By Sam Burnham
It's been a tough week for this writer. I've sat down five or six times to type out this week's update to no avail. It's not really. Writer's block as much as it is a topic block. Ihaveseveralideasfor posts in the coming weeks. They are mostly ideas that involvemorethan just sitting down to write and the ground work on them is not yet complete. There were other ideas that got the axe before I even got out the keyboard.
My comrades on the radio discussed a story by another New Yor based outlet that asserted that barbecue is racist. I've just come to grips with the fact that New York journalists will say anything that is traditionally Southern is racist. It is the only thing they seem to think about everything. It's old,it's tired, that's all for that this week.
NewOrleans is trying to destroyit's pastby removing monuments that commemorate the Confederacy. I'm sure removing statues from town willcompletelysolve the poverty and crime problems in New Orleans. Such a bold decision will surely put an end to the corruption that always exposesitselfin Louisiana politics.
There are other topics,some even funny,that Ijust couldn't get motivated enough to expound on.
But I'm not out. There is more to come.
By Sam Burnham
2017 has been an eventful year for Metro Atlanta traffic. A fire under an elevated section of I-85 resulted in a collapse of the roadway. A truck overturned on I-75 and spilled a load of foam tomahawks that were headed to the SunTrust Park, the new $1 billion home of the Braves. Other overturned trucks have caused Hazmat incidents that have closed down both I-285 and the Downtown Connector (the combined wrath of I-75 & I-85 which cuts through downtown). A broken gas line led to the buckling of several lanes of I-20. And a sinkhole ate a chunk of 5th Street in Midtown. This doesn't factor in the questionable condition of practically every surface street in the city or the lack of any visible plan to remedy those abysmal byways.
And Metro Atlanta continues to grow.
And as it grows we begin to see more and more pockets of impoverished areas. These are areas with failing schools, ignored infrastructure, blight, and, therefore, a general feeling of hopelessness - failing communities. And as the real estate prices in Atlanta continue to rise, the people in these areas become less and less likely to find themselves capable of relocating to an area that can provide a realistic option for people to become self-sufficient.
It also is a drag on resources. The state just spent several years entangled in a protracted courtroom water war with Alabama and Florida. The biggest factor in that struggle was the amount of water that Atlanta removes from the Chattahoochee basin. This water usage is damaging the mollusk habitats in the Apalachicola estuary. That might just sound like a silly hippie issue but that estuary provides a major industry for the state of Florida. That's not to mention the number of cities and towns downstream that are trying to live off of the water in that river as well.
Throughout that fight Atlanta was pushing for interbasin water transfers. This involves Atlanta taking water from Lake Allatoona, in the Coosa Basin, and piping it to Atlanta, in the Chattahoochee Basin. This might be good for Atlanta, and Columbus, perhaps even Apalachicola but it stinks to High Heaven for Acworth, Cartersville, Rome, Gadsden, Montgomery, and Mobile. If this is the only solution Atlanta can find to provide water for a city that may reach the population density of New York City, we'll find ourselves in another water war; one that we're likely to lose.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, American cities exploded with opportunity and people left rural areas to find their fortunes in the industrial workforce. But America's industrial age is over. There are still jobs in factories but there is no need in hallucinating about a second Industrial Revolution in this nation. Our economy must be reinvented. And it must be reinvented on the lowest levels and let entrepreneurs lead the way to the future.
So I call us back to several pieces I've written on the small towns of rural Georgia. There are many with rudimentary infrastructure in place. It is time to start investigating the possibilities of engaging these areas with private, and perhaps even public investment to enable these places to offer Georgians a more sustainable way of life. We can promote more self-sufficiency, spread the use of resources out over different sources, inspire a sense of community rather than lengthy commutes from bedroom communities ,and provide more affordable housing. In short, revitalizing small towns throughout the state, and the South, can provide a more sustainable life for people.
While Atlanta's sprawl has left it incapable of maintaining it's infrastructure, small towns will leave the dispersion of resources closer to the people who hold the local governments responsible -the citizenry.. These governments will be more efficient and less prone to the corruption we see in Atlanta's municipal departments. And telecommuting, as well as enterprises that can be run from home, will eliminate commutes, save people hundreds of wasted hours a year, improve workforce morale, and make life better for millions.
So as Atlanta becomes less sustainable by the day, we need to look outward for solutions, rather than waiting for a problem to fix itself.
(CC: Charlotte, Nashville, Birmingham, and Memphis)
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' "
Luke 24: 1-7
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire