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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vote to save country
Jim Wahl’s letter to the editor in last Sunday’s paper was outstanding. Obama doesn’t respect people who run small businesses because he doesn’t understand the free market system. He has never been exposed to it. He tolerates large business owners if they give him money.
Everything has always been given to him. He never had to earn anything. His supporters like to criticize Ann Romney for being a stay at home mom, but Obama is the one who never worked a day in his life. He has never held a real job. He has never run a business. He has no idea what this countries’ system is all about.
The Chicago machine got him elected to the Senate. Obama feels entitled to everything he gets without working for it. In his world, everything just comes to him free. Being a classic narcissist, he sees nothing strange about his good fortune. The world rotates around him.
How could the citizens of this country elect someone who has no experience and has contempt of our way of life? Now that we realize he is ruining our country, how can he be reelected? I’m afraid the answer is simple. His supporters are not paying attention and vote for him because he is “cool.”
People in other parts of the country like to say we Southerners are dumb. We are not dumb enough to vote for a person who will destroy our way of life. The people on the east and west coasts are the dumb ones. If they were smart, they would live in the South and would vote to save our country.
Be sure to vote
This Tuesday, Aug. 28, will be the election for mayor and council of Athens. It is important that you vote. In America we take voting for granted — we shouldn’t. Many people in the world do not have this right but wish they did.
A good mayor is progressive and will make decisions for the good of the community. A good mayor knows that some people will disagree with these decisions, but will make them anyway.
Our community, as well as our state and nation, will have difficult choices because of the economy.
Vote for change
Let’s review what Athens Mayor (Ronnie) Marks has accomplished over the last two years.
We’ve had very little replacement of the 700 jobs lost by Pilgrim’s Prides closure. Steelcase, a major local employer, has its equipment bids rejected locally in favor of outside interests. We have eyesore properties with little corrective action. Athens State University has had to take over a large storefront building on the square due to lack of successful renters and there are buildings on the square with broken glass in second story windows.
Streets in our citizens’ neighborhoods are in desperate need of paving, not filling potholes, and some need drainage improvements. A local developer has had several of his projects storefronts stand empty for two years and the city’s sales tax revenues are responsibly predicted to have a drop in the near future due to competing shopping centers in Madison and Huntsville.
There is no plan on how to use the utility building space, costing $300,000 after the City Hall personnel return to their new building. Police officers training costs are paid by the city and then hired by other cities due to non-competitive wages offered to Athens officers.
Paving parking lots and buying swampland related to the Sportsplex cost over $1,100,000, mainly with borrowed money, and provided no real benefit to all the taxpaying citizens. The city is spending millions of dollars for a new city hall and the partial costs of a new library, plus a requested 70 percent increase in the city’s funding allocation for the new library and two new personnel for the city costing over $100,000.
New CNG fuel pumps for $700,000 with no real demand for this fuel, by the public, and minor city vehicle maintenance savings. One million dollars borrowed to give to Calhoun College for little actual effective return to Athens citizens. We allocate city funds to various groups and organizations, without realistic in-depth review of their use of funds to justify the allocation.
Not a pretty or promising picture of astute decision making, particularly during the worst recession in 80 years. What’s really sad is the mayor cannot provide an in-depth long-range financial and capital expenditure plan because none is available.
Athens may become just a neighborhood adjacent to Huntsville. We need management changes in the city’s leadership that can get Athens on track to achieve that “gleaming city on a hill” we all want. Vote, on Tuesday, for change.
Quentin D. Anderson Sr.
Library a place to learn
Athens should be proud of its community spirit symbolized by our new library project. Andrew Carnegie, the captain of industry who worked with towns all across the world to build libraries, knew that merit and hard work brought about great accomplishments. He insisted that the public library would be open to all, even those “working boys” who otherwise would have no access to books. With books they got ideas, and those ideas could then be developed, modified, and shared in that same public forum.
His ideas led to open stacks in libraries, where the very concept of browsing was introduced. How many of us today learned about other, totally unknown subjects, places, and people because we spent time in a library, just browsing? How many of us heard our first public presentation there, or engaged in a discussion? I know I learned that I was not alone in my ideas, nor that my ideas were always right, when I could test my thinking there.
