News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Driving a car requires responsibility, attention

I have recently been disturbed hearing day after day about pedestrians and bike riders being hit, and many of them killed, by drivers in our area. I am absolutely infuriated! Has driving our vehicles somehow become no more of an attention task than toasting our morning bagel? Are we suddenly thinking of driving as a "given privilege" other than the responsibility that it actually is?

I am not in any way implying that all accidents can be avoided. I do, however, believe that most can. When you're driving, you really have to watch for other people as much as you watch yourself. Our streets are not "vehicle only" zones. People ride bikes and walk. This is a common-sense fact that I think many of us don't consider during our daily commutes.

Area deaths of bike riders and pedestrians are becoming a daily segment on our local news. This is very unsettling.

Please, area drivers, watch for others as you hope they would if they were driving past you as you were walking or riding a bike. I know we can't change the world, but we can quite probably save a life after pulling out of our driveways. Be constantly attentive during your entire trip behind the wheel. Most of us don't think of our cars as deadly machines, but the fact is, they are.

Tracy Garlen


Politicians will remain when parks are gone

I continue to read in THE DAILY about efforts to deface and destroy Wilson Morgan Park in exchange for another shopping center or centers. Two observations: First, politicians may have different names and they may look different, but they are all basically the same. Draw your own conclusions from the deafening silence about the repeal of the sales tax following the election of the current crop. Second: They all love developers who in turn have a single goal — to bury every green blade of grass under concrete in the name of "progress."

For the past several months, there has been a lot of conversation from politicians and the pulpits about values. Please consider the value of having a green oasis in your community, compared to the noise and congestion of another mall. Consider the value of taking your children to a picnic, a sporting event or to feed ducks in a pond, compared to another trip to the din and clamor that accompany any mall. Does Decatur really need this?

Please do not ask the politicians or their counterparts, the developers. They will tell you with a straight face that their interest lies only in the good of the community. Look at your officials and how well they have kept their commitments. Do not look to them. Once the parks have been destroyed, they will be gone forever. Unfortunately, the noise, the congestion and the pollution will remain, and there will be a new group of politicians.

Ron Maloof


Illegal aliens put a strain on basic social services

This is in response to Mike Walker's letter, in which he commented on an article about immigrant laborers that ran recently in THE DAILY. Many of these people he called immigrants are actually illegal aliens, and they and their families are a tremendous burden on the United States.

Many of these people may be immigrants, in that they moved from one country to another. However, an increasing number are working with false identification, thus making them illegal aliens in violation of federal law with their mere presence on U.S. soil. Contrary to what Mr. Walker stated in his letter, there is little evidence that they take jobs Americans don't want. Even jobs with the largest growth in employment of new immigrants, legal or not, still employ millions of natives.

Locked into low-wage jobs because of a lack of education, illegals never pay into government what they take out in social services. California is a prime example of a state overburdened with providing basic services to an exponentially growing illegal population. Children of