Archive for the ‘Quality of Life’ Category

New debate over Dunwoody cityhood

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The creation of new cities in metro Atlanta remains in the news. Efforts to carve cities out of Lakeside and Tucker died in the recent legislative session. Today, a longtime resident of Dunwoody, which became a city five years ago, criticizes leaders for an urban agenda that isolates voters. The mayor says the city must look forward and take control of its growth.

Commenting is open.

Cityhood: Be careful what you wish for

By Jim Dickson

More than five years ago, Dunwoody became a new city with the objective of wresting control from DeKalb County and establishing a local government to better represent the interests of Dunwoody citizens. It has not worked out that way. We have been betrayed by politicians and associates who play inside political baseball.

The latest episode of this saga is recent legislation to change the Dunwoody city charter and eliminate the necessity for a citywide vote to fund the takeover of fire and ambulance services from DeKalb; …

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Medical marijuana in what form?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia legislators are currently considering a rapidly changing bill that would improve access to a form of “medical marijuana.” Today, a local House representative emphasizes the need for research before creating any law that could open the floodgates of a “pot mill” epidemic. In our lead column, a local teenager suffering from Crohn’s Disease writes about the need to allow the  afflicted to use marijuana to help alleviate pain. Stay tuned. Things could change in a hurry.

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Let’s think of the suffering

By Eli Hogan

I am 17 years old and I suffer from severe Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. I have struggled with this disease for two years now, and spent my Christmas vacation at Scottish Rite in Atlanta full of IVs, being fed through a catheter run under my bicep into my chest cavity, in agonizing pain, losing blood, and on the verge of needing a total removal of my colon. I dropped from …

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No reason not to participate

Primary voting is crucial

By JoEllen Smith

Imagine competing in a doubles tennis match but the rules have changed. The winner is no longer chosen by points earned, but by a vote of only one participant. Sound preposterous? Well this is how our elected officials are often chosen. Approximately 25% of registered voters choose nearly all of our local elected officials.

You may doubt me because you’ve waited in line to vote in November. Well, the majority of candidates are actually chosen during the summer, when the Republican and Democratic parties hold their primary elections. These primaries are open to all voters and have multiple candidates on the ballot. Most districts in Georgia are heavily represented by only one political party or the other so, quite often, the opposition party doesn’t even have candidates running. The result is that many primary winners will face no opposition in November.

Smaller “down ticket” races are the most important ones affecting your life. Do …

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Guns on campus

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Georgia House of Representatives has passed legislation that, technically, leaves the current ban on weapons on college campuses intact but makes it tough to enforce. HB 875 also legally introduces firearms into churches, mosques and temples. School districts could also empower civilian personnel to use firearms in k-12 schools. Today, a Fulton County leader opposes the bill and a college student supports it.

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Gun bill a huge step back for Georgia

By John Eaves

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech: These are names we now associate with a horrifiying image — students fleeing schools as their peers are gunned down by disgruntled loners or, more frighteningly, by their own classmates.

Price Middle School and Ronald E. McNair Academy are institutions much closer to home where we recently experienced near misses: A Jan. 2013 shooting at Price wounded a 14-year-old boy; and last August, a gunman barricaded himself in McNair offices and …

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What neighborhoods need

Building strong communities

By Shirley Franklin

I remember when East Lake Meadows was one of Atlanta’s most violent neighborhoods. Today, high-quality, mixed-income housing has replaced decrepit apartments in East Lake. Crime is down and employment, income, school attendance and student achievement are up. It’s a flourishing community where people of all ages and different backgrounds choose to live.

The benefits of living in a safe neighborhood with good housing and outstanding schools come from a holistic approach to community revitalization. Why holistic? A community’s wellness results from the quality of education, recreational facilities, employment opportunities and health care of its residents.

