Entries by Buzz Brockway

Georgia’s struggling areas could benefit from smart use of federal opportunity zones

By Guest Columnist BUZZ BROCKWAY, vice president of the Georgia Center for Opportunity

Buried in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was a provision that, if used wisely, could benefit investors, while at the same time knocking down barriers to human flourishing in struggling areas of our state. Championed by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, of South Carolina, opportunity zones allow an investor to defer capital gains taxes for up to 10 years, if the gain is invested in a Census tract designated as a qualified opportunity zone.

Building trails can build regional connectivity, state incentives would help

By Guest Columnist, MELODY L. HARCLERODE, executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy

Engineers from the Union Army noted a tributary in north Fulton County running into the Chattahoochee River as “Mans Cr” or “Mars Cr” on 1864 map. Now, the nonprofit Sandy Springs Conservancy is spearheading the development of the Marsh Creek Trail along Abernathy Road in partnership with the City of Sandy Springs as the initial stage of a city-wide trail system, envisioned as, “a beautiful amenity that can build physical and civic connections in Sandy Springs.”

Why save it? Just pave it – a conservation easement at risk in Morgan County

By Christine McCauley Watts, executive director of Madison-Morgan Conservancy

It sits on a little rise, Davis Crossroads does, and gives you a long view of one of Morgan County’s more bucolic landscapes. Davis descendants have farmed and cared for the land surrounding this crossroads for generations and in the last two decades have donated three conservation easements to permanently protect the scenic and agricultural conservation values found here.

Women take seats in state Legislature as gender hurdles appear to persist

By Guest Columnist MELITA EASTERS, executive director of Georgia’s WIN List

Record-setting numbers of women took the oath of legislative office under Georgia’s Gold Dome last week, representing a new wave of enthusiasm and energy for progressive ideas that mirror the media “buzz” surrounding the new class of congresswomen on the national stage.

Let’s rebuild trust in government with participatory budgeting in Atlanta

By Guest Columnist AMIR FAROKHI, who represents District 2 on the Atlanta City Council

Public trust in government is historically low. At a time when voting rights are under attack, transparency the exception, and inaction on critical issues the frustrating norm, cynicism about government is at fever pitch. Yet, democratic government is well placed to reestablish public trust; city government, even more so. More nimble and less partisan than any other level of government, City Hall is where residents should have the most direct input.

Unlocking potential: How mentoring changes metro Atlanta

By Guest Columnist KWAME JOHNSON, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.

One of the more under-utilized resources in metro Atlanta is the potential of our young people.

In Atlanta, more than many other large cities, your ZIP code determines your life trajectory. A 2018 study from Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights showed that Atlanta and Charlotte have the lowest rates of upward mobility for children who grow up in those cities, despite very high rates of job and wage growth over the past two decades.

Georgia’s election/voting system is broken – Let’s fix it

By Guest Columnist ROBERT A. “BOB” HOLMES, emeritus distinguished professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University and former state representative

Georgia’s history of racial discrimination and voter suppression has been well documented by voting rights advocate Laughlin McDonald in his book, published by Cambridge University Press, A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia. Among the many techniques used to eliminate or diminish black political presence and influence in the electoral process were: Poll taxes, literacy tests, white elections, racial gerrymandering, run-off election requirement, closure of voting precincts, purging of voter registration lists and denial of felons’ right to vote.

Inspire Atlanta: Transforming women’s lives through leadership and philanthropy

By Guest Columnist KARI B. LOVE, CEO of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation

The mission of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation is to be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls. As a public foundation, our primary role is as a grant-maker, providing financial grants, resources and evaluation support to local nonprofits helping low-income women and girls to break the cycle of poverty. In order to achieve our mission, partners are critical, whether corporate or individual funders.

Re-imagination of State Farm Arena inspired by Atlanta BeltLine

By Guest Columnist THAD SHEELY, chief operating officer of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena

Just over a week ago, Elton John played his farewell tour in the new State Farm Arena, creating a neat symmetry to a weekend nearly 20 years earlier when he performed for the grand opening of Philips Arena in 1999. As both Elton and Atlanta have changed over that time, so too has the arena – that was a different time and a different place.

