Wednesday, I was in Atlanta and spoke with some of the people that were protesting outside of the Atlanta Federal Court of Appeals building. Their signs stated "Hands Off My Health Care."
On Camp Wahsega Road, about a mile before it ends at Camp Merrill, is a tiny cemetery called Shady Grove, a place that time has forgotten. It was attached to a small Methodist church that was razed about 80 years ago on land given to the Methodist Church by our several-times-great grandpa Jacob Saine in the mid-1800s.
I had the distinct honor to watch PBS' Memorial Day presentations honoring our service members. One segment, an "Honor Flight" from Pensacola to Washington as veterans visited the various war memorials, was outstanding.
As a retired professional librarian with 25 years of experience at public, school, college and university libraries in three states, I am appalled at the suggestion that four of the six public libraries in Hall County be closed to save money.
With all the talk of budget talks vs. increasing tax rates, being a 64-year-old independent truck driver, I have some comments and questions.
The damage that the Hall County Board of Commissioners is about to do to this county will not only hurt the quality of life in this county, but will cause irreparable damage to our local economy. How in the world could anyone with a rational brain possibly think that eliminating 77 county jobs or so, eliminating public parks and libraries and cutting two ambulances will help local business?
In dire economic times like now, something has to give in order bring budgets more in line with reality. As regards to the proposed closing of four library locations out of six in total, I would like to make the following remarks and suggestions.
Yes, Chairman Tom Oliver has proposed raising the millage rate to make up for revenue losses due to property values dropping drastically in the last few years. The county commission and school board probably read all of the evaluations during the housing bubble as they cut that same millage rate year after year.
Let me start off by saying that I would like to think the tax increase would not pass, but unfortunately, it's already too late. It's already passed.
I agree with Mr. Black's letter about the Chicopee Woods Ag Center. We were just there for JAKE's Day. It was wall to wall kids. All those families left there, bought gas and food elsewhere in the community.
Hall County officials are correct to propose deep cuts to fiscal year 2012 budgets and no tax increase should be considered. Hall County is no longer a boom town and the local government and its employees need to recognize this. The days of elite public sector employees riding piggyback on the peon taxpayers and insulated from the contractions in the economy are over.
In attending the North Hall budget meeting in Clermont, I came away with some good points that were made in the meeting and some views that were made in a state of emotion.
Why do so many politicians resort to sob stories and scare tactics when they are forced to get the government's financial house in order? Tom Oliver's antics are no different from the big government apologists in Congress; he simply raises the specter of slower emergency response and shuttered libraries instead of threatening Medicare cuts and the loss of cowboy poetry festivals.
As a Hall County resident and employee, I have tried to educate myself on the pending budget crisis as best as possible, but I can only speak from personal experience. I have to wonder how much longer residents and county officials can expect the budget to be balanced solely off the backs of the employees.
Why is it every time the budget needs to be cut, we look to public safety, parks and usually education? Surely there are other areas where efficiency can be instilled?
After reading The Times' article regarding Tommy Lee Waldrip and the hideous crime he committed against the young Dawsonville man, Keith Evans, 23 years ago, I am still in disbelief of our so-called "justice" system.
Another budget year and another disappointment for our library system and its patrons. Our county officials' spending on website redesign and an energy study, with unused results, instead of providing funding needed to take county agencies off of furlough toes the line of malfeasance, a word I learned from a children's picture book that I read at my library ("Olivia and the Fairy Princesses" by Ian Falconer).
I spent 60 years in newspapering in Anderson, S.C., Athens and The Atlanta Times, and 50 years in radio and television throughout the South. I write this to salute Gainesville and its vast medical community as nationally prominent in heart research. I owe my life to cardiologists there and couldn't dare name them all, but one, Dr. Jeffrey Marshall, has not only been a great doctor but a great mentor to let me pursue my career after suffering mightily.
I retired from coaching after 15 seasons in the NFL. I started off coaching five seasons as a high school coach in New Mexico and in Fremont, Calif. The Hall County football teams are extremely well coached. I often stand just outside the fence watching our incredibly competent coaches work. Hall County is a perfect place for a retired coach to live if he wants high-quality football every Friday night during the high school football season.
Here we go again, folks. Cormac J. Carney, a U.S. district judge, ruled California's death penalty unconstitutional. He called the death penalty an "empty promise that violates the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment." This was brought on by a death row inmate.
I vaguely remember when voting Republican meant you were virtually assured of candidates who supported policies that promoted limited government and lower taxation. Obviously, this is no longer the case.
In response to Joan King's column of July 1: I'm tired of reading and responding to her ill- and misinformed rants about nuclear power, and specifically, Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle nuclear units Nos. 3 and 4, now under construction.
Re: Joan King's column of July 1: This will probably be my final attempt to help Joan King to acquire a more positive outlook involving use of nuclear power provided by electric energy utilities. Her ongoing presentations no longer dignify knowledgeable responses, which removes the interest to challenge them. Proper analogy is not seeing the forest because of the trees.
To Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson, Doug Collins and all members of our legislative branch of government: I thought you all were elected to represent us peons and to look after our interests. Is not the legislative branch along with the president and Supreme Court (equally) the top authorities in this great nation? Have I got those facts wrong?
On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I wish to express condolences to the family, colleagues and many friends of Gainesville attorney E. Wycliffe "Wyc" Orr on his recent and very untimely passing.
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