Sunday, January 22, 2006

Denver Butler Says Goodbye

For those who don’t know, my opponent in the 2004 race of the 38th State Representative seat, Denver Butler, is hanging it up. Butler was quoted as saying in a January 19th interview in the Courier Journal, that age and a desire to help his daughter, Marianne Butler, run for the Metro Council 15 seat were his primary reasons. However, a more likely scenario, and the one I heard almost non stop from local community activists, political insiders and others, was that Butler didn't want another race like the one I gave him in 2004 again. Denver was seriously concerned that he might not be lucky a second time around.

In a district where Denver has been a long standing incumbent; where he held a 2.5:1 voter registration advantage, he won by just 2000 votes. That folks is considered a close election. Despite a large campaign war chest, Denver was unable to mount any type of aggressive campaign. He wasn’t able to walk the district; he wouldn’t debate; he wouldn’t show up at any community events, and so forth. Simply put, his heart just didn't appear to be in it anymore. He lost that "fire in the belly" every politican talks about.

While many people, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have made a point of congratulating me on forcing Butler's departure, I don’t want anyone to think I’m gloating. Far from it. I knew Denver for many years before deciding to run against him. He is a good man. Denver Butler worked long and hard, first as an Alderman, and later as State Representative. However, Denver stopped being effective several years ago in my opinion, and that of many political insiders in both political parties, and of many in the district. He relied too much on past laurels. His failure was not a lack of concern for the people in the 38th. Indeed, he cared very much. His failure, however, was not in recognizing when it was time to leave. A failing of many politicans. He became part of the entrenched “good ole boys” which, over the years, has done so much harm to Louisville. The people of the not just the 38th House District deserved better, so do the people of Southern Louisville and Jefferson County. We’ve seen to many neighborhoods decline. We've seen crime and drugs dealing increase, especially meth production We’ve seen to many business leave, especially the small “mom and pop” stores which used to dot the South End. We’ve seen to many unwanted developments, including trailer parks spring up. We’ve become, as some folks have said, a “dumping ground” for Louisville's East End. That then, is why I chose to run, and that was after several long face to face meetings asking him to step aside for the wellbeing of the district (and at each meeting, he always give me a long pause and asked for "just two more years" and would promise to resign and support me. However, after six years of waiting, I decided thar was time enough).

While many believe Denver’s decision to retire was at least partially to my credit, I rather focus on the future. I hope we can sit aside petty party politics, which are often self-destructive, and come together as a community in order to work together in rebuilding the South End in something everyone can be proud of once more. We need strong, pro-active and non-partisian leadership.


moderate man said...

Denver stated he wanted to be remembered for lots of small achievements when he announced his upcomming retirement. He stated he was proud of expanding New Cut Rd. from 3rd St. to the Snyder Freeway. Well in all the years he was in office, how about all the other major state roads in the 38th that needed and still need expansion, like Outer Loop, Manslick Rd., St Andrews Church Rd, Old Third St. Rd. Or how about street lights and sidewalks on Dixie Hwy. A state road that bordered his district. Ever notice how dark and dangerous that road is? That road money left the 6 year road fund and went to other counties on his watch. Denver also stated he was proud to help obtain funding for the State Amphitheater located in his district. Well he must have forgotten that parking problem that occurs every performance, because no state funding was allocated for it on his watch. He also didn't obtain funding for an amphitheater sign to promote its usage. The Hazelwood Facility across from Caritas Hospital, could use lots of additional funding for the disadvantaged residents. Wonder if he has ever been there? Yes Denver has been a co-sponsor for racetrack gaming for many years, while being a special interest poster boy and multiple gaming PAC reciepent for his continued re-elections. Yes, Denver we will remember you for your small achievements.

Moderate Man

Jimmy said...

I thought for sure that you would jump in this week. I think you should. Take care-

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on tooting your own horn and taking credit for something you had absolutely nothing to do with; I have to wonder if you had won the election if your opinion would be the same. Can you say childish, sore loser? And for the comments made by moderate man, you ask if Denver has ever been to Hazelwood. Why don't you contact Hazelwood and ask them their opinion of Denver and why. He didn't need nor want recognition for all the good he did unlike many others. Take the time to learn the facts before you offer an opinion on a subject.

Another Opinion said...

Stating the facts is not tooting one's own horn. Apparently Democrats like you don't like it when someone better qualified comes along and makes no bones about their accomplishments.

We did talk to the folks at Hazelwood. They spoke about the things Butler USED to do. The facts were that he had long ago lost touch with the people in his district. He knew it was time to go. I spoke at lenght with Denver on four seperate occasions to ask to give it up; to leave with some dignity. Despite giving me his word, he stayed (we were later told that while we wanted to quit, he wasn't being "allowed" to whatever that means).

Had I won, nothing in my opinion of him would have changed. Denver was at heart a good man, but like so many politicians, he overstayed his welcome. Now I think its time for you to let it go.

Another Opinion said...

By the way, you should also take the time to note that our article was written four years ago.