You probably wouldn’t know it from checking our local media outlets, but Georgia Power, the state’s largest electric utility, is at the center of one of the biggest consumer shakedowns in state history – and there could be more bad news on the way.
Bridgett Liquori is an outlaw, not that you’d know from looking at her. This petite 34-year-old single mother’s crime? She loves her children and is risking everything to keep them as happy, safe and healthy as possible.
If that means breaking state and federal laws to get the medical cannabis her kids need to treat their daunting illnesses, then so be it.
From the capitol dome to the Georgia Dome, our city’s ascendance as a pop cultural and political powerhouse was on full display over the weekend. For very different reasons, and in markedly different ways, a diverse cross-section of citizens living in the U.S. of Atlanta were inspired to “Rise Up.”
Georgia’s Legislature has suffered a failure to launch on the issue of public transportation for years, but that may finally be changing. A legislative study committee report released last month recommends that the state provide operating funds to local transit agencies all across Georgia – including MARTA.
Yes, it’s only a study committee and waaay to early to start celebrating. But this promising and long overdue development has implications that are too important for even the most cynical among us (me) to dismiss. While flying pigs exist only in fantasy, a serious discussion about dedicated transit funding in Georgia is already taking flight.
Republican lawmaker Allen Peake of Macon has emerged as Georgia’s unlikely “dean” of medical marijuana. Peake strongly opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But he’s a staunch champion in the fight to provide legal access for Georgians suffering with chronic illnesses who benefit from cannabis oil, a form of marijuana that offers relief without getting users high. In the first installment of the I-420 Georgia travelogue series, I interviewed Peake at his office in Bibb County. Peake spoke openly about the challenges that advocates face in expanding Georgia’s existing medical marijuana law, and the unusual (and illegal) steps he’s taking to aid patients in the meantime.
Still basking in the afterglow of a wildly successful sales tax referendum on Election Day, the transit agency on Monday broke ground on its next Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) at the Avondale station in Decatur.
After quitting my good government job four months ago, I’ve been on a journey without a road map or any guarantee that I’ll reach the final destination in one piece. I confess this adventure seems a little bit nuts. Scary too.
But, throwing caution (and what’s left of my 401K) to the wind, I’m planning a regular feature on SaportaReport called “I-420 Georgia.” The goal is simple: to create a rolling travelogue highlighting the people, places and businesses being impacted by Georgia’s existing marijuana laws.
For local voters suffering from PESD – Post-Election Stress Disorder – DeKalb County CEO-elect Michael Thurmond provided just what the doctor ordered.
Flush from an election night victory, Thurmond delivered a thoughtful and inspiring speech last Thursday that hinted at his “new vision” for repairing the county long beset by racial divisiveness, bureaucratic mismanagement and political scandal.
Diehards still watching broadcast TV may remember CBS as the “Tiffany Network,” and the venerable “60 Minutes” newsmag as its crown jewel. Sadly, the show’s pre-election curtain-raiser about historic votes to legalize marijuana felt more like shopping for cubic zirconia knockoffs at the strip mall. The “Pot Vote” story started out O.K. with an intro from Dr. […]
Quick question: When’s the last time you washed a rental car? If the answer is “never,” you’re hardly alone. The timeworn adage that most people take better care of physical assets that they own outright has been confirmed by scientific research and just plain common sense.
However, the innate human impulse to be a good custodian of one’s possessions is attenuated (or disappears) when it comes to public goods such as our transit infrastructure, including MARTA.
The reception I’ve received from well-wishers welcoming me back to TSR (Uh-huh, that’s what I’m calling the SaportaReport from now on) has been flattering, as well as humbling. My sincere thanks to everyone who has posted a message on this website, texted, tweeted, emailed or called me with their congratulations on my admittedly wayward return to journalism. I truly appreciate your support and I’ll do my best not to screw this up.
While all that goodwill is still fresh on my mind, I wanted to highlight the comments of Shirley Franklin who is not only the former Mayor of Atlanta, but also a whip-smart policy wonk and all-around good egg.
Nearly eight years ago, I briefly joined the ranks of SaportaReport shortly after its debut. Following some career diversions that took me in a very different direction (namely, flakking for MARTA) I’m returning as a regular columnist and sometime-editor for SaportaReport, which has become one of the best, most influential newsblogs covering our region.
Go to any neighborhood meeting, mayoral forum or happy hour in Atlanta and ask folks to rank the issues that worry them most. I’d bet dollars to donuts that “crime” and “the economy” will top their lists.
