When I hear the words "discretionary funds," I become more disgusted with the entire political process. It is ridiculous to give nine county commissioners $100,000 a year in property-tax money to purchase votes. Over a four-year period, that is $400,000 in property tax money per commissioner. You can buy a lot of votes with that amount of money Call it what you might, but it is nothing more than a vote-buying scheme with property tax money. I am fed up with these high property taxes. Voters in District 7 can help get rid of this discretionary property tax fund giveaway by electing Phil Smartt as their county commissioner. Mr. Smartt has stated publicly that he wants to get rid of the discretionary funds, and he is the only candidate who has indicated he would work toward that end. The property owners paying property taxes in Hamilton County need only five votes to reverse this giveaway by commissioners. Through pressure during the next four years, maybe four commissioners would be swayed to join Mr. Smartt in abolishing the discretionary funding altogether. I live in District 9, but if I lived in District 7 Phil Smartt would have my vote.
BOBBY RUNYAN, Ooltewah
April 22 (Earth Day) was our chance to pause and think: Are we good stewards of our Garden of Eden, Earth? We must agree that fossil fuel consumption changes our planet and harms our future. Let's all send a message to DOE, EPA, TVA and our president asking for an energy policy. We need energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and carbon waste policies. Learn more. Investigate 350.org to understand Hansen's number, 350 ppm CO2 in our atmosphere. We're past that at 400 ppm, hence the melting glaciers and ice caps. You would not leave an infant in a car, in the sun, with the windows rolled up. While not a perfect illustration, the temperature in that closed car, higher than the outdoor temperature, parallels our planetary situation. ... Take a personal action. Perhaps you'll just use less energy. After all, the cheapest and safest energy is the energy not used.
MARY HEADRICK M.D., Maynardville, Tenn.
Mathematical theorists opine that, given an infinite number of monkeys pounding an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time, one of them will eventually produce a perfect edition of Shakespeare's works. So it was with David Cook's column on execution methods. I agreed with it! Oh, wait. The monkeys had better soldier on. When I reread his emission, I realized he was trying to be funny, or sarcastic, or ... himself. What a challenge: condemning capital punishment by producing a witless overview of execution methods in an attempt at humor. Regardless of the challenge, Cook can be counted on to sink to the occasion, but his research was incomplete. Why not revive former state Rep. Don Byrd's suggestion that Tennessee employ a "traveling electric chair" so executions could take place where the murders were committed? Now that was funny. I do agree "Old Sparky" was a lame nickname. I nominate "The Thunder Horse" as its replacement. It's much more evocative. What will Cook's next trick be? Since his ulnar nerve needs exercise, how about a knee-slapper about murder victims and their families? Jimmy Fallon might pay serious money for it as an opening monologue.
JOSEPH A. REHYANSKY
I strongly support Joe Manuel for chancellor because his skills and experience make him the most qualified candidate on the ballot. Joe Manuel's experience as a trial lawyer, trained mediator and arbitrator make him much more qualified to serve as chancellor than if he only practiced law. In my role as an attorney who has been involved with complex cases in federal courts, the experienced arbitrators and mediators I encountered had exactly the qualifications that would make a good chancellor. In fact, lawyers are not invited to become arbitrators for organizations like the American Arbitration Association without being outstanding, experienced lawyers. Joe's broad experience gives him the ability to better appreciate the concerns of the parties and better manage the case to resolution than a lawyer who has only represented parties. Knowing how to manage parties and work within the law and equities to reach a resolution is exactly the role you want a judge to play in the courtroom, especially when increasing antagonism in the courtroom creates social costs through wasted judicial resources. Electing Joe Manuel as chancellor is the right choice for Hamilton County, and I hope you will join me in supporting his candidacy.
SAMANTHA LUNN, attorney, Hixson