Is Hays Prison really best Georgia has?
Re: "Hays State Prison recognized" (June 6, Region Digest). Remarkably absent from your paper's coverage of Hays State Prison's selection as Georgia Department of Corrections facility of the year is any mention of Hays' documented history of violence and prisoner abuse.
In the past year alone, the Times-Press extensively covered 1) a lawsuit brought by Hays prisoners after officers beat them while they were handcuffed. (Hays later paid the prisoners, including one who was beaten so severely that oral surgery was required, $93,000 for their injuries); 2) A fight that led to the stabbing death of one prisoner, and 3) an assault on corrections officers.
If Hays is the best the Georgia Department of Corrections has to offer, then we should fear for the lives of prisoners and guards alike.
MARY B. SINCLAIR, Atlanta, Ga.
Politics doesn't belong at Riverbend
As we were leaving Riverbend, between Meo Mios and the marina, we encountered someone passing out fair-tax political items.
This person was wearing a large Riverbend badge around his neck. This wasn't the first time I've seen this. For many years in the past I've run into tea party folk, often with badges, handing out political stuff at that location as you head out toward MLK.
One small problem. There is a reason you don't see booths with the Democratic, Republican or Green Party representatives at Riverbend. Friends of the Festival is organized as a non-profit and as such faces strict limits on political involvement. Nonprofits are not allowed to endorse candidates or parties. Yet every year at that location we seem to see a tea party activist with Riverbend credentials engaging in political pamphleteering.
Perhaps these well meaning but clueless activists are unaware of the legal liability that they are putting Riverbend in. Americans Elect, the latest "third party," is facing scrutiny from the FEC and IRS because it were set up as a nonprofit. It is not a matter of equal time for all groups. By law, Riverbend cannot promote political groups.
It is time someone put an end to this.
ROD YOUNG, Hamilton County Green Party
Council meetings are for business
In response to a letter titled "What's the big deal if you want to pray?" (June 13). My answer is this: Give this prayer thing a rest. It's way past "overkill" here.
Religious zealots pray when they are awake, they pray over their meals, they pray at school, sporting events, community and business meetings and who knows what else in between, and they pray when they go to bed.
There is a time and place for everything, and City Council and County Commission meetings are for conducting business, not praying. If they want to pray at these meetings, why don't they just pass the collection plate and take up an offering as well?
MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER, Dalton, Ga.
Praise to church for mission work
I would like to thank the members of Burks United Methodist Church for their mission support to our community in Alaska, not only for those who were able to come but to the entire church congregation for its spiritual and financial support of missions. It has been a pleasure to meet these wonderful people from Tennessee over the past week. Because of our heavy snowfall this winter, they were able to experience snow in June while at the same time see the beauty of our green forests and mountainsides.
Their youth group and adult volunteers helped to provide many basic services to our small community, and they are greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus Christ in Sutton. We'd love to have you back again anytime.
MICHAEL AND SHARON AUBREY
DeGaetano sees chance to help
On Aug. 2, voters will determine our future with a new General Sessions judge. The candidates are all qualified, but Chattanooga needs to truly appreciate Joe DeGaetano.
In Times Free Press letters, Joe has been recognized for his: "thoughtful temperament," "an eye for fairness," "steady judiciousness," "good experience," "a knowledge to guide," and a "good knowledge of the city."
Joe was salutatorian of his high school and graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University. He worked various jobs to put himself through University of Georgia Law School, where he maintained the highest grade point average for a class of 325 the entire four years. Joe has stated his intent for judge isn't "for prestige, for money, or boosting his law firm's reputation." Instead, he sees, as previously stated, "a greater opportunity to help more people and the community as a whole, as judge."
The city of Chattanooga deserves a judge who is focused on its people while making the city a more pleasurable place to live. So, if it is your hope to keep our city on an upward path, it's in your best interest to vote for a man with the same vision, Joe DeGaetano.
CONNOR ROBERTS III
Prayer foes should have silent moment
How is prayer harming anyone at the Hamilton County Commission meeting? I totally agree that it harms nothing. If it does, I've been harmed my whole life.
I really think these two individuals have very little to do with their time but to cost taxpayers money. I think the majority are being pushed by a few into trying to force-feed something that is simply not going away (the right to pray). If this is really harming them, maybe they should excuse themselves from the opening of the commission meeting and go to the hall for a moment of silence.
I guess I am getting older as I used to just laugh away the way some people act, but I find it hard to keep my mouth shut at what people dig up. I think some just want to get on the news. It kind of reminds me of Judge Judy (ridiculous!)
PHIL DYAR SR., Hixson
Can orders replace the Constitution?
if the country can be governed by executive order, why do we need campaigns, elections, a Congress and a Constitution? OK, so it isn't exactly an executive order; Obama takes full credit anyhow.
JOHN ROSE, Signal Mountain
Public assistance must be changed
I grew up in a simple two-bedroom house, and we did not have a car until I was 6. If you didn't have money for lunch at school, you worked in the cafeteria.
Now, almost every time I am in a grocery line, I see different very well-dressed women with nice gold jewelry and their nails professionally done paying for their groceries with food stamps.
A teacher recently estimated half of their free-lunch students have a smart phone. Many free-lunch students have parents who buy their cigarettes for them as well. Maybe we need to add a "teen cigarette subsidy" to the food-stamp program.
If my simple two-bedroom house and no-car lifestyle was dropped into 2012, my family now would be getting food stamps, Section 8 housing subsidy, earned income tax credit and free health care. I would additionally be getting free breakfast and lunch at school, free school supplies, and get to go shopping with a cop at Christmas.
Public assistance needs to be limited to meeting the strict bare necessities of life, not to serve as a subsidy for a more elaborate lifestyle the rest of us support.
JOE KIRKPATRICK, Cleveland, Tenn.
Keep prayer everywhere
Re: citizens suing over prayers!
As a group they should be truly ashamed of themselves. Find some other drum to beat.
Let's keep prayer everywhere. Amen!
JERRY LaFRENIERE, Hixson