Erosia: Letters to the Editor

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.


* Last week’s story on future Louisville mayors included a comment by Jim Segrest about Metro Councilman David Tandy, who represents the 4th District. The writer incorrectly noted that Segrest lives in Tandy’s district. He does not, although he is president of the Butchertown Neighborhood Association, and as such, represents some who live in Tandy’s district, which includes a portion of Butchertown. LEO regrets the error and apologizes to Councilman Tandy for the oversight.
* Also, the East End Wick’s Pizza locations were left out of the LEO Dining Guide (Oct. 18 issue). They are: Wick’s Pizza of Goose Creek, 2927 Goose Creek Road, 327-WICK; and Wick’s Pizza of Middletown, 12717 Shelbyville Road, 213-WICK. LEO (and Vince Gill, baby) loves their pizza and regrets the omission.
* A story last week’s Election Issue misspelled the name of former police chief Gene Sherrard. LEO regrets the error.

Ode to the Election

A shambling ode to the upcoming election, which I call “Anyone Cadaver”:
“None of the Above”:
A solution, I propose,
to clean government rolls
Of this litany of scoundrels,
liars, cheats and bounders
Whose elected seats impose
Nonsense to send us all a-flounder.

“None of the Above?”
An option long awaited!
A solution undebated!
Let’s clear the aisles
of braying fools whose paste-on smiles
let Fear and Greed rule unabated!

“None of the Above!”
Let’s put him on every ballot!
Hand him Liberty’s holy mallet!
A candidate you can’t attack.
Someone immune to made-up “facts,”
Political bullshit and Rule by the  
   Almighty Wallet!

And when the voting’s done
And we find that we’ve elected
no one,
Let’s just cheer, then start again
with all NEW women and men
Until we find Someone who is
    better than
“None of the Above!”
Bill Percy Bysshe Raker, “The Poet who Don’t Knowet,” iambic half of the Video TapeWorm
No More Mud-Slinging
Please, tell me it’s not just me — I am so sick of hearing these negative campaign ads: “He did this … She did that.” They’re like a bunch of fifth graders on the school play yard. Please, candidates, just tell me who YOU are; what YOU stand for; what YOU will do to make this a better neighborhood, community, city, state, country, if I give YOU my vote?
Has it gotten to the point that EVERYONE running is so bad that we just have to hope to pick the lesser of the two evils? Come on, I just know there’s someone out there with integrity, honor, values and ideas I can get behind. Please tell me I’m not wrong.
Kathryn McCool

Flip-Flopper Downard
Metro Council voted and, true to his word, Kelly Downard voted for a “comprehensive smoking ban.” Of course, so did Doug Hawkins, and we all know his anti-ban bias. Sadly, this vote was all about politics.
May I remind readers that when I ran against him two short years ago (y’all anointed me as “Woody Guthrie without the guitar”), Kelly was officially and adamantly against ANY ban. Of course, then he was the heavy favorite and free to state his real beliefs. Now, he’s the underdog and presumably wants to curry favor with enlightened voters. And to think they call us Democrats “flip-floppers.”
Possibly the most poignant moment during the vote was when his colleague Ellen Call praised Tom Owen and Tina Ward-Pugh “for their vision” in 2003. On Nov. 7, please remember who had the blinders on in 2004 when there were already about 2,000 U.S. cities with bans: the man who wants to “lead” us as Mayor.
Art Hoffman

Clean House
Back in the day, the Republican Party stood for fiscal and personal responsibility, and keeping a smaller government from intruding on your life and your pocketbook. (I’m not sure when “the day” was in this case, but I’m told it really did happen.)
But after six years of total, unchallenged control, “Republicanism” stands for massive debt, bloated government, war profiteering and breathtaking levels of corruption. It stands for regulating our personal lives, invading our privacy and abandoning the constitutional principles on which this country was created. It stands for giving unlimited, unconstitutional power to its appointed monarch, King George the Turd, and his regents.
It tells us to “support the troops,” while sending them into harm’s way poorly equipped and with no plan to succeed at a “war” it had no business starting in the first place. It tells us that the most powerful nation in recorded history is powerless to come to the aid of its citizens at times of disaster — then says we should “trust” them to protect us from attack by our enemies.
It demonizes those who stand in loyal opposition, then decries the “lack of bipartisanship.” It rewrites history, attacks science and ignores reality in the name of serving their agenda of “truth.”
It tells us that 12 years after sweeping into power with their “revolution,” the only thing left of their revolution is simply holding onto power. And any lie, any act of corruption is acceptable when done in the name of holding onto power — even covering up the predatory actions of one of its own toward the young people entrusted in their care.
And when you get caught, deny everything — and blame your enemy. Heck, blame your victims while you’re at it.
“GOP” now stands for “greedy old perverts.” Today’s Republican Party is a morally bankrupt failure. It’s time to clean house.
Bryan Hurst

Hang Up the Hat
What happened to the Anne Northup I first saw when I moved to Louisville in 1990? You were a Kentucky State Representative then. I saw you speak at several community forums. I often did not agree with your positions, but I do remember thinking you were an honorable person and decent human being.
Then in 1996 you ran for Congress. You ran the definitive negative campaign, with mean, personal attacks against Mike Ward. Could Anne Northup have orchestrated that campaign? Could this be the work of that nice person with the wholesome family image? Unfortunately, this has become your standard method of winning re-election.
One would think that after winning five elections, you would be able to run on your record. Yet, your campaign commercials rarely even mention your own name! Instead, you spend 30 seconds using half-truths, lies and distortions to try and convince us that John Yarmuth is unfit to serve.
Did your parents not teach you the golden rules, or have you forgotten them along the way? You know, the one that goes “if you can’t say something nice about someone, it is better not to say anything at all.” Every time you say on television, “I am Anne Northup, and I approve this message,” you lose credibility as a decent human being. That is the one attribute we should be able to expect out of our public servants.
If, after 10 years in Congress, you cannot tell us what you have done, then it is time for you to come home. After 10 years in Congress, Representative Anne Northup, have you no sense of decency?
Mark Stanton

Who is Yarmuth Kidding?

While I seldom agreed with John Yarmuth, I thought him an honest man. However, after his response to Anne Northup’s minimum wage ad, I must say I have my doubts. He said that his family’s company could not influence franchisees to pay higher than minimum wage. That is a crock — while it would be unusual, there is nothing to keep them from requiring that in the franchisee agreements. Anyone familiar with restaurant franchisee agreements knows that the franchisor can set all kind of requirements, from what brands of products you use to, within a degree, who to buy them from.
If Yarmuth’s family believes as he does about the minimum wage, they could do something. As for him not benefiting from the lower wages paid in some franchise shops, who is he kidding? His family receives a royalty based on earnings; if the labor cost is lower, then the earnings are higher and the royalty is higher. In fact, most restaurant franchise agreements set in some way the acceptable labor cost in a shop as well as an acceptable percentage for every other expense. Yarmuth got caught in an act of hypocrisy and should just admit it. Otherwise, this has been a pretty clean contest.
Kent O. Sublett

New Energy Future

With fluctuating oil and gas prices and war raging in the Middle East, it’s time to put our country on track toward a new energy future.
There is no question that America has the technological know-how to dramatically reduce our dependence on oil. Through improved gas mileage, better transportation choices and clean fuels, we could easily save more than twice the amount of oil we import from the Persian Gulf.
That’s why U.S. PIRG is calling on candidates Anne Northup and John Yarmuth to put us on the path toward a new energy future by supporting policies to reduce our dependence on oil by saving one-third of the oil we use today by 2025 (7 million barrels per day).
Maryelizabeth C. Pope

