The State Journal encourages readers to submit letters to the editor for publication by noon Wednesday for the following Sunday’s paper. All letters must contain the writer’s full name, mailing address and telephone number for purposes of verification. The State Journal will not withhold the name of a writer. Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published. The State Journal will not publish thank-you letters, obvious form letters or letters addressed to third parties or to the public at large. Any letter may be rejected at editors’ discretion. All letters submitted for publication are subject to editing for length, form and content. Letters may be no more than 500 words long. Letters may be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The State Journal, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601; or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
It is exciting to see that restricting smoking in the workplace is on the Franklin County Fiscal Court’s agenda.
I applaud their recognition of this local public health danger. It is not a city vs. county issue. People in the county have lung and hearts too! They deserve clean air, free of the secondhand smoke that triggers lung disease (cancer, asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease-COPD), heart disease, stroke, etc. Focusing the discussion on city/county only takes away from this important issue.
But the Fiscal Court’s effort only goes part of the way. A county ordinance that covers only businesses open to the public, and also exempts establishments that only admit people over 21, would leave too many workers and patrons exposed to secondhand smoke. Patrons can go elsewhere, but workers in bars are exposed to carcinogens 47 times higher than the limit of unsafe indoor air quality. The U.S. surgeon general has declared that secondhand smoke causes disease and death in non-smokers and the only way to effectively protect people is to completely eliminate it from indoor workplaces and public places.
If Fiscal Court wants to take meaningful action to protect their citizens from secondhand smoke, they should pass an ordinance that covers everyone. That includes bars and establishments that do not admit the public. Workers in those and all establishments deserve protection from harmful secondhand smoke, too. In these economic times, these workers cannot choose to “work elsewhere” to avoid these health hazards.
A smoke-free ordinance from the Franklin County Fiscal Court would be a welcome addition toward improving the public health of their citizens. Let’s make this a comprehensive smoke-free law that protects the rights of everyone to breathe smoke-free air at work and in public places.
Connie Gayle White
To the Editor:
What happens when a state-appointed member of a board blows the whistle on improper, illegal actions in a state cabinet?
If you are our governor you wait until your very fortunate second term, then you fire the whistleblowers. Those arrogant unappreciative employees need to be dealt with.
Recently Gov. Steve Beshear axed Kentucky Retirement Systems whistleblower Chris Tobe from the board. Then Beshear appointed Dan Bauer, of Bellarmine.
Our governor willfully violates state law which requires two out of three of his appointees to be investment experts. Not a single member of the General Assembly challenged the decisions or the appointments. None of the present board has this background.
According to several published documents, here is how it came down. Chris Tobe was fired for political reasons arising from very questionable investments by the Kentucky Retirement Systems.
Later Tobe, who was the pension investment expert for the state auditor from 1997-1999, became concerned about an auditor examination of placement agents at KRS. He contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in May 2011. He had reason to believe that multiple violations of law had occurred.
Business First reported a document that criticizes audits of KRS over its use of placement agents in making investments was forwarded by the agency to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Pensions & Investments reported the document was written by an independent attorney for KRS board trustee Christopher Tobe. The document questions the findings of reviews by a KRS internal audit and another by the Kentucky auditor of public accounts that found no wrongdoing in the use of placement agents from 2004 to 2009.
This occurred when then-Auditor Crit Luallen audited the retirement system. However, no suggestion of dismissing anyone was mentioned. The SEC is investigating the use of placement agents by the $13.3 billion retirement system to find alternative investments, such as private equity and hedge funds.
The auditor of public accounts did not investigate the services actually provided by the placement agents and whether the millions in compensation paid to such agents bore any relationship to services the agents actually provided, or was excessive.
Could it be Crit Luallen is political and did not investigate further but referred the alleged actions to the feds? After all, a scandal during the previous Beshear administration may have had an impact on his re-election. It appears actions by Luallen were not illegal. Rather, the audit was a hot potato.
Seems a shame both our state representative and our current senator knew of this questionable placement of KRS funds. They had to as the story was all over the media. There was no public questioning of the audit by either.
Could it be Crit Luallen is a very popular figure our local reps probably did not want to admonish? Not our representative, not our senator, not the attorney general who is a lap dog for Steve Beshear.
Jim Anderson Stivers
To the Editor:
I would like to take a moment to ask all Frankfort residents to consider voting for Kyle Thompson for mayor. I have known Kyle for many years and firmly believe that he is the best person for the job. Not only is Kyle a lifelong resident of Frankfort himself, he has clear and achievable plan to help our city grow and flourish.
Under Kyle’s leadership I believe we would see a reduction in violent crime. Recently Frankfort residents have been noticing the increase in violence that is due, in large part, to the increases in drug use and drug trafficking within our city. By working with all levels of law enforcement, city employees and our city leaders, Kyle is prepared to take actions that would help stem this epidemic.
Kyle is the first candidate I can recall who believes in holding everyone accountable for their actions and who intends to work across party lines and against personal agendas to help make Frankfort a safer city for all.
Kyle also has some wonderful ideas about how to grow the economy in Frankfort. By utilizing resources that we currently overlook he hopes to help draw small and mid-size businesses to the capital city. His vision for the future economic growth of Frankfort is logical, insightful and more than possible to achieve.
