Your morning jolt: Sam Olens wonders if metro Atlanta needs a super mayor

Seriously, though. If metro Atlanta had a “super mayor,” would a cape be one of the perks?

Attorney General Sam Olens, former chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Attorney General Sam Olens, former chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Over at the Saporta Report, former Atlanta Regional Chairman Sam Olens, now attorney general, wonders out loud whether the 10-county region needs a “region-wide elected chairperson.”

From his interview with Maria Saporta:

In other words, electing a regional chair of ARC would create a position that could be considered a metro mayor — having someone whose constituency would be the whole 10-county region rather than just a slice of the area.

“Everybody complains that ARC doesn’t do enough, but few people have read the statute to see how little power it has,” Olens said. “Having someone elected from the region — it would be a healthy discussion.”

***
More than a dozen tea party and anti-tax groups will gather Saturday for an all-day meeting at the Cherokee Cattle Company restaurant on Canton Road in Marietta, to discuss strategies for opposing next year’s regional transportation sales tax votes around the state.

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The Associated Press reports that the Gwinnett Transit Advisory Board is a public hearing on a proposed 25 percent fare hike during a 7 p.m. Monday meeting at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

***
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Atlanta today, but it will cost a minimum of $1,000 to shake his hand. The fundraiser this evening will be at the Atlanta home of Equifax CEO Rick Smith. Click here to see the invite, with a full list of host names.

***
The Wall Street Journal is snickering at GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s experience on “Fox News Sunday:”

Mr. Cain declared that some of the best economists in this country helped him develop the plan, which he has dubbed the 9-9-9 plan because it would create a 9% flat tax on business and personal income and create a 9% national sales tax.

But Mr. Cain repeatedly refused to name those bright minds when pressed by the show’s host, Chris Wallace.

“The chairman of my economic advisers is a gentleman by the name of Rich Lowery of Cleveland, Ohio. He worked with a couple of other people, quite frankly, that are well known that I’m not at liberty to mention their names,” Mr. Cain said.

The newspaper notes that the editor of National Review, a conservative magazine, is Rich Lowry – but he lives outside Washington D.C.

***
Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) sent word over the weekend that Jim Higdon, executive director of the Georgia Municipal Association has retired after a decade with the organization. A search to replace him has begun.

***
Cherokee County Solicitor General David Cannon Jr. continues to apologize for his decision to remove 3,000 U.S. flags from a Canton city park last week. From his apology posted on Facebook:

”I thought it would be a nice gesture to these ladies to take advantage of the 15 Pre-Trial Diversion participants and do this job for them. I wouldn’t like the idea of my mother or my wife having to do this job in the rain or the hot sun, and it would have taken several hours to accomplish.

“These 15 teens and I got the job done in 30 minutes. We packed them in as many containers as we could find in my office (boxes, bins, and one clean small, Rubbermaid trash can), and stacked them in the front lobby of the Historical Cherokee Courthouse, and tried to get in touch with someone from the RWCC to let them know we had picked them up and where we had placed them.

“I never meant any harm.”

***
For decades, the Red & Black, the University of Georgia’s campus newspaper, was one of the few daily college publications in the country. Four days a week, but still.

That’s no longer the case. From Georgia Public Broadcasting:

Students at the University of Georgia cannot pick up their daily copy of the Red & Black student newspaper anymore. The publication has ditched a daily newsprint edition for an online-first strategy.

The Red & Black still publishes a weekly printed copy on Thursdays. And students now also produce a monthly magazine with more in-depth stories. But for daily news, sports and features, you have to visit www.redandblack.com.

The Red & Black is the first major college newspaper in the country to drop print editions in favor of an online-first strategy.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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50 comments Add your comment

Ernest

September 19th, 2011
9:23 am

While the idea of a ’super mayor’ is intriguing, I doubt if the many municipalities in the metro area would be willing to give up power and control for the common good of the region. At the same time, I wonder if you could find an individual that could lead on behalf of the entire region given the unique needs of the different communities in the area.

Darron

September 19th, 2011
9:48 am

We already have a “super mayor”. He’s called the Governer.

I wonder if the creation of a “super mayor” would require the incorporation of a “super Atlanta” so that we may be taxed to pay for the office. And then its projects. And then its bureaucracy. I live in Cobb County in order to avoid the tax pit that is Atlanta/Fulton/Dekalb. Perhaps a “super mayor” for the area outside of 285 would be more palatable.

