Archive for the ‘Quality of Life’ Category

Braves move to Cobb County

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Atlanta Braves made shocking news Monday when it announced the team planned to move Atlanta’s major league baseball franchise to Cobb County in time for the 2017 season. With its lease expiring at Turner Field, the team apparently has negotiated an investment of $450 million in public money from Cobb County to help pay for the new stadium. We hear from the team and supporters and critics of the deal.

Commenting is open.

Great move for jobs and growth

John Schuerholz, president of the Atlanta Braves

Today, I would like to announce that the Atlanta Braves will build a new ballpark, which will open for the 2017 major league baseball season.

The new location is a short distance from downtown Atlanta at the intersection of I-75 and I-285.

Our lease at Turner Field expires in three short years, but in addition to that, we wanted to find a location that is great for our fans, makes getting to and from the stadium much easier and provides a first-rate …

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Vets have earned their own court

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Commenting is open.

By Charles A. Shanor

A decorated Navy SEAL discharged after multiple combat tours, Chad is emblematic of veterans’ needs. Combat-related brain injuries have caused memory and concentration problems. The VA provided him rehabilitation and surgery, but medication has led to weight gain and depression.

Chad’s social security disability checks are late and assistance he obtained to expedite these may cost him 25% of his payments. Child support takes most of his military retirement check; his house was foreclosed upon. Currently homeless, Chad has had minor run-ins with the law.

All this makes Chad a potential client for Emory Law’s Volunteer Clinic for Veterans, for help with obtaining VA benefits and some non-benefits issues, like housing.

But Chad’s scrapes with the law need a different fix, which is the focus of a policy initiative at the clinic: veterans’ court.

Georgia incarcerates nearly 2,650 veterans in state prisons. …

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Digital access…and narcissism

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Lack of Internet access prevents low-income citizens from full connection to jobs, education and other life necessities. Today, representatives of a major communications corporation and a national civil rights organization write about what they are doing to facilitate broadband adoption in these disconnected homes. On the flip side, a digital worker writes about an unfortunate byproduct of too much technology — the focus on oneself.

Please note: There are three columns today.

Commenting is open.

Digital divide hurts education and jobs

By David L. Cohen

Statistics about broadband adoption and the “digital divide” paint a distressing picture in metro Atlanta and throughout the nation. According to government figures, nearly 30 percent of Americans lack Internet access at home — even though service has been built out to three-quarters of those people’s homes.

In Atlanta, where Comcast offers broadband service to 99 percent of our footprint, …

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Why cut food stamps?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Saying the nearly $80 billion food-stamp program is out of control, House Republican leaders have narrowly passed a bill to cut funding in half over 10 years. It also adds job or work-training requirements for recipients ages 18 to 50 without minor children. Work continues on the bill. Passionate debate has ensued.

Commenting is open.

Shameful cuts to vital food program

By David Scott

CLARIFICATION: This guest column cites $40 billion in cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recently voted on by Republicans in the U.S. House. That amount is the total reduction over 10 years.

Republicans in the House of Representatives recently voted to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

These cuts target our most vulnerable citizens, like seniors, children, veterans and disabled persons. In fact, veterans are the fastest-growing group receiving food stamp benefits. Census data indicate that about 900,000 …

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Walkable urban places – in the suburbs, too

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

There are three columns today. Commenting is open.

Walking a way to the future

By Tom Sabulis

The talking point was meant to be a grabber: Metro Atlanta has reached peak sprawl. More development is going to urban development. The old way of fueling our economy by building subdvision after subdvision has been replaced by a new real estate metric — the proliferation of intown multi-purpose hot zones where folks can walk to their desired destinations.

Then came the kicker: Many of these new urban locales are actually in…the suburbs.

The “urbanization of the suburbs” is helping drive the real-estate market both in Atlanta and outside the perimeter, says Christopher B. Leinberger, a land-use strategist, professor at the George Washington University School of Business and author of a new report called “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Atlanta.” (www.atlantaregional.com/walkups).

