James.qxp Nov Dec 2018 web - Page 41

ric Mandel of the Atlanta Business
Chronicle recently described a disturbingly
dramatic descent in Georgia’s position in
CNBC’s annual “Top States for Business” rankings.
Georgia plummeted ve points, dropping from No. 2 to
No. 7 in 2018. Additionally alarming, Mandel describes,
“Georgia was among the states that saw the biggest fall.”
Striking important chords, James/InsiderAdvantage
Georgia CEO and Publisher Phil
Kent explained in a subsequent column that the reason for the precipitous plunge is crime. Signicantly,
the lawbreaking in question is
exactly the type of wrongdoing that
is most attributable to gangs.
Mandel conrms this while
explaining Georgia’s signicant
downgrade, “[A]n uptick in…violent
crime bruise[s] the Peach State’s
competitive edge.” Underscoring
public safety concerns, Mandel further reports that Georgia also
received a “D grade for ‘quality of
life” in the CNBC analysis.
A legion of sources demonstrate
the connection between Georgia’s
business ranking tumble and gang
criminality. For instance, federal
assessments place gangs as responsible for 48 percent of violent crime
in most jurisdictions and as much as 90 percent in others. In 2018, the Georgia Gang Investigators Association
estimated that Georgia houses over 70,000 gang members and associates within its borders.
These news articles serve as yet another harbinger.
Georgia’s business leaders, like those in politics, education,
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and public safety, should pay heed. This gang-related business ranking tailspin cannot be ignored. Neither should
massive premises liability verdicts due to gang activity on
commercial properties.
Positive economic development— along with
improved public safety and educational advancement—
requires authorities at all levels to initiate aggressive
anti-gang efforts centered on best practices. Georgia
cannot move forward as it hopes to
if it remains beleaguered by gangs
and gang crime.
Accordingly, Georgia’s economic elite will assuredly pressure
Georgia’s federal, state, and local
officials (and aspirants to those
posts) to forcefully contend with
Georgia’s gang crisis. Starting points
at home should include expanding
the authority of Georgia’s attorney
general to prosecute gangs and
establishing state-funded gang
prosecutor positions for Georgia
district attorneys. Federally, Georgia
leaders should spearhead passage of
a national gang prosecution law.
The involvement of Georgia’s corporate luminaries would denitely
usher in powerful new allies in
Georgia’s struggle against criminal
street gangs. Those dedicated to
improving legal Peach State commerce should not
ignore what the CNBC rankings dive portends in terms
of a wide-ranging call to action.
Righting a host of Georgia trajectories depends on it.
Vic Reynolds is the District Attorney for the Cobb Judicial Circuit. Mike Carlson
serves as the Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney for DA Reynolds’ Gang
Prosecution Unit. Both have been honored by the Georgia Gang Investigators
Association for their efforts against criminal street gangs.
love the Thanksgiving season. It’s my
favorite time of the year and Thanksgiving is
my favorite holiday. With that in mind, let me
tell you about some of the people I know, for
whom I’m thankful and some for whom I’m thankful that I
know only by reputation and what they have done.
First, there is a man that I’ve known for well over 50
years and known intimately for about 40 years. In addition to being thankful for him and his example, he is one
of the wisest people I know. My friend’s wife has
Alzheimer’s Disease and has been in a nursing home for
several years. He goes to see her religiously every day.
As a consequence of his visits, he has become close
friends with two of her caregivers. My friend is white.
His friends are black.
It probably started when my friend and his new
friends started talking about taxes and “business matters” and evolved into his explanation of the stock market
and how it works. Then, as their relationships strengthened, he decided to give them $7,500 each to invest in
stocks. They picked the stocks they wanted: Nike, Apple,
Verizon, McDonalds, and Netflix. Great selections, I’d say.
Financially, they’ve done very well. Perhaps, even more,
their respect and maybe even love for each other now
transcends the often-wide racial divide.
My friend is a staunch Republican. Probably, his two
friends are Democrats. It really doesn’t matter, does it?
People can have different views and still care deeply for
each other.
Now let’s discuss a “yellow dog Democrat”— the late
Tom Murphy, the long-time speaker of the Georgia House
of Representatives. I spent many hours with him and
have a photograph in my office of the two of us. On it, he
inscribed: “To Majority Leader Walker, and my right arm
and friend…”. We were close. I think I knew him as well
as anyone outside of his family.
Mr. Murphy was complex and yet both very smart
and very decent. If asked, he would reply that he was a
“conservative.” Actually, in my view, he was a populist.
When working on the state’s budgets, invariably— after
we thought we were ready to print the budget for presentation in the House— he would tell us to add additional
money for the blind academy and the school bus drivers
and the tuberculosis facility and the nursing homes. You
get the picture.
Mr. Murphy loved Georgia and wanted the best for it.
I loved Mr. Murphy and am thankful for the time I got to
spend with him.
I don’t know the Cathy family, even though I met
and talked with businessman Truett Cathy several
times. I am very thankful for the late Mr. Cathy, his family and their legacy. continued on page 42
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