Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sick and Tired

Saturday night saw the first meeting of several ticked off political and community activists, who gathered together to discuss the current political situation in Louisville’s Southend. The gist of the evening’s conversation centered on the failure of either party to take seriously the concerns facing the Southend. First on the agenda was the local Republican Party, which continues to show little more than a passing interest in anything west of I-65. Personally, I wonder if there’s some unwritten pact with their Democratic counterparts to stay out of the Blue-collar Southend in exchange for the Democrats keeping out of the White-collar Eastend.

Two key Republicans praised for their commitment to the folks in the Southend was State Senator Dan Seum and Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins—neither of whom are exactly the darlings of the GOP ruling clique, or the Courier Journal for that matter. For those not familiar with the GOP and Southend, no serious steps to build any inroads have been attempted in years, despite poor opposition from the Democrats (more on that in a moment). Focus instead has remained east of I-65. The Republicans shot themselves in their...er...foot with their abandonment of key Southend candidates in the 2004 races, resulting in many leaving the party. They recently repeated a similar scenario in 2006. This left many of the Republicans in the group feeling like the proverbial red headed stepchild. But before the Democrats start to gloat, things aren’t any better on their side of the fence; Different cows. Same bull.

As an aside, when I ran for Metro Council in 2002, I brought up the idea of forming a “Southend Caucus”, regardless of party or office, for the purpose on working on the Southend’s diverse and serious problems together. The Courier Journal accused me of wanting to “Balkanize” local politics. Folks, it was “Balkanized” long before I got here. I was just trying to find a way to sidestep party politics and work together base on common ground. Well, you can call me “Tito” if you want, but I still think it’s a good idea.

Despite controlling the overwhelming majority of seats, the Democrats have shown little in the way of leadership. It was pointed out that the Democrats are poorly organized and poorly lead at every level, with their chief interest laying in playing the “status quo” game of politics of promising change while doing nothing. Everyone in attendance agreed that with the failure of the Republicans and of the Democrats to bring more police officers, economic redevelopment, job opportunities, businesses, and a non-partisan commitment to neighborhoods to the Southend. The time has come whereby the residents need to be encouraged to start voting in their own economic self-interest irrespective of party registration.

Could this affect the Democrats? Hopefully so. Since they control the majority of the seats in the Southend, they’ll want to protect those seats. Perhaps by working more closely with area residents in addressing their concerns, they may actually want to keep junkyards, trailer parks and meth labs out, and bring in more upscale developments and businesses (did you know the Southend has no bookstore? Nope. Not a one). As for the Republicans, perhaps they will use this opportunity to capitalize on the leadership vacuum by investing in its small (and declining) voter base (is it any wonder that the Southend has one of highest number of registered Independents anywhere in the county?). Perhaps too it may actually induce them to start working with instead of against its best know elected representatives, Seum, Hawkins (and let’s not forget Kevin Bratcher either). The meeting adjourned with a mutual agreement to continue with these discussions, and develop specific steps to bring the issues of the Southend to the forefront.


A Musical Note

I thought you all might enjoy this. A friend of mine recently wrote and produced a neat little ditty about our favorite terrorist group, the Hezbollah (we all know what a fun group they are). Click onto Rob’s site and check out his song (yelp, that’s him singing too) at: http://myspace.com/bobbyludwig. I hope you’ll pass it along to everyone red blooded American you know! And Rob, great job!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are right Paul the Southend always gets passed by. Now that there it a lot of houses and apartments being built out here its time to have someone in office that will look out for the southends interests.

Anonymous said...

Paul:

As you know, I am a partisan Democrat so my comments are biased in that direction. And while your lament may be wellfounded - remember although I am no longer there, I was raised and my mother still lives off South Park Road - I am pretty sure it is more of a plea by Southend activists to the Republican Party only.

You make the point with a particular sentence about suggesting the Democrats come to work more closely with the three people representing your area - and I'll point out that as soon as Kevin Bratcher got his district redrawn he abandoned you by moving well to the east. You wrote, "Perhaps too it may actually induce them [the Democrats] to start working with instead of against its best know elected representatives, Seum, Hawkins (and let’s not forget Kevin Bratcher either)."

Representing other parts of the Southend are Democrats Ron Weston, Vicki Welch, Dan Johnson, Perry Clark, Tim Firkins, Marianne Butler, Bob Henderson, and Charlie Miller. The Republicans have three, one of whom doesn't live there. The Democrats have eight, all of whom are residents of the area.

Three versus eight. I think the people who should be encouraged toward working with instead of against anyone are those in the minority.

Having said that, I'm not saying everything we in the majority do is right and should go without question. I am saying that if your representation leans heavy to one side, and yours does, then that is the side I'd be making my entreaties to.

Anonymous said...

The comment about 3 versus 8 is mine. Sorry.

Jeff Noble
ohioriver606.blogsopot.com

Rob said...

Thanks for the plug; appreciate it!
See you in the a.m. back at the old Same place!

Another Opinion said...

Thanks very much for your comments Jeff. The "them" I was referring to was the local GOP working with Seum and Hawkins instead of against them, not the local Democrat Party. Sorry for the confusion.

I would say that everyone in attendence was complaining equally about both parties, not just about the Republicans. The Dems were cited for the very fact they are the majority and have failed to lead. It's mediocrity run amuck!

On a personal note, I agree that because the local GOP has all but forgotten the Southend, the emphasis perhaps should be on the majority party, and that is the Democrats. As you know, my interest is, and has always been on the welfare of the people as a whole and not always following a party line. So, perhaps you're right and there is an opportunity to "change from within".

Jeff Noble said...

Paul:

Thanks for clearing that up - and in doing so making my point even clearer - that the lament is directed toward the Republican Party.

I will pass along concerns about the Democrats not leading as well as we should. But I'll add we are at least making honest attempts at reaching the people of this area.

I can speak with authority in saying that in last year's congressional election "candidate John Yarmuth" made extended efforts in the South End, and especially in Fairdale. And "Congressman John Yarmuth" is doing the same. And while some - many - folks in the area may not agree with all of Yarmuth's political beliefs, I am hopeful that his presense now and then here and there in this area is felt.

I am aware your work crosses party lines and ideologies. And I enjoy the comments here from you and your readers.

And to be honest, while I disagree with him on much, every time Doug Hawkins casts a No vote on the Mayor's budgets, I smile.

Jeff Noble
ohioriver606.blogspot.com

Another Opinion said...

"And to be honest, while I disagree with him on much, every time Doug Hawkins casts a No vote on the Mayor's budgets, I smile."

--DON'T WE ALL JEFF, DON'T WE ALL.