Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: July 28

People peruse the offerings at the Lexington Farmers Market at Fifth Third Pavilion at Cheapside Park in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, September 15, 2012. Photo by Matt Goins
People peruse the offerings at the Lexington Farmers Market at Fifth Third Pavilion at Cheapside Park in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, September 15, 2012. Photo by Matt Goins Herald-Leader

The issue with Rosemond's advice is not free speech but truth in packaging

As the retired psychologist who initiated the Kentucky Board of Psychology action regarding John Rosemond, I applaud the Herald-Leader's spirited defense of free speech in its July 17 editorial.

My issue, however, is not censorship but responsibilities incumbent upon a mental health professional.

As I stated in my original letter, Rosemond's general advice can be helpful, "particularly [to] parents who may overindulge their children." Specific advice regarding an individual child is very different.

In the column I referenced to the state board, I felt Rosemond's advice was extreme and therefore out of line for a child and family he had not seen personally. If a doctor prescribed medicine for a child he had never seen in response to a letter from parents he did not know, he would be hard-pressed to justify his actions in court on the basis of free speech.

As a neighbor giving advice over the back fence or a syndicated columnist, Rosemond can give good or bad advice freely whether he calls himself a parenting guru or a bar of soap.

When such advice is given as a "psychologist" in a column published in Kentucky where he would not be recognized as qualified to use that title, and his advice is outside ethical or professional guidelines, it is appropriate for the Kentucky board to ask that he not use that title.

He can always list the credentials he currently holds and specify the state in which he is credentialed. The issue is simply truth in packaging.

T. Kerby Neill


Quotas for blacks in NBA next?

Regarding the July 21 editorial about lack of minority representation in advanced programs in Fayette County schools:

Can we specifically identify someone or something that is blocking the door to these programs?

Does the editorial board believe there is any facet of life that cannot, and should not, be controlled by specific statistical norms?

Should we be upset about the inordinate number of Asians in the programs? Am I, a 70-year-old white man born into total poverty in Eastern Kentucky, responsible for my own fate? Did society do me wrong?

Should we control the number of Latinos in major league baseball? The number of blacks in professional basketball? The number of Jewish people in medicine? The number of Asians admitted to our finest schools?

Can't we accept that people make choices in life? Had I really wanted to play in the NBA I should have just worked harder and practiced more. If I had wanted to attend Harvard, I should have studied more. If I had wanted to be a medical doctor maybe I should have taken more science classes. I made my choices, as does everyone in life.

You know, sometimes it doesn't matter how badly we want something or how hard we work. Maybe, we just aren't as smart as we think we are. Or, we just aren't working as hard as we think we are. And, sometimes, we just aren't good enough. I mean, witness contributing columnist Larry Webster and his attempts to be humorous.

Joe Mercer


Stanton's stand against abortion

In her July 21 essay, "A Rebellion Like No Other," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, uses Elizabeth Cady Stanton's famous "Woman's Rights Convention" of 1848 to argue for more advances in women's right to abortion.

"From Ireland to Chile," she proclaims, "women are being denied the right," and she deplores growing state restrictions on abortion.

Gaylor will have a hard time mobilizing Stanton as a supporter of abortion. In her women's rights newspaper, "The Revolution," on Feb. 5, 1868, Stanton classified abortion as a form of "infanticide."

On March 12, 1868, Stanton wrote, "Dr. Oaks made the remark that, according to the best estimate he could make, there were four hundred murders annually produced by abortion in this country alone [now there are more than 3,000 each day] ... There must be a remedy to such a crying evil as this. But where should it be found, at least begun if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women?"

On Oct. 16, 1873, Stanton wrote to Julia Ward Howe, "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

Clearly, Stanton believed that advancement of women's rights would end, not advance, abortion, by protecting women from being forced into the act against their better natures.

We can decide for ourselves which of these views is more complimentary to women.

Paul David Nelson


Pipeline a threat

The June 23 editorial about regulation, or rather the lack of regulation, of the Bluegrass Pipeline, was excellent.

This is a huge threat to everyone concerned, as witnessed by the unity of diverse segments of my community in Nelson County.

I would like to commend Sen. Jimmy Higdon and Rep. David Floyd for joining forces with environmentalist Tom Fitzgerald and many private citizens in asking Gov. Steve Beshear to add this issue to the August special session of our legislature.

I would be doubly proud if they would show further leadership by revising current laws regarding eminent domain and pipeline regulation and guiding these through the legislative process.