I’ve been wondering a lot about how these issues are related and concluded that instead of putting more people in prison-issue, orange jumpsuits we’d be better off preparing them to become part of the coming “green collar” economy.
I realize that talking about job training for criminals seems untimely when we’re so busy being scared witless about becoming their next victims. But I’m convinced my proposition would ultimately be much cheaper, and saner.
It’s easy to see why our community is obsessed with crime. Our fight-or-flight response has been raised to fever pitch by a series of high-profile crimes in Atlanta – including the tragic murders of an elderly laundry worker, an outstanding young boxer and a popular bartender.
As a result of our anxieties, gun sales are up and more people are getting home security systems (assuming they can still afford to actually live in their homes).
Our local news outlets are also feeding the frenzy; most TV stations have adopted the “if it bleeds it leads” approach to journalism and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution launched a new online service that will enable its readers to track neighborhood crime stats as easily as Braves box scores.
That oft-repeated line was first written by Mary Anne Evans, the Victorian novelist who was best known by her pen name, George Eliot.
Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t know George Eliot from George Foreman. Frankly, until I sat down to write this column, I was clueless about the fact that Eliot (who more famously authored the classic, Silas Marner) was a woman.
But that trenchant question, asked rhetorically by one of Eliot’s fictional characters, has been nagging at me lately.
Considering what’s happening to the newspaper industry, in general and metro Atlanta media, in particular, I wonder ‘who will tell the people?’
As a lifelong reporter, the meltdown of modern journalism has me understandably worried. As a citizen of this region, the implosion of our local newspapers has me terrified.
My former employer and the state’s largest daily newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has shrunk – literally and figuratively – into a shadow of its former self as its readership and revenues have tanked.
In the two years since I left the AJC, the staff has been cut dramatically, key departments have been downsized or eliminated and the reporters still working there are stretched far too thin to do their best work.
Recently, the paper’s publisher announced the decision to shutter the AJC’s storied downtown headquarters and move the bulk of its operations out to the suburbs by the middle of 2010.
Witnessing the downward spiral of the Atlanta Journal- Constitution reminded me how it felt watching my father die. I wanted him to keep fighting for his life, but it seemed he’d just stopped trying.
I can only hope that’s not happening at the AJC.
Vincent Grover Harris passed away two years ago. He’d been in faltering health and, at one point, my family was faced with a decision that’s painfully familiar to children with aging parents; whether to move him out of the comfortable home where he lived with my Mom into a medical facility some distance away where he’d get better care.
We visited several places, but deep down, we knew moving him wouldn’t make much difference. We’d never cheat death but, perhaps, we hoped it would buy us more time.
It was a wrenching choice and it seems the situation may be just as grave for the city’s biggest and oldest daily newspaper.
A week ago, my colleague Maria Saporta, broke the story that the AJC was considering a move from its gritty downtown headquarters on Marietta Street to the sanitized Perimeter Center office complex in suburban DeKalb County.
On Monday, Michael Joseph, the newspaper’s publisher du jour, essentially confirmed Saporta’s earlier account; the building that has been a fixture in the heart of the city since 1972, and the paper which had been based there for more than 140 years, would be decamping for the Perimeter by mid-2010.
History proves that an occasional revolution is good for the soul. In fact, they can be critical to our society’s survival.
Not very long ago, “going green” was dismissed as a passing fad promoted by aging hippies, tree-huggers and assorted cranks. No longer. Nowadays, the Green Revolution has become mainstream. Suddenly it seems everyone is jumping on the cleaner, greener bandwagon – and that’s a good thing.
But in metro Atlanta and elsewhere, the green movement hasn’t been especially popular in communities of color.
Although there’s sparse research on the subject, a 2004 poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that support for environmental regulations was lower among African-Americans and Latinos than it was for other ethnic groups.
There may be some solid reasons for the racial disconnect according, to Van Jones, founder of a Oakland-based organization called Green for All.
In a 2007 article for the magazine “Color Lines,” Jones said, “Too often (Blacks and minorities) have said: ‘We are overwhelmed with violence, bad housing, failing schools, excessive incarceration, poor healthcare and joblessness. We can’t afford to worry about spotted owls, redwood trees and polar bears.”‘
Jones went on to explain why he believes that racial dynamic is changing.
“Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath taught us that the coming ecological disasters will hit the