Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Petyon H. Hoge III, February 3, 2000

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, Mayor Hoge, it's nice to be back--

HOGE: Well, nice to see you.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and to get in to see you before your busy weekend with your granddaughter being married.

HOGE: I got that, and I got to get myself--my legs well so I could be operated on and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So you got lots of things, lots of things coming up. We--

HOGE: And Anchorage is concerned about sewers and--

BIRDWHISTELL: What's the major concern right now?

HOGE: I think the people who were against sewers are against it from reason of cost, and unfortunately, we can't do anything about that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Can't--well, sewers and cost are always an issue, it seems like. Hang on just a second. Okay. I'm back. (laughs) Had it in the wrong--

HOGE: As the goose says on television, "Am I on yet?"

00:01:00

BIRDWHISTELL: (both laugh) You're on, Mayor. You're on, Mayor.

All right. Last time we talked about your early life and your life all the way up to the time that you got involved in Anchorage government, and of course, you'd lived here many years before that. I wanted to start out today by see--by just asking you to sort of give me a summary of what Anchorage was like when you, when you entered the council in 1963. Just trying to kind of paint a picture of that for me, if you would.

HOGE: Well, the reason I got involved was that I was dissatisfied with the way the council was using our funds.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: They weren't absconding or anything, they just weren't being very smart. We needed a fire engine, as I mentioned and they--their 00:02:00fiscal policy was no policy. I was just absolutely astounded when they borrowed money from their checking account in a little town bank where they had no savings account. They just put money in a checking account and--

BIRDWHISTELL: No interest, right?

HOGE: No interest, nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did that compare with other cities of the same size and class in Jefferson County at that time? Did you have a way to make a comparison?

HOGE: I didn't have any idea what other cities were doing. I just knew what we weren't doing, and those of us that felt so inclined, felt we should do something about it. So we established a policy. I was just on the council and it took a little while because the remaining members 00:03:00of the council and the chairman of the board of trustees--it was a sixth-class city at the time--

BIRDWHISTELL: A sixth-class. I was going to ask you--sixth-class.

HOGE: --were very reluctant to do anything that was even anywhere near to being modern.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: The city clerk inherited the job from his father, who was city clerk from 1900's on--

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow.

HOGE: --and the accounting procedures and everything were old century (both laugh)--very old. So what we went about doing was establishing a policy that our tax funds would go into a savings account, and we'd draw down on that as we needed it. Well, that was fine except that we found that the clerk was putting down, as a monthly amount of money, 00:04:00one-twelfth of what the budget expected.

BIRDWHISTELL: One-twelfth.

HOGE: Each month.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I see. I see. Okay.

HOGE: And he, he put that in the checking account regardless, but he ran out of money and didn't tell anybody so he was using the next year--the money, you know. You, you get the picture.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, and you're on the council and so you're ultimately responsible for the--

HOGE: Absolutely.

BIRDWHISTELL: --for fiscal well-being of the community?

HOGE: So we finally got that straightened out and found that we were three months short of being able to pay the police. A few--only a few 00:05:00things are available to a government under those circumstances, so we borrowed money and had to start all over again with the calendar year. We were on a calendar year.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you borrow the money from a Middletown bank where you had your--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --account?

HOGE: We were borrowing (laughs) a mythical amount of money; I don't know where the money came from, but we borrowed it. And it took us about four years to catch up. We had a real barebones, or whatever you call it, budget.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Certainly no frills.

HOGE: Never had been any frills and we couldn't give the police any raises, and that was an uncomfortable situation. We couldn't hire enough police. So after about, about three years, we finally got even, 00:06:00and then we started really planning.

BIRDWHISTELL: So in 1966--this was all from '63 to '66, so basically by '66, you had sort of gotten it back on--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was there any discussion of raising the city taxes at that point to help balance this out?

HOGE: No. No, and we weren't trying to raise the city taxes.

BIRDWHISTELL: That wasn't anything you wanted to do at that point?

HOGE: But we had other sources of income. For example, we had a water company. We bought water wholesale from the city of Louisville because in 1914 they refused to run water lines to Anchorage, so the people of Anchorage says, "We need water so we're gonna do it ourselves." So they floated a bond issue back in those days, and bought water wholesale and sold it retail, and the difference went into the water fund.

00:07:00

BIRDWHISTELL: So by the 1960s you're still making money? The city still makes money off its water?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: And, (coughs) and continued to do that until along came--I've forgotten his name. He was head of the water company--

BIRDWHISTELL: The Louisville Water Company?

HOGE: Louisville Water Company. Off the record, he was sort of a crusty old fellow who--from New England (Birdwhistell laughs) and he kept pressuring us: "We want you to sell us your water company. We want to run a main through Anchorage and we can't do it unless we own the water company." So I think it was finally in about '56 or 7 we entered 00:08:00into an agreement whereby we would still get from the Louisville Water Company the same markup that we were getting, but they were going to own the water company--

BIRDWHISTELL: I see.

HOGE: --and be responsible for fire protection.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: Big mains--

BIRDWHISTELL: Hydrants?

HOGE: --for hydrants, and build a water tank, and they did. And it was about in the early--very early seventies that we got square, I think, with the water company, and we were on our own. At that time, we raised our taxes to take up the slack of what we lost.

00:09:00

BIRDWHISTELL: When you say you raised taxes, which taxes? Like the city--

HOGE: Our pro-, property taxes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Property taxes.

HOGE: And that got us up to forty cents, at which we've been ever since.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: So they haven't been raised--

HOGE: We haven't raised the tax rate ever since.

BIRDWHISTELL: -----------(??)

HOGE: The property value--the property value has escalated, and that has given us a small increase each year. But at any rate, that was the history. We had to replace the city clerk. He, he just--he was 62 and eligible for retirement.

BIRDWHISTELL: And that was a full-time job being city clerk?

HOGE: For him.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. (laughs) What does the city clerk do in a sixth- class city?

HOGE: Very little. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: What are--what--

00:10:00

HOGE: He keeps, keeps the books and the minutes.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you got the minute book and the tax roll, and that's--

HOGE: That's about it. We had always collected our own taxes because the sheriff charged three percent, and we didn't get our tax money until the sheriff decided to distribute it. (Birdwhistell laughs) And he would collect money whenever he did, and we would go almost a whole year without any money from the sheriff, so we eliminated that real quick like.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you trust the sheriff to give you all the things you were supposed to get?

HOGE: Oh, I'm sure he--we didn't get cheated or anything. It just delayed.

BIRDWHISTELL: Delay.

HOGE: And, of course, he was making money--earning interest on the money, our money. He's getting a three percent plus the interest over the course of several months.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Uh-huh.

HOGE: Once we disc-, uncovered that really quick.

00:11:00

BIRDWHISTELL: So how do you go about collecting taxes, and do you--

HOGE: Well, we--

BIRDWHISTELL: --send out a tax notice?

HOGE: --we became a fifth-class city--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, okay. What year was that, do you remember?

HOGE: I don't remember exactly.

BIRDWHISTELL: Would, would it be some time in the midsixties?

HOGE: In the seventies.

BIRDWHISTELL: In the seventies you became a fifth-class--

HOGE: Let's see, fifth-class city--late sixties.

BIRDWHISTELL: Late sixties. So would it have been right as you were becoming mayor? That's how--

HOGE: Just before.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just before?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's why you could run for mayor because it becomes a fifth-class city, correct?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: Fifth-class city entitled us to collect taxes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: So we went about the business of doing our own assessment, which the county didn't like, but, uh--we--it was legal, and we did our own tax collecting, which the sheriff didn't like, but it was legal.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why did the county not want you to do your own assessment?

00:12:00

HOGE: Well, they thought they had all the smarts, and when we did ours- -but we had to--it was a right complicated thing, but I felt it was necessary, so I went to the University of Louisville and got a couple of graduate students, and they went--canvassed every household--

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

HOGE: --and got the assessment right. And in that operation we found 22 pieces of land that were not on the county rolls--

BIRDWHISTELL: Twenty-two?

HOGE: --and two houses that had been there forever.

BIRDWHISTELL: And weren't paying any taxes?

HOGE: Weren't paying any taxes. Not paying ta-, county, county taxes, not paying Anchorage taxes. So we put them on the tax rolls, and with a little grumbling on their part.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to say, wasn't there a little reaction from these people?

HOGE: Yeah, a little reaction: "How come you're taxing us all of a 00:13:00sudden?" Well, you know, you've been getting by all these years. We're not going back and collect from the past years, but you're going to pay from now on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Had that just been an oversight?

HOGE: Uh-huh, so-called. (Birdwhistell laughs) And some of the properties were so undervalued, that it was just hard to believe. An example, one piece of property, which has been cut up considerably, was on the tax rolls for around $30,000.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: It is now on the market, just a part of it, for a million-four. So it was, you know, just terribly under-, undervalued. A couple of people with right much political clout down in the county--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --had very low assessment. So we just fought our way through 00:14:00all that stuff and took an awful lot of verbal abuse, but their own assessor--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --which was legal, got the tax rolls up to where they should be.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you worried at this particular point--you know, you've just become mayor and all these changes are going on in this community that's known for not changing, were you worried about your political future?

HOGE: Unh-uh. (coughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: No?

HOGE: Never occurred to me. I was giving service to the community, and if somebody else would step up and take over, great! Be wonderful!

