Dear Editor -- 10/26/06

Questions for the new mayor
Dear Editor:
Thank you for publishing the news article regarding the new mayor’s resolutions to the county commission. It is important for a free press to tell us what our elected officials are up to. I ask you to publish my letter as a way for a citizen to address the mayor’s unconstitutional actions abridging the opportunity for people in Tennessee to lead lives in pursuit of liberty and happiness with a life partner of their own choosing. The new county mayor has begun his term by violating his oath of
office, and the mayor’s action requires response.

With his resolution Supporting Amendment to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee regarding marriage, The new mayor seeks, as he admitted in the Blount Today paper, to inject his "Christian ethics" into the legislative arena.
The mayor has taken an oath to defended and obey the nation’s constitution which Thomas Jefferson, as president of the United States, characterized as creating a wall of separation between church and state. The mayor has immediately and publicly failed his oath of office.

Given the new mayor’s inclinations he should have gotten himself a job in a church not as an employee of the Tennessee government whose constitution says in part, "That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority,..." The mayors opinion that "marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman."
is simply not relevant to the job he was elected to do as mayor. I suggest the Mr. Cunningham review his job description and learn to do the job for which he was elected. He is an administrator in a civil, secular government.

In the October 5, Blount Today the mayor is quoted saying, "If you allow gay marriage, it’s the wrong message to children." The mayor could hardly be more disingenuous as you can see when he then goes on with double speak to says he supports "equal treatment for all folks regardless of race, gender, religious belief or sexual orientation."

You can easily see the mayor’s double speak by considering the case to which his implied example would refer, "If you allow catholic and protestant marriage, it’s the wrong message to children." The mayor is with out a doubt championing un equal treatment.

Mr. Cunningham, the county mayor’s job is to manage the county’s business not manage the private lives of the people who live in the county. You should not even be expressing an opinion on this issue using your platform mayor.

I remind the county commissioners, it is not your job to be expressing opinions on this matter either.

I urge the commission to table this resolution as it is outside your domain of responsibility. Do not reward the mayor by spending commission time on it. Do not make commission meetings a form for hashing over a state controversy.

There are plenty of other controversies equally outside your domain that could consume your time. Do you really want to be debating resolutions such as one condemning the assault on our liberties by the Bush administration, or one on the presidents actions endangering our men and women in the uniformed services by breaking the Geneva conventions, or addressing the national and state minimum wage which is now at an inflation adjusted lowest levels in 50 years while the Republicans in Washington cut taxes for the wealthy?

Forrest Erickson

Blount County debt
Dear Editor:
This letter is going to confuse you taxpayers, but it will also enlighten you.

Here goes ... $1,700 for a refrigerator, $2000 for mountain spring water, $740 for Christmas cards, an SUV that costs $23,212 after the trade in of a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria that had 53,000 miles (owner or driver of claims 60,000) and had been rear ended. The trade in was something over $8,000. Are you confused yet? Let me tell you there is more but I want to ask you if you had a debt as large as Blount County debt is now, would you have rather seen $40,000 go on the debt than let it be spent on such as the above (and that is not all that was bought).

That department head had to manage well to save $40,000 out of what he was allotted one year and one month ago. So why do tax payers sit back and let this take place? We turn around and let it happen every year. Hold some of these elected officials feet to the fire and get this debt down.

Tough sounding 75-and-a-half- year-old talking you say - maybe, maybe not but she sure does believe in fairness and this is not fair. Not fair to whom? To the school children, to the elderly that spend lots of bucks for medications, to young couples with small children and trying to buy a home. Some of this wasted money could perhaps help out some veteran.

Blount county wake up, take back your county. As I have said before, stay within the law, but stop some of this crazy waste.

Cut this man back $40,000 for 2007. He proved he could get by without it. He hung his own self. Hold his feet to the fire, my guess is he knew all the time that he had a dream of a new SUV instead of that old 2003 Crown Vic.

Get on Blount county’s new website at and find out the rest of what the $40,000 went for, and more information on other department heads. Attend meetings, at 7 p.m., every third Thursday of each month at the Blount County Courthouse.

Merle J. Handley

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