Letters to the editor: Sept. 8

September 8, 2013 

Who was minding the budget at Ky. State Police?

Having worked for the Kentucky State Police for more than 25 years, I am concerned about the $5.8 million KSP budget shortfall. I know and respect Commissioner Rodney Brewer, but I am having a hard time understanding this situation.

Having been involved with KSP financial and grants management for many years, I find it hard to believe that no one realized there was a shortfall until late July.

Brewer states the shortfall was caused by an increased retirement contribution, etc. All this data was available prior to the budget request. The budget is approved and final prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year so, if everyone was adequately performing their tasks, this shortfall would have been obvious.

One concern is Brewer stating, "Obviously we had not completely figured what our projected deficit was by July 1," and "unfortunately, by the time our projections came through ... we were into the new fiscal year." No one projects a deficit in their budget request. Was this budget request simply guesswork or did someone fail to include all the proper expenses?

Trooper layoffs are expected to save $1.25 million and less temporary help represents savings of $200,000, for total savings of $1.45 million. This still leaves a $4.35 million budget shortfall. How will this money be saved?

Will there be delayed auto and equipment purchases? Will there be reductions of overtime? Will there be fulltime civilian employee layoffs or work hour reductions?

I am curious to see how this situation develops.

J. D. Miniard


Spineless legislature

It's a sad day in Kentucky when the State Police are forced to lay off 20 seasoned officers because of budget constraints, particularly when rural Kentucky is so dependent on them for back-up, particularly for serious crimes. Public safety is a primary concern of any government, Tea Party rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding. This layoff demonstrates the failure of a spineless legislature to provide resources essential to government, and it demonstrates the sin of across-the-board budget cuts with no thought given to priorities.

These officers are not political hacks but trained professional lawmen. If the governor wants to show his concern here, he should call a special session of the legislature and demand that the General Assembly find the money to address this traumatic loss. Otherwise, Kentucky will continue its slide into a Third World state.

Jack Blanton


It's an inside job

I took great interest in George Will's Aug. 25 column, "Understanding the brain may be Obama's greatest legacy."

Curing diseases is important, and good might well come from Obama's so-called "mapping" the brain with the latest technology. Last year National Geographic published an excellent book called Your Brain: A User's Guide (100 Things You Never Knew).

Unfortunately, studying the brain from the outside looking in has never solved the problems of human beings. Looking from the outside in will never help mankind solve all the physiological problems he has created, fear, greed, anxiety, jealousy, aggressiveness, ambition, conflict, which all breed sorrow

To make this a better world, individuals must study their own brains from inside out and become totally mindful of their inner workings, especially when relating with one another. That is where this National Geographic book can come in handy. This is the kind of education that should be taught in schools for children and adults here and abroad.

Where man has failed is by not understanding himself and how his mind thinks. This can only be learned by looking from within and by learning how awareness and the process of thinking relate to one another. After all, there is the world as it is, that is the way we see it, and the world as we think about it. Sadly, we confuse the two and this brings on all of humanity's domestic and world problems that we have today and have had for thousands of years.

Bill Boccalatte


Diverse not dangerous

As residents of the allegedly dangerous neighborhoods of North Limestone and the East End, part of which is the Martin Luther King Neighborhood, we are beyond tired of people painting our community as though it is the most dangerous place in Lexington.

An Aug. 18 Herald-Leader article illustrated that crime levels in downtown neighborhoods are similar to crime anywhere else in the city; it does not cluster here. The East Side doesn't need "saving," but it does need fairness and objectivity.

Far from needing "nerves of steel" to live and work here, as WLEX-18's Aug. 28 report suggested, we generally feel safe walking our city streets, and love and appreciate its diversity.

We love the brick bungalows colored like wildflowers. We love the local businesses and nonprofits like The Nest and Seedleaf — more than just doughnut shops and hipster bars. We love that unlike many big-city downtowns, you can still find places to live here where you don't need a thick wallet.

And we love being part of a community where our approach to crime includes brainstorming on how we can help people within our community who need jobs and affordable housing.

Too many people who don't even live downtown are trying to tell our stories and either ignoring our voices or not talking to us at all.

From the Jefferson Street corridor to the East End, wonderful things are happening. Because we love our communities, we take the good and the bad.

Stacie Williams


Kids need two parents

TV and radio commentator Tavis Smiley wrote in an Aug. 28 commentary that, "It is time to take some risks. To tell the truth about the suffering in America [especially black America] that's being rendered invisible simply because we choose not to see it."

