Stop graduation from being excuse for teen drinking
We are nearing the time where many young people will celebrate as they graduate from high school and move toward their life goals. Traditionally, this is also a time when alcohol enters into the mix and brings tragic results.
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among American youth and kills 5,000 teens every year.
Last year, 4,014 Kentucky teenagers were arrested for driving under the influence; 22 of those were under the age of 14. Underage drinking costs Kentucky taxpayers $750 million every year. With the continued emphasis on our state budget to conserve every dollar, it is more important than ever to reduce this financial burden.
As a trooper, I have seen firsthand the consequences of youth alcohol-related incidents, including DUIs, underage drinking parties and alcohol poisoning. Notifying a parent that their child has been killed in a senseless accident is one of the hardest things a law-enforcement officer must do.
As a father, I implore parents to talk to children about the dangers of drinking. Sixty-five percent of kids who drink alcohol say they get it from their own home. As parents, we are the greatest influence in our children's lives.
The more you connect with them, the less likely they will be to give in to peer pressure. It is my sincere hope that we will all celebrate the achievements of Kentucky youth during graduation 2010. Please join with me in making every effort to let our children know the dangers of underage drinking.
Lt. David P. Jude
Kentucky State Police Frankfort
Beshear's sound budget
On behalf of Kentucky's small business community, I want to thank Gov. Steve Beshear for taking such a common sense approach to resolving the state's budget crisis.
I especially want to thank him for coming out with a budget that doesn't call for a tax increase and focuses cuts away from essential services.
I believe it would be a big mistake to jack up taxes in order to keep funding state programs at the same level.
The governor understands that our families and small businesses, the bedrock of our economy, can't afford a tax increase when the state is still trying to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.
I hope the General Assembly will follow the governor's example and pass a responsible state budget that includes judicious cuts rather than a tax increase or across-the-board cuts.
Small business owners have managed to live within their means during this recession. We commend the governor for asking the legislature to do the same.
National Federation of Independent Business/Kentucky
In regard to the article, "Ky. Poll: Beshear should fear Farmer in '11" on May 9: As your staff, I hope, has noticed, the online comments section was quickly filled with responses voicing disappointment that the poll did not include independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith.
Why does your newspaper refuse to acknowledge that an independent candidate exists and that Galbraith is indeed a serious contender for governor?
As very clearly indicated by the online comments, your readership is disgusted with the current two-party-only system and strongly supports Galbraith's bid.
I simply request that the Herald-Leader conduct a new poll that includes Gatewood Galbraith as a candidate.
Closed out of primary
On Election Day, I was again forced to stew over my exclusion as a citizen of this county, city and state. I am registered as an independent voter. The penalty I suffer for refusing to be a conformist cow wandering through a field to a pond full of mud is that I am forced to sit idly by as lines form to move our political process forward.
I should have the right to, at minimum, select the lesser of evils. The fact that I do not kowtow to one party or the other should not limit my right to have an effect on the decision of who will be making decisions on my behalf.
To force me to wait for the general election allows me only the leftovers to choose from. The leaders of these so-called parties love to do their best to convince the masses that they have differences, but in reality their only goal is to disagree with the opposite party regardless of the issue. They want only to convince you to pull that straight party lever (now a button) to allow them the most influence.
To restrict a group of people from voting simply because they insist on voting based on their judgment of the content of one's character, rather than the animal displayed on the button of their lapel is absurd. This at a time when drawing 30 percent of citizens to the polls is an optimistic goal. How pathetic.
On behalf of the Brown family, we would like to thank those who took the time to dedicate a street in honor of John Will "Scoop" Brown.
We would like to thank Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry, Georgetown Neighborhood Association President Michael Haskins, Herb Washington and Lexington Parks and Recreation for bestowing this honor upon our family.
Scoop is smiling down in appreciation.
Nanetta Brown Taylor
Thanks for voter guide
As a recent transplant to Lexington, I emphatically thank you for your voter's guide published prior to our primary elections. I knew nothing of local Lexington politics before moving here in the fall of 2009 and knew not enough about state politics.
I especially admire that you've allowed the candidates to speak in their own voices on what are considered the most pressing issues facing their constituencies. Had there been more space in your paper, I would have liked to have seen more issues presented, but such is your business.
An informed and active electorate is the heartbeat and backbone of a democracy, and ours is no exception. No matter the politics reflected by that electorate, the simple act of voting makes our system closer to the vision of will of the people, closer to true legitimacy by their consent. Thank you for aiding in encouraging informed acts of democratic faith.
