The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 8, 2012

Letters to the Editor 4/8/12

The News Courier

Letters policy

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

Repeal immigration law

Dear Editor:

I have been following your coverage of Alabama's immigration law closely since it went in to effect. As a small business owner I am concerned about this law's negative impact on our state's economy and small businesses like mine.

Alabama is losing a million dollars a day because of this law.  I, personally, have lost a lot of customers because many of them were immigrants who have left the state out of fear — even those who were here legally.

These customers are hardworking people who supported my business. Without that income, I'm forced to cut business expenses. I can't afford to keep running my business the way I did without replacing those customers. And I definitely cannot consider making the same investments in our town's economy when I'm struggling myself.

At a time when our economy is already sluggish, I just can't see how this was the best move for our state. If lawmakers truly want to help our state's economy and small business owners like me, they need to repeal this law now.


Hermelindo Jiménez

Owner, La Guerrerense


Tired of rants

Dear Editor:

This is in response to the letter from Bruce Wilson dated March 31, 2012, stating he is tired of government. I take issue with his editorial as far as saying that freeloaders are taking from the government and not giving back.

I don’t know where you have been but jobs have been created every month for the last six months or more. If you decided to quit working Mr. Wilson that is up to you. Can it be some people cannot find suitable employment. I’m pretty sure you didn’t take the first job that came along.

As to the president, if you read the news or watch it there is more oil production going on in the last few years than in the last 20. Why don’t you read and get your facts together before sending off a letter to the editor cause you are upset. There is more demand for gas throughout the world now so that is why more countries are demanding more oil too.

As far as the apologies go, he is not apologizing for the certain act, just for what is going on. I suppose you want use to get into another conflict and pay out more taxes and where you don’t have to worry about leaving the comforts of your home to go and defend this country. Be careful what you ask for.

When has the president turned anything into a “race issue”? I have heard more from the right wing talk about race than Rev. Al Sharpton or the president. 

As for the Black Panthers, haven’t heard a thing from them. What are “gang clothes”? Are they jeans, Dockers, jerseys, what? Cause a lawmaker chooses to wear a hoodie to show solidarity to a cause it is gang related? Come on you are smarter than this. So since Bill Belichick wears a hood during the season, he is a gang member. All the kids that represent bands and such, when they are in the stands during the fall wearing hoods, they are gang members?

Sir all your other issues hold merit, but all the ones I have spoken on don’t hold water. I am an honorably discharged vet/retired serviceman and if it’s cold I am going to wear a sweatshirt with a hood, not because it is a sign, it is because its cold.

Sir, I hope you don’t spew these thoughts around your minority friends.  Don’t make assumptions cause of what you saw on TV or read in the newspapers cause you could end up with egg on your face.


Staff Sgt. Terence W. Crooks


Let’s work together

Dear Editor:

For the Judeo-Christians, today is the day that the son of God left this earthly world to join his father in the heavenly kingdom.  All faiths should be respected, even those who have no faith.  As a young man, I was told an atheist probably doesn’t even take aspirin or medications since they have no faith/confidence in anything. 

We do need to consider how to accomplish our faiths without trying to find ways of defeating any particular religion’s influence. People can freely make their own choice as long as it doesn’t advise or require violence or death to those of other religious beliefs.  Happy Easter!

Hopefully, our political leaders will take some time for silent meditation to contemplate, what is not best for special interests, or votes, but best for all our law abiding citizens and taxpayers.  Money is the root of all evil and can negatively influence people if it is freely given without personal effort/sacrifice to justify the receipt of these freely given funds. 

If everyone does their part, drops the egos, and doesn’t try to get something for nothing, then , and only then, our nation can return to its previous strength, with freedom and rights for all.

We can only succeed as a freedom living, financially stable, nation, if we all do our part to achieve this goal!  Our target is everyone peacefully, respectfully, living together and pulling our own weight in this world.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Hope you can see problem

Dear Editor:

I did not intend to respond to the editorial letters from Deborah King and Vic Schiavone but several people have requested that I clarify accusations made by them.

Ms. King stated that Randy Smeenk is a sore loser. That does not make sense because Mr. Smeenk did not lose any election. Rex Davis lost the election for vice chairman to Randy Smeenk. Rex Davis and the tea party people then took every opportunity to disrupt every meeting, so, which was the sore loser? Not my opinion but one expressed by state officials.

Mr. Smeenk was not the only person to resign. All the sitting officers resigned. Over 18 total Republicans resigned from the Committee.

It is sad that the people who remain on the committee could not recognize the conflict of interest that Rex Davis and Ronnie Coffman created. Lowering the qualifying fee is within the purview of the county Party; that was not an ethical problem it was just dumb. The other local counties, Madison and Morgan did not lower their fees to get candidates to run. I can find no logical reason to lower the qualifying fees. It appears Davis and Coffman lowered the fees to benefit themselves.

