A word about the street musicians/buskers of Chattanooga.
You're likely to see these people if you frequent downtown or around Frazier Avenue on the North Shore.
My decision to retire here was driven by the city's beautiful topography and climate but equally by an ethos of friendliness; a coziness. Nestled as it is in a setting of soft mountains and jagged architecture, if New Orleans is The Big Easy, Chattanooga is The Big Cozy.
One thing the city does no less well than anyplace I've seen and better than most, is to appreciate public art.
There's some amazing talent out there: some are young upstarts; middle-aged with a day job, retired folks strummin' and singing and die-hard pros living for the freedom of the streets. It's virtually all worth a listen.
The benefit to the real culture of the community is large.
Hats off to Soundstage and Sidewalk Stages, nonprofits which support this precious activity.
In an age of high-priced concert tickets, a thumbs-up or a dollar tip will get you a great deal.
Cook lauded for challenging us
We are deeply grateful for David Cook's continuing willingness and courage to challenge all Chattanoogans to recognize and correct both obvious and subtle racial and economic inequities in our area.
His column about the Business Improvement District on July 28 is the most recent example. As the national fabric of morality and equity seems to be unravelling, we think his local challenges offer us hope.
David and Tara Diercks
Vote 'no' again on Walden proposal
As residents of Walden, we are adamantly opposed to the proposed rezoning of the Lines Orchids property at Taft Highway and Timesville Road by John Anderson/LOP LLC.
The second proposal is not very different from the first denied proposal. This plan is still in no way compatible with the Walden Zoning Ordinance or Walden's Ridge Plateau Area Plan.
Reducing the grocery store footprint by a mere 5,000 square feet is insignificant. Anderson's attempt to rezone to Village Center (VC-1) is a joke. He asks that most of the criteria for a VC-1 zone be exempted.
A fuel station and 10,000-square-foot office/retail space remain in the plan. This is of great concern because of the danger from the coal mines and air shafts beneath the property. It would take but a small spark to cause fires or explosions resulting in area destruction.
Residents of Walden and Signal Mountain should be more concerned about community integrity and safety than the convenience for groceries. We encourage the Regional Planning Commission to vote "no" at the Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, meeting.
Sally and Ward Crimmins
Town of Walden, Signal Mountain
Keep tax on Signal by approving store
I am 100% for the grocery store to be located on the property at Taft and Timesville.
We need another grocery store located toward the north end of the mountain. This is where the growth is taking place. We have lots of families and folks on fixed income who cannot afford to shop at a Whole Foods-type grocery (granted, it is very nice).
We need the taxes that are slipping away to the foot of the mountain every day. Please, let's put on our business hat and keep as much money on the mountain as possible. We had the same problem when CVS wanted to locate on the mountain. Vote "yes."
Tell GOP to take action on elections
Since most people don't have the time to read the 448 pages, here is a summary of some conclusions [of the Mueller report]: 1. "U.S. intelligence agencies had high confidence that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the DNC"; 2. The IRA (Russians) used social media accounts and interest groups to sow discord in the U.S. political system"; 3. "In March 2016, the GRU (Russians) began hacking the email accounts of Clinton campaign volunteers and employees"; 4. "The Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure the outcome."
There is evidence the Russians will continue their interference with our elections unless we take steps to stop it. The Republicans in the Senate have not done so. Contact your representatives and let them know how you feel.
Take aim at weapons, ammo
The following are among the proposals as to how to deal with the modern American horror of mass shootings:
Expanded background checks; improve mental health evaluations; extend the purchase wait time; make video games less violent; hate has no place in America; tie gun control to immigration reform; make stricter gun regulations but protect gun rights; speak out against white supremacists; identify, investigate and prosecute domestic terrorists.
All of these "avoid the AR-15 in the room." None of these "solutions" address the weapons of choice shooters employ to maximize the damage they inflict.
Real gun control must address the weapons and supplemental devices used to kill large numbers of people. Assault rifles are used to assault people, not to hunt deer and other wild game. Expanded capacity magazines make it possible to fire scores of bullets without reloading. Bump stocks turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons. Silencers mute the sound of gunfire and can make for more victims.
Until the public demands politicians take aim at the specific guns and means that make them so much more lethal, "our thoughts and prayers" will continue to be offered to the victims and their families.
Grady S. Burgner
Trump to be fatal to civilization?
What Victor Hugo wrote about Napoleon seems applicable to many strong-man aspirants — others throughout history and those of our day, including Donald Trump. Hugo said, "The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturb(s) the equilibrium. This individual alone count(s) for more than the whole of mankind. This plethora of all human vitality within a single head, the world rising to the brain of one man (is) fatal to civilization ."
Rep. Fleischmann: Be bold, take action
An open letter to GOP Rep. Chuck Fleischmann:
While others are arguing about mental illness and white supremacy, let's talk about reducing the odds that one of us will be killed by a lone gunman.
One might say it will never happen here. But it happened in Chattanooga in July 2015. One might say it will never happen to me. But you were on that practice field in October 2017 and know firsthand the terror of being at the mercy of a crazed gunman.
So what are you waiting for?
Introduce legislation to ban the sale of high capacity clips. Now.
Introduce legislation to ban the sale of assault rifles. Now.
Those who serve in the military or as first responders will still have access to these weapons and ammunition. But you and I will not. And some guy who wants to take innocent lives will not.
It is not the whole answer or the final answer, but it is a start. Take action. Be bold. Take all the credit. Be a hero. What are you waiting for?