Editorial stands for common sense
Re: the editorial "Haslam right to hire Muslim" (July 18). Usually I find most Free Press editorials dogmatic and narrow-minded. I was very pleasantly surprised to read of your support of Gov. Haslam's hiring of a highly qualified Muslim woma, and his refusal to fire other state employees because of their sexual orientation.
He did the right thing, even though I am sure he knew he would incur the wrath of the tea party and other bigots.
Congratulations on your stand for common sense.
ERNIE PIERCE, Ringgold, Ga.
It could take years to cut the debt
I need a lesson in economics 101. Any response would be greatly appreciated.
The debt of the federal government is $15 trillion. Annual deficits in recent years have ballooned. We are told that this debt will burden our grandchildren.
Given all this, isn't the situation hopeless no matter which political party prevails in November? Even if the Ryan plan is implemented, won't it take many decades to end deficit spending and to pay down the debt? And can this be done without deepening the recession?
Urban sprawl maze mars transportation
The Business section (July 12) contained an important discussion on transit problems in the Chattanooga area. The article recognized the cause of the problems but did not mention the significance of the larger issues that were visibly looming four decades ago.
City planners and zoning officials are largely responsible for the development of this problem in failing to recognize the effects of hodgepodge urban sprawl. Officials responsible for urban development must learn to design and authorize through purposeful zoning locations for industrial use, business use, and housing use with adequate mass transit corridors, including electric rail connecting the areas. What may seem like a local inconvenience morphs into a colossal concern when multiplied by a thousand to encompass the national scope.
This lack of vision has manifested itself in dangerous dependence on foreign oil and environmental pressures resulting from heavy reliance on individual passenger car transportation. Political leaders and zoning officials were and continue to be at fault, not the oil companies that provide the petroleum products we demand for our daily lives or the transportation companies that move people and products through this maze of urban sprawl.
DAN C. JOHNSON
Wamp lives out his values
What would motivate Weston Wamp to run for Congress? His Facebook page mentions two of his favorite quotes. It is in those that reflect his moral compass. It has shaped him into the young man he is today and the values that his family instilled in him. Such values motivate him to question, challenge and fight a political system which is bankrupt and in dire need of repair.
Weston's message follows in the tradition of former President Ronald Reagan, which is "government is we the people." These things are truly American and at the heart of this young man's effort to represent us.
Weston possesses a keen understanding that our founders had a vision -- a vision that requires us to honor the sacred trust we have been given as a nation. It is refreshing to find a young man who understands this fact and has made the choice to represent us. Such a choice should not be based on one's age but their commitment and willingness to make a difference by living out their values instead of shirking their responsibility.
Corker undecided on sea treaty
In a letter "Senators' support of treaty alarming" (July 18), the writer incorrectly states that Sen. Bob Corker supports the Law of the Sea Treaty.
First, it is important to note that the treaty has not come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or the full Senate for a vote and, most significantly, lacks the 67 votes necessary to be ratified in this Congress.
Sen. Corker has expressed his skepticism toward the treaty, acknowledging the concerns of the writer and others, but, as Tennesseans have come to expect, the senator thinks it's important to fully understand the provisions of the complex document, participate in hearings, meet with stakeholders and fully complete his due diligence before finalizing his position.
LAURA HERZOG, Communications Director, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
Story about nuclear sites misses points
The recent AP article "Building Costs Rise at U.S. Nuclear Sites" (July 11) offers a blurry snapshot of large, complex projects that will prove upon completion to be highly beneficial to electricity customers and regional economies.
These snapshots in time do not reflect key factors, including long-term contracts for materials and labor at set prices, lower-than-forecasted interest rates and other related financing costs that play out over the life of the project. To illustrate, at some point during construction there may have been a delay in the construction schedule due to small design changes. The result could be a temporary spike in the plant cost projection at that particular moment. At the same time there will be savings down the line from reduced expenses.
As for additional plants beyond those being built in Georgia and South Carolina, the industry has said that new construction will proceed at a measured pace. The industry expects nuclear plant construction to accelerate in the 2020s given the overall economic recovery and the impact of federal air quality regulations on fossil-fuel generation.
SCOTT PETERSON, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Energy Institute, Washington, D.C.
Lack of control hurts Fleischmann
Re-elect Rep. Chip Saltsman for U.S. Congress! Oh, wait ... It's Chuck Fleischmann?
The investigation and lawsuit involving Chuck Fleischmann and his chief of staff, Chip Saltsman, is troubling to say the least. I would hope that the individual I vote for is actually involved in the campaign he is supposedly the face of. If Fleischmann is unaware of the information and materials being put out with his name on it, what is he going to be unaware of when he is representing our 3rd District in Washington? And where is the control, the leadership, the direction over his own staff? As a Chattanooga resident and Republican voter, this is seriously troubling.
I know the Republican primary is just weeks away, but I have definitely not made up my mind of who to support on Aug. 2. Except I won't be voting for Fleischmann.
The ongoing investigation into Fleischmann's campaign and Saltsman's "leave of absence" is an embarrassment to the residents of Tennessee. By the way, where is Mr. Saltsman?
Column shows we all matter
Metropolitan Ministries thanks reporter David Cook for his moving column of July 8 about our clients, the Gallians, and their financial struggles, and for his column on July 18 about compassion as an essential component of human nature
The Gallians, who pawned their television, camcorder, truck title and wedding ring to pay for food and rent, were not the exception among the clients seen at MetMin. In my 15 years as an intake volunteer there, I have worked with other hurting people, and there are many more of them.
All people are welcomed with respect and treated with dignity at MetMin. All people strive for faith in themselves and hope for their families and the future. MetMin seeks to give that by listening; by helping to pay rent or utilities, provide a food voucher, or pay for a prescription medication. Our supportive services go beyond financial assistance by linking our clients with help from educational programs to veterinary care.
As David writes, we help because we know that others matter. We are gratified by the generous responses to David's July 8 column and thankful for the new friends we have made through it. I say "thank you" on behalf of the Gallians and our other clients. We all matter.
SALLY DURAND, Chairman of the Board, Metropolitan Ministries Inc.
Voters remember Vital's missteps
Again we have a politician calling a lie a misstatement, performing ethical gymnastics to advance his career. Greg Vital apologized for "misleading" people into thinking he was a college graduate. He stated recently that he "finished up" college in 1979, then called his remarks a "Freudian slip." A Freudian slip arises from an unconscious or repressed act. College attendance is conscious.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that California politician Xavier Alvarez could say he earned the Medal of Honor, though he never served in the military. The court ruled that the Stolen Valor Act was an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech.
Mr. Vital's attitude is troubling. "I made a mistake and I apologize to the folks I may have misled. I'm done with it." He further stated, "I've gotten dozens of emails from people who have been faced with the same problem, who have suffered." Mr. Vital might be "done with" the issue and thinks he's "suffered," but voters remember.
Mr. Vital can say he went to college; the Supreme Court guarantees it, but when my state senator finds himself standing at the intersection of conscience and compromise, he had better know which way to turn.
Bennett has many accomplishments
I have known Bill Bennett for over 50 years and know him to be trustworthy and a man of integrity.
In your article, (July 9) very little was said about his accomplishments that qualify him to be property assessor for Hamilton County. I would like the people to be aware of his qualifications when they go to the ballot box on Aug. 2.
Mr. Bennett served for 14 years on the Hamilton County Commission and chairman for three terms.
He was appointed by the governor to the State Board of Equalization.
He was named "Assessor of the Year" for the state of Tennessee.
He was honored with the state of Tennessee Outstanding Achievement Award in 2010.
He has served as Hamilton County property assessor for 18 years, giving him valuable knowledge in how our county government works.
I highly recommend Bill Bennett as our assessor of property for Hamilton County.
Americans don't know how to act
We're upset by jobs, economic stress and election jabber. What common factor lives in these fears of the unknown and the unexpected?
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark once said: "Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let's love turbulence and use it for change." Turbulence is a situation or event characterized by tumult -- and tumult is commotion or agitation of a multitude.
Within America's life force is an astonishing fact: power is given to its citizens by the nation's Constitution. Power is the ability to act. Read that again so it sinks in because, over time, Americans forgot how to act. We rely on elected officials to uphold the Constitution -- too many of whom transgress their oaths to sustain it. Naturally, big money and corruption took over.
Fear is painful emotion marked by dread, made worse by helplessness. Feelings of powerlessness will create fear, but will end if we unlearn the fundamentals of state and federal government. High schools should teach basic civil law; we have a right to learn it.
Now, who wants to approach the election commission for signed guarantees that no computerized vote-switching will occur? Let's see hands. What, don't know how?