain a governorship this year. Still, Kentucky is a good Democratic opportunity, and the single most likely outcome this year is no net change in partisan control of governorships.

In the two other gubernatorial races this year, Gonzalez lists Louisiana as a "lean Republican takeover" and Mississippi as safe for Republicans.

Agreeing with Anne Northup makes ill. With that stated… Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win… (And this proves the aforesaid).

Recognize the Check?

Governor Fletcher is busy. Randomly, he is issuing checks for votes. However, his strategy was predicated on ignorance. He did not believe someone would ask him why money was given.

Daviess received road money but doesn't know why
By James Mayse Messenger-Inquirer

When Gov. Ernie Fletcher came to Owensboro last week, one of the many checks he handed out went to Daviess Fiscal Court for road work. While county officials appreciate the check, they said Monday they need more information from the state before the money can be put to use.

Fletcher gave Fiscal Court $350,000 on May 1 for road resurfacing projects. But Judge-Executive Reid Haire said the county received no direction as to how, or where, the money could be spent. Since the county has applied for state funds for several projects, officials are awaiting word about which project or projects are covered by the funds.

Keith Todd, a spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet's Madisonville office, said the number of road projects the county has submitted for state funding is causing the confusion. Owensboro-Daviess County has submitted four or five different requests. That's why there has been trouble matching (a project) dollar amount to that" $350,000 award, Todd said. The state official who knows what road project the money was intended for was on the road Monday and unable to provide the information, Todd said.

County Treasurer Tony Sook said Monday when the county received notice of the $350,000, "we weren't given information as far as (if) that money was related to applications we had filed. Still today, we have not been given the details on how that money can be spent."

It's just a matter of matching up the check with a specific request," Todd said. The funds would be distributed as reimbursements for road work done by the county, Haire said. The money could be full funding for a project or only partial funding, he said.

The Transportation Cabinet is working with a lot of counties of road funding projects, Haire said. "They've given out so many checks to so many communities that it can be confusing," Haire said

Northup Designates “Role Model”

From the Conservative Edge:

The Fletcher for Governor Campaign criticized Anne Northup today for her role in using federal funds to support a charitable organization that she founded and was a board member of. Here's what the Fletcher camp had to say: Marty Ryall, Campaign Manager for Governor Ernie Fletcher, said today, “Anne Northup is the last person who should be preaching to anyone about ethics.”

“In 2002 Anne Northup used her position on the Appropriations Committee to funnel $5 million dollars to a charity that she founded and was a board member. This was a direct violation of Congressional ethics rules,” Ryall said.

Ryall added, “Governor Fletcher has stated on numerous occasions that he will release the names as he is required to do so by law. If Anne Northup does not like the law as it is written, perhaps she should have changed it when she was in the state house instead of spending her time raising taxes,” Ryall concluded.

The Ryall press release contained a copy of a May 9th, 2002 editorial from Roll Call Magazine regarding the situation which called for Northup to get a written ethics opinion on her dealings and make the opinion public. You can read The Roll Call editorial when you Click here.

The bombshell revelation from the editorial is that Anne Northp cited, in brushing aside the criticism raised by the editorial, Democratic Congressman Allan Mollohan as her ethical role model in setting up these types of organizations and then using her influence to funnel federal funds to the group. For those of you who have been reading The Conservative Edge for less than a year,we pointed out last year that Allan Mollohan is under criminal investigation, and resigned his seat on the House Ethics Committee over legal questions surrounding his activities with the civic organizations and his funneling of federal funds to them, that Northup cites as the ethical model for her work. Here's what the Washington Post wrote about Mollohan in April of 2006:

Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.) stepped down temporarily from his post as ranking Democrat on the House ethics committee, amid accusations that he used his congressional position to funnel money to his own home-state foundations, possibly enriching himself in the process. As recently as Thursday, Mollohan, a 12-term lawmaker, had said he would not step aside, but he bowed to pressure yesterday from House Democratic leaders eager to pursue their campaign against what they call a "culture of corruption" in the Republican Party.

"It has become clear that the unprecedented campaign that has been launched against me will continue to be at least as relentless as it has been to date," he said in a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), maintaining his innocence. "I do not want these baseless allegations to divert attention from the important work that the House Ethics Committee must undertake in the remainder of this Congress."

