Archive for December, 2013

Transaction Alley

Moderated by Rick Badie

Call us “transaction alley.” Every time you swipe a credit card, you’re contributing to a leading industry in our region. Today, an industry executive writes that 70 percent of the nation’s credit card purchases are processed in Georgia. Also, the Gwinnett Chamber president touts that county’s growing economic ties with South Korea and an upcoming business trip to East Asia.

Transaction Alley

By Tony Catalfano

Americans will spend nearly $640 billion this holiday season. More than 37 percent of purchases will be made with credit cards. Seventy percent of consumers plan to give gift cards, bringing gift card spending to nearly $30 billion. Astonishingly, 70 percent of each credit swipe is processed in Georgia, and gift cards are mostly powered by local companies.

The Financial Transaction Processing (FTP) industry provides the infrastructure for, and processing of, financial transactions that take place every time a debit card is used for …

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Cobb confident on Braves traffic

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A rollout of a billion dollars in mobility improvements over the next few years will alleviate traffic problems for those heading to the new Braves baseball stadium, writes the Cobb County Commission chairman. In our second column, a citizen leader says new transit technology should be considered, too. Ultimately, however, taxpayers will have bigger concerns than traffic.

Cobb mobility plans clear road for Braves

By Tim Lee

The Atlanta Braves’ decision to locate in Cobb County can be directly attributed to the county’s transportation planning efforts and infrastructure improvements. With close to a billion dollars in mobility improvements being rolled out in the next several years, Cobb’s planning has paid off.

The Cumberland district is blessed with economic assets, two decades’ worth of infrastructure investments and a long history of visionary leadership. Already, the future stadium site has a well-developed network of 14 existing access …

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Atlanta’s next human rights legacy

City poised to be role model once again

By Doug Shipman

While many of us may be focused on holiday preparations, an important milestone passes next week: Tuesday marks the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Created after the atrocities of World War II by a global committee led by Eleanor Roosevelt, this United Nations document provides crucial context for what can be our next great legacy.

Beyond “the city too busy to hate,” Atlanta is poised to become America’s home for human rights.

Atlanta holds a unique place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement — as a Southern city where conflict gave way to cooperation, citizens worked together across racial and religious lines, and the business community joined in support.

But this spirit of collaboration didn’t end with the 1960s. In the decades since, Atlanta has become known as a welcoming home for many minorities, from immigrants to LGBT people. Our civil rights legacy and growing …

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Mental health cuts loom at Grady

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Grady Memorial Hospital could learn next week if Fulton County plans to cut funding for mental health services. Rosalynn Carter, a longtime champion of mental health issues, writes that the county cuts would send an unfortunate message just as Georgia was making strides in the mental health arena. Fulton Chairman John Eaves says others need to help share Grady’s load, beginning with state expansion of Medicaid.

Fulton must avoid mental health cuts

By Rosalynn Carter

The Fulton County Commission must avoid the proposed cuts to Grady Memorial Hospital’s mental health services. The loss of the Grady programs these monies fund will be devastating. Emergency rooms at area hospitals will overflow with mental health patients in crisis. With an already inadequate capacity, the regional hospital will have to turn away more citizens in need. The jail population likely will increase as it becomes practically the only alternative for shelter and care. The …

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Nelson Mandela

Moderated by Rick Badie

Today’s guest writers reflect on Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon. A former secretary of Health and Human Services and president of the Morehouse School of Medicine implores the United States to continue efforts to strengthen health care in developing countries. An Emory University official writes about a Mandela mentor. Finally, Newt Gingrich defends Mandela against conservative critics.

Mandela’s vision inspires

By Louis W. Sullivan

The passing of President Nelson Mandela has caused many to pause and reflect on the ways he influenced us and others in the United States to work with our friends in South Africa to contribute to a brighter future for that beautiful country.

