News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Dukes clarifies record on alcohol issues

I should like to set the record straight with this response to a recent letter by Mr. Robert Stone, which questions my decision-making ability — the primary issue being Sunday alcohol sales.

Never have I wavered, never have I relented, never have I straddled the fence on this issue. I only wish Mr. Stone had called me, instead of relying apparently on information from other sources.

I have made it very clear: The people of Decatur voted alcohol legal in 1984. Now that it is here, the people have the right to control the sale. "I shall vote for a referendum giving the people of this city the right to regulate alcohol sales." However, I have made it very clear that I personally oppose Sunday sales and have in the past. I never placed my personal feelings before those of the people I represent. Is that fence-straddling? I think not!

I never wavered on the recreational/charity/educational bingo bill. Again, I stood solid that the citizens of Decatur and Morgan County approve it. Moreover, the citizens were informed as to the bill's content before voting on the issue. It is the most restrictive legislation and has been a model for others to follow. I authored, sponsored and was successful in getting this legislation passed to give the people of Morgan County and Decatur the opportunity to vote to make this decision.

My record of public service for nearly four decades reflects my concern on issues, which affect the people (all people) of my district, city, county and the state of Alabama. My motto has always been "Let's Build for Tomorrow ... Together."

Bill J. Dukes

State representative, District 8


Jury, judge, prosecutor failed in Scrushy trial

America's first oblivious chief executive officer, Richard Scrushy, has been rewarded for ignorance.

Equally disappointing is Republican federal prosecutor Alice Martin's failure to completely convince jurors that Scrushy was a liar and conniver who also pandered to the black community during his trial for his own selfish ends. He masterfully played them like a fiddle.

U.S. District Judge Karon Judge Bowdre also failed because she could have declared a mistrial when it was evident that the jury was comprised of ignoramuses when they sent her a note stating, "We need an explanation in layman's terms," because they didn't understand what conspiracy meant and couldn't reach a verdict!

Why charges weren't filed in Washington, D.C., or in New York City, where pecuniary intricacies are understood, is disturbingly baffling. John C. Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia Law School, accurately said, "much of the information was over their heads" and that jurors were "sick of trying to understand evidence that was beyond them."

What do these judicial and prosecutorial failures mean for law schools? Have they also failed us?

Rumor has it that Scrushy, Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson will be collaborating looking for the real lying thieves, child molesters and killers.

Perhaps they'll meet Diogenes the Cynic Greek philosopher of Sinope in Athens. He, too, was looking for an honest man.

Kevin L. Bardon


More funding needed
for Veterans Affairs

The Administration has finally admitted a shortfall in health care funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Just prior to leaving to celebrate the Fourth of July, the House voted supplemental funding of $975 million and the Senate voted for $1.5 billion.

Congress is not scheduled to return until Monday — during this past week they were visiting with their constituents I hope they heard voters' concerns about VA health services.

When they return to Washington, D.C., I ask them to support this supplemental funding to prevent the reduction of VA health services.

Gene Aittala


Leaders must stop
the killing in Iraq

Problem: Our troops in Iraq are suffering too many fatalities and injuries.

President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the U.S. military need to develop procedures to stop (or at least minimize) this killing and these injuries.

How to do this? The only suggestion I have is to pull the troops from Iraq. But since this cannot be done, then I think our leaders should solve the problem.

Leroy Carlisle


Dogs teach owners
unconditional love

Thank you so much for Sheryl Marsh's article on "The Dogs of Our Lives." It couldn't have been published at a more appropriate time! Just a few days ago, our 9-month-old Bichon Frise pup was diagnosed with advanced-stage bone cancer. We took him in for surgery immediately after finding the tumor in the roof of his mouth, but our vet said it was a rapidly growing cancer and had spread too far to treat. After coming to terms with our impending loss, we realized that all the affection, fun and companionship this little guy has given us over the past seven months has been invaluable, and we are grateful for the joy he has added to our "empty nest." It may seem silly to some to become so attached to an animal, but our Heavenly Father has given them spirits, too, and we can learn much about unconditional love and acceptance from them!

I want to express my sincere appreciation to my parents, Robert and Eloise Maples of Somerville, for their understanding and compassion, as well as to my brother Tony Maples from Warrior. Although I now live in Utah, family support is invaluable in times of grief! My husband and I are blessed to be part of such a wonderful, loving family — a family that also includes a precious little guy with four legs, a happy wagging tail, and no idea that he will be with us for only a few more weeks.

Delia Maples Weeder

Logan, Utah

Leave feedback.