Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Before the election and after

Carmen and I live right next to the West Buechel Community Center on the 37 hundred block of St. Francis Ave. The Community Center parking lot extends all the way to Marvin Ave., next to newly elected Mayor Rick Richard's home.

We moved into this house in May and for the next several months we often saw West Buechel Police Department (WBPD) cars driving around the block. In late summer, sometime, we started noticing WBPD cars parked in the Community Center driveway or parking lot. The great dead tree stump arson mystery of 2014 may have stirred a concerned police focus there, but that's a different story.

I noticed WBPD cars there in the morning when the school bus came by.

I noticed WBPD cars there in the afternoon when the school bus came by.

I noticed WBPD cars there in the middle of the night for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Once, in late September I believe, there was a WBPD car in the parking lot next to Rick Richard's house at 3 AM, in the middle of the night.

I know this because the loud sound of a cat meowing woke me up and I went outside to look.

It was the cop!

The cop was sitting in his patrol car meowing outside Rick Richard's bedroom window like a damn cat in heat!

I went back to bed.

Sometime later, someone told somebody who then told me that former Mayor Fowler had directed the WBPD to nail something . . . anything . . .  on mayoral candidate Rick Richards to boost her chances for re-election. Click . . . whirr . . . the meowing cop now made total sense to me. The cop was hoping that Rick would shoot at him so they could call in the SWAT team.

I also understood West Buechel was a lot weirder then I had imagined.

Then the election happened and, "ding, dong, the witch is dead".

After the election, during the Christmas shopping season, you have to go to City Hall or Walmart to see a WBPD car.

The moral of the story is: Flexible policing, but not too flexible.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Santa is looking over West Buechel

If you walk south on Hikes Ave. from Bashford Ave. to St. Francis Ave. and look up to your left, you will see this billboard with an image of Santa Clause saying, "Santa Clause is 'For the People' Merry Christmas!"


I know for a fact that this sign is physically located on rental property owned by newly elected Mayor Rick Richards, and I'd bet a thousand buck that Rick has nothing to say about what gets advertised on that billboard. He rents about ten square feet of ground space for a huge steel sign post right at the northeast corner of the rental house. The billboard advertising company controls what gets posted on that sign.

I like the message though.

"Santa Clause is 'For the People' Merry Christmas!"

Happy New Year too! We the people.


Monday, December 29, 2014

West Buechel truck stories

Right. I totally hallucinated the Ford F-450 before. It's only a Ford F-250 in actual fact, and it is clearly used to push a snow plow and to haul a 20 foot flatbed trailer loaded with 50 pound bags of ice melt.
Whoever routinely drives this City of West Buechel Ford F-250 (not at F-450), however, is a total paperwork slob, as you can see.  




















There are a few more factual updates regarding trucks.

The Ford F-150 that had been sitting for a long time as pictured . . .










. . .  is really licensed to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



And, this pickup was moved this afternoon. From the looks of some markings on the pickup, it may have been sold by the Commonwealth as surplus. Did the City buy that state-owned Ford F-150, or was the City just providing a parking space for it?

I don't know.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The word according to Loy: Use it or lose it

Only in West Buechel have one-third of the new City Council cruised next to my home and stopped for a long chat. Loy and Clara Crawford did so yesterday. As you can see from this photo, Clara found me to be very boring.


Loy's message to West Buechel was, "Use it or lose it." He was talking about the City's Community Center on St. Francis Ave. I was thinking about a certain Ford F-450 monster truck and wondering if West Buechel also had a big horse trailer that needed towing around and I didn't know about it.

Loy also expressed what struck me as a very curious opinion. Loy thinks that City Council Members cannot even talk to each other in private without violating Kentucky's Open Meeting Law.

That may explain why the City Council can't get anything done if the only time they talk to each other is AT a monthly Council meeting. It is mildly crazy, in my opinion.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

West Buechel's city logo sucks

This is the logo for the City of West Buechel as it appears on one of the City's Ford F-150 pickup trucks.






The reason this suck so badly is that it's a total rip-off of Kentucky's official state seal, which is this:


Provision for the creation of a seal for the Commonwealth was made during the first session of the Kentucky General Assembly. On December 20, 1792, the Assembly passed an act reading: "That the Governor be empowered and is hereby required to provide at the public charge a seal for this Commonwealth; and procure the same to be engraved with the following device, viz: Two friends embracing, with the name of the state over their heads and around about the following motto: United we stand, divided we fall."

How many trucks does West Buechel need?

Saturday at the City of West Buechel City Hall parking lot.


Please notice there are, on the left of the picture, two Ford F-150 pickup trucks, one passenger van and one Ford F-450. The Ford F-450 has a nine ton towing capacity. 


