Guns and Disasters
Regarding the "Cheat Sheet" (April 5th issue): While I would agree in theory with the premise that law enforcement officers would have better things to do than confiscate the guns of law-abiding citizens during the aftermath of an emergency or natural disaster, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that some in law enforcement thought otherwise.
I'm not sure a Tennessee state law will be any more useful in protecting our rights than the Bill of Rights was for those in New Orleans. However, I'm a proponent of the measure anyway. I'm certainly an advocate of revealing the abuse of power by any level of our government. And, if nothing else, this measure has brought renewed attention to some of those abuses.
An MLGW Experience
My husband and I received a letter from MLGW saying that over the course of 2005-2006 we weren't charged properly for gas due to a meter malfunction. It took MLGW over a year to figure out its mistake, and they have now issued us a bill for over $500 for "back charges" and kindly said that payment arrangements can be made.
What is the proof of these charges? They sent us a nice spreadsheet that we could have recreated. Why, after a year of inconsistent billing, are they just now telling us we owe them? Does it really take that long to catch such a critical error? Does the city think we have that kind of money just lying around?
Why do so many get perks while we have to pay for a year of MLGW's mistakes? I think this is an unfair practice, and I do not think we should owe back charges of any kind. My husband and I plan to contact MLGW and not only dispute these extra charges but demand proof that we even owe them in the first place. I am curious as to how many other Flyer readers have experienced this problem.
Editor's note: If you have experienced similar problems with MLGW, please let us know.
Food vs. Cigarettes
Is it right that food pantries go bare because Tennessee's food tax is so high? Absolutely not!
Is it right that while Tennesseans pay 8.35 percent tax on groceries, the tax on cigarettes is only 20 cents per pack? No way!
Tennessee's current tax system places unfair burdens on the backs of our state's most vulnerable while giving smokers the benefit of a low tax. This is not just. We must reduce the burden of heavy taxation on food and increase the tax on cigarettes.
Governor Bredesen proposes to raise the cigarette tax in order to increase the budget for education. We suggest that increased spending on education will not improve the success of our state's children if they are not receiving adequate nutrition at home. Sadly, some families have to make the hard choice of which groceries to buy because high taxation eats away at their critical buying power.
Current bills in both the state Senate and House of Representatives propose a food tax/cigarette tax swap. SB 93 and HB 114 propose to decrease the food tax by 3 percent and increase the cigarette tax by 40 cents per pack. Contact your legislators and tell them you support these bills.
Emily Orten, Erica Thomas, Sherika Goodman
The volunteer state
In honor of National Volunteer Week, April 15th-21st, I am writing to urge more people to do as I have done and volunteer at animal shelters. Though it can be dirty cleaning cages and scrubbing runs, it is very rewarding not only to help cash-strapped nonprofit shelters but also to see the animals in their care heal, begin to trust, and blossom.
How much joy I've gotten fostering kittens, grooming those whose coats need attention, and socializing the very fearful ones who have less chance of finding a home. Those who love animals are sorely needed no matter your skill level. Come help out!
Cheryl M. Dare