Voices
July 14, 2011 Issue

LETTERS


All laws must be enforced

Dear Editor:

I read Mr. D’Antignac’s latest submission and felt I needed to provide him with the proof he was asking for regarding taxes. According to the IRS, the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid more than one-half (53.8 percent) of all individual income taxes, but reported roughly one-third (30.6 percent) of income. This also negates Mr. Clement’s comments that the middle class pays most of the taxes. In his defense, though, the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income, do pay over 96 percent of the taxes. It’s time to institute the FairTax.

Alexis de Tocqueville was correct when he said, “There exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.” This is called “Socialism” and is exactly what the unions and Mr. Obama would like to see happen to our country.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

As to HB-87, it simply allows the state to enforce the current federal laws on illegal aliens. Those who are fleeing the state are not legal immigrants. They are law breakers. We are a nation of laws and for those laws to mean anything then ALL laws must be enforced. If we can pick and choose the laws we want to obey or enforce, anarchy will soon reign over the land.

John Bryan
Wrens



Holt questions health of area

Dear Editor:

Jefferson and Burke counties could be classified as “Sacrifice Zones: The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the United States” as outlined in a book by Steve Lerner and reviewed by Georgia’s own nationally recognized director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Robert Bullard.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta recently released a three to 10 year study of the morbidity (illness) rates and mortality (death) rates of all counties in the United States. Of the 159 counties in Georgia, Jefferson and Burke did not present a very healthy place to live and work. The compelling question is why such a beautiful rural part of Georgia has such high premature death rates, high infant mortality rates, 33.3 percent childhood poverty, and why 23 percent of the citizens of Jefferson County report poor or fair health conditions?

If you want to review the full county health rankings, go to http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/georgia and then select the county. Rankings will be given for Georgia and the national benchmark goal established by the CDC. I would think all persons would like to know why Jefferson County is ranked 145 out of 159 for premature deaths, and 128 out of 159 Georgia counties in the number of sick people.

One of the simple truths today is that prosperous municipalities and counties use poorer counties as a convenient “out of sight, out of mind” way to dispose of their garbage and waste from sewage treatment. Did you know that Jefferson and perhaps Burke counties are the lucky recipients of all of Richmond’s and Augusta’s sewage sludge, which includes everything flushed and poured down drains from homes, hospitals, industries, funeral homes, nursing homes, etc.? Do you know how many thousands of tons that amounts to in any one year? Do you know that run-off from fields applied with this often toxic mixture goes into the beautiful rivers and streams in the county? Do you know that the aerosols from land applying sewage sludge can travel for miles and anyone can inhale the small particles that may be either bacteria or virus laden dust causing everything from asthma to inflammatory respiratory infections? Do you know if any food you buy is grown in sewage sludge amended soils? Are you aware that bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella can become part of a human food product grown in sewage sludge and cannot be washed away? If you don’t know any of the answers to these questions, what can you do about it?

First, we must all realize that we are responsible for our own good health and well being. Does that mean you have to accept the toxic waste from another county that may have a significant impact on your health and the health of your children or grandchildren? No. You have a local government and a voice. Only the people being paid to haul the sewage sludge and allow it to be spread on farmlands are the beneficiaries. Based on a 2009 report from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, there are only 13 field locations for Augusta’s sewage sludge in the area. Do you receive any benefit from this waste? Does the county? Has it improved the financial status of the county? Why are you allowing another city/county to dump often toxic waste in your county that could cause water contamination, impact the air you breathe, potentially create health problems from all the heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals included in the sewage sludge?

If Augusta and other large municipalities had no other option than to dump toxic waste in rural areas with low income and low population, it would be different. Today there are technologies that can convert garbage, medical waste, construction waste and sewage sludge from waste streams to income streams. These processes can generate clean electrical energy, extract chemical and fertilizer ingredients for resale all while removing toxic pollutants from the landfills and farmlands plus creating new good-paying jobs. However, if you do not choose to become a voice to prevent your county from continuing to be the waste disposal site for more prosperous areas, then nothing will happen. Is this the legacy you want to leave for future generations in Jefferson County? Only you can decide if you want a healthier environment and a better chance for a good healthy productive life for you and your family.

There are counties and cities nationwide who have decided not to allow other city and county governments to dump toxic waste in their communities; because they realize they are the ones suffering from high cancer rates, strokes, diabetes, premature death rates, and high infant mortality linked to environmental pollutions dumped on them, all without their permission and benefit. If you want more information, I will be happy to connect you to groups working worldwide to stop their communities from being “sacrifice zones.” It’s up to you, your voice, your church, your family.

