Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: June 26

Carly Crawford is the cigarette fairy for the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission's campaign.
Carly Crawford is the cigarette fairy for the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission's campaign.

Program aims to pick up cigarette litter, not to encourage smoking

A recent editorial addressed the work of Keep Lexington Beautiful and city government to combat cigarette butt litter and its effect on the environment.

Cigarette butts are by far the most littered item in America, and at Keep America Beautiful we've been addressing the issue through our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program since 2003.

The approach includes enforcement, awareness, placement of public ash receptacles and providing smokers with portable ashtrays (for the pocket or automobile) to contain used butts when no receptacle is present.

It's been remarkably successful — cutting cigarette litter an average 45 percent where it's been implemented. Details can be found at PreventCigaretteLitter.org.

The editorial correctly notes that the $5,000 grant from KAB is underwritten by Philip Morris USA, an Altria company — and who better to fund a campaign to address smokers? But it incorrectly assumes that KAB and Altria are somehow involved in the local campaign and its messages.

To the contrary, our grant funds the purchase of materials and media to support local efforts, and each of the more than 250 organizations that run the program annually are free to make their own decisions about how they approach the effort with creative, local advertising.

Keep Lexington Beautiful chose to take their approach based on similar — and successful — characters that were developed by KAB affiliates in Omaha, Neb. and Athens, Ga.

The program approach clearly speaks only to adult smokers who litter, and not to the issue of smoking in general. We support and stand behind the efforts of our local organizations such as Keep Lexington Beautiful, and defer to them about the best way to approach the issue in their community.

Robert Wallace

Vice president, communications

Keep America Beautiful, Inc.

Stamford, Conn.

Fairy needs a magic wand

The cigarette fairy? Really? That's going to change smokers? It is wonderfully amusing.

Smokers have conditioned themselves to believe that their cigarette butts are not litter. Watch a smoker flick one away. It disappears from their reality before it hits the ground.

They've trained themselves to be so callous because they don't want to deal with the stinking debris from their addiction. It's a harsh reminder to the depth of their addiction to see the pile of cigarette butts they generate every day sitting near them, so they flick them away, no harm, no foul odor. If you want to do something to stop smokers from using the world as their ashtray, spend the $5,000 grant on free automobile ashtrays to hand out to any smoker who wants one, though I doubt that will do much good either. Smokers are still angry about being ejected from public buildings. Good luck, cigarette fairy.

Gayle Littrell


Respect for funerals, please

With regard to Lexingtonians losing police escorts for funerals: Is this not the time for folks to behave as citizens of a caring community, and show respect and compassion for those in funeral processions without police enforcement?

I hope that funeral directors find a way to mark all cars in the procession with magnetized flags or signs (as in the olden days), and expect that our citizens will let them pass — not because of police escorts, but because it is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, perhaps the Herald-Leader can remind all drivers what the guidelines are for funerals. And while you are at it, more than a few people could be reminded what to do when there are emergency vehicles negotiating traffic.

The time it takes to pull over and wait for mourners, and for drivers rescuing the critically ill and those threatened by fire, is the time for each of us to reflect on our shared humanity and vulnerability.

Linda Angelo


Keeling's insight will be missed

It was with great distress that we learned of the retirement of Herald-Leader columnist and editorial writer Larry Dale Keeling.

His keen intellect, sharp wit and political acumen were of great benefit to your newspaper, and he rendered thought-provoking columns for your readers. He will be sorely missed, and his leaving will leave a great hole in your editorial page.

We hope Larry Webster — the humorist, Pikeville lawyer and musician — is not thinking of leaving also. A Sunday without at least one of the two Larrys ain't really a Sunday. A Sunday with both of them was a pleasure.

Jim and Vickie Sewell


Bad comment, but good man

Having read the reaction to the "rich Jews" comment by attorney Larry Forgy, I wanted to mention some of my experiences with him. I do think it was highly ill-advised for Forgy, a former GOP nominee for governor, to make such a comment about Democrat lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Abramson.

This said, I don't think it is correct to brand or imply Forgy is some kind of anti-Semite or bigot. This was just an unfortunate off-the-cuff comment, and if he had thought about it he would have expressed it differently, or not at all.

