Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Growth is Good...Growth is Good....

Pay no attention to the developer behind the curtain, just watch the light and sound show through your emerald glasses and everything will be fine. Never mind, that Lexington's plans for the future are missing both brains and heart. Who cares if a famous horse cemetery gets relocated to the parking lot of a Wal-Mart Super Center or that Winchester Road is facing the same sort of development blight that has turned ManO'War's green space into the traffic nightmare of Hamburg Place.

Is there nobody in Lexington with the courage to pull down the curtain and show that the wizards of planning are nothing more than confused little men? Perhaps not, perhaps all we can do is click our heels and chant "Growth is good...Growth is good..." until there is nothing left of home.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Cegelka Should Rethink Complaints about School Board

Councilman Cegelka's criticism of the Fayette County School Board's failure to inform the public of the issues surrounding tonight's open meeting are not without merit. It would have been best to have information on the school issue released in advance of the meeting. The public needs to know which schools are facing changes and how drastically boundaries must be adjusted. We cannot expect to offer insightful feedback on the needed adjustments to school boundaries when they are presented with the issue just a few moments before they must make decisions.

School Superintendent Stu Silberman admits the county does not have a plan for adjusting boundaries yet, he is hoping to get ideas from tonight’s meeting. The issue is difficult considering the controversy over school redistricting we faced just two years ago, but fifteen Fayette schools already are at the overcrowding threshold. Part of the problem in making changes stems from the out-of-area enrollments which force children from neighborhood schools to make room for students from other parts of town. But a larger part of the problem forcing Fayette County to constantly tinker with school boundaries is the uncontrolled development going on all over the county.

Councilman Cegelka has been a strong advocate of additional schools in the Andover area. He has not however, presented any ideas for plans to pay for the additional construction. Perhaps he should refrain from being overly critical of the school system since his votes on the council have supported the massive overdevelopment causing the problem. New developments require new schools, roads, and other urban county government support. Funds raised from the developments are not sufficient to cover the costs, nor is the city able to meet the needs of these new residents without adding to the burden of those already here. We need better planning for sustainable growth.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Thank You Lexington

Life in the 88th has gotten very quiet now that the election is over. Most of the political signs are gone. The few remaining signs languish by the roadside, many of them tipping precariously to one side from the onslaught of wind and rain. These are the tattered remnants of someone's dreams. I don't know about you, but my dreams took a beating this year. Now that I have had a little time to recover from the exhaustion of the campaign, I am ready to turn my attention back to the important work that remains.

I think the first order of business is to thank the voters here in Lexington for supporting the ballot initiatives increasing property taxes to support the city busses. It was a close vote. One that I think was very difficult for some of the homeowners to make. Most of those paying this tax never ride the bus. But for the poor, the disabled, and the elderly we need a safe and reliable bus system. It is good to know property owners can give up a little of their income for a worthy cause.

If you haven't seen any of the busses lately you might have missed the flashing sign on the front. It too says "Thank You Lexington!"

Friday, November 05, 2004

Where do we go from here?

I and many other liberals, Democrats, and gay people are having to lick our wounds and think about the message of this election. We did everything we could to change the outcome and got thumped. Ok, now that the Election Day beating is over, what next? Where do we go from here? Some of the party leadership is calling for retreat. I think they are wrong.

This election was not about who is more moral. Both sides have lied and mislead the public. Both sides have failed to fix the health care mess, given in to big business on important issues, and only paid lip service to electoral reform. This was about who connected best to the hearts of America. If Democratic ideals are to survive the Republican attacks then we must put those ideals into everyday practice.

Where we go from here is back to the values we grew up with. It is about the values of justice for everyone, equal rights, and progressive action. We must make it clear that being pro-choice is a pro-life stand. Republicans are not more pro-life or anti-abortion. They have control of all three branches of government and have not done anything about doing away with the right to choose. What they are is pro-hot-button-issues. They know we are right to say that returning to the days of back-street abortion clinics will not stop abortion. The pro-life stand is for helping our children make informed choices about sex. It is paying a living wage so a single parent can afford to raise a child alone. Pro-life is respecting women who give birth under all circumstances. It is helping to insure that children do not grow up in poverty. It understands that there are fates worse than death for a child and knowing we have the power to change that. I am pro-life and I believe the only just way to end abortion is to give women real choices for a future so they do not feel it is necessary to deny life to another child.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Being Used

In the past 24 hours I have watched Anti Gay Marriage Amendments on ballots in ten states pass with wide margins of victory. Oregon, the eleventh state facing one of these amendment battles remains undecided but the Anti Gay Marriage folks are claiming victory. Some members of the gay community here in Lexington are encouraged by the fact the vote on our amendment was closer here than anywhere else in the state.

I am not encouraged. I am hurt and frightened, offended and angry. I am hurt by the legislature’s choice to go beyond the insult of DOMA. The amendment that has just passed in Kentucky goes from official pretence that my marriage doesn’t exist to official discrimination against all people they deem unmarried. I am frightened because we have stepped back from a position of discriminating against gay people to a position of discriminating against unmarried people. I am offended that people who do not even know me believe my marriage is of less value because my wife and I are of the same gender. But I am most angered by the fact that my wife and I have been used as a weapon of the extreme right to hurt single parents, children of unmarried couples, seniors who cannot afford to marry under current law, and others who for one reason or another fall into the category of unmarried individuals.

I am not a political pawn. I am a person. Like most people, I deeply resent being used.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Above and Beyond: a Summary

By guest blogger Sarah G:

This has been the busiest year for me in a looooong time, perhaps the busiest year ever. Since the debacle with the KY General Assembly in April, I have become increasingly involved in the political sphere. I have also discovered depths of strength and willpower I never suspected existed within myself.

Despite my introversion, despite my dislike of outdoor activities, I have spent the last six months going door-to-door, talking with people about the anti-gay amendment. I also volunteered for Kerry, hoping to pull the teeth of the GOP leadership, the real source of the 13 anti-marriage amendments appearing on state ballots this year. Realizing that the problem also had to be attacked at the roots, my wife and I joined Change for Kentucky, a progressive group seeking to change the political landscape of this state. We helped them present their "Not-S0-Fancy-Farm" and select their "CFK 12", the dozen candidates they endorsed this year. I also participated in 8 of their 12 action days.

I learned how to phonebank, to canvass, deliver yard signs, and perform lit drops. I taught myself Microsoft Publisher, and began creating my own anti-amendment flyers and signs for distribution. I haven't done the final tally yet, but I estimate that I distributed over 2000 pieces of material by myself, and another thousand with the help of my wife. I also learned how to load a staple gun.

My arches are falling and I have blisters on my feet, but I have the security of not feeling guilty about any votes that don't go my way, because I know I did my best. I also have the satisfaction of looking back on a year of breaking new ground and succeeding at it.

Sarah G