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May 12, 2010

Inbox — May 12, 2010

Blue History
Attn: Phillip M. Bailey:

I wholeheartedly agree with your City Strobe article about Todd Blue’s intent to demolish the Iron Quarter (LEO Weekly, May 5).

Todd Blue suffers from the malady of GREED. He’s had years to “develop” that block, and all of a sudden he decides his only option is to tear it down. His timing is suspect considering the future opening of the new arena. Patrick O’Shea’s, which recently opened on Main Street, preserved the historical integrity of the original building — so why can’t Blue?

The answers are arrogance and a lack of commitment to the gentrification of Louisville. I’m certainly not qualified to comment on how to improve this block of buildings, but I do have a question: At the very least, why can’t the facades be preserved, rebuilding only the interiors? Maybe this is an oversimplification, but it’s just common sense to those of us who have a devotion to this city and can realize the historic significance Louisville can offer to tourists.

As a longtime resident of downtown and Old Louisville, I’m delighted when new businesses open downtown so I don’t have to travel east to spend my money.
Sarajane Merrifield, Old Louisville

Balanced Booze
I am always a little disturbed by your annual Nightlife Guide in which you celebrate all things alcoholic and offer your readers a list of places to go get shit-faced (LEO Weekly, April 28). Particularly interesting is that your rating scale appears to be based on the cost of the cheapest beer and the friendliness of the ’tender. However, this year, I would like to congratulate you on adding a little balance to this issue. I am referring to Jonathan Ashley’s column depicting the pain, shame and degradation of addiction. He provided us with a few sobering thoughts (pun intended).

P.S.: As always, the cover was spectacular, and the pic of the dancing cowboys is on my fridge.
Charlie Baker, Highlands

Gracias, Hombres
I just wanted to take a moment to thank all those PEOPLE who made the Kentucky Derby possible. Thank you for taking care of the horses. Without you, there would be no horse-racing industry. Thank you for taking care of our children. Without you, many Derby festivities would have been missed. Thank you for building our houses and maintaining our properties. Without you, we could never rent out our homes to distinguished visitors. Thank you for cleaning our hotels. Without you, the Derby would be nothing more than a local tradition. Thank you for planting the seeds, harvesting the crops, cooking the food, serving it, and then cleaning up afterward. Without you, our Derby guests would have gone hungry.

Most importantly, thank you for cutting down and processing the trees that made this op-ed possible. I will be mailing a copy to the governor of Arizona. That is, assuming the mailman responsible for delivering it does not die of starvation, get lost in the tall grass, or get fired for missing work because he can’t find a babysitter. Gracias por todo hace. Sin usted no habria el Derby de Kentucky.
Nicholas Wohlleb, Highlands

Proud to Be an American?
After crossing the Sherman Minton into Southern Indiana, a billboard can be seen advertising the appearance of Lee Greenwood on May 15 in French Lick. His shirt is star-spangled, red, white and blue. At first sight of it, I caught myself thinking that sometimes I actually cringe to be an American. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the Constitution, the Declaration and where our founding fathers were coming from in general. Too bad our modern federal government does not honor those documents or that mindset of freedom. Oh, they pretend to, and that’s where the cringing comes in. If you are familiar with names like Noam Chomsky or Alex Jones, you know what I mean. I only ask this: If you know Mr. Greenwood, please do not tell him who really pulls the strings, the real reason we are in Afghanistan, etc. It’d be sad to see him lose enthusiasm for singing his signature song. Can you imagine the King without “The Thrill Is Gone” or the Chairman without “I Did It My Way”? My vote is thus: Let’s leave the wind in Mr. Greenwood’s sails. Let him sing it from the heart.
Dave Tench, South End

Questionable Company
Last week in The Courier-Journal, there was a full-page ad that was not labeled an ad, bringing together Derby and all the good things about U of L and the Foundation of U of L, with great photos of President James Ramsey, Sen. Mitch McConnell, his wife Elaine Chao, Sen. John McCain and the new KFC “Bucket” arena.

These pictured government officials are the same ones who brought us two unnecessary wars and undermined our mine safety, possibly causing the deaths of 29 miners in West Virginia and two recently in Kentucky. John McCain is an avid supporter of the new Arizona immigration law, which is racist and possibly unconstitutional.

What is wrong with James Ramsey, the U of L Board and U of L Foundation? Who is paying for this ad? Is it complicity between our government, U of L and the C-J, or is it just a coincidence that we taxpayers and C-J readers have to put up with this type of self-aggrandizement, in of all places the Sports Page. But, of course, it is Derbytime.

In any case, when I read this ad, coincidently, on the adjacent page was an ad for a sexual pill with an appealing woman saying, “Go Big or Go Home.” I start to marry the two ads together and examine what they are worth, and I wonder why more will accept this stuff, especially students who have faced and will face a future full of increased tuition costs, wars, unsafe mines and racists laws.

If you do have concerns, please speak out and contact some of those responsible for causing or participating in this ad. If you believe I am too sensitive, forget it or tell me so.
Harold Trainer, Prospect, Ky.

Naming Rights
Metro Council President Tom Owen summed it up pretty well last week when talking about the naming of the KFC Yum! Center. “With naming rights, we’re not looking for something that’s poetic, not something historic or necessarily that honors someone. In the real world, we are looking to sell the name.” It looks like this line of business has gotten to be a profitable sideline for U of L in recent years. As we know, there also is Papa John’s Stadium, The McConnell Center and some others. Sen. Mitch McConnell reportedly raised money from his political supporters to buy the naming rights he wanted. Whatever you think of that deal, at least we know someone paid for it.

Then, there are our state highways named for recent governors and congressmen. This appears to be little more than free advertising for the two major political parties. Thousands of motorists see the signs bearing the names of these political party heroes every day. It’s sort of like “product placement” advertising. You’d think the market value of these naming rights would be something like $1 million each. Shouldn’t the two parties pay something for this?
Tom Louderback, Highlands

Paying Dues
The angry “Taxed Enough Already” (TEA) people are getting lots of attention. They rail against health care reform, the stimulus package and the president. I wish they would ban firearms at their gatherings, which convey the message that violence may result if they don’t get their way.

I think back to the 1940s, when President Roosevelt alerted us: “Taxes, after all, are dues we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.”
Bob Moore, East End

My Body, My Choice
I’m 59
I drink my wine

I could smoke pot
But I choose not

Since my nannies in Washington say I cannot!

A toke or a toddy —
It’s my own damn body!

And what I put in it
Should be up to me.

How can this be? I am told I am free.

But reason tells me I am not.
Donna Mancini, East End