BIRDWHISTELL: And if the majority of the people thought what you were doing was wrong, then so be it?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because that's--

HOGE: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --that's just what you had felt like you had to do as mayor?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: But that must have been a little tough at the time? I mean--

HOGE: Well, the only real--the people were in favor if they realized 00:15:00what was going on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: The vast majority of them. There were a few cudgmudgeons (??) as always, you know. As one little city down in the state says, "We got a population of two thousand, plus two soreheads." (Birdwhistell laughs) And I guess we had a couple of soreheads.

BIRDWHISTELL: I saw in the news that--after I'd been down here to talk to you the first time, I'm paying more attention to smaller cities and their governments issues. And there's a city somewhere, a little town somewhere in Eastern Kentucky that's trying to dissolve. And then Stamping Ground, I guess, in Scott County tried to dissolve this last election, so these are--these issues are real issues in these small towns, aren't they?

HOGE: They are. They are.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, now, when you--how do you get to change from sixth- class to fifth-class? The legislature has to do that.

HOGE: Yeah, the legislature has to do it. That was a very simple thing because we qualified, and I called up--that's where I got involved in 00:16:00the legislature--

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. So that would be legislature of '68?

HOGE: I don't know. That--I wouldn't have that right date.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, you became mayor in '69.

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So probably the legislature of '68 changed it.

HOGE: It's, it's before that that we were--

BIRDWHISTELL: It was before that?

HOGE: Before, before I was--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: --mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: So it could've been the legislature of sixty--

HOGE: I couldn't have been mayor of a sixth-class city. Has to be a fifth-class or more.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was just thinking that would've been Louie Nunn's first legislative session in '68.

HOGE: Yeah. But at any rate, some were friends. They--most of them don't--didn't know what my registration was, and I didn't particularly flaunt it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have to run on a party?

HOGE: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's non-partisan in a--

HOGE: No. Non-partisan.

BIRDWHISTELL: --in a fifth-class city?

HOGE: And we've had non-partisan elections ever since.

00:17:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Did you ever tell anybody what your party affiliation was?

HOGE: I don't care, yeah. Yeah. I'm registered Republican because I believe in a two-party system--

BIRDWHISTELL: I see.

HOGE: --and if somebody doesn't register in the minority party, why, we'd only have one party. (Birdwhistell laughs) So we have the policy of not endorsing any candidate, and I have always voted for whomever I damn please.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. There you go. Were there any people in town who thought that Peyton Hoge just wants to get us up to a fifth- class city so he can be mayor?

HOGE: I don't think so.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's good.

HOGE: We just became a fifth-class city.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. And so then you had a mayoral election. Did you have any opposition? That's--so you didn't have--that's the best kind of election, isn't it?

HOGE: No, I, I'd like to have some opposition.

BIRDWHISTELL: You like to have some opposition.

00:18:00

HOGE: So I can tell them what I've been doing. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: So you ran unopposed? So you knew you were going to be mayor. And what kind of plans did you have to make to be the first, first mayor, I guess, of Anchorage?

HOGE: Well, actually, there was a predecessor for a few months in the transition.

BIRDWHISTELL: There was? Okay.

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who was that?

HOGE: Name's Hallenberg--

BIRDWHISTELL: Hallenberg.

HOGE: He's the son of the gal who wrote the history.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, okay. Okay. All right. So that was a sort of an interim mayor, and then you became the first elected mayor?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So what do you have to do to prepare to be mayor?

HOGE: I don't think I did anything. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: You were still working as--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --the vice president at Brown-Forman, so--

HOGE: I was still at Brown-Forman.

BIRDWHISTELL: --you, you didn't quit your day job. (laughs)

HOGE: I sure didn't. And it made, made it a little tough, but I just 00:19:00had just a lot of evenings boning up on the law, trying to figure out what we could and couldn't do and shouldn't do.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did the council meetings change with the new format of having a mayor and being a fifth-class city, as opposed to what it'd been like when you'd been on the council?

HOGE: I think there was a change. The council--we did things that maybe weren't technically correct, but when I became mayor, I assigned different areas to council members to be sort of specialists.

BIRDWHISTELL: Subject areas of the--in terms of the city? Not geographical areas, but areas of interest?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: And areas of their expertise.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see.

HOGE: If a guy was an engineer, I asked him to kind of supervise our 00:20:00bidding on roads and things like that, and it worked out pretty well.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. How many members were on the council when you--?

HOGE: Six.

BIRDWHISTELL: Six members of the council plus you as a mayor?

HOGE: Plus me as the mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a very large group isn't it--

HOGE: (coughs) Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --for a community this size?

HOGE: And--

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it all men?

HOGE: Hmm?

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it all men at that time?

HOGE: Yeah, at that time it was all men. And we worked out a system where they took care of the things that they could do and report to me, and I ran interference [voices in background] with county government and, uh, with the state government. Thank you. Excuse me.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's all right. Got a wedding to get ready for.

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, let's see, we were talking about--

00:21:00

HOGE: At any rate, I ran interference between our council and county government, state government, and the federal government.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. Let's, let's look at that right now. Let's, let's look in 1969, 1970. You become mayor; Anchorage is a fifth-class city; Jefferson County is full of little cities. So how do you go about working things out with the county government and working things out--first of all, how do you go about working things out with the county government? Did you spend some time down at the courthouse?

HOGE: Well, yes, and I made early friends with the county judge--

BIRDWHISTELL: Who--

HOGE: --who was Mitch McConnell--

BIRDWHISTELL: Mitch McConnell? Okay. I was trying to think who would've been county judge at that time.

HOGE: Before him was Todd Hollenbach. We got along alright. He happened to be a Democrat; doesn't make any difference to me. We 00:22:00entered into an inter-local agreement, where it was to our advantage. We got the state interested in seeing that the crossings of CSX--back in those days there was the C&O and L&N--that they maintained those crossings according to the law.

BIRDWHISTELL: Had they not been maintained very well 'til then?

HOGE: They didn't look like it. They were awful rotten and all kinds of things. We didn't have any accidents then. We subsequently had several derailments.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right here in town?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: Right in the middle. By then I'd gotten the DES [Department of Emergency Services] in Frankfort to insist that any hazardous cargo or 00:23:00whatever you want to call it, shipment, were labeled so that our fire department could look up the extent of the hazard. We had to--

VOICE IN BACKGROUND: I had him wrap them individually and then put it on the tray wrap it.

HOGE: All right, fine.

VOICE IN BACKGROUND: Put them in the freezer?

HOGE: Yes, please. (coughs) I didn't mention, but in those early days, we found that if we got rid of the fire department as a city function and set them up with their own board, they were entitled to certain grants from the state--

BIRDWHISTELL: An independent fire district, is that what--

HOGE: --so we created an independent fire district.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ah, that's interesting--

HOGE: And--

BIRDWHISTELL: --that it would be more beneficial than having a city fire department.

HOGE: Yeah. Now, there were all kinds of restrictions to a city fire department.

00:24:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Was the city fire department all volunteer at that point?

HOGE: Yeah, except for--the police also acted as firemen, and the maintenance people were also firemen.

BIRDWHISTELL: So that there were people pretty much of--in the area if the fire alarm went off?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Huh. But that would've--going from a volunteer fire department to an independent fire district would've helped your insurance, right?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Helped with residents' insurance?

HOGE: It did, and that was another important key. We got the insurance- -I had several arguments with the inspectors for the fire insurance people. I finally got him to sit down. I said, "Now, listen. You look at this community and you know very well we're not going to have a holocaust." Said, "The last holocaust I've heard of was on the back lot 00:25:00of the Twentieth Century Fox, and you know that we are full-separated. We aren't going to have a house after house catch fire--

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't think so. (laughs)

HOGE: --and we want a better rate." So we finally got the highest rate-- we were the highest--our rate was just as high as the city of Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Huh.

HOGE: I mean beneficial is the--

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. You got it down to the--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --because you had the--the Louisville Water Company put in fire hydrants?

HOGE: We already had hydrants.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had the hydrants, and you had an independent fire district, and then you had these houses that are on lots of--well, how many--probably two or three acres each?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Two-acres? What?

HOGE: Usually about five acres.

BIRDWHISTELL: Five acres. I'm not very good at estimating land size.

HOGE: Um, at any rate, that was a significant change. And then we got, uh--the feds started doing grants called revenue-sharing--

00:26:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Un-, under the Nixon Administration.

HOGE: --and we got enough money to build a firehouse from revenue- sharing because we were a district fire department, not just little Anchorage. We were--

BIRDWHISTELL: So what was the boundary for the district fire department?

HOGE: Our city boundary.

BIRDWHISTELL: It was the city boundary?

HOGE: Yeah. But we had an inter-local agreement that other--

BIRDWHISTELL: I see. If that other town--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --needed help, you would go.

HOGE: And vice versa and all the way out to--including Oldham County.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really? So at that point did you hire full-time firefighters, or did you still have--

HOGE: At that time we had all volunteers except the chief.

BIRDWHISTELL: Except the chief.

HOGE: And then it became apparent that the EMS couldn't take care of us. We'd been operating a station wagon, the police had been. They were 00:27:00all trained first response. So then we went through a lot of hurdles and finally got permission--had to get permission from the county to have a fire--I mean a EMS and--with the idea that we would back them up. And we got a grant for--to start out getting ambulances and things like that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: The grants were my job. Anything that had to do with a higher level of government, I'd go in and sit down with my hat in my hand and (Birdwhistell laughs) and wait until they agreed to a grant. (laughs) It was almost that bad.

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand. I understand.

00:28:00

HOGE: But in the process, made a lot of, I guess you'd say, acquaintances, maybe friends. I hope friends.

BIRDWHISTELL: In government?

HOGE: In the legislature.

BIRDWHISTELL: The legislature. Who--like who would you have met back then that you would--you recall as having been particularly helpful in the legislature?