In a 500-page complaint filed with a U.S. attorney in February, the conservative National Legal and Policy Center in Falls Church challenged the accuracy of Mollohan's financial disclosure forms and detailed a remarkable change in the lawmaker's personal fortune. Mollohan's real estate holdings and other assets jumped in value from $562,000 in 2000 to at least $6.3 million in 2004, said Ken Boehm, chairman of the legal center.

During the same period, Mollohan used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to secure more than $150 million in appropriations for five nonprofit entities that he helped establish in his congressional district. One of the groups is headed by a former appropriations aide, Laura Kurtz Kuhns, with whom Mollohan bought $2 million worth of property on Bald Head Island, N.C.

All of which raises questions for Northup. Since she is using ethics as an issue, she should explain how her funneling federal funds to her group is different than Mollohan's. This could prove to be quite difficult, since she clearly cited Mollohans now questionable conduct. as a model for her conduct. Clearly, Northup should be held accountable on this. After all, if she wins the primary having rasied the ethics flag, it could be a huge problem for her in the fall.

Finally, we call on Northup to release any written ethics opinion she received in response to the Roll Call editorial which validated her actions.

Elendil’s Journal Analyzes Debate

Fortunately, this debate will only be an hour in length. That will make the whole process much more tolerable than the two hour debacle that the first Democratic debate was. So here comes the opening statements.

Harper - He opens up by talking about leadership and where the state is heading. He has signed a no tax pledge and is for smaller government. Ok he said he signed the no tax pledge twice. That was weird.

Northup - She is opening talking about the main issue four years ago was ethics reform. (Ok, I don't remember that but it might have been) Now she has saying the Fletcher hasn't lived up to his promise and she could change the culture. (Nice attack right out of the gate)

Fletcher - He remembers four years ago when the state had deficits, prisoners were being released early, and elderly were booted out of nursing homes. Now the deficits are gone, a record funding of education, innovative ideas to stabilize medicare, and built more roads in Kentucky. Fletcher equates leadership with results as he points to his accomplishments. (What a strong opening. He did a good job rebutting Northup.) Ok, now to the first question by a Courier Reporter.

Q1 - Did you are did you not sign a no new taxes pledge and if so why or why not? (Good solid question) Harper signed it and said we don't need more revenue, but we need to re-prioritize spending so we can grow the economy and generate more revenue. (Good answer, but I get the feeling he doesn't belong on this stage) Northup says she isn't going to let some small group dictate policy in Kentucky. (Nice slam on a conservative group - Lame) She then goes on to say that she has a long record of not voting for tax increases. (True, I don't remember her voting for a tax increase while in Congress)

Fletcher says while he hasn't signed it this time, he signed it last time and has lived up to his pledge. He says he has lowered taxes for nearly everyone and hasn't raised taxes. His modernization plan was more business friendly. Thus he plans to continue not raising taxes. He believes lower taxes stimulate the economy. (At this point it seems Fletcher has a good grasp of all of the issues. More so than any other candidate. As to the fact that he didn't raise taxes. That is hard to say for sure. He has lowered taxes for many, but others are paying for it. I know my small business hasn't had any rate changes. The only increase we saw was an increase in the yearly filing fee by like $50)

Harper says that business taxes collected are at an all time high. (Is that from growth or higher taxes. Really hard to say, but a nice attack) Northup goes on to bash the AMT and laughs at the idea that Fletcher didn't raise taxes. didn't her running mate support the AMT when it was introduced) Ouch, Fletcher stings Northup by saying that Northup voted for the largest tax increase in state history when she was a state legislature (Good point). Fletcher maintains that the AMT is business friendly. (Ok, that might be a stretch. I don't know about business friendly, but it isn't the catastrophe that Northup and Harper are saying it is)

Question 2 comes from the Lexington Herald guy. He starts by talking about how Northup supported Bush while in congress. Then he asks, how can a Republican in a primarily Democratic state hope to get the Democratic votes necessary to win. (Ok, who is this person? This has to be one of the dumbest questions I have ever heard. Way to waste my time by asking a totally imbecilic question. How did McConnell, Bunning, and Fletcher all win? How did he get to ask questions? A first grader could have come up with a better question. Also a nice editorial about Northup. Geesh) Northup says that Democrats in this state tend to be conservative (no duh. I feel sorry for these candidates having to answer such an obvious and stupid question) and will give Republicans a chance if they have a strong ethical leader (I guess that is going to be her mantra for the night. Northup is doing well although I don't think she does well as a public speaker in general.)

