Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 49 What do you think of the grocery that's at the new Omni hotel downtown? "Well, first off, when you think of the Omni, it's been a wonderful development for the city, so you want to take a look at the big picture at how successful that's been and the fact that we have 25 new hotels under construction in our city, downtown's going through a renaissance, downtown's going through Bourbonism—" I'm sorry, but the grocery? What do you think of it? "I think for what it is, it's adequate. You know, what we would really like to see is a full-service grocery somewhere in downtown, but for what's in the Omni, it suits the purposes of what the Omni was designed to do, but it's not a full-service grocery. It was never intended to be one." I thought that was kind of a stipulation, that it needed a grocery. (In 2016, Louisville Forward, the city's economic-development arm, described it as "a high-quality, full-service urban grocery store selling prepared and unprepared food, other consumables and grocery items.") "Yeah, but it was never going to be — I mean, there's a big difference between a Kroger and what was intended to be in the Omni." What's it going to take to get a full-service grocery downtown? "Well, what will happen is, retail follows rooftops. at's how the commercial market looks at things like this. As you see more and more people move downtown… the private market will say downtown needs a full- service grocery, and that's something certainly that we're working on all the time." When was the last time you talked with Governor Bevin? "Uh, sometime within the past couple weeks." What do you guys usually talk about? "Economic-development activity is how we usually bump into each other. Most recently, I think it was at the Mercedes announcement (about a training program) in Portland." And do you feel that the city has the governor's support? "Well, Louisville is — we have one-fifth of the population and we produce one-third of the GDP of the state, so Frankfort understands how important Louisville is to the future of our state. From a social-issues standpoint, we're a city that is, in my view, forward- facing in terms of an inclusive city and a welcoming city, and I just focus on those particular issues. Look, we're a blue city in a red state. About 30 states are like that right now, when you think of Austin in Texas, Nashville in Tennessee and Atlanta in Georgia. So my hope, and what I try to do, is to point out the commonalities between the metropolitan areas and the rural areas, so that people understand that we've got a lot in common. We're in a political environment right now where people, so-called leaders, try to divide people. at's not a strategy to win, in business and certainly not in government. I just try to make the pie bigger." You said we're inclusive and you try to promote compassion, yet you didn't declare Louisville a "sanctuary city," a reference to cities stating that local police won't assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. You have said that it's a politically divisive statement and that our police don't assist ICE agents anyway. But it was later reported that there have been at least a couple dozen interactions between LMPD and ICE. Why not just declare Louisville a sanctuary city? "What's your source on the couple dozen instances?" e Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. (KyCIR found 23, and Chief Conrad said that in four of those instances, officers acted improperly, prompting the police department to form a new policy.) "I think there were four, not a couple dozen. So, that was an example of good reporting, I think—" Were you not aware of that until they discovered that? "at was good reporting. You know, LMPD has 500,000 interactions with citizens every year. LMPD is responsible for local law enforcement. ICE is obviously in charge of federal law enforcement. ose two do not cross each other, so what that allowed us to do when that came forth was redefine our protocols so that it was very clear with LMPD on how they should interact with ICE. at was instances where there's a warrant, where there was a threat of violence, where there was an actual crime taking place, so that it was much more clear. en the ICE agent has to go through the chain of command with LMPD, so LMPD understands that this is a legitimate use to involve LMPD with ICE. at was an example of improvement that came about because of some good reporting here in the community. What we're demonstrating is that you can follow local law, obviously state laws, federal laws and be a welcoming, global city, and that's what we're doing." U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has been heckled and essentially forced out of restaurants here. What do you think about that? "It's kind of dicey, right? I mean, you go out and want to be left alone, but he's not real accessible. ere's a lot of people who have strong feelings against him, with a lot of pent-up emotion as well, so I do think if he was more accessible, that would allow people to kind of have more dialogue with him and exchange of views, especially with people that disagree with him. I don't know that there'd be that kind of pent-up anger. I think a lot of it's taken place because we're in the Trump era right now, and people just don't know what to do, so when they see him they provoke some kind of reaction." What do you think of Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Marty Pollio and the work he's done so far?

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