This spring in Washington, D.C., we stayed with senior congressional aides and visited with their friends - all Republicans. Without exception, they were saddened by the defeat in the primaries of moderate Republicans, whose "fault" was working with moderates across the aisle. The tea party folks have put party above country!
The recent FP rant (somewhat incorrectly) condemns Sen. Lamar Alexander who, in this case, served the best interests of the people and his state -- not the Free Press editorial writers, who resort to name calling and bullying as if their readers are still in junior high.
The silly House vote against the Affordable Care Act is an example of Republicans' narrow agenda which serves the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and poor. Republicans continue to attack teachers, policemen, firemen and others, condemning their right to bargain and receive pensions (into which most have paid). How convenient for congressmen to avoid negotiations for their lucrative pay, perks and pensions.
Finally, we could lessen our national debt by shortening all campaigning, including primaries, to six months and to encourage the billions spent by PACs to pay on that debt. Additionally, this would help with everyone's anger management!
Your July 16 editorial "Property rights trump all" grossly misrepresents the Violence Policy Center's "Concealed Carry Killers" data. You present the information contained in the database as comprehensive and as evidence, proof even, that concealed carry permit holders are not a public safety threat. The VPC's website makes it clear that the incidents contained in the database likely represent only a small percentage of actual incidents since, because there is no comprehensive collection of such data, we are forced to rely almost entirely on news reports.
Moreover, we assert that the fact that concealed carry permit holders have killed at least 13 law enforcement officers and committed at least 21 mass shootings resulting in the deaths of 94 victims (which they are allegedly supposed to prevent) since May 2007 is enough to raise very serious public safety concerns about concealed carry permits in general. We would hope that your paper would join us in calling for comprehensive data collection through the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports system of all homicides (including justifiable homicides) and crimes committed by permit holders. Then we would all know the full scale of harm inflicted by concealed carry permit holders.
JOSH SUGARMANN, Executive Director, Violence Policy Center, Washington, D.C.
Chattanooga voters will have an opportunity on Aug. 2 to vote to establish an independent audit function for the City of Chattanooga. Currently, the internal auditor is hired by and reports directly to the mayor. If the change to the City Charter is approved, the auditor will be hired by and report to an independently appointed Audit Committee. The committee will be independent of the political process and consist of five members; two recommended by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Tennessee Society of CPA's, two by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors and one by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
The independent Audit Committee will have oversight of the City's internal Audit Function, the City's Fraud, Waste and Abuse hotline and the external Audit Function.
This is an exceptional opportunity to ensure transparency and government accountability for the citizens of Chattanooga. I ask everyone to please vote for this change to the City Charter on Aug. 2.
HENRY A. HOSS, Member of the City of Chattanooga's Audit Committee
I rarely react very strongly to the diction and stylistic quirks of your journalists, but Pam Sohn's descriptions of teenagers in her article "Greening Kids" (July 15) really raised my blood pressure. The insinuation that teenagers would somehow be put off by working with someone who has a Ph.D. and Sohn's description of them as "busy-being-cool teens" demonstrates an attitude that's dismissive to an entire demographic. It's this kind of small-mindedness on the part of adults that leaves young people feeling, as Dr. Anna George said in the article, "frustrated because they feel like they can't do more."
I've worked with teenagers for about a dozen years now, and I can tell you that across all spectrums of economy and circumstance, they are energetic, eager to contribute, and much more willing to try new things (i.e. not be cool) than the average adult. The teenagers who signed up for this camp seem particularly driven - their words and actions have inspired me to take a look around and see what I can do. Those young people are not busy being cool, they're busy trying to fix problems we have created.
Thank goodness for people like Dr. George who understand teenagers' true capacity for visioning and problem-solving.
Greg Vital's repeated statements about graduating from Southern Adventist University are upsetting, but his response to having been caught in this fabrication is only more disturbing and revealing. He claims that "I've gotten dozens of emails and phone calls from people who have been faced with the same problem, who have suffered." Well, that's a convenient turning of the tables: after benefiting for years from a falsehood about his academic record, he now collects sympathy cards for his distress at having been caught?
Putting sarcasm (briefly) aside, Mr. Vital's solipsistic evasions and denials are seriously disrespectful to every actual graduate of Southern Adventist University, every student who did, in fact, stick it out to earn that diploma.
