published Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Haslam has much to lose in water war with Georgia and other letters to editors

Haslam has much to lose in water war with Georgia

[Gov. Bill] Haslam has little to win, but a lot to lose with his high stakes bet against Georgia prevailing in the water wars.

If he wins, then we donā€™t have to share a little bit of the huge Tennessee River, but if he loses, potentially 30,000 Tennesseans become Georgians overnight.

Thanks, Bill, but Iā€™d much rather give Georgia a TVA-managed sip through a long straw than risk the Supreme Court deciding that the original state line, clearly designated as the 35th Parallel, should be upheld.

ARTHUR DOUCETTE, East Ridge


Alcohol makers need to stand up

Let's have a drink. Oh, this is fun. Let's have another. Mom and Dad say you have fun when you drink. Is this the message we want to leave our kids? Think of all the fun things drinking has given us. Thousands killed or brutally twisted by drunk drivers, broken homes, fights, people in jail and all the money spent to repair ruined lives.

The CDC reported 23,000 deaths of women this year alone to binge drinking. Alcohol is a habit-forming drug, make no mistake about it. Not to mention all the beer bottles and trash on our streets.

All the makers of alcohol don't accept any responsibilities to pay for the mental and physical damage they cause. All they do is put a little phrase on the container that says "drink responsibly." That's it. What a trashy cop-out of responsibility. What about the funds to combat drinking and driving? What about the funds for the mental and physical damage caused? What about a rebate to clean up the trash? Step up, booze makers.

JERRY PLACE, Rossville


GOP lets firms milk customers

Republicans claim to be against taxes, but they have no problem letting huge corporations milk customers with ever-increasing fees.

Our telephone and DSL bill has risen from $91.71 to $98.19 just since October 2012. The increase is not linked to our usage of DSL or long distance. It is solely the larding on of additional fees by AT&T. Our most recent bill adds a line "inspection fee" of $1.99, authorized by the state of Tennessee.

The Tennessee Legislature has enacted measures to deregulate AT&T, thus allowing it to keep raising rates with no public input or control. When I called AT&T about this fee, I was told it was a "one time" charge at this time, but that it could become a monthly charge.

I suspect that many in the Republican-controlled state legislature get plump contributions in exchange for making this deal that fleeces their constituents.

JESSICA K. ZAMMIT, Sewanee, Tenn.


Put spending cuts in play

Just to be sure I hadn't missed something in the Times' Sunday editorial, I read through it twice. After ragging about the "recycled" House Republican budget plan and all the damage it would do with its proposed spending cuts, it proceeded to roll out the ever popular liberal notion that soaking the rich will provide all the revenue we need to bring things back in to balance.

The editor made no mention of spending cuts or entitlement reform, which is what I was looking for. I'll buy eliminating loopholes in the tax code which will lead to some revenue enhancement, an idea not very popular with Boehner and his gang. But come on, let's talk big picture. We've gotten nowhere if we don't throw spending cuts and entitlement reform into any meaningful discussion about deficit reduction.

STEVE BERNTHAL, Blairsville, Ga.


Editorial cartoon belonged in comics

The March 26 Ramirez cartoon "Election 2012 Autopsy" should have been on the cartoon pages, not the editorial section. It was so ludicrous it was funny!

BILL HAYES


We need dialogue to unite people

I support the suggestion that gang members "should be treated like humans." That does not mean they shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. It means, as she suggests, that officials call together the Bloods and the Crips "and ask them what they need to change." When people are angry, it is usually for a good reason.

My other comment is in response to a letter titled "socialists, communists hide under title of 'progressives'." I wish there would be a way for progressives and conservatives to sit down together on a regular basis to talk.

Labeling and calling names have never resulted in dialogue. What we need in this community and all across America, a country I love, is dialogue. Maybe the Times Free Press would be willing to sponsor such dialogues. I bet we have more in common than we think.

ANNE CURTIS


Medicaid expansion beneficial for all

Governor Haslam, please accept the federal money to expand our Medicaid [TennCare] program. This allows 240,000 working Tennesseans to get health care, and this decision is financially beneficial to all Tennesseans.

I see the consequences of no health insurance every week at Partners for Healing, a medical clinic for the working uninsured. I see the penalty associated with delaying treatment needed for cancer and the aftermath of not obtaining long-term treatment for chronic illnesses.

Besides the human costs, it is expected that many rural hospitals will close. Twenty-eight hospitals are at risk because they will no longer receive money from the federal government for uncompensated care. That money (Tennessee taxpayer money) will go to states expanding their Medicaid programs instead of Tennessee. Overall, health care creates 15-20 percent of jobs in rural areas. These jobs will disappear. That is why the Tennessee Hospital Association and many Chambers of Commerce are supporting the expansion. They believe for every $1 Tennessee puts into this program we will receive $32 in return.

Expansion provides the uninsured access to health care and will extend lives. The July 2012 New England Journal of Medicine found that expanding Medicaid will significantly reduce death rates.

DONNA A. SEELY, Tullahoma, Tenn.


Benson is good for District 4

I have known Jack Benson as a friend and constituent for years. No one on the City Council works harder or spends more time and effort than Jack does for District 4 and the Chattanooga community.

Jack led in the development of Heritage Park on Jenkins Road where children can play safely and adults can relax and walk with or without their pets.

He also promoted the start of the McKamey Animal Shelter and continues to be a strong supporter.

Jack and I, as many others, oppose the sale of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium, built and opened in 1924 as a living memorial to the Hamilton County veterans of World War I and of those who will serve for generations to come. To me, selling the auditorium would be unpatriotic.

The state Department of Transportation allowed the city to be in charge of constructing the roundabout at Shallowford and Jenkins roads. It is finished and works great.

Do not blame Jack and the City Council for the Shallowford Road fiasco. TDOT is in charge, resulting in the current mess.

The land use plan has protected the quality of growth in our community. I ask your support of Jack Benson for re-election to the City Council on April 9.

U.S. MYERS


Postal Service benefits all

The Postal Service accounts for $1 trillion of the U.S. economy yearly (one-eighth).

Some $5.6 billion is snatched from it yearly under false pretenses (never happened anywhere else, and such loss can't be sustained by any large business of which I am aware) by the U.S. government for future retirees benefits which are paid up years in advance right now.

The service made $100 million from operations last year as reported in the Times Free Press.

No other entity delivers to 100 percent of residences and businesses in the U.S. six days a week. Indeed, all other businesses deliver but a tiny fraction as many deliveries as the USPS. The USPS has had no bailout and has used no tax money in recent years.

Please quit forecasting gloom and doom on the service designed for your benefit and usage and I'll keep on enjoying your fine newspaper.

DUN B. MONROE, Signal Mountain

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