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 Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published.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.
Shame on school board
To the Editor:
The Franklin County school board’s approval of yet another increase in school taxes on property in the county again highlights a continuing problem for the citizens of the county and indeed the state. The long history of school tax increases is actually a history of failure of both the school system and of leadership in Kentucky and Franklin County.
First of all, the hidden culprit in all this is the state legislature. In 1990, when the legislature passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act, it gave the state Department of Education sweeping power over the citizens and children of the state. Not too many people realize that less than a dozen legislators even read this sweeping law before it was passed. It firmly established the reversal of the oft-repeated saying that those who work in government are “servants” of the people. The citizens and taxpayers of Kentucky were established as the servants of government by this law.
These tax increases will continue until enough people wake up and realize that the education establishment in this state is being paid more and more for doing a poorer and poorer job.
I really do not see how the members of the school board can sleep at night. It is a disgraceful situation.
Stars and Bars out of place
To the Editor:
I feel fortunate to have been born and raised in Frankfort. I lived and worked there for the first 28 years of my life, and was always proud of my hometown until recently.
A few weeks ago, I was in Frankfort to visit for the first time in several years. I was both shocked and upset to see a large flag of the Confederacy flying in front of what used to be the old Holiday Inn on Louisville Road. That place was a Frankfort landmark when I was a boy. I understand that it’s now used as low-income rental housing and looks to be in pretty sad shape. In fact, most of the business properties along Louisville Road between U.S. 127 and Juniper Hill seem to have taken a decided turn for the worse.
Louisville Road is a main thoroughfare and still one of the main gateways receiving visitors to Frankfort. Are rundown-looking businesses and a Confederate flag images what will help Frankfort promote tourism, investment and civic pride? And what do you tell your children when they ask about that flag? I served 22 years in the U.S. Navy fighting against intolerance and hatred around the world. My service strengthened my belief that our country is truly blessed in so many ways, not the least of which is our freedom of speech.
If flying that flag is someone’s idea of what freedom of speech is about, I beg to differ. Kentucky was not one of the Confederate states, so there is no symbolic nor historic significance represented by displaying a symbol of one of our country’s darkest times. It only serves to polarize people and perpetuate racial tensions.
I hope the good citizens of Frankfort won’t stand by like hapless victims and let something so insidious go on without making an effort to stop it, or at least address it in some forum. That’s YOUR civic right, and your civic responsibility. It’s also what your elected officials are there for, to make your voices heard. This very issue has been addressed in the courts recently in Lexington. Those who want to fly Confederate flags as a First Amendment right have hired lawyers to fight on their behalf. Have we really sunk so low in America? People who want to exercise their individual freedoms need to realize that individual freedom is not a license to tread on the rights and will of the many.
Bureaucrats’ wasteful ways
To the Editor:
Roger Alford of the Associated Press wrote a revealing report on how many millions are wasted by high-ranking state employees. This was a just a small report on how we, the taxpayers, never get the inside story.
State bureaucrats have wasted $128 million on travel since 2008. They’re just a small percentage, like the fish and wildlife commissioner who spent more than $71,000 with the blessing of his bosses. They did not disclose the 20 trips to Washington plus 20 or more trips to other states, etc.
The AP reporter found this helped lead to a $1 billion state budget shortfall and forced deep spending cuts in government services and programs.
It’s no wonder state employees will probably never get the retirement funds they have worked for.
I know the governor and all upper bosses will tell us all trips are necessary to get more jobs for the state. We should be concerned about keeping jobs in Kentucky. It would be good to show how many new jobs have come to Kentucky and how many have left.
One of our state representatives said all state agencies should consider teleconferencing and videoconferencing first instead of travel. This would cut down on visiting all the resorts and casinos and taking all the excursions that go with the trip.
The people of Kentucky are getting to wonder how we have all the facts on certain state employees but have to get them from the Associated Press about others.
Maybe more citizens will start trying to get both sides. Common Cause of Kentucky would be a good start.
The state has never revealed the millions spent on all the vehicles driven by some employees. Truth is they do not have an idea how many vehicles are in all 120 counties. I will try to get help from Common Cause or Roger Alford.
Polluters get loopholes
To the Editor:
Our tax structure needs serious reform. It’s inadequate for ensuring Kentuckians have a future that is both sustainable and provides us with real economic security. That is why we currently have a blue ribbon commission looking into making changes. But if they’re truly serious, they’ll look at a simple solution – raising our severance tax by just one half of a percent.
Our tax code is filled with loopholes and subsidies for corporate polluters that cost our state millions of dollars in revenue each year. This revenue is badly needed to properly fund our regulatory agencies that protect the air, water and people of the commonwealth by ensuring coal companies and corporate polluters play by the rules.
Our severance taxes are what we charge to take our resources out of the ground so that we have revenue to invest in Kentucky’s future, since those future generations will no longer have those resources. Other states have modernized their taxes and taken the burden off regular citizens and small business, investing in modernizing their economies while coal jobs are on the decline. We should do the same.
Trail story well handled
To the Editor:
I commend The State Journal on its coverage of the newly dedicated River View Trail. The Sept. 23 story was accurately reported and informatively written and, as your subsequent editorial pointed out, the occasion might have easily been overlooked in comparison to other transportation projects.
It was an excellent example of community journalism and Frankfort was well-served by it.
Health fair coverage poor
To the Editor:
I was disappointed with coverage of our health fair at King’s Daughters Apartments. I saw your reporter and think that they panicked from the fact we had so many vendors that they didn’t know what to do.
We had a large crowd of visitors and 34 vendors plus our residents, some of whom worked with the fair. One picture was taken of Ida Thomas getting blood pressure and sugar level checked.
We had, to name a few, hearing tests, eye tests, all kinds of home and health care, chiropractic care, the fire and police departments, respiratory, living wills information and preparation. Many gifts were handed out by the vendors.
The Salvation Army represented community service and food pantry.
There were refreshments and water and door prizes were given away.
Mary Ann Rodgers won a $25 gift certificate from Walmart. Lori Haddix, service coordinator; Darlene Pettibone, manager, and Madline Markey, assistant manager, worked hard organizing the fair, which had fun, excitement and fellowship.
All the vendors seemed to have a good time, too.
Doug Jones for the House
To the Editor:
I write to commend young Doug Jones, elite-born Appalachian, for the Kentucky House, 56th District. I say “young” because he looks, thinks and talks like a man way short of his three-score-and-ten, though in truth he’s up there with the sages – warrior-hardened, worldly wise and has not lost his soul – to which his wife-for-ever and family testify with enthusiasm.
First off, in the U.S. Air Force, he earned his wings and flew navigator-radar-bombardier in B47s as a captain, Strategic Air Command, until 1959.
His corporate food career thrust him into zone managing 14 Kroger stores. That is way beyond my comprehension. This man is a fixer.
Enough said – though I could write a screed more! You will enjoy meeting Doug Jones. There is humility in this down-to-earth man. A thinker and a worker, he has done his school work and his homework. He has served his family and his country. He is ready to serve Kentucky.
He is not well-known for self-promotion, so we need to talk him up.
Check www.dougjones56.com or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Why don’t y’all come to a party at my house 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9? Hear him speak and ask him a hard question nicely. Bring a contribution and let us know you’re coming.
Mark Lyon Thornewill