The Bulletin—August 9, 2012
The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.
- In a July 31 primary election, Georgians voted down T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), a penny sales-tax proposal which would have provided for various transportation projects across the state. For the first time in history, voters in the ten-county region surrounding Atlanta were asked to vote on taxes funding projects throughout the metro area. While the regional referrendum failed (62.3% to 37.7%), a closer look at a map of the voting data suggests that most Atlantans living inside the I-285 perimeter voted in favor of the bill, with residents of the city of Atlanta voting in favor of the bill 60% to 40%. The outcome of this ballot initiative has left some observers wondering if "Metro-Atlanta" even exists and whether or not Atlanta residents should seek to enact transportation changes without the help of the surrounding region in the future.
- On August 7, seven-hundred members of the United Steelworkers Local 5668 who work for the Constellium rolled aluminum plant in Ravenswood, West Virginia went on strike. The workers voted to strike after failing to reach an agreement with the company on a new collective bargaining contract. Specifically, the workers are unwilling to accept the reduction of health care benefits proposed by the company. The importance of the plant to the economic vitality of the town, and the importance of healthcare benefits to its workers recalls a similar relationship in nearby east Kentucky documented by photographer Earl Dotter in his 2008 Southern Spaces photo essay "Coalfield Generations: Health, Mining, and the Environment."