HOGE: Gene Stuart, who was our state senator, representative here.

BIRDWHISTELL: He was very helpful to you?

HOGE: Very helpful, and subsequently, the other senators that represent this area have been very helpful. And I have courted them without any embarrassment, said, "Look, these are your voters and mine too," (Birdwhistell laughs) you know, "Get with it."

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I think, Mayor, as you were talking, you know, 00:29:00about having to go down to the courthouse, having to go to Frankfort, having to meet with the different political groups and governmental groups really, that takes a lot of time.

HOGE: It did take a lot of time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where did you find the time to do something like that?

HOGE: Well, at first it was almost impossible to find enough time to do it. I did much of it on the telephone and a lot of letter writing. When I retired from Brown-Forman in '73, I spent full-time.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were mayor for about four years while you were still working at Brown-Forman, and then after that--

HOGE: Juggling jobs. (coughs) But at any rate, in order that Anchorage would get its fair share, I joined--well, helped organize it, the Jefferson County League of Cities so that the--they would outlaw small 00:30:00cities in Jefferson County.

BIRDWHISTELL: What--that was in the early seventies, the Jefferson County League of Cities? Now, is that--was that affiliated with the Kentucky League of Cities?

HOGE: No, not at the time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not at the time?

HOGE: It was actually called, uh, Jefferson County Government Conference.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you helped organize that, or you were the one--

HOGE: Yeah, one of the early--

BIRDWHISTELL: --one of the early people pushing that?

HOGE: --presidents.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you?

HOGE: Meantime, I'd been a director of the League of Cities for a long time before I was mayor. Nobody else would take the time and trouble and I got interested.

BIRDWHISTELL: Let me ask you this, and this is off the chronology or off the topic a little bit, but I think it's important for people to have an understanding of why someone like yourself, a successful person in business, successful family person with a large family, what, what drew 00:31:00you to this kind of work and what would cause you to spend the time that you spent out of your life in government? It's not the money, is it?

HOGE: It costs me money. (Birdwhistell laughs) My wife informed me several years ago, said, "Do you realize how much you spend on government work?"

BIRDWHISTELL: So what is it about Peyton Hoge that makes you want to do that?

HOGE: I don't know. It's not just because it's there. It's because I felt like I could make a contribution, and during the years, I've met people that I felt were important. I joined the National League of Cities and was a director of that for my term. The National Association of Regional Councils of which KIPDA was a member, and KIPDA 00:32:00was an important influence.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: That's Kentucky-Indiana Planning and Development Agency, and they were the source of certain federal grants that I could finagle.

BIRDWHISTELL: Sure.

HOGE: And I was a director of the--terrible abbreviation of initials, NARC it was called, National Association of Regional Councils--

BIRDWHISTELL: NARC. (laughs) So you were spending not only this--after your retirement from Brown-Forman, you're spending this time as mayor, but you're involved regionally, statewide, and nationally in these organizations about local government.

00:33:00

HOGE: That's right. They all had a bearing on keeping Anchorage up-to- date and getting everything we possibly could, because I knew that our citizens were paying a high rate of taxes and I felt that we should get back as much as possible. We were getting back, when I started out, about 25 cents on the dollar that we sent to Washington. Now, I think, we're about up to 90 cents a dollar.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right? Wow.

HOGE: It has taken a lot of patience and a lot of button-holding, long- distance calls.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you had to do two things, it seems to me, Mayor. You had to--you had to become a student of how government works from the national, state, to the local level.

HOGE: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because if you don't know that then you can't, you can't 00:34:00be successful.

HOGE: You've got to know that and you've got to keep up-to-date.

BIRDWHISTELL: Up-to-date, that's right. That's right.

HOGE: You've got to keep reading and--what the legislature does. The legislature is an amazing group. Individually, they're wonderful guys. (Birdwhistell laughs) They work hard, they're bright, but they get to Frankfort and the Kentucky River takes over it. There's a haze comes up over the river (laughs) and blinds them sometimes. But I believe in--that the voters know what they're doing and--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's the best we got, isn't it?

HOGE: Yeah. And one other thing is the cost of being mayor. I got an audit, and I got all prepared and I went down and had all the details 00:35:00of all my travel, all my expenses for government--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --that I wasn't reimbursed for. I got paid as mayor, not paid any travel--

BIRDWHISTELL: That wasn't available, right?

HOGE: Yeah. No travel expense.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh.

HOGE: And I said, "This is--this is my story." I said, "You must realize that I'm working for an eleemosynary organization." The guy looked at me. I don't think he knew what that meant. He passed me.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Did you ever explain it to him?

HOGE: (laughs) I just let it go.

BIRDWHISTELL: Explain it for the people--

HOGE: And so I--that's the only plus that I get along with my work is that they do allow reasonable expenses, travel and otherwise, travel to Washington--

BIRDWHISTELL: Explain it for the, for the recording here.

00:36:00

HOGE: What?

BIRDWHISTELL: What you told that guy.

HOGE: Told him I was working for an eleemosynary organization?

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: Well, that's a high fog (??) index for a nonprofit. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: So what was it like--Mitch McConnell has gone on to be--

HOGE: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --big, you know, he's a kingmaker in Kentucky, and he's a, he's a key person in the Republican Party nationally; he's a power in the Senate, he's on the Sunday morning talk shows--

HOGE: He's, he's, he's powerful.

HOGE: What was he like as a--as county judge when you worked with him?

HOGE: He was very interested in what we were doing. I was able to get him to get some grants for the two black communities on either side of Anchorage.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. That's Berrytown and Griffy---

HOGE: Griffytown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Now, they're not--are they part of Anchorage or just on the--?

00:37:00

HOGE: No, they--and it'd be unfair for them to have to pay the tax rate that Anchorage people pay. Besides that, we can't annex them. They didn't want to be annexed. We didn't try to annex them.

BIRDWHISTELL: What form of government do those communities have?

HOGE: They didn't have any.

BIRDWHISTELL: They didn't have any. Unincorporated would be the term, right?

HOGE: Unincorporated.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so you, you went with the judge--County Judge McConnell and got some--

HOGE: Yeah, he got grants for streets and streetlights, and to clean up the junk, and put in a sewage treatment plant for them, major things for them--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --and I think some of the old-timers appreciate the fact that Anchorage is--and tried to be a big brother to them, help them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that what motivated you to help?

HOGE: I don't know what motiv-, no, I knew a lot of them. The young- 00:38:00-the kids used to work for my father, who had an orchard, and Dad was- -would pay them--the ones that did the best job got a bag of apples to take home.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: And then in his eighties, he was teaching them how to swim. They didn't know how to swim. He got permission to use the Pressdale (??) pool and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

HOGE: --so we'd been friends, and my son had been friends with them, too. I think they're reasonably colorblind, my children. I know they've got a lot of friends. I've got one daughter that teaches in a predominantly black school down in the inner city, teaches special ed, and she just loves them.

00:39:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. My daughter wants to be a special ed teacher.

HOGE: It's a real, a real calling.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, it is. Yeah, it is. So Mitch McConnell was a good judge in terms of a judge, you'd say?

HOGE: Yeah, he--yeah, he was a big help to us. I didn't have to ask him for many things. I can't remember asking him for anything, except Berrytown and Griffytown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. The--in Lexington, I guess, the merger vote is in 1974--

HOGE: It was in the seventies.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, '74, '75--

HOGE: Foster, Foster Pettit was--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

HOGE: --instrumental in that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were--and ever since Lexington and Fayette County merged, there's been tremendous talk about Jefferson County and Louisville, and all these cities. Did you start to feel pressured about merger back in 00:40:00the seventies?

HOGE: Some, but Lexington was an entirely different story. They didn't have a lot of little cities.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

HOGE: The horse farms acted as buffers for expansion--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: --and they didn't have the problem. Of course, Anchorage has been an entity since 1773 and had to fight for itself down through the years. It was incorporated in 1878, at which time it really took on its own government. There weren't any other little cities. J-Town [Jeffersontown] existed, St. Matthews existed, but that's about it. 00:41:00The pressure was on several times, and I served on those committees to try to put together some workable merger. I felt that the small cities were making a contribution that the county couldn't afford.

BIRDWHISTELL: Like what?

HOGE: Police--really, police protection. We do everything. We have a works department that takes care of our snow. In--when was it we had a big snow about '97, I think.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: And I got a call and we completely mobilized. I moved the office over to the police station.

00:42:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Hold on just a second.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: And we--our roads were already plowed. We were in go-, great shape. We had power outages where trees had fallen, and took our works department. They cut up the trees; the fire department helped, the police helped. And we had all our roads cleared and everything else. I got a call from the county judge. He said, "How are you all doing out there? Is there anything I can do to help?" I said, "Yeah, you can plow your own damn roads. We can't get out of town." (Birdwhistell laughs) "We can get any place in town, but we can't even get to Middletown." He said, "Oh, well, I don't understand that." And I said, "Well, send somebody out and tell him to look, but be sure they bring a plow with them." (Birdwhistell laughs) So he's joked several times with that.

00:43:00

BIRDWHISTELL: And which judge was that? That was--

HOGE: That was Armstrong.

BIRDWHISTELL: Armstrong.

HOGE: Yeah, Armstrong. (Birdwhistell laughs) The--

BIRDWHISTELL: In terms of the role of police protection in a community like Anchorage, when you came into the council and then as mayor, how many police officers were on the force then? Do you remember?

