Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Response to “University not a business” editorial

Dear editor,

Your March 25th editorial regarding the negotiated confidentiality agreements with three long time, dedicated University of Louisville employees lacked some logic and key facts. The “story of closed doors and dark secrets” portrayed in your editorial and the Courier-Journal story might make a good piece of fiction, but was not a good true to life story. So here are some facts:

  • Agreements similar to the ones reached with these three employees are routine in the business world and at many universities. Yes, UofL should be run like a business.
  • All three were in sensitive positions that required discretion and confidentiality on matters such as university negotiations on land purchases, contracts, investments and personnel. The university and the employees agreed to extend that confidentiality beyond their retirement date for, I believe, obvious reasons.
  • Two vice-presidents’ jobs are being merged into one and the president’s administrative assistant has not been replaced, resulting in savings to the university – part of the $7.5 million UofL expects to save from the voluntary separation incentive program (VSIP).
  • Lawyers drafted the agreements and told UofL administrators there had to be some “consideration” to the retiring employees in return for signing confidentiality agreements.
  • The University of Louisville Foundation (private funds) covered the costs of all voluntary separation agreements with UofL staff including the three named employees.

This was a prudent business decision by UofL administrators as well as a logical decision by three employees who wanted to retire, not some underhanded “payoff” portrayed by your editorial.

Mark Hebert

Director, Media Relations

University of Louisville

 

Photo by Olivia Krauth/The Louisville Cardinal

Letter to the Editor: Response to “Religious theories” article

By Lloyd Fowler–
I read Adam Dahmer’s opinion piece entitled “Opposing religious theories could be reconciled through science.” I am a senior at UofL and a member of the church, Third Avenue Baptist Church, that was pictured in Adam’s article. It was a well written article and it exposed to me new theories in science that I find fascinating and exciting. My church was pictured in the article, so I thought it would be appropriate to share that the Bible teaches us that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6) and that science cannot reconcile religious theories. It’s the inclusively, exclusivity of Jesus, not metaphysics nor vacuous dynamism that saves people to Heaven. Jesus is inclusive to all who repent and believe, but is exclusive because He is the only way. I will throw in a caveat that I do believe that science is consistent with Christianity.
I just finished listening to a sermon by America’s most famous theologian, Jonathan Edward, called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for a paper that I am writing for POLS 495. It is deep and heavy about why Jesus Christ is our greatest need. Jesus is our greatest need because sin has separated us from God since the Garden of Eden. Apart from Christ, we (sinners) are in the hands of an angry God who hates sin and rebellion against his creation and His authority. God will crush sinners upon judgement day. Science cannot reconcile this reality of our sin nature.
Jesus Christ (fully man yet fully God) was in the hands of an angry God on the cross. He did not commit sin, but he bore our sin. He remained perfectly holy, simultaneously being crushed by the Father because our sin had been placed on him. He died the death that we deserved. We should have had God’s wrath poured out on our own sin instead of our perfect sinless substitute, Jesus (2nd Corinthians 5:21). If we repent, turn from our sins, and believe in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15) then we are no longer in the hands of an angry God, but rather in the hands of a God who redeemed us through the life, death and resurrection of His son. We become co-heirs with Christ in the inheritance of salvation as sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:17) when one becomes a Christian. When the Father looks on us, He no longer sees our sin, but Jesus’ perfection and righteousness because we are attached to Jesus through faith. Nothing I do will save me because if I could save myself by being a good person then Jesus died for no reason (Galatians 2:21). God’s love and redemption is so shocking when one considers what we truly deserved to begin with apart from Christ. It’s even more shocking that God would kill a sinless man, His Son, for the redemption of sinners! Yet, God did it because it pleased Him!
The Bible has over 40 authors that wrote the Bible over thousands of years and they communicate the same consistent message that we cannot save ourselves and that we need Jesus Christ as our substitute before the Father for our transgressions against Him and His perfect creation. Genesis 3:15foreshadows that Christ will crush the head of the serpent, Satan. The Lamb in Revelations 5 describes how Christ was the ransom for many. The Bible tells the same story from Genesis to Revelations! The advances in science, no matter how exciting, cannot reconcile what God has already reconciled through Jesus.
What I explained in the second paragraph is the Gospel. It’s the good news of how Jesus Christ saves sinners. If you would like to hear more about it please come check out Cardinal Christian Fellowship in Humanities 100 at 7:30pm on Wednesdays. Our last meeting for the semester was Thursday, but please come explore who Jesus is next semester. Cardinal Christian Fellowship is a campus ministry of Third Avenue Baptist Church, the church that was pictured in Adam’s article. Thank you for allowing me to explain that science cannot reconcile religious theories when Jesus is the only way.
Photo by Sasha Perez/The Louisville Cardinal
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Letter to the Editor: Response to “21st century initiative”