In 1985, I was invited to join with Herb and Joy Kaiser in Washington, D.C. to form a non-profit organization with members from the United States and South Africa to provide scholarships for black students in that country who were studying to become physicians, nurses, …

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China: Nuts for pecans

Moderated by Rick Badie

If you find pecans pricey this holiday season, some credit goes to the Chinese middle class. They’re crazy about pecans produced in Georgia, the nation’s leading producer of the product. Today, we hear from a South Georgia farmer who sells 90 percent of his crop to China. In another topic, a Metro Atlanta Chamber executive writes about his experience as a guest lecturer at China Jiliang University.

China goes nuts for Georgia pecans

By Randy Hudson

What would the holidays be without roasted pecans and pecan pies? It is my job to ensure you never have to worry about having pecans for your holidays.

Pecans have always been a part of the Hudson family of Irwin County. My great-grandfather dug up pecans trees from a local creek bottom and replanted them in one of the first pecan orchards in Georgia. Pecans at that time were used as food for the family, feed for livestock and a small income source. My father, Newt Hudson, raised and educated three …

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MARTA’s new momentum

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A year after taking the top job at MARTA, Keith T. Parker can point to a number of accomplishments aimed at getting the transit agency back on track regarding its finances and ridership. He writes about those today. In our second column, House Rep. Mike Jacobs, chairman of MARTA’s legislative oversight committee,  says Parker’s progress may signal a new era in state relations with the agency.

Commenting is open.

A year later, improvements show

By Keith T. Parker

After a comfortable early morning train ride, I started my first day at MARTA one year ago talking with employees about the need to transform the agency. The challenges facing MARTA were (and remain) huge.

Due to declining revenues over the previous four years, the agency had eliminated 40 of its 131 bus routes, cut rail service, shut down more than half the rail-station restrooms and raised fares by over 40 percent, while most employees had only received one pay increase in the previous …

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Careful questions when choosing insurance

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Deadline nears for health exchange decisions

Dorothy Leone-Glasser

The race to sign up Georgians for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is commonly referred is in full swing. Many groups are spending countless hours to educate individuals about new coverage options available to them under the ACA. I commend the efforts of these groups but want to reinforce to both the individuals signing up for coverage and Georgians, in general, that this is a big decision that will have significant impact on people’s lives.

I am a systemic lupus survivor of over 42 years. However, 26 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and dropped from my insurance plan. Because of my poor cancer prognosis and my poor lupus rating of kidney failure and stroke, I was not able to be underwritten for any affordable health insurance coverage. For the first time in 27 years, I will now be able to get health coverage – coverage that until now, I have been denied …

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Jury trials denied

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Recently, the AJC reported on a study that showed it’s nearly impossible to get a jury trial in employment discrimination cases in federal court in Atlanta and north Georgia — judges here tossed more than 80 percent of all cases. Today, one of the lawyers who conducted the research writes about the evisceration of a basic right and another looks at recent Supreme Court decisions reflecting a national trend.

Commenting is open.

Preserve right to jury trial

By Amanda A. Farahany

The right to a jury trial is the armor that protects us from the government, corporations and each other by defining the standards of conduct acceptable in our society. When we were deprived of the right to trial by jury before, the founding fathers of this country sought independence and waged war.

Fifty years ago, this country demanded equality among races and genders. Again, lives were sacrificed in the fight. Congress, following the peoples’ will, passed the Civil …

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Let’s save our children

Moderated by Rick Badie

In August, we launched a series regarding black-on-black crime in our communities that we hoped would become an ongoing discussion for our readers. Today, as we present the fourth installment, that initial topic has been broadened to encompass young people of all races and nationalities, as guest columnist Kate Boccia writes today. Meanwhile, Evander Baker offers his perspective on urban crime.

Reach out and help communities

By Kate Boccia

As the mother of an addict son now in prison, I stood alone in my cul-de-sac neighborhood trying to make sense of it all. I felt the urge to scream: “Somebody please help me.” When no one answered, I began to solve the problems myself. This is my journey. This is what I have learned.

The challenges suburban families face are complex and they devastate lives and derail futures. Kids are becoming addicts, being arrested, going to prison and dying from suicide and overdoses.

Recently, Forsyth County held a drug …

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