published Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

"Avoid blasting through wildland" and other letters to the editor

Avoid blasting through wildland

As anyone who takes even a casual look at a map of the state of Tennessee easily knows, there is actually very little protected land compared with the hundreds of square miles of developed and semideveloped land across the state.

If you look for national forest, you will only be able to find a thin strip (around 20 miles wide) at the very eastern end of the state in the Cherokee National Forest. This is out of a state stretching over 400 miles from end to end. Further, it is only a percentage of the land even within these national forest boundaries that is actually protected; while the rest is privately owned.

Even within the “protected” lands, there often exist roads, dams and other infrastructure.

Therefore it is extremely important we protect what little truly pristine land remains to us. It is my hope that TDOT will give real consideration to the option of, if anything, doing only spot improvements along the existing Highway 64 route through the Ocoee Gorge. It would protect our remaining environment as well as our remaining tax funds if we avoid blasting any new roadways through the Ocoee’s remaining wildlands.


Fill existing space before adding

Why in this world do people want to sink good money into another mall north of the river when they cannot keep Northgate filled with stores?

In our economy, it is pouring good money right down the drain. Northgate has lots of empty stores. Why not remodel the lot, the existing stores and go from there? I know I am not a business person. I am a retired LPN and a mother.

Think, gentlemen! Fill up Northgate Mall.


Citizens led city’s rebirth

Regarding Thomas Friedman’s commentary and recent speech in Chattanooga: It is important to remember that Chattanooga reinvented itself via an open, inclusive, citizen-led process.

During the 1980s a diverse group of Chattanooga citizens came together as peers to address division, decline and blight. This was not done by the traditional leaders: the city, county, industry, utility, university, etc. They supported the process and its outcomes but otherwise stayed out of the way and let the citizens lead. The process led directly to the innovative public-private partnerships that transformed Chattanooga while preserving and promoting those things that make our community unique.

Without the participatory planning process of the 1980s, it is highly unlikely that EPB’s fiber network—and many other improvements and investments around region — would have happened. With more true citizen engagement, the broadband could have even bigger impacts.

The opportunity for Chattanooga is to reinvigorate and expand our participatory, citizen-led processes. The goal must be to tap into citizens’ energy and ideas by working and learning together as peers. That is the source of true innovation, and what made America and Chattanooga what we are today.


East Ridge

Truth on taxes: ‘Rich’ pay fair share

With all the political demagoguery and ideological talking points, it seems necessary to provide the truth regarding income taxes, especially with the looming “fiscal cliff.” One divisive wedge between the two major parties is the viability of renewing the ostensible “tax cuts for rich,” also known as the Bush tax cuts. President Obama’s claim is that those top income earners should begin to pay their “fair share,” implying that they currently do not.

The facts, however, do not support this contention. In 2010, those earning more than $200,000 in annual income accounted for 52 percent of the nation’s income tax receipts, despite earning only 28 percent of the nation’s income! In other words, a quarter of the nation’s earners pay more than half of the nation’s total income taxes. Those earning $50,000 or less, however, pay only 6 percent of the nation’s taxes, despite earning 22 percent of the nation’s income. Simple arithmetic would show that this is hardly a “fair share” contribution.

A true “fair share” policy would eliminate deductions and credits for middle-class earners like me, and lower all income tax rates to a flat 10 percent-12 percent. Coupled with reduced spending, we suddenly have a responsible fiscal policy. A utopian idea, indeed.


Reagan initiated ‘American miracle’

A Times Free Press letter (Nov. 24) listed various achievements that the writer attributed to the U.S. government, and then stated: “Since the beginning of Reagan’s ‘Government IS the Problem” era, we have been slipping behind in almost every social and economic measurement.” The facts tell a different story.

When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the U.S. was in a prolonged period of government-induced stagnation. Unemployment was over 7 percent and rising, and inflation was in double digits. Overseas, America was seen as weak, as exemplified by the Iranian hostage crisis and an aggressive Soviet Union.

