Shut down at Fancy Farm
Recently I joined thousands of Kentuckians at Fancy Farm for the annual picnic, accompanied by several of my fellow Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition members.
We drove across the state to erect a “people’s stage” with this message: If the needs of young Kentuckians go ignored by corporate-owned politicians, we will grow louder until everyone has a seat at the table. Our first speaker, Tyler Hill, said, “Our planet is beginning to experience the catastrophic impacts of global climate change as prominent politicians continue to deny the human causes.” I was next, and shortly after beginning my own speech, a man shoved a paper in front of my megaphone, demanding we move elsewhere.
I refused and he stormed away. A minute later, a state trooper walked towards me, shouting, “Turn it off!” After I protested, he sneered, “Go whine to somebody who cares.” We left, angry but energized.
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Miller, Yates true leaders
Last week, Maysville became the 10th Kentucky city to pass an LGBTQ ordinance. Maysville is to be commended for joining other Kentucky communities that seek to ensure all residents are treated fairly and with dignity.
This happy event reminded me that it has been nearly 20 years since, in 1999. Mayor Pam Miller and Vice-Mayor Isabel Yates introduced Lexington’s own LGBTQ fairness ordinance which was passed into law.
1999 was not a time when these ordinances were commonplace. Miller and Yates carried on Lexington’s reputation of being welcoming and fair to all her citizens. They were trailblazers in ensuring Lexington would continue to value and respect the dignity of all, including the gay community. This is what true leaders do.
I feel confident that many wish to thank them for their courageous leadership in solidifying Lexington’s reputation as a leader in Kentucky and, indeed the nation, in guaranteeing human rights.
New city hall a step forward
The proposal to create a new city hall in a repurposed Herald-Leader building — coupled with the Town Branch Commons project across from it on Midland Avenue — has the potential to revitalize and transform Lexington’s downtown.
Yet recent public meetings in adjacent Bell Court seem to have generated a narrative that the neighborhood opposes the proposal because of some overheated comments about wandering vagrants and cut-through traffic. What else is new?
As a Bell Court resident and former neighborhood association board member, I think most of us here realize this project isn’t perfect but are inclined to see it overall as a step forward for the city and the neighborhood. A handful of complaints doesn’t constitute consensus.
As council members prepare to vote on this proposal Tuesday, I hope they recognize that and focus instead on a big picture and a salient question. Initiatives advanced by Mayor Jim Gray and supported by council have helped Lexington embrace its future with some vision and innovation. If not a new city hall, what other, better use would you propose for an anchor property on a pivotal gateway corridor and what will you do — now — to make such an alternative happen?
School safety plan toothless
The main priority “is always going to be safety,” Fayette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk said recently.
But he didn’t mean that. He failed to put the “main priority” in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019. Instead, he and the easily persuaded school board decided to pay the $13 million cost for school safety measures with a new property tax that is subject to recall by voter petition.
According to Caulk, the plan would not be implemented if the new tax is repealed. Thus, the safety program would not rank above low-priority parts of the budget.
The plan for presenting the tax proposal was convenient for the school board but not for the public. A hearing was held to explain the proposal and to take comments, but the board voted to approve the new tax immediately afterward with no time for public examination.
William H. Wheeler
No news is good news
Due to the ongoing hostility toward the media attempting to cover President Donald Trump’s events, the remedy to stop this is simple: Quit covering Trump events.
Nothing he says is newsworthy anyway.
Lighting the darkness
President Donald Trump recently said of a President George H.W. Bush remark, “Thousand points of light, what the hell is that?”
Millions of Americans figured that out when Bush said, “I’ve spoken of a thousand points of light, a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.”
One point of light was President George W. Bush trying to end hate crimes, saying at a mosque after 9/11, “Islam is peace.” Points of light are endless: organ donation; assisting homeless people, or sponsoring a refugee family.
President Ronald Reagan was a point of light when he granted amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants and said, “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally.”
Cowardly fear-mongering isn’t a point of light. It’s evil and comes from darkness.