Gov. Bevin says pension relief bill is ready
Bevin at least trying
It never ceases to amaze me how the media, press, teachers and the majority of Kentucky voters fail to see the real facts surrounding the teacher pension crisis.
Gov. Matt Bevin is the first governor to try to address the worst-funded pension plan in the United States. He may not have all the answers, but at least he is the first governor trying to find a solution.
The real question that everyone should be asking is why Kentucky Democratic legislators have kicked the can down the road all these years, while fully funding their own pension plan.
Then we have Attorney General Andy Beshear, who loves filing frivolous lawsuits to draw attention to himself, with hopes he is elected governor. God forbid.
Robert B. Russell-Tutty, Lexington
Kentucky visit scratched
I love visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. However, I have canceled my spring 2020 trip, due to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s actions. McConnell has made it abundantly clear that he values the Republican Party more than the country, the Constitution or the rule of law. As long as he continues whatever the party line is and has a reckless disregard of the Constitution’s checks and balances, I will not visit Kentucky. My next trip to Kentucky will be after McConnell is voted out of office or until he starts following the protocols that were established 200-plus years ago and worked until he led the Senate.
Mark Schnepper, Evansville, Wisconsin
Rate-hike winners, losers
Suppose you wanted a public energy utility to serve the public good. You would do two things: design rates to encourage energy efficiency and reduced emissions, and design rates to ensure affordability for all customers. In both cases you would minimize fixed fees and instead tie energy charges to consumption.
Kentucky Utilities and the Kentucky Public Service Commission have taken the opposite approach. They are again significantly increasing (by more than 30 percent) the fixed, monthly service charge that everyone pays regardless of the amount of energy used, and they are barely increasing (by less than 1 percent) the rate per-kilowatt-hour used. Who wins with this design? Heavy energy users, and KU and its shareholders (as the guaranteed profits increase). Who loses? Low-income customers, who on average use less energy but pay a high percentage of their income on energy bills, and anyone who works to control their energy use for the sake of their pocket book. Of course, our health and environment lose as profligate use of fossil-fuel based energy is encouraged.
What can you do? The governor appoints the PSC; let’s elect a new governor. Ask legislators to mandate that affordability and environmental costs are included in PSC rate evaluations.
Cathy Clement, Lexington
Barr ‘stunt’ backfires
People in Kentucky and across the country are getting tired of politicians who are more focused on publicity stunts than doing the hard work to fix the nation’s problems. The flaw with these stunts is that they often backfire, just like they did for Rep. Andy Barr when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accepted his invitation to visit Kentucky coal miners. Ocasio-Cortez’s eagerness to have a dialogue about the challenges miners and mining families face provided a great example of what real leadership looks like. Barr’s backpedaling to revoke the invitation — and refuse one from AOC to visit her district to talk about climate change — does nothing but reveal his true colors as a typical politician.
We should all expect our leaders to be able to engage in courageous conversations across divides, especially on a crisis like climate change. We’re not immune from this crisis in Kentucky. Our farms are at risk of drought, our communities are at risk of severe flooding, and our economy is at risk if we refuse to acknowledge the ongoing transition to clean energy all over the globe. Barr needs to recognize that these problems won’t go away if he just ignores them.
Rick Sturgill, Whitesburg
Have courage, Barr
As a graduate student studying at the University of Kentucky and someone who loves science and truth, I am disgusted by Rep. Andy Barr’s treatment of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The people of Kentucky deserve to spread awareness of our plights and concerns with people from both sides of the aisle. If she is interested in visiting our great state, we welcome her.
It is the height of cowardice for Barr to rescind his invitation after it is accepted and to refuse her invitation to visit her district. Barr must have courage, honesty, and a desire for truth and knowledge if he truly wants to represent the people of this beautiful city and state.
I implore Barr to reach out and invite her once more to visit our state. Furthermore, I urge him to accept her invitation and represent us in her district.
Dean Windemuller, Lexington
Alternate view on nursing homes
Herald-Leader columnist Paul Prather’s writing emphasize the importance of perspective in approaching different points of view. That is significant in evaluating his approach to nursing homes, which he views through the lens of the ombudsman, whose purpose (and job) is to “prevent, identify and alleviate neglect and abuse.” In the absence of anything positive in his recent column or media generally, that becomes the picture presented to the reader of what typifies nursing homes. Believe me, there is another perspective, though one would never have recognized it in Prather’s column.
I am the medical director of a nursing home and invite readers to walk with me, not into a perfect world, but one in which there are many loving, caring, supportive workers who are doing their level best in often trying circumstances to make the lives of those impoverished, often confused and frail patients a little more comfortable. In staff conferences, thoughtful and dedicated professionals are working on ways to make the days of patients a little more enjoyable and less tedious.
Are there weaknesses and failures? Sure there are, and any way volunteers can help is valuable. But for heaven’s sake, don’t minimize the real good that is done.
Dr. G.A. Weigel, Somerset