Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 14, 2013

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Program changed for the better

The Independent recently published an article about Morehead University’s northeast Kentucky best small business awards program. This program has been changed this year for the better.

Previously some winners were not the best small business but rather the best in promoting their business through volunteer work. The previous system was flawed in that a full 40 percent of their total score was determined in this fashion.

This year the score for a business is determined primarily by its business activities, not extracurricular activities. This year’s formula is made up by four separate categories of 25 percent each. They are as follows:

1. Increase in sales, evidence of potential revenue growth, financial strength

2. Creating jobs, evidence of potential for future hiring

3. Increase in sales, evidence of potential revenue growth — financial strength

4. Divided into three areas: (1) involvement and support within the community, including  evidence of owner and/or employee contributions to enhance community (use of personal time and resources, volunteering, etc); (2) response to adversity and/or creative methods to remain competitive, and (3) innovativeness of product or service.

Basically, as explained to me last year, the fourth category (volunteerism) made up the 40 percent mentioned above. This year that category would be only about 8 percent of the total score and much more fair for those businesses running a business and not a popularity contest.

 There are other changes this year as well, including limiting the number of employees to 100 and sales not more than $10 million. This will eliminate some previous entrants who could not win against the 40 percent criteria but could have won with the current rules before they outgrew them.

These changes were necessary and should be welcomed by all of our area small businesses.

William B. Secrest,  Argentum

‘Human’ cost of tax hike is great

What is the “human” cost of adding a 3 percent utility tax on Westwood residents?

Think of how those that are not employed, or only working part time, are going to pay another $15 to $20 every month just for their utilities. This tax will increase every year for the rest of their lives.

What will our large elderly community have to give up to pay this tax? They haven’t had raises in several years, and no more are expected.

One young tax supporter said, “I don’t believe there are widows in Westwood that only make $700 a month.” They have no idea of the realities of the people in the community. A large part of the petition signers were born before 1947. The people who are lucky enough to have a job took pay cuts and haven’t had a raise in several years. They are barely getting by.

The school board has had to admit the conditions at the high school are now being renovated and they will have a beautiful new learning facility by July 1. No utility tax is needed for this; it’s already paid for. There is no urgent need for the rest of their “wish list.”

Their revenues increased by over $800,000. last year. They have raised our property tax the maximum allowed for several years. The people are taxed for everything in their lives and are at the breaking point.

When you go to the polls on Feb. 19, please remember the effect your vote will have on the majority of the community. Think of your parents, your relatives, your neighbors. These are the ones who will bear the brunt of this tax. Please vote “yes” to stop the tax.

Joe Weis, Westwood

‘No’ vote on tax would help kids

I am a sixth-grade student at Fairview Middle School and I would like for my community not to recall the Fairview utility tax. I've been a student in the Fairview School District my whole life.

My mom, dad and older brother all graduated from Fairview and I would like to have the same opportunity.  My mom has also taught in the school district for 26 years.

Some of the members of the community think it is going to cost 21 percent more on their utilities a month when the truth is it will only be 3 percent.

By voting “no” on Feb. 19, you will be helping the students, and by voting “yes,” the students will suffer.  So please, voters of the community of Westwood, vote "no" Feb. 19 and save our community and our school.

George Jervis, Fairview student

Honesty needed in U.S. Congress

The Senate hearing on Benghazi was a microcosm of the gross ineptness that has led America to the brink of moral and financial ruin. Democrats and Republicans alike showed little real interest in unveiling the truth.

Their star witness, Hillary Clinton, did not enter the hearing room as a mere mortal. She apparently had a godlike halo over her head visible only to the politicians. She deserves an acting award for her performance that was highlighted by a dramatic flinging of the arms and a significant question: “What difference does it make?”

The truth revealed by yet another display of their ineptitude was the only good to emerge from that hearing, but that good will do no good. Truth “makes no difference.”

For example, the $16.5 trillion debt is an undeniable truth. It can be seen and felt by millions of ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet and millions more who cannot make ends meet. But in Congress, it is business as usual including illegal earmarks.

Instead of a responsible search for the truth, Hillary Clinton and her accomplices presented America with an exercise in drivel, grovel and sycophantic disgrace, given the horrific tragedy in question. Sadly, truth can be found only in a dictionary these days.

 What we desperately need in our elected politicians is simple honesty augmented with enough common sense and courage to recognize that right and wrong have opposite meanings. That recognition alone would rescue the America envisioned by our founding fathers.

Will simple honesty ever be observed and faithfully applied on Capitol Hill? Not as long as voters permit politicians to grow old and wealthy in Congress.

Shafter Bailey, Lexington