Inbox — July 2, 2014

Letters to the Editor

LEO’s a Drag
As a gay man and an avid reader of your publication, I was unexpectedly disappointed in the June 18 LEO Weekly. It’s Gay Pride Week, and of all the thought-provoking issues, topics and discussions that could be had, someone writes about drag … again.

Drag is an art form to be admired, and the article featuring the cast of Play was well written, but sadly it’s the same “story” we’ve seen time and time and time again. Why is “drag” always the go-to subject when it comes to writing about gay culture?

There is so much more to our community than what goes on inside of gay bars, and every time someone takes up space to rehash information about “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or Lady Gaga performing at The Connection, it just makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs. It was almost four years ago … can we find something else to write about, please?

There was a great opportunity to not only educate people on the ever-present issues surrounding gay culture and our rights but also highlight some of the people who stay out of the spotlight, who do so much charitable work out of the goodness of their hearts and do not earn a paycheck. Pride lasts for one week, and the only article you can print is about drag? I almost thought someone from the Pride committee would have reached out to lend a few words of advice or wisdom, but I guess as a gay man, I will forever be consumed with unrealistic expectations of those around me.
Erik Martínez, Highlands

Invest in Safer Roads
A challenge to Council members and anyone else who questions the necessity of investing funds to increase the safety of our roadways for bicycles: Attend the funeral of the man run over on 15th Street last Saturday morning while trying to make his way down one of our city’s many built-for-speed, one-way streets with no safe space for bikes. And ride your bike to get there.

Unless your house and the funeral parlor happen to be located on Kentucky, Breckinridge or one of the handful of other streets that have benefited from Metro’s recent investment in bike facilities, you will quickly discover how much work we still need to do to make our streets safe for everyone. Then take a spin in Indianapolis, Chicago, D.C. or any other city that has made serious investments in bike infrastructure, and you’ll see what Louisville has to do to catch up.

Bikes are inherently fun, but they are not merely toys for the wealthy. They provide practical, affordable, healthy, pollution-free transportation for people like Saturday’s victim who don’t have a spare $9,000/year to waste on owning, maintaining and fueling a car. It is the rightful role of government to fund transportation options like this.

I’ll gladly pay to license my bike as soon as drivers are required to pay to park on any public street. Without free parking everywhere, our streets would have plenty of room for bikes.
Justin Mog, Paristown Pointe

Checks and Balances
Brian Smith’s June 18 letter to LEO mentions a problem faced by other employees in Metro government. He wrote, “My experience with the Louisville Metro government was by far the most humiliating and demoralizing of my career.”

I’ve been in that kind of situation, too, and I managed to survive it with a lot of help from my union and my co-workers. Based on my experiences, I would say these problems happen partly because there are not many checks and balances in Metro government’s personnel and administrative procedures, and partly because managers don’t take the procedures seriously. They are always looking for loopholes. If that doesn’t work, they’ll try to tear some new loopholes.

Even worse, the Human Resources Department is tasked with incompatible duties. They advise management on employee discipline on the one hand. Then, they process employee grievances, ethics complaints and EEO complaints. They can find themselves handling management’s discipline and the employee’s grievance for the same case. After what I’ve seen, I really don’t think the “one-stop-shop” concept is appropriate here. I would ask the mayor to install some checks and balances in Human Resources.
Stacy Spencer, South End