Court-worker furloughs deprive citizens access to branch of government
The people of Kentucky will not have access to courts three days this year because of recently announced court-worker furloughs.
This is the first time since Kentucky's modern court system was formed in 1976 that courthouse doors are closing to balance the judicial branch's budget.
The cost-cutting move interferes with citizens' ability to seek justice in disputes that affect their daily lives, including home foreclosures, child-custody cases and divorce proceedings.
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Certainly no one would accept closing the local emergency room, firehouse or police station for several days during the year. Our justice system should be no different. Courtrooms should remain open, available and adequately staffed.
The constitutional argument for sustainable funding of our courts is simple: The judiciary is a branch of government, equal to the executive and legislative branches, that is responsible for protecting our rights.
We do better in Kentucky, but in some states, the judiciary receives less funding than some executive-branch agencies or less than it takes to build a school.
People should never have to jump over budgetary hurdles to reach the courtroom. As a community, we must advocate for our courts so that we always have a safe place to go when we are in need.
Wm. T. "Bill" Robinson III
President, American Bar Association
No promotion without mastery
Tom Shelton, the Fayette County schools superintendent, has an excellent proposal regarding not passing students if they do not perform to the grade level. The egos of children, kindergarten through 4th grade, should not be a factor in the decision.
Failing doesn't suddenly happen at the end of the school year. The child receives report cards and there are teachers' meetings with the parents throughout the school year.
Promoting the student to the next grade when the child has not mastered the skills of the prior grade assures failure. The child gets farther behind and it keeps the other children from advancing to new material.
K-4 students must learn the rudiments of education: reading, writing and math skills. Without these basic skills, future education and academic achievement are impeded. It is time for Fayette County schools to return to the proven methods of education.
Sheriff's office redundant
I read with interest that three members of the Fayette County sheriff's office have been accused of stealing.
If true, these people should receive the highest penalty allowed by law.
But under any circumstances, this raises again, the question as to why we even have a sheriff's department. Most of their duties can be done by the police and jail guards. Serving summons can be done by contractors, as is done in a great many jurisdictions.
By the way, why do we still have county commissioners and a judge executive?
Marriage equality overdue
I'm glad President Barack Obama has finally come out of the closet in favor of marriage equality. I believe that, based on what he has said and done in the past, he always knew that gays and lesbians deserved equal treatment under the laws of the United States, but until now he was afraid to alienate some of his would-be supporters if he spoke the truth publicly.
In her recent opinion in this paper, syndicated columnist Mona Charen eventually gets around to basing her opposition to marriage equality on her belief that the institution of marriage is all about raising children.
Therefore, she seems to say, if raising children is not part of the equation, then there is no basis for a marriage.
I suppose Charen has a right to her opinion, no matter how asinine, but I really doubt that she would apply that reasoning to heterosexuals physically unable to have children or who choose not to do so.
Certainly there is no one suggesting that laws should be enacted or amended to prohibit those folks from marrying.
Despite what Charen and other conservative voices say, equal protection under the law is what this issue is about, and that makes it a civil rights issue. While some folks would say that gays and lesbians should settle for civil unions that provide much the same rights as marriage, anyone who lived through the '60s and '70s in this country should know that "separate but equal" is inherently unequal.
Maybe Lexington Catholic High School, which wouldn't allow the lesbian couple to attend the prom, could add Tolerance 101 to its curriculum and owners of Hands On Originals, which would not print the gay pride T-shirts, could sign up for a class.
While not what he intended, Joel Pett's cartoon of May 17 is a consummate depiction of what President Barack Obama has done to our nation. The final frame's graph arrows of skyrocketing debt, and of plummeting job opportunities quite nicely sum up his term in office.