- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Georgia newspapers:

The Savannah Morning News, Sept. 28, on Tybee Island:

It’s hard to believe that six years have already passed since Tybee Island last had its beach renourished.

Yet without this regular dose of sand, Georgia’s most popular seaside attraction would eventually erode down to a sliver. The public’s recreational opportunities would diminish and the coastline would be more exposed to serious storms.

That’s why it’s encouraging to learn that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District awarded a $10 million contract last Monday to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Ill., for the island’s next beach renourishment project.

Work can begin as early as Oct. 15; it will take about four months to complete. Since this period is the “slow” season for visitors, the timing of this project is ideal.

The city of Tybee Island and the Corps of Engineers jointly sponsor the project, with the corps overseeing construction. The federal government funds approximately 61 percent of the cost while the city funds the rest.

The project was initially estimated to cost up to $19.2 million. Fortunately, the beach didn’t erode as badly as predicted. Tybee had already scrambled to secure its portion of the worst-case estimate, successfully lobbying the state for $5.8 million and socking away another $2 million in city funds.

Now it has more money than it needs. That’s a good problem to have.

“This extremely important project is the culmination of several years worth of hard work on the part of the Corps’ Savannah District, the city of Tybee and our volunteer Tybee Beach Task Force,” Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman said.

The plan calls for 1.3 million cubic yards of sand to be added to about three miles of beachfront, from the north beach near Old Fort Screven all the way to 18th Street, south of the public pier. It will be the most ever pumped onto Tybee. There’s every reason to believe that the quality will be good, as it will be pumped to the shoreline through submerged steel pipes from about a mile offshore.

This added cushion is predicted to last until 2024.

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Online: http://savannahnow.com/

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The Augusta Chronicle, Oct. 2, on Secret Service problems:

Of all the agencies of the federal government, the last one you’d expect to see melt down is the Secret Service.

These are the real-life Men in Black: stern-looking, cool, confident, no-nonsense rear-end kickers who are tasked with plowing a path for and protecting the president of the United States.

Oops.

Not only was a man famously allowed to jump the White House fence and enter an unlocked door Sept. 19, but it turns out the president was also put on an elevator with an armed security contractor in Atlanta recently, “surprising Secret Service agents and violating agency protocols requiring that only agents and officers for the service may be armed around the president,” writes the New York Times.

The man also happened to be a thrice-convicted felon.

Moreover, the agency flat lied to the public about how far the fence jumper got into the White House (hint: far), and whether he was armed (hint: he had a knife).

Immediately afterward, the agency perversely put out a press release patting itself on the back for the “restraint” it showed in dealing with the intruder. That’s like a baseball player being proud of his discipline in not picking up the ground ball that went through his legs.

Even Hollywood movies assume the White House is harder to get into than this.

Mind you, this is also the agency that was caught cavorting with prostitutes while in Colombia to protect the president at a summit in 2012.

The scandal is just one of a number of examples of how broken this government really is - despite the trillions spent on it.

As for the Secret Service scandal, commentator George Will Tuesday said, “It’s axiomatic that when there’s no penalty for failure, failures proliferate.”

New leadership can help fix this broken agency. Come November, Americans can start fixing the rest of this broken government.

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Online: http://chronicle.augusta.com/

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The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Oct. 1, on public safety needs

It seems the main thing the public safety departments in Columbus need money for is protecting the safety of the people who protect ours.

Police Chief Ricky Boren and Fire Chief Jeff Meyer presented a Tuesday work session of Columbus Council with a list of what they said are critical needs for the men and women on the front lines.

Filling these needs won’t come cheap. Protecting public safety — and the people who protect public safety — never does.

There’s equipment: Both police and fire departments have aging fleets of service vehicles. Boren said some of his department’s police cars are more than a dozen years old, and the mileage is taking its toll. He’s not asking to increase the size of the fleet, Boren said: “I am only looking to replace only the vehicles that have been taken off the street

Among the fire department’s needs are three new fire engines and four ambulances, which would cost more than $2 million, as well as a ladder truck and a squad truck that would add another $1.3 million or so.

Columbus police use Tasers that are becoming obsolete, and some officers still use film cameras to photograph evidence. “We’ve run out of places now that will develop 35mm film,” Boren said.

There’s structural maintenance: Meyer said the fire department’s three-story drill tower is old and worn enough to pose a safety hazard for firefighters in training, and Boren reminded councilors that the Public Safety Building is approaching 20 years of age and is starting to need repairs.

And there’s overtime. Boren carried over almost $700,000 in overtime and other expenses from the FY 2014 budget, and asked that it be restored to this one. The cuts in the fiscal 2015 budget, he said, won’t cover the police personnel costs of major investigations, public events, crises or disasters.

Council will officially take up these budget matters at a later regular meeting. But given the valid concerns here about public safety, and especially with regard to crime, the public employees doing these high-risk jobs need the resources to do them well and safely.

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Online: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/

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