Cartoon to the editor

Letters to the editor: Sept. 16

September 16, 2012 

Locks, dams need repair but not as subsidyof barge industry

I agree with the editorial board's assessment of the costly structures on our major rivers, and with the benefits you value. There are other considerations not covered by your editorial.

The laws and funding for locks and dams make them available for any citizen with a watercraft to use when they signal their desire with a provided horn. In practice, private boaters are prioritized below a barge anywhere near a lock, even if the barge is far enough off to put the private boat through the lock.

This is because barge owners contribute to political campaigns, and most private boaters do not. So the intended first-come first-served use of taxpayer-funded facilities winds up a subsidy for barge traffic. Their shipping costs are lower than trucks because of this subsidy.

In addition, our system of locks/dams contributes to damages on floodplains as silt/sand pile up behind dams annually and then is swept downstream in floods and sometimes onto farmland, another subsidy.

The silt/sand load shrinks the water capacity of each dammed portion, so the flood damages are greater than they were before locks/dams. Native fish and wildlife species, especially freshwater mussels, are greatly harmed by the river that is no longer free-flowing.

Your support of locks/dams should be tempered by this knowledge of spending federal dollars on a subsidy of private business.

If that is your intent, why not fund railroads, which now combine with truck containers to move more traffic than barges in terms of Kentucky products?

Larry D. Martoglio

Winchester


Patients hurt by new law

During my first time visiting my doctor since House Bill 1, the new pill-mill law, went into effect, I learned I must now see my doctor every three months and have my personal data shared with the state of Kentucky.

I have concerns and do not understand why this hasn't been given greater media coverage. Has anyone considered the implications this will have on our insurance premiums or the privacy implications of this issue?

Dr. Preston P. Nunnelley paints this as a means of getting to the root of the problem through the physicians, but this has even wider implications for patients.

I suffer from severe anxiety, and I take benzodiazepine to control it. Since this is a controlled substance, I fall under this law. I have been told that I must see my doctor twice as often and pay for random drug testing. I wouldn't mind so much if I weren't concerned about how Anthem and other insurance providers will react.

Since they now must pay twice the costs for carrying me as a customer than they did before, I feel fairly confident that I can expect a big premium increase, plus whatever normal additional increase I would have been subject to, come renewal time.

How is this fair? And why isn't anyone considering this?

Robert Samuel White

Nicholasville


Don't destroy beauty for sprawl

The proposed US 27 to I-75 connector highway through Jessamine County is a good example of bad government.

Its strongest proponents believe that Nicholasville is the most important thing about Jessamine County. They have been in control of land use in the county long enough to extend the Nicholasville city limit through the unincorporated area almost to the Fayette County line.

They see that unincorporated land as nothing more than land awaiting development and take advantage of every opportunity, like seeking $100 million in state funds to construct an unneeded proposed Eastern Bypass around Nicholasville, to pave over productive farmland and cultural hallmarks.

Daniel Boone lived on Marble Creek with his family and no part of its watershed will be spared the sound of semis shifting gears to get over the palisades of the Kentucky River, if the connector is built.

The connector's strongest supporters think this destruction of the fragile environment, and the land-use changes resulting from the highway through rural Jessamine County, represent progress and will advance the stature of the city of Nicholasville.

Wake up, Jessamine County. Don't let bad, urban-oriented government make rural Jessamine the sacrifice area for urban sprawl in the Bluegrass.

Michael Greene

Marble Creek property owner

Sacramento, Calif.


Paul perplexed by facts

Sen. Rand Paul's puzzlement when confronted with one of those bothersome things called facts on ABC recently would be hilarious were it not so horrifying.

Economist Paul Krugman had cited the indisputable fact that overall government employment has plummeted, not soared, during the recession, and poor Rand just couldn't seem to process it.

He was like a Copernicus-era clergyman who just can't wrap his mind around the verity that the sun does not, in fact, revolve around the Earth.

Krugman also noted that if government employment had grown as much during the Obama era as it did during the Bush era, we'd have 1.5 million more people employed now (and contrary to right-wing fantasy land, the vast majority of government workers are not Bolshevik bureaucrats, but teachers, policemen, firefighters, and the like).

Pitiful Rand's response, in a nutshell: "You... you mean to tell me that Santa Claus doesn't exist?"

But alas, Rand will likely persist with his ignorance, hoping that we are as clueless as him. Same goes with Rep. Paul Ryan and his deficit-exploding (yes, exploding; do the math) fiscal plan, and with Mitt Romney's manifold deceptions. That this shallow, ideologically blinkered man represents our state is nothing short of appalling.

John Vance

Louisville


Give Ky. teachers Chicago jobs

A way to solve the Chicago teacher strike:

Fire the 5 percent with the lowest seniority. The lowest in seniority always have the least security. This would be the group that would have the smallest pension fund and health care benefits.

If the union will not come down on their demands, then fire the next five percent on the list. With a budget deficit of $3 billion, salaries of over $70,000, wonderful pensions, and health care benefits, the unions have negotiated their members out of jobs and have placed the education of students in jeopardy.

One chief grievance is excessive class size. Regrettably, operating in the red does not provide for more teacher hiring. Offer these newly vacated jobs to Kentucky or Indiana teachers starting at $50,000. They would be ecstatic to receive salaries of this magnitude.

Just to be clear. Investing in education as President Barack Obama touts really means adding to the underfunded teacher pensions. It has nothing to do with improving the education for the students. He is using taxpayer money to buy union votes.

Ken Whiteley

Louisville

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