The study says land use in metropolitan areas can be defined two ways: …

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Healthcare.gov and restricting doctors

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Continuing the conversation on the Affordable Care Act, a healthcare expert writes that, despite the failures of the federal website Healthcare.gov, consumers can still enroll, but they need to do legwork to find the right plan. A statewide doctors’ group says new insurance networks are restricting patient access to their doctors.

Commenting is open.

Website failure aside, shop around for deals

By William S. Custer

“Keep calm and carry on” was the slogan on a widely distributed poster in Great Britain just before World War II; it has been gaining popularity again just in time for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. While the issues we face are far less harrowing than those Britons faced, it would be difficult to tell that from the rhetoric surrounding the ACA.

In truth, most Georgians will experience either no change or only a small change (1 percent or less) in premiums and benefits in 2014 as a result of the ACA. That is because more …

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Human trafficking

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia has progressed in recent years in the fight against human sex trafficking, but there is still more to do, writes a nonprofit leader who has been instrumental in proposing new legislation. A local legal expert says the public needs to recognize the victims of these crime, many of them children, as survivors of abuse and violence; failing to do so only extends the harm they have suffered.

Commenting is open.

Eliminate digital age sex trade

By Stephanie Davis

Georgia’s laws on human trafficking have come a long way since 2001, when the pimping of a child was punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine of $50. Public awareness has grown exponentially in the last decade, and our elected officials have responded to our advocacy.

Women’s and civic groups like the Rotary Club, immigrant and refugee organizations, faith-based groups and congregations of every religion have raised public consciousness of child prostitution and developed downstream …

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Reducing shelter kill rates

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Commenting is open

By Karen Hirsch

I am an animal lover, and I work for an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to animals — the LifeLine Animal Project. Employees here do things like staying up all night to bottle-feed young kittens and venturing into dangerous neighborhoods to save strays, all because they are compelled to help animals.

Founded and led by Rebecca Guinn, LifeLine has been tirelessly helping animals since 2002. LifeLine has performed 65,000 low and no-cost spay and neuter surgeries; provided thousands of free and low-cost vaccines to pets, and rehabilitated thousands of animals at its no-kill shelter.

Recently, LifeLine took over the management of Fulton County Animal Services (FCAS) and DeKalb County Animal Services (DCAS). For an organization whose goal is to end euthanasia of healthy animals in shelters, moving into county shelter management hasn’t been easy. And despite all that is done to save lives, it’s still a numbers …

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Civil rights and the Civil War

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Atlantans tend to take a separate, racial approach to celebrating and acknowledging historic events, a division that makes it challenging for both institutions and individual communities to bridge. Today, our columnists write about the proper way to honor major anniversaries next year for the Civil Rights Act and the Civil War’s fall of Atlanta.

Commenting is open.

Connecting Atlanta with honest reflection

By Sheffield Hale

As we recently recognized the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we are also approaching the anniversaries of two watershed events in American history. Next July marks 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which dealt a blow to the rule of Jim Crow. And September 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the fall of Atlanta during the Civil War.

The latter was the pivotal moment in the conflict. It came when the war seemed at a stalemate and Northern morale was low — so low, it …

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Obamacare open for business

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Starting Tuesday, millions of Americans can sign up for new healthcare options through the insurance exchanges established by the controversial Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. As our lead writer points out, things remain murky. There are bound to be snafus and delays. So be ready to be patient. As one market analyst told the Wall Street Journal, this is still “a soft opening.” Nevertheless, as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius writes, it’s a landmark day for citizens in search of health coverage.

Commenting is open.

Confusion is the operative word

By Ron Bachman

Insurance exchanges start operating today. Some states built their own exchange (14), some states partnered with the federal government (17), and some decided to let the feds build the exchange (19).

We are entering a confusing world of insurance exchanges, also called insurance marketplaces. There are state, federal, and private insurance exchanges. There are single and …

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