News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007


Legislators OK’d raise like thieves in the night

To The Daily: Recently, I was listening to a radio talk from Birmingham. The topic was the 62 percent pay raise that our legislators gave themselves. Callers were redundant with their opinions, until one individual got in. He was a professional lobbyist.

He was allotted $75,000 per year, through the entity that he worked with, to lobby Alabama legislators to vote his way on issues. The money wasn’t a “pay off” for a vote, but a persuasive tool. The money was used to “wine ’em and dine ’em,” pay for their motel rooms, etc. He said there are hundreds of people just like him in Montgomery.

The pay raise was the first vote cast in the session. It came even before the Enterprise emergency school bill. Many of the “yea” votes were from freshmen in the legislature, who stated the costs of traveling to Montgomery, food, lodging, etc., were expensive. They, like everyone else, knew well what the pay was before being elected.

People tend to forget things, by choice or by nature. Ronald Grantland, Bill Dukes and others are betting that everyone will forget how they cast their first vote in session. When the people of Alabama gave Gov. Bob Riley a free pass, this opened the doors for any and all. You now have 31/2 years to forget this.

Don’t fall for the story saying they are suffering financially for serving their constituents. They should seek more economical lodging and start eating off the dollar menus if they are in deficit numbers. Maybe they could save even more money by doubling up in motel rooms and sharing the costs of pizzas. Only then could they be like the people they serve, and not like thieves in the night, with their pay-raise votes.

Mike Dowdy

Voters should take their revenge on all legislators

To The Daily: The legislators definitely set themselves above all others. And, in some respects, they are. They tell better lies and are good at it.

Justifying taking the raise by giving the money to charity doesn’t get it. Charity begins at home. Even if it is a legal charity, it may or may not be one the taxpayers want to support.

Now, I feel sorry for the legislators that they must buy this expensive gas and pay for room and board. They knew what the job paid and entailed when they were seeking office. The taxpayers are not exempt from buying expensive gas and paying for room and board. The taxpayers cannot vote themselves a raise.

The fact remains they voted for a raise after the election. The legislators are playing “the voters will forget” card. Now when a mother’s children stick together and will not tell who did what, the mother punishes all the children, thereby being assured she is punishing the culprit and teaching the other children a lesson, as well.

The vote to raise the legislators’ pay was a slap in the face to the voters. The legislators failed their fiduciary responsibility. We need to purge the system, no matter what legislators did with what. Do not vote for an incumbent.

Patsy Sparkman

Native Americans sacrificed much, should be admired

To The Daily: It is time for someone to speak up for the way my ancestors were treated.

They were no doubt living happy lives until the white man came to take their land. They were killed and tortured — men, women and children. Their homes were burned and they were treated worse than animals. Their land was taken, all of which we live on today. From the seashores on every side, it was Indian land.

Can you imagine being driven from your homes today? Everyone of Indian descent should never let the world forget how their ancestors were treated. They wept, they fought mightily, they tried gallantly to protect their families and their land, but in the end, they lost the battle. They were shown no pity, no honor, these Americans, the real Americans, the first Americans, my ancestors, the Indians.

They should be admired and their culture should be kept alive. Their stories should never be silent, these American Indians who sacrificed so much. They are our real heritage and they are to be admired.

Rev. Mack L. Carter

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