Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 29, 2013

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Keep speed limit same on U.S. 23

As is my usual practice at this time of year, I try to review the summaries of the pre-filed bills which may or may not be taken up by the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

One of these bills is BR 38, filed by Rep. Kenny Imes of Murray.  It would raise the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph on four-lane highways where feasible, in addition to interstates and parkways which are already at the higher speed or higher.

This might be feasible for some sections of four lanes in certain parts of the state, but not for U.S. 23, I think. With the many side roads, crossovers and heavy coal truck traffic on U.S. 23, I feel raising the speed limit on this highway would be unsafe. Some coal trucks are already running 65 miles an hour or higher while empty.

About 20 years ago, my brother’s wife was almost killed by a coal truck that ran a red light at Louisa. I would invite you to let your representatives know how you feel about this issue and the many other bills pending before the 2014 legislature that you may have an interest in.

Go to the Kentucky General Assembly website and click on pre-filed bills.  It takes some time to review the summaries of the almost 200 bills, but that is the cost of being an informed citizen. A lot of these bills will never see daylight, but I feel it important to let them know early on how we feel on the ones of interest to us.    

Doug Spillman, Flatwoods

Single-payer is only other choice

The individual is responsible for his or her own well-being, and rightfully so. Take health care for example, now unaffordable for the majority of Americans, and over-priced to every American. 

Just as in the case of our soaring national debt, soaring health care costs are forcing the issue. These problems, obvious for decades, are monuments to the incompetence of our governments. Patchwork half-measures merely complicate the situation; this includes the Affordable Care Act.

Regardless of all the propaganda to the contrary, governments, employers and insurance companies do not pay your medical bills. All three groups had their motives for getting into the health care game. Politicians were interested in making themselves indispensable. Employers were simply protecting their backsides and bottom lines. Insurance companies wanted their percentage of the take. Now that it is evident that the system is failing, all three groups are writhing and wiggling.

How are you going to pay for health care? Let's create a state-of-the-art "single-payer" health care system with these characteristics:  Every American citizen included, free choice of medical provider, negotiated prices for services, negotiated prices for pharmaceuticals, limits on court-awarded damages, tiered rate structures from basic preventive care up to catastrophic care applying the insuring principle to spread the risks and costs broadly and legitimately, built-in incentives to lower costs, monetary rewards for staying healthy, with the individual paying  at the rate proportional to the goods and services he or she requests and receives above the basic care-minimum rate which everyone pays.

System designers must remain focused on the rights of those providing medical goods and services, and those receiving goods and services. Both groups must be treated fairly and equitably.

No viable plan exists today.We’ve two choices: (1) current hodgepodge or (2) single-payer.

Michael Myers, Lexington

No justice for wrongly convicted

This has been the first full year in 38 years that William “Bill” Macumber has been out of prison.  The sound of grandchildren opening presents and having Christmas dinner with family is the best Christmas present ever for this veteran.    

Despite much information showing innocence, Macumber, 78, had been in prison in Arizona since 1975.  A 26-year state judge in Arizona with a reputation of being tough on crime agreed Macumber was innocent.  So did two attorneys and a physician who all said that Ernesto Valenzuela confessed to them (at different times) that he committed the double murder in question. Valenzuela’s mother even tried to correct the situation.

In spite of all of this and the Arizona Executive Board of Clemency board members voting unanimously that there had been a “miscarriage of justice,” Arizona Governor Jan Brewer denied the Board of Clemency’s request.  Brewer boasted during her campaign for governor that Macumber wouldn’t be pardoned. 

Recently Ken Anderson, a former district attorney in Texas, was found guilty of withholding critical pieces of evidence that would have kept Michael Morton out of prison for 23 years.  Anderson’s punishment was 10 days in jail, a $500 fine, 500 hours of community service and forfeiture of his law license. Prosecutors shouldn’t view their success like a coach’s won-loss record.   

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has never pardoned anyone and suspended Wisconsin’s Pardon Advisory Board last year. This may look tough, but God help the people wrongly convicted. There is a reason for regress to correct wrong convictions because of DNA, new evidence, etc.  If Walker and Brewer can’t fulfill their powerful jobs properly, they should quit. Their stance may win votes, but there is all of eternity for their judgment.

James Juett, Ashland

DPT vaccine is not available

Lindsay Clarke, a guest columnist, wrote a column published in the Dec. 22 Indepedent headlined, “Vaccinations for seniors prevent ailments.” There is a sizable group of seniors (and others) who think otherwise, but there can be little doubt Ms. Clarke is correct.

Some years ago, when I was in Moscow (after the fall of Communism), there was an epidemic of diphtheria.  A thousand were said to have died.  Americans were rushing to the American hospital for vaccinations against DPT, as the bundled vaccination calls it.

When I got back to this country, I had a doctor’s appointment and asked if I should be vaccinated against diphtheria. The doctor answered: “Of course. A person your age probably has not been vaccinated against DPT since he was an infant. An outbreak here would have the same result as there.” In other words, death.

That being the case, why is it there seems to be no DPT vaccine available locally?  I’ve asked. In Ashland, I was told Rite-Aid has some.  We don’t. Why is that?

Laurence J. James, Grayson