Education funding, not deregulation, path to jobs
As the gubernatorial election rhetoric ramps up, I am struck that Republican candidates state they could increase Kentucky jobs through reduction in regulations, in taxes and in oversight. One even states that Frankfort "doesn't have a clue" how to solve these problems.
Well, what are the problems?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kentucky's unemployment rate is 5.5 percent. However, based on University of Kentucky Gatton School of Business and Economics data, the chances of being unemployed with a college degree or better is just 3.5 percent.
With only a high-school diploma, the rate ranges from 6 percent to 9 percent. For those without high-school diplomas, rates are a whopping 12 percent. In our ever-growing prison population, 41 percent have not graduated high school.
So, the problem with Kentucky job rates has nothing to do with regulations, excessive taxation or gubernatorial overreach. The problem is that only 21 percent of adult Kentuckians have college degrees in contrast to more prosperous states where the percent of college graduates approaches 40 percent.
Therefore, if candidates really are searching for a clue to decrease unemployment as well as incarceration, I suggest massive investment in education from grade school to grad school be at the top of their collective lists.
Vincent M. Cassone
Student landlords abandon promises
Students are always ecstatic to get out of the dorm and into the freedom of an off-campus apartment or house. The few apartment companies and landlords that monopolize the area promise the best locations, amenities, management and maintenance. They fill our minds with promises of the best living experience possible.
Starry-eyed students sign the dotted line on a 12-month binding lease. Are the companies living up to the promises they made? We do not think so.
Stories of broken security gates, ridiculous parking, and problems with electricity and utilities are running rampant. It takes weeks or even months to fix tenant problems. Leaks continue to drip and houses continue to crumble.
Do these owners care about their customers or is it all about profit? Students are paying unbelievable rent prices for a product that is not worth it. Landlords and apartment companies need to pride themselves on customer satisfaction. Right now the only thing they care about is milking every square foot of land for every penny it is worth.
Austin Gocke and Erin Piercy
Ky. officials disrespected president
It's no secret that President Barack Obama is not greatly liked in this state. Even knowing that, he has still worked diligently to make health care available for the first time for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, second only to Arkansas.
Yes, the hard work of Obama is literally saving thousands of Kentucky lives even though Kentucky's senior senator has spent years trying to dismantle the health-care program.
And the Herald-Leader reported Feb. 2 that Obama proposes a $1 billion lifeline for parts of Appalachia where coal jobs vanished.
On April 2, Obama visited Louisville and Kentucky for the first time as president; only Rep. John Yarmuth and Gov. Steve Beshear showed up and extended hospitality.
In Kentucky we are hospitable to everyone, and statewide officials should be present to welcome our highest dignitary.
Attorney General Jack Conway and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes have disrespected the president. Kentucky needs more gracious elected officials. There is no excuse.
Dems must show conviction, lead
The late Sen. Wendell Ford likely turned over in his grave. The most prominent of our young Democrats appeared to have traveled to the far ends of the state to avoid being seen with President Barack Obama in Louisville.
What is it that you don't like about the president — five percent unemployment, health-care coverage, lower deficits, soldiers returning from wars, $2 gas or cleaner air?
At least the Republicans are honest about their disdain for our president; he is a man of color, he supports income equality, financial regulation, marriage rights, women's rights, voting rights, health-care rights and gun control. Obama supports all those rights that promote safety, health, equality and a strong middle class.
I don't agree with the Republican ideals, but applaud their conviction to stand and fight.
Wake up, Democrats, a true leader must turn their back on their followers to move forward. With lack of Democratic Party conviction, turning your back to lead only exposes the large target on your back. Party leaders without conviction will be picked off one by one and your wounds will turn Kentucky bright red.
A call for churches to adopt schools
I read the editorial regarding United Way seeking faith-group volunteers in the schools, and Gene Bills, the gentleman mentioned in the editorial, is a member of our church. I am writing in response to your request to know about different groups' commitment to schools.
Immanuel has been investing in Cardinal Valley Elementary heavily for the past two years, and previously worked with Arlington Elementary.
We send reading and classroom volunteers to Cardinal Valley, adopt whole grade levels to help with special classroom needs, have regular teacher-appreciation events, assist at school orientation and supplied backpacks for all students this year. We will be assisting with fifth-grade graduation this year.
For two years we worked with third, fourth and fifth graders from Glendover Elementary selected by the school as needing extra attention. These young boys came weekly after school for recreation, tutoring, a meal and fun.
In addition, Immanuel has worked with Partners for Youth and with the school system to try to build a coalition of churches to adopt schools in their neighborhoods.
We would love to have greater participation from faith-based organizations. We feel this is a vital piece of the education puzzle and are excited that United Way is in agreement.
Missions coordinator, Immanuel Baptist Church
Working for all students
Kudos to the parents of the Yates and Athens-Chilesburg Elementary Schools. The recent article about their program to share resources so that children from both schools can benefit was heartwarming.
It's a step in the right direction, and I hop someday all the children in all our schools — not just a few — will have an even playing field to secure a quality education.