If anyone has an explanation for all these trucks, I'd like to hear it. Seriously. Please tell me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa in West Buechel Cit Hall

It happens sometimes.

Randy is Santa, Rose is Mrs. Clause and former Mayor Fowler is in the background.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The West Buechel political lottery

There are six Members on the West Buechel City Council. In the recent general election, there were sixteen named contenders for these six positions. After two months of poking around, I know who nine of these City Council candidates are, and where they live.

The other seven candidates are still total blanks to me. I plan to dig them out one by one and go talk to them, sooner or later.

Why did seven total strangers plonk down the $20 cash filing fee to run for City Council and then seemingly not lift a finger to win the election? None of these seven ever came by my house to ask for my vote.

Speculating about the motivation of total strangers is a big empty guessing game.

I'll buy a chance and make a guess anyway.

Being elected to the West Buechel City Council looks like easy money and it comes with free health insurance. That's my best guess why anyone might want the job.

The money ($350 per  month) isn't really all that easy for what the job of Council Member requires, even if it is only part-time work.  On the other hand, the free health insurance looks like a bonanza. If you really need health insurance and live in West Buechel, a $20 political raffle ticket with 6:16 odds might look like a good bet.

Unfortunately, the West Buechel health insurance scheme is wholly unfair, in my opinion.  Most of the City Counsel either don't want it, don't need it or don't use it. Some do enroll for insurance coverage and some do not. Whatever this City health insurance costs . . . and I still don't know for sure yet . . . the Council Members who take the insurance are being paid a lot more than those Council Members who do not want, need or use it. One Council Member told me the City pays nearly $1000 per month for each Council Member's health insurance.

This might be true and it might not. Accurate and verifiable information is hard to come by around here.

I think it would be better if each Council Member were paid exactly the same amount in cash and they could then decide how to use the money themselves, and to buy individual health insurance if that's what is needed.

It is fairly rare in Kentucky for a Fifth Class city to provide Council Members wholly free health insurance at taxpayer expense. West Buechel is in a very small minority of cities that do so. The most plausible explanation why this health insurance thing became what it is revolves around it having "always been this way". Health insurance for City Council Members has been provided for decades. Nobody in office now knows or remembers how or why the practice first began.

A tradition that was started thirty years ago, or longer, has been carried forward year after year without question.

Maybe it's time to question it.  It's not 1980 any more.  



 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Santa party for kids TODAY!

Toys 'R' Us has donated a $1,000 gift certificate to provide the toys for a Santa toy giveaway at West Buechel City Hall this afternoon between 1 PM and 4 PM. It's a Christmas party for kids, with refreshments!

Toys 'R' Us does not even have a store located within West Buechel.

If you want to meet Santa and Mrs. Clause, this is the place to be, but I think everyone will be welcomed.

The plan seems to be to round up a passel of young children, to feed them sugar, to over-stimulate them with the promise of toys, and then to sit back and watch the excitement unfold. I expect screams, a few tears, and a lot of running around. It will be better than a box full of kittens.

Don't be a humbug. You should plan to be there.

West Buechel City Hall
Monday, December 22, 2014
1 PM to 4 PM

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Too many police cars

The same five fairly new West Buechel Police cars are always parked behind City Hall every time I go past there. Clearly, West Buechel has more police cars than it needs.


How do I know for sure there are too many police cars?

One of these cars does not have a license plate. It couldn't be used, as is, even if the need for it arose..


Friday, December 12, 2014

Unusual December air quality alert

I have never seen one of these air quality alerts in Spring, Fall or Winter. Typically, ozone alerts happen in hot, humid, sunny and windless days in July and August. Never in Winter. Never in December. Yet, here it is, from the National Weather Service.

A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT FOR OZONE HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE
LOUISVILLE METRO AREA. MEMBERS OF SENSITIVE GROUPS MAY EXPERIENCE
HEALTH EFFECTS. THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS NOT LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED.
SENSITIVE GROUPS INCLUDE THE ELDERLY...CHILDREN...PERSONS WITH
ASTHMA OR OTHER BREATHING PROBLEMS...AND PERSONS WITH LUNG AND
HEART DISEASE. PEOPLE IN THESE GROUPS ARE ADVISED TO LIMIT THEIR
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO REDUCE THEIR EXPOSURE TO PARTICULATE
POLLUTION.
 
Strange days. Be warned.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

There really ARE Christmas food baskets in West Buechel

Twenty-two food baskets, to be precise, will be given to twenty-two deserving households this year.

It is a basic Christian human ethic at work. "Follow me," Jesus said, "Feed the hungry." And so it has been for years, every year, here in West Buechel. With no taxpayer money involved. It works with volunteers and generous donors. Most of the money comes from local businesses, but if you have ever bought a dollar candy bar at the City Clerk's Office, you've made a small contribution to the program yourself.

