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-- C. S. Ledlie, Atlanta
No breathing room
The use of militaristic terminology to describe business activity -- as in HomeDepot, Chick-fil-A and CNN having "conquered the nation" (Jane Says, "Wis-ful Thinking," May 23) -- always catches my attention. The "carnage" occurring in American office buildings (and also in our sporting arenas) nearly rivals that which we have wrought on battlefields. Our hyper-aggressive vocabulary is not necessarily a bad thing. But I think an argument can be made that our military has and will continue to define us.
That was an aside. The real reason I'm writing is to say that the perspective of Atlanta depicted in the last 15 percent of that column differs diametrically with the perspective of this city I have formed over the last 11 years. The air quality here is terrible, and it's going to get worse. The traffic is arguably the most dangerous in the country, and it's going to get worse. The electricity goes off and on so frequently, we don't even bother resetting the answering machine, and have to rely on wind-up clocks. The school system just might be the worst among industrialized nations. There is a water shortage, and it's going to get worse. There is more aggression and hostility between cultures here than in most other large cities. The state and local political administrations are corrupt and inept. They have sacrificed the environment and the quality of life in favor of the physical growth that keeps the local economy strong, and it's going to get worse.
I've had some bad experiences in Atlanta: life-threatening injuries, career and economic "glass ceilings," and unethical acquaintances. But I'm getting better, and will soon be leaving this -- how did you put it? -- "successful, racially mixed, open-minded city in a beautiful climate, with plenty of room to grow," even though I will not get to eat at La Fonda or Burrito Art. In addtion, under May 17 in the "Last Week" column of the May 23 CL, it is strongly implied that unnamed Georgia environmental officials are predicting worsening pollution in Atlanta due to the current president's "energy plan."
I am heartened to know that these environmental officials have finally taken an interest in the gross air around Atlanta. I would like to know, however, where they were during the last eight years, when the non-Republican local and state political administrations were thoughtlessly and wantonly trashing the environment in favor of economic growth, and the non-Republican federal administration stood by with its trousers down, watching.
-- Andy Haraldson, Atlanta
Big timber falls hard
Poor Amanda Kail seems all confused in her letter to the editor (If a Tree Falls in the Woods ... , May 16) First of all "we, the people" live under a Federal Republic system, not a democracy. That so-called "democratically decided" law was anything short of fair. I am a private land-owner in your beloved West and there are many unhappy citizens and elected officials who despise Bill Clinton's method of designating these parcels of land via the executive orders. Ahhhh ... the executive order. When a president knows he does not have the support he needs to pass a bill or make a law, he just goes ahead and writes out a nifty note and ba-da-bing "we, the people" have another federal imposition to deal with.
From what you wrote I must determine that you are an "issues" type of gal. You think government is OK when it does what you want, but when it opposes abortion or supports the right to bear arms I am sure you get your little panties in a wad. Now, myself, I can do without the bloated federal system that has strayed far, far away from the Constitution. It is typical of someone like yourself to fall head-over-heels in love with Clinton's short-sighted plan to blanket the country with one standard. All Bush Jr. is trying to do is review the executive orders and allow local governments to manage their own land via the public opinion of the citizens who live in that area.
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