May 12, 2010

Council counseling

METRO COUNCIL: A primary primer

Below you will find a quick and dirty guide to the candidates seeking a seat on Metro Council. Be advised, we didn’t waste time or ink on candidates who are running unopposed or are registered as an Independent because they will not be listed on the primary ballot — but don’t worry, we’ll be sure and shed a little light on them leading up to the general election this fall.

*Denotes incumbent

District 1

Judith “Judy” Green (D)*

 This west Louisville councilwoman made it her mission to get kids to pull up their droopy drawers, drafting a “saggy pants” resolution last year. The controversial, non-binding measure was a complete waste of time, as it couldn’t be enforced. However, the 54-year-old dentist insists she has accomplished a great deal since first being elected in 2006, comparing herself to the “Energizer Bunny” in a recent Courier-Journal story (seriously).

Most resembles: A hater

Ray “Sir Friendly” Barker (D)

It’s safe to say Barker, 49, touts perhaps the most diverse résumé and the coolest nickname in the race for council: retired Louisville Metro Police officer, former rapper and now general manager of a downtown McDonald’s. This is the second time Sir Friendly (his hip-hop alter ego) has sought a council seat, losing to Green in the 2006 primary.

Most resembles: Robert Guillaume, the guy who played Benson

District 5

Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D)*

Whether it’s a new police substation or new trash cans, the experienced west Louisville councilwoman is a bumblebee in her district. For the past few years, Hamilton, 59, has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at revitalizing the Shawnee neighborhood, including the Weed n’ Seed program, and she plans to start a localized version of the Harlem Children’s Zone in her district. The only disappointment came back in 2008, when Hamilton indicated her legislative aide might not participate in the mayor’s furlough days to help fill the city’s $20 million budget shortfall.

Most resembles: The cloning splice of Tina Turner and Anita Baker

Mark D. Mitchell (D)

The Louisville attorney, 41, has an impressive résumé and is forthright about his positions on trans-fat (supports a ban), term limits (wants a three term max) and neighborhood development (all for it), but it’s an uphill battle against a well-established incumbent. It’s the second time Mitchell will face Hamilton; he previously challenged her in 2000 for her seat on the Board of Alderman.

Most resembles: A happier Charles S. Dutton

District 9

Tina Ward-Pugh (D)*

The independent-minded councilwoman has been one of the more outspoken members of the Democratic caucus. Last year, the 50-year-old co-sponsored a bridges project resolution that asked for more public hearings, which stands as the only government effort to push back against the $4.1 billion juggernaut. Predictably, it was rejected in less than five minutes. Save Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, there’s no one else who makes us feel safer heading up the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.

Most resembles: The annoying lady in line at Heine Brothers

John G. Miller (D)

As someone who’s divided most of his professional career between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, Miller has emerged as a champion of the latter by calling for abolition of TARC fares citywide. The 53-year-old first-time candidate, who referred to Ward-Pugh as a “fake progressive,” has nabbed a few important union endorsements, which should make for an interesting contest.

Most resembles: A super-friendly grandpa

William Jaggers (R)

The landscape company owner and employee of the Kentucky Exposition Center claims his background in business will help assist economic growth and development in the district. The 40-year-old, one-man business machine wants to promote small businesses, local tax cuts and a fiscally conservative agenda. Oh, and he recently filed a complaint against his GOP opponent, accusing him of failing to indicate how his yard signs were funded.

Most resembles: Karl Rove 20 years ago

Patrick Joseph Duerr (R)

The upstart Republican has a sexy website with a flash intro — whoa, somebody’s serious. Given his marketing background (he’s director of marketing and government contracts for a staffing company), it makes sense that Duerr, 37, knows how to get the attention of voters. The self-described fiscal conservative has a plan to bring 50,000 jobs to Louisville and claims Ward-Pugh is treating her district seat as a career position.

Most resembles: Guy on golf course

District 13

Vicky Aubrey Welch (D)*

The south Louisville councilwoman, 54, had the bright idea to stop meth labs by sponsoring a resolution asking the General Assembly to make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug, which basically would have forced meth-heads to cross the bridge to Southern Indiana — and leave the rest of us in the emergency room due to mere sinus infections. Thankfully, intelligence came to the rescue and Welch withdrew the measure.

