Letters to the Editor: Real ID problems. Retool school safety plan. Fate of Davis statue.

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‘Real Id’ hassle

For over 80 years the ease and convenience of getting and renewing a driver’s license at the local courthouse was a luxury most took for granted.

In 2005 the federal government set standards for “Real IDs”. Kentucky, not wanting to make the mistake of serving the public with a simple, easy way to comply with the new regulations, created a system of two IDs. When the state began to issue the “Real ID” in 2019 it did so at regional locations and in 2020 passed legislation to take issuing IDs from court clerks in every county to the regional offices. Obviously this isn’t as easy or convenient as the previous system, but that’s our government at work. Kentucky has a voter ID law and this makes obtaining a valid ID to use as identification more difficult. This is a fairness issue: The elderly, those working full time jobs, and even parents trying to get their children a drivers license are all inconvenienced by this new system. The nearest location for me and my neighbors is an hour’s drive away. New and improved isn’t convenient or local.

Daniel Collins, Maysville

Retool school plan

The Fayette County Board of Education needs to replace its 2018 Comprehensive 10-Point Safety Investment Plan. Continuing to use it, especially in light of the national reckoning over race that was sparked by the police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and sadly so many others, puts the school board out of step with not only the students they are here to serve, but also the rest of the country.

As a taxpayer and business owner in Fayette County I’m deeply concerned that my tax dollars are not being spent on what has been proven to be the most effective way for ending school violence. In fact, millions of tax dollars are being spent on harsh policing which traumatizes students, especially students of color and students with disabilities, and fuels the school to prison pipeline.

This money would be better spent on mental health services, nurses, and counselors. That’s why I’m supporting the student led Counselors Over Cops campaign.

Stuart Waldner, Lexington

Statue suggestion

No one alive today was acquainted with Jefferson Davis. He died Dec. 6, 1889. What 21st century people know about Davis comes from history books and documents.

There is a controversy about what to do with the statue of Davis that was removed from Kentucky’s Capitol last year. (Here it’s worth noting that a statue is merely a representation of someone. It isn’t the person himself or herself.)

A suggestion: Since state money to put the statue at Fairview, the Davis historical site, seems iffy, seek money via a public and/or private fundraising drive.

At Fairview, build a walled and roofed shelter for the statue. People who want to pay respects to the only Confederate president could go inside to do so. And anyone who wanted to visit Fairview, but would be offended by the statue, would not even catch a glimpse of the stone image.

What artistic value does the statue have? That, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But to emphasize again, the stone replica is not Davis himself.

Those who want to show fullest tribute to Davis could visit his grave at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Buddy Waller, Mount Sterling

GOP decision point

When was the last time anyone heard Rep. Andy Barr, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul, or any Republican politician say something positive about anything? Not so long ago the Republican Party stood for optimism, but now its hallmarks are pessimism, anger, and resentment. Rep. Liz Cheney was booted from her House leadership position for telling the truth about Donald Trump’s election lies and their link to the U.S. Capitol insurrection. And now party leaders have doubled down on their fear and avoidance of the facts by opposing the Jan. 6 commission. Neither is a stand on principles; both were efforts to appease Trump. However, all is not lost for Republicans if they can muster the courage to look away from Trump and look to the future. The 2020 Census, which reveals a trend of an aging population and dropping birth rates, provides an opportunity for Republicans to set a positive course for the future. Intelligent immigration policies will be the key to the future economic growth and overall strength of the United States. It will only take political courage and moral strength which has been lacking for the past five years. Unfortunately, they will probably miss the opportunity and fall further into irrelevance as a party without a positive agenda.

Paul B. Mulhollem, Carlisle

Dump Paul

Realizing this is yet another campaign cycle, voters should ask themselves if Sen. Rand Paul truly deserves their vote. My vote is no because I do not believe he has accomplished anything other than still being a pot stirrer (research his Baylor University days, 1981-1984). What I want from my federal representation is to work together towards a common goal/problem, negotiate and compromise. When our elected officials do those three things no one is the absolute winner but the American people because at least something is being done. I don’t believe mainstream people are as far right or as far left as the politicians want us to believe. I believe the majority of the American people want leadership, discussion, negotiation, compromise, and then action towards our problems. We want our system to work; however, I feel our politicians are keeping it stirred up to keep their jobs. It is time for term limits and time to reject Rand Paul from office. Vote for anyone but Rand Paul. Your neighbors will thank you.

