Archive for June, 2013

More cities in DeKalb’s future?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Residents in two DeKalb County neighborhoods are pushing for cityhood, citing a now familiar litany of complaints in metro Atlanta — bloated government, lack of service and inadequate police protection. Today, neighborhood representatives in Lakeside, in the northern part of the county, and Stonecrest, on the south side, write about their desire for concentrated local control and better use of their tax money. On the other hand, DeKalb County’s CEO says fragmentation and uncoordinated cityhood efforts are not the answer. There’s a better way, he says.

Commenting is open below.

Cities are DeKalb’s path to prosperity

By Mary Kay Woodworth and Jason Lary

Inappropriate zonings. Lack of sufficient police protection. Pot holes that go unfilled. A need for economic development.

Such are just a few of the complaints we hear from citizens as two non-profit citizens groups explore the potential creation of two new cities — one in north DeKalb County, and the …

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Voting Rights Act

Moderated by Rick Badie

Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act quickly drew praise and criticism. Georgia is one of the Southern states that had been covered by the act’s “preclearance” requirement, that changes in voting processes be approved by the U.S. Justice Department. Today, columnist George Will says the act has largely outlived its usefulness, while a Georgia state representative contends it is still very much needed.

A noble law was past its time

By George Will

“But history did not end in 1965.” — Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday

WASHINGTON — Progressives resent progress when it renders anachronistic once-valid reasons for enlarging the federal government’s supervisory and coercive powers. Hence they regret Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling that progress has rendered Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

This section stipulates the formula by which nine states and some jurisdictions in others are brought under Section 5, …

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Moderated by Rick Badie

A recent survey finds most Atlanta corporate chief financial officers optimistic about third-quarter growth, so much so they’re hiring. Today, a staffing executive explains that the “Help Wanted signs” seek applicants with specific skills. Though hiring is on the uptick, a nonprofit executive worries about households under financial distress.

Job market hot for skilled professionals

By Andy Decker

Just as the weather warms up in Atlanta, the job market is hot for highly skilled professionals, especially in finance and information technology. Demand for certain specialized positions is already exceeding supply. The leading Atlanta indicators, such as manufacturing and construction job growth, suggest this trend will continue.

Despite what may be perceived as a high general unemployment rate (8.2 percent statewide in April), professionals with experience in business intelligence and strategy, financial analysis and .Net development fit what have proved to …

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Multimodal passenger terminal

By David Ibata

Much hand-wringing by transit advocates followed the Norfolk Southern’s recent letter to the state that high freight volumes precluded commuter trains using its tracks to reach downtown Atlanta and a proposed multimodal passenger terminal (MMPT). But was that the final word? A railroad official and a transportation consultant give their thoughts.

More trains, tough choices for region

By John H. Friedmann

Regardless of whether you think more passenger trains for Atlanta is a good idea, a shared understanding of a few key facts is critical to the discussion about a downtown multimodal passenger terminal. Norfolk Southern would be pleased to work with developers and the state on the project, recognizing some geographic realities up front:

* Atlanta has a single rail corridor used by both Norfolk Southern and CSX through the downtown Gulch area. Every freight train that can’t go through this corridor means 250 to 400 more trucks on Atlanta highways.

* The downtown …

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Local roles in global issues

Moderated by Rick Badie

Atlanta, home of research institutions and philanthropic corporations, plays a significant role in building a healthier, more secure world. Today, the president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta writes about our city’s contributions in dealing with those issues, while Sen. Johnny Isakson notes regional efforts to address world hunger.

A healthy and secure world

By Wayne Lord

Atlanta has been a city of visionaries. In human rights, global commerce, air travel and logistics, it has been blessed with great leadership and bold risk-takers. Robert W. Woodruff, legendary leader of the Coca-Cola Co., had another great civic vision. He wanted Atlanta to be the home of world-class medical facilities. His initial strategic investments in the health-care complex at Emory University, and subsequent philanthropy made through the foundation that bears his name, enabled Atlanta to become a world-leading medical and bioscience center.

