Bluegrass Ball Live Blog: Mayor Newberry

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BY JOE SONKA
6:40 Who is the first person I see when I walk in? Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry.

6:56. Just had a LONG talk with the Honorable Mayor Newberry.

Of Note:
He dismissed the study that Lexington has the worst carbon footprint of any city in America because we get our electricity from coal plants… Right.

Asked if he’s happy with CentrePointe’s progress, he said Yes. He blamed the citizens for its delay, and said that construction will resume in the next couple weeks.

I asked him if he – unlike anyone else in Lex – knows who is financing the Webbs’ project. He said he’s confident they have funding. Asked if he knows who it is, or if the Webbs have shown him the financing, he says he has no idea. Gave a flat No.

Asked if he’s running for re-election in 2010 – he says he doesn’t know, and will decide in next six months.

I asked him about the email he sent criticizing the “media” and fellow citizens for opposing and criticizing CentrePointe. Refused to elaborate. Asked why he sent it out, he said the media was spreading lies and he wanted to counter that with the truth.

Asked why the project will be different from all the other hotel projects around the country that are going belly-up. Says that Marriott knows what they are doing and it won’t suffer half capacity like the other hotels because it serves “higher-end” folk.

Asked him if he regrets how he presented CentrePointe – surprising both citizens and Council members – he said he regretted nothing and he fully briefed the Council on it before he presented it to the public.

He said it won’t be built by 2010 Equestrian Games, and that he NEVER said or implied that it would be ready by then.

Asked what he thought about how Lexington looked downtown with the big crater… This is big… He said that it will look good once CentrePointe or something else is there. He then said it again: CentrePointe or something else. I noted that he said “something else” twice and asked him if he thought it was possible that it will be something other than CentrePointe. He gave a flat No and cut off the interview right there.



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