Cartoon to the editor

Letters to the editor: Nov. 24

November 24, 2013 

What will it take for lawmakers to care for state workers?

It was good to see some light shed on the situation of state workers and the lack of cost-of-living adjustments (not to mention the annual increments of yesteryear, which just seem like a fairy tale).

It was unfortunate that only 60 people showed up, according to the article, "At Capitol rally, state workers call for pay raise."

Perhaps the next rally can be organized during working hours so many more state workers can come out.

The article mentioned that Sen. Julian Carroll and Rep. Derrick Graham "urged state employees to let their legislators know they are unhappy and want help in Kentucky's 2014 General Assembly."

An online petition supposedly has at least 6,000 signatures. Is there a magic number of emails, phone calls or letters that make lawmakers realize employees are serious?

Granted, there are many other causes worthy of taxpayer funds; and state workers don't have the political clout of corporate interests.

We really are grateful for stable jobs in unstable economic times, and don't want to come across as "show me the money."

But, if the state does not invest in its workers and try to attract and keep quality folks, then some of those workers will be forced to look outside state government for other opportunities even in mid-career.

Many state workers do work hard for the taxpayers out there; all we are asking is for our legislators to do more than lip service when it comes to continuing to put our situation on the back burner.

Joel Martin


A deal for better health

After months of meetings and hours of discussion, the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives is extremely happy to report that we have come to an agreement on legislation with the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and the Kentucky Medical Association.

The groups had been at loggerheads for years over the issue of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses prescribing nonscheduled drugs.

As mentioned in a March 22 editorial, "Let some nurses provide meds; Works well in 17 states, rural areas," a restrictive prescribing agreement had been identified as a barrier to access to health care.

The agreed-upon bill draft was released at the Nov. 8 meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations in Louisville. It was met with applause and many positive comments.

We thank our bill sponsor, Sen. Paul Hornback, who has been with us every step of the way in the last three legislative sessions and in each phase of the compromise process. We thank Sen. John Schickel, chairman of the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee, who stepped into the negotiating process at a critical point and exerted leadership.

We thank Dr. Nancy Swikert and her physician colleagues who kept pressing ahead to a final resolution. We thank other members of the General Assembly who have been supportive.

The real winners in this compromise agreement are the people who will have greater access to safe, quality health care closer to home. And when the people win, we all win.

Leila Faucette

Executive director, Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse Midwives


Report what's hidden

What is the point of having a dedicated political reporter when all he reports is the same old stuff that we always read? A recent article reported on Sen. Rand Paul and Agriculture Commission James Comer as a dynamic duo.

The news is how cavalier Paul is about cheating, how much money these two have, how they defy their party and "watch each other's backs."

What we are literally starving for is to know something about the very real issues that we face. Dangers from fracking waste are real in Kentucky; the corruption of money in politics is destroying the country; climate change is real.

It is imperative that we be informed of Paul's views on fast tracking the TransPacific Partnership agreement.

Public Citizen explains one of the dangers of putting transnational corporations above our laws: "Extrajudicial tribunals, comprised of three private attorneys unaccountable to any electorate, would be authorized to determine the validity of the challenged policies and order unlimited taxpayer compensation if the policies were seen as undermining foreign corporations' expected future profits."

This agreement was so secret that a few months ago not even members of the House had access to it. Still, we read almost nothing about what our own senators or representatives are thinking of this.

Please give us substance. The money angle may interest the reporter. It has become a little boring to many of us.

Sara M. Porter


Move beyond the series

"50 Years of Night" is an excellent series. This series and related articles, while interesting, are not helpful though.

Who will change the economy? How? When? What can be done when billions in federal dollars have failed? Is tourism our salvation?

The problem with meaningful change is it takes time and hard work. There is no silver bullet. However, there are many programs designed to help those with an idea and the driving passion to change their lives.

Even in Inez. The Kentucky Innovation Network will get you started. They will help you focus your ideas and then work with you directly or connect you with someone who will.

We are rebuilding the economy in Appalachia one business at a time. Find out more at

Richard Johnson


Show some respect

A shoutout to Kentucky men's basketball players: You have shown us your talent, now show us your class and patriotism when the National Anthem is being sung.

Please stand at attention (not in a rag-tag line) or formation and give respect to our country.

Kentucky fans not only "bleed blue," but "red, white and blue."

This is from a patriot and a Big Blue Nation fan.

Brilla Philpot



Letter an affront to justice system

To suggest that anything surrounding the loss suffered by the two families in two collisions was based on race or status is not only offensive, but baseless.

An attorney's Nov. 17 letter is an affront to the hard workers who respond to these nightmares and attempted to differentiate between an accident and a crime.

The description she gives of the night Officer Bryan Durman was mowed down by her client does not reflect the evidence provided to the jury that found Glen Doneghy guilty of manslaughter in the second degree.

In my role as director of victim services for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, I make the same point to each victim: Innocent until proven guilty sounds great until you are a victim. You realize the criminal has all the rights and you have very few.

To literally see someone get away with murder or other violent crimes because of evidence that could not be considered based on their rights is absolutely soul-sucking. And I have seen it many times.

What I have never seen is the writer's version: that the investigation and prosecution of crime is all based on bias and bad intentions. It is not a perfect system but making criminals out to be the victims is part of the problem.

The death of a 12-year-old child is a tragedy, no matter what the circumstances. I have no idea if what occurred was a crime or not, but I have faith the Lexington police department will work diligently to make that determination.

Mary Lynn Houlihan


Different outcomes not about race

The attorney who suggests an equivalency of the death of Officer Byran Durman and the 12-year-old school student should be ashamed.

An adult under the influence, driving recklessly, has absolutely no similarity to someone following the rules yet blinded by the sun.

Then to blame the different treatment of the events on skin color is in itself racist. She should be censured for such an inflammatory statement. After all, aren't all attorneys really officers of the court?

Why would the Herald-Leader even choose to print such a race-baiting comment?

William Dowden


Hit-and-run is a crime

A local attorney's Nov. 17 letter protests that the "so-called criminal justice system" displayed a "fundamental fault" by treating the "offenders as disparately different" in two local traffic cases, both tragic. They resulted in the death of victims struck in the street by two different drivers.

She questioned whether or not the life of a police officer was and is valued more than the life of a l2-year-old child. She accuses that the victims were not valued "as people but for their status."

The writer appears to have overlooked a very important material fact in the two cases, which were not really similar at all. The driver who killed a police officer fled the scene. The driver who hit the child, stopped, stayed and took responsibility.

One is an accident that occurred in the flash of an instant. Nothing supports her conclusion that the driver proceeded recklessly, in spite of being blinded.

The second case was far different. When a driver flees the scene, it is a crime, even if no injury or death occurs. Indeed, in the case she cites, there was just cause to believe the impaired driver struck the officer while fleeing what he believed to be a driver's checkpoint. Police had to track him down like the criminal he was.

It is apparent that the letter's strongest argument against the existing criminal justice system is the fact that, as a current member of the bar, she is still allowed to be part of that same justice system.

John Landreth


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