The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 21, 2012

Letters to the Editor 10/21/12

The News Courier

The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and should include a name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Send letters by noon on Thursdays to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL, 35613, or email to

Never made statements

Dear Editor:

The Oct. 14 edition of The News Courier had a letter to the editor from Quentin Anderson about a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase for Athens.

Mr. Anderson, in his letter, mentioned my name and referred to my comments in your paper from an Oct. 7 news article. Mr. Anderson said, “Former city councilman Crawford stated in last Sunday’s paper that the consensus of the citizens were not in favor of a sales tax increase. He (Crawford) further stated that the city didn’t have a serious financial problem, it only needs better judgment as to how it expended its funds.” The problem, I never made any of those statements.

I do not appreciate Mr. Anderson using my name to promote his agenda, especially when he credits me with something I did not say.

It is so unfair and hurtful to a person to be misquoted. Someone reading Mr. Anderson’s letter may not have seen or will not remember what was said or written a week earlier and think those really were my comments. I even went back and read the article again myself. I guess when you write so many letters to the editor, as does Mr. Anderson, it is hard to keep things straight.

I don’t read Mr. Anderson’s letters, but was glad a friend of mine brought it to my attention. I hope people in Athens do not rely on “letters to the editor” to get their facts since they can be wrong and misleading.

I realize people can make mistakes, so I will accept Mr. Anderson’s apology, if offered, and leave it at that. Just drop that apology in the mail.

I will continue to use my Sunday mornings before church studying my Bible, as it always offers the truth with good news, and that good news, my friends, will set you free.


Danny Crawford


Citizen interests

should come first

Dear Editor:

It seems the Athens city leadership has serious problems. Athens City Councilwoman Milly Caudle was publicly quoted Wednesday as saying the following regarding the proposed sales tax increase: “People say we have a balanced budget but the only reason is because we refuse to spend more than we have.” 

This is shades of our national government and its $16 billion deficit. Her comment is the height of idiocy. I challenge Caudle and Mayor Marks to have a special, announced in advance, town hall meeting and go into specifics in regard to this proposed tax increase and how they will actually allocate the funds.

The mayor is also recommending percentage allocations of the proposed additional funds to be put in place without consideration of citizen or new council members input in the final decision. There is some question as to whether certain council members are being offered special funding allocations, by the mayor, to influence their vote for the tax increase before our newly elected council members are sworn into office.  This can be determined by the council’s actions at the time of approval of the terms of the sales tax increase. This could be highly questionable conduct on the part of Athens public leadership.

Why the fear of the newly elected council members? Is it potential questioning of the amount of funding allocations for special interests or what? Why the secrecy?

The whole subject came up only two weeks ago when the mayor presented his draft proposal. Too little time to do the necessary review and detailed planning for such a critical decision. 

We can’t let Councilwoman Caudle’s irresponsible statement become the death knell of a progressive, financially stable city. Do you want to tell your children and grandchildren that their mayor says, don’t worry about over spending for your future. The next generation can take care of it like in Washington, just increase the taxes again. What kind of intelligent thinking is that?

Please show your concern and displeasure of this conduct at Monday’s council meeting. The proposed tax rate increase vote must be held over until the new council members are sworn into office. No more catering to politicians that prefer special interests over the citizen’s best interests.

Taxation without legally elected representation is not the American way.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Voting party line problematic

Dear Editor:

When people vote for a party, instead of a person, they could be putting handcuffs on their party. Their actions could cause problems for the party they are voting for. People in small towns and counties get to know these elected officials during the time they serve in their positions. Intelligence, hard work and honesty are what most people look for in officials who represent them. The voters can vote these people out if they do not perform in a positive way regardless of the party they are a member of.

I see all the red signs that have been placed in all areas where Republican candidates have placed their signs. The words written on the red signs say:  Fight back vote Republican.  These signs say vote Republican regardless of whether the candidates are qualified for the jobs they are seeking. All of the Republican candidates that are asking for the peoples’ votes are hovering around the red sign. If I was a candidate running for office I would get as far away from that sign as possible? The red sign is saying if all Republicans in this area are elected, it will be easier for us to continue the same philosophy of being uncooperative on all issues and actions that are important to this area/state/country to move forward.  

