Your morning jolt: Hearing to examine rider safety on MARTA

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee, will hold a hearing next week on rider safety within the transit system.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of MARTOC. AJC file

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of MARTOC. AJC file

The MARTOC chairman announced the hearings only days after a late-night gang attack of two Delta flight attendants in a train car on their way to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Jacobs told Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1 FM):

”Anecdotally, it wasn’t too, too long ago that you could ride a MARTA train and you were almost certain to see an officer walking back and forth, from the front of the train to the back, and then back again. These days, you’re much less likely to see officers on trains – although to be sure they can be found around the MARTA system.”

Mark your calendars for 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, in Room 406 of the CLOB.

Jacobs tantalized O’Hayer — and later, the Insider — with a possible deal that might be struck. The Atlanta lawmaker this year plans a wholesale revision of the 1960s-era legislation that undergirds the transit agency.

The current legislation handcuffs MARTA with a mandate that allows it to spend no more than 50 percent of the sales tax revenue it collects on operations — though that was suspended last year, temporarily.

MARTA would like the permanent right to spend its sales tax revenue as it sees fit.

Jacob said he could foresee the possibility of a permanent rule change – but in return lawmakers might require that a certain percentage of MARTA’s budget be reserved for law enforcement. “I have long felt that public safety was an issue to be looked at, and now I’m even more convinced that it needs to be looked at,” he said.

A MARTA spokesman said the transit agency welcomed any and all scrutiny.

***
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ripping a page from Sonny Perdue’s playbook, and going him one better. With his state beset by wildfires, Perry has declared a three-day period of prayer that spans the Easter weekend, according to Salon.com.

We would remind Perry not to forget the follow-up – a day of prayer begging God to turn off the spigot.

***
Charles Kuck, an Athens immigration attorney and a harsh critic of HB 87, points out this possible loophole in the section that requires businesses with more than 10 employees to screen hires with E-Verify, the federal data base:

Every business in Georgia will be required to complete an affidavit before the county or municipal government, in regards to compliance with this law, in order to obtain or renew their business license or occupational tax certificate.

At the time of signing this affidavit, the company’s representative will determine the number of employees by counting the number of employees on January 1 of the year during which the affidavit is submitted. In case you did not notice, January 1 is a holiday and virtually no one works.

There is nothing to prohibit an employer from laying off or reducing to part time ALL of its workers on December 31, and then restoring them to full time status on January 2. You might argue that that violates the spirit of the law, but how can you violate the spirit of a law that has no soul?

***
At the Southern Political Report, LaGrange College professor John Tures has an interesting look at America’s last birther controversy – in 1880:

[James] Garfield had selected, as his running mate, Chester A. Arthur of New York…or was he? Democrats hired an attorney named Hinman to investigate whether Arthur was really born originally in Vermont as he claimed. They alleged that the vice presidential nominee was actually born elsewhere, then was moved to Vermont.

***
AJC Politifact Georgia today takes a look at a claim by a Cobb County school board member that a school calendar with an early August start wasn’t economically wise, given the cost of air-conditioning.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

79 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
11:26 am

Oh, loopholes in the illegal immigration law that make it a joke for employers. What a surprise. It doesn’t matter, the WHUT DON’T U UNNERSTAND ‘BOUT ILL-EEGAL crowd is too stupid to actually evaluate legislation and see if it’s going to change the situation. As long as they can see a Jessica Colotl or two on TV, they’ll high-five each other and run back to the voting booths like lemmings.

Illegal immigrants and their employers have outsmarted you rubes. Honestly, we should trade the xenophobic screamers for those illegal immigrants, our average IQ would rise substantially.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 22nd, 2011
11:27 am

Charles Kuck…you spelled your last name wrong…

And God said: ‘Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on me. And let there be lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on Satan’.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 22nd, 2011
11:28 am

Aquagirl, again you show absolutely no logic, just feeling.

These are not mexico’s best and brightest, these are people who were on the bottom rung even in that pigsty to the south of us.

double

April 22nd, 2011
11:35 am

like the cuban freedom flotila boat lift we got all Fidels outcast.He– send them on we fight wars we can’t afford.Try to force rest of world to do way we want so I suppose only right we should pay.

