Wednesday, September 21, 2011

701. Variety Pack - HL#20 revealed; Fischer to Obama; A Man of No Importance; Redistricting

Hidden Location #20 was promptly located in Camp Taylor by Nancy Howard, and properly identified by Fr. John Schwartzlose, Johnny to those of us who watched him grow up, as the foot of Indiana Avenue, where Belmar Drive and Lee Avenue intersect. I lived one door off this corner for seventeen years. I used to tell people I lived at the very bottom of Camp Taylor, which was true. Johnny grew up a few blocks down Lee and up the hill on Orchard.

At one time Indiana Avenue didn't end here. It ran along what is now called the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Belmar Drive out to Poplar Level Road. As a side note, for many years Belmar Drive did not have a 1700 block at all, as it does now from Fincastle Road out to Poplar Level Road. A second side note is that the Fante's house in the beginning of the 1600 block used to have a 1/2 attached to its address - 1603 1/2. It was renumbered sometime in the 1970s.

The other part of Belmar Drive, that from Lee Avenue westward back to Preston Highway was originally called Kentucky Avenue, one of several scattered around what was then rural Jefferson County. Another Kentucky existed in Fern Creek, another in Middletown, and two others, all in addition to the Kentucky Street in Louisville. When the Camp Taylor post office was annexed into the Louisville post office, Camp Taylor's (and Prestonia's) Kentucky Avenue was renamed Belmar Drive. Loosely translated, Belmar means pretty lake. One may recall that the area where Standiford Field, Edgewood, and the north end of Okolona now exist was once basically a swamp called the Wet Woods. Perhaps calling the street Belmar was an attempt at a euphemism.

I've read some criticism and cynicism about the mayor's visit and chat with the president over the Sherman Minton Bridge, which has locally been dubbed Shermageddon, a name which at least four of my friends, and I am sure countless others, are taking credit for. I have to think about the president visiting Ohio and our neighbors in northern Kentucky, where very few people cast their ballots in the president's favor in November 2008. On the other hand, the two counties which are connected by the Sherman Minton, Jefferson in Kentucky and Floyd in Indiana, gave candidate Obama a 38713 vote margin over the very senior United States Senator from Arizona. [I have to admit the margin was all on the Kentucky side of the river. Floyd cast 3694 fewer votes for Obama than McCain]. As Greg is mayor of the largest city in this area of vote-largesse for Obama, I can't imagine anyone being in a better position to address the absence of traffic on the Sherman Minton than our mayor, who hasn't already offered up an opinion. And we know Obama likes Louisville. He was here several times as a candidate and once, on a beautiful September night in 2006, even before he was officially a candidate. And our side of the river is represented by one of his earliest supporters in the Congress, which can't be a bad thing. Our congressman alerted The White House to the situation twelve days ago and has been in constant contact with the Federal Highway Administation officials on a non-stop basis, and is bringing the top two from that department to Louisville in the very near future. The next logical person to get involved, since the two Republican United States Senators do not seem too interested, is the mayor. To the naysayers who have something nay to say on all-things-Fischer, give it a rest. Quite a few people in the community who didn't vote for him last November are having second thoughts, crossing over to his side. I will admit Greg and I do not entirely agree on the Bridges issue, although we do both support building the East End Bridge first. But our agreement ends there. He is supportive of a downtown bridge which I oppose. Where he stands on a Southwest bridge, an idea I've supported for a decade, I do not know. But, he is the mayor and I am happy to have him communicating with the president on our current lack of a second bridge across the Ohio.

Last week I attended Pandora Productions' 16th season opener, A Man of No Importance, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Terrence McNally. Set in 1964 Dublin, it is a story of a man's sexual identity, church identity, hidden loves, and ultimately long-lived friendships. That's quite a few hot buttons to hit in one play, but it was all well done, moving, and enjoyable. Pandora's Michael Drury played the lead (and title role) as Alfie Byrne and it was an excellent perfomance of a tragic character. Although I've never had a sister, the role of Alfie's sister Lily, played by Tiffany Taylor, is an excellent role model and played as such. Alfie's love interest, Robbie, was acted by Jason Brent Button, the adorable blue collar worker who isn't quite the lover Alfie wants but proves to be a very good friend. Alfie's other more prurient interest, Breton Beret, was played quite well by an alluring Michael Mayes, a student at U of L. I know a lot of people recognized the character, the ploy, and the ultimate but sad reward of giving in to one's temptation, as Oscar Wilde counsels Alfie to do. The entire play has as a backdrop Oscar Wilde, my favorite playwright, and the name is, of course, taken from one of the great writer's plays. In the production, the presence (or ghost) of Wilde is played understatedly and dramatically by Patrick Brophy.

The entire cast is an ensemble of fifteen players, playing both their roles and those of their assigned roles of the play-within-the-play, Wilde's Salome, which causes problems for the players' venue, Saint Imelda's Church. I've been a fan of the play-within-the-play genre since my own performance in high school of a production called Here and Now. But, I digress.

I have to say I very much enjoyed A Man of No Importance. The other actors, besides those mentioned above, are Laura Ellis, Rusty Henle, Obadiah Ewing-Roush, Josh Richard, Bob Zielinski, Kristy Calman, Betty Zielinski, Chris Cook, Meg Caudill, Daniel Cooper, Anthony Ransom, Amos Dreisbach, and Blair Boyd.

Back on March 17, 2011, we learned that the official 2010 population of Jefferson County was 741096 people, and it is on that number that under state law the Council is required to reapportion its people into 26 districts of legally-equal size. The ideal population for a district is 28503.69 persons and legally-equal is a measure created by previous court cases allowing a difference of 10% of that number between the most populated and least populated districts. Redistricting is a fascinating once-a-decade project which purists love, I being one of them. Unofficially, I created a map of 26 districts, with some help from Ray Manley and others, back in May, a map which met certain requirements and parameters.

Once you agree on those certain requirements and parameters - that incumbents (of both parties) will remain in their respective districts, that districts with minority representation will remain (or achieve) minority-majority status, and that you will comply with all legal requirements, and that you will split as few precincts as possible - there really aren't very many ways to divvy a county up into twenty-six districts of legally-equal size. Most districts retain 70%-80% of their original territory, one way or another. There are exceptions in far southwestern Jefferson and susburban southeast Jefferson.

Metro Council President Jim King (D-10) has, since August, done an excellent job of bringing the maps from computer-images to paper and an ordinance will soon be introduced redistricting the Council constituencies. That map will look remarkably similar to one a few of my seven faithful readers have seen. I've very happy with President King's guidance on this very delicate matter.

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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.