Letters to the Editor - Overdue December 11 2003

You have written a masterpiece ("Big Brother's little helper," Dec. 4). Thank you for all the work involved, including the FOIA requests, and for sharing this important information regarding our lack of privacy and violation of civil liberties. We are overdue for more privacy legislation.

-- Peggy Davis, Atlanta

?A double
Bob Barr laments the gutting of the Fourth Amendment while he continues his assault on the First (Flanking Action, "No f***ing way," Nov. 27). In the same publication, no less. Hey Bobby, maybe you could try some kind of ballot initiative ... Nah, on second thought, I think somebody found a way to suppress that nasty little trick.

--Arland Miller, Lawrenceville

br>?Taken seriously
I can understand your objection to the "f word" on network or even cable TV (Flanking Action, "No f***ing way," Nov. 27). However, I strongly object to you blaming Bill Clinton for the FCC's lax rules concerning its use. Your party seems to blame him for every ill and problem not just here but worldwide. It smacks of hypocrisy when Bush is criticized for his laundry list of wrongs and we're told "that's unpatriotic, treasonist and wrong." You should put blame where blame belongs regarding the FCC situation, and that's with FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell. Oh look, a fellow Republican! See how the facts work? Try to be more factual and neutral in your next column, and you'll be taken seriously.

--Eddy Allgood, Lithia Springs

br>?What are we waiting for?
Solving a city's financial crisis without increasing taxes on the individual, you say (Fishwrapper, "Airport deal would fly," Nov. 27)? What a crazy idea. Sugg tackles the makes-too-much-sense-for-its-own-good idea of privatization of Hartsfield-Jackson, and makes the common man wonder: What the hell are we waiting for? Well, there are only two words stopping this idea: political power. The airport represents the largest piece of political capital in the city, and no politician in their right mind would walk away from that, unless they actually had the interests of their constituents in mind. But we all know how often that happens.

Until citizens actually make their voices heard in the voting booths, politicians will continue to behave one evolutionary rung below a prostitute. A wise man once said, "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenager."

--Jason McCarthy, Atlanta

br>?A bright idea
As one who has studied Atlanta's traffic problems for some time both with the Sierra Club and with the League of Woman Voters, I feel that the Beltline offers an opportunity to marry trips around the inside of 285 with five MARTA stations and over 50 bus lines (News & Views, "This is no loopy loop," Nov. 20). It offers a way to get to now-inaccessible places such as Piedmont Park and the whole complex which surrounds it, and many others.

I also see this as a way of developing affordable housing along transportation lines, by developing complexes such as the Atlantic Steel development on transportation, thus giving a larger ridership to MARTA. This is what must be done to make MARTA and our transportation system successful, as we need greater densities in order to do this. If Atlanta is to continue to grow, then it must solve this problem, or new industries will not locate here and some that are here may leave. Our big problem, here is financing, which may come in part from developers who will build this housing, but also should come from the state and federal governments.

--Jean Robertson, Atlanta

br>?Thinking ahead
I recently took the tour of the proposed Beltline, and realized what an incredible opportunity this is to weave our city together (News & Views, "This is no loopy loop," Nov. 20). Talk about smart growth — this is a truly forward-thinking, doable project. It definitely needs to happen.

--Andrea Bennett, Atlanta

br>?A welcome relief
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who rides MARTA (News & Views, "This is no loopy loop," Nov. 20).

Oh, there are others on the train with me, but most of the people going to work are in their cars. Lots and lots of cars. I'm thankful I have MARTA. I also have a Mercedes C-280, but as nice as the car is, it's no fun in traffic. Book, magazine, Spanish tapes — MARTA is my downtime. I encourage my co-workers to ride as well, but hear the same old song: "By the time I drive to a station, I'd be at work."

I go through hell and high water to be able to ride MARTA to work. I take a scooter to the Midtown station, then a shuttle on the other side to my office. In the afternoons, I walk 20 minutes to get to the station, then take the scooter after my train ride.

The Beltline will change this. At least for other riders. They can walk out their doorsteps, hop on the trolley, and go to a MARTA station effortlessly. And I can take the Beltline to all the places in the city I want to go without dragging out the car.

I envision a time when my car will be only an accessory. A luxury for long trips, but nothing I really need in Atlanta. I think the Beltline can help make that dream a reality. And I'm ready to see my taxes go toward it.

-- Heddy Smith, Atlanta

br>?Who's that man?
Now my mind is completely blown. I couldn't agree more with Flanking Action ("Pre-emptive strike hits high school," Nov. 20), describing the overreaching of authority in the Stratford High School raid and in general. When I first read it, I was saying aloud "Right On!" and "Damn Straight!" ... and only at the bottom did I find out the author — the same fellow who congratulated Ashcroft for ordering the egregious persecution of our medicinal cannabis suppliers!

Live and learn! Did Cheryl Miller affect your thinking, Mr. Barr?

-- Rick Steeb, San Jose, Calif.

br>?Welcome to the club
Bob, you were a great one for fanning the flames of the drug war when you were in office despite your sterling civil liberties record (Flanking Action, "Pre-emptive strike hits high school," Nov. 20).

Having second thoughts? Welcome to the club.

Sorry it took a beating to get your attention. We could use you now on some civil liberties issues.

Given all that, why is it that pols only wake up to this issue after leaving office? Why no courage in office? That is the really great question. Americans favor medical marijuana by better than 2-1. Why is the political class better than 2-1 in the other direction?

-- M. Simon, Atlanta

br>?Ultimate scapegoat?
I read with interest John Sugg's latest article on the Terri Schiavo controversy in Florida (Fishwrapper, "Saving Terry Schiavo, killing America," Nov. 13). A nice follow-up to the articles tying George Bush to the Nazis. I will be anxiously awaiting the next issue, where hopefully he can tie Georgia's budget deficit, Michael Jackson's arrest, the prescription drug plan, failing schools, unequal distribution of wealth, endangered animals, and the assassination of JFK, among all other societal ills, on the Republican party (and George W. Bush in particular) connection to Nazis in World War II. Amazing work, please keep it up! By the way, is there an actual place where people like him go to become crazy, or is that simply a gift bestowed at birth?

-- Aaron Clark, Atlanta