Inbox — June 9, 2010

Unfair Concern
Dear Jonathan Meador:

I just read your account of the public hearing on the LG&E landfill (LEO Weekly, June 2). I was in attendance, and I feel like your characterization of the participants was somewhat unfair.

I found the majority of the residents and other concerned citizens to be well informed, articulate and, while frustrated and scared, very respectful. They were, as was I, disappointed that there was not an opportunity to learn about the project and be able to ask questions. I will be working to make sure that opportunity happens.

I look forward to reading more about this issue as we move through the process.
Joni Jenkins, State Representative, 44th District, Shively

In the Dog House
Regarding Jonathan Meador’s May 19 article, “The Dog Pound” — I wish Meador would have tried to contact someone in our office rather than rely so heavily on the unnamed painter quoted on the construction of the new Louisville Metro Animal Services Adoption Center. As the architects for the building, I feel we could have provided more reliable information.

There was and is no “massive crack” in the floor, nor a crack in the load-bearing frame. In a large part of the concrete floor slab, there were numerous small cracks to a degree that we rejected the work. The contractors immediately removed the rejected work. Since that time, the design team, the contractor and the city have been working together with a great spirit of cooperation to ensure the replacement floor slab will be of the best possible quality. Everyone associated with the project is committed to providing the best facility possible for Louisville Metro Animal Services, a facility sure to address many of the very concerns expressed in the article.

In my 32 years of architectural education and practice, I have never heard of a “post-apocalyptic church,” and I am not sure what is meant by that moniker. I would rather say that our design concept seeks to provide a fun, dynamic, playful expression reflecting regional rural and agrarian vernacular architecture.
David M. Allen, Cox Allen & Associates Architects

Coffee Venom
I would like to sincerely thank LEO and Jonathan Ashley for last week’s sophomoric insults in the column “The two Jonathans.” I’m not certain why Ashley decided to pause mid-story to bash his former coffee shop bosses and co-workers, but I found it childish and infuriating. Not only were these ramblings a random insertion into a column that had nothing to do with anything, let alone coffee, but his column lacked the very thing Ashley himself suggested he should have done in his youth: “something, anything positive.” I am disappointed in this publication for including such bitter and baggage-heavy ramblings.

Ashley’s “grievances,” in fact, were not well founded as he expressed in the column. For instance, he accused his former employer of doing “everything in their power to avoid paying health insurance.” As a current employee of this coffee company and former co-worker of Ashley’s, I can say unequivocally that this statement is untrue. In addition, the article accuses the same locally owned small business of “pay(ing) their employees less than Starbucks.” Now tell me this: What small business has any chance of competing financially with a publicly traded corporation whose reach spans the globe? Does the company at which I work pay less than Starbucks? I’m certain they do. I’m also certain that the baristas at said local business care more about working for an ethical company than compromising their beliefs for an extra 25 cents an hour.
Sarah Crawford, Clifton

Thanks, Yarmuth
I would like to salute U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and all the other House members who voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” At the risk of a bad pun, we all see it for what it is: a finger in the dike of a politically charged, poorly considered military policy concerning LGBT service members. At the time, the law was just a political chess move. That tossed pawn turned out to be a much bigger player after 9/11; unfortunately, our country was stuck with a policy that robbed our military of seasoned, highly trained officers, medics, interpreters and more, leaving units in tatters.

Mercifully, the United States has come to its senses, and the people — and their reps — have spoken. Now we need to push it through the Senate, so call or write your senator soon. It is certainly about fairness; no one should be robbed of civil rights. But it’s also about military effectiveness. Thanks again, Mr. Yarmuth.
Kara Amundson, Louisville

Down with the Pauls
Many Rand Paul supporters will argue that Paul can only be viewed as a racist if one takes his quotes out of context. This is completely untrue. Here’s his now-infamous quote about the Civil Rights Amendment: “I abhor racism — I think it’s a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I think there should be absolutely no discrimination on anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what the Civil Rights Act was about to my mind.” Rand Paul says it himself — he abhors racism! The reason? It’s a bad business decision. But it gets worse. Rachel Maddow asked Paul, “Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don’t serve black people?” Paul’s answer: “Yes.” Yes! But wait, that’s out of context. Let’s include his follow-up sentence: “I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form.” Whoa, wait, what?

Paul feels justified in legislating against civil rights — or, to put it more accurately, not using legislation to protect said rights, but he refuses to discuss it. This all reminds me of back in 2008 when it came to light that Ron Paul’s monthly official newsletter was full of racist diatribes — something Ron Paul claimed he had no knowledge of. The hilarious part of it all is a 2008 CNN story in which Ron Paul is quoted as saying, “Libertarians are incapable of being racist, because racism is a collectivist idea.” Remember when Ron Paul was portrayed as some sort of nutjob? Sometimes the media doesn’t lie.

Ron and Rand Paul are both undeserving of any sort of respect — politically or personally. Any person who votes or voted for either of these men is guilty of supporting racist and anti-gay policies. The Pauls, echoing Obama’s message of “Change,” are charlatans, acting the part of harbingers of a new era, when in fact they’re nothing more than remnants of the same profits-before-people, that-which-is-different-must-be-evil conservatism that has plagued this country for far too long.
J. Roshi, Jeffersonville

Props to Portland
I spent possibly the most important years of my life, the formative years (1941-1956), growing up in Portland. Just two months short of my 4th birthday, our family moved from Tell City, Ind., in August 1941, so that my dad, Gordon Craig Whiteley, could become the pastor of West Side Baptist Church. We lived next to the church in the parsonage at 2011 St. Xavier St.

I always get nostalgic today when I drive by the house I lived in for 15 years, the church and the three schools I attended. I have nothing but fond memories of growing up in Portland. Like most kids of that period, we played outdoors a lot. Before the advent of TV, we listened to music, athletic contests and entertaining programs on the radio.

I’m grateful for the education I received at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary, Western Jr. High and Shawnee High School. I’m also thankful for the Portland neighborhood kids and adults I knew who helped make my living there memorable. Instantly today, my mind’s eye can bring into view numerous pleasant memories. It truly was the people who made Portland so special.

I was the fifth of seven children. My parents were certainly not affluent, but we never went without life’s necessities. I never thought of Portland as being a poor area, but I do remember thinking it was rich people who lived in the West End, down around Shawnee and Fontaine Ferry parks.

One thing I am not nostalgic about was the segregation of the races. Until I transferred to run cross-country and track and finish my undergraduate education at a college in Kansas, I had never gone to school or had much contact with African-Americans.

It was easy to become good friends with my black teammates at Emporia State, because, by example, my parents had taught me that no race is superior to another based on skin color or ethnic origin. My dad was active in events, along with other ministers and rabbis, that centered around promoting racial harmony.

Kudos to today’s religious, political, business and citizen leaders of Portland who are striving to improve human relations and living conditions there. I won’t live to read it, but I hope 50 years from now, someone might write a letter to the editor saying positive things about growing up in Portland during the first half of the 21st century. A vibrant, historically rich Portland makes Louisville a better city.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews