Senator demanding legislators do work and more letters to the editors

Senator demanding legislators do work

As anyone who has followed the just-concluded special session knows, few of Gov. Bill Lee's proposals passed. Instead, some members of the legislature attempted to expand this extraordinary event for their own pet agendas. I read in the newspaper one legislator's indirect dig at Todd Gardenhire, one of our Republican senators and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was suggested that because the chairman is executing his duty to ensure the House not bully and bluff through legislation without proper analysis, evidence and debate, that somehow Gardenhire is abetting juvenile crime.

Tennessee already has a mechanism that allows for the discretionary transfer of the most dangerous juveniles from juvenile to adult court in cases of murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, commission of an act or terrorism or carjacking. Judges in our district have used this mechanism effectively and can continue to do so when the facts and circumstances of an offense warrant a transfer to adult court without sweeping juvenile justice legislative reform.

Fulfilling his role as the Judiciary Committee chairman, Gardenhire is doing nothing more than demanding that the legislature work and work hard on these issues in an ordinary procedure, rather than merely ramming legislation through a special session. It's better we carefully uncover flaws and any problems with the proposed legislation now than in 10 years to avoid what could very well end up being an expensive failure.

Jerry H. Summers

We must work to end wire pollution

Stringers Ridge is a fire hazard. Well, not exactly. It is the loose overhead wires everywhere in Hill City. This dangerous and very unsightly wire pollution needs to be controlled.

Capitalism creates this economic externality as there is apparently no cost to utilities to leave unmaintained, decaying, used and unused wires. In such cases as these, government regulation will benefit shareholders in the long run.

Utilities still have not learned to voluntarily take action to protect shareholders from class-action lawsuits as most recently seen with Hawaiian Electric. This too is sadly true in the Volunteer State and all around Hill City's protected Stringers Ridge.

Ben Katz

Perhaps Wamp the 'unmitigated disaster'

Unfortunately, the county mayor has shown his lack of experience and leadership by calling Red Bank an "unmitigated disaster." As a resident of Red Bank, I can say our city is doing just fine, thanks to the current elected leadership and supportive city staff. The county mayor's claim is both unfounded and absolutely absurd.

Red Bank, just beyond the North Shore, is a wonderful community showing progress and determination. The elected officials and city staff demonstrate great care with managing limited funds and other resources. There is no "small group of people" taking over Red Bank. Quite the contrary. Red Bank continues on an upward path with amazing potential. Red Bank does not need to be the town of the past but the town of the future with vibrant leadership and a sense of small community.

With the county mayor's childish and unfounded charges against Red Bank and elected officials, he is demonstrating a lack of understanding about leadership and how to be effective at it. Perhaps he is the "unmitigated disaster."

Kevin Conrad

A bill to keep kids from accessing porn

Utah, Louisiana and Mississippi have laws to protect children from accessing online pornography. Right now, it is perfectly legal for a child any age to access online porn.

According to Dr. John Foubert, author of "Protecting Your Children From Internet Pornography," 93% of boys ages 8-11 and 63% of girls will have been exposed to porn. And this is not your grandfather's "Playboy"; it is filled with brutal violence, gang rapes, beatings, humiliation, strangulation and verbal abuse.

According to another study presented in his book, 88% of the most popular porn videos contain physical or verbal violence, mostly against women. What's a parent to do? Start by visiting, where you can find resources on protecting your child, especially the book: "Good Pictures, Bad Pictures."

Also, offers a free course, Internet 101Safety, which is a must for every parent and, a group that works with companies and legislatively to protect children from online dangers.

Lastly, contact your state legislators, ask them to propose a bill that requires age verification. If these three states can do this, so can Tennessee. We love our kids too.

Conni Leonessa


Name-shaming wrong approach to governing

When did consensus and compromise get banned? Why is name-shaming and issue avoidance the approach to governance?

How disappointing that the county mayor used partisan politics to call attention to the actions of a city [commission] in a series of pejoratives that won't lead to an informed discussion. Tax increases are unpleasant but necessary unless we really like fewer services and think that planning is not necessary — just give in to vested interests. I know the needs of senior citizens are being investigated and input is requested. The [commission] also considers growth, the demands of the future and how to meet needs in a constructive way.

The current [commission] is positive, respectful and seeks far-ranging ideas about city needs. They are young, but they are informed and intelligent. They practice open meetings and open processes, which are vital for citizen involvement. So far, even with the tax increase, I find their approach to be farsighted and responsible. Goal setting is done with community input.

Perhaps the county mayor might take a page from that playbook. Partisan politics should have no place in community development when it neglects issues and projects a winner-takes-all image.

As someone who is not a political party member, I value facts and issues, not tags and vitriol.

Helen Barrett

Can't seize property without due process

It's my understanding if someone hears me threaten to or believes I may in the future shoot some person, persons or group and reports it to law enforcement, my firearms would be seized from me before any court action.

What happens if — using the same scenario — it is believed said person threatened to use a truck to run down a person, persons or group, would the truck be seized?

The point here is property is property and can't be seized without due process (Fourth Amendment, U.S. Constitution), and you have a right to due process to challenge the reason or reasons why (Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution).

Also, upon said seizure(s), would any permits or licenses applicable to the event be also seized, and in the case of a firearm, would said accused be immediately placed into the National Instant Background Check System so as to prevent the legal purchase of another firearm?

Detain the person. We already have protective custody laws that are very effective.

Bill Bastenbeck

Dayton, Tenn.