Monday, November 28, 2011


Looks as if the "fix" is in, and even though we don't yet have a consultant's recommendations, the odds favor we will soon get a report backing the mayor and certain businesses that what Lexington truly, truly needs is to end one way streets downtown.

Meadow muffins.

Businesses say two way streets make it easier for customers to get to them. May I demonstrate: I'm on Rose street heading towards Main to go to Barney Millers. I turn west on Main and stay left to turn down the side street that leads to the BM parking lot behind the store. (Had I wanted to go to Alfalfa, I would have stayed right).

Now then, if we convert to two way streets, when I turn off Rose I must work right and go down to the traffic light by Miller's. If there is traffic behind me, I must wait, backing up cars. Since Lexington has a dearth of overhead lights with left turn arrows I may have to wait a while...and even if there is an arrow, oncoming traffic may not stop; since no one in Lexington has ever been known to run a red light--or fail to stop--or "yield" (whatever that means?) there is an increased potential for accidents.

If 2 way streets come, and the Water Company decides to repair an underground line, totally blocking one side, then what? With our present one way streets, another lane is available.

Oh, and don't you remember how Main and Vine were tied in knots for months by the construction of the "streetscape", and what similar work did to South Lime? Does anyone think we are, or should be, through with construction downtown; whether major or just "tweaking"?

Two lanes each way provide room for changes, for fire and police, for hauling the city's Hanukkah bush to Triangle Park for decoration, etc. etc. etc.

Contrary to opponents, there is little illogical about "this street runs east -west" and "this street runs west-east". What's been illogical are changes on 3rd & 4th over the years, especially around Transylvania University, where it was one way one week, two ways the next, and a combination in some blocks the following; changes I vividly remember if no one else in city hall does, and, oh yes, the North Broadway stutter, as the lanes change it seems as fast as new paint can be found north of Transy to Loudon.

Our downtown street system has worked fairly well since the '70s. We need neither spend one red cent, in these times, on consultants, or make changes, with resulting costs in new signs, new lane painting, new public information and enforcement costs, etc.

If we have any money, where are those "internally lighted signs" at major intersections, and larger, more visible signs in our neighborhoods we were promised by the last administration?

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Redistricting: The Ultimate "Good Ole Boys Game"

The most important decision for the next ten years is on track to be made..and you have not only not been consulted, you probably won't be.

Both the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council and the Kentucky General Assembly are required by law to draw new districts for their elected members every ten years. The districts are supposed to be compact geographically and as nearly equal in population as possible, based on the new census.

Public officials you elect from these new districts will vote on life and death decisions for you for the next decade: war, taxes, auto licenses, fines, smoking, gun laws, and so on.

Yet not one special public hearing has been held on these proposed new districts, and none, so far, is planned by either the Lexington council or the state legislature. The same thing happened ten years ago.

My city councilman says two public hearings were held at regular committee meetings by the committee charged with redistricting. He thinks that's enough. I disagree. Such an unusually important topic should be handled differently. Louisville held six public hearings on its proposed new council districts throughout River City, and some citizens asked for more. Lexington should do no less.

The Frankfort situation is even worse. Lawmakers not only redraw state House and Senate districts, but also Congressional districts. The Herald-Leader rightly calls this an exercise in "incumbent protection." Redistricting is the ultimate "good ole boys" game--but it doesn't and shouldn't be that way.

A dozen states use various methods to keep politics out as much as possible. Many use special commissions of non-legislators to issue new maps, and then the legislature votes it up or down, similar to the base-closing plan which was worked in Congress. If it takes a Constitutional amendment to do this, so be it. In the meantime, the legislature could form such a commission and be guided by its work, even if not required to hold an up-or-down vote.

And it should hold public hearings, certainly on the Congressional districts if not on local districts. But don't hold your breath! That would involve citizens too much in our democracy; and make representative government more responsive to, if not more representative of, the people.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 14, 2011


How would UK students, fans, trustees respond?

Not as their Penn State counterparts, I hope.

I mean..trashing the home of the chief suspect? Rioting in the streets (and destroying a news van that was trying to cover student indignation?) Firing people (The president and JoePa) who haven't yet been charged with any crime, let alone convicted?

We need to go back to Duke and the infamous lacrosse case...have we forgotten so soon? And boy were there lessons to be learned from that incident: reputations ruined, a venerable school that forgot its traditions, the most elemental belief in fair play, a rush to judgment that did almost no one any good.

Yes, I am the last man in America who still believes in the presumption of innocence--a belief reaffirmed by what happened at Duke. It took time but eventually the accusations of a local "dancer" cum prostitute against the team were found to be false, pursued by an overzealous prosecutor, who warped the law in his attempt to ride the sensational case into a new term.

OK, child abuse is much worse. Failure to report suspicions of it is a major ethical and moral lapse. Both the grad student and Coach Paterno should have, could have done more; and so should almost everyone who has touched this case---including state and local officials, some of whom knew about, or suspected what was going on. There is more than enough "guilt" here to go around.

None of that justifies the rioting, the threats against the grad stduent (threats for reporting what he saw! Those people are apparently justifying child abuse!), the premature firing of the coach and president..all because the trustees saw an "image" problem for the school.

Image! What about fairness? Justice? Following the law? (weak though it appears to be in Pennsylvania), learning from Duke, or just plain old common sense.

There appears to be a mimimum of eight boys involved in this sordid business. Over ten years why did none of them, or their families, or their friends (do you really think they kept it to themselves?)--or the family or friends of the "witnesses" not come forward?

Yes, there is the even more sordid history of the Catholic Church's unconscionable behavior recently in the background here..but let us not yet equate Penn State football with that older religion.

Let the law take its course. Some or all of these allegations may be proved or disproved, but acting the way many at Penn State have done so far is not the American way.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 7, 2011


I have a great deal of objections to these, and Herman Cain has nothing to do with that.

Americans have a right to free speech, which to me means the right to speak freely. If you sign such an agreement, you give up that right; and here's the rub: I don't feel any American can legally do that. It comes with citizenship.

People fought and died for that right, and you feel you can give it up, just like that? Nonsense. The blood of patriots argues against it. Why can't current legal opinions see it the same way?

When governments or businesses want you to say nothing, something's wrong. The pressure they bring is but the modern day equivalent of the rack and the Iron Maiden; of being drawn and quartered. So why are we putting up with it?

I agree there are military secrets and proprietary business items, but you don't, or shouldn't protect them by trampling on traditional freedoms. Charge people with aiding and abetting a rival nation or firm, by showing how that entity profited, not by abrogating the First Amendment.

Remember those "inalienable rights?" "Inalienable" means incapable of being surrendered or transferred. You got it, or you don't.

But, some argue, you gave it up voluntarily. NO you didn't. Somewhere there was a threat or a promise; sign this and we'll pay you or sign this or you'll go to jail. Hardly voluntary.

In my view, as long as you are an American citizen these rights are yours and you can not surrender them. Giving up your American citizenship would be the only way.

Is this an absolutist view? Darn right, and about time we got back to putting freedom and liberty above what passes for security these days, which is often nothing but a chimera.

Don't like my absolutist views? Fine, that's your right..until you sign it away these days.

I'm just sayin'...