I read that the Sons of Confederate Veterans is suing the city of Ringgold over the display of the "Confederate battle flag." I am amused because Ringgold displays a Confederate battle flag at its monument. It has a blue background with a white circle in the center. This flag, commonly called the Hardee pattern, was carried by troops who fought at the battle of Ringgold Gap in November 1863 under the command of Gen. Patrick Cleburne. Cleburne and his men were granted special permission by the Confederate Congress to carry this flag because of their reputation as the best fighting troops in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The flag struck fear into the Union troops when they saw it, with good reason, as Cleburne usually soundly defeated the Union forces whenever he met them. Ringgold Gap was an excellent example.
Thus, I find the position of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that the Saint Andrews Cross Confederate battle flag should fly in Ringgold, rather than the Hardee pattern flag, to be historically ignorant and extremely disrespectful of Gen. Patrick Cleburne and the fighting men of his division, the best of the Confederate army. An odd position for a group that claims to uphold the reputation of the Confederate soldier.
ANTHONY HODGES, Elder Mountain
I was a bailiff in three Criminal courts, first for Judge Russell Hinson, then for Judge Steve Bevil, and then Judge Don Poole before I retired. I knew Gwen Tidwell when she was a lawyer representing clients in these courts, and I got to know her better when she was elected Criminal Court clerk 20 years ago. You could trust and believe her when she was talking in court, and you can trust and believe her as the court clerk. She is one of the most honest and reliable people I know. She will not lie to you or pretend to be something she is not. Gwen is a good and honorable person doing a difficult job and doing it very well. Please join me and vote for our Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell.
BOB G. BALL
The ballot in the upcoming election asks us to respond to a city ordinance passed in November providing city employees with nondiscrimination protection on the basis of gender and sexual orientation and to provide domestic partnership benefits for such employees.
This ordinance is about fairness. Those who work hard should not be fired or otherwise treated unequally because of their sexual orientation. Such persons in a committed domestic relationship should be eligible for benefits for their partners.
Most of corporate America, including 97 percent of the Fortune 100 largest companies, has such policies in place. Volkswagen, Blue Cross and Walmart have it. Collegedale and Knoxville have it. We should also.
One does not have to agree with the lifestyle and beliefs of another to support civic protection for that person. Toleration has been a bedrock of our country since the beginning. This is a matter of respect, not personal respect but civic respect. This is a matter of protection from the application of power free from the restraint of due process. All citizens have the right to this protection.
This is fair, just and the right thing to do.
I urge you to vote for this ordinance.
Patsy Hazlewood and I serve together as ruling elders at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church. I have known Patsy for many years and greatly admired her abilities as a working executive, a volunteer leader, a wife and mother, and as a good friend. She carried out these roles simultaneously, balancing them successfully, and always with a smile. I have no doubt she will use her considerable abilities in Nashville to work for the citizens of District 27. I'm off to vote early for Patsy! I hope you will, too.
I am so sick of all the negative junk attacking politicians. Especially what our congressman puts out about Weston Wamp. He must have forgotten how he got to Washington in the first place - by trashing Robin Smith. And as far as Scottie Mayfield is concerned, he jumped in at the last minute in the last election and split the vote. Now he is supporting Fleischmann. Of course, his county got something out of it, but I would like to know what has been accomplished for Hamilton County (where our congressman lives)?
I watched the debate, and he seemed to be a nervous wreck. Weston was calm as could be. Weston has been brought up in the political scene, and I can guarantee you he is a lot more qualified for Congress than Obama is to be president. He is a joke. Our nation is the weakest it has ever been and the most immoral. Weston, you have our household's vote. Git 'er done!
DOT HENDERSON, East Ridge
I strongly urge my fellow citizens to vote for Vince Dean for Criminal Court clerk. It is time for a change in this office, and we need accountability and leadership. Vince Dean is the right man for this position. I have known Vince for many years as commissioner of Lakesite, and we also attend the same church. Vince is one of the hardest-working individuals I know. His experience in the state legislature will translate into a more efficient Criminal Court clerk's office. Personally, Vince is the most approachable, down-to-earth person I know. He helps people and takes it upon himself to make his community a better place. We need Vince's leadership and transparency. Remember to vote for Vince Dean for Criminal Court clerk.
DAVID HOWELL, Lakesite, Tenn.
