Letter: Callison appreciates Progress PAC endorsement

Kelly Callison

Kelly Callison

To the Editor:

I appreciate the endorsement from the Progress PAC and the support from a broad range of residents.

As I have campaigned across the city from Glenwood to West Hills to Woodland, the concerns are the same as those of the PAC: the desire for exceptional schools, quality housing, and retail and industrial growth. These are the things Oak Ridgers are concerned about, and I intend to focus on these issues and bring the city together to move in a positive direction.

Kelly Callison

Oak Ridge City Council candidate

Letter: Baughn endorses Garcia Garland

Trina Baughn

Trina Baughn

To the Editor:

This election cycle, some candidates have characterized City Council deliberations as combative or regressive. The truth is, however, that of the hundreds of decisions made every year by City Council, the majority are made by unanimous vote. The same is true of the Board of Education and our boards and commissions.

A well-balanced government should not be stacked with all like-minded people whose primary goal is to achieve harmony. Some might argue that unanimity, which should not be mistaken for progress, is what has gotten us into many of the messes we are in. No, an elected body should allow for all voices to have the opportunity to be heard and considered. [Read more...]

Letter: Oak Ridge needs Chinn’s perspective, expertise

To the Editor:

Although I have never written an endorsement for any political candidates, I feel sincerely compelled to at this time.

Twenty-five years ago, I moved my family to Oak Ridge. I was not born here, had no family members here, nor did I relocate due to a job transfer or employment contract. I moved my family to this beautiful city for I desired to live in this community. I voluntarily chose Oak Ridge.

I started a business almost 24 years ago and earlier this year sold that business and am presently thoroughly enjoying retirement. Oak Ridge has been good to me and my family and God favored me over this past quarter of a century. And having the advantage of being a local business person, I want to cast my ballot in this year’s City Council election for Rick Chinn. [Read more...]

Letter: Paine the best candidate for school board

To the Editor:

Laurie Paine is, by far, the best candidate for the Oak Ridge Board of Education. She’s loyal and fights hard for what she believes in.

I’ve witnessed first-hand her diligence in fighting to get the bus routes reinstated for children living closer to school. Her oldest daughter lost her life riding her bike home from school. It’s because of that tragedy that she fights harder and more diligently than anyone else. She’s determined and committed to do whatever’s necessary to ensure our children’s safety.

Rumors have spread about mistakes she’s made in the past. While other candidates seem focused on people’s faults, Laurie continues to press forward in fighting for people’s best interests. Sure, she’s made her fair share of mistakes, but who hasn’t. Often times we learn more by making mistakes. I believe that Laurie’s past has made her even more determined and focused to create a better and safer future for our kids. [Read more...]

Letter: Paine the right candidate for school board

To the Editor:

We are writing this letter in support of Laurie Paine, who is running for the Oak Ridge Board of Education. We have two children who attended Oak Ridge schools and are now pursuing college educations. We feel Ms. Paine has many excellent qualities that she can offer to the community by serving on the Board of Education.

Among those qualities would be her educational and work background. Ms. Paine has experience in both accounting and project management. As a project manager for several companies, Ms. Paine has worked with large budgets. She was the senior project manager for one company. We know personally that Ms. Paine is familiar with the Oak Ridge Schools budget as she has done research and has attended BOE budget meetings in the past. The tools she has gained with her business experience will prove to be invaluable in the budget deliberation process and other financial decisions the BOE must vote on. If elected, Ms. Paine will see to it that ORS and the BOE have financial accountability and transparency.

Secondly, Ms. Paine cares about Oak Ridge children and wants to make them a priority. Ms. Paine states that currently 47 percent of Oak Ridge students come from financially disadvantaged families. She wants to ensure that these students and all Oak Ridge students are given equal opportunities in our school system. She will work to fairly allocate resources to benefit all students, and she especially wants to give hope and a voice to those children with limited financial resources. [Read more...]

Letter: Democrats represented Oak Ridge more years than Republicans

To the Editor:

Although many in Oak Ridge assume that only a Republican can further the interests of Oak Ridge nationally, it is interesting to note that from the formative years of Oak Ridge until 1963, the Third Congressional District was represented by a Democrat.

From 1963-1975, District 3 had Republican representation.Then for the next 20 years, from 1975 until 1995, it was represented by a Democrat, who happened to be a woman.

All in all, Oak Ridge and District 3 has had Democratic representation for 44 years and Republican representation for a total of 23 years. We’ve had Democrats represent us for almost twice as long as we have had Republicans in Washington.

There is no reason to think that a Democrat cannot serve the Third District well.

Virginia M. Jones

Oak Ridge

Letter: Chinn a hard worker with proven track record of dedication

Mike Marsh

Mike Marsh

To the Editor:

Our city deserves a lot more attention from you and me than it usually gets. The mayor and City Council have substantial influence on our everyday lives, more than you would thank. The political decisions they make effect our neighborhoods and our private homes. Oak Ridge government has a responsibility to provide public safety and essential infrastructure along with fire, police protection along with many core services.

