Inbox — Aug. 11, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Demand Justice
In response to “Papers, please” (LEO Weekly, Aug. 4): Kentucky Jobs with Justice stands in solidarity with the people in Arizona who are facing anti-immigrant attacks from those who prefer to divide our country instead of build our communities.

While a federal judge has called some of the provisions of Senate Bill 1070 unconstitutional, this is only a temporary judgment that affects a few of the areas of implementation.

We fully support “People Not Profiles: Kentucky Says NO to Arizona’s Unconstitutional Law” campaign, because we must respect the basic human rights of all people living in the United States. Many of the immigrants being racially profiled in Arizona represent working families that are contributing to communities and neighborhoods.

What we find most reprehensible about S.B. 1070 is that it allows law enforcement to stop someone if they suspect that person is an undocumented immigrant and allows a law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to make an arrest if the officer believes the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States. S.B.1070 also allows individual immigration status information to be used to determine eligibility for any public benefit, service or license provided by any federal, state, local or other political subdivision of the state.

And finally, S.B.1070 requires the courts to collect and remit civil penalties to the Department of Public Safety, which must establish a special account for Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) appropriation.

We can and we must demand better from our democracy!
Attica C. Scott, coordinator, Kentucky Jobs with Justice

Good Dog
Thank you for your in-depth reporting on conditions, past and present, at Metro Animal Services in “Animal House” (LEO Weekly, July 28). This is a very sad story. As a longtime volunteer and board member of the New Albany/Floyd County Animal Shelter, I am acutely aware of the often overwhelming challenges and stress involved in the daily operations of the shelter. Though obviously smaller, we are fortunate to have a highly competent and creative team. So I am both appalled by and sympathetic to MAS. But mostly, I’m disgusted with the stupid people whose irresponsibility toward their own animals create the enormous problem of overpopulation, abandonment, neglect, abuse and threats to public safety that cause the endless parade of these poor creatures into our shelters, and tragically for many, our landfills.

Their abdication puts the responsibility for care and disposition onto the public, who then complain about their “tax burden.” It is critical that people face these facts and recognize the obligation to properly fund animal shelter and control services. Finally, I hope the Kennel Club, whose members spend thousands of dollars to show off their pure breeds, donate some of that money to help with the overwhelming number of homeless mutts (and purebreds) that fill our shelters. That should be a mandate in their charter.
Ruthanne Wolfe, New Albany

Bad Dog
The bias and shallow nature of Jonathan Meador’s article “Animal House” (LEO Weekly, July 28) doesn’t surprise me considering his past sensational stories. I have both a journalism degree and am a licensed veterinary technician, and this article does neither profession justice. I have been on the frontlines of shelter work, and the employees do what they can with the minimal means they have. Chastising MAS for not having an incinerator or for having to euthanize animals does little to address the fact that the shelter can only do what the government affords them to do. Meador’s “exposé” on the negative aspects of a shelter will probably result in lowered adoptions and increased euthanasia.

Instead, Meador, why not try to educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets to combat our county’s staggering pet overpopulation? Or better yet, quit writing damning articles and give MAS a chance to recover from a bad director and do what they do best — pour their hearts and souls into a selfless, difficult but rewarding career in which they sacrifice much for the love of animals.
Becca Spalding, Clifton

Very Bad Dog
Attn: Mayor Abramson,

I am disgusted after reading the article in the July 28 LEO Weekly titled “Animal House” by Jonathan Meador. I have always had respect for you and was proud of our “Mayor for Life,” but this article makes me question just what other issues you have swept under the rug or ignored by having turned the other way. There are so many alleged offenses here — sexual harassment, employee sexual misconduct, financial fraud, unacceptable animal conditions, outdated equipment — that while just one would have been enough to draw further investigation, multiple allegations at a government facility is a disgrace. I have friends who work and volunteer at Metro Animal Services under these poor conditions out of the love of animals and the kindness of their hearts. Until now, I did not know just what they had been up against.

“In October, (Meloche) officially offered the mayor his resignation. Mayor Abramson responded by heaping praise on the outgoing director: ‘For more than four years, Dr. Meloche has been a strong change agent who has helped professionalize our animal services operation and significantly increase the percentage of adopted animals. I appreciate his dedication and service to our community, and I wish him much success.’”

You should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you admit your mistake in misjudgment of this man’s character and apologize for your words and for not doing more in preventing this situation from getting to the state it did.
S. Luckett, Germantown

It’s Noise, Not Smoke
I am a resident who owns property adjoining Seidenfaden’s Café, and I empathize with Mr. Heck regarding the smoking predicament at his business, which he outlined in a letter to LEO Weekly on July 14. However, I believe the other half of this story needs to be told. Seidenfaden’s was (and still is) zoned as an R6 multifamily residential dwelling in 1971, long before I moved here. Complaints toward Mr. Heck are due to his failure to comply with zoning requirements, in addition to related excessive noise, not smoking. Mr. Heck has failed to control the level of noise that emanates from his establishment since his purchase of the business in 2002. Since then, the surrounding residents have had to deal with excessively loud (and, under his zoning designation, illegally contracted) bands, karaoke, open-mic nights, and the noise generated by his recently added outdoor patio, a response to the ABC citing him for customers smoking inside his business.

Seidenfaden’s has transformed from an iconic landmark business of the neighborhood to a nuisance. The current zoning requirements are to protect residents from activities or businesses that are not appropriate for existing neighborhoods. We as neighbors only seek the right to enjoy our property, maintain their values and not endanger our health or quality of life.
Rob Storey, Germantown

Bearded Disbelief
In his column for the July 28 LEO Weekly, Joe Manning inaccurately describes Christopher Hitchens as someone who is absolutely certain about his “belief(s).” If Manning would research the subject a bit more, he would come to the realization that Hitchens, as well as the other “new atheist” authors (Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc.), are anything but. They’ve all stated on several occasions that there is no way for them to disprove the existence of god(s).

Manning fails to understand that the difference between Rush Limbaugh, your average militant Jihadi and Hitchens is that only one of them finds it dangerous to believe without reason (even more dangerous than The Eagles). It’s a bit odd that Manning doesn’t seem to understand that the new atheist movement is fighting against exactly what he’s accusing Hitchens of (certainty where there can be none). I think Manning’s beard may be clogging his ears and covering his eyes.
Michael Mattingly, Brooks, Ky.