The Christmas food baskets almost count as a West Buechel tradition, and I'm a little surprised some people don't know about it. Bad marketing and a failure to communicate.

Does this mean there hasn't been any crookedness in City Hall? No, It doesn't mean that at all.

It means is there are some really good people in City Hall too.

When I find out the names of the businesses who donated to the West Buechel Christmas food baskets this year, I'll give them a shout-out.




Monday, December 8, 2014

More questions than answers

The West Buechel city budget for FY 2011-2012 allocated $75,000 for health and dental insurance. The budget for FY 2012-2013, which is still in effect because of a failure to enact a budget for FY 2013-2014, allocates $130,000 for health and dental insurance.

This is a 73% increase in one year.

Why?


Friday, December 5, 2014

Speculative journalism

Gossip generally is not held to a high standard for factual accuracy. It's gossip, for pity sake! A certain optimal quantity of distortion, fabrication and fiction is necessary for cooking up quality gossip, but it can be a fine line between good gossip and bullshit.

I have confirmed to my own satisfaction through credible informants that an employee with City of West Buechel was fired by Mayor Fowler about two weeks ago for reasons unknown.

If I take that fact and mix it in with Wednesday's gossip, Mirage, rumor or shadow of things to come?, about a possible sexual harassment lawsuit against the City, a new recipe for tasty gossip emerges.

This is the new gossip for today: A recently terminated City employee is thinking about suing Mayor Fowler for sexual harassment.

Zounds!

Remember this: Sitting around making shit up is fairly easy. 


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mirage, rumor or shadow of things to come?

Twice in two days somebody said something to someone, who then mentioned it to me, that the City of West Buechel soon was gonna be sued for sexual harassment. Typically, a sexual harassment claim is made by an employee, but even that much requires more detailed gossip than what currently is available.

Right now, to the best of my knowledge, there is no lawsuit.

It might be yet another West Buechel imaginary event.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

West Buechel web asset inventory

1. Facebook

On September 9, 2011, City of West Buechel joined Facebook. The contents consist of 24 photographs and 13 updates. The last update was on February 21, 2012.


2. Twitter

City of West Buechel joined Twitter in November, 2011. https://twitter.com/BuechelWest

Twenty tweets total. Last tweet on February 20, 2012

Screenshot from today:




3. Flickr -

Member since January, 2012 - 24 photos www.flickr.com/photos/74610946@N08/sets/



4. Gmail -

City of West Buechel has a Gmail account: westbuechel@gmail.com


5. Official web site: www.westbuechelky.gov

This web presence went active in May, 2014. It was updated through August, 2014. Since then it has mainly been neglected.
  1. Home page
  2. Calendar
  3. City Council
  4. City News
    • May 13, 2014 City Council Meeting Minutes
    • May 21, 2014 City Council Meeting Minutes
    • May 21, 2014 Special Budget Meeting Minutes
    • May 22, 2014 City Council Meeting Minutes
    • June 2014 Newsletter
    • June 3, 2014 City Council Meeting Minutes
    • Photo of May 17 Yard Sale
    • July 2014 Newsletter
    • August 2014 Newsletter
    • August 12, 2014 City Council Meeting Minutes
  5. Contact
  6. Map
  7. Personnel Directory




Monday, December 1, 2014

Refocus on the important question about turkeys

As for me, the most worthy question is: "Has the City of West Buechel paid for any significant part of a hypothetical Turkey Basket give-away."

The most direct and authoritative way to answer this question is to comb through 48 months of City bank statements, credit card statements and purchase receipts.

Unfortunately, that is tedious and boring work that yields little personal satisfaction. There's no money in doing it, so why bother? If free stuff was given away at City expense in the past, I'm certain it will not happen again any time soon unless everyone knows about it and the majority agrees.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The great West Buechel snipe hunt

I still have my nose to the ground hunting for signs of the mythical City of West Buechel Economic Development Commission. My first question is:

"Does the City of West Buechel Economic Development Commission even exist?"

Soon-to-be-gone-forever Mayor Sharon "Lame Duck" Fowler claims to be the Economic Development Commission's "administrator", according to her LinkedIn profile page, shown here:


Mayor Fowler claims to have been Mayor of West Buechel since January, 1993. In addition, she states:

"I work as Mayor and City Administrator of Police, Accounting, Maintenance Engineering, Community Center and the Economic Development Commission."

 In the mind of Mayor Fowler, at least, the West Buechel Economic Development Commission exists. Most everyone else never heard of it.

