Columns & editorials for Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1998
The scary jingle of car keys
Unless parents want to run a perpetual taxi service, they are forced to face the inevitable: their child is going to drive.
Justice still off key on roads program
B y his recent remarks it would seem Bibb County Commission Chairman Larry Justice doesn't get it. In his role as a member of the executive committee for the Bibb County Road Improvement Program he has consistently backed away from citizen input.
Justice has depicted groups like CAUTION Macon as spoilers inhibiting progress. He has discounted the group's number, saying, "We've been worn out by a certain group of folks. There are 150,000 people in Bibb County, and only about 275 to 300 of them are in the (CAUTION Macon group)."
Justice also said of Walter Kulash, the nationally recognized road engineer invited in by Mayor Jim Marshall to look over the projects, that all he has accomplished is to "save some trees."
We beg to differ. Saving trees is a laudable goal in itself, but it could also save money. If Kulash's recommendations are followed it just might save enough to widen Vineville Avenue, a road that actually needs it but is not on any plan.
Justice has given the impression that government is an adversary instead of a partner. The continued mistrust may be the most unfortunate after-effect of the roads program.
Justice has even accused the mayor of attempting to micromanage the roads program and stated that the city is just an invited guest, which may get uninvited to this $300 million roads party. While we have criticized the mayor on other matters, in the roads program he appears to have the right idea. The roads we build today will have a dramatic influence on our community. Jack hammers and saws used in the wrong places could shove our fragile heritage into a great leap backward. Somebody has got to ask the right questions and come up with better answers. Kulash and, lately, the mayor seemed to have filled a vacuum in that regard.
Chairman Justice should get used to the idea instead of bucking it.
- Charles E. Richardson/For the editorial board
It's three strikes and out for Saddam
T he Old West adage that you shouldn't draw your gun unless you're willing to use it applies to the U.S. in its ongoing confrontations with Saddam Hussein. This time few doubted - notably Saddam - that Washington's gun had cleared the holster with an itchy finger on the trigger. But once again the Iraqi dictator folded at the last second and "surrendered" before shots were fired.
That left the administration in the familiar never-never land between relief and frustration. Relief because one doesn't wish to shoot unless one has too, frustration because Saddam had drawn the U.S. into an expensive attack posture once again, only to capitulate.
President Clinton's spin on the matter was that while Saddam had backed down he must now live up to his obligations. That presumably means that the next time Iraq ousts or interferes with U.N. arms inspectors, the U.S. would lock the door on all Saddam's diplomatic escape routes and open fire.
The tough talk doesn't rest on much of a foundation. Three times the U.S. has spent millions of dollars to send carriers, warplanes and troops in a show of might against Iraq. Three times Saddam has blinked. Clinton is now wedded to a position that in the future blinks don't count. Next time Saddam turns defiant the U.S. has little choice but to pull the trigger.
- R. L. Day/For the editorial board
We knew it all along
A suggestion in this space last week that there was a reasonable doubt that the Atlanta Falcons would prevail over arch-rival San Francisco is hereby belatedly withdrawn. (Talk about Monday morning quarterbacking.)
As it happened, the Birds showered the Georgia Dome in unaccustomed glory Sunday, bouncing the West Coast foreigners 31-19, thereby perching themselves atop the division. Let's all flap our elbows and do the "Dirty Bird."
In last week's editorial, we implored the Falcons to "make us believe all things are possible, including the Super Bowl." They did. If we'd known all we had to do was ask we'd have done it a long time ago.
Our Super Bowl prediction: Falcons 52, Broncos 0. It's beyond a reasonable doubt.
- R. L. Day/For the editorial board