Some years ago, being in great debt and with some health problems, I was only able to obtain minimum-wage jobs. One job was as an attendant in a downtown parking garage. The amount of abuse one must endure while working in such a job is considerable.

One surprise was how badly some prominent people of liberal persuasion treated minimum-wage workers. Another surprise was that some of those who were far too conservative for my own tastes were actually very decent people.

One of these people was Forgy, who was always respectful and friendly. After I left that job, I would run into him around town. He was always the same decent, friendly fellow. We talked about politics and various things, and though I did not agree with all of his views, there is no doubt in my mind that he is a decent, honest and compassionate man. In none of these conversations was there ever any hint of bigotry.

Ben Luntz


Follow Greenville's example

Many thanks for Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen's coverage of Commerce Lexington's trip to Greenville, S.C. I find the most interesting aspect of Greenville's revitalization is that it is anchored not by a large hotel or commercial interest but instead by a beautiful place.

This is what Greenville has at its heart: a downtown with big trees and a dramatic pedestrian bridge that spans a striking river gorge.

It was built on the novel premise, for America, that people are more attracted to natural beauty than a place to spend their money. People flock to it, enjoy it, take pride in it, and spend money on its periphery, in that order.

Lexington, like most cities, has traditionally put the money part of the equation first. We have razed most of the urban core attempting to generate capital. The paltry scrap of original downtown buildings that are left certainly do not create a unique sense of place; indeed, there is no place in Lexington to go.

Our last, best chance may be the CentrePointe block: Something designed not by a world-class architect who creates interesting places to spend money, but by a world-class landscape architect who can make a stunning place people are magnetically drawn to, like they have in Greenville. A place that will not cost a penny to enjoy but instead generates revenue for the surrounding area. A place that is unique, world class and only to be found in Lexington.

Guy Kemper


Don't disrespect local agencies

I take serious exception to the flippant comment, "funding for an outside agency here and 18 jobs there," in your June 21 editorial criticizing the Urban County Council's budget process. You and your readers need to know some basic facts:

The government has not used the term "outside agency" since Mayor Jim Newberry's first year in office. I recommended, and the government adopted, the term "partnership agency." The distinction is important as the agencies perform services that in many other communities the government provides. We also raise substantial federal, state and private funds to supplement city funding.

Cuts in funding are never to the partnership agencies. The cuts are actually to the persons who depend on the services that a partnership agency provides. In Community Action Council's case, the cut under consideration would have reduced transportation services to poor, elderly persons needed to acquire necessities like food and medications or to seek medical care. Cutting essential services to the most vulnerable in our community is never a trivial matter. It can mean the difference between life and death.

I have observed the city's budgeting process for over 30 years. There is much room for improvement. While it is understandable the Herald-Leader expressed its frustration, it is irresponsible to trivialize outcomes intended to meet essential community needs. Partnership agencies — such as the HOPE Center, Salvation Army and Community Action Council — deserve more consideration and respect.

Jack Burch

Executive director, Community Action Council


Assisted suicide repugnant

The June 10 commentary by John M. Shotwell presenting the actions of "Dr. Death" as commendable was abominable. Shotwell has a graduate certificate in gerontology from the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. But that is a resource which seniors turn to for help with physical and mental health problems — not help in being killed.

Residents of Holland, where assisted suicide no longer is prosecuted, do not feel safe to enter a hospital as patients, not knowing whether the physician will heal them or kill them. Some even feel compelled to hire someone to protect them from involuntary euthanasia, which has become a somewhat common practice if the physician decides the patient's life is not worth living.

The legalization of killing babies in their mother's womb has permanently diminished respect for human life, the basis on which Western civilization was built. The idea of being killed by a doctor will, presumably, somehow give respectability to the killing, just as abortion is accepted as respected by some, because an abortionist does the killing. Those who respect all human life have maintained since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Jan. 22, 1973, that assisted suicide, euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia were on the wish list of the death peddlers.

Over 50 million innocent babies have been surgically killed since that despicable decision. Society, will you please take a stand to defend all human life?

Hilda Pullen