Monday, August 31, 2015

It's not a screw-up, it's just a boo-boo

Just for the moment, let's set aside the fact West Buechel's annual ad valorem tax (property tax) ordinance is D.O.A. for lack of a second reading on a different day. Let's look at the text of the ordinance itself, which adopts the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator's (PVA) annual assessment.

By state statute, the default property assessment date is set on January 1 of each year, and this is the assessment date used by the Jefferson County PVA. However, West Buechel's Ordinance 263 Series 2015, which was sorta almost enacted in June, sets the City's assessment date at July 1, 2015.

I think that this is a problem. I think it is an irreconcilable fatal error to adopt the Jefferson County PVA assessment of January 1, 2015 and then specify a different assessment date of July 1.

It's not a screw-up because it can be fixed. For now it is merely a boo-boo. It's an embarrassing and goofy boo-boo, but what can you expect from a Dope Lawyer?

If it is not fixed, it then become an expensive screw-up  Someone will take it to court and melt that goofy Ordinance 263 to slag with a blow torch. No property taxes this year, and the City loses about $300,000 in revenue.

I might have to squeeze that $300,000 out of the City Attorney, like squeezing juice out of a lemon

Wow. Now that think about it, doing that could be a lot of fun.

Nevermind. Looks good to me. Let it slide.

City Attorney School for Dope Lawyers

Everyone knows that the annual financial statement for the City of West Buechel must be audited, the audit report must be presented to the City Council and the report must be published. Everyone knows this, right?

Maybe not. 

The audit report for FY 2013 - 2014 was prepared on time and many copies were available the first week of January, 2015. Sharon Fowler did her part.

Was the audit report presented to the City Council?

I don't think so.

Was the audit report published?

I don't think so.

Is this a legal problem?

Ask the City Attorney about it next chance you get.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What the West Buechel City Council needs to know

The City of West Buechel has eleven different bank accounts that I know of for sure.

The City Clerk-Treasurer is providing the Council with information about only one of them.

Not AGAIN!!!

For the last full year of Sharon Fowler's term as Mayor of West Buechel, the City had a large cash reserve in the General Fund.  The City started 2014 with $1,704,978.17 in the checking account and ended the year with $1,533,357.52.when Rick Richards took office..

 The average cash on hand for any month during 2014 was about $1.6 million.

I know this because I have scanned copies of every bank statement and every check for the entire year. I know where every penny that Sharon Fowler spent went, and Sharon Fowler was not shy about spending money. Her personal kitchen in the TEM building and the electric fireplace in her second suite of offices outside City Hall are my favorite examples of Queen Sharon's self-indulgent "screw you" attitude about taxpayer money.

However, according to Mayor Richard's June budget proposal, the City had only $1,083,815 in "Current Resources Available."


Hey, Mayor Richards, according to my calculations, that's a half million dollars less than what you started the year with.

What's up with that?

Does anyone on the City Council know?

Does anyone on the City Council care?

Where did that $500k go? Outer space?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mayor Richards, please fire this fool

Rick -

In the minutes for the June 9th regular meeting of the West Buechel City Council, I read:

"Attorney McCall stated the (sic) we are officially scheduling s special meeting for the purpose of discussing the budget on June 23, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. Further, he stated that this announcement in open meeting would satisfy notice requirements to the media, etc. per KRS 61 . . . . "


That is sooooooooo painfully WRONG that it almost makes me cry.

Attorney McCall is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Attorney McCall is LESS competent with Kentucky municipal law than was Gen-NON before him, which I had scarcely thought possible. West Buechel deserves a competent City Attorney, and Casey McCall will never make the grade.

Please replace Casey McCall with ANYONE else


Oops. Kitten on keyboard.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stories from The Headless Chicken - 1

Moved here

Won't Get Fooled Again

Burn it down.

Strange days and Grass Monsters

Mayor Richards contacted an east end lawn mowing company for a bid to service all of West Buechel's grass cutting needs.

The really bizarre part of the bid request was that it included the Shepherdsville Road highway right-of-way outside West Buechel's City limits, between Shepherdsville Rd. and Shelton Ave.

What's up with this?

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. 
We won't get fooled again.

Old farts and children

4 AM on a Sunday morning is good time to think about the infinite possibilities of life and how things could work better.