HOGE: Well, we had a town marshal--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: --who had never fired his forty-five in his life, but he worked every day, and he was particularly good at getting cats out of trees and getting children out of bathrooms on the second floor when they 00:44:00locked themselves in. That had happened so many times in my family, finally he said, "Mr. Hoge, I have a suggestion. Take the locks off your upstairs bathroom and go on the honor system." (Birdwhistell laughs) We did.

BIRDWHISTELL: Put a sign up. (laughs)

HOGE: No, it was just old basic country judgment.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. There you go.

HOGE: And he became eligible for retirement and did. We didn't have a retirement plan, but he had some kind of retirement from some place. Then we had about four policemen. And then they started building the Ford plant. We also had our own police judge.

00:45:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

HOGE: The Ford plant caused some real problems. Their shift ended at three o'clock, and that's when the kids walked home from school, and the drunken driving at three o'clock in the afternoon was so bad that our judge threw the book at everybody he could. And we had to double our police force.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just because of the Ford plant? Now, where is that--

HOGE: The construction.

BIRDWHISTELL: The construction of the Ford plant.

HOGE: Just the construction.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh. That's--I was curious about--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Just the construction.

HOGE: And the problem, which it seemed like such a simple problem, I took the chief over and we met with their security guy, and he--I said, "This is what's going on, and I don't want you to think that we're mad at your construction people, but we've got children going home and 00:46:00drunken driving is obvious. And we're going to stop it, but can't you stop it at the source? Why do you let people drink on the job?"

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to say, if they're drunk when they leave, that's not a good--

HOGE: "We don't," he said. "We don't, " he says, "come here and let me show you something." After the shift leaves look at the trash cans. There were half-pints empty. He says, "We can't catch them on the job doing it." Apparently, they would drink after they get through, and they drink it all, and that's what caused it. Well, our police fines jumped from $3,500 a year to $45,000 a year.

00:47:00

BIRDWHISTELL: From 3,500 to--

HOGE: Forty-five thousand.

BIRDWHISTELL: Good grief!

HOGE: We had to double our size of our police, and we'd had some very unpleasant things in the meantime. A single officer on duty at night had been attacked, but following police procedure, he radioed in his position and the county came and backed him up, and probably saved his life. A carload of visitors from, I always call it "outer space," but from some other area--frankly, they were blacks--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: --drunk, and they piled out of a car, about six of them. They were going to beat the officer, and the county came up in time, so from 00:48:00then on we had two on duty.

BIRDWHISTELL: Every night.

HOGE: We backed up ourselves. Just about that time, the state decided to change its judge setup and eliminate all small town police judges, and they were going to a district system. I went to Frankfort and told them what it was going to do to us, $45,000 of income for--

BIRDWHISTELL: Ripped right out of your budget?

HOGE: Yeah. And I said, "We can't stand that, and I'm going to oppose it and do everything I can to defeat it." And they decided I had a point, and they entered into an agreement that they would take the last 00:49:00three years, average them, and give us a grant for that much money. And we've had it ever since.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: We didn't get the 45,000, but we had--I think it's 38,000.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just out of the general fund that's allocated to local government?

HOGE: Or out of the--actually, it comes out of their fines.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I see. So all the cities around the state profited from that--

HOGE: All of them did.

BIRDWHISTELL: --from that?

HOGE: All of them that had a base.

BIRDWHISTELL: That had a base.

HOGE: There's one little town of west, West Point. I think it is--

BIRDWHISTELL: In the--in northern Hardin County?

HOGE: Down near--right at the beginning of US 60--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --and Fort Knox.

00:50:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, West Point.

HOGE: They had a policeman and the judge would meet in a barn, (Birdwhistell laughs) and he would catch all the soldiers going fast because it was--that was the only place to bring them, and they had a very high rate--

BIRDWHISTELL: I bet.

HOGE: --90,000, and they were--everybody complained about them because they didn't even have a police force, but they do now.

BIRDWHISTELL: The--at the time we're talking about that--since you've been mayor the--there's been an emphasis on better training for police, the police academy at EKU. Has Anchorage participated in that, or have you been a supporter of that type of development?

HOGE: From the start.

BIRDWHISTELL: From the start?

HOGE: We don't hire anybody that hasn't graduated. My complaint with Eastern is that they ought to permit a student who wants to be a police 00:51:00officer to take courses and get a degree.

BIRDWHISTELL: As an undergraduate degree?

HOGE: So far it's extracurricular.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm, I wonder why?

HOGE: Oh, they say the budget--they don't have enough money or enough interest or enough something.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh.

HOGE: It doesn't matter to us because we do it anyway.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.

HOGE: All of our officers have been through the school. All of them take forty-hours training a year. Uh, they have FBI classes. Our chief has been to the Southern Academy at the University of Louisville. We treat it as a profession, and constant surveillance of our police department.

BIRDWHISTELL: Have you had a murder in town since you've been mayor?

00:52:00

HOGE: What?

BIRDWHISTELL: Have you had a murder in town since you've been mayor?

HOGE: A merger?

BIRDWHISTELL: Murder.

HOGE: Murder. No, but we've had some deaths in the old Bellwood Home. We've had two instances of children hanging themselves. But we have no control over Bellwood, but we still have to pol--

BIRDWHISTELL: The children's home up here?

HOGE: Children's home.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's in Anchorage, right?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: What's the crime rate been like since you've been mayor? Has it fluctuated much?

HOGE: No. Early in my tenure, or whatever you want to call it, I got a 00:53:00young fellow interested in putting in alarms, and we have silent alarms in many of the homes. The alarm goes off in the dispatcher's compound, the police station, and they immediately dispatch a police. And unfortunately, (sighs) ours, in December, started acting up, and two o'clock in the morning that telephone rings and there are two officers outside, "Are you all right?" I said, "I'm--I was asleep. Of course I'm all right."

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So your home's connected to the -----------(??)?

HOGE: And then we finally found out the trouble was that the circuit 00:54:00board was old, and we don't reply--depend on telephone lines anymore. It's radio.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? What percentage of the homes in Anchorage are, are hooked directly into the monitoring?

HOGE: I used to know, but I'm not sure I know now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh.

HOGE: But at one time, at eighty percent.

BIRDWHISTELL: Eighty percent?

HOGE: It's a very inexpensive surveillance, and we've never had any successful burglaries where, where the alarms have been on. One incident, a couple, an elderly couple, who always go to Florida in the winter, had been robbed a couple of times, and they'd put in an alarm 00:55:00system. And apparently, the word hadn't gotten around and they were burglarized again, and the little sign in the gun case: "By the time you get here, the police are on their way." And they were. Caught them, and there were four in one car; two women went upstairs to look for jewelry, and the men were downstairs looking for silver and guns. Caught them, and that eliminated that. But it tickled me, "By the time you get here, the police are on their way." (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a great line. That's too late, yeah. I guess-- help me and the people who don't know Anchorage like you know Anchorage, 00:56:00in terms of traffic patterns, how have traffic patterns changed over the years in terms of outsiders cutting through the community?

HOGE: Unfortunately, we have a major cut-through. It's Evergreen.

BIRDWHISTELL: So that is one of the busy--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --arteries?

HOGE: And that is a, a county road.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it is?

HOGE: Another cut-through is LaGrange Road. That's a state road.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's the one up by the--

HOGE: Railroad tracks.

BIRDWHISTELL: --by the railroad, so that--and where you come to that three-way or four-way stop there at the country--

HOGE: School.

BIRDWHISTELL: --school, then it's--that's where the two intersect?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: We have been successful in keeping the thoroughfares out of Anchorage. It's taken a lot of this and that.

00:57:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, how did you do it?

HOGE: By going to Frankfort and explaining to the transportation department the cost of acquiring rights of way, the fact they were violating the federal guidelines of cutting communities, so that fire protection would be impeded.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh.

HOGE: And we were able to get Gene Snyder, for example, moved outside of town.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where was it supposed to go?

HOGE: It was going right back through the eastern part of the city.

BIRDWHISTELL: Of Anchorage?

HOGE: Cut one third of Anchorage off.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, that would've be--see, the eastern--that would be out--would that be beyond Evergreen over here?

HOGE: Yeah. To cut through would--about--let's say about a block from 00:58:00Evergreen--whole new--

BIRDWHISTELL: A block east of Evergreen?

HOGE: Yeah. And tear down all those properties and everything else.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to say, those houses--I drove up that way the other day when I came in here, I went up at the four-way stop and went out that way there. They're--those houses look like they've been there for a while as well, so--

HOGE: They had been.

BIRDWHISTELL: --so they weren't going to tear down houses to come through?

HOGE: Oh, yeah, they were--bulldoze right through the whole bit. "Eminent domain." Rrr-rrrr. (Imitates sound of bulldozer) We--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So how did you get it stopped in the--

HOGE: Just pure economics.

BIRDWHISTELL: Pure economics?

HOGE: I said, "You--that's going to cost you four times as much to go through that part, plus violating the federal guidelines, which says major highways shouldn't split a community." And I said, "You put in a limited access, we can't get our fire equipment; we can't get our ambulance over there in time. Are you gonna pick up the lawsuit?"

00:59:00

BIRDWHISTELL: So what community did they go through?

HOGE: So they moved it out.

BIRDWHISTELL: Beyond any of the--

HOGE: Yeah--

BIRDWHISTELL: --cities?

HOGE: --in open territory, which made a lot of sense--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --except for a few people, and I couldn't help that. They weren't in Anchorage, they were outside.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. Now that the--now that the Snyder Expressway is out there and still stops before it goes over the river, does Anchorage have a position on the bridge issue at this point?

HOGE: Sure. We wish--get the bridge, get it done.

BIRDWHISTELL: You want the bridge done? Because why?

