Lighting the bridge not the best use of our money
What? A move to spend $4 million-plus for year-round Christmas lights on the Walnut Street Bridge? That is almost sinful considering that much money would surely fund several SROs in our schools, or maybe it could be used to help with maintenance in our schools, or perhaps help the homeless living on our streets now (many of whom are families with children). I can think of many many more useful ideas for all that money. This idea is almost as ludicrous as bicycle lanes on our busy downtown streets.
Local ministers ask for immigrant support
We are a diverse collection of faith leaders, representing Chattanooga congregations and communities. Though many of our traditions are different, at the heart we share clear commitments:
-All people have inherent worth and value.
-Family is important for providing care, stability and joy.
-As part of our call to lead our faith communities, we are called to engage our wider communities to act justly and love mercy.
Thus, we have grown increasingly troubled by shifts in tone regarding U.S. immigration policy, and how these policies play out in Tennessee. We are alarmed by the current presidential administration's policy regarding undocumented border crossings and those fleeing Central American violence. We are angered by its choice to separate adult asylum seekers from their children. This undermines family values our faith traditions support and the nation espouses. We object to Gov. Bill Haslam allowing HB2315 to become law. This law subverts the authority of city governments, allows for federal overreach, and forces people without documentation into the shadows. We want to build a more just world. It is our prayer you will join us working on behalf of immigrants, asylum seekers and those seeking safety and opportunity in the U.S.
Rev. V. Tom Banks, Ashland Terrace Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Rev. Brandon Gilvin, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Rev. Ken Carroll, The Rock Metropolitan Community Church; Rev. Scott Williamson, Pilgrim Congregational Church; Rev. Kate Stulce, Pilgrim Congregational Church; Rev. April Berends, Grace Episcopal Church; Rev. Zack Nyein, Grace Episcopal Church; Rev. Claire Brown, St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Rev. Brad Whitaker, St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Rev. Joseph R. Woodfin, St. Paul's Episcopal Church; The Rev. Leyla K. King, Thankful Memorial Episcopal Church; Tom Kunesh, Chattanooga Humanist Society; Bassam Issa, co-founder, Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga; Rabbi Susan Tendler, Congregation B'nai Zion; Rabbi Craig Lewis, Mizpah Congregation; Pastor Jeff Crim, Ascension Lutheran Church (ELCA); Rev. Christopher A. Smith, Trinity Lutheran Church; Rev. Laura Becker, Northminster Presbyterian Church (USA); Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas, Campus Minister, The Hope House, UTC; Rev. Dr. Clay Thomas, Rivermont Presbyterian Church (USA); Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, Presbyterian Church (USA); Rev. Thomas Bagley, Syndeo Community; Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington, UU Church of Chattanooga; Rev. Charles Neal, United Methodist Church, retired; Rev. Christine Grace, Unity minister; Rev. Jon Scott, Unity minister; Rev. Christy Bonner; Rev. Fayann M. Schmidt; Rev. Ann G. Weeks
Bridge lighting plan shows no common sense
With all due respect, Mayor Berke: How dare you desecrate our historic Walnut Street Bridge, squander our money on an ugly, obscene, contemporary lighting fad? Thumbing your nose at Chattanooga's crucial and worthy priorities. Get yourself a big dose of historical respect, good taste, common sense and fiscal responsibility. Chattanooga already has enough "dirty little secrets." We certainly don't need one which is self-illuminating.
Rebecca Raymond Hixson