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Fish Or Cut Bait

Big City Cynicism
by Bob Ciminel


May 12, 2004

We have a traffic problem here in Atlanta; too many cars and not enough roads. Toss in several million transplanted Yankees, who didn't know how to drive when they got here, and
Fish or Cut Bait graphic
a few million native Southerners, and you can see how it happened.

Atlanta has had a rapid transit system (MARTA) for more than twenty years. It was built for people who don't own cars, and it goes places no one wants to go, other than the airport.

The MARTA station nearest my home is five miles away, located on a six-lane highway we refer to as "The Georgia 400." During rush hour, which in Atlanta consists of all weekday hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., GA-400 is bumper-to-bumper traffic alternating between 90 mph and 0 mph.

But even if I took MARTA, the train would leave me off 10 miles from work. That still works out to a 15-mile commute, which is what I currently drive, only on surface streets at the more moderate speed of 50 mph.

The governor has created a transit commission to study the feasibility of extending the rail transit system to the towns north of Atlanta, like the one I live in. The politicians finally figured out that a lot of people live out here. I live on land that Travis Tritts ancestors owned, back when they grew rocks here. They named a nearby elementary school after the Tritts. The road in front of our subdivision is named for the Tritts too. Travis comes by once in a while to perform at the local elementary school named after his family. I like his hair. I wonder if it's really his.

We like the country atmosphere in our area, and having a Wal-Mart less than two miles away. We don't want rapid transit. You see, as politically incorrect as it may sound, statistics show that crime follows the MARTA line. For a buck-and-a-half, inner city hoodlums can hop on MARTA and be at one of our suburban malls in 20 minutes. They can mug a couple of people, buy a new pair of Nikes, and be back in the hood in time to watch the eleven o'clock news.

It's not that we don't have crime up here in the northern suburbs. We have our share of robbery, rape, murder, and mayhem. The big difference is our juries convict criminals and our judges put them in jail. We don't have a lot of repeat offenders, other than the frequent DUI offenders, whom the courts believe have the God-given right to keep their drivers licenses no matter how many people they may kill, maim, or injure.

The best thing the transit committee could do for me is to build an express train that runs non-stop from my town to the airport. Then, I could catch a plane and not have to worry about being mugged until I arrived at my destination. However, getting through the Atlanta airport could be a problem. They recently arrested a local minister at the airport who was caught hiding with a camcorder underneath the escalators. Things must have been slow at church that week; no devils to exorcise, I guess. I wonder if the major networks have offered him anything for his videotapes. Bill Clinton would probably like to see them. If the minister were really smart, he could say the tapes were works of art and apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Better yet, he could work the tapes into his next sermon and call it "Skirting the Issues".


Bob Ciminel ©2001

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