Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 30

Keep spirit, if not design, of Gang's CentrePointe

I agree with a Herald-Leader letter that associates what happens at CentrePointe with Lexington's brand. A city's brand, like a corporate brand, is a composite of what uniquely defines and separates it from every other city. Visionary brands always take the long view, with discipline, consistency and careful planning.

Whether one agrees with the details of Jeanne Gang's CentrePointe plan or not, its real value is in its comprehensive vision for the heart of the city. The plan is conceptual, not literal, so there is room for adjustments, improvements and involvement. Included is an amazing skyline that will help define the city itself.

Gang, a 2011 winner of the MacArthur Award, challenges us to create something that only we own, reflecting our city's commitment to design excellence and incorporating outstanding local architects as well as her own world-class experience.

I'm continually reminded, by our out-of-state visitors, of our incredibly beautiful surroundings — some of them natural, but most built with care and a vision of endurance for future generations. I hope it's not too late to revive what has been proposed for CentrePointe. Let's not miss this opportunity to manage our city's brand.

Bonnie B. Briggs


Pollutants next door

As a student at the University of Kentucky, I am very concerned for the health of my fellow students, faculty, staff, and patients at the Chandler and VA hospitals. As many are aware, we have the great honor of having two coal-fired power plants on our campus, one of which is located directly between these hospitals.

In 1977, a collection of amendments was made to the Clean Air Act. They established a permitting program to ensure that every new power plant meets the air quality standards established by the act in 1970. However, in a fateful policy compromise, existing power plants were exempted from the permit program. This amendment essentially has allowed toxic pollutants to steadily stream into local air supplies across the country at rates far above those allowed by the Clean Air Act.

Both power plants on campus operate under this exception. This allows them to operate without scrubbers or air-particulate pollution control.

With close proximity to the hospitals, student classroom buildings and residence halls, thousands of people a day are subject to these plants' pollutants. This steady disregard for student, faculty and patient health truly burdens public opinion regarding UK's priorities.

Don't we want our flagship university to protect and educate the future leaders of this country? At the very least, I would hope that we would not poison them.

Patrick Johnson


Principles to live by

To Aaron Hughey's column "Education reform is futile without new set of principles" (Nov. 3), I say amen and amen. His four principles not only apply to education reform, I say they apply to our society as a whole.

Customization is more important than conformity. Relationships are more important than rules. People are more important than policies. Individuals are more important than institutions.

What would business look like governed by these principles? How about government? How about religious institutions? Would not life and discourse be more civil and reasoned in a society governed by a willingness to allow for putting people above the sacred cows we all have been conditioned to hold so dear?

Bigger is not always better, conformity does not always lead to efficiency or peace, and one size does not fit all, nor should it. No one political party or social status or race or creed has all the answers to the problems facing our society.

Let us all take a second look at our assumptions and remember to treat each other as people, not as obstacles.

Sheila Sekela


Careless WLEX

Ask people from outside the state what they think of when they think of Kentucky, and some will say we are a bunch of uneducated dropout hicks who can't spell. I disagree. I think the state is full of exceptional talent.

Many Kentuckians are well educated and greatly contribute to society.

WLEX 18 does not help the image of Kentucky. I keep up with the news on my smart phone, like much of the rest of the world. I read about local news on the Kentucky.com, Channel 27 and Channel 18 apps. Very seldom is there a day where I do not see several gross typos and grammatical errors on the WLEX 18 app. At times, the errors are so bad that the sentence they are a part of makes no sense.

WLEX has long been called the "favorite" news station in Central Kentucky, yet it lacks the pride to simply proofread an article before publishing it for the entire world to see. My high school journalism teacher would have kicked me out the door if my writing were as bad as WLEX's. Journalism is journalism, whether in the paper, on the television or on a smartphone app. If you are going to publish something for thousands to see, take a minute and proofread it first.

Jon Ott


Too late for recount?

I was annoyed, but not surprised, to read the recent letter in the Herald-Leader detailing the way Sen. Mitch McConnell chose to receive a group of local citizens who wanted to call upon him with their concerns. The senator, or his staff, called the Lexington police, according to the account, and had the delegation of voters summarily thrown off the property.

My questions are (1) is it the proper function of our law enforcement agencies to insulate politicians from their constituents? And (2) who takes responsibility for this highly improper and undemocratic behavior? The mayor? The police chief? A little clarification would be in order.

I know from personal experience that McConnell avoids contact with voters, either written or face-to-face, probably because he doesn't want to have to explain his behavior in Congress. I've been in Kentucky for 10 years and in that time I have not been able to identify any policies backed by McConnell that would do the slightest bit of good for the working families of Kentucky.

His real constituents, as he sees it, are the giant out-of-state corporations and banks, and he never met a lobbyist he didn't like. Since he surely doesn't earn votes by his policies, he is hardly a dynamic speaker, and one would not characterize his personality as magnetic, it's hard to figure just how this guy ever won an election.

Are we sure we've been counting the ballots correctly here in the commonwealth?

Patrick McLaughlin


Where's our Mr. Smith?

Now more than ever we poor working class need our "Jeff Smith" to go to Washington and take on the "Jim Taylor" Tea Party conservative Republicans Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell.

We need checks and balances. The rich need to stop railroading the rest of the country into things that they want to accomplish. Paul needs to stop being the Tea Party's "honorary stooge."

Victor Privett