Set hearing on Fayette minimum wage hike
The Herald-Leader's March 24 editorial, "Schedule hearing on minimum wage" got it right. So, too, did Vice Mayor Steve Kay, when he tried to schedule a special council meeting in April to accommodate those who had signed up to speak March 17 but were prevented by a lack of time.
I am strongly in favor of raising the minimum wage in Fayette County. We need to have the public conversation now, not next fall or next year. Using figures from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, the editorial broke down the main groups that make less than $10 an hour, and they are not youngsters. They are people who need to be able to support themselves and, often, dependents.
At least as pressing is the need to require higher minimum compensation for servers at restaurants and other tipped workers. With 46 percent workers dependent on tips forced to rely on public assistance to make ends meet, the case is clear.
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I can't do better than quote from the editorial: "Low prices for those of us who can shop, eat out or stay in hotels should not be subsidized by the public assistance too many workers rely on, or the poverty their families experience."
Undeserving of compassion
I just read about Thomas Clyde Bowling, a vicious killer of two young parents who owned a dry cleaning service in north Lexington back in 1990. He also shot their 2-year-old son without hesitation.
Yet, he had been on death row for 27 years. But when the convicted killer started having so-called complications from cancer he was moved to a nursing care facility within our prison system and given compassionate care until his death, Why? He should have suffered much more than the family the young couple and child left behind.
Darrell G. Gross
Unfair to ignore teacher pensions
No other profession is subject to so much criticism, scrutiny and interference as teaching No other professionals are expected to keep pursuing more college hours, more degrees, more training. No other professionals have to answer to so many groups at so many levels: parents, administrators, local officials, state officials and the federal government.
Our retirement system has been the one perk we teachers could brag about and be grateful for. During the recession, retirees with 401(k)s watched their savings diminish, while Kentucky's retirees continued to receive pensions.
Now the system is in jeopardy, and the Senate refused to accept the House proposal to borrow money needed to keep the fund solvent. The Republicans say they want to study the problem. The time to fix it is now. The fund is having to sell assets to pay retired baby boomers whose salaries and retirement benefits are much greater than those whose teaching careers began in the 1950s. If the legislature does not act to stabilize the system now, the fund will continue to diminish as more highly paid administrators and college faculty members retire.
In the meantime, the best and brightest young teachers may be thinking twice about staying in Kentucky.
Webster's Israel critique off-base
Larry Webster's humorous column on mediaspeak had an odious undertone. He singled out Israel for special treatment, writing "Netanyahu, a yahoo with a net whose dreams of an apartheid state coincide with the Old Testament, which Jesus was trying to repeal."
Just what was Jesus trying to repeal — claims to real estate?
Israel's Arab population enjoys benefits and freedoms unheard of in most Arab nations. Calling Israel an apartheid state, Webster overlooks that the Palestinians' vision of their state is one totally free of Jews "from the river to the sea," not unlike Saudi Arabia where Jews cannot even live. They never disclose what they would do with the Jews.
Israel is a tiny nation clever enough to survive surrounded by 250 million Arabs supported by the entire 1.5 trillion Muslims and their 56-nation United Nations bloc. Webster negates Israel's claim to the land based on its establishment by the League of Nations and the United Nations, but honors Arab claims to the land based on their violent conquests in the 7th century.
The world is now witnessing how these conquests were accomplished by the methods of ISIS and Boko Haram, which utilize tried and true traditions to spread their dominance.
Coach Rupp disrespected
I was walking by Rupp Arena recently and thought about Coach Adolph Rupp. I have seen a statue of a coach who coached the Wildcats for 10 years, along with another one of a coach of 13 years.
One of them left the University of Kentucky under pressure and was later fired by the University of Minnesota. He won one national championship with players he did not recruit.
The other one won one national championship. Thank God he had a great guard named Kyle Macy. He had the same team the prior year without Macy and let the University of North Carolina hold the ball for six minutes and beat him.
Rupp put Kentucky on the road to greatness and won four national championships, where is his statue?
In spring, the heart also blossoms
Percy Bysshe Shelley, a 19th century English poet, posed an interesting question in one of his poems, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" Then, there is saying that answers that question: "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow."
The dismal season of winter — characterized by long dark nights and gray drab days accompanied by unpredictable weather — is over. Most of us will feel so much better in the depth of our hearts, for spring, the season we have longed for, will be here at last.
All around there is a dramatic stirring. The earth is awakening, bursting forth with new life. The drab grays and dreary browns are giving way to the beautiful greens and bright yellows, and all around there is evidence of growth and vitality. With warmer days, the lovely crocuses bloom, and the returning songbirds sing.
Yet the coming of spring is a reminder of something more profound: There is a spirit of optimism in the human heart. That spirit enables us to forget the dreariness of the past. With confident assurance, we move ahead believing in the depth of the heart that better things are ahead.