Guest Columns

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?

Georgia Walks Summit to focus on making the region, state more walkable

By Guest Columnist SALLY FLOCKS, founder, president and CEO of PEDS

When I founded PEDS 20 years ago, people who walk were not on Atlanta’s radar screen. Not so anymore. Walkable communities are now a top priority for both the region and state.

Indeed, walking trails are popping up across the state, and the region’s walkable urban spaces are attracting a growing share of new office space and retail.

Excitement draining for reservoir boondoggles

By Guest Columnist CHRIS MANGANIELLO, policy director of the Georgia River Network

Georgians agree we need a healthy and dependable supply of drinking water.  We need enough water flowing in our rivers for economic and environmental reasons.

A recent turning point indicates that one pathway is no longer as appealing as it once was.

Atlanta’s moment? Convergence of housing people can afford plus access to transit

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture and a former commissioner of planning and community development for the City of Atlanta

Against the backdrop of an antagonistic and often toxic campaign season, two opportunities are emerging that could begin to lift Atlanta out of its wealth gap, the city’s own divisive and persistent stain.

Independent process to congressional redistricting may be solution for Georgia

By Guest Columnists MAYA DILLARD SMITH, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, and BRINKLEY SERKEDAKIS, executive director Common Cause Georgia

Just days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in Evenwel v. Abbott that broke a recent wave of dangerously restrictive approaches by the high court that have been slowly chipping away key elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Landfill Goliath picks a fight with tiny Wayne County

By Guest Columnist DINK NESMITH, a Jesup native who is president and co-owner of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., publishers of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina

How far back can you remember?

Our three children, Alan, Emily and Eric, joke that I can remember the day I was born in 1948. Actually, I can’t. I tease them that I do recall the ride home from Ritch-Leaphart Hospital in Jesup, 40 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

Creating new cities causes social and economic fallout

By Guest Columnist JOHN MATTHEWS, a retired city planner who specialized in urban growth policy and a retired instructor at both Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and  at Georgia Tech

Metropolitan Atlanta is seeing the creation of an increasing number of local governments; there are many new cities and more are sure to come. There is additional movement to allow creation of new small school districts tied to the new cities.

Transit Planning 101 for the City of Atlanta: It’s not too late

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture and a former commissioner of planning and community development for the City of Atlanta

Transit is a good. In an ideal world it gets people where they want to go, cleanly, efficiently, and affordably. Transit fills a need. Twenty percent of Atlanta’s citizens are living at or below the poverty line; additionally, a growing percentage of the population doesn’t drive. This might be because they’re too old, too young, or because they simply don’t want to.

Morehouse College – a true Atlanta story – is on the rebound

By Guest Columnist JOHN S. WILSON, president of Morehouse College

A March 15, 2016 article in SaportaReport about the Morehouse College National Alumni Association presidential elections contained inaccuracies and misinformation about Morehouse College.

We appreciate SaportaReport for making corrections to that story, and we acknowledge that even the best institutions can be hurt by misinformation and disinformation.

Transit expansion is a simple decision, not a political one, whose time has come

By Guest Columnist JOHN MATTHEWS, a commercial real estate investor and an MBA graduate of Goizueta Business School

A debate seems to still be occurring in Georgia and our legislature about transit versus roads for the Atlanta region.  Still?  It is time for the debate to stop, and it is time to begin implementing solutions. Because the logic of transit is not a subject of debate.

Let’s develop affordable housing for all of Atlanta’s residents

By Guest Columnist HATTIE DORSEY, a concerned citizen who is a former president of Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

A policy for affordable housing has been a long time arriving.

Soon the Atlanta City Council will deliberate a proposed policy on inclusionary housing to be submitted by Councilmember Andre Dickens, chair of the City’s Community Development Committee.

Love and worry over tax allocation districts

By Guest Columnist CAROLYN BOURDEAUX, director of the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University

As a city of Atlanta taxpayer, I have a “love-worry” relationship with tax allocation districts (TADs): I love some of the projects that Atlanta has used TADs to finance, but I worry about whether we are keeping a close eye on the cumulative impact of this and other economic development finance tools.