Lack of financial foresight hurting
Re: Franklin County eyes 55-cent property tax increase.
It should be pointed out that County Mayor Stewart and this and the previous no-tax County Commission have relied on fund balance left from previous administrations, as well as other one-time funds to pay for the budget needs of our county government for the past five-plus years.
Using one-time money to fund recurring expenses has brought us to this point of a significant property tax increase and/or draconian cuts.
Further, the use of interest income to fund various departments is obviously going to dry up due to the expenditure of the fund balances and special funds that generated the interest income Franklin County has lived on for many years.
Granted, times are hard everywhere, including Franklin County. However, no amount of spin from the county mayor and the finance director can gloss over the lack of financial foresight we are experiencing in our county government.
I feel for the County Commission as they face this impending financial train wreck.
Child's education in parents' hands
Students - public, private or home-schooled - will be as prepared for college as their parents make sure they are. Regardless of what form of education you choose for your children, the final responsibility for the outcome is in your hands. They are your children, and they are at your mercy when it comes to what sort of education they are provided.
Home-schooling parents have taken on an intense level of responsibility and the result has been excellence, but many other parents also are doing a good job.
Many are doing the best they can with their own limited education and options. Sadly, there are still many who don't know what to do or have been too ill-equipped by their own education to help their children at all.
Parents taking a more hands-on interest and approach to their children's education will better equip children for college and/or life. It's not about politics; it's about our own children and taking full responsibility as parents. A parent is a child's ultimate defense against academic, moral, social and emotional mediocrity or failure.
Find the source of gun problem
After the recent spate of shootings involving minors, one can reach only two possible conclusions.
Either some legal gun owners are not properly securing their weapons or we have an illicit gun problem on the streets of Chattanooga.
If the latter is true then the chief of police and the sheriff need to set up a working group with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and stop the supply chain.
And if some good ole boy gun dealer, local or not, is selling under the table, then crucify him!
Commission needs to get courage
Approximately three months ago. an older teenager came down our street, his pants pulled down to his knees with his full rear-end showing, in front of women and small children. I asked him to lift his pants. He got out his cell phone and called the Chattanooga Police. They arrived. His pants were at his knees. The police told me I had no right to ask him to lift his pants. It was his civil right to wear them as he was.
That case had been to the County Commission. They chose to pass it and not address the case.
Anyone who can walk down the street, dressed as such, has lost all sense of shame and decency.
The people of Chattanooga should help us find the "Yellow Brick Road" and send this cowardly commission to "The Wizard" to obtain brains and courage, to rule for decency, not for jobs. If these people would do their jobs, the people would keep them in office forever.
CHARLES F. BROWN
Republican plan is now very clear
America is in financial trouble.
We are $14 trillion in debt. In 2001, the Congressional Budget Office reported America would be debt-free in 2011. What happened?
The Supreme Court appointed George Bush president. The Republican Congress and a Republican Senate spent six years quietly raising the debt ceiling and turning a budget surplus to more than doubling the national debt.
This debt crisis was brought on by spending on defense and major tax cuts for the wealthy. Then in September of 2008 Bush and Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson proposed a $750 billion stimulus package to stop a great depression.
The Republican plan is now crystal clear: Eliminate taxes on corporations, millionaires and billionaires. Eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, any form of national health care and unions.
Raising taxes on the wealthy and cutting defense is the answer to this debt problem.
Now Republicans are using the debt ceiling to blackmail the president to cut Social Security. That led former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson to say, "The stuff going on in my party, (Republican Party) where the pettiness overcomes the patriotism - it's just disgusting to me." Well said.
Support Parental Rights Amendment
In 2000, the Supreme Court decided it was OK for a judge to weigh parental rights on a case-by-case basis. In 2005, the Ninth Circuit declared that parental liberty "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door."
The United Nations treaty called the Convention on the Rights of the Child would turn every decision I make for my children into a matter for governmental review. I don't agree that a government court has the authority to tell me that my decisions for my children are void when they walk through the school door. I certainly don't need the government reviewing my decisions to see if they pass muster with the U.N.!
A resolution has been introduced to the Congress that would propose a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This solution is worded so as not to give the government any additional power over families, while reining them in in the area of parental responsibility. The amendment would protect the high standard of legal protection for parental rights that the Supreme Court once called "an enduring American tradition," preserving it against foreign treaties or activist American courts. I support the Parental Rights Amendment!
JENNIFER L. KEITH
Catoosa residents need answers
This is a critical time for Georgia with severe budget challenges and long-term infrastructure needs. The challenge has been compounded for Catoosa County by last April's tragic tornado. Just as residents and businesses are rebuilding, the last thing we need is uncertainty about transportation plans for Ringgold.
Will long anticipated improvements to the Highway 151 interchange be speeded up? Will those businesses rebuild, only to have to be demolished again, at taxpayers' expense, to widen the highway and interchange?
How much of a donor county will Catoosa be to the rest of our region to receive $34 million in funds from the vote on a transportation sales tax in 2012?
Why is that a good deal for the voters of Catoosa County? What is the local cost for those projects? These answers and more need to be provided to the people of Catoosa County.
Where are the elected representatives to answer them? Where is the opportunity for input by residents before decisions are made? Crucial decisions about all of our futures should be made in an open and transparent manner with maximum input from the people. After all, that is the hallmark of a democracy.
REV. BRUCE SLOAN
Chairman, Catoosa County