Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
Savannah Morning News on continuing to pursue clean energy goals:
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted attention away from most everything not related to public health and the economy. The crisis and the recovery will command our consideration for months to come.
Pre-coronavirus, though, the city of Savannah took significant steps toward embracing a future of clean, renewable energy. Savannah City Council passed a resolution on March 26 acknowledging the local ramifications of climate change and addressing historical economic inequities — all in a two-page document.
The resolution states “100% of electricity consumed in the city of Savannah shall be generated from safe, clean and renewable energy by 2035, and all other energy needs shall be generated from safe, clean and renewable energy by 2050.”
The resolution passed unanimously, as the aldermen and alderwomen made good on campaign promises regarding clean energy goals.
As the city’s leaders look ahead with the relaxing of shelter-in-place orders and the gradual restoration of business operations, they must not lose sight of the renewable energy initiative.
A CLEAN ENERGY ACTION PLAN
The resolution commits city council to develop a clean energy action plan within 18 months of adoption. The resolution is an example of how cities can lead the way, helping to solve the nation’s toughest and most intractable problems.
City Talk’s Bill Dawers joins The Commute to discuss how restaurant owners and artists, such as musicians, are dealing with the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
Savannah joined Atlanta, Athens, Augusta and Clarkston in passing resolutions outlining clean energy goals. The City of Tybee Island outlined its plans for a clean energy future back in 2012.
Beyond setting ambitious goals to move quickly toward green energy solutions, what is striking about the resolution from Savannah City Council is that it acknowledges “a clear scientific consensus regarding the reality of climate change.”
No mincing of words, no rhetorical “fairness” bones being thrown to the flat-earthers in this document. It goes even further by linking the dangers of climate change to the hazards of being poor.
Just as hurricanes have a greater impact on the lower-income demographic in our coastal city — people who are living day-to-day, paycheck-to-paycheck, do not have the means to stockpile food and medications for two weeks, buy plywood for all their windows and head off to hotels in Atlanta until the coast is clear — the rising water of sea level change, the extreme heat, the storm intensity and loss of property that climate change is already bringing hurt the “have-nots” the most.
The resolution states, “Savannah has a historically high poverty-rate among its residents, which disproportionately impacts people of color, children and the elderly who will disproportionately suffer the economic, environmental, health, and social hardships of climate change....”
COOPERATION SOLVES BIG PROBLEMS
Locally generated clean energy from wind, solar, geothermal and other sources will make the city more resilient and provide sustainable, living wage local jobs. So will retrofitting 天天乐棋牌s, offices and industrial buildings to use less energy altogether and so will adopting other far-reaching policies and actions.
The resolution pledges the city of Savannah will work cooperatively across all sectors and neighborhoods and will “prioritize resources to train and hire people from within frontline and fence-line communities to participate in the energy conservation, energy efficiency and clean energy workforce, and facilitate energy efficiency upgrades, opportunities for clean transportation, and clean energy installations in low-income communities.”
In many ways, local governments are addressing issues more effectively than state or federal governments. They do it by reaching across political and ideological lines and recognizing how real problems impact real people. From paving streets to addressing climate change, they can affect real change that affects real people in the community.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and the City Council are exemplifying that can-do, must-do, attitude in the latest clean energy resolution. The passage of this forward-thinking resolution is good for them and great for our community.
The Augusta Chronicle on legislation that aims to ease a shortage of healthcare workers:
Certain medical supplies are scarce. So is toilet paper. Disrupted supply chains threaten to drive up the price of meat.
It seems like the only thing America doesn’t have a shortage of is shortages. Much of these are fixable by ramping up production or tweaking logistics.
But as COVID-19 runs its course, shortages of people present graver problems, and a growing group of U.S. senators knows it.
The health care industry in this country has been plagued by physician and nurse shortages for years. The South particularly has suffered — a cruel irony indeed, considering the droves of folks who retire here and obviously require diligent health care. With the introduction of COVID-19, the lack of health care professionals grows many times worse.
