Larson on target about jail reform
Regarding Fayette Judge-Executive Jon Larson's article on jail reform: Larson is right about lengthy jail sentences being ineffective. I am a minister and have been talking to inmates in the Fayette County and Boyle County detention centers for over 16 years, so I have a front-row seat to the conditions faced by the inmates. The jailers are doing a fantastic job but there's only so much they can do.
Our jails are way overcrowded. The "crime school" effect Larson mentioned is definitely in session. Jails offer fewer activities and programs than the prison system, so the inmates spend hours upon hours in idle time with one another learning and encouraging bad habits.
I'm not a politician so I don't have the answers but the ideas offered by Larson appear to be very positive and right on track in helping inmates live more productive lives upon release. I do know that something needs to be done because our present system isn't working. Kudos to the jailer's efforts, but they need our help.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Change your diet, life
On Veteran's Day, columnist Tom Eblen addressed the issue of diabetes in Kentucky. The epidemic is a personal and monetary tragedy.
Current medical-pharmaceutical approaches to diabetes are failing. The solution is simple. It's the food. Former University of Kentucky endocrinologist Dr. James W. Anderson demonstrated years ago that a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, otherwise known as a whole-food, plant-based diet, reverses diabetes.
Plant-based diets improve many other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and reverse heart disease. As a primary care provider at a VA hospital, I have implemented this approach, with results beyond compare to traditional diabetes dietary education common today. The results are independent of exercise but exercise is always part of a healthy lifestyle.
Kentucky Rep. Tom Riner proposed a pilot program to document the health benefits of a plant-based diet in 2012. House Bill 550 was passed but food industry lobbyists weakened the bill. This story is told in the upcoming movie Plant Pure Nation due out in July.
The time is now for Kentucky medical practitioners to embrace lifestyle medicine and for Kentuckians to embrace a plant-based diet to curtail the scourge of diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill hundreds each month. These diseases are prevented and cured by a whole-food, plant-based diet.
A presentation was made Monday night to the Fayette Board of Education proposing three district-wide changes to the school wellness policy:
End the use of food as a reward
Ensure that all elementary school students get at least 20 minutes of daily recess
Include at least 50 percent healthy food in school celebrations
Excellent documentation was provided for each proposed change. Clearly, these policy changes would be in the best interest of our children. In the discussion that followed, none of the Fayette County school decision makers acknowledged the benefits of implementing the recommendations. Board member Melissa Bacon asserted that the board must do what principals want. Principals were surveyed and the majority voted not to pass these common-sense measures district-wide, but to give schools the option. In my experience, this means they will not be adopted. During the four years I served on a school-based council, wellness was not addressed at any time.
I emailed the elementary, middle, and high school principals of the schools my children attended to request support for these policies. Two of the three ignored my email. They feel no need to even acknowledge my concern. Why must the school board do as the principals want?
Why must our children sit for over six hours without a break? Why must they be bribed with candy to perform like seals? Why is it so hard for parents to influence their children's school environments? Since I have been unsuccessful in moving any of the dissenting principals to discuss this with me via email, I invite a public discourse on the matter.
Abolish minimum wage
Professor Marty Solomon's op-ed promoting a minimum wage of $15 as "a silver bullet" to erase or reduce income disparity has two key phrases, which are telling. The first ("Many things have been tried") and the second ("There is something that has not been tried") suggest a real silver bullet for the government to try.
Repeal those things that have already been tried and try nothing else, not even the minimum wage; simply get out of the way and let the free market work. Do away with all welfare, corporate and otherwise.
The assumptions that Solomon makes in order to reach his rosy results are dangerously dubious at best. He may know the nuances of economics but misses the message of history which his own letter suggests: "Many things have been tried: stimulus, quantitative easing, earned income credits—yet most Americans have been left out." The government always has something else that has not been tried.
True freedom is the firm foundation upon which the free market can flourish, paving the way to maximum prosperity commensurate with the talents, abilities, sacrifices and efforts of those who are willing to pay the price. Unleash freedom, and more people will be seeking their maximum wage, not some arbitrary minimum wage. No system will produce a perfect society, but genuine freedom will come closer than anything yet conceived by man.
William A. Rice
Local taxes not so local
Regarding Jim Host's column, "Local citizens deserve the right to tax themselves for projects". The local option sales tax seems reasonable. If only that were the case.
I live in the small town of Wilmore in Jessamine County. If we voted to implement a one percent local sales tax for a local project it would affect, for the most part, only the residents of Wilmore; a perfect example of local citizens taxing themselves.
Unfortunately, shopping opportunities are limited in Wilmore and we often travel to Nicholasville to shop. Now, suppose the citizens of Nicholasville vote to tax themselves for a local project. In reality, they are not just taxing themselves but also all of those who shop in Nicholasville. We wouldn't get to vote on the tax and we wouldn't get to enjoy the benefits of the project (at least not to any significant degree) but we would be required to help pay for the project.
Jessamine Countians often shop in Lexington. If Lexington voted a tax on itself, it would also be voting a tax on residents of surrounding counties. I can see why larger municipalities would be in favor of the local option sales tax.
I could limit my shopping outside of Wilmore, but does anyone think that Lexington citizens would support an additional sales tax if they thought that customers from surrounding counties would stop shopping there?