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Will melting snow wash away political ambitions?

I left our office at about 10 p.m. last Tuesday after a late night making sure newspapers got delivered and posting road closures, updates and other pertinent information on barnesville. com which saw peak traffic as the storm ebbed and, mercifully, ended. It left behind mostly ice but some snow which the young and young at heart enjoyed immensely until it melted. Anything and everything with a flat, slick bottom became a makeshift sled and we have the pictures in this edition to prove it. On the trip home, I was ensconced in a Jeep with four wheel drive and happy to have it. I could go anywhere at about 35 mph, slowing only for bridges. That night, the snow was near blinding in the fog lamps. I saw many vehicles in the ditches. I slowed to look but found no people in any of them. I had the radio tuned to WSB and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed came on to make an important announcement. His words were, ‘I need y’all to stay home.’ Ya think? This was eight hours after Atlanta’s roads froze over and people were hunkering down in their cars for the night. Later, we learned that Reed’s motorcade used all the power of his office and the city’s emergency lanes to make an appearance on The Weather Channel. Reed could get out but his emergency responders, whom he had boasted had been outfitted with much more and better equipment since the last storm three years ago, could not. Atlanta’s storm response was poor, at best, non-existent in many areas and the citizenry suffered. I had a sleepless night Monday. I worried about my kids, power outages at our offices, employees on the road, etc. News reports say this was not so for Gov. Nathan Deal. He, apparently doesn’t watch The Weather Channel. His aides didn’t see fit to wake him with news of the looming storm. Coverage indicated he got up Tuesday, had a leisurely breakfast and had his picture taken with actors playing Scarlett and Rhett. Meanwhile tens of thousands of state employees commuted to Atlanta for what, for most, would be a day and night of pure hell. Reed and Deal ‘“ and various school superintendents in the metro area ‘“ blew it. Atlanta and Georgia became a laughingstock ‘“ and rightfully so. ‘˜How could 1.2 inches of snow paralyze a major city’, newscasters, pundits and late night comedy show hosts wondered? The answer: abysmally poor leadership! Reed and Deal were either uninformed, misinformed or uncaring as the storm approached. Once it was upon them, their responses were reminiscent of The Three Stooges with the third stooge being the school superintendent in whichever metro county you happened to live. Deal was the frontrunner in his quest to be reelected governor. His opponents, Democrat and Republican, have seized on his myriad storm failures and, rightly so. The bet here is the next polls will hit his campaign hard. Reed is also a political animal who had aspirations far beyond Atlanta city hall. During the storm and its aftermath, he came off as a combative buffoon and those who were stuck in the cars in the ice and snow and the anguished relatives who awaited them at home will have long memories that will last through many election days. The snow and ice mercifully melted into dirty water. As that water circled the drain, it may have taken Reed and Deal down with it. Thankfully, authorities in Lamar County and its municipalities were prepared. School superintendent Dr. Bill Truby and his staff heeded weather forecasts and closed local schools. They made the right moves and the biggest problems here were minor fender benders and kids with scraped knees and elbows from sledding. Their competent leadership is much appreciated. Kasim Reed and Nathan Deal should take note! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of the Herald Gazette.

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