News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2006


Hartselle needs accountability on school funds

I agree there is a need for a new high school in Hartselle, but at present, there are far too many other issues that need addressing. Over the past year, this school board has not moved in any direction, and is in serious need of leadership. I, for one, will not vote for a property tax increase until certain criteria are met.

1. An elected school board. This gives the power to the voters, not five people on a council that exhibits "quid pro quo" as their tool. Ineffective board members get voted off.

2. A complete audit from the state of Alabama of the entire school system. Our school board needs to follow the state's recommendations and change auditing firms every five years.

3. When the school is built and paid for, simply put, the voters should have the right to vote to remove the property tax.

4. School board meetings should be set at an appropriate time that would allow interested persons to attend. Mondays at 6 p.m. shows the lack of intellectual acuity of this board. Most people have just gotten home from work, plus Mondays are typically the busiest days for the average working individual.

5. Finish the still "open" investigation with the Alabama Ethics Commission regarding our high school principal. According to the commission, an audit must be performed before it can conclude its investigation

6. Education, not sports, should be the main attraction for schools.

7. Re-apply the original provisions of the drug policy. It doesn't make any sense when "allegedly" intelligent persons advocate the use of tobacco by diminishing its punishment.

Accountability should be the key when people want to spend other people's money. Without it, things run amuck.

Mike Dowdy


Clinton left Bush a budget surplus

I read the letter Mr. Michael Waugh wrote praising George W. Bush. In his letter, he told of all the things that Bill Clinton left Bush.

The following is what I heard on TV or read in some publications, so if they are wrong, it's not my fault. What he didn't say was that Bush was left a $236 billion surplus and didn't waste any time turning it into a deficit. The current debt is more than $8.1 trillion. The deficit includes $10.7 billion no-bid contracts for Halliburton in Iraq, plus $16 million for Hurricane Katrina; $26 billion short on No Child Left Behind; an increase of 20 percent below the poverty level for children; 6 million people who have lost their insurance coverage; and about half a trillion for the never-ending, illegal war in Iraq.

He has given only the rich a tax break that will net them about $25,000 a year. He has caused Medicare premiums to increase 50 percent and wants to cut the benefits. He wants to revise Social Security to help the stockbrokers raise even more money. He wants to change the tax code, which will probably help the rich even more. He has taken the law into his own hands by authorizing secret wiretaps without a court order for a second time (the first time he said he didn't know about it). Breaking the law and telling an untruth is an impeachable offense, and several groups are calling for impeachment.

At this time, his job approval rating is only about 39 percent, according to the Gallup poll, and that's not good at all. We have offended our allies and the rest of the world hates us now. I can go on and on, but I think I have repeated enough at this time.

F.E. Morgan


Eavesdropping and windfall oil profits

First, about the government listening to phone conversations: It listens to overseas calls to known terrorists or people who are connected to terrorists. The president isn't listening to the problems we discuss with family and friends. The media have blown this out of context.

How often do we go out to eat and people all around us are talking on cell phones? We hear one-sided conversations all the time. People walk around everywhere with a phone attached to their ear. Why should the general public care who the president is listening to? Everyone else is listening to us. The Washington, D.C., people are only mad because their permission wasn't asked first — or some are afraid they will be caught doing something illegal.

Second, big oil companies have done it again. They made a killing off us in the fourth quarter, more than they made on the third quarter with Katrina and what is the government doing about them? Nothing.

So here is my proposal: The Social Security system is not in good shape. Why not take money from Social Security and build two refineries and all the profits go directly into Social Security? Can you imagine that kind of money going into the system? Our great-great-great grandchildren would never have to worry about their retirement. The big oil companies' CEOs might have to take a pay cut, though.

If big oil companies can make a 43 percent profit over their last quarter and the people we hired to work for us in Washington are only looking out for themselves and how much the oil companies will give to their next run for re-election, we should submit a request for two refineries and take some of the profits away from them.

Reba Haley

Houston, Ala.

