On Tuesday September 17, NoC editor Danny Mayer unveiled design plans for an urban commons across from LexTran. Organized under the theme #FreeLexTran, the plans represented an amalgam of ideas generated through the Mayor’s Challenge, a Lexington-based urban design challenge announced in March. Mayer was granted 5 minutes of time by his District 1 council member Chris Ford to show-and-tell the idea to city council and mayor. The following are the text and images of his power point presentation, lightly revised.
By Jerry Moody
As the bus to Washington DC pulled out of Lexington for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, my mind went to freedom riders of an earlier day. Sitting in this comfortable seat watching TV, the air conditioner cooling my brow, from time to time checking the internet for the latest news or weather reports, I thought of how much different this must have been for those first buses pulling north. Those were hot overcrowded school buses rolling down country roads from backwater Virginia or anywhere Alabama, from the Charlestons and Tupelos that lay spread throughout the Southeast. Each bump in the rode must have sent the riders bouncing into each other.
Two hours into the trip at a rest stop, I thought again how much different it must have been. No clean freshly mopped restrooms spaced evenly along a smooth ribbon of super highway. At best maybe a gas station, with explicit or understood WHITES ONLY signs resting above the restroom doors and leering white station owners affording the colorful bus-goers little privacy or dignity.
I find it interesting that NoC recently printed an article by Dave Cooper calling for additional restrictions on the type of sign-age a business can display on their own property (“No more feather flags!” June 2013), yet in your August issue you are advocating placing stickers “throughout town on lamp posts, telephone poles, magazine racks…” etc. that belong to someone else (editor intro to street feminism design contest winning entry “Real Dads show their kids how to oppose rape culture,” August 2013). Defacing someone else’s property is blatantly illegal as well as highly unethical.
Howard Stovall, email
By Marcus Flores
Egypt’s trial run with democracy ended in an abrupt transition from civilian to military rule, spawning an unusual number of critics of American foreign policy. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post writes that in the spirit of democracy, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s fate ought to have been decided at the ballot box rather than through a military coup. It’s a noble sentiment, but what if the Egyptians unwittingly elected a dictator?
Suppose such a leader appointed a terrorist to preside over the same city, Luxor, where his terrorist group smiled as it butchered 62 tourists; that such a leader’s party crafted the state constitution to read like a surah of the Koran; that, in regard to the September 11 attacks, he seriously said “When you come and tell me that plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, then you’re insulting us…something must have happened from the inside” ; that he forced the retirement of old generals because he preferred the more malleable younger officers. Suppose he then packed parliament with appointees from his own party and declared his executive orders supreme law of the land; that he aptly demonstrated his authoritarian instincts when he jailed bloggers and journalists for petty insults.
Honest question for Robinson: does that series of events not describe a protracted coup, albeit, by a legitimately elected leader?
Editor’s note: This arrived in our inbox as a letter to the editor from a reader in Versailles.
By Sally M. Bowman
In a jury trial it is the judge’s job to provide neutral legal advice to the jury,beginning with a full explanation of a juror’s rights and responsibilities. But judges rarely “fully inform” jurors of their right to judge the law itself and vote on the verdict according to conscience. Something is definitely wrong when the jurors feel apologetic about their verdict as in the Zimmerman/Martin trial.
So when it’s your turn to serve, be aware: you may and should vote your conscience, you can not be forced to obey a “juror’s oath.” You have the right to “hang” the jury with your vote if you cannot agree with other jurors.
There is so much more to jury nullification, and I encourage everyone to research for yourself, especially if you have jury duty or are going to be tried by jury (make sure the jury is informed about “jury nullification.”) It’s a way we have to get rid of bad laws that the government has taken away from “We the People.”
You can also check FIJA, the Fully Informed Jury Association, who believes that “Liberty and Justice for ALL” won’t return to America until citizens are again fully informed–and using–their power as jurors.
This piece is one of three appearing in our August 2013 print edition under the headline, Still thinking about Trayvon Marin. The others included “Spinning race for ratings” and “Reflections on the Lexington town hall meeting.”
By Marcus Flores
When Trayvon Martin died, it seemed that decency as well as level-headed thinking died too. Both perished in the wake of a media frenzy that clung to a narrative of race that was, in my opinion, the least salient element of a wholly ambiguous encounter that no one personally witnessed. I attempted to write a column to clarify this, though it was a failure due to the time I devoted to disentangling the legal minutiae as if I were an attorney. I remind you that I am not.
Nonetheless, Trayvon Martin’s death remains a tragedy of the highest order, and not in the least because the teen is dead. As a group, Americans wholeheartedly surrendered their faculties to the corporate manifestation of the left-right paradigm: the media.
Open Letter to members of the University of Kentucky community
March 31, 2013
Dear UK Faculty, Students, and Staff:
I am writing this letter to make you aware of a discriminatory policy that is in place at the University of Kentucky, a policy that I have been personally affected by and which the University continues to stand behind. According to the UK-HMO Description of Benefits and Services, the following health care coverage is listed as an exclusion: “Sex Transformation/Sexual Dysfunction–Services, supplies, drugs or other care related to sex transformation, gender identity, sexual or erectile dysfunction or inadequacies.” Setting aside the problematic conflation of sex transformation and sexual dysfunction, this policy directly discriminates against transgender members of the UK community.
The Kentucky Room
I was really surprised in your article about the library (“The Lexington Central Public Library is a home,” April 2013) that nowhere did it mention the existence of the Kentucky Room. Now, I know that was not the focus of your article, but given the fact that I am very interested in the history of Lexington, and probably know as much in that area as most, I was looking for that part.
The Kentucky Room has maps of Lexington which have helped me in my treasure hunting activities here since 1999 when I moved here with my family (since divorced). It also has books, reference materials, etc., for those who are interested.
Quite a few people don’t know of its existence–what a shame. The real Lexington is buried there, why don’t you check it our?
By the way, I just got a copy of your paper from my daughter: I score it 8 out of 10.
Business owner without income
By Danny Mayer
In early March, members of Lexington’s city council voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of the restoration of voting rights to felons who had served their time in prison. The resolution was largely symbolic—the legal authority to re-enfranchise former felons lies in the hands of state lawmakers, not city council members. The resolution’s main purpose was to offer a demonstration of unified local political support for HB 70, a state bill sponsored by Fayette County congressman Jesse Crenshaw. His bill would allow Kentucky citizens to vote on a constitutional amendment that will automatically restore voting rights to most Kentucky felons who have completed the terms of their sentence (as happens in most other states).
In addition to the show of support, the council’s vote also sent another message to Frankfort politicians: let democracy happen. For the past seven years, the Kentucky House of Representatives has voted on and overwhelmingly passed HB 70, only to see it killed by Republicans Damon Thayer (Georgetown) and Joe Bowen (Owensboro) in the Senate’s Committee on State and Local Government. Consequently, despite the bill garnering increasingly bipartisan support among both state politicians and the general public, HB 70 has yet to leave its assigned Senate subcommittee.