Item 1 As Mr. Schiavone’s letter stated: ‘The change in qualifying fees was approved by the entire membership of the LCREC unanimously.’ I would ask who presented that position, the same person who then qualified to run for the office. The reduction of fees is not the ethical problem. The conflict of interest is.

Item 3 in Mr. Schiavone’s letter stated: ‘The change in qualifying fees is not reducing the financial assistance available to Republican candidates.’ You did not have that information when you reduced the fees. You have to set the fees before qualifying opens. Do you understand what a conflict of interest is?

Mr. Coffman and Mr. Davis created the appearance of impropriety, the conflict of interest, the ethical problem. I hope you can see the problem now. I consider the statement “allowing more people to qualify” a smoke screen.

Ms. King called Mr. Smeenk a loser. She could have a point , we did lose in our effort to keep the tea party from taking over the Limestone Republican Executive Party. The tea party people have no loyalty to the Republican Party. We no longer have a GOP executive committee in Limestone county. You have two tea parties.


Jim Burden


Cease damaging rhetoric

Dear Editor:

I have been a member of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee (LCREC) since 1988.  During that time, I have seen election cycles come and go.

However, never in my life have I seen a presidential election where there is so much at stake as there is this year.  The future of our nation is at stake is the voters in this country decide which of the two competing visions being put forth by the Republican and Democratic Parties will be embraced.

Therefore, it is extremely frustrating to me at a time when all of our energies should be focused on defeating President Obama and his big-government policies to have to deal with the revisionist history being put forth by our former Vice Chairman Randy Smeenk, most recently in his letter to the News Courier on April 1, 2012. 

The elections of 2010 were the most successful for the Republican Party in Limestone County history.  This was due in no small part to the efforts of “Tea Party” Republicans who worked tirelessly (along with longtime members) to promote our slate of candidates.

However, after the elections were over, the newer members (along with several established members) became concerned over the inaction of the LCREC leadership to capitalize on our newfound success and grow the Party. At this point, the LCREC leadership sent a letter to the state Party attempting to have 13 of the new members removed for not being “committee material.”  The state Party met with members of the LCREC (I was present for this meeting) and encouraged us to find common ground and move forward. Soon after this, the LCREC leadership and several longtime members, frustrated that the state did not take the action they desired, resigned from the LCREC. This was not a decision welcomed by any of us left on the LCREC, as no one who stayed bore any animosity against those who left.

I am asking Mr. Smeenk to cease with his damaging rhetoric (for the record, nobody on the LCREC has referred to those who left as cowards) and to start being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Only with the help of all Republicans pulling together can we be successful this November.


Vic Schiavone


Are regulations ignored?

Dear Editor:

Are our city regulations and ordinances being ignored by the Athens city Planning Commission and mayor?

Only Harold Wales, city councilman, has stood to block the Piney Creek Development from continuing without adhering to the city zoning regulations and ordinances. The residents of Indian Trace subdivision and Woodland Road, in particular are aghast at the lack of leadership and direction shown by the city of Athens Planning Commission. 

In 2007 when the Piney Creek subdivision was first established, the developer at the Town Hall meeting ensured the residents on Woodland Road that a berm would be built with nice landscaping to obscure the rear view of future houses. Since then the Piney Creek subdivision has changed ownership twice. This has created issues because the new owners don’t want to follow the regulations and have been in disagreement with the city of Athens over what should and should not be done.

Meanwhile, the Planning Commission has taken the low road and decided to not enforce the laws on the books and not require the current Piney Creek developer to adhere to the city engineer recommendation of the berm requirement.

Recently, the Planning Commission blocked residents from Woodland Road speaking out at an open town-hall meeting. The Planning Commission only allowed two people to speak then denied anyone else in the forum to speak. This is an example of government censorship when they are trying to force something on the community that is not wanted. 

The residents of Indian Trace and especially Woodland Road residents are extremely vulnerable to a severe loss of property value due to the nonenforcement of city subdivision regulations and city ordinances.  The residents of Woodland Road Indian Trace subdivision have signed petitions against granting any additional variances to the original plat until the city enforces the existing regulations to protect the citizens of Indian Trace and to avoid the establishment of a damaging precedent for future subdivisions planning to form in the near future.

Not a single person that signed the petition is against the Piney Creek subdivision, in fact, on the contrary, it is welcomed. However, what is not welcomed is the development to not be in standards with the current laws on zoning and ordinances. With an election coming up in the near future, it might be wise for elected officials to pay attention to how their decisions can affect registered voters.


Albert D. Barksdale