Now you might ask who’s best qualified to lead our city, a businessman or a politician. Norma Damashek wrote: “At its best, local government provides a stable, lawful, structured environment for the business sector. Commerce can thrive where government provides good infrastructure, education, health, transportation, and stability.

“And at its best, business provides the public sector with strong economic engines and technologic advances. Local governments can thrive when economic opportunities, options, and benefits are enhanced for city residents and workers.

“It’s called symbiosis—Wholesome cooperation between government and business. It’s not only desirable, it’s necessary since neither one does well in the absence of the other.” [Read more...]

Letter: Wells would bring conservative values, ethics to school board

To the Editor:

Aaron Wells is holding a fundraiser this Thursday night, September 25, between 6 and 8 p.m. at Razzleberry’s in Jackson Square. He is running for a non-partisan seat on the Oak Ridge Board of Education. Congressman Fleischmann and Lawrence Hahn will be attending the event, and Anne and I would love to see you there.

Aaron values the importance of inspiring, high quality teachers in education. He wants to help Oak Ridge schools maintain their superb reputation in the future, especially since his own child will be going through this school system. [Read more...]

Letter: Urges voters to meet Callison, a ‘proven strong leader’

To the Editor:

I want to personally invite you to come to Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen in Jackson Square on Wednesday, September 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet and support Kelly Callison, who is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the upcoming election.

I’ve worked personally with Kelly on the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission and on several boards in Oak Ridge. Kelly is a proven strong leader who understands the problems facing Oak Ridge. He is results-focused and has shown his ability to work with and lead teams of leaders to solve problems. Kelly is chief operating officer for Information International Associates here in Oak Ridge.

I’m convinced that Kelly will be a great asset for the City of Oak Ridge as a Council member. I urge you to come spend some time with Kelly on September 24, and I think you too will find him to be just the kind of Council member Oak Ridge needs.

I look forward to seeing you on September 24!

Austin Lance

Oak Ridge

Letter: Encourages candidate forum groups, objects to ‘harassment’

While state and federal elections (at least here in Oak Ridge) are somewhat uninspiring this year, with many races either uncontested or practically so, our municipal election has drawn an unusually high number of candidates. That there are several open seats where incumbents chose not to run—two on City Council and two on the Board of Education—is probably the reason for the larger number of candidates.

Ten are running for four seats on City Council, while eight are competing for three seats on the Board of Education.

The League of Women Voters is doing its usual outstanding job of hosting candidate forums, but despite standing-room-only attendance at the first of those, it’s inevitable that not everyone was able to attend. Fortunately, several other interested groups have also scheduled candidate forums or meet-and-greet events: the Oak Ridge Schools’ PTA/PTO Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and Democracy for East Tennessee.

It’s important to get to know the people who seek to represent you, to hear their views on issues of interest, and to see how they respond to questions.

Unfortunately, one member of Council who is not up for election this year is seeking to eliminate some of these opportunities, based on the fact that they’re scheduled to be held on city property. The Chamber of Commerce is situated on land leased from the city, although they own the building. The PTA/PTO forums will be held at Oak Ridge High School, and have been promoted through the schools (as most PTA/PTO activities are). [Read more...]

Opinion: Commissioner proposes small payment for some county employees

Myron Iwanski

Myron Iwanski

Note: This is a copy of a Tuesday email from Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski to the Budget Committee and commissioners.

Budget Committee and Commissioners:

I think we were all pleased that for the fourth year in a row our year-end fund balance increased over the previous year. We owe a big thank you to our county employees for helping making this happen.

Four years ago, our fund balance was heading down to less than $500,000, and our credit rating was being effected. Beginning four years ago, by being more cautious with how we spend fund balance money and with the help of all our elected officials and employees, we increased the fund balance to the current $4,290,000.

One of the many things we did to turn this around was not giving our employees a salary increase for several years—except to cover the annual increases in health insurance cost. County-wide office holders, meanwhile, were given state-mandated increases in salaries.

I propose using a small portion of this fund balance to provide a small lump sum payment to those county general fund employees that did not get a state-mandated salary increase. [Read more...]

Opinion: Fleischmann comments on passage of government funding bill

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann

Chuck Fleischmann

By U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a critical continuing resolution which will keep the government open until the end of the fiscal year and maintain funding for significant government operations.

“Today, I am happy to announce that the House of Representatives has passed a responsible and fiscally sound funding measure, which will prevent a government shutdown,” U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann said directly after passage. “By crafting a clean continuing resolution that maintains current funding levels, we have provided the American people and crucial parts of our government, such as the armed forces, with needed certainty. However, I am disappointed that the Democrat-controlled Senate could not manage to undertake its constitutional responsibility and pass a single appropriations bill. It is imperative that Congress returns to regular order and eliminates the need for these constant stopgap measures.”

In addition to keeping the government open, the bill also included the McKeon Amendment. This provides authorization for the president’s request to arm and train carefully vetted factions within the Syrian opposition in order to combat ISIS while providing for congressional oversight.

Chuck Fleischmann represents Tennessee’s District 3, which includes Oak Ridge, in the U.S. House of Representatives.