Entries by Sally Flocks

Helping Atlanta do what is hard, but right

By Guest Columnist SALLY FLOCKS, president and CEO of PEDS, Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety

Wheelchair users recently sued the City of Atlanta for failing to maintain sidewalks that are equally accessible to people with disabilities. The condition of Atlanta’s sidewalks is deplorable, and a class-action lawsuit for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act has been a long time coming.

Congress must resolve immigration issue, return to work for American people

By Guest Columnist MARK NEWMAN, retired partner with Troutman Sanders

Agriculture is big business in Georgia. One in seven Georgians work in agriculture and the industry contributes nearly $74 billion to our state’s economy. So, when the most important piece of legislation impacting Georgia’s farmers fails to pass the U.S. House of Representatives because of an unrelated immigration issue, it is cause for serious concern.

Georgia urgently needs a coastal hazard study and plan

By Guest Columnist DAVID KYLER, executive director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, located in St. Simons

Enormous burdens on Georgia taxpayers have been imposed by damage from major storms over the past two years. Such impacts over this period are estimated to have cost Georgians some $5 billion in property and infrastructure damage, evacuation expenses, and recovery/clean-up. The majority of these expenses have been imposed by hurricanes, Matthew (2016) and Irma (2017).

We need more role models

By Guest Columnist FRANK BROWN, CEO of Communities in Schools of Atlanta

I was shocked when I read statistics revealing that in today’s world black boys are still facing tremendous racial and financial disparities. What is more alarming is the fact that these statistics are worse than they were 50 years ago. How did we fail our youth? With so many affluent and educated black men, how could this be true? Were the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall all in vain? How can I make sure that black boys don’t get lost in the disparities of life?

Citizen scientists gathering information to inform policy decisions in West Atlanta

By Guest Columnist EMILY WEIGEL, of Georgia Tech, with NA’TAKI OSBORNE JELKS, of Agnes Scott College, and RUTHIE YOW, of Georgia Tech.

“I didn’t know crawfish lived in Atlanta!” Peering into the palm of U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Tamara Johnson, a student’s eyes grew wide at the wriggling resident of Proctor Creek. Proctor is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River; it lends its name to the only watershed located entirely in city limits. And its crawfish matter … more than you might imagine.

More than a financial burden, Plant Vogtle a bad business decision for Georgia

By Guest Columnist MICHAEL M. SIZEMORE, founding principal of Sizemore Group and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

What makes a good business decision? After running a successful architecture firm for decades, I’ve learned a thing or two about what guides good business judgment, and the importance of making sound decisions in the best interest of one’s clients….

And that is why I can say with confidence that the decision to continue the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion, despite a near doubling of its original price tag and more than five years of delay, appears to be bad business, pure and simple.

Dearth of affordable housing calls for comprehensive solution

By Guest Columnist KATHLEEN FARRELL, head of commercial real estate at SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Over the last decade, as millennials entered the workforce and delayed or indefinitely avoided buying a home, apartment complexes sprang up across Atlanta – as they did in many U.S. cities – to meet the growing demand for rental housing. Many of these new developments were built as luxury living experiences in order to command higher rents and meet the expectations of a younger clientele. The result was a robust supply of high-end units that have been absorbed by Atlanta’s strong job market, but a dearth of affordable, workforce housing.

Four decades of the Old Fourth Ward, seen from my office window

By Guest Columnist WILLIAM VANDERKLOOT, a film director/producer with a unique insight into Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

A few years ago Google announced it would archive older images from its Google Maps StreetView program to create a StreetView History section for various cities. StreetView is less than 10 years old, but decades from now it will be a local historian’s delight. I only wish we had StreetView back when I moved my company to the Old Fourth Ward in 1979.

Like the proverbial frog submersed in slowly heating water, familiarity with our immediate surroundings makes us oblivious to incremental change. That is until one day we suddenly realize almost everything is different. That happened to me regarding my studio in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

Georgia leads in addressing school climate

By Guest Columnist CAITLIN DAUGHERTY KOKENES, project manager at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Recent events such as the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February and similar occurrences across the country have brought to light the importance of school safety and student mental health.

As students, parents, administrators, and others search for ways to ensure that schools are safe places, some may be surprised to know that Georgia is a leader among states when it comes to making a concentrated effort to address and improve school climate….

Trump’s proposal to alter SNAP harks back to 1964 law with Georgia roots

By Guest Columnist NEILL HERRING, a lobbyist for environmental organizations and armchair historian

Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of Agriculture for the whole, entire United States, and former governor of Georgia, has come out in favor of what used to called “surplus commodities.” This is his proposed substitute for what used to be called “food stamps.” Sonny said, early in his secretaryship, that program, now called SNAP, was “not broken,” and therefore needed no fixing.

A Civic Center for the 21st century

By Guest Columnist KLAUS VAN DEN BERG, a consultant with CITYperformance

The Atlanta Civic Center, a mega-venue that sports a 4,600-seat auditorium and a separate exhibition hall on a 19-acre site in the Old Fourth Ward, was sold to the Atlanta Housing Authority in late 2017. Former Mayor Kasim Reed, who had already sold significant land parcels to developers, closed the Civic Center deal without requiring the development of a new vision for the site that does justice to its historic significance. The sale itself proceeded mostly outside of public view after the collapse of a deal with a private developer.

CEOs can do more to reduce healthcare costs than the government or insurers

By Guest Columnist SHANE JACKSON, president of Jackson Healthcare of Alpharetta

Warren Buffet, one of the most successful businessmen in U.S. history, has called the soaring cost of healthcare a “tapeworm” on the American economy. He and two other Wall Street giants, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, have announced a joint venture in an attempt to dramatically reduce the inflationary pressure on healthcare delivery.

Overcoming the affordable housing funding challenge

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, a professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Design and and a longtime advocate for housing affordability

The city is making constructive strides toward addressing its ever-growing affordable housing needs. Researchers are pretty much in agreement that a stable, safe, and affordable home provides the fundamental and essential grounding for families to make their way into better education, improved health, higher incomes, and a quality of life that holds out hope.

Female candidates offer chance to end ‘toxic testosterone’ of patriarchal power structure

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

Record numbers of progressive Georgia women candidates, backed by hundreds who have volunteered to support them, are part of a headline-grabbing and magazine-cover-inspiring national wave of newly emboldened activists who plan to qualify for elected office over the coming weeks.

Why we need our national endowments

By Guest Columnist STANLEY ROMANSTEIN, professor of practice, Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University, and principal with BLJackson Associates

In 1965 the U.S Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – expressed the firm belief that, “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and humanities, designed to make people of all backgrounds and wherever located, masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants.”

Developers say planned BeltLine project at 10th, Monroe is a chance to ‘get it right’

By Guest Columnist JIM KEGLEY, a partner in 10th and Monroe, LLC, which intends to develop property along the Atlanta BeltLine at Piedmont Park

We have lived in Midtown for 15 years. We share our neighbors’ love of the residential area. We also share our fellow Atlantans’ ambitions for our city, particularly as they’ve been articulated in our most transformational vision for our future: The Atlanta BeltLine. The land in which we have invested near the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Avenue represents an opportunity to express those values.