Most resembles: Cast member of “Designing Women”

Larry “Roger” Price (D)

The Fairdale neighborhood resident and firefighter doesn’t say much about the issues, which is sort of radical considering it saves him from writing words that don’t mean anything. Here’s what we do know: He’s 38, served in the U.S. Army, and believes there should be adequate emergency services in his district.

Most resembles: G.I. Joe character Sgt. Slaughter

District 15

Marianne Butler (D)*

The first member of the council to offer curbside pick-up for residents affected by the 2009 flash flood, Butler (age a mystery) is another one of those unknown but influential Democrats. The south Louisville councilwoman introduced a competing ethics ordinance, which had much narrower definitions than the one championed by council Republicans. While most city lawmakers focus on the effects of violent crime and drug use, Butler seems interested in the root causes, such as home foreclosures and other quality of life issues.

Most resembles: My first-grade teacher

Arthur B. Raine (D)

The 23-year-old community activist says he volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and Brooklawn Child and Family Services. He cites his “years of civic involvement,” which, given his young age, presumably began when he was a wee child. Besides that, we don’t know much else, but he’s got a kick-ass name.

Most resembles: A fetus in a suit

District 17

Glen Stuckel (R)*

If frugal government spending is your kick, this East End Republican, 74, should be your dream come true. Though he’s a reticent member of the minority caucus, he’s a proud cheapskate with his office’s discretionary spending. He’s run one of the more cost-effective offices in all of Metro government. In 2008, for instance, with half the fiscal year complete, he only spent about 15 percent of his budget for office operations.

Most resembles: Noam Chomsky

Tony Wheeler (R)

The 40-year-old real estate economist and small-business owner preaches limited government, free-market solutions and is a constitutional … Zzzzzzzzz. If you hate socialism as much as Mr. Wheeler, he’s your guy.

Most resembles: Splinter from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Derwin Webb (D)

The Louisville attorney and former University of Louisville basketball player surprised many we he got into the race. According to his campaign website, the 39-year-old started something called the “WE” campaign, which as far as we can tell is nothing special other than the first two letters of his last name. But in this city, having a gallery of former U of L ballers and former Coach Denny Crum behind you, who the hell cares. C-A-R-D-S … Cards! Cards! Cards!

Most resembles: An older Kobe Bryant

William D. Cohen (D)

The owner of Smoothies For You wants to build new libraries, improve traffic control and create more after-school options in the district. The 41-year-old political newcomer — who shares a name with a former secretary of defense — also supports a ban on trans-fats, but we’re just hoping he sponsors a bill that gives out free smoothies every Friday.

Most resembles: A high school football coach

District 19

Jerry T. Miller (R)

The former Jefferson County GOP chairman, 58, is considered the favorite to fill Councilman Hal Heiner’s seat in the 19th district. With a résumé longer than Ron Jeremy, he’s best known for bringing Republican mayoral candidate Chris Thieneman back into the party fold last year. Besides that, Miller piggybacks on the GOP agenda with strong positions on transparency and public safety that ought to make this three-way race interesting.

Most resembles: Freddy Krueger, pre-burn

Daniel Osborne (R)

This Middletown businessman and former vice-chairman of the local Young Republicans says he’ll hold the mayor and council colleagues accountable for every dime they spend. Believing the district has “growth potential,” the 25-year-old father of five also has a keen interest in family-oriented issues

Most resembles: An average Republican

Kevan Rumpel (R)

Another kick-ass name on the ballot, the former Louisville police detective-turned-private investigator (sweet!) and founder of the Small Business Alliance moved into the district just last spring but has endorsements from area business and labor leaders. Besides job creation and development, Rumpel, 59, wants to expand the e-transparency ordinance. He’s also a member of Southeast Christian.

Most resembles: The Most Interesting Man in the World (minus the beard)

District 25

Doug Hawkins (R)*

This one-man caucus hasn’t done much legislatively, but he’s managed to peddle faux outrage over everything from “Possibility City” advertisements to pretty much everything Mayor Jerry Abramson does. The hyperbolic antics have isolated him among GOP colleagues and sparked criticism from council Democrats and the Mayor’s Office, but the south Louisville councilman (age unknown) appears more confident than ever that he’ll make it out of the primary unscathed.

Most resembles: Howard the Duck

Robert G. Thrasher (R)

The 57-year-old has a PHD in education and believes in instituting council term-limits, job creation and revamping our education system. That’s about it. Really.

Most resembles: Creepy high school principal