Letters to the Editor

Readers' views

If you don't own land, you have no say in CentrePointe

Whatever happened to private property rights?

Preserve Lexington, Vice Mayor Jim Gray and Councilman Dick DeCamp do not own any of the property involved in the CentrePointe development. If any of them had taken out their wallets and purchased some or all of this property, they might have standing to complain.

Instead, they were trying to stand in the way.

All I hear about, and all the Herald-Leader prints, is that we should save the old buildings in the CentrePointe block. The newspaper put up a new building rather than use the one at the lumber yard that used to occupy the site on Midland Avenue.

Lexington's government is battling tough fiscal times, and CentrePointe will generate more property taxes, jobs and opportunities than the existing buildings and businesses do or ever will.

I am not talking about tax increment financing. Dudley and Woodford Webb have said they do not need TIF, but if the community wants the proposed public infrastructure improvements, they will provide them using the TIF money.

That is a legitimate area for discussions for the taxpaying community, its leaders and the Webbs.

Progress must be made. We no longer use a horse and buggy to get around, we use word processors instead of typewriters, we put pavement on our streets instead of dirt.

If you have no money at risk, shut up and go home. The Webbs own the property, and if CentrePointe meets the necessary building codes and zoning rules, leave them alone and be glad they are willing to invest in downtown.

Troy Thompson


Preserve history

Chain-link fences are up, historic buildings are down, the rubble is en route to a burial ground and controversy swirls in the dust. As this whole CentrePointe affair plods toward its conclusion, it is reasonable to ask: What could have been done better?

Preserving Lexington's history is important, but the current approach is not ambitious enough. Too often, historical preservation efforts appear at the 11th hour, just before demolition. Historical preservation then is cast in an adversarial role against the forces of development.

If history is to be an integral part of this city, as it should be, then increased efforts at public education about our history must become a high priority and a daily undertaking. I venture that most of us have walked past Joe Rosenberg's shop and have been totally unaware that the building has any historical significance. Where is the explanatory plaque in front?

In the fall of 1862, Confederate Gen. Kirby Smith marched his troops into Lexington after the Battle of Richmond. Is his route mapped for us? Did he use one of our historical houses as his headquarters?

Are docents on the street conducting walking tours and explaining this interesting history to tourists?

Aristotle is said to have stated in 350 BC that ”nature abhors a vacuum.“ Unless history exudes from the very fabric of this community, developers in the future will rush to fill the void without regard to its history.

Downtown development and historical preservation are not mutually exclusive.

Both sides could have done better.

Edward J. Kasarskis


A better name

The June issue of Delta Airlines' Sky Magazine contains a superb 30-page portrait of Lexington and the Bluegrass. The depiction makes one feel good about living in our culture and environment.

In reading the portrayal, I was reminded of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the preparations being made for our many international visitors. Most of our European visitors live in cities that appropriately refer to their downtown areas as the ”city centre.“

The expression ”downtown“ originated in New York City, where the elongated island of Manhattan truly has an uptown and a downtown. Designating downtown as city centre, with directional signage throughout the city, would also support the emphasis on revitalizing Lexington's city center.

Sky Magazine mentioned the several charming names in our city. However, ”New Circle Road' does not meet that criterion. Not only does the name lack appeal, it is inaccurate — there is nothing ”new“ about it. Let's change this anachronistic designation of a major thoroughfare. Secretariat Circle would be a fitting companion to Man o' War Boulevard.

While changing names creates concerns about associated costs, we adapted to the change from area code 606 to 859 without extraordinary difficulty.

Lexington could also benefit by a more intense effort to populate the city with flower gardens on our public thoroughfares, as is so common in Europe.

David A. Nash


Double standard

After reading the story about lawyer Melbourne Mills' not guilty verdict, I was really amazed. The jury determined Mills not guilty because he was drunk and didn't know what he was doing.

So, how can a drunk involved in a traffic crash be charged and convicted of manslaughter or murder? Why the double standard? Anyone driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs should be held liable for their actions, and so should a person under the influence of alcohol be held responsible for stealing someone's money.

Estill Smith


Scrutinize utilities

Based on nearly a half-century of reviewing provisions relating to home utilities for my area, I think people may be victims of millions of dollars in unfair costs.

Utilities having no competition, and allowing cooperatives to conceal from members how funds are used is not a setup that has consumers in mind.

The recently enacted law that is supposed to offer better protection for gas-station owners should also have included better protection from unfair home utility costs.

The best thing that could happen to assure fair costs would be allowing cooperative members yearly access to how funds are used. The second best would be to elect Public Service Commissioners by district. Make them responsible to the people.

Odra Ledford