I'm thinking that West Buechel's Community Center is an outstanding neighborhood asset (with or without a new radio controlled Ten Thousand Dollar gate) that could be use more fully with just a little bit of planning and effort.

I'm thinking that the local seniors (there are a few around) could use the Community Center's Internet access to learn a few new tricks without spending a lot of money they cannot afford and don't want to spend.   

I'm thinking the little children could use more help with their school work and volunteers could be organized to provide the help.

I'm also thinking I'm not getting anywhere near someone's little child without a video camera recording every move. There a a few folk around town with evil minds and wicked tongues, who like to imagine the worst and then talk about it.

I've met such people in West Buechel. Hard to imagine, but it's true.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wordplay: Persiflage

Thanks to Amanda at Heitzman Bakery, I learned a new word.

Persiflage (n):Light and slightly contemptuous mockery or banter.

I like it. Thanks, Amanda. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Dope Lawyer

So . . .  West Buechel's City Attorney, Casey "The Dope Lawyer" McCall, also fights to defend child pornography in Federal Court?


Very classy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What type of lawyer is this, anyway?

John Casey McCall

600 W Main St
Louisville, Kentucky 40202 
(502) 589-6190 (Phone)
(502) 584-1744 (Fax)

City of West Buechel, City Attorney

What he told the West Buechel City Council on March 10, 2015 
(Regular Council meeting minutes)  

Practicing law since May 1, 1995

Admitted to practice law:
  • Kentucky courts
  • U.S. District Courts, Eastern & Western Districts of Kentucky
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit

Trial experience: 50 Circuit Court cases and 20 District Court cases

City Attorney for West Buechel during Mayor Richard's prior term in office

"He states that he works for Mayor Richards, but he also works for the Council; however, first and foremost he works for the City, because the City is his biggest fiduciary responsibility."

From his website:

 Practice Areas
  • Criminal Law
  • Appellate
  • Personal Injury
  • Labor Law
  • State and Federal Criminal
  • White Collar Crime
  • Violent Crimes
  • Fraud
  • First Amendment realted offensives
  • Environment Crimes
Types of cases attorney McCall handles
(most recent United States District Court cases collected from
  • United States vs. Woody Cabbil, Jr - Possession with intent to distribute - HEROIN
  • United States vs. Trisha Muir - Witholding information on a crime, Obstruction of a criminal investigation
  • United States vs. Stacy T. Todd - Attempt to possess with intent to distribute  HEROIN
  • United States vs. Stephen Bishop Smallwood - Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute - METHAMPHETAMINE
  • United States vs. Robert Belton - Possession of child pornography
  • United States vs. Gary Wayne Pollard - Aiding & abbeting the distribution of OXYCONTIN
  • United States vs. Derrick Carter - Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance - HEROIN
  • United States vs. Demetrus Lamont Davis - Possession with intent to distribute - COCAINE
  • United States vs. Clark Brown - Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • United States vs. Charles Marlo Coleman - Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • United States vs. Lawon M. Taylor - Possession With Intent to Distribute - COCAINE

What type of attorney is Casey McCall?

McCall is a criminal defense lawyer who mostly represents drug dealers. He aspires to work his way up in the legal world by becoming a criminal defense lawyer who represents embezzlers and frauds. He is West Buechel's City Attorney because he is Mayor Richard's friend.

Wordplay: Scofflaw

Dear God, I love this internet thing. Thanks for thinking of it.

Scofflaw (n): A person who routinely flouts laws, rules, conventions, or accepted practices.

Origin: "Scofflaw" is an invented word which came from a 1924 national contest during Prohibition to coin a word that characterized a person who drinks illegally. "Scofflaw" was the winning entry chosen from more than 25,000 different contestant submissions.  The $200 winning prize was split between two contenders who sent in the same word separately: Henry Irving Dale and Miss Kate L. Butler.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Another reason to hate idiot lawyers

The Kentucky Retirement System provides for two basic job classifications, hazardous and non-hazardous. The hazardous job classification is for police officers and fire fighters who must be young and fit to do the job. The nature of the dangers and physical demands police face every day on the job from wrestling drug-crazed knife wielding weirdos to the ground is not compatible with waiting to retire at age 65.

The hazardous-duty job classification allows police officers to retire at a younger age, but it costs the City twice as much.  I'm all in favor of West Buechel's police receiving the extra retirement contribution. I think it is money well spent.

