News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Series encourages pride in property ownership

To The Daily: I have been keeping up with your “Hiding in plan sight” series and wondering why there are so many eyesores in Decatur. It is a lovely city and hopefully your series will encourage people to take more pride in their surroundings. Trashiness is not attractive, nor will it encourage people to choose Decatur as home.

After noting your drainage ditch article, I realized the ditch between my house and the one backing up to it was considerably overgrown. I called the hotline and was directed to Ms. Eubanks. She was very professional, considerate and helpful. A city inspector came out and checked the ditch. A crew was dispatched to clear the drainage ditch within two weeks. Should we ever be fortunate enough to get some rain, it will flow smoothly down the ditch. I want to thank Ms. Eubanks and the city of Decatur workers for their quick and efficient help. And I thank The Decatur Daily for the series that hopefully will improve our area.

Sandra H. Lowery
Decatur

Bill would expand federal definition of hate crime

To The Daily: One in six hate crimes is motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We have had a federal hate crimes law on the books since 1969, yet it has never included crimes targeting victims because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The job of the U.S. government, first and foremost, is to protect all Americans — whether they’re black, Christian, disabled or gay.

The Matthew Shepard Act (S. 1105) is a bipartisan bill that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include violent attacks based on a victim’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. It would also provide funding to help law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute violent hate crimes. The Matthew Shepard Act would apply only to violent attacks based on the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. It does not criminalize thoughts or free speech. This legislation has been endorsed by more than 230 civic, religious and law enforcement organizations.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 68 percent of Americans, cutting across race, religion and ideology, favor strengthening laws to give local police and sheriffs’ departments the tools and resources they need to prevent and prosecute heinous acts of prejudice.

This law is not special treatment. It would make sure Americans across the spectrum, black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, male or female, are protected. It comes down to ensuring that no American may be targeted for violence because of who they are.

William Dickinson
Harvest

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