News for Sunday, June 26, 2005

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Shockley goes above and beyond

ATHEN - D.J. Shockley knows the image many people have of him and his teammates.

What's going on here?

Where: Five Forks Trickum Road and Ronald Reagan Parkway

Women's Legacy of United Way to give $36K back to community

LAWRENCEVILLE-The Women's Legacy of United Way in Gwinnett in July will distribute $36,000 in checks to nine nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County selected to receive grants funded by the proceeds of the 2005 Legacy Awards Gala.

Letters to the Editor

A picture's worth 1,000 words

Marketplace

On The Move

The growing difference between symbols and substance

For a few hours last week, Edgar Ray Killen, 80, replaced Michael Jackson and the runaway bride as the most visible person in the news.

Killen was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years for the killing of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. Graying civil rights activists and modern-day champions of diversity celebrated.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate was persuaded to adopt a resolution apologizing for not passing an anti-lynching law. The resolution helped promote an exhibition of photographs of mobs and hangings.

Shortly before the resolution surfaced, the nation marked yet another anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And MLK's birthday has become a standard "Monday off" holiday.

Hardly a month passes that we do not commemorate a day from the civil rights era. Last year, a rally was organized near Athens to mark the 40th anniversary of the slaying of Army reservist Lemuel Penn by the Ku Klux Klan. Because I had written a book about that tragic event, I received at least three invitations to speak on the topic. I declined.

The civil rights era was a defining time for this country. As a journalist, I am proud to have covered it. We are a better people today because of what brave men and women did in the 1950s and 1960s. We also are fortunate that leaders of the civil rights movement were dedicated to nonviolence. Violence-bent organizers might have bequeathed a bloodier legacy.

Having said that, I believe it is time that we move on.

The civil rights era is like the Civil War. It is fading into history.

The Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Council have disappeared. Jim Crow is dead. Black people in the South are no longer required to explain the Constitution's commerce clause in order to vote. Anybody, regardless of race, can buy a cup of bad coffee at a public lunch counter. Black elected official- from judges and lawmakers to attorneys general and big-city mayor- abound. An black middle class is expanding exponentially.

Still, something is amiss. Among many recently empowered blacks, symbolism beats substance every time. Some have decided that protecting their position lies in promoting historic imagery rather than engaging present-day reality.

Look at the recent record:

n Black leaders insisted that a progressive white Georgia governor change the state flag to diminish a Confederate emblem. That symbolic gesture helped end his political career.

n During the same period, a bill easing restrictions on predatory lender- which struck at the heart of the struggling black community -sailed through the General Assembly. Black legislators were among its supporters. Attempts also were made to pass laws improving Georgia's weakest-in-the-nation consumer-protection regulations. Few black lawmakers were interested.

n A black state senator, Charles Walker, who had reached the pinnacle of power in the General Assembly, was recently convicted of a ream of fraud charges, many of them dealing with cheating health care systems that serve poor black people. As far as I know, not a single state black leader applauded the conviction or condemned the thefts.

n A killing spree recently erupted in the Fulton County courthouse leaving four people dead. A series of mind-boggling security lapses enabled the accused killer to commit his crimes. Several attorneys and law-enforcement officers suggested the sheriff, who happened to be black, should be replaced for failing to act quickly to identify security flaws and fire incompetent officers. A committee of black community leaders convened quickly to defend the indefensible-the sheriff who failed to take necessary steps to protect court personnel.

A new generation of black leader- perhaps a generation that never experienced the degradation of segregation law- may be needed to break the black predisposition to venerate images and ignore present-day realities. Holding public officials, regardless of race, to an equal standard of accountability would be a good first step.

n n n

A BITTER BARNES BOWS OUT: An incensed ex-Gov. Roy Barnes has resigned as a 30-year member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association after the GTLA hired as a legislative lobbyist former U.S. attorney Rick Thompson. Barnes, a noted plaintiffs' attorney, told acquaintances he quit GTLA because he regards Thompson as ethically unfit to lobby for the lawyers.

Thompson, a Republican, abruptly departed his federal post last year after the Justice Department issued a public finding that he had "abused his authority" and "violated the public trust" by using his prosecutorial powers for political purposes.

