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The Bristol’s Bite
Biting the hand that feeds them, this summer the Bristol insulted customer Corey Nett with inexcusable behavior. Then followed weeks of deafening Bristol silence, with no apology. Adding insult to insult, the Bristol now resorts to a stupid ploy for ducking accountability. It’s time the Bristol stop hiding behind a legal fig leaf, step up to the plate and correct their shameful mistake.
Otherwise, Louisvillians may decide it’s time the Bristol bites the dust.
Michael Gregoire, Louisville

Bristol Boo-Yaa

The incident in which the Bristol Bar & Grille asked Corey Nett to move to the back of the restaurant or leave because his voice was disturbing others has implications for the rights of disabled citizens and beyond. Corey, who is remarkably able — he graduated from college and works in the county attorney’s office — has Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP is an umbrella term for impairment of muscle control and coordination that results from damage to the brain. It can affect limbs along with the muscles of respiration, the larynx and the mouth that work together to produce speech.

In a Sept. 28 C-J story, Nett’s sister reported that a Bristol manager she spoke with stated that Corey was not “treated any differently than any other patron who was disturbing other patrons.” This policy beckons all kinds of interpretations. If I am bothered by a black patron, I can have the manager move or remove that person. If I am unnerved by another patron’s large nose, hairy upper lip, funny accent or I just happen to despise women in general, ditto.

The Bristol, which has refused to apologize to Corey, deserves to be run into bankruptcy. At very minimum, its management should consider moving it out of the Highlands. The indefensible and inexplicable intolerance and bullheadedness it has demonstrated regarding this incident are unwelcome.
Jenny Thrasher, Louisville

Tailpipes vs. Smokestacks

As a participant in last month’s World Car Free Day, I was happy to see it touted in LEO (Oct. 3 issue). However, I saw great irony in Jim Welp’s depiction of the related pollution reductions that lone day as paltry compared to Rubbertown’s 1, 3-butadiene emissions.

Not many years ago, monitors showed butadiene to be Louisville’s biggest toxic air pollutant. Most of it came from three Rubbertown smokestacks and more than a half-million automobile tailpipes. Since then, the industries have made huge reductions in their butadiene emissions — as well they should have — while dirty politics led to the demise of the unfairly maligned vehicle emissions testing (VET) program. American Synthetic Rubber cut its butadiene emissions by 93 percent; Zeon cut their already reduced emissions by half again. Currently, the three industries combined now emit significantly less than the 43 tons (and growing) of butadiene wafting out of tailpipes each year.

Most Louisville drivers realized that annual visits to the VET were, while a bit inconvenient, important to public health. They dutifully did so, just as they still go to the dentist, vaccinate their kids, etc. But when the GOP rewarded State Sen. Dan Seum for switching parties by making him their Senate whip, he wielded it to punish a program that he hated. (When it came out years ago that he’d registered his autos in another county to avoid the VET, he lost the next election.)

I think the proposed Zeon suit settlement is a bad deal, too, but I remain convinced that as long as the public, journalists and politicians mischaracterize the problem, we’ll never solve it. After all, lungs know not whether pollution came from smokestacks or tailpipes. Air pollution comes from many more sources than Rubbertown. We all need to do our share for cleaner air.
Sarah Lynn Cunningham, Louisville

Remember the Memorial Forest

I certainly enjoyed the diverse list of the article “48½ Things We Love About Louisville” with its popular, eccentric, amusing choices (LEO, Sept. 19). But somebody must have been asleep with computer research when they did not even mention the Jefferson County Memorial Forest — at 6,000 acres plus, it’s the largest urban forest in the United States. It has many trails, fishing lakes, a handicapped trail, picnic shelter, visitor center, environmental education programs for students and other educational programs for the public.
Would that rate a fourth of a reason?

The expansion of the forest began in 1975 with the leadership of Dr. Fred Pipkin and the non-profit volunteer organization Wilderness Jefferson County, which convinced Metro Parks to begin an expansion program of the forest. At that time, it was six isolated, unconnected parcels encompassing about 1,700 acres. Over the next 25 years, Wilderness Jefferson County built trails, including the bisecting 6-mile Siltstone trail, raised funds to buy parcels, research and mapped areas and trails, helped make maps, clean up the forest, helped work on a master plan and helped map, mark and build many trails in partnership with Metro Parks. Eventually the isolated segments were joined to allow for wonderful hiking trails.

Today, it is a unique urban wilderness that will serve the needs of the Louisville Metro area for a long time.
Kenny Karem, Louisville

Shaky Stats
In his Sept. 26 LEO column, Jim Waters writes that when Thomas Nelson Jr., a Virginian who signed the Declaration of Independence and fought in the Revolutionary War, saw his home occupied by British troops, he “ordered his gunners to fire at it” and “down came Nelson’s home.”

