Keeping ex-cons from voting is a political ploy
Regarding James Snyder Jr.'s March 16 commentary, "Unfair for Ky. to take away my right to vote": Kentucky is actually one of only two states that deprive a paid-up felon of his/her civil rights for life. West Virginia is the other.
How did this sorry state of affairs come to pass? Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, the same person who was loath to identify his sugar daddies behind the casino gambling bill, has been the primary motivator for this embarrassing situation.
It's a sad fact that 75 percent of felons back on the street are black. It's also true that practically none of them would vote Republican. Thayer is well aware of this and has consistently stymied all efforts to right this egregious wrong.
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It's a case of politically motivated racism, impure and simple.
How does Thayer attain such power? What kind of people would vote for him? The same ones who support Rand Paul, who would like to roll back civil rights legislation. Folks like that Pike County preacher who exposed the commonwealth to universal derision and ridicule by his antics when a young couple of different colors came to his church to worship. Folks like the tea partiers who spat on civil rights icon John Lewis. Folks who proudly display the treasonous banner of the Confederacy. I could go on ad nauseam, but I think I already have.
So, Snyder should not hold his breath. Shamefully, the status quo suits a high percentage of the hoi polloi around these parts.
Billy B. Hatfield
Time to get bridges built
In answer to David Coyte's March 26 commentary: People have been talking about the Ohio River Bridges Project for decades. After countless starts and stops, public meetings and delays, there is finally a workable plan. Still, some question that plan and would further delay the project without sound reason.
The bottom line: Kentucky and our country need to get those bridges built soonest. And, as Coyte points out, the project has to address the realities of this century. I believe it does.
Our region's location is within 500 miles of two-thirds of the U.S. population, and the logistics and distribution industry is a key component to our economic success. We've got thriving river commerce, the UPS world hub, a terrific network of highways and an established rail system.
This feeds other sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, a critical initiative of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement. Plus tourism and our growing food and beverage industries, both of which include Kentucky bourbon, are directly affected by our transportation system. These things are advantages, and by building the bridges, we'll maintain those advantages for the future.
This is an economic development project, and one that is necessary to promote job growth. Not only will construction of the bridges stimulate the economy to the tune of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in payroll, it also will stimulate sustained economic prosperity for our entire state when completed.
This project has been debated long enough. Let's approve the funding and get on with it.
President and CEO, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
I had never met nor heard of Lois Howard Gray, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's mother. However, Al Smith's tribute to her in the March 23 paper brought her to life in the grandest of ways. Her life story should speak to all of us to not only to be productive ourselves, but by our example, encourage others to do the same.
The sensitivity with which Smith so eloquently characterized this lady brought tears to this reader's eyes.
Jane L. Doran
Kudos to Silas House for his sensitive, spot-on analysis of the defeat of House Bill 336 by the cowardly Kentucky representatives who voted against it and those who abstained.
Actually, it is just more of the same. Only eight years later. Giving the wrong, unkind and hurtful message.
In 2004, the legislature, with the consent of all but 16 courageous representatives and senators, passed Senate Bill 245, which called for a constitutional amendment. As a result of that amendment, not only can gay and lesbian persons never marry, but worse, any type of legal status similar to marriage cannot be valid or recognized. They worked hard to pass SB 245, and it was not pretty. The sanctimonious rhetoric spewed in the House and Senate chambers back then was something to behold.
Essential language was gutted from the "Golden Rule Act" in 2008 and now, in 2012, a bullying bill cannot even get out of committee because some fear that gays will get "special rights." Unbelievable.
It astounds me that in this modern day, we still have legislators who cannot open their hearts and minds with respect to gay and lesbian people. It astounds me that they are unable to appreciate the need to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students from the harassment and bullying in schools. It astounds me that these legislators have the power to initiate a kinder school environment for gay students but blatantly refuse to do it. Is it flippant disregard for the safety of gay students or is it misguided morality?
Prevailing wage a waste
The March 25 editorial "University's presidential pay erodes trust" has the right fire with regard to taking on wasteful spending. Unfortunately, it is sorely misplaced.
Rather than taking on the increase (granted, significant) in the university president's salary, the Herald-Leader editorial board should focus on more costly and damaging wasteful spending at the university.
For instance, a great step was taken recently toward investing $500 million in privatizing the dorms on the University of Kentucky campus. However, this project will be subject to wasteful prevailing-wage practices, needlessly driving up the cost of construction by nearly $60 million.
That is a lot more than a $300,000 increase in presidential salary. The Herald-Leader and UK should turn their eyes toward that wasteful spending practice.