Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

To the right, no YOUR right…

Am I just imagining that getting on and off MARTA has lost all sign and semblance of order?

A few years ago, nearly everyone stayed to the right, whether going in the train doors or out of them, allowing people to enter and exit at the same time. Now, though, it’s become necessary to just about kickbox your way out of there. People waiting to board routinely plant themselves not just right in front of, but right in the MIDDLE of the train doors, sometimes two or three deep. You’re then treated to a bit of sighing and eye-rolling as you insist upon exiting the train through the doors rather than crawling through a hatch in the ceiling and then leaping down to the platform, as the door-crowders would apparently have you do.

These aren’t tourists, by the way. These are 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., lunchtime, weekend, and late-night riders. In other words, people who know better.

I always assumed that no one was paying attention to that recorded announcement about where and how to board the trains a few years ago. But, I remember almost never having people blocking the doors back then like they do now. Maybe it’s time time bring it back.

Dare I say it … Progress on the Transportation Front?

I sincerely hope that Metblogs isn’t your sole source for local news, but just to catch up any readers who may be a few days behind: last night the Georgia Legislature (on its third-to-last day of the 2010 session) passed the “Transportation Investment Act of 2010.”  Great news!

photo Vino Wong,

But first, a nod towards a little bit of background: On Tuesday MARTA staged a rally and “publicity campaign,” dramatically marking huge red X’s on a third of their fleet to represent the buses and trains that would be taken out of service later this year in order to help fill a $120 million budget hole.

The kicker (well, one of the kickers) is that MARTA has money – not a lot, but what they do have they weren’t allowed to use. By law, they can only spend 50% of their revenues from sales tax on operations. That’s why, I assume, we have all the brand-new fancypants black buses driving around in a time of rate hikes and service cuts.

There are obviously about 50 layers of issues here that I’m not going to pretend to know about and/or can’t get into, including the fact that MARTA is the only major transit system in the country without state funding, that leadership supposedly wants state funding but not state oversight, that the legislature has been debating a transportation funding bill for three years, and so on. (and on).

BUT! Last night we made progress! They’re going to let us tax ourselves! Hooray! A bill passed last night that will divide the state into 12 regions, and let each region vote in a referendum to thumbs up or thumbs down a list of transportation projects in the region, along with a 1% sales tax to fund them. Money has to come from somewhere, I suppose, and it’s better than nothing. HB277 also lifts that restriction on MARTA’s operations funding, though just for 3 years.

The bill just passed last night, and is on the Governor’s desk to be signed (he technically has 40 days past the end of session to sign it, I believe), so it’s not final yet. And nothing will actually happen for another couple of years (referendums would take place in 2012).  But I am allowing myself to hope, just a teeny bit, that Atlanta might eventually be, in my lifetime, a place where people ride a train or take a bus and it’s a quick, reasonably priced, perfectly normal means of getting from one place to another. Hoping this is a good step.

More info on the legislation – bill itself here, CL’s fresh loaf here, GPB Lawmakers here, AJC here .

I had no idea the state of Georgia could fit in my uterus.

Imagine my surprise disgust, when standing in line to pay my ad valorem tax at the Fulton county annex (what? It’s tradition to go in person) and gazing at the sample plates on the wall, that I saw this:

Wildflowers, I get. Give Wildlife a Chance, I get. Breast Cancer, I get.

And before you start a protest rally outside my house, make no mistake: I support adoption. What I don’t support (or understand) is putting out a Pro-Life plate with no Pro-Choice plate. Is it because it’s more a popular/fashionable stance? And since when is it appropriate to put a stance about such a sensitive, private choice on a car tag?


Oh and PS, I’m now fully aware that I’m 5 years late being annoyed with this. I have no idea where I’ve been.

Oooooh! You know what we need?

Amidst the constant clusterfu¢kery getting in and out of the Whole Foods on Ponce, you’re about to have another inanimate object to cuss at and all the “which way should I go, George” drivers that will come with it: they’re putting in a CVS.


We were just musing this weekend what a PITA it is to escape Midtown Promenade (Midtown Landmark Cinema, Apres Diem, The Highlander) and how they should really put a short, steep cut through to WF/Home Depot in – you know – just an alternate escape route.

Because the universe heard me and hates me, it decided to help make things worse instead of better.

Traffic in that area will be an even bigger treat than it is today in 3…2…1…

Curious about your local crime stats? Here’s a resource.

The AJC’s website has created this tool that allows Atlantans the privilege (privilege?) of using a simple drop down menu to choose their neighborhood and see its recent crime statistics.  Go ahead and click the hyperlink.  It’ll make you look like the local “informed citizen” at that cocktail party you’re attending tonight.

I knew my neighborhood had about 250 break-ins last year.  Now I can stay up-to-date with who’s getting robbed and where!


