Archive for the ‘MARTA’ Category

Shirley Franklin: Transportation issues belong on Nathan Deal’s shoulders

Former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin was conspicuously silent during the debate over the transportation sales tax, but she’s ready to talk about the impact of its defeat. Below is a portion of a post she’s written for her website, Blogging While Blue:

It doesn’t mean metro Atlantans will never support alternative transportation funding models in the future.

It doesn’t mean the State of Georgia is off the hook for leading the development, planning and funding a metro Atlanta comprehensive transportation and environmental plan. Or that the Governor doesn’t have the obligation and responsibility to do everything in his power to invest in a transformative, smart transportation network of trains, rail, buses, roads, bridges, trails, sidewalks and highways. Transit is worthy of state funding in a smart transportation plan.

It doesn’t mean metro Atlanta should play second fiddle in the race for state funding for its needs -to clean the air we breathe or to improve …

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The unlikely partnership behind TSPLOST opposition

Colleen Kiernan couldn’t remember the exact day the alliance was formed. But it was over lunch, and definitely in the spring, said the director of the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club.

“Right around Earth Day,” Kiernan said, using a marker that probably never occurred to her partner, Debbie Dooley, a founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots.

At table that day, the two women from opposite ends of the political spectrum quickly discovered they had something in common. “Conservatives and Republicans are not the only voters that distrust their elected officials. There is a lot of distrust among Democrats as well,” Dooley said.

If the transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta scrapes through on Tuesday, the partnership between Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and their last-minute efforts, will get much of the credit.

If the measure fails, victors raising their hands will range from Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, a Republican from Woodstock, to John …

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Your morning jolt: Developer says casino question, but not his project, doomed to failure

The following statement arrived out of the blue on Monday from Atlanta developer Dan O’Leary, who wants to harness the Georgia Lottery as the engine to drive a vast entertainment and gaming complex in Gwinnett County:

“Recently, Republican officials decided to put a casino question on the July primary ballot. Our group did not advocate to have this placed on the ballot, nor do we support the question.

It is a flawed question and does not accurately ask voters about our project. To truly gauge public sentiment on the issue of gaming, the real question is: ‘Are voters in favor of the Georgia Lottery expanding with [video lottery terminal] games in a single controlled environment to save the HOPE scholarship?’ This question gets to the heart of the issue. It’s not about casinos; it’s about saving HOPE.

“Our proposal to build a mixed-used entertainment complex in Gwinnett County will bring new revenue to fully fund the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs for …

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Trust and the transportation sales tax

If the referendum for a transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta fails this month, the cause is likely to be a lack of trust.

The most obvious trust gap is the one that separates most tea partyists from government spending. No surprise there. But the trust deficit that matters most in the July 31 vote, and the one that runs the deepest, separates white and black in metro Atlanta.

Or, if you prefer to keep things on a more civilized plane, it creates a divide between Democrats in Fulton and DeKalb counties on one hand, and Republicans in the other eight counties on the other.

All along, the strategy for passage of the transportation sales tax has been based on keeping the vote close in GOP strongholds such as Cobb and Gwinnett counties, then running up the score with strong African-American support in Atlanta and areas south of I-20.

This week, Channel 2 Action News released a poll, conducted by Rosetta Stone Communications, which showed only 38 percent of voters in the …

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Your morning jolt: Coke chief says U.S. becoming more hostile to business than China

Coca-Cola’s top dog on Monday told the Financial Times that, thanks to an antique tax code and political infighting, the United States is becoming a more hostile place to do business than China:

Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, said “in many respects” it was easier doing business in China, which he likened to a well-managed company. “You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other,” he [said].

And Washington gridlock? “There’s too much comfort. We need more needles to stick in politicians.”

Kent made his remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative conference. See the FT video here.

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Apparently, a certain former political figure has no plans to return to elective office. Bloomberg reports that former Democratic attorney general Thurbert Baker has been hired by the debt collection industry to help fight new restrictions in several states:

DBA International, the …

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Nathan Deal asks for legislation to make the state a player in mass transit

Last week, the State Transportation Board ousted its third commissioner in four years.

