Letters to the editor 

We'll still miss him too

On behalf of the Breeze Kings band, I would like to thank you for listing our drummer Tim Gunther as one of the "People We Will Miss Most in '06" ("Year in culture," Dec. 29).

Tim's loss has been a devastating one for the band, but the respect he has received in the local music media has been very special and is very much appreciated by the band, our fans and the local blues community.

The Breeze Kings band moves forward, but our lost friend is never forgotten. CL has helped in that regard and for that, we thank you very much.

-- Carlos Capote, The Breeze Kings

Back of the bus

I was heartened by the letters criticizing Georgia's sinister-sounding black box voting system (Going Postal, Dec. 22). However, Georgia's election woes go beyond even this.

Georgia has arguably the most repressive and undemocratic ballot laws in America. Since 1943, Georgia requires a petition, signed by 5 percent of registered voters, for any third party candidate for the U.S. House to get on the ballot.

This effectively outlaws the creation of viable, active alternative parties in Georgia. No third party candidate has ever been able to meet this outrageous signature requirement. Not one.

In 2001, Richard Winger, America's leading ballot law expert, observed: "In all U.S. history, no one has ever overcome a ballot access hurdle for U.S. House greater than 13,000 signatures. Yet in the average district in Georgia, almost 15,000 signatures are required." Ballot laws for other offices are similarly crippling.

Thus Georgians are denied the right to vote for Libertarians (except for a few offices), Greens, Constitutionalists and other parties. Voters don't get to hear new ideas these candidates bring. Or benefit from the political competition.

Of course, this is great for those in power. In the 2004 elections, over 50 percent of the state House, over one-third of the state Senate, and one-third of House seats had only one candidate.

Last year, legislation to reform this -- HB927, the Ballot Access Reform Act of 2005 -- was introduced in the Georgia General Assembly. However, the Republican-Democratic monopoly voted it down.

Historically, new parties have played a vital role in American politics. In Georgia, however, they have been forced to the back of the bus.

-- James W. Harris, Rydal

Similar story on the way

I wanted to thank you for your article explaining what's happening in Sudan (News & Views, Don't Panic, Dec. 22). I remember people being shocked about the events that happened in Rwanda after seeing the movie Hotel Rwanda. Every time someone would tell me how surprised they were that the killing in Rwanda was allowed to happen, I would explain that the same thing was happening in Sudan, and that we'd be seeing another movie in about 10 years that would tell a similar story, although with a much higher number of deaths.

Again, thank you for your article. At least someone in our corner of the world isn't ignoring what's going on in Sudan.

-- Cynthia Johnson, Atlanta

Spreading their disease

Requiring "nightclubs" to have parking is foolish for so many reasons (News & Views, "Attrition, Atlanta-style," Dec. 22). We have enough problems with car-centric development in this city (sometimes to the point of being pedestrian unfriendly). Why encourage people to drive to the place they want to drink? Added to a Byzantine licensing system, it's yet another attempt to squash Buckhead's nightlife. Which wouldn't bother me -- if it were only Buckhead. I understand (even if I don't agree with) that neighborhood's desire to transform itself.

Unfortunately, yet again, the solutions for Buckhead's problems become problems for the rest of us.

I haven't set foot in a "nightclub" in Buckhead in ages. I haven't parked there to attend a "nightclub" in even longer. And I can't remember the last time I shot someone there after 2:30 a.m.

Yet for some reason, all the nightclubs, bars and restaurants I frequent get screwed every time some Buckhead problem gets "solved."

City council members Howard Shook and Clair Muller should find a way to clean up their own back yard without making it a problem for everyone else's district, and I intend to let my district representative know it.

-- Frederick Noble, Atlanta

.com-ments

The situation in nightclubs is that they have a tremendous impact on the surrounding community (News & Views, "Attrition, Atlanta-style," Dec. 22).

Behaviors in and around the club from patrons arriving and leaving to those who are drawn to the activity and want to introduce illicit activity with club patrons as their customers; it really makes a difference to the surrounding area, especially if it is mixed use.

The need for adequate parking, as well as security and management of that parking, is critical to ensuring safe and professional operations and discouraging criminal activity or the potential for criminal activity around the clubs and in the surrounding area.

This also speaks to the need for a proper district/zoning location for nightclubs versus restaurants and local neighborhood taverns.

It presents an opportunity for the nightclub operators themselves to proactively pursue the creation of a parking structure or work with a professional parking operator who might be willing to look into the feasibility of developing and operating surface parking for multiple businesses allowing for the sharing of costs among the multiple businesses while complying with code.

As someone who deals with neighborhoods greatly impacted by nightclubs; it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that developers and operators of these types of businesses be required to address both customer service needs and impacts upon the area within which they would like to be located.

-- Nmcnamara, via atlanta.creativeloafing.com

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