And finally, Mr. Vital clearly has no idea what constitutes "a Freudian slip." Perhaps the credits he lacked were in psychology.
The Chattanooga City Council members Sally Robinson, Carol Berz and Jack Benson seem determined to strengthen the wall protecting them from being "recalled" from office. Their debate against recall centered on what they considered good reason to recall themselves. It seems they think raising taxes, increasing fees and continuing spending are not legitimate reasons to recall an elected official. Have they forgotten what led to the American Revolution? July 4th is not the day we celebrated "taxation without representation."
Dear elected officials: We voters don't recall very often, but we need to maintain a realistic option to recall a clown just the same. Good grief, please don't try to make it harder to recall a politician than it already is. We put you into office. We should be able to put you out just as easily.
How shameful of the Lee Judge cartoon (July 16) that pokes fun at Dick Cheney (deferment as a student at Yale), George W. Bush, who was in the Air National Guard (remember, Dan Rather got fired for trying to put out a story to the contrary) and Donald Rumsfeld, who served in the Navy for three years.
What about the true liar regarding his service - Sen. Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut.
Lied and still got elected.
Judges matter, which is why Soddy-Daisy should vote for Bryan Hoss for judge.
As a hardworking trial attorney, Bryan has as wide range experience in both civil and criminal matters. In other words, he knows the law, and he knows how to apply it. Bryan also has an innate sense of justice that will prove invaluable on the bench. Judges must be impartial and be able to see both sides of an issue. Bryan's integrity will ensure his impartiality; his thoughtfulness will assure an unbiased perspective; and his decisiveness will lead to just decisions.
Bryan's common sense, open-minded approach to the law, combined with the respect and dignity he shows to others, guarantees he will reflect the values of the Soddy-Daisy community. At the same time, Bryan will have the crucial advantage of complete independence since he is not from the area. Judges help shape the community, and Soddy-Daisy should expect a judge who is wise, patient, experienced, and, above all, fair. I know that Bryan will meet those expectations, and then surpass them.
Judges matter. Vote for Bryan Hoss on Aug. 2.
When choosing our elected officials, we often depend on the opinions of others and the media to help us decide on the best candidate. Rare is the opportunity to vote for someone whom we know personally. This election I feel fortunate to be able to cast my vote for someone I do know personally, General Sessions judge candidate Gary Starnes.
Gary's passion for our legal system, his desire to serve our community and his impeccable integrity make him my choice for Sessions judge. In addition to his professional stature, Gary has impressed me with his personal character through his unwavering loyalty to his wife and family.
I hope you will join me in supporting the best candidate on the ballot. Vote Gary Starnes, General Sessions Court judge.
LINDA BENTON, Signal Mountain
I'm honored to know Weston Wamp on a personal level. I can say that he's the best candidate for Congress. Yes, he's younger than the other candidates, but that's to his advantage. He has an energy which is contagious. That's exactly what Congress needs to make positive changes. His age assures me that he has the future of our younger generations on his mind.
I believe that Weston Wamp will work diligently to preserve the constitutional rights that not only I but also my children deserve.
He's a kind Christian man with a good moral background. I've enjoyed listening to him speak on multiple occasions. Each time I walk away with a greater understanding of his passion to be a positive change in America. He's intelligent and driven to succeed in Congress.
He's the man I choose to represent me. He's the man I choose to make America the best it has ever been for my children as they mature into adults.
Don't be skeptical about his age. Embrace it. Relish the thought that he's not jaded, that he still sees goodness in American people, and he has hope for the future of America the way our forefathers intended.
ANDI SHADRICK, Hixson
Wilson is best choice for mayor
Hamilton County voters have the rare opportunity to elect a person county mayor who truly cares about the people he will serve.
The person I am speaking of is Dr. Richard Wilson. I have known Dr. Wilson since he was my political science professor at UTC back in the '70s. Dr. Wilson is very knowledgeable of the workings of government. Dr. Wilson is more than capable to carry out his duties as county mayor. Perhaps even more important, Dr. Wilson cares greatly about people and he cares about helping people.
Dr. Wilson is clearly the best choice for county mayor. I urge you to vote for him as county mayor.
SHIRLEY PLOTT, Ooltewah