Friday, November 05, 2010

No Tolls on EXISTING Bridges!

The Ohio River Bridges Project (ORBP) has become a highly controversial topic of late in these parts, due largely to the planners' intent to fund the project with tolls. I have admittedly not studied the project in great detail, and I do not profess to know all of the provisions and nuances pertaining to it. Still, I have a basic understanding of the project and as a life-long resident of the Louisville and Southern Indiana area, I have some very definite ideas.

The current plan, as I understand it, calls for the building of two new bridges: an East End bridge and another downtown bridge close to the Kennedy. The plan also calls for a revamping of Spaghetti Junction. It is contemplated that the project is to be funded in part by tolls--not only on the new bridges, but also on our existing bridges that have been paid for long ago.

The current plan causes me great concern and consternation on a couple of levels. First, I question why it is deemed necessary to build two bridges at the same time. I submit that anyone who has lived in this area for any length of time understands that an East End bridge is badly needed. The same cannot be said for a new downtown bridge. I believe that an East End bridge alone will alleviate most of the traffic problems that we currently have. Why not proceed with the East End bridge first, and then evaluate the traffic flow after its completion?

My second area of grave concern involves the imposition of tolls on existing bridges. I think that many people incorrectly assume that the proposed tolls being discussed apply only to the new bridges. If that were the case, I would have no problem with it. It would seem fair for someone to have to pay to use a new bridge until that bridge has been fully paid for. The same logic does not apply as a requirement for using bridges that we have all been using freely for many years. I would suggest that toll protesters change their signs from "No Tolls" to "No Tolls on Existing Bridges" to help the public understand what is actually being discussed here.

It does not seem that those in charge of the ORBP have adequately considered the impact that placing tolls on our existing bridges could have upon commerce in our area. The imposition of tolls on existing bridges could, it seems to me, greatly hamper businesses in both Southern Indiana and Louisville. I fear that Southern Indiana businesses would get the worst of it.

In the final analysis, I find the proposal to place tolls on our existing bridges to be ill advised, unfair and outrageous. I hope that all individuals who feel the same will let their voices be heard loudly and clearly--"NO TOLLS ON EXISTING BRIDGES!"


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


If I lived in Kentucky I would almost certainly be voting for Democrat Jack Conway in this year's race for United States Senate, because I find that I agree with him on most of the important issues. He is a promising leader who inspires confidence. I must admit that there is a part of me, though, that kind of wants his Republican opponent Rand Paul to win, just for the entertainment value of seeing what might unfold with him in office for the next six years.

I find Paul's involvement in the NoZe Brotherhood during his college years at Baylor University to be most intriguing. The anonymous allegation regarding a college prank involving abduction, forced pot smoking and the worship of "Aqua Buddha" is bizarre and somewhat hilarious. But Rand Paul's take on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the extremely limited role that he believes government should play in our lives, is disconcerting and rather frightening. His ideas are too unorthodox for me to take seriously, and this causes me some concern because it is looking like Paul may well win the election.

In the end, it's a moot point because I live in Indiana and am not eligible to vote in the Conway-Paul race. But I'll be watching with interest to see who wins.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


During my daily workouts this week at the YMCA, I've been seeing a lot of Wiley Brown. This is the week for his annual basketball camp for kids at the Y.

Wiley was a key member of the 1980 University of Louisville Cardinals National Championship basketball team, and he is now the coach of the IU Southeast Grenadiers. I have always been a Louisville Cardinals fan, and I attended law school at U of L. I also got my undergraduate degree at IU Southeast, so I now have a double rooting interest involving Wiley. He had a fantastic season with the Grenadiers last year, and he has really put them on the local recruiting map. Things are really looking up for IU Southeast basketball with Wiley at the helm.

I have had the opportunity to chat some with Wiley this week, and I have enjoyed the experience very much. We are close to the same age. I look up to the man--both literally and figuratively. (He is a foot taller than I am.) He's a great guy, very unassuming and easy to talk to. He also seems to have a good way of communicating with the kids.

It is nice having him in New Albany.

Monday, June 21, 2010


The current heat wave reminds me of the days when I used to play a lot of baseball and later, as an adult, softball. Intense heat never seemed to bother me when I was playing. In fact, it somehow seemed to energize me. I loved to pitch, and I always thought that if I was in excellent physical condition the extreme heat could become a disadvantage to my opponents, but not to me.

