Bystanders as guilty as attackers - and more letters to the editors

Bystanders as guilty as attackers - and more letters to the editors

August 6th, 2014 in Opinion Letters

Bystanders as guilty as attackers

I'm not sure what sickens me most, the brutal gang sexual assault in Calhoun, Ga., or that the teens who were there and heard the victim screaming for help and ignored her.

Now the victim will be subjected to the defense attorneys, who will mentally assault her in another public arena.

Awful! I pray for that young woman.

Nobody "asks for it" or consents to sexual assault in public.

Parents of all the teens at that party, you better take a hard look at your own child's moral compass, because it is broken. Not one heeded her screams.


Shivers letter elicits rebuke

In response to Ms. Shivers' "Vote Against Amendment 1" on July 30, she says "most" women on Signal Mountain will "always" have the "means" to have an abortion. Really? Because you have "means?"

If you have "means," you should have an education and brains enough not to end up in an "unplanned" pregnancy anyway.

Abortion is not birth control. It is the termination of an innocent life. I would hope the good people of Signal Mountain would find your comment to be insulting and disgusting.

There is no such thing as an "unplanned" pregnancy. If you insert your keys in the ignition of your car and turn them, are you planning on your car to start? If you insert a piece of gum in your mouth, aren't you planning on chewing it? Likewise, when you insert ... well, if you partner up, there is also a reaction.

If you are old enough to do it, you should be woman or man enough to plan/think through it or you subdue it.

Please "plan" wisely and morally.


Let state decide abortion

In November, voters will decide who should determine public policy on abortion - the people or activist state court judges. I, like others favoring common-sense regulation of abortion, will vote yes.

As we cast our vote this fall, it is helpful to know what interest groups are funding television ads and from where their dollars are derived.

While the pro-life "Yes on 1" campaign enjoys support from individual donors, churches and pro-life organizations within our state, those opposing Amendment 1 are being funded by entities around the country which perform and profit from abortion.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been contributed by abortion providers in California, Massachusetts, New York and Seattle to influence Tennessee's abortion policies.

A recent disclosure form documents that 94 percent of contributions to defeat Amendment 1 were made by Planned Parenthood abortion facilities and the ACLU (

Please join me in casting your vote for the right of Tennesseans to decide matters of life and death for ourselves, and restore Tennessee to a destination for life rather than abortion. "Yes on 1."


Court justices victims of a 'power play'

I have practiced law in Chattanooga for more than 35 years and during that time have read a great many opinions authored by various justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

I have never read an opinion I believed to be motivated or influenced by the nominal political party of any justice.

Justices Lee, Clark and Wade, who are on the current ballot for retention, are the victims of a blatant political power play by Lt. Gov. Ramsey, whose vicious and false campaign to unseat them is aimed at introducing politics into the Tennessee judicial process, where it decidedly does not belong.

I urge all voters in Southeast Tennessee to help keep politics out of our Tennessee judicial system.

Please vote to retain Justices Lee, Clark and Wade. They have served our state well and deserve to continue.


Candidates should have to take checkers test

It seems that our representatives and senators only pass laws that help them get re-elected. It appears our elected representatives are unable think ahead of the potential consequences of the laws they pass. Therefore, I propose the following amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

"Before any U.S. citizen is allowed to present his or her name to any U. S. election commission or authority, for any city, county, state or federal elective office, up to and including the president of the United States, such potential candidate must conclusively demonstrate and prove he or she can consistently defeat a 6-year-old child in a game of checkers."


Domestic partner vote a vote against bigotry

I encourage Chattanooga residents to consider the domestic partner ordinance from the point of view of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We are a diverse community.

Disagreeing with someone's way of life is not a justifiable reason to deny them the same benefits others couples receive.

Vacationing in Chattanooga with my parents in the late 1950's, I was introduced to segregation. Blacks had separate bathrooms, water fountains and sat in the back of buses.

As a resident today, unfortunately, I see the same bigoted views with a different focus - this time against the gay community by the Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency. Disguised as a financial issue, they clearly target city employees who are gay.

They used misleading wording; hence the lawsuit when the city tried to rewrite more clearly. They are deceitful by characterizing employees with same-sex partners as boyfriends and girlfriends. In addition, they portray government costs as significant. The additional costs would only be for the small percentage of employees in committed relationships.

A "yes" vote on this issue is both a vote for tolerance and a vote against bigotry.


Tidwell best manager and best qualified

In many elections, those who vote don't really have a positive feeling about whom they are voting. In the August general election, we have a great opportunity to vote for someone and good reasons to vote for her instead of simply voting.

I will vote for Gwen Tidwell, the incumbent Criminal Court clerk of Hamilton County. She is well qualified to hold this office and has done a good job managing it. Even if she didn't already have 20 years of experience as clerk, she is best qualified because of her history of other administrative jobs.

