Archive for August, 2013

Atlanta crime

Moderated by Rick Badie

Several in-town communities concerned about neighborhood crime have enjoined law enforcement to rid them of this problem. Today, Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner writes about what’s being done by his department, while a Peoplestown activist offers his view on fighting riff-raff.

Unacceptable crime

By George N. Turner

A recent article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution implied that Mayor Kasim Reed and I have dismissed concerns about an uptick in crime in East Atlanta as “more perception than fact.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I’m even more concerned that any resident or business owner in the city would believe that I am not concerned by crimes committed against them.

Since I became police chief in Jan.2010, I have pledged never to dismiss any citizen’s concern of crime as a problem with perception. Being robbed at gunpoint is not a perception. It is reality. Having your car broken into, or your home burglarized, is not …

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Atlanta’s economic (im)mobility

By Rick Badie

A recent study shows that many of Atlanta’s poor children, generally, stay poor. Those born into the bottom fifth of the income distribution ladder have a 4 percent chance of making it into the top fifth. Compare this to Salt Lake City, where the corresponding number sits at 11.5 percent, according to the Equality of Opportunity Project. Today’s guest writers, who find our region’s economic immobility unacceptable, weigh the issue. We also post an essay written by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Reduce economic immobility

By Michael Leo Owens

The American Dream is obscure for many of Atlanta’s poor. A recent economic study makes it plain.

The chances that a poor metro Atlanta child will eventually earn a higher income than his or her parents is slim. Bottom-to-top movement, generationally, is unlikelier in metro Atlanta than most places in (or beyond) the South, including metro areas that economically compete …

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Clayton’s transportation woes

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Clayton County killed its C-Tran bus system in 2010 to save $8 million a year. It had nearly 9,000 daily riders. Since then, residents and business have suffered in a transit-less world. Many voters want to add a one-percent sales tax to bring in MARTA. New county leaders say transit is key, but doing it the right way is also important.

Commenting is open below.

Less mobility hurts everyone in Clayton

By Roberta Abdul-Salaam

Clayton County is the home of the world’s busiest airport, yet many Clayton residents can’t even get there. Some of our service workers employed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport also sleep there, on cold concrete floors, because they can’t afford to go back and forth home.

The buses stopped running in Clayton County three years ago and our transportation struggle continues.

Recently, my granddaughter had a car accident and totaled my car that she and I shared. She used the car to go to her classes at Clayton State …

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Campus crime

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Many parents worry about sending their children off to live at college for the first time. Last week, Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves got the kind of phone call we all dread, mere hours after dropping off his son at Morehouse College. Today, he writes about that frightening experience and its impact on him, while the school’s president addresses security challenges and improvements on campus.

Commenting is open.

Father’s nightmare a call to action

By John Eaves

One week ago, I waited with much anticipation for the opportunity to “pass the torch” to my eldest son as he began his college career as a third-generation Morehouse Man. Thirty-four years ago my father passed the torch to me when he sent me off to Morehouse. His farewell advice to me was simple: “…make me proud, study hard, have fun, but don’t bring shame on the family name…”

I gave my son that same advice that day.

As I drove away from the Morehouse campus at 7 …

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In-state tuition for illegal immigrants?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Illegal immigrants are required to pay out-of-state tuition to attend Georgia’s colleges and universities, even if they have graduated from a state high school. Moreover, such students are denied admission to certain schools if those schools have turned down academically-qualified U.S. citizens the past two years. Today, an immigration advocate says the policies hurt promising youth, while a supporter upholds them.

Grant admission to selective schools

By Azadeh Shahshahani

Georgia just lost another young talent to another state.

Needa Virani arrived in the U.S. at age seven. A year later she moved to Georgia . She attended Brookwood High, where she was a distinguished member of the Math Honors Society and regional science fair participant.

After graduating in 2010 with a 3.97 GPA, Needa attended Georgia Tech and earned a bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering. Needa graduated with high honors, maintained a 3.56 GPA and was …

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Georgia: The Blueberry State?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Georgia, the Blueberry State? Possibly. Blueberry production has surpassed that of peaches and sits as the state’s most lucrative fruit crop. Today, we explore how the berry knocked peaches from atop the fruit pile and acknowledge the economic impact these commodities provide the state.

Blueberries are a lucrative state crop

By Joe Cornelius Jr.

From humble beginnings in the 1960’s, blueberries have grown to more than 18,000 acres and 77 million pounds, with a substantial farm-gate value for Georgia farmers.

This growth explosion has been fueled by different factors: Southeast Georgia’s low land cost; perfect growing conditions in river beds and the periphery of the Okefenokee Swamp; ideal climate for highbush and rabbiteye (the two main types grown here); an early entrance into the North American marketplace and a long growing season.

During the early 1990’s, timber prices began to decrease drastically. The United States tobacco quota …

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State-MARTA jousting match

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

There’s long been a dysfunctional relationship between MARTA and the state, which oversees and restricts the transit agency’s budget but offers no financial support of its own. It’s also frustrating for riders like me when MARTA, which has had spending issues, trims its service. At a recent meeting of the state oversight committee (MARTOC), there were some icebreaking signs of progress, but it still didn’t do much to instill confidence that a robust partnership between MARTA and legislators was in the works.

Commenting is open.

State-MARTA jousting match

By Tom Sabulis

Scenes from a recent meeting of MARTOC, the Georgia legislature’s oversight committee on MARTA, in which state legislators and the transit agency manage to puzzle the public observer:

First scene: New MARTA CEO Keith T. Parker calls “minimal” an annual $3 million lost in fare evasion. Yes, he means that $3 million is “minimal” in the context of MARTA’s overall $427 …

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Atlanta Housing Authority salaries

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Atlanta Housing Authority has received acclaim for transforming the inner city’s bleak housing projects. But it’s also come under fire for large salaries paid to its CEO Renee Glover and many top employees. Today, a former Atlanta mayor defends the AHA and its leader’s pay, saying the results speak for themselves. But a community activist questions where all the displaced residents of the old projects have gone, and adds that federal authorities or Congress must address wasteful spending on salaries.

Commenting is open. Please keep remarks civil and on topic.

Results justify AHA salary

By Shirley Franklin

Recent media coverage about the salary of Atlanta Housing Authority CEO Renee Glover and the salaries of her senior staff led me to wonder, “Are questions and debates about ‘salary levels’ getting at the correct issue?”

The reported AHA salaries are larger than most public employee salaries, and I believe that invites us to look at a …

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Blacks and the Civil War

Moderated by Rick Badie

The Civil War remains a complex and controversial issue, not just in the South but the nation as a whole. One of today’s guest writers wonders whether the struggle still matters in the 21st century. The other writer explains why the war resonates with so few African-Americans, yet challenges them to re-examine its rich history.

Re-examine the Civil War

By Natasha L. McPherson

Aside from a handful of professional historians, history buffs and perhaps a few fans of the movie “Glory,” most African-Americans regard the Civil War with relative indifference. We pay our respects to black leaders of the era, and we may even examine the major political debates that once divided a nation. For most African-Americans, however, the Civil War was a series of events that played in the background while the black liberation struggle occupied the main stage.

This year, as Americans commemorate the 150th anniversary of major Civil War events including the …

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