Consider river as source for all
In Friday's paper (Feb. 26) there was an editorial on each of the two pages that warrant a response.
I found it hard to believe that "Just say 'no' to Georgia" appeared on the Times side; I might have expected it on the Free Press side.
The idea that we are a collection of 50 states with each looking just to provide for its own needs without regard to needs of neighboring states is very provincial to say the least.
Atlanta and the rest of Georgia certainly need to do a better job of conserving water, but Atlanta's growth cannot be stymied even if many people believe it should be.
The Tennessee River should certainly be considered as a source for the needs to the south.
On the Free Press side we read "Since Chattanoogans are accustomed to a virtually unlimited supply of pure, good-tasting water for our homes and industries, provided from the Tennessee River...". But whatever we do, don't let those Georgians have any of it.
JOHN D. BECK
State employees should follow suit
Former "union bosses" must be appalled. They concentrated on real labor force issues; not professionals deemed able to care for themselves.
My uncle Matt, later state AFL/CIO president, was a Textile Workers organizer. He worked to prevent workers from "being owned by the company store." Union demands now dominate local and state budgets, but their base in private sector is limited. They need funds, and teachers' dues can supply them.
President Carter, with Democratic Congress backing, passed the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Federal workers only can bargain on limited issues. The act prohibits compulsory union support - like Tennessee's "Right to Work" statute. U.S. government workers have GS classification and pay system.
Federal employee unions can't dictate pay, health care or retirement plans. (Wisconsin) Gov. Scott Walker knows bargaining with state employee unions without limits doesn't work. What's taken away will be restored by a new administration installed by unions, often with increased pay and benefits. State employees, as civil servants, should follow federal example.
The National Labor Relations Act doesn't cover all American workers. "The National Labor Relations Board protects the rights of most private-sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions."
JOHN A. LYNCH JR.
Don't compare insurance options
A letter (Feb. 27) makes the point that there is an equivalence between being required to buy health insurance and car insurance. Let us put this to rest once and for all.
Driving is a choice. You do not have to own a car, drive a car or have a driver's license. If you choose to drive, then you must have car insurance.
However, the only prerequisite to being forced to buy health insurance under ObamaCare is breathing.
Last time I checked, breathing was not an activity we can opt out of.
Wisconsin can't afford government
The budget deficit of Wisconsin is $137 million this year, and over the next two years the projected deficit is $3.6 billion, more than 10 percent of its total budget.
Even if you feel the employees are overpaid compared to the private sector, the people of Wisconsin cannot afford their government.
There are 5.6 million people living in Wisconsin, and the government is spending $32 billion per year. That is $5,714 per person. The average wage is $25,000, and the people are spending 20 percent of their total income on their state government. Add another 20 percent for the federal government, plus another 2 percent to 3 percent on local government. They are spending 40 percent of their GDP to govern themselves, thus they are doomed. This is a wake-up call for America.
As a former teacher, I am concerned when striking teachers continue to receive their pay, by taking advantage of the sick time that is provided by the taxpayers. Teachers are using the students as pawns when schools had to close due to teacher absence. If the striking teachers are not pleased with their pay and benefits, the private sector remains as an option for them to pursue.
Should we help more refugees?
I read with concerned interest the report "Swedes question immigration policy" printed in this newspaper (Feb. 27) on problems Sweden is experiencing with refugees along with the backlash it is causing.
I read with interest because refugees are being located in this area and I would like to ask if we can expect the same results as Sweden's?
Should a community that already has problems of high unemployment, crime and homelessness be involved with helping refugees from other countries?
For the refugees who are here, I wish them peace and success, but at the same time I have deep concerns considering what has happened in other countries and communities in this country that have accepted refugees and have been reported by this very newspaper.
Count on ACLU to defend rights
The tea party claims to love the Constitution. But who can you count on to stand up for you if your civil liberties are violated?
It's not the tea party! It's the group that protects the Constitution, pursues justice and defends freedom. That is, it's the American Civil Liberties Union, aka ACLU.
The ACLU has been called every nasty name in the book, but it is still our nation's No. 1 guardian of liberty for all.
It defends the core principles of American rights and liberties anywhere - and it's hated by some because it most often wins. And it wins for gays, women, blacks and atheists, too - everybody.
It's sad for me to confess that the tea party is the one group in America that I fear the most as a threat to our freedom.
Please don't worry about the children
Take a walk with me into one of our city's finest schools, where people actually wait for hours in long lines just to enroll their children.
Inside this ancient building, teachers labor early morning hours and many late evening hours so they can provide the best education possible (and TCAP scores prove it!)
Now, don't take off your coat or gloves, because in the cold winter months you will need them in some of the classrooms where there is very little heat.
As you rise in your nice, warm homes and drive to your warm offices, don't worry about the children, our children, or the teachers, my heroes, who go about their daily work in their cold classrooms in their coats and gloves.
And certainly, do not encourage these "slackers" any bonus money for their efforts. Good citizens wouldn't want to encourage them in such a profligate manner.
If our county commissioners' primary concern is for the taxpayers, where does concern for them end, and for the children and teachers begin?
But try not to worry too much. Just sink back into your soft swivel chair and have another latte. Maybe next year ...