Friday, December 29, 2006

The Metro Council of Nannies

When I was a kid growing up in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I often heard people remark that Democrats never meet a tax or social program they didn’t like. In fact, it’s what led to the Democratic Party being referred to in those days as the “Nanny Party”. The Republicans then were a different breed than they are today. Back then, the GOP was about maximum independence from government. They revered self reliance, a small government, financial accountability, and personal independence. It’s perhaps an irony that most of the environmental protection initiatives were Republican in origin. This brings me to the subject of this edition, that is, the “Metro Council of Nannies”.

The Louisville Metro Council is dominated by Democrats, and though well meaning as they are, have decided they know what’s good for us. Like any good nanny should, we’re going to take our medicine and like it. Let’s look at the “No Smoking” Ordinance first, and then on to a couple other recent issues. As a disclaimer, I’m no fan of smoking. I consider it nothing more than a coward’s version of suicide. Still, it's an individual's choice, which I can respect. Just a little common courtesy please and you keep your smoke out of my space.

Metro Council has decided that employees of bars, restaurants, etc are being forced into working in unhealthy environments. Somehow, these otherwise intelligent individuals are being held captive by their employers in smoke clogged establishments and required to endure hours upon hours of toxic secondhand smoke. As if that’s not bad enough, patrons were being dragged in off the streets into these dens of sin to set in smoke choking taverns and restraurants. Let’s not forget that Metro Council had earlier approved separate smoking and non smoking sections, provided that the owners spend thousands of dollars on new ventilations systems. Interestingly however, employees of Churchill Downs are somehow different from the other serfs…er…employees since Churchill Downs is exempt. Must be all those bucks that fan the air I suppose.

So, what did we learn from this? Well, evidently employees do not have the free choice to seek other employment, perhaps even in non-smoking establishments. Who knows, maybe some enterprising owners may have created their own little niche with completely smoke free bars or restaurants. We also learned that the public was incapable of deciding on whether to patronize a business based on full knowledge of its smoking policy. In short, we—you and I—weren’t capable of making our own decisions, and thus enter the nannies to save us from ourselves.

Next, we have the “Dog Ordinance”. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Apparently Metro Council has decided for us what’s a vicious animal (all of them it would seem), and the solution is simply to penalize everyone. Good going geniuses. If your dog or other pet attacks someone, you’re going to get sued. It’s called taking personal responsibility folks. If you have a dog, keep it fenced in or on a leach…period. How about a warning sign on the fence? Second, let’s have Animal Control actually enforce existing laws on the books. We don’t need the Metro Nannies telling us what we already know. On a side note, I would like to see owners fined for not keeping track of their pets. How many times have you seen some dog or cat out wondering the streets, especially in the mornings, only to later get hit by a car or truck? This lack of care ticks me off like few things can. We bring them into our world. They depend on us to take care and look after them, and in return offer us unconditional love, companionship, and protection. If you can’t take responsibility for your dog or cat, don’t get one! Go buy yourself a hamster or goldfish instead.

Finally, Metro Council wants to restrict what we eat. It would seem that our elected nannies are going to try and remove Trans-fat from our collective diets. Listen, if I want to eat some grease soaked hamburger and bag of fries, it’s none of their business. Frankly, what I do to or with my body is of no one’s concern but mine. There’s an old saying which goes like this, “Do as you will but harm none”. It means it’s your life. So long as no one is harmed or injured, do what makes you happiest. We elected these folks to fix potholes, pick up trash, and make sure we have adequate police, fire, and EMS. Other than that, they can get out of my life and stop telling me what to do, unless, as my grandmother used to say, they want to pay my bills in which case we can discuss a possible curfew time.

A Street by any other Name isn’t as Sweet

Metro Councilwomen Barbara Shanklin and Mary Woolridge, along with everyone’s favorite jester of street theater, the Rev. Louis Coleman, came into Portland hell bent on renaming 22nd Street after Martin Luther King Jr. There was just one problem however, no one bothered to ask the folks who lived in Portland what they thought of the proposal…until then. About halfway through the meeting, after getting an earful from angry residents, Shanklin and Woolridge walked out, still vowing to have their way.

