Monday, December 7, 2009

And We Promise To Remember . . . . . 2010

And we promise - to remember - the Seventh of December - We're the Seabees of the Navy - The Bees of the Seven Seas.

Every December 7th I think of my grandfather Dan Hockensmith and sing the Song of the Seabees in his honor and memory, a line of which is above. To do it right, I should be about half-drunk and on a dance floor at some VFW hall. My grandfather was a Seabee in the United States Navy in World War II, in the 114th Batallion.

Okay - got that out of the way.


Since the last entry was about Washington DC, wars, and world affairs, this one is designed to hit a little closer to home. As many of my six faithful readers know, I am involved in one of the Louisville mayoral campaigns, that of Greg Fischer. Greg was the first person to file for the Democratic Primary which will be held on May 18, 2010. Also having filed is my friend Burrell Farnsley, whose father served the old City as mayor in the 1940s and the 3rd District as congressman in the 1960s. Filed as Republicans are Hal Heiner and Chris Theinemann, the former a developer and businessman who serves as a Metro Councilman representing the far eastern edge of the county; the latter a builder and developer with ties in many different parts of the county and across party lines. Announced-but-not-yet filed Democratic candidates are Tyler Allen, a Louisville businessman with ties to the 8664 campaign (which I support), as well as David Tandy and Jim King, who like Mr. Heiner are members of the Louisville Metro Council, the former representing downtown and neighborhoods adjacent to downtown to the east, west, and south (including where I live); the latter representing parts of the Preston Highway/Poplar Level Road corridors (where I lived for twenty years). There is also a West End lady who has talked about running but I do not recall her name. While I have met Mr. Theinemann and work in the same building as Councilman Heiner, I cannot admit to knowing either of them. The five Democrats actively engaged in a campaign are all friends.

As I travel around with Mr. Fischer, I often hear people ask him "Why are you running for mayor, especially now?" I'm sure all of the candidates get this question and I'm sure all of them have a good and worthy answer. On the surface, it would seem given the economic times that running for mayor would not be so popular an idea. We have problems - disputes with firefighters, disputes with neighborhood associations, disputes over bridges - whether seven lanes over a river or one or two lanes over a creek. But those are the simple negatives. There are also positives. And let's face it - the economy has to rebound sooner or later and sooner is passing us by quickly. Sometime in the next year or so, the economic engine which runs the Commonwealth - that's what gubernatorial candidates like to call Louisville when they are campaigning within Jefferson County - will ramp up. Slowly but ever so surely, the region will be hiring and rehiring, wages will rise, tax revenues will increase, and life will - eventually - return to normalcy.

Being mayor at the rebirth, or the renaissance of a city will be exciting, even if it won't be easy. I understand why these candidates have thrown their hats into the ring. Let's face it, there has been much discussion in the news about our city lately. There is the near-completion of the Downtown Arena, something first envisioned by aldermen Dan Johnson, Steve Magre, and George Unseld nearly fifteen years ago. There is the ongoing purchases of parcels completing the Ring of Parks around Jefferson County as well as adding acres and acres to our Jefferson Memorial Forest on the southwestern fringe of the county. There are the planned expansions at the University of Louisville and Jefferson Community and Technical College, the latter of which does not necessarily include a controversial hotel on Broadway. And while there may be bad news coming from TARC as it tightens further its belt, there is also a proposal by one of the candidates for United State Senate of a very modern transportation system using perhaps even a light-rail system, something that would work quite compatably with the expansion going on at Fort Knox just thirty miles to the southwest. There are new residential areas all over - from the former farms along what is now called Old Bardstown Road - and no, it is not the one in Buechel - to new lofts and apartments downtown, an expansion which began before the economic downturn and will be realized in the next few years. Fourth Street, East Market Street, Frankfort Avenue, Brownsboro Road, and other corridors are alive with activity. We are about to turn the corner and get the 21st century underway - right on schedule more or less. We have always been a little laid back and behind the times. Starting the 21st century in 2010 should come as no surprise.

So we have these folks wanting to be mayor. As I said, I am involved in the campaign of Greg Fischer. My dear friend Preston Bates confirmed for me that he and Jonathan Hurst have been recently hired on the Jim King campaign. I do not know who is running Tandy's campaign other than his treasurer being my old nemesis (and friend) from the KDP, former KDP Chair Jennifer Moore. Burrell Farnsley is running his own show, as he has done is campaigns-past. I know nothing of the operations of those from the other side of the aisle.

2010 will be an interesting year politically here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. If Democrat Jodie Haydon wins tomorrow's Special Election for the 14th Senate seat (to represent Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor, and Washington counties), as I fully expect he will, the State Senate will be one vote shy of a tie for leadership. In 2010 here in Jefferson County, the 38th Senate seat, presently held by Democrat-turned-Republican Danny Seum of Fairdale, is being contested by Marty Meyer whose father held the seat prior to Seum. In the adjoining counties of Bullitt, Shelby, and Spencer, the Democrats have a shot at turning a Red seat Blue with the election of John Spainhour. Similar possibilities exist in Hardin and a small part of Jefferson for the 10th District, and in far western Kentucky where Democrat Rex Smith is challenging Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Independent Bob Leeper in a district centered on Paducah. The truth is the Democrats probably need, in addition to winning tomorrow's Special, three turnovers in 2010. One to tie, one to lead, and one for insurance. Yes, it will be an interesting year.


And we promise - to remember - the Seventh of December - We're the Seabees of the Navy - The Bees of the Seven Seas.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.