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LEO has a story on the city’s chamber of commerce, Greater Louisville Inc. and the political and economic successes, pressures and failures it’s had in the last few years.

Particularly striking was the ending. The story addresses a systemic comfort with the way things work; a stagnation that has resulted in missed potential for several and increased comfort for some. It seems like this developed as Metro Government formed, and the potential remains untapped. (There’s also a potential for some state law changes.) Both remaining active candidates for mayor have proposed new ways of attracting jobs, and in recent interviews with WFPL, they both characterized their proposals (to some degree) as the way to realize that potential.

From LEO:

“I think we’ve just gotten complacent through the years,” Downard says. “And that goes across the board.” He says that the mayor’s use of economic development director Bruce Traughber to solicit jobs instead of the mayor is confusing. “When you’re the CEO of a major company, you’d expect to see (the mayor) all the time.”

Looking to Louisville’s future, former GLI chairman Jonathan Blue says that the next mayor must make job attraction “a priority, every day for the next four years, period,” and that the grim economic numbers don’t lie.

“Whoever wins on Tuesday, that person needs to be proactive and needs to find companies,” says Blue, CEO of Blue Equity. “We do not get companies relocating here by waiting for the phone to ring. So whoever wins, and it doesn’t matter to me, and they need to make sure that’s agenda item number one on a daily basis.”

 

Independent Jackie Green‘s decision to end his campaign for mayor and endorse Democratic candidate Greg Fischer has drawn more attention than any other endorsement or issue in the race.

There were conflicting accounts of what Green asked for, received and expected in exchange for his endorsement, with the two most disparate coming from the Courier-Journal and LEO Weekly. The CJ’s story did not include any references to an e-mail from Green to his campaign staff in which the candidate said there may be a role for the Green campaign team inside a Fischer administration. It’s unclear what Green meant by this, but the sentence has led to a conflict between the two papers that has–in the local media–nearly eclipsed the candidates’ controversy.

Fischer has released a television ad claiming vindication through the CJ’s story. The Republican Party of Kentucky has cited LEO’s story as a reason why the Attorney General’s office should investigate the Fischer campaign. (The Democratic party has filed a similar complaint against Republican candidate Hal Heiner‘s campaign over former Democratic candidate Tyler Allen‘s endorsement.)

So how could two media outlets investigate the same situation and end up with different results? The answer is one that draws us into journalism’s persistent quandaries of anonymous sources and the costs of access. The reporters who did the investigating have discussed their process in The Edit’s comment section:

The latest polls from Insight’s CN2 give…

Democratic incumbent Congressman John Yarmuth a 26-point lead over Republican challenger Todd Lally (57.9% to 31.4% with 2.6% undecided)

Democratic mayoral candidate Greg Fischer a 9-point lead over Republican candidate Hal Heiner (46.7% to 36.8% with 11.6% undecided)

Both Democrats have extended their leads since previous CN2 polls, but WHAS-11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Polls have put both races closer. The CN2 polls were conducted by Braun Research on October 18th and 19th.

Here’s an interesting bit from the story on the mayoral poll:

Danny Briscoe, a longtime political consultant who resides in Louisville, said if Fischer is up nearly double digits, developments in his campaign — such as changing his position on how to address the school assignment plan and the questions surrounding the Green endorsement — shouldn’t be happening.

“I’m amazed he’s doing all the things he’s doing (if he’s up nine),” Briscoe said. “It seems inconsistent to me that he would be doing those things.”

The poll shows that Jefferson County is leaning heavily Democratic in a year where the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate hails from Louisville, and the area’s congressman, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, is also on the ballot.

The poll also shows out-going Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson with a 71 percent approval rating.

The third paragraph confirms what U of L professor Jasmine Farrier said in a recent story.

Republican Party of Kentucky chair Steve Robertson has sent a letter to Attorney General Jack Conway’s office calling for an investigation into the Greg Fischer/Jackie Green endorsement.

Excerpts:

As I am sure you are aware, some very disturbing allegations have surfaced in the Louisville Mayoral race involving Democrat candidate Greg Fischer and a quid-pro-quo deal he cut with Independent candidate Jackie Green. According to today’s article in the Leo Weekly, it appears that Fischer’s campaign may have agreed to appoint Green to a high-paying government job if Green would drop out of the race and endorse Fischer’s candidacy. The Leo even included alarming email excerpts between the campaigns evidencing such an agreement. Shortly after this alleged deal was cut, Green did, in fact, drop out of the race and endorse Fischer.

The allegations against Greg Fischer are serious and potentially criminal in nature. As Attorney General, you have an obligation to investigate and prosecute election fraud and public corruption. However, according to the Registry of Election Finance, you have contributed $1000 to Greg Fischer’s campaign. Your financial relationship with Mr. Fischer’s campaign renders you incapable of providing objective leadership on any investigation of these allegations. Therefore, I call on you to recuse yourself from this matter entirely and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this potentially criminal activity.

