Lexington should not require medics to also fight fires
Lexington's fire department is now being questioned as to why so little "diversity" exists on its staff.
Perhaps women or minorities simply don't want to be firefighters.
As a female paramedic in another fire department that hires medics without demanding we also be firefighters, I can without a doubt say that's a significant reason women do not apply to the Lexington force.
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To solve the overtime issues and personnel shortage, civilian medics should be hired.
This process works well for both large and small departments, including the country's largest department in New York City.
By keeping a ridiculous, hopelessly antiquated hiring stipulation, the Lexington department — without meaning to — becomes blatantly discriminatory to female medics.
It also puts patients at risk, by staffing units with men who wanted to be firefighters but never wanted to ride the buggy as a medic.
Whitesburg water woes
The Feb. 22 article on Whitesburg's water problems is very troubling. Despite a history of major diesel fuel spills in the North Fork of the Kentucky River, the most recent diesel spill was not noticed until a Whitesburg resident complained to the waterworks operator, Veolia, about their morning tap water.
By then, the Whitesburg pipeline distribution system was already contaminated. I wonder how many residents unknowingly drank that water in their morning coffee?
Apparently, the treated water in Whitesburg is not being continuously monitored before it is sent into the public water lines. How many other water treatment plants in Kentucky have similar problems?
Diesel fuel stinks. But what about other tasteless and odorless chemicals and toxic heavy metals like selenium? What is really in our tap water? Who is watching out for the public health?
Not our governor. Gov. Steve Beshear is now suing the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the federal government from imposing stricter limits on water quality in our streams and rivers.
We need stricter limits on water quality. And Beshear owes the people of Kentucky an explanation.
Looking out for taxpayers
A letter writer says, "If you are going after union workers for large salaries and benefits, you have to put upper management (of large corporations) in the same boat."
Really? The senior management of a large corporation is responsible for results in the free market. Ultimately, if they fail to deliver, they are answerable to stockholders and the marketplace.
They cannot go on demanding salaries and benefits when there is no money to pay them.
The public sector unions, on the other hand, buy the politicians (mostly Democrats) with campaign contributions and in return get contracts for what they want in wages and benefits whether the city, state or municipality can afford it or not.
The issue is not who gets big salaries; the issue is who gets what they want whether there is money to provide it or not.
The governors who are trying to break up this cozy relationship should get a medal from every thoughtful taxpayer in the country.
Knowing when to kick
In response to a the Feb. 27 letter criticizing Democratic lawmakers' protest in Wisconsin: At least the donkey knows how to kick back when needed. Unlike the mindless elephant that charges ahead to destroy everything in its path.
Union-busting the goal
At first glance, you might think the protest in Wisconsin is just another labor dispute — until the unions agreed to all the concessions on pension and health insurance the governor demanded.
Then, the governor said they must give up their rights to collective bargaining, as well. From that moment on, we know it is nothing more than union-busting.
Wisconsin was the first state to create an unemployment insurance program and to start a workers' compensation program.
Before that, if you lost a limb due to a work injury, you could be terminated. If you were killed at work, the robber barons would pay no compensation to your family.
In 1886, seven Wisconsin workers were shot while protesting for a 40-hour work week. Without unions to keep corporations and Republicans from rolling back protections people fought and died for, you could be working 120 hours a week for a wage you can't live on, in an unsafe workplace.
Remember in 1933, Adolph Hitler banned all trade unions. We should also remember what Pastor Martin Niemoller wrote:
"First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."
Anthony R. Savage
Must only rich negotiate?
The most anti-union cable news network is Fox News. How does the Fox News cast get their multimillion dollar salaries?
They do it by contract negotiations.
The most anti-union radio is dominated by right-wing people such as Rush Limbaugh.
His contract negotiations net him over $50 million a year. Our evening network news anchors have contracts for multimillion dollar salaries.
How about our sports coaches and professional athletes who have professional agents to do their contract negotiations?
The Southeastern Conference gets millions of dollars from contract negotiations with cable networks. Wall Street offers contracts with bonuses that exceed the yearly salaries.
So why is it that everyday people who contribute to the wealth of those listed above cannot negotiate contracts? These are our teachers, police, firefighters, maintenance personnel for trash, infrastructure, electricity and airports.
Who says they are not good enough to bargain?
Can any of you tell me what is one of the largest groups of Americans who cannot negotiate a contract themselves or have an agent do it for them? This group of dedicated Americans is the United States military.
How many of you would have anything if not for the military preserving your rights?
James F. Rodgers
No gun restrictions
Psychologist Steven Mangine's Feb. 13 commentary, "Keep mentally ill from buying guns," while somewhat informative was quite preposterous.
He ignores the fact that "all" citizens of spaceship Earth should have no restrictions on buying guns. Why? The answer: self defense. How can one ignore that?
And it is impossible to prove anyone to be actually mentally ill. Absolutely impossible. It's a judgment call, pure and simple, and not one those in power should ever make. Too corrupt.
If one is clearly a danger to self or others, I suppose that it might be necessary to detain such a person. But all too often, a person is judged to be a danger by those in power (ever heard of ulterior motives?). And those unlucky persons get their so-called legal rights trampled on, and there's nobody there to protect those poor souls. Absolutely nobody will actually risk it. No way.
William Douglas Lindeman
Make parents lead
I read Transylvania University professor Ben Hawkins' Feb. 6 commentary, "Make it really 'About Kids.'" The first question that needs to be answered is: What is the purpose of sending our children to school?
I'm sure there would be a lot of differing answers to that question, and therein lies our problem. We've taken the focus off the core mission — educating children.
Hawkins' ideas wax from incredulous to ridiculous. Really? Treat teachers like human beings? How about we give teachers a clear objective so they know what's expected of them? This year, children under your tutelage need to learn X. Then hold the kids, parents and teachers accountable for what students learn.
While I applaud Hawkins' approach to raising his children, I fail to see how he extrapolates that into a job for public schools. I'm well aware of what our schools are currently doing toward meeting those basic needs, and I find it a colossal intrusion into parental responsibilities. If my child were to break the law, I would be held liable for any damage or restitution.
Why are we not holding parents accountable for providing for their children? Are there not laws against child neglect? Isn't sending your child to school without nourishment child neglect?
No one seems to want to hold anyone accountable for their actions anymore. If the adults in their lives have no accountability, how can we expect our children to be more mature than their parents?
Pumping more oil could aid green energy
The Feb. 26 Tom Toles cartoon should have been displayed with Thomas Friedman's column the day before. Toles depicts our present predicament nicely by showing that we aren't free of petroleum products and not quite there for green alternatives.
But Friedman ignores this quandary. His solution for weaning us from Middle Eastern despots who control our sources of crude oil is to impose a tax of $1 a gallon of gasoline to force us to drive Chevy Volts.
Never mind that there aren't enough Volts to go around and there won't be for many years to come. He also gives no thought to the extra transportation costs of delivering our groceries and other goods and the impact this would have on our economy. No mention is made of the effect this would have on commuters' budgets.
Just the threat of developing our own crude would have the effect of dropping the price of oil futures, and the price of gas at the pump will drop accordingly. If we become an oil exporter, the money we send to despots would be returned to our treasury and our deficits reduced considerably. We need a bridge to span the gap between where we are and where we wish to be in the use of alternative renewal sources of energy. Pumping some of our own crude oil would provide it.
J. L. Lombardo