Letters to the Editor: March 28

March 28, 2014 

Senate Ag committee aids animal abusers

As I watch the 2014 Kentucky legislative session near a close, I find myself astounded by what happened in a Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Tuesday.

A good bill that helps protect animals by setting standards for animal-shelter euthanasia became a horrendous one when it went to the Senate. The bill was used to put in language that would help protect those that go undercover to film animal abuses on farms instead of holding those abusers accountable.

With the help and support of the Kentucky Farm Bureau, the committee added these provisions onto House Bill 222. One of the leading proponents of this added language is committee chair and former KFB board director, Sen. Paul Hornbeck (R—Shelbyville).

It is such a travesty that anyone would think of protecting abusers, but to hijack a bill originally intended to protect animals is absolutely egregious. If this amended bill is signed into law, a person going undercover to expose abuse will be subject to jail and a fine, while the abuser is not punished in any way.

And, please spare me the rhetoric that it is about private property rights. It is about animal abuse and torture and the protection of those who perpetrate it.

I can only hope that the House leadership will not allow this. Unfortunately, in the process of taking over this bill, the Senate may very well hurt dogs and cats by not addressing gas chambers that are used in many animal shelters.

Pam Pilgrim


Voting aids felons

Sen. Damon Thayer mentioned in his op-ed that one problem he has with restoring the right to vote for felons in House Bill 70 is that many felons commit new offenses after being released from prison. While I understand and share the concerns about re-offense amongst released felons, I believe that opposing the restoration of voting rights may result in more crime, not less.

I co-authored a published research paper looking at the question of what effect, if any, taking away someone's right to vote has on their likelihood to commit another crime.

My co-author and I used data published by the Department of Justice and examined the records of nearly 40,000 released inmates, both in states (such as Kentucky) that take away the right to vote permanently and states that do not take it away.

Our findings were that permanently taking away the right to vote is associated with a statistically significant increase in the probability of a felon being arrested again after release from prison. The right to vote is unquestionably a powerful symbol of reintegration and of having a stake in one's own community.

If Thayer and others are truly concerned with reducing the number of repeat offenders, I hope that they will reconsider their support of HB 70 and allow felons who have served their time to vote.

Guy-Hamilton Smith


Cheers from Wichita

We read in the Wichita Eagle that our beloved coach, Gregg Marshall, has received many emails from University of Kentucky fans expressing their admiration for our team and their efforts.

We and our listeners just want to say thank you for your kindness in sending those.

The loss was heartbreaking for us, especially coming off a perfect season. I am sure Kentucky fans, with the school's storied basketball history, can understand how we feel. We also appreciate the respectful comments exchanged between Kentucky players and ours.

Kentucky fans and their team are a class act. Now, go win that championship.

Jan Harrison and Phil Thompson

KFXJ 104.5 The Fox

Wichita, Kan.

No backlash

Given the Republican Senate budget action that cuts the number of inspections of underground mines, I must assume that dead miners do not vote.

George R. Nichols II, M.D.


AT&T should just sell out

The AT&T bill, should be the AT&T wireless bill. It would not exist if the company didn't have wireless in the same areas. It is trying to use whatever is least expensive to serve new areas. You don't need a law to use it. AT&T Home, a wireless service is available now.

What concerns me the most is the loss of Internet access that goes with losing the lines. Shared wireless, through a router, is terrible and expensive or nonexistent in rural areas.

Nobody tells the telecoms how to deliver service. They can use fiber optic, coaxial, T1, T3 and copper pairs now. All of these can deliver high-speed Internet as well, and then a phone can be an accessory. I know of no wireless service that can deliver decent Internet which can be shared.

I had one customer in Centerville, all of 14 miles from Lexington, who had to use it for a while and it was terrible. And he could see the tower.

I urge AT&T to just sell out to someone who wants to provide Internet, like Verizon did.

I urge all House members to vote this deregulation bill down.

John P. Hall


Accountability to elderly

AARP is fighting to preserve reliable phone service for Kentuckians who rely on land-line service for emergency purposes and to stay connected to their family, friends and communities.

Telephone service is a necessity, particularly for older adults, who are more likely than any other age group to rely on land-line service to maintain social contact and preserve health and safety.

Competition in the telecommunications market can give consumers real choices and promote their economic well-being.

But competition should come with accountability and established consumer protections, especially for the elderly and other vulnerable citizens.

Consumers need phone service that is affordable, reliable and accessible — conditions that often cannot be met by wireless service alone, particularly in rural areas.

Advances in technology have changed the telecommunications industry, but policymakers must remain mindful of their commitment to ensuring all residents have access to affordable, reliable land-line telephone service.

Contact legislators and Gov. Steve Beshear and tell them to keep land-line phone service affordable and reliable.

Brenda McClanahan

AARP Kentucky volunteer


Top-heavy schools

I couldn't help but wonder about the Fayette County Public School budget, specifically the number of people employed by the district.

According to a recent article, the school district employs 5,815 people serving a student body of 40,109.

Let's do the math. That comes to seven students for every employee. It appears the district is top-heavy in non-instructional personnel, that more than half of the district's staff is not involved in teaching.

Are there that many administrators, teacher's aides, cafeteria workers, janitors and school bus drivers?

Am I missing something? Perhaps one of your enterprising reporters can look at this.

Ray Depa


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