I wouldn't do that job. Get shot at? Wear body armor every day and have Carmen wonder if I was coming home at night. If I had to fight a drug-crazed knife wielding weirdo at my age, the weirdo would win and retirement would not be an option.

But hazardous duty retirement coverage for police is optional. KRS 61.592(2) makes that clear, and it says it several different ways. “Each employer may request of the board hazardous duty coverage for those positions . . . . Each employer desiring to provide hazardous duty coverage . . .  may request that the board approve hazardous duty coverage for those positions . . . . “

According to the official minutes of the June 9, 2015 City Council meeting West Buechel's idiot City Attorney, Casey McCall got it totally wrong.

Casey "advised the Council that his research indicates that the City cannot continue to classify their Officers as non-hazardous . . . they need to make the correction to avoid possible lawsuits . . . . " 

One Council member stated she would not consider delaying a vote on the matter because, "Attorney McCall has advised them that the current classification is illegal." 

It wasn't the least bit true, but not many people can stand up to a senior partner in the law firm of Bluff, Bluster, Bravado and Bad Attitude..

Lawyer Casey McCall is dangerously ignorant and he should be replaced as West Buechel's City Attorney before he screws up in a big way.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Idiot City Attorneys can be dangerous

1. City officers and employees are specifically prohibited from spending for any purpose more than the city's Annual Budget appropriates for that purpose. KRS 91A.030

2. KRS 92.340 states any money expended in violation of budget limits and KRS 91A.030 may be recovered back by the city. The transaction is void. It might likely support an action on the officer's surety bond, or for personal liability. Generally, city officials act in a fiduciary capacity. It is not their money to do with as they wish.

4. KRS 522.030 - Official misconduct in the second degree.- Any unauthorized exercise of an official's function or a violation of any statute relating to his office is a Class B Misdemeanor.

Ignoring budget limits is very risky business for city officers, regardless of what the idiot City Attorney says.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Community Center Kids in Newburg Day Parade

This Saturday, Vernon, Rhonda, Jeannie and I, along with two other adults whom I don't know and a passel of children  rode in the Newburg Day Parade. Twice. Bobby was dressed as a policemen and Ethan was, well . . . Ethan.

The West Buechel float was near the front of the parade going east on Indian Trail past Newburg Park. When we reached the end of the parade route, Vernon circled around through the neighborhood and got back to the starting point in time to do it all over again by bringing up the tail end of the parade.

Star Hope Baptist Church gave us free donuts. They weren't Heitzman's best ever donuts, but nobody is perfect.

When we got back to West Buechel, Vernon drove down every street south of City Hall and then back to the Community Center, much to the amazement of the few people who were outside to see us..

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Be wise. Be insured.

Years ago, Louisville legend Dinwiddie Lampton Jr. appeared in a series of television commercials for his company, American Life & Accident Insurance Co of Kentucky.

In the ads, Mr. Lampton looked like a character from a Dickens novel, in a greatcoat, perched on his four horse coach, with long gray eyebrows and a top hat. Always the commercials ended with Mr. Lampton's somber advise, "Be wise. Be insured."

This same advice ought to be seriously considered by the people of West Buechel. Many states require lawyers to have Errors and Omissions Liability Insurance coverage, but Kentucky does not. The City of West Buechel could, if it were wise, require the City Attorney to carry a million dollars of E & O liability coverage. The City could even pay for the insurance.

When a City Attorney screws up, it potentially involves a lot of taxpayer's money. For example, if West Buechel's City Attorney messes up a real estate deal, as has actually happened, the cost to the City easily will be tens of thousands of dollars. If the City Attorney screws up the ad valorem property tax ordinance, it could cost the City some $300,000.

So, take the word from Dinwiddie. Be wise. Be insured.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Beer, pornography and pot in the courtroom

One of the many cool things about working for a federal judge was hanging out with U.S. Marshals, F.B.I. agents, DEA and Secret Service. The DEA agents were the most fun. The FBI guys had no sense of humor. None. Everything was very serious with them.

But, the lads at drug enforcement liked to play. Often times we went to the K of C after work to drink beer.  After a few drinks we returned to the Federal Building when everyone else had gone home for the night and we laughed at the 8mm pornographic movies they had confiscated. The porn was not that good, but the commentary was hilarious. Or, so it seemed at the time, when I was 27 years old and slightly sloshed. One of the DEA agents could do a perfect imitation of Porky Pig's voice. Imagine a play-by-play analysis of a porno flick by Porky Pig. We were rolling on the floor.

