published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Drew's views

HEADLINE: Red Bank to consider doing away with speed cameras

THE RECAP: Seven years after Red Bank commissioners voted to install speed cameras, Mayor Monty Millard wants to do away with the controversial law-enforcement tool. The mayor claims people are avoiding driving through areas with the cameras, hurting local businesses as a result.

DREW'S VIEW: I'm in shock. Apparently there is actually a reasonable, clearheaded elected official in southeast Tennessee. Who knew? Mayor Millard's stance to work to end the practice of hurting local businesses in favor of extracting money from drivers going a few miles an hour over the speed limit is refreshing.

Whether speed camera supporters want to admit it or not, drivers often alter their routes to bypass the cameras. That not only puts unneeded strain on secondary roads, but costs the businesses near speed cameras money.

•••

HEADLINE: EPB urged to cut gig Internet price in Chattanooga

THE RECAP: For all the talk of Chattanooga's gigabit network, only 34 customers actually subscribe to the $350 per month service. Kansas City will soon offer the same speeds for only $70 per month.

DREW'S VIEW: Since only 34 customer pay for gig service, the service is obviously not self-sufficient. Other fiber services (not to mention electric and taxpayer funds) help subsidize gig customers.

So why not lower the price to encourage more gig customers? Perhaps it's because EPB doesn't want more gig customers. Could it be that EPB's vaunted fiber capabilities are exaggerated and they system can only handle a very limited number of gig users? It seems possible that EPB could be using price as a barrier to restrain the number of customers.

•••

HEADLINE: Chattanooga Bakery hoping new packaging will boost sales of iconic MoonPie

THE RECAP: MoonPies will soon come in new packaging based on a midnight blue color the brand used in the 1930s in hopes of generating a 10 percent annual jump in revenue.

DREW'S VIEW: Rather than spending all this time and money redesigning the packaging, maybe the good folks at the Chattanooga Bakery should focus their efforts on developing a MoonPie that doesn't dry out and crumble apart like a musty piece of hardtack after a few weeks on the shelf.

There's not a lot better than a fresh MoonPie. There's not a lot worse than a stale one.

•••

HEADLINE: D'oh! USPS stuck with 682 million 'Simpsons' stamps

THE RECAP: In a move that wasted $1.2 million in printing costs, the Postal Service produced one billion stamps featuring characters from the cartoon "The Simpsons." It sold only 318 million.

DREW'S VIEW: Apparently, when ordering the stamps, it didn't dawn on the U.S. postal service that fans of "The Simpsons" are mostly highly computer literate 25 to 40-year-olds who pay bills online, correspond through emails and text messages, and rarely mail anything. The folks who actually rely on stamps for daily tasks include 80-year-old technophobes who probably aren't clamoring to get their hands on a Homer stamp.

•••

HEADLINE: Dozens of black bear sightings reported in Bradley County

THE RECAP: TWRA officers have received a number of reports of black bear sightings in southern Bradley County.

DREW'S VIEW: Black bears? Sounds racist to me.

•••

HEADLINE: World's largest paddlewheel steamboat visits Chattanooga

THE RECAP: The American Queen, the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built, visited Chattanooga on Monday. About 50 people gathered at Ross's Landing to watch as the 90-foot-tall boat undocked.

DREW'S VIEW: Wait, did I pick up the paper from 1837? I'm not surprised only 50 people showed up to see a steamboat. After all, two million people fly every day -- not float on some wood down the river, but fly six miles in the air at 450 miles per hour -- and no one even seems impressed by that.

It says something about America's enthusiasm -- or lack thereof - for steamboats when the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a replica of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s racecar or the world's largest ball of bellybutton lint would all draw more spectators than the biggest steamboat ever. If steamboats were a stock, I'd be selling.

But, of course, city officials would be buying. After all, the City of Chattanooga spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars to dock a paddlewheel steamboat at Coolidge Park Landing so it could be used temporarily as a hotel. What's next? The city getting into the whale blubber oil lamp business?

•••

HEADLINE: MainStreet Dayton plans to brighten holiday season

THE RECAP: Dayton will use $5,000 in state-funded Courthouse Square Revitalization grant money to buy 50 double-faced lighted wreaths for downtown lampposts and some greenery for the welcoming archway that crosses Main Street.

DREW'S VIEW: Why in God's Holy Name are our state tax dollars going to buy Christmas decorations for downtown Dayton? If the folks in Dayton want to pass the hat and get civic groups and businesses to throw in a few bucks and buy some holiday wreaths and lights to hang up around Monkey Trial headquarters, great. Knock yourselves out. But to use tax dollars to buy Christmas lights is outrageous. Do taxpayers have to pay for everything now, including a town's Christmas decorations?

Drew's views is a roundup of Free Press opinions about Times Free Press stories from the previous week. Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drews_Views.

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Trying the snipped view? Maybe Monty Milliard ought to consider that people are avoiding Red Bank because there's next to nothing there. But do keep your wild speculation about people diverting around Red Bank to avoid Speed Cameras.

EPB's fiscal business? Another wild speculation. Most people don't need a Gig, and the same applies to Google's system, which is even more of a sham. But you don't care about that.

I'd rather they not try to make Moonpies like Twinkies, TYVM.

Steamboats are a classic bit of nostalgia, you'd be surprised at how much they're worth as a bit of entertainment. Given how much advertising goes into Dale Jr., or the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, I wouldn't be surprised that they get more attention. They do it on purpose, whereas this Steamboat? Wasn't trying to get people on board it. You can't fail at what you're not trying at.

