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July 27, 2011

Inbox — July 27, 2011

Local Bread

Regarding Joe Manning’s June 29 column: Let me begin by saying that I shop “local” fairly often and probably for many of the same reasons that Manning does. I rarely buy music online (even when it would be cost effective to do so), preferring to give my love (and money) as often as possible to local music stores. And yes, I assiduously avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. But I question Manning’s animus toward Panera Bread all the same.

There are a few questions (important ones, I think) that were not addressed in his column, namely: Is it possible to achieve a thriving local economy without a substantial corporate presence in our communities? Are all corporations necessarily “shitty,” soulless, uncaring and unworthy of our patronage? (Some of these “things” are not like the others, you know?) Don’t some of these businesses provide decent-paying jobs with solid benefits? Furthermore, are all local, “iconic” mom-and-pop stores necessarily good places to work?

I don’t know what sort of employer Panera Bread is, frankly. And judging from the content of his article, neither does Manning. Perhaps that doesn’t even matter to him. Speaking personally, though, until a documentary entitled “The High Cost of Reasonably Priced Soup ’n’ Sandwiches” comes along to give us the full scoop, I suggest we just relax and recognize that a delicate balance of both local and corporate entities is probably necessary (if not always ideal). I seriously doubt the new Panera Bread will do much to upset that balance.

Brian Smith, Original Highlands

NerdSpeak

Thanks for covering the Derby City Comic Con (LEO Weekly, July 13) — it needs support if it is going to grow, and exposure in LEO should help. But I found the first line of Brandi Terry’s article pretty insulting. I’m taking deep breaths and trying not to succumb to my nerdrage, but this line is really frustrating in a lot of ways. First, it’s overused. I have read it almost verbatim so many times over the years. It’s also pandering. As if comic books have been waiting for this very pronouncement from Terry in order to feel legitimate. It’s also outdated. Comics’ ascendancy as a power house in pop culture is old news. I would have found the sentence annoying in 1999, but in 2011 it reeks of laziness. I have always found LEO writers to be a pretty intelligent bunch, which means Terry couldn’t find the time or be bothered to write a better first sentence. And that the LEO editorial staff couldn’t be bothered to find a writer who did care. And I find that lack of concern enraging.

Eli Keel, Germantown

Tolling Students

I have a concern that tolling Interstate 65 will cause a financial hardship to Indiana students who attend Louisville colleges. Gracefully, U of L President Jim Ramsey forwarded along my concern to his dean of the College of Business, R. Charles Moyer.

See, U of L’ s College of Business is set to co-sponsor a July 26 Business First “What’s Brewing” breakfast on the Bridges Project, and the panelists include the director of the Bridges Authority, the chair of the Bridges Coalition, and Vaughan Scott, the financial backer of the “Benny Breeze” campaign. The panel does not include a representative of Say NO to Bridge Tolls, No 2 Bridge Tolls or 8664. Moyer responded to my concern, which I do appreciate, but within the response, he wrote “… I sincerely doubt that the tolls anticipated will have any perceptible impact on students from Indiana taking courses at U of L.”

I do not have a degree from the College of Business, and I do not write studies for Wilbur Smith. Yet I do know that $2/day in tolls times 250 days equals about $500 a year, and a $500 increase to an annual tuition of $8,424 would roughly be the same as a 6-percent tuition increase. Sure, using the university’s name to promote a pro-toll agenda will annoy his Indiana students. But if successful, the promotion would likely decrease his enrollment, too. Dean Moyer might want to brush up on what’s called “the price elasticity of demand.” Incidentally, Moyer also serves on the Bridges Authority.

Curtis Morrison, Germantown