Critical Fair Housing Data Could be the Next Victim of Congress

Congress looks to overturn an Obama-era rule designed to track racial discrepancies in access to affordable housing by gutting federal funding for critical GIS data. The American Association of Geographers has taken a strong stance saying these actions “…could have far-reaching consequences on federally-sponsored research on racial discrimination, including on federal human health programs; census issues; education programs, including services for children; Department of Justice programs; and other critical programs.”

The Public Doesn’t Care About Stormwater Management. Here’s Why You Should

Sewer and water drainage systems, the unsung heroes of our communities, are tasked with managing stormwater runoff; yet cities and counties often struggle to convince citizens that such systems are worth the investment. Several Georgia Senators had a grand plan to undermine the system by cutting fees for larger developers at the expense of the average homeowner.

Chattanooga Could Spell Disaster for High-Speed Rail in the Southeast

High-speed rail backers in the Southeast need to avoid another Atlanta streetcar situation. While both a streetcar and HSR can be great investments, a poorly chosen initial line that results in low ridership numbers would only work to reinforce negative thoughts about the mode of transportation. An Atlanta-Chattanooga HSR line that spirals to $12 billion in construction costs and then posts meager ridership numbers could be a dramatic setback in the movement to get a larger and more successful Southeastern HSR network.

When it Comes to Zoning Changes, Time Waits for No Plan

This is an important question since structures built under the auspices of an old zoning code that are now excluded from the current zoning code are at odds with the updated vision for the community. This may not be a big deal when, say, a house is constructed a year after an area is rezoned for commercial use. However, it becomes increasingly problematic when that house is now a power plant and the one year has increased to ten. This ability to develop based on a 10 year old zoning code creates uncertainty for potential residents and developers who may find the nonconforming development to be an undesirable neighbor.

Vote No on Confusing Ballot Language

Why not address the fundamental problem of partisan legislators carefully crafting the words to be purposefully misleading or confusing? Several states have attempted to correct this problem by providing voter guides to every resident. These guides supply explanatory statements of the ballot measures and arguments from both sides. In Georgia, after the legislature approves the wording of the ballot measure there is no effort taken by the government to make sure people know the purpose or objective of the measure. Voters must seek out information from other sources. While there isn’t anything wrong with asking voters to educate themselves, it can be time consuming if the ballot is filled with several referenda and if some of those referenda receive very little attention from the media.

Policing Our Way Toward Walkability

It is downright violent and reckless for a driver to narrowly miss a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But this behavior has been normalized over the years because we fail to enforce the law; perhaps police don’t have the time or they don’t have the interest. Alternatively, we don’t provide enough education to inform drivers and pedestrians of their legal rights and duties. How can we expect people to feel comfortable walking around neighborhoods when the very laws protecting them are ignored or dismissed?