A round of applause for civilized debate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

Regular readers of this page will notice a little something different today.

We have given a special treatment to two letters to the editor. While The Times-Journal frequently runs letters to the editor on a wide range of subjects, today’s letters represent something of a departure in our usual treatment and display of those letters.

The first letter comes from Jimbo Small, an employee of Bush Hog. Mr. Small refers to a story that was printed in The Times-Journal in December that told of the city’s purchase of new lawn equipment for maintaining the city’s public spaces. Mr. Small notes, correctly, that the equipment purchased was not manufactured by Bush Hog, which is headquartered in Selma. He complains that he and other Bush Hog employees felt that the city should have purchased Bush Hog equipment.

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Normally, we would have run Mr. Small’s letter by itself. In this case, however, we went one step further. We asked Mayor James Perkins Jr. for his response. It, too, is printed here. We took this unusual step in the name of better informing you, our readers, about this issue. Taken together, the two letters address an issue that has been making the rounds. (Mr. Small was not the only person who questioned the city’s actions, although he was the only person to write us a letter to the editor on the subject.)

We applaud both Mr. Small and Mayor Perkins for having the courage to make their opinions and positions known in such a public forum. It is one thing to criticize, it is another to put those opinions in writing for all to see.

Our hope is that, armed with the facts, our readers can assess the two letters and make their own judgment on this issue.