Letters to the editor: March 17

March 17, 2013 

State senators did not need to spend more tax money for their food

Let me see if I have this straight. Our Frankfort lawmakers draw a daily pay of $188 while they are in session, including weekends and holidays and then a tax-free draw of $135 for travel, lodging and food also for 7 days a week, wrapping up with $500 for stationery.

Then they stall around for most of the session causing them to stay one night until almost midnight but, have no fear, the taxpayers pay for their meal to keep them going at a cost of almost $1,000.

Do our elected state senators leave their common sense and common decency at the door when they go to Frankfort? Grrrr.

Tom Dixon


Telecom bill good public policy

I read with disappointment the recent editorial indicating Senate Bill 88, the telecommunications reform legislation currently before the General Assembly, should be left to die.

What is more disappointing is the fact that the editorial impugns the motives of a significant employer and spreads the misinformation that this legislation will allow telecommunications providers to shed land line phone service where wireless technology is lacking.

AT&T and other communications providers are not only good corporate citizens, they employ thousands of Kentuckians and inject hundreds of millions of dollars into Kentucky. SB 88 would encourage these providers to invest even more in Kentucky.

Last summer the Kentucky chamber produced a report that asked the question, "Are we ready for jobs?" It took an objective look at how Kentucky stacks up in terms of our ability to attract and retain jobs.

Unfortunately in the area of telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, we fare poorly. It wasn't long ago that Kentucky was leading in broadband deployment, but today we are being surpassed by other states. Nearly all of them have passed telecommunication reforms similar to SB 88, without realizing the fears put forth by opponents.

Businesses and families rely on wireless technologies to communicate and do business. Unfounded fears should not hold back needed progress for Kentucky to compete globally.

SB 88 will increase telecommunications investments. It is good public policy for Kentucky and it should be passed.

Bryan Sunderland

Vice president of public affairs

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce


Lower caffeine than coffee

A March 10 commentary, "Energy drinks have no place in children's, teens' diets," contained misinformation that deserves clarification.

For instance, the vast majority of energy drinks consumed in the United States— including Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar, AMP, Full Throttle and NOS — have similar or lower levels of caffeine than home-brewed coffee. And many contain about half the caffeine of a similarly sized coffeehouse coffee.

A 16-ounce energy drink typically contains between 160 and 240 milligrams of caffeine, while the same size coffeehouse coffee contains around 300 to 330 milligrams. Moreover, caffeine has been safely consumed around the world for hundreds of years.

Furthermore, energy drinks, their ingredients and labeling are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — even those that are labeled as dietary supplements.

Finally, a report on caffeine consumption commissioned by the FDA in 2009, and then updated in 2010, indicated that teens and young adults ages 14 to 21 years consume, on average, approximately one-third the amount of caffeine as people over 21 — about 100 milligrams per day — and that most of their caffeine consumption is from beverages other than energy drinks.

Leslie A. Fugate

Executive director, Kentucky Beverage Association


Insufficent respect

Last Sunday during halftime of the state basketball championship, Seneca's 1963 state champions were recognized for the championship 50 years ago.

Prior to the 2013 final game, all players were recognized by name, as were staff including managers, coaches, administrators and others.

The former Seneca players were not introduced and there was no background information such as they also won the next year and their only loss in 1963 was to Carr Creek, a name famous in the history of Kentucky high school hoops. We should do better.

Paul F. Guthrie


Perkins' fine example

The Kentucky Voices column by Ron Daley regarding the late congressman Carl D. Perkins should be required reading for all young people, especially those who aspire to public service.

Perkins, for those of us old enough to remember him, will always be thought of as a real advocate for the people of the old Seventh Congressional District.

Daley highlighted the tremendous influence Perkins had on our educational system, and a host of other worthwhile programs that made a real difference in people's lives.

We can only hope that we may yet have another congressman who will take up the issues that he cared about so deeply and with such passion.

It should be noted also that Perkins was a modest person who never would have imagined deeming himself to be a suitable replacement for Daniel Boone.

Steve O'Connor

West Liberty

Woeful perspective

Syndicated columnist Clarence Page. in the Feb. 24 Herald-Leader, stated that American kids are woefully unprepared for kindergarten.

Are they not also woefully unprepared for preschool? Or at six months woefully unprepared to walk? Or at two years woefully unprepared to talk?

Since the 1960s with billions of dollars spent, American kids have been woefully unprepared for high school, woefully unprepared for college and many woefully unprepared for employment.

Page even implied that boys are woefully unprepared to be boys or be like girls; and girls are woefully unprepared to be girls or be like boys. He suggests that it might be due to woefully unprepared one-parent or even two-parent households.

We have been woefully unprepared to meet this challenge for over 200 years. When will we be prepared? Woe, woe, woe.

Tom Hamilton


Example of disengagement

The Boone Creek Adventure debacle does not quite fit the issue described in Tuesday's editorial. In that particular case, in 2011, the unheralded bureaucrats on the staff recommended approval of the project to the Board of Adjustment. Your editorials have not mentioned that fact.

That ensuing lies and political machinations succeeded in eviscerating a grand project combining entrepreneurship, preservation and accessibility is a smirch on our city. If citizen ideas and input meant anything, then the project should have been approved.

Perhaps promoting citizen engagement was just a vapid, lightweight idea in the first place. In following this case, no wonder the Bloomberg Challenge people took Lexington out of the running. We are not such an enlightened community after all.

Linda Carey


State must take lead

In a recent National Public Radio story on sequestration impacts, speakers talked about all the kids who will lose day care, mothers who will lose nutritional support and schools who will have to lay off teachers.

I paused to consider why the federal government even needs to fund these things in the first place. Let the states and local districts step up and take these things back and do the sequestration one better by eliminating federal funding.

The federal government has gotten involved in all manner of things that were reserved for the states, saddling generations to come with debt. State and local leaders must act to find creative ways to reduce dependency on the federal government, increasingly unable to make tough decisions. Many states have already taken steps to shore up Medicaid and other shared funding programs.

We cannot rely on Congress to fix these funding shortfalls. The states need once again to show them the way.

Karl Pfeifer


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