Inbox — Aug. 14, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Homes for Homeless
I recently read the article you published on vacant and abandoned properties in Louisville (LEO Weekly, July 17). I appreciate the fact that the city is taking an interest in the problem of vacant housing, particularly in our urban neighborhoods. However, I am completely dismayed by the solution the city has adopted to address the problem.

Louisville is home to more than 9,000 homeless individuals, according to a recent count conducted by the Coalition for the Homeless. According to Jefferson County Public Schools, more than 12,000 of their students are homeless. Across the Metro we have, by some counts, nearly 11,000 vacant and abandoned properties that are languishing throughout our community. We have enough vacant and abandoned homes for every homeless person living in our community. What is the solution that the Metro Council chooses to address the issue? It chooses to foreclose on the properties and sell them to investors.

The Metro Council’s solution to the vacant housing crisis perpetuates the denial of homeownership to the poor and minorities across our community. A counterproposal to selling the properties to individual investors is for the Metro government to donate those properties to nonprofits that can rehabilitate them for use by our neediest citizens — homeless individuals and families. Sell or donate these properties to people who have a vested interest in seeing the neighborhoods flourish instead of continuing to fester and decay. It’s time for the Metro Council to be bold and creative in their efforts to resolve our vacant property crisis.
Robert Sims, board member of Women In Transition (W.I.T.), Highview

Reforming The Box
Thanks to April Corbin for her recent article, “Felons need not apply” (LEO Weekly, July 24). I have to admit, at an earlier point in my life, I might’ve read it and thought, “Well, if you rob a bank, don’t go crying when nobody wants you to handle their money.”

But two years ago I began working with a population of adult GED students, and I’ve become more sympathetic about “the box” felons face. One of my best students last year was struggling even to find a fast-food job. Her offense was decades ago but still follows her as she tries to apply for jobs to support herself and her family.

Thanks for drawing attention to the plight that felons face, especially the ones who seem to have truly reformed.
Alison McGaughey, Bettendorf, Iowa

Reclaim Logging
Excellent piece on “Reclaiming Kentucky” by Willie Davis (LEO Weekly, July 31). The use of coal severance money for a basketball arena in non-coal Lexington is ludicrous. Keep the coal money in the coal counties for job development. However, I have some qualms about using it for reclaiming old abandoned mines, because most of the environmental damage from strip mining occurs during and immediately after the mining. To do it correctly, you reclaim during the mining process and as soon after soil disturbance as possible. Reclaiming old mines is akin to putting lipstick on a pig or installing chrome strips over rusty fenders.

Better yet, Appalachian Kentucky should look to its trees, the finest hardwood forest in the world. Start a university-level forestry school and combine it with seed money for furniture businesses and high-end veneers instead of sending Kentucky students and Kentucky wood to North Carolina to be finished. Selective logging — as opposed to clear cutting — and milling and manufacturing could replace coal.
David Ross Stevens, Borden, Ind.

Love for Savage
Up front: I prefer those who shave their legs to those who shave their faces and have been living with the same wonderful woman for 65 years. Still, the great and timely feature, “The evolution of Dan Savage,” was pleasant reading (LEO Weekly, July 24).

I smiled when recalling the happy gay who said, “It would upset me for a woman to see my penis.”
Bob Moore, East End