We all have a trying time ahead of us with the debacle in Iraq and the general war that will follow. The country needs to pull together, and this kind of thing is stupidly and dangerously divisive.
How much easier it would be to find some compromise that would address both the prevailing religious sensitivities and the needs of all couples! The truth is that Tennesseans can be as sensible as anyone. All we need is the right leadership. But all we get is demagoguery in the pulpit as well as in the statehouse.
Greek to Us
In the past, I have been irritated at this practice of insider jargon on ballots and the lengths one must go in order to understand it but tolerated. Today, with so many idiots in Washington making critical decisions, with the country sliding into moral, economic, environmental, and constitutional bankruptcy, we don’t need to further alienate the voter.
For example, City Charter Amendment 0-126-06 reads:
Shall article XIII of the City of Knoxville Charter, entitled “Pensions”, be amended to provide additional benefit option election rights to certain members of Plan G, all as more fully set forth in Ordinance No. 0-126-06 of the City of Knoxville as duly published?”
Unless you are a city employee and even if you seek out Ordinance 0-126-06 of Article XIII of the City Charter (which I could not find on the City website’s online copy), you will still not know who are the members of “Plan G,” nor who are the “ certain members of Plan G” who will be provided “additional benefit election rights,” nor what these election rights are.
I made a few calls-—the Election Commission office could not help me but suggested I call the City. The City Communications and Govt. Relations office could not tell me but suggested I call the Pension office.
Bingo. The person who answered was Mike Cherry, Executive Director of the City Pension Board. Mike Cherry is to be highly commended for explaining in depth this amendment proposal. In fact, he not only spent 20 minutes talking to me, he did it during his lunch hour. And after ingesting the convoluted history and the obvious rationale behind this proposed amendment, I am now confident in voting for it. Not only are the 32 city employees affected by this amendment deserving of its passing, but, according to Cherry, the $1.1 million cost is “pocket change” to the city, a piddling amount that would never constitute a tax increase.
I appreciate Mr. Cherry’s assistance, but, really, shouldn’t the Knox County Election Commission give the voter a few more hints as to what they’re voting on? After all, what voter in these times does not suspect that ballot language is deliberately confusing? I suspect most voters’ reaction will be like mine—do not vote yea or nay on any item I do not fully understand. What’s at stake? In the case of this particular amendment, 32 people who may not be able to retire with full benefits even though some of them have more than 20 years of service as city employees.
Endorsement vs. Opinion Column
The People’s Party
...It makes no difference whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative. The corruption and lack of problem-solving pervades the whole Congress. We must do two things.
On election day, vote against the incumbent. If we do, it will send a message this year that we are fed up with the way they run this branch of our federal government. If enough of us do, it will show that being an incumbent doesn’t guarantee a return to the plush lifestyle in Washington. It will force whichever party ends up in control to revaluate the leadership they choose and to not vote blindly to the dictates of either the special interests or their party leaders. It disgusts us when all Republicans vote on one side and all Democrats the other on almost every issue. In a representative government, Nancy Pelosi or Tom Delay shouldn’t decide every important issue.
After the election, we must create a concerned citizens party. Its function would be to see that in every election, only qualified concerned citizens represent us. In a party’s primary it would hopefully be able to endorse several candidates so we could pick those most closely allied to our viewpoints, such as one being pro-life and the other pro-choice. In the general election, if both parties had a qualified candidate, the new party would not appear on the ballot. If only one party had such a person, that person would be on the ballot of the new party as well as the old party, and if both the Democrats and Republicans failed to nominate somebody meeting the qualifications of concerned citizens, the ballot would have the name of somebody who did.
Listen to the Public
The 49 TVA reservoirs with surrounding public lake land are like jewels in a valley of mushrooming growth that serve as national parks for a public with decreasing opportunities for outdoor recreation. We are annually losing in Tennessee thousands of acres of private land to rooftops and asphalt. The nation’s population is expected to hit 600 million by 2050 and unless we are visionary, there won’t be enough land for our heirs for outdoor recreation in the future and the natural beauty of our land will be spoiled.
I disagree with the Metro Pulse [Oct. 19 editor’s corner, “TVA: Keep Some Flexibility”] that TVA needs to be “flexible” with their land use policy in regards to public land sales and swaps. Such a policy is arbitrary, leaving open to the whims of the TVA Board in power at the time and to the money interests of the influential as to who ends up with the public’s lake land; 1.3 million acres were forcibly taken from landowners through the power of eminent domain “for the public good.” Selling the public land treasure for private use and private profit is an insult to those who gave up their land, is an injustice to the American people who paid with taxes for the land, and is a governmental abuse of the power of eminent domain. That abuse must stop….
Citizens leave a message on the issue at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-882-7675. Vote for a new policy keeping TVA land public and ending all sales; or, vote to support selling TVA lake land for development.
William G. Minser
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