 The legacy continued with …

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The new real estate boom

Moderated by Rick Badie

Recently, Wells Fargo Bank and various fair housing agencies announced a settlement designed to improve housing in minority neighborhoods hit hard with foreclosures. Atlanta is one of the cities that stands to benefit from the $27 million being provided by the banking giant. Today, an official with Metro Fair Housing Services writes about the potential local impact, while a real estate executive discusses the new boom in the housing market.

Pact can restore neighborhoods

By Gail Williams

Earlier this month, my Atlanta organization, Metro Fair Housing Services, announced that it will team up with Wells Fargo to make sure our communities have an equal chance at recovery from the housing crisis. With this agreement, Wells Fargo propelled itself as the industry leader committed to establishing quality standards for the way REO properties are maintained and marketed.

What are REO properties? They are “real estate owned” — homes that we see all too often …

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A soldier’s Father’s Day

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A mutual salute on Father’s Day

By Jim Frederick

As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of a question I have been asked many times over the past 16 years: “Aren’t you worried about your son serving in the Army during these times of world conflict?”

My answer is always the same: “No. I am concerned, but not worried.”

My son, you see, has wanted to be soldier since he was about seven years old.

As a child, when Adam was asked where he wanted to go to school and what he wanted to be when he grew up, his unhesitating reply was, “I am going to go to West Point and be a soldier.”

In 1993, my son graduated from Douglas County High School in Douglasville and he did, in fact, attend West Point. He graduated in 1997 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. These past 16 years have provided him the opportunity to do what he wants to do: be a soldier and fly helicopters. He serves in the best Army in the history of the world and works with the best soldiers …

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Fayette County voting feud

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

On May 21, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten ruled in favor of establishing district voting in Fayette County, where countywide at-large voting has been the norm. The national NAACP had sued the county to change its system to give black candidates a chance in local elections. The county voted to appeal that decision. Today, the NAACP says the time has come for district voting, while the Fayette County Commission chairman says the issue should not be forced.

Commenting is open below.

Fayette mutes black voters

By John Jones

As a child of the Jim Crow era South in Americus, I marched to protest inequality. A lot has changed since then, but not in Fayette County.

Because of great schools and increasing property values, my wife and I thought Fayette had the best quality of life in metro Atlanta. Being near the Atlanta airport was important, since I am a commercial airline pilot.

The black population was about 13 percent when we relocated in 1997, so I …

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Immigration Reform

Moderated by Rick Badie

The push for a comprehensive immigration law continues in our nation’s capital. The goal: Adopt a credible, bipartisan plan. Today, the president of the Georgia Farm Bureau calls Senate Bill 744 imperfect but necessary so crops won’t rot in the fields. A  Tea Party Patriot raises numerous concerns about the proposed legislation and two other authors write about the “essential economy.”

Georgia farmers need immigration bill

By Zippy Duvall

While most Americans agree the current immigration system is a mess, nobody advocates doing nothing. But nothing is exactly what we’ll get if the U.S. Senate fails to pass its immigration reform bill, SB 744. Without Senate action, America will be stuck with its broken immigration system for the next several years.

The Farm Bureau supports passage of the bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Our country cannot afford to continue with an immigration system that requires …

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Housing: An unmet need

Moderated by Rick Badie

Atlanta has a reputation for rebuilding and reinventing itself. Today’s guest writers explore what steps builders, lenders and developers must take regarding the region’s real estate market now that the housing industry is showing some signs of recovery.

No. 1 industry is growth

By Frank K. Norton Jr.

Atlanta is all about growth.

Since its founding as Terminus, growth has been Atlanta’s No. 1 industry. Boom or bust, up or down, Atlanta has stretched its arms around its unlimited geographic boundaries and embraced relocating businesses, expansive retail centers and swaths of new neighborhoods. We have either been chastised as the poster child for unrestrained growth or heralded as the champion of progressive economies. Atlanta has had no middle ground.

The powers of Atlanta’s housing industry grasped the opportunities of growth by the tail and for the most part held tight to this serpent through countless cycles, only to rebound time and time …

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