Archive for the ‘MARTA’ Category

ATL mayoral doings: Arson, water meter lids, and a Facebook video from Andrew Young

Many things doing on the Atlanta mayoral front today:

Councilwoman Mary Norwood has called a 4 p.m. press conference at the Summerville home of Mattie Jackson, destroyed in 2008 by a fire that authorities determined was a matter of arson. Don’t know what the topic will be. A look at AJC archives indicates the response time by firefighters was four minutes.

The Atlanta water department has taken umbrage at a Norwood TV ad, in which the mayoral candidate says the city purchased 150,000 water meter lids that don’t fit. Commissioner Robert Hunter, who oversees the Department of Watershed Management, today declared the charge “absolutely untrue.”

Okay, maybe “absolutely” was the wrong word. This from the a press release:

DWM is replacing and upgrading approximately 150,000 meters. However, the number of meters reported with lids which do not fit properly represents significantly less than 1% of the meters.

Presently there are 994 open work orders to replace meter lids, not 150,000 …

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Your morning jolt: Glenn Richardson’s overseas phone call to Sonny Perdue

House Speaker Glenn Richardson informed Gov. Sonny Perdue of his attempted suicide last week, before the matter became public.

“I talked to him in a very personal, emotional conversation. I told him I wanted to visit with him as soon as I got back, because we all want to help him be successful – not just politically, but to be successful personally,” Perdue said in a WSB-TV interview conducted in Dubai, where the governor is attending an air show.

WSB’s Lori Geary, who is traveling with the governor, said Perdue talked to Richardson during a flight between Afghanistan – where the governor was visiting U.S. troops – to Germany.

“I told him there are a lot more important things out there than this other job that we do, which is public service,” Perdue said. “He and his family and his health is more important than any other political decision there. I know that while he is currently broken, he has a great ability to bounce back.”

Details of the incident from Paulding County …

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Your morning jolt: Does the governor know what you’re doing? ‘I am the governor’

Over on Lake Jackson down toward middle Georgia, Fonnette Harris saw some machinery on the lot across the water, dredging up dirt from a boat slip, then dumping it deeper into the lake.

She and her husband hopped into their pontoon boat and hailed the fellow on the opposite shore – asking if he had a permit and knew there were state regulations against dredging.

He said no. “We asked, ‘Does the governor know you’re doing this on his property?’ and he said, ‘I am the governor,’” Harris told the Macon Telegraph. Here’s the lead:

Gov. Sonny Perdue recently dredged soil from Lake Jackson without a permit, dumping it into the lake and angering some neighbors and environmental advocates.

Georgia Power officials said the activity at Perdue’s vacation home was not a violation, although a Georgia Power permit should have been obtained first. They said Perdue stopped digging as soon as he was informed that a permit was needed.

State and federal environmental …

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Your morning jolt: Last-minute numbers in the ATL race for mayor

When local reporters where composing their final stories on campaign finances and the Atlanta mayoral race, the campaign of front-runner Mary Norwood released a summary that disclosed how much she had raised and how much she had spent – but did not identify individual donors or expenditures.

See the AJC article here.

But all of Norwood’s information is now on display on the city of Atlanta web site.

Opposing campaigns – Kasim Reed, in particular – are focusing this morning on an Oct. 9 payment to former state Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas for “consulting services.” The grassroots activist endorsed Norwood on Oct. 23.

But it’s also worth looking at some of Norwood’s contributors:

– The Atlanta Taxicab Industry Association: $2,000;

– Renee Glover, head of the Atlanta Housing Authority: $300;

– Individuals associated with Stephens Rock & Dirt of Oakwood, Ga.; $4,000;

– The Rev. Jasper Williams of Salem Baptist Church, $500;

– Author and former newspaper columnist Rick Allen of …

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Your morning jolt: Maynard Jackson’s daughter to endorse Kasim Reed

The daughter of Maynard Jackson will endorse Kasim Reed in the race for mayor of Atlanta this morning, as get-out-the-vote efforts gear up in anticipation of the Tuesday vote.

Brooke Jackson-Edmond and the Reed campaign have scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference at Paschal’s Restaurant.

Consider this part of the fallout from that rally-behind-Lisa-Borders memo circulated by Aaron Turpeau in August. We understand that it ticked off the family of Atlanta’s first black mayor to no end.

Another reason it should come as no surprise: Jackson-Edmond, her father, and Daniel Halpern established Jackmont Hospitality, Inc., in 1994, a food service company with some interests at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, as well as other spots throughout Atlanta, according to its web site.

Halpern was a member of the exploratory committee that Reed established in 2008, in the run-up to his mayoral campaign.

Jackson-Edmond’s endorsement, which will become part of a radio blitz by the Reed …

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Your morning jolt: Paying more to work in Atlanta

When it comes to property taxes, the Atlanta race for mayor is a concern limited to the several hundred thousand people who call themselves residents.

Mention “commuter tax,” and suddenly your listening audience expands to several million.

Six mayoral candidates participated in an hourlong debate Sunday night, broadcast on GPTV and sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club.

If you listened carefully, you know there’s a good chance that driving into Atlanta might cost extra after this election.

The question is who — or what — will be taxed.

First up on the topic was Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who appeared to endorse an indirect commuter tax filtered through the state:

“We already subject our commuters to a tremendous amount of traffic to come into our city. So what I propose is a regional equalization plan so that any city in the state of Georgia that has a net inflow of citizens throughout the state coming in for employment, would have a different level of funding from the …

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Beverly Scott on the likelihood of a state arm around MARTA’s shoulders

A Republican lawmaker from Dunwoody this week added a new dimension to metro Atlanta’s debate over transportation — a proposal that the state of Georgia assume control of MARTA.

Unlike other GOP offers to seize urban assets — Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport comes to mind — Fran Millar’s overture doesn’t come in the spirit of a hostile takeover.

Instead, Millar said, his proposal is spurred by recognition that Fulton and DeKalb counties can no longer finance the Southeast’s largest mass transit system by themselves, and that the entire state’s economic future depends on cobbling together a larger metro Atlanta network.

Also, voters in cars are getting pretty ticked.

“This isn’t about MARTA. This is about a larger transportation plan that includes MARTA,” Millar said in an interview.

The lawmaker sketched out his idea in an opinion piece in Sunday’s AJC. But he has been testing his message for weeks. Last month, Millar delivered his pitch to the North …

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Your morning jolt: Who’s earning what in the Atlanta mayoral race

In these difficult economic times, the Atlanta mayoral race is helping political operatives cover the rent.

According to my AJC colleague Cameron McWhirter, the most recent campaign finance reports show that campaign managers are making a pretty penny helping bosses pitch the city’s financial recovery to voters.

Lisa Borders’ campaign manager, Stacey Abrams, a state representative from Atlanta, brought in $33,281.55 in compensation, reimbursement and retainer, according to July-through-September financial reports.

Letetia Jackson, a political consultant from Dothan, Ala., earned $28,888.95 as Jesse Spikes campaign manager. Spikes is, and has been, in single digits since the outset. And Jackson is no longer employed by Spikes.

Tharon Johnson, former state senator Kasim Reed’s campaign manager, earned $27,000. The least costly campaign manager was front-runner Mary Norwood’s Roman Levit, who earned $13,163.88. Norwood didn’t hire him until August.

That kind of …

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Your morning jolt: A bid to wrap MARTA into state DOT

Perhaps the most important item in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution was an op-ed piece by state Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), recommending that MARTA be folded into the state Department of Transportation.

The most likely vehicle would be the penny sales tax for transportation that has been debated in the Legislature the last two sessions.

Technical problems prevent a link to the actual Millar article on the AJC web site, so I’ve built a temporary link to a Google document instead. But here’s the gist:

It is my intention in 2010 to add to SB 200 or any other approach a Public Transportation division under DOT with the director of that division also being appointed by the Governor. This director can be responsible for operating public transportation agencies in Georgia including MARTA.

At the same time, I plan to introduce local legislation in DeKalb and have one of my fellow members in Fulton do likewise to repeal the current MARTA Act.

Obviously there are details that …

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MARTA: State lawmaker is ‘misinformed and unfair’

MARTA has sent us its answer to the demand by state Rep. Jill Chambers of Atlanta that the transit system’s board back off spending $400,000 on a lobbyist whose target will be the state Legislature.

In essence, the transit agency told the chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee to consider an underground train as just one of many things that can be placed where the sun don’t shine.

Read the entire memo by clicking here. This is the gist:

With all due respect to Rep. Jill Chambers, she is both misinformed and unfair in her characterization of the issues raised. We sincerely hope to set the record straight….

For the last several years, MARTA has been working diligently – but unsuccessfully – in the Georgia General Assembly to seek legislative relief from the obsolete funding provisions that prohibit the prudent use of sales tax revenues it receives to keep our regional transit system running….

In hopes of securing badly needed changes to MARTA Act funding …

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