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January 28, 2009

Inbox — Jan. 28, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Corrections, Amendments and Clarifications

• In the Jan. 14 art preview on the Greenhouse Arts Project, the Zoom Group was listed as a sponsor. GHAP has been unable to coordinate a partnership with them.

• “Starving arts scene” in the Jan. 21 LEO Weekly incorrectly mentioned that Mayor Abramson declared 2009 the “Year of the Visual Arts” at an event honoring the Louisville Visual Arts Association. While the mayor decreed it, the actual plaque was presented by a representative.

Mayor Wrong on Libraries

Mayor Abramson’s version of the facts surrounding the defeat of his library tax referendum as presented in your interview with him (Jan. 14 LEO Weekly) disagrees with the truth.

The Support The Library Not The Tax Committee worked with meager resources to “engage” the public in understanding the details and true purpose of the referendum. It was the mayor’s expensive ad campaign and over-the-top PR pressure that “enraged” the public to the tune of 144,000 votes against the referendum.

Fact 1: In his last election campaign the mayor was on TV promising proudly to “build new libraries without raising taxes.” If that’s not saying “the money is there,” what is? Was the public supposed to forget his promise, especially when no believable explanation was offered for breaking it?

Fact 2: A large portion of the monies raised by the tax would not have gone to the library’s budget. About $18 million a year was earmarked to go directly to the mayor’s own budget. The mayor had no comment whenever asked about this.

Fact 3: The library tax dollars would have been overseen by hand-picked cronies of the mayor. In other words, the mayor would decide how every dollar was used. The money would not have belonged to the library per se, but only budgeted for library operations and buildings. If the tax had passed, it is likely large chunks of it would be diverted to things like EPA sewer repairs and firefighter back pay.

Fact 4: The mayor claims he’s been involved in three ballot initiatives for the library. According to folks involved in the first two, the mayor did not lift a finger in support of either.

“I think I’m done now,” said the mayor. We certainly hope so.

Chris Thieneman and Norman Morton, co-chairs, Support The Library Not The Tax Committee

Downtown Trumps Otter Creek

(Regarding the Jan. 14 LEO Weekly interview with the mayor): We in the South End really appreciate the convenient pigeonholing that the mayor escapes into whenever a controversial topic such as Otter Creek comes up, by saying we are either enraged or we are engaged — how pompous an attitude from a mayor can you get? Newsflash, mayor: People can actually feel both ways at the same time, just as you can really just have to have the park in the first place, but downtown becomes your obsession, so you just flick the park away because you can’t save for a rainy day. We’ve all been to your condescending Sesame Street town-hall meetings and have been given the runaround treatment, so spare us the self-pity card about how you try so hard to work with the community. 

Maggie Martin, South End

No Pride

I sure wish Mark Weatherholt, who calls himself a “proud evangelical Christian,” hadn’t decided to take Kate Welsh’s challenge to make an argument against gay marriage (LEO Weekly, Jan. 14). As Ecclesiastes notes, there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” He should have chosen the former, because he makes four unnecessary assumptions. He first assumes that the support for gay marriage is “a morally and spiritually bankrupt point of view.” Claiming it so doesn’t make it so. He then assumes that the terms “straight” and “queer” are evidence of the moral superiority of the former and the inherent wrongness of the latter. Has Weatherholt never considered the source of these labels? Isn’t it likely that a heterosexual coined these terms?

Third, he assumes that the homosexual “lifestyle” is an “abomination to the Lord our God,” presumably based on several “clobber” passages in the Bible. There is no excuse for this position, given that there has been a lot of scholarly work accomplished on these passages that reveals they do not refer to loving, monogamous same-sex relationships. Finally, he assumes that the “Scriptures tell us marriage is between a man and a woman.” Curiously, the context for this “claim” in Scripture is a debate about divorce, not same-sex relationships.

Perhaps a more appropriate verse for Mr. Weatherholt to quote is the following: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Rev. Dr. Jimmy Watson, St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Hikes Point

Subtle Differences

I have two comments to make in response to Mark Weatherholt’s letter in the Jan. 14 LeO Weekly. First, the use of the terms “straight” and “queer” are not evidence that homosexuality is inherently wrong; it’s evidence that rank-and-file Americans believe it to be wrong. A subtle but important difference. Secondly, he states, “The Scriptures tell us that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Really? Chapter and verse, please. The Old Testament norm was one man and however many women he could afford. St. Paul thought ANY marriage was a bad idea and was only to be contemplated if you couldn’t control your animal lust.

You want to protect the institute of marriage? Try outlawing divorce, it seems like that’s a lot bigger threat to the institution. Jesus said if you divorce your wife and marry another, you’re committing adultery. He didn’t have one word to say about homosexuality. I can’t help but wonder how many divorced people voted to ban gay marriage.

Paul Riley, Shively

Meaning of Words

The “proud evangelical Christian” who argues against gay marriage makes a valid point when he writes that the word “straight” signifies the sexual norm, while “queer” signifies a deviation from that norm. The conclusion is that gay marriage must be an abomination since sexual orientation can be described in such unmistakable terms.

I agree that the meanings of words matter. For example, the word “Christian” means Christ-like. When people condemn others without questioning the authority of their religious communities, they are not acting like Christ.

Chris Hoerter, Highlands

Standard Spotlight

Having worked in restaurants going on 35 years in every capacity of front and back of house, I’d like to give Marsha Lynch a pat on the back. I don’t know if “civilians” appreciate her articles in Industry Standard, but if I may speak for Louisville’s restaurant “clan”: Keep ’em coming. Every time I read them, I nod and smile. Thanks for speaking of us, Marsha; we appreciate it.

Judith Beeckman, Germantown