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.

Smile for Thai 5
After reviewing the Readers’ Choice edition (LEO, Nov. 8), I would like to ask readers to try the largely unrecognized Thai Smile 5, located at 5800 Preston Highway. It has excellent food, a nice atmosphere (but BYOB) and is run by a wonderful international family Louisville is the richer for having here.
Ann Hildreth

Keep Him on His Toes
Great interview with Congressman-elect John Yarmuth in the Nov. 15 issue of LEO! Now comes the hard part. We need to keep our new member of Congress well informed about what’s on the minds of his constituents. That means we’ll probably have to criticize his positions from time to time.
Most people figure that Yarmuth’s election was not a liberal victory. It was more of a blue-state victory, or more precisely, blue city. It looks like we’re a blue city in a red state. Whichever, we know that blue is not the same thing as liberal.
My guess is Yarmuth knows this already. But, a reminder on this difference from time to time probably wouldn’t hurt him either.
Tom Louderback

Current VA Hospital Fine
Anyone visiting our VA Hospital here in Louisville may wonder why Anne Northup is so interested in building a new one downtown. As a VA beneficiary, one cannot but marvel at the renovations and facelift that facility has undergone over the past few years. In addition to the most obvious cosmetic improvements, four state-of-the-art operating rooms were added just a few years ago, and, more recently, $2 million was spent to upgrade the emergency room.
This facility is already regarded as one of the best in the nation, and morale is quite high there. The people I have talked to who work there — including administrators — are not enthusiastic about moving downtown and are puzzled as to why Northup is pushing this issue.
Moving the VA hospital downtown would create immense parking problems, not to mention the additional cost of building extra parking garages to accommodate staff and patients. Does the $600 million figure for the new facility also include free parking for 2,000 cars? There is no charge for parking at the present VA site, and many veterans would hardly view an $8-$10 parking add-on as a benefit, especially those who are on fixed incomes. And you can be assured that a high percentage of the vets who would use that facility fall into that category.
So the question remains, why is Northup so interested in replacing a perfectly good facility with a new one that will lack adequate parking? One may only speculate.
Stanley Collyer

10 Changes Under New Congress
A funny thing happened on the way to Karl Rove’s “permanent Republican majority.”
And, since four years ago LEO published my Top 10 list about the way things would be different under GOP rule, the paper clearly owes equal space to this:
10. Dukes of Hazzard posters come down off speaker’s office walls.
9. Instead of fighting a war on terrorism, we’ll smother al-Qaida into submission with a giant group hug.
8. Tax code quietly amended late at night to give 100-percent deduction to founders of alternative newspapers.
7. Congress votes down proposal to create new job for Rumsfeld — Secretary of Arrogance.
6. Republicans suddenly discover we have a deficit now that it can be blamed partly on the other side.
5. Democrats suddenly discover that Iraq is a damned complicated situation now that it can’t be blamed completely on the other side.
4. Military budget will be bloated while millions of Americans denied health care and decent social services (sorry, some things aren’t going to change).
3. Pelosi and Bush reach compromise to make Iraq the 51st state — presto! — the troops are home.
2. To demonstrate new PBS-friendly attitude in Congress, Big Bird is appointed FCC commissioner.
And the number one way …
1) After learning he won’t be on the appropriations committee, John Yarmuth delivers televised address to his district touting the benefits of pontoon bridges.
George “Dave” Morrison

Secondhand Fairness
This may be practically beating a dead horse, but I think the smoking ban that Jerry “Mayor for Life” Abramson and his Metro Council are responsible for is going to end up closing a boatload of Louisville businesses.
I do not really see the point of this ban. It’s like saying, “OK, we’re going to take over your business, and while you will still own it, we will tell you what you can and cannot do with it.” I can say with all honesty that I do not necessarily like breathing in secondhand smoke; it is still my choice to knowingly walk into a bar, club or restaurant that allows its patrons to smoke, and I respect their decision to allow patrons to do so.
I also very strongly disagree with the Council’s and the mayor’s decision to exempt Churchill Downs from the ban, in favor of fairness: Either ban all businesses from allowing smoking, or none at all. It’s that simple.
Michael Hayes

See You at the Track
Fourth Street … the government … why I need a smoke … and what the heck about Churchill Downs?!
I am a reliable reader, and a hypocrite in politics. I have a belief in Medicare for the elderly. But, I have doubts about its security. I don’t like Bush, but I understand and hold true to our American values. I think smoke will kill us all.
I’ve been reading about a smoking ban in all public buildings. A bar is a public building filled with smokers who, on July 1, will be very angry. I respect all non-smoking buildings with a 25-foot allowance from the door, even my own work place. I don’t smoke as much these days, but I still smoke. I’m addicted. I quit. I do it for fun. Louisville said this is not fun.
What is fun? Is fun spending too much money on a beer? Is fun paying too many taxes for a campaign fund to keep those in power in power? Is fun a way of getting away from the racket of life for five minutes?
What are your answers, citizens of Louisville? You answered with a smoking ban in restaurants that crippled businesses, workers and the like. Now you answer with a ban that cripples the entire economy of Louisville. What did you say? You say you did not ask for this? Who did this, and why?
A couple of weeks ago, John Yarmuth was voted into the House as a replacement for Anne Northup. And, so were a lot of other council seats in Louisville. These are men and women sitting as lame ducks, jealous and rushed into using their power. What is their final answer? What is the excuse to hold against the Democrats’ next election? How will the Republicans rule again?
A smoking ban will be made active in all public facilities on July 1, 2007. Think of what will happen over the next year as you don’t go to your nearest bar. Think of the gripes and moans you hear while you go to have fun there. Think of how it will take a year to set into pattern just like the last law. At that moment will be the reelection of many other candidates, and the new election of others. What will they all say? They will blame the newly elected.
Where will we go? What will we do in between shots? Who will buy the land that is being strangled into closure? Will this help or kill our economy? All I know is even freedom of life is questioned these days … what is next, the freedom of speech?
All I know is this: I’m going to blow all my money at Churchill Downs! That’ll help us all.
Clayton Tyler Johnston