Entries by Taifa Butler

Georgians, state treasury to suffer under President Trump’s budget plan

By Guest Columnist TAIFA BUTLER, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

Georgians can find a lot not to like in the federal budget President Trump is proposing. It jeopardizes the state’s financial stability. It promises to hurt the ability of millions of Georgians to meet basic living standards. Even Social Security disability benefits are slashed in the planned budget cuts.

Faith community stepping up on climate change

By Guest Columnist SUSAN VARLAMOFF, coauthor of the ‘Laudato Si Action Plan’ and author of ‘Sustainable Gardening for the Southeast’

Nature abhors a vacuum. With the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, there is a void in global leadership on climate change that others are willing and able to fill it. Countries like China, Germany and France are stepping up. In the U.S., states, cities, universities, corporations, and even churches are voluntarily reducing greenhouse emissions in the spirit of the Paris climate accord.

Yes, you can bike in Atlanta

By Guest Columnist KEVIN H. POSEY, an advocate for sustainable transportation and urban development practices worldwide

Atlanta is notorious for being a car-dependent city. Whether it’s minor snowstorms that create scenes akin to a bad disaster movie or burning bridges made of steel and concrete – materials not known for their combustibility – Atlanta’s car addiction is now in the same league as that of legendary Los Angeles. But in a revolutionary change of direction, the bike is being elevated as a legitimate way to get around for those of us who wouldn’t be caught dead in Lycra.

Prevent proposed development to preserve majestic coastal beauty of Cumberland Island

By Guest Columnist DAVID KYLER, executive director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, located in St. Simons

Georgians must resolve to protect Cumberland Island as a rare natural treasure

Among my most cherished memories as a kid growing up in western Pennsylvania is a series of summer treks to the New Jersey shore. Reflecting on these memories, it’s evident that from my earliest days I found the attraction of the land-sea boundary instinctive and insistent – a place where some of nature’s most beautiful, dynamic, and, at times, powerful and destructive forces could be witnessed.

Regional education report shows families deserve same school options as region’s CEOs

By Guest Columnist GLENN DELK, an Atlanta attorney who is a longtime school choice advocate and co-founder of 21st Century STEM Academy set to open in August in Decatur

Members of Georgia’s public school establishment consistently oppose funding for charter and private schools on the grounds they are not “accountable.”

However, as evidenced by the recent report, State of Education in Metro Atlanta: Baseline Report 2017, issued with great fanfare by Learn4Life – a collaborative initiative of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the United Way of Greater Atlanta and eight public school district partners –the reality is that traditional districts are the ones who are unaccountable.

Access to healthcare emerges as major issue in upcoming runoffs for state Senate, Congress

By Guest Columnist MELITA EASTERS, founding chair and current executive director of Georgia’s WIN List

While more recent headlines have pushed aside coverage of public reaction to the House GOP passed “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act, passed during the administration of then-President Obama, there remains deep anger about the draconian nature of the legislation which may well turn the tide in two upcoming Georgia elections.

Investing in America’s ‘Best Idea’ – our national parks

By Guest Columnist SALLY BETHEA, the board chair of Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy, the nonprofit friends group for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

America’s mayors are pitching an investment in the infrastructure of our national parks as a win-win for cities and their residents: A way to create U.S. jobs by restoring historic buildings, fixing outdated and unsafe water and electrical systems and improving crumbling roads and trails to benefit all park visitors.

Georgia’s WIN List plans to ‘Grab ‘em by the midterms’ in 2018

By Guest Columnist MELITA EASTERS, founding chair and current executive director of Georgia’s WIN List

As Women’s History Month, with its selected celebrations of women’s achievements in business, education, the arts and even politics drew to a close, women received many reminders in recent weeks of just how much is left to do before the face of power truly changes to one which is more equitable and representative.