Republicans, Democrats introduce historic bipartisan climate bill in the House

By Guest Columnists MARK REYNOLDS and FLANNERY WINCHESTER, executive director and communications coordinator, respectively, of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Congress has found a simple, fair and effective solution to get climate change in check. On Nov. 27, a bipartisan group of five representatives introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. An additional Republican co-sponsor has since joined the bill. This bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives will put a price on carbon emissions and return the revenue equally to people.

Dorothy Bolden’s impact still being felt 50 years later

By Guest Columnist NIKEMA WILLIAMS, state senator representing Atlanta and deputy political director at National Domestic Workers Alliance

The political organizing being led by Black women in Georgia is not a new phenomenon. Atlanta’s own Dorothy Bolden began organizing for domestic workers and is still regarded as “fearless” in her approach according to her obituary in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Reform of federal flood policy would reduce impact of disasters, spending after events

By Guest Columnist JOHN ERNST, mayor of Brookhaven

Last year, the City of Brookhaven purchased what is now known as Ashford Forest Preserve, 33 acres of a decommissioned runaway that had grown into a meadow full of mature trees, native plants, and a stream, from the DeKalb County government.

The $5.7 Million purchase was made possible by a Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. This federal loan allowed Brookhaven to increase its greenspace by 10 percent, mitigate stormwater problems and establish a nature preserve in our rapidly developing community. We couldn’t have done it alone and it was a win-win for the state, county and city governments and taxpayers.

The Gulch – Gulp, what now?

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

With the Atlanta City Council’s action to approve the CIM deal to develop the Gulch in Downtown Atlanta, what should city officials and citizens be doing to follow up the many, many complicated steps, approvals, and financial transactions that will now persist over a 20-plus year timeframe?

As it happens, we have a precedent.

Targeted policies urgently needed for a speedy transition to clean energy

By Guest Columnist KAREN GRAINEY, assistant director of Center for a Sustainable Coast

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a monumental report on Oct. 8, warning that humanity has only 12 years to make the “rapid and far-reaching” reforms needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change. These reforms entail drastic reductions in the primary cause of global warming – greenhouse gas emissions.

Hands-Free Georgia Act improves roadway safety, still room for improvement

By Guest Columnist ROBERT ROSENBERGER, of Georgia Tech, who researches the relationship people develop with their everyday devices

The Georgia Hands-Free Act went into effect back in July, banning the use of handheld phones while driving. This is a major change for Georgia drivers, and it’s one we should support. … There are also reasons to be concerned that it does not go far enough, and to take matters into our own hands and refrain from engaging in additional phone-related behaviors that do not happen to be covered by the new law.

Solar energy – Three reasons why now is the best time to go solar

By now you have likely heard a lot about solar energy. You may have heard that solar is fast becoming the least expensive, most resilient, and cleanest source of energy for homes and businesses.

But what you may not have heard is that now is the best time to go solar. And that Oct. 31 is the deadline for Atlanta residents to lock in discount pricing and get a free, no-obligation solar and battery storage evaluation.

Planned Chamblee Doraville CID to create sense of place, urgency for improvements

By Guest Columnist DAN REUTER, a longtime advisor on urban planning and community development in metro Atlanta and the founder/CEO of Reuter Strategy

Momentum is building for the creation of a new Community Improvement District in the cities of Chamblee and Doraville. Led by local commercial property owners and encouraged by the leadership of the cities of Chamblee and Doraville, a CID will help the community to leverage the existing assets to provide greater access and amenities.

U.N.-affiliated sustainability network to be recognized at Center for Civil, Human Rights

By Guest Columnist JENNIFER HIRSCH, co-founder of RCE Greater Atlanta, with GARRY HARRIS and SERENA NEWHALL, steering committee members of RCE Greater Atlanta.

Atlanta’s regional sustainability network, RCE Greater Atlanta, will celebrate its recognition by the United Nations University at an event hosted Wednesday by the Center for Civil and Human Rights, an RCE member organization. A program for youth leadership in sustainability is among those to be celebrated.

Record number of women candidates for state office promoted by Georgia’s WIN List

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

On Oct. 1, the 2018 mid-term election is just 37 days away. Nationally and in Georgia, women candidates have won primaries in record-setting numbers, cementing the prediction of 2018 as another “Year of the Woman.”