Our tax dollars not for stadiums
Would you be outraged if the city and/or county wrote a multimillion-dollar check and gave it, with no strings attached, to a super-rich individual? This is essentially what happens when a city or county builds and finances a sports stadium or arena for a millionaire or billionaire who happens to own a sports team.
There is no credible justification for a taxing authority to collect taxes from people who, in some cases, can hardly afford to go to a ball game and use these taxes to benefit a privately owned business.
Most taxpayers pay their taxes in the hope and expectation that our homes and streets will be safe, our children will receive a good education and our streets will not have potholes. Benefiting a privately owned business was never supposed to be part of the equation. To add insult to injury, according to a recent article in the Time Free Press, sometimes a sports team will leave town before their taxpayer-financed stadium is fully paid for.
Exercise your duty: Get educated, vote
As the upcoming elections approach, it is the perfect time to remind all of us about the significance of local elections, particularly in their direct impact on the community.
Advocacy for increased voter turnout becomes a call to action. The narrative encourages a collective commitment to becoming a community that excels in local voting. The plea is for citizens to actively participate in the democratic process.
We need to leverage social media platforms to disseminate information about the elections. Encouraging citizens to share their voting experiences on these platforms can serve as a catalyst for increased awareness.
The overarching message is one of collective responsibility for our own cities and the well-being of our great country. I would like to emphasize that voting is not just a right but a duty.
Let's all participate in the elections this year by voting and recognizing our role in shaping the future of our local governments as well as our country.
Shouldn't employers care about employees?
Rachel Greszler, an employee of the Conservative Heritage Foundation, writes about fair labor standards as they apply to exemption from overtime requirements.
Taking the same tack as screeds against the minimum wage, she claims the new exemption standards (more salary required for exemption) will hurt employees' job opportunities and flexibility. Speaking as one who was made exempt without a compensating salary increase, I can attest to the unhealthy impact upon the morale and pocketbook of the employee (to say nothing of the disappointing attitudes of management and peers).
It annoys me 50 years later: Is this really what an employer wishes for his employees, or is he not really concerned about it?
We have a republic, if we can keep it
President Biden recently declared that "democracy itself is on the ballot," and yet if you're among that vast majority of Democrats who believe that this president should not run again, you have almost no voice in the selection of your party's nominee. Somewhere a Minnesota congressman has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, but in this "democracy," how many even know this?
CBS reports on the actual democratic process of these small gatherings (Iowa caucuses): individuals speaking on behalf of their favorite candidates, paper ballots and transparent counting of the ballots. And while noting the outsized influence of what happens in Iowa, the CBS reporter declares that such a thoughtful, deliberative process would be utterly impossible in populous states like Florida, thus belying the president's claim that democracy is in dire jeopardy.
He should know that democracy in any meaningful sense is not even possible in a nation of 335 million, hence the constitutional alternative of a republic — representative government elected by qualified, informed voters.
Lookout Mountain, Ga.
More reading picks; expand your horizon
I enjoyed seeing a suggested reading list from a letter writer in last week's Sunday Times Free Press.
I have indeed read several of his recommended books, and while I found them interesting, they seemed somewhat hyperbolic and lacking in concrete steps to fix what's truly wrong with this country.
I have found that some Democrats seem to have an aversion to reading certain tomes.
I suggest readers pick up any or all of the following: "Ship of Fools," Tucker Carlson; "Laptop From Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide," Miranda Devine; "The Puppeteers," Jason Chaffetz; "Nation of Victims," Vivek Ramaswamy; and "The Dying Citizen," Victor Davis Hanson. Pick one. Or even two.
Fully funding WIC helps the vulnerable
We might be ringing in the new year, but the U.S. Congress has some critical business left over from 2023: fully funding WIC.
With rising food costs and increased program participation, and with data showing that funding WIC bolsters our local economy, it is more critical than ever that we also strengthen WIC to provide vital nutrition, formula and breastfeeding support for pregnant women, postpartum moms, infants and toddlers in our communities.
WIC is a crucial program that gives access to formula and nutritious foods that might not be accessible otherwise. I myself use WIC to purchase formula for my infant son every month, and without WIC, I would struggle to purchase formula. This is a stark reality for many mothers.
The health and economic security of millions of babies, toddlers, pregnant and postpartum women depend on our elected leaders fully funding WIC. If our leaders truly care about children and the future of this country, they can show that by ensuring food continues to make it to the mouths of vulnerable children by funding WIC.
Thanks to Signal police, fire donors
On behalf of the 41 police and fire officers and their families of the Town of Signal Mountain, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution to the 2023 S.M. Robertson Police & Fire Christmas Fund. The citizens of our community continue to be consistently generous. The money raised was distributed on Dec. 23 to those serving on the police and fire forces. Thank you for once again blessing these men and women and their families who faithfully serve.
It's an honor and privilege to see, firsthand, the faithful love and support of our community. May God grant your family peace, safety and joy during 2024.
T. W. Francescon Jr.