, Corbin, KY


February 1, 2013

Calling fouls on sour sweetheart deals and secret Senate meetings

CORBIN — Though there always are those fighting for — and against — liberty throughout Kentucky, these two candidates finish on top of the latest edition of the Bluegrass Beacon’s “Liberty Lovers and Losers.”

Liberty Lover: Louisville entrepreneur Denis Frankenberger

While downtown Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center is popular with sports fans who pile in to watch University of Louisville Cardinal basketball; even these enthusiasts recognize a blatant foul when they see one.

That’s why Frankenberger spent about 1,200 hours combing through the arena’s ugly financial records and bizarre lease agreement with the UofL Athletic Association, the arena’s primary tenant.

This will not endear Frankenberger, who published his results in a report entitled “Billion Dollar Basketball,” to the good graces of those who have expended much effort to paint rosy pictures about this boondoggle’s true fiscal condition.

But there are only so many positive ways to say that this arena:

—has lost $1 million per month since opening in October 2010.

—operates under a lease scheme that’s “the most expensive in the U.S. whose primary tenant is not a professional sports team.”

—has already confiscated more than $75 million in upfront cash from taxpayers statewide and could get up to $265 million in Taxpayer Increment Financing (TIF) revenues for the project during the next few years.

Meanwhile, there are indications that arena officials soon will approach the City of Louisville for a bailout to, as director Jim King puts it, “prevent a debt service payment default on the Authority’s outstanding bonds.”

But Louisville taxpayers, who already subsidize the arena to the tune of up to $10 million annually, should send a one-word message to their council members: “Enough!”

Liberty Losers: Kentucky Senate leadership

It’s ironic that the full state Senate recently met behind closed doors to discuss state government’s least-transparent policy: Kentucky’s retirement funds.   

Not only are taxpayers not allowed to know how many pensions politicians receive, apparently they no longer are welcomed at those legislators’ important discussions about how to fix the system.

Yet at center stage of the secret meeting was the leftwing, Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center on the States, which should make citizens very wary.

The Pew folks doubtless were much more comfortable behind closed doors than having their presentation – including their responses to legislators’ questions about the group’s “solutions” – open and available for reporting by the press, as well as criticism and direct response from those who can see right through their big-government, big-spending and politically cautious facade.

The Senate President’s Office described the meeting as being between “the Majority and Minority caucuses … at the invitation of Senator Damon Thayer to discuss pension reform.”

So, while this is a slap in the face of citizens who understand how state government works (most, for example, know that the goofy description of “the Majority and Minority caucuses” means the entire Senate), it also raises glaring questions about why the need now exists to hold a secret meeting about the taxpayer-funded pensions system.

The statement explained that senators “wished to have an open discussion with legislators asking questions and making suggestions outside the filter of gotcha politics.”

This is an elitist attitude. How does it feel to know that your senator believes that you, the taxpayer, should be denied access to a meeting of the full Senate because you are incapable of differentiating between meaningful discussion and someone playing to the cameras for pure political gain?

The Kentucky Senate is not an exclusive fraternity where you can only enter if you know the secret handshake and mysterious code. It’s an elected body, whose members’ first and primary responsibility is to their constituents.

It may be easier to horse trade behind closed doors, but it’s also wrong.

Jim Waters is vice president of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at Read previously published columns at

Text Only
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide