Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
The Bowling Green Daily News on armed protesters outside of the state Capitol building:
We understand why many Kentuckians are upset and ready for life as we knew it before COVID-19 to return.
We, too, want life to return to normal, and we understand why people are frustrated about not being able to go to restaurants, go on vacation, go shopping or even go to parks. Not being able to go into public buildings, attend school, go to work or be within six feet of friends and family is a tiresome, and even anxiety-inducing, situation.
That said, we must accept reality and put our trust in doctors, medical experts and elected officials to give the best advice they can in an effort to keep the number of cases and deaths from this epidemic as low as possible.
We have said before that President Donald Trump and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have done well in helping Americans and businesses battle this epidemic. We’ve also said that we believe that Gov. Andy Beshear has done a good job in his daily briefings about the epidemic, trying to get our state as much equipment as possible, trying to stem the numbers of new cases and also trying to keep the number of deaths as low as possible.
Beshear announced late last week several phases of his gradual plan to let some businesses, churches and facilities begin to reopen. We were glad to see that, while still being cautious, Beshear is trying to let life get somewhat back to normal in Kentucky.
We believe this is the way a leader should operate. Some obviously disagree and have argued that Beshear has taken too long to reopen businesses and other facilities.
It’s obviously their prerogative to think that way, but we think it is better to remain on the side of caution than to rush into reopening too quickly and have an abundance of new cases and deaths.
Those who strongly disagree with Beshear are outraged and extremely angry, as seen during a rally outside the Capitol in Frankfort last weekend.
More than 1,000 people attended the rally, demanding that Beshear reopen Kentucky’s economy immediately and denounced Beshear’s “arbitrary” and “unconstitutional” response to the coronavirus pandemic. Some at the event urged those in the crowd to remove their masks. An X-ray technician below the podium wearing scrubs and a mask stood in silent protest of the gathering. Several attendees holding signs moved to block her as speeches began, while others screamed insults at her.
It was really unfortunate that some chose to surround this woman and harass her simply because she had an opposing view.
Something we found really odd about the rally was the many people wearing full camouflage fatigues, bulletproof vests and face masks, while carrying AR-15s and sidearms on their waist.
The editorial board of this newspaper is a longtime supporter of the Second Amendment, but we really don’t think it was necessary for people to show up at this rally carrying assault rifles and pistols.
Even if it is their right to do so, what is the point of bringing weapons to a rally over COVID-19? Was being armed supposed to intimidate Beshear and frighten him into giving into their demands? We don’t know what their reasoning for being armed was all about, honestly. And why are they covering their faces while brandishing AR-15s? Do they have paper out on them and do not want to be identified?
We don’t know why, but we would surmise that peaceful assembly like we witnessed May 2 can be carried out without the military fatigues, bulletproof vests, masks and guns. Now, had this been a Second Amendment rally, we would likely have no problem with it, aside from the yelling at the X-ray technician for no reason other than she had a different opinion than them.
We all know Kentucky is a pro-gun friendly state. We have open carry laws that allow essentially anyone who is not a convicted felon, is at least 21 years old and has no mental problems or domestic violence order to legally posses and carry a concealed pistol without a permit. Kentuckians who qualify are allowed to carry AR-15s as well.
Again, we don’t have an issue with them carrying these weapons in general. We just believe that carrying them at this particular rally was unnecessary and gave the impression that they were carrying them as a means of intimidation toward Beshear and those who work for him.
We don’t think Beshear will or should be intimidated by these people because they were carrying weapons at a rally. Beshear should continue doing what he believes is best for the state and its citizens and those who want to carry guns should continue doing so, but perhaps at a pro-Second Amendment rally, at home protecting their families, walking around the towns in which they live for personal protection or shooting at a gun range.
The News-Enterprise on large companies claiming federal relief funds meant for small businesses:
It is unlikely there are many Hardin County business owners struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic that will know the following names offhand. But what Jeanie Buss, Randy Garutti and Cheryl Henry each have in common likely is to raise their collective blood pressure. Each of these multi-millionaires runs staggeringly large organizations.
They and many others like them also received hundreds of millions of dollars through the Payroll Protection Program emergency fund of the coronavirus CARES Act.
Jeanie Buss is controlling owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers. As 16-time NBA championship team with a reported $3.7 billion valuation, the L.A. Lakers are the eighth most valuable professional sports team on the planet. Buss is estimated to have a personal net worth of $540 million. The team applied for and received a PPP loan totaling $4.6 million.
Randy Garutti is CEO of Shake Shack. The publicly traded fast-food restaurant company with an estimated $104 million in cash on-hand, operates some 250 locations across the US and internationally. Garutti’s net worth is reported to have been $8.6 million in 2019. His company applied for and received a PPP loan totaling $10 million.
Cheryl Henry, CEO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, is reported to have a $9.5 million net worth in 2017. Even though the company’s renowned Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain had a $14.4 million net income last year, it applied for and received a $20 million PPP loan.
The PPP signed into law by President Donald Trump is intended to help small mom-and-pop retail and service businesses survive while state-mandated closure orders and other commerce restriction efforts continue to contain the spread of COVID-19. The program was meant to help main street shops retain and pay their employees during the crisis. It never was intended to underwrite a professional sports franchise, publicly traded fast-food chain or any other entity whose owners have access to treasure troves of liquid assets such as these folks.
The federal government allocated $349 billion for the Payroll Protection Program emergency fund. Due in part to inappropriate loan applications and awards to the largest of public companies and private organizations, the funding pool ran dry in a matter of days.
More than 175 publicly traded companies received in excess of $650 million in this low interest, taxpayer-backed PPP loans. Further reporting on the subject by The Associated Press is showing that number is growing.
The LA Lakers, Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris each pledged to return the money they received, but not before public scrutiny began befalling their organizations.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said they and others like them have until May 7 to pay back the loans without liability. To avoid similar application, he’s also said future PPP-funded businesses must attest in good faith they have no access to other funding and no other way to stay afloat without the loan.
When anyone gets a hand-out, everyone will have their hand out. In this situation, whether their applications met the original criteria or not, the decisions by the Lakers, Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris and large corporations and their leaders like them certainly give truth to the saying.
The Daily Independent on enjoying outdoor spaces responsibly:
Armco Park’s gates swung open April 30 at at 8 a.m., but if we all flock there at once, it defeats the purpose.
So, while this decision made by Boyd County Judge-Executive Eric Chaney is both good and popular, continue to be responsible.
What Chaney said about folks filling up parking lots and piling into large stores — let’s face it, to shop for both non-essential and essential items — rings true.
Instead of confining citizens to those spaces, it’s healthier to have an outdoor option, even if it is allergy season for some.
Whether it’s walking the Iron Ore Trail (with trekkers several feet apart), playing a little bit of disc golf (safely) or having a small picnic (emphasis on small), opening Armco Park offers families who may not have a big back yard an opportunity to enjoy a nice outdoor area for a change.
This will undoubtedly help Crisp’s Dairy Treat’s business, too, as the traditional stop-at-Crisp’s-and-eat-it-at-the-park event is back in play.
Again, as Chaney and the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department stated, this must be handled in the safest possible way.
Basically, use common sense, everyone.
Chaney’s announcement coincided with Gov. Andy Beshear unveiling the steps to slowly but surely reopen the state. Phase I of re-opening the Commonwealth will span the month of May, and each step will grant us more hope and promise that things will get back to normal.
However, if we go back to our old habits too soon, it may bite us.
The message is quite simple: Be smart. Make good choices not only for you but those around you.
Go, enjoy the park … responsibly.