There’s more to Marietta than recent article shows

A recent article in a New York publication that paints Marietta in a negative light is being shared through social media and sparking outrage among some in the community.

It describes Marietta as full of run-down trailers, and as an area of family breakdown, drug use and educational indifference. It implies that a large group of residents have their children classified as special needs to qualify for disability payments or refuse jobs to stay on disability.

The City Journal article cites the “D” Marietta City Schools received on its 2013 state report card but doesn’t explain that the letter grade was part of a new grading system still being ironed out. State education officials said the grades didn’t yet accurately represent student performance and must be accompanied with plenty of explanation.

Some of the facts of the story, most not attributed to any source or to anonymous sources, are simply untrue. While the article states there are more than 1,000 HUD houses in the city, the real number is about half of that.

The author says “The drug trade and its associated gun violence are concentrated in garden apartment complexes….” We would argue it’s not concentrated anywhere since the last drug-gun crime in Marietta was a decade ago, and most calendar years pass without any gun incidents at all in the city.

The piece focuses on crumbling buildings, poverty and crime.

It’s important to note that Marietta does have these issues and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to them.

But that’s not all we are.

This article takes the worst of our city and makes it seem as if it’s the entirety of our city. We’re not sure if the writer was simply not thorough in his research or if he had a particular agenda and slant already in mind before his two visits to Marietta last year.

The Marietta Times is sometimes criticized for having too much “negative” news in the paper, as we cover child sex crimes, drug use and trafficking and other things going on daily in our community and others.

We do think it’s important we cover these and that residents simply don’t pretend those things aren’t happening here. Awareness is an important first step toward solving such problems.

But on a recent day when there was both a Times story about a Marietta man sentenced for bath salts possession and a Marietta man arrested for rape on the front page, that wasn’t where the coverage ended.

On that same day, local coverage included a story and photos of a historic home restored, a feature on an 87-year-old World War II veteran set to finally get his high school diploma, coverage of an event honoring volunteers at Marietta Memorial Hospital and a profile on a Lowell teenager who placed high in the Junior Olympics air rifle competition.

We know there’s more much more to our community than drugs, crime and poverty and that so many people here are hardworking, bright and successful.

We wish the writer of the City Journal piece would have portrayed the whole picture as well.