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August 1, 2006

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.A Swift ResponseIn response to Stephen George’s July 12 article, regarding Swift and the Butchertown neighborhood, I did not say that the neighborhood association was a “guerilla group,” but rather that they were “using guerilla tactics.” While maybe not much of a difference for some, the distinction is great; my words were not meant to disparage the Butchertown neighborhood. I stand behind my assertion that the neighborhood association does not represent all neighbors, because I have had many opportunities to discuss this issue with residents and business owners in Butchertown, who have voiced their support for the new plan. The missing piece of the article, however, seems to be that Swift — a 40-year-old company in good standing, with 1,200 employees who are paid good wages and has no interest in leaving its current site — and the surrounding neighborhood, which was built up around these types of businesses, need to figure out a healthy way to cooperate and coexist.Metro Development Authority’s role in the change to Swift’s parking was in response to oft-heard complaints regarding its employees parking on the streets and using residents’ and business customers’ parking spaces. The example cited in the story is correct, that during the day, the existing parking lot may be two-thirds full. But this illustrates the problem that during shift changes, when the first shift is leaving and the second shift is arriving, there is not sufficient parking for all employees. In addition, with trucks traveling throughout the neighborhood, we felt that consolidating the trucks onto one lot — a lot that previously had a heavier use by MSD with similar sized trucks — and moving employee parking off the street was beneficial to the entire neighborhood, residents as well as businesses. The article failed to mention that Swift’s trucks and the trucks of other companies located in Butchertown are already traveling neighborhood streets. The new plan will reduce Swift’s portion of that traffic, not increase it. Currently, Swift trucks on a daily basis routinely travel on Story Avenue, Washington Street, Buchannan Street, North Bickel Avenue, Mellwood Avenue and Cabel Street. Once the new plan is implemented, the trucks will travel only on Cabel Street and will no longer be parked overnight on the Cabel Street lot directly across from residences.The neighborhood and the entire community benefits when businesses and residents coexist. A lawsuit, such as the neighborhood association has filed, does not reflect a willingness to find a solution, nor does being turned down to attend one of their association meetings, which I offered to do. I am very much in favor of Swift and the Butchertown neighborhood reaching some sort of agreement. I have been, and am, willing to sit at the table with both of these groups. Swift is important to this community. The Butchertown neighborhood is important to this community. They must learn to coexist peacefully. I sincerely believe that the new parking plan will further that goal. J. David Morris, director, Metro Development Authority•Editor’s note: Mr. Morris writes that Stephen George’s July 12 story, “Some days you’re the doughnut, some days the hole,” failed to note Swift’s role in the neighborhood, as well as the concept — pushed by Metro Government — that the company and the neighborhood must find ways to continue to coexist. That idea is, in fact, addressed in the story’s first section (to read the story, see “News/Features” on www.leoweekly.com). Additionally, Mr. Morris notes that George’s story failed to mention that Swift trucks already travel on streets in the Butchertown neighborhood. However, the story does include that information.Where’s the Girl Power?Is Forecastle a male-dominated event, embarrassingly apathetic to civil rights activism in our city, or am I just being a girl?I have to say, I was quite impressed and excited when Forecastle snagged Sleater-Kinney to headline their festival this year. However, I was less impressed with their inability to book a single other female-dominated band (outside of solo acts) for the shows.What is activism in Louisville? By this representation, apparently it’s white-privileged and environmentally centered. In last weekend’s lineup there is no illustration of the diversity in our community. There’s no NAACP, HRC, Fairness or ACLU. In fact, Louisville feminist group, FLOR, was turned down for a table request at the event for their support of a woman’s right to choose.I respect any form of activism for the community and country’s sake, but I prefer for our crusaders to differentiate between diverse activism and environmentalism. Call it what it is: another music, arts and environmentalist festival for white-privileged, yuppie America.Sonya Sakal•Editor’s note: Nine bands with female members performed at last weekend’s Forecastle Festival. Additionally, the group to which the writer refers — FLOR, or Feminist League of Organized Resistance — was turned down for a spot at Forecastle three years ago, not this year. Also, the festival limits its activist focus to environmental groups/issues.Don’t Pass on GasThe Courier-Journal (July 26 issue) reported high fuel prices as the primary cause of the UPS one-day stock decline of $8. Again, this raises the question. At what point do fuel prices (or fuel availability at any price) render our transportation systems dysfunctional? Whether we are talking about interstate expansion, airport development or another family car, we must have an open discussion of this question in government, in business and in kitchens.Jackie GreenPlayed by a Meat-Head“Al Gore’s riveting documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ has focused public attention on the looming disaster of global warming and the associated … Folks who care about the future of life on earth would be well advised to consider switching to a meat-free diet even before they switch to a hybrid car.” —Louie Ralls, July 12 letter to LEO, “Don’t Be a Meat-Head”Look familiar? Well, given its recent popularity, it should. Boise Weekly (June 28), LA Weekly (June 21), The Tucson Citizen (June 22) and Florida Today (July 2) feature this exact same block of text, each credited to a different author. It seems a bunch of “Meat-Heads” thought they could pass someone else’s opinion off as their own. Unfortunately for them, however, we weren’t quite as “pathetic” and stupid as the letter made us out to be.What a shameful time it is when people have to steal another person’s opinion just to have one. I would encourage everyone to be on the lookout for this sort of deception in the future, as to allow this sort of behavior to continue would be a tragedy. The LEO should be for publishing unique, educated and local opinions only, because, so far as I can tell, that is its purpose. Let’s help the LEO to serve that purpose … to make sure that all of Louisville’s opinions are homegrown and stay that way.Ben Lowry•Editor’s note: Often these days, advocacy groups provide talking points and encourage supporters to write to publications using that wording. LEO typically ignores such letters, but did not catch on to the one referred to by Mr. Lowry, which appears to be such a letter.