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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2005
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Hammon takes exception to article about truck bids
THE DECATUR DAILY:

The article in the Aug. 17 paper on the truck bid which Joe Sartain won by a 3-2 vote contained not only a misquote but certain serious implications which I didn't intend in my no vote.

When asked why I voted no, I did mention the 2.875 percent differential as the beginning of my thought process. I contend I did not say "they know what they can get away with," because that was not a part of my logic. The reporter immediately ran to catch President Billy Jackson before I even began my thoughts on the matter and I recall thinking, "Good enough. There won't be a story on this with a quote from me then." But there was.

After reading the article, I went to Joe Sartain Ford and talked to Ricky Drake, the fleet sales manager quoted in the article. I explained my position in detail to him and he was very free with information regarding my concerns. My gut instinct from having dealt with quoted items and bids for 25 years was confirmed and it had absolutely nothing to do with Joe Sartain Ford or the bid process.

I have since called Mr. Alan Sartain to follow through what Mr. Drake and I discussed.

As typical for a business who donates so much to our city, the mark-up was practically nil and the bid was provided mainly as a service for the Fire Department.

I would much prefer city dollars be spent in the city.

In contrast to the story, by no means did I think, imply, or intend for it to be inferred that there was anything wrong or illegal in the way the bids were handled.

I closed my conversations with both men thinking we understood each other's positions much better than was reflected in the article.

Gary Hammon

Decatur Editor's note:

Decatur City Councilman Gary Hammon questions statements attributed to him in an Aug. 17 article after he voted against awarding a bid to Joe Sartain Ford. Sartain did not submit the lowest bid, but the city awarded the business to the local dealer as is legal because it was within 3 percent of the low bid.

In an e-mail sent to a DAILY reporter Thursday, Mr. Hammon said the quotes in the article were "not inaccurate." In an e-mail to the reporter Friday, Mr. Hammon said the quote was inaccurate. In a phone conversation Friday, he said the quote might be accurate, but was taken out of context.

THE DAILY stands by the article.

President Bush has widened economic gap
"W" is still the president!

Since "W" took office in 2001 we have gone from a budget surplus to having the largest deficit in United States history. We have lost a record number of manufacturing jobs. "W" lied us into a war with Iraq that by the government's own count has led to 1,900-plus American dead. We are no longer the beacon of peace in the world, but the occupier of a country that did nothing to provoke our invasion.

The number of illegal Hispanics continues to grow with no restraint and no telling how many terrorists have crossed our open border. "W," acting more like a dictator than a president, abused the congressional recess appointment provision to install John Bolton as our ambassador to the United Nations, knowing that Bolton stood a slim chance of being approved by Congress.

Let's not forget the price of gasoline. We now pay record prices per gallon. "W" staged the war in Iraq to control their oil, not for U.S. consumption, but for increasing the profits of his friends in the oil industry. Oil company profits are soaring. The second quarter 2005 profits for Exxon alone were the third highest in its 123-year history. If the oil companies were simply passing their higher cost on to the consumer, their profits would have remained steady or decreased, not increased across the board. Now, "W's" energy bill is giving these same companies tax breaks. The high price of gasoline is getting in everyone's pocket. However, our lower- and middle-income citizens are being hit to the point they have to pick gasoline over food just to get to work.

Contented are the rich. Devastated are the poor!

Bill Webb

Decatur

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