November 22, 2021 6:00am

November Power Poll results

Medical marijuana, Magnet school and Holiday shortages

Photo of Keith L. Runyon
Louisville, KY Correspondent

Well, just before I submitted the questions for this month's Power Poll, I tripped on the edge of my dining room rug and fell flat on my face. And since then, I've been aching, not abnormal for a 71-year-old guy, and wondering what to do about it. One friend suggested hot showers. My orthopedic surgeon, assuring me that no bones were broken, wondered if I'd like some light narcotics. And then I thought about this week's first question. I've only smoked pot twice in my life--both times before I was twenty-five and most memorably with a group of journalists in the Watergate Hotel ... It didn't affect me other than to give me the worst sore throat I have ever had. Still the things I've read about "edibles," gummies, and brownies and other things using marijuana as an ingredient, seemed to be tempting. Trouble is, they are illegal in Kentucky, only one of 16 states where that is true. I am happy to see the Kentucky General Assembly, most of whose members are a generation younger than I, are considering a bill to join those other enlightened states. A whopping 93 percent of you agreed that it's time for Kentucky to jump aboard the medical marijuana train. Only 7 percent of you disagreed...and nobody -- 0 percent -- was unsure.

The Courier-Journal did an exhaustive study of the magnet school system in Jefferson County, and I commend it to the attention of all readers of Power Poll. Despite some of the florid prose, I think the statistics were of immense value, and these point to a need to study how well the strategy of offering schools and programs for students based on ability and interest has fared. In a sense, I was a product of the first "magnet" program in 1958, when I was among the very first children accepted for the "advance program" in JCPS. There is no question that the quality of instruction and the challenge of scholarship (even diagramming sentences) was important. But the racial disparities were dramatic then, in the early days of integration. And so it seems even today, although great strides have been made. About half of the Power Poll respondents favor changes in magnet school program. That's pretty impressive, and it also is a sign that these schools, like Atherton and Manual (YPAS), are embraced by the powerful and well-educated in Louisville, but still their champions realize there is much to be done to achieve fairness. Still, about a quarter of respondents would not change the magnets, and another quarter have no opinion.

This evening I stopped in Trader Joe's to pick up some holiday-themed items to take to my brother's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Top on my list were Thanksgiving stuffing Seasoned Potato Chips, about which I read in New York magazine recently. After unsuccessfully searching the aisles, I asked a sales clerk who lamented that only one shipment of a couple of boxes had come in...and a lot of people wanted them. "Come on, I'll take you there!" she announced enthusiastically, but couldn't promise we'd find any. Well, lo and behold, there were a few bags left, at the back of the rack where nobody but the Jolly Green Giant or my friendly clerk could reach. She handed me one, and bashfully I asked, "Could I have two?" Smiling, she handed me another, and merrily off I went to checkout. Well, guess what? The checker, who was friendly as a Target greeter, said he'd wanted some, but heard that they sold out immediately and no more would arrive. "Well, check me out and hurry back," I told him. I think this is an a tiny example of what the shortage of goods--food, books, underpants, Apple products, even, god forbid, turkeys--may mean this season. Three-quarters of Power Poll respondents agree that this year, we're going to have to make sacrifices and adjustments to fill our gift lists. Twenty-six percent said no, they'd manage. And only a measly 2 per cent said it would never have occurred to them.

I am new to this survey, and I'm sure I can do more to encourage you to participate. But, come on, people. Only 46 of you responded this month. I could fit all of you into the living room of my condo. 2021 has been a pretty miserable year, but we can do better. I want you people to produce! Please join us next month, for the last Power Poll of the year. It's one way to chart a course for a better 2022! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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