Inbox — July 21, 2010

Letters to the editor

LEO Weekly welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful.
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Emerging Candidates

On behalf of the Emerge Kentucky board of directors, I want to thank the editors and reporter Phillip Bailey at LEO for a well-written, well-researched article highlighting the important work of Emerge Kentucky — a program designed to encourage and educate Democratic women in their pursuit of public service (LEO Weekly, July 14).

The article, “Leading Ladies: Bridging the gender gap in Kentucky politics,” portrayed the members of our outstanding class as the exceptional, hardworking women they are. Emerge Kentucky trains Democratic women from all walks of life and from every corner of Kentucky so they may have the tools to be effective public servants. LEO accurately represented our mission.

As a direct result of this article, we have already been contacted by women who want to participate in the next Emerge Kentucky class.

Again, our thanks to the editors and Bailey for your help in increasing awareness of the Emerge program and helping us inform the women of Kentucky that a training organization exists to increase the number of Kentucky women in public office.

Jennifer A. Moore, chairwoman of Emerge Kentucky Board, Highlands

Smoking Mad

The bars of Germantown should not be treated as a nuisance (LEO Weekly, July 14). They are neighborhood institutions that date back nearly 100 years, and many are run by a new generation of owners like myself who have worked very hard to clean them up and make them more appealing and accessible to a broader range of clientele. The bars have been in this neighborhood decades longer than any of the residents who are complaining, and I don’t think it’s fair for us to be punished for simply trying to stay in business.

The increased usage of the outdoor areas of our bars is a direct result of the smoking ban. When Metro government told us we could no longer allow smoking indoors, we improved our outdoor areas out of necessity. I find it completely unfair for the same government to now be using the complex wording and rules set by zoning to take these areas away from us.

Some kind of exception or compromise must be made without the bars having to spend boatloads of money on legal fees in the process. Establishments like mine should either be allowed to have an outdoor smoking area or simply be granted an exemption from the smoking ban.

Jimmy Heck, owner of Seidenfaden’s, Germantown

Practice Logic

Although Keith E. Lewis begins his defense of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with a Fox News-worthy non-apology to a few LEO readers, he owes a real, heartfelt apology to the concepts of logic, coherence and specificity (LEO Weekly, July 7). In the first place, there is insurmountable evidence that homosexuals are more than capable of “breaking things and killing people” and holding their own as members of a “cohesive fighting unit.” As far as any offense to our “Middle Eastern allies” — if they can put the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, the abuses of Abu Ghraib, and the abandonment and denial of asylum to thousands of Iraqis who risked their lives to aid the American cause behind them, I would submit that the prospect of fighting alongside an American soldier “a little light in the combat boots” would rank relatively low on their list of apprehensions and misgivings.

Vincent J. Callahan, Highlands

Buried Bridge

Steve Shaw’s “Bridge to division” perfectly captures the reasons citizens oppose tolls (LEO Weekly, July 7). At a time when we’re forced to economize and spend within our means, we’re willing to pay for no more, no less than we need. But the Ohio River Bridges Project is a bloated boondoggle. In more concrete terms, it’s a Sam’s Club on a Save-A-Lot budget, and yes, we’ll all pay to enter. The folks who are cheerleading the loudest and salivating the heaviest stand the most to gain by milking this cash cow for 17 years. Nobody else pretends that it’s visionary, world class, feasible or even reasonable. It’s a political compromise gone massively awry. And did someone tell me Goldman Sachs is involved?

They would sell this monster with bogus projection, razzle-dazzle, hocus-pocus, smoke and mirrors, bankrupt us all and laugh all the way to the bank. Expensive, disfiguring facelifts like these confirm the decline of a dying star. Thus I urge the conscientious members of the Bridges Authority to proceed gently as they deliberate changing the face of Louisville for generations. If they listen to the citizens, then common sense and efficiency will prevail. If Spaghetti Junction is blown up and recast to bury the waterfront under more concrete, then bury me in it.

James Gregg, Prospect

No Regulations

In the June 15 LEO, two letters proposed homeless shelters be regulated. One notable proposal was to restrict the number of people who could be housed in facilities. The writer noted, quite correctly, that the frequently crowded conditions of shelters are a hardship on the people who seek shelter. One might note, however, that no one forces homeless people to enter shelters and that the conditions in the shelters are likely better than the immediate alternatives available to the people who go in.

How would, for example, a regulation to reduce crowding help the homeless? Let’s say a shelter houses up to 100 people a night. After the regulation is implemented to reduce crowding, the shelter can only have 50 people. The other 50 people are turned away. Where do they go? Back onto the street, unless the Homeless Shelter Fairy intervenes and miraculously creates another shelter for 50 folks.

Other regulatory proposals, such as mandating “professional” staff to deal with the mentally ill, will increase operating costs for shelters. The result of the regulations will perhaps be to force some shelters to close, while others that might have opened will not. The fact is any regulation of homeless shelters will mean less shelter for the homeless.

Homeless shelters are not meant to be permanent and decent housing. They are meant to either provide a step up for people who have been on the streets, or a way to avoid having to live on the streets. They are better than the streets but not as good as a permanent home or apartment. They are, hopefully, a steppingstone to more permanent conditions. New regulations will decrease the number of people who can be helped by shelters.

Regulating homeless shelters is a bad idea.

Rich Mills, Shawnee

Still On Allen

Does our ballot allow for write-in votes? Especially for mayor? I listened to Greg Fischer speak for five minutes (or more) and was amazed at how many words could say so little. I urge a campaign for Tyler Allen as a write-in candidate. He speaks “out of the box” and opens the mind to broader, better and forward thinking. Isn’t that what our expensive slogan, “Unbridled Spirit,” is supposed to convey? It’s time to listen and walk away from the same old, same old. Write in Tyler Allen for mayor of Louisville.

Maie Klaphaak, Highlands

Taxing Lebron

This letter is in response to the infinite articles of drivel concerning the status of Lebron James. One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk show host, team owner, etc., brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted, they do offer a minuscule diversion from our daily trials and tribulations, as did the jesters in the king’s court during the middle ages. But to allow these entertainers to hoard such great amounts of wealth at the expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable. They do not provide a product or a service, so why are they rewarded as such?

Our society also is subjected to the “profound wisdom” of these people, because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this problem and an alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe and shelter those who cannot help themselves, would be to tax this undeserved wealth. Entertainers could keep 1 percent of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor, and 99 percent could be deposited into the public coffers.

The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment above everything else; isn’t it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.

Joe Bialek, Cleveland, Ohio