Vote to end Bowling's control

October 17, 2004

Dear Editor:

A year-and-a-half ago, when a good, some would say great, city manager was forced to resign by a mayor and two councilmen intent on their own personal agendas, I wrote my first letter to the editor since becoming a citizen of Danville. The letter, about the short-sighted triumvirate, drew such response from the community that the Danville-Boyle Citizens for Good Government group was formed from people who called or wrote with their support.

During the past 18 months, our organization has lodged two separate Ethics Commission complaints, both of which resulted in Ethics Commission reprimands, one for Commissioner Ryan Owens and another for the Mayor. But the heavy lifting remains to be done.

Our city has gone from being one of the "Nicest little towns" in the words of Nancy Caudill, to being a sinkhole of corruption mired in a miasma of mismanagement. Mayor John Bowling is at the heart of it but his control is only guaranteed by the votes of the unfortunate commissioners in his pocket: Chester Kavanaugh and Ryan Owens. Kentucky does not allow voters to recall their political leaders unless they are convicted of a felony offense, yet we have the opportunity to effectively recall John Bowling by voting his two co-conspirators out of office. Without cronies to support his vendettas John will return to being the cutter-of-ribbons and the master-of-ceremonies that the job was intended to be in a City Manager form of government.


We must remove John Bowling's power, putting him in the checkmate position he was in for so many years when George Cunningham, Alex Stevens and Nancy Caudill refused to allow this tyrant to have his way.

I have received more than a dozen calls from city employees during the past year-and-a-half. I have heard accusations that candidates loyal to the mayor are ordering city employees to paint signs and affix sticks to campaign signs. I have heard stories about John Bowling from credible city workers that are frightening to anyone who believes in good government.

I have been told on numerous occasions by city employees who say they have proof that the mayor and the two commissioners on his side have been in league to deny the African-American community their say in the disposition of the Duncan Hill property. I have been told that the mayor and the commissioners in league with him are promoting specific real estate developers because of personal and financial ties. I have been told by credible sources that the mayor has influenced the planning and zoning commission's paid employees to bear down on his enemies. Yet, no one is willing to come forward and take chances. When asked if they would testify before the Ethics Commission, city employees cite examples of others who have been fired for speaking out and for daring to cross the mayor. They all say that while there is much wrong in City Hall they don't want to lose their jobs or their ability to support their families by blowing the whistle on corruption.

That's because the fear factor at City Hall is enormous. We must elect a government that is not about coercion and fear but about service, ethics, full-disclosure and fairness.

The Danville-Boyle Citizens for Good Government has tried to remain non-political and neutral throughout its existence. We do not endorse particular candidates and have avoided making "political" statements. But, with the current string of ethical challenges to government in Danville brought about by a threesome intent on ruining the reputation of our city throughout the state, we must come forward and ask our fellow citizens to break the conspiracy.

I won't tell you whom to vote for but I will tell you that the mayor has to be stopped and the only way to stop him is to vote for candidates other than Ryan Owens and Chester Kavanaugh. Our city deserves more than the pitiful union that connects a greedy, unscrupulous man with naive bumblers who neither understand the issues nor grasp the damage they have done and continue to do to our community.

Ron Jackson

Chairman, Danville-Boyle Citizens for Good Government

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