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Bullying is our responsibility
To the Editor:
In response to the letter on May 6th, Power chair rider ridiculed:
The letter written by Carla Dean describes an alleged use of email to distribute her picture as she goes through the drive through in a local restaurant in her power chair. It is obvious to the readers that Carla is very confident as a person in our community. Carla is concerned about adults that may have used her photograph under the heading, “Kentucky’s Finest.” As a teacher in this community, this concerns me very much too.
This example is a clear case of bullying. Bullying is a complex problem that has deep roots in our society. It will take much more than the welcome legislation to stop and finally prevent the events of bullying in our schools, community and society as a whole. We as a strong ethical community must do what is necessary to stop the bullying epidemic whether we have laws behind us or not. Bullying behavior leads to assault, domestic violence, hazing, racism, harassment, violence, abuse, murder and suicide. There is data on people who have been bullied to death.
First, parents and community have to be in the conversation. We must take a good look at where we stand about bullying and lead by example. It is time to stop blaming video games and television shows. Both of these are choices that can be turned off with ease. I sometimes think we have been bullied out of our common sense with some of the media offerings on television. Also, we must face the fact that there is not a specific group of students who bully. As a middle school educator, I have seen all types of children bully. We have to raise our expectations for our future and our youth. Bullying is powerful and so is education and raising our standards in Frankfort. If we promote our children to help stop the bullying, then our future has the power to end the tragic consequences of bullying.
Young commissioners restore my faith in politics
To the Editor:
After watching the candidates for City Commission on Cable 10, I am happy to see some fully responsible adults running, particularly our three current Commissioners: Sellus Wilder, Michael Turner and Katie Hedden. They seemed frank and forthcoming in their answers and remarks about our city’s problems. They seem to be truly thoughtful and they have clearly put a lot of care and deliberation into their decisions, taking real responsibility for our city’s future. It seemed to me that, unlike many of their predecessors and opponents, they are not sidestepping our toughest issues and have actually brought to their positions a wisdom beyond their years.
I’m equally disappointed to see the behavior of other candidates, some of whom simply and cynically distort their opponents’ records instead of doing their homework. I’m sad to say I see this childish type of politics in both the Commission and mayoral races. Why does one mayoral candidate insist on making up silly statistics (i.e., claiming that Frankfort’s unemployment rate is 11 percent, for example, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly declares otherwise)? Doesn’t he know that previous administrations lost our city some $7 million in reserves in a single mayoral term, and left us with millions more in debt? If this candidate would do the responsible thing and do some simple research, he wouldn’t have to rely on fake statistics to criticize an opponent.
Many of the Commission candidates appear to be no more mature than the snarkiness mentioned above. Fingers pointing, they sing the familiar refrain that “overspending” is pushing Frankfort towards fiscal ruin. The numbers are clear for all to see: This Commission has the same amount in reserves that it started the term with. Are these candidates intentionally spreading a misconception, or are they just not interested in the facts? Either way, this type of politics is not very grown-up and is not good for our city. I hope they will learn to better respect the citizens of Frankfort.
It’s easy to criticize others’ ideas without offering alternatives or solutions. Responsible adults are willing to expose themselves to criticism by putting forth ideas of their own. That’s exactly what our current Commission has done, and I’m proud of them for it.
I’m an older woman, and I grew cynical about politics long ago. These bright young commissioners have actually restored my faith in our system. They’ve shown that it is possible for public servants to be honest with their constituents while tackling difficult issues. I hope the abuse they receive doesn’t deter them from continuing to do what’s right. I hope other voters recognize the value of what we have right now, in these commissioners. I also hope that some of the other candidates will learn from this Commission’s example, steady up a bit and get serious, and start offering some ideas of their own on ways to help our city.
or leave it
To the Editor:
When I first read last week’s letter titled “U.S. practices own terrorism,” I was irritated, but then I realized it had to have been written by someone who is mentally challenged. Only a fool could ignore the huge amount of money this country gives to provide food to other countries and to combat AIDS around the world. If the United States wanted power over other countries it could simply destroy them and take control. We do not do this but instead allow each nation to rule itself. There is an old saying about this country, “Love it or leave it.” Many of my fellow combat veterans would be glad to help last week’s letter writer pack his bags for his move to Pakistan.
