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Latest polls show the Charter School Amendment vote will be close

Framing the argument is a key role in campaign messaging. So opponents of the charter school amendment, also referenced as Amendment One, may have just received a tip from a new autocall poll conducted on the issue.

The poll, administered on Oct. 4 and 5, covered two categories.

1. Support for changing the Georgia Constitution by passing Amendment One, and

2. The possible impact of the preamble on ‘undecided’ and ‘leaning no’ voters.

Posted inSaba Long

Bicycle travel making tremendous strides in metro Atlanta and Georgia

This past Saturday I woke up at what most folks in their 20s would deem an ungodly hour to make my way to the suburbs of Cobb County for my first bicycle ride on the Silver Comet Trail.

The first three miles consisted of me attempting to stay on the bike and in the lane while not swerving into mothers pushing strollers and girlfriends catching up over an early morning workout.

Nonetheless, the experience and the scenery was a perfect start to bicycle-centric weekend. During the three hours on the trails, nearly every passersby waved or acknowledged their fellow pedestrians and cyclists enjoying the brisk fall air.

Posted inSaba Long

Public education in Georgia — it’s time for a bold and different approach

Who is failing Georgia’s young students?

This year a new federal formula recalibrated Georgia’s graduation from 80 percent to 67.4 percent, meaning nearly one in three Georgia students fail to graduate from high school in four years.

A new Brookings Institute study notes that students who succeed in elementary and middle school grades, graduating high school with a 2.5 GPA without parenting a child or committing a crime, have a 75 percent chance of achieving a middle-class income.

There are three components that taxpayers need to review when it comes to public education: the accreditation by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), school board infighting, budget cuts.

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Reducing U.S. dependency on foreign oil is vital to our national security

As we move into the final weeks of the presidential campaign, $1.84 is a figure we’ll likely hear during the debates. This was the price per gallon of gas just days after President Barack Obama’s inauguration. This number has doubled in just under four years with no real expectation for a significant reduction in the price of oil.

Renewable energy sources provide for roughly 10 percent of American consumption, with 35 percent being provided by oil and the remainder coming from natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. Presently, the Department of Defense uses 22 gallons of petroleum daily per soldier in combat. It costs the Department of Defense — and ultimately taxpayers — $1.4 billion annually for each $10 increase in the cost of a barrel of oil, notes Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate.

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Atlanta citizens are key to making and keeping our communities safe

Just as they turned the corner of Peachtree and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a group of downtown neighbors noticed someone rummaging through one of a pair of planters flanking the entrance to their loft building. After chasing the young man away, one of the residents discovered the booty — a bag of oxycontin pills – that was in the adjacent, undisturbed planter.

Coincidentally, as they chatted about the discovery, a police cruiser stopped at the red light outside the building. The gentleman who found the bag approached the officer and motioned for his attention. The brief exchange ended as the seemingly unconcerned officer shrugged and drove off as the light turned green, leaving at least $300 worth of narcotics on the street.

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New SaportaReport columnist to explore what’s next for the region

Just a month before, we had all been in the same room at the top of the Marriott Marquis in the war room suite on the night of the July 31 primary. We were constantly hitting refresh on our laptops and iPads as the election results of the regional transportation sales tax referendum trickled in. There was a nervous energy in the room as we mentally prepared for the outcome of one of Georgia’s most important elections.

Thirty odd days later, we were comparing notes on our new projects and positions and sharing our concerns about the future of the region. As I sat back and observed the leaders in the room — the campaign’s chair, consultants and Metro Atlanta Chamber officials, I was sure that we were all still going over the “what-if” scenarios that could have led to passing the largest transportation infrastructure spending project metro Atlanta had ever seen.