Our renowned city historian, and fellow Metro Councilman, Tom Owens proclaimed that even though Portland’s history was primarily Irish, German, and Catholic, there was throughout Portland's history small enclaves of black residents. After the collective “duh” subsided, many are still wondering why we need another street named after the fallen civil rights leader. As most residents know, Rev. King did visit Louisville once, and marched downtown along Broadway. In the 1980’s, the small street in front of the Federal Building, along with park, were named in his honor.

Louisville has the John F. Kennedy Bridge, named after the slain president, who also visited our fair city. Then there is the Ron Mazzolli Federal Building, named after the popular congressman. Of course, we have the both the Gene Snyder Expressway and the Gene Snyder Post Office Building which houses, among other things, the federal courts. Gene too was a long serving and quite popular congressman.

Despite his public disavow of Louisville on several occasions, Louisville renamed Walnut Street after boxer Muhammad Ali in the 1970’s. In fact, we now have the Muhammad Ali Center, which seems to have suffered from late construction, overruns, inadequate funding, poor attendance, and may soon find its way to being publicly supported by taxpayer dollars. But what about Louisville’s other unsung heroes? We have a stadium and two bridges being built, plus several large new office and apartment buildings being built downtown. Will one of them find a place of honor there?

Keeping with the boxing theme for a moment, what about legendary heavyweight Jimmy Ellis? Ellis is a born and bred Louisville boxer who was always proud to say he was from the River City. Jimmy fought 50 professional bouts, and won 40 of those with 24 by knockout. From 1968 until 1970, he was the world heavyweight champion, after beating another boxing great, Jerry Quarry for the WBA Heavyweight Championship title. Ellis fought and beat the super Floyd Patterson and kept his title until losing it another one of boxing legends, “Smokin” Joe Frazier. Ellis, who never left Louisville and still makes his home here, was truly a giant among giants and yet this world recognized legend remains virtually unknown in Louisville (and let’s not forget Greg Page, another one of our boxing greats who remains in the shadows).

Speaking of legends, none were greater than the Green Bay Packers during the 1960’s under Coach Vince Lombardi. This was time when football was played by tough men for the mere love of the game. No over inflated egos allowed. In this era of Joe Namath of the New York Jets, Tex Schramm and Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys, Roman Gabriele of the Los Angles Rams, Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns, and Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts (who attended UofL by the way), none eclipsed Green Bay’s Bart Starr (still my personal favorite of all time), Ray Nitschke, Jim Taylor, and Louisville’s own, Paul Hornung.

Paul “The Golden Boy” Hornung dominated the 1960 football season with 176 points and followed it up in 1961 with 146 points, He continued his breakneck pace throughout most of the 1960’s. Even some of footballs greatest running backs like Emmitt Smith, Priest Holms, Marshall Faulk, Gary Anderson, and Shaun Alexander failed to beat Paul’s 1960 record. It wasn’t until 2006 that LaDainian Thomlinson finally broke the record.

Today, Paul Hornung is a successful businessman here in Louisville, but despite his status among football’s greatest of all time, there are no streets, buildings, or bridges named after this former great running back. And speaking of football players, let’s talk briefly about another Louisville great, Phil Simms.

Phil Simms was born in Lebanon, Kentucky but grew up in Louisville. He went on to attend Morehead State. The New York Giant Quarterback won three MVP awards, not to mention Super Bowl XXI, and set more records than I have space for. Today he is a sports commenter and analysis as well as a successful businessman. Sadly, he too remains virtually ignored by his hometown while still adored by football fans everywhere.

Finally, how about TV Anchor, Diane Sawyer? Here’s a woman who was born in Glasgow Kentucky, but grew up in Louisville and cut her journalistic teeth right here at WLKY-TV. She went on to serve in two White House administrations, Richard Nixon’s and Gerald Ford’s. Diane has won just about every journalistic award there is, including two Peabody’s, the IRTS Lifetime Achievement Award, the Broadcasting Magazine’s Hall of Fame, and induction into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame.

