At last, the Atlanta area seems to be coming to grips with the devastating impact of a winter storm that paralyzed the area. But the fallout is very much a matter of attention and controversy as elected officials seek to explain the days of unplowed roads and stranded Georgians.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appeared on a number of talk shows on Thursday, seeking to explain the slow response to the snow storm. He said that since the highways are maintained by the state, the problem with salting the roads was largely the fault of state officials
“It’s not solely about my call,” he said, on NBC’s Today Show. “In the city of Atlanta, there's the state, myself and the school system, which are all separate.”
Reed devoted a good deal of time to the news shows, explaining the various jurisdictions in the Atlanta metropolitan area, saying that there was a role to fulfill by the state, counties and even school districts.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, apologized and took responsibility Thursday afternoon for the slow response, which left some citizens stranded in their cars for nearly a full day. Deal said the “appropriate thing to do is apologize for the inconvenience.”
Deal said the state did not make preparations early enough to avoid the problems that occurred. He says his agencies will undergo internal and external reviews and that the state will compile a new plan of action.
Both the governor and the Atlanta mayor have been the target of harsh criticism for not paying sufficient attention to the forecasts of heavy snow that had been expected to come to the area. They were also criticized for attending various public events, such as the Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2014 Georgian of the year, where Reed was honored, all while snow was starting to fall in the area.
Andre Dickens, an Atlanta City Council member, said that all the leadership of the various municipalities has responsibility in what happened.
“The fault is on anyone in leadership that did not coordinate properly among the various city, county and state and school systems,” Dickens said in an interview with BET.com. “Everyone is responsible. There was no regional emergency plan.”
Dickens added that the governor and mayor should accept the responsibility and learn from the recent events.
“The fact of the matter is that, if one child or one citizen is stranded, then our plan needs to be rethought,” Dickens said, “We need to make sure everyone is safe and able to get home. And that was not the case here.”
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(Photo: AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ben Gray)