The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 6, 2012

Letters to the Editor 11/4/12

From staff reports

— 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

Utilities crew top-notch

Dear Editor:

A few weeks ago the Athens Electric Department came out to the Leggtown community to reroute electrical power lines for a new house that is being built. It just so happened  the power lines that needed to be rerouted were located on my property.

Before coming out and beginning work, the Athens Utilities engineer called and asked my opinion of where I would like the new electrical poles located. He said they were going to come out, mark the locations where the new service would be ran and that he would be back in touch to confirm the locations. He did as he said he would do.

After the agreement of the location, a crew came out and proceeded with the installation. Very professional work from the Athens Utilities crew. The crew took the time install the poles straight and also in line with one another. It is good to know that people do still have pride in their work. Thanks to Athens Utilities for the quality work. Your professional work does not go unnoticed.


Jimmy Gilliam


Republican candidates are flip-floppers

Dear Editor:

After watching and listening to TV, also reading the news, this is some of the things that were said, and I agree with.

We are confronted with politicians who act demented trying so hard to win. They tell many lies, show their greed, hypocrisy, power hungry, flip-flopping, voter suppression, destroying Democratic voter registration forms, CEOs demanding that employees vote for Romney or lose their jobs. Well, that’s too bad because the CEOs can’t see inside the voting booth.

You name it, and that’s what the opposing party seems to be doing in order to steal the election. They have flip-flopped on their proposals so many times, and never explained how they will solve anything, like 12 million jobs.

Remember, in the beginning Ryan said he was going to do away with Medicaid, put Medicare on vouchers and privatize Social Security, and Romney said that he would endorse it.

Romney complains about 47 percent not paying taxes although he has many millions in offshore banks in order to avoid paying taxes. He also outsourced many jobs to China, even though Romney says he was not at Bain.

No matter what Romney and Ryan say, they can propose whatever they want, if they are elected. All of the middle class that feel secure, independents, undecided, seniors and poor will be affected by bad policies proposed by Romney/Ryan, so, think long and hard before deciding who you will vote for in November. Don’t forget, it was the Congress that blocked two million infrastructure jobs and, economy boosting job proposals in the last four years in order to discredit Obama.

I can’t think of anyone that is a real Christian that could do, and say the terrible things these people are professing. All of the so-called Christian politicians should find a Bible and read Isaiah 10: 1-2.


Capt. F.E. “Jack” Morgan (retired)


Save us from Romney

Dear Editor:

This presidential election is one of the most important in centuries, especially to what is left of the “middle class.”

Do you honestly believe Romney cares about the middle class? We are in the 47 percent that he doesn’t count. I can’t imagine the chaos we would be in now if Romney had inherited what Obama did when he took office. And, by the way, the Republicans left the mess.

This election comes down to Romney and his billionaire friends wanting to rule their part of the country and get Obama defeated because he is black. Who cares what color his skin is if he keeps our middle class intact. He kept us from a Depression and saved millions of jobs in the auto industry.

Wake up people. It took two Bushes and eight years to create this mess. We don’t need another Republican who cares only for the rich. We need Obama!


Brenda Behel


Retailers should oppose sales tax increase

Dear Editor:

With the unsupported sales tax increase, Athens officials (I initially used the term Athens leadership but these officials have only demonstrated a lack of true leadership) have shown little concern for the business establishments of the area and its residents.

They took little thought to the fact that a large portion of the county’s residents work in surrounding counties and have the option and convenience of shopping in these counties.

Most of the folks I know live in East Limestone and work in Madison. They can just as easily shop for groceries, appliances, building supplies, etc. on their way home from work as to drive into Athens. Most have shopped in Athens to support their county but may change due to the arrogance of the city officials.

Athens officials seem to be more concerned with what they hope will be a $4.4 million dollar increase in revenue for them to spend. What it will be is a tax increase on the residents of Limestone most cannot afford and what might make a lot of folks shop elsewhere.

Local businesses should take note and should be sharing their opinion with officials. Will this tax increase help sales in Athens or the surrounding counties? Contrary to what Athens officials think, residents of the county have options. They don’t have to pay the tax increase.


James Brasfield


City’s governing process is broken

Dear Editor:

The actions of Mayor Marks and the previous City Council have for all intents and purposes broken the processes. They are now flawed and have lost the credibility required to effectively govern and provide services to the city of Athens.

People I talk with are justifiably upset with city government across the board. The key reasons being:

• The manner in which the recent sales tax increase was brought before the council for a vote was completely flawed. It was rushed, with no detailed justification for its need or how it would be controlled and expended. There was no or very limited communication with the tax paying citizens for them to adequately understanding or obtain a concurrence with the need. Leading up to the vote, it appeared a deal had been cut as to where some of the new revenue would be spent in order to obtain the needed votes for passage. The vote was a done deal prior to any council meeting. There were very significant appeals both privately and publicly to delay the vote for the above reasons as well as allow the incoming council the professional courtesy and make the vote. There was an open personal disregard by certain council members toward the citizens attending the Oct. 19 and Oct. 22 council meetings arguing against a potential decision. The topper was an article in the Oct. 28 Sunday News Courier which made the tax increase unable to stand on its own when a comparison of it was made to the requirement for funding the new county jail.

