Mayor Fischer’s West Side Story – Lies and broken promises

Louisville, KY – This is a tale of Mayor Fischer’s West Side story. One full of lies and broken promises the West End community has grown far too accustomed to for too many years under Democratic leadership in Louisville. Louisville Politics has been asking for years why the West End continues being ignored and made to live as outsiders in the Louisville dream. This is but one example of why.

One of the key problems throughout Louisville and indeed across the US these days is the lack of economic opportunity, especially in our depressed inner city poor neighborhoods. With that in mind studies were done throughout Kentucky and major employers in Kentucky were asked what was their number one problem with growth and development in Kentucky.

The answer? Lack of an available trained work force.

It made sense and helped explain the sudden rise of the fly by night warehouses that rely solely on temporary workers and hurt the working middle class. These low paying temporary warehouse no skill jobs are permeating Louisville and destroying the potential we once had.

Without a skilled workforce we are pummeling toward a decline that Detroit is facing today.

Governor Steve Beshear himself bought into that argument and announced he wanted to place three regional training facilities throughout the state. Toyota and its suppliers are seeking one for Georgetown, and would presumably get one, so why not Louisville home to 3 of the State’s largest employers Ford, GE, and UPS?

A plan was put in place to develop a regional training facility in Louisville.

In June of 2012, Mayor Greg Fischer assembled a team of union officials, manufacturers, community leaders, JCTC, U of L, as well as, Simmons College President Kevin Cosby to develop a concept and work plan for a world-class regional education and training facility to help improve the skill levels of the Louisville workforce.

This team included representatives from Ford, GE, UPS, the UAW, IUE, Simmons College, JCTC, and many more. Among them from the Mayor’s office were Haley Stevens, Tony Peyton, and Mary Ellen Wiederwohl.

For months Mayor Fischer held regular meetings with local stakeholders at City Hall to advance the new JCTC/Simmons college facility project. The group and the initiative was making huge progress and the project was on the road to fruition.

Finally, after decades of lies, we had a project that would create many opportunities for West Louisville. New jobs, new infrastructure, and a new attitude for a blighted and long forgotten area of our history. A plan that included all the business leaders, and representatives of the union workers, of Louisville working together for the common good.

Imagine, a worker training facility essentially run by Simmons College and JCTC sharing a common area that would be a huge benefit to the forgotten area of Louisville.

What a boost!

Common sense and logic, usually neither of which appear in most projects seemingly, actually prevailed and by including the biggest business leaders of our community, and the unions, the group proved to be a huge success in helping further along our West Louisville.

Black and white, management and labor, State and Local Government officials, both Republican AND Democrat, our largest employers, Ford, UPS, GE, suppliers and many others actually working together and very supportive of the project.

Can anyone remember a project that crossed racial boundaries, political boundaries, or included management and labor working together in a positive way here In Louisville?

Can anyone think of any single project of this caliber or magnitude actually being associated with the West End of Louisville?

Even a local real estate firm volunteered a significant amount of time and effort to assemble a development plan and quietly arranged an opportunity to purchase the tract of land for the new JCTC/Simmons college education and training facility.

This new world-class education and training facility project would have helped change opinions not only in the way Louisville overall perceives Western Louisville, but in the hearts and minds of many in Western Louisville who just want to have a seat at the table.

After decades of being led by lies and deceptions from elected leaders, this was a chance to be inclusive of Western Louisville and have a positive impact on a declining area. It would give West Louisville what it really needs.

A significant economic infusion into the West Louisville community.

It could, and would help reshape the image of Western Louisville and help them move in a positive direction towards meaningful change.

A change that is badly needed.

New construction, training opportunities that would create much needed jobs, something that would benefit the poorest of our community, and particularly the African-American citizens of the West End, who had been ignored and seemingly forgotten from the civil rights battles of the 1960’s, by Louisville’s Democratic leadership.

Finally, after all of the decades of lies and manipulation, the West End had seemingly arrived and had a seat at the table in negotiations. We could finally work towards eliminating the blight that our elected leaders and we ourselves made due to poor leadership.

The West End would be recognized as a world leader because of the training facility, and finally be proud of being a part of the community.

It would have been a great day in Louisville…. except it isn’t going to happen.

