ATL concessions: Atlanta Council debating proposed contracts; votes not yet taken

By David Pendered

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The Atlanta City Council continues this afternoon to debate the $3 billion package of airport concessions proposed by Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration.

The meeting began with comments from about 17 individuals who expressed their views on airporty contracts. The council then entered parliamentary position that allows the entire council to act as a committee to discuss the proposal – a position that allows for more conversation than permitted during a regular meeting, and which greatly extends the length of the meeting.

At 5 p.m. the council had not taken a vote.

Here are highlights of five presentations:

Calvin Vismale, board chair, Sevananda Natural Foods Market:

  • Lost a bid but hopes to be successful next time. Thinks the airport should offer more foods for passengers who eat no animal products and those who eat raw foods.

John Sherman, board chair, Fulton County Taxpayers Association:

  • Urged the council to delay a vote and review the selection process. Contended the process violated the state’s Open Meeting Law because its meetings were held in secret and minutes were not made public.

Al Bartell, advocate for small business:

  • Said the selection process was rigged to favor big businesses at the expense of small businesses. Said Atlanta residents will rally to ensure future city contracts are accessible for small businesses.

Harold Bevis, vice president, public affairs, Delta

  • The selection process functioned well. Delta needs the international terminal to open on time because it’s already selling tickets for flights that would use the new terminal.

William Perry, executive director, Common Cause of Georgia

  • Urged the council to delay a vote. The selection process has not been as transparent as it is said to be.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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