• The process and timing of the decision to announce the Athens Utilities Roundup program. Not enough consideration was given to the timing and the lingering negativity resulting from the tax vote. A lack of adequate citizen input and not recognizing citizen distrust of the process and actions being implemented and taken. No suggested list of benefiting organizations. Questions of the mayor influencing the decision making process by the board he appointed?

• The antagonism and damaged relations brought about by items 1 and 2 above between the Limestone County Commission and the county citizens and the Athens city government, as well as placing city departments and personnel in a bad light through no fault of their own. 

I strongly suggest the new City Council listen “rescind” the tax vote and reset Athens direction anew.


Ralph Diggins


Republicans telling lies

Dear Editor:

I want to reference a political poster, paid for by the Republican Party, and sent to all households with the subject, “Today’s Democrat Party.”

I am writing this letter because I am concerned about the young people of today and in the future. I care about them.

They are confronted with lies (lies similar to those listed on the referenced poster) every day. They have no one to ask if all of this propaganda is true.  I want to tell the young people in this state and country that it is all lies.  I also want to tell them, “Be strong, think independently and don’t let anyone brainwash you.”

This Republican Party’s poster says the Democrats sign and take an oath saying they will support all of the things that Republicans think are the only real sins. The Bible says nothing about taxpayer-funded abortion, support of gay marriage, support for Obamacare or the removal of God from the party platform. Seems to me the Republicans have forgotten all the sins God talked about.

When former President Bush was a candidate, he was being referred to as the savior who was going to save this country after former President Clinton had disgraced it. Well, I am an independent person. I felt like everyone was being brainwashed and I ignored most of this because I knew it was all politics.

Later, I became aware of just how all of this propaganda was spread and affecting everyone and everything in people’s lives. During the church services, we were told to vote for a Christian and everyone in the church knew who that Christian was. A visiting preacher talked about the country of Israel as if God lived there. 

I went to the Democratic political office in Athens and volunteered to work for the Democratic Party. They said, “Welcome, glad to have you and we need workers.” They never asked what religious background I had, if I believed in abortion, if I believed gays should lose their human rights or if I believed in same-sex marriage. I took no oath that I would abide by any rules or support any nominee. I didn’t sign and have never signed anything saying I would abide by any rules of the Democratic Party. 

The referenced poster is full of lies made up by the Republican Party. The word honesty means nothing to them.


Martha Fleming


Repeal tax increase

Dear Editor:

Character counts for something. It’s not all political maneuvering like our president is constantly doing. He has an idea of the way he wants the nation to be. He’s willing to do anything to make the nation conform with that idea – if you can call it an idea.

This president and his allies know better than you do when it comes to your money, health care, religion and everything about you. They claim it’s all for your own good, of course, so that justifies any means they want to use to grab more power.

The president feels that we are spending too much money on law enforcement for the border that might go to social programs. They are sending money to people who never paid taxes in the first place. The government’s real intent is in collecting taxes from the people who are willing to work, so that the politicians could turn around and “redistribute” that money to the people who can’t or more often won’t work, the ones that are voting the politicians into office. It’s frustrating to people who genuinely, passionately, believe in democracy and people who have risked their lives to protect the system, only to see it twisted into something the founders had never intended for it to be.

It is not the job of government to be the national nanny. Freedom is the common birthright of every American citizen.  The average citizen can look after his or her own needs without assistance from somebody who works in Washington.  America is about freedom to make our own decisions. Freedom means deciding what you want to do with your life.  Freedom is the natural state of nature. That’s how God wanted us to live.

The job of the president is to serve, protect and defend our country. The objective of the president is to protect the people and then to leave them alone.

We also need a national tax system that takes from the people only the money which the nation needs to fulfill its proper function, not suck the life out of its citizens while it tells them how they must live and pay to support social programs and organizations that may not serve all the citizens’ interests.

By the way, chalk up one win for our citizens and one loss for the mayor. Let’s repeal the tax increase.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Increase taxes only until need is met

Dear Editor:

In reference to Jean Cole’s Oct. 31 article, “Athens sales tax competes with surrounding cities, counties,” I’m not sure I can appreciate your point, Jean. Athens was competitive with lower taxes, now we are not competing.

Athens has absolutely no taxable relationship to Huntsville, Madison or Decatur, by choice we remain a bedroom community that will soon be surrounded by the aggressive and progressive Huntsville, Madison and Decatur. It’s too late folks; the annexation process is in favor of the big guy. Athens-Limestone County had a chance 15 years ago to form a metro government and fight annexation but chose to remain a bedroom community. I suggest we capitalize on that fact.

The real questions we should be asking are:

• Why taxes must always go up?

• Is there a limit to taxation?

• What is the proper role of government?

• What is the proper way to raise taxes?

I was alarmed at the modus not the mutandis. Decisions to tax must be clear and provide a period for review and comment by the public in order to prevent alarm. No, I am not a fan of a pure democracy and know difficult decisions are sometimes made against the majority of public opinion and taxation is the perfect example. In this case, the decisions to tax were just a bit sleazy and underhanded and exactly the kind of government we don’t need.

If money is needed for stuff, raise taxes for the term required to purchase that stuff. In other words, raise $4.3 million in a year for fire engines and police cars and put a termination date on tax increase. Raise taxes by 2 or 4 cents if necessary as long as the tax is necessary, proper and temporary.

I’m pleased the public got involved and fought City Hall. I think the public won.


Rex Davis