Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Jan. 7

Lexington slow on homeless plan while people die

Our society seems to have become hardened towards those who have less and are least capable of changing their dire situations on their own.

In regards to the homeless, our city has taken the approach to study the situation for the past 20 years, which means little if nothing is put into action to address the perpetual issues — low wages, lack of jobs, addiction, mental illness and a lack of affordable housing.

How can we truly believe that Lexington is "doing it right" by taking its time rather than taking action? While our city leaders study the problem, people continue to suffer and even die on our streets; at least six died last year.

Time is no friend to the poor and homeless. Timelines and budget allocations have no real meaning if they offer no immediate relief to those struggling to survive on a daily basis, especially in frigid temperatures and extreme weather of present.

Yet, many citizens who are self-righteous not only want to blame the homeless for their situation but also attack those who attempt to serve them — such as the service providers, the faith groups and motivated individuals reaching out to put their faith in action.

This is a plea to our higher selves to show the love in this season of peace, love and joy — let us put into practice what we already know and have been called to do as fellow human beings.

Billie Mallory


Pet care: winter edition

Winter is here. Now is the time to check our doghouses, patching and repairing all cracks and leaks.

For those who still have not built or purchased a doghouse, there are some important things to remember.

The house should be large enough only for the dog to walk in, turn around and lay down. When a dog house is larger than needed, your companion will suffer greatly from the cold weather.

Cats also need a house, something they can get into, not just a box with a blanket in the garage or barn.

High-quality food is very important and adding a tablespoon of corn oil can provide extra calories for warmth.

The need for a constant supply of fresh water cannot be exaggerated. To ensure that my dogs and cats have water at all times, I use heated bowls when possible. Insufficient water can lead to dehydration, hypothermia and death.

Even though the weather is harsh, take time each day to talk and play with your cats and dogs. They love you. You are their whole world.

Lucia Beeler


Healthy perspective

Let's talk about how health care is handled around the world. We are the only modern, developed society that does not provide universal health insurance for all of its citizens. We also pay the most per capita to insure the smallest percentage of people.

There are only three ways to ensure universal health coverage. The most extreme is the British system, usually referred to as "socialized medicine," in which the government provides health care. I do not believe that Americans would go for that; I know I wouldn't.

The most conservative way to universal health coverage is the individual mandate plan, which is what the Affordable Care Act is. It offers the least amount of savings, but it does cover everyone.

It has always been, traditionally, a Republican plan. Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to propose universal coverage. And it is the plan that Mitt Romney put in place in Massachusetts.

The middle option, which the majority of modern societies have adopted, is single-payer. The government is the insurer, and taxes go up slightly to pay for it, but the trade-off against the cost of private policies is great.

Under this system as well, the government has no say in what treatment the person gets.

Many of us would prefer this plan to the more conservative and costly ACA and hope it can be implemented in the future. Let us continue the discussion without yelling "socialism" when the plan is actually so conservative.

Dorothy Carter


Hold doctors accountable

When we hold people accountable to manage their own health, perhaps it will not cost the country so much money.

Let's hold physicians accountable for teaching their patients how to be healthy.

That should start with setting a good example: as in no more fat physicians or nurses.

That would be a sign of respect for the profession and would help with their efforts to maintain their license and look professional on duty. There is no way to put a price on the way they treat the customer.

Our society would also do well to appreciate the contributions of professional registered nurses. In the past, each time there was a nursing shortage, some of the duties of the nurses were given away to less educated people.

Those staff are fine to give directions, but they are not appropriate to talk about the condition of the patient.

That information should come only from an R.N. or an M.D. They have the education to discuss the disease process or the ramifications of injury or surgery.

When there is appropriate appreciation for the qualifications of the real health care professionals, perhaps our legislators will stop trying to hold our president and his health care law hostage.

Sara E. Crane


Unproductive debate

On the state of political debate in America, here is what I see:

Some elected officials are trying their best to help everyone gain access to health care insurance that will provide an affordable, transparent and stable foundation of coverage.

Others have tried repeatedly to block efforts to achieve these goals, staying focused on amplifying the logistical challenges rather than working to find solutions.

Some elected officials are trying their best to find a fair and balanced path to address budget imbalances and accumulated deficits while recognizing the critical importance of public funding for services that we all rely on.

Others seem to think that everything will be just fine with a one-sided approach limited to extreme cuts for essential public programs.

Some elected officials are trying to find a workable path forward to address the complex issue of the good and hard-working people who live in our country without legal documentation, sometimes for decades.

Others ignore the complexities and think only two options should be offered to these millions of people: leave the country voluntarily or be removed by force.

I see some elected officials recognizing the reality of gun violence in our society. Others refuse to discuss even minor constraints on gun ownership.

Our best hope is to work collaboratively on solutions. Blocking constructive efforts of others is never a recipe for progress.

James MacLeod


New election-year rules

Letters about candidates in 2014 political races are limited to 150 words. No commentary from candidates will be published. Candidates may respond, every 30 days, in 250-word letters, to editorials, news articles and columns in which they are the primary focus.