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September 15, 2010

Inbox — Sept. 15, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Where’s the Outcry?
In response to your article “The kid stays in the picture” (LEO Weekly, Sept. 8), we are in a state of emergency. Our country is in a recession, and our people are facing depression. New data from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition shows us the number of homeless children in Jefferson County Public Schools jumped from more than 8,000 in 2009 to 10,550 in 2010.

Where is our public outcry?

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Kentucky Jobs With Justice and our allies are holding a march and rally for fair and full employment at the unemployment office in downtown Louisville because people need jobs.

Unemployment is taking its toll on the emotional, financial, mental and physical health of families. Children feel the stress of their parents who can no longer afford that $100,000 home they purchased years ago. Domestic violence is increasing. We see people every day through our work at Jobs With Justice who are at their breaking point. And we see people every day who are beat down, worn out and have aged almost beyond recognition.

After merger, we fought to maintain a living wage in Louisville for public workers, many of whom qualified for social services. As we push for full and fair employment, we have to make sure we have good jobs for our neighbors — jobs with benefits and living wages.
Attica C. Scott, coordinator of Kentucky Jobs With Justice

Don’t Have Squat
What your recent article on the houseless problem in Louisville lacked in analysis it attempted to make up for in facts, but this is a useless gesture. Capitalism — its reformists and apologists would all have us believe the housing crisis is an ECONOMIC issue. What your article failed to analyze is the rows of abandoned houses (vacant and foreclosed) and newly constructed condos (in which hardly anyone lives) — both of which could easily solve the houseless problem here in Louisville.

On the surface, this may seem like an economic issue, but the problem is SOCIAL. As a society, whatever that word even means today, we have deemed housing as a commodity instead of a human right. What houseless people need is not more affordable housing but the abolition of housing as a COMMODITY.

Until this abolition occurs (if ever), I can only suggest squatting as an alternative. It’s useless to wait for the Metropolitan Housing Coalition or the city to take action — take back what is yours.
Brent Tinnell, Old Louisville

Coach Wrong
As an avid reader of LEO, I must say the picture of Coach Strong on the Sept. 1 cover was a disgrace. While it was certainly not intended to be derogatory, I couldn’t help but to notice the likeness to the “black face” theme that prevailed in the early 20th century. The exaggeration of items such as the eyes, ears and the pose in general left me scratching my head as to what the meaning of this picture really was. We live in an era where race is a touchy subject for many people. We live in the South where race is even touchier for the masses. The lack of sensitivity was apparent in a really bad attempt at humor, in my opinion. You would think the graphic artists who do such a great job for your paper could have come up with something more appropriate and suitable. Nevertheless, your editors bear the biggest blame as they obviously approved the cover for publishing. I think it is important to know that most people do not think there was intentional malice in this drawing, but intentional or not, the editorial choice certainly failed what is usually a good newspaper.
Marc Spiegel, Prospect

Plastic Doo-Doo
Thank you for yet another plastic bag, which I gratefully received with my Sept. 1 copy. I hope you will ignore your readers who will no doubt take you to task for the hypocrisy of pretending to champion the environment while packaging your product in petro-chemical crap. I find the bags very useful for picking up dog doo-doo and occasionally for use as an emergency condom. My C-J bag comes already full of doo-doo and is therefore of little use. I also like writing the phrase dog doo-doo because of all the loopy letters, and I always look forward to seeing them in print.

Keep up the good work, and don’t worry about those landfills. There is plenty of space left.
Charlie Baker, Highlands

Shedding Light
Jewish Voice for Peace thanks LEO for publishing the article “The civil rights struggle of our time” in the Sept 1 issue. We support Brett McGrath’s efforts to publicize the truth about the reprehensible behavior of some Israeli settlers. Their ongoing attacks on innocent Palestinians and their continuing theft and destruction of Palestinian property are the main things blocking a peace agreement. Telling Americans the truth about this is a public service to Israelis, Palestinians and Americans, because it will hasten the time when real peace can be achieved.

Many thanks for the important journalistic work LEO is doing by covering this crucial and under-reported story.
Russ Greenleaf, Louisville Jewish Voice for Peace

Taking a Stand
As Jews living in the United States, we are taught Israel is sacred land, holy land. We are taught to support Israel in their efforts to preserve this Jewish state, but at what cost? The constant demolition of innocent Palestinian homes, the death of innocent children? How can I silently stand by and watch while a group of people are subjected to such inhumane treatment? As a Jew living in the United States, I do not support the Israeli Apartheid. I can only hope that by saying this, more people will be able to speak out against the atrocities being committed.

As a member of the Jewish community, I find it difficult to speak out against the violence that is carried out by the Israeli government. During the Holocaust, the whole world stayed silent while crimes against humanity were being committed. Now is the time to decide that we can no longer turn a blind eye. The Palestinians have as much a need for the land as we do, and for Israeli soldiers to come and destroy these people’s homes and lives is something I will not stand for. We must stand together with our Palestinian brothers and sisters. We must fight to end this horrendous conflict, and we must admit that what the Israel government is doing is wrong.
Meredith Pass, member of Louisville Jewish Voice for Peace, Germantown

JCPS Gets a C-
A couple of weeks ago, I was one of the parents who stood up to express my dissatisfaction at the failures of the JCPS transportation system on the first day of school this year. After we all had our say, four high-level administrators spoke about the transportation issues. The school board’s response to their tremendous failures in planning and communication was surprising, with most of the board members thanking them for all of their “hard work” and expressing understanding for the difficulties they faced.

Following the meeting, I decided to look up the salaries of the people directly responsible for the opening day fiasco. Superintendent Berman, the three principals who allegedly created the issues, and the four administrators gathered in front of the board made more than $1 million combined. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but where I come from, large salaries come with large expectations and large admonishments when those expectations are not met. These people created a situation in which kids were lost and unaccounted for, and yet our school board treated these people like I would my daughter for getting a C on a test.

Then I saw the LEO article about the Jefferson County Teachers Association spending $160,000 to fund the campaign of my representative, Larry Hujo. This certainly explains why, despite campaigning for a position that pays a maximum of $3,000, Hujo was able to plaster the district with yard signs and campaigners standing dangerously close to polling places. It may also explain why the school board never seems anxious to make any waves or pay attention to the concerns of the real consumers of JCPS — its students and parents.

So today I’m seriously pondering running for Hujo’s seat in 2012 and encouraging any parent who thinks we deserve better to do the same in their district. It’s time we start changing JCPS for the better and making sure the only special interests we’re considering in our school board elections are those of our children.
Rob Mattheu, Fern Creek