HOGE: (coughs) Well, it will relieve a lot of the traffic that now goes downtown.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see.

HOGE: The Ford plant, for example, was promised access to the Indiana maritime (??) place for their supplies--

01:00:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: --and it hasn't happened. Now they have to truck all the way down into town, cross over it, and then go all the way back up.

BIRDWHISTELL: So what's held up the bridge? What has held up construction of the bridge?

HOGE: A few wealthy people in the Harrods Creek area have thrown everything they possibly could, including the gray Indiana bats, an endangered species. (Birdwhistell laughs) Ridiculous. But it takes time and you just have to wait things out.

BIRDWHISTELL: It sure has taken a lot of time though, hasn't it?

HOGE: And I hate to think--I hope we get through--that the 65, as it 01:01:00makes the hospital curve, is just waiting for a major disaster.

BIRDWHISTELL: If Evergreen is a county road, one of the things that you notice about Anchorage is that all the roads look rural and have a rural look to them: no shoulders, no sidewalks, no streetlights, I don't believe, are there? Are there streetlights out there? How have you gotten the county to maintain that look of those roads with--as the ever increasing traffic went across it?

HOGE: Well, I don't know how the county has done it. We just don't enter into any agreement that they'd do it. We maintain a--Anchorage 01:02:00was set up as a garden community by Amsted around the turn of the 1900s, early 1900. And in so doing, there are an awful lot of cul- de-sacs, which we have to be careful about because of fire protection, but we have done our best to eliminate through-streets. The old grid, which was popular in the twenties, doing cities in grids never reached Anchorage because we just didn't do it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Didn't plan it that way. Didn't plan it that way.

HOGE: Owl Creek, for example, goes from Evergreen over to Old Harrods Creek.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I drove down there today. See, I wanted to see where it went and it didn't go very far. (laughs)

HOGE: It doesn't go very far. And--

01:03:00

BIRDWHISTELL: But it's a nice little street.

HOGE: --and it's a wonderful place for people to jog and to walk.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does your creek ever flood?

HOGE: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does it get up near the house?

HOGE: It goes over my bridge.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does it get up this way to the house much?

HOGE: No. No, not this high.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was looking at the elevation, and the house next to you is elevated higher--

HOGE: Elevated higher.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and I was wondering if you had any water into--

HOGE: We get some more from up the hill.

BIRDWHISTELL: Coming down?

HOGE: And--but Owl Creek originally, in the original deed book, was called Big Spring Road, and there're a lot of springs all up and down--

BIRDWHISTELL: I'll bet.

HOGE: --and, of course, the whole of Anchorage is karst topography.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it?

HOGE: Underground sinkholes and stuff. Owl Creek, as we call it, 01:04:00in front of this house, disappears most of the year at the Bellwood bridge, goes underground and resurfaces down by Oxmoor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: Yeah. I made the engineers do a dye test.

BIRDWHISTELL: See where the dye ----------(??)

HOGE: In the wintertime, why, there's some tendency to have surface water, but not very much.

BIRDWHISTELL: How far is Oxmoor from here?

HOGE: About six miles, I guess.

BIRDWHISTELL: In fact, the reason I asked is that the development, since you've been mayor, has the pressure of development--just has increased, increased, increased. Gene Snyder increased development to your east, 01:05:00the Ford plant to your--

HOGE: That's east.

BIRDWHISTELL: --east, if you go out Evergreen now, and as soon as you leave the city limits, you go another couple of blocks and then all of a sudden, you're back into what the rest of the country looks like (laughs), fast food restaurants--

HOGE: -----------(??) looks like.

BIRDWHISTELL: --fast food res-, no, I mean it's such a difference between Anchorage and, say--

HOGE: Middletown.

BIRDWHISTELL: --Middletown. And do you-all gloat over that to the people of Middletown?

HOGE: Middletown goes its own way.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) What class city is Middletown?

HOGE: Middletown is now--I think it's a fourth-class city. Middletown abandoned--disbanded in the forties because of, frankly, of corruption.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

01:06:00

HOGE: And they re-, re-founded themselves, and now they've--well, some people call it Dixie Highway East.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) I take it that's not a compliment--

HOGE: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs) knowing something about Shively and all of that area.

HOGE: They have entirely different philosophy.

BIRDWHISTELL: What's theirs, development?

HOGE: And the mayor, of course, is a major contractor. He always abstains.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) I gue-, what would be another city in Jefferson County that's most like Anchorage? Would Audubon Park be one? But 01:07:00that's not as big as Anchorage, is it?

HOGE: Yes, it's a city. It's a fifth-class city.

BIRDWHISTELL: But I'm--yeah. Yeah, it's fifth-class. Now that--Audubon Park reminds me of Anchorage, but Anchorage looks more rural in its setting, bigger lots.

HOGE: Audubon Park was developed in the early twenties, and it was developed in what was considered a fine community. And you look at some of those trees, they're the most beautiful trees I've ever seen.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. They've got rules you can't park on the street overnight and can't--you've got to have both tires on the pavement. It's a--it seems to be a well-defined place.

HOGE: It's completely surrounded by Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes. What are you--what is Anchorage completely surrounded by now?

01:08:00

HOGE: Nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: You got Middletown to the--what is that, southeast?

HOGE: Yeah, to the south.

BIRDWHISTELL: South. What do you got to the east, the Snyder?

HOGE: Snyder Freeway.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does that border--is that right on the edge of town?

HOGE: It's beyond the edge of town.

BIRDWHISTELL: A little bit beyond--

HOGE: There's one little enclave called--I've forgotten the name of it--that has houses on it from Anchorage to the Snyder freeway, where it dead-ends.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. North?

HOGE: To the north is an area that had to conform to the health department, so it's on five-acres lots, and I asked if they wanted to join Anchorage. They didn't and that's great.

01:09:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, is that beyond where the bridge is, where that little bridge--and you make that sharp left?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's--it's beyond that?

HOGE: Yeah. That's outside of Anchorage.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's outside of Anchorage.

HOGE: Yeah. The cities do not gain by annexing subdivisions. They cost more than they will return on taxes.

BIRDWHISTELL: On the tax base.

HOGE: Cities will gain if it's in an industrial area, so there's no point in annexing res-, more residential. It's not going to help Anchorage.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who pays the biggest tax bill in Anchorage? Is it an individual, or is there some entity that pays the taxes that's--is there a--is there any kind of company that's paying taxes or--

HOGE: Probably the largest taxpayer is the insurance company.

01:10:00

BIRDWHISTELL: What insurance company is that? Do they have an office--

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --here in Anchorage?

HOGE: This is their home office, and they originally--recently sold out to John Schnatter--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: --who is a very interesting individual. He's trying to protect Anchorage and doesn't get much credit for it.

BIRDWHISTELL: So he bought the insurance company to keep it here?

HOGE: Not the company--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh.

HOGE: --the property.

BIRDWHISTELL: He bought the property?

HOGE: Yeah, they had outgrown their building. What is the name of them? Terrible. Ferguson family owns it--

BIRDWHISTELL: You'll think of it later.

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: But they're, they're--have they gone now? Have they left?

01:11:00

HOGE: No, they're gonna to stay there for a year or two years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Will that tax base be hard to replace at that point?

HOGE: Well, they started out, we gave them an industrial tax forgiveness. The property they bought, I think, for around a million two, and probably spent another million rehabbing the old building.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that the old--the same building where the Citizens National Life Insurance was?

HOGE: Yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: So it's at the same building?

HOGE: Yeah, the same building.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right.

HOGE: (coughs) They've been very good neighbors, but they need more space and we have refused to let them expand their commercials because they're not zoned for it, and we want to keep it open space anyway.

01:12:00

BIRDWHISTELL: How many commercial enterprises are in Anchorage?

HOGE: Practically none. (Birdwhistell laughs) We have--

BIRDWHISTELL: There is a restaurant downtown--

HOGE: --we have a restaurant and we've got a branch bank--

BIRDWHISTELL: A bank. You got a dentist's office down there, I saw.

HOGE: Dental office, and across from that is a--an office for--I guess an investment broker.

BIRDWHISTELL: A broker's office.

HOGE: Not a brokerage, no.

BIRDWHISTELL: No?

HOGE: He's in investment.

BIRDWHISTELL: Investment. Investment.

HOGE: And that's about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: How--it seems like there would be pressure of somebody wanting to buy one of these older homes and set up some kind of law office or some kind of business.

HOGE: A lot of pressure.

01:13:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Do they come before the council and try to get zone changes or--

HOGE: They'd love to. (Birdwhistell laughs) They know that--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's not going to happen?

HOGE: Not only that, our Historic Commission in Anchorage has played an important part. Not that anybody wants to paint their house purple, but if they did, they'd meet stiff opposition. We have an attorney in Washington--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

HOGE: --who's--advises us on historic things. We work kind of hard on the Historic Commission.

BIRDWHISTELL: You mean putting it together or getting it--

HOGE: No, to--maintaining the character of Anchorage.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see. Uh-huh.

HOGE: The older homes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Let me ask you this, Mayor, for people listening to this 01:14:00and reading your interview in the future that might not know these things, has the--has Anchorage's position of not-developing, and not seeking commercialization, and not seeking industry, all the things that your counterparts around the state kill for (laughs), lust for, want--

HOGE: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --desperately, Anchorage has kept those things out. The question is obviously--well, let me--the statement is, obviously, Anchorage as we see it today has benefited from that effort--

HOGE: Yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: --the character of the community, the beauty of the community. Has anyone been hurt by that position, and that stand that the community made? Has, has anyone been hurt by it, that would benefit 01:15:00from--

HOGE: Not that I know of.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's not like you took jobs away from people.

