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November 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.Media MaydayRick Redding’s media analysis was on target (LEO, Nov. 7). Local media have become so lazy in their “scripted teleprompter” news that viewers’ interest has waned. The same “old” faces appear on screen with the same demeanor of the past 20 years. Fresh faces are non-existent. But more importantly, there is no investigative journalism to inform the public. WLKY-TV touts itself as doing investigative journalism, but, in reality, it doesn’t. WAVE-TV tries to do community service investigating local scam and con artists. WHAS-TV hasn’t done any investigative journalism that I can recall. And The Courier-Journal’s investigative reporting leaves much to be desired. The only investigative journalism The C-J does is against Republican politicians. All of the local channels seem to be heavily invested and committed to “Doppler” radar weather predictions. Who cares who has the biggest radar? And this past weekend, all the local channels focused on the “Extreme Home Makeover.” What kind of investigative journalism would be for the public good? How about investigating Louisville’s slumlords? But I wouldn’t count on it because they just might actually expose some prominent local politician/business person … or maybe one of their friends. Perhaps if local media focus their resources on something more than just feel-good stories, they just might get the public interested in watching them again. Then viewers just might learn something. Remember, the media’s purpose is to inform the public to make informed decisions. What say you, local media?Keith E. Lewis, LouisvilleGrown-up ThinkingThe Erosia letter in the Nov. 14 LEO from the Kids Voting Metro Louisville organization intern was educational in an unintended way. The youth voted for the library referendum in a landslide because they do not pay taxes. Angie Cahill’s suggestion that we should “think like a member of a community instead of a taxpayer” seems to insinuate that community-thinking does not require fiscal responsibility, much like child-thinking.The fact of the matter is that child-friendly initiatives are the most likely to be segregated into their own tax funding because they are so fuzzy and feel-good when pondered free of the burden of substantiating the cost. Even children would be hard pressed to promise 0.2 percent of Mommy and Daddy’s money ad infinitum for something less cute, perhaps meter maids or sewage treatment. The harder question is why does 0.2 percent more of our money suddenly need to be added to the tax pot indefinitely? Go to www.chicagoreader.com/tifarchive/. No one is speaking of it locally, but you will be able to read how our neighbors to the north are discovering that the marvelous tax incremental financing drives up everyone else’s tax rates by excluding those future taxes from the general fund. Wilson, Poe and Greenberg get to build Museum Plaza in part because Museum Plaza pays for itself instead of contributing to the libraries via the general tax fund. Ditto for the Medical Center Haymarket project. Hopefully we won’t end up like Kansas City and overestimate the future taxes, leading us into debt. Perhaps the Kids Voting Metro Louisville can vote on TIF districts as well. My community-thinking is that we should limit civic development to what we can actually afford, with fewer TIFs and no more end-around tax hikes.Ben Schoenbachler, LouisvilleEditor’s note: LEO has done several stories on local TIFs this year.Still Support for LibraryWhen I stepped into the voting booth on Nov. 6, I was immediately struck by just how poorly written the library referendum was. Presented as a two-part question, it required me to answer whether I supported the expansion of the library and the provision of modern facilities and adequate materials (Yes) and whether I supported an additional tax on my income to be used to reach that goal (No). But the ballot did not allow me to address that very real tension between my ideals and my reality. It was a faulty question.For the first time in my life, I find myself in a position where I can’t simply vote my ideals. Clearly I have been snuggled in my complacency blanket for quite some time now, and only I am to blame for my lack of understanding of how we ensure that any of our tax dollars go to the things that we consider valuable. When called to make a similar decision in the future, I plan on having a better understanding of that process. But in the meantime, I want to honor my belief that our libraries are an integral part of our city, and are deserving of our hard-earned money. From what I have gathered from their Web site, the library accepts monetary donations through the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, and that of books and other materials through the Friends of the Library. Though this probably won’t lead to the massive expansion that would be feasible given the revenue obtained from a tax increase, it is surely a way we can all put our money where our mouths/hearts/brains are and show our support for the library system until we are presented with a large-scale plan that we feel comfortable endorsing.Emily Glenn, LouisvilleUnfair AssessmentI write to comment on the theater review of “Arrangement for Two Violas” in last week’s LEO. I am a subscriber to Pandora Productions and was dismayed to read the review before seeing the play. I was surprised to find the review quite off the mark; in fact, it was far too harsh and not sensitive to the context of the play. If monologues are no good at all, I suppose “Our Town” has to be regarded as a failure. Nonsense! The play has a great deal to do with music, since the main characters both immerse themselves into it and find it a bridge to their budding relationship. Yes, the viola jokes are corny, but anyone with a grain of sense realizes that “in-jokes” are always corny to outsiders. In addition, the fact that Karl Schuler supports Margaret Sanger in his local newspaper, but finds “queer” people untoward at best makes perfect sense for a play set in 1938: Hell, we’re still looking to protect our teachers’ gender identity in 2007. I do not think the play is perfect, but it deserved better than the insensitive hatchet job your reviewer presented.John E. Fischer, Louisville