Letters to the editor: Aug. 15

August 15, 2013 

Fish and Wildlife wrong to end seed-planting

Trite, but true, the more things change the more they stay the same. In short, I am disgusted with the literal high life going on in Frankfort while there are people out here trying to make Kentucky a better place.

Start with the fact the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has cut a $2,000 program whereby a small army of people out here, including myself, paid to take classes and encourage others to plant native wildflower seeds to help prevent the decline of monarch butterflies and other species.

This program encouraged people to put back that which has been so cruelly hurt by the slash and burn nature of mankind. The program also encouraged putting up bluebird boxes. We bought our own plants such as the cone flower and other lovely native plants to give away to various groups including gardening groups, schools and the Scouts.

I worked on this program for free, along with many others, for over 10 years. The course and call to action was spearheaded by Mary Carol Cooper, director at the Salato Wildlife Education Center, now retired, and with her, the program.

When I offered to try to raise the $2,000 needed for the seeds the woman I talked to said to forget it, since all money would have to go to salaries for those at the center.

I am not even going to speak of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer and his antics or the recent looting by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.

I give up.

Jean-Ann Kerr

Cynthiana


Sowing racial discord

Wow, a two-fer on July 16: Joel Pett's cartoon indicating that George Zimmerman got away with killing Trayvon Martin and an editorial denigrating Florida's legal system and the National Rifle Association.

Any fair-minded observer of the trial knows that Zimmerman was acquitted because the prosecution simply did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had committed a crime. He got away with nothing.

The editorial, "Honoring Trayvon; Let's confront attitudes about race, violence," said: "If any good can come from the needless death of an innocent teenager, it will be by bringing these wounds to light and committing more Americans to stemming the violence and averting more injustices and suffering."

To portray Martin as an "innocent teenager" is a stretch. We don't know why, in the four minutes he had to leave the area, he chose to stay and confront Zimmerman, who Martin characterized in a phone call to his friend as a "creepy-ass cracker."

The death of Martin is a tragedy that could have been averted by both men. But if the Herald-Leader is sincere in its desire to improve race relations and "stem the violence," it might begin by not fanning emotions over this incident with its incendiary editorial and cartoon.

Instead, it might feature more articles about the needless black-on-black killings in Chicago, the disintegration of the black and white families and out-of-wedlock births and abortions among both races.

Ray Davis

Lexington


Barr disappoints

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr is a big-government politician trying to pass himself off as a small-government conservative.

In July he voted against the Amash-Conyers Amendment, which would have stopped the National Security Agency from secretly collecting data on law-abiding Americans who use the phone or Internet.

Liberty-minded members of Congress were outraged by the NSA's wholesale violation of the Fourth Amendment, but not Barr. The amendment lost, 205 to 217.

Liberty-minded German citizens, including Greens, strongly protested against being spied on by the American agency, and a new cyber commissioner was appointed to "defend German interests." How does offending our allies improve our national security?

A serious, courageous fiscal conservative would take aim at over $300 billion a year of waste in the military and intelligence budgets. Instead, Barr has embraced the Rep. Paul Ryan budget, which claims to eliminate the deficit.

It does not. The Ryan-Barr budget leaves a gap of $5.7 trillion over 10 years that would have to be covered either by borrowing more billions from China or raising taxes on low-income and middle-class Americans.

Barr is hoping to convince voters that simply because he wants to slash the poor and the middle class, he must be a genuine fiscal conservative.

But his votes in Congress show he's actually a big-government politician who doesn't care about our liberty, the deficit or achieving a lean, efficient and effective national security system.

Geoffrey M. Young

Lexington


End distracted driving

For years, our public officials have cracked down on people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Yet we continue to allow something far more dangerous to happen on our highways on a daily basis while our lawmakers mostly look the other way.

People think nothing of getting behind the wheel of a 6,000-pound vehicle, dialing up the cellphone and becoming totally impervious to their surroundings. Studies have shown the distracted driver on a cellphone to be just as dangerous as the person who is DUI.

Not a day goes by that we don't read about someone getting hurt or killed by a distracted driver talking or texting on a cellphone.

Since our lawmakers are unlikely to do anything about this menace on our highways, we just have to hope for the best for ourselves.

Any person using a telephone while driving, and who causes an accident resulting in injuries or death, should face the very same penalties as a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That is only fair.

Jerry Roberts

Lexington


Be fair to Fayette

There are 100 representatives in the Kentucky House of Representatives. State law requires that each one represents the same number of citizens. After each census, as the population changes, the General Assembly redraws district lines to ensure equal representation in each district.

Let's see, you take the population and divide it by 100 to determine the ideal number of people in each district. It's just math, right?

According to that formula, Lexington/Fayette County should be divided into 6.81 districts, which rounds up to seven.

By the same formula, the more populous Louisville/Jefferson County deserves to have 17.08 districts, which rounds down to 17 districts. Right?

Why, then, did the redistricting plan developed by the legislature in HB 2 give Fayette countians only six full districts and a hodgepodge of partial districts and at the same time allot Jefferson County 18 full districts?

According to HB 2, people in Fayette County who don't live inside a full district will find themselves "represented" by someone as far away as Rockcastle County. How is that fair?

I know our legislators can do better than this. On Aug. 19, the legislature meets again for a court-ordered do-over of this outlandish plan. I urge my legislators to devise a more equitable plan — one that is not a slap in Lexington's face.

Esther Webb

Lexington

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