With regard to the Chattanooga domestic partnership ordinance, most rational people probably would not object (from a purely political, not religious, standpoint) to extending benefits to couples of any persuasion who are legally married or obligated to each other by a legal contract. I submit that the challenged ordinance puts the cart before the horse in presuming to determine who is obligated to each other without the benefit of such legal contracts or marriage licenses. This state of affairs would need to be resolved first;otherwise the process of determination is too subjective. Also, there can easily be domestic arrangements organized for the pure purpose of obtaining benefits. We may even see such arrangements bought and sold under the table, like the old "mail order brides."
SHERRY KITTS, Hixson
People have said let's have a young person with fresh, new ideas represent us in Congress. That may sound good at first glance, but I am sure it is not a good idea. Mr. Wamp could not have raised the kind of money he has raised without his father pushing donors toward him. Without the Wamp name, he would still have no traction. He says he will work across the aisle, which sounds good; unfortunately, working across the aisle right now means doing only what the Senate majority leader and the president want. Most importantly, Mr. Wamp wants to be the CEO of Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District. What business with over 700,000 employees would hire a 27-year-old who has no appreciable business experience as their CEO? Not many, if any. I will vote for Chuck Fleischmann, who has voted exactly as he said he would.
On July 10, the Times Free Press featured a front-page piece on Bryan College. President Stephen Livesay is quoted saying "... there's no reason to have a college such as ours unless you hold to those beliefs."
The beliefs include a six-day Creation, about 6,000 years ago, with the emergence of one male and one female human being.
The Americas had burgeoning societies with significantly advanced commercial skills that were emerging at least 10,000 years ago. Indo-China had emerging societies much earlier than that.
Those societies alone accounted for tens of millions of human beings spread over the globe at the time Dr. Livesay believes the first pair of humans were created in Mesopotamia.
It would seem there is no reason to have an institution such as Bryan College.
PROFESSOR DAVID J. POPE
I have financially supported Congressman Fleischmann and Weston Wamp. Normally, I do not veer away from an incumbent, but this election is the exception.
I do not like campaigns that constantly go after the opponent with twisted personal attacks. Looking at Congressman Fleischmann's previous and current campaigns, he has used these tactics.
After seeing the debate between the two candidates, Weston was far superior in demonstrating the qualities and philosophies of what this country needs. He is much more likely to lead a change in Congress.
The dysfunction and excessive partisanship is not what is needed to bring this country out of our state of decline. My wife, Lynda, and I encourage you to support Weston Wamp in the Republican primary Aug 7.
You recently reported a judge insisted a very ambiguous item be placed as submitted on the ballot for elections in August. The ballot question asks whether we should uphold or veto a law, with little explanation for the law, or its content.
As a former technical writer, I see this as bordering on insanity. I myself had to carefully read over your article to know the issue and how my vote will count.
A note should be attached to each ballot explaining: "The city of Chattanooga has passed a law extending insurance coverage to virtually all domestic partnerships of city employees. A 'yes' vote signifies you agree with this law. A 'no' vote signifies you don't believe all domestic partnerships should be covered at taxpayer expense."
DR. TOM HERZOG
I supported Zach Wamp for seven terms that he served as our congressman. I think he would agree he could not have accomplished very much had he only served two terms.
I disagree with Weston Wamp's statement that Congressman Fleischmann hasn't accomplished anything during the four years he has been our representative in Washington. Mr. Wamp also has stated Chuck has not worked with both parties in Washington.
Mr. Wamp wants us to believe he can do better working with both sides. Considering we have a president who has his own agenda and doesn't give a rip about our conservative views, I feel the only way Mr. Wamp could do this would be to become a liberal himself.
After all, there have been much greater men than him, such as Congressman Wamp, Sen. Corker and Sen. Alexander, who have not been able to accomplish what he says he can. I don't think we should take a chance on Weston Wamp being a miracle worker.
Let's give Congressman Fleischmann a chance. Let's send him back to Washington and let him finish the job that we elected him to do.
I've been waiting to hear something from either side of the editorial page after last week's ruling that the TIF agreement was invalid. I expected to see some support, but it hasn't happened.
Helen Burns Sharp has done research and spent her own money to do something the newspaper pays its reporters to do - really go in depth on a subject - but not even a murmur except for David Cook's column.
Now that the agreement has been nullified, the Black Creek group wants to have still more secret meetings to see if they can get back what they almost had.
A lot more questions on the part of the taxpayers - the people who would have been paying for this infusion of cash to the developers - should have been asked, and research done, before the deal was approved the first time.
Now that it's being argued again, could you find some reporters to send in as reinforcements for Ms. Sharp since the Black Creek folks seem willing to argue incessantly, and she might not be able to keep spending her retirement money?