Vance Smith, a former state lawmaker from Pine Mountain, was given his notice eight months after a frozen reaction to an ice storm that paralyzed much of the state for days — and handed newly sworn-in Gov. Nathan Deal an immediate crisis.

A glazed metro Atlanta wasn’t cited as a direct reason for Smith’s dismissal. Suffice it to say that one never gets a second chance to make a first impression on the new boss — especially if that boss is worried about breaking a hip.

On the eve of multimillion-dollar campaigns across the state, aimed at pushing through a sales tax for transportation, the idea of yet another executive search for someone to top Georgia’s road-and-bridge bureaucracy ought to have resulted in laundry baskets full of knotted underwear.

But those concerned with how Georgia moves were actually distracted by some very good, but very quiet news that probably escaped your …

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Your morning jolt: Ralph Reed’s return and ‘extreme’ words from Lynn Westmoreland

Without question, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition provided the biggest Republican presidential playground over the weekend.

No major gaffes appeared to have been committed, but there was some dispute over who gained the most from Reed’s fusion of Christian and tea party elements. The Los Angeles Times picked Michele Bachmann as its winner:

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, host of NBC's "The Apprentice, " speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, host of NBC's "The Apprentice, " speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Bachmann, expected to announce her presidential intentions this month in Iowa, repeatedly brought the crowd out of its chairs with a blend of red-meat rhetoric and autobiographical detail. She attacked Planned Parenthood as a “corrupt organization,” swore a tireless commitment to repeal of “Obamacare,” deplored what she claimed was Obama’s “shocking” betrayal of Israel, and finished up, eyes closed, with a two-minute prayer.

The Washington Times preferred …

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Campaign funds are seizable assets in bankruptcies?

Just got a call from former state lawmaker Jill Chambers, a Republican from Atlanta, who says that she found herself on the short end of a federal bankruptcy judge’s ruling this morning.

Chambers filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy last year, in an attempt to protect $64,000 from being seized by creditors of her husband’s failed business.

We haven’t seen the order yet, but Chambers said the judge declared her campaign fund to be a personal asset exposed to creditors.

Chambers, who had chaired the MARTA oversight committee, had failed to incorporate her re-election campaign.

Chambers lost to Democrat Elena Parent in November.

Asked if she were planning a comeback, Chambers said no – any funds she raised for her campaign could be tapped by her creditors.

“No, I can’t come back, thanks to this decision,” she said.

By the sound of it, the decision could have repercussions for many other financially troubled public officials as well. We’ll post it as soon as some kind soul …

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Your morning jolt: Hearing to examine rider safety on MARTA

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee, will hold a hearing next week on rider safety within the transit system.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of MARTOC. AJC file

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, chairman of MARTOC. AJC file

The MARTOC chairman announced the hearings only days after a late-night gang attack of two Delta flight attendants in a train car on their way to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Jacobs told Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1 FM):

”Anecdotally, it wasn’t too, too long ago that you could ride a MARTA train and you were almost certain to see an officer walking back and forth, from the front of the train to the back, and then back again. These days, you’re much less likely to see officers on trains – although to be sure they can be found around the MARTA system.”

Mark your calendars for 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, in Room 406 of the CLOB.

Jacobs tantalized O’Hayer — and later, the Insider — with a possible deal that might be struck. The …

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Your morning jolt: She’s not Nathan Deal’s choice, but Sue Everhart wants to stay as GOP chair

Nathan Deal still has a month before he’s sworn in as governor, and already he’s facing his first challenge.

The governor-elect has quietly let it be known that he wants Tricia Pridemore, a Deal supporter and founder of the Georgia chapter of Glenn Beck’s 912 Project, as the next chairman of the Georgia Republican party.

Sue Everhart, chairman of the state GOP, wants a third term/Cox News Service

Sue Everhart, chairman of the state GOP, wants a third term/Cox News Service

But the current chairman, Sue Everhart of Cobb County, on Saturday declared that she’s not ready to leave – and would run for a third two-year term at the party’s state convention in May. She made her announcement at a breakfast meeting of Cobb party regulars.

“The chairman is elected by the grassroots. The governor does not appoint. There’s not a problem if the governor wants a particular candidate. I respect his wishes, but I am going to run for re-election,” Everhart said this morning in an interview.

“This is nothing against the new governor. I’ve complimented …

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