Inbox — Aug. 27, 2008

Letters to the Editor


Last week’s Book Smart section listed an incorrect publisher: “Louisville 2035” by Steve Wiser is published by WiserAIA Publications. LEO regrets the error. 


I have followed the Robert Felner story at U of L on the Internet, in The C-J and now in your paper (LEO Weekly, Aug. 13), and one question leaps out at me: How did this guy get the job of dean of education at a major college? Nowhere in any article I have read have I seen a mention of any K-12 education experience or background. He was a helluva grant writer, evidently. I think this just shows what is valued at some of our supposed higher institutions of learning.

Rob Seng, Louisville


Regarding Jim Welp’s story on the Falls Fountain (LEO Weekly, Aug. 13): Jim Welp needs to write every history book! Not only does he contextualize and integrate events with their times, he provides much-needed comic breaks to help us digest the putrid truths of our day. I was a Bingham employee during that effervescent time, and it is fascinating to review it with the perspective of 20 years. Great piece!

Cate Cetrulo, Louisville



I agree wholeheartedly with the Jefferson County Teachers Association strategy to hold Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Sheldon Berman and his lackluster accomplices accountable for failing at new-teacher retention. It’s unfortunate that under Berman’s “leadership,” capricious power mongers, hands-off administrators and central-office staff still reign at JCPS. Why should we tolerate a dodgy blame-someone-else mindset that lumps new teachers together without trying to retain them? Unfortunately, these same folks believe students are disposable, too.

I thought we would get an advocate for students who learn differently, given that the superintendent has a child with Down syndrome. Instead we have a superintendent who lumps all students who learn differently into the same category — unable to learn — and leads unwitting media to conclude that bad federal standards, bad teachers and bad kids — not unaccountable administrators — are the problem. The C-J editors and other mainstream media continue to shift blame and accountability from administrators to teachers and students, to the absolute detriment of our community.

My intelligent, capable son who learns differently attends a high school less than a mile from the Van Hoose building that couldn’t meet its No Child Left Behind math goals and, more importantly, couldn’t help him meet math goals needed for him to achieve his career goals. I, for one, am tired of the excuses. Education administrators are never held accountable to deliver the services they have the professional qualifications and resources to deliver — either for new and not-so-new teachers or students who learn differently. As far as I can tell, we can’t get the largest, wealthiest district in this commonwealth to help its newest teachers succeed. No wonder they can’t help students who most need a public school system that works — those with ADD or dyslexia, speak English as a second language or come from impoverished homes.

Doug Lowry, Louisville



I have had two encounters with arrogant bicyclists this week. I live in the Germantown area. I was driving on Swan Street when a man on a bicycle made a right turn from Oak Street (traveling the wrong way down a one-way street, I might add) onto Swan coming toward me. He came around the corner at a fast speed and made a very wide turn, which put him into my lane. I was surprised at seeing him suddenly appear, and I immediately slowed down. He corrected his path into the driving lane and had the audacity to glare at me menacingly, as if I had been driving in such a way as to offend him. I didn’t so much as honk my horn in protest.

This afternoon, at approximately 5:30 p.m., I came home from work and parked my car on the street in front of my house. I turned off the car, unbuckled my seatbelt and began to open my car door (I repeat, began to open my door), not even enough to actually get out of the vehicle, when — WHAM! — a cyclist hit my car door! There was no way l could have seen him coming. He fell to the ground, obviously in pain. I, of course, expressed concern and shock that I didn’t see him. Of course, he cursed and was incredulous that I wasn’t “sharing the road.” The man got up, hopped on his bike and continued down the street. Meanwhile, I was left with a pronounced dent in my car door. I believe this constitutes a hit-and-run, so l called the police to file a report. The officer agreed with me that the cyclist was at fault and traveling too close to parked cars.

These are just two examples. I feel cyclists in our area are ignorant of the rules of the road, have self-righteous and arrogant attitudes toward other vehicles on the road and have an obvious lack of self-preservation. It has been some time since I have ridden a bicycle on a regular basis, and I truly believe that if I were to take it up again, I would review the rules, be aware of the perils and definitely wear a helmet. It is a frustrating situation in our city, and I hope a solution can be found. Some have suggested licensing bicyclists or having some way to identify cyclists. Sounds like a pretty good idea and a way for the city to collect the funds to pay for educating citizens on how to cycle their way around our community.

Julianne M. Thomas, Louisville



Why can’t Barack Obama give us a direct answer on the question of when he personally believes life begins? To be fair, it seems no liberal politician is brave enough to face this question head-on. 

When Rick Warren asked Obama for his personal belief on CNN last Saturday, he dodged the question. Yes, Obama was courageous enough to admit that he is pro-choice. Then he qualified his reply by adding that he personally opposes abortion. Was his objection based on moral conviction, health concerns or both? He didn’t say. 

Obama went on to allow that intensely personal decisions like this one are unsettling and deeply challenging. It’s better to let each person handle it on her and his own terms. The government should not get involved. We’ve heard this explanation before. It’s the standard right-to-privacy talk. And it’s not a direct answer to Warren’s question. 

Maybe Obama believes that life begins at “viability.” He’d hardly be alone if he did. Might there be a “brain birth” or “brain life” before “brain death”? It seems like that idea cannot be openly discussed, even though it approximates what many people believe nowadays. Why not? 

Maybe frank discussion of abortion is just not possible. But if it is, we’d surely talk about the fundamentals. 

Tom Louderback, Louisville