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January 2, 2007

City Strobe: Neighbor to OLCH: It’s not you, it’s your volume

John Glenn wants to clear up a few things.The owner of a Hill Street apartment complex behind Old Louisville Coffeehouse loves what manager Peter Berkowitz has done with the place.“I am so thankful the coffeehouse is there,” said Glenn, 46, who, since October, has repeatedly called Metro Police about the venue’s amplified shows because he says they’re too loud. LEO reported a couple weeks ago that Berkowitz and Glenn were going to court over the matter. It’s now on the docket for Jan. 3.Glenn has been renovating the Hill Street building since the fall and plans to eventually move in. He said he’d been getting complaints about the noise level from his tenants before.But …“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Glenn said. “It is that bad.”The coffeehouse stage sits next to the front door, which backs up to Fourth Street. Because of how it’s positioned, the two PA speakers and some instruments face the back door; in other words, Glenn’s building.During concerts, customers enter through the rear. The front door stays locked except when bands need to load and unload gear.When that back door is left open — and, if the band’s loud enough, even when it’s closed — Glenn says he can hear it loud and clear.“I want them there,” he said. “I just don’t want four amps and speakers blasting at me.”On Dec. 8, Glenn had enough. “Basically, I had to call the police. I had to call them several times.”Technically, Metro Police cited Shannon Kempf, an assistant manager who was working at the time. She is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 3. Sam Manly has been hired as her attorney. The kids who showed up to see Arsenic on the Rocks and Suspected Terrorists showed their displeasure by hurling a few choice comments at Glenn while he was inside his apartment.Glenn says he now keeps a video camera handy to document any threats or vandalism. “If the police don’t see it, then it doesn’t happen. I have to protect my property. I have good tenants. I’m poor, and this is my only investment.”“I didn’t want it to get to this point,” he continued. “Again, I admire Peter for being a manager and being a small business owner, (but) there’s a respect for the neighbors that people need to have.” —Mat HerronRide to SafetyNow here’s a damned good idea: TARC is offering anyone fleeing an abusive partner a free ride to the Center for Women and Families. Called “Ride to Safety,” TARC’s new program allows people trying to escape abuse to board any bus at any stop at any time, without paying a fare. When a victim boards a bus, the bus driver will contact TARC headquarters, which will dispatch someone to meet the bus and take the victim and any children to the nearest shelter. The driver will continue to make all the normal stops and will not offer counseling to the victim (also a damned good idea).To spread the word, TARC will outfit its buses with “Ride to Safety” decals. The Center for Women and Families serves victims of domestic abuse, rape, and economic hardship from campuses all over the metro area. Visit www.thecenteronline.org for more information. Or just board a TARC and say, “Help.” —Jim WelpIt’s the end of the year as we know itAmong the days off, yuletide, long lines, traffic jams, the birth of Jesus, glittering lights, egg nog, streamers, champagne and resolutions never to be met, the end of the year will always bring reports from groups studying that which happened during said year, mostly on things we, as a country, would like to forget about during the season of forgetting about reality. The Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty released a report last week saying Kentuckians overwhelmingly oppose applying the death penalty in cases of aggravated murder. Just about any prison time 20 years and over will do it for us. The study, conducted by the University of Kentucky, also revealed that our support for the death penalty has stayed around 30 percent since 1999; before that, from 1989-99, it hovered around 35 percent. Over the same period, support for long-term sentences has jumped dramatically, from 46 to 68 percent. The report comes as frustration continues to grow over another hideous case of botched execution — in Jeb Bush’s Florida — where it took 34 minutes and two injections to kill convicted murderer Angel Nieves Diaz. Gov. Jebya has suspended executions awaiting an investigation.Speaking of government-sanctioned death, the Army failed to meet its qualitative recruiting goals for 2006, according to a report by the nonprofit National Priorities Project. In essence, the Army has continued to lower its standards for recruits. Getting dumber, poorer soldiers is probably not the best way to grapple with the ongoing problem of convincing young Americans to go fight a ridiculous, illegal and unnecessary war, but hey, we’re only thinking out loud here. Speaking of things ridiculous and unnecessary, the most worthless Congress on the books — the fightin’ 109th — left in style, passing only two of 13 budget bills on the table: defense and homeland security. The NPP also reported that a bill passed to further fund the Iraq War — an additional $72.4 billion, bringing to $380 billion the total bill so far — will only get us through March 2007. Happy New Year. —Stephen GeorgeHoosier profitizationWith one out of every six Hoosiers receiving public assistance, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels made a bold decision: He cut a private contractor in on the action! In a $1.16 billion privatization deal dramatic enough to give any neocon a slight woody, Daniels partnered with IBM — the same people who brought the world DOS, the “sincere necktie” and that weird red nipple pointer thing that was supposed to replace the mouse — to administer the state’s food-stamp, Medicaid and other welfare programs for the poor. Big Blue will modernize the current system by bringing applications online and establishing an efficient call center, which should be really sweet for poor people with, um, ’Net-enabled computers and phones. Daniels, a Republican, signed the contract despite vehement objections from Democrats, social workers, unions and advocates for the needy, including Indiana House speaker Patrick Bauer, who charged that the scheme allows contractors to “profit from the poor.” Daniels claims the contract will save taxpayers money, streamline the application process for recipients and create 1,000 new jobs for Indiana. Gee, if only Indiana had more poor people, the Hoosier state could turn a really sweet profit! —Jim WelpGet daily online City Strobe updates at The Lip: LEO’s News Blog, at www.leoweekly.com. Contact the writers at citystrobe@leoweekly.com