My next questions are:
  • Who are or have been the Members of this Economic Development Commission?
  • When were Mayor Fowler's Letters of Appointment submitted to the City Council?
  • Where are the minutes of the meetings of the Economic Development Commission?
  • Where did the money go?


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Turkeys on my mind: Sent email

I got a hold of an email you sent responding to some talk about Mayor Fowler and the City-funded gift "Turkey Baskets" to local residents in need. I have some doubts about how fair and honest these Turkey Baskets have been distributed.
Can you please give me a few names and numbers for anyone I can talk to about it? A few people you know have first-hand information how the program works?

Friday, November 28, 2014

The best turkeys are free

Drew performed a lengthy preparation ritual involving brine and citrus fruits to produce the Best Turkey Ever.


 I had a seat at this table, thanks to Drew's generosity. I got a free turkey dinner, with the best Bourbon Brownies Ever Baked thanks to Drew's ("Is Maker's Mark a good Bourbon?") mom 

Note to self: Some of the best cooks in Kentucky live in West Buechel. Who are they?






As you can see, I didn't lick my plate, but I had heard before about the famous free turkeys in West Buechel.



Back in October, before the election, Drew was asking questions about the free turkeys here, as with who gets them and why?
"Why do certain city council members, employees and/or residents routinely receive ‘Turkey Christmas Packages’ and other incentives from Mayor Fowler, but so many others do not—and no one from Fountain Square or Royal Arms are on the list?"
 
I didn't see any answer to this question before yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, when Drew showed me Robert's answer, whoever Robert is.

"Turkey Baskets.- City Hall takes names each year of people and families in the city that are having trouble and these are the ones that get said baskets. As for the apartments of fountain square and the royal arms due to laws they are not able to give out names of their residents in financial trouble. However there has been an agreement between the Mayor and the management of these places. The managers of these complexes let the mayor know how many they need and the city delivers them to the management to be handed out."
 This whole "City Hall takes names" business is highly suspect when only a select few know about it. If this practice of handing out free turkeys at taxpayer expense, in secret, is not pure crony favoritism, it sure looks like it to me.

Stop it.


How many registered sex offenders in West Buechel?

How many registered sex offenders are residents in West Buechel?

Answer: None.

West Buechel is an island of registered sex offenderlessness in this part of Louisville. It's a  void.


Map of Kentucky registry of sex offenders by metromapper.org

Full individual detail of registered sex offenders from Kentucky State Police

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Neighborhood watching by the light of a dark moon

The new moon this past weekend gave us several nights of moonless darkness. Friday night was cold. Ground spotters observed an unidentified hooded figure in the 37 hundred block of Marvin Ave. loitering for 45 minutes, walking back and forth to keep warm. Hands and face glowed briefly in the dark. Lighting a cigarette perhaps? Then, as if triggered by an unknown signal, the hooded figure cut quickly through the Community Center parking lot and driveway, north to St. Francis Ave.

Two more pairs of eyes were watching. Was it male or female? Opinions differed. Which of fifty shades of not-white was its skin color? Nobody knows. The "entity," as spotter no. 1 called it, walked swiftly onto St. Francis Ave. where it met a second hooded entity. They then both walked west towards Shepherdsville Rd. Each figure carried tightly bundled Kroger plastic shopping bags held closely to their chests.

No further contact was reported.

Saturday night was warm and wet. A few hours after sunset, a fire was set in the front yard of a newly elected City Council Member in the thirty-seven hundred block of Ethel Ave. The West Buechel Police Department was on top of it immediately, as usual.

Exciting, but seemingly not serious. Most of the conversation was about the the future of the Police Department after January 1, when the new City administration takes office.

Trust me on this. I speak from experience. Christmas is the worst possible time for any person to worry about  his job.

Second, life works much better when the guys with the guns, the cops, are happy.

Please end these needless concerns.

As far as fires and hooded lurkers are concerned, I chalk it up to bored teenage boys on a weekend. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

West Buechel businesses - Heitzman Bakery

Specifically, the Heitzman Pink Box Bakery at 3800 Shepherdsville Road, 502-452-1891.

 It's pink, as you can see.


This is not to be confused with the Heitzman bakery that is not in West Buechel. It seems there was a split in the Heitzman bakery family a while ago and there are two different bakery businesses in Louisville using the name Heitzman, with one or more locations. This is one of the pink ones.

The big secret is that doughnuts go on sale for half price after 2 PM.

The general rule for half-price doughnuts is that you buy twice as many.

Heitzman Pink Box Bakery chocolate frosted glazed doughnuts are to die for, so buy at least two. One for now and one for later.

Photo credit: Tom Fox

November 24, 2014: A new day dawns in West Buechel

8 AM Monday morning, looking to the Southeastern sky.
Photo credit: Tom Fox