Council's job to question, not rubber stamp
In the short time I've lived in Lexington, I've seen this drama play out twice:
Developers want to aggressively target a piece of property, and the neighbors say no, no, no.
The neighbors, who have to live with the results of the development (unlike council or the Planning Division) present their arguments to council, which magnanimously allows them to speak their piece but pretty much ignores whatever they have to say.
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Council doesn't respond to pertinent arguments, doesn't counter the arguments with another set of facts, just politely listens, sort of, and then votes to go along with planning.
Council later says something to the effect that planning didn't find any problems, and "we have to work with these people."
Council is supposed to protect the citizens and serve as a check against shortsighted decisions. That's why they are given the responsibility of actually voting on these issues.
But if they don't recognize their responsibility, give all their power to planning and serve only as a puppet, it will be only a matter of time before graft will rear its ugly head -— take this from an ex- Chicagoan who has seen this all before.
Curb childhood obesity
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, increasing our children's risk for heart disease and stroke.
Regular physical activity is critical to ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our nation's youth. But not enough kids are physically active, with less than 4 percent of elementary schools and 8 percent of middle schools providing daily physical education.
My oldest started middle school this year and without recess or PE, it has been difficult for her to meet the recommended hour of physical activity every day.
With a family history of diabetes, we are highly motivated to stay active to ward off this terrible disease. We are participating in the PTA 5K training programs and bicycle to school in an effort to squeeze in enough physical activity, but there are many days she still falls short.
As a parent, I urge Congressman Andy Barr to support the Fitness Integrated with Teaching, or FIT, Kids Act. The bill would provide opportunities for physical activity and wellness in school programs and help curb childhood obesity rates. It also would require schools to inform parents about the quality and quantity of physical education in their children's schools.
With obesity affecting 32 percent of our youth, our elected officials must give our kids the resources necessary to lead healthy and productive lives by supporting the FIT Kids Act.
Not so smart
A strange thing happened the other day at my favorite coffee shop in Danville when I read the Herald-Leader's Sept. 22 editorial excoriating Kentucky's five Republican congressmen for voting to cut back the food stamp program.
(For an opposing view, please see the Sept. 21-22 Wall Street Journal editorial.)
I held the Herald-Leader up to the light and could read between the lines. Really, I could. Although very faint, between the lines it was written: "Although Kentucky voters sent five Republican congressmen to Washington to represent their constituents' views, we at the Herald-Leader editorial board are smarter than the Kentucky voters."
The congressional GOP brings to mind the priest and the Levite who, when coming upon an injured man in the road, fastidiously raised their robes and stepped over him and went on their way.
It was the Good Samaritan, the outcast, who stopped and aided the injured in need.
Jesus repeated this parable for a reason. Offering aid to the injured and the sick and feeding those in need is what ethical Christians do.
Seems like Barack Obama and the Democrats carry their Christian faith out into the world in an ethical manner and the GOP does not.
Stop the pipeline
I read with interest the piece by University of Kentucky professor Joseph Straley, "Stopping pipeline can't make us safer." While I applaud his efforts, I feel Straley isn't seeing the forest for the trees.
First, he stated that pipelines are the safest mode of transporting this natural gas liquid product. Is he aware of the lack of any real oversight of this NGL pipeline?
One would think this proposed pipeline would have the same oversight as a crude oil or natural gas pipeline or even certain other NGL pipelines, but this is not the case.
Second, with no safety standards, such as setbacks from houses, schools, water supplies and other sensitive areas, surely the writer can see why "stopping this pipeline (on my family farm) would make us (my family) safer."
Third, regardless of what he states, the use of eminent domain by this private company is not justified; Bluegrass Pipeline LLC is not a public utility and should not be able to condemn private property.
Finally, I hope he realizes that to many people the main issue is not with the pipeline but with the company proposing to build it. The Williams Co.'s safety record appears to be very questionable. I suggest Straley research this company's track record.
If Straley would like to make this NGL pipeline safer for all of us, perhaps he should write to the Corps of Engineers requesting a comprehensive environmental impact statement, as has been done with NGL pipelines in other states.
Vote down crusades
I observed a truck with several bumper stickers. The most interesting read, "We love our country" and "We fear our government."
I wondered if the driver knew that we, the people, are the government of the United States of America.
Should a survey be conducted in Kentucky to ascertain which was their entity of love and loyalty:
1. The United States of America.
2. The Commonwealth of Kentucky.
3. Their religious entity.
4. Their political party.
Hands down, the answer would be 3.
Sadly, Kentuckians give their religious entity credit for their presence on Earth; however, the physical U.S.A. is their source of life, liberty and the alleged pursuit of happiness. There is no direct proof of a religious entity's presence.
The evening of Sept. 24, a U.S. senator was on the Senate floor demanding the Senate withdraw the funds to implement the country's Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Members of the House voted to defund the program even though it is the law of the land.
The actions by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are but another example of how Congress caters to large corporations and the religious community rather than to true Americans.
If we want to end the religious crusades and guarantees to wealthy investors that ravage the economy of foreign countries and murder their populations, and the murder, wounding, and former maiming of U.S. military, then we, the people, must take back our country through the ballot box.
Billy Ray Wilson