Drew's views

Drew's views

August 24th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.