[...] on every train right now means fewer trains and buses running.  Mike Jacobs has a great idea in today’s insider.  Eliminate the funding formula, but require MARTA to commit a certain percentage of its budget to [...]

HereandThere

April 22nd, 2011
11:37 am

Oh lord leave it to opportunistic Mike to jump into this unfortunate isolated event to try to sew some political hay.

By the way folks I think there is reason to argue that better use of police man power is patrolling the stations not walking on the trains. That way they can cover the parking lots, entrances and anyone whose getting off the train basically has to go by the cop.

I always see an officer at the my MARTA station – granted they are in their car, but then again the station has two sides so being in the car probably increases the coverage area.

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
11:39 am

TrishaDisha, you showed up right on schedule, screaming like an over-caffeinated banshee about logic. Thanks for providing exhibit A supporting my post.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 22nd, 2011
11:44 am

You stillm don’t get it AG..and likely never will :)

double

April 22nd, 2011
11:48 am

Trish will take her 45 cal.she don’t need police protection.Modern day annie Oakley.probablu=y rides bareback also.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

April 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

They should subpoena “Jay-Bama” Bookman of the Almighty AJC to the hearing. He just loves to crow about how “safe” MARTA is and how anyone that doesn’t ride it is killing the planet. Let him explain away the gang activity on perhaps the most important segment of all the trains routes – the route near the airport.

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
12:01 pm

Yes, TrishaDisha, I’ll never get why some people prefer to fall for political bullspit. Maybe it’s embarrassing to admit you got played. I dunno.

Frankly I thought you’d be off celebrating the Gary Hilton sentencing. Six minutes for a death penalty hearing has to be some kind of record. That judge sure does know how to clear a docket.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 22nd, 2011
12:06 pm

Who isn’t happy gary hinton is gonna die? But he was already going to die in GA, can’t kill him twice, although it would be cool to see FLA strap his dead body to the gurney and inject it again for kicks. This could get into a bidding war between states to see who can kill him fastest..that would be refreshing.

Jim

April 22nd, 2011
12:14 pm

When MARTA first started service to the airport, I and friends took it. The ride became so uncomfortable with the young, loud, boistrous crowd that would enter the train on the south side that we finally gave up and have never taken MARTA to the airport since. Also, several years ago I tried using a monthly pass to take the train to/from work. My downtown stop was the Five Points station. I tried this for two months. The station was over-run with people who would approach you and try to panhandle you, and make loud comments that I, too, gave that up. Frankly, it made me and colleagues very uncomfortable. Not once did I see MARTA security. Since, however, I see them often – riding around in automobiles on the city streets! Have never ridden Marta since – and will not.

findog

April 22nd, 2011
12:17 pm

How does a law, written by lawyers, with loopholes the big political contributors can drive their over crowded panel vans through constitute news?

td

April 22nd, 2011
12:18 pm

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
12:01 pm

It is ok the police will catch all of them now. I have friend that work in several large metro county jails that have told me how the game use to be played. An illegal would get pulled over on a Friday for DUI, speeding, no insurance, no drivers license. They would be book into jail and the admin people could not run them in the ICE database and could not put a hold on them if they got bailed out. The only thing they could do was to request a ICE hold on Monday if they were still in the jail. They would always have someone with cash come in and bail them out before Monday morning. The jail than could not run them, under law, and the Judge would never see the information. Now all these people will be run and found to be illegal and held until ICE picks them up. One friend told me this situation happens between 25 and 100 times every weekend.

findog

April 22nd, 2011
12:20 pm

Trish, in Georgia he would have to die of natural causes his plea deal that took the needle off the table.

Jon

April 22nd, 2011
12:23 pm

Hey…where’s Jill Chambers in all this? She would never miss a chance to pile on MARTA.