A public center of discussion that has as well a coffee shop reminds me of the great era of coffee shops when our forefathers, in colonial times, gathered in such houses to debate, discuss, and explore ideas of the day. I’m not afraid of public forums, and I’m proud of a city that has the wisdom to share this idea.
John W. Davis
New library brings growth
Our county library is a local gem. Everyone should be saying, “Yes” to the new public library.
We need a new library downtown because we have outgrown the facilities and the technology the currently library presently houses. Limestone County patrons regularly use their library and find Internet access congested, with long waiting lists for computers, resources unavailable due to lack of space, and parking and meeting space inadequate.
The new public library should be the shining gem in our community; instead, it is fighting ignorance from those who want to keep Limestone County behind Madison and Morgan counties. Other cities have lured business to their cities because of the value they place in their library.
This doesn’t mean our librarians don’t do a good job, but they are strangled by people who are afraid to change. We are losing out on potential industry and residents for the county. The librarians offer great programs and services, but there are loud people who do not care. They project an image that doesn’t encourage people to bring their businesses here or move here.
The National Association of Realtors said that 62 percent of people choose where they live based on the local public library. Why? Because the public library provides education and learning opportunities for a lifetime, beginning with preschool programs and summer reading and going through adult skills, with a world of opportunities in between. Do you want your property values to grow? I asked the librarian about using the new library for art exhibits. She told me that weeks ago she contacted the Spirit of Athens about hosting an art displays in the new library.
It’s time for the negativity to end and for everyone to realize that our residents want and deserve a strong public library that has the facilities to meet the education, information and recreation needs of our young people, our business community, and our seniors.
(Editor’s note: The following letter takes issue with points made in a letter published Aug. 12 by Opal Casey, taking issue with points made at a previous public meeting by Linda B. Wilson, the author below.)
No need for new library
Ms. Casey, library most definitely a heated issue. City/county should not be spending/committing monies they do not have.
Both strapped like most of us. Oh, I forgot … our money is theirs; we can bail them out at their will.
I’m (Sen. Harry) Reid? Democrats lack regard/respect for people’s tax dollars, grossly mismanaging funds. My concern over monies makes me sound more like a Republican.
Obviously not full disclosure. After LCC meeting I received questions by a high-ranking county official. Discussion: Kroger’s proximity to railroad tracks, several trains passing during Limestone County Commission meeting causing chairman Menefee to stop talking. Odd, a library, a “quiet” place, placed next to a railroad track.
Noise — What effect to patrons/meeting-room which the library hopes to rent out? Soundproofing costs?
Building costs vs. operating costs?
• Costs - old/new/Kroger building?
Renovation estimated $6-plus million, increase of $2 million from original estimate 2006.
• Operating costs – higher, Kroger building “four times larger.”
Who will pay? City/county now contributes to operating costs.
Library Foundation raising most of costs is irrelevant. Residents (collectively/individually) should not be made to feel guilty because they are against funding rest/any of Kroger building. Library has not received all the grants, matching funds, etc., needed before starting renovation to insure no further cost to city/county for monies.
Furnish proof Athens-Limestone library is open “least amount of hours” for county our size?
I’ve used the library before. Nice, beautiful grounds surrounding it. Large enough, never see overcrowded.
Real questions: Where’s the outcry from hoards of citizens regarding overcrowded/poor conditions? Parking lot in a flood zone? Will there be more patrons of the library if enlarged/relocated?
• “Computers:” Library not responsible to supply computers for everyone. Government does not owe everyone everything. Idea: “a line, wait your turn”? Most homes have cable/Internet access, why libraries aren’t used as much. By the way, Ms. Casey, those children/parents using those computers are people/citizens/taxpayers just like you. Are you that impatient with and resentful of them?
• “Jobs:” County not responsible to provide, private sector. County’s responsibility, to insure that contributing industries that desire to locate in Limestone County can.
Limestone County should live within its means. We should grow out of our excess not out of debt.
My research has not uncovered valid proof of a need for new library, only a want by a few. Respectfully.
Linda B. Wilson