Owing to a recent string of successful movies about a certain Captain Jack Sparrow, the term pirates now conjures up images of jolly men drinking and wenching and having adventures on the high seas.
The reality of piracy is much less romantic, as the modern day pirates who prowl the coast off Somalia have proven. Pirates are robbers who use violence and intimidation to separate people from their money.
Our homegrown pirates do not use violence to rob us, but instead have found a way to separate us from our hard-earned money through the time-tested techniques of monopoly, price fixing and price gouging at the gasoline pumps.
Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson fought such Robber Barons, as they were then known, by using the courts and government regulation as well as the bully pulpit to weaken the stranglehold monopolies had on American businesses.
This became known as trust busting, and it proved an effective deterrent to the abhorrent practice of a few strong businesses controlling a particular commodity, then driving out weaker competitors and demanding exorbitant prices to deliver the commodity to consumers. That is exactly the situation we in the Somerset area find ourselves in today.
A few people control the delivery of oil and gasoline and the retail outlets in this area, and they consistently demand more money for gasoline than any of the surrounding markets are charging. But alas, where are today's trust busters? Our Congress is so busy with in-fighting that it cannot find its oversized backside with both hands. The city of Somerset seems powerless to shame the price gougers and the state Attorney General's investigation of Marathon and Speedway seems to have gone nowhere in a hurry.
I submit that it is up to us, the consumers, to stop this odious price fixing and price gouging by shopping for gasoline in cheaper markets, wherever we may find them.
Driving a little extra distance to buy gas may be a small waste of gasoline, but if enough people do it, the greedy people who monopolize our oil and gas will feel the pinch.
Just yesterday, gas in at the Marathon station in Nicholasville on U.S. 27 was 25 cents a gallon cheaper than here in Somerset. Stations as close as Stanton and Renfro Valley are often 10 to 15 cents cheaper. Monticello generally charges less for gas than here.
So I put it to you, the citizens of Somerset. Will you continue to pay whatever the monopoly here demands or will you look for opportunities to buy gas when you travel to other places? You won't just be saving a few dollars here and there. You will be helping to fight an insidious monopoly and you will be exercising the most basic form of democracy we have. You will be voting for change with your hard-earned dollars.
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When the parties are over, who will pick up the pieces?
The City of Somerset recently voted to sell alcohol by drink and through store outlets. We believe that a number of city management members were quite pleased by this outcome by the support this vote received prior to that election. It means that the city will receive a boost in tax revenue, a big boost that will aid the city's financial picture greatly.
A number of other Somerset citizens lament that vote because they have a number of realistic concerns regarding the consequences of that monumental decision. They are afraid, with reason, that the incidence of alcohol addiction will increase in proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed.We tend to share those concerns. Accidents, auto crashes, addiction related illnesses and social dysfunction related to alcohol will, by its nature increase.
This vote comes at a time wherein methamphetamine and other drug addiction continues to soar. It seems that every issue of your paper carries stories about drug related violence, crimes, assaults and felonies of all description. How do you think the addition of an increasing alcoholism population will effect those numbers and this community? I am sure that the members of Somerset City management have considered that question and are seeking responsible solutions.
We would like to suggest one: Help give Somerset something she has needed for decades, an effective and viable alcohol/drug treatment program. It is very doable and would prove to be very cost effective within a short period of time. We have all been misdirected to believe that we need to wage a "war on drugs" except that wars don't often have winners and America is far from winning the one we've been involved with since President Reagan declared it.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are identical as disease entities, they share the same symptoms, pathology and, sadly, the same prospects of morbidity. On the positive side, they respond favorably to specific treatment.
Localities where addiction was viewed realistically and treated effectively report high recovery rates and significant cost savings. The airline industry stated, in 1979 that they realized that they received $15 back for every dollar invested in employee addiction treatment. Sending addicts to prison is far more costly than sending them to treatment. Treatment works.
I do not know what the projected sales of alcohol by the drink is, the city managers do, I'll bet. Well, if the city levied a 5-cent tax on each ounce of distilled alcohol, beer serving, and 4 1/2 oz. glass of wine, they would be able to fund a freestanding residential as well as an intense outpatient facility that would serve some 1,300 Somerset persons including their family members a year. Other funding would come from self pay, insurance, state and federal formula funds and court referrals.
