Archive for November, 2013

Comparing two stadium deals

By Mary Rose Taylor

While negotiations  for the new Falcons stadium played out in headlines throughout the summer and early fall, an equally important dialogue regarding the Atlanta Braves was conducted behind the scenes at City Hall and without public knowledge or input. As a result, the Falcons’  agreement emerged as a win-win for all sides — team, city, county, state and neighborhoods — and the Braves agreement  went up in flames.
That there were almost insurmountable challenges to renegotiating the Braves’ contract should come as no surprise to anyone involved in the stadium negotiations leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games. The trouble spots in that contract that find the city holding the short end of the stick include:

  • The traditional sinking fund for the eventual overhaul of the stadium
  • The definition of capital repairs and maintenance
  • Recently publicized issues of public transportation to ease access
  • Parking
  • Ongoing issues of neighborhood versus commercial …

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Atlanta taxpayers have ’stadium fatigue’

By Kasim Reed

The Atlanta Braves have a 47-year tradition in our city that has endeared many of us to our hometown team, including me.
I still believe the Braves belong in the city of Atlanta.
But it’s become clear to me that our taxpayers are suffering from “stadium fatigue,” weary of public financing of private stadiums, particularly where there is no clearly defined revenue stream to pay for them.
Although these stadiums are positive for business development, I would not saddle   Atlanta taxpayers with a burden  between $150 million to $250 million that would require the city to backstop the debt.
Those who say I pushed hard to keep the Falcons in the city are correct. But the public financing for the new Falcons stadium is derived from an existing revenue stream of a hotel-motel tax paid for largely by visitors to the city. The hotel/motel tax also contributes $8 million to $10 million a year to the city’s general fund.
Let’s be clear, the Falcons stadium is a direct …

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An expat’s take on the Braves’ move

By Tommy Tomlinson

1. The Braves are moving to Cobb County, and if you know Atlanta you know the layers of meaning in that. Coming up I-75 from downtown, you cross into Cobb over the Lester and Virginia Maddox Bridge. Cobb County famously rejected the MARTA rail system, at least in part over worries that “those people” would ride up into Cobb and, I don’t know, steal TVs and haul them back home on the train. Cobb is more diverse now — it’s not much different than the rest of suburban America — but it is 66 percent white, and Fulton County — which the Braves are leaving — is 47 percent white. In a city known as a black mecca — not to mention the city of Hank Aaron — the move carries some symbolic weight.
2. But those people in the northern ‘burbs buy more Braves tickets than anyone else, by far.
3. In Atlanta, many people define their lives by the Perimeter. You hear people talk about Inside the Perimeter or Outside the Perimeter as separate countries. Part of that is racial, …

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The Competitive Initiative

Moderated by Rick Badie

Shortly after being elected, Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia Chamber of Commerce officials launched the Competitive Initiative to grow the state’s economy. Deal recently asked members who serve on a “competitive panel” to continue its review of state tax legislation, an advisory role he explains in today’s guest column.  A business owner writes that the initiative propels Georgia forward. Meanwhile, the executive director of a think tank suggests too much power is being ceded to business leaders.

Business feedback makes sense

By Nathan Deal

I work every day to bring good jobs to Georgia. That goal tops my priority list, and all state government endeavors fall under the umbrella of making Georgia a great place to live and work.

Pardon me if you’ve heard me say this before, but it’s my aim to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business. A pro-business environment is a prerequisite for a pro-jobs environment. We’ve seen significant …

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The tale of two Georgias

Moderated by Rick Badie

When it comes to the economy, it’s been said that there are two Georgias: the vibrancy of metro Atlanta, then the rest of the state — specifically, rural counties dependent on agriculture and an occasional factory. Today, a College of Charleston assistant professor highlights socioeconomic factors that plague our state, while an executive for a nonprofit writes about depressed regions across the South.

Rural decline concerns us all

By Tammy Ingram

Atlanta may be the largest city in the Deep South, but every Georgian knows that Atlanta — or ‘lanter, as I thought it was called while growing up in South Georgia — is hardly representative of the state, much less the entire region. The metro area is home to more than half the state’s population and most of its best-paying jobs. But if you want an accurate snapshot of the rest of the state, you’ll have to crop out metro Atlanta.

That snapshot isn’t pretty. Rural counties have the highest unemployment rates, …

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Braves move to Cobb County

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Atlanta Braves made shocking news Monday when it announced the team planned to move Atlanta’s major league baseball franchise to Cobb County in time for the 2017 season. With its lease expiring at Turner Field, the team apparently has negotiated an investment of $450 million in public money from Cobb County to help pay for the new stadium. We hear from the team and supporters and critics of the deal.

Commenting is open.

Great move for jobs and growth

John Schuerholz, president of the Atlanta Braves

Today, I would like to announce that the Atlanta Braves will build a new ballpark, which will open for the 2017 major league baseball season.

The new location is a short distance from downtown Atlanta at the intersection of I-75 and I-285.

Our lease at Turner Field expires in three short years, but in addition to that, we wanted to find a location that is great for our fans, makes getting to and from the stadium much easier and provides a first-rate game …

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Whaddya think about the Braves’ move to Cobb?

Today’s head-turning news that the Atlanta Braves will relocate from Turner Field to Cobb County is a big deal for the Atlanta metro. Given our Atlanta Forward focus, we want to hear what you think about the move. The commenting doors are open. Write early, write often and please be polite… .

The AJC Opinion Crew

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Thanking our heroes


Battles inevitably end. Threats never do.
That distinction is worth remembering as these United States approach another Veterans Day. Among other things, it provides a useful framework through which to view the veterans of military service who live and work among us.
Their ranks stretch back across the centuries to this nation’s founding. The citizens who first answered the call of the Continental Army in the 18th century were responding to a grave threat of that day.
Many battles have been fought since then against many enemies. Always, the nation’s soldiers, sailors, M arines and airmen have answered their country’s call — no matter how difficult, bloody or miserable the tasks required to fulfill their mission. Their fidelity to duty and their honor deserves our thanks on Veterans Day, and all other days.
The arduous work required of soldiers continues today because that old constant — threats — yet hangs over this country.
The unceasing …

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A Vietnam vet’s Veterans Day thoughts

By Sid Orr

In elementary school, I remember celebrating “Armistice Day.” Always the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month observed the end of hostilities of the brutal World War I, the “war to end all wars.”
Armistice Day was set aside to celebrate world peace. In 1954, following WWII and Korea and the greatest mobilization of forces in our nation’s history, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed, “In order to ensure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”
When we returned from Vietnam, we returned as individuals. I didn’t know one other person on that plane ride home. Our DEROS (Date of estimated return from overseas) simply matched those of our brothers on that plane. I remember very little conversation on that long ride home. Our thoughts were about the job market back home, our …

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State Veterans Day message 2013

By Pete Wheeler

There are more than 23 million veterans living nationwide, more than 23 million people to whom we owe gratitude for the freedoms and liberties we enjoy.
As we once again observe Veterans Day in the United States of America, we honor these brave men and women, each of whom swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and laws of this great nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Let us never forget the blank check each of them wrote to us, at the value of their lives, in service to our nation.
Many have suffered the shock and pain of combat. Some have become disabled for life; many have made the ultimate sacrifice. All who served have given up some of the best years of their life.
Now, on this day, it is a small but important matter for us to simply say “thank you” to these courageous Americans.
Thank you.
We support you, and we stand behind you — those who stood between us and harm.
And thank you to those serving in our armed forces today, for …

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