The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 5, 2012

Letters to the Editor 8/5/12

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

Closing Chick-fil-A hurts workers

Dear Editor:

I am so angry about the Chick-fil-A thing I don’t know where to start. A small group of students at UAH, who claim to want tolerance and understanding, have decided they can shut down a private business. This business is owned by local people. It employs local people who will lose their jobs.

Is this an act of “tolerance”? What sin did this company commit? The CEO of the parent company is a Christian and believes marriage is one man and one woman. Is it still legal in this country to be a Christian? Is it still legal to express the same opinion as Obama did as recently as six months ago? Do we still have the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion? Do we still have hate groups like the one at UAH that want to punish those who disagree with them? Yes, to all.

How dare this small group think they can force the majority to go along? If they don’t like the opinion of the CEO, don’t eat there. Otherwise, leave them alone. Practice what you preach. Be tolerant. (Can I say “preach”? Sounds too Christian to me).

I think it is time for the silent majority to get a backbone and say “we are not going to be pushed around anymore.”


Bruce Wilson


Don’t mix politics and funding

Dear Editor:

We are fortunate to have two new, highly qualified individuals running for City Council seats. They are District 5’s retired Police Chief Wayne Harper and District 1’s retired businessman and former superintendent of schools Dr. Wayne Reynolds. 

Chief Harper and Dr. Reynolds are both military veterans. Carefully consider the consequences of your vote upon your district. A candidate’s previous conduct on the City Council should have been beyond reproach.

Athens has a superior police department with outstanding personnel that have kept us protected and safe during Athens growth and tough economic times. The mayor meeting privately with the NAACP and Department of Justice, regarding the conduct of our police officers, is a slap in the face to our fine officers. The City Council president and council members should also have been involved in these discussions.

The library has now requested a $100,000 increased allocation for its operating budget.  What other surprises are coming?

The legislative body representing our citizens, the City Council, should have all funding allocation action deferred until after the election.  We don’t need politics mixed with funding. 

Why hasn’t AGL oil distillery submitted a site plan to the planning commission in almost four months?  Is it having trouble getting financing because it can’t make a planned profit? It has no business history. Will some residents and landlords sue the city if the plant is built? Why did the mayor rush this project for approval?

There aren’t any CNG public fill pumps within 100 miles of Athens. Why has the mayor authorized spending $500,000 for one?

The mayor has a highly qualified opponent in Bradley “Brad” Horner. Maybe Brad can get the mayor to clarify why he hasn’t submitted a comprehensive three-year financial and capital expenditure plan. He claims it’s easy. If so, where is it?  In my extensive profit and loss responsibility, with NYSE corporations, it was never easy to develop comprehensive three and five year proposed plans, if you really did your homework.

Huntsville and Madison’s city administrations are reviewing how they can improve sales in their retail centers, which are encroaching closer and closer upon Athens. What plans has our mayor made to abet any loss in sales tax revenues?  Using the city’s reserves, more borrowing, or more taxes, is not the answer. Where’s our retail plan?

Remember, the mayor was appointed, for the first time in decades, and must now run for election.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Athens has great rehab care

Dear Editor:

Athens is a great place to live. This is a letter to give special praises to our two health rehabilitation facilities.

I have been a patient in both places. The quality of care and the caring personnel made my recovery much faster. Thanks to each of you who “got me going again.”


Katherine Horton


Knology customers expect service

Dear Editor:

To make sure we all have the same understanding regarding the issues I am speaking to, I greatly appreciate the fact that Knology is spending the dollars and time to upgrade the Athens area Network and install new state-of-the-art Technology and Equipment. I am very pleased (as we all should be) with Knology in regard to their upgrade of the Athens area Cable Plant and Network.

When complete it will result in additional capabilities, better network performance, reliability and enhanced features. Plus, they are installing the most current up-to-date, state-of-the-art, technology and supporting equipment. All which will result in providing excellent services.

However, my issues here are with how poorly Knology is managing the upgrade project itself. My specific concerns are with their project management (or the lack thereof), and any formally coordinated and approved Work Breakdown Structure plus defining supporting processes. Based upon my experience jeer with Knology's upgrade performance and based on my past professional expertise and experience, (I would be happy to share mine with them), the project itself has not been well planned or managed.  An apparent lack of communication and coordination within Knology’s internal business processes and within the upgrade project itself could potentially result in true Public Safety issues in not being able to make 911 calls.

Considering the size and nature of the upgrade project, how could Knology be so unresponsive to problems being encountered and reported to them?  Why hasn’t Knology kept the City Council, the mayor and Athens Communications Officer Holly Hollman, along with the News Courier informed regarding their progress and if there are any problems.

Last but not least, why didn’t Knology use a local contractor, one from the Athens-Limestone County and/or Huntsville-Madison County area instead of one from Georgia? 

Why not keep the money locally, and have the people who have a vested interest in our area perform the upgrade work?  I know personally of several top-of-the-line very qualified companies in this area who could have accomplished the job very effectively.

I strongly believe we as Knology customers should and do expect the same high level of service commitment, support, performance and professionalism from the Knology Corporation that the city of Athens provides us as citizen customers in the management and delivery of services.  I would also like to thank my City Councilman Harold Wales for his support regarding these issues.


Ralph Diggins


City not diverse in hiring

Dear Editor:

It is about time for someone to speak up for justice and equality. I am appalled at Athens City Council reaction to the NAACP’s request to have diversity and equality in their interviewing and hiring practices. It appears that the mayor and City Council believes that everything is OK with recruiting and hiring in Athens city. 

How many African-Americans work in the mayor’s office, or in the human resources department? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the city is not diverse in it’s hiring practices.

Athens could be so much better if it reflected the entire community. We are in 2012 where individuals should be hired on their merit of qualifications and not based on the color of one’s skin color or any type of discrimination.

I applaud the NAACP and hope that they continue to bring these types of issues before the City Council.  I applied for a network administrator job with the city and never received an interview and I exceeded the qualifications according to the job description. 

I also know other minorities who applied and were not hired. It is time to start doing the right thing in 2012.


JC Wilson