Time has arrived for politicians to step up and fund transit, mobility

By Guest Columnist PAUL MCLENNAN, a retired member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732, co-host of WRFG’s Labor Forum and human rights activist

With the closing of a major interstate in the heart of the city, Atlanta is facing a major transportation crisis. Traffic came to a standstill. Some parked their cars on side streets and chose to walk miles to get home. Schools have been closed. Workers must spend longer hours in their commute. Businesses and productivity will take a huge hit.

Monroe Drive Road Diet will save lives and improve quality of life

By Guest Columnist THOMAS HYNEMAN, whose daughter, Alexia, died in February after she and her bicycle were struck by a motorist at the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Drive.

I prefer to be direct so I will get right to it. A road diet on Monroe Drive could have saved my daughter’s life. A road diet, converting the four-lane road to three with a center turn lane, improves visibility and discourages speeding, so that even if my daughter had been hit, she would have had a much better chance of walking away from the crash.

Who killed the proposed stronger regulations for toxic coal ash?

By Guest Columnist DINK NESMITH, a Jesup native who is president and co-owner of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., publishers of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina

If fictional detective Sherlock Holmes were roaming the halls of the Georgia General Assembly, he could give an “elementary” clue why the proposed strengthening of coal-ash handling died before 2017’s Crossover Day. “My dear Watson,” the pipe-smoking sleuth would say, “follow the money.”

Georgia residents leverage solarize programs for residential solar growth

By Guest Columnist BETH BOND, curator of Sustainable News, Southeast Green

Last summer in a Green Tech Media article, Georgia Power received a disturbing headline. The headline was Georgia Power’s Rooftop Solar Program Signs Up Only 5 Customers. The implication was there was no solar market in Georgia for residential sign-ups. After all, the article reported, there were over 10,000 inquiries but only five customers who had actually signed up and gotten a solar installation. What was wrong with Georgia citizens?

Responding to Trump: Count one, two, three – breathe

By Guest Columnist JEREMY GARLINGTON, an executive leadership consultant who resides in Atlanta

While the contents of this post are political, the intent is apolitical. What does that mean? No axes to grind, no sides left to choose. Only observations that hopefully will lead to better perspective. So others in leadership positions can consider for their own usage.

Addressing Georgia’s chronically failing schools

By Guest Columnist DANA RICKMAN, PhD, the director for policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Last November, Georgia voters rejected a constitutional amendment to establish an Opportunity School District (OSD) that would have created a new state-run district with the authority to step in and manage “chronically failing” schools. At that time, 127 schools were on “the list.” These were schools that received a failing score on the state’s accountability report card three years in a row.

Tips on how to garden sustainably

By Guest Columnist SUSAN VARLAMOFF, the former director of the University of Georgia’s Office of Environmental Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and lifetime Master Gardener

Landscapes occupy vast swaths of land across urban and suburban areas in the U.S. and how we cultivate our gardens directly affects the surrounding environment. Since Atlanta is bisected by the Chattahoochee River, which serves as a drinking water source, runoff from the land directly impacts the river’s water quality. Misuse or overuse of fertilizers and pesticides can result in water contamination as these chemicals run off the land during rain events.

We are chronically failing, but it’s not our schools

By Guest Columnist FRANK BROWN, CEO of Communities in Schools of Atlanta

As the headlines come and go about our current political climate and the state of our international relations, our students are dying. Several weeks ago, two metro Atlanta students were killed by senseless gun violence. Violence in communities where we live and work is on the rise. Teachers and administrators are trained in self-defense tactics to ensure their safety as they work in communities plagued by the violence that poverty makes more likely.

Learning from our past for a brighter transit tomorrow

By Guest Columnist NATHANIEL SMITH, founder and chief equity officer (CEqO), Partnership for Southern Equity

More than 100 people attended an event at Georgia Tech recently to mark the release of a report, “Opportunity Deferred: Race, Transportation and the Future of Metropolitan Atlanta,” that was commissioned by the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE).