PSC should not reward utilities for poor service
At a May 6 public hearing in Lexington, which your paper did not cover, I urged the Public Service Commission to protect consumers from having to pay for the obvious failure of Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities to keep ice-covered limbs away from where they could fall on distribution lines during the 2009 ice storm.
The companies ignored the lessons from the ice storm of 2003 because it would have cost them money to adequately trim trees. An emergency expenditure that costs more, though, has been proposed as a special charge to customers.
The PSC is supposed to protect customers from unfair charges and unreliable service; Kentuckians should not have to pay millions to reward the opposite.
The public has seen no evidence of even a minimum tree-trimming effort. The commission's report of Nov. 19 about the storm is only a review of what the companies say they do. It makes no mention that the commission verifies any of these company-generated statements. For instance, it notes that LG&E and KU "operate on a six-year cycle" for clearing limbs away from distribution lines. How much can trees grow in six years? Is that sufficient, if it indeed is followed?
The companies also report that much of the damage was caused by trees and limbs that fell from outside the rights of way. How much is much? It appears the commission didn't ask, much less verify.
Compensation for storm-related expenses will only ensure another ice storm catastrophe and more suffering and expense to customers.
David O. Woolverton
A Derby fan speaks
Congratulations to Churchill Downs and all who made this year's Kentucky Derby a great success. Having attended the past 63 Derbies, 58 without an advance ticket and having memorized a vast amount of Derby history including the names of each winner from 1875 to 2010, I feel qualified to make some suggestions.
■ Give true horse lovers and racing fans a chance to attend and see the race in a decent atmosphere. Tickets should not be exclusively for politicians, bankers, corporate executives and celebrities. There are many others like me who would pay money for good box seats just to see the race.
■ Hire designers of the julep glasses who know a little about horses, at least the difference between the hoof of a horse and that of an ox. The ox hoof is on the 2009 and 2010 glasses.
Also they need to know the difference between a running horse and a jumping horse (2008). And then there was the carnival glass of 2007.
■ What's wrong with honoring the previous winner by using those colors or a picture — you do want to make money? That would add more collectable value. The program covers of 1948 through 1968 feature a winner's circle picture and pedigrees. These are priceless memorabilia today.
Phillip E. Perkins
A friend of mine who teaches kindergarten related recently that she has witnessed bullying among her little ones. She says a group of children will literally decide who the victim of the week is and pick on them. Our first response may well be: What is this world coming to? But perhaps the more useful question is: Where are they learning this behavior?
One look at the news and the answer is clear. They are learning it from us.
It's time to start modeling civil behavior for our children's sake. We must stop calling each other names. We must respect each other's right to his or her opinion. We must listen more and shout less. We must learn how to cooperate, negotiate and compromise. These are the rules of the playground and they apply to all of us.
It would be most helpful to see this kind of behavior modeled by our leaders — the ones we usually call politicians. Perhaps if we started calling them our civil servants, they would start acting like it; that is, civil with a mind to serve. Let's start a grass roots movement. Let's call it trickle-up civility. And like a good parent, we'll only reward the behavior we want to see. Play nice or you're not allowed on the playground.
No issue is more important than this. Civility is about who we are and who we want our children to grow up to be. Next time you vote, remember this: The children are watching.
Perhaps Michael J. Trinklein did not do the necessary fact-checking before publishing his book, Lost States of America, as reviewed by Tish Wells in the May 2 Herald-Leader.
Transylvania was not proposed by Daniel Boone. And it was not proposed as a state, but rather the 14th colony. The venture was proposed by Richard Henderson, founder of the Transylvania Company, which employed Boone to survey the lands west of the Alleghenies that were part of the Virginia and North Carolina colonies.
Henderson platted his proposed capital on the banks of the Kentucky River and named it Boonesborough.
The nascent colony held a General Assembly on March 23, 1775, and elected a representative to the Second Continental Congress. Preoccupied with a little matter later known as the American Revolution, the Congress failed to recognize Transylvania as a colony, and the idea died.
The Transylvania Company is better known as the founding agent of today's Transylvania University.
Henderson became a footnote in history, but is recognized by the county of Henderson, carved out of Christian County in 1798 and named in his honor.
