- Associated Press - Thursday, August 10, 2017

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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Aug. 1

Lexington Herald-Leader on Gov. Matt Bevin blocking comments on his social-media posts:

Gov. Matt Bevin has asserted there is nothing so transparent as him talking to the public via social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Actually, no.

What Bevin is doing is more like speaking into a mirror from which he can choose the image reflected back.

By blocking hundreds from commenting on his social-media posts, he’s controlling not only the message but the response, and there’s nothing transparent about that.

While the governor and his office have not offered any public information about how they choose who will be eliminated from the discussion, there does seem to be a strong correlation between people critical of him and those who are blocked.

That’s the basis of a lawsuit filed against Bevin Monday by the ACLU on behalf of two Kentucky residents who are among those Bevin has blocked on his social media accounts. Essentially, they argue, Bevin is restricting their political speech by kicking them out of a public forum.

And that’s the problem. Our First Amendment protections don’t require officeholders or others to subject themselves to vile and threatening speech. But the free-speech guarantee, at its heart, is about freedom to express contradictory points of view, and to be heard.

Although this area of law is new, like the social media involved, courts have not been friendly to other public officials and institutions who, like Bevin, have tried to control who gets to speak about what.

In 2014, a federal judge ordered the City and County of Honolulu to pay attorney’s fees for people who sued because their Facebook posts critical of the police department had been deleted. Last month, a Virginia federal judge wrote that the chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors “committed a cardinal sin under the First Amendment,” by blocking a critical commenter from her official Facebook account.

What Bevin is doing is not unique or original. President Donald Trump, for one, has also blocked Twitter followers, a move that has also drawn a legal challenge.

But it is disturbing. Politicians and officeholders have increasingly abandoned traditional forms of public exposure, like broadcast debates or true public town halls (rather than staged, invitation-only appearances before supporters), and decline to comment to established media.

As they turn instead to social media to flog their messages, it’s important that people with different experiences and opposing views have the opportunity to be heard.

When those dissenting voices are kicked out of the dialogue, we all suffer.

Online: https://www.kentucky.com/

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Aug. 1

Daily News of Bowling Green on school bus safety:

Getting children to and from school safely is one of parents’ top concerns. With the school year about to begin, we need to do all we can to ensure this happens.

It never ceases to amaze us when we hear every year about drivers passing school buses when the buses’ stop arms are extended as they pick up or drop off kids in the morning and afternoon. Is risking a kid’s life really worth getting to your destination a few minutes sooner? We don’t think so.

Not only is this action extremely dangerous, it is also against the law. Sadly, it appears to be a common occurrence every year. Last school year, Warren County Public Schools bus drivers reported 86 incidents of drivers passing a bus while the stop arm was extended. This is way too many instances, in our view, because it only takes one time for someone to pass a school bus and severely injure or kill a child. It was good news to learn that the number last year was lower than the previous year, when the district had 120 to 130 complaints. When violations like this occur, bus drivers are supposed to get information, such as the type of vehicle that passed them and its license plate number, but sometimes the drivers aren’t able to do so.

While it is impossible to stop everyone from passing school buses when the arm is extended, we should do all we can to promote awareness about the dangers of doing so.

It appears that about 90 percent of the people passing stopped buses are driving the opposite direction. People generally know to stop for a bus if they’re behind it.

That’s what is so weird for us and others to understand: How do people not know to stop when they see a stopped school bus with an arm extended and kids getting on and off? It simply makes no sense that someone would see this and continue to drive past the bus, potentially putting people’s lives in danger in the process.

There are some exceptions when drivers are allowed to keep going when buses are stopped. Drivers going the opposite direction don’t have to stop if they’re on a four-lane highway, according to state law. If you’re on a two-lane road, any time the bus is stopped, everyone must stop.

These are all very reasonable laws to abide by when passing a stopped school bus picking up or unloading children. As the school year quickly approaches, we urge people to simply leave for work or their destination a little earlier to allow for possible stops due to the presence of buses. It’s much better to adhere to the law, allow a little more time and, for you and our kids’ sake, get to and from destinations in a safe manner.

Online: https://www.bgdailynews.com/

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Aug. 1

The Courier-Journal of Louisville on Gov. Matt Bevin tweeting “falsehoods:”

Poker players refer to tells, the clear signal another player unconsciously puts out that makes his hand evident.

A tell, obviously, is a liability in poker. Tells appear in other avenues of life, too, like politics.

Take Gov. Matt Bevin, for instance, whose political tell was in full effect Tuesday before a tour by an assessment committee at his Anchorage mansion that will be used to help determine the true value of the home.

Bevin turns positively Trumpian when he’s under pressure, unleashing a flurry of falsehoods to try to deflect attention from the real issues, like whether he got a sweetheart deal on his mansion’s purchase price from his buddy and political crony.

Here are some examples of the laughably ridiculous tweets he fired off Tuesday.

Lie 1: He accused the Courier-Journal and WAVE 3 News of flying a drone over his home.

Lie 2: He claimed the drone was filming his children.

Lie 3: He said Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus came to the governor’s home with three attorneys trying to get into his home.

These claims are false. TV station WDRB acknowledged flying the drone. There were no children filmed. Only one attorney accompanied reporter Tom Loftus, there to point out that the inspection was a public meeting subject to the Kentucky Open Meetings Act.

Bevin’s tell is worth paying attention to, especially as state government gears up to tackle the crippling pension crisis.

We know the pension problem is real and we fully support Bevin’s determination to fix it.

We also know the governor’s tell, and we’ll be watching closely for it as his priorities play out.

Online: https://www.courier-journal.com/


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