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March 11, 2008

Erosia (Letters to the Editor) for 3-12-08

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.Friends in Low PlacesThanks for putting Greg Maddux on the cover of your issue of March 5. I must, however, take issue with Michael Steiger’s comment about the stories concerning many of the South End punk rock types being exaggerated. They only seemed exaggerated to Mr. Steiger because all of the South End punk rock types liked him.Had they not been fond of Mr. Steiger, he would have been abused, intimidated and subjected to horrible psychological carpet-bombing just like 99 percent of the people they encountered. It is because of this reason that Michael Steiger could not reconcile the stories with his experience of these gentlemen.I know what I saw, and most of it was not pretty. Thank you for your time.Sean A. Garrison, LouisvillePave ParadiseRegarding Phillip Bailey’s piece on the wet-dry vote (LEO, Feb. 27) — Dr. Troutman, Louisville’s Health Department director, may have stumbled onto the solution to the whole problem. As he keeps pointing out, the only reason the folks in poor neighborhoods have beer and Ho Hos for lunch is because that’s all there is to buy in the ’hood. They would eat healthy stuff if only it were available. Let’s get the city to assist these Palestinian liquor-store owners in converting their shops to fruit/vegetable stands, organic food stores and the like. Profits would soar, blood pressures would drop and all the drug dealers would move to the liquor stores in the ’burbs. But seriously.The problem with the thugs and dealers hanging out in the West End liquor-store parking lots exists because we let it. A good cop once told me that they allow criminals and their activity to stay in a specific location because to disperse them would make things more difficult. “At least here we know where they are and what they’re up to.” The good people in the West End have begged the city for years to discourage the criminal activity that comes with the loitering around these establishments, and they have received a mediocre response at best. Now they have done one of the few things the law has let them by trying to shut the businesses down. God bless them.He/she will not bless Teddy Gordon, who, now that he has failed to re-segregate Louisville’s schools, will try to keep the criminals in the West End liquor-store parking lots where we can find them.Charlie Baker, LouisvilleRun From the RosesIn your last issue, a reader wrote, “If Jefferson County gets a casino, it should be run by Churchill Downs, or if someone else operates it, Churchill should certainly get an appropriate cut of the proceeds. Kentucky’s signature horse industry deserves that much ...”Why should the public believe that Churchill Downs Inc., a for-profit, publicly traded company, will confer any benefit upon the horse industry or provide any other public benefit that would deserve a casino license? Last year, Churchill Downs declined to bid on hosting the Breeders’ Cup, citing low profitability.Churchill Downs also does not pay its fair share of school taxes on its multi-million-dollar capital improvements. Such was the scandalous result of the referenced 2002 transaction wherein the city bought the racetrack, which removed it from the public tax roll, and agreed to lease it to Churchill Downs for 30 years. Moreover, Churchill Downs is firing employees to replace them with cheaper independent contractors.I have never observed Churchill Downs listed as a corporate sponsor in programs at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. They do not even contribute to Thunder Over Louisville to promote their big horse race, leaving it to the casino across the river.If we have an opportunity to attract a casino in Louisville, which could create good jobs and a rich tax base, it should not be squandered on Churchill Downs.Michael R. Wilson, LouisvillePenny for Your ThoughtsMr. Ricky Jones, it’s not the governor “raping” you. It’s your boss (regarding your Message to the People column in the Feb. 27 LEO). State governments proposed rape of higher education. A sentence guaranteed to get a reaction from readers. Unfortunately, I feel that reaction will be “damn the governor, give them the money!” Well, money is tight all around. I watch my pennies, I bet you do, too. And Gov. Beshear has to watch the state’s pennies.I looked at what the University of Louisville has been doing with their pennies over the last 10 years. According to documentation on their website, student enrollment grew 2.8 percent from 1997 to 2007. The budget grew 40 percent, and total paid tuition dollars grew from $62.8 million to $141.6 million. Wow! Less than 3 percent increase in students paying 100 percent more in tuition. The people you are teaching have more than shared in budget pain. The school cries for money while it has a stadium, new buildings and a grand plan. I see no plan for lean times.How about the faculty sharing the pain? In 1997, faculty and professional staff totaled 2,464 for a ratio of 8.6 students to staff. In 2007, the numbers were 3,163 and a ratio of 6.9 to 1. These numbers would have the Jefferson County Teachers Association salivating. A higher class load per faculty member would go a long way in helping since salaries are half the budget.Don’t blame state government for your mess, use the brains you’ve got and clean it up yourself. 
Edward Weyler, Elizabeth, Ind.Stray BulletsAt last, after 11 years, the people who said the streets would run red with blood when the concealed carry law went into effect have a case to point at and say, “I TOLD YOU SO.” Of course, they overlook the 50 to 70 people a year shot to death each one of those 11 years by people without a carry permit. I have no idea just what went on that June day when Darren Pickerill was shot, but it isn’t something that is a day-to-day occurrence. Your attempt to make everyone with a carry permit look like a threat to everyone else just doesn’t fly.Dan Klein, LouisvilleRun for the MoneyJim Welp’s “Summary of My Discontent” piece (LEO, March 5) sums up the presidential race nicely, the idiot vote notwithstanding. Unfortunately, he failed to mention the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky this year. That’s a shame, because this election finds Mitch McConnell more vulnerable than at any other time in his Senate career. Sure, he has his usual wad of cash on hand, but he also has that albatross named George W. Bush hanging around his neck. The Democrats have six candidates vying for the opportunity to take on McConnell. Lt. Col. Andrew Horne’s departure from the race last month was a blow to many Democrats’ hopes of defeating McConnell. It seems the powers-that-be tried to clear the field for perennial candidate Bruce Lunsford. Said powers must not have seen the commercials Ben Chandler ran against Lunsford in the ’03 primary. Those commercials highlighted a few of Lunsford’s poor decisions, forcing him to drop out of the primary. Lunsford then endorsed Ernie Fletcher for governor, yet another poor decision. If Lunsford gets the nod, look for McConnell to use those ads from ’03.Of the other Democratic candidates, Louisville businessman Greg Fischer appears to have the best shot at unseating McConnell. What he lacks in name recognition, he adequately makes up for with his deep pockets and honed presentation skills. If Fischer can clear the primary hurdle, look for him to give McConnell a serious run for his money.David Fitts, LexingtonBarack’s CharismaBarack Obama has character, compassion, confidence and an extraordinary amount of charisma. He is a person of substance, wise beyond his years. But it is his charisma, the ability to inspire with words of optimism, that shows he is the leader America so desperately needs at this pivotal time in her glorious history. Charisma alone does not qualify Sen. Obama to be president, but it is a major plus when added to his many positive leadership qualities. Everybody will be somebody in an Obama administration.Paul L. Whiteley Sr., Louisville

RE: Friends in Low Places

By Michael Steiger (not verified)

You know what Sean, you're right. I should have qualified it as "In my experience."
I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was diminishing the exploits of you and your brethren. I know as well as anyone that you dudes were no joke. Outside that circle, though, stories of those exploits were often retold to the point they reached almost mythic proportions. The stories about Greg's songwriting abilities, however, were not exaggerated. That's all I meant.