It is passing strange that he, himself, failed to tell the truth. What is obvious about the misery of black America, and, for that matter, of white America? Simply this: There is a well-documented correlation between unemployment, poverty, drug use, crime, domestic violence and child abuse to the breakdown of the two-parent family.

I teach a class on marriage in the Life Possibilities Program for inmates in the Fayette Detention Center. Eighty to 90 percent of the men were raised in homes without fathers. Most of them are white. But their truth is also the truth of too many young black men.

Sadly many of our political and academic leaders are afraid to speak this truth. Perhaps it is because many of them are divorced or shacking up with their consorts. Or perhaps they do not want to appear judgmental to family and friends, who play fast and loose with the old sexual norms.

Whatever the cause of the silence, the truth is that if we are serious about poverty, black or white, we must strengthen and support marriage. A good place to start would be to attend the meeting with Michael McManus, director of Marriage Savers, on Oct. 1 at Centenary United Methodist Church.

J. Robert (Bob) Ross


Don't crown Hillary yet

Columnist Kathleen Parker attempted to make the case Aug. 18 for Hillary Clinton's coronation in 2017 on the basis of her near-mystic hold on the citizens of the world — a global candidate, something to which Barack Obama aspired. Obama's influence in the Middle East indicates how farfetched this notion is.

Parker said women, if fully equal to men (she didn't say how), will bring peace to the planet; that men "for thousands of years," have produced "millions and millions of corpses." She noted that countries (she didn't say which) in which women are most mistreated are also the least stable. And that as women become more affluent, countries become more stable. They buy food and health care, educate their children and start businesses — all things, presumably, men can't do whilst creating "millions and millions of corpses."

On Clinton's watch as secretary of statey said Parker, Obama made permanent the Office of Global Women's Issues, whatever that is, and even appointed a Clinton crony to represent it. Also she and fellow Amazons, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama advisor Samantha Power, got U.N. Security Council "permission" to make war in 2011 on hapless Libya.

So, in his seven-month war, how many Libyans did Obama and Clinton introduce to corpsehood? No official has ever said, though the current White House gang disclaims daily about the corpses in Syria and Egypt and the meannies (men, of course) who cause them. Libya was Clinton's finest hour. Ask any of the Benghazi ghosts.

Jim Clark


Stay out of Syria

I pray our leaders heed the will of the American people and do not militarily intervene in Syria. Sarin gas is very lethal, but no worse a way to kill someone than with conventional weapons. Syrian President Assad is a brutal despot but he is a secular leader who has allowed a surprising amount of religious tolerance and rights for women; he has also not used chemical weapons against other countries.

If we truly cared about fighting for humanitarian reasons we would have been more involved in the Sudan (2 million deaths in a 20-year civil war) or the even bloodier conflict in the Congo. And we must face the grim reality that fanatical Sunni elements including al-Qaeda supporters, are increasingly influencing the rebel opposition to Assad. Not to mention that rebel money is often coming from our own totalitarian Islamist petroleum allies in such "free and tolerant" nations as Saudi Arabia.

It is increasingly apparent that a bloodbath will result in Syria, no matter which side wins. I certainly do not wish to see Syria's chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist fundamentalists, if the government falls. I have no objection to sending food and medical supplies to help the Syrian people, but stay out of their civil war.

The Syrians have not attacked us. There never seems to be enough money for our schools or wounded veterans but always enough to bomb other countries.

Kyle Richie


Self-righteous Barr

A self-righteous Rep, Andy Barr defended his appointment to the Finance Committee, which has enabled him to attract Wall Street contributions. That committee did its damage long ago when it did away with Glass-Steagall — the 1930s law that made banks keep their investments separate from their depositors' money.

Banks have a legal right to invest our money, lose it and still put a big share of what's left into their own pockets. There is much concern about transnational financial giants controlling commerce. If Barr wants to help us, he will push for a return to Glass-Steagall.

He gave his reasons for keeping loan limits down for credit unions. Many of us turned to credit unions to avoid banks' high fees on all services. How does lack of competition help this?

Barr has said he is an "all of the above" person on climate change, just like the president. I had hoped that he would go to bat for alternative energy. He is still thinking about Trans-Pacific Partnership, and did not take a stand against it. NAFTA, which was passed during President Bill Clinton's tenure, decimated America's middle class. Trans-Pacific is worse. It allows transnational corporations to override our own laws.

My next question to Barr's office will be about his support for the "We the People Amendment" (House Joint Resolution.29 ) which states that corporations do not have the constitutional rights of people. It would take money out of Congress.

His answer will determine my vote in his next election.

Sara M. Porter


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