Fletcher talks about Dems and Republicans have the same concerns and then goes on his mantra that leadership == results and he list his results, surplus, increased educational funding, single digit cost increases in health care, new roads, more broadband. (Ok, we got Fletcher's mantra. I could probably stop watching now, but I will continue onward. I do like the way Fletcher handles himself. He seems confident and sure of himself. He is the best speaker on the stage)

Harper now is droning on about people not liking to pay taxes and how he is going to repeal the AMT and spend the money wisely. (I guess this is going to be his mantra - taxes and spending. Seems almost as if he is a single issue candidate. He looks stiff up there and is sticking out like a soar thumb compared to Northup and Fletcher) Follow up question from the journalistic hack. "Has Fletcher exaggerated his accomplishments?" ( Nice question. Give me a break. I don't think I could have come up with a more loaded question if I tried.)

At this point I have to give Fletcher some credit. He just took a slam against him and turned it around by quoting the Herald Leader about the deficits he faced when taking office. Touche! Gee, I wonder what Northup and Harper are going to say. Surprise! Northup thinks Fletcher has embellished his record. Now Harper is going off on some tangent about borrowing to spend and how we need a balanced budget. (Where did that come from? Why is he here?)

Question 3 (back to the reasonable CJ guy) - Should the state change ethics to cover personal gifts? (What is this question. It seems out of place) Fletcher clarifies the question by saying that the journalist is refering to Fletcher's Legal Defense Fund. Fletcher says he has followed the law, but won't release the names because he doesn't want them to suffer retribution from an out of control AG (Although I believe the AG is to lazy to act, I wouldn't put it passed him) He then claims he has been open beyond the law with other things like his tax returns. He challenges his opponents to open their tax returns.

Harper doesn't see the need for more ethics laws. He thinks the current ones should be enforced. Now he is talking about those who get state contracts shouldn't be allowed to donate to campaigns (Um, Harper - ever heard of the 1st amendment?) Northup comes out swinging again. Ug, she is talking about changing the culture. We need stronger ethics, blah blah blah. Fletcher responds by saying they have responded to more open records request than any other administration and he will continue to follow the law. But he won't release the Legal Defense Fund contributors until after Stumbo leaves the AG office.

Harper believes he should release the list. Northup does as well and then adds on that we can do better. It is time for a fresh start. (I have a new drinking game. While watching a debate you should take a drink every time a candidate states their mantra for the night. Between these three, I would be feeling pretty tipsy right now. Plus you would have the added bonus of being drunk while watching it)

Oh great we are back to the Lex Herald guy who asked the dumb question last time. No way, he asked a dumber and more meaningless question than last time if that is possible. Let me try to paraphrase because the question was so imbecilic that I forgot it. "Fletcher talked about intelligent design in the classroom in his state of the union speech. Do you think it belongs in the classroom?" (Why is the question of "Intelligent Design" in this debate?) Harper is lost on this question. He is stumbling around for an answer and says that it is a local decision. Northup says that it is another theory and should be left to the local school systems to decide. She then attacks the governor for not focusing on math and science instead of intelligent design.

Fletcher stumbles pointing out that he has taken more science than anyone in the room (Who cares and what is the point?I am sure he was still searching for an answer to such a stupid question) He quickly recovers and talks creation and Gods plan provides self evident truths and that many of the beliefs form the basic tenets of democracy. Thus they should be taught along with Darwinism. Plus he isn't mandating it, he just wants schools to look at it. (I didn't do it justice, but this was the best answer from anyone in the debate so far) Northup responds with yet more attacks and says we should focus more on math and science.