And haven't you noticed the demands of the people for more support of their very important Christian traditions? I suspect you might find that some people accuse you of being intolerant of their religion.

August 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.
joneses said...

Another fine example of happy wanting government control. Of course happy will be for the speed cameras as he is content with any form of government intervention and he will hide behind calling it a safety issue.

August 24, 2012 at 6:24 a.m.
ldurham said...

Let's hope this attention-seeking wanna-be is not under a long-term contract. Seriously? All that's going on in the world, and you're taking on Moon Pies? You may have written something else after that, who knows...you lost me.

August 24, 2012 at 8:14 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Traffic Cameras

The fact is that traffic data collected by T-DOT and empty buildings are indicative of an adverse economic impact. That is not wild speculation. Red Bank is over camera policed.

Mayor Millard, "Tear Down Those Cameras."

EPB

On EPB, the Chamber of Commerce Pilot agreement crowd has scammed the public on the taxpayer capital investments. EPB's bond rating was decreased because the return on the capital investment is just not materializing. Get you head out of the sand people. It seems that the public ignores the facts, because the documented truth that the taxpayers have been scammed is just to hard to accept.

I heard someone on the radio state, "in Chattanooga you must get along and follow, to get along." Sadly, that is the mentality here.

Gov accountability and watch groups across the State have been investigating EPB's business model for over 2 years. Thank Goodness.

http://tennessee.watchdog.org/2011/12/21/chattanooga-residents-get-internet-courtesy-of-taxpayers/

August 24, 2012 at 8:29 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Finally a FP editor who's not repeating the party line of local corporatists, public/private taxpayer ripoffs, and the faux- intellectual busybodies of rich non-profits.

He also tells Chattanooga Bakery to worry about what's inside the plastic wrap more than what's on the wrapping (TDOT uses day-old MoonPies as pothole filler).

Congratulations Free Press — an editor worth reading!

August 24, 2012 at 9:26 a.m.
rosebud said...

This writer reminds me of talk radio hosts who have literally run out of anything to say.

August 24, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Drew is a real person whose middle name, I've been told, is 'Genuine'. I truly hope Chattanooga/surrounding counties will recognize something called healthy in their lives. Thank You, Drew.

August 24, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

I have mixed feelings about those cameras. As a former Red Bank resident it was not always possible for me to avoid them. Whenever I had to go through them I was just extremely cautious, which is what we need to be at traffic intersections anyway. I would be curious to know how many people truly avoid Red Bank because of those cameras. I agree with bulbs. I don't think people avoid Red Bank on account of the traffic cameras; I think they avoid Red Bank because there's nothing there worth going to in the first place!

As for the moon pies...yeah, just what we need most: another food product with a shelf life of forever. My take on food, especially something baked, is that if it's just as "fresh" 2 months or more from the day it was made, then it's most likely something that's not worth eating anyway.

Not sure why you're dissin' the American Queen like you are. Just because it's a relic from the past, it's out of style and thus uninteresting? Do you avoid the Smithsonian, too, because everthing there is old and out of style? I imagine the small turn-out was due more to a lack of adveritising and public announcements than it was to a lack of interest. I didn't know anything at all about its being in Chattanooga until I saw it in the paper. It looked totally cool to me and if I had known about it beforehand I would have gone to see it.

August 24, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.
conservative said...

I see governing and economic lessons here.

In the case of the speed cameras, wasted tax dollars whether they are avoided or discontinued. Then there is the unintended consequences with the disruption of business. Obviously no lessons learned from the failures of other cities. And then the lesson that most politicians are reckless and wasteful spenders because they spend OTHER people's money.

Ditto for the gig jig, Simpson stamps, Coolidge Park and Courthouse Square Revitalization and one day, the rent a bike silliness.

I disagree about the moon pies shelf life. I recently opened a box of chocolate pies that was about 10 months old. I always refrigerate mine or put them in the freezer for a few minutes as I like mine cold. They were great with my coke! Time will tell if the advertising change pays off, but at least it is money spent by the private sector where it should be.

August 24, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.

Rickaroo, indeed, unless people had some psychic awareness of the cameras in advance and started avoiding Red Bank in preparation, it's a very speculative argument. Those buildings have been emptying for years. Come up with better reasoning.

But actually the American Queen isn't exactly a relic from the past. She's a new construction in the style, so it's nostalgia, but no it at artifact.

Conservative, as I've said before, I'm more inclined to be cautious with other people's money. Why do you feel that isn't the way to do things?

August 24, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.
librul said...

All I can think of is Slim Pickens sitting atop a VW plastered with Teabagger / Rmoney stickers going through a red light yelling YEEEEEEEE-HAH.

August 24, 2012 at 2:34 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

HWNB...about the American Queen...I stand corrected. I was referring more to what it represented. But you are right.

August 24, 2012 at 3:08 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Librul, how funny.

August 24, 2012 at 3:39 p.m.
fairmon said...

Red Bank cameras. I for one have not been in Red Bank in almost two years for that very reason. I was ticketed for not stopping to turn right on red. I did stop for a full 5 seconds behind the big white line at Ashland Terrace and Dayton Blvd. then pulled forward and turned right. The video started when I was turning right and did not show the stop. Trying to appeal or discuss it to explain to anyone was essentially impossible with some smart alec young cop saying I am not going to listen to or argue with you. The only acceptable payment method was cash. I know one person in business there that moved to Hixson and I am told others have done so. I know more than 10 other people that avoid Red Bank which suggest to me there are many others. There are some businesses there I like to visit and buy from but I don't and won't.

August 25, 2012 at 9:07 p.m.
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