Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

question of the day.

how low will turnout be in the atlanta mayor run-off?

20%, 15%, could we even get to 10%?

whatcha think?

it’s election day. go get the sticker.

t’s municipal election day in georgia. these are typically the lowest turnout elections in the world so we here at the metblog are encouraging you to get out and vote. these elections are just as important as any other, and maybe more, since you are electing the people who will run the governments you interact with the most.

in case you haven’t noticed, we have a pretty wild mayoral race going on in the city of atlanta right now, and there are other big elections today across the metro area.

if, as often happens, you forgot where you are registered, or where your polling place is, you can head over to the secretary of state’s web site for some quick info.

and, if you are city of atlanta resident like me, and like me STILL aren’t quite sure who in the world to vote for in the myriad positions that are up for election this blog for democracy post is a great place to get started, with videos and links to the candidates’ web sites.

happy voting.

Is Atlanta "Home" To You?

I moved to Atlanta in 1995. September will be 14 years for me. During this time I can say with certainty that I’ve never felt at home in Atlanta. For me Atlanta is a place I live, not home. I’ve wanted to move but situations have kept me here. I’m not complaining in the slightest. I have a great life here, great relationships and opportunities. I’m not in a hurry to get somewhere else, although my house is for sale. I won’t get into all the reasons I want to leave, most are out of my control.

What I want to know is does Atlanta feel like home to you? If so, why? What do you like about it? Why do you choose to stay?

Stinkin’ Up the Joint

With a nod to the EPA, there’s an anti-idling law in Atlanta for buses and trucks. It states that they can’t idle for more than 15 minutes, and that if they do, there’s presumably a minimum $500 fine.

I’ll give you this: it’s not green, and it’s certainly not good for tiny – and not so tiny -pedestrians wandering around downtown Atlanta with no clue where they’re going who are obliviously huffing the invisible clouds of emissions into their otherwise pink lungs. While I have my own opinions about how this applies to a trucker trying to get a good nights rest in 30 or 90 degree temperatures, that’s not the point of my post.

My point is this: the dozens of buses that line up along Centennial Olympic Park in various shapes, sizes, colors and with a veritable cornucopia of passive-agressive propaganda and marketing dripping from their sides: sitting there for hours on end, oozing emissions while their inhabitants frolic in the spray of the dancing rings or ambush the CNN Center food court or are pressing their dirty little hands up against the glass of the whale tank at the aquarium.

There’s an exemption for weather as well as for passenger loading and unloading, and I ask you: at what point does Atlanta not have “weather”?

With all of the Segway-riffic ambassadors, suck-it-up machine drivers, lawn watering monitors and are we left without funds in the coffers for enforcement officers visit these drivers and enforce the law?

Once again I’m scratching my wee noggin and asking: what’s the point of establishing a law if you (seemingly) have no means or plans to enforce them?

I’m tempted to ask if this is just me being old and crotchety, but I’m fairly certain I already know the answer.

paging jerry keen.

i have a message for georgia house majority leader jerry “disney world” keen:
finger

if you feel like calling majority leader keen and asking him if he might just like to move to orlando, you can find his contact details here.

get on board with saving marta.

marta is calling today for the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house to convene a special session of the legislature to deal with the marta funding issue.

according to the marta release:

MARTA Board of Directors today urged Governor Sonny Perdue, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson to call a special session to deal with transportation and MARTA funding issues. During their 2009 General Assembly, state legislators failed to pass critical legislation providing regional or state transportation funding and lifting restrictions on the use of MARTA’s capital reserve funds. The Georgia General Assembly ended last Friday, April 3. During the 2009 legislative session, MARTA petitioned state lawmakers to grant the authority access to $65 million in its capital reserve account to fund a significant gap in its operating budget.

“I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is that MARTA be allowed flexibility to use its reserve account to fund operation of the system. I commit to you that the MARTA Board is looking for all ways to cut expenses and run this system as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said MARTA Board Chairman Michael Walls. “We implore the state to please reconsider this issue so that during this difficult economic time we can keep this essential transportation service running, which acts as a lifeline for so many people.”

(full press release here)

please help with this. please.

take 30 seconds and call the governor at 404-656-1776 and ask him to convene a special session of the legislature.

then take 30 seconds and call the lieutenant governor at 404-656-5030.

by the way, i just did this. the governor’s office told me to call my legislator, so i am not expecting a ton of leadership from him on this.

at casey cagle’s office they did discuss the issue with me and get my contact information. then again casey wants to be governor so he has some incentive.

please flood our elected leaders. let them know that you want to see some leadership on this.

a letter to the georgia republican party.

dear georgia republican party,

f you.

i am about the last guy you could have afforded to piss off. well maybe not exactly, but i am an rnc donor, volunteered for mccain, voted for sonny and casey a few years ago.

i believe in limited government and lower taxes. i believe charity is best left to private sector. i believe that government ought to stick to functions where there is a societal need and the market isn’t capable of providing a competing service. in short, i am your voter.

