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 email@example.com.
Say no to privatized alcohol sales
I sent the following letter to Senator Orr after seeing him on Channel 19 News regarding SB7, which would privatize alcohol sales in Alabama. I would like to share it with your readers.
Dear Senator Orr,
GK Chesterton, an English novelist and essayist, cautioned against taking down fences without first knowing the reason they were put up. State control of alcohol sales was just such a fence put in place after prohibition was repealed in 1933. Please don’t vote for privatization of alcohol sales, which encourages over-consumption, especially for problem drinkers.
The short-term fiscal benefits are overshadowed by long-term costs to families and society at large including auto fatalities, health costs, domestic violence, crime, and job productivity/loss that lowers the tax base and increases the welfare load.
As an adult child of an alcoholic, this issue touches me deeply. There is no amount of money that can compensate my family for the loss of my father to alcoholism. If Tennessee had had privatization, things could have been different. I was lucky to have had a good mother who coped the best she could and a father who was willing to work hard for as long as he could, despite his addiction.
I studied hard in school and got as far away as I could for college —2,000 miles — and have had a good life. But 62 years later, a loving husband, five children, and nine grandchildren cannot erase the scars of growing up in the hell of alcoholism.
Other children are not as lucky and end up in prisons, mental institutions, and on welfare rolls with wasted lives. How can temporarily increased revenues counter those costs to our society? Why not instead increase the costs and taxes on liquor from the state?
If it is privatized, businesses will compete for customers through competitive pricing, increase ease of access and availability, and problem drinkers will get worse. I’ve read many studies that bear this out. Let’s learn from other states and countries. Alabama need not be a cautionary tale on the historical data heap! We need to keep this protective fence around Alabama’s families. Please put our children’s welfare above short-term profits and vote against this destructive legislation.
Mrs. Eveonne Christensen
Get involved in city matters
Athens city revenues are going to be critical as the city moves forward, and sales tax revenues will be negatively impacted for Athens with the new shopping centers in Madison/Huntsville. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many military contractors and employees of military contracting companies are residents of Athens and Limestone County. The potential sequestering of the military budget could also be disastrous for Athens. The impact of these two elements could mean critical problems for our city’s leadership and citizens.
In the meantime, the city of Athens must realistically operate in anticipation of these disadvantages resulting in a limited revenue growth pattern. No more unnecessary, special interest, funding allocations, expensive CNG pumps, Sportsplex parking lots, ultra-fancy city school administration office buildings or ludicrous salary increases for a city planner who doesn’t even check the requirements for placement of expensive new road signs, etc. For several years, it has been discussed that the city, like every successful entity, needs a long-term financial plan.
Last year, Mayor Marks said that he would submit a three-year financial plan this year, so it could be considered in making budgetary decisions for 2012-2013. He has not provided such a long-term plan.
Any long-term financial and capital plan cannot be of real benefit, or meaning, unless it has had considerable in-depth efforts on developing the facts supporting such a plan. Ralph Diggins has written two letters to the editor in the last month. They are textbook reading for our mayor, City Council president and new council members. His letters outline what successful business and city management is all about. A detailed long-term plan, with quarterly goals to be achieved in the first year, is necessary before there is any further consideration of proposed new spending.
Athens city officials, particularly council members, cannot continue to shoot in the dark regarding the basics in making major financial decisions. The mayor is going to have to reconsider all the big city ideas, without backup revenue sources, not new taxes, for the needless expenditures he has been proposing. Financial transparency doesn’t mean through filters. Fiscal discipline is going to be critical to the successful growth and quality of life for Athens.
Citizens/taxpayers, if you are seriously concerned about Athens’ financial future and taxes, please join Ralph Diggins, me, and others, in attending City Council meetings and writing letters.
Quentin D. Anderson Sr.
Excellent care at ALH
Recently I was an unexpected patient at Athens-Limestone Hospital. I wish to thank everyone who was in any way responsible for my excellent care.
I was treated with the utmost respect and dignity, and I am positive that my complete recovery was due to their wonderful way of doing things.
Keep up the good work!
Julie Box Lea
Pray for the ’47 percent’
It burns me to my shoelaces when I hear the media, politicians, rich people and misguided persons refer to Social Security and Medicare as “entitlements.” They want it to sound as if it is something ugly and freely given to recipients, although this is not true. They seem to want people to believe these programs are a free handout, but, we paid dearly for ours, did they for theirs?
Social Security was formed in 1938, where a certain amount was taken from every working person’s wages as a means to take care of them when they retired. And it was and still is a very good program.
Then, in 1965 they decided to destroy the Social Security Trust Fund, and put our money in the General Fund. Since that time they have taken over $3 trillion plus interest from our money. At present there is $2.7 trillion surplus in our Social Security system, enough to last 25 years.
But, one political party wants to privatize it (stock market). After deregulating the banks and stock market, Bush wanted to do this, Guess what? The Social Security retirement money would have been lost As it will be if the politicians professing this get into office, then it will be goodbye seniors.
Now, for Medicare, it is a health insurance policy that we pay for the same as anyone that is not a senior. In most cases we pay more for and get less. The problem with Medicare is the rampant fraud that goes unchecked and, letting private insurance companies get involved. They cut services, doctors and hospital charges to a bare bones minimum. All they want is big profits that will allow them to give the CEOs $20 million bonuses at the expense of helpless seniors.
Medicare, supplemental and drug cards cost my wife and I more than $700 per month, and hardly any hospital, and many doctors want to treat us because of insurance companies. Beside this we have to pay for a card that allows us to buy medicine.
Now, in my opinion the ones that get the real entitlements are the politicians in Washington whose pension and health insurance premiums are paid by for by the good old taxpayers!
I truly believe that if the wrong party gets in, there will only be three classes of people in this country — the rich, poor and dead seniors. Pray for the 47 percent.
Capt. F.E. “Jack” Morgan (retired)
Need change at the top
I understand that there are mindless drones, who will vote for President Obama again because they think he is “cool” or will give them more “free” stuff (paid for by hardworking taxpayers.) However, I can’t understand why hard-working people who love their children and grandchildren can vote for Obama, knowing what damage he has done as president.
These people would not re-hire a person to work on their house or car who had done a lousy job for them, yet they are willing to sacrifice the future of their children and grandchildren by voting for Obama because of black pride, or party loyalty.
President Obama has been in office nearly four years. Yet, he takes no responsibility for adding over $5 trillion dollars to the debt, and doing very little to improve the unemployment rate which has Increased to more than 8 percent since he has been president. He blames President Bush or Congress instead of his reckless spending and job-killing policies.
President Obama has delivered no “hope,” and the “change” he has delivered is destroying our economy, health care system, the defense of our county, and our freedoms. By executive order and the misuse of regulatory agencies, Obama has ignored Congress and mandated unconstitutional policies, which will fundamentally change our country into a country unlike the America we know and love.
We have a chance to give ourselves hope and change this November by voting President Obama out of office. If we fail to do that, we have no one to blame but ourselves.