Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: Jan. 22

Kathy H. Witt  Fayette County Sheriff.   Keyword: 2006 election mug,  headshot, Kathy Witt.
Kathy H. Witt Fayette County Sheriff. Keyword: 2006 election mug, headshot, Kathy Witt.

Marijuana use can be the start of other addictions

I want to remind former treasurer Jonathan Miler that marijuana is often referred to as the "gateway" drug. This is because users who first smoke it will often move on to bigger and "better" drugs to get the high they long for — like OxyContin and meth.

Ask any recovering addict. Most started out using marijuana.

How could this be better for our state? We already have some of the highest drug-abuse rates in the country.

Furthermore, how much more of the state's budget can we afford to supplement drug-rehab centers? Legalizing marijuana would only increase the need for more rehab centers.

Most importantly though, what about the negative effect drugs and addicts have on our families? How will legalizing marijuana help the already-declining home and family lives of Kentuckians?

Parents who smoke pot aren't tending to their children. They can't teach the values and morals our children so desperately need to learn and have modeled.

The supposed economic boosts Miller said Kentucky will gain from legalizing marijuana will never outweigh the social consequences.

Paula Renee Connell


End useless drug war

Regarding Jonathan Miller's Jan. 15 op-ed, the drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2010, there were 853,839 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession.

At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. The end result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily lower rates of use.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete.

As long as organized crime controls distribution, marijuana consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst,Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.

Don't forget hemp

Jonathan Miller hit many bull's-eyes. I want to add, in thousands of years of recorded usage not only are deaths from cannabis (marijuana) overdose extraordinarily rare, as he said, they are completely nonexistent.

That's safety on a Biblical scale.

For Kentucky's farmers: It's interesting that free American farmers may not grow hemp, while communist Chinese farmers can and America's greatest foreign debt is with China.

It's time to re-introduce hemp as a component of American agriculture. It's time to end the vulgar and sinful practice of caging responsible adults for using what God says is good on the very first page of the Bible.

Stan White

Dillon, Colo.

Sheriff has hands full

I have been reading in your publication that the current sheriff of Fayette County, Kathy Witt, wants to take over daily control of the Fayette County Detention Center.

I would urge the mayor and Urban County Council members to think real hard about this issue.

Because if you think the jail has problems now, let Witt get her claws on it.

It has been reported that the jail has low morale and a high turnover rate. The mayor and council members need to walk across the street to examine the Fayette County Sheriffs Office employee morale and examine the turnover rate under Witt's tenure.

I honestly feel they would agree that the sheriff has problems she needs to fix before taking on a bigger problem such as the jail.

Also, I thought the city-county merger agreement that went into effect in the early 1970s required the sheriffs office take the role of just serving court process, providing courthouse and courtroom security and transporting prisoners for court appearances.

Former Sheriff Harold Buchignani went so far as turning over property tax collection to the government only to have Witt take those duties back.

What else does she want to take control of? The police department? Only time will tell.

James Jeffrey Coleman


Prejudice showing

By reading "inner-city" as black, columnist Merlene Davis is showing her own prejudice and racism.

She apparently disagrees that it is better to be given the opportunity to succeed on your own, rather than be dependent on someone else.

And, she demonizes a candidate for saying he will talk to African-Americans about their own focus group.

Does she think GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich should address the NAACP about the advancement of Chinese-Americans? Why does she conveniently forget every racist and bigoted remark made by candidates of other parties?

It is because that would not support her personal agenda? Unfortunately, Davis does more to perpetuate negative stereotypes and racism than any political candidate of any party.

Liz Moore


Ask E. Ky. what it needs

The University of Pikeville as a state school sure feels right, doesn't it? It would be a shining bastion of learning to inspire and create opportunity for Eastern Kentucky students to achieve that gold standard bachelor's degree. It's a no-brainer.

University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State Univerity, five other state schools (their satellite campuses and outreach programs) and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System with 16 colleges and 68 campuses (one of them in Pikeville) just can't inspire.

UPIKE, in Pikeville for over 120 years, hasn't been that bastion. Using President Paul Patton's figure that only 9.1 percent of Pike County's population has a bachelor's degree. But by finding an extra $14 million for the university, all that will change.

Kudos to Gov. Steve Beshear for insisting on studying the idea before moving forward.

What do the people of Eastern Kentucky want? For nearly half a century, there has been an organization in place to answer questions just like this: the Kentucky area development districts.

With judge executives, mayors, and at-large citizens on the boards of these 15 districts (there are 54 counties represented by 10 districts in Kentucky's Appalachian counties), they were designed staffed and funded to be the source of input for Frankfort and federal programs to make decisions.

Has their support been asked for? In an era where every dollar is being counted, doesn't it make sense we utilize all the resources available to make the decision the people want?

Chuck Caudill Jr.


Unfair to lawmaker

I am writing regarding the Jan. 12 article on Ruth Ann Palumbo and her Lexington home. I found it absurd that such details would even make the news.

Palumbo is in the process of renovating her home and she lawfully applied for, and was granted, extensions to address repairs that needed to be made.

End of story.

The assertion that she received special treatment because she is a lawmaker is unfounded.

Palumbo has been a dedicated public servant to the commonwealth for over 20 years and is the longest-serving woman in the General Assembly.

During her tenure, she has fought for Lexington families, teachers and children, making sure that assistance is given to those who need it the most.

And, as someone who was born and raised in Lexington and has known her for my entire life, I will tell you that she is the picture of strength, grace and humility and is one of my strongest role models.

Instead of trying to bring down this successful woman, why don't we ask why the article was published? I cannot, for the life of me, figure out who benefits from such words.

Since graduating from college 10 years ago, I have lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area. And so, for anyone who thinks the words written about Palumbo equal a scandal, I invite you to spend a day with me in our nation's capital and you'll see what really goes on in this country.

Meredith Mays Ward

Alexandria, Va.

No profile in courage

If Gov. Steve Beshear had any integrity and backbone he would not have signed the redistricting bill, which denies full representation in the state Senate for Fayette County. Senate President David Williams has no honor or integrity as either a legislator or a fair-minded human being. The governor acted as his stooge.

Bruce Boyens


New year, new attitude

Although I was only 4 or 5, a gray winter day many years ago is indelibly etched on my mind.

My grandmother and I were on the porch when a wagon loaded with household goods passed. My grandmother said, "This is New Year's, and it's moving time."

In that rural community, it was customary for tenants to make one-year agreements with farm owners. At year's end, either the tenant or the owner could terminate the agreement, or it could be renewed. If the agreement was terminated, New Year's Day was moving time, and the tenant moved to another farm.

From early childhood, I have associated the new year with moving. Yet, only once during all of those years has it meant moving time for me. That was 43 years ago when I was transferred at the beginning of the year.

Moving and beginning a new year have much in common: both involve sorting out an accumulation of things collected, discarding what is useless, and holding on to what has value.

Moving involves sorting physical things; beginning a new year involves intangibles, such as habits and attitudes. These may be changed or carried forward into the new year by resolution and force of will.

Moving demands hard work and adjustment. Beginning a new year, we can make adjustments that take us where we ought to be.

This was put into perspective when I heard someone say, "It's time to move — from Grumble Street to Gratitude Avenue."

Howard Coop