I never did understand why the DEA confiscated porn, except the guys wanted to and they could get away with copping it. When you're looking at hard time in federal prison for dealing cocaine, the fact they improperly snagged your dirty movies is the last thing to complain about.

Once there was a long jury trial of a major drug smuggling operation. Every day the DEA agents would cart in six or seven huge bales of marijuana and stack them right in the front of the courtroom where the jury could see them all day long, and then they would cart them out after the jury was sent home for the day. It was good courtroom theatrics and for some reason the defense lawyers never complained about it.

These big bails of pot were not wrapped in plastic or burlap. They were like hay bales with nothing but bailing wire holding them together. Did International Harvester knew their hay balers were being used for this purpose? I like to imagine that John Deere has a dedicated sales force marketing farm machinery to Mexican pot plantations. Business is business.

Once, after court had recessed for the day and the bales had been removed from the courtroom, I noticed that there was still a lot of loose pot left on the carpet. It looked like about an eighth of an ounce that fell out of the bales. The DEA guys didn't clean up after themselves.

Next morning, the pot that had been on the carpet was gone. I guessed the cleaning guy scooped it up over night and smoked it. Having a generous spirit, I went out of my way to give those bales a little kick with the toe of my shoe when I walked past, to loosen them up some.

My philosophy is a happy worker is a productive worker and nobody ever got killed by a runaway vacuum cleaner.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Just another brick in the wall

The standard tour of duty for an appellate court law clerk is two years. So, after two years working for the Indiana Supreme Court, I moved down the street to the Federal Courthouse and went to work as law clerk for Cale "Jail" Holder, Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Indiana.

Federal judges are a different breed of cat. There's an old joke about the Federal Judge who died and went to the Pearly Gates, seeking admission into Heaven. St. Peter blocked his entrance, saying, "We do not allow stinking Federal Judges into Heaven. We never have and we never will. You are all bastards, without exception."

Not to the thwarted so easily, the Judge looked around and pointed.

"What about that guy over there, sitting behind a judge's bench with a gavel and wearing a black robe? He looks like a Federal Judge to me. What about him?

"Nope," St. Peter said. "That's God. He only thinks He's a Federal Judge."

Working for a federal trial judge was a lot more fun than was working for an appellate court. We had road trips. The judges for the Southern District of Indiana lived and worked in Indianapolis, but the court had branch offices in New Albany, Evansville and Terre Haute. In the 1970s there were four District Court Judges in Indianapolis. The senior judge stayed home, but the other three rotated holding court in the remote divisions. In springtime Judge Holder and his entire staff hit the road and spent about three weeks living out of a motel during the week in Evansville. We drove back to Indianapolis for the weekends. In autumn, it was two weeks in New Albany, and four weeks in Terre Haute in winter. The different length of time in each division resulted from the different size of the caseloads. Evansville is a bigger city than is New Albany and Terre Haute has two federal prisons that generated a lot of inmate lawsuits, and criminal prosecution for being bad while in jail.

Terre Haute was my least favorite place, as a city, but it was the most entertaining. I think I'm allergic to something in the air there. Evey trip I'd break out in tiny blisters on my hands. I got a tour of the federal maximum security prison, where Timothy McVeigh was executed years later,  that most others couldn't buy their way into. One of the perks of working for a federal judge is the opportunity to be terrified by bad men behind bars just for the fun of it.

Judge Holder was different from most of the other judges, who tended to remain distant from their staff. With Judge Holder, we were family. We all stayed in the cheapest motel he could find so that we always made money on our federal per diam expense reimbursement, and we ate all our meals together.

Another perk was free whiskey. Working for Judge Holder is when I developed my fondness for Bourbon. Specifically, Early Times. Judge Holder always brought the biggest bottle of Early Times you could buy. The size of bottle with a handle molded into the glass. We never ran out of whiskey.

After work, we would all gather in the Judge's motel room, eat chips, listen to his stories and drink Early Times until we we primed for supper. Judge Holder always drove and he knew the best out-of-the-way restaurants in town.

Getting to see Larry Bird  play a home game his senior year at Indiana State was special, but it's hard to beat being chauffeured around town by a drunk federal judge telling dirty jokes.