These are just a few people who deserve to be honored by the citizens of Louisville, but there are many more. They were born here. They grew up here. Finally, then went on to greatness while doing making us proud of their accomplishments. If anyone deserves having a street, or bridge, or anything else named after them, it’s these folks.


Ed Springston said...

Well said as usual Paul especially ion regards to the counciltrying to control our lives. I love the history lesson as well and very factual as usual. Keep up the good work!

Ed Springston

Donna said...

wow this is really good you go love it all but the metro part is really good

jefferson poole said...

well, it's not really about honoring great people. it's about honoring great BLACK people. it's more proof that leftists are the most racist people in the country. they believe in separating people and valuing people based on the color of their skin.

the only name they'll choose for 22nd is "York," for lewis & clark's slave/friend. i would suggest it to them, but they would ignore me. would you? they might go with "Old York," just to spice it up a little bit and call to mind the center of the universe "new york city."

am i wrong?

~ blue grass, red state

Another Opinion said...

Well BGRS, I don't think racism is a left/right issue. I've known just as many racists on the conservatvie right as I do on the liberal left. I think you may have a valid point for the "You-Owe-Me" mentality which is sometimes interpreted as racism. As for your suggestion, there's already a York Street.

Danny L. McDaniel said...

Did you know that America has more monuments, memorials, streets, cities, counties, townships,parks and schools named and dedicated to wars and warriors than the rest of the world combined.

The U.S. has more American Legion and VFW halls than Asia and Africa has libraries and hospitals.

Americans are memorial crazed, especially when it comes to the Civil Rights era. I believe that Dr. King is one of the greatest Americans ever to live but every city has something named in his honor.In my opinion he was the greatest theoritically democrat to ever live. I guess my point is that we are wasting time and money looking back at the past when a vision of the future is vitally needed. It is time for Americans to put a moratorium on memorial building!

Danny L. McDaniel

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts on 22nd Street and Nannies. First, it is Councilman Tom Owen, not State Representative Darryl Owens, who is the town historian.

The one-block street in front of the Federal Building is not a public street, nor is the park there a public park. It is closed off to traffic and it wholly the property of Uncle Sam, who patrols it like Fort Knox since the events of 9/11/2001. Louisville is the largest city in the South without a significant street named for Martin Luther King. Whether that makes it right or not I do not know, but in this matter we are not keeping up with others.

On the specific idea of naming 22nd Street, several problems issued forth. First, there is a rule against giving a street three names - Martin and Luther and King. Then there was a compromise, to only change the name south of Market Street. Our nannies (to use Paul's term, which I kind of like) also have a rule which says if you change the name of part of a street, you must change all of it, which is probably a good rule. We could have used it for 7th Street/7th Street Road/Manslick Road/St. Andrews Church Road situation, or for Grinstead Drive/Winter Avenue/Oak Street/Virginia Avenue.

One of the main reasons for 22nd Street, although one usually not mentioned, is that it would require a large green sign on I-64 at the "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, formerly 22nd Street" intersection for the rest of the world to see. Portland folks even offered to change that part north of Market to Paul Hornung Parkway, but again, the nannies would have us name all or nothing at all. Then there is the little question of what to rename the little connector road in Portland currently known as the "North 22nd Street Connector." Would it become the "North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Connector?" That's a seven word name, not counting the street-name type. Fortunately, the Council nannies have, at least for the moment, dropped the idea. I would propose to them 9th Street instead, given that Roy Wilkins, for whom 9th Street (which also intersects with I-64) was renamed, spent one less day than Dr. King in Louisville, that is to say he has never been here.

I agree the Metro Council has gone overboard on nanny type issues, especially those Paul has written of here. But the renaming of a street for Dr. King should not fall in this category. Paul's entry properly set it off in a different section. But I strongly believe Louisville should have some street some where of some significance named for the slain civil rights leader, and presently we do not.

