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Normally letters to the editor go without comment, but in this week’s issue it is felt some inaccuracies should be addressed in both John Hoffman’s letter and those of Bud McKelvey published in the Dec. 6 issue.

First of all, the presstalk in question Nov. 29 spoke of a truck, a vehicle belonging to the town of Farragut or more correctly, the taxpayers. The location of where this truck was being parked was vague at best: “area off Cedar Bluff,” which covers a very large area. The name and address of the truck’s operator was not known by farragutpress or mentioned in the presstalk, making a “basic journalistic research” endeavor unrealistic and unproductive.

Secondly, based on this information a question is raised, should the taxpaying public be permitted to question the use of its property? Centainly, it belongs to the taxpayers.

Questioning by a taxpayer why a Town vehicle is parked outside its jurisdiction seems as reasonable as hypothetically questioning a Knox County Public Works truck parked at a residence in Maryville or Pigeon Forge. There may be a reasonable answer why, which is government’s responsibility to answer, as they are beholden to taxpayers.

In his letter to the editor, McKelvey chastises farragutpress for “trashing me personally and professionally.” This newspaper neither named McKelvey nor his address, McKelvey did that himself in his letter last week. The newspaper, nor its staff, had any knowledge as to whom the taxpayer vehicle in question was assigned.

McKelvey also quotes that he was told farragutpress prints all presstalks it receives. What he was told by this newspaper’s editor when he questioned if his (McKelvey’s) signed letter(s) would be printed was that all letters, which are signed, are printed. We do reserve the right to edit all letters. We do not print all presstalks that come in as some do not meet our criteria, which is published frequently in presstalk, and some vent to extremes about certain residents at Town Hall — one of which was forwarded to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

McKelvey also referrs to presstalk callers as “chickens” for choosing to call presstalk anonymously rather than submit a signed letter. It’s not unreasonable for citizens to fear reprisals of some sort when they criticize public officials. We must admit, however, that we have had a number of requests from public officials, both from Farragut and Knox County, or their friends, to take presstalk out of our newspaper. We have not done so, and feel it has a place in the public forum platform we supply as a community newspaper.

And again, we must restate that McKelvey’s name was not released by us or the caller to presstalk, but by Mr. McKelvey himself.


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