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November 2, 2011

Inbox — Nov. 2, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Gimmie, Gimmie
I can’t wait to get my hands on each new LEO Weekly. Unlike like the C-J, your magazine does an outstanding job of covering local events and national news without bias and with such a passion that I can’t put it down once I start reading. Thanks and hats off to the entire staff at LEO for their hard work and dedication to such a great and informed magazine.
Bill Sorrels, Lanesville, Ind.

We Have a Say
How did we let our country — once built on a broadly prosperous middle class — get so divided that most of the income gains since 1979 have gone to the top 1 percent? We can blame more global competition from China, NAFTA, automation and Wall Street. But we should also look in our own backyard. Ordinary American workers are losing the freedom to speak out together about their jobs and their future.

It is appalling that Jewish Hospital/St. Mary’s HealthCare allegedly retaliated against Amy Doyle (LEO Weekly, Oct. 19) because she wants to unite with her co-workers to form a union and gain more say about their careers. In 2009, the top eight Jewish/St. Mary’s executives paid themselves more than $343,000 for the year, putting themselves comfortably within the top 1 percent. In theory, ordinary employees like Doyle have the legal right to join together to negotiate with their employers — those eight “1 percenters” — on issues like staffing levels, recruitment, retention, the cost of healthcare coverage, and the security of their retirement.

In practice, it is routine for employers like Jewish/St. Mary’s to put enormous pressure on employees to stop them from forming new unions. The penalties that employers face for interfering with workers’ freedom to join together are trivial, so Jewish/St. Mary’s didn’t hesitate to make employees like Doyle believe they were putting their jobs at risk if they tried to speak out.

Many of us are frustrated that President Obama has not done enough to confront corporate special interests. I’ve felt that way myself. But the reality is that Obama appointees have quietly attempted to strengthen the law protecting workers like Amy Doyle who want to join with colleagues to negotiate about their future. The rich, and their lobbyists, have responded to Obama’s effort with rabid opposition.

It’s time for the rest of us to tell employers like Jewish/St. Mary’s the other 99 percent deserve to have a say.
Carter Wright, Highlands

Safe Food
I would like to respond to the Oct. 26 LEO article “Keep on truckin’” about Louisville’s updated regulation of food trucks by noting the necessity of regulating all food preparation venues. I believe it is true that most meals for families in the United States are prepared and consumed at home. I would suggest that this is an area that has been overlooked for too long. The dangers that our society is exposed to from potentially unsanitary kitchen conditions are enormous. It is a great wonderment that the species has survived for millennia.

Food trucks serve a relatively small portion of meals in our fair city. Perhaps food inspectors would do more good for the community by inspecting our home kitchens and making sure they are safe.
Rich Mills, Shawnee

Self-Deception Jones
Maybe Ricky L. Jones is working through some self-deception issues of his own. I saw in his Oct. 26 column that he is still justifying his previous columns regarding the Judy Green case. As he wrote, “They know their local councilperson has committed crimes but still want to organize rallies to claim mistreatment.”

Guilt and fairness are logically separate issues, however. It’s not unreasonable to question the harshness of punishment meted out to someone you believe is guilty. Neither is it unreasonable to wonder whether others have gotten off the hook for similarly serious crimes. Ask anyone who is working to abolish the death penalty.

It appears Jones is combining these two issues because he badly wants to believe his comments on this matter were all correct. That sounds like self-deception to me.
Tom Louderback, Highlands