R.I.P Cale Holder. I love you.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lessons from Old Louisville

For five years before moving to West Buechel, Carmen and I lived in the 1200 block of Second Street, just south of Oak Street. We were managing two apartment houses for a friend who got a sudden itch, quit her job and moved to California, leaving the train wreck of her life behind for the land of medical marijuana. She couldn't do without. She worked as personnel manager for a large local heavy equipment company which was about to implement employee drug testing, including management. She couldn't stop the policy, but she couldn't live with it either.

So, she packed her dogs in the car and headed off into the sunset. Carmen and I were left to deal with the mess she left behind.

On the southeast corner of Second & Oak, just a few houses away from where we lived was a beautiful old red brick Presbyterian church that had be re-purposed as a halfway house for ex-cons just out of prison on parole. They were good neighbors. Part of the program required some community service, so work crews would periodically go up and down the block raking leaves out of the gutters, picking up trash and sweeping the sidewalks. It was nice.

The only downside to having a bunch of ex-con in the neighborhood was that they liked to gather around a picnic table outside and preach Jesus loud and passionately. Nobody preaches Jesus quite like an ex-con. And they sang too. "I was lost and now I'm found."

Amazing Grace. I sometimes had my doubts.

Across Second Street to the west was the Saint Ives. It was an old apartment building that ages ago was fairly classy. Now it is public housing. My name for it was "The Drug Store". With the number of cars pulling up to the curb for five minutes at 2 AM, it looked to me like business was good. I'm pretty sure the guy who lived there with the Yellow Cab made deliveries, but I couldn't swear to it.

Most of the crack whores seemed to live around Floyd and Ormsby to the southeast but the good looking young hookers lived closer to U of L and passed as college girls. Heck, they might actually have been college girls. Tuition is expensive.  It's easy to tell the difference between a crack whore and a hooker If you feel the urge to spray an emaciated desperate-looking woman with Lysol, she's probably a crack whore..

The main business district of Old Louisville is 4th and Oak. The anchor stores are a PNC bank, a Dollar Store, a Rite Aid and a Chinese restaurant.

One warm afternoon while I was walking back from the Rite Aid, I spotted a tall skinny middle aged black guy standing on the corner shouting, "Don't f*ck with me!" Nobody else was anywhere near him. He was alone on the corner slowly turning this way and that shouting, "Don't f*ck with me!" to the world in general.

There were dozens of people out and about and everyone respected this guy's wishes.

Nobody was f*cking with him. I didn't f*ck with him either. I crossed the street in the middle of the block just so I could stay as far away from him as possible.

I love that guy and I'll never forget him. He had the guts and clarity to tell anyone who could hear him exactly what he wanted, and he got it. That guy is my hero, and I claim his  spirit as being part of my own.

Don't f*ck with me. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Life and crimes of the highly intoxicated

My first job out of law school in the mid-1970s was working as a Law Clerk for Justice Dixon W. Prentice on the Indiana Supreme Court. Ninety percent of the Court's caseload and, consequently, ninety percent of my job was to review the transcripts of major criminal trials. There were scores of murder trials, armed robbery and drug trafficking cases. All such major convictions were appealed automatically, whether there were significant legal or factual issues to justify the time and expense of an appeal, or not. With the vast majority of these appeals the conviction were affirmed for the simple reason that the criminal defendants were clearly guilty of the crime, the county prosecutor did his or her job well enough, the trial judge did nothing stupid and a jury verdict carries a lot of weight.

Each appeal got serious individual attention from everyone involved and the process took months from beginning to end.

Reading the criminal trial transcripts was the most time consuming part of the job. Murder trial transcripts were the worst. Not only were the autopsy and crime scene photos grizzly, the oddball stupid reasons people have for killing each other were surreal. I was sick to my stomach for the first six months on the job, but then I got numb to it.

Two guys in a bar got into an argument over a nickle. One goes out to his truck, grabs a shotgun, comes back into the bar and blows the other guy's face off. All because of five cents. Wow. There had to be more to it.

I was amazed the percentage of murders, attempted murders and violent assaults happen in association with alcohol. It was easily more than half of the cases I worked on. Most of the time folks keep their hostility and homicidal urges in check, but it doesn't take much to set it off.

Remember this the next time you are out in public. Just under the surface of that guy with a scowl on his face is a seething fever-bag of fear and anger. If he is carrying a beer, watch out. Alcohol causes some people to do very strange things.