Readers Write: 1/31


Emory should join effort to help rid slavery today

Emory University has issued an apology (of sorts) for its historical involvement with slaves.

So what? History cannot be changed, not even with a thousand apologies. However, human trafficking (as slavery is currently called) is alive and well, in America and other countries. With their statement, Emory joined a list of influential organizations, states and big businesses. Let’s see Emory and these other organizations join forces to end today’s slavery and suffering. Don’t just apologize. Do something about the problem.

David Jackson, Duluth


Nation needs solid plan to boost the economy

With all of the clamoring about who sat where, who sat next to whom, etc. during the State of the Union, all I could think of was the old adage about “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Unless they can right the course of the economy, where they sit will have no consequence. Our elected leaders need to concentrate on concrete actions, not symbolic gestures and empty speeches. They owe our great country and us that much. Right now, we are adrift with the political winds.

Steve Miles, Jefferson

Georgia ethics policy one of toughest in U.S.

Why allow reporters to write a misnamed “Truth-o-meter” (“View of ethics law doesn’t take in big picture,” Jan. 25) when it is an opinion piece belonging on the Opinion page? To paraphrase Adm. Farragut, his mission was “Damn the facts and full speed ahead.”

The reporter claims Rep. Joe Wilkinson is wrong to state that “a national organization says Georgia has one of America’s toughest ethics laws.” But Wilkinson is right. The reporter twists information around to define “ethics” his own way.

Financial disclosure is where legislative ethics start. Otherwise, there’s nothing to build on. Georgia in 2009 was ranked seventh nationally by the Center for Public Integrity based on its ethics/disclosure law. So no matter how the reporter defines it, Georgia has one of the toughest ethics laws.

Last year penalties were increased for elected officials and lobbyists who fail to comply. Reporting requirements were strengthened so expenditures have more public visibility, making lawmakers more accountable. Also consider that by placing caps on expenditures several lobbyists could easily split the cost of an expenditure on a lawmaker to keep it below the reporting level. The Legislature’s solution was full disclosure, not a patch.

The new law just took effect, coinciding with the legislative session. This is certainly too short a period to judge, by any measure, the effectiveness of a good law that was made better.

Aside from the center, no other organization does ethics rankings nationally. The center will initiate a study of all 50 states again, and I believe Wilkinson should be vindicated again when that report concludes that Georgia has one of America’s toughest ethics law.

Dan Moody, former chairman of the Georgia Senate Ethics Committee