Will Rogers said "Ignorance lies not in the things you don't know, but in the things you know that ain't so". I didn't think a campaign could stoop any lower than to use people to spread lies and innuendos about your opponent, saying things such as Weston Wamp supports amnesty. Nothing could be further from the truth, yet Chuck's campaign continues to tell such lies. To report that Zach Wamp, who is not even running, is a lobbyist, when it would be so easy to check the fact that he is not, is just another blatant lie. Desperate people do desperate things and the proof is in the pudding with the Fleishmann campaign. But why not? He won his first campaign with the lies about Robin Smith. There was also Mike Huckabee to pretend he and Fleishmann were buddy buddy when it was only about the money.
The Fleischmann campaign has now stooped as low as any campaign can. I thought it to be dirty politics two years ago when Scottie Mayfield, who before now carried the good Mayfield name, entered the race he never planned or campaigned to win. His role was simply to take East Tennessee votes away from Weston, and sadly it worked. Now, Scottie has prostituted himself with a lower-than-low campaign ad for Fleischmann. Mr. Mayfield, I too would record the words of a man of your character because who knows what you would say later. I expected this from Chuck because he will do whatever it takes to stay in office and do nothing. I'm very disappointed in you.
I truly do not believe the 3rd District will be duped again and we will send Weston Wamp to D.C. to replace Do Nothing Chuck. Please get out and vote for Weston.
I have personally known Connie Clark for 50 years. She has worked hard to obtain the skills needed to be a Supreme Court Justice. Connie has been blessed with a brilliant analytical mind, and a strong sense of responsibility to use the gifts that have been given to her. Connie has applied these gifts daily with her family, professionally, in her community and church. I trust her judgment without question.
Connie has a deep respect for the law and not one time has she ever acted as if she is above the laws of our state or country. We should feel confident that the laws passed by our elected officials will be applied fairly to each case presented to the court. The review of Connie's work by the committee appointed last fall by Lt. Governor Ramsey gave Connie an excellent rating. This proves that Connie's deep respect for the law is applied with each decision she has to make daily.
I believe the voters of this state need to step up and vote to retain Justice Clark, Lee,and Wade. All three Justices received an excellent review by Ramsey's committee. The retention of these Justices will insure the separation of the branches of the Tennessee government.
KAREN CORN BAXLEY, Signal Mountain
Hixson residents, I urge you to vote for my colleague, Jim Watson, for School Board in District 3. Jim's 42 years of diverse roles in education uniquely qualify him to be your advocate for effective educational policies and administrative oversight on behalf of the children of District 3. He has taught in numerous and diverse schools, conducted extensive teacher professional development activities, and influenced many students through coaching. He knows very well the current issues facing our schools. Most importantly, his number one priority will be to improve the classroom environment for teacher-student interactions, the bullseye where actual learning occurs. Jim believes as I do, that we can do better.
Moreover, Jim is running a grassroots, citizen-focused campaign that exhibits respect for the voter and your intelligence: no donations accepted; efficient campaign spending under $1,000; no cluttering the landscape with useless signs or billboards; no intrusive phone calls to your home; instead providing clear and honest information on his educational priorities and qualifications by visiting every neighborhood (usually by foot) in person; and staying in the classroom via dual enrollment geology by Bryan College and mentoring new teachers. Let's reclaim local improvement of our schools!
DEAN E. CRESS, Soddy-Daisy
I am an experienced trial lawyer, and frankly, I am dismayed with the negative advertisements and mailers about three of our Tennessee Supreme Court Justices. These mailers talk about the justices being liberal and tie them to Obamacare. Clearly, this propaganda attempts to focus attention away from the justices themselves to political subjects sensitive to many Tennesseans.
The Tennessee Supreme Court is not political - it is fair and non-partisan. The Tennessee Supreme Court does not handle federal matters - no issue related to Obamacare has ever been presented to our State Supreme Court as that court cannot by law rule on federal matters.
The justices are being attacked not on the basis of their experience or wisdom or performance on the bench, rather they are being attacked because of someone else's agenda.
Our courts were intended and created to be separate, fair, and impartial, without partisan politics. The judges and justices take an oath to uphold the Constitution of our state, and of the United States. The Appellate Courts, including the Tennessee Supreme Court, interpret law based on existing law and the Constitution.
Each of these justices have been held by a performance evaluation commission to be properly doing their jobs, and to be qualified to continue or be retained as Supreme Court Justices.