Mary Crum Spalding


Cancel plan to cut Lextran service

In August, Lextran is reducing Saturday service to once every 70 minutes and cutting Sunday service from 13 buses to 8 buses by combining routes. With gas prices again increasing, this is not time to reduce service.

Even during 35-minute Saturday service, people sometimes have to stand up on the Nicholasville Road route. We need more people riding buses, not fewer, and fewer people driving cars.

Other routes are less crowded. However, I am confident that Saturday ridership justifies maintaining 35-minute service on most routes during peak ridership times.

Sunday ridership is lower, but Sunday service is already limited to every 70 minutes and ends three hours earlier in the evening. Combining routes will make lengthier wait times and long trips for many riders — many of whom will likely decide not to ride at all.

I emailed Lextran expressing my disagreement about the changes, though my work schedule, etc., prevented me from attending one of the public comment meetings held to meet the letter of the law.

Other riders I spoke to expressed their expectations that Lextran would do what it planned regardless and indicated they did not want to waste their time taking an extra bus trip to attend one of the public comment meetings.

I urge Lextran to cut waste from its budget, rather than cutting needed bus trips. Many poor, disabled, elderly and young people depend on Lextran; many others choose to ride or would if service improved instead of being cut back.

James E. Gibson


No misuse of HealthFirst funds

The Auditor of Public Accounts concluded in his recent report that no wrongdoing was found on the part of HealthFirst, the project manager or contracted professionals.

There were no findings regarding the Southland Drive site, no dollars spent without supporting documentation, no misuse of funds.

Though criticisms of HealthFirst processes and decisions were made in the report, it cites no instances, findings or specific problems regarding decisions made by the project manager that might be detrimental to HealthFirst.

There are no findings on the historical review or environmental assessment; no findings on the HealthFirst lease for property; no findings on the agreement relating to the property owner's development lot; and no findings on HealthFirst's option to buy leased property.

The report findings focus on future potentials. Two target the HealthFirst project manager and 100 percent voting member-landlord relationships. One references a parking clause in a draft lease which has been rewritten.

One finding is about finances, Medicaid and budgets. Medicaid approved a past due balance payment of $389,000. The HealthFirst board approved a flexible and seasonally adjusted budget with 21 percent increase.

Other recommendations in this finding were implemented in May. On the difficult and complex grant issues, the auditor deferred to the federal agency with oversight.

HealthFirst believes we acted with integrity and our actions were conducted in a way the community could support. We will work with with the federal government, make any necessary adjustments, and respond to the auditor within 60 days.

William North

Executive director, HealthFirst Bluegrass, Inc.


Let them play

I have a deep respect and admiration for farmers throughout Kentucky. Going to the Farmers Market in Lexington and purchasing the fruits and vegetables from the folks who have worked so hard to produce those delectable items is one of my favorite things to do.

I was very disappointed with the market when two young ladies were turned away for playing and sharing their traditional old-time music. That music is an important part of our history that should be welcomed at venues such as the market.

Whether traditional, country, rock or jazz, music is something that can be appreciated by all ages and cultures.

The director of the farmers market said they could play at a cost of $50 for two hours. Most musicians do it for love of music and most are not fortunate enough to make a living playing music and take outside jobs to support themselves.

Vendors invited the musicians to share their booths and provide music as a part of their booth. Regardless, they were told to leave the premises by the market staff. I would like to see our community embrace our local musicians and welcome them to be a part of local events, whenever possible. Support our local artists.

Charlene Kaenzig Dunn


Tips won't cover fee

I am disappointed with the Lexington Farmers Market's recent decision to not allow musicians to play at the market unless they pay a $50 fee for a mere two hours of performance time.

I have played at the market on several occasions as a way to have fun and to make a little tip money, and most market-goers enjoy the lively atmosphere that live music adds.

However, most musicians will not be able to afford the fee, due to the unlikelihood of making enough tips to even cover the cost, let alone make any profit.

The market representative to whom I spoke said musicians take up vendor space and are now required to pay just like the vendors.

My argument is that market vendors offer a tangible product people pay in order to receive. When musicians play, people may listen and tip a buck or two or not pay at all. I understand there can be an overwhelming number of musical acts that appear at the market. Let musicians sign up in advance for a performance spot and let them play for free, or at least for a significantly cheaper rate.

Many markets pay musicians or compensate them with donated market goods. In my experience, most vendors are happy to share the market with musicians because they know it's good for business.

Stephanie Jeter