May 4, 2011

Inbox — May 4, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Correction

Last week’s theater review of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” incorrectly identified one of the actors. The actress who played Fabiana Aziza Cunningham is Meg Caudill.

Green Perspective

Seems to me that your Green Zeitgeist Radar in the April 20 LEO Weekly is out of whack. Of course, most of LEO’s staff was either not yet born or not out of kindergarten when the major environmental battles of the Louisville area were fought in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s. You don’t remember when the ozone smog was so bad you could not see across the river on a hot summer day. You certainly do not remember the late, great local environmental group Paddlewheel Alliance, which was formed in 1977 to stop the construction of the Marble Hill Nuclear Powerplant 35 miles up the Ohio River from Louisville. After Marble Hill was stopped in 1984, Paddlewheel and its allies focused on solid waste, incineration and chemical/industrial issues, with complete success. Paddlewheel was active in Metro Louisville for 21 years.

Maybe a revision of your scorecard with some historical perspective would look more like this, if you counted the victories of Paddlewheel Alliance and its allies:

Marble Hill Nuke stopped (+100); Cecos hazardous waste incinerator stopped (+50); new city garbage incinerator at Rubbertown stopped (+30); Paddlewheel devised solid waste plan adopted by both the city and county governments (+30); two cement kilns (Kosmos and ESSROC) prevented from burning hazardous waste for “fuel” (+50 each); LES hazardous waste blending (for fuel) facility stopped (+20); Paddlewheel also operated Louisville’s first drop-off recycling center for 11 years until it was taken over by county government and became the prototype for all the county’s drop-off centers (+30). That would bring your “World-Greenness” score to +360!

Ask around: How many of the major cities within 500 miles have a nuke, hazardous waste or garbage incinerator, or cement kilns burning hazardous waste? We have none of those things!

While there certainly is much work left to be done, the worst fires have already been put out!

Robert Bottom, Highlands

Phony Payne

Thanks for your article about Jake Payne’s website (LEO Weekly, April 20). Personally, I think it’s phony. It appears to me that Payne’s real purpose is to sell attack ads arranged in the form of commentary. It looks like he adds those cut-and-paste items from other sites to draw readers. I used to scan these sites about once a month, but lately I just don’t care what he puts out. My guess is bloggers who read this stuff don’t bother to vote.

Tom Louderback, Highlands

What’s Wrong with Health Care?

It’s been 20 minutes now, and the medical scheduler in front of me is still on hold. She’s trying to set an appointment for a routine ultrasound, but there’s a hiccup: I want to know how much it will cost. In the health care world, getting an answer to that question is almost impossible.

The scheduler calls billing — they leave her on hold for 20 minutes. Frustrated, she calls another co-worker — who doesn’t know offhand. But the co-worker can look it up, and eventually calls back with a price. Now, it’s half an hour since I sat down at the scheduler’s desk. But she still isn’t sure if this is the price I’ll really pay, or if it’s the cost billed to my insurance company … which will be inexplicably higher than the final bill.

Perhaps if consumers could find out the price of health care (without waiting longer for an answer than they waited for the doctor), it would be a first step toward reining in costs. Imagine buying anything else — car repairs, professional services, a house — without an estimate of the cost. Only in the Byzantine world of health care are we expected to buy first and hope the sticker shock doesn’t cause a heart attack later.

Or maybe heart attacks are the whole idea: They must be great for billing.

George Halitzka, Irish Hill