To the Editor:
Compliments to Casey Roberts for the excellent letter, “U.S. practices own terrorism” (The State Journal, May 6, 2012).
As of this writing the terrorist masterminds of the 9/11 attacks are on trial for the brutal attacks on our country where more than 3,000 innocent lives were lost.
Webster defines terrorism as the “use of terror and violence to intimidate, subjugate, etc., especially as a political policy.” George W. Bush is thus an equally culpable terrorist in that he effected an unprovoked attack upon the sovereign country of Iraq in March 2003. (The initial attack was absurdly termed “shock and awe.”)
Before the war’s end there would be more than 100,000 Iraqi fatalities and countless casualties.
Thus the above is a blatant example of Bush the kettle calling the pot black.
Bush should have been put on trial for war crimes against humanity.
Donna Hecker for mayor
To the Editor:
Donna supports our local Farmers Market. She is one of the reasons for its success. In the past, she single-handedly saw that the market’s fresh produce ended up on the governor’s dinner table, which led to several state government cafeterias and local restaurants buying from the market.
She was the front edge of the movement to buy local in Frankfort. With her continuing help, it’s still thriving.
I’ve seen Donna work, and she will roll her sleeves up and is not afraid to get her hands dirty. She works hard and knows what it takes to get things done. She has the wisdom and understanding in dealing with people or facts that are needed today.
She loves Frankfort and is part of the foundation of our community and is ready to serve.
What if KRS
To the Editor:
Can a state-run retirement system go broke?
You bet it can.
The kind of comments we hear from time to time about our Kentucky Retirement Systems: “What’s going to happen to my retirement?” The earned retirement for many state employees is a lifeline.
Our legislature has not funded the system for years. Recent mismanagement and bad investments have reduced our KRS system to near 60 percent underfunded. The lack of funding is not all the fault of the KRS.
What happens when investors won’t buy Kentucky Retirement Systems stock and the market dries up? The selfish members of our General Assembly continue to take care of their own retirement system. The beavers have to wait until the General Assembly pork is sent back home from the money that was supposed to be allocated for the Kentucky Retirement Systems.
It does not look good. Here is the kind of thing that can happen if the KRS goes bankrupt, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:
The Northern Mariana Islands’ retirement system is the first U.S. public pension fund to declare bankruptcy. The U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean managed to recover from brutal World War II battles, but its public pension fund couldn’t recover from the financial crisis.
The islands’ retirement system on April 17 became the first U.S. public pension fund to seek bankruptcy protection.
The reasons cited for the pension fund’s collapse are numerous, ranging from exceedingly generous benefits to inadequate contributions to the fund by the islands’ government, to what some retirees allege in a lawsuit was bad investment advice.
Leading into the financial crisis, three-quarters of the fund’s managed assets were invested in stocks, according to the lawsuit filed by the retirees in October 2009 in Superior Court of the Northern Mariana Islands. That compared with a median U.S. public-pension-fund stock allocation of 61 percent in the spring of 2007, according to Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.
In September 2007, the fund had $510 million in assets. In 2008, it had lost $115 million on its investments.
In late 2010, the fund dumped Merrill as its adviser and hired Wilshire Associates. The fund has moved most of its assets into less risky bonds, which carry lower returns. It now has $256 million to cover $1 billion in liabilities over the next 20 or so years. Officials estimate it could run out of money by 2014.
In bankruptcy-court filings, the pension fund has proposed cutting benefits by more than half. “People are going to be desperate,’’ says Gloria Hunter, whose main income is her government pension.
Jim Anderson Stivers