Over the years, suburban areas of outlying Atlanta have resisted having MARTA enter their counties and neighborhoods for what can only be described as a mix of station-phobia, SUV-love and socioeconomic homogeneity. Indeed, rather than more rail lines, more trains and more stations, MARTA has been designed to be similar to passenger rail -- air-conditioned, clean and quiet. Whereas all of these are good, having a station close to where you are and where you want to go is the hallmark of successful transit systems.
In Atlanta, we seem to have missed this point. MARTA spends years and millions of dollars, creating massive parking lots, gargantuan suburban multimodal terminals and "public art," all at the expense of more numerous, modest, convenient stations. Why even get out of my car, once I have started driving 15 miles to the nearest MARTA station? The number, style and cost of our current stations discourages ridership.
Finally, highway congestion, clean air and convenience have led massive funds to be released for construction of light rail into Cobb. Do we honestly suspect that having one line from some parking lot in Cobb County to the Arts Center station will do anything to alleviate the congestion of thousands of cars driving to the many office parks that dot our city? Hardly. We need to own up to a very simple and obvious fact in this city: If you are going to a sporting event or the airport, MARTA is fine. Other than that, it is essentially a useless waste of money. Sad thing is, as your article points out, it's the only form of transport many people have. Now, how many SUVs could we buy them with $2 billion?
-- Philip B. Herold, Atlanta
Dissing the gas guys
I am horrified by your recent article, "Pets agree: Death chamber a bad idea" (July 18). The very people who are supposed to care about mistreatment of animals -- namely Tommy Irvin, Ronald Totten and Bill Garrett -- know darn good and well that gas chambers do not work on young, old and pregnant animals. Not too long ago "shelter" workers in Griffin were caught drowning puppies and kittens because the gas chamber wouldn't kill them. Young animals do not breathe deeply enough to inhale enough gas to kill them, so for more than 12 years "shelter" workers routinely drowned puppies and kittens in five-gallon buckets. The gas may kill the pregnant mother but the babies inside her are still alive when she is dead. The gas chamber is unconscionable and cowardly. Will Irvin, Totten and Garrett also OK the drowning buckets? Yes, I suspect they will based on their past inaction.
When the Griffin scandal was exposed, it was certainly not Tommy Irvin, Ron Totten nor Bill Garrett who pursued the arrest and conviction of the guilty parties -- it was animal activists.
When these "men" say the gas chamber will be less stressful for the animals, they mean the human animals? Gee, they think it's stressful for workers to kill animals painlessly with injections? Try being the one shut in a dark strange gas chamber waiting and crying out for help that will never come.
Too many to kill and not enough time? Then why in the name of all that is good and decent aren't these men working as hard on eliminating the problem of pet over-population with low cost or free spay/neuter clinics as they are on killing the victims of pet over-population? The animals are innocent victims of the continued failure of humans to act responsibly toward animals. They are paying the ultimate price, death, and now you are telling me that we can't even be bothered with killing them in the most humane method possible -- lethal injection? What crap!
Perhaps it's time for Irvin, Totten and Garrett to retire -- apparently they have nothing further to bring to the table for the good of animals. With advocates like these three gas goons, the animals certainly do not need any enemies. In the future, if you want to know what's best for the animals, ask an animal rights activist. The only thing these Judases can tell you about animals is how best to cook and eat them.
-- Phyllis Bedford, Atlanta
Denial ain't just a river
If you had been infected with West Nile virus, it's very unlikely that you'd be dead or even sick (Jane Says, "A Legacy Continues," July 18). Most people who get bitten by an infected mosquito don't even have symptoms. Think about the millions of people who live in the New York-New Jersey area where we first saw the virus in 1999. That year, 62 got sick and of those, seven died. The next year, 21 got sick and two died. Most of the people who got sick were elderly or had weakened immune systems.
There's even something you can do about the small chance of getting infected. Mosquitoes don't fly very far from where they breed and hatch, which has to be in standing water.
When you feel a wave of hypochondria coming on, do what I do: First, put on some repellent that has DEET in it. Then, go around your yard emptying any water where the mosquitoes can breed. Look for open containers -- no matter how small -- cans, jars and jar lids, even pans under flowerpots. Empty and refill bird baths and kiddie pools at least once a week. Clean your gutters. Get rid of puddles and water accumulated on tarps etc. You get the idea.
-- Barbara Joye, Atlanta
Very insightful reading
It is apparent that Tina Trent is one of your most insightful and eloquent writers. She has a gift for highlighting the absurdity and hypocrisy too often demonstrated by high-profile public figures.
Ms. Trent's commentary on "The Clarence Thomas You Don't Know" ("Very Light Reading," July 18) could not have been more perfectly written. Her article went beyond mere facts into a textbook study of political smear campaigns.
She also has exposed the disturbing double-standard toward women in politics. The amazing duplicity of David Brock has, comparatively, barely registered on the political radar when compared to the massive effacement of Anita Hill's reputation. But it is only another sad testimony to the difficulties facing women in the current political climate. It also puts the spotlight squarely on the AJC for a wholly inappropriate one-sided article.
Somehow, even the most blatant facts are not immune to even the most outrageous spin. But thanks to writers like Trent, public figures cannot count on public apathy or short attention-spans to disguise their actions. I applaud Ms. Trent for her superb article. Now the question is: What are we going to do?
-- Reza Tirgari, MD, Decatur
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