Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Is competition with private businesses better than government for public services?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Today, we ask if free-market competition can trump government planning and public service delivery. Cash-strapped state governments are turning to public-private partnerships and outsourcing to save money and, it is hoped, improve efficiency. One writer praises proposed legislation that would set guidelines for such agreements in Georgia. A privatization proponent writes about the trend growing nationwide, while another author suggests governments should proceed cautiously.

Control public contracting services

By Donald Cohen

Cash-strapped state and local governments have handed over control of public services and assets to corporations backed by Wall Street banks that promise to handle them better. Not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition.

Atlantans have seen this firsthand in the agreement that turned water services over to …

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Not so snowed under this time

Rugged circumstances can teach worthwhile lessons.
As the second major storm in barely two weeks pounded away at us last week, Georgians, their government and the private sector seemed to have taken January’s bad weather teachings to heart. We’ve got more to learn, but this city and state seem to have been forced onto a better path of storm management.
We changed our behaviors this time around and timing of the latest storm also worked more in our favor. That made all the difference as sleet, ice and snow descended upon us yet again.
In the midst of it all, we were reminded that humankind, even with the best of its technology and machinery, is little match for Nature at its worst. More than 350,000 Georgia customers without electric power Wednesday decisively proved that.
We must nevertheless be ever-diligent in managing what we can control. Thus, we should keep working toward better ways to predict, assess and handle future weather events. Two big storms in less than a month …

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Georgians stepped up in face of storm

By Nathan Deal

The week began with words like  “historic” and “catastrophic.” That’s where the story began, but not where it ended. The weather modeling that led to those alarm bells proved accurate, and we Georgians were ready. Last weekend, nearly two days before the first of two waves of winter storms, state government jumped into action.
On Sunday, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency briefed me on impending weather conditions, using data  from local meteorologists. It was time to enact  the reforms we had discussed in recent weeks. That day, my office sent the latest weather information to school superintendents and local leaders.
Working with the DOT, the Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia State Patrol, we began mobilizing state personnel and assets toward areas where the storm was predicted to hit hardest. I put the National Guard on warning alert.
Monday gave us a full work day to inform Georgians about the dangerous conditions headed our way, and we …

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Views from elsewhere on our storm

From Thursday’s Washington Post: Two weeks ago, the state of Georgia massively bungled its response to a snowstorm — with everyone, from the governor down to average commuters, doing something dumb to contribute. The result was a massive citywide traffic jam in Atlanta, with school buses unable to deliver children to their parents, and some commuters needing 22 hours to get home.
On Tuesday, as another storm swept over the state, people in Georgia seemed to have learned their lesson.
But, in other parts of the South, other cities and other commuters seemed determined to repeat Atlanta’s mistakes.

From Thursday’s Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer: It was pretty. You had to give Mother Nature that. But otherwise, Wednesday’s snowstorm was a mess in terms of traffic and inconvenience and, yes, some danger for folks trying to get home from work. Thursday brought early melting, then more snow and ice.
The good news was that power outages were minimal in this area. The statewide news …

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Are private organizations the best way to protect our children?

Moderated by Rick Badie

A legislative plan is afoot that would enlist private organizations to help fix our troubled child protection system. The Division of Family and Children Services would be required to contract out primary functions such as adoption, foster care and case management to faith- and community-based organizations. Is this what’s best for nearly 7,000 of our most vulnerable children? Read the views of today’s guest writers, along with a writer who defends the health care of veterans.

Privatized care may be a great start

By Mark A. Washington

Georgia has seen its share of struggles and successes in its foster care system. Citizens may find it difficult to discern what is real and how prevalent are the issues. The complexities and varying geographies complicate a process of quick-and-easy solutions.

Expectations of citizens and stakeholders are not the problem. Everyone desires a state where children are safe, where families provide the love and support they …

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Cash or credit?

