Don't reject ex-felons seeking jobs, new starts
I am a former felon. I made some bad decisions and paid for them dearly. I'm in college working toward my degree. Because I have a record, it's impossible to find employment. The door keeps getting slammed in my face.
All that's seen is my record, not where I am today. I only want an opportunity to continue to better my life. I work hard at everything I do; the things that are important to me now are faith, family and freedom.
I believe that education is vital to my future and may help knock down some barriers to employment, but the presumption that all former felons are the same and can't be trusted is simply not true. All I want to do is work, make honest money and live a decent life.
I accept responsibility for my actions and I make no excuses. We've all made some bad decisions in our lives. I don't want welfare. I want to make honest pay for honest work.
Employers, when you come across an application on which the felony box is checked, don't throw it away. Try to see beyond that.
Think about it: If that person was still in the same criminal mind-set, would he really be looking for a job, and would he really be honest about his past, knowing you would probably hold it against him?
People have the courage and capacity to change, no matter what their past is. Keyword: past.
I. Dunbar Smith
Recently, I have been involved in transactions with several companies that to me amount to nothing more than a license to steal:
■ My carry-on baggage on a recent flight to Florida met stated requirements but on final boarding to come home I was pulled aside and arbitrarily charged before I was allowed to board.
■ Activation fees by a phone service company to open an account and also fees to close the account.
■ Prepaid gift cards that decrease in value because they were not used in the allotted time.
■ Companies that have decreased their product size; you think you are getting the standard 64 oz. container, but now the size is 59 ounces.
I could go on with creative and deceptive charges by banks, satellite TV and other companies, but you can see my point. Customer service and consumer protection are words we know, but we don't see in action very often any more.
There used to be an automobile dealership in Lexington whose motto was: "We run a very simple business." I wish that attitude was still the norm today.
Charles W. Adams
Oust all in Congress
A recent Herald-Leader news item was very small, so was likely not noticed by many readers. The item disclosed that our current Congress was the lowest performing in the history of our nation as measured by amount of legislation passed.
This should have been in large, bold headlines on the front page.
We, the people, hire (elect) these inept, self-serving "servants" of our nation. There's no business in the country that would tolerate such low performance, so why do we? We should concentrate efforts to fire every member up for reelection.
Vote for whoever is opposing the incumbent, Democrat or Republican, until we have a complete turnover of personnel. Then we must insist on term limits to avoid repeating the recent situation in Congress.
James R. Jenkins
Keep ice rink longer
I, too, think the ice rink should stay open at least through January and perhaps February. I'm not sure of the participation during the week, however I imagine parents are looking for something for their kids to do, especially on weekends.
It just seems a waste to put so much work into the rink only to have it open for such a short time.
I am a grandma who lived in Chicago before moving here 15 years ago. My grandkids enjoy the rink in Chicago, even though they live 40 minutes from downtown.
The ice rink in downtown Chicago is always full on weekends. In the time I have been here I have seen many improvements downtown, one of them being the ice rink. I wonder what other Lexingtonians have to say about this subject.
Determine species value
Although efforts to protect endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 are being made by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, I believe that economics should be utilized more in the process.
With 30-plus endangered species in Kentucky alone, if economists are brought in to estimate the values of the animals then a better prioritized list can be made to rebuild populations not only faster, but more efficiently.
Looking through economic lenses, one can see that it is not about what species looks the best or is seen the most but that saving endangered species is about capturing as much benefit to society and to the ecosystem as possible.
Economists do not have the luxury of preference, but they can find out which species will bring the most benefit to society and which can be brought back in the most cost-effective manner.
I know that most people do not like to think about putting a price on a life, but that is not what economists are doing.
By comparing the costs and benefits of increasing the population of a certain species one can see which species should be focused on first and where budget money should go.
Domestic aid, instead
After reading so many articles about stimulus, bailouts, the never- ending monster CEO bonuses, gifts from Congress to countries around the world, I have a great idea.
Let's all demand Congress end foreign aid permanently and give each U.S. citizen — man, woman and child — $2 million tax free.
Laughable? Why? It is tax dollars, we are going to pay for it all anyway. Give it to us and watch us ordinary folks stimulate the economy. Give a chunk to illegal immigrants and send them home.
Use some money to hire financial advisers to help people spend the money wisely, if that's possible. If all us po' folks had that money, wouldn't none of us be on food stamps and aid.
Since we're paying all the bills, it's time for our share; it's our money. And all for less than $1 billion. To put this in perspective, let's refer again to foreign aid — $50 billion dollars a year, every year.
Leave the money in our pockets and we will decide when, where and if to donate.
Not a biblical attitude
The Rev. Dwayne Walker spoke out against the homeless population on WKYT, saying that the Community Inn needed to move because his church was in the neighborhood first.
He claimed his church's property was being desecrated by the people who come to sleep at the Inn nightly.
I would like to refer Rev. Walker to Matthew 25 where the message is clearly stated: The real evidence of one's belief is the way one acts.
To treat all persons we encounter as if they were Jesus is no easy task. What we do for others demonstrates what we really think about Jesus' words to us: feed the hungry, give the homeless a place to stay and look after the sick.
How well we do Jesus' actions separates us from pretenders and unbelievers.
Protecting the Ark
I was amused to read that a new theme park is being planned in Grant County. The hope is for millions to attend and pay money for the privilege.
It will include a huge replica of Noah's Ark, along with the remarkable claim that dinosaurs also went in two by two.
This exhibit will surely distinguish Kentucky both nationally and internationally.
With the very likely possibility of lawsuits involving the conflict of church and state funding and other complications with this venture, careful insurance will be in place.
My question is whether Noah's Ark will be required to have flood insurance.