February 11, 2014

Inbox — Feb. 12, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Kudos for Context
I appreciated reading the perceptive article about Matt Bevin, “The Senate sleeper,” in the Jan. 22 LEO Weekly. While many reporters now just blindly pass on whatever a candidate says, your reporter, Joe Sonka, offered some context: “One area where Bevin strays from his small-government advocacy is abortion … Bevin touted … his financial support and board membership for A Woman’s Choice Resource Center in Louisville.”

Sonka further explained that this center “is lambasted by reproductive rights advocates for providing false medical information and attempting to deceive customers into believing it is an abortion clinic.” In the current anti-feminist climate, it is crucial for reporters to point out candidates’ inconsistent positions with regards to women and access to contraception and abortion.

We at A Fund Inc. applaud LEO for its recent coverage of Roe v. Wade celebration events and its past coverage of the noisy, angry protesters at the local abortion clinic. A Fund Inc. helps eliminate financial barriers to abortion access, but other barriers exist. Kudos to LEO for pointing out where the sometimes hidden political hazards lie.
Kate Cunningham, A Fund Inc., East End

Veteran Respect
Louisville has received praise nationally for our homeless services, which primarily are supported by the dedicated grassroots advocates who sacrifice even their own incomes to stand with people for basic human rights. Thank you for bringing attention to the material conditions folks in our community live in every day (LEO Weekly, Feb. 5). I would like to address the topic of “Victor” in the larger sense of being a homeless veteran.

While our personal stories are the sparks of the network, they can also deceive the masses. 1) St. John’s is only a men’s day shelter. 2) Victor may be an outdoors person like thousands of human beings, but we are talking about something larger. I am not speaking for Victor. I am speaking to misconceptions people hold against homeless veterans: that we choose to live the way we do. We are talking about the access to choice in how we live. Multiple flawed or irrelevant solutions do not lead to an opportunity for a good choice for folks whose human rights are being violated.

As a veteran who has experienced homelessness and poverty, I urge people to educate themselves on the reality that homeless veterans experience — men, women, children and families. We do not choose to be homeless because we like being outside; we are simply making the best of our shitty conditions. So please, the next time you see a homeless veteran person, do not treat them with pity. Treat them with respect.
Lindsay Gargotto, Athena’s Sisters, Germantown

Oh, God
There’s a sign placed on someone’s lawn near the Census Bureau in Jeffersonville that says, “God is in control.” I don’t care — it’s their lawn, they can put up whatever they want. However, city bus drivers who put up flashing religious billboards on city buses bother me. This is because the TARC buses do not belong to the bus drivers — they belong to the very diversified citizens of Louisville. Every bus is paid for with tax dollars reaped from the paychecks of everyone — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists …

Each time I step onto a TARC bus that carries the flashing sign “God Bless America,” I have to make a theological decision, and I feel like apologizing to the people from other cultures sitting in the bus. I complained to TARC about this, and they said the bus drivers get to decide what to put on the flashing signs that go back and forth between the route number and their personal slogan. Other choices are “Welcome Aboard” (great), “www.tarc.com” (great) and “Dump the Pump” (great). Just take anything religious out of the mix so that riders who are non-theists or non-Judeo-Christians aren’t excluded. I can guarantee the original purpose of these signs was to convey information, not propaganda.

As Louisville changes into an international city, let’s try to reflect an atmosphere of inclusion, not exclusion. Please, TARC, change your discriminatory policy by using only non-religious slogans.
Michele Dutcher, Old Louisville