Moderated by Rick Badie

In 2013, Georgia was the nations’ 11th-largest exporting state, based on the dollar value of its products. An economic development official writes about the significance of our state’s export market and announces a new trade representative for Colombia. Meanwhile, a consumer expert examines the notion of cash-only purchases in light of recent credit card breaches at major retailers.

Georgia exports grow

By Kathe Falls

International trade is vital to maintaining and increasing jobs and investment in Georgia. Exports create twice as many jobs as domestic trade. For every job created in making a product, another is created getting the product to an international market. In fact, more than one-fifth of manufacturing workers in Georgia depend on exports for their jobs. When looking at imports and exports, more than 300,000 jobs can be attributed to international trade and our ports.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade …

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Beltline business and smart growth

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Critics have questioned its usefulness as a transportation network, but the Atlanta Beltline is seen as a success with regard to Atlanta’s quality of life. Today, a well-know chef and restaurant owner writes about how the rail-to-trail project has affected his business and community. In our second column, a federal administrator lists the many features that recently earned the Beltline a major smart growth award.

Commenting is open.

Beltline a benefit for local businesses

By Kavin Rathbun

Opening a restaurant is never a sure thing. Every entrepreneur takes a risk on a new venture. Since opening our first of three restaurants in Inman Park 10 years ago, location has been key to our success. We have always believed in the vision of the Atlanta Beltline, and taking the risk to locate our restaurants alongside it has paid off.

What we’ve seen next to Kevin Rathbun Steak on Krog Street has been incredible. Even before the paved trail, people were using the …

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Cell tower bill speeds process

Moderated by Rick Badie

It’s a mouthful, but if passed, the Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act would streamline the permitting process for the installation of cellphone towers. The legislation, which supporters say would boost the growth of wireless technology, is sailing through the General Assembly. Today’s guest writers — one in favor of the legislation, the other against — offer their views on House Bill 176.

By Joel Aaron Foster

Whether it’s a concert, rally, Pope’s election, sporting event or an attempt to cope with gridlocked traffic during Atlanta’s recent snow jam, one conspicuous aspect of virtually every modern-day event has changed dramatically over the last 10 years: The presence of mobile devices.

As Georgia consumers take their data mobile, the infrastructure to keep up is in high demand. Cell towers are popping up around the state. The potential is there to allow consumers to experience lower prices due to competition between …

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Snowpocalypse now

Robert Woodruff must be spinning in his grave.
The former president of Coca-Cola and one of Atlanta’s patriarchs, a man who worked tirelessly with his fellow business leaders to ensure this city and region stayed on a good course, would be appalled to see how our leaders handled last week’s mere two inches of snow.
Woodruff was a man who operated behind the scenes, demanding that Atlanta solve its most intractable problems and take charge of its future. He got results.
Compare that to last week’s storm woes.  So poor was this performance that it seemed even worse than an election in the hands of Fulton County. It was that bad.
This in a state and region where observing politicians bumble remains reliable entertainment.
What would have happened if today’s Super Bowl was being played in Atlanta? After all, we’ve felt slighted by the National Football League for overlooking us. Well, it looks like we might deserve it.
We insist on proceeding with each county as its own …

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Seeking better solutions, not scapegoats

By Nathan Deal

In times of crisis, the state has a responsibility to act swiftly and decisively on behalf of the public using the information and resources available at that time.
Like school systems, municipal government and private business, state government initially remained open for business. In anticipation of the snowstorm hitting farther south, resources were dispatched to different areas across Georgia. Due to changing forecasts, equipment and resources were ultimately rerouted and recalled on Tuesday, costing precious time.
In short, preparations were made for the storm we were expecting on Monday night, not the one that developed early Tuesday, and they proved inadequate. We didn’t respond quickly enough, and I accept responsibility for that. Debate over some decisions is warranted, and I believe it will be constructive in assessing our disaster response and preparedness moving forward.
We’re better prepared than in 2011, but more progress must be made. I’m not …

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