Think locally, act state-ly. It's all fine and dandy to get hot and bothered by who's going to be mayor and who's going to be on the commission, says Johnathan McGinty, but unless more progressives are sent to the State House which exercises lots of control over local governments, lots of important local changes simply won't happen. Want to provide property tax relief to low-income homeowners? Want the state DOT to start practicing a "complete streets" policy? Want the blue laws changed so we can get a full-service grocery store downtown? Help progressives get elected to the State House not just from Athens, but from districts throughout the state. It's a good suggestion. I'll be keeping it in mind as I decide where to make my political contributions next campaign season. (Don't blame Johnathan for the "act state-ly" abomination--he refrained.)
* * *"Worse than I remembered." That's how Pete McCommons summed up his recent trip down memory lane to the tense times preceding the admission of African-American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes to the University of Georgia. His memory was refreshed after reading We Shall Not Be Moved: The Desegregation of the University of Georgia by Robert Pratt. It's a book McCommons recommends, and one I'll be reading soon.
* * *How about something even better? In his most recent Athens Rising column in Flagpole, Kevan Williams highlights positive developments in Athens, but he pushes a little--asking for more. About the new river overlook, he asks: why not a full pedestrian bridge? About a new effort to convert blighted apartment complexes into affordable housing, he asks if the new low-income residents will have to drive or take long bus rides to get to grocery stores. These are good questions--questions that seek to enhance the connectivity and day-to-day practicality of the city we live in. Does it connect? Does it help with daily life? We should always ask these questions, even if we can't always realize them as fully as we'd like to.