I also support Kyle’s desire to curb and/or eliminate all wasteful spending. Frankfort’s budget has continued to grow while our revenues have not. Obviously this is a problem. By freezing unnecessary and unapproved spending and prioritizing the needs of our citizens we would see a sharp reduction in waste.
For too long the desires of our elected officials have taken precedence over the actual needs of our citizens. Kyle will take very positive steps to change the way business is done here in Frankfort.
If you believe in holding your elected leaders accountable; in making Frankfort not only safe, but also prosperous; in leading by example and not based on personal agendas then I recommend you vote for the only candidate who can fill the bill: Kyle Thompson.
Laurel J. Dailey
To the Editor:
It has become commonplace for articles that elicit a great deal of emotion from others to be posted on social networks.
Inaccurate stories and rumors that have not been carefully edited or thoroughly fact-checked are being picked up by journalists and treated as fact. The person making the claim may be quoted but is not held accountable – meaning that the company/agency/person being attacked is guilty until they figure out how to prove their innocence or until they go bankrupt/lose their job/jump off a bridge.
Such is the situation with the recent social network slur against BPI (Beef Products Inc.), referencing lean finely textured beef (publicly ridiculed as “pink slime”).
As I understand it, BPI makes use of beef scraps by separating beef fat from beef muscle, and incorporates it into their ground beef. According to an article by Dan Flynn in Food Safety News (3/9/12), “The BPI grinding process is built around a centrifuge that removes beef fat, resulting in a product that is 90 percent or more lean beef. The process includes the use of an ammonia and water bath (ammonium hydroxide), which has proven to be one of the beef industry’s most successful interventions against harmful bacteria – microbes that can sicken and kill.”
James Andrews writes in Food Safety News (3/27/12), “Since the company started in 1981, its products have not been linked to a food-borne illness or outbreak. BPI tests for salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and the ‘Big Six’ strains of harmful E. coli, and unlike some others in the meat industry, holds the meat until tests results are in.” Flagrant use of the word ammonia, which sounds like a bad thing, has been a big part of the negative publicity. A little research reveals that our own bodies make ammonia; that ammonium hydroxide is used as a leavening agent in baking, and is used in manufacturing peanut butter, condiments, chocolates, cheeses, and many other foods and beverages, with meat having less ammonium hydroxide used in processing than many other products (especially American and other cheeses, and peanut butter).
PBI is a family-owned business. Misinformation spread by the media has led to a loss of business, causing them to discontinue operation of three plants, resulting in the laying off of over 600 employees. There is a chance this company will not recover from the damage done by stories that badly misrepresent the truth, scare consumers and are causing an unnecessary crisis.
I urge big-name buyers like Kroger, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and school districts to carefully perform fact-checking, and to make good decisions based on scientific information and recommendations from food industry specialists. And we consumers – in all instances, no matter what the issue – need to do our own due diligence to keep social, print and broadcast media from using our fears to boost their ratings.
To the Editor:
The State Journal is a solid tool for distributing local news throughout the Frankfort area, but there could be more to it. The paper is in a wonderful position of having enough readers to inform a large number of people, yet small enough to stay under the radar if it wished to report on subjects outside of the national media. There should be a section for the reporting of national political activity, how it really affects people, how it affects the community, and so on. This part of the paper will inform people, but it will also encourage thought. I am not a radical, I simply think people want to read these types of things without having to listen to “news” when it’s been filtered through the mess that is major media. There is a market for this, Frankfort needs a paper they can trust when it comes to national events.
I believe it would also be a good idea to have readers submit subjects that they would like to have investigated, not exclusively, but maybe every other week.
To the Editor:
Five dollars is added to my telephone bill each month for not using long distance. What citizen in his or her right mind would agree to pay a company for not using its service? Easy answer. The elected citizens in Congress.
Granted, that tyrannically assessed five dollars is a small sum, but a most dangerous mindset enabled its existence.
That same mindset forced a two-thirds majority of dissenting Americans to accept “ObamaCare.” A more recent example was John McCain when he stood on the floor of the Senate and implored America to bomb Syria.
When McCain called for those bombs, where were his brain and oath of office? Why were those two essentials barred from the fray? Which bomb-maker instructed him to make that call?
America has a debt of $16 trillion, a current deficit of $1.3 trillion, and she must borrow 40 percent of the $3.5 trillion in her household budget just to make ends meet. Moreover, 36,000 of her children have been killed or maimed in 10 years of misguided wars. Despite those alarming facts, McCain wants to bomb another sovereign nation that poses no threat to America.
Why do politicians in Congress, especially the long-standing incumbents like McCain, consistently demonstrate such vivid examples of rank stupidity and pretend not to see them or their deleterious consequences? Simple, like the infamous betrayer, Judas Iscariot, they have betrayed themselves, the citizenry who elected them, and dear ol’ America for 30 pieces of silver.
To the Editor:
As we look for the reasons behind this past weekend’s violence in Lexington, I believe one of the answers can be found in the commercial breaks shown during the Kentucky-Louisville game.
I’m referring to the large number of ads for alcoholic beverages, many of which specifically target young people. (Did you see the ones with the cute dog who fetches beer?)
It’s clear many of the out-of-control students were drinking, and their drinking was a factor in their behavior.
And with the NCAA accepting money for ads for alcoholic beverages, they are part of the problem.
So long as colleges allow themselves to be used as vessels to sell alcohol, they are complicit in events like those in Lexington.