Love-Hate Mail 

Payment due
Caleb Hannan's article about Calvin Hullett is a compelling story of a career gone bad ("A Nashville cop's fall from power to prison," May 28); and no matter what one may think of the individual and his action, it truly is tragic to see a police officer's career take such a misguided direction.

The article, however, gives undeserved credit to the former policeman for the very generous pay increase that Metro employees received in the city's 2001 budget. That increase, ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent for employees throughout Metro government, was the result of Mayor Bill Purcell following the recommendations of a professional compensation study commissioned by the mayor.

Mayor Purcell requested the salary study as part of an effort to improve workforce retention and morale. It confirmed suspicions that the pay levels were below competitive rates with other municipalities. Purcell followed the recommendations with action.

Interestingly enough, some of the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police under Hullett's leadership opposed an across-the-board approach to pay raises, favoring that only officers with senior longevity receive what would have been 25 percent increases. The attitude was "we made it on less money as young officers; so can they." Purcell rejected such an approach.

Today pay levels are more competitive than if Hullett had gotten his way. And thanks to the Purcell administration, Metro employees are in better financial condition.

Concerning the assertion that I, as deputy mayor, put the squeeze on a billboard company because of an FOP message, that's giving me far more power and influence than I have ever possessed. I do not recall ever talking with any billboard firm at any point. I do admit to thinking the message on the billboard was misleading and inaccurate, and apparently the sign company did too.

Bill R. Phillips
Former Metro Nashville Deputy Mayor

A few corrections
Greg Grafelman agrees with me that it is "hard to say what America stands for," but he claims the reason is that "the idea of standing for anything seems to be somehow wrong" (Love/Hate Mail, May 28). This statement clearly begs the question: HUH?

Is there a sitting epidemic going on? Mindless verbal flailing does not advance the argument. For Grafelman, the lack of a consensus about what this country stands for doesn't seem to have anything to do with the fact that our country is populated by hundreds of millions of people, of various backgrounds and ethnicities, all of whom don't view the world through the same pair of eyeballs.

He would have you believe that President Obama's policies are not what America stands for. I'll restate that: The policies that the American people voted into office are not the policies that America stands for.

Of course, not all Americans agree with these policies, but this is what one calls a democracy. For Grafelman, democratically elected leaders are seemingly not what America stands for so long as their last name isn't Bush or Reagan.

My initial argument was that the idea that there could be some general consensus on "what America stands for" is absolutely laughable. Grafelman and Zizza seem to want every single American to stand for the same thing. At the risk of being a cheeseball, that is the least "American" thing I can think of. 

The sad truth of the matter is that the last few sentences of his letter, in which he hurls out some ludicrously inaccurate economic tidbits intended to illustrate Obama as a seed of the socialist devil, only really show that he simply doesn't care about anything outside of his own bank account.

Jordan Harkey


Disgraceful divorcing
I agree 100 percent with Cheryl Wyles in that the article concerning divorce attorney Rose Palermo "seemed nothing more than an advertisement for Ms. Palermo's services if your goal is to destroy and take unfair advantage of your soon to be ex" (Love/Hate Mail, May 21). I couldn't understand why Nashville Scene readers were supposed to be so impressed with her. We're not.

I find it completely asinine that a divorce attorney would be charging $400 an hour. And you wonder why divorce attorneys have such a wonderful reputation. In fact, hell would be a proper place for any divorce attorney if they care more for their own bank account than they do integrity.

Divorce is hard—even if it's an uncontested one. We should move past a point where overpriced attorneys make things that much harder. Divorce attorneys often think they're actually God because they hold lives and families in their hands. The power trip never ends.

Especially when they make that trip to the bank to deposit all those dollars from insidious retainer fees and obscene $400 an hour rates.

Tony Zizza


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