Monday, December 04, 2006

In other news . . .

From Jay Bookman, Sonny Perdue's approach to transit is inconsistent:

One of the most common excuses for opposing mass transit in Atlanta is that it would need taxpayer subsidies. That's essentially the position taken by Gov. Sonny Perdue, who says he would support mass transit that proves it can operate without subsidies.

That is the same Sonny Perdue who gave Kia, a South Korean automaker, $400 million in subsidies to locate an auto plant in Columbus. In rural parts of the state, we try to subsidize growth by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on "developmental highways" — four-lane divided highways that are often so empty you could use them as airport runways. Georgians for Better Transportation, a lobbying group that generally opposes transit in favor of roads and highways, wants to fund its wish list of projects with a new statewide one-penny sales tax, which would be a subsidy of enormous proportions.

Yet somehow, subsidizing transit is considered, well ... un-Georgian. It's a mind-set that has to change.

From Political Insider, Kasim Reed loves the DLC - well, except Hillary:

The two-way race for the Democratic nomination was supposed to be between Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, who bears some comparison with Romney, when you think about it. But that ray of clarity shattered when Warner dropped out of the race in October.

Since then, state Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta) said last week, "I've been just lost. I haven't even gotten off the ground yet." But Reed also said he was tremendously impressed with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who'll be making the South Carolina leg of his announcement tour Monday, and has been hearing good things about Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

From Blog For Democracy, more immigrants mean less crime:

Ramiro Martinez Jr., a professor of criminal justice at Florida International University, has sifted through homicide records in border cities like San Diego and El Paso, both heavily populated by Mexican immigrants, both places where violent crime has fallen significantly in recent years. "Almost without exception," he told me, "I've discovered that the homicide rate for Hispanics was lower than for other groups, even though their poverty rate was very high, if not the highest, in these metropolitan areas." He found the same thing in the Haitian neighborhoods of Miami. In his book "New York Murder Mystery," the criminologist Andrew Karmen examined the trend in New York City and likewise found that the "disproportionately youthful, male and poor immigrants" who arrived during the 1980s and 1990s "were surprisingly law-abiding" and that their settlement into once-decaying neighborhoods helped "put a brake on spiraling crime rates."

The most prominent advocate of the "more immigrants, less crime" theory is Robert J. Sampson, chairman of the sociology department at Harvard. A year ago, Sampson was an author of an article in The American Journal of Public Health that reported the findings of a detailed study of crime in Chicago. Based on information gathered on the perpetrators of more than 3,000 violent acts committed between 1995 and 2002, supplemented by police records and community surveys, it found that the rate of violence among Mexican-Americans was significantly lower than among both non-Hispanic whites and blacks.

From Bill Shipp, I learn that I'll never chair a committee in the state house:

Richardson is busy shoring up his base in Atlanta. Richardson has assessed each of his House committee chairmen up to $70,000 to spend on maintaining Republican control of the House.

"In Glenn [Richardson]'s House, that $70,000 is simply the cost of being a chairman," one very knowledgeable source observes. Murphy, even in his heyday, never moved so aggressively. Of course, Murphy saw holding the speaker's gavel as the main prize, perhaps even trumping the governorship. Richardson might see the speaker's slot as simply a step on the ladder.

From David Adelman, the Georgia Town Act:

In our state, many unincorporated areas such as Tucker, St. Simons and Vinings already feel like small towns. They have important common interests and aspirations as well as unique characteristics and desires. Even though these communities do not have distinct governmental boundaries or structure, residents and local businesses share an identity and sense of place. Whenever the question of local government comes up, people have told me they want more self determination over their community's future. But, they are not eager to accept the potential higher taxes and increased bureaucracy that often accompanies incorporation. There should be a third way that allows Georgians to choose a smaller and more strictly limited local government. That's why in the 2007 Session, I will introduce the Georgia Town Act which would provide for the formal creation of towns in Georgia.

The Georgia Town Act will give residents in an unincorporated area an attractive alternative to creating a new city. They could instead vote to form a town that would make critical decisions about land use and local zoning. At the same time, they would continue to benefit from the larger tax base of their county. Basic services such as fire, public safety, water and sanitation would continue to be provided by the county.