News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Honest government requires public review

To The Daily: It is imperative that our government be open to public review. I feel it is our right. I understand that military and criminal operations and the like must be kept secret. I understand that some personal information such as Social Security numbers must be protected also. However, I have a real issue when the court system takes advantage and blocks our ability to see public records.

Many cases of misuse and abuse have been reported in the news media concerning the use of e-mail and Internet services in our Morgan County Courthouse. These Internet services are provided and paid for by taxpayers. We, the taxpayers, need to see the magnitude of the misuse and abuse and then we must seek corrective action for the abuse and misuse by these elected officials. A simple apology and blocking the publicís right to know is not now, nor would it ever be, acceptable.

Where the court has to make a judgment, I hope it will do the right thing and lean to the protection of our right to know.

The right to know is a must and is often the only way to keep honesty and integrity in our government and elected officials. That is why we have an open meetings law.

Again, I feel it is our right to know and that means no restrictions or limitations or fees in a seemingly sordid attempt to prevent the taxpayersí right to know.

Censorship and book burning were methods used by tyrants. These sound like serious issues compared to elected officials blocking review of public records, but a mustard tree starts with a very small seed. Letís stand together as a public and require the viewing of all records.

Terry Kellum
Decatur

Tax drive-through orders to pay for trash cleanup

To The Daily: I agree the litter is tarnishing Decaturís appearance, but itís not a new problem. My family owned business property on Sixth Avenue back when it was the only way through town — before the interstate bridge was opened — and I can remember having to pick up the litter that accumulated on our property daily.

Not all, but the majority of that trash came from two sources: fast-food restaurants and beverage containers. And it only got worse when the restaurants started having drive-through windows, making it even more of a possibility that the trash would be traveling the highways in the vehicles.

Why not let the source pay for the cleanup? Why not require a deposit on all aluminum and glass beverage containers, such as Michigan has had for years, and put a litter tax on every order that goes through a drive-through window? Iím sure the litter-tax idea wouldnít reduce the trash from getting on the roads like the deposit on containers would, but just think how far 5 cents on every drive-through order would help in the cost of keeping our city clean.

Erwin Clements
Decatur

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