Are officials' proxy votes legal?
I recently read that our Tennessee elected officials are sending staff members to vote for them on bills.
If this is true ... are any bills passed with these improper actions legal?
If not legally passed, then are they null and void?
Also another question: should these elected officials be required to refund their salaries since they are not performing their duties?
I believe they should be ousted and required to refund any state salaries and expenses they received while in office since they were not really representing those who elected them.
ROGER THOMPSON, Tullahoma, Tenn.
* * * * *
FP editorials now enjoyable
I never thought I'd be writing these words. I actually enjoy reading the Free Press editorials. I attribute this amazing fact to the departure of Lee Anderson, bless his heart.
Although I may still disagree with the reasoning, today's editorials now are reasonable and written without slavishly invoking Republican code words.
Thanks to the person who composes the right-side essays: Thanks for writing without condescension, thanks for a civil tone and thanks most of all for the absence of quotation marks.
* * * * *
Sheriff should be above suspicion
Sheriff Hammond thinks he is above the law! Yes, Hood has paid his sentence just as many other people have done. And, yes, there is no reason that he cannot be a friend to the sheriff. There may not have been any wrongdoing by either of them, but by being the highest law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff should strive to always be above any sort of suspicion. Even if there was nothing improper done, he should have remained out of the situation because of the appearance it creates. So Sheriff Hammond, yes, I am man enough to tell you to your face. Give me the opportunity to meet you and I will do it.
BEN KEIM JR.
* * * * *
GOP doesn't have lock on Scriptures
Why is it that every time someone quotes biblical Scripture that points to how Democratic principles are more in line with the teachings of Christ, some Republican lamely attempts to contradict them by claiming that they are taking said Scriptures out of context, as if that Republican is somehow the only authority on biblical principles?
Using that mentality, I suppose Christ, Himself, must have taken His own words out of context when He spoke of feeding the hungry, quenching the thirsty, inviting in strangers, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned (Matthew 25:31-46).
Was Jesus speaking out of context in the first three Gospels when He described how it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?
And no, there may not be any Scriptures that teach us that government should have sole control of our money. But there are no Scriptures that tell us to eliminate programs that assist and feed the poor to fund tax breaks for millionaires, either.
If you are truly seeking more Christians for higher offices, you should know them by their fruits.
CHRIS SCOTT, Ringgold, Ga.
* * * * *
Accident response superb in all areas
On Tuesday, April 24, in the early afternoon our daughter was in a two-car vehicle accident on Standifer Gap Road. As she walked out of the ditch her car had landed in, she was surrounded by a flock of concerned and much appreciated individuals. She checked on the woman in the other car who was taken to the hospital along with those around her and waited around for the tow truck. The Sheriff's Department had the road detoured, and the response of the emergency vehicles was fast and efficient.
On behalf of our entire family, I want to thank all the citizens and responders for taking such regard for our daughter and the other driver.
STEPHANIE TOOMBS, Hixson
* * * * *
Reasons abound to deny rezoning
On April 9, I attended the Hamilton County Planning Commission meeting that considered a rezone request to allow the Highway 153/Boy Scout Road development to move forward. During the meeting, I heard a variety of comments that broadened my support for denial of the request to rezone.
First, I heard from a city engineer who reiterated that there are no scheduled changes to the I-27/Highway 153 interchange until 2025. Without any upgrades, that intersection cannot handle an elevated traffic load. Citizens and the city engineer noted that several structural problems already exist in the interchange.
Second, the Planning Commission noted the numerous areas of unused retail space in the corridor between Northgate (another mall) and the proposed development. The citizens of Hixson have prioritized the reuse of existing space in future development, and plenty of key opportunities exist in this area.
Finally, this would chop down another hill, homogenize another unique corner of Chattanooga, and choke off another natural space worthy of our attention and stewardship. We've done that before; no need to do it again.
TIM LARAMORE, Red Bank
* * * * *
Everyone pays some sort of tax
Democrats are trying to pass the Buffett Rule, which would require millionaires to pay the same tax rate as middle-class working people. Republicans defend the status quo with the argument that 46 percent of Americans don't pay any federal taxes at all. But this notion of 46 percent of us being freeloaders is a myth.
Everyone who works (even minimum wage) pays payroll taxes. Payroll taxes, which fund Social Security and Medicare, are not counted as federal taxes, yet Social Security and Medicare account for roughly a third of federal spending. If payroll taxes were counted, the number of nonpayer households drops to 18 percent. Most of those 18 percent of households that owe neither federal income nor payroll taxes are elderly or had income under $20,000. But even then, they still end up paying something in taxes.
Once sales taxes on groceries, utilities, gas and clothing, property taxes, vehicle registration, etc. are thrown into the mix, virtually no household in America would qualify for the nonpayer group, and especially not here in Tennessee, which has the highest sales tax in the nation. More than 60 percent of the state's revenue comes from sales taxes, and sales taxes disproportionately hit the poor.
HELEN F. STAPLETON, Sewanee, Tenn.