You can contact me via email at fg325@aol.com

Nancy Holt




Reaves wants answers from city

Dear Editor:

I attended the press conference that was conducted by the SCLC on July 6, at the site where Christopher Walden was beaten. I gave a statement to The News and Farmer/The Jefferson Reporter, stating that I had spoken with the Louisville City Council, along with Chief Miller, about the identified officers involved in the Christopher Walden incident because they are the same officers that have been harassing my son. I also indentified another incident where I observed Officer Boatwright harassing four other young men.

Listed below are the reported incidents:

Incident No. 1: In November 2010, a young man came to my home to inform me that Officer Boatwright and Officer Kline had my son detained at the Apollo Night Club, approximately three blocks from my home. I proceeded to the location to find out what was happening.

Upon my arrival, I discovered Officer Boatwright and Officer Kline searching my husband’s car (white 2003 Ford Crown Victoria). My son was handcuffed in the back seat of the patrol car. When asked if my son had been arrested, I received the following responses: 1) he had not been arrested; 2) he was being detained while they searched the car; 3) no permission was necessary to search the vehicle due to “probable cause;” 4) Officer Boatwright failed to apprehend the two young men; and 6) upon Officer Boatwright’s return to the car, a bag of marijuana was discovered in the vicinity of the car, and scales were located in the trunk of the car.

Several witnesses openly declared that Officer Boatwright was not telling the truth, and that my son was not even at the car, but down the street at a friend’s house. Someone had gone to alert my son to the officer’s attempts to enter the car. His attempt to find out why they were there resulted in him being handcuffed and placed in the patrol car, yet not arrested. The officers proceeded to physically run the witnesses from the scene.

Though the officers insisted that I “get back,” I made the choice to stay close enough to witness the search, especially with the reputation of Officer Boatwright. I made the right choice for it was discovered later that Officer Boatwright’s recollection of where he discovered the marijuana was incorrect.

My son was taken to the station and made to write a statement of the event, even though he insisted that he knew nothing. He knew nothing because he was not there when it happened. Officer Boatwright proceeded to threaten my son with an arrest. This is clearly harassment. To add insult to injury, Officer Boatwright continued the harassment by blatantly stating to my son, in my presence, that “…well, let me tell you this, if you have never been harassed, you are fixin’ to find out what harassment is because every time I see this car I am going to harass you.” Unbelievable!

I was clearly upset about the entire incident, however, I said nothing. I took my son home and phoned my husband. My husband instructed me to speak with Chief Miller the following day. Prior to speaking with Chief Miller I thought of him as being a fair individual; however, after speaking with Chief Miller, expressing my concern of the intended harassment of my son and my fear of the officers getting hurt while running down innocent bystanders, and getting the reply from Chief Miller that I received, my thoughts of him have drastically changed. Chief Miller’s only concern was of a citizen running up on Officer Boatwright and being shot by the officer. Per Chief Miller, “Officer Boatwright will shoot.” Chief Miller went on to suggest that Officer Boatwright’s threats to my son were probably Officer Boatwright’s way of scaring him. Harassment and threatening another!

Incident No. 2: In November 2010, while in route to the police station, following my son, who had not been “arrested,” Officer Boatwright observed four young men sitting on a porch. The officer stopped his car, left the car to approach the young men sitting on the porch, and proceeded to pat search each of them. Upon discovering a pocket knife on one of the young men, he took the knife and demanded that the young men go home. Harassment!

Incident No. 3: On March 15, 2011, after leaving my mother-in-law’s house, my oldest son, in the white 2003 Ford Crown Victoria, stopped at the Sprint convenience store as the rest of the family, in my car, visited the McDonald’s next door to the Sprint. My daughter observed Officer Kline pull into the Sprint parking lot behind the car being driven by my oldest son. My daughter’s exact words were, “Ma, I bet you he fixin’ to bother Mickey.” She was right.

I watched Officer Kline pull over to the diesel tanks and face Walnut Street. I pulled up to the gas tanks right beside the officer. It was obvious that he never noticed me being there.

My daughter texted her brother and told him to be careful and be aware that the police was going to be following him. She was right again. When my son pulled out, Officer Kline pulled out behind him. After following my son for approximately a half mile, Officer Kline turned on his lights and proceeded to pull my son over. As I pulled in behind them, I called Chief Miller. Chief Miller instructed me to wait and see what the charge(s) would be. I got out of my car, explaining to Officer Kline that I had observed my son and I had witnessed his (Officer Kline’s) actions prior to stopping my son. It was clear that my son had not violated any traffic laws; I was right behind them as they left the parking lot. Officer Kline asked that I identify myself; I did. He then asked that I return to my car; I did as instructed.

Another officer and Investigator Teddy Jackson arrived on the scene. Investigator Jackson came to my car, telling me that as I was arguing over the chain of events, my son had confessed to playing his music too loud. I told Investigator Jackson that my son would not confess to something he did not do. It was even suggested that my son may have been playing his music loud prior to entering the Sprint parking lot; however, if this was so, I don’t understand why Officer Kline did not pull him over immediately upon entering the parking lot. Instead, Officer Kline targeted my son and waited for him to leave the store.

A ticket was given to my son for playing his music too loud and refusing to sign the ticket. Neither my son nor I knew that he could not refuse to sign a citation or that refusal to sign would result in arrest. Officer Kline insisted that he asked my son, three times, to sign the citation and he refused. My son asked if he could speak with me, his mother, to ask if he should sign the citation; however, he was denied. He thought that signing the citation was admitting to being guilty of the charge(s). If it had been explained to me that refusal to sign would result in arrest, I would have instructed my son to sign the citation without hesitation. He simply wanted some guidance from his mother, as any child would, and he was denied this simple request. He was taken from the car and arrested.

Once I reviewed the two tickets issued, I noticed that Officer Kline indicated on a citation that the music was loud enough to be heard on all four corners of the Sprint parking lot, yet the car driven by my son only has a factory installed system and there was no way the music could be as loud as indicated by the officer. When this fact was pointed out to Chief Miller, his response was, “Y’all will get the chance to argue it in court.” The case was turned over to State Court and my son requested a jury trial

I am very discouraged by the actions of Chief Miller, Officer Boatwright, Officer Kline and a majority of the city council, who have allowed numerous complaints against these officers to go unaddressed. One day following my meeting with the city council, I was approached by a councilman. Without my naming an officer, he stated to me that numerous complaints had been brought to Chief Miller in reference to the behavior of both Officer Boatwright and Officer Kline, yet Chief Miller has chosen to lend a deaf ear to the complaints of the citizens of Louisville. When asked if I would be satisfied in allowing Chief Miller to handle the situation with his officers, I agreed; however, at this point, I have serious reservations about my decision.

It is apparent that nothing has been done, nor will anything be done about these out-of-control officers.

Where does it end? How will it end? How long will the citizens of Louisville suffer at the hands of Chief Miller, Officer Boatwright, Officer Kline, Louisville City Council and the elected officials of this city?

My husband and I have done everything within our power to make sure our children did not become statistics within the black community, but in the essence of it all, once they are adults, it is left up to them to stay out of the hands of the law. But in Louisville, it almost seems impossible.

I continue to pat myself on the back for keeping my children in church and making sure they had a relationship with God, because they are the ones who constantly remind me to put my faith in God and remind me that God is not in the midst of wrong and confusion, and though things don’t always play out as we think they should, no one escapes their wrongs. God sees all works, whether good or bad, and you will be rewarded accordingly.

In my last one-on-one conversation with Chief Miller, he immediately started his conversation, asking me about an incident with my son in the past, which he had twisted. This was a tactic to sway my mind on the incident at hand. I was, by now, beginning to stray my confidence in Chief Miller. You see, my husband being a commercial truck driver and my brother working out of town, I basically became a single parent during the week. I resulted to calling on certain people in the community to establish fear in my son. At the same time, others were telling me that his was the wrong tactic; that this was going to come back to haunt me and at that moment, Chief Miller proved them correct.

When I met with the city council to speak with him about the harassment, Chief Miller asked me how old my son was. This was to imply that he was grown and questioning why I was there speaking on his behalf. Chief Miller is very aware of my parenting tactics and if honest, I, nor my husband, would uphold our children in the wrong. But, it is understandable that a person that does not have children could never understand a parent’s love for their child. If my child is wrong, he is wrong, but if he is right, no matter what his age, my husband and I will stand with and beside him until the end.

It is heartbreaking to know that our young black men are stereotyped by the cars they drive and their association of friends. On the last conversation with Chief Miller, he could tell me every location that my son visited when he came home from school. Then it took my mind back to the incident at the Apollo club that night, Officer Boatwright made several comments about the price of the car. It hit me, they were trying to insinuate that he was selling drugs.