Fletcher notes that his wife Glenna has been working on literacy rates and has recently focused on Math and Science skills and setting up programs to help students to do better in those areas. Northup says we need to overhaul testing and we have lacked leadership in this area. (yeah, more attacks - drink) Fletcher comes back with the endorsement from the Jefferson County teacher's union. He then goes on to list the stuff he did. (I must say, Fletcher seems to have a great command of all of the issues. Oh yeah, drink)

Question 5 - ok, we are bound to be back to better questions. "Do you see cuts in benefits for future state workers?". Way to frame the question in the worst possible light. No editorializing here. Northup starts off by talking about securing the current and previous workers pension plan. Then she talks about how that is going to take 240 years under the current plan. (She lost me on that one. No one currently working for government will be alive then.) More attacks! Saying Fletcher hasn't done anything about it(drink) Now she is talking about modernization of the plan where everyone gets a private account they can fund and it is their money. ( This sounds similar to the senate's plan)

Fletcher reiterates the need to protect current and retired workers while addressing future concerns. He talks about how he has already set aside funds for current and retired pensioners and has set up a committee to look at the best way to address this issue for future workers. He is going to wait on that until he decides (Nice duck on the issue. I am waiting to hear back from the panel. Bah, you have an idea what they are going to say or at least come up with some ideas of your own. Don't kick the can.)

Harper says it shouldn't have happened (Thank you captain obvious, but it has happened). He thinks government workers should have a similar system to private industry. Northup thinks the retirement should be in private hands. That way it is a better guarantee. (Good point) Now she is talking about need for new leadership again (drink).

Fletcher goes off and talks about how self insuring the state has saved millions of dollars. And that came from a blue ribbon commission so he is going to wait and see what this panel comes up with before he backs a solution (duck, duck, goose) Ok, now the CJ guy is giving the LH guy a run for his money on loaded questions. "Governor, are you campaigning on the public's dime?" Nice question. Geesh, they should get bloggers from around the state to come in and ask the questions. Heck I could have come up with a zillion better questions than these hacks.

Fletcher declares he is not going to stop being governor now that he is campaigning. He continues to talk about what he has done as governor(drink). Harper doesn't see the need to hand out checks to local governments (huh? he has now completely lost me)

Northup goes on the attack again accusing Fletcher of using bonds to blacktop the state, photo ops, fund raisers (drink, drink, drink) Fletcher claims it is efficiency in traveling uh, why not do both at one time. How else can you travel to all of the counties in the state. This seems to me to be the most bogus wrap against Fletcher of any of them. I would do the same thing if I was in his shoes. It is just good time management!)

Harper responds with something. (I have no idea what he said. Is this debate almost over?) I wonder how Northup is going to handle this question. I would be shocked if she went negative. Well what do you know. I am shocked. Northup talks about congress and the delineation between congressional duties and campaign events. (Ok, but Governorships are executive while congressional are legislative. It seems to me that the congressional lines are a wee bit clearer than executive. This is a lame comparison). She then talks about a need for someone ethical in the Governor's mansion (drink).

Ahh, thankfully the closing! Fletcher is once again talking about how leadership == results (drink), and he is once again listing his accomplishments (drink). Northup is a mother of six and she can bring a new honest culture to Frankfort (drink). Hey what do you now more attacks (drink). Ok, that is the funniest thing I have heard all night. I actually laughed out loud when Northup claimed her campaign was full of optimism. If I had been drinking anything at that moment it would have come out of my nose.

Harper is closing the debate, and I don't care enough to write anything about it but it has something to do with AMT and such (drink). If I were to grade this debate, I would have to say that Fletcher won it. He was under constant attack, and he did a good job defending himself and remained positive throughout. His demeanor was good and was the best spoken of the candidates. I do think Northup did very well, she made her points while pressing the attack and came across as a credible candidate. She just isn't a good public speaker. Harper on the other hand finished a distant third. He just insn't in the same league as either Northup or Fletcher.

What have I learned from the debate? Never ask main stream journalists to ask questions at a Republican debate. I also learned a new drinking game that is bound to get you drunk. Other than that, I gained no new information from the candidates and nothing that will change the direction of this campaign. Bottom line is Harper doesn't really belong, Northup is still negative, and Fletcher is still talking about his accomplishments. Nothing new here, move along now.

