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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2006
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Will miss visionaries, people of action

THE DECATUR DAILY:

When my husband and I moved to Decatur in 1960, we based our decision on a number of factors. This city had a reputation of being progressive in many areas, including recruitment of business and industrial clients (many of those being Fortune 500 companies); its school system was recognized as being outstanding; its proximity to our beautiful Tennessee River afforded many recreational opportunities; and its quality of life exceeded many other comparable cities in our region.

We had not lived here very long before we began to realize why Decatur succeeded where others often failed. Names like Barrett Shelton, John Caddell, Julian Harris, Maynard Layman, Frances Nungester, Walter Jackson and Athylene Banks played a significant part in that success. These were not only men and women of vision, but they were also people of action. When a need or opportunity arose, they went to work to make it happen. Their influence went beyond Decatur's boundaries, to Montgomery and Washington, D.C., and those of us who call Decatur home surely have benefited from their efforts. What a legacy of leadership they have left to us!

Last week, the last of those leaders died. While I knew of Miss Banks' good works and leadership in our community, I was fortunate in being able to work with Mr. Johnny on many projects the past few years. I regularly received calls from him concerning potential industrial and business prospects, but he also often called to offer a word of encouragement and occasionally, a bit of advice. He was truly one of the most remarkable individuals I have ever known. I treasured his friendship and I, like so many others, will miss him.

Pat Woller

Decatur

Sheriff's 'I want' attitude inappropriate

THE DECATUR DAILY:

I've been watching the exchange between Sheriff Greg Bartlett and County Commissioner Stacy George since the differences began. Why didn't Sheriff Bartlett come to the commission meeting about jail staffing with information in hand? Why didn't he present documentation on the needed requirements, instead of just saying "I want"? Does Mr. Bartlett have all his required manuals and preparations done? Why didn't he present that information? Even a non-law-enforcement person like myself found it easily on the Internet.

For 11 years, I lived two doors down from the jail. I don't understand how they run two locations with the current number of detention deputies, but can't run two pods at one location?

I watched over the course of 11 years the ebb and flow of detention deputies. It is my firm belief that Mr. Bartlett could make do with the numbers he has, if they worked more efficiently. They seem to spend a lot of time standing around, in appearance doing nothing: walking between the jail and annex and marching inmates back and forth across the street.

I've seen a detention deputy sit most of a day outside with two prisoners while they wash cars. I've seen two detention deputies march one inmate pushing a food cart down the street and back again. Is this efficient use of staff? Why is it necessary to maintain a separate 911? How is it more efficient? It's not. It's just Sheriff Bartlett saying "I want."

I think the sheriff's deputies are some of the nicest people I have ever met and have never experienced any problems with officers. I think law enforcement officers do a risky job for not enough compensation. However, I see Sheriff Bartlett simply going, "I want." He's forcing a struggle for complete control, with little oversight, so he can run his own little empire.

"I want" a new sheriff!

Lynne Orr

Decatur

Hartselle criticism unfounded, deceptive

THE DECATUR DAILY:

I look forward to the letters each week. Some are amusing, some informative and some constructive. Others, such as "Councilmen promise much, deliver little," in THE DAILY on Jan. 29, beg challenge. The letter is burdened with incomplete and unsubstantiated rhetoric.

The letter criticizing the Hartselle City Council, well-written grammatically while feigning authoritative knowledge, is misleading and deceptive. The attack on the council is primarily centered on legislative activity and associated travel, describing it to be a fiasco. I suggest that the federal funds being received are a phenomenal return on the meager investment of travel to Washington.

Criticism of the legislative activity indicates absolutely no knowledge of legislative experience, structure of the agenda and productive protocol. The writer has either avoided researching or doesn't understand how highway funds filter through the state. It is interesting that he didn't mention the $500,000 coming in for the industrial park. Also, contrary to the letter, the Hammit Street bridge project is 100 percent state funded, with design 60 percent complete and right-of-way acquisition authorized.

Very capable individuals — government, civic and individual volunteers — are dedicating extensive time and effort beyond the normal call of duty to better Hartselle. They are dealing with many complex and interrelated issues that affect Hartselle, both near-term and in the future. As a former, two-term member of the City Council, I encourage support of your city officials in helping them to do the best job possible.

If you must be critical, please, before doing so, become involved to the point of fully understanding the activities and issues. If then you remain critical, present that criticism in a dignified and constructive manner. In the absence of unsubstantiated facts, don't be misled by the uninformed, who incessantly spew destructive and unsubstantiated criticism.

Wayne F. Green

Hartselle

Lack of objectivity hurts paper's readership

THE DECATUR DAILY:

In a recent issue, the opinion poll regarding Vice President Dick Cheney's approval appeared. Was it a coincidence that it appeared on the day of his visit? Do the editors of THE DAILY actually think the poll represents the true opinions of the overall citizenry since the voting populace is overwhelmingly conservative?

I would encourage you to read back through various articles and opinions with a level of objectivity to see if perhaps the following terms could be accurately applied. Keep in mind that these terms could be applied to issues over a period of several years: agenda-driven, political, divisive, not objective, one-sided, sensationalistic.

It is not my intent to be sarcastic or caustic. I am truly interested in being able to read THE DAILY without having to filter the readings through suspicion.

Like it or not, our country is politically divided; yet, we must remain respectful of the opinions and views of others. However, when our only local newspaper uses its position to promote an agenda (be it blatantly conservative or liberal), rather than providing objective reporting, readership can only be negatively affected.

I hope that my point of view will be taken in a spirit of goodwill.

Mike Fite

Decatur

Give tax surplus to children, poor

THE DECATUR DAILY:

Re the Alabama tax cut: I would prefer that our tax dollars go to programs to improve the quality of life for children and the poor than to be returned to our pockets.

For most of us, the amount would be negligible, but together our tax dollars would get our schools a step higher on the national scholastic ladder and give our elderly and poor more security. The educational and social programs have been gutted for unworthy purposes and I believe we will be judged by the way we treat the least among us.

Brenda Shreve

Decatur

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