In my opinion, when voters vote for the party instead of getting to know the candidate they are helping some people get elected that are not qualified for the job because these unqualified people feel sure of getting elected because their party will support them, not because of their qualifications or trust that they will do a good job but because of their party affiliation. 

I’m not sure all voters know that all members of the Republican Party must be agreeable to all issues and actions the party promotes. Independent thinking will get you kicked out of the party. I am an individual and I cherish my rights to make my own decisions regarding issues important to me regardless of the party I am a member of.


Martha Fleming


Like drunken sailors

Dear Editor:

Have you ever heard the old expression about someone who “spends money like a drunken sailor”? Although I would guess that our city administrators are not actually serious drinkers, their recent spending habits are a strong reminder about the way they have been mismanaging our city, which they now want you and me to pay for it with their proposed sales tax increase.

Athens is fortunate in our bonus location on 1-65 with our number of hotels and restaurants, which adds many tax dollars from tourists. For years I have watched with wonderment, concern, and dismay as the people we have entrusted with Athens’s financial well-being have insisted on the need for more and more new (and larger) expensive buildings that will, of course, be able to hold more and more city employees all of whom they expect us to pay for. Madison and Huntsville can live with 8 percent. Why can’t we?

On a television interview recently our mayor said that this tax increase has been in discussion “for at least 2 years.” I have read the Athens New Courier (and Huntsville Times) every day and never saw a word about any tax increase until a few weeks ago; and if it were so urgent, why did he not bring it up before his election? If this has actually been talked about I suspect it is another example of private meetings behind closed doors by our “good ‘o1 boy” government network.

And how is this tax increase to be done? Not by a vote of us citizens but rushed through in a ‘lame duck’ City Council vote during the current members last meeting and before new council members are installed. I hope you agree that that is no way to run a government.

It appears that not all City Council members are in favor of this ‘gold rush’ change. Congratulations to them and hopefully to those others who will vote to support the present 8 percent tax level.

If you are concerned about our city’s mismanagement, you have only until tomorrow to contact your city council member so call him/her now to stop this madness. Let’s return control of the city from our politicians to our people.


Jay McCook


Tuition unfair to private-school students

Dear Editor:

During the course of my research into what I considered an unreasonable $3,600 tuition fee for attendance at the Limestone County Technical School, I discovered that approximately 90 state of Tennessee students are attending school in the Limestone County Alabama School System.  The tuition for these students is $490 per year per student for full time instruction, including attendance at the Technical School, if they so desire. According to Linda Felton-Smith from the Alabama State Department of Education, “Alabama is not reimbursed by Tennessee for students who come across state lines.”

The Limestone County School System is asking a private-schooled Limestone County citizen $3,600 per year for one and one half hours of instruction per day. The courses offered at the technical schools such as machine shop, welding, auto body, cosmetology, food service, etc., are not traditional education courses, and I believe they should be available to the students of any taxpaying state resident. At the same time the Limestone County School Board is asking a Limestone County resident to pay the much higher tuition rate, they are using tax dollars from the citizens of its county to fund approximately $2,000 per year per student, and also, applying for and receiving approximately $5,000 per student per year from the citizens of the state of Alabama to educate these Tennessee students.

At a time when teachers haven’t had a raise in years, when Limestone County students are forced to attend school in portable classrooms, and when funding per student has been drastically reduced, why are we spending over a half million dollars per year to educate out of state students? I am curious to know how this was allowed to escalate to the point of costing Alabama taxpayers over a half million dollars each year and millions of dollars over the years.

The current situation is unacceptable to me and should be of utmost concern to all taxpayers in Alabama. The purpose of this communication is two-fold. First of all, I would like to see all students in the state of Alabama eligible to attend the technical schools throughout the state. Secondly, I feel that the state of Tennessee should be reimbursing the state of Alabama for educating the Tennessee students.


