Put common good front and center
A new year begins and the American people, a naturally optimistic lot, continue to have hopes for a bright future.
Our country has so many natural blessings and so many talented people that success would seem to be a no-brainer, but then we do have our elected leaders.
With all the challenges facing our nation, from developing new jobs to meeting energy needs, "We the People" have work to do to promote the "General Welfare."
It is far past time for our political class to stop promoting themselves, start working to rebuild the middle class and stop the slide into poverty that has so ravaged our country.
It is far past time to stop the finger pointing, gamesmanship, and pouting that is more reminiscent of a kindergarten than a nation's capitol. Yes, I do mean both political parties. Compromise is not a bad word, and moderation is not an evil characteristic. The common good, once a common-sense idea, needs to take front and center again in our political landscape. An uncommon people deserve no less.
PASTOR BRUCE SLOAN, Chair of the Catoosa County Democratic Party
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Discrimination not good route
Chattanooga, once dubbed "All America City" (1969) provided opportunities for all its citizens, now languishes in high crime and violence while our city is steeped in racial attitudes and actions that deny job opportunities to 36 percent-40 percent of its population.
Our police department once had 122 black sworn officer of some 450 positions. Now, of some 500 sworn positions, it has 69 black officers (l5 percent) as crime abounds. Are we so racist in mind that common logic is clouded? As the number of black sworn officers has declined, I believe the record will show an accompanying increase in violence and crime.
Any applicant making the minimum passing grade should be looked upon as qualified, remembering that high test scores may or may not yield a good police officer, but should reflect community needs.
Mr. Mayor and council, protect our ability to draw tourists: Racial discrimination is not the route. Filling two new positions as outlined (in a Times Free Press story, Jan. 4) may be good propaganda but a very weak approach to solving our problems.
JAMES R. MAPP
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Mayor's 'solution' not one at all
I note with interest the Times Free Press article (Jan. 4) announcing Mayor Ron Littlefield has found a solution to the city's heretofore denied "gang problem."
His solution is to appropriate money from a city budget item (tax revenues) to promote minority business opportunities, and hire two men to bloat the city's payroll with new high salaried appointed positions.
Rather than supplement the city's existing efforts within the police department, or recreation and educational programs the city already has for outreach toward the disadvantaged teens who end up in gang life, Mr. Littlefield has created an expense which is unlikely to yield results, creating resentment in the minority community to boot.
My one word comment on his "solution": Ridiculous!
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Don't be threat to American spirit
Americans should be leery of those who couched themselves in philosophies that are euphemisms for intolerance, prejudice and bigotry. They wrap themselves in the shrouds of terms like family values, born-again Christians, pro-lifers and true-patriots.
If you don't care about the needs of America's poor, the sick and the elderly, then don't call yourself a Christian.
If you don't care about America's true values, its tenets of freedom and justice, its status and its reputation in the world, don't call yourself a patriot.
If you are working for the total collapse of the American economy for political reasons and don't care about the impact it will have on your fellow countrymen and the world economies, don't call yourself an American.
Someone once penned that "incompetence, ignorance and disingenuity are no barrier to elected office." That applies across the political spectrum. Our elected officials reflect the consciousness of the American public.
No matter what your political or religious affiliation, if you support a position that allows political and rhetorical evangelical ideology to trump science, economic reality, true Christian principles, compassion, and altruistic moral and social values, then you are the true threat and hindrance to the spirit of American humanity.
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Mosaic, Reid offer a refuge
On Christmas Eve, I attended midnight service at Mosaic with my husband and daughter. Earlier that evening, we had a party for our urban outreach ministry. These young people were unarmed and were there because they had no place to go on Christmas Eve. Out of this ministry we have seen gang members disassociate from their gang identities. There are not many willing to reach out to these communities, but these children belong to us all.
It is a tragedy that gang members drove by that night and fired into an unarmed crowd. It is unfortunate that we do not have a police precinct downtown. It is more unfortunate that there has been no coordinated effort to protect our young people in this city's most dangerous neighborhoods. We believed that this event was approved by city officials as evidenced by the two Chattanooga Police officers who were allowed to work the event. Security was provided in accordance with prior discussions with the city.
I have personally known Tim Reid for almost 15 years. He has never received a paycheck in service to our church community, or in service to our urban outreach. He gives selflessly of his time and resources.
He has been physically attacked while serving at the recreation centers. He is now persecuted by many that turn a blind eye to the problems that our inner-city young people must face every day.
I stand by the character and moral integrity of this man.
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Fight criminals to control gangs
Imagine I'm a gang member and read where the mayor has hired a "project coordinator" to solve the gang problem. My reaction is, "Oh gasp, I hope that little man won't spank me with his tie."
There are positives: He has a cute slogan, and through "positive focus" and job creation he will have some handout money; I put my hand out, he gives me money. "The future is ours."
We need pro-active, aggressive enforcement of the law coupled with judges who will put a bite on the criminals. If the criminals are put in jail or prison, only the law abiding will remain. That said, we will always have gangs.
Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel, remarked about the Palestinian problem, "If a problem cannot be solved then we must learn to live with it." The best we can probably hope to do is contain the gang action to their neighborhoods. Look at the pictures of the dead in the paper, do a little profiling.
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Shooting reaction makes no sense
After a deranged gunman kills two people at Hutcheson Medical Center, Board Chairman Corky Jewell states they'll bring in more unarmed guards to the hospital to patrol 24 hours a day. Talk about bringing a stick to a gun fight. How would more unarmed guards have helped in a situation like this? It doesn't make me feel any safer. If this works, let the police departments know. I'm sure they'd like to save the price of purchasing guns and ammunition to defend themselves and others. This is a typical knee-jerk reaction.
JIM SISK, Red Bank