Oh, wait…

td

April 22nd, 2011
12:25 pm

findog

April 22nd, 2011
12:20 pm
Trish, in Georgia he would have to die of natural causes his plea deal that took the needle off the table

Well if that is the case then send him to Florida so they can stick that needle in him. A scum bag like him dose not deserve the needle they deserve to be boiled alive and then have the skin stripped from him. That is after he has been given ever other torture the family of the victim wants him to go through.

findog

April 22nd, 2011
12:31 pm

td, ok lets not bring any facts to the discussion just plenty of hate

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
12:31 pm

I think we gave that freak a plea deal for leading authorities to Meridith Emerson’s body. Maybe North Carolina will try him for some murders there. Better yet, maybe Texas will connect him to some unsolved cases. If there’s two states that would race for the prize of offing a mass murderer, those are the ones.

The loser might get a consolation prize, like displaying his head on a stick.

deegee

April 22nd, 2011
1:17 pm

I nominate Trisha for public executioner. She could show up in her blue and orange executioner outfit sporting a war eagle hood. I imagine that she could whack Gary Hinton’s head off so cleanly that she wouldn’t even need to wear an apron.

eb

April 22nd, 2011
1:17 pm

I once heard a MARTA media representative say that they have the second largest police force in the state. Where are they? They need an armed police officer on every train. Then maybe the punks they beat up the two flight attendants would be in jail rather than walking the streets. MARTA can’t figure out why more people do not want to ride their trains. DUH!

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
1:29 pm

td, awesome. Let’s fill the jails with illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. That way we have no room to lock up the gangbangers from MARTA.

Do you even have a frontal cortex? ‘Cause it’s no where in evidence.

Corey

April 22nd, 2011
1:39 pm

Ride MARTA when Woodward Academy students are returning home from school on their way to the north side you will see a MARTA police on the train and mainly in the car where the little darlings are. These kids parents demand and get results.

Alabama Communist

April 22nd, 2011
1:41 pm

Like a typical law and order Republican, State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee will do is that he will prepose that the Georgia National Guard ride MARTA in full combat gear and ban smoking in the rear car..

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
1:56 pm

td:

I favor a return to public hangings, if the justice is swift.

BTW, I wouldn’t ride MARTA with an M-16, AK-47 or a LAW rocket!

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
1:58 pm

Aquagirl:

Good afternoon! You are being unusually nasty today. Somebody whiz in your cornflakes this morning?

Why was this not a Hate Crime?

April 22nd, 2011
2:01 pm

Where are the “Hate Crime” laws ment to stop roaming gangs like these from doing whatever they wanna!? O… thats right… its only a “hate crime” .. when the perp is white! Because according to liberals.. “Minorities” are not capable of such hate.

phil c

April 22nd, 2011
2:01 pm

Another reason to allow citizens from the ‘burbs to pack heat on MARTA. Actually, just another reason to shut down MARTA once and for all.

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

phil c:

That is what I have thought for a long time! Shut that sucker DOWN!

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
2:15 pm

Aquagirl:

The two states that perps fear the death penalty the most are TX and FL, and with very good reason! Those are two states that actually EXECUTE.

deegee

April 22nd, 2011
2:30 pm

td, the police departments have been able to participate in the 287(g) program since 2006. Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall and Whitfield counties have been certified to participate in the program. We didn’t need another law.

deegee

April 22nd, 2011
2:32 pm

I hope that the tea bagging TX governor Rick Perry honestly discloses how much federal aid he has received from Washington to fight the fires. Not that he’s going to say “thank you.”

George P Burdell

April 22nd, 2011
2:35 pm

I ride MARTA twice daily-downtown and back from the Doraville station and have for years. It is very, very rare to see a MARTA policeman actually on a rail car. I see them at the Lindbergh and North Avenue stations often-usually laughing and joking with other officers standing around doing absolutely nothing.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 22nd, 2011
2:40 pm

@deegee

I would love to be Hintons executioner, I can make it clean..but I wouldn’t.. whack..oops that was your hand..whack..oops sorry about your ankles. I’m butterfingers today..