Don't believe promises
I read with interest the May 16 article, "Kentucky tsks, but takes federal funds." Any voter who truly believes that any politician is going to go singlehandedly cut federal spending and solve the deficit problem probably shouldn't be voting in the first place.
As the article pointed out, Kentucky is neck deep in accepting federal money to keep the commonwealth and its citizens alive.
When President Barack Obama now balks on his campaign pledge that no one who makes under $250,000 would see a tax increase, it simply reinforces the Washington notion that taxpayers are a never-ending source of revenue through new or higher taxes.
I am considering not paying any more federal taxes, since I have not received a Census form in 40 years and the government doesn't seem to know I exist. I bet if I took that action, the government would know where to find me real quick.
Politicians who are pledging to cut federal spending are doing nothing more than contributing to global warming with all their hot air. Voters need to use their common sense and not vote for any of these incumbent, do-nothing politicians in Congress, especially if they have served more than three or four terms and are unwilling to place term limits on the number of terms they can serve.
They haven't done anything about the problems of the nation, and I seriously doubt that they are going to do anything about them in the future.
Gary R. Yaden
Feel free to live humbly
I have good news for Jesus Rivas, who in his May 16 commentary, "Consumerism leaves stain," wants people to consume less and live more humbly. Societies that follow his model for environmental responsibility already exist.
Any number of Third World countries — Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, etc. — fit the profile. Their inhabitants consume only what resources nature readily offers, and they barely register a carbon footprint.
If Rivas doesn't have quite that much humility in mind, the next step up might be places that exemplify a modest level of consumerism, like China, India or Eastern Europe. For a close look at the happy middle ground, I would invite him to take a jog in the brisk air of Beijing or perhaps a swim in the Ganges River.
Rivas implies that systems other than capitalism/consumerism could serve us better, but unfortunately, "fear and misinformation" about those alternatives prohibit discussing them. Very well. Would he consider providing an example? Surely he could name one country without risking social upheaval.
One of the most vocally anti-gay among us has proven yet again that when you "doth protest too much" you might be a member of the exact group you have devoted your life to fighting against.
Thanks to our repressive and homophobic culture, psychologist George Rekers lucratively led a group designed to "reform" homosexuals, when he himself was apparently homosexual all along.
Rather than using his talents to encourage acceptance for gay Americans, he skillfully turned the self-loathing he knew so well into profit and political gain, to the detriment of his own kind.
An alleged trip with a rented male escort precipitated his public demise. The trip was financed by the fee he received for testifying as an expert witness in support of a law banning gay adoptions.
While egregious in many ways, the most problematic is the suffering caused to foster children who are never adopted because qualified individuals are denied the right to parent them (in the midst of a national foster parent shortage), for no other reason than prejudice based on ignorance.
The American people must stop allowing hate-based public policy to be developed in their name, must take a stand against discrimination and must stand up to those who promote hate. I do realize that if we stopped spending time persecuting homosexuals, then certain politicians and religious figures would have to develop actual agendas.
It would be a lot of work, but loving thy neighbor is important enough to make the effort.
The Herald-Leader, commenting on voting patterns in the mayoral primary, informs us that Jim Gray is the mayor of the voters of Lexington and Jim Newberry is the county executive.
Or at least that's how it would be if everybody weren't yoked together in an arrangement that has an ugly name (Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government).
Thirty-six years ago, the county was more or less railroaded into an urban county arrangement because, it was argued, it would save money and services wouldn't be duplicated. County residents were afraid that their needs would be ignored by "city people."
They needn't have worried. Now, the "city" government is kept in office by county residents. Meanwhile, wealthy downtown landlords and developers deny the right of the city of Lexington to stop a 35-story building from being built on open space at the city's center.
A commentator joked: "You people from outside New Circle should come visit Lexington sometime." But why should they? For as long as LFUCG has been in business, decisions have been made that drive people away from downtown. CentrePointe is just the latest.
This July 4, come downtown, walk up and down Vine Street, take a long, last look at the beautiful park in the center of Lexington and see the people who are your neighbors; or so we are told.
After this, there will be no place for the people of Fayette County and Lexington to stand together — without buying some kind of ticket, of course.
During World War II there were some 4,000 ships sunk at sea. Most of these ships carried fuel for operation and many were tankers with large loads of fuel and oil. These ships were the favorite targets of the U-boats of all nations.
I don't recall ever hearing of a significant problem caused by these ships sinking and spilling their loads into the oceans or even of oil plumes.
The only problem was that it caused serious shortages of fuel in those nations without oil and for the armies who operated on oil. All of a sudden in recent times, these spills have become disasters. It all sounds political to me.
Donald R. Fugette