let’s go back to that last piece though. one of the places where it has been proven, over and over again, that government is needed is municipal mass transit. a strong mass transit system relies on government funding and is necessary to a good urban quality of life. and yet, despite this , the jokers in the georgia republican party that run this state decided to say fu to public transport.

so as a marta commuter, i say fu right back.

the funny thing is marta wasn’t even asking for new money. all they were asking for was to be able to use all of the money that is collected through sales tax in fulton and dekalb for operations. read that, not a state sales tax, a sales tax in two counties.

for those of you who don’t know about this, marta is forced by it’s absurd enabling law to put aside 50 percent of it’s sales tax regulation into a captial fund. no other transit system has to do this. just marta. why you ask? simple, the legislators at the time wanted to keep marta poor so it couldn’t offer free rides. that’s it. no other reason.

and despite all that, you couldn’t find a way to release this money so marta can keep operating. i ride marta every day. how many members of the martoc, including it’s inept chairwoman, jill chambers, can say the same? i ride it and more than 100,000 other people depend on it to get to work. and you are letting it starve.

why? i really don’t know. i don’t understand the legislative chicanery that led to this, but i know that there should have been a way to get it done. and you failed.

there is no telling what marta is going to have to do now. close bathrooms, eliminate weekend service, cut back bus routes? who knows. you could had prevented it, and you didn’t.

so screw you.

in my opinion you have no proven that you are completely incompetent to run this state. i will continue to vote for republicans at the national level, but next time i see a georgia office i am voting for the libertarian.

hope you got a few votes out of butts county out of this, because you lost one in fulton.

sincerely,

james hervey

Lisa Borders officially back in Mayor’s race

We have a bit of an exclusive here – word comes from a trusted source The AJC reports that Lisa Borders is indeed going to be, um, re-throwing her hat into the ring for Atlanta Mayor.  She’ll be announcing at City Hall at 11am, which will be streamed live at Tondee’s Tavern, but also here.

Maria Saporta reported that Borders would be getting into the race last week, but Borders had not confirmed the report.  Borders got out of the race in August to help take care of her ailing parents.  Her personal situation has changed (she’s gotten help taking care of her folks, essentially), making the race possible for her now.

For those of you who may not follow politics, you can see my previous writings on this subject on my personal blog.  The basic run down of Borders positioning in the race, however:

  • Borders was generally seen as an ally of Mayor Franklin, but Kasim Reed probably will end up being tagged as part of the “Franklin machine” or whatever you care to call it.  He was her campaign manager and a major ally while at the State Senate.
  • Borders has extensive connections with the business community (she is a former VP at Cousins, and is currently president of the Grady Health System Foundation), and I these relations have convinced her to get back into the race.  None of the existing candidates ever had their trust – Borders carries much more gravitas than Mary Norwood, and more business experience than Kasim Reed (or Norwood, for that matter).
  • At one time, Borders was seen as the front runner.  Now? who knows.  She’s behind in fundraising and getting in and out of a race tends to lower a candidate’s stock (see: Ross Perot).  Also, Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed have been building their networks and gathering supporters.

I’m told that Borders plans to emphasize her Atlanta roots and personal story (single mother, child in school at Westminster, deep family history in Atlanta’s civil rights and church community, she was recently a victim of home robbery).  I’m also told she will have a “5-year plan” for each department – obviously I’d like to know more but the cynical side of me knows that in politics sometimes it is enough to say you have a plan since not many folks are willing to get into the details.

Will it be enough?  Personally, I’m less interested with a personal story, and more interested with concrete plans for the major issues facing the city.  I want to hear plans for crime and reforming the police department that amount to more than just more police officers, among other things.

there is some bipartisanship for you….

i guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that there is one potential issue that young republicans and young democrats can agree on: sunday alcohol sales.

according to this ajc article the two groups will be holding a press conference today to announce their joint support for sunday sales.

ah, nothing brings young people together like the right to get trashed on sunday. seriously, this issue has become the windmill that we tilt at year after year here in georgia.

could this be the year? i doubt it, but momentum is growing.

h/t to the atlanta beer guide for sending the link. any guesses where those folks stand on this issue?

White House Farmer?

Seems a family in Illinois took something journalist Michael Pollan said in a NYT magazine article to a whole new level. He called for the appointment of a White House farmer to compliment the White House chef, they built a website and they took nominations.

Voting is now open, and Atlanta’s own Daron Joffe (more widely known as Farmer D) is on the list. You screw around on the interwebs enough, take a three click trip and show our boy the city loves him. It’ll be more meaningful to someone than that video you’re searching for on youtube and who knows? It could happen. What?

Note that Pollan also suggested replacing five acres of the White House’s South Lawn with an organic fruit and vegetable garden, which I doubt has any better chance of happening than my giving birth to a houseplant.

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