Mayor Reed, at his speech to the Atlanta Press Club last week, Monday January 31, 2011, said there was a *pall* over Atlanta. And that we citizens needed to snap out of it. And think big. Look to pie-in-the-sky dreaming and shiny, glory-ridden kinds of projects to get us over our dark funk. Something along the lines of the Olympic games! Remember those? I hardly do.
The thing about living in COA (City of Atlanta, and I have for over 20 years now) is that it is a city mired in deep, determined, and wearisome bureaucracy. It’s hard to be cheerful, hopeful, have fun and think big when you’re beaten down from years and years of battling bureaucracy, over and over and over again, just for the most simple of services and responses.
My small Home Owners Association (HOA), for example, is beaten down financially with the weight of the extreme water bills we’ve had to pay for almost two years now. I tried, to no avail, to get help from my city council person, with literally reams of documentation sent to that office on this matter. To no avail. I was told we had no problem, and that all was fine. This was over a year ago. We now know there were some extreme problems at the Watershed Dept.
At the time, over a year ago, I went to the Dept. of Watershed management personally. To no avail. I’ve called and emailed, over and over again, assorted local news media personnel. To no avail, despite their numerous media attentions to the matter of city water bills.
And that’s just one department! Every department is a struggle in futility. Just getting a new Herbie Curbie from the city takes a monumental effort of citizen resolve and determination. Just finding an email or a phone number for an APD community contact is a struggle. How many times have we all been put on hold when calling 9-11? And we’ve all heard the horror stories of trying to get a building permit from COA.
After years of doing battle with the bureaucracy that is City of Atlanta, I feel worn down and wiped out. I feel that *pall* Mayor Reed talks about, in my spirit… at the thought of having to do anything that involves City of Atlanta. I think often about about moving out of City of Atlanta now, something I never used to do.
Mayor Reed’s administration seems to be energized to try to break through some of our crippling bureaucracy. I just hope our crippling *pall* doesn’t get to them too. We residents are about as low as we can already go.
We’re looking to Mayor Reed to talk us back up to a point where we can even CONSIDER calling downtown for a new Herbie Curbie, let alone start thinking, with any hope of renewed energies, of anything big and futuristic and hopeful for this city.
UPDATE: As I wrote this editorial, CBS-Atlanta was working-up a classic, un-sexy example of the daily bureaucrat struggles of just one intown Atlanta neighborhood… to add a traffic light or not. See their news package here. This neighborhood had to beat a very loud drum just to get the city to meet with residents and solicit their input over this critical matter. It is also critical that we have local media support by independent news outlets such as CBS-Atlanta to get City of Atlanta officials to just return a phone call or read an email from a resident. Fortunately, CBS-Atlanta is always responsive to residents’ concerns. Always.