By Amy Lueck–

 

I recently read an article of the above title, and felt the need to respond to clarify for students and interested others some of what the 21st Century Initiative is and is doing, from the perspective of a student participant.

 

First, I think it is important to clarify that, as the announcement of the open forums suggested, this was a sharing of a work-in-progress that was very far from complete. In addition to ongoing discussion on behalf of the committees, the missing component continues to be more input from stakeholders across the university—students, faculty, and staff. I know my own committee is thinking very seriously about how to do this better. More importantly, what I think is being overlooked in discussions of this initiative is that no one is dedicated to the outcomes as presently proposed.

 

I understand and respect the suspicions about the encroaching “corporate managerialism” or other ways of discussing the increasingly business-oriented tack that many universities are taking. In light of this legitimate criticism, and as a participant on one of these committees, I feel the need to clarify three things further:

 

  1. The committees involved in the 21st Century Initiative are composed of U of L faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and staff. If there are gripes with the committees’ adherence to a “corporate managerial” ideology, that is fair; it should not, however, be suggested that this process is somehow out of the hands of the invested constituents of the University, be they students or faculty or staff. The way this article positions the committees as a “them” against which “we” are responding “critically” is not only inaccurate but also unhelpful to this process.
  2. The resistance to the University as a “business” is understandable and laudable. At the same time, the University is undeniably and unavoidably responsible for supporting its intellectual, scholarly, and pedagogical endeavors within an increasingly strained economic context, where state funding is decreasing and many of us are reticent to increase tuition payments. To raise the question of funding is not necessarily to succumb to a “business model,” reductively conceived, but to acknowledge the very real fact that the university cannot function without some kind of funding resources. The committees on this initiative have been tasked with thinking about how to preserve our mission as a premier metropolitan research university as well as an institution dedicated to student learning and success while ensuring we have the funding to pursue this mission—i.e. To be responsible stewards of our funding resources. Pursuing funding and pursuing the generation and distribution of knowledge are not and have never been mutually exclusive emphases.
  3. People who have been active in this process throughout are dedicated to finding the best way forward. They do not have the answers, but rather they are seeking the answers through focused and dedicated discourse, which includes conversations with both the committees and other university stakeholders. From the beginning and throughout, these committees have framed themselves as work-groups, in which complex issues can be approached through a variety of perspectives—student and faculty, humanities and sciences, theoretical and applied, Belknap and HSC, centers and departments, etc. The reports at these town hall meetings have not proposed answers, but have instead been a way for the committees to keep themselves accountable and responsive to the university community through regular, if sometimes premature, reporting of their thinking.

 

A participant in the most recent Belknap town hall meeting suggested that the biggest problem in this process might be the deep-rooted suspicion of the process from people who have not been involved. I agree. Everyone should be involved so that they can see their visions for the future of the university reflected in the plan that we eventually ratify. Results are preliminary, based on the hard work of those faculty, students, and staff who have been involved. If you are interested in this process, there is a place for you and your voice. You can contact a representative on a committee; you can attend the town hall meetings; you can submit feedback to the online forms on the website. You can be involved.

 

As someone on one of these committees, I can tell you that student concerns are being heard, addressed, and worked through carefully by your representatives. As the recently–constituted student committee suggests, the process is responsive to emerging insights, and emerging areas of focus. Students were always an area of focus in the committee meetings, but the addition of a student committee was also appreciated as a crucial emphasis in this process, deserving of its own committee. Contrary to the suggestion of this article, student perspectives have been an important part of this process throughout, though organizers have struggled with how best to gather and focus student input. While the new student committee is extremely beneficial and important, it is also true that student representatives were assigned to each subcommittee from the outset of the process, and were no mere afterthought.

