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October 6, 2010

Inbox — Oct. 6, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Equal Rights Now
Domestic partner benefits for Louisville Metro LGBT employees have predictably become a key issue in our 2010 mayoral election. As a gay man, I support extending those benefits as soon as possible. In fact, I’ve asked my councilperson to sponsor/co-sponsor a resolution that extends those benefits comprehensively. Greg Fischer and I share a councilperson; I wonder if he’s ever given him that request? (Sarcasm.)

Why would we risk ending up with Hal Heiner’s jacked-up “Plus One” solution that leaves out children of LGBT couples? The children of LGBT Metro employees do not have to be used as political pawns to get Fischer elected. There is another way.

Since we already have a Democrat-controlled Metro Council and a Democrat-controlled mayor’s office now, we can just do this now, before the November election. Contact your councilperson and let them know you support a resolution extending benefits — before it’s too late. Then we can let the mayoral candidates argue over the million other issues that need their attention, the ones we can’t take care of under the current administration.
Curtis Morrison, Highlands

Let’s Play Ball
Jefferson County Public Schools’ Major League Baseball model of the rich getting the best and the poor getting the worst is rearing its ugly head again. Each year we hear about the poor and downtrodden schools not performing, and each year we hear about the schools that are busting at the seams getting high praise. It is really easy to beam about Manual, Male and Butler when they have the best and brightest from every neighborhood across the county. What is even more ridiculous is the constant bashing of our principals, teachers and students at our Pittsburgh Pirate schools. If you want to have the Yankees in the World Series every year, then leave the system alone and keep having the same issues. However, if you want schools on an equal footing, break up the Yankees and send the students back to their home schools and see if Western, Doss, Fairdale and the other schools that are struggling flourish again.
H. Nelson Jackson, Old Louisville

Sprawling Wealth
Sprawl is alive and poised to envelop the southeast corner of the county, facilitated by the very planning and public agencies created to protect our valuable resources. Public money is being spent for private profits. Floyds Fork is falling under the development knife, and the powerful financial barons of Jefferson County cannot resist carving up the last remaining natural area in the community.

We live in a society that places so much emphasis on private wealth that we forget how important the common wealth — the realm of shared natural and cultural goods — is for our happiness, our wholeness and our well-being.

What MSD should be doing (instead of increasing the infrastructure footprint and debt burden to rate payers):

1) Rebuild a failing sewer infrastructure that currently cannot properly serve the central core.

2) Promote redevelopment of the central core. Direct developers to redevelop the West End/South End/Downtown instead of large tracts of virgin territory. Has our ingenuity completely left us, or can we only build our tax base by destroying natural resources that will never return?

If our community must sacrifice public funds and the health of our environment, then MSD should make that case publicly. Let the whole community see how the powerful hands of our leaders are intertwined and at work in the 21st Century Parks/Floyds Fork development extravaganza.
Peter Bodnar, Floyds Fork

Kindness Rebuttal
In response to Don Hensley’s criticism of my prior Inbox letter (LEO Weekly, Sept. 22): Clearly, you wholly misunderstood my notion and concern, which was twofold — one, to declare that all human beings are capable of kindness without any coercion from a higher authority (God, government, etc.), and, two, to consider the sincerity of “kindness” that is executed only out of a selfish conviction of gaining personal reward or a fear of punishment (because true kindness doesn’t need those incentives — it is interconnected in our collective nature).

Your censure also put words in my mouth. Your exaggeration that I boasted of “doing good deeds like Mother Teresa” is beyond bogus; I said that I merely gave a dollar to a stranger, which doesn’t come close to comparing myself with someone of such international charity. Furthermore, I didn’t say humans are not also capable of “acts of evil,” but since you mentioned it, I will say that those should not be blamed on a devil anymore than good deeds are on a god. Finally, I did not say, nor do I believe, that I am more “highly evolved” than anyone else; my contention is that it is false, and odious, to assume that only Christians or those “motivated to build good karma” are more highly evolved and therefore capable of being kind. We all are capable of embracing kindness for kindness’ sake, and this impetus seems more genuine than acting only “out of duty.”
Douglas Lucas, Highlands

OCD Awareness
In an average elementary school, there are likely five children suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In a medium to large high school, there are typically 20 students battling OCD. And in a workplace of 500, there would be about five employees who have OCD, most likely hiding their symptoms from their colleagues. OCD is in our community, and residents of Louisville should not feel ashamed or embarrassed.

In most cases, OCD is a treatable disorder. However, studies show that people suffer unnecessarily for years because of lack of information and a shortage of therapists trained to properly diagnose and treat OCD. This is an opportunity for LEO’s readers to educate themselves about OCD and its treatment during the International OCD Foundation’s OCD Awareness Week, Oct. 11-17. The IOCDF helps people find treatment that will curtail suffering and allow them to lead more productive lives. It also funds research and provides support for OCD sufferers and the families and caregivers of OCD patients. A variety of IOCDF resources can be found online at www.ocfoundation.org.
Mike Fogarty, Fern Creek

A Poor Nation
It is shameful our country is failing to reduce significantly the increasing numbers of people living in poverty. During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, in his second Inaugural Address: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have
too little.”

When it comes to working for the common good and fighting poverty, there is no place for gridlock in Congress. Democrats, Republicans and Independents should unite in acknowledging we have a poverty problem and then address it unceasingly.

America prides itself on being a charitable nation when there is an urgent need or crisis. Today’s poverty, like poverty of any era, is an ongoing, daily crisis for millions. As good as charity is, it is usually temporary and not good enough over the long haul. A favorite quote comes from St. Augustine: “Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.” Systemic injustice can only be overcome by government action that makes just laws, enforces them and interprets them fairly.

We, the people, of all religions or no religion, from Main Street to Wall Street, are the government. If we are the “trusting in God” people our currency says we are, we will see that no person lives in poverty in the richest nation on earth. The poor should not have to beg or ask for help — we should see the need and respond to it positively, because it is the right thing, the godly (loving) thing, to do.

After all, every one of us, from the poorest to the richest, is on welfare, God’s dole. Everything we are and have is a gift from our most generous creator who expects us to also be generous — on public and private levels.

A former pastor of mine, the late Dr. John R. Claypool, said it well and simply in one of his books: “The real secret of human joy is sharing what we have with others rather than hoarding everything for ourselves.”
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews