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SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2005
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Newspaper comforts
enemies, demeans troops
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was not drafted — he volunteered to defend this country.

She is not grieving. What you, she and other left-wing liberals are doing is demeaning to our troops and country. Whose side are you on?

Because of your anti-Bush bias, you refuse to report all the good accomplishments our military does. Our enemies appreciate this.

To top it off, when a local Marine returns from Iraq, you put on your fake smile and act as if you welcome and support them. Pathetic.

John Green

Decatur

Meeting with soldier's mom serves no purpose
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Your editorial calling for President Bush to see Cindy Sheehan was another of your attempts to put a bad light on the things that President Bush does.

There is your DAILY account of Iraq deaths without any corresponding account of what has been accomplished and is being accomplished. It is almost as if there are no enemies dying at all and no ground is taken. Your one-sided view of things is what makes THE DECATUR DAILY a deplorable newspaper.

No, the president does not need to meet with Sheehan and her cohorts, for that would serve no useful purpose at all.

Don Gentry

Decatur

City should repeal tax, quit wasting money
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Just a note to say I support District 5 Councilman Ray Metzger.

I appreciate his efforts to reduce the taxes in Decatur.

I suggest that the city make Point Mallard pay its own way. If it can't then shut it down, along with all other things that the city is funding such as the Water Golf thing that was built over at the Wilson Morgan Park. What a waste of money!

What's the risk in people not shopping here if the tax is repealed? Who would drive any distance now to save that one cent? No one. They will all come back, and we may even get folks from surrounding communities to shop here!

Get real. Get creative. Listen to Councilman Ray Metzger. To paraphrase Taco Bell: "Think outside the box!" If putting the city budget online causes too much heat, then it needs to be out there! We need to know what's happening with the city money, and the mayor and city had best be able to defend what they are spending the money for. If it's too hot in the office, then the mayor and those who support the expenditures should get out of office and get some conservative folks in there and take control of the budget!

Charles E. Anderson

Decatur

Metzger right on taxes; leaders stifle dissent
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Finally, someone got the chance to stand up and say something about true issues facing this city.

I believe Ray Metzger is right about lowering the tax and speaking out for the citizens of Decatur.

I'm behind him, or even in front of him, all the way. I've said it before and I will say it again: Billy Jackson should not be the council president and neither should Ronny Russell, because they're not going to let anyone voice an opinion on anything that might make them look bad in the public eye, when it is a true statement. I do believe they are taking away our rights in this city to speak our minds.

I also do feel that Mr. Jackson has a personal attack on the bus stop issue and he needs to leave the bus stop alone and let David Deldar run his business and keep his noise out of it. I say again that I have yet to see any drug deals going on around the bus station. I do believe if there were, David would call the police and have it stopped!

Roger Payne

Decatur

Rezoning could aggravate dangerous situation
THE DECATUR DAILY:

The boundaries between Decatur and Priceville, at the intersection of Alabama 67 and Interstate 65, are confusing at best. It is a congested, high-traffic area, prone to accidents in both Decatur and Priceville. Large trucks often run red lights at Indian Hills and Deere roads. Accidents are frequently being reported in Decatur and Priceville, depending on the jurisdiction where they occur. The present commercial zoning has businesses in both cities without proper egress/ingress lanes. The congestion, confusing city limits and high speed traffic all contribute to a dangerous highway.

Compounding the situation is Priceville's plan to rezone 29 acres at Marsha Avenue and Alabama 67. This property was advertised on July 22 as "29 Acres Commercial Property for Sale" by ReMax before any zoning or council meetings were held on the subject. The ReMax listing agent is a member of the Priceville council who has abstained from voting on the issue. I'm concerned a member of the zoning commission, who has already voted to rezone this property, may also have a business association with ReMax. If true, neither the citizens of Priceville nor Decatur are being properly represented.

If rezoning is allowed, the traffic pattern may become the nightmare we now face on Alabama 20 and place Decatur and Priceville drivers at further risk.

Fred McCluskey

Decatur

Rezoning may hurt value of nearby residences
THE DECATUR DAILY:

I am concerned about the proposed rezoning of the land on Marsha Avenue in Priceville. I live in Burningtree Meadows subdivision, which is off Indian Hills Road. The property that is the subject of rezoning is directly in the sight line from my front yard. Therefore, obviously, it concerns me that they are considering rezoning this land to C3, which allows pretty much anything to be built there. The close proximity of the types of businesses that could be constructed on that property to the subdivision that I live in makes me sure that my property values will be adversely affected to a great degree. From the time I moved in to this subdivision three years ago, the value of my property has been constantly rising. This, I believe, will change no matter what type of commercial property is put in a few hundred yards away!

I don't see the need for Priceville to zone this property commercial when so much land already zoned commercial in the town lies dormant. Unless someone, say a councilman, has a stake in the outcome of this rezoning, that is. If there is a need to bring in revenue for Priceville, as the councilman said in your article, then why not utilize the property already set aside for that purpose prior to rezoning areas that are residential, especially considering that there doesn't seem to be infrastructure to support commercial businesses in the current subject area.

For the limited traffic that currently exists on Marsha, there is already a traffic problem at the intersection of Alabama 67. How will it be if, say, a Wal-Mart, a hotel, or a truck stop is constructed in the area?

I have spoken to several of the other residents of my subdivision, and all I have spoken with are opposed to the rezoning of the property.

Terry Beddingfield

Decatur

Trinity rushed ordinance through; was it read?
THE DECATUR DAILY:

As reported by Ronnie Thomas, the Trinity Town Council approved, by a 6-0 vote, another zoning ordinance and map Aug. 8.

City Attorney Larry Madison perhaps foretold this action in his statement to THE DAILY on April 11, "In the event of procedural defects, the Town Council could go through that process and adopt the ordinance again."

His statement was in reference to complaints concerning errors and omissions in the Sept. 28, 2004, down-zoning of a 103-lot subdivision located 300 yards from West Morgan schools to 2.95 houses per acre.

Sections of this new ordinance were being written and adopted almost simultaneously with assurances from Mr. Madison that "the Legislature does it all the time."

Joe Kleri, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, received only fidgets from council members in answer to his most revealing question of the evening: "Have any of you read this ordinance?"

Joel B. Maloof

Trinity

No political party has monopoly on Christianity
THE DECATUR DAILY:

This letter is written in defense of Jeff Clark's statement that he opposes gay activism and abortion and chooses to stay in the Democratic Party. He is brave to resist crossing over to another party to assure his re-election. Jeff and I attend the same church and he is known to be a great family man and loyal to Christ and the church. His statement really did not apply to his job description as county commissioner, yet he felt compelled to state his religious convictions because many have labeled Democrats as non-Christians and lax on family values.

There are true Christians in both political parties and then there are many who rush to judgment and invoke the name of God in glib fashion. Our world has many complex problems and there are few simple fixes. We certainly need all of our leaders to work together.

Lucia Faye Johnson

Decatur

Donation to health clinic shows concern for others
THE DECATUR DAILY:

All Hartselle citizens should be proud that they were in the forefront by making a $10,000 contribution to the Community Free Clinic.

If Councilman Bill Smelser "doesn't know why they did it" and Council President Kenny Thompson will need "strong arguments" before he "will give," they should take the time to visit the clinic on any Tuesday or Thursday night. They will meet grateful patients who would otherwise have no access to medical care without the clinic. They should also speak with the volunteers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, clerks and others) who freely and regularly donate their time to this worthwhile cause.

Then Messrs. Smelser and Thompson should take the time to thank Trudy Grisham and Debbie Griffin for their tireless efforts and skill in getting this great project off the ground. After little more than a year, this clinic already has a proud tradition of service to the community.

Hartselle, along with all of Morgan County, should be proud. It is a statement of values and concern for our fellow citizens.

Ron Maloof

Trinity

Dukes skirts important issues, including liquor
THE DECATUR DAILY:

I have recently read with interest your headline story about the liquor issue for Decatur and Rep. Bill Dukes taking his usual middle-of-the-road position. His votes in our Legislature affect all of Alabama, not just his district. The follow-up letter to the editor and his later comments also show his skirting the important issues.

I am reminded of a famous statement by former President Harry S. Truman in responding to press criticism. This statement was: "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Maybe it's time for Bill Dukes to "get out of the kitchen."

Keri Elmore

Athens

Wal-Mart dumpers
give RVers bad name
THE DECATUR DAILY:

I have been an RV owner and traveler since 1989 and have logged more than 100,000 miles through the United States, including Alaska and nine provinces in Canada. I have never stopped in a super center parking lot or any other commercial business parking lot. My stops have always been carefully planned in advance at private, state or municipal campgrounds, and my tanks have always been dumped at official dump stations.

When I shop at a super center, I often observe motor homes and travel trailers parked in their lots. When they are unhitched, often with awnings extended, it is obvious that they are there for a lengthy stay, and not merely shopping. In my opinion, it is people like this who give RVers a bad name and are cheapskates. I have the urge to knock on their doors and invite them to visit our quality campground at Point Mallard.

The jerk who dumped his holding tanks in the drainage ditch should be prosecuted to the limit of the law. He was "doing Wal-Mart a favor by not dumping raw sewage in their parking lot"? Give me a break! Wal-Mart needs to reconsider its gracious practice of allowing RVs to park on its lots.

Don Steele

Trinity

Teen volunteers hold promise to area's future
THE DECATUR DAILY:

What a great future we have with teens of Morgan and Lawrence counties. I am the new director of volunteer services at the American Red Cross Morgan-Lawrence County, and just have to say our future is bright. I had the good fortune to work with 60 teens this summer and they were great! They were smart, responsible, fun and willing to invest themselves in others. The youths worked all summer with blood drives, Scrubby Bear, Parkway Medical, office work and computer work. These teens worked endlessly to make our area a better place to live.

Some people live a lifetime and never realize that helping others is a privilege we have in America. It's a privilege that some of us never use. The next generation is gearing up to make the Morgan- Lawrence area a greater place than ever. These teens have the drive and dedication to do great things. I am so proud that the youths of the Morgan-Lawrence area allow us at the Red Cross to be part of this.

I would like to say thanks to the parents who allowed their youths to be involved with the American Red Cross this summer. The future started with them. I know it took a special effort for the parents to make sure their teens were where they needed to be. Morgan and Lawrence counties are great places to live and the future is even brighter when you look at our teens in the communities.

Paula Michael

Director of volunteer services

Decatur

Illegals drain resources; laws aren't enforced
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Thank you for the intensive coverage of the arrests in connection with Mexican and Guatemalan gangs in the area. The coverage of illegal alien workers in the area has probably also been an eye-opener for Decatur. Many did not realize what has been brewing in our city for the past 12 to 15 years, as we have been covered by this wave of mostly illegal aliens, some of whom are also gang members.

There have been Spanish speakers in Decatur since the 1960s, legal immigrants who were educated professionals in their respective home countries. Never a burden, they assimilated into the community because they had similar customs and values as Americans, and because they knew English. By contrast, this wave of primarily Mexicans and Guatemalans is composed of uneducated, primitive people. They have taken much in the way of social services: having their babies free at our hospitals; imposing a need for translation almost everywhere because of their lack of effort to learn English; causing a rise in social worker case loads. This all costs taxpayer money — about $3,000 more a year, in fact, per illegal person beyond that which each pays in taxes. Furthermore, most also have an anchor baby here, the golden ticket, so to speak, so they can apply for eventual citizenship thanks to a ridiculous birthright citizenship law. Then they bring more family from home. It seems illegals have nearly the same rights as citizens. That is ludicrous.

The federal laws that protect American citizens are not being enforced. The responsibility falls to us to rally for their enforcement. This is about enforcing the laws intended to keep our country from becoming a poverty-stricken wasteland.

Carmen Callahan

Decatur

Will tighter borders solve immigration problem?
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Being an ex-Texan who lived an hour's drive from Mexico for many years, I saw firsthand what illegal immigration can do.

The average illegal comes across, pays no taxes, uses our government services, sends most of his/her money back to Mexico, and then goes home. He/she rapes our economy.

But we have only ourselves to blame. It's called greed. Since the passing of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), big U.S. farms and ranches have been dumping products on Mexico.

It is now impossible for the local farmer in Mexico, trying to eke out a living on just a few acres, to compete with our produce and beef that get lower prices in their Wal-Marts and grocery chains. Mexican product protection was in place prior to NAFTA.

Their country is so full of graft and bribery, that unless they can buy a job, or bribe local gendarmes and government officials to look the other way when they try to sell their produce/goods, they will literally starve since there are no food stamps or welfare.

True, more than likely our next terrorist attack will originate from across the porous Mexican border, since we are so in bed with Mexico now that our elites and lawmakers dare not tamper with anything (like tightening up the border) that will upset the flow of cash back from our sales.

The only way to solve the problem of so many illegals in this country is for Mexico to clean up its pervasive graft. For that to happen, it would take a revolution down there.

If we tightened up the borders now, Mexico's and our economy would suffer huge turndowns. Are we really ready for that?

Cory Stewart Hartselle

DR-CAFTA will help big cotton producers
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Contrary to your recent editorial, "Why would Congress approve more free trade?" — President Bush's signing of the congressionally approved Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement will support Alabama's economy.

The decision, including Rep. Robert Aderholt's, to support this Western Hemisphere trading platform took into account that American cotton producers and textile manufacturers will expand important export markets while competing more favorably with textile products sourced from Asia, primarily China. That will keep the Alabama cotton production and manufacturing infrastructure viable — and protect jobs. Numbers help make the case.

Alabama's cotton farm-gate value is about $190 million and the state's cotton processing, distribution and utilization sector supports almost 19,000 jobs and generates almost $3 billion in business revenue. According to the National Cotton Council, the DR-CAFTA will protect a market whose purchases of U.S. cotton and cotton products translate into $24 million of that farm-gate revenue and $350 million of that business revenue.

The countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic already import 2.7 million bales, or 13 percent of the U.S. cotton crop. That consists of 200,000 bales of raw fiber and another 2.5 million bales purchased as U.S.-manufactured yarn and fabric.

Consider the growing appetite of that market for U.S. cotton, though, and you can understand the upside potential.

Since 2000, U.S. cotton and cotton product exports to the DR-CAFTA countries have grown from 1.9 million bales to that current 2.7 million bale level. Now, with the immediate elimination of bound tariff rates, it's not difficult to expect that those U.S. exports will continue to escalate — maybe significantly. That will create a demand for more, not less, Alabama raw cotton and cotton textile products as well as jobs and revenue in our state.

Sam Spruell

Mount Hope

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