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Democratic candidate for mayor Greg Fischer has released a response to fellow Democrat Jim King‘s recent ad that hit Fischer on possible electoral weaknesses.  What are your thoughts? In 2008, Fischer went negative against Senate opponent Bruce Lunsford, but he’s not necessarily attacking in this spot. That’s not to say the ad is entirely positive, though.

In other Fischer news, he announced his plan for “Merger 2.0.” If elected, Fischer promises to consult people…

“…Like Dave Armstrong and Rebecca Jackson, the last Mayor of Louisville and Jefferson County-Executive before merger, respectively, to convene a team of community leaders to study merger and help me craft recommendations to the Kentucky General Assembly, Metro Council, and the new Administration that will help our second decade of merger be better than our first.”

As we’ve already posted, Armstrong has endorsed Fischer, but Jackson is currently helping Republican Hal Heiner‘s campaign.

Here’s more on improving merger from the Fischer camp:

Among the initiatives in Fischer’s twelve point plan are:

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Commissioning a master plan for waste management and recycling countywide;

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Supporting use of development tools, such as tax increment financing and property tax abatement, that are traditionally reserved for downtown development, to build infrastructure and spur investment in underserved areas across the county;

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Exploring staffing Jefferson County Public School libraries and making them available to the public, while driving increased support to implement the

Libraries Master Plan;

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Ensuring all citizens of Louisville Metro, including the elderly, disabled, and international communities, are prepared in case of a widespread emergency; and

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Growing awareness in the community for our existing Points of Pride in all our neighborhoods and small cities to foster a sense of ownership and excitement among Louisville Metro residents.

Fischer also pledged to improve coordination between fire and emergency medical services to allow for more effective delivery of services, training, and emergency first response and to advocate for thoughtful growth in and around water quality sensitive areas to address drainage and sewer capacity issues.

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March was a big month for merger on WFPL. There were two features looking at the benefits and drawbacks of the 2003 consolidation (part 1, part 2). This week, State of Affairs had an hour-long in-depth conversation about merger.

The pieces feature legislative architects, politicians, academics and observers who have spent time working on or studying merger. It’s clear that the next mayor of Louisville will face a learning curve in learning how to run merged government. Some of the people we talked to for our stories said they see the last 7 years as a “settling in” period for merger, with Abramson setting the standard for how Metro Government is run.

But if merger has solidified under Abramson, what’s next? This is discussed in the stories and on State of Affairs. What are your thoughts?

We all know Mayor Jerry Abramson is not seeking another term and will instead try to become Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson. Abramson helped shape the merged government, and we’ve been looking at what Jefferson County will be like without his presence.

I reported on how Abramson’s absence might or might not sway the vote to a Republican for the first time in decades. The last Republican city mayor left office in 1969. Before merger, the county had a history of electing Republican leaders, but that momentum was more or less stopped by Abramson’s electoral popularity. Without him in the race, the old city and the old county will come to a head politically.

Even though they may vote differently, the city and county are one entity, and Stephanie reported this week on what exactly that means, and what it will mean once Abramson’s last term ends. Many old county residents and politicians are anxious to see how the next mayor handles merged government. Several candidates say the promises of merger must be fulfilled; the old county must feel included in decisions and they need to see the benefits of decisions made downtown. Most of the candidates have said this, but it’s not clear how it can be accomplished by one person in power.

Since Abramson was such a proponent of and influence on merger, it will be interesting to see how candidates from the outside approach a government they didn’t have such a powerful hand in creating.

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