News and Tribune

September 19, 2012

News and Tribune letters: Sept. 19, 2012

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Reader: Gahan on the right path

I am writing in response to Randy Smith’s letter published Sept. 12 in the News and Tribune.

I very much agree with his position about traffic calming in New Albany and the need for something to change before the Sherman Minton Bridge becomes the only nontolled interstate bridge in the area. I also agree that more two-way streets might be a better alternative to our current maze of one-ways that seems to only take residents and visitors away from our historic downtown. 

Where I disagree is Mr. Smith’s comments about our mayor, Jeff Gahan. From everything I know and have heard about Mr. Gahan, it seems to me that he supports many ideas that one might find listed in a description of a “complete street” (

Contrary to Mr. Smith’s statement that Mayor Gahan has “done nothing to effect traffic-calming measures,” Mayor Gahan has shown support for the McDonald Lane rehabilitation project that includes traffic-calming measures like roundabouts and speed tables.

In addition, this project includes a “pedway” for bikes and pedestrians to provide bicyclists, young and old, a safe place to ride. When the McDonald Lane project is complete, there will be almost a complete connection of bike lanes and pedways connecting the Ohio River Greenway with Community Park. I encourage the mayor to continue this momentum and include bike lanes in the Main Street project that was mentioned by John Rosenbarger in a News and Tribune article on Sept. 4. 

Nobody is ever going to be completely satisfied with an elected official’s decisions, no matter who is in office. As far as the other issues that Mr. Smith brings up, I am not as well versed, but Mr. Smith’s criticisms of Mayor Gahan started way before the election (see Mr. Smith’s Oct. 25 letter to the editor at It seems pretty apparent to me from both the most recent letter and the Oct. 25 letter that no matter what decisions Mayor Gahan makes, they would not be as good as the decisions that Jack Messer would have made.

Mr. Smith, you may still “back Jack” but I am past the political posturing of last year’s election; I am sure other voters, especially the 64 percent that voted for Mayor Gahan, are past it, too. There are exceptions but in my opinion, it is the city council, not the mayor’s office, which generally has had a history of backward thinking.

Let’s work together to bring about constructive ideas to push this great community forward, not continue to relish in the mud-slinging of last year’s election. 

  — James Bonsall, New Albany

Man turned off by GOP’s platform

My wife and I watched the Republican National Convention. I cannot believe what I saw.

They want to return to the policies that we had under President Bush. They want less regulations on all banks and businesses. The same hard line to the world, “it’s our way or we send in our military.” Policies that started two wars that were paid for with tax cuts. Banks, that without regulations took our country and the world to the brink of financial collapse.

We have not recovered from all of this yet, but this party wants to do it again. They also want to reduce the deficit by cutting taxes again.

One other point that bothers me greatly is almost all Republican candidates, including Romney/ Ryan, have signed a pledge to a group that is not part of the government. This group says “if you pass any tax increase, they will crush you with millions of dollars to defeat you in the next election.” Signing a pledge to a group, not in the U.S. government, should be against the law.

— Glen R. Pitzer, Jeffersonville

Reader agrees with letter on ‘pro-life’ term

I would like to comment on the thought-provoking letter to the editor published in the News and Tribune Sept. 11, written by Joseph Moore about the term “pro-life.”

It exposed the hypocrisy of the GOP and most of the religious right. It is a subject that most people will eschew. It was a well written article and few could have said it better.

— Charlie Gregory, Charlestown

Grabowski would better serve working families

As we approach another Election Day, I am always puzzled why so many people appear to vote against their own self-interest.

For example, Floyd County is largely a middle-class county made up of working-class families. So why do we continue to elect Ed Clere as our state representative?

I am not saying that Rep. Clere is a bad guy. He just happens to be following an agenda that does not favor working families. To begin with, Ed Clere voted to turn Indiana into a right-to-work state. This legislation is designed to weaken labor unions in the state while giving power to business owners to do what they want.

You may never have been a union member, but you have benefited from the existence of unions. The 40-hour work week, child labor laws, safe working conditions and increased pay have all been accomplishments of the union movement. Many of these benefits have positively affected nonunion workers.

Unfortunately, with the weakened state of unions, these protections have already begun to disappear, a trend that is sure to continue. There is strength in organized numbers, and this legislation is designed to rid Indiana of that.  

If you doubt that Rep. Clere is not out to weaken unions, look at his vote to limit collective bargaining rights for teachers. In fact, it would appear that Clere has little regard for the public schools in general.

Despite all the talk about the importance of education, he voted to support a budget that cut funding to Indiana public schools. In Floyd County, this resulted in massive layoffs of teachers and support staff along with the closing of four schools. Though we were told there wasn’t money available, the state later reported a surplus of $2.15 billion. If that isn’t enough of an assault on our schools, Rep. Clere supported the nation’s largest voucher legislation that is sending taxpayer money to private, parochial and home schools.

Fortunately, Floyd County has a candidate, Sharon Grabowski, who understands the devastation of this agenda. Sharon taught for more than 30 years in the New Albany-Floyd County schools. She understands the importance of strong public schools. She clearly identifies with the struggles of working families and would work tirelessly to reverse legislation that exploits or disrespects working Hoosiers.

This November, it is important for the working families of Floyd County to stand together and elect Sharon Grabowski for State Representative of District 72.

— Ron Hutchens, New Albany

New Albany resident annoyed by noise

I live near the old Silver Street Elementary School in New Albany. Last year, it was purchased by the Sojourn Church, and it opened for services in October.

In April, I noticed an intrusive, high-pitched tone in my neighborhood, and eventually determined that the source was the church building. The noise came and went, and was sometimes louder than other times. I like to open my windows in nice weather, but that tone was ever present and extremely annoying. It covers approximately a three-block radius.

The noise was quite loud during the Memorial Day services to honor veterans in the National Cemetery. The men who work in the cemetery must endure the noise all through their workday, and they hate it. At least I can go in my house.

I called the number on the church's sign and was told by someone named Sam that the noise was coming from their chiller. He said he had called a repairman, and promised me it would be fixed “in two or three days.” That was June 14.

I have tried to go through the proper channels to find relief from the nearly constant keening wail. To my amazement, officials (who don’t live in the neighborhood) seem to think nothing can be done, and we should just get used to it.

Our spring, summer and now fall have been ruined by this unnecessary irritation. I can hear it through my closed bathroom window, and sometimes through the other storm windows. One neighbor who didn’t know the source thought it was a siren. What steps can be taken to stop the Sojourn Church from continuing to destroy the peace and quiet of my neighborhood?

The decommissioned school next to my previous home was turned into sleeping rooms for transients, and always held a few registered sex offenders. I thought having Silver Street School become a church would be an improvement over that, but it wasn’t. At least the sex offenders were quiet.

— Teresa Fisher, New Albany