Banks County Opinions...

February 28, 2001

By Phillip Bond Sartain
The Banks County News
February 28, 2001

On with the flow
I didn't seek out the job. In fact, I already had a good job. But when your innate talents rise to the surface, sometimes it's best to just go with the flow.
After all, I've spent a fair amount of time in an automobile. To that extent, I feel like I've developed some expertise in the area. Besides, there's a move on to privatize certain branches of government, so I took advantage of an opportunity. That's why I decided to become a freelance traffic control engineer.
It's actually pretty easy work. Whenever I'm in my car and I notice that traffic is not flowing as smoothly as I think it should, I tackle the problem.
For instance, on the way home not too long ago, I had to wait 15 seconds while a car in front of me made a left turn. It was pretty annoying. I knew that no one else would fix the problem, so I took action. That week, I installed a new traffic light with a left turn signal. It was so easy.
But the next day, I realized that the turn signal was causing cars to back up in the other direction. They were blocking the driveway to my house. To straighten things out, I installed a row of signs just before my driveway detouring all traffic four blocks over.
Sure, there were some complaints by the neighbors. But I told them, "Hey, I'm a professional. I know what I'm doing. You'll get used to going out of your way to get home."
It was smooth sailing for a while after that. But then my wife complained that the detour made it hard for her to get to the grocery store in less than two minutes.
"Well, that's what I'm in business for," I told her.
"Can you help?," she smiled sweetly.
"Sounds to me like a little bit of road construction will solve that problem."
It took several months to finish, but soon we had an overpass that went from our driveway directly into the grocery store parking lot.
The only problem was that we had to pass through the grocery store parking lot in order to go anywhere else. We never ran out of milk but it was real inconvenient. Finally, I realized I had no choice in the matter-I had to claim a right of way and condemn part of the store's property.
Then I set up a series of one-way streets to allow for the smooth flow of traffic in all directions. Unfortunately, that called for people to use our overpass to get to the grocery store.
It got to be such a bother that we figured it would be easier to just move. Now we're out in the country. And it's nice not to have to worry about traffic.
Of course, the private Sartain Tollway helps. We're planning on using the money we collect to expand my business-I'm working on becoming the first Interstate Freelance Traffic Control Engineer.
The way I see it, there just has to be a quicker way to get to the beach.
Phillip Bond Sartain is a Gainesville attourney.



Send us a letter

Letter to the Editor
The Banks County News
February 28, 2001

Legislation to help poultry farmers needs support
Dear Editor:
After 13 years of poultry farming, we are calling it quits as poultry farmers.
Based on our personal experiences over the years, we have concluded greed and unfair contracts with the large poultry companies force growers to accept immense responsibility, placing poultry farmers in an industrial serfdom way of life.
We have seen poultry growers, including ourselves, forced to pay for diseased chicks, dispose of dead birds and manure, while the companies refuse to accept responsibility for the financial and environmental impacts of these practices.
We have seen poultry growers wronged by the poultry industry, unable to go to the court system seeking just relief because expensive arbitration clauses have been written into their contracts.
We have also seen the financial burden of illnesses or genetic problems placed on the backs of the farmers.
With new poultry houses costing $150,000, the unreasonable distribution of sickly chicks over quality chicks or a delay in delivery of chicks can put growers in debt. You don't make as much money off a sick chicken as you would off a healthy one. And with no company financial accountability for die-offs from illnesses or genetic problems, farmers cannot count on a steady, consistent income.
Instead, they can end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars, unable to pay the loan at the bank. Unable to make a living.
At the beginning it sounds good and easy for prospective poultry growers to be led to believe that this is a good way of life. Being your own boss, living off the land, building for the future are some of the enticements that draw both men and women into the business. But, after a year or so, people can find themselves as isolated sharecroppers working for nothing, micro managed by the poultry companies, and unable to pay back a bank debt.
Fear also plays an important role in keeping growers in line. With all the money they owe and their backs against the wall, they come to fear retaliation. We have heard too many stories about growers loosing their contracts because of speaking out against the companies.
Now there is a ray of hope with the two bills at the state capitol. For the first time in history, poultry growers have two fairness in business bills that just might help level the playing field and give growers and their families a chance for survival.
We expect the poultry companies will be going all out trying to stop these bills from even getting out to committee, let alone reach the floor for a vote.
If the growers are afraid to call their senators and representatives and ask them to support these bills, the companies will win and nothing will change. You must call or write your legislators and tell them to support the bills or the bills will not pass. It can be done safely. Encourage your friends, neighbors, and other growers to do the same. This is a must.
We are members of the executive board of the Georgia Poultry Justice Alliance, a non-profit organization seeking to establish just practices within the industry. The GPJA supports these bills and will work to get them passed. But we will need your help to do it.
The mission of the GPJA is to protect workers, growers, the environment, and the host communities from the current abuses the poultry industry levies on them, and to bring the scales of economic power back to an acceptable equilibrium.
The organization's membership includes growers, plant workers, clergy, organized labor, workers compensation attorneys, environmentalists, Poultry Growers Association of Georgia and National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.
To learn more how you can help, contact us at 652-2503 or check out our web site at http//
Becky and Barry Edington
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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