June 17, 2008

Inbox - June 17, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Corrections

• An item in last week’s film issue erroneously reported that filmmaker Bruce Skinner ran Blue Sage Mercantile. Skinner, in fact, is completing two additional documentaries: “May the Horse Be With You,” a film about the extraordinary relationships people have with horses; and “Kentucky Elks Club,” a wildlife film about the transplanting of elks from the Rocky Mountains to Eastern Kentucky. LEO regrets the error.

• Also in last week’s Film Issue, LEO referred to filmmaker Sellus Bessinger, who recently changed his name to Sellus Wilder. LEO regrets the error. 

 

Regroup and Rebuild

Phillip M. Bailey’s recent piece “A House Out of Order” (LEO, June 11) about Kentucky Democrats and the presidential race gets it right. The primary is over, so now is the time for all Democrats, regardless of how they feel personally about Obama or Clinton, to come together behind our nominee. The last thing our country needs is for the Democratic Party to be divided and allow John McCain to pull an upset come November. The values we stand for as a party are far too important to be shoved aside because of personal differences.

Melanie Tate, Louisville

 

Jazz Hands

Thanks for the great article on jazz musician Eddie Clark (LEO, June 4). Having had the privilege of knowing Eddie from childhood, I can attest to the fact that he has, from day one, been taking a stand against mediocrity. As Eddie taught so many of us who were aspiring musicians, even when we were all kids in school, the true musician doesn’t just play the notes, he or she feels the music and becomes part of it. Having worked with scores of talented and successful musicians, I can state without a hint of hesitation that Ed is, indeed, one of the few genuine artists who understands what it’s really all about. Every club owner in Louisville would do well to accept his wise counsel, and the local music scene would benefit greatly by their doing so. Thanks as well to Tom Sobel for having the insight to offer excellent music to the people of Louisville. Keep up the good fight, Eddie, it’s appreciated more than you know!

Lynn Stivers, Shelbyville

 

We Can Do Better

A new study by the Brookings Institution claims Louisville has the fifth-worst carbon footprint per capita in the United States. As summer nears in Louisville, we have much to look forward to, but air quality alerts are probably not on our list. It is doubtful anyone needs a reminder about gas prices. Local lawmakers could use a reminder, however, about the possibility of light rail. Several thousand reminders, in the form of letters and phone calls from concerned voters.

Busses are more cost-efficient. Lawmakers often cite this as justification for not building light rail. Certainly, improving TARC’s frequency, reliability and reach would be beneficial. Most world-class cities, however, employ trains as the major feature of their public transportation. If trains are less cost-efficient, why is this the case? Because trains are faster and more comfortable, which increases ridership.

What about the “brain-drain”? Many young people want to live in an urban area where they don’t have to drive to work and play. Light rail is a lure for large corporations that need a workforce that can affordably commute. By revitalizing our community, the long-term economic impact of light rail will more than pay for the investment in its construction.

And most of all, there is our environmental impact. Many of us are overwhelmed by the magnitude of this problem and are paralyzed. It is tempting, in times of economic and environmental crisis, to throw up our hands in defeat. Building light rail will not solve all our problems, but it will go a long way toward reducing our carbon footprint and improving our quality of life — bringing Louisville closer to being “Possibility City.” So please, don’t think things are only doomed to get worse — write your mayor, congressmen, senators. Let them know you believe we can do better.

Andy Helgesen, Louisville

 

An Embarrassing Admission

His hand shook. It shook not from any infirmity of age — I’d guess he was 25 — but from anxiety. This stranger had e-mailed with an “embarrassing admission.” We traded a couple of e-mails and a phone call. Now we were meeting in an empty parking lot. He was tall, thin, nervous. A drop of perspiration was working its way down his temple. It fell from his nose when he bent over to pick up my bicycle.

His first e-mail told me he had grown up in a suburb so poorly designed, so poorly located, that his family was totally car dependent. He had never had a bike, never ridden a bike. Within 15 minutes, he was cutting figure eights in the parking lot.

He was not the first adult I’ve taught to bicycle. And the tear that fell from my face was not the first one shed in the presence of the kind of strength that he showed, not the first one shed in the knowledge of the folly of our land-use and transportation choices, and not the first one shed in the joy of watching a new cyclist float across an empty parking lot — like a hawk soaring, free. 

Jackie Green, co-owner of Bike Couriers Bike Shop, Louisville

 

More To The Story

“Measure the degree of civilization of a society by how it treats its weakest members.” —Winston Churchill

Since 1972, Wayside Christian Mission has cared for Louisville’s most vulnerable members from its location on Market Street, and it’s a testament to our city that hundreds of local businesses and private citizens have contributed financial, in-kind and volunteer support. 

Despite this outpouring of support, the East Downtown Business Association (EDBA), composed of Wayside’s closest neighbors, has made every effort to impede Wayside’s services to the homeless. The EDBA’s current campaign claims to decry the destruction of two historic buildings, even though Wayside has made it clear that they are renovating only the uninhabitable interiors, leaving the facades perfectly intact. Historic preservation is manifestly not the real issue here.

The true objective of this crusade can be found in the third paragraph of their rather unsightly fliers papering Market Street: “If Wayside is unable to renovate, we must encourage them to … find a compatible location from which to expand their services.” (Read: The EDBA wants Wayside off Market Street.)

The EDBA’s actions are simply the latest in a long history of treating Wayside clients as second-class citizens. Most notably, since 2000, the EDBA has pressured Wayside to make use of only the back entrances to its facilities to keep Wayside clients off Market — a frightening throwback to pre-Civil Rights discrimination, which begs us to question whether American morality has progressed as far as we’d like to think.

Kristen Miller, Louisville

 

Treasure the History

I read with dismay the recent LEO article that described Wayside’s plans to demolish four historic buildings along East Market. Our family has been a part of East Market Street for nearly 70 years, and we always valued and treasured the old buildings, considering ourselves not owners but stewards, knowing one day they would pass to new owners who would care for them. This is not Wayside’s first attempt to demolish the very buildings that make the neighborhood so unique. I just wonder how much more Wayside’s neighbors will take in light of this latest plan to demolish Louisville’s history that will forever change the street.

Sarah Stepp, Louisville