Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: Nov. 27

State also needs transparency in care of the elderly

The Herald-Leader's Nov. 13 editorial calling for Gov. Steve Beshear to open the books on the death of children is commendable. However, it leaves one key question unanswered. Why limit the editorial call for a Cabinet for Health and Family Services system overhaul to a chronological age specific group — children?

The same cabinet system weaknesses and secrecy are evident in their care for the nursing home elderly, and for Kentucky citizens with intellectual or developmental disabilities that live in cabinet-provided community-based residential settings.

Many individuals with a severe or profound level of intellectual disability are chronological adults who function as a toddler, barely aware of dangers, non-verbal, some unable to hear or see, unable to call for help, unable to say "he or she hit me". When they die, often unusually and untimely, there are virtually no records available to help us understand why and how they died.

Last year, the Council on Developmental Disabilities in Louisville sponsored a 15-member Task Force on Protection and Transparency. Task force members believe strongly that the governor must support a culture of transparency within state government (and intellectual and developmental disability programs in particular) and assure constituents that his leadership team is implementing policies and practices that reflect a culture of transparency.

To read a report of the task force recommendations see: http://www.councilondd.org/press.html

Don Putnam


Can't redistrict out bias

I was reading your Nov. 20 editorial and couldn't believe my eyes. Your comments about fairness in redistricting were actually making sense. But then, you just couldn't help yourself.

You just had to throw in comments about ensuring minority representation. When, please tell me when, we will have a government that remains completely neutral with regard to race? Every time you create any set-asides based on anything other than someone being human, you've discriminated against someone else. I'm certain that's hard for the progressive mind to understand, but please don't stop trying.

The only completely just way to redistrict is to create a computer program that maps the state population by geography, without regard to ethnicity, income, political affiliation or land value. The program then determines districts by creating the smallest geographic area necessary with the required population.

No politics, no gerrymandering, no questions. And if you're wondering about the political affiliation of the one creating the programming, either political party can have access to the code to make sure there is no mention of demographics. You can espouse fairness all you want, but when you get humans involved, there will always be bias.

Tod Kozeluh


Golf courses are assets

Here we find yet another letter from Andy Hightower advocating the termination of some, if not all, of Lexington's public golf courses.

With his logic, why stop with golf courses? We could disband the entire park services and sell off all land devoted to its many frivolous activities. The same could be done with the libraries. From here we could move to eliminate street repair and snow removal. After all, I can't believe any of these items and services are making money.

You would think that the Kentucky Club for Growth would be interested in Lexington's quality of life and realize that everything in life is not about revenues and taxes.

In any case, our open spaces like golf courses, parks and playgrounds give us a higher quality of life. And this makes Lexington attractive to new businesses, that in turn either start up here or move here. I just don't see the advantage of not promoting our assets.

Vincent C. Smith


Moving tribute to vets

I want to express my appreciation to Kentucky Supreme Court justice Bill Cunningham for his eloquent and moving tribute to the soldiers who served in Vietnam. He framed the losses from that war in some ways I've not seen before.

He enumerated the times a father and son were both lost, how many brothers' names can be found on the wall, how many soldiers were only teenagers when they died and he acknowledged the deep suffering of the fathers and mothers who lost children in that conflict.

These things bring home the pain and sacrifice of war in a very powerful way. It makes your heart ache with sadness and loss. Thank you for including the beautiful poem by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell. I wish we could, as he says, get to "that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane." That war and all wars.

Katie Bright


No two-way streets

I keep reading about our mayor wanting to change the one-way streets in downtown Lexington. It doesn't make any sense to spend the millions of dollars fixing something that isn't broken.

Lexington has spent millions getting the streets in the downtown area redone and they are in the best shape I have ever seen them.

But if they go to two-way streets, what happens when there is construction work or like when they were putting up the Christmas tree at Triangle Park and two lanes were closed at Main and Broadway,.

That means the eastbound lanes of Main Street would be blocked with no way around except crossing into the westbound lanes.

The traffic flows very good as it is right now, the money saved from changing the traffic flow could be used to support the police and fire departments.

Estill Smith


Penn State scandal and coverage

So many disgusting allegations

There are so many things about the Penn State child molestation scandal that disgust me, it's hard to decide which allegation is the worst.

1.Jerry Sandusky molesting at least eight young boys while assistant coach at PSU.