That’s what happened in East Lake. Tom Cousins, an Atlanta-based developer and philanthropist, spearheaded an initiative to turn the neighborhood around, combining mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community services. Purpose Built Communities was …

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Medicaid expansion

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Top leaders in the Georgia Assembly are behind a bill to strip Gov. Nathan Deal of the power to expand Medicaid, as called for by the Affordable Care Act, and put that decision-making in the hands of the Legislature. Some Democrats are calling that political cover for the governor during this year’s election campaign. Today, we hear from Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton, who is sponsoring House Bill 990, and Horacena Tate, D-Atlanta, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

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Give legislators Medicaid say

By Jan Jones

Georgians can be proud of their generosity toward the vulnerable and needy of our state. Individuals, churches, non-profits and governments dig deep to give relief to the less fortunate.

In fact, state taxpayers provide $3 billion annually in health care services through Medicaid to one in six Georgians. From covering 60 percent of the births in Georgia, to serving as de facto long-term care insurance for many, to providing …

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Dangers of a hoodie

This ‘thug’ could save your life

By Anwar Osborne

Here is a guy walking down the street in Atlanta. He’s black and wearing what some might call a “thug” uniform: a zip-hooded sweatshirt, jeans, a baseball cap on backwards, and Michael Jordan basketball shoes.

But that man is me, and I’m on my way to work, a physician in an urban hospital emergency department. I’m a doctor, and I dress like a “thug.”

Michael Dunn, a white Floridian, said he hated “thug music” before shooting Jordan Davis, a black teenager. Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman had the word “thug” uttered about him many times before the Super Bowl, and Jonathan Ferrell got shot instead of getting help after a car crash.

These cases are striking to me because I live in a 6-foot 1-inch, 210-pound black body, but also because I spend the majority of my waking hours trying to keep people alive. Sometimes it’s by delivering patient care, signing charts in my office, attending a lecture or fleshing out research in a small …

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Privatizing foster care

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The General Assembly is considering legislation that will put foster care largely in the hands of private agencies, even with regard to case management. Today we hear from child-law experts who say our state’s outcomes for abused children are already better than Florida’s, which has the model Georgia is looking to replicate. A former Obama Administration official familiar with Florida’s law says privatization is the way to go.

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Privatizing is not a proven reform plan

By Melissa Dorris Carter and Andrew Barclay

Is privatization of child welfare services good public policy for Georgia’s children and families?

That’s the question provoked by Senate Bill 350, and there is no simple answer. The rapid early progress of the proposal, which would require that the Division of Family and Children Services bid out child welfare services statewide through contracts with community agencies, should not be taken as an indication of support among …

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The value of mentoring

By Teresa L. White

Though myriad social science studies affirm the value of mentors, I don’t need to look any further than my own life experience to see the profoundly beneficial impact of good role models. My sister and I grew up in Dallas, in what was generously called “affordable housing.” We spent hours at home after school unsupervised. Friends were getting high and making bad decisions. We were, in the parlance of the times, “at-risk youth.”

How does that girl get to college and through grad school? How does that girl climb the ranks of one of the nation’s most admired companies to become a corporate officer?

Fact is, I had something going for me that many minority teens don’t. I had champions – adults who believed in me and would be disappointed if I stumbled. In addition to my determined mother, there was an aunt who served as a Peace Corp volunteer. Hours at her knee hearing stories of people from all over the world taught me that I shouldn’t fear societies beyond our …

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Fixing arts funding

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Fulton County has long been a leader in arts funding in Georgia, but that funding seems to be in jeopardy every budget cycle. Today, a veteran theater leader calls for a sustainable source of revenue for the arts, so they are not put on the chopping block each year. In response, the Fulton County chairman says officials do recognize their importance.

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Time for sustainable arts funding

By Robert J. Farley

Recently, the Fulton County Commission made its annual foray into the non-profit arts community services and programs by proposing to slash the arts and culture budget yet again. And yet again there were hundreds of emails, telephone calls, testimonials and letters from vast numbers of arts supporters which got the commission to change its mind once again — for now.

In a mere eight months this cycle starts all over again as Fulton County Arts & Culture moves to a calendar year budget.

Respectfully, when are our elected officials …

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