Do not be misled-it is easy to make broad or negative statements about someone. Please educate yourself on the issues and vote to retain our Tennessee Supreme Court Justices.
JENNIFER H. LAWRENCE
Even though I do not reside in District 1, I wanted to take the opportunity to personally endorse Randy Fairbanks for County Commissioner.
I met Randy over 20 years ago and he made a great impression on me. First and most importantly, Randy is a dedicated family man. He is very proud of his family and exudes happiness. He is a model citizen as he is always giving back to the community. Whether it is the schools, local sports as a coach or referee, or serving in various leadership positions in organizations.
Randy has been a small business owner for many years. Being a practicing CPA for 29 years, Randy would provide much needed financial acumen to the County Commission.
If I resided in District 1, I would proudly vote for Randy Fairbanks for the Hamilton County Commission. He will represent District 1 well and be a valuable asset to the County Commission!
TONY HUNNICUTT, Signal Mountain
I would like to join Judge "Mickey" Barker in his comments to urge the voters to retain our three Supreme Court Justices and to keep Nashville politics out of our courts. The judges have served admirably in their positions and, to my knowledge, have never had to consider legislation on Obamacare. Such a piece of legislation has not been presented to them.
Vote to retain our justices.
BILL H. McAFEE
Many letters have been published in recent weeks endorsing Patsy Hazlewood for District 27 state representative because of her experience and accomplishments in the public arena, and we certainly agree with those writers. Patsy's successes in business with Bellsouth/AT&T and CapitalMark Bank, in government with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, in key civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and United Way, and in her church, have been well chronicled.
Our family, however, is fortunate to know Patsy best as a great neighbor who welcomed us to the neighborhood more than 20 years ago. Since then we have shared laughs, tears, house-watching, carpooling, cat-feeding, and other experiences of the sort that loyal neighbors share. We believe her caring spirit is the primary reason she has taken on the challenge of representing District 27 in the Tennessee State Legislature.
Patsy's unusually wide range of experience, coupled with her caring spirit, her integrity and her good sense, make her the clear choice for District 27 State Representative in the Republican primary on Aug. 7.
STEVE AND WANDA JETT, Signal Mountain
I'm writing in support for the reelection of Commissioner Tim Boyd, District 8, and to publicly thank him for his leadership in helping us launch the Standard Coosa Artist Lofts Project. Mr. Boyd's commitment and vision have been an essential support in introducing the transformative project to Chattanooga. Not only has Tim been helpful in opening doors with other elected officials, Tim's advice and guidance have accelerated our work and facilitated our business in Chattanooga. Hamilton County is fortunate to have a commissioner like Tim Boyd who believes in his community and knows the importance of redeveloping areas of the community into healthy neighborhoods. Mr. Boyd stands out with his passion for the arts, as he has demonstrated again and again how a commitment to the region's creative entrepreneurs is a commitment to the quality of life for the future generations of all of Hamilton County.
Vote for Jackie Anderson Thomas, not because she's smart and has worked with children and families for the last 25 years. Vote for her because she is compassionate for the needs of others and most of all she cares about her community and the people within it. Ms. Thomas has been a mentor to me since I was 14 and I am now 33. She has always been there and has helped me to advocate for myself and my children. I can expect her to tell me what is right; however she allows me to make my own decisions. Having her on the school board will give others the opportunity to share her knowledge, advocating voice and once again her caring spirit. Ms. Thomas is truly the best candidate and I say this because I have experienced her continued support even when she did not have to. On Aug. 7, make your vote count and vote for Jackie Anderson Thomas.
Juvenile Judge Rob Philyaw has earned the respect of Bradley County Juvenile Court staff by reaching out and sharing ideas and resources with the purpose of becoming more efficient in dealing with juvenile offenses and the rising drug problems facing our youth in southeast Tennessee. Judge Philyaw recognized Bradley County Juvenile Court as having one of the oldest Juvenile Drug Courts in the state and reached out to us and others for technical support to start a Juvenile Drug Court to deal with the growing abuse of drugs by youth in Hamilton County. It is a consensus among our staff in Bradley County Juvenile Court that Judge Philyaw is a dedicated and tireless public servant that has the best interest of the children of Hamilton County at heart. He is a good man and a great Judge. The next 8 years are critical for our youth and children. I highly commend Judge Philyaw for his leadership and his willingness to lead by example. I encourage the voters in Hamilton County to vote to keep Judge Rob Philyaw as the Hamilton County Juvenile Judge.
TERRY GALLAHER, Bradley County Juvenile Court