Danny Barksdale


Dinner in the Orchard real gem

Dear Editor:

We have mentioned before that one of the great values of a library is its ability to promote the love and joy of learning and reading. Too many people grow up with the attitude that reading is work and is only a necessary part of learning. They are encumbered with that attitude all their lives and miss out on the thrill of learning something new just for the sheer joy of learning it, and never reach even close to their potential.

Local farmer Raymond Isom stated in a 1949 Auburn University essay, “If knowledge is never cultivated, the best work of the individual will never be produced.  For future profits the money spent for knowledge will be well spent.”

The Isom family put his and their belief in the value of the library into practice with their second annual Dinner in the Orchard this last Saturday evening. I had heard of the one they had last year to benefit the Athens Hospital, but was fortunate enough to get a ticket this year. It was amazing! The family, business, and many friends produced a fantastic evening. The obvious planning and hard work yielded an evening unlike any I have ever seen and can’t remember hearing of one like it anywhere.

Every penny of the $100 per plate tickets went to the Library Foundation or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Wes and Marlene Isom, Isom’s Orchards, and their many friends absorbed all of the costs and obviously worked many, many long hours putting on this magnificent production. All of the excellent waiters/waitresses were volunteers, as were the musicians, parking lot attendants, tractor drivers, etc. The logistics and planning must have been mind-boggling.

Words cannot express the thanks from the Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation and the 125 people who enjoyed a unique evening they will never forget.  This event is a wonderful example of the support the library has from the people of Athens. This is a great town and it is people like the Isoms and their friends who help make it and keep it the real gem that it is.  


Buzz Estes


Thanks for Bean Day success

Dear Editor:

It is so wonderful to live in a community like Limestone County, where people come together to make things better for others. On behalf of the Council on Aging Foundation, I would like to express our appreciation to all those who helped to make Bean Day such a big success.

Money raised from this yearly event will benefit: Hospice, Birdie Thornton, Athens Fire Department, and the senior centers of Limestone County.

We appreciate all of those who bought tickets, donated supplies, baked desserts and volunteered their time. Many, many thanks go out to a list of supporters: Athens News Courier, Athens Now, The Valley Star, Teresa Todd with Our Town, Athens Pharmacy, Valley Imaging, The Rotary Club, Hospice, Birdie Thornton, Athens Fire Department, David Andrews, Johnny Abernathy, Sheriff Mike Blakely, Erin Moran, Wal-Mart, Lawler’s, 306 BBQ, Jamie Cooper, Dr. Jason Reed and First Baptist Church.


Jackie Jackson, board president

Council on Aging Foundation


Amendments need “yes” vote

Dear Editor:

Alabamians will be able to brighten our children’s future Nov. 6 by voting “yes” on statewide constitutional Amendments 4, 9 and10. With our “yes” vote we can make the first step toward moving Alabama forward into the 21st Century.

Amendment 4 eliminates the racist words in the Education Article of the Constitution that required black and white children to go to separate schools, and funded those schools with poll taxes. Although these segregationist provisions have been unconstitutional for more than 50 years, the words remain, and simply do not reflect who we are today. These words are a problem for recruiters trying to bring businesses to Alabama. How well would coaches Saban or Chizik be able to recruit, if racist words like these were in their playbooks?

In addition to Amendment 4, Amendment 9 revises the Corporations Article, removing references to outdated entities like telegraph companies and other obsolete provisions. Amendment 10 updates the Banking Article by removing sections such as those giving banks the right to print money, which for decades has been the sole function of the Federal government.

These amendments are the product of the bi-partisan Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission created under the leadership of Senate Pro Tempore Del Marsh, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, and Governor Bentley and chaired by former Gov. Albert Brewer.

These three amendments do exactly what they say they will do. There are no hidden consequences. None of these amendments deal with taxation, and none adversely impact consumers. It’s about time to vote “Yes” on Amendments 4, 10 and 9.


Nancy Ekberg

Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Inc.