On the plus side, when it was over, you could bury him in 15 shoeboxes..cheap

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
2:46 pm

deegee:

The State of Texas could secede from the U.S. and be totally self-sufficient. It is a wealthy state and has oil, oil refineries, sufficient agricultural resources and fisheries. It produces nearly all types of livestock in great quantity. I don’t think that TX would have to rely on federal funds, but why not take them? After all, Texas taxpayers have sent a bundle to D.C.

deegee

April 22nd, 2011
2:46 pm

I used to ride MARTA 5 days a week during the years 1999 – 2000. I never felt threatened during the day but I never wanted to ride it at night. The lack of a police presence make the parking lots really creepy at night. The MARTA police are only in it for the uniform and they aren’t going to do anything to mess it up.

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
2:47 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle:

I LOVE your way of thinking!

deegee

April 22nd, 2011
2:55 pm

Texas taxpayers receive roughly about the same as they pay in federal taxes. Isn’t taking money from Washington just because you can part of the reason we have $14 trillion in debt?

southern hope

April 22nd, 2011
3:05 pm

I wish that all of you who have never taken a Marta train would refrain from posting. I used to drive to work down the highway. I’ve now been taking MARTA 5 days a week….all times of the day & early evening and I”ve *never* encountered any problems…I’ve never even seen anything around me.

I’m not saying that this incident isn’t bad (it shocked & surprised me) but if I-285 had a 20 car pile-up tomorrow, would all of you stop driving? Would you stop all highway funding? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Burnt Weenie Sandwich

April 22nd, 2011
3:13 pm

Guns. More guns for everyone.

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm

Last Man, it’s either the mass murderer sub-discussion, or the realization that people like td may actually vote. Both groups make me yearn to swing a dull axe. Uh, figuratively of course.

vietnamvet

April 22nd, 2011
3:22 pm

TP Welocme to the world of budget cuts.

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
3:27 pm

…Or maybe it’s the dingleberry over at Bob Barr’s blog, who thinks feeding tubes for geese are some sort of normal, comfy occurrence.

I swear, it’s like someone turned on the stupid ray this week.

Another Cynic

April 22nd, 2011
3:37 pm

I wish they would shut down MARTA so people would FINALLY understand how important this transit system is to this region. MARTA moves just under a half million people per day (without any significant state assistance) and is extremely important to the region’s convention and hospitality industry. So go ahead and “SHUT ER DOWN” Last time I checked there was plenty of room on the downtown connector, I-75 and I-85. Idiots!

Aaron

April 22nd, 2011
3:37 pm

Ban black people and you would have no issues but that is not possible I guess. All they do is cause trouble. In fact I would LOVE to see crime stats on MARTA based on race. I would guess 99.9% of all crimes on MARTA were caused by the thugs. It’s sad how they have ruined Atlanta.

Last Man Standing

April 22nd, 2011
3:47 pm

deegee:

“Isn’t taking money from Washington just because you can part of the reason we have $14 trillion in debt?”

I agree that, in part, states taking money from the fed has added to the national debt. It is accepting that money that allows “state politicians” to play with the state’s money. This isn’t a good practice, but it is the nature of the beast. Maybe they justify taking the money because of the unfunded mandates that have been legislated by D.C. and forced upon the state treasury.

At any rate, the party is nearly over. In a relatively short period of time, the federal government, the state governments and, worst of all, the citizenry will awake to the fact that we are broke.

Another Cynic

April 22nd, 2011
3:55 pm

Wow Aaron…. We can all agree to ban the thugs, as they are a major part of the problem. But come on bud… An overall ban on black people? There are plenty of hard working, educated black people in Atlanta who pay their taxes and want the best for their kids. Trust me… the hard working, educated black people in this town absolutely DESPISE the idiot thugs in this city that cause problems and get all of the attention. They despise broad brush racists like you even more though. ( BTW…Sherman ruined Atlanta)

Aaron

April 22nd, 2011
4:01 pm

“Another Cynic” what did I say that was racist? I go by the facts. I find it funny when a white person says something that is a fact, they are racist. Blacks cause 95% of the violent crime in this city. Very simple. When Atlanta was a white city, before Mayor Jackson got elected and screwed everything up, there was very little crime.