Beverly Hall: Journey toward truth

Hyosub Shin/hyosub.shin@ajc.com

Hyosub Shin/hyosub.shin@ajc.com

Remember our children. They were, and remain, the innocent victims of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

Keeping them in the forefront of civic consciousness will provide the most-fitting vantage point from which to assess, analyze and see through to conclusion the remaining portion of this sad affair. It will also outline the best path forward toward truth, reconciliation and, yes, justice.

All of which is important to remember as the remaining criminal trials of the APS cheating defendants lumber along. Chief among the defendants is former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, who by all accounts is now gravely ill.

Given that leaders, at least in theory, are responsible for what happened during their watch, it’s natural that much attention has focused on Hall, her health and the prospect of whether the charges against her will ever be tried in a court of law. Hall’s cancer is said to be terminal. That sobering point may well …

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Atlanta: a great place for sustainability

Agriculture center at Truly Living Well Wheat Street Gardens, 75 Hilliard St., Atlanta.

Agriculture center at Truly Living Well Wheat Street Gardens, 75 Hilliard St., Atlanta.

‘Do something, then do something else’

By John A. Lanier

By its very nature, the Earth is resilient.

The Cuyahoga River, which famously caught fire 45 years ago, has recovered. Now more than 40 species of fish are found in the river, and bald eagles are able to nest nearby.

Ecosystems are quick to rebound from all types of natural disasters too.

Just think about how quickly new grasses sprout up in the cracks of Atlanta’s concrete sidewalks.

But the Earth is also finite.

My grandfather, the late Ray C. Anderson, had some thoughts on how we could do things better, and the example he set forth gives us an answer:

“Do something, then do something else.”

Ray was rather insistent with this call to action. And, like the Earth, Ray was resilient.

Ray was a small-town Georgia boy who created the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet, Interface. He also made it a global leader in …

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What’s wrong with food stamps?

Jo Ann de la Moriniere, 73, of Ball Ground is one of many who have had problems with the food stamps call-in center. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Jo Ann de la Moriniere, 73, of Ball Ground is one of many who have had problems with the food stamps call-in center. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia faces losing up to $76 million in federal funding due to its huge backlog of food stamp applications. It must fix a system plagued by understaffing, antiquated technology and a call-in center that cannot handle all the calls that come in. Today, an analyst on the right suggests a number of reforms, while one on the left writes that the state should hire an adequate number of workers to handle the overload that began mounting with the Great Recession.

Commenting is open.

Reform is the real answer

By Rachel Sheffield

Georgia’s food stamp program is making headlines—and not the kind you like to see.

Tens of thousands of applications are backlogged. The state Department of Human Services blames it on a rapid, recession-induced increase in caseloads, combined with a decrease in administrators and a …

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Should medicinal marijuana be legalized?

Paul Lachine/NewsArt

Paul Lachine/NewsArt

Moderated by Rick Badie

The General Assembly was a breath away from adopting legislation that would have legalized medicinal marijuana. A supporter of the such a law outlines what it must entail to ensure that patients who benefit from cannabis are granted access safely and legally. Meanwhile, a community activist questions how any state could legalize a drug that currently bypasses FDA testing and research.

Passion must prevail over politics

By James Bell

No one would have predicted that medical marijuana legislation — with near-unanimous support from the Georgia House and Senate, the governor’s office, law enforcement agencies and the public — would have failed to pass the General Assembly.

So goes House Bill 885, legislation that would have expanded an old law allowing the use of the cannabis plant — marijuana — for certain medical conditions.

Unfortunately HB 885 would not have delivered the medicine to patients who could benefit. It did not …

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Federal minimum wage: $7.25 or $10.10?

Jon Krause/NewsArt

Jon Krause/NewsArt

Moderated by Rick Badie

Whether to raise the minimum wage remains a divisive political issue. President Barack Obama wants the federal hourly rate raised from $7.25 to $10.10. Today, a small-business proponent says a wage increase would hurt employers, while the founder of a liberal advocacy group offers an opposing view. Meanwhile, the head of a nonprofit wants the federal government to do more contract work with small businesses.

Support pro-growth policies

By Kyle Jackson

The debate over raising the minimum wage isn’t about policy. It’s about politics and playing to people’s emotions rather than good economic sense.

