Help the homeless
If you haven't noticed, we have a large homeless population in Lexington. Phoenix Park seems to be the hangout ever since plans were made for a shelter to go up downtown, which didn't happen.
I remember the talk about the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and how they would bring attention to Lexington and help the economy. During the Games, a temporary shelter was made available at night.
When the Games — which, by the way, were a flop and a waste of taxpayers' money — were over, the homeless were back in the park. Couldn't the money that was used for the Games have been used to help the unfortunate people of Lexington? We catered to a bunch of visitors instead of citizens.
All this was about image; we wanted to put on some front. We walk past Phoenix Park, ignoring the problem and look for no solutions to it unless it's for our own selfish gain.
When we give them shelter temporarily, and then put them back out on the streets, it causes long-term trauma. This is abuse.
I hope everyone's happy that they were able to participate in their little Equestrian Games, neglecting the unfortunate homeless men, women and children of Lexington. Money well spent, guys.
Public financing of judicial races maintains integrity
Those of us who believe in campaign finance reform remember how easy it was for state Sen. David Williams, R-Burkesville, to kill Kentucky's system of partial-public financing of our campaigns for governor in 2003.
About all he had to do was call it "welfare for politicians." He apparently doesn't mind welfare for lobbyists. But I digress.
So, what are we to make of Kentucky House Bill 21; which proposes a similar system for financing our elections for state judges? Is this welfare for judges?
Hardly. We might more accurately call it clean elections for judges.
Here's why. Public money comes with no strings attached. Candidates who receive it don't owe anything to any private interest group or their political committees.
Yes, of course politicians who are dependent on private-interest money will tell you that it doesn't affect their decisions in office. No one really believes that, though. Just compare a list of the political donors to any member of Congress with her or his voting record.
My hunch is most state judges do not want to ride the private-interest money carrousel. They are more concerned about their ethics and objectivity than candidates for other offices. We hope so, anyway.
Neither do they want to be packaged and sold like political candidates. What HB 21 proposes is a reorientation of judicial elections on the candidates' qualifications.
On Feb. 5, Kroger stores across the commonwealth participated in the first lady's third annual "Shop & Share." Sponsored by Jane Beshear — in collaboration with the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs, the Kentucky Commission on Women and the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana — the event raised more than $341,000 for Kentucky's domestic violence shelters.
Words cannot express the sincere appreciation the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association and the 15 regional domestic violence programs have for Beshear and her staff for organizing this huge endeavor.
Beshear began sponsoring this annual drive in 2008 as a way to support shelters faced with growing expenses and shrinking resources. Kentuckians have generously contributed much-needed goods, including canned and dried foods, paper products, toiletries, diapers and cleaning supplies.
Shop & Share has raised more than $741,000 in goods and donations over the three years.
Last year, Kentucky's domestic violence programs served approximately 27,000 women, men and children, both residentially and non-residentially.
KDVA programs are facing increasing costs for domestic violence services such as heating and cooling shelters; client transportation to court, doctor's appointments and social services; food, clothing and other basic necessities.
The generosity of the many volunteers and donors will benefit women and children from Paducah to Ashland. Hats off to those who helped.
Ann Brown Perkins
President, Kentucky Domestic Violence Association
Not a choice
I would like to ask the letter writer who recently called homosexuality a "lifestyle" if she consciously chose to be heterosexual when she reached puberty.
Did she spend an afternoon making a choice?
Nancy L. Perry
Forget gun control
The recent carnage in Arizona will again revive demands for gun-control laws. Such laws would be as effective as those to prevent texting while driving, or the 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting beverage alcohol (repealed by the 21st Amendment).
Few laws can prevent existence of guns. More effective would be a federal law prohibiting toy guns that occupy immature minds and teach bad judgment.
Rex J. Phillips
I was utterly dismayed at the Herald-Leader's lack of good judgment by the Jan. 28 publication of the letter, "Tobacco kills, period."
I wondered why the letter was not forwarded to the appropriate psychiatric expert. I would have certainly informed the proper authorities since the writer sounded as deranged as Jared Loughner, the man who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.
Only the letter writer was fixated on cigarette smokers.
At least we have a good suspect if smokers are suddenly targeted and gunned down.
Take care of cronies
Well, now. No wonder University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart is smiling. A six-figure pay raise?
Wonder how high tuition is going next semester?
State finances are in the toilet and six figures? Good to see big shots are taking care of each other. I wouldn't be smiling. I'd be laughing,