News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Business development
trumps human lives

After reading the account of the Decatur Planning Commission work session regarding "Death Row" (Alabama 20/I-565) in front of the two gas stations, I must say I was disappointed by the commission's response. I drive that section of road two times a day during rush hour. The near misses are mind boggling. Also, the accident rate is well documented by our police department.

I had hoped some small resolution would be made in favor of saving lives, but it appears that posturing toward the interest of business development is a greater priority. For example a "no left turn" ordinance for either side would deter some of the rush to cross those lanes for a short-term fix until the 565 development could be further assessed and money could be generated to do something better.

It would be remiss not to mention that the city spent a huge bundle of money on a transportation and DOT study two years ago that addressed this section of road and recommendations were made and included in an official NARCOG DOT plan. I stay amazed that we spend money on feasibility studies, that viable solutions are recommended, but somehow they never get implemented. That is the real deterrent to new business development in Decatur!

I do feel for the business owners there; however, ethically, these business owners are required to provide a safe environment for their consumers. From one who sees it daily, I'll bet that the majority of accidents are due to customers entering and exiting their facilities. They should have stepped up to the plate years ago on behalf of their customers.

I appreciate the efforts put forth by those who truly care about the people. We're part of that precious revenue base that reputable business owners as well as city officials should put first.

Maureen Redler


Overpass, service roads key on Alabama 20

The "five out of six" readers wanting to close the medians on Alabama 20 for safety reasons are not thinking through the problem. When a person wants to go to the other side of the road they would have two options: get on the I-565 and I-65 interchange and try to turn around and exit back, or go to Decatur at Wilson or Church street and try to turn around.

More traffic, including farm equipment, on those exchanges, would be a nightmare. The solution is to make the additional overpass with service roads near the Calvary Assembly property.

I, too, value the safety of that area. My husband was the victim of one of those 400 accidents. His car was totaled when a woman zipped across the median. Luckily, neither one of them was severely injured.

Whether or not I-565 comes through Alabama 20, businesses are going to develop there and a workable solution must be found.

Carol Tiwari


Auto sound systems
disturb the peace

I choose to use the term "electronic racket" for the intrusive, offensive noise that comes from so many vehicles on our streets. I refuse to call it music, because most of it is electronically reproduced, anyway. I like most types of music, especially jazz, but spare me country music.

What I am still trying to figure out is why everyone who has these expensive systems are so good to share it with anyone who is within a mile of them. There also does not seem to be a big selection, because the last one going by sounds just like the one before it. They also make sure we get the full effect and have their windows down in summer.

I have a suggestion that would save a lot of money and still accomplish their objective of sharing this racket. Remember the old days when the circus came to town and announcers would ride around with that big loudspeaker mounted to the top of the car, letting everyone know when and where the event was to take place? If this was used today, they wouldn't have to roll their windows down.

Finally, I suppose citations are issued for violating the city ordinance for disturbing the peace, but I never read about it. I keep hoping.

Eddie Tiller


Commissioners can save by cutting own pay

Regarding the July 26 articles concerning the dismissal of (Morgan County) maintenance director Dwight Gardner, I have a suggestion that will not only save the county at least $80,000 per year, but will also allow everyone to keep their jobs: Have all five commissioners cut their salaries by $12,000 per year and give up their county vehicles.

It's time Stacy George and others on this commission put their money where their big mouths are.

Remember: They're the public servants, not Mr. Gardner, and it's time they start acting that way!

Craig Stiles


More effort required
on illegal immigration

I feel it is about time someone started doing something about the immigration problem.

We have so many Hispanics in this country illegally and our system is not doing anything about it. We need more discipline and commitment to solving this major problem.

Where is our leadership? If they can attempt to fight drug crimes, they can attempt to remedy this also — or at least show some kind of effort. No one is doing anything! Why?

I have to question once again: Does the system in our country work or not?

Billie Jean Woods


Trinity mayor doing
an excellent job
HE DECATUR DAILY: Concerning the flyers that were taped to our mailbox on July 24:

I did not appreciate the petty concerns printed on that flyer, nor do I appreciate our mayor, Vaughn Goodwin, being in the headlines of your newspaper in such a derogatory manner.

I was born, raised and still live in Trinity on Seneca Drive, and as far as I'm concerned, Mayor Goodwin is an excellent mayor — one of our best.

The bushes were cut — as they needed to be — to possibly prevent a traffic accident.

A big "Amen" to James Bradford, on his paragraph in the article in your newspaper.

Residents in Trinity are not intimidated by Mayor Goodwin, or anyone else in an official capacity.

We have a peaceful, clean town that is progressing tremendously because of our mayor's hard work.

Hats off to Mayor Goodwin! He needs to keep up the excellent job and I thank him for caring about Trinity and its residents — all of them.

Lennie Ruth Moore


Trinity's Internet
problem solved!

I was unable to attend the July 25 Trinity Town Council meeting. I did receive the flyer that my neighbor, Wendell Huneycutt, evidently distributed before the meeting as described in THE DECATUR DAILY on July 26. The account in the July 27 paper of the council meeting did not indicate that any action was taken by the council with respect to the concerns that Mr. Huneycutt raised, but this may just be an oversight. I can say many of these concerns are shared by others in Trinity, most certainly myself. I have been trying to get some form of high-speed Internet service here for years.

There was a movement to get the town government to deliver digital cable (TV and cable Internet) to Trinity. I can only assume that the town tried to do this but was unable to interest any of the cable companies. I have tried to get Bell South to extend DSL service to Trinity, even going as far as asking the CEO of Decatur General Hospital to intercede on my behalf (I need broadband service for my job), but with no success. There was a rumor last fall about the imminent availability of DSL, but that proved to be another cruel teaser. I have called Mayor Goodwin about what the town can do to get some form of broadband, but he only left a message on my machine to tell me how to check if there is DSL in my area!

I would have asked the mayor if he has looked into the possibility of WIMAX service, or what I think THE DAILY called municipal WIFI in a recent article. I am not an expert, but I believe this could solve our Internet service problems fairly cheaply. We would still have the problem of lousy telephone and TV cable reception, but it is a start.

Frank P. Scalfano Jr., M.D.


CAFTA will be good
for U.S. economy

Your editorial, ("Why would Congress approve more free trade?" July 31), has it all wrong. NAFTA did not hurt the U.S. economy and CAFTA will actually create jobs and raise, not lower, our standard of living. The fact is that regardless of trade-deficit numbers, NAFTA hasn't cost us jobs and there has been no "giant sucking sound." When NAFTA implementation was begun in January, 1994, the U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7 percent. Today's unemployment rate is 5.0 percent!

Free trade is an economic boon for consumers, competitive industries, and taxpayers alike. This agreement will be especially good for Iowa because Iowa's efficient farmers will now have tariff-free access to the CAFTA nations. Thus, Iowa is likely to become a leading supplier of corn, soybeans, beef, pork, and dairy for Central America.

Consumers in both countries will gain access to a wider variety of less-expensive products and taxpayers will face lower taxes in the form of reduced tariffs. Furthermore, in the long run, taxpayers will hopefully see a reduced need for economic foreign-aid spending as the CAFTA countries become integrated into the global economy. Like NAFTA, this trade agreement will be good for the U.S. economy.

Paul J. Gessing

Director of Government Affairs

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria, Va.

CAFTA good for textile industry, cotton farmers

I commend Rep. Robert Aderholt for his careful consideration of the CAFTA issue, for the important improvements he made that will help American cotton producers and our textile manufacturers and ultimately, for his vote in favor of the measure.

The decision to support CAFTA was not made lightly or in haste by the cotton industry or, I feel sure, by Rep. Aderholt. It is change, but the change is necessary to compete not with others in this hemisphere but to partner with them to compete with Asia. Under CAFTA there is a chance for U.S. raw materials and manufactured goods to be exported to CAFTA countries for further processing and be price competitive. Without CAFTA, the entire process for many finished goods would move to Asia, where no U.S. raw materials or manufactured goods would be used in the process. DR-CAFTA is a way to retain a viable textile industry in this hemisphere. Without DR-CAFTA, most knowledgeable predictions are that there would be no significant textile industry in the United States within a decade.

A viable cotton production and manufacturing industry means jobs and economic growth for Alabama. According to economists at the National Cotton Council, passage of the DR-CAFTA protects a market whose purchases of U.S. cotton and cotton products translate into $24 million in annual farm-gate revenue for Alabama's cotton farmers and $350 million in business revenue for our state's economy. Those businesses support almost 19,000 jobs and generate almost $3 billion in business revenue. DR-CAFTA countries import 13 percent of the U.S. cotton crop in a combination of 200,000 bales of raw cotton and 2.5 million bale equivalents purchased as yarn and fabric manufactured by the U.S. textile industry. This Western Hemisphere trading platform will provide the U.S. cotton and textile industries with the best means of competing with textile products sourced from Asia, primarily from China.

Larkin Martin


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