Archive for the ‘Atlanta’ Category

Why the Atlanta stadium debate remains alive: Location, location, location

The latest Journal-Constitution poll now measures opposition to a new, $1 billion version of the Georgia Dome – and a new home for the Atlanta Falcons, its chief tenant – at 72 percent of all Georgians.

That level of unpopularity shouldn’t shock you. But you might be surprised by the fact that, despite an approval rating only slightly better than that of Congress, the issue will be very much alive when the Legislature opens this week.

State lawmakers will be asked to approve $300 million in public funding, through a hotel-motel tax on visitors to Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed remains confident of success. Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston are less so, but neither has closed the door on the project.

Such a situation is sure to breed cynicism. Politicians doing the bidding of billionaire Falcons-owner Arthur Blank, one jaded voice in your head is saying. Another directs your attention to the much-vaunted friendship between the mayor of Atlanta and the governor.

But …

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Watching the Falcons stadium debate, the Braves pursue something different

The Atlanta Braves would like to see this sprawl of parking lots north of Turner Field become a mixed-use neighborhood on par with Atlantic Station. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

The Atlanta Braves would like to see this sprawl of parking lots north of Turner Field become a mixed-use neighborhood on par with Atlantic Station. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

For the much-needed attention she paid to the city’s infrastructure, Shirley Franklin became known as Atlanta’s sewer mayor.

Kasim Reed may have something flashier in mind as a legacy. If things go his way, by the time he’s finished, Reed may be known as the stadium mayor.

You already know that Reed is a major force behind Arthur Blank’s effort to build a new, $1 billion-plus home for his Atlanta Falcons. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority would hold the title. A state-approved hotel-motel tax would pay for at least $300 million of the structure – perhaps more, if the Legislature and governor can be persuaded.

This winter, the Falcons project could require the mayor of Atlanta, a former state senator, to return as a full-time resident of the Capitol. While he’s there, Reed may also give some …

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Your morning jolt: Mitt Romney wouldn’t deport ‘dream’ immigrants

In Colorado for Wednesday’s debate, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that young illegal immigrants who receive temporary work permits to stay in the country under a program established by President Barack Obama won’t be deported if he is elected. From the Denver Post:

“The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” Romney said. “Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.”

This summer, the Obama administration instituted a program allowing young illegal immigrants, brought here as children by the parents, to obtain work permits. The policy paralleled the so-called “Dream Act” legislation that has encountered Republican opposition in Congress.

The newspaper also reported that Romney was “hazy” when it came to the future of Colorado’s medical …

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Which has better odds: TSPLOST passage, or an engaged mayor?

Note to DeKalb County NAACP President John Evans:

If you want to throw Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed off-stride, even briefly, don’t accuse him of selling out south DeKalb in the TSPLOST package. Don’t suggest that he’s been colluding behind closed doors with business leaders.

Instead, ask him about his love life. Which happened this morning on Q100’s “The Bert Show.” The question: “Which has a better chance of happening…T-SPLOST passing or being engaged by the end of your first term?” Listen below:

The above photo is by the AJC’s Vino Wong.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Your morning jolt: Kasim Reed slams DeKalb NAACP chief over TSPLOST

A fascinating and heated non-debate over the TSPLOST, between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the president of the DeKalb County NAACP, took place this morning via radio station V-103 and its large African-American audience.

DeKalb has the highest concentration of Democratic voters in Georgia, and is crucial to the formula for passage next week of the transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta. But John Evans, who heads up the DeKalb NAACP chapter, has come out against the TSPLOST, saying it doesn’t do enough for south DeKalb.

Evans and Reed appeared back-to-back on V-103’s “Frank and Wanda Show” to discuss the issue. Evans was first, and said:

“Everybody has a reason they don’t want to pay the tax. They may not all be related to transportation. There are those in these outlying counties who want no part of transportation where we’re going to be bringing black folk and others to their communities. They don’t want it. And so they’ll have their reason for voting.

“The NAACP’s reason …

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Kasim Reed speaks up for TSPLOST: ‘Just surviving means just surviving’

In an unexpectedly passionate speech that took aim at doubters and the news media, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed this morning declared the campaign for the transportation sales tax to be far from dead, and said passage of the July 31 referendum was needed to pull the region out of the doldrums that threaten its economic standing in the South.

“Just surviving is just surviving,” Reed told a group of TSPLOST supporters at City Hall, casting the referendum as a generational test that will determine whether the region can operate in a biracial and bipartisan manner that can attract new businesses and jobs.

Said Reed:

”The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia, we’ve lost 200,000 jobs since the year 2007. We’ve lost 50,000 construction jobs since the year 2007. That hurt doesn’t have a color on it. And you all know as well as anybody that when the unemployment rate spikes for everybody else, it does even more damage to black people, Latino people, and rural people.”

The occasion at …

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Your morning jolt: 80,000 jobs in June makes for a presidential contest

Republican Mitt Romney has had a tough week, but the next 24 hours will belong to President Barack Obama. From the Associated Press:

U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said in its report Friday.

The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That’s one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter. Through the first six months of the year, job creation is also trailing last year’s pace.

“It’s a disappointing report,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio. He said the job gains are consistent with sluggish economic growth.

***
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be at the White House on Friday when President Barack Obama signs that bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes …

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Your morning jolt: Miscreants, armed citizens clash in Athens

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, three people in Athens have used guns to halt crimes in progress recently, prompting cops to caution that a call to 911 may be safer:

“Athenians seem to be making more use of the Second Amendment these days,” said Ron Carlson, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law.

“These and other recent cases involve very different facts, but one theme resonates as a common denominator: citizens seem more ready these days to protect themselves or others who may be in mortal danger by using a gun,” Carlson said.

From Athens police:

“I believe in the Second Amendment, but I wish people wouldn’t take the law into their own hands unless it’s a direct threat where they know their life is in danger or someone else’s is,” said Capt. Clarence Holeman, commander of the Athens-Clarke police Centralized Criminal Investigations Division.

“If time permits, the appropriate thing to do would always be to call the authorities,” he said. “We’re …

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Your morning jolt: Feds sue over Georgia’s runoff schedule

Federal officials have followed through on a threat issued nearly two weeks ago. From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia and its chief election official for allegedly not giving enough time to military service members, their families and citizens living overseas to return absentee ballots for the Aug. 21 federal primary runoff election.

The Justice Department said in a news release Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The news release says Georgia’s procedures are “inadequate to ensure that its eligible military and overseas voters can participate fully” in the runoff, should one be necessary.

Federal officials contend that under Georgia’s election calendar, absentee ballots for the runoff election won’t be sent out until after the July 7 deadline, or 45 days in advance of the election.

Of course, it’s hard to issue a runoff ballot on July 7 when the first round of voting doesn’t occur until …

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Why (sigh) love escaped Shirley Franklin at Atlanta City Hall

No doubt you have always wondered whether Shirley Franklin ever found love while she was mayor of Atlanta. The answer is a complicated “no.”

Franklin explains on Blogging While Blue, while pondering over that illicit romance between ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon and the man who might be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq:

As a divorced woman serving as the city’s CEO, I was not faced with Chon’s ethical dilemma. Maybe I was too old. In fact, fostering any personal relationship was nearly impossible. The scrutiny and eagle eye attention from the public can be a deterrent for any prospective suitor.

“This is just one more disadvantage of being a baby boomer or, more accurately, an aging woman. This may sound strangely personal to some readers, but running for office can be a personal relationship bust. Truth be told, from my experience, personal/romantic relationships are difficult to establish and are virtually nonexistent.

“Often times it wasn’t clear to me if any …

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