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Bradley County Commission Chairman Ben Atchley needs to be watched very closely by the citizens he is supposed to represent. I was tempted to byline this comment with "Hail Atchley" but decided against it because he doesn't have a Charlie Chaplin mustache. Seriously, Atchley is a disaster to the democratic process in Bradley County. He follows in the footsteps of the unpopular former County School Board Chairman Walter Presswood by trying to prevent citizens publicly voicing their concerns to their elected officials. Atchley tried to prevent opponents to the Promised Land project from addressing the commission and now he is scheduling public meetings in private businesses to discourage pubic participation. A government employee himself, he seems to be suggesting by his actions that citizen input is not welcome and government should be allowed to conduct business without the annoyance of being held accountable by the public. Do you trust Atchley to be trustworthy enough to legislate fairly and with integrity without public oversight? It is not as though the county doesn't have space for commission meetings, the taxpayer has built a room in the courthouse dedicated to the purpose, it's the old idea that secrecy hides incompetence and avoids accountability that is attractive. Atchley is not alone on the commission with these ideas but as chairman he does make the final decision. More and more as government evolves in Bradley County it is becoming increasingly secretive to the point of resembling the old Soviet Union. It really is sad that people who view themselves as having American principles and traditions are in fact little by little destroying what this country stands for. Shame on you Atchley.
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We're watching you!
The Associated Press reported that the City of Knoxville are installing traffic light cameras - all for the public good of course.
This editor was raised in England and in the early 70's a number of traffic control cameras were installed on top of high rise buildings along one of the main freeways leading into London. Worried about the invasion of privacy, citizens objected but were assured that the cameras were for traffic control only and were not for spying on the movements of people. Londoners were satisfied with the explanation and supported the new technology. 30 years later, almost every city and town in England have surveillance cameras installed, and guess what? There is no longer a pretext for them to be used for traffic control - they are there to spy on citizens, which is not surprising. The surprising thing is that the British people have become accustomed to the surveillance as an aid to public safety. I have been told by friends that they feel safer with the cameras and that if a person does no wrong they have nothing to fear - which on the face of it makes sense. But just as there was comfort in knowing that someone was watching traffic flow to make commutes faster and safer, the latest surveillance gives the impression of security when there is none. The cameras didn't help traffic congestion then and they don't make Londoners safer now, as is proven by the recent London terrorist bombings, safety is an illusion. The idea of the surveillance is not to stop crime but to identify the people in the area at the time the crime was committed. So, if you were there you are a prime suspect even though you may be completely innocent. Also, surveillance cameras do not catch a suicide bomber, they only record the explosion. One last thought. London in the early 70's when I was a resident, had its share of crime but the streets were relatively safe - nowadays it is a dangerous place to be and cameras are everywhere. Maybe there are too many cops watching monitors and too few on the streets. And maybe the experience of the British should be a warning to us.
By-the-way, there are what appear to be cameras on the light poles at the intersection of Stuart and Old Tasso, in Cleveland. Could there be more?
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