Guest Columns

Andrew Young’s book on the ‘Making of Modern Atlanta’ describes the ‘Atlanta Way’

By Guest Columnist HARVEY NEWMAN, co-author of “Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta”

Six years ago, I was asked to work on a project with Ambassador Andrew Young and his daughter, Andrea Young. We began the process by sitting down with Andrew Young, with a tape recorder going, and listening to him tell stories about the decisions that shaped Atlanta’s growth from a small, segregated Southern city into a metropolis capable of hosting an international, multi-cultural event such as the Olympic Games.

This was a remarkable transformation in just a few decades.

The result of this project is a new book about our city, Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta, which was published by Mercer University Press.

It Could Happen Here

By Guest Columnist MARK PENDERGRAST, an Atlanta native and author of “For God, Country and Coca-Cola,” and other books

I am afraid of Donald Trump.

And I am appalled that a sizable number of the American voting public – at the moment over 40 percent, despite the latest revelations of his grotesque remarks about women 11 years ago – thinks he would be a good selection as the next president of the United States.

Georgia’s WIN List aims to build on record of helping elect female lawmakers

By Guest Columnist MELITA EASTERS, founding chair and current executive director of Georgia’s WIN List

No doubt about it, women voters of all ages are the deciding factor in this election cycle as political pundits increasingly predict Georgia will move to a blue column in this year’s presidential contest for the first time since 1992.

Legislative seats and private sector leadership positions held by women are leading indicators for a strong progressive streak in Georgia, which is obscured by the fact that all statewide offices and the majorities in the House and Senate are currently held by Republicans, who are predominately pale and male.

Georgia’s Pre-K Week a time to renew efforts to create brighter future for children

By Guest Columnist EMILY PELTON, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, which seeks to ensure the well-being of all children in Georgia

Last week, Georgians all over the state united for a great cause. In the midst of our supercharged and occasionally exhausting pre-election environment, hundreds of leaders found one thing to agree on: quality early education is important for Georgia’s kids.

Baby steps across Northside Drive?

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, a professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture who has overseen several Tech studios that examined Northside Drive and its neighborhoods

For over 30 years Northside Drive has separated westside residents from the jobs and vibrancy that continue to grow in Downtown Atlanta with a physical wall of traffic and pavement as if to emphasize the race and class divisions that plague the neighborhoods it bounds.

Support grows for Medicaid expansion to close Georgia’s health coverage gap

By Guest Columnist LAURA HARKER, who joined the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute in 2016 as a health policy analyst. She is responsible for researching and reporting on Georgia’s health policies and related spending

A ranking Republican Georgia senator who long panned the idea of expanding Medicaid is working on legislation to make it happen. The conservative Georgia Chamber of Commerce just made an economic case for Medicaid expansion as the best way for the state to get a handle on its health care costs and boost struggling rural hospitals.

Energy efficiency, Clean Power Plan would cut consumer costs, reduce use of dirty fuel

By Guest Columnist MARILYN A. BROWN, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy whose research focuses on energy, climate and environmental policy

In a year marked by ever deepening political divides, an unlikely consensus has formed between Georgia regulators and environmental advocates: energy bills must remain affordable as we transition to a low-carbon economy. My research on sustainable energy policies and the electric utility industry demonstrates that we can best achieve this result by using innovative tools already available to us.

Atlanta BeltLine off track, but City Hall has time to define, enforce high expectations

By Guest Columnist CATHY WOOLARD, a candidate for Atlanta mayor who was an early advocate of the Atlanta BeltLine when she served as president of the Atlanta City Council

It’s been more than 15 years since the proposal for what is now known as the Atlanta BeltLine landed on my desk at Atlanta City Hall. What made that idea so appealing then is still relevant today – orienting density around a transportation corridor that runs on a track separate from automobile traffic and connects 45 neighborhoods through all quadrants of the city.

Save Atlanta’s Olympic Cauldron, move it to Centennial Olympic Park

By Guest Columnist NICK STEPHENS, a writer and Atlanta native, interested in historic and environmental preservation

Over the last few weeks, as the 20th anniversary of Atlanta’s Olympic games came and went, much of the discussion of this city’s Olympic legacy naturally focused on the successful continuing use of so many of the games’ facilities, a rare feat for any city. But in an Aug. 8 interview on WXIA-TV, Olympic organizer and former Atlanta Mayor Andy Young admitted that one crucial component of the Olympic infrastructure was never as great as it could have been – and remains an under appreciated and mostly ignored relic.

