Inbox — April 4, 2012

Letters to the Editor

No Toll for TARC
Regarding Steve Shaw’s March 21 column about the bridges: The truth be told, we are going to have tolling on the Ohio River Bridges. Our focus should now be on making certain that toll revenues serve the public interests and not private corporate profits. Shaw’s column mentioned a well-intentioned effort by state Rep. Jim Wayne (D-35) calling for “exemptions from tolls for people living in poverty.” A better way to allow low-income citizens full access to cross-river travel would be to force the tolling structure to subsidize public transit — not only the TARC bus service, but also TARC KIPDA carpools and vanpools. A small percentage, about 0.5 to 1 percent of toll revenues, can be earmarked to subsidize public transit on the bridges. All high occupancy vehicles — not just TARC buses — could be exempt from tolls or pay a greatly reduced rate. Tolls should also be mandated to subsidize TARC’s “night-owl” bus service giving low-income citizens access to both nighttime employment and recreational activities.

Those who insist on driving single occupancy vehicles during peak traffic hours should also be required to pay a premium toll. The intent of spending $2.9 billion to build two new bridges over the Ohio River was to reduce congestion on the aging Kennedy Bridge. This intent cannot be realized unless tolling also encourages greater use of public transit. It is also an absurdity to allow the Sherman Minton Bridge to remain toll-free since too many commuters will opt to use its toll-free status, causing chaos. Kentucky’s elected state legislators need to make Ohio River Bridges tolling work for the people and stop meaningless populist posturing against it.
David Eugene Blank, Highlands

Congressional Civil War
If any us were about 180 years old, we’d probably hear a loud echo in Joe Sonka’s remark that most of the legislation in our Kentucky House of Representatives this year “never got out of House committee due to the culture war or powerful lobbying interests” (LEO Weekly, March 28). This unrelenting gridlock in our state legislatures and Congress is reminding me more and more of the American Civil War — just without the actual war.

Apologists for corporations and their political power sound to me an awful lot like the old defenders of slave plantation economics. One example is the Citizens United vs. FEC decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 that seems to be our contemporary “Dred Scott.” Back then, the high court put the property rights of plantation owners above the human rights of slaves and former slaves. Today, they put the rights of corporations to spend their money on politicians and their campaigns over the free speech of ordinary citizens.

Chief Justice Roberts is today’s Roger B. Taney. Sen. McConnell is John C. Calhoun, the servitor of power. Mitt Romney’s remarks about poor people echo Jefferson Davis’ cold complaisance about the conditions of slavery. The federal debt ceiling fight in Congress last year resembled the Battle of Shiloh. It was a brutal fight that accomplished nothing. The election of 1962 was a rout for Lincoln, much like 2010 was a shellacking for Obama.

Will there be an Emancipation Proclamation? Let’s hope for that.
Tom Louderback, Highlands

Deep Thoughts
I strongly believe that too many people never take the entire Bible into account. I don’t always take the whole thing into account. I’m still learning myself. People quote things like The Golden Rule. That is also only one part of the Bible. Just one little quote is all people need. But the Bible also says to forgive each other. People don’t always want to forgive right away, but people mess up all the time. Sometimes we really mess up, and the situation is just complicated as all hell. Yell at me or whomever it is if you want, if it makes you feel better. Then forgive them. You move on, I move on, the community moves on, and then life will hopefully return to normal for everybody. I just hope I don’t mess up however I messed up before.
Steven Haynes, Louisville