Entries by Alex Karner

Atlanta is best city in the country to address race issue

By Guest Columnist ARNIE SIDMAN, a former senior vice president of RJR Nabisco and a veteran corporate tax attorney

Over the years, I have become concerned about what I perceive to be an inexorable drift in American society—a malaise which threatens our heritage; our precious legacy.

My 20-year career in corporate America afforded me a special opportunity to observe not only my beloved country but also many other parts of the putative civilized world.

Metro Atlanta Chamber’s identity stronger if it has its own building

By Guest Columnist CHARLES H. VAN RYSSELBERGE, a 40-year Chamber of Commerce professional who served as executive vice president of the Atlanta Chamber from 1988 to 1993

After reading your two articles on the possible sale of the Metro Atlanta Chamber building, I wanted to share a few thoughts and examples of my experience with the role of stand-alone Chamber buildings and their visibility.

For the past 40 years, I have been been a Chamber professional. I left Atlanta to go to Oklahoma City for eight years and then the Charleston, S.C. Chamber for  nine years years until retirement.

Keeping transit on track should be a priority for Atlanta BeltLine

By Guest Columnist RYAN GRAVEL, founder of Sixpitch who wrote the original thesis behind the Atlanta Beltline

The success of the Atlanta Beltline is astonishing, even to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not surprised that it’s working – it’s doing everything we always said it would do.

I’m more surprised that we’re actually building it, and not only on the east side of town. Yet as exciting as it is to see ephemeral ideas finally being cast in trees and concrete, it matters, of course, how it gets done.

Reflections on Rwanda and how son’s marriage cost two cows

By Guest Columnist DAVID MARTIN, executive director of the Georgia Council on Economic Education

In June, our family traveled to Rwanda to “negotiate” the marriage of our son, Joshua, a Berry College graduate who teaches economics at Roswell High, and Anne Mugisha, who has an undergraduate degree from Shorter University and an MBA from Southern Poly.

Bringing great urban design to Atlanta’s Westside Trail – national competition for new park pavilion

By Guest Columnist MELODY HARCLERODE, 2015 president of the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects and program coordinator for the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance

The opening of a small patch of land bordering Pryor, Decatur and Lloyd (now Central) Streets and a passenger depot to residents and visitors in 1858 signaled the tumultuous creation of the first public park in the City of Atlanta.

Sorry Cobb – Atlanta’s identity is intertwined with our locomotive – ‘the Texas’

By Guest Columnist SHEFFIELD HALE, president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center

In January 2016, even the Atlanta History Center will host its own display of Atlanta in 50 Objects.

But truth be told, if challenged to pick one, we think we could narrow it down to “Atlanta in One Object.” And that one object is the locomotive Texas.

Music education gives students a chance to learn real-world skills

By Guest Columnist DANTES RAMEAU, co-founder and executive director of the Atlanta Music Project

The reduction, reconfiguration or in some instances, the complete elimination, of music classes in public schools across the country has been commonplace now for years. Generally attributed to budget cuts, it has happened in Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit among many other places.

Clean Air Campaign continues mission to reduce traffic despite losing key contract

By Guest Columnist CHET TISDALE, a board member of the Clean Air Campaign who also serves as counsel for the organization

What characteristic does the Clean Air Campaign share with the Atlanta BeltLine, Grady Health Foundation, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Research Atlanta, the Action Forum, the Metropolitan Atlanta Crime Commission and the Sibley Commission?

Southern Co. inching forward on many climate solutions – without admitting there’s a problem

By Guest Columnist COLLEEN KIERNAN, director of the Sierra Club Georgia Chapter

It’s the fourth Wednesday in May. That means I’m on my way to the 2015 Annual Southern Company Stockholders Meeting in Callaway Gardens.

A lot of corporations annual shareholder meetings are beyond dull, often lasting less than 10 minutes. Other times, when shareholder activists engage, they become a venue for street theater and other lively actions, lasting late into the evening.

