HEADLINE: Whiskey distillery bill passes, on way to Tennessee governor
THE RECAP: A whiskey distillery bill is on its way to the governor after the State Senate agreed to a House amendment on Thursday. The bill expands a 2009 law to allow Hamilton County to decide whether to permit alcohol distilleries. The move paves the way for Chattanooga Whiskey Co. to open a distillery and manufacture its own product locally.
DREW'S VIEW: Despite strong opposition from State Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, in the House, it now appears that Chattanooga Whiskey Co. will soon have the opportunity to distill its high quality whiskey here in Chattanooga.
The legislation is great news on all fronts. The distillery will draw tourists, create jobs, generate tax dollars and become a point of pride for our area.
There's good news for Rep. Floyd, too. If he doesn't want to visit the distillery or drink Chattanooga Whiskey's products, he doesn't have to. No one will force him to (even though he feverishly tried to force his views on the majority of Hamilton County residents).
Even I, as a teetotaler, am glad that Floyd and other opponents of the distillery bill weren't successful in preventing the legislation from passing. Just because I don't drink the stuff doesn't mean I don't understand what an exciting opportunity this is for our community.
HEADLINE: South Pittsburg leaving its pool closed
THE RECAP: Last week, the South Pittsburg City Commission agreed to keep the city-owned pool at Lloyd Park closed for the summer because officials estimated it would cost up to $20,000 to open it.
Officials said the pool has lost $7,000 to $10,000 each year for a number of years, due to maintenance costs and low revenues.
DREW'S VIEW: The South Pittsburg City Commission deserves an ovation for its decision to stop throwing good money after bad in an attempt to patch up its ramshackled, insolvent public pool and open it for the season. The $20,000 previously earmarked for the pool can now be used on a more pressing funding issue for the city or returned to taxpayers.
City and county governments across our region could take a lesson from South Pittsburg. Hopefully the city's decision will inspire other local leaders to stop wasting money bailing out government-owned pools, skating rinks, skate parks and golf courses.
HEADLINE: Times Free Press cartoonist Clay Bennett named a finalist for 2013 Pulitzer in editorial cartooning
THE RECAP: Clay Bennett, the political cartoonist for the Times editorial page, was one of three finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. It was the seventh time he has been a finalist for the prestigious honor. He won the Pulitzer in 2002.
Steve Sack of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis won the 2013 Pulitzer for editorial cartooning.
DREW'S VIEW: As loyal Free Press readers are already aware, if there's a wrong side of an issue, Bennett is sure to be on it. But as all Times Free Press readers are also already aware, Bennett is one of the finest editorial cartoonists in the world.
Despite believing that government is the solution to all problems, having no faith in the ability of individuals to manage their own lives and lacking an understanding of basic economic principles, Bennett's work appears in nearly 100 papers across America each week.
In all seriousness, Bennett's progressive cartoons act as a portal allowing those of us on the right side of the political spectrum to see how the other side views us. His work also gives us an opportunity to assess and address our (very rare) shortcomings.
Chattanoogans should be proud that the political cartoonist for our hometown newspaper was again recognized among the very best in his field. In fact, with this nomination, Bennett set a record; he has now been named a Pulitzer finalist more than any other editorial cartoonist in history.
Congratulations, Clay! Just imagine how many more Pulitzers you would've won if you were a conservative.
"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared recently in the Times Free Press. Follow Drew Johnson on Twitter: @Drews_Views.