Gubernatorial Debate Analyzed

From OSI Speaks:

Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidates, Anne Northup, Ernie Fletcher and Billy Harper, went on the offensive during their second and last televised debate. Watch the KET video debate last night and share your thoughts with us. You can also read Ryan Alessi's piece and Joe Gerth's excellent report on the debate. In the debate, Fletcher touted his accomplishments, Northup (sometimes joined by Harper) demurred. Northup accused Fletcher of presenting an "embellished record" in campaign ads and speeches and of "... perfect example[s] of not having a personal ethical standard".

When Harper and Northup accused Fletcher's 2005 tax plan (the Alternative MAXIMUM Tax -- according to Billy Harper!) of raising taxes on small businesses, cigarettes, alcohol and cable television, Fletcher fired back and noted that Northup voted for (the largest tax increase in Kentucky history, according to Fletcher) as a part of the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA).

Billy Harper repeated his assertion of a need for greater leadership from the governor's office -- accusing the Governor of ignoring people but "trotting around the state" during an election -- and criticized Fletcher's record on taxes, noting that he signed off on $4 billion in debt over his term -- more than any governor in state history!

Continuing, Harper mentioned that he is the only candidate to sign the Washington-based conservative group -- Americans for Tax Reform's -- no tax pledge, which Fletcher said he signed in the past and has honored (though the group, Americans for Tax Reform, found that he broke the pledge and added him to its "Hall of Shame") and Northup replied that she had a conservative record on taxes and didn't want "any outside group from Washington dictating Kentucky's policies".

I think Northup did particularly well in this debate by succeeding in putting her opponents on the defensive. What do you think?

From On the Right:

Excerpt from the Courier Journal's coverage of the debate last night:

Fletcher said he chose to keep secret the fundraising for his legal defense fund, which he is using to pay off lawyer bills from his indictment, because he didn't want to release the names of donors while Attorney General Greg Stumbo, whom he has accused of a political witch hunt, remains in office.

"I'm not going to expose them to any retribution that might be there," Fletcher said.

State law doesn't require Fletcher to report the names of donors and how much they contributed until after the November election. But Northup hammered him, saying that "everything should be disclosed" and that Republicans deserve a candidate who won't be the focus of Democratic attacks on ethics throughout the election.

Even Harper, a Paducah businessman who has tried throughout the race to stick to his message of lower taxes and educational initiatives, was mildly critical.

"I think it's important that any fundraising that's used directly or indirectly for a candidate be under public scrutiny," he said. "Whatever you call a fund, whatever it's developed for, we need to be totally open with the public so they can see where the money is coming from."

The Herald Leader:

The two Republican rivals of Gov. Ernie Fletcher aggressively challenged him last night on his ethics and the fiscal record of his administration in their last statewide televised debate before the May 22 primary.

Former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup hammered Fletcher for failing to deliver on his 2003 campaign promise of "changing the culture of Frankfort." Instead, she said, he got mired in a state hiring scandal and has campaigned using taxpayers' money. "This administration has not been without scandal, and because of that the Democrats are lined up to run against us," she said during the debate televised from KET studios in Lexington.

Paducah businessman Billy Harper repeatedly spoke of a need for greater leadership from the governor's office and criticized Fletcher's record on taxes, noting that he signed off on $4 billion in debt over his term -- more than any governor in state history.

Comment: I know that I am biased but I thought both Northup and Harper did very well last night by sticking to the issues and hitting Fletcher hard on the ethics of Fletcher not disclosing the names of donors to his legal defense fund. The Governor looked like a whipped puppy and was constantly on the defensive. With only 2 weeks until the primary I think the momentum is shifting to Northup!

Fletcher Era Ethics

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Before he became a leading opponent to a new water treatment plant on the Kentucky River, Franklin County Magistrate Ira Fannin was willing to sell land for a similar plant in almost the same location. Last July, Fannin accepted $10,000 from the Bluegrass Water Supply Commission for an option on 118 acres he and his wife, Patricia Fannin, own on the river north of Frankfort.