 

Because of all of the aforementioned, I believe it is not only unproductive but inaccurate to simply say that “students and faculty were critical of the upcoming 21st Century Initiative,” as the leading line of the aforementioned article does. Not only does that not represent a great number of positive responses in the forum, it also suggests that students and faculty are somehow not a part of the 21st Century Initiative, left only to respond to the reports at the forum.

 

Again, the 21st Century Initiative is being shaped by faculty, staff and students. If individuals don’t agree with their recommendations, that is completely understandable, and is the reason such forums exist—to share feedback on a work-in-progress. To suggest, however, that students and faculty are not a vital force in the shaping of this vision, and are only brought in during the public forums, is simply wrong.  Further, this article suggests that the 21st Century Initiative has more of an established form than it does—rather than responding “against” something that already exists, what I heard many faculty and staff at the forum doing was raising concerns that they wanted to ensure were addressed as the Initiative takes shape. In doing so, they were creating—not just “criticizing”—the 21st Century Initiative.

 

Disagree with the proposals. Such feedback is invited and encouraged. Such feedback is a necessary part of the process. From what I have seen on this committee, your representatives on the faculty, student, and staff levels are working hard to think through these very complex issues, and welcome your input in this very challenging process.

 

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Letter to the Editor: On questionable sexist men on campus

By Emily Sheer–

 

Sometimes, in lieu of recognizing and respecting women as autonomous human beings, men make comments that degrade and shame women for expressing their autonomy. This really comes into play during the weeks preceding Halloween.

 

As my peer illustrated perfectly in the Halloween issue of the Louisville Cardinal, men often degrade and shame women for choosing “sexy” Halloween costumes because they think women should feel bad exposing so much skin. They believe it is unbecoming of ladies with certain levels of intelligence to wear sexy costumes, lest they be mistaken as common, uneducated street whores. They also feel the need to passive aggressively tell us what to wear to conform with their ignorant, pre-feminism way of thinking.

 

Men, I understand, somewhat, what would make you act like such a sexist pig. I get that you are raised in a patriarchal society that tells you it is okay to degrade and shame women. It probably makes you smile, and you feel so smug thinking you know the correct choices women ought to make but ignorantly, as you think, do not. Smug enough to write a whole little article on it.

 

But, I think you have the ability to be too intelligent for that. I think acting like a sexist bigot is beneath you. I think that, simply by the virtue of being a human being, you owe it to yourself to think hard about your conception of dignity. It isn’t up to me to decide that you stop shaming and degrading women for being sexual beings and expressing autonomy over their body. But, don’t you owe it to your own self-worth?

 

Give it some thought, and think about what respecting women and human beings in general, means to you. Because if I see you out on Halloween, shaming women because they aren’t wearing what you think they ought to wear, it’s true a lot of other people will agree with you but not me. I’ll be looking at you, probably glaring, silently wishing that against all odds, you will take a Women and Gender Studies course or two, and maybe become a somewhat decent human being by the time you graduate.

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Letter to the Editor: Response to “Abolition of Marriage”

I recently read your piece regarding marriage in the Louisville Cardinal? I must say it was filled with fallacies and mischaracterizations. For one, gay marriage is not a civil rights issue. One has to do with the amount of melanin in a person’s skin; the other has to do with what someone does sexually with another person.
For instance, when have gays been stripped of their identity? When have gays been taken from their homeland by force, packed like sardines in inhumane ways on ships and brought to another land? When have gays been forced to work from sun up to sun down for no wages? When have gays’ families been torn apart and sold? When have their women been raped by white slave masters at will? When have gays been forced to sit at the back of the bus? When have gays been forced to drink from different water fountains? I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Gays have never been subjected to those things.
Most African-Americans are tired of homosexuals hi-jacking the civil rights movement. MLK didn’t march for anything that has to do with a person’s sexuality. You will find no references to anything to the kind in ANY of his messages!
You state “Yet our civilization has not yet collapsed. In fact, it seems largely un-phased.” On the contrary if you study history, you should be aware of the every civilization that accepted and approved of homosexual behavior collapsed from the inside.  That is a known fact of history.
I have a few questions I would like for you to answer:
1.        Who created marriage?
2.       How do you know what you are saying is true?
Photo courtesy of poetryfoundation.org.

