Metro corruption strikes raw nerve
Edward L. Queen is surely correct to give voice to the outrage among DeKalb County citizens for the ethical breakdown in our county’s public life (“A loathsome iceberg of corruption,” Opinion Oct. 28) at the expense of those of us who have paid our taxes, only to see them squandered and misused. It seems wrong for Mr. Queen to pinpoint the Burrell Ellis case as the focal point of a general malfeasance that extends from the Board of Education to the Board of Commissioners. It also seems wrong to use the hearsay of what transpired among the jurors as a basis for condemning Mr. Ellis. As the saying goes, “The jury is still out.” I thank Mr. Queen for urging stronger enforcement, gift limits and other measures to ensure an ethical way forward for DeKalb. No enforcement can be strong enough considering the extent of the problem.
PRISCILLA H. PADRÓN, ATLANTA
I was impressed by the “fire and brimstone” piece by the Emory ethicist. Maybe that approach will work. So many years spent working for an effective ethics-in-government act at the state level with little progress. What will it take? Why does a majority of Georgia voters elect individuals who do not think ethics in government really matters that much? Does that majority feel that way? Or is the majority too busy to pay attention? Does that majority deserve what we have been getting?
I do not think this is what I deserve, but evidently, I belong to a minority. One of these days, something will happen to change the dynamic. Perhaps the former federal prosecutor is right about the awakening of the citizenry in DeKalb. But it was the Ellis trial jury forewoman who presented us with the real challenge: How can we human beings overcome certain feelings to carry out our obligation as citizens in our justice system? Education is supposed to provide us with the tools for critical thinking. There is another major issue.
ALIDA C. SILVERMAN, ATLANTA
Thank you Edward L. Queen for your column regarding the breadth of responsibility we all bear for the many corrupt leaders in our community. Indeed, to the extent leadership in the Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb county governments, as well as the Atlanta city schools, has been blinded by their more base inclinations, we are communally responsible. As Mr. Queen notes, we are racing to the bottom once again. Now, we’re trying to beat Chicago for the title of Corruption City. We should all be saddened. We are all responsible.
MOSHE R. MANHEIM, ATLANTA