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Editorials

  • Conversation over growth is a debate worth having

    We are pleased to see that the community is having a conversation of sorts over growth.
    There has been talk that Roane County’s population increase — slightly more than 4 percent over the past decade — is sluggish compared to others around us.
    This has triggered some debate — at county commissioners meetings, among community members and on this newspaper’s news and opinion pages — over what constitutes good growth and whether we should want double-digit population increases decade by decade.

  • Tennessee a bright spot in Shariah hysteria

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Recently, I sounded an alarm about rise of Islamophobia in the United States, calling attempts in various states to pass anti-Shariah legislation an attack on religious freedom.
    That inspired a good number of irate readers to sound their own alarm about what they view as my naïve and dangerous dismissal of the threat Shariah (Islamic law) poses to the United States.

  • Why we all need to monitor officials, our government

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The Tea Party Patriots are divvying up members of Congress.
    The advocacy group is assigning its members to track every member of the House and Senate, monitoring their every legislative move.
    “We have millions of manpower hours and thousands of people willing to do heavy lifting,” Shelby Blakely, the project organizer, told USA Today.

  • Redefining the public's right to know is critical

    This Sunshine Week, a time when we reflect on the public’s right to know and the importance of open government, isn’t it time to address the Pandora’s box left open by the U.S. Supreme Court last year?
    In two landmark decisions — Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and, subsequently, Speech Now v. Federal Election Commission — the Supreme Court radically altered longstanding campaign finance disclosure requirements.

  • Sunshine law changes could lead to darkness

    Good morning, Sunshine.
    It may not be on your calendar, but this week is Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profit, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.
    The national effort for Sunshine Week is spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors.

  • Sewer rates in Midtown need more rethinking

    Some Roane County wastewater plant customers are complaining about having to pay for sewage treatment they do not use.
    We see another flaw in the billing system.
    Unlike many other utilities, the Roane County wastewater plant charges a flat fee for residential customers — no matter how much waste they produce.
    That means that a family of five — perhaps with two working adults — pays the same as an elderly person who lives along on a limited, fixed income.
    Where’s the fairness in that?

  • With revolution, democracy may not be enough

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    The revolutions sweeping across Northern Africa and the Middle East could mark the beginning of a historic advance for democratic freedom — ranking in significance with such milestones of liberty as the American Revolution of 1776 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
    Or these upheavals could end with one tyranny replacing another, as happened after the French Revolution of 1789 and may yet occur in post-Soviet Russia.

  • Heavy rains brought out best in local officials

    If you were out during or immediately after the pounding rain that hit Roane County Monday, you likely saw police, fire officials, road crews, rescue squads and other emergency officials hard at work.
    They were clearing drains, cutting fallen trees, helping people from flooded homes, scraping away mud and debris, working vehicular accidents, blocking dangerously flooded roads, opening emergency shelters and, in general, helping the people they serve.
    Many of us at the newspaper witnessed their work firsthand.

  • More serious implications of proposal ignored

    By FRANK GIBSON
    I remember my initiation into a college leadership society. Blindfolded and taken into the woods somewhere in Blount County, we were paraded one-by-one in front of student leaders, who would recite some moral maxim, poke us on the chest and ask: “Get the point?”

  • Support teachers and their rights – for your own good

    We are GRAVELY concerned about efforts under way at the state legislature to snuff out collective bargaining among Tennessee teachers.
    Some would call this a pay issue, and, of course, it is to some extent.
    But it is much, much more than that — and the outcome can have disturbing repercussions in every community in our state.
    Anyone who remembers the days before collective bargaining knows that teacher hiring was largely politicized and nepotism ran rampant in school systems.