The Whippoorwill Poet

Another Opinion said...

Nice to hear from you again, thanks much for your comments Whipporwill. You're correct that Martin Luther King Place belongs to the Feds, as does the park. Still, it would be redundant to have another street bearing his name. However, given the number of great men and women from Louisville, I think we need to honor our own.

Barbara said...

Very good. . .I really liked this one.

Anonymous said...


I have enjoyed it and thank you.

I also hope you find the first day of 2007 without a certain councilman,


I sure do!

LouivilleConcern said...

Has the Governor said anything about this controversy?

Another Opinion said...

Thanks for your question Louisvilleconcern. So far as I know, the Governor has not weighed in on any of these issues, and frankly, he shouldn't. These are local issues and in my opinion, governors should try to stay out of local politics as much as possible.

nicrivera said...

Great post, Paul.

I've dedicated a post to LaDainian Tomlinson breaking Paul Hornung's 1960 record and written others about the nanny state (i.e. the War on Drugs, anti-smoking laws). But mentioning both topics in a single post? Now that takes talent.

BradJax said...

This being an issue tinged with a few sharp edges, why shouldnt the Governor weigh in?

Another Opinion said...

Thanks Bradjax. Having been a victim of governor interference, I guess I'm a little "gun shy" when it comes to the state executive sticking their nose onto what are basically local issues. Renaming a local street doesn't impact the state in any way, and neither do the local ordinances, though there could be a good argument for the smoking prohibition since other Kentucky towns have enacted anti-smoking laws too. If other communities follow suit on the dog ordinance or attempts to monitor what we eat, I think the both the State Legislature as well as the Governor may have grounds weigh in. The same goes with renaming a state road. At this point though, I think the issues should remain local. The less layers of government in our lives, the better.

Another Opinion said...

Thanks much Nicrivera.

JakeRed said...

Speaking of the Governor, Billy Harper announced his this morning. What does everyone think? Can he win? What are your thoughts of him as a candidate?

All Kentucky Reject said...

I could not agree more... Lets leave the local issues to the locals... That said, where do you see the governor's perogative to weighing in coming into play?

Another Opinion said...

As soon as the filing deadline passes, I plan on doing a piece about the candidates for governor. But I will say this, the Republians can't afford a great deal of "bloodletting" in a Primary basically because it's a waste of limited resources. However, a contestly primary could also signal to the public that Republicans don't always follow along blindly and in lockstep either. It might generate some interest not only in the race, but in the GOP as well.

JamieMee said...

AO, I agree... Given the scandal and the uncertainty of the previous year and Fletcher's shall we say ethically challenged compass... a vigorous primary is exactly what we need

TroopBush said...

In reference to the impending Republican primary... You go with Northup, you get a pork barrel spender, who's fresh off getting kicked out of Washington, you go with Fletcher, god, we already know what we get there...

AlexiNameoff said...

Harper Addresses Education:

Radio Interview:§ionID=1

Press Release:

NormanRoethlisberger said...

Looks as if Northup’s people are up to their old dirty tricks. It cant be a coincidence that this video is released as she prepares to announce.

PrestoninCrime said...

Check Out Billy Harper’s new campaign video

Filing For Governor

Latest Campaign Ad

Another Opinion said...

Ok, listen up: Only one political ad per blog per campaign please. That's two from Harper's camp. If you have a question about putting a campaign link or ad on AO, please send me an email at: and we can discuss. Thanks!

JaceeRoss said...

Whats do you think is behind these campaigns aggressively courting the blogs through comments AO?

Another Opinion said...

Hi Jaceeross. I think smart campaigns look for every avenue to get their message out. They know blogs reach a lot of people they would otherwise not reach. They can even attempt to tailor their "hits" to specific blogs types (ie: veteran, conservative, liberal, green, or whatever), depending on the message they're trying to get out.

SteveRoses said...

AO, people have to watch out though... I have noticed a lot of Fletcher supporters, or people I see as Fletcher supporters, posting under anonymous... what do you feel about that?