Ga Values

September 19th, 2011
9:55 am

“Super Mayor”, why doesn’t Olens do his job and put the crooks of Atlanta in jail. He could start wit the airport concession bids & work his way up to the Beltline. Wonder how Reed & The Maynard Jackson Family would look in orange?

JD

September 19th, 2011
9:57 am

It may seem like a tax pit to you, but it is a community investment for me.

Centrist

September 19th, 2011
9:58 am

Super Mayor a terrible idea which will never fly. Olens is a flake.

David Cannon Jr.’s. latest apology is revisionist from what was originally reported as to the placement and condition of the flags he had no business having removed.

Trolls Bane

September 19th, 2011
10:01 am

A super mayor? A rethuglican no doubt …..

B. Thenet

September 19th, 2011
10:06 am

Someone should remind Mr. Olens that he is a Republican.

T.A.

September 19th, 2011
10:37 am

The idea from Mr. Olens should be a regional committee of elected people, not just a super mayor. Looking at the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, they have a metropolitan government (the only one of its kind) which oversees regional transportation and facilities like their sporting arenas, for example. Portland’s metropolitan government has more than just one person calling shots, which allows for discussion of different ideas- but ideas that will improve the quality of life for the entire region, not individual counties or cities. I believe that system would be very helpful in the Atlanta region.

Cog in the Cog in the Cog in the Machine

September 19th, 2011
10:43 am

London has a super mayor.

Charles Martel

September 19th, 2011
10:45 am

Metro Portland is also about 80% White, with a Black population of about 6%. Compared to Metro Atlanta, which is 60% White with a Black population of about 30%. BIG difference; i.e., less racial cohesion to make regional decisions.

MARTA Rida

September 19th, 2011
11:00 am

I agree with JD, it is a community investment. Darron, hope you enjoy sitting in traffic everyday of the week. I’ll ride MARTA or walk to get to where I need to go. That’s why I never go to Cobb or Gwinnett counties, eveerything I need is close to MARTA.

Road Scholar

September 19th, 2011
11:01 am

Baltimore City is the “hole of the donut” surrounded by Baltimore County. Two governments before you get out to the more rural areas. What if the local counties consolidated and formed this type of organization?

R

September 19th, 2011
11:05 am

How are UGA students going to do their crossword during class now that the print edition is all but gone?

Alabama Communist

September 19th, 2011
11:08 am

More Breaking News On Sam’s Super Mayor and Herman Cain economic experts……. A source deep within the Atlanta Mayor Office said today……” Heck! Why don’t Sam appoint Atila the Hun and end the Republican Tea Party discussion on Metro Goverment” Meanwhile back at the Cain Godfather Pizza Republican Tea Party Ranch. Herman said that was a bunch of Bull about him not naming his Economic Experts. I have already named them..Bennie Madoff, who at that moment is being detained for intense economic discussions about the cost of the dinning arrangements at his present secure unknown location..”

Poor ideq

September 19th, 2011
11:18 am

Perhaps the dumbest idea I have ever heard.

We need regional planning, no doubt. But as long as we have LOCAL taxation and LOCAL city councils and LOCAL laws, the concept of a ’super mayor’ is as doomed to fail as is the European Union. (and it will fail, don’t worry)

Horrifically poor idea.

Gervante

September 19th, 2011
11:23 am

“GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Atlanta today, but it will cost a minimum of $1,000 to shake his hand.”

I made 2 sperm bank donations @ $500 a pop (see today’s Geo. Mathis blog) so I now have enough coin to shake Mitt’s hand. Question is will he want to shake mine?

MrLiberty

September 19th, 2011
11:29 am

Ah yes, consolidating more government power in the hands of even fewer scum. Since the founding of this nation power has slowly consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer people and been taken farther and farther away from the people. The result is now $15Trillion in debt, $150Trillion in unfunded liabilities, the direct election of US senators (and the destruction of state power), the income tax (or universal slavery), an overseas empire of over 750 bases in over 170 countries, the failed war on drugs, a massive regulatory state that is destroying businesses, the Federal Reserve and the destruction of the US currency, and I could go on.

The people need to regain their power. Government does not need to consolidate more. The failed ARC should be enough example of what the region does not need an overarching government monopoly force dictating policy, nor does it need a local dictator.

honested

September 19th, 2011
11:30 am

Sam must be struck with the realization that despite the best efforts of the ‘Seabaugh Chainsaw Massacre Gang’ the Huge Majority of Metro Atlanta’s population will not be voting now or in the future to make sure that Gwinnett and Cobb Counties get what they want first and foremost while everyone else is left to wither.