Green’s campaign manager Tyler Hess has made a few statements to the media.

Jackie was doing this to move issues forward. Greg wanted political capital because he saw Jackie as a threat and our momentum. Jackie had a baby on the way and was going to constant events on his bike and TARC – amazing man…Greg wanted Jackie out of the way and Jackie was an Office of Sustainability. Plain and simple. No two party bashing needed.

And in regard to the controversy over the endorsement, Hess says:

It’s not as much of a “story” as everyone is making it. This must be clarified.

The public is being damaged by this fire storm and are confused (and disgusted).””We must re-focus on the issues.”

The issues must continue to be known, analyzed and changed. Floyds Fork, public transit, etc

LEO Weekly is taking the Courier-Journal to task on how this issue was covered. LEO (and WHAS-TV) published more information than the C-J, and the two papers had differing accounts of how the endorsement was made. LEO published an e-mail wherein Green says there may be room for him and his team in a Fischer administration, exposing a quid pro quo situation.

From LEO:

Questions abound as to why the C-J didn’t include/know about the other emails. At best, it’s perhaps a consequence of “access journalism,” whereby reporters take the information espoused by high-level, hard-to-get-to sources as gospel simply for the sake of possessing that information; and at worst it smacks of the C-J’s editorial board seeking to protect its investment of a likely endorsement of Greg Fischer. When a politician like Green suffers from a sudden bout of Nixonian amnesia — going so far as to tell WHAS11′s Joe Arnold that he can’t even remember his wife’s fucking birthday —  questions of impropriety take center stage in the rational voter’s mind.

UPDATE:

Here is a statement from Chris Poynter with the Fischer campaign:

Nothing was promised to Jackie Green — and Hal Heiner and the Republican Party know that. This is a ploy to divert the public’s attention because Heiner is down in the polls and losing the race.

Recently-released e-mails shed light on negotiations between independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green and Democratic candidate Greg Fischer‘s staff.

Green dropped out of the mayor’s race last week to endorse Fischer. Republican candidate Hal Heiner has criticized the endorsement as the result of a “backroom deal” that would give Green power in Metro Government. The Fischer campaign says it did nothing wrong.

The endorsement talks centered on Fischer’s proposed cabinet-level office of sustainability. Green told WFPL last week he would endorse Fischer if the office would have significant power in Metro Government, and if Green and his campaign staff could have a role in deciding that office’s leader.

E-mails released Tuesday (more) show the Fischer campaign was willing to adopt some of Green’s positions, and that Green believed he and his team could have a role in a Fischer administration. Green told LEO Weekly that his name was on the short list to lead the office of sustainability.

The Fischer campaign says Green was not offered a job, though the independent will have input on creating the office of sustainability, if Fischer wins the election.

Here is an excerpt of an e-mail Green sent to his staff:

The Gt also raised the issue of our team playing a role inside gov. – should Greg get lucky ; ) .

Green told WHAS he may have mis-remembered what happened.

State law prohibits candidates from exchanging a “thing of value” for votes. Republican Hal Heiner’s campaign contends that Fischer did just that, and has criticized Fischer for being secretive about negotiations with Green. The Fischer campaign says an offer for an advisory role does not violate the law. No formal complaints have been filed.

Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner‘s latest ad is the most critical yet of the general election. In it, Heiner accuses Democratic candidate Greg Fischer of making a backroom deal for independent Jackie Green‘s endorsement.

Green previously told multiple media outlets (WFPL included) that he would drop out of the race and endorse Fischer if Fischer promised to, if elected:

  1. Give “real power” to his proposed Office of Sustainability
  2. Let the Jackie Green for Mayor team have input on choosing that office’s leadership

Heiner has called on the two to release any e-mails they traded regarding the endorsement. Both sides have refused.

Previously, Chris Poynter with Heiner’s campaign called the Republican’s reaction “sour grapes,” and said there was no deal made, though Green will have an advisory role in creating the Office of Sustainability, if Fischer is elected.

Independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green‘s decision to withdraw from the race and endorse Democratic candidate Greg Fischer was surprising. Even members of Green’s staff were caught off guard.

The endorsement came at the end of the weekly news cycle: 6:30 on Friday. Monday, Republican candidate Hal Heiner criticized Fischer’s methods for securing the endorsement, and asked the candidates to release any documents they traded in the days leading up to the announcement. Heiner says Fischer effectively gave Green a degree of control over a (currently nonexistent) metro office in exchange for his support. The Fischer campaign says if Fischer wins, Green will advise the administration on the creation of an Office of Sustainability. Green previously told WFPL he wanted the office to have “real power” in Metro Government and he wanted his campaign team to choose the office’s leadership.