HOGE: No, there were no jobs.

BIRDWHISTELL: There were no jobs (laughs). It's not like you closed anybody's business--

HOGE: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: --because there weren't any. You just haven't allowed it to change, right?

HOGE: Our major contribution to the commu-, to the county, is a place for executives to move with big families, to go to the best school in the state. That has its pluses and minuses. Some young families from the East move in, in corporate offices, high-paying offices, they don't care what they pay for a house. That's elevated some areas' property 01:16:00value. They send their children to the school. They don't really get involved in Anchorage; they move out. Some--another group moves in, and that is of some concern to the school. It rocks their stability. I'm grateful that we were able to send our children to the school, and we still pay school taxes that are sky high, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: But Anchorage is always listed in the state as the top school, right?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean in everything I ever see.

HOGE: Small classes and a right involved Parent Teachers Association. Bellwood students that are of that age go to school there.

01:17:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, do they?

HOGE: They don't pay any tuition. Bellwood doesn't pay any school taxes, and the kids are usually below grade level when they come in.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does that work out?

HOGE: And the PTA tutor them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: If they find somebody that's below grade, they get in there and do their best. A lot of them are former teachers. All of them have, uh, college degrees and are capable of doing it. They're interested in the school, and this has been a big plus.

BIRDWHISTELL: How do you answer--I bet other mayors have kidded you and some of them probably meant it, (laughs) and they go, "Good grief, Peyton, I mean you, you've got it made. You don't have any, any problems to deal with as mayor."

01:18:00

HOGE: Nothing but problems.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) What kind of problems could you have?

HOGE: Right now we have problems with sewers. For two years we've been studying the problem because city hall, fire station, police station septic tank system is failing. We know it and we're trying to do something about it. We've been unable to correct it, and then along came Bellwood with an extension of the city sewers, MSD, very close, and we have had surveys and we know exactly where it should go. And all of a sudden this uproar of the people, very, very violent that Papa John bought most of downtown Anchorage, and he's gonna build high 01:19:00rises and change the density and all, it'll change the character of Anchorage, blah-blah-blah--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that true?

HOGE: --and he can only do it because we're bringing in sewers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is any of that true?

HOGE: No, it's not true. I've met with Papa John. He's a very delightful guy--

BIRDWHISTELL: You're talking about the guy who owns Papa John's, right?

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: John Schnatter.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: He wants the best for Anchorage. He's hiring a design firm to come in and see how we can keep Anchorage downtown like it is and still be able to afford it, not that he means "afford" it, but the people who--

BIRDWHISTELL: He's personally hired a design firm?

HOGE: What?

BIRDWHISTELL: He's personally hired a design firm to come in?

HOGE: Yeah. It's his company's.

BIRDWHISTELL: His company's?

HOGE: His real estate company's.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

01:20:00

HOGE: Which bought the insurance company property--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay, now I'm beginning to--now, okay, I understand now.

HOGE: --and things like that.

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand now.

HOGE: And he is building an Italian villa, the likes of which--

BIRDWHISTELL: Where is that going up?

HOGE: It's going up over on Stonegate Road, nice quiet little area, and shouldn't be any problem. He has done everything according to the book.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hang on just a second.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: He and his lawyers have followed the rules right down the line.

BIRDWHISTELL: He probably doesn't want to change Anchorage; that's why he lives here, you know.

HOGE: That's why he lives here. He wants to protect it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who's the--who is the highest-profile person that lives in Anchorage today?

01:21:00

HOGE: I don't know how to answer that.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) It's not a very good question. I told you I ask bad questions. Who's the highest profile person that's ever lived in Anchorage while you've been mayor? I mean people that are generally known or celebrity types.

HOGE: I can't think of any. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) A town with no celebrities. Okay.

HOGE: I don't believe--for a while Lawrence Wetherby lived in town. He became governor.

BIRDWHISTELL: He was from Anchorage. He always told people that, too. They'd say, "You're from Louisville." And he'd say, "I'm from Anchorage."

HOGE: But when he was running, he was from Middletown.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Now, why was that?

HOGE: He didn't want the stigma of a rich community. (Birdwhistell laughs) Anchorage is--has a reputation of being a rich community, and 01:22:00it isn't. There are an awful lot of retired people here. Yes, now property is pretty costly, but that's just because of the times.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me this, Mayor, looking back over your career, what's the most difficult thing you ever had to deal with as mayor?

HOGE: About the city?

BIRDWHISTELL: Anything about being mayor that was the most difficult thing you had to deal with.

HOGE: I guess the first most difficult thing was to get to be a fourth- class city, which took absolutely all of the strength, and I had to pull in all the chips in the legislature--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why?

HOGE: Because we were just barely eligible, and it was very important 01:23:00that we have our own zoning. Once we became a fourth-class city, then we--the next most difficult thing was to put in our zoning ordinances.

BIRDWHISTELL: Zoning ordinances.

HOGE: We wanted to keep Anchorage pretty much like it is in density. Certain areas were built during the Depression years and they were on lots that would not conform today, but they have nice houses and the people live there. But most of Anchorage was what we called R.E., residential exec-, estate, and that conformed to the health 01:24:00department's five acres.

BIRDWHISTELL: For septic tanks?

HOGE: For septic, yeah. Then when it came possible along the fringes to put in sewers, some of them don't work very well. They're lift stations. We wanted to make a provision because we couldn't hold to the five acres, so we made the minimum lot size two and a half acres, and any new development with sewers was two and a half acres per household, single-family building, no condos, no apartment houses--

BIRDWHISTELL: Everything in Anchorage is single family?

HOGE: Except what was.

BIRDWHISTELL: Except what was.

01:25:00

HOGE: And there are two or three apartment houses. One of them goes way back to the summer apartments that people would come out for the summer.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: And that's at Great Towers. They had a, an apartment complex for four apartments, would corner the property for people who would come out in the summer. Now they're here year around, of course.

BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. Who was the biggest help to you in gaining fourth- class city status? Did you say that already at the legislature--is that somebody in the legislature?

HOGE: Well, one of the constant believers was Gene Stuart--

BIRDWHISTELL: Gene Stuart.

HOGE: --who was senator at the time, but I got some other friends from 01:26:00all over the state. By explaining to them that we're a full-service community, we had our own police department, our own fire department, our own works department. And this shocks them. "How can you have a works department? Well, if you do--" We have a public works department. They cut grass, they plow streets, they fix ditches, they do all kinds of work.

BIRDWHISTELL: Put up road signs, I would assume, things like that?

HOGE: Put up and--these--they remove downed trees, things like that. They're busy.

BIRDWHISTELL: You've been involved for a long time with the Kentucky League of Cities, director--

HOGE: Yeah, since back in the sixties.

BIRDWHISTELL: --back in the sixties. What's been your relationship with other mayors around the state? I mean, what do you all talk about when 01:27:00you get together? Problems of your cities? (laughs)

HOGE: We do a lot of, I guess the word now is networking. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Networking. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

HOGE: The--they're some of the finest men I've ever encountered.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

HOGE: They're really above Kentucky politics.

BIRDWHISTELL: Being a, being a city mayor is not about the kind of politics you see in the--

HOGE: County judges.

BIRDWHISTELL: --at the county judges. (laughs) Why is that?

HOGE: They're--they are political animals.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh.

HOGE: And they're political, I guess, because the constitution establishes the county government. The legislature, in its infinite 01:28:00wisdom, bestows sovereignty on cities--

BIRDWHISTELL: On cities.

HOGE: --and then they don't back it up.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Were there--who's the--since your tenure as mayor, what other mayor would you consider the person you've been closest to? I mean--or the person you hung with the most, or the person you most admired as a mayor over that time?

HOGE: Well, Bill Gorman--

BIRDWHISTELL: Bill Gorman.

HOGE: --has done a good job in a difficult area. Three or four of them are no longer mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who--well, that's okay. Who are they? Who were they?

HOGE: Bob--hate to stumble over no-, names.

01:29:00

BIRDWHISTELL: That's all right. Everybody does it.

HOGE: He was mayor of Campbellsville where they had that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Campbellsville.

HOGE: --he got blamed for the Fruit of the Loom leaving. Miller, Robbie Miller. (coughs) Great guy! Bert--Bert's last name?

BIRDWHISTELL: What city is he in?

HOGE: Hmm?

BIRDWHISTELL: What city?

HOGE: He , he's now with the league.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: -- up there near Manchester but it's not Manchester. It's the next one down. I'll--it will come back.

01:30:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Manchester. Yeah, this will all come back to you. You think mayors are underappreciated for the work they do?

HOGE: Um-hm. I think so. I don't think the public realizes how much work it is.

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't think so, either. I've never thought, even before I got involved in this project. I watch it--I still get my local newspaper from--you know, I'm from Lawrenceburg, and I still get the Anderson News. And you know, it doesn't matter who's mayor, they just, they just run at him like ----------(??). (laughs) I don't know--

HOGE: That's too bad. Lawrenceburg had a colorful mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah, the guy that looked like Colonel Sanders. (laughs) They got a new mayor now. Yeah.

HOGE: I don't know him.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. The other thing is, it seems to me that 01:31:00for a lot of mayors, they come from business backgrounds or different professions like yourself and--but a lot about being a mayor is OJT, on-the-job-training, and--but now it seems like the League of Cities, Kentucky League of Cities, has training programs and workshops and things that--

HOGE: Wonderful.

BIRDWHISTELL: --that are really beneficial to mayors.