Congress needs to take climate change seriously

By Guest Columnist MICHAEL WALLS, a former labor and employment lawyer and long time advocate for environmental, public transit and peace and justice issues

As a father and grandfather, I am deeply concerned about the most pressing issue the world’s children will likely have to face during their lifetimes.

Every news cycle seems to bring more bad news about climate change. Each of the last two years set records as the warmest since we began measuring surface temperatures over 150 years ago. Based on temperatures to date, it’s virtually certain that 2016 will establish another record. In fact, July was the hottest single month ever recorded.

Breaking the black male code of silence to promote change for the good

By Guest Columnist PATRICK MEDLEY, Sr., dean of students at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School

“I find it important that I send a message from my office addressing the recent issues regarding police across our nation and incidents that have led to seven senseless deaths (two citizens and five uniformed police officers). I ask that we pray for all of the families involved, our nation, and countries around the world….
My name is Patrick Medley, Sr. Above is the message that I sent to the staff, faculty, and students at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School….

Old growth forests – in the city?

By Guest Columnist KATHERYN KOLB, director of EcoAddendum, which raises awareness of Georgia’s natural environment

The greater metropolitan area of Atlanta was predominantly old growth forest less than 20 decades ago. For those of us who have lived a few decades, this seems perhaps not such a long time. For trees and forests and ecosystems, whose maturity is measured in centuries rather than decades, it is but the blink of an eye.

Better breast health will require support from entire community

By Guest Columnist JANICE MCKENZIE-CRAYTON, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta

African American women in metro Atlanta are 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. While there are several possible reasons for this difference in survival – barriers to health care, genetic differences in tumors, and other risk factors – one thing is clear: We must and we can do more to turn around this tragic statistic.

Child well-being required for every student to succeed

By Guest Columnist DANA RICKMAN, director for policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Throughout all of 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission conducted a “top to bottom review of public education.” The goal of this effort is to make education “more accessible and effective in preparing our state’s students for the rigors of college and the workforce.”

Midtown Alliance to weigh in on protected bike lanes on Peachtree Street

By Guest Columnist BEN FOSTER, membership and campaigns manager for the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

You may know Atlanta as the “City in a Forest,” but to NiAya El Jamah and many others who bike in the city, Atlanta might as well be called the “City of 100 Hills.” That’s one reason why the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is working to connect the city’s ridgelines (Peachtree Street) and rail lines (Lee Street and DeKalb Avenue) with protected bike lanes to make it easier and safer to bike.

Time to stop hateful rhetoric

By Guest Columnist SHELLEY ROSE, interim regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Southeast Region

Like millions of Americans and people throughout the world, we are trying to come to grips with the horror and tragedy of the mass murder in Orlando. This was not just an act of terror. Nor was it simply the result of religious extremism or easy access to guns – it was fueled by hate against LGBT people.

There may be many factors that will continue surfacing in the coming weeks and months, but a central factor in this mass murder cannot be overlooked: Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful actions.

Mayor Reed: Unfinished legacy – with bomb clock always ticking

By Guest Columnist JEREMY C. GARLINGTON, an executive leadership consultant who is based in Atlanta

How many lives do you get as a public leader? Nine, like Felix the Cat? Six, like Hillary Clinton? Three, like Donald Trump?

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed represents that rare modern breed still on his first life, politically and humanly speaking. His resume is impressive: Former rising star as a state senator; two-term mayor of Atlanta who led efforts to redo the city’s charter; frequent advocate for President Obama’s agenda with an ambitious eye towards higher office. Reed’s track record shows him to be effective, yet he is perceived as highly combative, divisive and often unconcerned about public opinion.

Promises to keep

By Guest Columnist MICHAEL RICH, associate professor of political science and director of Emory University’s Office of University-Community Partnerships

Atlanta has again taken center stage in the nation’s urban revitalization efforts through its recent selection by the Obama administration as one of nine new Promise Zone communities. Will Atlanta’s public, private, civic and community leaders seize this opportunity to improve the quality of life in some of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods, or will this initiative end with a string of broken promises as was the case with so many previous efforts?