Roy Exum: The Ridiculous ‘Blame Game’

Friday, January 31, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I don’t like polar vortexes and the only place I want ice is in a drinking glass but put me down as one who refuses to blame anybody for a bad week of winter weather. My experience has been that it happens just about every January and makes me appreciate springtime’s jonquils all the more. Sadly, that is not the case for Nathan Deal, the Governor of Georgia, or Kasim Reed, the Mayor of Atlanta.

Believe me, the two have been soundly bludgeoned by the nation’s media after one million people in Atlanta tried to flee Winter Storm Leon – all at the same time – and promptly bumped into one another on the ice-slick streets. Al Rocker, the usually jovial weatherman on The Today Show, got in one of the first licks when he decried “poor planning” but, let’s be honest, neither Deal nor Reed control the sky or what falls from it.

Television’s Matt Lauer wondered if Mayor Reed had “the best information possible” ahead of the storm and the Mayor explained frankly, “It’s not just my call ... the city of Atlanta, the state (freeway system) and the school systems are all separate.”

Governor Deal, trying to get re-elected with three opponents gleefully nipping at him, hardly fared better. “The appropriate thing to do is apologize for the inconvenience. I think we could have done a little better had we acted a bit earlier but it is always a guessing game.”

He’s right. The weather has been a guessing game since Noah’s neighbors laughed at him for building a boat. No one predicted that flurries would turn into an unprecedented “Gridlockalypse” that would strangle the entire South, and to blame the tractor-trailers that couldn’t get traction on the icy roads for the horrible gridlock is equally absurd. It happens all across the country when winter storms occur.

If temperatures are well below freezing, the salt is ineffective and, when they plunge into single digits, the melt promptly freezes again. While we appreciate the sand trucks and when we can steer clear of cars that are stuck, to cast blame on meteorologists or our elected officials for snow and ice is sheer stupidity. Don’t tell that to Mika Brzezinski, an MSNBC Morning Joe anchor who asked Reed on camera, “So who screwed up, Mayor?”

Reed responded, “We all have responsibility in government” and said there should have been “different judgment” on closing the schools earlier, sending children home first. “I’d really appreciate if Al Roker and Channel 11 would differentiate between the city of Atlanta and the state … we do not have responsibility for the interstate.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation oversees the interstate system in Atlanta, of course, but the obvious question was left unsaid: with the massive gridlock, what exactly could the DOT have done? Reed said that after the first 24 hours 80 percent of the roads in Atlanta were passable and that all the children forced to spend Tuesday night at city schools had been reunited with their families.

In coming days Atlanta officials will do the same thing that Birmingham, Chattanooga, Nashville and all other cities do – identify the lessons taught by Winter Storm Leon and learn from them. "People were making a lot of independent decisions," said the mayor. "What we will do in the future is try to coordinate that, and make a strong recommendation about how that should flow."

Governor Deal also asked reporters what would have happened “if” officials had closed the city down and nothing happened. "We don't want to be accused of crying wolf,” he said. “Because if we had been wrong, y'all would have all been in here saying, `Do you know how many millions of dollars you cost the economies of the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia by shutting down businesses all over this city and this state?’”

But the Governor didn’t try to dodge the inevitable bullets and barbs. "I accept responsibility for the fact that we did not make preparation early enough to avoid these consequences," he said at a press conference. "I am not satisfied with the response that was made," he admitted.

"Having said that I'm not satisfied, I'm not looking for a scapegoat," Deal added. "I'm the governor, the buck stops with me."

royexum@aol.com


Look At The Town Of Signal Mountain Water Options

The town of Signal Mountain is preparing a Request for Proposal so Walden’s Ridge Utility District and Tennessee American Water can have the opportunity to bid on buying our water system. Another option would be to hire a water manager and keep the water system.  The town has approximately 3.2 million in cash and investments, paid into the system by our rate ... (click for more)

The Problem With Standing On Your Principles

All of these people who are of the "Never Trump" crowd and will vote Libertarian, or not vote at all, will be proud of standing on their principles while watching Hillary finish Obamas destruction of our country.  Bob Bogart (click for more)

Mayor Berke Pledges $6 Million For New Recreation Center At Avondale

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that he plans to include $6 million in his upcoming budget for a new Recreation Center at Avondale. He said at a press conference at the current center on Dodson Avenue, "We want to make an investment in Avondale." Mayor Berke said the current center by Wilcox Boulevard was built in 1949 and last remodeled in 2002. The new center, which ... (click for more)

Developer Plans Single-Family Homes, Townhomes, Apartments, Retail On 7.5 Acres At South Broad Street

A developer is planning single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and retail on a 7.5-acre South Broad Street site. The development by South Broad LLC and DEW LLC is located within several blocks between South Broad Street, W. 26th Street, Long Street and W. 27th Street. It would include a 3-story U-shaped apartment building with ground floor retail at the north end of the ... (click for more)

Mustangs Clip Raiders, 4-3, On Chambers' Clutch RBI Hit In 10th

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Winning two regular season games against Cleveland was no picnic for the Walker Valley Mustangs. Capturing a win-or-go-home District 5-3A tournament showdown with the Blue Raiders was even tougher to nail down for coach Joe Shamblin’s squad. Bunts by Jacob McCall and Hunter Shamblin set the stage for Jacob Chambers’ walk-off RBI single in the 10 th ... (click for more)

East Ridge And CFCA Reach New Contract

The city of East Ridge and the Chattanooga Futbol Club Academy (CFCA) have agreed to a new five-year soccer field-use agreement for five fields at Camp Jordan Park. The agreement allows CFCA to practice at Camp Jordan Park and play games there on fields 1-5. The East Ridge Futbol Club (ERFC) plays recreation soccer on fields 6-8 and often works with CFCA to use field 5 on Saturday ... (click for more)