October 27, 2010

Inbox — Oct. 27, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Corrections
In the Oct. 20 cover story “The Big Brown Machine,” LEO reported that UPS was the first parcel delivery service in China. That distinction actually belongs to FedEx, which started Chinese flights in 1984. In the same story, LEO reported that Todd Lally is a former UPS pilot. Lally is a current employee of UPS. LEO regrets the errors.

Further Explanation
I think it’s necessary to expand on some of the comments concerning diversion of traffic to an East End bridge attributed to me (and others) regarding “The great barrier” article on the bridges (LEO Weekly, Oct. 6). According to the article, “Ohio River Bridges Project (ORBP) supporters point to a study showing only an 18 percent reduction of volume in 2025 with an East End bridge only.” I can find no evidence that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) differentiated between large trucks and passenger vehicles in their calculations. We concentrated on large (18-wheeler) trucks in our study, mainly because each truck of that size is equal to six passenger vehicles, a ratio that no traffic engineer disputes. Taking that into consideration — and the fact that above 30 percent of those trucks would use the East End bridge — the Kennedy Bridge would be well under capacity beyond 2025.

The EIS study’s projections — still cited religiously by the ORBP — are obviously inflated based on traffic counts over the past few years. That the ORBP is unwilling to recognize this and at least concentrate on getting the East End bridge built first is a recipe for urbanistic disaster. The ORBP says it can’t happen without tolls. But, assuming that all resources are now concentrated on the East End bridge, it could happen with regular financing. This assumes a certain degree of pragmatism on the part of our political leaders — which until now seems to be missing.

Sticking to those faulty EIS numbers simply represents a dogmatic position on the part of the ORBP; they should be looking at the recent empirical evidence, which indicates that building an East End bridge would solve the problem. Another bridge might be necessary in the very distant future, but certainly not in the next half century.
G. Stanley Collyer, Highlands

Bridge Blight
I just finished the article “The great barrier” by Steve Shaw (LEO Weekly, Oct. 6). It was the most interesting article written about the Ohio River Bridges Project I ever read. Shaw makes good sense with what he has written. The city of Louisville is like so many of our large cities being strapped in with interstate highways across the country. Louisville is a small city, and if you take a look at all the interstates around us, you cannot be in a section that does not have the blight all around you. Look at places like I-65 coming across the Kennedy Bridge — you see nothing but undesirable areas. Look at I-71 coming out of the East End — nothing beautiful to look at. You get the same thing when you travel I-265. In other words, you are strapped in by expressways anyway you go in Louisville, and it is the same in just about any city you visit.

I think the country has gone too far, and it is about time someone called a halt. We need another bridge in downtown Louisville like we need a hole in our head. I don’t know if anyone could answer the problem. One of the answers could be (here I go) — build a bridge in the East End, but do not have any on- and off-ramps to it except where it would run into the expressway that would take the traffic to I-265, and build a bridge across the river to Indiana in the West End and tie it into I-64.

Bridges are beautiful to look at, and most of the time we need them. In Charlestown, S.C., they needed a new bridge to Mount Pleasant. Within five years, they built a new bridge and took down the old one. However, the approach to both ends created an area that is not desirable. Just another opinion about bridges.
Robert W. Linker, East End

Inaccurate List
An open letter to Louisville Metro Council, Hal Heiner and the Louisville Department of Inspections, Permits and Licenses (IPL):

On Sept. 23, you advertised a list of Louisville’s worst property code offenders. This list has since been proven to be terribly flawed. Innocent people were named, dead people were named, people who purchased dilapidated houses to renovate were named. I was one of the people who purchased dilapidated houses and renovated them. I was named. Even though Jim Mims, the director of IPL, warned you that the list of worst property code offenders had errors, you chose to run the advertisement.

Your list even showed that two of the people were deceased. You obviously had no concern for the innocent people you would embarrass, humiliate and libel. You certainly didn’t care about the emotional pain you caused to the deceased’s families. After your ad was published and it became clear that you had caused harm to me and others, you adamantly refused to apologize to me or others you harmed. What you did was blame Mims with IPL for giving you a faulty list. This is the man who told you the list had errors. The one thing I couldn’t believe is that Hal Heiner, who wants to be mayor of our city, would participate in a such a sham. I e-mailed him and asked him to tell me he wasn’t involved. He didn’t reply. How can you, Hal Heiner, be the mayor and be a part of this? How can the City of Possibilities be a first-class city when its Metro Council has no class?

Metro Council, you owe the entire city an apology.
Warren W. Jackel, East End

Past is Present
The recent furor over Jack Conway’s ad and debate question regarding Rand Paul’s actions in college have left many pundits and politicians questioning Conway’s strategy. Conway is playing with fire, but he’s clearly hit a nerve. Paul is playing the dutiful role of the Southern white gentleman whose honor has been attacked by a scoundrel (Conway should feel relieved at Kentucky’s new anti-dueling law). But Paul’s righteous anger and indignation is merely a mask for his embarrassment that his college behavior has been made public. His classic non-denial denial is fairly typical of most politicians. The story will not go away until he stops arguing that anonymous accusers are not credible (the story was published by a respectable, mainstream men’s magazine whose reporters dug deeper into Paul’s past than any “lamestream” political journalists dared).

He needs to take his own advice and stand up, be a man and acknowledge his behavior, apologize for it and then make the claim that what he did 25 years ago in college was youthful indiscretion. By ignoring the story, he has kept it alive. Conway was absolutely within bounds to attack him on it, because it speaks directly to Paul’s character. The episode is, in fact, not an isolated incident but a clear indication of his attitudes toward women that is metaphorically represented by an expressed view that women should be denied reproductive rights. The use of law to control women’s bodies is no different than his use of rope to tie up his co-ed victim and force her to adhere to his morality.

Jack Conway is absolutely right. Rand Paul’s actions 25 years ago matter. He owes the women of Kentucky an explanation and his victim a public apology.
Jonathan Haws, Old Louisville

Welcome to Plutocracy
Current U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been one of our state’s senators for 26 years. He has centered his political career around promoting himself as the chief defender of “money is speech.”

Our country is a pathetic example of a representative democracy when millionaires and billionaires can sway elections so the results favor the contributors’ selfish self-interests. When those with the gold make the rules, we call that type of government a plutocracy — government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. Plutocrats run roughshod over the majority middle class and poor.

Individual/corporate greed and money in politics are killing America. Two of the most absurd Supreme Court rulings passed down are: money is speech, and corporations are people. Both rulings favor wealthy self-interests at the expense of everyone else. I thought the Supreme Court was supposed to be the impartial branch of government that made sure our nation lived up to its professed “justice for all” ideals.

Sen. McConnell is no friend of the majority middle class and poor. That is one good reason voters all over Kentucky should vote for Jack Conway and make sure “just say no” McConnell never becomes Senate Majority Leader.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews