Monday, September 26, 2011


Last week I was driving a friend to an important appointment with her doctor at the UK hospital. As we drove down Rose street just after ten a.m., I knew we would be delayed by UK students crossing the street, and had made allowance for that.

What I hadn't made allowance for were the bikers and their flagrant disregard for the law; and the safety of their fellow students.

We car drivers observed the many signs about yielding to those crossing at the designed, painted crosswalks..and waited for the long lines to end. (Made longer by the fact that some students just sauntered across, others broke thru the line of cars in mid-block where there were no painted crosswalks.)

But the biggest problem were the bikers. I saw five, one after the other on the short block south of Columbia ride down the bike lane and THRU the lines of other students crossing. Not only was this unsafe, it's illegal.

State law, and Lexington ordinances basically define bicycles as vehicles, subject to the same laws. As cars must stop at stop signs, and red lights, and for pedestrians at crosswalks, so must cyclists.

There would have been a small town-gown protest if the 5 of us in waiting cars tried to break thru the line, which might have caused injuries. Granted being hit by a bike is not the same, but it can still cause hurts, and it's still wrong.

There are groups which educate in bike safety and the city government has brochures outlining the law. To keep UK students from being injured, needlessly, perhaps student government might like to take on bike safety and the law as a project.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 19, 2011


America needs jobs. People need to work; for themselves, their families, their future, as well as the nation's future.

Creating jobs has long been a responsibility of government, shared with private business. One of the main areas where governments need to create jobs is what we call "infrastructure": roads, sewers, water lines, etc., but especially the highway system, which has major security connotations as well.

For years, government at all levels has been sloughing off major repairs to roads and water lines, and the chickens, (actually vultures), are coming home to roost. Committees of engineers, economists, private and public agencies and officials have been telling us that for decades, yes, decades. And now it is going to cost us more.

But it needs to be done. It must be done.

Not just the Sherman Minton bridge, or the Brent Spence bridge but the roads that connect them; and a modern rail system for America---way overdue..and new schools and new waterlines and so on.

The estimate just to repair all "structurally deficient" bridges alone is not that much more than the estimate for the next year of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Guess where we ought to get the money..not to mention saving a lot of lives? (No tax hike involved here!)

Putting people to work is good politics...the best of politics and is, or should be, nonpartisan politics.

If Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and the House and Senate leadership can't see this "no brainer" then let's hope they will be the ones called home in 2012.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 12, 2011


One of the news documentaries last week profiled two men who worked for United and American airlines, and who were responsible for allowing some of the 9/11 hijackers to board planes that later crashed. I do not blame them, but I do blame those firms for their lax security procedures prior to 2001.

I remember repeated stories on the evening news as the news media tested airport boarding procedures...and found them lax. Weapons got thru easily. Each time the airlines (and the FAA) had excuses and promised they would do better in the future. They seldom did and 9/11 was one catastrophic result.

"Those who will not learn from the lessons of history are condemned to relive it."

After 9/11, boarding security was taken away from the airlines and given to a new, public agency, the TSA.

Have we forgotten the first 9/11 attempt? In the early 90s, a truck bomb was placed in the basement of a major NYC building, near the World Trade Center. 6 people died, but the building didn't come part due to the ineptitude of the bombers. (Lucky us.) First responders found they couldn't talk to each other inside high rise buildings and a major local recommendation was made to fix this frequency problem.

Almost a decade later, when 2001 happened, NYC fire and police still couldn't talk to each other. The federal 9/11 commission's report, as one of its most important recommendations, urged a solution to these incompatible frequencies.

Today, NYC police and fire still can NOT talk to each other. This problem is now (surprise!) Congress's..where there are two conflicting approaches. One, let private firms have the (very valuable) radio frequencies and work out sharing; Two, set up a public agency, give it the frequencies and hold it responsible for co-ordination.

The airlines did a lousy job of airport security and the TSA had to be created. Why should we think private business would do a better job of coordinating these frequencies, which after all, belong to the public?

"Those who will not learn from the lessons of history are condemned to relive it."

Remember WMD? We went to war because Bush wanted to believed our intelligence that Iraq had these. The UN kept telling us we were wrong, but...we plowed ahead. Thousands of good, young Americans died; even as the US finally admitted: no WMDs.

And we went to war in Afghanistan because we believed the Taliban was linked to 9/11 and the World Trade Center disaster. We have good reasons to dislike the Taliban, but there is no evidence of their involvement in 9/11. Wrong, again. More good young Americans are dying for this mistake still.

"Those who will not learn from the lessons of history are condemned to relive it."

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lexington To Vegas? Well La De Dah!

It was announced last week that Lexington is to get nonstop service to Las Vegas.

This is progress?

Well, maybe so. Additional air service is a good thing, even to Vegas..and the carrier is bringing in the biggest plane yet regularly scheduled for Blue Grass field. That's good. No more puddle jumpers.

But, where's the additional service non stop to, say, Washington, or to a couple of other places we need a lot more than Vegas? I'm sure our business community could suggest several places of greater importance than Sin City in the Desert.

I'm an aviation buff. Took my first flight in an open cockpit biplane; took my first commercial flight in a DC-3 which was forced down one airport short of my destination with ice on the wings! (Ended up getting there on the bus.) I want to see Lexington's air service improved.

So let me state as emphatically as I can; the single most important improvement, the single most important economic development for Central Kentucky, including Frankfort, is this: get Southwest Airlines to commit to staying here after its merger with AirTran is complete.

There are problems. SWA is already in Louisville and that may be too close. But there are arguments to keep the carrier here...and if I were Mayor Jim Gray (and Governor Steve Beshear), I would be putting those arguments forth every way I can. I've heard zip from either of them.

Mayor Jim, let's get your new regional partner, Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville to agree to help, not to block Lexington because of the closeness to the Derby City. And governor, we need your help, and that of the state tourism and economic development agencies also.

We'll also need chamber of commerce-type groups, and the airport authority...even the Kentucky bourbon industry, because I hear that the founder of SWA is a fan of Wild Turkey and that's much closer to Lexington than Louisville. He's a sharp businessman; get Wild Turkey to offer him a place on its board!

We've got to fight for Southwest anyway we can. You have no idea how important being a SWA city is...and a helluva lot more important than a nonstop flight to Vegas. Besides, you can get there on SWA, if you're willing to fool around a bit; and I mean take some flights that aren't nonstop.

Let's pull out all the stops to get Southwest here!

I'm just sayin'...