News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Jail staffing vs.
road maintenance

I am writing about a survey that was in the Jan. 29 paper about Sheriff Greg Bartlett and County Commissioner Stacy George, about whether the new jail needs more jailers.

Mr. George never said the new jail didn't need more jailers. Most people would agree that the new jail does need more jailers, but all Mr. George was saying is that the money needed for the extra jailers shouldn't come out of the money that is set aside for rural county roads in Morgan County.

If that were to happen, it would really hurt the people who use those roads and live in those areas. The survey should have read, "Should the money needed for the extra jailers at the new jail come from the money set aside for rural roads here in Morgan County?"

David W. Kelley


George right, Bartlett wrong on jail staffing

Plain and simple: Sheriff Greg Bartlett is a jerk. We need more Stacy Georges. It's a delight to read about what he does and says. He calls it like most of us see things.

The County Commission says it will add staff as needed and I believe it will. Why should Bartlett get the staff now?

Brenda Coburn


Local officials not experts on law enforcement

The government's first responsibility is to protect the public. It would seem at budget times that this responsibility is not always its first priority.

It is a shame that our local law enforcement officers have to drive around in patrol cars that are 8-plus years old, with mileage over the 200,000 mark. It is that way in the Decatur Police Department, and with the deputies who patrol Lawrence County. I'd bet if one checked, garbage trucks and dump trucks used by those governments are newer than the vehicles that our officers drive every day.

When will our politicians learn that these departments must have police cars, and that they and their respected chief of police and sheriff need to devise a vehicle-replacement program? The problem with this notion is it is good management, something local government is not always known for.

I also worry that members of the Morgan County Commission have now designated themselves as law enforcement and correctional institution experts. When a federal agency recommends a staff number to operate the new Morgan County jail safely, as does the architect who designed it, the commission, (at least three members) says no. They say it can be run with 78 employees. Ignoring the experts in the law enforcement field, and not adequately funding these agencies, will one day cost the government in the form of a lawsuit.

Remember, when an average person gets elected to a city council or county commission, he does not become an expert in the field of law enforcement. At least he is not supposed to. Some appear to be making that claim now, and are failing miserably.

Richard Jennings


County officials'
behavior unacceptable

The comments made by Sheriff Greg Bartlett and County Commissioner Stacy George have to stop now. Our children in the Decatur City Schools and in private schools would be punished if they used the same words these two men are using. Parents would be called and the child would be sent to an alternative school.

These men are in elected positions. Why can't they start acting like grown men and solve the problems facing our community? Our children watch the news and read the paper, and seeing these people doing and saying things we tell them not to do is confusing to them. We tell our children to act in a Christian way. Maybe Sheriff Bartlett and Commissioner George should do the same.

Rita M. Vernetti


Sheriff, commissioners should grow up

The "Sheriff calls George 'pig.' Words fly as commission votes to trim Bartlett's staffing request for new jail" story is enough for me.

What's up with the Morgan County commissioners and the sheriff? If we are not arguing about a county commissioner parked on the side of a county road, and can they be ticketed, we are reading about this.

Why don't we give each commissioner a "get out of jail free" card, the sheriff the money to run his department, and all of them a time-out? Or better yet, next time let's elect people to those offices who are adult enough to get along.

Danny Lane


Officials can disagree and still be civil

The public officials of Morgan County need to remember why they have their current jobs. The taxpayers of this county have elected them and the taxpayers can replace them in the next election. It is an embarrassment to the people of Morgan County to have their officials acting like children.

Sheriff Greg Bartlett is trying to serve and protect the people of Morgan County and Commissioner Stacy George is trying to protect the county commission money. Both of these people are adults and should act like it. Is it not possible for these two to have an intelligent, adult conversation without resorting to adolescent behavior?

These two men need to step back and see how childish they are acting. Perhaps in the next election, the taxpayers should elect responsible adults who can discuss differences in a productive way.

Believe it or not, it is possible to disagree with someone and still be able to have a civil, adult conversation. It all begins with respecting one another and following the Golden Rule.

Linda Wilson


Nothing positive to be said about Iraq war

You published a letter from someone wanting positive news about the Iraq war. I submit that there is no positive news.

What is positive about illegally invading a sovereign country in violation of international law, kidnapping and imprisoning their legal president, violating the Geneva Convention repeatedly by torturing prisoners, including the murder of an Iraqi general, destroying the infrastructure of the country, (they now have only one hour of electricity for every six hours), exposing the citizens of Iraq and our soldiers to depleted uranium (which causes severe birth defects and cancer), getting thousands of our soldiers maimed for life, facilitating the rise of a Shia government that will impose strict religious laws such as Iran's, depriving the women of Iraq of their freedom to go to school, drive, work, etc., and allowing a haven for every terrorist in the Middle East, where before we arrived, there were no terrorists in Iraq?

Now if anyone can come up with something positive in this, be my guest.

Paula Hurst


Liberty too high a price to pay for security

Have Americans become like prison inmates who agree to become other inmates' "old ladies" in exchange for protection? Our government has engaged in illegal wiretaps, denial of due process, "limited" torture of detainees, disinformation, etc., in the name of national security and executive privilege.

