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February 20, 2007

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.Keep Them On Their ToesI want to commend LEO reporter Stephen George for the comprehensive reports of MSD’s punitive actions against an employee and a contractor who reported observations of actions that indicated a blatant misuse of authority and mismanagement of municipal property. I appreciate George’s thorough research and cogent writing. It is important that we be made aware of such important issues of integrity in the conduct of public agencies. I was horrified to learn that MSD’s executive director had spent well over a quarter of a million dollars of ratepayers’ money to defend actions that violated state law, and yet was given credit for “a helluva job” by Mayor Abramson. Perhaps a quarter of a million didn’t seem like much to “Hizzoner” compared with the $6 million in taxpayer money the mayor spent trying to defend the outrageous attempt to cheat the homeowners whose land was acquired for the airport by condemning their neighborhood as a slum and paying them a pittance rather than a fair market value, which would allow them to purchase another home of similar value. Clearly we can’t expect much from Attorney General Stumbo, who spent who knows how much of taxpayer money to prosecute the Fletcher administration for the merit system abuses, and then turned around and negotiated a settlement. What a sorry state of affairs! All the more important to have LEO and Stephen George to keep us mindful.Rose IsettiSewage Runneth OverRegarding the recent coverage of the MSD whistle-blower suit, that’s only one example of the agency’s recent rogue behavior. For example, to settle a 2004 lawsuit, it had to enter into a $500 million consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice and the state’s Environmental Protection Cabinet, agreeing to pay a huge amount of money because of its failure to comply with the Clean Water Act. The settlement purports to ensure that MSD will make extensive improvements to its sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized discharges of untreated sewage and to address problems of overflows from sewers that carry a combination of untreated sewage and storm water.The settlement noted that throughout the year, MSD’s sewer systems are overwhelmed by rainfall, resulting in unlawful discharges of untreated sewage and overflows of combined sewage into the Ohio River and its tributaries totaling billions of gallons each year. However, instead of working on this problem, MSD has spent its money to enable urban sprawl by extending sewers and thereby allowing dense subdivisions to proliferate. In another, more recent example, MSD made a private agreement with development interests to extend sewers into rural areas east of Blankenbaker Lane, for which the developers will pay, with no public input, no public hearings and, apparently, no questions from the Mayor’s Office. (Editor’s note: The Kentucky attorney general is currently investigating this matter.) Why haven’t these shenanigans caused our mayor any concern? Good question.Colleen McKinleySatisfiedThis is to clarify some confusion that has emerged about the authorship of an article that appeared in the Feb. 7 edition of LEO. Several of my friends and family knew that I had submitted a piece to LEO reviewing a local family restaurant, Schuler’s, and were looking forward to seeing it in the paper.However, when it came out, the piece appeared under the byline of Robin Garr, who is the author of the feature where it appeared, and who thus always gets the byline for that column. Garr edited and reframed the article, giving me credit for writing it by “handing the mic over” to me in his introduction. While this confused and concerned people who were looking for an article under my name, Garr and the LEO editorial staff have reassured me that it is just the policy of the paper, that authorship of the piece is mine, and there was no intent to claim credit for my work. So for anyone who was troubled about this matter, thanks for “looking out for me,” but rest assured the matter is resolved to my satisfaction. More importantly, I hope the piece inspired all of you to head out to Schuler’s for some great food and service.Fred SchloemerNo More CutsI tried to find John Yarmuth on the Web to no avail. I wanted to tell him that the elderly and disabled (of which I am one) of this country cannot and will not support any member of Congress that votes in favor of the proposed federal budget while it includes yet more cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. We have trillions to spend in Iraq, and our benefits in this country must be sacrificed? Where’s the justice in that? Please urge your readers to contact their representatives and let them know how we feel. Chef Steve Creasey, a winner of Literary LEOEditor’s note: You can find John on the Web at www.johnyarmuth.com.Fallen ComradesAs John Yarmuth begins his first term as our 3rd District Congressman, I think Jefferson County Democrats ought to express some appreciation to the Democrat who tried to win this seat in the last election — Tony Miller. Everyone knows that Congresswoman Northup was formidable and practically unbeatable for four elections in a row. Taking her on was a daunting challenge.The effort seemed almost hopeless by the time Miller stepped up to the plate two years ago. But that was not his biggest problem. The worst of it was that too many of our community’s opinion leaders lacked the fortitude to stick with Miller on principle. For one, The Courier-Journal abandoned him soon after he’d done poorly on radio talk shows. For another, some local Democratic politicians bailed out when it became obvious that opinion poll ratings of Miller’s candidacy had stalled.True enough, Miller sounded less knowledgeable than Northup. He flubbed and forgot his lines. Never mind that Northup herself sounded less knowledgeable than incumbent Mike Ward 12 years ago.So, was experience in Congress the thing that mattered most in 2004? Not really. The issues were just as compelling as they are today. It clearly was about the issues. Many of us were asking ourselves questions like: What positions will these candidates take in Congress? Which Congressional caucuses are they likely to join? How are they likely to vote in Congress?Now, everyone knows that those who abandoned Miller two years ago were by default giving their support to the failing (now failed) policies of the Bush administration. This was already obvious to a lot of folks back then. On the issues, Miller was a better choice than the alternative.Tom LouderbackWar IQDo you hate traditional IQ tests because of all those stress-inducing multiple choice questions? Well, here’s one that’s oh so easy! It’s based on the simple premise that the smarter people figured out that the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea before the dumber ones did! To explain: If you knew this even before it began on March 20, 2003, go ahead and smugly rate yourself an IQ of 150 — “genius”! If, however, you thought it was a GOOD idea and your opinion then changed, take the number of days it took to realize your boo-boo, multiply by -150, divide by 1461 (the number of days in four years) and add 150. For example, if it took you one whole year to realize it was a mistake, plug in 366 (leap year!), and your IQ is only 112, just like those people who doubt global warming; if two years, your IQ is 75, like people who doubt evolution; and if three years, 37, like people who doubt gravity. Now, if you STILL think it was a good idea, be warned that if you don’t come to your meager senses soon, your IQ zeroes out on March 20, 2007 — its fourth anniversary. (And you must admit, I’m being incredibly generous — not to mention incredibly arbitrary — in granting you such an absurdly long time period.) Consequently, based on this infallible formula, if you do still seriously believe the invasion of Iraq was a good idea, this is evidently being read to you by your dog.James Bevarly