Archive for December, 2012

Clayton County Sheriff-elect Victor Hill

Moderated by Rick Badie

In November, Clayton County voters re-elected Victor Hill as sheriff with more than 70 percent of the vote, even though he faces 32 felony charges. Today, the president of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association explains why his group doesn’t want the sheriff-elect to take office until the criminal case is resolved. A state representative for Clayton County explains why the embattled official first deserves the right to prove his innocence.

Hill deserves right to prove innocence 

By Darryl Jordan

Clayton County Sheriff-elect Victor Hill is a man who has admitted to the voters of Clayton County that he has made some mistakes in the past, when he was in office the first time. , and t Clayton County voters apparently have forgiven any past mistakes, because they elected him overwhelmingly in both the Democratic primary and general elections.

Now, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association apparently wants to hijack the expressed desire of the Clayton County voters by …

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Job Discontent

Moderated by Rick Badie

A recent survey of 700 U.S. companies found that four out of five workers are unhappy with their current positions. A majority, 86 percent, plan to look for new positions come 2013; others have already started the hunt. What’s an employer to do? Our guest columnist examines the reasons behind worker discontent, while another writer suggests steps employers can take to mitigate the malaise.

Job discontent unprecedented

By Owen J. Sullivan

For the fourth year in a row, most workers are expressing their intentions to seek new employment, according to Right Management’s most recent poll of more than 700 U.S. employees.

Eighty-six percent said they plan to look for new positions in 2013; another 8 percent said they may do so and are already networking. Only 5 percent intend to stay in their current positions, according to the survey. The new findings are remarkably similar to those of the past two years.

At a minimum, the findings are a sign of considerable …

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Voting flaws

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A Georgia congressman says faulty voting machines are a problem all over, and election officials are not necessarily to blame for Fulton County’s election-day problems. But Georgia’s Secretary of State disputes that claim. He will hold a meeting next month to address the county’s lack of preparation, which resulted in long lines and other problems during the primary and general elections.

Commenting is open below Brian P. Kemp’s column.

By Hank Johnson

Reports of serious errors occurring Election Day in electronic-voting machines in Fulton County demonstrate the urgency of passing legislation to verify the accuracy of our voting systems.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp called Fulton County’s election administration a “debacle,” noting that this is yet another example of “the constant and systemic nature of election failures in Fulton County.”

During this summer’s primary elections, several Fulton County precincts also reported a substantial …

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Taxpayer Protection Pledge: Sound fiscal policy or folly?

Moderated by Rick Badie

The anti-tax pledge often agreed to by incumbents and candidates for political office has figured prominently in talks regarding the so-called fiscal cliff. Georgia, a red state, is home to dozens of lawmakers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Today’s guest columnists debate whether a no-tax pledge reflects sound fiscal policy or folly.

Cuts-only approach fails

By Alan Essig

If any good has come from the nation being perched on a “fiscal cliff,” it is the light being shed on a crippling pledge signed by nearly half the members of Congress, including most of Georgia’s delegation.

The “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” invented by a Washington lobbyist, binds signers to oppose “any and all efforts” to raise taxes. It’s not hard to see the potential political benefits of putting your name to that. But something more important than politics is at stake today. Unless significant new revenue is part of a long-term budget deal being negotiated by …

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Technology thriving

Moderated by Rick Badie

Atlanta has a reputation for attracting and breeding entrepreneurs, especially the tech savvy. Fast Magazine, which chronicles trends in technology, innovation and leadership, recently named our city the next technology hub. Today, a local chamber executive charts the region’s technology growth, while a counterpart does likewise for Chattanooga, an emerging tech city.

Commenting is open below Sam Williams’ column.

By J. Ed Marston

Chattanooga may have seemed an unlikely candidate to emerge as a tech hub, but recent announcements reveal an entrepreneurial scene that’s been bubbling to a boil for some time.

On Dec. 10, Access America, a tech-oriented logistics company founded in Chattanooga by three entrepreneurs in 2002, unveiled plans to more than double its 425-person workforce while growing its annual revenues of $382 million to over $1 billion.

In North Chattanooga, Woople, a revolutionary e-learning web application, is celebrating its three-year …

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Reclaiming Atlanta’s powerful legacy

Trust of government is in precious short supply here. Such a toxic situation — however well-justified — cannot endure. Not if we want our metropolis in this present day to measure up to its historic achievements.
Metro Atlanta’s future as a place that makes big things happen hangs to a great degree on whether we can power past the mistrust and anger that has descended upon this place, and the entire nation.
The rest of America may have trouble doing so, but we’re confident our Atlanta is more than up to the momentous task of claiming the present problems and working through them toward a better day.
To continue on, mired in the current community mindset, should not be an option. How can it be when a new poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that six in 10 respondents believe that “not very many” or “hardly any” government officials are honest?
A similar majority believes that our government wastes “a lot” of money.
That’s a double tragedy, and demands change in the …

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Cronyism cratering public’s trust in government

By John Garen

Evidently, the realization that the government has not solved our problems has hit home and a frustration has set in. Polling data indicate that our trust and confidence in government is on shaky ground: Gallup surveys show that less than 15 percent of the public report confidence in Congress and fewer than 20 percent say they trust government. Both have been falling for quite some time and are now near all-time lows.
An important factor in this growing distaste for politics can be summed up in one word: cronyism. It seems everywhere now, but is not really new. Of course, cronyism wastes resources on boondoggle projects and encourages squandering effort on lobbying the government. But it also has the potential to shatter the public’s trust in many of our institutions of government.Will either party do anything about it?
If so, the lesson that needs to be learned is that government should nurture the public’s trust and cooperation. Big government is often viewed …

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Unions fight for Georgians

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Unions are in the news, as calls continue for MARTA to privatize services and Michigan enacts right-to-work laws. Today, a Georgia union official writes about the benefits union workers bring to our state, while an expert from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School says right-to-work freedoms are needed for states to remain flexible in the new global economy.

Commenting is open below Ray Hill’s column.

Unions fight for dreams of all citizens

By Charlie Flemming

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom organized by A. Philip Randolph, vice-president of the AFL-CIO, we are reminded of Martin Luther King Jr’s 1961 fight against anti-unionism. “In our glorious fight for civil rights,” King said, “we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.”

Despite his warning, …

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Airport, holidays and TSA

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

This holiday season is the first for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s new international terminal. It’s a time when a complex operation — some 58,000 people work there — becomes even more complicated. Today, the airport’s general manager writes about holiday operations but rejects the idea, put forth by our second columnist, that the world’s busiest airport should eliminate its TSA government-run security screening in favor of its own private operation, something other U.S. airports have done with success.

Commenting is open below Baruch Feigenbaum’s column.

Holidays here, feds staying

By Louis Miller

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest passenger airport with more than 92 million travelers per year, and the winter holidays are an especially fast-paced time of year for our more than 58,000 employees.

This is our first holiday season at the new Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal, which opened in May. …

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Atlanta City Council Pay Raises

Moderated by Rick Badie

The Atlanta City Council recently voted to give itself a nearly $20,000 raise. It takes effect in 2014 after the next group of council members takes office, though that fact didn’t deflect harsh criticism from city employees and some residents. Today, a local union president explains some of the discord over the issue. The president of the North Buckhead Civic Association defends the pay hike and says it will attract qualified public servants.

Police, city workers are underpaid, too

By Ken Allen

“All those in favor of giving themselves a 50 percent pay raise say ‘Aye.’ ”

Who knew it could be that easy to increase your salary $20,000-plus?

Atlanta City Council members did just that Dec. 3. Well, 10 council members voted favorably and four (Natalyn Archibong, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kwanza Hall and C.T. Martin) had the integrity to say “No.” I would like to commend those four for remaining committed to the financial recovery of Atlanta, and the partnership …

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