After months and months of hard work Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer pulled the plug, with Simmons College own Kevin Cosby’s blessing, because Fischer wanted the project moved to the East End.

Why?

First the background

As many of you know, the YMCA is building a new facility in West Louisville. The City of Louisville sought federal assistance and secured $1.2 million in community development funds for the project. Miraculously the YMCA last year told Mayor Fischer and the city that they did not want to use the federal funds for the project.

With $1.2 million in funds available and not being used, what do you do?

Enter the team working on the regional training facility project. The work group saw an opportunity to redirect the YMCA federal community development funds to the new regional training facility initiative and quickly developed a plan.

The next step of course was to get Mayor Fischer’s approval for the grant money, that the YMCA did not use, to be redirected for the project.

Recommendations were made to Mayor Fischer and the Metro Council members to redirect the available funds to purchase approximately 8.5 acres of land on 8th Street, between a JCTC education facility and Simmons College, to build the new education and training facility.

All the pieces were in place, there was affordable land available, over $1.2 million to get it off the ground and running, with millions more available through federal grants, and it was a perfect opportunity to prove that the West End was vital.

It was the perfect fit for JCTC and Simmons College since JCTC representatives were already working jointly with Kevin Cosby at Simmons College.

Since Simmons, a historically black private co-ed college founded in 1879, was returning to its roots as Louisville’s first industrial worker education and training center during the early 1900s, how could one not see that this was the perfect fit?

What a great testament to what we as a community could accomplish when working together!

Finally we could change the attitudes that had permeated throughout the West End community from lying politicians.

With all of this in mind, the project group didn’t just have an idea. They developed it.

They worked tirelessly to bring it together. Top managers and labor working together for a common good in our community. They put together a plan and provided presentations. They invited city officials and advisors to the site so they could see firsthand the opportunities and seek support for the project.

All were impressed, including Mayor Fischer, who was so excited he told some ‘that this facility in West Louisville would be good,’ for Louisville. Yep he was excited all the way up until a decision had to be made and he ……dropped the whole plan.

Why did Mayor Fischer pull the plug?

It really is simple. Politics and money.

Many people say that Mayor Greg Fischer doesn’t make any economic decisions unless they benefit his campaign manager or other political ‘Friends of Greg.’

Political insiders have indicated that Mayor Fischer’s sister, and JCTC Board Chairman Lynn Fischer, who is also the CEO of Catalyst Learning, a worker training firm, did not want the project next to Simmons College. Conflict of interest? You bet but one thing was clear.

Lynn wanted the facility wholly owned and operated by JCTC on the east side of Louisville.

Why JCTC and the east side?

Based on our more than 20 year history of failed leadership in the West End, led by by former ‘Mayor for life’ Jerry Abramson, as well as the current lies by the Fischer administration, and his Democratic party partners, it seems there is a mindset by the Democratic political machine in Louisville.

Like his predecessor before him, Jerry Abramson, (remember poorer, blacker, and older?), Fischer appears to be following in those same footsteps by this decision and has proven once again what the people of the West End should know about this project and why they were left out once again.

Simply put?

Assuredly there would not be many people of color at that location.

Speculation?

Perhaps, but the Democratic leadership in this town has a long record of empty promises and lies when it comes to bringing people of color to the table, much less have a voice, in many economic opportunities, and Fischer in many opinions is no stranger to that mindset as well.

What is more disturbing is that Simmons College own President Kevin Cosby agreed with the change.

Why would he agree to something that would once again screw the African-American community and destroy their faith?

What promises or financial contributions were made to Reverend Cosby in exchange for walking away from the West End community?

We will answer that one in a future article but rest assured Cosby has profited well from the disparities of the racial divide.

In the meantime, why does Mayor Fischer continue to follow the path of his Democratic predecessors, who time after time, provided nothing but lies and empty promises to West Louisville?

The answer is obvious. West Louisville continues allowing it.

Why does West Louisville continue supporting and electing these liars?

There will be more forthcoming.

There are federal investigations currently underway regarding Mayor Fischer and the Democratic machine that include potential fraudulent land deals, similar to the dealings and investigation of Trenton, NJ Mayor Tony Mack.

Mack was recently arrested for fraudulent land deals involving federal funds.

Buckle up Louisville and enjoy the ride.

You ain’t seen nothing yet…..