Why else would he come up with such a nonsense idea?

GaBlue

September 19th, 2011
11:34 am

Just another big-government Republican….

Jon Lester

September 19th, 2011
11:44 am

The Red & Black should have done more careful forecasting before they sank so much money into that new building of theirs on Baxter Street.

Larry

September 19th, 2011
11:46 am

How bout we just elect people locally who know the benefit working regionally. Indirect impacts can be just as important as direct.

Centrist

September 19th, 2011
11:47 am

@GaBlue (and others) – Olen’s is a RINO with a strong ambition to become Governor. He is just trying to be in the news to gain more name recognition, and the best way to do that is to appeal to the AJC and Atlanta news stations with bigger government schemes.

hdhd

September 19th, 2011
11:48 am

Yes, more elected officials that do nothing buy line their own pockets is exactly what ATL needs.

Ele

September 19th, 2011
12:02 pm

A super mayor could work if the process is handled in a constructive, rather than partisan, manner.

I would not be in favor of having a two-state (primary-general) election scheme, but if the ARC came up with a list of nominees and put that to the people in a general election things may work better. Ultimately, however, the power of the ARC has less to do with the absence of a super-mayor and has everything to do with having 0 institutional authority to act unilaterally.

Will

September 19th, 2011
12:03 pm

This is a great idea. You’re all missing the point. One of the region’s main problems is that Roswell doesn’t like Atlanta or Henry doesn’t trust Cherokee. Having a regional forum with some authority would do wonders for helping us solve our water & transportation problems without interference from the rural lawmakers in the legislature who don’t vote for the metro area’s interests at all.

Will it happen? Not for a long time. Should it though? Absolutely. We should elect representatives to the ARC too, proportioned by population, not just have the County Commission chairs and the Atlanta mayor.

GaBlue

September 19th, 2011
12:15 pm

Centrist,

HAHAHA! NO WAY. Sorry, man. This “He’s not a real Republican” evasive garbage does not fly anymore. Excuse me? What’s that I hear?

“Here a RINO, there a RINO, everywhere a RINO RINO!” The REPUBLICAN party of Georgia funded these people, supported these people and voted for these people. Sam Olens is a BIG GUBMINT REPUBICAN just like all the other big goverment Republicans who expand power when it suits them while playing the victim card and whining how the mean ol’ Dems made it too big for its britches. Wah wah wah.

findog

September 19th, 2011
12:18 pm

The ARC is just fulfilling a federal mandate. Having served on several boards/committees I can tell you that they just parrot what the state agency’s put out.
ON THE OTHER HAND: every GaARNG blog is closed so how can one ask how a captain in the air force is qualified to run more than four major commands?

T.V.

September 19th, 2011
12:21 pm

No thank you emperor Olens

T.V.

September 19th, 2011
12:21 pm

No thank you emperor Olens

Centrist

September 19th, 2011
12:23 pm

@ GaBlue – Do you think that Democrats just faded away in Georgia? The old “if you can’t lick em, join em” mentality is at play here. Like McCain was the media’s favorite Republican (until he won the nomination), Olens is the Georgia media’s favorite. The fact that he is Jewish is an added feather in the his and the media’s cap: http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2010/11/06/sam-olens-breaks-through-an-ancient-georgia-barrier/

Bill Orvis White

September 19th, 2011
12:36 pm

The honorable GA Attorney General Samuel Olens is thinking about a common sense idea and what happens here? He gets trashed by far left secular progressives who hate Attorney General Olens for thinking outside of the box. Patriots like Mr. Olens keep America’s states, cities and counties safe from liberals and evildoers alike.
Amen,
Bill

GaBlue

September 19th, 2011
12:41 pm

Centrist @ 12:23,

Well, you seem to have it aaaaaaaaall figured out. Good for you! Meanwhile, any time any of you right-wing apologists start whining about “RINO,” I’m calling you out on it. Own it, or live in denial. It’s your choice.

findog

September 19th, 2011
12:42 pm

Yo Bill, what part of government that governs the least governs the best? That we cannot elect local officials that work together, regardless of party, is a byproduct of the, “my earmarks are good and yours are pork,” attitude that has made America a land of un-weened twits. If only we had a politician that would quit feeding the dogs who bite their hands.

