Consistency is a bad thing for Georgia agency
It seems that, once again, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is unprepared when the governor declares a state of emergency during the recent snow-and-ice-storm, which caused thousands of vehicle crashes, stranded many motorists, and saw schoolchildren being forced to spend the night at their schools because some roads were impassible.
Throughout all of this, GEMA has been virtually invisible to Georgians, when they should be a lead agency. When I served as hazard mitigation consultant to the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management, I was proud of the fact that my agency always learned from experience.
That is not the case with GEMA, which seems to have learned very little from the Snowmageddon event of a few years ago. At that time, I proposed to GEMA that a fleet of private trucks be recruited to handle removal of snow and ice where possible, and provide treatment with sand and/or salt mixture when needed. That is how things are done up North, and it saves the states there money while allowing private contractors a chance to earn some extra money during frequent winter weather emergencies.
GEMA managed to totally ignore this “modest proposal.” GEMA’s motto might well be “We’re always ready for the last disaster.” The agency is certainly not ready for the next one, or the one after that.
EUGENE ELANDER, DAHLONEGA
Opposition to cities
was hardly unspoken
In “New Cities Reignite Debate Over Race” (News, Jan. 25), Johnny Edwards and Bill Torpy report that 45 of 46 elected officials in seven, new, metro Atlanta cities are white, fueling suspicion that the cities were formed to preserve white political control. The reporters, however, describe such suspicion as “largely unspoken,” diminishing its seriousness.
In fact, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and the Rev. Joseph Lowery filed a federal voting rights lawsuit in 2011 demanding that the cities be dissolved precisely because minority residents would be unable to elect representatives to local office. Although a Republican-appointed judge dismissed the suit, its claim was prescient. An argument made collectively by the state’s black elected officials and a major civil rights leader is hardly “unspoken.” Unheeded would be more correct.
The General Assembly should not ignore the impact on racial equity as it considers allowing more new cities in DeKalb County.
MICHAN CONNOR, 2012-13 VISITING SCHOLAR, JAMES WELDON JOHNSON INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF RACE AND DIFFERENCE, EMORY UNIVERSITY
Cement traffic guides
hazardous to vehicles
I have noticed, with dismay, a dangerous trend in road “improvements” in Fulton County. Approaching the Chattahoochee River northbound on Johnson Ferry Road, such an improvement has been constructed at the intersection with Riverside Drive, just before drivers cross the bridge into Cobb County. Cement traffic guides approximately 5 to 6 inches high have been constructed, protruding into the right lane of Johnson Ferry Road.
Cars have hit these guides, causing considerable damage to tires and wheels. The same kind of construction exists in Roswell at the intersection of Mimosa Boulevard and Magnolia Street. This obstruction has an elevated traffic sign on it, but the traffic guide around its base is almost invisible at night. Painting these guides with reflective white paint and embedding red reflectors on them would be a great help to motorists in avoiding them.
HERBERT L. RENKIN, MARIETTA
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