Sunday, August 28, 2005

Speaking of the Mayor's Race...'s a few issues we'd like to see addressed by our crop of current and potential candidates. (We'd also love to see the current Mayor and Commission address these, but they're too busy on more important quality of life issues.)

[source for these numbers available here]

  • Wages: Despite having arguably the best-educated workforce in the state, Athens' average weekly wage is 16% lower than the state average. Imagine how much lower it would be without those relatively few, high-paying professorships to push up the average. Also, the average per capita income for Athenians ($24,985) is almost 10% lower than the state average.
  • Poverty: Nearly 20% (19.4% if you're keeping score at home) of Athenians live in poverty. Worse yet, 26.7% of children here live in poverty. Thankfully, we have a number of charitable organizations that are working night and day to help these folks keep food on the table, but that's not enough.
  • Housing: As developers try to build more student housing, working Athens is being pushed farther and farther out of the city. If you're lucky, you can afford some swank acreage in Oconee County, but if you're one of the above-mentioned 19.4%, or really anyone not making six figures a year, chances are that you'll be feathering your nest in beautiful North Athens, where if you're really, really lucky, you might be on the sewer line and have decent access to fire and emergency services. Then again, maybe not.
We'd love to see our candidates for Mayor and Commission talk about these issues, almost as much as we'd like to see the current crop of office-holders do something about them. But, as we said before, they're too busy working on quality of life issues, which apparently these aren't.

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