I've kept up with this office, and I know Gwen has done an excellent job collecting money from those who use her office most, those who are in court because they broke the law. That can't be easy. I know she hasn't asked the County Commission for any money for office salaries in a long time. Those two things tell me she is careful with our money, and I like that.

I hope you will join me and vote for Gwen too.


Aiken urges voters to retain justices

On Thursday, voters will choose to "retain" or "replace" Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade. If retained, they will serve for another eight years.

The retention election is a way to retain judges who make decisions based on the law and facts or remove judges who are incompetent.

Tennessee's Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, appointed by Republican leaders, has reviewed these justices' performance and integrity and overwhelmingly recommended they be retained.

Some political groups are campaigning to remove the justices based on political goals and are making inaccurate, misleading statements in the media about their performance.

Judges should not be removed based on political considerations. Politicians may have to worry about fundraising and partisan views; judges should not.

Politics do not belong in the courtroom.

I urge you to vote to retain Justices Clark, Lee and Wade.


Jeno recommends Hazlewood for House seat

Through out the campaign season, I have had the privilege of meeting the candidates for District 27 state representative. I have had the opportunity to talk with Patsy Hazlewood on several occasions about the issues and problems our small cities, state and nation is facing.

I have noticed her ability to connect with others and watched as she patiently listened to their opinions and problems. Her skills from her executive career and business experience paired with her natural people skills will benefit the citizens of Hamilton County when she gets to work in Nashville.

Patsy genuinely cares about our opinions and will listen to what we have to say. Her volunteer spirit, proven work record and strong ethics is proof that she will work hard for the citizens.

Please vote for Patsy Hazlewood District 27 State Representative on Thursday.


Hazlewood backed in state House bid

At our recent meeting of the Chattanooga Civitan Club, I was quite interested in a presentation by Patsy Hazlewood, candidate for Tennessee state representative, District 27.

As a result, I truly feel that Patsy will be a superior advocate for Hamilton County at the state level. Her experience, integrity and work ethic is well-known and I find her focused on the most important issues: Education and jobs.

I encourage all those who reside in District 27 to elect her as our representative.

ROB ROBINSON, Signal Mountain

Mitchell's experience would be asset on bench

Yolanda Echols Mitchell is one of two people running for Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge. She is the more qualified of the two and should be elected to insure Juvenile Court partners with the parents and social services to prevent our children from being a part of a revolving door of the criminal justice system.

Yolanda Echols Mitchell has 20 years of experience as a practicing attorney, has served as Hamilton County child abuse prosecutor and as assistant district attorney as well as Hamilton County magistrate judge.

Her opponent has served only fourteen months in this position after what the Chattanooga Times editor paged called a "controversial" appointment last year by the Hamilton County Commission. His endorsement by the Chattanooga Free Press stated he is entitled to "serve a full term to flesh out his plans."

No one should have the right to experiment with the future of our children while he learns how to perform a job.

We need Yolanda Echols Mitchell, with her years of experience in juvenile law, as Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge. Please vote for her on Thursday.


Sparks best fit for Sessions Court

Although I am a resident of Marion County, I serve as a minister on Signal Mountain and am pastor to Rex Sparks, who is a candidate for Sessions Court Judge.

Rex and his family are devoted to our country with two sons who serve in our military, one deployed recently to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan. Rex is well qualified for the position, having served 28 years as a lawyer, including nine and a half years as an assistant district attorney in the local Chattanooga office.

He gives himself in community concerns such as the Lions Club and is on the Executive Council of the Chattanooga Region Boy Scouts of America and has been on our local church administrative council.

I recommend him to you as a person of character and integrity who would serve with fairness and efficiency.


Dean offers efficiency, respect in bid for clerk

I have known Vince Dean for many years. He and I were partners at the Chattanooga Police Department for several years. I highly recommend him for the job of Criminal Court Clerk.

He had a vast knowledge of departmental policy, was a very well liked and respected supervisor and was very effective in solving problems. He always carried his workload and was willing to help out where needed. Many times he was called upon by our superiors to assist in specialized details.

I am sure he can truly turn the office of Criminal Court Clerk into one of the most efficient offices in the state. He is well respected by his peers and his former co-workers. Very few people who know him have anything bad to say about him. When they do he goes out of his way to make things right with them.

Please vote for my friend, Vince Dean, for Criminal Court Clerk.

SGT. STEVE MILLER, Signal Mountain

Attacks on justices false, misleading

Many readers have probably seen ads on television urging them to "replace" the three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices up for retention, Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade. I am an attorney.

For over 38 years I have handled cases in courtrooms throughout Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. I know each one of them to be smart, capable and fair.

All three have been evaluated and recommended for retention by the independent non-partisan Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. I am proud to have Justices Clark, Lee and Wade serving on our states' highest court.

Please do not be fooled by the false and misleading ads on TV. The ads attacking Justices Clark, Lee and Wade are false. The Tennessee Supreme Court is not a "liberal court" and it has nothing whatsoever to do with ObamaCare.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has never ruled on ObamaCare and probably never will. ObamaCare is a matter for the federal court system.