2. Sandusky using a charity set up for needy children to supply himself with victims.

3. Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno and college officials learning of this crime nine years ago and not reporting it to police.

4. The protection of a sports program placed ahead of the protection of children.

5. PSU students now acting as if they really care for the victims only after they rioted to protest Paterno's firing.

6. People still supporting Paterno and making excuses for him.

Looking back over this list, I believe it's a tie between number two and number six.

Kim Lehman


When is suspicion enough?

During 30 years of teaching, I suspected abuse of students several times and went to the school authorities. Several times I was told, "We're all over it," or "you don't want to know." I took it no further. Sometimes I was told, "We'll look into it," and I still took it no further.

Now, if the case against Joe Paterno is right, I should have gone to the police because I suspected abuse. Neither JoPa nor I had any facts, but he is being tarred-and-feathered.

Proposed laws require a report to the police for suspected abuse, but how do you define "suspect"? What if it's unfounded and you have just ruined a family?

Charles Sanborn


Painful for loyal alums

Thanks to Herald-Leader staffer Brian Malasics for his piece on the Penn State scandal. I am also a Penn State alumnus. I obtained an excellent education that suited me well for a productive professional career. There are many good and excellent things about Penn State. One of them has been Coach Joe Paterno.

He has "walked the walk" in support of education, which (need I say it?) is the purpose of any school. His program has one of the highest graduation rates in Division I, and he made personal donations for additions to Pattee Library and for professorial chair endowments.

Joe has shown regard for the condition of the average student (he would inquire about how your classes were going when passing on campus). This man has and does care and has mostly done the right thing. While he can't serve as an idol (nor do I believe would he want to), he has exhibited some of the ideal.

Like Malasics, I must be open to the idea that Joe's failure could involve more than just not wanting to see that abuse could be happening at the hands of his longtime assistant.

Much as this affair has caused me pain, I am glad that it surfaced and is in the process of being addressed. I believe that in the aftermath the university will institute effective protections.

David Steele


Take abuse charges seriously

The horror we all feel about the abuse at Penn State should make us aware that it is our national culture not just the culture of college sports that allowed more children to "lose their innocence" (the words of Pennsylvania State Police).

Here in Lexington, we can hold our criminal justice system to be more reflective of how that culture can influence our police when charges of child sexual abuse are made.

We can demand full and conscientious investigations; we can ask that cases not be dismissed for expediency or failure to obtain a confession. We have the opportunity to learn from the fact that past charges against this perpetrator were dropped. Or we can continue to risk the vulnerability of our community and our children.

Barbara Hausman-Smith


It's child rape, not a sports story

Shame on you, Herald-Leader. The Penn State football program debacle is not a "sex abuse" scandal. It is a child rape scandal. It is a shameful cover-up of heinous actions to protect a football program. It is the disgusting failure of people putting money and power over the welfare of children. You should be ashamed of yourself for not naming it and for mostly burying the story in the depths of the sports section. This type of cover-up and resorting to euphemism is what allows criminals to continue their horrible actions.

Molly VanZant


All about winning?

I am not a sports fan, but I am a mother, and I am trying to control my anger as I write this letter. Is winning a sports event more important than a child's welfare? When are the mothers going to get angry about the abuse of their children? Don't we have enough kids running around who have been damaged by sick adults? It's a shame that our children are not safe anywhere.

No one should be above the law. If you do the crime, you must do the time. Children are a gift from God, so be careful how you treat them.

Willie Etta Eubanks


Unfair attack on Catholics

In his Nov. 15 cartoon, Joel Pett attempts to paint the Catholic Church and Penn State with the same scandalous brush.

He equates the church's position on marriage and its exclusion of females from the priesthood with the actions of a few narcissistic college hooligans rioting at Penn State.

They tipped over a van in response to the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno amidst the revelation of sexual abuse committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In Pett's desperate attempt to equate the two institutions and portray guilt by association, he not only displays his anti-Catholic bias, but he also exhibits the same juvenile rebelliousness of the van-tippers who reacted so irrationally.

Marcus Plieninger

Catholic League

New York, N.Y.

Do cartoonists just sit around all day and think of ways to drag the Catholic Church through the wringer? With the stroke of their pens all they do is strengthen me in my faith. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you." The best thing is if Joel Pett is ever down on his luck needing food shelter or clothing, there will be the Catholic Church ready to give him whatever he needs. No questions asked.

Dallas Kelley