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Letters to the editor

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Great read

Your article on the "Invisible Man" was remarkable (cover story, Dec. 1)!

I was glued to the pages. To be honest, I really cannot describe how vivid the article was. What I will say is I felt like I was in the bedroom with Birai when she found out about the accident. I hung on every thought and every word. I totally felt a part of this article. It was a great read for many reasons.

The Latino community is a hidden part of our society, but personally I don't feel it's their fault. They come to America searching for opportunities and willing to do whatever it takes to take care of their families.

I hope the lawmakers come up with some plan that will assist the Latino people who come to America and make sure they are safe.

After all, this is AMERICA!

-- Shelley F. Roebuck, Lithonia

No, you park this

Letter writer Kay E. Stephenson says that Neighborhood Planning Unit volunteers are not typical Atlantans so their near-unanimous opposition to the parking deck in Piedmont Park should be dismissed (Going Postal, "Park this," Dec. 1).

Saying NPU boards are not made up of "ordinary folks" was one of the key talking points created by the pro-deck public relations campaign financed by the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

It's true that the typical Atlantan does not volunteer for these kinds of boards. Nor does the typical Atlantan vote in elections or read a newspaper to keep informed about issues beyond televised sound bites.

-- Amy Triandiflou, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Letter writer Kay Stephenson would like to believe that the 20 NPUs that opposed the deck in Piedmont Park must not have been populated by "ordinary folks"; how else could people not see it the way she did? NPUs B, D, E, F, G -- those citizens must have been "small" and "politically invested."

NPUs H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P -- and the rest -- had to be under the thumb of the dreaded "vocal minority." How else could all those folks have differed so sharply with City Council and the Atlanta Botanical Garden's pep squad, several of whom were very explicit about their sense of entitlement about Piedmont Park, despite -- or perhaps because of -- their living in Alpharetta and Rockdale County?

One explanation for the difference is that the NPUs all heard something that Council members didn't: a full presentation by citizens opposed to the deck. At Council Committee, the garden was given 45 minutes, complete with AV props, while opponents were restricted to two-minute sound bites.

A second explanation is that NPUs near the park know full well that it won't end parking on local streets, which is now and will remain free and legal, and is sometimes closer to park destinations than the deck. In any case, most park users -- whether from Cascade Road or Roswell -- will continue to face the same situation that exists now because the deck isn't designed or intended to handle the crowds that already come during peak usages.

That reality was routinely cited by NPU members who don't live near the park; they saw the absence of any comprehensive plan to handle any access after the first 760 cars, and they voted against it time after time by large margins. They also railed against handing over public property to private groups who would then charge the citizens who own it a fee to use it.

Stephenson ends her letter with an Edward Murrow quote that we can all agree on, presented as it is absent any context. But I wonder what Murrow would have thought of the conservancy's secret meeting that the attorney general forced to make public, the garden's refusal to share documents related to its operations on public lands, and the deals made to shove this plan through. Those are the Murrow quotes I'd enjoy reading.

-- Jack White, Atlanta

More parking this way

[The Piedmont Park parking deck is] a project that deserves attention (What We're For, "Decks that aren't stacked," Nov. 24). It has all the ingredients we need to orchestrate more effectively.

We went to the aquarium, the "new" High Museum, and anticipate a blockbuster Symphony Hall. These venues have not a note of protest. You can tell if it's right. If [the parking deck] was on a vacant lot somewhere, no one would bitch.

This plan is the result of two groups at war for some reason. Swept aside is a design effort that could address historic public space, adjacent neighborhoods and regional traffic.

The conversation has gone so public. We're continuing to collect reaction from interested parties: historic, park child safety, botanical, design, planning, traffic and developers.

-- Jim Hagan, Atlanta

In need of a plan

I guess what angers me most about Bill Addison's story is that, once again, where was the Bush administration (cover story, "S.O.S. Big Easy cuisine," Nov. 17)?

Why wasn't there a plan in place to evacuate the chefs of New Orleans and their recipes?

The administration knew in advance that this storm was coming and yet they put the accumulated culinary history of hundreds of years at risk.

You have to wonder if it is all part of an orchestrated plan to obliterate not just a city and a people but also their accomplishments.

-- Stephen Hatchett, Atlanta

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