Centrist

September 19th, 2011
12:43 pm

@ Bill O. White posted “[Olens] gets trashed by far left secular progressives”.

Add one Centrist, and some non-secular Republicans here.

ragnar danneskjold

September 19th, 2011
12:44 pm

“Super-Mayor” – just what we need, a politician too powerful to be stopped by local opposition. Sounds like the advantages of the Federal government.

findog

September 19th, 2011
12:46 pm

RINO in Georgia is the GOP claiming they were duped by democrats wrapped in republican orthodoxy. Perdue and now Deal were both democrats and when they stray the GOP base will tut-tut that they turned to RINO’s and we still need to elect repubblicans until we get some real conservatives in place to run this state right!

findog

September 19th, 2011
12:48 pm

ragnar, nice to see you back

fitzgerald

September 19th, 2011
1:11 pm

I was going to list all the reasons for not having a super mayor, but everyone one else has beaten me to the reasons. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want anyone remotely associated with the City of Atlanta to be involved.

Smoke

September 19th, 2011
1:12 pm

A super mayor has its merits, but in Georgia you would have to have Dixiecrats on some form of commission.

Who Cares?

September 19th, 2011
1:29 pm

Super Mayor? Sam, people choose to not be a part of that “circus act” that is known as Atlanta, and often referred to as “the ATL”. Yes, the OTP commute is a pain, but it is certainly better than the zoo ITP. Sorry, don’t drive us completely out of the region, but then again, as things are going here, that might be for the best! I’ve lived here my entire life (50+), but it might be time for a change. If I remember correctly, Mr. Olens was part of some other government waste that made the news fairly recently. Oh well, just another career politician trying to add another layer to his cocoon.

meleniet

September 19th, 2011
1:45 pm

Isn’t Olens supporting Romney for President? Enough said.

Sage

September 19th, 2011
1:56 pm

Emperor Olens is right.

Back in the day, I worked as a waitress Mr. Olens frequented. He looked down his nose at “the help” then just as he’s looking down his nose now. Don’t trust him. He always had a plan. He’ll clean his plate, then complain his fish was over-cooked just to get the whole meal for free. One of those people always on “the take”. Beware. Be very aware.

Last Man Laying Down

September 19th, 2011
2:01 pm

Sam’s still running for Governor.

John Adams

September 19th, 2011
2:59 pm

Hey Wall Street Journal! Ever stopped to think that there just might be more than one Rich Lowry in the world? Naw, didn’t think so.
FAIL.

Voting Nana

September 19th, 2011
4:10 pm

Super Mayor? Sure why not? The west side of Atlanta is basically ignored anyway so why not get ignored by a “super” politician.

Weefus

September 19th, 2011
5:34 pm

Another elected Republican trying to increase the size of government by creating another bureaucratic political position. I’m sure this Super Mayor would have a staff and multiple liason positions and assistants to interact with federal state and local municipal agencies. Who is going to pay for this new useless political hack and his or her cronies? Repuiblicans for small efficient government? Give me a break.

News From The Edge Told You So | Lost Atlanta

September 19th, 2011
9:20 pm

[...] at the ensuing political stalemate over the Regional Transportation penny tax and wonders aloud if maybe Atlanta metro needs a Regional “super-mayor.” I can only say, duh. When 5 million of Georgia’s 8 million people live within fifty miles of [...]

rooster

September 20th, 2011
9:37 pm

The super-mayor idea is interesting. We might should think of this person more as a super-moderator who doesn’t have executive or legislative power, but who is empowered to identify policy matters of regional import and to compel consultation among local governments on those matters. This official would have a regional perspective, having been elected on that basis. The natural basis for voter evaluation of his performance in office would be the extent to which he had induced local mayors, councils, and commissions to work together to move the region forward. That would be his political imperative – to think regionally and try to get others to do likewise.

Mr. KnowitAll

September 20th, 2011
9:45 pm

The only way this is a good idea is if we wipe out several dozen mayors and their city councils. For God’s sakes, the LAST thing we need is another tier of government to support.

rooster

September 20th, 2011
10:07 pm

Mr. Knowitall: Wiping out mayors and councils would trigger the Voting Rights Act, as it would dilute minority voting strength. That’s why I suggested not vesting executive or legislative powers in the “super-moderator.” Thought that would avoid having to submit the idea to the Justice Department for pre-clearance.