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October 23, 2007

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.Corrections/ClarificationsLast week’s cover story about the library referendum incorrectly said the occupational tax would be 20 cents per thousand dollars earned. It’s actually 20 cents per $10,000 earned. Also, the story identified Leslie Holland as a former member of the Library board. She was actually on the board for the Friends of the Library. Also, the story may have implied that Holland has done public relations work on this issue. She works in public relations but has not worked on the library referendum. In last week’s Book Smart, the final line was left off Caroline Ennis’ poem “some poets.” The full version can be viewed at http://leoweekly.com/?q=node/5678. LEO regrets the errors.Walk for a CureAs a two-time breast cancer survivor, volunteering and walking the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk is very important to me. I walk for the hope of a breast-cancer-free future. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is more than a name of an event, it’s a partnership between the American Cancer Society and its volunteers that are passionate about finding cures, prevention and remembering those who have lost their lives to breast cancer. Remember … hope starts with all of us.Please join me and others in our community at the American Cancer Society’s 10th anniversary of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, Oct. 28, at Waterfront Park. The walk helps raise awareness and donations to fight for a cure. To get involved or for more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 584-WALK, or visit www.cancer.org/stridesonline.Elaina Holland, New AlbanyBristol OverreactionYes, the Bristol should apologize and amend its policy to ensure that nothing of the sort happens again. But drive the Bristol out of the Highlands or out of business over ONE mistake in 30 years? I don’t think so, and I will patronize it more often to help counter this gross overreaction.Robert Lutz, LouisvilleHeartwarming DemiseIn response to Jenny Thrasher’s Oct. 10 Erosia letter:Jenny Thrasher, what an upstanding citizen you must be! Your letter calling for the Bristol’s demise was heartwarming. But let’s not stop at bankruptcy. Why don’t we organize a march down Bardstown Road with pitchforks and torches and just burn the place down? Then we can all stand out front holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” as we watch dozens of Bristol employees head for the unemployment line. Man, that would serve them right, wouldn’t it? Who cares if their children don’t have health insurance or food on the table?And, Jenny, since you hate “indefensible and inexplicable intolerance” so much, maybe all those jobless people and their families can come stay at your house. I’ll bet you throw a mean slumber party.Hugs to you, Jenny!Jeff Hybarger, LouisvilleTaxing StatisticsIt looks like the opponents of the proposed Library Tax are putting out some bad numbers regarding our tax burden in Louisville. Several times, I’ve heard these folks say that Louisville is “the sixth most taxed city of the 51 largest cities in each state.” They’ve never cited the source of this ranking, but I immediately recognized where it comes from. It’s the Tax Burden Comparisons study conducted by the District of Columbia government for the years 1997 to 2005. Read it online at http://cfo.dc.gov/cfo/. Basically, it’s a survey of the largest city in each state with comparisons to the figures for D.C. It’s chock full of charts.This is all well and good, except that the figures for Louisville are distorted in two ways. First, the D.C. statisticians haven’t adjusted the Louisville figures for the occupational license taxes paid by commuters from other Kentucky counties and Indiana. Take this portion out, and the burden on our residents drops. They’ve treated the occupational license tax like a local income tax, which is significantly different. One of the D.C. number-crunchers admitted this to me over the phone about four years ago. Secondly, the study includes state income taxes and state sales taxes, which are outside the purview of local government. Mixing state and local taxes hardly seems fair in our case. Everyone knows that Louisville taxpayers pay much more into the state government than we get back in state appropriations.I’d bet Louisville would be further down the list if the D.C. statisticians had taken these two distortions into account.Tom Louderback, LouisvilleMisleading WatersThink-tank columnist Jim Waters wrote in the Sept. 26 LEO: “Commentator Linda Chavez pointed out in a recent New York Post editorial that the federal government has spent $11 trillion in its 40-year ‘war on poverty.’ Yet poverty rates have remained virtually unchanged — from 10 percent of all families in 1968 to 9.9 percent in 2005.” These figures, disseminated by ideologue Chavez and reproduced by ideologue Waters, are misleadingly presented and cherry-picked with the selectivity you would expect from find-what-they-want-to-find ideologues.The U.S. Census Bureau, in its monthly Current Population Survey, a non-ideological and highly reliable study of income and poverty, reported that the nation’s poverty rate was 19 percent in 1964, just before the “war on poverty” programs were created. By 1969, when those programs had been up and running for a few years, the poverty rate had plummeted to 12 percent, the same Census Bureau survey showed. This is “virtually unchanged”? No, this is effective government spending, three words Waters and Chavez have shown themselves incapable of saying.LEO may wish to challenge its contributors to back their claims with more substance than superficial statistics from the New York Post, America’s most trusted source of information. If Waters wants to point out monstrous spending that has resulted in a virtually unchanged situation, let him pause to consider this number: $455 billion. That is how much money (as of this writing) the U.S. government has spent on President Bush’s military adventure in Iraq.Ignoring this deadly fiasco while portraying the overall effective anti-poverty programs as boondoggles lacks any sense of proportion and is the height of deception.George Morrison, New Albany