Even if the current administration were successful in providing security for Americans and bringing democracy to the Middle East, which it hasn't been, disregarding protections guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States is not right.

Recent polls indicate that large numbers of Americans believe our government can do anything it wants as long as what it does is claimed to be for the security of the nation. To those people, I say: If you are ever unfortunate enough to be sent to prison, attach yourself to someone whose nickname is "Butch" or "Killer" or something similar. You will get protection. There will be the usual price, of course, but you are already used to that.

William Allen


Decatur needs to make progressive changes

The city leaders here totally amaze me. We travel to Japan to try to entice businesses to come to Decatur to build and employ the citizens of Decatur when they are totally not business-friendly. The local people who try to expand and bring in more revenue to the city are hassled. On one occasion we ran an Italian restaurant to Hartselle, where it is doing extremely well.

At one time we had a "sign ordinance" that penalized the current businesses from advertising on their own property. We have a tax inspector who carries a gun to intimidate certain businesses.

Now they go after a man that is trying to expand his business, only to get hassled by certified letters with threats. These threatening letters go to homeowners with weeds and other unsightly things piled upon their front porch and yard, yet they have a city police officer violating the same ordinance. The city has been aware of it for more than a year and still nothing has been done about the appearance of his property. This same police officer was followed down Central Parkway driving 55 mph in a 30-mph zone. When he was confronted, he got very belligerent and used profanity. The mayor was made aware of it and so was Councilman Gary Hammon. Still, nothing has been done about it.

This city needs some major changes: chief of police, city attorney, mayor and councilmen Ronny Russell and Billy Jackson for starters, plus two do-nothing sanitation "supervisors." Until this city has some major changes, look for higher taxes, fewer jobs and fewer businesses.

This city is at the lowest ebb I have seen it in the 30 years I have lived here.

Aaron Potts


Vote on recycling was
shortsighted, irresponsible

With each passing month of the City Council's tenure, I become more and more disappointed and confused about the votes and rationale of Ray Metzger and Gary Hammon on a variety of issues.

However, their recent votes on the issue of continuing curbside recycling are perhaps the most disturbing that I have witnessed.

These gentlemen voted against continuing curbside recycling in Decatur on the apparent rationale that recycling saves only 2 percent of our landfill space. Even more perplexing is that they would propose that the city merely buy more landfill space with the money spent on recycling.

While these gentlemen have a duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, they have equally important jobs as not only council members, but as Christians and residents of this planet. We are all charged with a duty from God to be good stewards of this magnificent planet that God has provided for us. We are here for only a short period of time; therefore, we must all make decisions that will protect the planet for the generations of children to come.

I am deeply disturbed that Councilman Hammon would prefer to spend the $600,000 or $700,000 spent on recycling to simply buy more land to bury trash, as opposed to doing our part here in Decatur to save and protect our land.

Moreover, in terms of the $48 million city budget, the amount of money spent on recycling is a small amount, but it is money well spent.

What these gentlemen seem to lose sight of on this issue, as well as most other issues, is that the actions or inactions of today will have a great impact in the years to come, and not only on Decatur, but on all the surrounding areas and its people.

J. Brent Burney


Older workers and
the young redux

I am responding to all of the excuses I've heard on the topic "The older generation making way for the young." I'm not asking that you lay down and die; just retire.

There are too many children suffering from abuse because today's parents are usually working two or three jobs to make ends meet. They are leaving behind their babies without the love and attention they require to become caring, successful adults.

Children are raising other children today because young parents can't afford proper childcare.

You are granted a good life if you live according to God's words. Half of the older generation that is still working today did not live nor plan a good life for themselves. If they had done so, their children would be caring for them in their old age. The nursing homes would not be full of stubborn people and neither would all of the good paying jobs.

Wake up America! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Most older men are starting new families and, as a result, must work 18 more years to care for their new homes. One writer made a comment on the military being a different class than others. There is only one class of people — God's people.

This is the very reason why the older generation needs to make way for the young people. Comments like that should not be made in today's time.

What worked back then does not work today and neither do your thoughts. It's a new day and time, people. A time for new thoughts and new ideas.

Angela Hill


Stranger's kindness touched military family

On Jan. 21, I was shopping in the children's department of a store at the mall with my two children. My 2-year-old needed something to wear to his papa's funeral. It was an emotional time for me — my dad had just passed away.

As I started to pay for my items, I realized I had no checks in my checkbook. The clerk then asked if I had a charge card for that store. I said that my husband did, but he was in Iraq.

I just fell apart. I thought I would have to leave the items, go home and return with a check or cash. Then, someone I had never met heard and offered to help. She held my hand and asked if she could bless me and then told me to pass it on.

I will pass it on, but first, I wanted to thank Sue Roden personally. What she did that Saturday truly touched my family and me.

Rena Campbell


Tattered, worn flags should be replaced

Just a gentle reminder to all those who fly our nation's flag outside their homes or businesses: The flag should not be torn, faded, worn or tattered.

If the American flag you fly has become so, please have enough respect for its dignity to replace it.

K. Rockwell


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