Letters to the editor: Feb. 24

February 24, 2013 

Housing report shows barriers, gap in Lexington

On Feb. 6, the Lexington Human Rights Commission released its State of Fair and Affordable Housing in Lexington. The report was made possible through a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.

Although the data indicates many positive aspects of Fayette County's housing conditions, it also indicates that a disproportionate amount of blacks and Hispanics are very concentrated in our community. Furthermore, an obvious discrepancy exists between whites and blacks with respect to housing choice and affordability.

In Lexington, 87 percent of all homeowners are white. Black homeowners totaled nine percent and Hispanics two percent.

The report highlights many contributing factors to such a wide gap: poverty, educational attainment and fair-market rent. Compounding this issue is the fact that the 12-month per capita income of whites is more than twice that of black and Hispanic residents.

The goal of this report is to begin conversations regarding these impediments and to minimize the barriers that so many face on a daily basis,

The ability to choose where you live determines your access to other resources and services. It determines where your children go to school, it can affect your job and the type of health care you receive, and even the type of recreational activities in which you and your family participate.

We have been told repeatedly that our situation is better than in Louisville. That's not good enough. I want us to be the best Fayette County we can be. With the publication of this report, we are one step in the right direction.

Raymond A. Sexton

Executive director, Lexington-Fayette Human Rights Commission


Don't mimic Miami here

I applaud those who look to revitalize downtown Lexington, preserve the beauty of rural Kentucky, and improve the lives of all fortunate enough to live here. I recently read "Luxury Lifestyle Complex Coming to Downtown Lexington" in the Feb. 1 Business Lexington.

The development planned for downtown Lexington at 301 East Vine Street is to include, among other things, a Palm Beach jewelry store, fitness center, hair salon, and international art gallery.

The interior is to be "completely contemporary, with acid-washed concrete floors and stark-white woodwork and baseboards for a 'gallery-esque' vibe." Noting that it really started because she "moved here from a big city" and gets "tired of driving," the developer describes the complex as having all the things she loves under one roof.

The developers have lived in Miami, Florida for the past 20 years and are responsible for many developments in Aventura, Fla.

It is impossible for me to list the many reasons why I love Lexington. One reason I will list, however, is this: Lexington is not south Florida — far from it.

Like the developers, I too, moved here from a big city — Miami, in fact. And to be more specific — from Aventura. I do hope the developers, who are obviously very successful, plan to embrace the values, aesthetics, and spirit of the Lexington community and not import those that have landed Miami on a variety of "worst cities in America" lists.

Lexingtonians can tell the difference.

Ryan Valentin


Seek truth on hemp

In response to the Feb. 10 letter, "Hemp not worth the risk:" It saddens me to think that the writer could be so gullible as to believe that smoking hemp — or for that matter marijuana — could have anything to do with leading a person to violence.

The letter connected what is referred to as a "domestic dispute turned violent" to what the writer presumed were the effects of a high from smoking hemp.

My concern is that the writer seemed to lack the ability to distinguish between the truth and the usual lies perpetuated about both hemp and marijuana.

By writing, she may have become a target for all of the con artists who also read this paper. The truth about hemp is out there. Seek it or be used by those who tell lies.

Joe Hallock


Don't expand guns in Ky.

The Feb. 8 article on gun control has raised some questions about the necessity or even rationale for the legislation proposed by state Rep. Bob Damron.

I do not believe any legislation prohibiting local governments from regulating firearms is constitutional.

The Supreme Court has stated guns can be regulated by the federal government under the Second Amendment. Measures suggested by Damron are a waste of legislative time.

I have a great deal of respect for Damron and know firsthand that he is a very capable legislator. I appeared before one of his committees for a number of years as a representative of the University of Kentucky and always found him to be knowledgeable and helpful.

His proposals relative to guns have almost become compulsive and not in the best interest of the safety of the people of Kentucky.

The gun lobby has misrepresented the Second Amendment and it does not serve our country well. Any additional proliferation of guns is harmful to our society.

I do not believe a true hunter needs a military type assault rifle. Any legislation that would allow guns in our libraries, schools and public places should be defeated.

Ken Clevidence


Beatty's big salary

Will former Lexington police chief Anthany Beatty run for mayor? Who knows? Who cares?

But $128,000 a year for a police chief at the University of Kentucky? No wonder tuition is so expensive. You would think he was a basketball coach. Besides, he spells his name wrong.

Stephen Stinson


McConnell's VAWA flip

Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks he knows what women need more than they do. That's the message he sent this month when he went against every woman in the Senate — including those in his own party — in opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Since 1994, VAWA has dramatically improved how our communities deal with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking — both helping women to recover and preventing tragedies.

In that time, instances of domestic violence have decreased by 64 percent. VAWA programs have proven a cost-effective method of helping more than 67,000 victims of domestic violence every day, with more than 90 percent reporting that the assistance helped.

Don't take my word for it. "VAWA programs save lives, and we must allow states and communities the opportunity to build upon the success of current VAWA programs so that we can help even more people," said a letter from 17 House Republicans urging their leadership to stop playing politics with the bill.

But for McConnell, there is never a time to stop playing politics — especially not with an election on the horizon, and definitely not when his once-dependable conservative base has developed a penchant for toppling career politicians like him.

That's why McConnell opposed protections for women that he had supported in 1994, 2000 and 2005.

It's a shameful reversal. But more than that, it's an embarrassing act of self-destruction for Kentucky, which boasts 45 VAWA programs. Women deserve better than to be made pawns in some political chess match.

Dan Logsdon

Chairman, Kentucky Democratic Party


Paper worth the price

I think it rather hypocritical of WLEX-18 to run a slew of house ads disparaging The Herald-Leader when on many of the same days on Channel 18 top stories were attributed to the research and work of the paper.

Get over it. We — myself, my spouse and many of my Lexington friends — love our newspaper.

We like the well-researched writing of the paper, we like that it uses good grammar and can be used to teach children how to use good grammar, we like that it is permanent in a way TV news is not unless, I suppose, printed off the computer.

As far as paying for the paper's online services, think about it: You get what you pay for.

Jean-Ann Kerr


Seal past felonies

Kentucky representatives approved House Bill 47, an important measure that seals the record of eligible individuals convicted of Class D felony offenses five years after the completion of a sentence or probation.

It acknowledges the injustice of barriers that persist long after the end of a completed sentence, and provides a remedy to the stigma attached to incarceration.

As president of the largest inmate and discipleship program in America that mentors over 44,000 incarcerated men and women, I have witnessed thousands transform their lives and become contributing members of their communities.

It grieves me that individuals who are determined to leave the life of crime do not have access to housing and employment opportunities that facilitate successful reentry.

These barriers are known as collateral consequences, which are additional penalties tied to a conviction.

They have a significant impact on how individuals are able to assimilate back into society, limiting their political, economic and societal engagement.

In accordance with the Hebrew scriptures, the foundation that many religions adhere to, we hold dearly to the practice of forgiveness, which is defied by a public record that follows an individual after the completion of his/her sentence.

It is my great hope members of the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee will vote in favor of House Bill 47.

It provides necessary relief to eligible individuals after a five-year waiting period by eliminating the effects of collateral consequences of conviction and acknowledging the potential for personal growth among those with prior convictions.

H. David Schuringa

President, Crossroad Bible Institute

Grand Rapids, Mich.

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