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Letters to the Editor - Sept. 12, 2008

We must restore positive perception of this county

To the editor:

The Clayton News Daily had a headline Sept. 10 that said, "CSU officials: 'WE ARE STILL ACCREDITED!'" and a sub-headline stating, "University leaders fight confusion with Clayton public schools."

That really hit home with every business owner, home owner and resident in Clayton County. It is a regular occurrence as a business owner that I encounter a question about the state of the county and the Clayton County School Board. It is embarrassing.

One of my companies does business all over the Atlanta metro area, and our credibility comes into question. New businesses have second thoughts, and potential employees won't move to the area. As with CSU, we are all guilty by public perception.

The scope of the damage is incalculable. Case in point, this past weekend, my Rotary Club hosted 70 international students from all over the world at the homes of our members. My wife and I hosted a student from Vancouver, Canada. He is a Canadian citizen, but was born in Taiwan. Through the Georgia Rotary Student Program, he is a student at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta for the next year.

Of course, he reads and sees the local news about our county. His perception of our county was so jaded, he actually had second thoughts about attending the weekend's activities. How sad is that?

We, the citizens of Clayton County, have work to do to restore a positive public perception, and renewed confidence in our school system. I thought Clayton County kind of grew up in the last election. Results of that election indicated a willingness of citizens, both black and white, to work together to elect qualified public servants who have the best interest of the county at heart. But, our work is not done.

There are crucial school board seats yet to be filled, and major issues to be resolved. More of the same will simply doom the county for years to come.

As with many others, I have worked overtime promoting and speaking about the good things in Clayton County to my business customers, associates and friends, but I, like CSU, could be spending my time and energy on other worthwhile projects.

Let's get it right for a change.

RAYMOND L. BAGGARLY

Jonesboro