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Readers Write: April 16


Maybe GDOT not to blame for collapse

Suppose for a moment that GDOT had stored the high-density plastic piping in a locked-down secured storage area instead of under the I-85 bridges. What might have the outcome been? Inevitably, with the breathless encouragement of the local news establishment, some local politician would have been carping, “Forty-nine other states store this type of material for free under bridges. Why should Georgians be paying for this?”

As Pogo said, “we have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

JEFFREY M. PAWLIK, CANTON

Ossoff has what it takes to be great leader

Recent articles (“Dems donors pose liability and strength,” News, April 8) cast Democrat frontrunner Jon Ossoff in the Georgia 6th district congressional race to replace Tom Price as doing well because of the money he is collecting from donors. This is fair enough, as money plays a big role. However, as a supporter I can say that there is much more going on than that. Ossoff is working hard to meet voters and get his message out. In person, he comes across as highly intelligent, authentic, honest and confident, and his experience as a congressional aide and documentary filmmaker reveal that he values human rights, anti-corruption and fairness. He is popular right now because he has what it takes to make an excellent representative.

DARBY CHRISTOPHER, DUNWOODY

Where does the buck stop at GDOT?

As a fire protection specialist in the insurance industry, we regularly recommend fire protection controls for various commodity classifications based on ease of ignition and heat release to avoid conflagration. Polyethylene is a common material derived from petroleum, hence very flammable stuff. In the world of fire protection, this is referred to as a Group A plastic – having similar heat-release characteristics to gasoline and many other flammable liquids. This requires special fire protection when stored near important buildings and structures. In the case of our bridge collapse, the material released enough heat to burn through protective concrete and compromise the steel substructure supporting the reinforced concrete bridge.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but the GDOT should be accountable for letting this known hazard exist for as long as they did. The risks of storing highly flammable materials, which includes plastics, should be known to an organization that has engineers on staff. Did someone note this risk to people in authority and if so, where did the buck stop? Although some states already have rules preventing storage of highly flammable materials under bridges, this apparently is not a federal requirement, based on AJC research. I feel this incident should have federal ramifications for all states since taxpayers are involved and need to be protected from the costs of rebuilding and economic interruptions, let alone the massive inconveniences to drivers we are now facing. I think a reasonable requirement would be to eliminate storage of Group A plastics such as polyethylene and similar materials as well as flammable liquids of all kinds under low-elevation overpasses and bridges.

ROB BRANSON, BROOKHAVEN

Let’s hope United passenger gets good lawyer

The incident with United Airlines forcibly dragging a passenger off the airplane and the United CEO then publicly demonizing the man is beyond the pale. Yes, United and all other U.S. airlines routinely overbook flights, but the flights are rarely actually oversold. When that does happen, airlines have published denied boarding procedures that first allow for voluntary bumping, usually with a transportation credit as a reward, then if not enough volunteers step up, involuntary denied boarding procedures kick in, requiring a written explanation and a cash penalty up to around $1,350. These rules and policies do not apply in this case since United did not deny the passenger boarding. He was already on the airplane, having met all of United’s check-in requirements. Now the man has been injured in the scuffle and subsequently humiliated by United’s management. I hope he has a really good lawyer to find out just how deep United’s pockets are. Had the gate agent simply upped the offer, at some point someone else would have gotten off under their own power.

DAVID PORTER, DORAVILLE




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