HOGE: I remember when the league had one executive director. We called him "the undertaker".

BIRDWHISTELL: Who was that? Do you remember his name?

HOGE: Yeah. Glenn Lovern (??), and he was it.

BIRDWHISTELL: That was it.

HOGE: And the first League of Cities meeting I went to--I was not mayor- -was in the sixties, and I got a notice that they were going to meet at the Executive Inn, Bowman Field. So I went down there and asked at the 01:32:00desk where the meeting was, and they had never heard of it.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) That's a tough story!

HOGE: So then I started--I said, "Do you have anybody by the name of Lovern (??)" "Oh, yeah, yeah, he's in--as a matter of fact, he has a suite. He's in such and such--" "So how do I get there?" "Well, you have to drive all the way around." So I drove all the way around. Got up there. The door was closed and I knocked on the door, no answer. So I tried the knob, it was open, and there were a few scraps of paper around and an agenda--carbon paper agenda. They'd had a meeting fifteen minutes before I got there, and it was adjourned. They--their 01:33:00agenda said reading of the minutes, approval of the minutes, election of officers, adjournment. (Birdwhistell laughs) That was the--that was the status of the Kentucky League of Cities annual meeting. (Birdwhistell laughs) I told Sylvia that, and she just couldn't believe it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, in fact, you know, it's not that long ago, really. I mean when you think about it. So what do you think has driven the change in both the league and its support of mayors, and the need for mayors to be better informed and better prepared. What's driven that?

HOGE: The mandates from the state and the federal government.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Yeah.

HOGE: Records that are required. Also an enlightened citizenry. I 01:34:00think they've all played a part. Foster Pettit, who was mayor of Lexington, and I felt that the governor ought to know something about what the cities were doing, and asked Glenn Lovern (??) to get us an appointment with the governor, and he said, "I'm sorry, I can't do that. I can't find a way to get him."

BIRDWHISTELL: Which governor was it? Was it Ford?

HOGE: I've, I've forgotten. It was a long time ago.

BIRDWHISTELL: Probably Nunn or Ford I would guess.

HOGE: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And he said he couldn't get an appointment?

HOGE: Yeah, he just said, "Sorry, but--" he didn't get any way to get an appointment. (Birdwhistell laughs) So that's--that really thoroughly incensed us.

BIRDWHISTELL: I bet.

HOGE: We lost that whole legislative thing because we couldn't get to 01:35:00anybody. So Foster had a friend in an oil company or coal company and borrowed a plane, and took about five or six of us over to North Carolina, which I'd told them that I had observed and I thought they were doing a pretty good job. And they wined us and dined us for a whole day and showed us what they were doing and so forth. We came back and then we did a search, got a new executive director, retired Glenn Lovern (??), and brought in a real bright young guy who did very- -a great deal.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where did he come from?

HOGE: Came from Iowa.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Oh, so you brought in somebody from out of state?

01:36:00

HOGE: Yeah, out of state.

BIRDWHISTELL: What was his name?

HOGE: (coughs) Ed Ames.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ed Ames.

HOGE: I think that's it. And he stayed with us about five years and really got things rolling, and we got another one named Ed Griffith from North Carolina, and he did the same thing. But unfortunately he was--he had a funny personality. He was very bright and really knew what he was doing, but he crossed the legislators and they didn't understand him.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: So he went on to a bigger job some place, and we got Sylvia promoted.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you've known everybody?

HOGE: Well, there was (Birdwhistell laughs) one before Glenn Lovern 01:37:00(??) that I have met but he was non-active. (Birdwhistell laughs) But Sylvia has a fascinating personality. She's been able to develop a real professional operation and she is well-respected nationally and I'm very fond of her personally, but she's such a dynamo.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: And she surrounds herself with capable people and lets them have their heads, so to speak, as long as they're within the policy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. As you look nationally, since you've been involved in national organizations--the National League of Cities, the National Association of Regional Councils, and the Kentucky League of Cities as 01:38:00part of that National League of Cities--how's Kentucky match up with other states in terms of what we've been able to do with our cities and for our cities in terms of service and government and progress, I guess, for lack of a better word?

HOGE: Well, I think we're in the--probably in the top 25.

BIRDWHISTELL: Are we?

HOGE: Probably Texas is the--is ahead of us because they got so many people and they've got a lot of money to spend on various projects. We look at what Texas does and some of the things are appropriate for Kentucky and some aren't. (coughs) The big states aren't necessarily 01:39:00better states. California is not, in my opinion. New York state is not. North Carolina's still doing a good job; they've got a very close relationship with the governor. And it didn't hurt that my wife's first cousin was married to the governor.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Governor of--

HOGE: Terry Sanford.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? That's your wife's first cousin.

HOGE: My wife's first cousin was raised by her family, so they're really like sisters. And when Terry became governor, why, we got all involved 01:40:00in North Carolina. My father was born in North Carolina. My--her brother was the first president of Carolina State--

BIRDWHISTELL: Your mother's brother?

HOGE: My grandmother.

BIRDWHISTELL: Grandmother's brother, excuse me.

HOGE: So a kind of, you know, friendly association. When Terry became president of Duke, he asked me to come over and teach.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

HOGE: --not in the classroom, but teach their brilliant professors how to market what they did, (Birdwhistell laughs) and I was astounded. 01:41:00Here's these bright, really bright people, couldn't sell a pencil in a tin cup, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you went over and talked to them?

HOGE: Went over and helped them with marketing plans and so forth. I was retired from Brown-Forman, so I commuted, spent three--about three weeks a month over there and one week here, and did all the government stuff--

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow. Wow. I didn't realize that.

HOGE: --for a year and a half. It was very interesting.

BIRDWHISTELL: So I guess--in your marketing skills, you don't need to market Anchorage. You don't want it to be marketed, but you have to market it, in a sense, to the legislature and to constit-, you know, the groups that have influence, like the county judge, board al-, not the board of aldermen, but the fiscal court in Jefferson County.

HOGE: (coughs) Yes, they--

BIRDWHISTELL: So those skills came in handy for you?

HOGE: Hmm?

01:42:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Those marketing skills came in handy, I guess, as you--

HOGE: They do.

BIRDWHISTELL: --worked the halls of the legislature?

HOGE: They do. It takes straight salesmanship with the legislature, to go up and convince them of a point of view.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, if you listen to, say, a political scientist they'd say, "Well, Mayor, you know, back in the sixties and seventies, the--you still had to get to the governor to make things happen, and then, you know, now they say the modern legislature is an independent legislature, much more powerful than it was." Have you seen that change in terms of -----------(??)?

HOGE: Yes, indeed.

BIRDWHISTELL: How has that changed the way you go about doing things?

HOGE: Well, it started with John Y. Brown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: I was quite upset that he didn't pay any attention to the fact that he'd already--the legislature had already assigned funds to the 01:43:00area development districts, and he was transferring that to take care of some deficit some place, (Birdwhistell laughs) and so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you write him a letter?

HOGE: --we got all the area development directors together and chairman of their board, and John Y. invited us to lunch. Eighteen sat seated at a table, kind that were big state tables, and that rascal was over in the Capitol doing something, but he did come in about dessert time, (Birdwhistell laughs) and we said, "Do you realize what you've done? This has already been appropriated. We need the funds. This is what we do with these funds." And he was always talking to somebody, leaning 01:44:00over (whispers). So he said, "Well, we'll see what we can do." And he let it stay and we--that was the first time I realized that the legislature really was doing its own job.

BIRDWHISTELL: Coming up from under the--

HOGE: Yeah, out from under--

BIRDWHISTELL: --thumb? And so--and that's continued during these last--

HOGE: That's continued.

BIRDWHISTELL: --twenty years.

HOGE: John Y. was a very beguiling personality, but he listened. We used to call him, "Phyllis America" (Birdwhistell laughs) "John--John Chicken."

01:45:00

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) There's never--I was trying to think, has there been a mayor in modern--in recent times that--I mean a governor in recent times who has been a mayor in the past? Has there ever been a governor who served as mayor?

HOGE: Anybody who was mayor a governor?

BIRDWHISTELL: Harvey Sloan tried.

HOGE: I don't remember anybody.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you work much with Harvey Sloan? Had nothing to do with the--

HOGE: He was too flighty.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: He was both mayor and then county judge.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's right, he was, wasn't he? Which county judge 01:46:00was the easiest to work with in Jefferson County?

HOGE: Who was the easiest to work with? (laughs) Well, the current one is easy to work with. She takes the time and trouble to go out and visit and listen, a good listener. She was preceded by--I guess the best of them was Mitch. Little Todd Hollenbach was pretty good. There haven't been many others.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hollenbach, McConnell, Sloan, Armstrong--

01:47:00

HOGE: Yeah. Who was it who went to the Senate?

BIRDWHISTELL: That might have been McConnell.

HOGE: Before--

BIRDWHISTELL: Before McConnell? Yeah. What are you most proud of as mayor? What are you most proud of?

HOGE: Proud of? Let's see. Well, I'm proud that we've been able to do things that are--are proper. We've kept the roads in good shape. We have a resurfacing plan that works. It started out we had to 01:48:00institute a plan, a plan for drainage. Until we licked drainage, why, we couldn't keep a surface on the roads.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

HOGE: The renovation of city hall, although it's not big enough at present. I hope the new one will be. The police station, the works department, got a four-bay complex for trucks and our own salt house--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: --our own refueling system and then the firehouse built. It's in good shape. It's got two fire engines, two auxiliary trucks, and two 01:49:00ambulances. We moved our EMS to ALS, Advanced Life Support.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? Do you have 911 in Anchorage?