The plaintiff lawyers' association hired Thompson at a reported six-figure salary after suffering a devastating setback in the 2005 General Assembly. The first GOP-controlled Legislature in modern history enacted what legal experts say is the nation's most restrictive medical-malpractice litigation law.

n n n

REED TARGETED: Some Democratic legislative leaders are quietly looking for a high-profile candidate to take on Republican favorite Ralph Reed for lieutenant governor next year. They believe Reed has been seriously wounded in current Senate hearings that connect him to high-roller lobbyist Jack Abramoff and millions of dollars in lobbying fees from Indian casinos. One name mentioned as a possible challenger: freshman state Rep. Jane Kidd, D-Athens, daughter of the late Gov. Ernest Vandiver and a well-known community activist. She earlier said she plans to run for the state Senate next year. On the GOP side, state Sen. Casey Cagle of Gainesville has already announced for lieutenant governor and launched an aggressive anti-Reed campaign.

Syndicated columnist Bill Shipp writes on Georgia politics. Write him at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or e-mail bshipp@bellsouth.net. His Web site is www.billshipp.com. His column appears on Wednesday and Sunday.

Business briefs

Winn-Dixie decided to check out of the Atlanta market The move leaves big holes to fill in six Gwinnett shopping centers, where the well-known grocery chain converted its stores to the discount-oriented SaveRite.

People Briefs

Holmes takes big interest in Cruise's religion

Road closures

Bogan Road from Harmony Elementary School to Hamilton Mill Road will require intermittent lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through July for safety improvements to include curb, gutter and sidewalk construction and a multiuse path.

Small Business Profile: Five Star Restorations / Five Star Design Gallery

Location: 355 Brogdon Road, Suite 101, in Suwanee

Wolrd Briefs

Nation/World

Mall of Georgia theater to show Rockin' the Corps concert Monday

BUFORD-American soldiers were rocked to their core at the Rockin' The Corps concert that took place April 1 at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. Now, you can be, too, while helping to support the Marine Corps at the same time.

Police reports

Man allegedly holds girlfriend captive in home

Thumbs Up

Barrow voters approve SPLOST

Suwanee improvement plan lists $23 million in projects

SUWANEE-Suwanee residents will enjoy a number of improvements to be completed by 2011. City officials released the capital improvement plan Tuesday.

Fourth of July weekend events

From Staff Reports

Court ruling makes it easy for land sharks

Nothing shapes a community more than the rules, guidelines, laws and ordinances that govern land use. What can be built where and how the land can be used are explained in a community's ordinances.

Janis Verner

Janis Verner age 84, of Norcross passed away June 24, 2005. Service and arrangements will be announced by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home of Norcross. 770-448-5757.

Marvin Caviness

Marvin G. Caviness, age 62 of Atlanta passed away Wednesday, June 22, 2005. A Memorial service will be held Monday, June 27 at 11:00 am at Tim Stewart Funeral Home ...

Horace Williams

On June 23, 2005 Horace Rudolph Williams, Jr., 88, passed away. He was known by his business partners and competitors as a “hand shake” kind of man. His ...

Alpha Riggins

Alpha Virginia Riggins age 84 of Lawrenceville died June 25, 2005. Mrs. Riggins retired from Atlanta Hospital as Director of Medical Records in 1990. She was preceded in death by ...

Justin Payne

Justin Marcus Payne, 28, of 855 Broken Arrow Lane, Winder, Georgia, passed away June 23, 2005 at the Grady Memorial Hospital, in Atlanta, GA. Born February 22, 1977, in Dekalb ...

Ola Moore

Ola Dickson Moore 94 of Loganville, Ga formerly of Lilburn died Saturday, June 25, 2005. Funeral services will be 2:00 PM, Monday, June 27, 2005 at the bill Head Funeral ...

Jean Greenway

Jean T. Greenway, age 72, of Lawrenceville passed away June 23, 2005. Service and arrangements held by Wages ans Sons Gwinnett Chapel of Lawrenceville. 770-277-4550

Asher Kelley

Little Asher Anderson Kelley, the one day old son of Heather and Shawn Kelley of Lilburn, died Thursday, June 23, 2005. Arrangements by the Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory ...

Ralph Herrington

Ralph Herrington, age 88 of Lawrenceville, died Friday, June 24, 2005. Funeral services will be held 3:00 PM, Sunday, June 26, 2005 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral ...

Ted Copeland Andrews

Ted Copeland Andrews, also known as “Tidal-wave-Ted” and “the mouth of the South”, at age 51, of Duluth, was ushered into the presence of ...