What to do About Selfishness?
By Jim Durrett, President and CEO, The Buckhead Coalition
This morning, a Saturday, I took my electric bike out for a ride to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. I had one hour before my brother and his wife would be over to meet our new puppy. On my return home I stopped at a red light, preparing to turn right, with a “No Turn on Red” sign prominently displayed ahead. I waited patiently and then a car pulled up next to me in the left-turn-only lane, paused, and then gunned it, turning right in front of me to get to where the driver needed to go. In my head I said a few choice words not to be repeated here, but I kept thinking about what had just happened during the rest of my ride home.
Now my brother and his wife have come and gone, my wife is out for a bike ride, the puppy is napping, and I have decided what to write about for this column: selfishness.
Lately, the view from Peachtree has been one, at night, of dozens and dozens of loud, souped-up vehicles being driven recklessly and brazenly by selfish people. Dubbed “street racing,” this activity seems to be ubiquitous, not confined to Buckhead, and not even confined to Atlanta or Georgia. It appears to me to be a reaction to being cooped up during the earlier days of COVID, to a belief that police won’t or can’t do anything about it, and to a strong desire to draw attention to oneself in real life and online.
Early this morning I read a story online about our Atlanta Police Department and its efforts to address street racing in Atlanta. A commenter lamented that the City should not prioritize this “to score political points with Buckhead” and should instead focus on “real challenges, like housing, health and employment.” Our city government does focus on those challenges, and this isn’t about Buckhead. This is about public safety and how the selfish acts of a relative few are disrupting the lives of many thousands of people throughout the City of Atlanta.
This week, The Buckhead Coalition, along with the Buckhead Community Improvement District, Livable Buckhead, the Buckhead Business Association, representatives of Atlanta City Council and the Fulton County Commission, the Atlanta Police Department, the Atlanta Police Foundation, and citizens representing Buckhead’s Neighborhood Planning Units and all of our neighborhoods, will come together. We will kick off a thorough examination of our public safety issues in order to develop and implement a strategic plan to address brazen, unlawful behavior in a collaborative way.
We won’t be focusing on street racing – others are already working on this issue. We will focus on other selfish acts that are adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of many people who live and work in Buckhead, and those who enjoy coming here to dine and to shop.
I look forward to the outcomes from this process and the results to follow.