Letter to the Editor: Response to “Card Culture” reading list

By Bryan Mercke–
I was excited to see that The Cardinal was doing a story on how reading can be a useful tool in college. Not only does it sharpen the mind, but it is also a more entertaining alternative than playing CoD: 7 and watching Jersey Shore re-runs if you have the right book.
Now don’t get me wrong, the books listed in the article are great reads, but I think they belong on the high-school reading lists where many people first encountered them against their own will. What’s so sad about this list, is that if a casual observer who looked at the article because they were interested in the topic saw the list presented, then they might be left with the impression that their high-school reading list really was the pinnacle of what is out there. This is an injustice that I could not tolerate.
There are so many great books out there just waiting to show you the door to another world! The readers of the Louisville Cardinal are college students. Give them what they need. Pander to their college reading level and challenge them with some titles that are not only complex, but wildly entertaining.
Below is a list I have compiled that is literary, stimulating and outside the box:
1. Gravity’s Rainbow
2. For Whom the Bell Tolls
3. Naked Lunch
4. Catch 22
5. Ulysses
6. Moby Dick
7. Infinite Jest
8. The Light that Failed
9. Tess of the d’Urbervilles
10. The Brother Karamazov
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Response to “Miley Cyrus Controversy”

By Sammie Hill—

Last week, Sawyer Schmitt wrote an article questioning the values of our culture due to the focus of many Americans on Miley Cyrus’s provocative VMA performance over serious issues such as Syria and the March on Washington anniversary. Although I feel like the situation with Syria has garnered more attention this week, the question remains of why our culture focuses its attention on senseless entertainment rather than confronting the serious issues of our world today.

I don’t claim to know the answer. But I do have a theory.

These are troubling times for Americans. Countless adults are struggling with unemployment, debt, career decisions, raising a family, and more. College students are forced to take on student debt in exchange for juggling 18 hours of classes and a part-time job, all while wondering if they’ve picked the right major, if their life is heading in the right direction, and if they will be able to find a job after graduation. Our nation, already reeling from our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, is facing threats from other nations while considering an attack on Syria, which some fear will escalate to even more violence.

These issues are taking a toll on our psyches. Anxiety is virtually inescapable in our nation today.

So, while I find it disconcerting that an article explaining the Syria situation is placed below the headline of “Beyonce takes Blue Ivy yachting,” I can understand why Americans crave a distraction from the serious issues facing our society. Should “Dancing with the Stars: Cast of Season 17” be a more popular search term than “Syria”? I don’t think so, but the idea of watching Bill Nye break it down on national T.V. makes people feel better than the idea of involving ourselves in foreign conflict.

I’m not defending our culture’s fascination with cheap entertainment; instead, I’m suggesting that these topics are popular because they distract us from our anxiety. They give our minds a break. For just a moment, they lighten the heavy burdens we are all carrying, in one form or another.

Do I think that Americans should be educated and actively engaged in the current events of the world? Absolutely. Do I think Miley Cyrus should take precedence over relevant topics such as a looming strike on Syria? Absolutely not.

But as much as we complain about it, Miley gave us exactly what we wanted. That’s why we watched the VMAs in the first place. That’s why we were so enthralled by her strange and disturbing performance, even for days after. She provided us with a distraction from everything else going on right now that makes us feel threatened.

However, while I understand and admittedly sometimes engage in the fascination with pop culture and all of its outlandish eccentricity, ignoring the problems of the world does not make anything better. Although turning our attention to mindless entertainment may temporarily alleviate our anxiety about the state of society and the future of our nation, distractions are just that—distractions. We’ll never truly feel better about the future until we make the effort to change it.

I agree with Sawyer that we need to reassess our priorities as Americans. I agree that we need to work to “save our moral compass and inspire forward thinking,” and ultimately “aspire for better things.”

But how?

Many college students, myself included, often feel futile when faced with the daunting issues of our world today. However, I feel confident in saying that all of us at U of L are taking the correct first step—educating ourselves. By attending college, we’re equipping ourselves to counteract the problems of the world and shape a future of our own.

We can use our education to break conventional thought about the world’s problems. While supporting and advocating for the things we believe in and want maintained, we can also think in new ways, developing solutions to problems that have never been tried before.

Our generation has resources and advantages that those before us never had. We have a unique perspective on the world, and we have minds capable of remarkable ideas.