Thanks to Reagan’s “anti-government” (really, pro-market) policies, almost 20 million new jobs were created, inflation plummeted, and average wages rose for all classes, not only the rich. And thanks to the resolute moral leadership of Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other conservative leaders, the Soviet Union was forced into retreat, its government-centric system eventually imploding.

When Reagan was elected, many world leaders turned up their noses at him and his “outmoded” free-market policies. But in 1983, at the G-7 Economic Summit, the chancellor of West Germany, awed by the U.S. revival, turned to Reagan and said, “Tell us about the American miracle.”


Fort Oglethorpe

Past actions are in the past

What is in the past is in the past. Get over it. I used to be pro-gay, pro-abortion, and now I am an ordained bishop in the Church of God. Should I resign because one of my girlfriends had an abortion and now I call that murder? Should I resign because I once lied and stole and committed adultery?

Tell reporter Chris Carroll that I have a story he could report: My church just fed 1,700 people in Grundy County, on Saturday, Nov. 17. We fed the inmates in Grundy jail. We feed and bus in kids on Wednesday nights and buy clothes for kids who have parents on meth. But I should resign because I once did drugs and drank and now I am against those things?



Let Democrats go, then GOP will laugh

Since the American people have spoken and re-elected Barack Obama, I think the Republicans should cave and give the Democrats everything they want. If we end up like Greece and Ireland with all sides rioting in the streets because of Washington helium heads’ redistribution of insanity, we’ll at least get one last laugh. You know the gimme zombies and union vampires will still blame this country’s implosion on that evil Bush.


Decatur, Tenn.

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.
Livn4life said...

I see a lot of common sense letters on here this morning. What that means is...very soon a lot of leftist drivel with no real documentation is coming to overthrow persons who are merely expressing the truth. The real beginning of such responses should be Yeah but......leftist drivel! I can hardly wait.

November 27, 2012 at 8:21 a.m.
jjmez said...

"Bishop Griffin, it's not about what dark secrets ones past hold, it's about the double standards and hypocrisy coming from the right. DeJarlais and the entire Republican Party virtually ran on a ticket of moral standards, integrity, character and Christian values. They brought this upon themselves. They went after Clinton for years and years and wouldn't let up. They used him as an example to denounce all Democrats as a party lacking in any morales, character, values and integrity. They constantly accused Democrats as being Un-Christian and sinners without a moral compass. Now the curtains have parted, the spotlight is on them and they've been exposed as being far worse than anything they've accused the Demcorats of being, and now you righties want it all to just go away, because Republicans have gotten caught in their own deceitful web of lies and hypocrisy. Typical"

November 27, 2012 at 8:56 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Ben Wolk, that "Americna Miracle" of Reagan you are referring to is as much baloney as the notion that he single-handedly brought the Soviet Union to its knees. Whatever spurt the economy enjoyed during the reign of anti-government terror of this over-rated foggy-headed old dolt was brief and had little to do with his manic deregulation and tax cuts. The fact of the matter is he raised taxes 11 times and was responsible for tripling the national debt. And his sowing the seed of trickle-down (voodoo) economics and having it take root so tenaciously in the feeble minds of conservatives who still cling to it today is what is responsible for taking us down the road of ruin to this abysmal state our country is in today.

November 27, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.

Josh Paul, your arithmetic is indeed simple. That's the problem. You are comparing percentages derived from unequal sources and expecting us to just agree with you about how outrageous it is.

But wait, the income tax isn't all of the tax system, is it? Nor is personal income the only source of wealth. And then we consider living expenses.

Your idea is like taking 100 dollars from somebody who has 1000 and thinking that somebody who has a million feels the same way about 110,000.

Of course that you left off the actual number of people involved is rather telling.

Try recognizing that simplicity is rarely accurate.

November 27, 2012 at 1:28 p.m.
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