I want to retain an independent judicial system free of partisan politics. I urge everyone (who has not yet voted) to go to the polls on Thursday, turn the ballet over, and vote to retain Justices Clark, Lee and Wade.


"Old" voter choosing Fleischmann

I was shocked the other day to see that Weston Wamp was using "old people" in his ad. I am an "old person" also. I am sure Weston will do well later. For now, I will use to my good sense and vote for Chuck Fleischmann.

MARGARET SMITH, Lookout Mountain

Mitchell would be role model as juvenile judge

I would like to declare my support for Yolanda Echols Mitchell as our next Juvenile Court Judge.

I have known Yolanda for almost 50 years; she is a dedicated public servant and always acts with integrity and thoughtfulness. She will make an excellent role model for the children who come into contact with juvenile court.

The Juvenile Court is a complex and diverse environment and the judge must make difficult decisions about the lives of children and their families.

Attorney Mitchell served as an assistant district attorney for 10 of the 20 years she has practiced law, specifically prosecuting crimes committed against children for four of those years. She also served as a magistrate judge for four years of her 20-year career.

Yolanda has the skills and knowledge to make the Juvenile Court an effective institution and her background and experience far exceed that of the current Judge.

This is why I am asking the citizens of Hamilton County to vote for Yolanda Echols Mitchell for Juvenile Court Judge.


Re-elect Garth as public defender

I urge everyone to vote for Ardena Garth for public defender. Her tea party opponent is sorely lacking in criminal defense experience and has no experience in administration of indigent defense budgets, office management, or hiring and supervision of over 25 employees.

I have known Ardena for over 20 years. She is a woman of outstanding character, moral leadership, and 24 years of experience in defense of those who are too poor to choose and hire their own attorney.

She has done an outstanding job for the past 24 years. She has built her office on a concept of client-centered excellence in provision of legal services. She established an innovative concept of making availability of social services a part of her office through her Sentencing Advocacy program.

This program emphasizes rehabilitation over recidivism, of helping ex-offenders become productive members of society rather than repeat offenders. This was a new idea for Hamilton County which has become a model program across the nation.

She also worked to develop the successful Drug Court which has operated for many years in Hamilton County and has also established new initiatives in development of a mental health court.

I am proud to call Ardena a friend and you should be proud to re-elect her your public defender.


Miller urges vote for Hazlewood

Patsy Hazlewood is well known in the community as someone who gets things done. She has given much time and energy to many causes that make our community a better place. In addition to her many volunteer activities, she has a firm foundation in the nuts and bolts of the work world. She has experience in both the private and public sector.

She understands the importance of job creation and education for the betterment of the citizens of our community. She is a conservative who is well-grounded in faith and family. Her integrity is unquestionable.

She has the combination of intelligence and "people skills" that will make her very valuable to the citizens of District 27 and Chattanooga. I would urge you to vote for Patsy for state representative.


Vince Dean's parents urge his clerk election

We are the parents of Vince Dean, who is the Republican candidate for Criminal Court clerk in Hamilton County. As parents, we are very proud of the way he has conducted himself in several public offices.

He has served as an official in city, county and state governments. He has served well and has been accepted by the people of Hamilton County, and we highly recommend you join us in electing him to this office.

He will serve you well, and we will never be embarrassed by his decisions or conduct. So, we ask you to give him your support for this office.


Hazlewood offers fresh thinking

We have a chance to elect a new state representative. I know all three who are wanting the job and they are good people, but we need a leader. Patsy Hazlewood is the person who will take the concerns of our district to Nashville, and the other leaders will listen. They will recognize her ability to lead, look at her resume and the positions she has held.

Patsy will bring a fresh thinking to the job. Sometimes we need to think outside the box to move ahead. Let's give Patsy Hazlewood that chance to lead us forward.


Ordinance boldly discriminates

The ordinance on the ballot Thursday is being sold as providing fairness, justice, equal opportunity, "equal pay for equal work" and so on.

Despite the mild words and the claims to being reasonable, the domestic partnership benefits plan on the Aug. 7 ballot for city voters is highly discriminatory. It debases marriage, making of it nothing more than a convenient and moralistic fiction lacking any rational basis. It elevates homosexual alliances to make these equal to the honorable estate.

Marriage requires a long-term view essential for intergenerational prosperity and what we like to call economic development. The city plan envisions $168,000 in outlays from taxpayers the first year. But costs would soar as the system is gamed.

If moral poverty weren't enough, the ordinance is unconstitutional and a legal nullity. In Tennessee jurisprudence, a city's authority is obtained by charter. As creatures of the legislature, it is not free to go beyond these limits. The ordinance is an underbelly stab at Tennesseans' constitutional marriage amendment, gutting not just the letter of the law, but the General Assembly's intent.