The late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson was the ultimate disruptor.
When he was elected mayor in 1973, he was only 35 years old and the first black mayor in the city’s history.
Given that the lunch counters were already integrated, Jackson set out to make sure that all races could participate in the city’s economy. That meant disrupting the existing way of doing business to invite blacks, women and Latinos to the table.
For nearly five decades, Muhammad Ali has had a special relationship with Atlanta.
With the passing of “the Greatest” on Friday at the age of 74, it is an appropriate time to reflect on Ali’s relationships with Atlanta – two that are well-known events and two relationships that are less known.
After the news broke of the Friday firings of two key officials from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration, once again I was struck by how much City Hall has changed over the years.
On May 20, Reed parted ways with Miguel Southwell, aviation general manager who was in charge of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; and Jo Ann Macrina, commissioner of the Department of Watershed Management.
For 20 years, metro Atlanta leaders have been traveling to other cities to gain insights on how to address our most pressing issues by seeing how other urban areas address theirs.
The LINK trips – organized by the Atlanta Regional Commission – also have played another vital role. They have helped leaders from all over the region get to know each other in an away-from-home setting – hopefully creating relationships so we can reach consensus and collaborate as we move forward.
An axis of peace. That’s probably the best way to define the relationship between two of Atlanta’s greatest leaders and their families – the late Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Jimmy Carter.
It is a special multi-layered relationship that keeps building upon a shared foundation of non-violence, human and civil rights. And both MLK Jr. and Carter were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.
The 2016 LINK trip to Dallas – scheduled from May 4 to May 7 – will mark the Atlanta region’s 20th anniversary of the annul visit to peer cities – providing metro leaders an opportunity to reflect on the value of the trips and consider their future.
About 110 metro Atlanta leaders are scheduled to be on the three-day to the Dallas-Fort Worth area – studying transportation, urban planning, downtown renaissance, the arts, education, millennials, suburban development and regional economic development.
It’s a given. The City of Atlanta will go to voters in November to propose an additional half-penny in taxes over the next 40 years for MARTA. That tax alone initially is expected to generate more than $50 million a year.
But the City of Atlanta also has the option to ask voters whether they want to approve another half penny for five years for general transportation projects.
Atlanta has a wonderful opportunity to lead the region by showing how to seize the future. It can become the model for the rest of the region. As Atlanta proves that transit is giving it a competitive edge, the rest of the region will find out the hard way that it’s a day late and a dollar short – and forced to play catch up.
The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is celebrating its 80th birthday this year.
To mark the occasion, the festival has decided to give a gift to Atlanta. It has commissioned a bronze interactive sculpture of a dogwood branch with blooms to adorn the edge of Lake Clara Meer near the Charles Allen Dr. entrance.