LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to [email protected]. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.
#1 Eccentric Observer
Billy Reed’s departure from LEO is a loss to the newspaper and to the community. Whatever one thinks of his opinions, they are consistent with the newspaper’s role as gadfly and eccentric observer. I will sorely miss his well-written and pointed articles and essays.
Lawrence J. Chase
In his commentary “Welcome home, monkey!”(LEO, Aug. 30), Dr. Ricky L. Jones rightly labels the statements by George Allen as racist, when Allen compared a man of Indian heritage (actually born in Virginia) to a macaca monkey. Then Jones referenced a statement, quoted by columnist Cal Thomas, from former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, heralding Wal-Mart forcing out mom-and-pop stores managed or owned by Jews, Asians or Arabs because, “they’ve ripped off our communities enough.” Jones minimizes Young’s words by merely calling them “stinging” and then gives it some credence by saying that Jews, Asians and Arabs may not always have engaged in price-gouging, but that there was “… some historical and contemporary merit” to the statement.
Racism, anti-Semitism, anti-ethnicities is, at its root, a problem of perception — seeing an outsider group as a danger, when in fact they are not a danger. This is how the Indian-American man was treated when he was compared to a monkey. He was lumped into an “other” dark-skinned group; then Allen (the “strong” leader that he is) minimized the danger of immigrants by making a joke out of it. Clearly racist.
Equally pejorative is Young, to say unfair business practices are attributable to religious or ethnic groups, as if there is something inherent that leads that group toward these practices. The persistence of anti-Semitic images associated with money, commerce and power led to unprecedented hatred and violence enacted against Jews in the 20th and 21st centuries. Jones, label prejudice, in all its forms, correctly!
Michael Lindenberger has a point (“Cease and Desist,” Sept. 13 LEO). The police should stop using stun guns. They really should turn in their pepper spray and nightsticks as well, since anyone with allergy problems or an aversion to bruises could very well be affected by the officers’ decision to use these potentially lethal weapons. After all, it is not the responsibility of any one individual to make a decision to follow the law; it is the responsibility of the police officers to ensure that the lowest common denominator be able to roam the streets naked with no fear of personal injury.
You Don’t Own the Road
On Monday, Sept. 11, my daughter and her best friend were riding their street-legal mopeds home around 10 p.m. when the driver of a brand new silver SUV became frustrated because he could not pass them due to oncoming traffic, even though they were doing the speed limit on Frankfort Avenue. In a matter of seconds, the SUV’s driver’s frustration level matched that of a 3-year-old attempting a puzzle beyond his limited intellectual and emotional range. So what did he do? He ran my daughter down. Right on the railroad tracks at New Main and Frankfort Avenue. Ran her down in the street with no concern for her precious life. Miraculously, my daughter escaped mortal injury, and her friend caught up with the SUV driver who left the scene of the “accident.” The driver just laughed. How amusing! Nothing like a good har-de-har-har when you almost committed vehicular homicide.
Therefore, I decided to write this letter to all drivers on the local roads as a reminder: YOU DON’T OWN IT. The road is meant to be shared by cars, trucks, bikes, mopeds, motorcycles and, yes, even SUVs. YOU DON’T OWN IT. That’s why there are clearly marked lanes. YOU DON’T OWN IT. That’s why there are traffic signs, stoplights and speed limits. YOU DON’T OWN IT. That’s why there are rules of the road, one of which is “Don’t run down other drivers!” Why? Because YOU DON’T OWN IT. So the next time you get behind a moped or a bicycle and you are in a hurry to make your nail appointment or the second half of Monday Night Football, remember this before you decide to run them down like they don’t matter. Remember the rider on that moped is someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s mom or dad who does matter and is just trying to get somewhere — somewhere on the road that is meant to be shared equally by all. No, you don’t own it.
Steven Patrick Smith
The Great Smoke-Out
Metro Council member Ken Fleming has had the good sense to step up and introduce legislation to close the loopholes in the city’s smoking ordinance. Finally, all people will have the right to party, eat, drink and enjoy late-night entertainment. For those of us who cannot tolerate secondhand smoke, the only “choice” we’ve had is to go to Lexington’s smoke-free clubs to dance and listen to music. I can count on one hand the number of places you can do that in Louisville. We will join hundreds of cities, 11 states and eight countries with comprehensive bans. We will be on par with New York, Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles in providing venues that are accessible to all people, including those with asthma and respiratory problems. Workers won’t have to compromise their health in order to hold a job. These laws are working well in other cities and there are many studies to prove the economic benefits, not disasters, of comprehensive bans.
I urge all residents to contact the Metro Council members and tell them that we care about the image of our city as well as the health of all citizens.
Say No to No Smoking
The fact that Metro Council members would consider giving special treatment to the “Big Dog” Churchill Downs, because of its “importance to the community,” regarding the smoking ban is outrageous! This implies that bigger is better, and the small businesses in our community are UNIMPORTANT and should get second-class treatment. Unequal treatment under the law is unconstitutional and totally immoral to say the least.
The C-J reported on Aug. 30 that Louisville families are losing out to inflation, professionals make less money than neighboring cities, the good manufacturing jobs are gone, and the high income residents are moving to surrounding counties. Could it be that we are running businesses and people out of Metro Louisville who resent government meddling in their private affairs, and their taxes going to fund projects and causes they do not support?
I think the answer is a definite YES!
Donna Mancini, Libertarian Candidate
3rd District U.S. Congress
Get Smart, Go Vote
At every opportunity, President Bush says the economy is booming because of his tax cuts. The thriving economy is especially benefiting the richest people in America, those who already have much more than enough, while the majority middle class and poor are not faring so well. Cutting taxes for the rich is Bush’s and the Republicans’ way of waging class warfare.
It is time for the middle class and the poor to get smart, go to the polls in record-breaking numbers on Nov. 7, and elect legislators who will work to make the economy serve them better. When the widening income gap between rich and poor narrows substantially and millions of impoverished people rise out of poverty, we will know the economy is booming for every segment of society.
A president and a Congress that works for the common good builds a stronger, more compassionate America. It starts by making sure the needs of those at the bottom of the wide-base economic pyramid are taken care of first.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.