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Ken Rechtin's Another Voice: What People Are Saying About NKY Issues

Family Feud is a game show that most people know and understand. It's been around for a long time. Everyone knows the phrase made famous by the first host, Richard Dawson: "Survey Says!"

My disclaimer: 
My surveys are not scientific. There is not a ‘margin of error’. It is just the collective response and comments of my readership. Nothing more!

Let’s see what “Survey Says” about three previous columns!


What needs fixin’ in NKY? Surely not employment law!

In response to the column about the Right to Work (RTW) legislation as has been proposed by all three Republican NKY Judges Executive, the “Survey Says” that the “issues that need fixin’” as ranked from most important (1) to least (10) are:

1.) Heroin Epidemic

2.) Increased Educational Opportunities

3.) Brent Spence Bridge

4.) Spending and Taxation Issues

5.) SD1

6.) Fragmented Government

7.) Airport Board 

8.) Housing Opportunities

9.) Transit Authority

10.) Increased Employment Opportunities via RTW

My own sense of fairness and full disclosure requires me to tell you that one (1) NKY business owner has contacted me to say that their restaurant is a “union shop” and he wants a RTW law in NKY.

If Increased Employment Opportunities via RTW is the very last “issue that needs fixin’ here in NKY”, why then have Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann, and Campbell County Judge-Executive Steve Pendery identified “Right to Work” as the first issue that they propose to “fix” within the first 120 days of their new terms? 

Has “Right to Work” replaced “Right to Life” as the issue to polarize the public? Like “Right to Life”, the “Right to Work” issue will not be resolved but will continuously be used to stoke the fires and “fire up the base”.


NIMBY’s and a Home for the Homeless

In another recent column, I spoke about the need for a permanent location for the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky (ESNKY) and about NIMBY (Not In My BackYard). In order of least liked to be near, “Survey Says” that folks do not want the following near them:


Psychiatric Hospital

Emergency Room/Hospital

Runaway Shelter

Homeless Shelter

Section 8 Housing/Public Housing

Sheltered Workshop


Battered Women's Shelter

Vocational School

High School

Community / Activity Center


Elementary School


Senior Center

Again, in the order of least liked, the following is the list companies and 

services that folks do not want to be near:


Sewage Treatment Facility

Drywall Manufacturing Company

Power Plant

Recycling Center

Night Club

Adult Book / Adult Entertainment

Municipal Garage

Bus Barn/TANK

Public Swimming Pool

Soccer/Baseball/Football Fields

In this survey, there was an opportunity to express one’s personal pet NIMBY peeve. This is where it got very interesting!

People were quite expressive. These are all the responses that I received:

“The folks from the shelter (ESNKY) hang out in large numbers outside the Covington Library smoking. They also spend a large part of the day in the library. This often causes the offensive presence of body odor. It is sometimes so bad that I have been unable to stay.”

“People calling their buds on a cell phone to complain about a cell phone tower to be in their hood.”

“Air and noise pollution.”

“Smells, potential pollution of local water table, streams, and rivers.”

“The assumption that it's somehow wrong that I might not like certain facilities next door to me.”

“The assumption that a shelter near someone’s home is bad for the community rather than helpful.”

“The burbs want to dump everything in the city core of Covington.”


“People refusing to help the homeless / addicts with shelters or clinics which are not in residential areas.”

“When the city hires an outside consulting firm to make a recommendation where something should be located. Then after they spend the money and the results are fed back to the legislative body, they reject the results because they don't agree with them. Therefor the money becomes wasted. Sound farfetched? Not really. This happened in Kenton County when they were trying to find a location for a new jail. They were determined not to locate it in downtown Covington in spite of the recommendations of consultants they hired to study the issue.”

“People who declare "NIMBY" without taking the time to truly explore and understand the perceived threat.”

“That only a select few ever get heard. While I might have an issue with something, I will get treated like one of the masses and told the needs of the many out way the needs of a few. Other, more influential persons, will always have their wants or desires met."

“Gentrification and corporate land grabs by businesses.”

“People seem very interested in maintaining the status quo of the haves and have not’s. Lack of integration of the whole neighborhood into community wide events.”

“City tearing down houses to leave empty lots without any cares of what happens in those lots and no plans on try to redevelopment of the lots.”

“The out of sight out of mind mentality and the attitude that caring for the homeless and needy is inner city responsibility.”

“Apartments, public housing in close proximity to single family homes & subdivisions. They should be separate communities but OK in the same city.”

“Irresponsible parents and pet owners.”

“Loud NIMBY voices overblowing impact of facilities, such as Addiction Treatment Centers, social services, and residential clinics.”

“Here's my issue with this survey, for myself (and I'm sure many people) it's not just one service/business that's the issue, it's the density. I live in a dense residential neighborhood (Mainstrasse) with several streets of mixed use commercial properties and all within a few blocks of 5 services for the homeless/disadvantaged. These services negatively impact my neighborhood and make running a business along Pike St incredibly difficult. I routinely have to pick up litter on my property from patrons of the shelters and chase homeless away who are urinating and defecating on my property. The sheer volume of services and the population they service puts a strain on their surroundings. Everyone needs and deserves help but it must be done smartly.”

