September 19, 2006

City Strobe: Please, enough with the negativity

A screen capture: of the Anne Northup political advertisement that criticizes John Yarmuth for his stance on the gas tax and the Senior Prescription Drug Program.As surely as the leaves turn in fall, Republicans in Louisville’s TV market have begun anew their negative campaign offensives. 3rd District U.S. Rep. Anne Northup launched an ad last week attacking Democratic contender and LEO founder John Yarmuth (who no longer has ties to the newspaper) for what her campaign calls a change in position on the gas tax and the senior prescription drug program. The ad ends with this contention: “Either John Yarmuth doesn’t know his own positions, or he’ll say anything to get elected,” and it compares Yarmuth’s most current TV ad (he has released two so far, both focused on issues and neither of which mentions Northup) to his LEO editorials.The Northup ad offers no context and, as a result, is misleading. The first examines Yarmuth’s position on the federal gas tax. The LEO editorial referenced in the commercial is from May 22, 1996. In it, Yarmuth argues that cutting the federal gas tax would not solve the problem of a temporary spike in gas prices, and if the federal tax were to be cut, raising the state tax could be necessary. At that time, the federal gas tax was 4.3 cents per gallon.Now, more than a decade later, the federal gas tax is closer to 20 cents a gallon, the price of gas has almost tripled, and even President Bush is publicly questioning America’s dependence on foreign oil. Clearly much has changed on this issue in the past 10 years.The second point Northup’s ad asserts is that Yarmuth opposes the Senior Prescription Drug Program that he supported in a June 26, 2002 editorial. A quick read for context reveals again that the ad is misleading. In the editorial, Yarmuth called for a bipartisan approach to creating and passing a plan that works for senior citizens, which ultimately did not happen: Medicare Plan D, as it is now, significantly benefits the 10 largest U.S. drug companies while disallowing the government to negotiate price with drug companies. In reality, that leaves such decisions to insurance and drug companies to negotiate, which Yarmuth’s editorial contends should not be allowed to happen. Republican or Democrat, that’s simply not a change in position.On a related note, Yarmuth has signed the League of Women Voters’ 2006 Ethical Campaign Pledge, which aims to keep such smearing and negativity out of this year’s campaigns. Northup did not sign it, nor did 2nd District U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis (R).The pledge covers federal and state legislative races, the mayoral race, Metro Council races, and many municipal races. A majority of those who signed are Democrats, though several Republicans in state and local races also pledged not to smear. —Stephen GeorgeRally like a republicanNot to be outdone by the glitzy Slugger Field Democratic Party rally featuring political rock star Barack Obama last week, the Jefferson County Republican Party announced its own rally starring Margie Montgomery of Kentucky Right to Life. The “Rally For Our Nation” is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the gymnasium at Believers Church on Smyrna Parkway. It will feature Christian music and probably some posters of fetuses, plus a spot of shock, a dab of awe, some troop supportin’ (minus any plan to ever bring them home), some tough talk on terror (despite the explosive growth in terrorism under Republican policies), calls for smaller government (oops, scratch that), cries for Big Brother to stay out of the affairs of the individual (oops, scratch that too), stirring speeches on the strength of the economy (oops, better not bring that up), and, um, yeah. Fetuses.Besides Montgomery, the rally will also feature Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and local Republican candidates in November’s elections. Admission is free because, you know, it’s hard to sell tickets to a fetus gallery, no matter how much troop supporting is goin’ on. —Jim WelpKill your carWell, you don’t have to kill your car, just don’t drive it this Friday, Sept. 22. It’s “World Car-Free Day,” which means that if you have a green consciousness or are interested in promoting a message of less dependency on foreign oil and the automobile industry that’s mainlining it, you should take the bus, ride a bike or walk.It’s the second year Louisville has participated in the event, which began in Europe in the late ’90s. Helping coordinate the event this year are the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation, the Louisville Bicycle Club, TARC, and three major Louisville employers — Jewish Hospital, Kindred Health Care and Papa John’s International — all of which are giving employees special one-day-only TARC passes for Friday.“A screen capture: of the Anne Northup political advertisement that criticizes John Yarmuth for his stance on the gas tax and the Senior Prescription Drug Program. to get people to consider alternative means of transportation,” said CART’s Tim Darst. “We A screen capture: of the Anne Northup political advertisement that criticizes John Yarmuth for his stance on the gas tax and the Senior Prescription Drug Program. seem to have all our eggs in one basket right now.” —Stephen GeorgeGo local sports team!Humana Inc. agreed to sell its nine-story Riverview Square office building at Second and Main streets to make way for Foregone Conclusion Arena, which will be home to U of L basketball and more country music concerts than you can shake a cattle prod at. The $11.2 million Humana property is the final piece of land needed before officials can begin physically cramming the $450 million arena down the citizenry’s gullet. Riverview Square will be demolished and its 750 workers will be relocated at an extra cost of $2.8 million to you, the taxpayer.Meanwhile, the Arena Authority also approved a plan to guarantee specific goals related to the hiring of women and minorities. And the Arena Authority lined up Halliburton to manage the arena’s construction. Just kidding. The actual project manager is a Texas outfit called PC Sports. First order of business: moving that controversial LG&E substation, also at taxpayer expense. —Jim WelpWrite to us here: citystrobe@leoweekly.com