I still don't mind the heat. I will take it over cold and snow any day. When I step outside and feel a searing blast of scalding air, it makes me long to be back on the mound with a baseball in my hand. In my mind's eye, I can see the tableau of the batter, catcher and umpire awaiting my delivery. I can perceive the sweat rolling down my back as I realize that all eyes are on me, waiting to see what will happen. I can feel the stitches of the ball snapping off of my fingers as I drive my body toward the plate to complete my delivery. And I love it.

The heat causes me to recall some great times--times when I felt very alive and very powerful. As I am finishing this posting, it is currently 90 degrees outside. The forecasters are saying that it will reach 95 degrees later today. Unlike some, I will not be complaining about the weather. Instead, I will enjoy the warmth and revel in the memories.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010


For all of the criticism that it takes, the legal profession generally does an outstanding job of policing its own. In Indiana, for instance, we have a standing disciplinary commission with a full-time executive director in place to investigate any claims of unethical or improper conduct by attorneys. Claims of misconduct are thoroughly and seriously investigated, and stern disciplinary measures, including suspension or disbarment, are meted out to those found to be in violation of the rules of professional responsibility.

Even in dealing with someone in what might be considered to be a personal setting, an attorney must be careful not to run afoul of the rules. A good example of this recently occurred when an Indianapolis attorney received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court for the way in which she dealt with a collector who was making harassing phone calls to her home.

According to the court's order, the attorney began receiving persistent messages on her unlisted phone number from a company asking for someone by the name of her husband. The attorney called the toll-free number back and spoke with a male representative. She identified her husband as her client. She perceived the representative to have a "feminine-sounding voice," and she then asked him if he was "gay" or "sweet." The company representative commented on the unprofessional nature of the question, and the phone conversation ended abruptly. A complaint was then made to the disciplinary commission about the lawyer's conduct.

Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4 (g) prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct, in a professional capacity, that manifests bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation. The attorney was found to be in violation of this rule and, accordingly, was publicly reprimanded by our highest court.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Sometime last year I began familiarizing myself with U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan because I had read that she was likely to be considered for the U.S. Supreme Court in the event that an opening should arise. That prospect became a reality when President Barack Obama recently chose Kagan as his nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who at the age of 90 has announced his retirement from the nation's highest court.

Politics being what they are, I suspect that some in the Republican ranks will find reasons to oppose the nomination. Notwithstanding that reality, I must say that I have thus far not found a single thing that causes me any concern about the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. To the contrary, she seems to be uniquely and eminently qualified to serve.

It does seem strange that someone just a year older than I am is now being considered for the U.S. Supreme Court. Could it be that, having recently turned 50, Kagan will be challenged on the basis of her extreme youth? Alas, I realize that no one around my age will ever be referred to as a spring chicken again.

Kagan has served as the Solicitor General since March of 2009. She is the past dean of Harvard Law School, and she previously served as White House counsel to President Bill Clinton. She served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals. By all accounts, she is engaging and open-minded. I can't really think of a better background for the Supreme Court--unless perhaps if she had practiced as a litigator in southern Indiana for 23 years or so.

Some may question the fact that Elena Kagan has never previously served as a judge, but any argument based on that fact strikes me as being specious. There are a variety of avenues to prominence and respect in the legal community. Lower level judicial experience can be a good thing, but it is certainly not a prerequisite to service on the high court. As has been pointed out, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist--who served admirably on the court for decades--had no prior judicial experience at the time of his nomination.

It will be interesting to watch the debate unfold regarding the nomination of Elena Kagan. I, for one, think that she is an excellent choice.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Like many people, I am troubled by illegal immigration and the massive toll that it clearly imposes upon our national resources. At the same time I am very concerned about aggressive efforts, such as the one recently undertaken in Arizona, to ferret out those who may be here illegally by extending enhanced powers to law enforcement officers. A big problem, it seems to me, is that it would be difficult if not impossible for officers to proceed to use such powers without engaging in unfair racial profiling and stereotyping.

Our history as a nation shows that unchecked police authority is fraught with danger and difficulty. We should learn from our troubled history. We should be better than that. When racial profiling and stereotyping are condoned, the liberty of everyone is at risk.

I don't know what the answer is. I will be watching with interest though, hoping that our government officials proceed with caution. If history has taught us one thing, it should be this: We must be concerned for the rights of all.