Inbox — April 28, 2010

Apr 28, 2010 at 5:00 am

A story in last week’s Derby issue incorrectly stated Louisville attorney Tom Conway participated in a landmark legal fight that ended broad form deed mining. LEO Weekly regrets the error.

My Neighborhood
Some people have said that LEO’s April 14 cover article about Portland is “gritty” and “real,” so I don’t want to make it seem like it’s wrong. I just think you missed the better story.

First, I would never say anyone is “forced” to resort to prostitution and drug dealing. If I did, why would we have worked so hard to get a young mother away from the pimps and dealers? In Portland, hard-working people think that even if the alternatives look harder now, it will be better in the long run.

Secondly, as we all know, looks can be deceiving, and your reporter was sadly over-simplifying racism (anywhere) to say “... it’s easy for some people in Portland to blame their problems on those who look different ...”

Portland is an integrated neighborhood. It always has been. Especially at the level where people work so hard to make ends meet, we really do have so much in common.

As a young dad reminded me just a few weeks ago, we now have a generation of young families who have grown up together, black and white. “It’s no big deal.” That’s the solution. It shouldn’t be a big deal to let your neighbors know that you’d really appreciate borrowing their jumper cables, or you need some space in front of your house to park, or to tell the kids to pick up the trash they dropped. White and black families can talk about such things every day in Portland.

The particular story your reporter and I talked about was what happened when there was a rush to build over-crowded, badly constructed housing for a lot of new residents in Portland a decade ago. In the rush, only some of us were thinking about how to save a social fabric that relies on sharing information and knowing who to trust. What I said was, “There’s always been crime in Portland. But when you knew their aunt or grandmother, you could always yank that chain to keep people in line.”

In other words, in a neighborhood like Portland, we need African-, Irish-, German- and old English-Americans to be unafraid to speak up when they see anything wrong. For example, John Owens was wrong to use old-fashioned, racial hate-baiting against Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton. He even pretends he is her “friend.” I hope no one falls for that.
Judy Schroeder, Portland

Portland to Thrive
I applaud Jonathan Meador’s candor in the April 14 cover story “A Portrait of Portland.” His able telling of the history of Portland goes a long way toward helping non-Portlanders understand where the neighborhood has come from and why we should all care.

As a Crescent Hill resident who works in Portland, I can vouch for the friendliness and sense of loyalty residents convey. In a city known for its unique neighborhoods, these qualities truly make Portland residents stand out.

Meador points out that Portland has survived a lot of hard times and will probably keep on surviving. But with the help of developers like Gill Holland, this neighborhood can do much more — it can thrive. Thank you, Mr. Holland, for your vision.
Lisa Sutton, Crescent Hill

Minus One Reader
The statement about the “overarching sentiment” in the “Portrait of Portland” article demonstrates absolute prejudice. I am, therefore, boycotting LEO and can no longer be included in its readership.
Tara Buckler, Louisville

Not Recyclable
Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I recall, the plastic wrap in question (regarding the Inbox letter in the April 21 LEO Weekly) was a No. 4, which is not, to the best of my tree-hugger knowledge, recyclable anywhere in the River City. No. 2 bags — yes. Plastic bottles Nos. 1-7 — yes, with Rumpke. Should I deliver my sacks and sacks of No. 4 C-J bags to Mr. Barth out in Crestwood?
Mike Willson, St. Matthews

Inept in Frankfort
Imagine you own a business employing about 150 people. All these people are on contract — some two years, some longer. They were told when you employed them they would have one overriding project that HAD to be completed by a certain date. They fail to do that. Would you renew their contracts? I doubt it.

Why, then, do you continue to re-elect the totally inept buffoons in Frankfort? Their primary task in every legislative session is to pass a budget by April 15, yet once again they have been unable to do that. However, they DID find time to attempt to: put further burdens on women desiring abortions; make a valuable over-the-counter drug require a prescription, therefore increasing costs and time involved in relieving sinus congestion; allow religious billboards to circumvent placement requirements; criminalize the sale/possession of Salvia, since some people will smoke it to get high ... maybe if marijuana was legal, no one would ever have TRIED to smoke Salvia.

Mistaken priorities? Pandering to narrow constituent groups? Or just plain old-fashioned incompetence? In any case, they OBVIOUSLY do not deserve to have their contracts renewed. DE-elect every one of them in the upcoming elections. Endorse those candidates challenging incumbents in both the primary and general elections. I, for one, have had enough of Kentucky having such a poor excuse for a legislature.
Robert P. Frederick, East End

Inconvenient Truths
I was going to begin with a short explanation of how this letter fits in with what I’ve been reading here lately, but you smart people can figure it out. There were more than 170 million people shot to death, hacked to death, gassed to death, beaten to death and starved to death in the 20th century. Some were killed for their political beliefs, some for their religious beliefs, some because they wanted freedom, but all of them had one thing in common — they were all murdered by their own governments.

Question: How many of those people were murdered in representative republics with capitalist economies and constitutionally limited governments designed to guarantee individual rights and freedoms and establish free markets?

Answer: Zero.

Question: How many of those people were murdered in countries that at one time or another decided to march down the road to socialism in one or more of its various forms?

Answer: More than 170 million.

Wow, talk about your “inconvenient truths.”
Tim Retallack, Buechel

Get Fit Without Meat
Last month, President Obama signed sweeping “health care” legislation that created a major rift over costs and other issues.

In 2009, we spent $2.5 trillion, or more than $8,000 per person, on medical care. That’s 17 percent of our GDP — more than any other country. And even these outrageous numbers don’t account for the economic toll of lost productivity, or the emotional toll of disease and death.

Ironically, these costs and the legislation have nothing to do with health care and everything to do with medical care, directed at alleviating chronic killer diseases that are largely self-inflicted through our flawed lifestyles. Actual health care is absolutely free. It involves exercise, rest and abstinence from smoking, drugs, and meat and dairy products.

Yes, meat and dairy. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 1.4 million U.S. deaths annually, or 58 percent of the total, are caused by heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases, which have been linked conclusively with the consumption of animal products.

We have no control over national medical care policy. But, each of us can exercise a great deal of control over our family’s health every time we visit our favorite supermarket.
Louie Ralls, South End