Sunday, August 12, 2001

Dogfight days

Political infighting heatin' up

        Everybody's in a funk. Everybody's hacked off at somebody else. Must be the heat. Or maybe it's just the politics.

Behind closed doors

        Kenton County Democrats are all keyed up over the redistricting plan recently approved by the all-Republican Kenton County Fiscal Court.

        The Dems claim the final details of the plan — which the court passed, battled over behind the scenes and redrew before passing it again — were done in secret.

        As if anybody from the publiwere going to attend a meeting on county commissioner redistricting in the first place.

        The Dems do have a point. There is some juicy back-room infighting going on among the fiscal court members. And it shows that going into an extremely contentious election year, the court is about as unified as the Balkans.

        For the record, county commissioners are elected and serve countywide, but they are also assigned districts. Anyone who runs for a seat must live in that particular district, which prevents all three commissioners from living in the same community.

        Commissioner Barb Black claims fellow commissioners Dan Humpert and Adam Koenig put forth a plan that took precincts she wanted out of her district. She was ready to file suit until the plan was changed at a recent 10-minute meeting.

        The Dems are ready to go to war because it appears deals were made without the benefit of a public meeting. That's not right, but lots of public bodies do it.

        If they're talking about the location of the new county jail, it needs to be done in the open. If they're drawing district boundaries, no one is going to show up anyway.

        But watch for Mrs. Black to continue to distance herself from the rest of the court, particularly on taxes. The court has raised taxes four times, but she voted for only two. Ask about it; she'll be glad to tell you.

It's in the mail

        Meanwhile, the Republicans' shorts are all bunched up over a newsletter that Democrat U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas of Boone County sent to constituents.

        GOP leaders claim it looks like a campaign piece, which, of course, it does. It even carries Mr. Lucas' “common sense” campaign slogan.

        Republicans want a federal investigation because the taxpayers funded the newsletter. The Lucas camp says all members of Congress are allowed to send mail under what is known as the franking privilege.

        Mr. Lucas' staff also points out that Republicans on the House Ethics Committee approved the mailing.

Hey, that's my wife

        So why was Lt. Gov. Steve Henry so anxious for Argosy Casino to pull a brochure featuring a picture of his wife, former Miss America Heather French, hanging with some dude on the riverboat?

        Was it jealousy? Hardly. The photos were shot when she was in college and working as a model.

        With his gubernatorial run looming, Mr. Henry doesn't want anyone to think his wife is touting the industry that is taking patrons away from Kentucky's thoroughbred racetracks.

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics. He can be reached at 578-5581, or by e-mail at


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