Thursday, July 30, 2015

Let's Catch Some Crooks with a safety PIN

Let's use the automated teller machines against the criminals.

For all the crime that includes forcing people to go to an ATM and withdraw money for criminals, a secondary, emergency (safety) PIN would be a wonderful thing the financial system could do to help victims.

If customers had the option to create a safety PIN that would access their account, BUT also alert police to the location and keep the video, we could save people, catch criminals, and enhance the community image of financial institutions.

I read too many news articles about people being forced to go to the ATM with crooks to get money or to give their PIN and bank card to criminals. This would at least give law enforcement a better chance to catch crooks.

When you get an account or bank card, you create a PIN. For example purposes say it is 1234. You also need an option to create an emergency PIN to trigger safety protocols, for this example - 5678. If you ever use the 5678 safety PIN, your account “works” to the outside world, but it triggers actions behind the scenes. The customer has a better chance to survive. Law enforcement has a better odds to capture the criminals. Once the process becomes widespread, it is another deterrent to crime. If you want to go a step further, when the emergency PIN is entered, put a message on the screen that withdrawals are limited at this time due to some technical issue.

One rule for customers, no safety PINs with 911 in them. It's a little too obvious.

Law enforcement should have additional ideas to close the loop on the crooks, but this would be a start. Bankers, let's make safety PINs!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Would a township solve Sandtown's issues for the average citizen?

In most political issues, we try to boil it down to two sides. Much like a debate, we want to be for or against an issue. The reality of life in unincorporated south Fulton county is not that way. There are people who want to be annexed into existing cities, there are people who want to create their own, new city, and there are people who want things to remain as they currently exist.

Whenever one option is brought to the surface, the other two options are naturally cast against it. In the case of annexation, opponents either want their own city or prefer to be left alone. In the case of a new city, opponents prefer an existing city or want to be left alone. In the case of being left alone, both city options state that this cannot happen; at some point you have to choose or one of the city options will force your hand.

If am confident that the most prevalent opinion of the residents if forced to make a choice and stick with it would desire to be left alone. That option doesn't serve either of the city groups well. However, that opportunity did exist in the Georgia Legislature in 2007-08. The Georgia Township Act was legislation that would allow something more than unincorporated lands, but less that a full fledged city. It would have given some level of protection against annexation. It would have had elected offices, but not at the level of a mayor and city council. The key services would still be handled by the county. Town taxation would have been very limited.

To see the old township legislation for yourself, go to …and under session, select 2007-2008 Regular Session. In Keywords, type township. You should see HB 651, HB 925, and SB 89. Clicking on these bills, you will see a First Reader Summary that will give you a basic idea of what is in the bill. You can see the entire (old) bill in PDF at the bottom of the page.

These days, there are more than enough activists telling the citizens of unincorporated south Fulton, what you should want. The challenges of annexation versus a city have been officially active in this community since 2006, yet we still have no resolution. It is well past the time for the citizens to push back and make their demands for a town, be known. Push your political representatives to accomplish the things that you want…or find new people to do those jobs.

If you want to stay as close to the way you are without external threats, demand it. Let’s take actions to get township laws in Georgia. Otherwise, people will make decisions for you.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Atlanta Annexation Attack - April 2015

Big issues can bring one back from blog retirement. This is one of those issues.

I give credit to my neighbors who zealously advocate for annexation into the city of Atlanta. While I may not agree with their stance, they have awakened a community that has been too comfortable for too long with inaction.

When all of this was just talk, it was easier to let the activists on either side show their passion and keep walking. Now that something actionable is happening, you get interest and a sense of urgency. One reality is this particular action has a limited action window which is much briefer than allowing a citizen vote, so the fervor increases.

Whichever side you are on, recognize that this issue has been languishing for at least 8 years. After Sandy Springs, south Fulton once led the efforts to address unincorporated areas in Fulton County, now we are the last people to figure it out, Shame on us. If you daydream long enough, people mistake it for a coma.

This process has made me focus on multiple frustrations. As mentioned above, we as citizens contributed to this mess with our uncertainty. At the same time, our politicians also have had years to agree on some plan/course of action--it didn't happen. It's like they are practicing to be federal politicians. Both locally and statewide, politicians have contributed to the gridlock.

My longest standing frustration, comes from a very basic concern. If living in the Atlanta city limits is that important, why not buy or rent in the city? You can live 5 minutes from your current location and have a very similar lifestyle inside or outside of the city limits. I know people who have made the short move to be in or out of the city. Why drag entire communities into a personal decision?

My most important frustration--it is very offensive that the Sandtown Annexation map was drawn to take the schools and the park in between them. This wasn't a requirement to get the people, it was a choice. The vast majority (about 90%) of the kids that go to those schools are not in the annexation zone. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has excess school capacity; they don't need the space. APS has been closing schools for awhile. Their only growth is in charters. The annexed kids will not go to those schools.. If annexation goes through as currently drawn, Fulton County Schools will need to move heaven & earth on very short notice because of a political ploy. There isn't enough current capacity in south Fulton to absorb the 90% that would not be annexed. In the end it won't help any of the kids that currently attend those schools.

The adults didn't do a decent job of looking out for the kids. THAT disturbs me more than any city/no city/annex/no annex/stay/go BS that all these adults have put on the table. I will fight for those schools, those kids and their families.
Sandtown Annexation Map

The people behind the Sandtown annexation map should be ashamed of what they have done.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are bad for kids and bad for communities.