Letters to the Editor

Readers respond: Historical racing a boon to state. Why schools really need God’s help.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission reported Tuesday that the Red Mile gambling parlor showed marginal gains in September with the handle up slightly to $21.1 million. This 2015 file photo shows the instant racing machines in Lexington’s first legal gambling parlor at Red Mile.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission reported Tuesday that the Red Mile gambling parlor showed marginal gains in September with the handle up slightly to $21.1 million. This 2015 file photo shows the instant racing machines in Lexington’s first legal gambling parlor at Red Mile. Herald-Leader

Historical racing boon to state

A strong racing industry means a strong Kentucky — that’s why owners, breeders, racetracks and regulators have spent over 100 years building our industry to be the premier and most valuable horse industry in the world. Today, horses and horse racing collectively employ 60,494 Kentuckians and generate $6.5 billion in total economic impact for our state.

In Linda Blackford’s Herald-Leader opinion piece, Blackford stated that historical racing’s similarities to casino gaming include similar profits. But the reality is historical racing is not as profitable as casinos in the neighboring racing states of Indiana, West Virginia and Ohio.

Historical racing’s recent success has attracted, as state Rep. Adam Koenig stated, “more and better horses” racing within the Kentucky circuit — a net increase of one horse per field during spring racing. Increasing field size is the most effective way of attracting more parimutuel wagering on live racing.

Thoroughbred breeding and racing have always been a high-risk, capital-intensive business. Historical racing provides steady financial resources toward the general fund, racetracks and horsemen, with proper safeguards for our industry. Instead of weakening Kentucky’s racing industry, we should be doing everything we can to make it stronger — and championing historical racing is one way to do just that.

Chauncey Morris, Lexington, executive director, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders, Inc.

Yes to no alcohol

University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart’s decision to (for the moment) prohibit beer sales inside the football stadium was a wise decision. It’s risky to bring your kids to games already. More post tailgate booze combined with an already volatile, less civil brand of newcomer (a much different fan than 25 years ago) is asking for trouble. Miller Lite cans everywhere, more profanity and beer down my back — no thanks.

J.D. Mackey, Lexington

Bevin attack wrong

Gov. Matt Bevin’s attack on Attorney General Andy Beshear’s statement that his grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s Baptist faith guides his principled decisions was wrong and mean-spirited. Bevin stated that Beshear’s position on abortion is insulting to people of the Baptist faith and its traditions. This is inherently wrong. I was raised in the Baptist tradition, and my great-grandfather, a lawyer and staunch Baptist, served his church for 40 years as Sunday school superintendent. He instilled in his family an appreciation that a basic tenet of the Baptist faith is the separation of church and state. Given that, there is no justification for the state to impose restrictive laws denying an individual the right to determine how to handle his/her own moral dilemmas as it relates to abortion.

I believe no one is pro-abortion; but a woman’s right to choose the best action given her circumstances should not be abridged by any one or group attempting to impose their own religious belief on others through legislation. Abortions are a fact of life and will always occur regardless of legislative limitations. It is a basic function of government to protect the health and welfare of its citizens — not to create obstacles to the same.

Kathryn L. Sallee, Lexington

Insurers part of problem

Stephanie Stumbo, in her recent Herald-Leader opinion piece, addresses the problem of surprise billing which occurs when patients are seen by physicians who are not in the patient’s insurance network. These encounters are often in emergency settings in which the circumstances prevent the patient from fully knowing the details of insurance coverage. Stumbo, writing on behalf of the Kentucky Association of Health Plans (i.e., the insurance industry) attributes the problem to the “charging of unlimited amounts” by providers (e.g., physicians). She implies that these providers (anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists, emergency room and other physicians) are out-of-network by choice. She does not recognize, I suspect deliberately, that many of these physicians and physician groups are out-of-network because they have been removed from or denied access to networks by the insurance companies in an effort to avoid fiscal responsibility for emergency care. Her suggestion that surprise billing is encouraged by incentivizing physicians to charge high rates is evasive and avoids recognizing the role of the insurance industry in perpetuating the surprise billing problem.

Dr. Paul Bachner, Lexington, professor and immediate past chairman, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Schools need God’s help

I read with interest a recent Herald-Leader article about the 2019 General Assembly passing a law, signed by the governor, mandating that all Kentucky schools prominently display “In God We Trust”. Normally, I would be opposed to anything that conflicts with the constitutionally-mandated separation between church and state. And, admittedly, my own faith in God has been diminished considerably by hypocrites who claim to be Christians but then ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ. But I do think this to be a good idea. With our Republican-led legislature and governor doing everything they can to destroy public education in Kentucky, our schools are surely going to need all the Godly intervention they can get.

Greg Kring, Lexington

Mueller inquiry ‘charade’

In response to the recent opinion piece by Barry Peel: Set aside for a moment that even a president is afforded the presumption of innocence, that impeachment of a president requires a crime, that the appointment of a special counsel requires evidence of a crime and that the Robert Mueller investigation was a counterintelligence investigation and not a criminal investigation.

The entire Mueller charade was an effort to lure President Donald Trump into an obstruction trap for impeachment, and he never took the bait. Trump turned over every document requested and made every witness available, despite having the legal right to replace Mueller and his team or invoke executive privilege, which all his predecessors have done. When Mueller rebuffed every effort in his testimony to explain the genesis of the investigation, every honest journalist should have admitted this was a witch hunt.

Peel should buy some popcorn during intermission because the real show may just be getting started. If Attorney General William Barr does his job, he will likely uncover a broad conspiracy by high-ranking individuals in our most powerful institutions to unseat a duly-elected sitting president. Call that hacking our democracy.

Cameron S. Schaeffer, Lexington

For people, not party

In Teri Carter’s recent opinion piece, she asked, “When did we begin to believe that our political opponents are not fellow Americans, but enemies?” Our nation is divided politically to the point of “us versus them”. The preamble to the Constitution begins with, “We the people of the United States of America.” We are all Americans. We need unity, We need civility. We should be able to have differing opinions without the vitriol. The campaign ads contribute to the division. They have devolved to fear mongering, partial truths, and propaganda. It would be refreshing to have the candidates offer constructive plans on how they would improve the state or nation. Voters could make their choices in the voting booth without having to listen to months of insults and derisive comments. Our democracy should return to a form of government which is “for the people” and not for the political party.

Cheryl Keenan, Lexington