The argument in favor of raising the minimum wage comes down to this: You can’t raise a family on $7.25 an hour. If you were a politician, it would be awfully tempting to try to win votes by telling voters you think they deserve a 39-percent pay raise.

The truth, though, is that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour …

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Pro/Con: Paulding airport service

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/BAndres@ajc.com

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/BAndres@ajc.com

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The businessmen and local officials supporting commercial air service at Paulding County’s small airport continue to make their case for limited flights that will benefit local travelers, especially those who live on the north side. Their nemesis is Delta Air Lines which, they say, refuses to allow any competition whatsoever to Hartsfield-Jackson. Today we hear from tthe chairman of the company trying to establish service at Silver Comet Field, along with a Delta pilot who cites the advantages of keeping Hartsfield-Jackson as the only commercial Atlanta airport.

Commenting is open.

Atlanta needs what other major cities have

By Robert J. Aaronson

Recently, there has been a war of words – not to mention lawsuits, letters, grass roots campaigning, etc. – regarding the proposed commercialization of Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. To borrow a headline from …

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Common Core: Our students’ perspective

Jon Krause/NewsArt

Jon Krause/NewsArt

The great majority of the fracas over the Common Core State Standards for public school curricula has involved adults.

By and large, Georgia’s children were not heard on the matter. Rather, it was activists and lawmakers who tussled over whether to abandon the so-called “Obamacore” standards that, in truth, arose from a Republican-led group of state governors. Those who should know better either forgot or deliberately ignored that one of Common Core’s leading champions was Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Like students who hadn’t studied much for final exams, such facts didn’t seem to matter to anti-Common Core legislators who fought to give Georgia the freedom to not be beholden to national education standards that most other states had embraced. In the end, the revocation effort thankfully ground to a legislative halt.

Now that the General Assembly’s election-year hijinks are done for this season, we’ve found ourselves thinking about …

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Breakthrough for online registration

John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

Georgia voting – there’s an app for it

By Brian Kemp

One of my main goals as Georgia’s Secretary of State has been to increase efficiencies and decrease costs by using technology.

Of all of the innovations that the office has made over the years, I could not be more proud of the state’s ability to offer online voter registration and the My Voter Page (MVP) mobile app. These tools truly accomplish both goals.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share this with citizens all over Georgia. I was most struck by one particular encounter.

At the Savannah Armory, I visited with members of our National Guard and talked to them about Georgia’s new online voter registration system and MVP app for mobile devices. It was one of the most positive experiences I have had since I began serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State in 2010. We had a great dialogue about the challenges of military voting. One young man told me that he always wonders whether his vote …

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Governor Deal and ethics

Former state ethics commission director Stacey Kalberman, center, hugs friend Terri Cohen after giving testimony April 3 claiming she was dismissed for trying to investigate Gov. Nathan Deal's 2010 campaign. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Former state ethics commission director Stacey Kalberman, center, hugs friend Terri Cohen after giving testimony April 3 claiming she was dismissed for trying to investigate Gov. Nathan Deal's 2010 campaign. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Last week, a Fulton County jury sided with the former director of the state ethics commission when it ruled she was forced from her job for investigating Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign, throwing the troubled commission into deeper turmoil. State officials had argued that Stacey Kalberman’s departure had nothing to do with her wanting to issue subpoenas for records pertaining to Deal’s 2010 campaign. In the wake of that decision, the governor today writes about his plan for overhauling the commission, while Democrats detail their push for a more independent watchdog.

Commenting is open.

New commission will ensure fairness

By Nathan Deal

Throughout its troubled history – dating back long before I took this office …

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Is religious liberty threatened in Georgia?

JOHN OVERMYER/NEWSART

JOHN OVERMYER/NEWSART

Moderated by Rick Badie

A bill that supporters say would have expanded protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was denied a floor vote during the 2014 General Assembly. That decision, notes a conservative activist, has given proponents of the so-called religious liberty bill more resolve to explain its purpose to the public. Our other guest writer calls the idea for such a law discriminatory and unnecessary because religious liberty isn’t under attack in Georgia.

No threat to religious liberty

By James Graham

When Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 20 years ago, supporters intended the bill to be a shield for religion, not a sword to harm others. But today, people are using it to take away protections, rights and benefits of others.

If we are going to pass a religious freedom bill in Georgia, we must make sure it is not used to trump non-discrimination laws or deny women basic medical services, such as access to …

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