News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Mayor, council should leave park name alone


I am writing about something that I read in the Sept. 8 DECATUR DAILY about how Mayor Don Kyle and City Councilmen Billy Jackson, Ronny Russell, David Bolding, Ray Metzger and Gary Hammon are voting to re-name Austinville Park. I am a lifelong resident of Austinville, which was a city years ago before joining with Decatur.

Austinville Park, Austinville School and Austin High School were named in honor of the Austin family who owned most of the land here in Austinville. The Austins were involved in our community. The Austins once owned the land where Austinville Park is now and there once was a school where the park is now. The Austins donated the land to our community. Alongside Austinville Park is an old cemetery where many Austin family members are buried.

The park has had this name for more than 50 years and to change the name without informing any of our residents is wrong. Russell is District 4 councilman, which includes the Austinville community, and to re-name the park after someone who has no ties to Austinville makes no sense.

It is clear that Kyle, Russell, Jackson, Bolding, etc. don't care about Austinville. I will do everything I can do to get these people out in the next city election. I just hope and pray that other people in Decatur will work with me to get them out.

David W. Kelley


Drug policies fuel more crime


Morgan County's hazardous methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of the deadly exploding liquor stills that sprang up throughout the nation during alcohol prohibition.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ask for age identification, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like meth, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like meth. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol — the plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death — it makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Policy analyst

Arlington, Va.

Johnson, Carter were failures


The Democrats allowed to talk on television start their diatribes by saying something about what they want the public to believe is "Bush's failed presidency." Let's look at what really constitutes a failed presidency.

First, go back to the Lyndon Johnson administration. It was so bad that he quit in midstream. But the epitome of a failed presidency is personified by Jimmy Carter, who makes Benedict Arnold appear to be a stalwart patriot. For an ex-president to go around the world alleging that President Bush and our allies have failed is the height of hypocrisy. And now Mr. Carter is hosting Mohammed Khatami, the former Iranian president, as he goes around this country attempting to justify Iran's position in world affairs. How much more anti-America can you be?

Democrats need to wake up and realize that even though President Bush is constantly bombarded by their defeatist attitudes, he is doing everything that can be done to fight the war on terror. Democrats and most of the news media automatically declare all initiatives (using their code words) a "failed presidency."

They know they are wrong, but continue on this track because they hate Mr. Bush so much that they will do or say anything, no matter how false, in their attempts to discredit him.

Patriotic Americans won't let that happen.

James L. O'Hara


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