It’s a bracing story that has matured into legend, but it’s not true. Nelson’s home was not destroyed. In fact, his home still stands today: It remained in the Nelson family until 1914 and is now preserved by our tax dollars on the Yorktown Battlefield at the Colonial National Historical Park.

Waters goes on to make another misleading assertion, although this time about more recent history and with more deliberate intent to misinform and not just pass along a patriotic legend. He repeats a statistic that supposedly shows that LBJ’s War on Poverty had no effect. But the statistic cheats by only tracking poverty rates starting in 1968, three important years after Johnson’s Great Society programs actually began. During those three years, the ratio of Americans living in poverty fell sharply, declining 26 percent.

It’s especially worth noting that — largely because of the accomplishments of Medicare and Medicaid — poverty among the elderly and children is now significantly lower than it was in 1965. Since then, the ratio of elderly Americans living in poverty has dropped by 64 percent. The ratio of kids living in poverty is down 29 percent. These are not small accomplishments.

Waters marshaled these dubious claims to restate his usual case: It’s time to give corporate interests more control over our lives and our communities. The shakiness of Waters’ facts matches the soundness of Waters’ argument.
Carter Wright, Louisville

Shape Up
Regarding the Erosia letter headed “Fat Kentucks” (LEO, Sept. 19): I cannot agree more with Dr. R. Todd Hockenbury. I live in a rural area of Southern Indiana where diet, exercise and restraint from tobacco use are also not priorities. You don’t have to be a medical professional to see that most of the people with lower body joint problems are obese.

I turned 65 in July, and I have lost 45 pounds since the first of the year mainly by changing my diet. I did this without the aid of prescription medication or expensive counselors or memberships. I read a book that I keep in the kitchen as a ready reference. This is something you can do on your own.

I feel great. In September, I made two separate 8-mile hikes in hilly terrain, and I also participated in two separate 25-mile organized bicycle rides. It pays to stay in shape.
Lewis Brown, Palmyra, Ind.

Are You Surprised?

I always enjoy Stanley Collyer’s observations, so here’re two suggestions. LEO, why not give Collyer more space/frequency? If he doesn’t want more ink, suggest he take it. And Collyer, why not drop the polite stance and just peg Louisville for the provincial burg it so often is?

About the arena, Collyer wrote (in the Sept. 5 LEO), “There is a sense that getting the building built was more important than how it might look.” This is a pregnant sentence that suggests not only kowtowing to expediency, but also to consumer survey and polling data. Louisville has no shortage of new and recent buildings that suggest the year 1900. There are condos on Dundee Way so dour one wouldn’t be surprised to find a 19th-century Scottish Presbyterian minister taking up residence there. The just completed retail and condo project on Frankfort Avenue at Kennedy Avenue shouts CONFORMITY, REPRESSION and NO IMAGINATION. Collegiate School has a new building on Grinstead Drive that might as well have “Please, sir, may I have some more?” chiseled under the cornice. And along Herr Lane near KY 22 will be built, according to the renderings, downtown Mayberry. Gomer says hey.

Can Collyer, or anyone, truly be surprised by the arena design? Just a few years back, should anyone remember, this location was going to host big individual letters that would have spelled out L-O-U-I-S-V-I-L-L-E. Apparently someone in city government understood that southbound drivers would have perceived from the letters only N-O-T I-N-D-I-A-N-A-P-O-L-I-S or N-O-T N-A-S-H-V-I-L-L-E or even H-O-O-T-E-R-V-I-L-L-E. However, senses were come to, the idea was scrapped.
I await not only the start, but the completion, of Museum Plaza.
Fairleigh Brooks, Louisville

Voting Gemini
Ken Nevitt’s reaction to Lucinda Marshall’s and my comments on the Iraq Summer project (LEO, Oct. 3) led him to accuse us of being “purist” Progressives who advocate not voting. Speaking for myself, nobody could accuse me of being a purist about most anything. I’m a Gemini; our kind dabble in everything, mixing and matching helter-skelter. Nothing purist about anything we think, say or do.

On that “advocating not voting” point: Neither Marshall nor moi said anything about not voting. I do remember Marshall writing it would be nice if there were an actual candidate opposing McConnell in ’08. Regarding the presidential election, I imagine one of the pro-war Democrats will get the nomination, so I’m hoping that a Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel or a Ron Paul will run as an independent, allowing me to actually vote that office. Otherwise, I’ll have to write in my selection (which I have done in the past). If it comes to that, I may even write in Ken Nevitt’s name if he would promise to get us out of Iraq, say within six months.
Marcia Schneider, Louisville