Thus, instead of distracting ourselves from the world we live in, we need to commit ourselves to strengthening it. Individuals in our generation need to devote themselves to their area of passion and utilize their education to create positive change. As U of L students, we are already on the right path. But in the end, it’s up to us to shape a future in which a Miley Cyrus performance will be overshadowed by the significant achievements of our generation.

Letters: Continued

I was wondering what kind of checks that you, as Editor-in-Chief, are supposed to be making on the articles printed in your paper. Did you even read the cover story you printed this week? The article is titled “Making history one degree at a time” by your assistant sports editor, Noah Allison. It’s not only full of incorrect factual information, which grossly exaggerates the importance of Ms. Faulkner’s story, but it appears as though nobody even had the foresight to even run spellchecker, let alone read it.  Let me quote a few of my favorite lines from this piece. “Of the 1,500 students who have graduated from U of L with a master’s degree in bioengineering, Faulkner is the first African-American.”  Sounds great and flowery, right?  Too bad a few simple facts get in the way. I do not have all of the graduation records to verify that she is the first African-American graduate, but a simple knowledge of the history of our department would tell you that there are not 1,500 graduates. The Bioengineering department started in 2004. That first class graduated in 2009. The current class is one of the largest, and has about 30 or so students working towards their degrees. So, it is simply not possible to have 1,500 graduates of a bachelor’s degree, let alone a master’s degree. That number might be closer to 150 for the master’s degree, but even that is a generous estimate. And while I might be able to excuse that as a typo, it was repeated within the article.

Ready for some more quotable lines? “Her two older sisters live in Los Angelesd California is one of the largest areas in the country for the bioengineering industry so Faulkner plans to move out West for her career.”  Another doozy right here: “Faulkner attributes her success to the.” opportunities offered by U of e;LIt’s is a school that understands the importance of giving everybody atchance fot success and happiness, regardless of their origin or socioeconomic background.”

While there are very few students that actually take a publication like yours seriously, I would greatly prefer it if you did not sully the reputation of the Bioengineering department with your horrid writing. I realize that for most of your writers, this is a hobby.  My sister is a features editor at Kentucky Wesleyan College. But please, at least make an attempt at your jobs.

 

Tom Priest

Letter to the editor: Grappling with gun control

Gun control is a very serious issue. It is not only about preventing firearms from getting into the hands of those who would use them illegally; it is really about preventing firearms from getting into the hands of those who would be able to save those in harm’s way.

The Survey USA poll that was also posted in the Courier Journal is misleading and I will explain why. First it indicates that “75 percent supported background checks on potential buyers before gun sales.” What people who don’t own firearms don’t understand is that already happens. When you, i.e. John Q. Citizen, go to a gun store to purchase a firearm, a background check is run on you. If you were born in the state, that can be done in several minutes. If you were born out of the state, that can take up to a few days. Once the background check is completed and you have been found to be legally able to own a firearm, the gun store will call you back in to pick up your firearm. Now the Obama administration has placed a lot of effort into closing the “gun show loophole…” However, again the administration is going after non-gun owning individuals who don’t realize that most gun show sellers are licensed gun dealers, and are required by federal law to perform background checks already.

The last bit of the survey is most important, “60 percent of respondents said that they believe that the right to own guns is more important than the current need to regulate them…” Now why could this be? They’re so dangerous? Well that is because in the United States the American people have a Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has confirmed that right by saying that states can regulate firearms but cannot outright ban firearms. Though the Supreme Court ruled in this way, there are still cities such as Chicago that ban handguns. Chicago last year had the highest murder rate of any other city in the United States. How could that be? They ban guns in Chicago, so they should be the safest city in the United States, right? No, criminals understand that law-abiding citizens will disarm themselves when the law requires it, and they target those places. On Sept. 10, 2012 Fox News reported that, “despite the fact that there were movie theaters within 20 minutes of the Aurora Movie Theater shooter, the shooter didn’t visit those, in fact he visited the closest one that was a gun-free-zone” (Fox News, John Lott, Sept. 10, 2012).