Pissed, yet AGAIN. (long as crap)

My day to write for this blog (if you don’t do it any other day during the week…) is Sunday.

I’ve sucked it up for weeks trying to meet this goal, excuses excuses. This week it’s because I was pissed AGAIN and I don’t want to be pegged as that angry girl. Even if I am an angry girl.

Pissed why, you ask?

You’re so thoughtful. Let me tell ya, it was a helluva Friday.

My morning meetings ran long but I was determined to make a stop to see a friend in need of a hug, so I bolted out of my office downtown and made a beeline for my hood – O4W at Inman Park.

I popped in to see him at his place on Irwin St. and parked under a big pretty fluffy tree who promised me with the sign language of leaves that if it started raining again it would protect me.

What it didn’t mention was that it had no intention of protecting me from ashole thieves jumping out of bushes.

The 10 minute visit really was, and as I came back out to the truck to find her rain-free, I opened my door and shit was strewn. Everywhere.

Because 10 minutes is all an opportunistic thief needs to cut your window (even if the doors are unlocked) and take two bags of items that are only valuable to you out of your life forever. Bags you can’t even inventory for the police 20 minutes later because you never think of their contents. Books. Notebooks. Electronics for recycling. A frizbee.

This is nothing really, compared to what Paulie went through the day before – it was just my vehicle that had been voilated – not my home. Still…hurt, pissed, adrenaline flowing like the Nile.

I’m pissed because it’s my neighborhood, because I got comfortable in the middle of the day and wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around me. I’m pissed because the door was unlocked and they cut the top anyway. I’m pissed because that was upwards of $300 of my hard earned dollars that went out the window (HA! See what I did there?) instead of to an upcoming and much earned vacation I’ve budgeted for (you asshole) I’m pissed because I know better than to leave anything in my truck. I’m pissed because the jerk was lurking at a MARTA stop and left a footprint on my bumper proving he was acting like he “owned” it (yeah, baby, CSI on the scene right here).

So here’s where my rant ends and the 411 begins – listen up.

The responding officer enlightened me on two counts:

1) The #POCATL (perception of crime in Atlanta, TM may be a non-issue. ? The problem according to my officer isn’t getting the guys off the streets, it’s keeping them in our overfilled jails on “petty theft”. What do we do? I don’t know. Someone tell me whose door to bang on, phone to call, email inbox to assault.

2) He’s waiting for the vigilantism to kick in. Apparently the incident at Graveyard last spring wasn’t enough – he’s waiting for Atlantants to get PISSED and start fighting back. I’m ready. Who likes the sound of a shotgun?

3) It’s not the kids, apparently they tend to strike at night when all the older thieves are worn out from their brazen assholeness. Daytime crime is about the grownups who would rather take your stuff than work for their own.

4) There was/is a thief hanging near the *bucks at 7th and P’Tree with the same MO: he knew how long it took to make a latte and since there’s no line of sight between the parking lot and the shop, he’d smash and grab. Keep your heads up and your eyes open.

4) I wanted to give Inman Park Patrol a heads up – didn’t’ expect them to respond just to BOLO – but couldn’t…because I’m not paying. WTF? There was an email address on the website to apply to pay…thanks for nuttin’.

Enlightening, disheartening, disappointing, annoying. My heart is broken for this…for a million reasons. I just haven’t found it in me to let go of my anger yet.

I hope you don’t go through anything like it anytime soon.

So I Was Going To Write About A Music Venue Today

And then Atlanta’s “perceived” crime problem helped themselves to my 20″ iMac computer. That’s right, my house in East Atlanta was robbed.

I’ve been a resident of East Atlanta for ten years now; ten mostly good years. About this time five years ago I was robbed, relieved of all of my bodily possessions as well as my automobile at gunpoint (two, but who’s counting), in my driveway.

Now I can add house theft to the list.

I considered myself lucky, because in order to be lucky one must be prepared. I don’t have my head in the sand, even without being robbed five years ago I knew that crime in Atlanta is real. So it was with this knowledge that I prepared my house for the day that the asshats would arrive.

My house has an active alarm system which is set every time I leave the house. I also belong to the East Atlanta Security Patrol. Both of these are advertised on my front lawn.

I have been diligent to make sure irreplaceable itmes are never left out, in fact they are usually with me when I leave the house. Ridiculously, items are chained/locked in order to make it harder to be taken. Hell, the computer which was stolen was “secured” to my desk with a (now obviously useless) Kensington lock.

Do I own a nice flat-screen television? Not in this neighborhood I don’t. In fact, I was hoping that on the day someone broke in that he would give himself a hernia trying to move the boat anchor that is my 32″ tube television.