The site is about two miles south of the spot where Kentucky American Water wants to build a plant. The option document was obtained from the commission Wednesday through the state’s Open Records Act. If the option had been exercised, the Fannins would have been paid $835,000 for their property. The commission represents several towns around Lexington. It had hoped to build a plant and sell water to its members, and to Kentucky American through a grid of pipelines that connected water utilities.

But those plans have been dropped, and the commission now is considering buying a share in the $160 million plant and pipeline Kentucky American wants to build. And Fannin now argues against any new plant on the Kentucky River. He did not return several calls from the Herald-Leader Wednesday, but has recently argued for a "two rivers" solution to augmenting the region’s water supply.

He also has introduced a resolution to the Franklin Fiscal Court opposing Kentucky American’s plan. A vote on the resolution was postponed last month so the court can get more information from the Louisville Water Co. If passed, it would be sent to the Kentucky Public Service Commission, which is considering Kentucky American’s proposal. At an April 19 fiscal court meeting, Fannin argued that Kentucky American should go back to an old plan to build a pipeline to bring treated Ohio River water from Louisville to Lexington.

Kentucky American officials who attended that meeting said a plant on the Kentucky River would be somewhat cheaper. They also pointed out the Louisville pipeline plan faced strong opposition in the 1990s, and Lexington’s Urban County Council passed a resolution in 1999 saying it wanted a "Kentucky River solution" to the region’s water supply needs. Kentucky American did not immediately return calls about Fannin’s option Wednesday. The company wants to build its plant on a parcel in southern Owen County, with intake pipes on a parcel in northern Franklin County. It paid $685,000 for the two parcels, which cover 110 acres.

Many people in the part of the county that Fannin represents object to the 42-inch pipeline that would carry water from the plant to Lexington and perhaps other towns. On a trip through his district with other magistrates last month, Fannin said he opposed not only the pipeline, but also the idea of the region relying on another Kentucky River plant. "One reason is safety," he said, according to an article in The State Journal, a Frankfort newspaper. "A chemical spill could shut down everything in Central Kentucky."

He said that the Ohio River is a much larger source than the Kentucky. Don Hassall, the executive director of the water supply commission, said Fannin’s property was chosen for a potential water plant for its location, not because it belonged to a public official. Hassall downplayed the importance of Fannin now opposing a plant on the Kentucky when he was earlier willing to profit from one. "It sounds like he’s had a change of heart," Hassall said. "He’s got constituents out there and I’m sure his phone is ringing."

Who Can Ford Trust?

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Kentucky Truck Plant workers will vote today and tomorrow on a Ford proposal that guarantees that Super Duty truck production remains exclusive to Louisville and promises investment to adapt the plant for future F-Series models. In trade, workers will lose overtime, some skilled union jobs through attrition, and adhere to stricter attendance rules at the Chamberlain Lane plant. As Ford struggles to recover from more than $12billion in losses last year, ratification of the competitive operating agreement, or COA, will help the company "stay competitive" and "transform our plants," Ford spokeswoman Anne-Marie Gattari said.

Ford workers have endured declining sales, unemployment, and uncertain futures. Their plight has been ignored. Now, additional unemployment, rules and wages concessions have been requested. As reciprocation, Super Duty production has been guaranteed. Promises, promises…

Obviously Troubled, Fletcher Approved

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

The school council at Clinton County High has recommended the disgraced former superintendent to become the next girls’ basketball coach, ensuring that Sam Gibson will get the job.

Superintendent Mickey McFall said a letter of intent to hire would go out to Gibson, who will make about $7,000 a year. "The council has spent a lot of time on this, and they’ve given me a recommendation that they think is the best one," McFall said. "I respect the council’s members, and if they say he’s the best person for that job then I respect that."

Clinton County High School Principal William David Warriner referred all calls to the superintendent. Gibson’s home phone is unlisted. He was suspended from his job in 2002 for having sex with a co-worker on school property, and then indicted for forging expense receipts related to the affair. He later resigned as part of a court order that also dismissed the charges against him. However, Warriner said Monday that Gibson had coached some teams to state championships when he lived in Tennessee.

One parent said the public would not be pleased. "I think they’re insane," said Sherry McWhorter, who has three children in Clinton County schools. "Parents don’t want their kids to be exposed to him, they don’t want those kind of morals to be taught to them."
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