In 1960, I was working at the TVA Edney Building. I would occasionally go to the S&W for lunch.

One day a group of young black men came in. As they made their way to the line, four white men, dressed in their business finest, got up, walked to block their way and said, "You are not welcome to eat here."

The young men were not making a scene. I couldn't believe it. I walked over to them and told them not all of us felt that way.

I have never forgotten that scene.

Margie Merritt, Ringgold, Georgia


Reader unhappy with 'Eye on Left'

In the Times Free Press editorial section, I want to read reasoned, insightful writing by both conservatives and liberals who adhere to high standards and are willing to question their own side. Instead, I have to endure commentaries such as "Eye on the Left" (on the Free Press editorial page), which shamelessly invoke stereotypes, news stories taken out of context, and dog-whistle phrases that ridicule and belittle the other side. The tone is condescending and dismissive.

This type of writing is not interested in the truth, finding common ground or upholding a standard. It's not credible or enlightening. It's pandering drivel and contributes nothing to the discussion of serious issues we face.

Why the refusal to challenge your own side? We are in the midst of a crisis of confidence in our political system; the writing, instead of reminding us of the common good, is pushing people to the extremes.

Here's a suggestion: Once a week, let each side of the editorial section write a critical piece taking issue with its own side. Write another piece praising an aspect of the other side. No satire, nothing specious. This would be worthy journalism that promotes tolerance and provides a real service to the community.

Tom May, Ooltewah


Haynes' leadership fulfilling his vision

When Marty Haynes ran for assessor of property, he had a vision for where he wanted to take the office, and in the last four years he has accomplished many of his objectives.

He has made the office more user friendly by extending hours of operation and updating technology; by providing educational opportunities, several employees have turned their jobs into careers with better pay and better benefits. A more professional staff benefits the public; also, the first female appraiser was hired by Mr. Haynes.

For taxpayers, Mr. Haynes has kept his promise by returning more than $500,000 of our money back to the county treasury. Promises made, and promises kept!

The citizens of Hamilton County are fortunate to have an elected official whose efforts have been recognized by his colleagues in naming Mr. Haynes East Tennessee Assessor of the Year. Through Mr. Haynes' guidance, the Hamilton County Assessor's office was awarded the state's first three-star designation by the Tennessee Association of Assessing Officers. The future looks bright under Marty's leadership.

If Mr. Haynes' opponent has a vision for the office, he should share it with the voters and stop the negative, unsubstantiated campaigning; voters prefer the positive.

Marti Rutherford