Time for Change

I think Lexington needs to develop to this level of sophistication before it can unite and bring about the changes necessary to revitalize downtown. Ethnic awareness and respect is vital to a thriving, inclusive community. Having Frank X on board can help put ACE at the vanguard of implementation of social changes needed. [Horse's Mouth, Jan 2.]

To quote Alex Shoumatoff, describing environmental racism in 1991, "Albuquerque is probably the most ethnically aware place in the Southwest and indeed the world, where the understanding of social injustice is most sophisticated, and refined."

-Mary Cain


Editor's note: Frank X Walker's monthly column in Ace will debut in next week's issue, on stands Thursday January 16.

Letters Policy: Ace LOVES to publish our mail (250 words or less please); please include name and daytime phone. No photocopies. No bulk mail. First come, first served. We may edit for space and grammar; we will limit frequency; and, on popular issues, we may print one or two letters to represent a segment of public opinion. Private correspondence should be labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.”

Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507


Movin' on up

The Center for Rural Strat-egies, an Appalachian group based in Whitesburg in eastern Kentucky, has purchased ad space in some of the country's largest newspapers(including the New York Times) to criticize an upcoming reality TV series based on The Beverly Hillbillies for its stereotypes.

The group laid out $75,000 to place ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The show, set to air on CBS, would follow the adventures of a large family when they move out of their rural home and settle into a Beverly Hills mansion, according to the network. Check the Ace archives online for an op/ed piece by Kentucky author Ronni Lundy on the subject.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Governor Paul Patton, in a stopgap effort to try and make up for an expected shortfall of $509 million, is considering raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Patton is proposing "sin" taxes: an increase on cigarettes of 20 cents per pack, up from our current 3-cents-a-pack tax-the second-lowest in the nation.

A report from the Lung Association says people in Kentucky smoke more than any other state in the nation. The national average tax on a pack of cigarettes is 47 cents The proposed increase would generate $75 million a year. Also, Patton suggested a 6 percent sales tax on all sales of alcohol, which would generate $24 million a year.

Senate Republican leaders are not in favor of raising taxes and are pushing Gov. Paul Patton to make more budget cuts in order to deal with Kentucky's shortfall in the next 18 months.

Next week the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council will hear from a task force that studied the impact of a smoking ban in the city's restaurants, bars and taverns.

The task force's report found support of such a ban by indicating the side effects of secondhand smoke and the sizable public support of smoke-free gathering places.

An alternative to council action is a public referendum. Teresa Isaac and vice mayor and restaurant businessman Mike Scanlon support a referendum. Nightclubs and bars, might probably see a drop in sales if smokers are forced to smoke outside.

photo by David Savage
Water ways

The Fayette County council members Paul Brooks, Chuck Ellinger, Bill Cegelka, and Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon, are at odds on who should control your water supply. A city takeover of Kentucky American is contingent upon money.

Scanlon and Ellinger are in favor of purchasing the water company if it is fiscally responsible, with Brooks undecided, and Cegelka might opt for a ''no'' vote.

In October, the previous council voted 11-4 to approve the hiring of a consultant to gather more information. The report from the consultant is expected at the end of the month. The new leaders may approve the "takeover deal" if the price is right.

School days

Education Week, a weekly publication, which tracks K-12 education in the United States, has concluded its report, "Quality Counts 2003." The report measured teacher quality-the certification, working conditions, qualifications, recruitment, and retention of K-12 teachers. This year, the areas of study were: Standards and Accountability; Improving Teacher Quality; School Climate; Resource Equity; and Resource Adequacy.

Kentucky received grades of A for Standards and Accountability, B for Improving Teacher Quality, C- for School Climate, C+ for Resource Equity, and a C+ for Resource Adequacy.

To submit an advocacy/activism activity or event for Quickies, email rkirkland@aceweekly.com, or editor@aceweekly.com.

All items to be included for Martin Luther King commemorative activities must be submitted by Monday, January 13.