NIMBY but please in yours!

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Let’s look back to 2006, and the uproar against razing the Old Bauer building (Azalea’s restaurant), on 3608 Brownsboro Rd. with the possibility of developing a Walgreens at this location. The opposition included a resident named Kent Oyler.

On June 4, 2008, he wrote Cynthia Johnson, historic preservation specialist, Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services, stating: “The city, and my neighborhood, are close to losing another historic structure, the old Bauers. Destruction of that icon on Brownsboro Road and replacement with an architecturally anemic giant box is inconsistent with the neighborhood and nearby retail. A large group of concerned citizens is taking the matter to the Landmark Commission and I am hopeful that you will be aware of and supportive of their efforts.”

Fast-forward to 2019. Topgolf and Oxmoor are planning to develop in a parking lot behind Sears. Everything about this development is inconsistent with the neighborhood: the architecture, lights, noise, traffic, number of variances and requirement of rezoning. This location is approximately 1,325 feet (1/4 mile) from neighbors, and there are over 1,575 Louisville residents who signed petitions and wrote letters in opposition.

Oyler, now the Greater Louisville Inc. president, has changed his tune. In response to the proposed Topgolf at Oxmoor he states, “We can no longer let a small group of people hold meaningful, quality development hostage” Why is it OK for Oyler to oppose development in his backward, but not OK for others to oppose development in their backyard? Bob Barnett

McCarthyism for the modern era

Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis’ request for the names of teachers who participated in the recent lawful organized teacher protests is both dangerous and not at all surprising. Anti-union sentiment in our nation is pervasive and union membership is in decline.

Arguably the only group treated with more acrimony by the Bevin administration than unions are our teachers. Commissioner Lewis’ request is but last in a long line of attacks designed to, in the words of Governor Bevin, “break the backs of the teachers’ union.”

To understand the gravity of compiling lists of those participating in labor actions, one only needs to look to the not so distant past. The political climate in the late 1940s through 1950s were dominated by a Senator from Wisconsin, and his namesake practice of cataloging and vilifying those he deemed un-American.

McCarthyism swept through America, and labor activists were one of the Senator’s primary targets. This blemish on American history resulted in prolonged witch hunts, scapegoating, and the disparagement of its targets — often those individuals courageous enough to take action for fair working conditions, better pay, and the preservation of benefits. Commissioner Lewis’ request smacks of modern McCarthyism that would indubitably lead to more strife for the Kentucky Education Association.

I implore the KEA and individual districts to stand strong against yet another assault on your sacred institution. Don’t let this administration perpetrate a witch hunt, turning your red-shirted activism into yet another red scare. And to Commissioner Lewis, in the immortal words of Army counsel Joseph Welch speaking to McCarthy’s committee: “Have you no sense of decency?” Justin Blankenship

Governor Bevin is right: students should be in school

Gov. Matt Bevin

In his response to the recent teacher sickouts, Governor Matt Bevin said that children should be in school. As a high school teacher and a not-so-long-ago JCPS parent, I agree. Students should be in school. Teachers should, too. Bevin’s implication, though, that teachers are the obstacles to students and teachers’ being where they should be, is one with which I emphatically disagree.

If Bevin wanted to facilitate efficient school function and healthy participation in our democracy, he would encourage the legislature to delay discussion on education-related issues until well after the close of the school day. If Bevin doesn’t like school schedules to be disrupted, he might consider using his influence to problem-solve.

Especially, when the problem, which is ultimately a matter of trust, is a government-caused problem. If I could trust my elected officials to be above-board (and not sewer-bill-underhanded) in their handling of not just my individual future, but the future world in which my daughter will live and work, I could sit back and let my legislators be my proxies. If I could trust that the issues that are important to me were also important to Bevin, I wouldn’t need a day away from school.

I don’t like missing school. Missing instructional time is inconvenient, undesirable, and in conflict with teacher objectives and parent convenience. My colleagues and I have papers and projects to support, learning targets to meet, books to read, ACTs to proctor, momentum to build and dendrites to grow. We don’t have time to monitor the legislative playground. Nor do we have the desire.

What we do desire is that the people we elected — all of them — conduct themselves in a way that allows them to look their kindergarten teachers proudly in the eyes and say, “We got you” and “Look what we did. Aren’t you proud?” More than anything, we desire that those in governance do their jobs and allow us to do ours because Governor Bevin is right: students should be in school. Rhonda Nett

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Insider Voices
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