HOGE: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: 911-Anchorage, and they respect that and pass it right over to our dispatcher.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

HOGE: Our ALS entitles us to have paid round-the-clock EMS people. And the wor-, the way we do that--I say "we", I don't function in that except as a cheerleader and with a big cattle prod (Birdwhistell 01:50:00laughs)--we act as a training ground for the county EMS.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

HOGE: Young people who want to join the county eventually have to get experience, and they get experience with us. And we have a small paid staff, so that--we're too far away from any help we can get from the county. We can respond in two or three minutes to a heart attack, for example. The county takes twenty. And they got their ambulances where they should, where the most, most problems are, but that doesn't help us.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. So you look back on your tenure and you see the services you maintain, the community you've been able to maintain, 01:51:00the facilities you've been able to upgrade, and those type causes, that's local government, and I mean that is what--

HOGE: It's local government.

BIRDWHISTELL: --local government is.

HOGE: I went to a conference in Toronto just after they had organized into a major government, and I didn't talk to the head man. I talked to the equivalent of the mayors of the small sections, and all of them were of one opinion.

BIRDWHISTELL: What's that?

HOGE: Get it while you can. (Birdwhistell laughs) Once they joined the big government, they couldn't even get a soccer field.

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow. Wow.

HOGE: So that's what we've done. We followed that policy. We are not overly indebted to anything. We do get--do borrow money for our 01:52:00capital improvements, but we get it at four percent through the league, pretty good rate, less than one percent of our income.

BIRDWHISTELL: What do you think or what do want Anchorage to be like in a hundred years?

HOGE: Well, a place where I can revisit.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) All right. I'll come with you.

HOGE: Please do. (laughs) It's going to be tough to maintain.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it?

HOGE: I think it will be in the next fifty years from now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Fifty years?

HOGE: Values are going to change. People are not going to want to live 01:53:00like we do.

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know. This looks pretty good. (laughs)

HOGE: More and more and intense.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you think it will change?

HOGE: It's bound to change.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because it hasn't changed in the last fifty--

HOGE: Well, it has--

BIRDWHISTELL: Has it?

HOGE: --in some ways. We're pretty modern, up-to-date, out--for example, (coughs) we do something that nobody else has done, but I think they will start. Every November, we publish--we sent a personalized letter to every taxpayer showing them where their taxes go, how much they don't pay for--how much they get and they don't pay 01:54:00taxes, in addition to what they do pay for, so that they know what they can set up as a deduction--tax deduction for things that are allowable. And we've had some compliments from some old constant critics about, "What are you doing with this, what--?" I said, "Look, I don't get paid. Does that tell you something?" "Well, yeah, but where does all the money go?" I says, "It goes for services."

BIRDWHISTELL: Services.

HOGE: And we can do that with our computers. We--I'm amazed what the computers will do for us.

BIRDWHISTELL: In a--in a community as wealthy as Anchorage--

01:55:00

HOGE: Why do you say wealthy?

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, it appears to be wealthy. In a community that has a lot of wealthy people in it, is there any movement to, like, set up trust funds for the city, endowments for the city from residents to ensure certain kinds of programs within the city?

HOGE: The school is undergoing such a program.

BIRDWHISTELL: An endowment? Um-hm.

HOGE: The city isn't.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: It's an idea.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm just curious, you know, because it's a way to ensure a certain kind of continuity with the financial support that comes from the residents who benefited from living here. Just curious.

HOGE: The residents, I hope, realize the benefits that they're getting.

01:56:00

BIRDWHISTELL: How do you think that--if you don't mind me asking this, how do you think the transition's going to be to the next mayor (laughs) that hadn't experienced a transition--

HOGE: I don't know. When I feel like I've done everything I can, why, I'm going to step aside.

BIRDWHISTELL: Are you?

HOGE: Yeah, with a great big cattle prod.

BIRDWHISTELL: How do you replace Peyton Hoge? I mean who's going to give--who's going to do all that work?

HOGE: Pretty simple.

BIRDWHISTELL: How simple is it? Tell me?

HOGE: Well, I don't know. Somebody'll come along.

BIRDWHISTELL: You think? You have faith that that will happen?

HOGE: I have faith. We're going to find out. I've got to go in for surgery on the eighth of March. I'll be out of commission for probably six weeks in recovery.

BIRDWHISTELL: So somebody's got to--is really be an acting mayor or a vice mayor or--

01:57:00

HOGE: I've got a deputy mayor--

BIRDWHISTELL: A deputy mayor.

HOGE: --and the--he can do all of the things that are allowed by law. The council will choose somebody to run the meetings each time. We used to do it the old fashioned way. I'd appoint a deputy and--for two weeks, for example, because I was out of the country, as I was when I went to Russia. I appointed a--one of the council members that I thought would be in town and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.

HOGE: --they did it. I've got a good administrative officer who does all the nitty-gritty, (coughs) who is currently collecting all the 01:58:00easements (??) for the sewers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. (laughs) Are you the longest-serving mayor in Kentucky at this point? Has anyone served longer than you that is still in office?

HOGE: The league says that no one's been mayor any longer.

BIRDWHISTELL: I can imagine.

HOGE: But--

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't believe them?

HOGE: Hmm?

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't believe them? (laughs)

HOGE: I don't know. (Birdwhistell laughs) I don't know. You don't go around tapping everybody on his shoulder and say, "How long have you been mayor?" But they ought to have some records.

BIRDWHISTELL: I bet they do. I bet they do. What do you attribute your longevity in office to, Mayor?

HOGE: Well, probably the fact that my forbearers were long-livers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. (laughs) You gotta, you gotta credit the gene pool, right? (laughs) I mean they haven't--the voters haven't turned 01:59:00you out, though. I mean you, you withstood the scrutiny of the voters.

HOGE: Yeah. (laughs) I never thought about it that way.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: I've withstood the scrutiny of the voters. Good line. (Birdwhistell laughs) And I don't know how successful that is, except that I think that nobody wants the damn job.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Well, you're modest as well, right? I mean, that's a, that's a great trait in a leader. You know, one of the things this project wants to look at is leadership, and leadership--you know, we spend so much time looking at the presidential primaries, and everybody seems to understand that's about leadership of some kind or another, but, like I was referring to earlier, about under-appreciation of our--our mayors, and we don't seem to think--we don't seem to pay enough attention to how important leadership is at this level of 02:00:00government, at this fundamental level of government.

HOGE: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: Hang on just a second.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

HOGE: Every now and then I'll get a class from Anchorage or some place that want me to do a summation of what I think it takes to be a mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. What do you tell them?

HOGE: Well, I tell them I think integrity is an important--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a good place to start, isn't it?

HOGE: --function, to be a good listener, to not be swayed by nay-sayers, a vocal minority that doesn't really speak for the majority, to be 02:01:00tolerant of such situations, and then try to look ahead, have some vision of the future, because the future will come.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

HOGE: And that's why we've done the things we've done in Anchorage for example. Some of the old-timers said, "What on earth is he going to do with all those computers?" I said, "We're going to try to keep up- to-date." And we do. We got an awful lot of use out of our computers. We have one (coughs)--the clerk has hers set up. She keeps all the 02:02:00records on--you go over and ask her, she'll find out exactly how much the property is worth or who paid taxes last, (Birdwhistell laughs) everything. Our treasurer takes care of our investments, which are very important to us. Our investments yielded, the first six months of our fiscal year, $177,000.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right? That's wonderful.

HOGE: We collect them taxes in advance, we invest it, we draw it down as we need it, but we always know how much money we've got so we're never over budget.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

HOGE: If we don't have it, we don't spend it. (Birdwhistell laughs) That's pretty simple.

BIRDWHISTELL: Fiscal responsibility. Yeah. Yeah.

02:03:00

HOGE: That was not always so.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not always, yeah. So you've seen a lot of young mayors come, come into the state web of mayors. Are you optimistic that leadership is continually stepping up to lead?

HOGE: I think they are. And if they aren't it's their fault because the league certainly offers all kinds of training and advice. In the early days, I depended entirely upon the league for legal advice, for ordinances. The first time I really got to know Sylvia was when we were trying to put together a tree ordinance, and she did a search for 02:04:00us through her contacts, and we've got the toughest tree ordinance, I think, in the country, just like we had the toughest waste treatment just by finding out what's where and adapting it to our needs. And the league's been a big help. Now we have an attorney that has trained himself in city law, and we can not burden the league with a lot of legal stuff; we do it all ourselves.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Hmm. Well, I think that's about all I have, Mayor. 02:05:00(Hoge laughs) What haven't we talked about that you think we should?

HOGE: Oh, I don't know.

BIRDWHISTELL: I think we've--I've enjoyed--

HOGE: I get, I get teased -----------(??) lost for a few thousand words about Anchorage.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Yeah, it looks like you've done a fine job here, and I've enjoyed meeting you--

HOGE: Thank you. I hope--

BIRDWHISTELL: --and getting, getting to know you.

HOGE: I hope it withstands the time--the troubles of times.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. Yeah. It will be interesting to see. Of course, Anchorage hasn't had to deal with a lot of the problems that cities--other cities have had to deal with.

HOGE: No. (coughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: But it has--it's had his own things to face.

HOGE: We've had our own problems--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

HOGE: --and they're very real.

BIRDWHISTELL: And they're very real. Well, thank you very much. I 02:06:00appreciate you doing this for us.

HOGE: Well, I appreciate very much the chance to talk to you, meet you, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Thank you very much.

HOGE: --I'm not sure that I've been any help.

BIRDWHISTELL: Been a great help. (both laugh)

[End of interview.]