The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

December 16, 2012

Letters to the Editor 12/16/12

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

Not easily offended

Dear Editor:

I am not offended if someone wants to celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza, Eid Al-fitr or Winter Festival.

I’m not offended if someone tells me happy holidays. But I am offended if someone tells me I shouldn’t say merry Christmas because it might offend. What the heck is that all about?  

Patrick Henry said this: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom to worship here.”

 Thank goodness our First Amendment allows me to say “merry Christmas” and does not allow any law that prohibits my free exercise of my religion.


Gary M. Wilson


City should be transparent

Dear Editor:

It is the intent of the City Council to approve the allocation of taxpayers’ funds to nonprofit and independent organizations on Monday.  Some of these should be required to be self-supporting and better use the funds to benefit all the citizens.

Family Resource Center is a redundant organization that should be dropped from public funding as have most cities in the U.S. and required to it to join other nonprofit organizations or close. 

The city, once again, has not disclosed to the taxpayers, in advance, how the funds are to be allocated. Why not?  Why the continued lack of advance transparency of how the council and mayor plan to use the taxpayers’ funds?

The council approved a sales tax increase without any real opportunity, in advance, for taxpayers to review the proposed plan and also a utility billing plan that required the mayor’s historic executive order to stop. How’s this representative of government for the benefit of the people being governed and protecting the rights of the citizens who consent to be governed?

The chamber, city planner, SOA, etc., personnel, are not sufficiently knowledgeable and highly experienced in generating retail business development, which is critical to the survival of Athens as we know it. We cannot afford any more “no responses.”  Huntsville has just hired a professional urban planner with extensive experience in retail business development in Atlanta and other large metropolitan centers. This is what Madison has been doing.

Athens needs to reduce the funding of various nonprofit groups and agencies to enable the city to apply meaningful funds to retail business development. It would be the most meaningful Christmas gift the city’s leaders can give to its citizens.

Set up the funding and an independent six-member, very experienced and knowledgeable, committee on retail business development, to develop the plan.  This group should initially work in conjunction with Bill Ming, as chairman, who can give the competent guidance necessary to the success of such a committee.

It takes money to make money. Grease festivals will not bring in new revenue generating business enterprises. We must have more sophisticated utilization of funding to achieve the financial success of Athens before we have to reduce services and become nothing more than a bedroom suburb of Huntsville.

Citizens speak up now, before it’s too late. It’s your money and your future.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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