Teresa Raque, Louisville

Feed our kids

For the one in five kids who may face hunger today in Kentucky, summer is usually the hungriest time of year. This summer, however, may be a different story because new benefits and temporary nutrition waivers are helping to reach even more kids with the food they need. For example, they allow parents to pick up meals for the week or allow organizations to drop meals off at a child’s home.

In fact, because of these types of flexibility, summer meals programs in Kentucky served more than 4.7 million more meals to kids in need last year.

But these measures are temporary. It’s time for Congress to update and modernize the summer meals programs by permanently implementing policies that have fed so many kids during the COVID crisis -- additional summer grocery benefits and allowing meals to come to kids to help overcome transportation barriers -- and making them part of future solutions.

Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have an opportunity to support proven solutions like a nationwide Summer EBT program and non-congregate meal options through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process or the American Families Plan proposal. Hungry kids in Kentucky and across the country can’t wait.

Kate McDonald, No Kid Hungry Kentucky campaign director, Feeding Kentucky, Frankfort

Patriotic act

Our forefathers and mothers put patriotism above themselves. They sacrificed their silverware, pots and pans, garden tools, and other valuable items to be melted down and used for the revolution. Our Civil War required these sacrifices from both sides. The world wars required rationing of basic food items, gasoline, and even their lives. Our soldiers are volunteering their lives, and have given them repeatedly. It is time to overcome cowardice. It is time to put our faith once again in the leadership of our doctors and our scientists for the good of our fellow citizens. I ask my fellow Kentuckians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, against the flu, measles, mumps, chicken pox, and pneumonia. These are all diseases that are more dangerous than their vaccines, and are contagious killers. It is our patriotic duty, not a violation of our rights. After a soldier returns from duty, do you really want to be the person who kills him with your disease? Get vaccinated. Be a true patriot, and get vaccinated.

Susan Bell, Lexington

No borders

The words “open borders” frighten people, who may imagine murderous thugs and drug dealers storming the southern border. The fact is, borders are open and always have been. COVID-19 knows no borders, as evidenced by its global spread. Climate change knows no borders, since dangerous weather patterns do not stop at borders between countries. The same air is breathed by people on both sides of a wall. What purpose does the wall serve?

Climate change, not drugs, is one of the biggest forces behind mass migrations, as desperate people must unwillingly leave their homeland in order to try to find a more sustainable life. Imagine working together on climate change solutions, instead of denying people a safe haven for something over which they individually have no control. Borders and walls divide us but do not solve the underlying problems.

Kindness knows no borders. It is open to the imagination and does not respect boundaries, including the mental concepts we construct inside our heads. I recommend a brilliant little book that addresses the border issues from all angles, Todd Miller’s “Building Bridges, Not Walls”. His work is based on 25 years of experience living and working at contentious borders throughout the world.

Elsie Melrood, Lexington

‘Viability’

The other day, I heard a local public official say she is both pro-choice and pro-life. My guess is that means she changes from one position to the other at childbirth. I don’t know for sure.

As for me, I’ve come to believe that I’m neither pro-choice nor pro-life. That’s because I don’t believe that either side is completely honest with us. It seems that both are trying to tell me what to think. Neither side wants to participate in a conversation. Both want to overwhelm me with shallow clichés and misleading narratives.

That said, I feel pretty sure that Justice Harry Blackmun and his colleagues in Roe vs. Wade were honest with us. They considered a couple millennia of medical ethics, philosophy, and theology and came up with the concept of “viability”, by which the justices sought a balance of freedom and responsibility.

The pro-choice and pro-life groups, as we know them today, are reactions to “viability”. One side says “viability” is irrelevant to our freedom to choose while the other says “viability” is irrelevant to the beginning of human life.

Really, we don’t need either side to tell us what to think if you ask me.

Tom Louderback, Louisville

Free pass

Regarding the Jan. 6 riot of deaths and assaults on our police force: With the majority vote by the Republican senators, voting against forming a commission to investigate the riot and those who organized it, it’s obvious many of those who voted against a commission were in fear of being exposed of what they were a part of in doing. No investigation meant they themselves wouldn’t be found out in what they had a part in setting up. No investigation and they walk free.

Curtis Gilliland, Somerset

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