So U.S. Sen. David Perdue of Georgia and three of his colleagues announced recently they will introduce bipartisan legislation called the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act to provide a temporary fix to bolster the ranks of America’s doctors and nurses.
“The growing shortage of doctors and nurses over the past decade has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis,” Perdue said. “Fortunately, there are thousands of trained health professionals who want to practice in the United States. This proposal would simply reallocate a limited number of unused visas from prior years for doctors and nurses who are qualified to help in our fight against COVID-19. This shortage is critical and needs immediate attention so that our healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed in this crisis.”
A visa is the legal documentation in a foreign citizen’s passport that makes him or her eligible to enter the United State legally but temporarily. So-called “green cards” permit visitors to stay as long as they want. A lot of these visas sit around unused - their progress hindered by maddeningly typical government red tape.
The senators’ plan: Take 25,000 unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 for doctors that Congress has already authorized and grant those visas to doctors and nurses already here in the United States. That means current immigration numbers wouldn’t budge.
This fix is sorely needed. One in six U.S. health care workers is foreign-born. Among physicians, it’s one in four. They come to America by the thousands to train here and work in our hospitals.
But they’re here on temporary visas that permit the bearers to work or study only in the states the visas allow. And even though the State Department has resumed routine visa processing specifically for medical professionals, the government’s idea of “routine” means moving at glacial speed. COVID-19 moves much faster.
One of the features we especially like about the senators’ bill: The proposed legislation, according to Perdue’s office, “requires employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive these visas will not displace an American worker.”
Also, as we said, it’s a temporary fix, and for our country’s protection it should be temporary. The filing period for recaptured visas is limited to 90 days after President Trump rescinds his COVID-19 emergency declaration.
To rein in COVID-19 as quickly as possible, this bill has to pass as soon as possible. The stakes are too high to let it linger.
Valdosta Daily Times on upcoming elections:
Just in case you have forgotten, this is still an important election year.
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in previously unimaginable ways and that includes turning our electoral process topsy-turvy.
As this pandemic has swept across the world, our nation and this community, we have learned a lot of things.
We have learned new ways of doing things.
We have learned what things matter the most in life.
And, most assuredly, we have learned that leadership matters and it matters a lot.
This year, we will elect the President of the United States.
But that’s not all.
We will go to the polls to cast our ballots for Congress, state government and local offices as well.
The decisions we make — from the White House, to the Statehouse, to the Courthouse — are crucial.
Of course, most are fully aware the March 24 presidential primary in Georgia was postponed because of the public health crisis.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made the right call by moving the primary date to June 9.
While that seemed a long time away back in March, it is now just around the corner.
Election signs are now dotting our roadways as the the election nears.
Most notably, the primary races for Georgia state representative District 177 between Democrats incumbent Dexter Sharper and Alvin Payton, Jr., and Lowndes County tax commissioner between Republicans incumbent Rodney Cain and Mary Ellen Weeks, are getting some attention.
There are also contested races for U.S. representative, Districts 1 and 8 and other state races where at least one Republican and one Democrat has qualified to face off in the state general election.
We are surprised — and frankly disappointed — by the number of uncontested races on the ballot.
An uncontested race is no choice at all for voters. Every candidate should welcome challengers. That is the way our electoral process is supposed to work.
Early voting begins May 18.
We think a lot of voters will decide to cast votes by absentee ballot, and we think that makes good sense.
The state mailed absentee ballot applications to all active voters across Georgia, and locally the Lowndes County Board of Elections has already processed about 8,000 absentee applications with another 500 pending.
That is really good news.
Absentee ballot applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, June 5.
For people choosing to vote in person, we are being told extra precautions will be taken, including voters being given alcohol wipes from poll workers prior to casting a ballot on the touchscreen voting machines. The voting machines will also be spaced at least six feet apart to following social distancing guidelines.
A drop-off box will be placed outside of the board of elections office so voters can drop off early voting ballots but, as it stands now, drop offs will not be accepted on the actual election day.
Leadership matters, and it is up to you to decide who our leaders will be.
If you plan to vote by mail-in ballot, return your application now.