The only known portrait of Richard Henderson hangs in the Lexington History Museum, recognizing him as "Kentucky's Forgotten Founding Father."
James Kemper Millard
Lexington History Museum, Inc.
My father, Ricky Workman, passed away in the Upper Big Branch-Performance Coal explosion in West Virginia.
Please send our thoughts and prayers to the families of Michael Carter and Justin Travis, who died in a roof fall in a Webster County mine.
We know that they are going through a hard time and God will help them through it all. So sorry for these two families. Words can never heal their hearts but God can reach out and give them comfort.
Monica Workman White
Whitesville, W. Va.
Need more 411
In the Herald-Leader/WKYT-TV poll, a random sample of regular voters was interviewed by land-line telephone.
I would like to know how you account for the fact that many younger people do not have land-line phones but may vote anyway.
If your demographic is skewed older, it may not truly represent Lexington.
Prevent police state
A recent letter-writer equates identification requirements for cashing a check with Arizona's new law aimed at illegal immigrants and wonders what all the fuss is about. She misses the point.
None of her examples are pinned to my identity as a citizen. Carrying identification (for the library, for the credit card company, for the clients of the gas company) is not the same as having to prove citizenship upon demand.
I suspect that very few of us actually carry proof of citizenship on our person. Putting my hands on the passport or birth certificate proving my citizenship while sitting in a holding cell is a different proposition than producing my Kroger card for the supermarket cashier.
The U.S. does not have national identity cards. Such things are a hallmark of a police state. And in the current case, a potential police state that specifically targets people of color, regardless of their potentially legitimate rights as citizens.
We certainly need to reform U.S. immigration law, but the answer is not to allow indiscriminate police checks where my friends and neighbors with brown skin are more likely to have their simple presence challenged, while my white skin affords me the privilege of unrestricted passage.
Richard H. Schein
Cut them off
Fannie Mae needs more money from us, the taxpayers. What about us, the taxpayers, who are barely getting by? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in our pockets to the tune of some $230 billion.
Now, why is it that they are not covered in the financial reform legislation? Hmmm ... makes you wonder.
President Barack Obama pledged to cover unlimited losses until 2012, not to mention getting rid of the cap of $400 billion that was on them. Is that not the stupidest thing you have ever heard?
These companies are never going to do the right thing because they don't have to. They are guaranteed with our money and I don't recall anyone ever asking me if it was OK. Did they ask you?
This is a problem for the taxpayers because they guarantee about half of all mortgages. They buy from lenders and sell to investors, and it appears they are not good at it at all.
Of course, they are too big to fail, so I guess we will continue to use our tax dollars to bail them out; I guess you could call us enablers, they will never do the right thing because they know we've got their back, regardless of how negligently they conduct business.
If this were me or you, we would be thrown in jail.
Make business recycle
Recently, some friends of mine from Boulder, Colo., visited Lexington and were appalled that the bars and restaurants did not have to recycle.
In Tom Eblen's April 21 column, he said "everyone should know by now that recycling is good for the environment."
He failed to mention how little recycling is being done by businesses, He did mention the recycling revenues the city has received. This could increase dramatically with mandatory recycling for bars and restaurants.
My wife and I own a business and we recycle everything we can. Yes, it costs more in time and fuel for trips to the recycling center, but for us it is well worth it.
Find out where candidates stand on this issue.
It is time for Lexington to have leaders who "know by now that recycling is good for the environment."
Gregory M. Doyle
In the money
I hear that a lawmaker is trying to get former President Ronald Reagan's picture on a $50 bill.
Just think what an honor it must have been gutting laws governing oil companies and making it easier to move our factories and jobs overseas.
Americans now have nearly nothing and no place to put it. Reagan was the first president to raid Social Security.
As far in debt as the United States is, it makes a lot of sense to go to the extra expense of making new money. Making new Reagan $50 plates could cost millions. Of course, it would be no cost to those who are proposing it.
If a lawmaker wants to propose a law, why not revive consumer protections with laws that can be enforced?
Even though former President Bill Clinton had experts in Iraq for years checking for weapons of mass destruction, former White House advisor Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney got together an army to make sure these oil barons got oil from Iraq. Maybe we should put their pictures on some money, too.