Pageant losers deserve thanks

For many years, there have been beauty pageants. Girls spend a lot of time getting ready. The young ladies I'm talking about are in their teens. Most of them know their chances are slim and are somewhat prepared for what may happen. They can hold their heads high and go on because they are old enough to understand.

However, there are also the little girls in kindergarten through fifth grade, who are dressed in their pretty dresses, hair just right and so proud of themselves. They walk across the stage to the bleachers. The ones who lose are never spoken of again, and these are just small children. I feel that no child should ever be left behind. I've watched 10 girls chosen and on stage, with no thank-you to the little ones left sitting on the bleachers. What must that do for their self-esteem?

This is the way it was at West Morgan School. I know all the children can't win or be in the top 10 or in first place. But what would it hurt to give the ones on the bleachers a certificate of appreciation or bring them back up on stage to tell them they are beautiful — anything? But they were just left sitting there.

These are just children and they have feelings. They will have enough heartbreak in their lives. Some of these little girls are honor students and have wonderful personalities. Treat them as equals, not losers. All are beautiful, not just 10.

I spoke with the lady in charge and she said they have never done anything for the ones who didn't place, and that she didn't have time to do something on short notice. How long does it take to say thanks?

Maybe it's time they find someone else who cares more for the children.

Gearita Campbell


Vet deserves thank you for treatment of dog

I've been keeping up with stories about Lucky. I have no attachments to Lucky or to Dr. Steve Osborne, but I want to highly commend him on what he has done for this animal.

All the articles state that the reward money would be sent back to givers if not used in the conviction of the animal who did that to this dog. I would like to suggest (and I'm only sure every other animal lover who contributed) would recommend Dr. Osborne keep the money, if it is never used, for what he has done for Lucky. If he chooses not to do so, then let it be given to the humane society for other abused animals or even to some type of fund in the sick or tragic event this ever happened again, there would be money set aside for animal care.

Thanks once again to Dr. Osborne and his staff for their time, love and concern for Lucky and for their great love and compassion for animals.

Terrill Borden


Neglect is just another form of animal abuse

I have read with concern the story about Lucky. How humans can be so cruel to a dog is frightfully mind-boggling. As an elementary school teacher, I often hear children tell of cruelty to animals, and it makes me shudder.

A society can be judged on how it treats not only defenseless animals, but also by how it treats its elderly. Many of the children who mistreat animals in what appear to be insignificant ways go on to a career of crime and abuse. It is disturbing, isn't it?

However, I am more disturbed by the cavalier way in which general animal abuse is viewed by the public. Right now, on the route I travel to work, Alabama 36, there are the corpses of at least 10 domestic animals. This happens in the spring when owners abandon their pets that are expecting litters. This is a type of neglect and abuse. If you don't plan to take care of an animal, don't get it.

I pass a place on the same route that has kept fighting chickens for years. Everyone in the area knows that chicken fighting is still considered sport in Morgan County. Why is this abuse not controlled?

From my students, I also hear about dog fighting. This is not a sport. It is abuse. I suppose my question is: When will those who know that these types of abuse continue unabated report the perpetrators to the authorities? It looks like Lucky is going to have a good life in the future. That's great, but let's do something about the benign neglect of prosecuting those who continue to abuse helpless animals.

Ellen Hodgen


Abandoned dogs available for adoption

I want to thank THE DAILY for following the story of Lucky and his recovery. It breaks my heart to think of what would have happened if someone hadn't noticed Lucky in the Dumpster. I wonder how many other dogs have suffered the same abuse but weren't discovered? I hope for justice on Lucky's behalf. I wish the monsters who did this could be sentenced to the same abuse they gave to Lucky.

It is wonderful to see how this dog's story has touched people's hearts, young and old, and from all over the country. It looks like Lucky will have a good life with one of the 150 people who want to adopt him. For the other 149, there are lots of not-so-lucky dogs being euthanized every day in shelters across the country, through no fault of their own. In honor of Lucky, why not give one of these dogs a loving home?

Vicki Martin


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