With all due respect to Dr. Laura McNeal, I believe she is right, but I believe she is also wrong. Dr. McNeal stated that there is “no evidence that shows that increased police presence improves school security.” And she may be partially right; she brings up “armed guards at Columbine and police presence at Virginia Tech.” However, during Columbine the federal government had in effect “The Assault Weapons Ban.” Though the ban was in effect the students of Columbine still perpetrated their crime using assault weapons and explosives. However, more recently we’re seeing that armed guards are having an impact. The Salt Lake Tribune stated that an “Armed guard disarmed teen in Atlanta school shooting, says police chief” (Salt Lake Tribune, Kate Brumback, Jan. 31, 2013).

While one armed guard can only be one place at a time, multiple armed individuals can be everywhere. In my opinion, I believe that at the college and university level, students with a conceal carry permit should have the right to carry a firearm on campus. While the University has a duty to protect its students, it is not protecting them with a single armed guard on campus. At the University of Louisville, we have many students who are former military servicemen and women. Why are they not allowed to be armed? We trust them to protect our country, but not our schools? That to me doesn’t make sense at all. If at the very least, professors (especially those who are prior law enforcement and/or military) should be allowed to be armed.

Finally, with all due respect to Dr. Jason Gainous, he is wrong here as well. Dr. Gainous supports the “assault weapons ban, the number of rounds per magazine limitation and the background checks.” I would be doing a disservice to not bring up that the Supreme Court ruled that bans on firearms are unconstitutional. So to ban “assault weapons” would be illegal with today’s Supreme Court, and I would agree with them one hundred percent. Dr. Gainous, the guns are not the problem, the guns don’t fire themselves, the guns don’t aim themselves, and the guns don’t load themselves. All of these activities are done by people who have either the mindset of killing or who have a mental defect. But it is the good gun owner whose arms you are trying to restrict who would be able to protect those who are in danger.

The government can try to ban, and try to regulate, and try to limit guns, but it will not work. The people who want to kill people will find a way to kill people. If it isn’t a gun they use, it will be a knife, if not a knife they’ll use a bomb. There is no stopping a person who intends to do people harm.

The day that I can walk outside of my home with no fear that a bad guy has a gun will be the day I consider giving mine up. However, until there is a guarantee that bad people don’t have guns, I will keep mine, and hope to God I never wind up in a situation where I would need my weapon and not have it because of unconstitutional laws put into place by the university or by anyone else.

 

David A. W. Hittle

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you about an article “Taco Punk: Hey, Ho, Let’s Go somewhere else” written by the Editor-in-Chief Rae Hodge, published on the June 7, 2012 in The Louisville Cardinal. My criticisms of Hodge’s “review” of Taco Punk in your publication are numerous and diverse.

First, as a former student journalist, I am appalled by the abuse of the position of Editor-in-Chief to mount a near-baseless assault against me, Taco Punk, and the East Market District. The Editor-in-Chief is the most powerful position on the staff and the cliché is true: with power comes responsibility and accountability. Furthermore, discretion is one of an editor’s best assets and choosing to meld complex social criticism with a food review in the limited space allowed is simply a bad idea and never should have been attempted, given Hodge’s flimsy grasp of the facts.

Hodge did little primary research into Taco Punk. I NEVER had a food truck. I investigated the possibility as a back-up plan if I could not get into a brick and mortar space. Yes, numerous publications reported that I operated a food truck, but there is not one photo of me in a truck, or a direct quote from me saying, “I am operating a food truck.” We had vending booths at festivals and the Douglass Loop Farmers’ Market for pre-opening publicity and product testing. Remember, you can’t always believe what you read.

Our name is not some brash claim of “Punkness,” but rather a father’s desire to connect with his son. When he was five, Ezra and I were playing around when he said, “Dad, you’re a Taco Punk.” The phrase immediately resonated as a name for my taco shop and it stuck. It is as simple as that. The logo, created by a Latino, is not intended to be offensive or demeaning towards anyone.

Taken as a whole, Hodge’s piece asserts I am a racist, capitalist taco baron profiteering off of others’ misfortune. Not only is this baseless, but dangerously veers towards libel. While the larger topic of Louisville’s urban development is a complex issue worthy of discussion, Hodge’s decision to throw me into the center of the ring without researching my business model illustrates her lack of judgment and indulging her own agenda at my expense violates basic journalistic standards.

Taco Punk has experienced little windfall from the YUM! Center. In fact, events like the NCAA tournament sucked business away and dumped it into the pockets of The Cordish Co. via 4th St. Live!

