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Editorials

  • 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.

  • God doesn’t make cut at Super Bowl

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    In the perennial post-game buzz about Super Bowl ads, the buff body of the new GoDaddy girl (aka Joan Rivers) was a big hit this year. So was the pugnacious pug dog flattening his owner to grab the Doritos. And, of course, who can forget the woman who got smacked in the head with a soft-drink can?

  • Let sleeping cats lie at Tiger Haven animal sanctuary

    We are well aware of the concerns being voiced by some of the East Roane County residents who live near the Tiger Haven big-cat sanctuary.
    We are sympathetic to those who have expressed their fears.
    However, this ongoing battle is one that appears to have no end in sight — at least not one that will satisfy those who have complained.
    Tiger Haven has gone through inspection after inspection by multiple state and county officials and agencies. It is operating within the law, all have deemed.
    Could the laws be changed?

  • Commandments shouldn’t be forced issue

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    It’s not every day that a school board votes unanimously to ignore legal advice, defy Supreme Court precedent and invite litigation.
    But that’s exactly what happened late last month in Giles County, Va., when members of the board ordered school administrators to hang the Ten Commandments on the walls of the county’s five public schools.
    Rehang, actually.