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August 19, 2009

Inbox — Aug. 19, 2009

Letters to the Editor

The Breeders

Kate Welsh calls heterosexuals “breeders” and then wonders why “team wonderdyke” garners stares in Alabama (LEO Weekly, Aug. 5). Maybe Kate gets back what she puts out there. Maybe she sees what she wants to see where she wants to see it. Are there any positive gay/lesbian writers out there who could contribute to your magazine? I have been subjected to about as much of Kate’s negativity as I can take.

Ronnie Dingman, Phoenix Hill

Mayor’s Moonbeams

At last, it was refreshing to read that someone in the local Republican Party has taken the opportunity to speak about his party’s inability to relate to “poor, older black people” (LEO Weekly, “Shame on Jerry,” July 22). Democrats have done well with black voters by promising the moon and delivering nothing more than moonbeams. As a former Republican and member of the Jefferson County Executive Committee, I tried unsuccessfully to explain to fellow Republicans what they needed to relate to black voters. I gave a historical perspective about how the Civil Rights/Voting Rights Acts were passed in Congress with Republican votes. Republicans during that time were more interested in building coalitions than in keeping the status quo. Today’s Republican Party is probably 99-100 percent white, extremely affluent and completely ignorant to the economic challenges facing people living west of Ninth Street.

Local Republicans practically have no contact with people from Portland or the West End, unless they’re being served in a local restaurant or in the judicial system. Mayor Abramson’s success among blacks has been uninterrupted since he first ran for office. The mayor’s comments were that the old city of Louisville being older, poorer and blacker was somehow a detriment to Louisville economically before merger. He failed to mention that 99-100 percent of Louisville’s economics was and still is controlled by whites. (Think banking/investment firms, television/radio stations, insurance companies and hotels/restaurants.)

All the while, most of the retail/commercial businesses relocated to suburban malls, leaving most of Louisville relying on a tax revenue based on property/occupational taxes. Yet I have to applaud the mayor for speaking his mind. He also failed to mention that the smaller cities within Jefferson County were able to maintain their “small city” property/economic tax base after merger. Reminds me of the ancient Greek “city-state” of Sparta, which no longer exists. Moonbeams anyone?

Keith E. Lewis, Downtown

Assessing Aftermath

Eight days after Louisville’s most intense rain, residents of the 800 block of South 22nd Street are still waiting for their trash, formerly known as their belongings, to be removed from their yards. Most of these people don’t have flood insurance, and why would they? They don’t live in a flood plain — so they thought. And now, adding to the recession and the shrinking job market, they have to throw all their stuff away. Definitely not a good time for most folks in Louisville’s West End. I’m not saying it’s the government’s fault this happened, but I do believe Kentuckians deserve a more compassionate response.

It’s great that Gov. Beshear did request Tuesday that Obama declare Kentucky a major disaster, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough. Why can’t the General Assembly get together now for an emergency session and figure out how to give some help to Kentuckians who really need help (kinda like they did when the horse-racing industry demanded it in July)? It’s like we’re following a procedure for an unprecedented event, and there’s not really a procedure, so we’re pretending like nothing happened.

On our horizon is a winter with record-high gas and electric rates, and now many of the residents in our community least able to face this challenge have homes without carpet or insulation in the crawl space. Let’s do something about this. How about subsidizing some insulation and carpet for these folks? Anyone who’s been through a winter in an old house without insulation knows — it’s expensive and uncomfortable, and we’d be putting some people to work to boot. Let your Metro Council member, mayor, General Assembly legislator and governor know that Kentucky can do better.

Curtis Morrison, Downtown

Respect the Kids

Attn: Councilwoman Judith Green:

I am contacting you regarding a quote from you in LEO Weekly published on Aug. 12 about the Russ Bus Tour. While I understand you are trying to protect youth, I strongly disagree with your statement: “A lot of our kids just don’t know how to act at these functions.” There were 12 arrests out of 5,000 attendants. A lot of our kids do know how to act; it was a few who didn’t.

The media chose to run with that, which is somewhat expected, but to say that we shouldn’t have the Russ Bus Tour because “a lot of our kids just don’t know how to act,” to me, is unacceptable. Russ Parr and others in the Louisville area are working together in an effort to make the tour safer if it is to return to Louisville. This was not the most structured event, which I believe contributed to a lot of the problems, and steps are being taken to adjust this for future events.

But just not having events because a few people don’t know how to act is not encouraging or supportive of our youth. I have no high-school-aged children, but I was outraged by your statements and hope that instead of canceling and giving up on our youth, you will strive to provide more beneficial events to our youth, which for the most part do know how to conduct themselves in a public setting.

Jennifer Adams-Tucker, Newburg

Care About Health Care

Finally, we are beginning to re-examine our country’s health care system. Currently, approximately 46 million Americans are uninsured. Of that, nearly half are of racial and ethnic minorities. And, while statistics vary, between 4 to 5 million uninsured children go without much-needed preventative, diagnostic and treatment services.

Unfortunately, access to care continues to be linked to things like income, education and physical location. Numerous studies have documented that racial and ethnic minorities are in poorer health, receive lower-quality health care, suffer worse health outcomes and have higher rates of illness, injury and premature death. Regardless of our racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds, these disparities compromise the quality of life for all of us. There is a need to make sure the needs of not only low-income, but all Americans are at the front and center of the health reform debate this year. Regardless of party affiliation, let’s tell our elected officials that we demand guaranteed access to affordable health care. Imagine the possibilities if Kentucky took the lead in eradicating the harsh and stark realities of health care disparities in our country.

C.L. Happel, Highlands