What is happening in the East Market District is more than the NuLu image and is actually the complex interplay of the old giving way to the new. The investors in this area have largely done a valiant job preserving while modernizing the architecture. There are a wide variety of business in the area including a hardware store, barbershop and medical facilities. Furthermore, this project is far from finished. Many more amenities are planned for the EMD that will make it into a great neighborhood for all kinds of people to live in and visit.

She was a high school freshman when my wife and I lived in apartments on Clay and Market. Except for a few hidden gems, the EMD was largely a dirty, barren eyesore. Drugs were dealt openly, vagrancy was epidemic and petty crime was a daily constant. Brave people have taken great personal risk to bring art, culture and beauty to a previously desperate area of Louisville. These efforts deserve an honest examination not a classist diatribe from a rookie editor.

This area is being revitalized with private capital as well. Taco Punk sucked no “tax money marrow” in its financing. We are privately financed by a small group of investors and a non-forgivable METCO loan, requiring me to put my 1000 sq. ft. home in Germantown up for collateral.

She repeatedly criticizes the prices at Taco Punk, but makes no effort to understand how these prices are set. We have principles and they come with a price. First, all of our ingredients are of the highest quality available and we make everything from scratch, by hand, every day. Our protein selections, purchased from family farmers, are priced two to three times what the commercial equivalent sells for. How is this possible? The Federal Farm Bill. If you don’t know it by now, agribusiness has bought our government out. The Farm Bill favors industrial giants like Cargill, Perdue, and Monsanto. Corn, wheat and soybeans are federally subsidized so heavily that they sell for far less than what it costs to produce. What do most industrial factory farms feed their animals? Corn, soy, and wheat. Thus, any food service operation that chooses to use conventional sources of protein offers prices that are artificially low. If the public would like for my prices to drop, they can contact Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell and tell them they want family farmers to be included in the Federal Farm Bill.

Furthermore, I pay my employees, including two refugees, 20 percent more than other jobs in the industry. Another added expense is due to a commitment to responsible waste disposal. All of our service ware is made of compostable material. It is triple the price of Styrofoam and double the price of petroleum plastic. We also use Blue Sky Services to compost all biomass and recycle all plastic, metal, paper and glass. To date our composting and recycling program has diverted over 80 percent of our waste from the landfill.

Taco Punk’s prices are determined by simple math not a desire to gouge the customer. After all, responsibility comes with a price. Our food is not cheap but it is an excellent value when these factors are taken into thoughtful consideration. In addition, we offer many daily specials and group discounts including a student discount. Any student with a valid ID receives a 10 percent discount.

We are also involved in numerous charitable organizations and are constantly looking for ways we can help our community.

It is entirely possible Hodge received a bad meal. Nearly all restaurants have lapses in quality and we are not immune. However, it is unreasonable for a newspaper critic to smash a restaurant over a single menu choice. Taco Punk has a satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with your meal, please tell us. We will gladly correct the problem or refund your money. Engaging in a dark fantasy (that borders on terroristic threatening) about tossing a firebomb as an expression of “punkness” is not only personally disturbing but irresponsible journalism –especially from the desk of the Editor-in-Chief.

The goal of an opinion piece is to use facts to back up the columnist’s opinion and persuade the reader. Hodge ultimately only persuaded a whole lot of readers to see though her lousy Anthony Bourdain impression to see a young journalist completely unprepared and unqualified for the positions of critic or Editor-in-Chief. (She doesn’t even know the difference between a pallet and the palate.)

I have spent my entire adult life dedicated to the art of bringing people together over a shared meal. Hodge’s sensational work only reinforces the tired “us vs. them” trope. If we are to solve any of the serious problems facing our civilization we must work together towards change. I wish my prices were lower. But until a lot more restaurants start buying from local farms and use green products and practices that simply cannot happen. Taco Punk is trying to change the way quick service restaurants are run by offering clean, healthy and socially responsible food for affordable prices.

Rae Hodge’s piece in The Louisville Cardinal on Taco Punk is an inaccurate, irresponsible excuse for journalism and beneath the high standards of the University bearing its name and she should be held accountable for these lapses.

Sincerely,

Gabe Sowder

Chef/owner, Taco Punk