3/22 Readers write

Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Doctor-patient relationships need protecting

Dear Georgia legislators and Gov. Brian Kemp: As a pediatric specialty physician in Georgia for over 40 years, I write to assure you that our state is fortunate to have excellent, highly trained specialist pediatricians who provide thoughtful, respectful, patient- and family-centered care.

These physicians, my colleagues, are bound by their oath to do no harm and to provide the care that you seek for your children centered on your own values. Please treasure and protect that doctor-patient relationship in your work in the legislature.


Online Op-Ed about housing crisis touts flawed legislative solution

In my 15 years in the Georgia Legislature, I saw much bad policy made because people paid attention only to the “purpose” of a bill, and not to its contents.

Take HB 517. It is touted, without details, in a recent AJC.com Op-Ed, as a way to increase affordable housing availability. Everybody is for that.

But a lot of people, including me, are against what is actually in the bill. In particular, it:

  • Prohibits cities from setting or enforcing minimum lot sizes larger than a half acre, or house sizes larger than 1,200 square feet, or minimum street frontage, anywhere;
  • Prohibits cities from setting or enforcing key “design elements” for new houses, including exterior walls and roofing materials, and foundations, to ensure that they don’t run down over time;

All this may be unconstitutional, under the Home Rule Amendment. But even if it isn’t, it’s bad policy, and shouldn’t pass.

It’s an example of a simple principle: Always read the bill.


Republicans say one thing, do the opposite

Republicans are reaching new heights of hypocrisy with very little note being made:

Republicans tout “home rule” but want to remove prosecutors who use their prosecutorial discretion the way that their constituents want rather than the way Republican legislators want.

Republicans claim to respect individual privacy but want to decide what treatments doctors can provide for transgender teenagers and pregnant women.

Republicans claim to support free speech but salute Ron DeSantis for punishing Disney for simply stating disagreement with his anti-LGBTQ positions.


Democracy endangered by right-wing movement

A large swath of the Republican Party has courted and embraced this right-wing movement. Perhaps its roots began at Ruby Ridge or Waco, but it’s here, and it’s real.

For the last 30 years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed all the different organizations in every state. Be it the Proud Boys or other organizations, they are not interested in the rule of law or compromise. They simply believe they are fighting to save America, and there is no middle ground.

We saw them on Jan. 6 at our nation’s Capitol, and we saw them in Wisconsin when they plotted to kidnap Michigan’s governor.

As long as Republicans give a quarter to these groups, they will continue to get stronger. The next big test of our democracy is the election of 2024. I hope our election officials are up to the job.