Letters to the editor, April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014 

Doomed UK lab both unique and historic: save it

The University of Kentucky should not demolish the Ernst Johnson-designed Wenner-Gren building, especially since Lexington is the home of Kentucky's Aviation Museum.

According to the December, 1940 edition of The Kentucky Engineer, the Wenner-Gren building was named after Axel Wenner-Gren, an engineer-entrepreneur-inventor who was a founder of the Swedish company Electrolux.

Wenner-Gren played a major role in the creation of a "laboratory to be used for teaching, training, testing and research in and on the aircraft engine solely." Since testing airplane engines can cause an enormous amount of noise, various techniques were used to contain the racket inside the building. This included uniquely shaped bricks along with innovative brick construction techniques that reflected sound waves in a way to keep them from leaving the building.

It is reasonable to presume that the research done in this building helped us win World War II. This building is extremely unique as well as historic.

Bill Johnston


Co-chair, Community Preservation Committee of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

Misplaced priorities

The estimated price tag for the renovation of the convention center and Rupp Arena is over $300 million. How to pay for this?

The money will clearly come from many sources. Among the revenue generation ideas is a tax on hotels and perhaps other downtown businesses that could potentially benefit from the enhancements at the new convention center. I suspect that the financing will be found. I also suspect that hell will freeze over before this project comes in on budget. Ultimately, the taxpayer will get stuck with the bill.

Meanwhile, the Fayette County public school system is facing a $20 million budget shortfall. The party line from school administration is that these cuts will not have a major impact on the education of children in the system. Please spare me the rhetoric. Have we simply lost our collective mind regarding priorities?

Some will accuse me of mixing apples and oranges here. I would propose that the mayor and the council place a small tax on downtown businesses along with small increase in property taxes. This money can easily cover the public school budget shortfall and perhaps a bit more. Once we close the school budget gap, maybe we could use the excess tax revenue generated to pay our hardworking law enforcement and fire department personnel more?

Put the public school children first at a price of $20 million or Rupp for $300 million? Where is the biggest return on investment here?

It's about the kids, right?

Paul A. Kearney



A letter writer recently pointed out that no Republican president has balanced a budget since the 1950s. I would like to add that the parties have switched ideologies since then. The Republican Party of the '50's was the liberal party. No conservative Republican has ever balanced a budget, because the party did not become conservative until the 1960s.

In the last 25 years Republicans have created three economic crashes and no growth. All of the economic growth in the last 25 years has come under Democratic presidents.

The McConnellsaurus needs to be retired due to no new ideas. Mitch does not even have to promise to do anything. His voters simply pull the lever. The guy should at least have to attend a debate or be "for" something.

McConnell still thinks that tax cuts for the rich are good for the economy, that the minimum wage should never be raised and we need to keep making the military bigger.

Tax cuts for the rich, a bloated military and a huge gap between rich and poor are not good for our economy. The Republican Party has lurched so far to the right that it no longer deserves your vote.

A living wage, higher taxes on corporations and the super-rich and less military spending are what this country needs. Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich, cut military spending and raised the minimum wage and created balanced budgets.

Why can't we do that again? Trickle-down has never worked.

John Sabot


Good for the gander

I'm sure the Mitch McConnell underling who described Alison Grimes as "just an empty dress" didn't realize the misogynistic reverberations that echoed in that statement's wake. After all, if Elaine Chao likes McConnell, he must be all things to all women, right? And his cohorts at the McConnell headquarters probably gave him some hearty backslaps.

Well, what's sauce for the goose, as they say. So I've searched for a similar riposte, but it's difficult.

You see, "dress" can only refer to a woman, as only women wear them. "Suits" are worn by both genders, as are "pants," "shorts," "briefs." There are even "Jockey briefs" for women, which shouldn't be surprising, considering there are women jockeys. So what's a girl to do?

I had an epiphany.

What could best reflect McConnell's inability to solve Kentucky's problems after decades in the Senate? What says it best about his promises to get things done for Kentuckians, but his ineptitude in doing so?

"An empty jockstrap."

Yes, it's harsh, but as I learned back in grammar school, if you can't take it, don't dish it.

Esther Murphy


Jobs and clean air

Regarding Sam Youngman's article "After Democrats' talk-a-thon on climate," Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks there is a conflict between jobs for Kentuckians and fighting climate change.

The cost of providing solar power has been dropping rapidly compared to coal. In some U.S. locations, solar is already competitive with natural gas. What does this spell for coal jobs?

Kentuckians could have clean water, clean air, plenty of electricity and good jobs if only McConnell would support a smooth transition to clean energy via a carbon tax. By ending all subsidies to all energy industries and adopting a carbon tax, Congress could encourage the private sector to invest more heavily in clean energy businesses (solar, wind, geothermal, insulation and other efficiencies). These investments would create new businesses, plenty of jobs and energy.

If the senator would work with his colleagues who care about climate change, he could help design a carbon tax bill that would rebate part of the tax to Kentuckians to help them adjust to new working conditions.

Sometimes one just has to be willing to read the writing on the wall. Is McConnell willing?

Judy Weiss

Brookline, Mass.


The number of Jefferson County residents who have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is 58,038. A Thursday editorial incorrectly implied that all those enrollees live in one state Senate district.

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