Back to Our Roots
We need to get back to our liberal roots. President George Washington was quoted as saying, “I hope to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” However, what did Washington mean by a liberal nation? Another Washington quote supplies the answer. Washington said, “I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my country.”
It would seem that the concept of “public good” has fallen out of favor. As of late, the majority of Americans believe the private sector can solve all of our problems. However, in areas where services do not turn a profit, the public sector is a more efficient tool. The liberal concept of public good works best when all are involved. For example, Social Security has worked for several decades. It has worked because almost all citizens are required to take part in its existence. Investigations into privatizing it have shown that privatizing would destroy it. Also, privatizing is now proving to be disastrous. Also, studies have shown that public transportation is best served by the public sector.
We must never forget that we are the United States of America and what unites us is the belief that all should work toward a common cause.
We ask our military, our police force and our firemen to put their lives on the line for the public good. It would seem that all should take part, each to his own ability, in making our country strong.
Dan From

Direction Left Behind
As a special education teacher, I am extremely concerned about the direction of special education as it relates to No Child Left Behind.
The Kentucky Alternate Portfolio, which is used to assess a segment of students with special needs, has been altered to meet the regulations set forth by NCLB. Prior to the new regulations, students were assessed upon the progress they made according to skills aligned with their Individual Education Plans. Typically, the skills written into an IEP for these students are functional skills that will play a role in their ability to access the community, such as money skills, time, sight words and vocational skills. However, Kentucky has interpreted the law so that all students will be assessed upon grade-level standards. For example, a high school junior with special needs, who is communicating at a pre-symbolic level, will be assessed upon his or her ability to “explain the relationship between sexual reproduction and the transmission of genetic information and draw conclusions/make predictions based on hereditary evidence.” Instead of spending class time teaching such concepts, I feel that I should be teaching skills relevant to my students’ future, not because I have low expectations, but because I have logical and reasonable expectations.
I urge all teachers, parents and advocates of students with special needs to voice your concerns to local, state and federal representatives.
Dan Pike, Jefferson County Public School Teacher

Misguided Love
An open letter to the family whose dog I killed last night:
Sorry about your pup. I’d like to say it was an accident, but the facts don’t support that. You’ll be glad to know he died instantly, without suffering. He never knew what hit him. But it shouldn’t have happened at all.
I jog past your house occasionally, usually after work and on weekends. On more than one occasion your dog has threatened or chased me, sometimes past several of your neighbors’ homes. In fairness, yours isn’t the only dog that does this. There are several along my route that run free and challenge anyone who passes. When it happens, I can either freeze and hope the dog doesn’t sense my fear and goes away, or try to outrun him, which is both frightening and exhausting.
Last night I had a third option. I was carrying a small squirt gun filled with cheap cologne. (A vet told me it would be kinder than pepper spray.) When your dog ran at me, growling angrily, I fired and he got a snootful. My hope was that he’d back off and remember the unpleasantness next time I came by, but instead he became disoriented and ran directly into the path of an oncoming car.
The driver, who had no chance to stop, was devastated. She choked back tears as we dragged the dog onto your front yard, where you probably found him this morning. She wanted to ring your doorbell, but I convinced her no conversation would be reasonable under the circumstances.
I’m sure you believe you loved your dog, but if so, your brand of love is what killed him. When you let him run loose, without the training or manners necessary to deal with chance encounters outdoors, you doomed him to cause or endure pain, and left an innocent driver to deal with horrible, unnecessary guilt.
We have pets, too — cats — and I know each time we let them out into the yard it could be the last time we see them. Owls, hawks, coyotes, raccoons, dogs and other cats are plentiful around here. So I’m as guilty as you in letting our pets out, but I know ours won’t threaten the neighbors under any circumstances. They hide when people they don’t know come around. But we’re working toward making them indoor pets.
I hope you have better luck with your next dog. In the meantime, I’ll be carrying my squirt gun, meeting other dogs whose owners are destined to be similarly disappointed.
Sorry about your pup. But it was no accident.
Tom Peterson
Floyds Knobs, Indiana