It is even sadder to know that there are people who actually think that we don’t care enough about our kids to make sacrifices to buy things for our kids.

Chief Miller stated in his interview with News Channel 12, that there were no citizens to come forth with statements of harassments. Why would they? The past speaks for itself. What about the past harassment charges that were brought to his attention? Chief Miller either made excuses for their actions or overlooked the complaints. This easily gave them the boldness to beat this young man in the presence of eyewitnesses.

People are locked up for being cruel to animals, yet sworn officers of the law, appointed and elected, are allowed to be cruel to human beings, without cause, and nothing is done. Is the human life now worth less than that of an animal? Do a badge and a gun give you the right to target, harass, threaten, bully and beat innocent citizens?

I stood with tears running down my face as a young lady told how she was riding by and saw the beating taking place, and how she parked her car, got out and begged the two officers to stop beating the young man. She described how one officer had his foot across his neck, holding him down, while the other one punched him with his fist in his face, all while he lie there handcuffed. She also stated when the young man turned over and looked her in the face and she saw his eye, she and her daughter just cried. She stated that her daughter could not eat after she saw this. I can only imagine. This could have been your child, your nephew, your grandchild. Can you imagine how this young man and his family feel and these officers are still working, although Chief Miller says the GBI have been called in to investigate? This means they are being allowed to work as they are under investigation. Why?

I have always told my children that the law is here to serve and protect. How can I continue to instill this into my children when it is so clear that this is no longer true?

At this point, I am tired. I am tired of not being able to sleep at night, because until they are locked away in my home, I am worried that they will be harassed or beaten because they may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I get tired of telling my children to be careful of associating with the friends they have known all of their lives, simply because you are judged by your associates, everyone has their own minds. I do fear that my family will be harassed because of this letter and my statements of this harassment, but at this point I am tired of being tired.

I urge others to get tired, you all know of the harassment going on in the community, it has to stop. What is it going to take?

Michelle Braddy Reaves
Concerned citizen of the city of Louisville



Gordy asks city to take action

Dear Editor:

God willing, I shall not vote for another Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax until action on the condition of some of Louisville’s street signs and sidewalks is taken.

One can only try to take a walk on parts of Tenth Street and Walnut. Many more streets (sidewalks) are in just as bad a shape.

Another thing, who is the building inspector? If we have one, he should be fired. Take a look at several structures. They are falling down.

For example, on Peachtree Street, there are at least two that should be demolished. One is Fred Raskin’s old law office. Towards town a ways is the old 66 station.

Shape up city hall!

Bob Gordy




Miller thanks Kiwanis Club

Dear Editor:

For many years the Kiwanis Club of Louisville has provided activities and support for the Jefferson County Service Center. As part of their plans to increase awareness of recycling in Louisville and because they knew we were already doing some recycling, they recently offered to assist us with our recycling program. We are truly grateful for all of their support.

Currently, the Jefferson County Service Center recycles newspapers and magazines. We have collection sites in the larger towns in our county. Our recycling program is two fold—it keeps the papers out of our landfill and it provides jobs for individuals with developmental disabilities. With the support of the Louisville Kiwanis Club we would like to double our current volume of newspapers being recycled.

To support us with this goal, the Kiwanis Club graciously agreed to supply us with two additional collection houses. Mr. Johnnie Dekle, club member, and Frank Easterlin, a high school volunteer, built the houses for us. One house was placed at our facility on Clarks Mill Road and the other was placed in Bartow. With these two additional houses, we now have collection houses throughout the county.

We would like to thank each member of this civic club for the work that they do in Louisville. We are excited to collaborate with them on future recycling efforts in Louisville as well as our county. We encourage everyone to recycle their papers and magazines. If anyone is unsure of where a collection house is placed, please call our office at (478) 625-7214 for directions.

Again, a huge thank you to the Louisville Kiwanis Club,

Donna C. Miller
Ogeechee Behavioral Health Services
Developmental Disability Coordinator


 


The News and Farmer P.O. Box 487 Louisville, GA 30434
(478) 625-7722 or (706) 547-6629 - (478) 625-8816 fax
E-mail us at: news@thenewsandfarmer.com

Website designed and maintained by John Kitchens Website Design.

Send mail to webmaster with questions
or comments about this web site.
Information is subject to change without notice.