Louisville KY. - Mayor Greg Fischer's recommended spending plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year that will begin July 1, 2012 and ending June 31, 2013, has a total $712 million in spending. This spending included strategic investments in job creation, public libraries and road improvements. The Louisville appropriations committee has estimated that the city revenue for the 2012-2013 fiscal year will only be about $580 million. As the current fiscal year is in the last few months, the Mayor it trying to figure out a way to cover the more than $130 million revenue shortfall.
Several proposals have been made to lessen spending, but thus far Mayor Fischer has refused to implement any of them. Instead, he has proposed his own method of spending reduction that has brought nationwide criticism. However, Mayor Fischer has vowed to not bow to public pressure.
The main part of Mayor Fischer's proposal that has received so much criticism isn't the idea of using prison inmates through a work release program to do tasks like sanitation, landscaping, and lawn maintenance; most of the controversy stems directly from his proposal to use criminals that are imprisoned due to their use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The Mayor has claimed to be hitting two birds with one stone by allowing these criminals to be acting law enforcement officers. Mayor Fischer said, "We have about forty fewer law enforcement officers than they need, so the logical conclusion is to fill these positions with prisoners that we won't have to put on the payroll." Mayor Fischer continued by saying, "Many of these criminals have found GOD while they have been in prison and that means that we can trust them, plus they have already proven that they are familiar with how to use firearms, nightsticks, handcuffs, and above that, they have a clear understanding of the criminal mind. This is a logical solution, and quite frankly I don't see what all the controversy is about."
A few civil rights groups such as B.R.U. (Bank Robbers Union), U.C.A. (United Carjaker's Association), and K.M.U. (Kentucky Muggers Unite), have come out in support of Mayor Fischer's proposal. However, several thousand protestors have taken over 4th street near the Hard Rock Cafe to show their opposition the mayor's proposal. Some of these protestors are holding up signs with slogans such as, "Criminals Deserve Prison, Not Guns", "Real Cops, Aren't Real Criminals", and "Prison Terms, Not Uniforms."
Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson has vowed to bring this protest to an end so that free commerce in the 4th Street Live area can once again be robbed by criminals wearing cop uniforms. Yesterday Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson stated on TV that he would send cops wearing riot gear into the 4th Street Live area to clear protestors from the area, many of which have set up makeshift camping sights. Early this morning he made good on his promise. A few protestors left during the night and most others left this morning once riot police showed up to the scene. However, a few hundred stayed behind in defiance and were either arrested for failure to disperse, or ticketed for the crime of "Divergent Thinking", which was signed into federal law last year and became active only a few weeks ago. The penalty for "Divergent Thinking" is 180 days in a reeducation camp, or $10,000 fine. Ishman Burks, Louisville Chief of police said, "These tickets alone will bring in more than $2 million to put toward the city budget deficit, and that's a good thing."
This entire event has made national news and has even gained the attention of the President of the United States. President Obama had this to say about the arrests of the protestors, "Louisville police acted stupidly." President Obama continued by saying, "Although I disagree with the arrests of these protestors, I am glad that many of them are getting the much needed reeducation at the Sheeple Reeducation Camp in San Francisco, CA."
This reporter will keep track of how this proposal to use criminals as cops plays out over the next few months as it is implemented. Until then, Jack Goff reporting from Louisville KY.