What Would I Have Done?

Posted: January 30, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

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OK, we have become the laughingstock of the world again. I had a number of thoughts over what has happened here in Atlanta over these past 48+ hours or so. I am taking a bit different take on the issue with this blog post.

Precipitation plus 32 degrees F and below is a recipe for roadway disaster. Those facts were well known late Monday/early Tuesday. Thusly, the chance that nothing was going to happen was not quite low in Tuesday’s case. It would have been well worth the expense to pre-treat the roads as well. Indeed that is easier said than done when written from the critic’s corner. Someone at work posed the question to me: “If you were mayor, what would you have done?” I confess that I would have acted similar to Atlanta’s Mayor Reed who, like most of today’s leaders, has fiscal responsibility at the forefront of his agenda. Certainly fiscal responsibility is also on the governor’s agenda. Thusly, it’s understandable that both Mayor Reed and Governor Deal feel that they made the right call at the time.

But, there is a second part to my answer as to what I would have done:  as a leader I would have declared the State of Emergency earlier on Tuesday and coordinated a common sense school/ gov’t/ private business evacuation plan. Again, easier said than done and perhaps as of this writing, a fantasy, but why can’t gov’t and private business engage in a coordinated disaster plan? I believe an organized plan would have saved more money in the long run than what’s seems like a bad gamble that went wrong for both Mr. Reed and Governor Deal.

The biggest problem seems to be a laissez-faire attitude from the leaders. That perception became quite clear in the Atlanta mayor’s and Georgia governor’s press conferences. Instead of doing what should have been the right thing, the leaders seemed to have been more concerned with explaining  that having a “weather non-event” would have given them an image of overreacting to a “much ado about nothing scenario.”

Then again, there’s something called perception and that perception is what seems to have assisted in leaving tens out thousands of metro residents in harm’s way — not to mention a colossal inconvenience which separated families, friends and acquaintances. One cannot put a price tag on a situation that left tens of thousands of metro area residents and even visitors in gut-wrenching unsettling situations like sitting in a car for up to 15 hours in freezing temperatures or being stranded on school buses or in school buildings.

One must ask the question if it is acceptable that the nation’s ninth largest city which has had so much economic success, has been host to major sporting events including  World Series and several baseball championship games, Superbowls and the Olympic Games, has displayed such an embarrassing debacle to the world. As mayor or governor, I would have accepted responsibility and say that I made the wrong decisions, end of story. But, it will go into the history books that both Mayor Reed and Governor Deal did one heckuva job. 

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