Let’s adopt a new grand bargain for Atlanta: ‘equitable’ transit oriented development

Guest Columnist BRUCE GUNTER, president of Progressive Redevelopment Inc., an affordable housing developer

Competing statistics support a contradictory narrative of encouraging progress and a dispiriting decline about metropolitan Atlanta by vividly illustrating a widening gap between those who have and those who do not, paralleling nationwide trends.

Counterbalancing those numbers are increases in population, jobs and property prices.

The lasting value of a liberal arts education in today’s world

By Guest Columnist HARMON CALDWELL, managing partner of Caldwell & Watson law firm

Several months ago, I had lunch with Charles Knapp, the former president of the University of Georgia. We discussed the declining revenue state governments provide for public universities, and that in these times, to be successful, those universities would now have to create their own funding. Administrators would be looking to deans at various schools to raise funds.

Dr. Knapp wasn’t arguing for any position, just telling it like it is.

Georgia Works! Project Interconnections – two nonprofits seeking to end cycle of homelessness

By Guest Columnist JIM DURRETT, executive director of the Buckhead CID and campaign chair of the Phoenix House capital campaign

Where I work – Buckhead – is a prosperous and growing part of the city of Atlanta. We have been making a lot of improvements over the years, and work hard to keep up with maintaining what we have built.

Architectural bookends – 1975 and 2015 – Atlanta’s skyline is looking up

By Guest Columnist JACK PORTMAN, vice chairman of the John Portman & Associates architectural firm

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is holding their 2015 national convention here in Atlanta later this month (May 13-16).

The first time the organization brought their convention to Atlanta was in 1975—40 years ago, at which time a gallon of gas cost 54 cents and suburban sprawl was emptying out the city.

Atlanta’s changing weather turning us into Not-So-Hotlanta

By Guest Columnist JEANNE BONNER, a freelance writer, radio reporter and producer who serves on the board of the Atlanta Press Club

The best part of the year in Atlanta is upon us, but I’m not fully enjoying it.

That’s because I can’t trust the weather in Atlanta anymore. I can’t trust that it will be warm, almost heady, in these early spring weeks before the heat of summer rolls in. I can’t trust that it won’t rain more than it should, that dozens of festivals and other ritual spring outings won’t be washed away.

The BeltLine as a resource for redressing Atlanta’s inequity

By Guest Columnist MICHAEL DOBBINS, professor of the practice at Georgia Tech’s School of City and Regional Planning, and former Atlanta planning commissioner

Atlanta has the opportunity and the means to begin to attack the most shameful and enduring blemish on its record among U.S. cities: Greatest wealth disparity (the GINI index) and least chance for low wealth families to climb out of poverty (Harvard-Berkeley study).

What a strange session it’s been when it comes to education

By Guest Columnist DANA RICKMAN, director for policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

The 2015 Georgia legislative session came to an end at midnight (or closely thereafter) on Thursday, April 2. For 40 legislative days our elected senators and representatives toiled over which bills to consider, amend, ignore, combine, kill or pass.

The arts improve our quality of life far beyond their economic impact

By Guest Columnist PATTY POULTER, dean of the College of Arts at Kennesaw State University

Were you among the hundreds of millions of viewers who watched the Oscars or the Grammys recently? Have you seen some of the top-rated movies or listened to the hottest chart-busters in music?

On the local scene, perhaps you enjoyed Broadway star Jason Alexander of TV’s Seinfeld fame when he performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in early March – or you attended Wicked at the fabulous Fox Theatre.

Holding out for magic: hoping Glenridge Hall will be preserved

By Guest Columnist DIANNA EDWARDS, a citizen advocate for historic preservation

The gavel rang on the afternoon of March 15 – closing the auction on the art and furnishings of Thomas K. Glenn’s 1929 Tudor Revival estate, Glenridge Hall.

Mercifully for those who cherish the mansion, the auction was held out of state. So we didn’t have to watch.