If readers of this letter care to discuss this issue further we give the editor of this newspaper permission to share our e-mail addresses to interested parties.
We thank you for publishing this letter.
Bronston, KY. 42518
Alden R. Phelps
Bronston, KY. 42518
'... Salt in the Wound'
As a Christian, local pastor and one who worked very hard with K.I.D.S. of Somerset in the recent local option election, I would like to express my disgust with the distasteful cartoons on your editorial page in the June 29 issue of the Commonwealth Journal.
When the results of the local option election were announced on June 26 both sides of the issue were represented at the courthouse. I was pleased with how civilized both sides were in their reaction to the outcome. David Carr and I stood with Pastor Ed Amundson, spokesperson for K.I.D.S., as he was interviewed by CJ reporter Chris Harris.
Bro. Amundson was very conciliatory in his response to all questions.
In conversation with Mr. Harris after the interview Bro. Amundson was very careful to make sure there were no hard feelings remaining from the election in which passions ran very high on both sides of the issue.
We had said we would and we did accept the result of a fair democratic process. My FB posts that night and the following day thanked those with whom I had labored in the process. I stated that I would pastor in a new Somerset with the same passion I have had since I came to Somerset almost 16 years ago. The city of Somerset had spoken loudly and I accepted the result.
Mr. Weddle with Progress Somerset has been very gracious in his comments. As I stated earlier when the result was announced both sides conducted themselves in a very civil manner. The election was over so let’s move on. Then the editorial board of the CJ decides to rub a little salt in the wound.
On Friday as I read the editorial page I found this very distasteful cartoon with the heading “Caution ‘Wet’
Paint.” I must assume by this they are ready to paint the town, a term that I, in my mind, associate with drunken revelry. The first cartoon made light of the fact that we deemed the consequences of this vote serious enough that we would pray about it. The second cartoon seemed to insinuate that the only way we could handle defeat is to drown our sorrows in a very dry martini.
Why would the CJ, which should have had a primarily journalistic interest in the Local Option Election, be taking a victory lap?
Why belittle a group of people who simply had strong reservations about the benefit of legalized alcohol sales?
Why make light of people who believe in prayer and of the God to whom they pray?
What is the purpose?
Does the CJ have more interest in stirring the caldron of division in our community than being responsible and fair reporters of the events that affect the everyday lives of all of our citizens?
Could it be that the CJ has cast off the restraint of journalistic integrity and objectivity to we are not just happy to report the results but we are also happy with the results?
By this very action the CJ has said that people who believe in God, people who pray and people who were against the legalization of alcohol in Somerset are worthy only of our ridicule and nothing more.
It is very true that we, who were on the No side, were soundly defeated and I tip, not my glass, but my hat to you on the other side of the argument for the effectiveness of your campaign.
To the CJ I say if your actions with these distasteful cartoons are a reflection of your excitement about the final tally or an attempt to make those of us on the No side irrelevant, I leave you with this: We are still here, not just sober and praying, but soberly praying, for the city we love and call home. 2,167 Yes, 1,464 No is the reality of June 26, but only history can reveal the true winners and losers on that day.
Johnny M. Dunbar
Somerset, KY 42502
Group opposed to alcohol at Eagle’s Nest
K.I.D.S. (Keep It Dry and Safe) of Somerset and Pulaski County is opposed to the sale of alcohol at the Eagle’s Nest Golf Course in the Caney Fork Precinct of Pulaski County, Ky.
The Perils of Alcohol
The Feb. 1, 2012, front page news of the Commonwealth Journal, read in big, bold letters, ALCOHOL at Eagle’s Nest.
Reenactment Poorly Planned
In response to the article by staff writer Chris Harris concerning the Battle of Mill Springs recently held in your county. I have concerns over the objectivity of the content, particularly with Bill Neikirk’s comments.
I am a living historian and travel from Florida to Virginia taking part in approximately 30 events per year; thus, I do know something of which I speak.
Rockcastle Hospital responds to article
This letter is in response to the article printed January 31, 2012, in the Commonwealth Journal titled “Local Nursing Homes on par with rest of nation.” The article incorrectly noted that the only Kentucky nursing home with zero deficiencies was the Nursing Facility of Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown. I would kindly ask you to correct the information to include our facility.
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