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June 2, 2010

Inbox — June 2, 2010

Correction
A column in last week’s 20th Anniversary Issue incorrectly stated The Connection did not open until the 1990s, when in fact the gay nightclub opened in October 1988. LEO regrets the error.

Laid Out
As I read Jim Welp’s column in the May 26 LEO where he says that the primary mission of the publication is to “get you laid,” I found myself reflecting on the role LEO has played in my own life. Four years ago, I was an avid Velocity reader and had never touched a LEO. My new girlfriend, however, was a LEO reader, and it is because of her that I first started reading it.

I was a completely different person then. I was a devout member of a nationally prominent cult-like religion, and I was filled with conservative social and political ideas I had never thought to question. Premarital sex was, of course, out of the question for me — much to my lady’s eventual chagrin.

But as time went on, I discovered the joy of thinking for oneself, eventually leaving my religion and becoming more open-minded about the world.

In short, LEO’s liberal slant no doubt had an influence as I reformed myself and went down a path that eventually culminated in the physical consummation of my relationship. Thanks, LEO!
Allan Day, Old Louisville

Props to Jim Rosen
Your anniversary edition (LEO Weekly, May 26) was the most fun and interesting reading I’ve had in recent memory. I found the music section to be of particular interest, especially the mention of the local musicians who have made the ’Ville quite the music hotspot. I have one question for you: Where was Jim Rosen? Around the time of your beginnings, this town had a very viable blues scene, and the face of that scene was Rosen.

Even before we became friends, Jim seemed to be bigger than life. His virtuosity with the blues harp and whiskey-soaked vocals led one of the top bands of any genre in the area: daMudcats Blues Band. Once we became friends, I came to find out he was, indeed, bigger than life. He embodied the blues and was the consummate musician whose zeal for life and the blues was unparalleled. Jim could be counted on to play his heart out, regardless of the club, festival, etc.

I can sum up his love of music and this city by saying this: About three months before he died, Jim insisted he could play at The Garvin Gate Blues Festival and that he wanted to play right before one of the headliners. And blow that harp he did. I’ve yet to see many shows over the years come close to that night in passion and intensity. Jim played his ass off. Never sat out a song.

Played like cancer never had a hold on him. At the end of the set, he had to be taken away in an ambulance. That night set the bar for live shows for me and by itself should have guaranteed Rosen a place in your article. Jim Rosen was — and in my mind still is — one of the most vital members in the history of the Louisville music scene.
Mike Suttles, Highlands

Bully Banishing
I appreciated Pam Swisher’s recent column highlighting the bullying of a middle school student while riding a public school bus (LEO Weekly, May 19). The guidelines she outlined for dealing with harassment seem appropriate, and it is unfortunate that, based upon the facts presented, this particular young lady did not receive support from the authority figures responsible for providing a safe environment for all students.

It is my understanding that the Jefferson County Public School system has a formal process where the student and her parents can file complaints against the bus driver and the assistant principal for their actions and where they can appeal any disciplinary actions taken. I believe this is handled through the Office of the Director of Employee Relations, Carolyn Meredith, and that any complaints lodged would receive serious and immediate scrutiny.

But this situation is timely for another reason as well. There is currently a piece of federal legislation pending called the Student Non-Discrimination Act (HR 4530) that would prohibit schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring harassing behavior. This legislation would provide meaningful and effective remedies for discrimination in public schools, and one Kentucky legislator has recognized its importance — Congressman John Yarmuth.

I’d like to thank the congressman for supporting this legislation, ensuring equal educational opportunities free from harassment to all students — and I’d like to encourage the rest of the Kentucky congressional delegation to follow suit.
Michael Aldridge, executive director of ACLU of Kentucky, Highlands

We Got Your Gay Back
Dear Pam Swisher:

Your column in the May 26 LEO made me nearly stand up and cheer. I remember I was working as a district court clerk when a big crowd of LGBT Louisvillians and their straight allies of both genders — wonderfully brave and beautiful people — were picketing the courthouse for Fairness. My manager (a real red-state douche) said, “That’s just wrong, man, there shouldn’t be special rights for anyone.” He was chagrined to see me join the picketers all through my lunch break. The ensuing discussion nearly got me fired, but it was worth it. I was never going to change his mind, but I know the fight left a lot of people thinking.

Our Fairness Ordinance is one of the things about our fair city of which I am most proud. That’s why I’m actively campaigning for the candidates who are right on this human rights issue. Word to all my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers: Straight people of good will have your back and are at your side, my wife and me included. We do not take justice for granted, and we do not leave intolerance unchallenged.

Thanks for raising your voice for justice through your column. It’s a voice that our community needs to keep hearing.
Daniel Recktenwald, Highlands

The LEO Platform
If LEO did their homework, they would realize there is absolutely nothing to back up any of Professor John Gilderbloom’s accusations (in the May 19 Guest Commentary) regarding services for the homeless in Louisville.

On top of that, Gilderbloom can hardly be referred to as an “expert” on homelessness (please refer to his CV available at U of L’s website). He’s a secondary author on one scholarly article related to homelessness from 20 years ago, and he has conducted no original, IRB-approved research on the topic. No one who conducts actual homelessness research at the city or national level would even know who he is if he wasn’t raising such a baseless stink.

Gilderbloom got really vocal about this issue around the same time Wayside wanted to place a shelter in a neighborhood where he owns several properties, so you do the math.

Basically, he’s attempting to undermine the difficult work of quite a few dedicated people, agencies, church missions and philanthropies, and your rag is serving as his latest platform.
Pat Smith, Crescent Hill

Two-Cent Race
In regards to Todd Lally’s Inbox letter concerning his congressional primary race (LEO Weekly, May 19), I have no idea what LEO’s official reason for ignoring the 3rd Congressional District race was, but if I had to guess, it would probably have to do with the November general election not being in play. In 2008, incumbent John Yarmuth easily dispatched former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup by 19 percentage points. In a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic, having voted for Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama, Yarmuth is once again heavily favored to win re-election. The non-partisan Cook Political Report lists KY-3 as not being competitive. The voters of this district have demonstrated over and over again that they overwhelmingly prefer Democrats to Republicans, and come November, the popular and very competent Yarmuth will once again cruise to victory. Just my 2-cents worth, Mr. Lally.
Kelly Armstrong, Highlands

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