Letter: We should be in this together

Note: This is a copy of an August 20 letter sent to city officials.

Dear Mayor Beehan, Mr. Mark Watson, respected Council Members,

I’ve written to you several times in the past regarding the implementation of community gardens in, or rather starting in, the Highland View neighborhood, where I currently reside. Because of my desire to help eliminate hunger in my community, you appointed me to the Anderson County Community Action Commission, which I’ve accepted as a great honor.

My sole focus was on getting food, easy sustainable food, into this area so that families, despite their circumstances, could build something together which, in turn, would increase the sense of community and bonding that comes with dirt under the fingernails and a cold beer after for those old enough.

It is with regret that I inform you that the grant we’d hoped so fervently for from the Lowe’s Community program did not go through. We are, instead, sitting on an acre-and-a-half of land that could have been centrally located, cleared for the sole purpose of raised gardens being built and established, educating anyone that wanted to learn about gardening food, the installation of fruit trees to add better variety to the tables more commonly filled with processed foods, and the naive ideal of success. [Read more...]

Letter: Commissioner-elect says ‘thanks,’ offers tips to November candidates

Theresa Scott Thank You Sign

Submitted photo

To the Editor:

Since May, I have knocked on doors and visited with residents, homeowners, and voters of District 7 while campaigning for a seat on County Commission. I heard from many about their frustrations at several candidates in various races who chose to gain attention by means of mail, recorded phone messages, and numerous yard signs throughout their neighborhoods and on the main roads.

When the signs were allowed to be posted at the Wildcat Den for early voting, it was as if there was a corrugated plastic explosion overnight. Some were so disgusted that they chose not to vote during that period. It is very unfortunate that such a distraction would cause someone to choose not to make their voice heard.

With another election coming up in just a few months, I would like any future candidates to take note of the following tips that could possibly help them reach more voters. When canvassing a neighborhood, keep in mind there may be a dog or child on the other side of a gated fence. Respect a resident’s privacy and do not solicit or trespass onto their property if signs are posted not to enter. You should not cross through the yard when going to the neighboring property but use the sidewalks. [Read more...]

Letter: Write-in House candidate says coal is obsolete

Leslie Agron EPA Clean Power Plan Hearing

Oak Ridge resident Leslie Agron testifies at an EPA clean power plan hearing in Atlanta on July 29. (Submitted photo)

Note: This is a copy of testimony given July 29 in Atlanta by Oak Ridge resident Leslie Agron, a write-in candidate in the Democratic primary for Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the EPA. Thank you for taking my testimony.

My name is Leslie Agron. I am from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As the son of a Manhattan Project scientist, I was born and raised there. I grew up within walking distance of Appalachia.

I am currently a candidate for the Tennessee state legislature. I have previously served on Oak Ridge’s Environmental Quality Advisory Board. I hold an Executive MBA from The Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Given that credential, the thrust of my remarks will be about business and business climate.

I hold that, contrary to industry remarks that coal makes jobs, coal is not good business. To be clear, in a historical sense, coal was very important to the development of America in the 19th and 20th centuries. During those historical times, coal very much enhanced the business climate of our country by supplying affordable energy when no other source of energy was available. [Read more...]

Letter: Prefer humanitarian aid to Gaza, rather than ammunition

To the Editor:

I see on television that our country is providing more ammunition for the Israeli government to slaughter residents of Gaza.

In spite of attempts by humanitarians from various countries, Israel has kept the citizens of Gaza malnourished and miserable by its blockade. It is now slaughtering men, women, and children like shooting fish in a barrel.

I would much prefer our country to provide humanitarian aid with my tax dollars, rather than providing more ammunition.

Paul Spray, MD

Oak Ridge

Letter: NRA endorses Ragan

To the Editor:

The National Rifle Association recently posted their candidate ratings for the Tennessee House of Representatives.

In the race for House District 33, State Representative John Ragan (R–Oak Ridge) received an A rating and the endorsement of the pro-Second Amendment organization.

According to a release from the NRA, Representative Ragan is their choice in the upcoming August 7 Republican primary. Since being elected to office in 2010, Ragan has supported various bill centered around protecting the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans. [Read more...]

Letter: Anderson County Commission needs wake-up call

Anderson County is a wonderful place to live and work. Our economy should easily out-perform Knox County’s. Yet, we consistently fail to do so—and our County Commission seems to be asleep. Between 2000 and 2010, Anderson County grew at only 41 percent of Knox County’s growth rate. That’s unacceptable.

Over the next decade, Anderson County taxpayers will pay close to $2 million in salary and medical/dental/retirement benefits for its county commissioners. The commission needs to get focused and get busy. Our economy was dealt a significant blow when the commission opted for an expensive jail expansion. Commissioners could have sought support from a newly-elected Republican governor for more time to resolve jail overcrowding through less-costly administrative means—but did not. Instead, they chose the jail expansion, ignoring its impact on our taxes and our economy.

The commissioners made a second error when they passed the jail expansion without dealing with the new jail’s increased operating costs. This mistake drove jail costs even higher and raised the real possibility of a second tax increase. Thankfully, a second increase was prevented by the efforts of Mayor Frank. [Read more...]

Letter: Democrat supports Gallaher for Register of Deeds

To the Editor:

This letter writer supports Bill Gallaher, Republican, for Anderson County Register of Deeds.

I am a senior citizen on fixed income. I was born and raised on a farm at Andersonville and have lived in Anderson County my entire life. I retired after a life-long career as a librarian in Anderson County.