“The roadblocks for current, established businesses to expand that are already proven and successful. Case in point: Campbell County Auto Body wants to put an office on SIDE of building. Yet, faces roadblocks on the zoning conformity. Think about this.... In Cold Spring, Rt. 1998 is called INDUSTRIAL ROAD. Try to build a commercial entity on this road. Most of it is residential and will not change. Classic!”

“Traffic & Noise!”

“Political headquarters.”

“Section 8 housing.”

“The cold shelter needs a home. In the heart of Covington!”

“Government assisted living where issues are constantly arising with the tenants. We know these places are a problem and we have them isolated in Covington, why not in Campbell anymore?”

“Cell towers. They're treated like they're for the public good, but people survived for centuries without them. The cell companies build eyesores instead of even trying to mask them.”

“Slumlords that do not do any improvements to their rentals (both to the homes and the yards). My backyard looks like I live in the gutter because of this.”

The most interesting pet peeve was the following from a Newport resident:

“I live on the west side of Newport. A lot of aforementioned developments already exist in my neighborhood. On one side of my house is a poorly planned city park (i.e. playground) that isn't used by the target demographic. On the other side of me is public housing. In fact, more than 70% of my block is public housing (built with HOPE VI money that was intended to disperse low-income housing opportunities). Around the corner, a multi-million dollar poverty-pimp social service agency (Can you guess it?). A block away, the Campbell County Detention Center. A bar within two blocks any direction, including a multitude of "biker bars" in the neighborhood. Not one, but two senior housing developments within 3 or 4 blocks. 

Also in the neighborhood: A middle school, preschool, daycare centers, Adult Ed center, a couple metal recycling plants, a handful of food pantries, etc.

I suspect there are two root causes for NIMBYism. The first would be bigotry. The second, would be legitimate concern of whether or not the use is best suited to the location and vice versa. For example, there's no reason for the Campbell County Detention Center should be in the middle of an urban area (what a waste of space!). It would probably work best for the entire county if it was located in a more rural location with easy access by a state route or highway in the northern 1/3 Campbell County (Wilder comes to mind). 

The recycling plants in my neighborhood are also not welcomed by me, because their impact on air quality impacts a far greater population in an urban area than if they were located further down the Licking (again, not to pick on Wilder, but they come to mind). 

As for senior housing, Ken, I believe we've had a conversation about the preference of most seniors to age in place. Many times, seniors are pillars of their communities and there are costs for those communities when large numbers of seniors are isolated in towers. Unfortunately, senior housing continues to be a popular choice for PHAs (public housing authorities) to pursue on account of the difference in opposition when compared with family housing. 

And even more disturbing to me, is that non-profits (like the one alluded to earlier) get in on senior housing for the sake of funding from LIHTC (low income housing tax credits) rather than working to keep seniors in their homes. As for low income housing in general, I will continue to adamantly oppose additional construction within my neighborhood. The need for low-income housing does not exist in my neighborhood, which is inundated with subsidized and unsubsidized low-income housing (we need income diversity!). 

The need for low-income housing opportunities in Newport are East of Washington Ave, where there is not a single public housing unit and the intensive gentrification in the past three decades has made the area virtually impenetrable to low and moderate income families. There's certainly a need for low-income housing in Ft. Thomas and elsewhere in the county as well. The simultaneous concentration and segregation of poverty and affluence is only sustainable in the sense that poverty is sustained, and arguably, grown.”


In Bar Management 101, I contend that John Boehner did not learn how to run the family bar or the U. S. House.

“Survey Says” responders seems to agree. They graded the performance of John Boehner as Speaker of the House. And, here are the percentages of people giving him the following grades:

Failure 67%

Needs Improvement 19%

Satisfactory 7%

Exceeds Expectations 2%

Greatly Exceeds Expectations 5%

Apparently he did not learn how to run the U.S. House of Representatives or the family bar!


The Family Feud debuted in 1976. 

The Republican majorities took over the NKY Fiscal Courts in 1998.

The acronym “NIMBY” was first used in 1980 in the Christian Science Monitor.

And John Boehner was elected U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District in 1991.

Putting these dates next to each other means nothing! I just thought that it is interesting.

Want to make a comment about any of this and don’t want The River City News readers to see it? You can email me.

Next week: What’s a Property Value Administrator (PVA) worth?

The views and opinions expressed here in “Another Voice” do not reflect the views or opinions of The River City News, its owners, writers, or editors. These are solely the ideas of Ken Rechtin. If you wish to make comment to Another Voice, Ken can be reached via email at [email protected] or you may leave a comment here. All rights to use of Another Voice in any fashion are retained by Ken Rechtin. Please contact him for any use of his columns.