Heiner called the endorsement agreement a “backroom deal.” That reflects previous jabs Heiner has taken at Fischer. In a debate at Bellarmine, Heiner accused his opponent of meeting with current Metro Government employees to discuss a potential Fischer administration. Fischer said he wanted to learn about how various city departments work. When Police Chief Robert White was looking for other jobs, Fischer said he would keep the chief on staff. Heiner blasted Fischer for making personnel decisions during a campaign.

LEO has more on the legality of the endorsement:

The Heiner campaign highlights the e-mail conversations that took place between Green and the Fischer campaign, which indicates that the environmental activist had entered into written negotiations about turning over authority to the new office in exchange for his political support.

[edit]

The Heiner campaign points out that such agreements are against state law, which says that candidates are prohibited from making promises or contracts in consideration for support. According to the statuette, any person who knowingly violates that provisions could be guilty of a Class D felony.

Last week, the Courier-Journal called Green a potential spoiler in the mayor’s race. We wondered how likely that was, and how likely Green’s voters might be to vote for another candidate. Green will still be on the ballot, and a few supporters say they will still vote for him.

Here is the WFPL story:

Independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green says he could drop out of the race.

Green says he’s met with Democratic candidate Greg Fischer twice in the last week. Green says if the Fischer campaign could meet certain criteria, he would drop out of the race and endorse Fischer. Green wants Fischer to promise to limit the development of greenfields and put a higher priority on public transit. Failing that, Green says he wants Fischer to create a strong office of sustainability.

“Put real power in that office and let us elect the leadership of that office,” he says. “Us being the Jackie Green for mayor team.”

Green says he’s not specifically asking to lead the office, and he has not been offered a job. Green says Republican Hal Heiner‘s campaign has said they want him in the race.

A spokesperson for Heiner says the negotiations with Green are a sign that Fischer is desperate to win votes. Recent polls have show Fischer either statistically tied with or slightly leading Heiner, with Green polling below three percent.

Here is the Joe Burgan with the Heiner campaign’s full response:

Apparently Greg Fischer has found it so difficult to win votes he’s now resorting to wheeling and dealing Metro salaries for endorsements.  Louisville deserves an open, honest and accountable government that works for the people, not the benefit of a political campaign.

Here is LEO’s story. Here is the CJ’s.

A recent story in the Courier-Journal implies that independent Jackie Green is, to some degree, the Ralph Nader of the Louisville mayor’s race.

Green is running on a strong environmental platform some have called radical, but he calls necessary. The bulk of the CJ story compares Green’s positions to those of Democrat Greg Fischer and Republican Hal Heiner. But before covering policy, the story looks at the politics of Green’s candidacy. Specifically, it points out how environmental groups have endorsed Fischer, because they don’t think Green can win.

The local Sierra Club’s chairwoman, Joan Lindop, said Green “is raising issues that need to be raised,” but the group’s members don’t believe he can win.

They’re backing Fischer because they like parts of his platform and they believe he has good managerial skills, Lindop said. She said they are also concerned that Heiner would, as mayor, tilt too much toward business.

“It is enthusiastic but I guess not passionate,” she said of the endorsement, adding that Green is “raising issues that need to be raised.”

That last quote is interesting. And Interfaith Power and Light director Tim Darst refutes it in the article, saying “If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you will just get an evil.” This type of endorsement isn’t anything new in politics…but it is politics. The Sierra Club is backing a candidate in part to block another candidate. That’s one way of approaching a set of goals.

Next, the article says Green could be a spoiler in the race. He could take enough votes from one candidate to give the other a victory. Presumably, Green would take liberal or progressive votes from Fischer.

For his part, Fischer said his campaign has “a very strong environmental message and a strong jobs message.

“We certainly would like Jackie’s supporters to keep that in mind.”

Green and Heiner both reject this.

With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans in Louisville, “This was (Fischer’s campaign) to dance through,” Green said. “If he loses… it won’t be because of me.”

U of L professor Dewey Clayton (whom we’ve quoted extensively on WFPL) says it is possible that Green could tip the race either way. And that is true. Green is polling at 3%. Fischer is leading Heiner by about 6%, but the margin of error puts the race even closer, statistically. So Green could be taking enough votes to make the race closer. But the question here is: would Green’s supporters vote for another candidate? How likely is it that someone who supports Green’s bold environmental positions would vote for Fischer or Heiner as a compromise?

Most of Green’s supporters are likely enthusiastic for Green. They may be more like IPL’s Tim Darst and are unlikely to compromise. Green isn’t invited to every debate. He isn’t mentioned in every article about the mayor’s race. He doesn’t have the money to run television ads. His campaign strategy is to connect with voters personally. While it’s possible Green has wooed a few people who would otherwise vote for Fischer or Heiner, I’m not sure those voters make up most of his 3%.

On Tuesday, Democratic mayoral candidate Greg Fischer appeared on WFPL’s State of Affairs. Here is a link to the show audio.

Fischer is the third of the major candidates to appear on SoA. Here is audio of independent Jackie Green and Republican Hal Heiner.

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