I am also a life-long Democrat, supporting Bill Gallaher. [Read more...]

Letter: Two greatest tasks—protecting taxpayers’ purse, public services

To the Editor:

When “how things are” and “how things can be” come together, growth occurs. However, not acknowledging “how things are” denies the opportunity for growth.

I wish to speak to you as if we were face to face. Whether you may agree with what I say or not, you will know that I am speaking from my heart. I want to talk about Oak Ridge because it is something that I am personally very passionate about.

The scientific achievements from Oak Ridge are extraordinary, with some of the best research in the world developed here. I am very proud of Oak Ridge and our contributions to the world. Whether exploring the deep structure of matter or the genetic code, our scientists are leading the way. But, we must confront the hard truth that we can no longer count on the federal government to carry us through. For decades, we have been avoiding this and other avenues of development. We’re starting to make progress but still have a long way to go. We need to create a balanced economy that will provide prosperity and economic security for the people of Oak Ridge and Anderson County. [Read more...]

Letter: Register of Deeds opponent says six-year deficit exceeds $440,000

Bill Gallaher

Bill Gallaher

Note: This is a copy of a press release submitted by Bill Gallaher, who is challenging Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton in the August 7 general election. Gallaher and Shelton have had a back-and-forth debate about office finances. You can see Shelton’s press release here.

The burden on the taxpayers of Anderson County to maintain operations in the Register of Deeds Office just got heavier. The taxpayer savings account known as the Undesignated Fund Balance decreased by $92,391.20 this summer due to the Register of Deeds office excessive spending.

Bill Gallaher expressed concern that the Register of Deeds Office is heading in the wrong direction.

“This makes six straight years that our current Register of Deeds has allowed the office to be bailed out by the taxpayers,” Gallaher said. “It is an alarming amount of money that is required to subsidize the Register of Deeds Office each year.” [Read more...]

Letter: Register of Deeds audit shows surplus, refutes opponents’ claims

Tim Shelton

Tim Shelton

Note: This is a copy of a press release submitted by Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton. Shelton and his challenger, Bill Gallaher, have had a back-and-forth debate about office finances. You can see Gallaher’s press release here.

The Anderson County Register of Deeds office has concluded an internal audit of all revenues and expenditures dating back to 2002, the year that current Register of Deeds Tim Shelton first took office. The results appear to refute the claims made by opposition candidate Bill Gallaher that the office is operating in the red. According to the audit results, the Register of Deeds office has generated a surplus of $546,286 over the past 12 years, with revenues coming in at $3,661,700 and expenditures totaling $3,115,700 for the same time period.

“I felt it important to provide this information to the public so that the confidence which our citizens have in the register of deeds office could be validated,”” stated Shelton. “”We went receipt by receipt, totaling every revenue and expenditure since I took office, double and triple checking to ensure that nothing was missed.””

The controversy of fees began a few weeks ago when a mail piece was sent out by Bill Gallaher, who is opposing current Register of Deeds Tim Shelton in the August 7 general election. Shelton disputed the accusations during two recent joint appearances by both men, one on radio and the other at a public forum in Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

Letter: Scott would provide ‘strong voice, positive change’ on County Commission

Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott

To the Editor:

I am writing to extend my support of Theresa Scott for County Commission for District 7, which includes Highland View, Pine Valley, and Glenwood precincts.

Although I do not live in Ms. Scott’s district, I am certain she will represent and work hard for all of Oak Ridge as one of our county commissioners. Through her years of employment, she brings extensive paralegal, management, and financial experience that qualifies her to deal with many issues that our commission faces.

Other candidates have touted the fact that they are “from and/or live in Oak Ridge” as making them more qualified. I believe the fact that she chose to purchase a “B” house in Oak Ridge while employed in Knoxville 10 years ago is evidence of her dedication to our city and county. Theresa continues to reside in that same house.

Theresa does not just “talk the talk,” she also “walks the walk” through her many volunteer involvements in our community. She has been very active in the city’s neighborhood Watch Program; our Secret City, Lavender, and Earth Day festivals; and the huge Cedar Hill Park rebuild project, just to name a few. [Read more...]

Letter: Rice wants to cut taxes, recruit high-tech jobs, push for tourism

Kevin Rice

Kevin Rice

To the Editor:

I am Kelvin Rice, your candidate for Anderson County Commission District 7. My parents M.L. and Mary Sue Rice moved to Oak Ridge in 1943, and I was raised on Georgia Avenue. As a lifelong resident of Oak Ridge, I have enjoyed being a part of America’s Secret City.

I attended Cedar Hill, Elm Grove, and Jefferson Junior High School. I graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1979. I previously worked at Armstrong Rubber Company as a drop mill operator and then went to Atlas Van Lines as a truck driver. I have served our community as a reserve deputy at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and have served on the Anderson County Jail committee.

I now serve on the Anderson County Beer Board. I enjoy volunteering as our Neighborhood Watch block captain and serve as the district leader for the Watch Group in the Jackson Square area. Trying to stay involved in many areas of our community, I am a member of the Oak Ridge Quarterback Club, Football Boosters, and the Underage Drinking Task Force.

One of the main goals I will strive toward as your next commissioner is to cut taxes. I would encourage our city and county to recruit high-tech jobs, encourage small businesses to locate in our area, and push for tourism that would not only benefit our restaurants and businesses but would also help our hotel industry. The tourism in the city and county is abundant; added attractions would be beneficial to the city in many ways. [Read more...]