Letters to the Editor

Details, accuracy sadly lacking in report on tax bill

On Tuesday, December 19, Channel 9 news reported on the tax bill being voted on in Congress. One of the anchors stated that the Democrats believe the bill to be a scam, which was immediately followed by the other who stated, "A new analysis shows that after 10 years 70% of the middle class will see an increase in taxes while 76% of the rich will see a decrease."

I wondered, what new analysis? The anchor never stated where this information came from. I called channel 9 and spoke with someone in the newsroom who stated that it was "embedded within the report," which it was not ... she read the copy back to me and when seeing her error, decided that someone else had written it, took my name and number and stated that that individual would call ... no call back.

It matters not which side of the bill on which you fall, but accurate, honest reporting has gone by the wayside.

Charles M. Yarbrough, Columbus

Stacked deck?

The release of Mayor Tomlinson's "committee" recommendation seems somewhat tainted. Last January, the Government Center committee of 23 was named, yet when the results were recently released, there are now 27 members, and Tomlinson barely got a majority to support her preferred option of a complete rebuild … and at $126,000,000.

Somehow, I don't recall any stories increasing the size of the committee, but it looks like without the 4 "extra" voters, there must not have been a chance Tomlinson's preferred option would have been the majority one. Who are the additional 4 members and their connection with the mayor (15 of the original 23 had personal connections with her)? Secondly, how is the proposed new Government Center going to be maintained? We've already seen the lack of a maintenance plan for all the projects Tomlinson has initiated during her terms in office, and the number one reason she promotes a new building is because the old one has not been maintained properly.

Hal Kirven, Columbus

Pure waste

Both the Columbus Consolidated Government and the Muscogee County School Board must have presses in their respective basements on which they print the millions of dollars that they wastefully spend.

Insofar as the proposed new Government Center is concerned, it must be said that the Columbus Consolidated Government simply cannot afford to build such a complex unless they vote to continue the very high taxes in Muscogee County. Also, they have totally ignored the fact that to build on the present site is to build in a section of Columbus that I consider to be unsafe. I cringe when I consider that the present City Council has the power to authorize the building of another white elephant and that they have the audacity to praise themselves for doing so. Our city government is in weak hands.

I am bothered by the fact that the Superintendent of Education is unable to fill high-paying positions in the Central Office without bringing in outside candidates. There must be qualified people within the local school system, and I trust that such people are encouraged to apply. I am also troubled by the fact that a number of school officials have master's degrees and doctoral degrees from those "diploma mills" that churn out advanced degrees without having legitimate academic standing. Finally, I am greatly bothered by the fact that the Muscogee County school system has a terribly inflated bureaucracy at the central office that feeds and perpetuates itself at the expense of the local taxpayers.

Thomas Orr, Columbus

Dead last

The One Planet Summit in Paris on December 12, hosted by French President Macron, was held without President Trump, who was not invited. Why? Because of his announced withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA) of 2015, which was signed by 197 countries. We are the only country that is withdrawing.

Due to a lack of U.S. leadership on the PCA, American’s Pledge on Climate, financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, was formed in July 2017. This group will document the actions of states, cities, businesses, and others in the United States to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions.

As of October 1, 2017, according to America’s Pledge on Climate, “networks supporting the Paris agreement across the United States” included 15 states, 455 cities, 1747 businesses, and 325 institutions of higher education.

What about Alabama? In a 2017 report, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Information Technology Industry Council ranked all 50 states “based on the ease with which America's most recognizable brands can procure domestic renewable energy such as solar and wind for their operations.” Alabama was ranked number 50.

In April, the Southeast Energy News reported, “Alabama has no renewable energy standards and no net metering or other distributed generation policies; its laws on third-party ownership of solar are vague; and its largest utility company, Alabama Power, imposes high fees and taxes on residential solar.”

There has been progress, e.g., solar facilities in Chambers County, Fort Rucker, and Anniston Army Depot. However, more jobs, infrastructure, loans, and other facilitators of economic activity are available. We just need the leadership and will to do it.

David Newton, Auburn