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.

Attn: Stephen George:
I read your cover story about the frivolous complaint filed by Metro Human Relations Commission enforcement board chairman Alfonso Lanceta (LEO, Dec. 19). This complaint is appalling. If Lanceta is so humorless that he didn’t grasp that the ad in question was clearly tongue-in-cheek, he is either lacking any intelligence or is just a miserable person.
I read LEO every week, but I don’t remember the ad in question. However, I often read stuff in LEO that offends me. That is exactly why I read it! If I wanted to read a bunch of feel-good articles, I would subscribe to Guideposts or read “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Here’s one reader who hopes LEO continues to push the envelope in its content.
Keith Norris, Louisville

Free From Harassment
After taking a moment to make sure I hadn’t picked up the Southeast Outlook by mistake, I decided to take a moment and consider what Jim Waters had to say (LEO, Dec. 5). I took issue with the tone of his piece, in particular the terming of an anti-harassment and fair employment policy as special rights. Being free from harassment at work is not a special right.

While I hope for a time when such policies are not necessary, it is how we make progress on such issues. No one should have to fear going to work for any reason except when they lack the ability to perform the job.
I am fortunate to work with people who focus on job performance while at work. I think my and my co-workers’ attitude is in part because of the culture my company promotes. My employer is a large multinational corporation that spends time and money administering a domestic partner benefits program, which only benefits a small percentage of employees. I applaud the members of the school board who took time to attend to the needs of a minority group of employees. This was an important lesson to the students about the responsibility of those in power to take time to treat all fairly, even if it is unpopular or not an efficient use of time.

To the concern that a child might get in trouble for making fun of the teacher, let me phrase it a different way. Is your child going to get in trouble for being disrespectful to the teacher? I, for one, hope they would. However, it is the job of an administrator to use common sense and separate the merely playful from the disruptively offensive.

Finally, Waters made a point of informing us of his lack of bigotry, and I cannot know a man’s heart from a single article, but is he only opposed to anti-harassment and fair employment laws for groups that trouble his sense of personal morality?

While I respectfully disagree with your position, Mr. Waters, I look forward to more thought-provoking letters.
Derek Reese, Louisville

Park It
Attn: Cary Stemle:
Your article (commentary on the arena funding, LEO, Dec. 12) stipulates a lot of pertinent information. I tend to think some other information might be meaningful.

Most people see all of the parking garages located in close proximity to the new arena. Someone said there will be underground parking under the arena. I tend to think that this availability will be restricted to luxury-box and arena-management people. Workers and patrons will not be allowed.

Most downtown parking garages utilize the first three parking levels for reserved parking. At a medical facility, one worker said she paid $200 a month for parking. Another said she paid more and asked her to put her name on the waiting list.

If anyone was interested in investigating, they would find five to 10 empty spaces in each location at about 10 a.m. This would increase to about 20 at 3 p.m. I have not seen a sign on these garages that states: “Reserved parking spaces may be used after 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and on weekends.”
The arena management should advise prospective users that Monday-Friday activities should not be scheduled until 8 p.m. due to parking availability.
Ed Summers, New Albany

Losing Patience
Jim Waters says giving “special protection” (read: equal rights) to JCPS employees who happen to be gay is unnecessary because there have been no complaints of discrimination. Of course there haven’t — how can you file a complaint about something if your right to complain about it hasn’t been established? Then he attempts to frighten us by insinuating that your child could be charged with harassment for saying something “smart aleck” to a big, scary, gay teacher. Mr. Waters, these teachers need protection from harassment by adults. Next, he says his camp is not bigoted because it isn’t advocating discrimination because people are gay but rather because they are horrible teachers who happen to be gay. Aside from being insulting to all teachers, this implies that you should have to pass a proficiency exam before you are entitled to equal rights.

We are then treated to a bunch of dodgy statistics. He says, “38 percent of students who were freshman in Jefferson County’s high schools in 1999 didn’t graduate in 2003.” He doesn’t say how many moved away, went to private school, got their GED, etc. He doesn’t say if 2003 is the most recent year for which data was available or if he cherry-picked it. He says between elementary and middle school, learning disabled JCPS kids fall an extra 19 points behind in reading and nine points in math. He doesn’t say how that compares to other public school districts or Louisville private schools. Laughably, he says that anti-discrimination laws are “intrusions” into our lives. The real intrusions into our lives are usually instigated by conservatives: illegal wiretapping, abortion restriction, “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” banning gay marriage, suspension of habeas corpus, etc.

Finally, he says Kentucky’s parents are losing patience with JCPS. Well, I am not. I am grateful for the hard work my children’s teachers do for little monetary reward and obviously very little respect. I have LOST patience with the underfunding of public schools, and also with people like Jim Waters who would rather see JCPS fail than do something to help it succeed.
Amanda Clark, Louisville