All in all the feeling I have right now sucks ass. In the end all I lost was a computer and a little more of the happiness I once had in calling myself an Atlanta resident. I know people who have suffered way more than I have today.

There is little one can do to ensure that crime will never occur, but there are things you can do to be prepared in case it does. Think about your house. Yours may be next.

"Free Family Fun" in Grant Park – even if it’s in name only, a nice thought.

slumdog-millionaireNear the Berne Street entrance to Grant Park, the following movies will be/have been showing at 8pm on Wednesday evenings during an event billed as “Free Family Fun” by a group called the Lewis Allstars.

The films featured are as follows:
Wednesday, July 1st:
Transformers, PG-13, released 2007.

Wednesday, July 8th
Spiderman, PG-13, released 2002.

Wednesday, July 15th
Slumdog Millionaire, R, released 2009.

So, two PG-13 films and an R-rated one are considered “family fun”?  To whom?

While I’m glad to see free movies are showing in a patch of grass near my neighborhood, so that I don’t have to pay to park or fry my backside on the concrete at Centennial Olympic Park, calling it “family fun” is misleading (or ignorant).

I got “the look” from my wife for letting our nearly-3-year-old stay in the room during Return of the Jedi last weekend (especially when said 3-year-old covered her eyes and said, “Daddy, that’s too scary” during Darth Vader’s entrance onto the nearly-completed Death Star).

Ain’t no way I’m taking her to see all the mangled bodies and crashing cars featured in the above three films.  Good idea, bad marketing.

See, e.g., the urban legend about Chevy’s marketing the “Nova” in Mexico.

Crime Update: Still Pissing Me Off.

It was one thing when Inman Park started their patrol a few years back – I saw it as people with oodles of loot wanting to subsidize the protection of their Victorians and antiques. They have excess income, why not? I was living on the outskirts of the neighborhood and reaped the benefits of the patrol car drive-bys in the middle of the night. At least, I like to think I did.

The patrols and the need have evolved – or devolved, as it were. Due to demand, there’s now the West End patrol, EAV patrol, the happily named Trolly Patrol, the Druid Hills patrol and others.

It’s got me both riled and inspired.

On the one hand, it makes me happy to see citizens being creative and constructive. While I myself have been the victim of random and tiny disruptive burglaries and have been tempted to go all kinds of vigilante, this peaceful way of dealing with crime soothes the cockles of my hippy drippy side.

On the other hand (the one I wipe with), it chaps my baby smooth bum to know that we’re having to subsidize our own safety due to the mismanagement of city funds, the furloughing of officers, and the general incompetence of one short haired, short startured city official. Blegh. Disgusting.

All that navel gazing aside, I offer you the following resources, prices and snippets. They should be used of course in conjunction with the still new (and kicking azz and taking names) citizens organization: ATAC (Atlantans Together Against Crime). If we aren’t making ourselves heard, seen and smelled, then we’re happily lapping up the fate that’s being dished out at us in big stinky piles.

Inman Park’s patrol has three levels of buy-in ranging from $200-300

NOTE: The main distinguishing aspect of Bronze, Silver, and Gold level membership is access to the patrol officer.

The West End Historic District Patrol

Costs: for residents: $25 monthly or $70 quarterly, for businesses: $40 monthly or $115 quarterly. There is also a $10 – one-time fee for new members.

Druid Hills Patrol dues “are based on one of three payment schedule choices: Annually $480 due in January; Bi-Annually $250 due in January & July; Quarterly $130 due in January, April, July, & October.”

The Trolley Patrol is “Atlanta’s newest private neighborhood security patrol. Serving the neighborhoods of Southeast Atlanta, the Trolley Patrol is open to the residents of Benteen Park, Boulevard Heights, McDonough-Guice, North Ormewood Park, Ormewood Park and Woodland Hills. Membership dues are $90/quarter or $330/yr.”

East Atlanta Security Patrol
“The geographic membership area of EACA shall have a west border of Moreland Avenue, north to I-20. The northern border shall be I-20 to Flat Shoals Road, where the border will go east of I-20 to include that portion of the City of Atlanta east of I-20. From there, the eastern border will be Fayetteville Road to Eastland Road and its intersection with Moreland Avenue.”

“Yes, we already pay taxes and expect police protection, but other neighborhoods like Grant Park have seen reductions in residential crimes of over 50% since starting a similar patrol.”

The options are one year of service for $200, six months for $100 or three months for $50. There is an initial fee of $15 which is added to your first payment to cover operating expenses.

Only loosely related: this morning I caught a frat boy in a baseball hat, khaki’s and a polo peeing on the abandoned building behind mine. I assume he assumed he assumed no one would see him through the privacy fence. Thanks for that, parents of Gen Y’ers.

Please to enjoy and please to add any I missed.

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.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.