Letters to the Bristol Herald Courier 1

To page 2

Bristolians deserve to make decent living like workers elsewhere

Sep 8, 2001

To the editor:

I read in last Sunday's paper that the average hourly wage in America is $14.25. Hasn't anyone noticed that employees in Bristol and the greater Tri-Cities don't even make half that unless they've been with a company for several years?

Then I read in Tuesday's paper that the Lane Company, based in Virginia since 1922, is taking its business overseas so it can pay lower wages.

I've recently been faced with a job loss myself due to reorganization. I made a pretty decent salary for this area, which I need as a single parent to pay for the necessities of life. You know: food, shelter, clothing. Unfortunately, I have found that Bristol doesn't pay a decent living wage, and if I want to stay in Bristol, I'll likely have to take a drastic pay cut. I cannot afford to do that and keep food, shelter and clothing as an option. Oh, I can drive to Johnson City or Kingsport if I can find something there, but why should I have to?

Bristolians, wake up!

Get the "good old boys" out and get someone in here who can make a difference to you and your children's future by doing something to attract businesses and fill some of these vacant buildings with jobs that will pay a decent living wage. No one can raise a family on $5.35 per hour. The job I was doing here pays three times as much in other areas of the country, according to information taken from the Internet. You may say that the cost of living in these other areas is higher. Not really. Most people, if they work in a large city such as Atlanta or Richmond or Nashville, live in the suburbs, where they also shop and play. The cost of living in those suburbs is about what we pay here.

I'm sick to death of seeing Bristol living 100 years behind the times. Don't we deserve better, even in small-town America? Instead, we have to endure these people who can't even decide where to build a library! How can we expect these so-called leaders to care about the common man and bring in jobs with decent salaries? We need to speak up and vote in new blood; people who will care enough to fight for better paying jobs for Bristol, instead of seeing jobs go elsewhere.

I'm sure I'm not the only proud Bristolian to be frustrated by the current situation. Maybe we just all need to be more vocal about how we really feel.

Bristol, Tenn.

How things work

Kingsport Times-News

August 29, 2001

Last month I noted a letter referring to inability of a woman and her family to locate any jobs of decent or permanent stature. I'm surprised there aren't more of these types of letters, as she is correct. She didn't go further and state "why," but in case she and others don't really know, here's "why!"

Since our move to Tennessee, we've seen things we've never seen before! We settled in and befriended many, who've answered our questions of "what the heck goes on around here, in all these workplaces?"

We told them what we saw and got grinning, humorous, verifications of: "of course, you're from somewhere else where they do things right. You know how to do your work and are intelligent. Nobody here, wants that."

Firstly, no one gets compensation for experience or education levels. All work injury instances are "creatively-fired," as industry doesn't want anyone to learn of their health and safety violations. Filed incident reports "conveniently disappear," (what reports?) This occurs with such regularity, that "locals," long ago gave up trying to fight for themselves because Tennessee Labor Department tells everyone "you can be fired for any reason the boss wants," (to make up!) This makes us wonder why we even need to pay the Labor Department if that's all they're there to do!

Secondly, if the area locals know, that "supervisors don't want anybody that's smarter and more ambitious than they are, because somebody may notice, and get rid of them"...what's wrong with this picture?

As for all, "originally from somewhere else," we work as we've always had to do, elsewhere and nobody's trying to "show anybody up!" Our training are to do jobs well and according to regulation ... (obviously here, that's a bad thing!)

My daughter has an associate's degree in industrial technology, but no industry, here, wants a "young female" (of all things!), telling them what is wrong with their operations, and how to fix it "according to proper standards!"

I have 34 years in medical, with a three page LPN resume, but, nobody wants that either, as I "might see what's not done correctly and attempt to fix it"... so I'm simply classified as overqualified by Tennessee standards for LPN.

Bottom line: we "know too much, and might upset the applecart!" From what we've seen, that certainly wouldn't be a bad thing.

Mrs. Eve G.
Rogersville, TN

Fighting terrorism requires look at our own problems

Date Sept 21, 2001

To the editor:

Bristol Herald Courier

Because America refuses to deal with real problems, we have nobody to blame but ourselves over the deaths on Sept. 11. it's not only Washington D.C. and New York, it's Bristol too.

Except for Israel and Turkey, every Middle East nation including Saudi Arabia, supports terrorism, unofficially or otherwise. Because we refuse to deal with our energy problems (which mean conservation and higher prices), our gas-guzzling SUVs are more important than the 5,000 lives we just lost. We must declare total war, just like we did with Nazi Germany and Japan, crush these criminals and rebuild them as civilized nations. Their citizens should be treated as enemy aliens.

We refuse to secure our borders to stop the flow of drugs, illegal aliens and now terrorists, because we want cheap labor. This was cited again as a major security problem that guards, baggage handlers, etc., were minimum wage part-time workers with no security checks. America's obsession with cheap labor and corner cutting, just killed over 5,000 people.

In Bristol we waste millions on worthless train stations but refuse to deal with poverty wage scales that Cynthia Grey brought up {Herald Courier} Sept. 8). According to Washington County supervisors I talked to on May 31, they attribute our crime, drugs and social problems to poverty. Who will be killed in the next armed robbery?

Finally, let's not be distracted by these doomsday religious cults, hunting for a mythical Satan in every tragedy. Let's start right here in Bristol by dealing with poverty wage scales and real problems before someone else dies.

Lewis Loflin
Bristol, Va.

It's a good thing this is America, not a dictatorship of the majority

August 21, 2001

To the editor:

Bristol Herald Courier

Referring to Eddie Holdway's letter "Let students, teachers decide about prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance" Aug. 7: People like this make me grateful to God to be an American.

America is not a democracy or theocracy run by mob rule. America is a constitutional republic where the rule of law is how we abolished slavery, gave women the vote, and why Mr. Holdway can express his views without fear of being murdered like those in fundamentalist countries.

Children already have the right to pray at any time, including a moment of silence. They also have use of school facilities before/after class, the flagpole, etc.

In fact, one juvenile cult in Gate City left an on-campus prayer meeting on March 15 to disrupt school, claiming they couldn't pray. (Duhh...) While the 10 children who got arrested/expelled were claiming direct orders from God, it was actually the work of outside adults. This is why "student-led prayer" isn't student anything.

What if the Buddhists won the election? Mr. Holdway would probably object, not wanting his children abused as he proposes for others. As for flags, I'm one veteran nobody will tell when to salute my flag.

This region has the lowest educational attainment in the nation, and our teachers shouldn't be wasting time on religious crusades. Mr. Holdway's attitude is an embarrassment to good Christians, and I hope they speak out against this.

Lewis Loflin
Bristol, Va.

Basic Rights

Kingsport Times-News August 21, 2001

In regard to this issue of dancing in Pound, Va., there is only one important issue here. It isn't that our community has become a laughingstock in the national press. It isn't about a local government in a dying coal town pandering to a religious cult. It's about the demise of our individual liberties and the fact it will not stop with dancing.

To quote one fundamentalist cult leader in Pound, "I can never see a time when dancing can be approved of, especially with people who are not married," said Tim Shepherd, an evangelist for the Church of Christ in Pound. "Dancing is one of those things that entices. It imitates sexual contact.'' What's going to be next, football games with seating segregated by sex or marriage? We don't want "unmarried" people to do things that "entice."

Claims of safety and noise are total nonsense. Like Sullivan County's strip bar laws, this license will never be issued or will be so costly and restrictive as to make the activity impossible. And like Sullivan County the police harass/intimidate customers by hanging around the business constantly.

It isn't just religious cults in Pound or Sullivan County, it's race tickets in Bristol or private property rights being trampled over the Mendota Trail. Unless citizens put a stop to this nonsense, nobody will be safe. This has gone far beyond strip bars and will go far beyond dancing at the Golden Pine.

Lewis Loflin
Bristol, Va.

This letter to the editor printed May 7, 2002 in the Bristol Herald Courier puts this area in perspective:

Politicians need to see how other half lives

I appreciate Jef Roberts letter. (Herald Courier 4/30)

On Viking Hall I know the reason we can't get anything but retirement community music. Several years ago White Zombie came to town, fundamentalists sat outside like idiots protesting Satan. Satan never appeared, but they swore only retirement music from then on.

Is it our politicians don't care or don't know what working people deal with here? As a mandatory requirement for public office all elected officials should spend their first year living in public housing and be paid $6.50 an hour with a temp agency.

Every Friday they can wade through hostile regular employees to find a supervisor to sign their pay slip before the temp office closes. Monday join other impoverished Bristol workers filling out degrading booklets for $20 in food stamps.

If you feel like "trash" because the country club doesn't accept food stamps and all your old friends won't talk to you or let you move in, go to our new $10 million library and "enhance" your quality of life. Research how government uses phony statistics to hide unemployment and poverty.

Hungry, and the new Wal-Mart isn't hiring greeters? Please don't join Bristol's booming drug industry. You'll get free housing with 30-40 others at our next big drug bust. Remember, it's just a "character flaw" and God is punishing you for some sin Adam committed!

They still may not care but they'll think twice before wasting transportation enhancement funds on horse trails. Vote all incumbents out of office!

Lewis Loflin